Structuralism vs Functionalism
It was developed by Wundt the highly developed introspective psychology called Structuralism was first developing in Germany. Wundt was of the view that if we broaden our observations to include the study of society childhood and animals, we shall have a factual basis for the development of general psychology and if we avoid metaphysics and introspection and concentrate on the experimental method, we shall have a scientific basis for the development of the new science.
Definition of psychology (Structuralism ):
“Psychology was defined as the analytic study of the generalized adult human mind through the method of introspection”.
Since psychology was to study the contents of the mind, this system is sometimes called content psychology. Besides, Titchener emphasized mental structural psychology.
The study of mind should be liberated from metaphysics Wundt argued that psychology has scarcely advanced since Aristotle’s time, despite the advances of physics.
One reason for this, the argument continues has been psychology’s enslavement to philosophy and particularly to metaphysics.
The study of the mind should be liberated from the traditional metaphysical questions of why the mind or soul exists or its fate after death.
Moreover, the advancement of psychology has been hampered by our ignorance of the relevant facts in three important areas:
childhood ( i.e we need to know more about what is now called developmental psychology)
zoology (i.e we need to know more about what is now called comparative psychology)
morphology (i.e we need to know more social influences on our behavior.
Wundt, because he flourished in the late nineteenth century, was an introspectionist, but even at the beginning of his career, was against introspection as a “scientific” method. According to Wundt, “introspection is at best unreliable”.
Wundt Concentrated On Theoretical Work:
Clearly, Wundt felt that his pioneering position in the establishment of academic psychology was the most responsible one.
Although he did a few experiments himself, he preferred to leave laboratory work to his students and to concentrate instead on writings reviews theoretical works and his best known later work.
The subject matter of psychology immediate experience, as contrasted to mediate experience.
He meant experience used as a way to find out about something other than the experience itself.
This is how we use to experience in gaining knowledge about the world.
The Method Of Study
The method is introspection. However, Wundt made it clear that his introspection was to be the controlled observation of the contents of consciousness under experimental conditions.
The task for experimental psychology was the analysis of consciousness for Wundt, the task for experimental psychology was the analysis of consciousness.
Despite his emphasis on experimentation, Wundt did not think that it was the only road to psychological knowledge.
Six Characteristics of Wundt’s Structuralism psychology:
It is possible to trace out from his writings six characteristics of his opinions on what psychology should be and how it should be carried out; it becomes an interesting exercise, not merely to assimilate these characteristics into unity but to discover whether any inconsistencies would invalidate the assimilation.
1-Natural Science and Science of Spirit
Wundt was quite explicit that psychology was indeed a science, but he made a distinction between natural sciences and sciences of the spirit, a reference in the sense of higher mental activity. Wundt included in psychology, individual psychology, folk psychology, social psychology, psychophysics, and anthropology studies of phenomena created by the human spirit.
2-Psychical Causality is Phenomenal
In his self-conscious search for laws underlying psychological behavior, Wundt found himself obliged to admit that, in his opinion, the laws of psychic life are unlike the laws applying to physical objects in several ways.
If we see one billiard ball hit another we can describe what happens by using such concepts as mass and acceleration. But if we can observe our brain process, we cannot infer what the associated psychic event is. Moreover, all psychic events differ from physiological events insofar as a psychic sequence.
3-Mental Life Needs Its Own Meta-Language
The important thing to notice is that no attempt is made at a psychophysiological account of mental life.
Mental life needs its own meta-language for its description.
He expressed his dissatisfaction with introspection as a scientific method. Introspection is unreliable because we cannot examine a present thought, we can only try to capture it, as it were after it has gone.
For Wundt, the only valid way to make a self-observation was by a psychological experiment.
4-Psychology Is The Study Of The Human Mind
For him, psychology was the scientific study of immediate experience and thus the study of human consciousness or the mind, as long as the mind is understood as the totality of conscious experience at a given moment and not as a mental substance.
The natural sciences are also based on experience but of a kind, Wundt called mediate experience, because the experience is regarded as dependent on external objects and all subjective elements such as feelings directly as it is given in consciousness.
5-All Experience Are Direct Experience
He proposed introspective psychology but with important qualifications. According to Wundt, it is unnecessary to postulate a special inner sense to observe one’s consciousness. One simply has experiences and can describe them; one does not have to observe the experiences happening. All experiences are direct experience.
6-Our Own Experiences Are Limited
The final distinction between Wundt and other introspective psychologists and philosophers is that his work was not limited to experimental psychology.
Life is short, so our own experiences are limited but we can draw on the historical experience of humanity as written and preserved in existing cultures at different levels of development.
This collective experience enables us to study the inner recesses of consciousness, those well removed from sensorimotor responses, and hence not amenable.
Identity Theorist or Parallelist
Wundt thought that mind and body were parallel, but not interacting systems. The mind does not depend on the body, and it can be studied directly. Wundt’s psychology was called physiological psychology.
Feelings And Emotions
He did not neglect feelings and emotions, for they are an obvious part of our conscious experience.
He often used introspectively reposted feelings as clues to what processes were going on in the mind at a given moment.
Apperception, for instance, he thought to be marked by a feeling of mental effort.
He studied feelings and emotions in their own right and his tridimensional theory of feeling became a source of controversy, especially with Titchner,
Wundt emphasized the active, synthesizing power of apperception, he recognized the existence of passive processes as well, which he classified as various forms of association of “passive”.
Recognition is a form of assimilation, stretched out into two steps a vague feeling of familiarity followed by the act of recognition proper.
One cannot re-experience an earlier event, for ideas are not permanent. Rather one reconstructs it from current cues and certainly general rules.
The Abnormal States of Consciousness
Finally, Wundt did not fail to notice abnormal states of consciousness. He discussed hallucinations, depressions, hypnosis, and dreams.
He observed that these involve a breakdown in attention processes. The schizophrenic loses the appreciative control of thoughts characteristic of normal consciousness and surrenders instead to passive associative processes, so that thought becomes a simple train of associations rather than a coordinated process directed by volition.
Structuralism vs Functionalism-(Functionalism)
When the new german psychology of Wundt was introduced to the United States, it immediately took on a particular American Character.
The American psychologists who had been trained in Germany imposed a functional interpretation of structural psychology when they returned to America.
Functionalism was an orientation in psychology that emphasized mental processes rather than mental content.
It was Titchener who in 1898 coined the term functional psychology to distinguish it from his own brand of psychology.
Functional psychology was not a formal system of psychology in the way represented by structural psychology, or later systems of Gestalt psychology, Behaviorism, or Psychoanalysis.
Functional psychology did not provide a comprehensive view of psychological activity.
Rather it differed from structural psychology in a spirit or an attitude that emphasized the applications and usefulness of psychology.
How Does The mind work?
The functionalists wanted to know how the mind works and what uses the mind has not simply what contents and structures are involved in mental processes.
Functionalism never a clearly differentiated systematic position. Woodworth said “A psychology that attempts to give an accurate and systematic answer to the question. “what does the man do?” and why do they do it? Is called functional psychology”.
Three groups of psychologists contributed to the development of functionalism.
The Pioneers, the early psychologists who laid the groundwork for functionalism by opening up new fields of inquiry, such as child psychology, animal behavior, and testing of individual differences.
The founders, John Dewey and James Angell developed functionalism as a system and gave it the status of a school at the University of Chicago.
The developers, Harvey Carr and Robert S, Woodworth elaborated and developed a more mature system.
Functionalism Focused On The Functions Of The Mind
It focused on the mind not it is content or structure, but its dynamics or functioning.
The object of study for functionalism was the operations and functions of consciousness.
The goal of the functionalist program amounted to an abstraction of the mind in terms of various mental activities.
Mental activity refers to such processes as thinking, feeling, imagining, and perceiving.
Each of these processes is a distinct category of mental activity of which the individual organism is aware and which can serve as the object of introspective report.
Functionalism Was Interested In The Actual Working Of Consciousness
The functionalists were not interested in conscious activity as an end in itself.
The mind was the primary instrument allowing the individual organism to adapt to its environment.
The functionalists fundamentally were interested in the actual working of consciousness as it guides and directs the individual in adjusting to the environment.
This focus on the instrumental adaptive function of the mind made the functionalist an implicit behaviorist.
Response Or Output
The functionalist’s analysis of mental activities also requires reference to an external reference point the consequences of mental activity in an adaptation framework. Another term for this concept is response or output or behavior.
The concept of an external environment served as another direct link to behaviorism.
Another label for the environment is stimulus and response, the two fundamental building blocks or units of analysis of classical Watsonian behaviorism.
Functionalism basically was interested in the mind as the intermediary between stimulus and response events.
The specific aspect of the organism which allowed it to adjust to a specific stimulus situation was consciousness.
All that Watson did to create classical behaviorism was to remove any reference to this mental intermediary.
Classical behaviorism focused on overt behavior as a direct function of environmental input.
Their concern for organismic adaptation stemmed from Darwin’s evolutionary theory. Because of this, functionalism was biologically, rather than physiologically, oriented. Evolution is a theory of biological adaptation, or how the organism adapts to changes and pressures in the stimulus environment.
Functionalistic Psychology Was Practical Psychology
The functionalistic psychology was inherently practical or applied. The constant emphasis on working, function, and adaptation made the organism a real=time and real-space entity. Functionalist study of consciousness, unlike that of structuralism, was not divorced from its actual, day to day functioning.
Phases of Functionalism
Functionalism: antecedent influence of animal psychology on functionalism ( Charles Darwin and Francis Galton)
Functionalism: American pioneers ( Herbert Spencer, William James, G.S Hall, James Mckeen Cattle).
Formal Development of Functionalism: Chicago School ( John Dewey, James Rowland Angell, Harvey Carr).
Functionalism at Columbia ( Robert Session Woodworth)
James’s pragmatic point of view is that validity of an idea, or knowledge must be tested by its consequences. According to the pragmatic viewpoint, “anything is true if it works”.
After William James, there was a tendency for functional psychology to become less functional as it developed.
James-Lange Theory of Emotions
It is one of James’s original theoretical contributions to psychology. To him, emotion is nothing more than the perception of internal bodily changes that have occurred in response to some stimulus.
Emotion Is A Consequence Rather Than A Cause
It is a consequence rather than a cause of bodily changes in response to some stimulus. He theorized that the bodily changes follow directly the perception of the exciting fact and that our feeling of the same changes as they occur is the emotion”
We Feel Sorry Because We Cry, Angry Because We Strike
The hypothesis that James proposed to defend reversed the sequence so that the bodily manifestations must be interposed between, and that the more rational statement is that we feel sorry because we cry, angry because we strike, afraid because we tremble.
Without the bodily states following on the perception, the latter would be purely cognitive in form, pale, colorless destitute of emotional warmth.
Conclusion Structuralism vs Functionalism
Structuralism many critics concluded that introspection was not anything. Critics concluded that since introspection was not everything, it was nothing.it is indeed difficult to define introspection but it is also difficult to define psychology exactly. The narrowness of structural psychology was attacked.
Functionalists, however, were unconcerned with maintaining psychology as pure science and never apologized for their practical interest. Functionalism was also criticized for its eclecticism. However, it became part of the mainstream of American psychology. One result was that the rapidly increasing research on animal behavior became an important part of psychology.
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