Being the first two formal theories introduced in psychology, both structuralism and functionalism have made a significant impact in the development of the subject. As far as the history of these two terms is concerned, structuralism was the first theory to be developed, and functionalism has been put forward as a response to structuralism. The main difference between structuralism and functionalism is that structuralism focuses on different brain elements and their capacities whereas functionalism is focused on the adaptation of human mind to different environments.
Since time immemorial, men and women have pondered over questions that are psychological in nature. From the early Egyptians to the ancient Greek philosophers, there has been no letup in efforts to understand human thought and behavior.
Yet, in spite of its long past, the formal history of psychology dates back only years to — the year when Wilhelm Wundt opened the doors of the first psychology laboratory in Leipzig, Germany. As a result of this significant move, Wundt is widely regarded as the founder of psychology.
He went on to become the first of several spirited speakers to engage in an ongoing debate over what should be the focus of psychology.
The history of psychology is indeed short, but it has never been short of drama. Tichener, who formally established this psychological school of thought. Structuralism, as the name suggests, was centered on investigating the structure of the mind.
Wundt believed that psychology should focus on breaking down consciousness into its basic elements, in much the same way a child would pull apart a toy to reveal its component parts. The idea of determining the specific structure of something so abstract and dynamic as the mind may seem absurd to many today.
Yet, structuralists were confident that not only could they accomplish this goal, but that they could do so scientifically. Introspection involves looking inwards; reflecting on, analyzing and trying to make sense of our own internal experiences as they occur. Reports would then be examined to determine the basic elements of consciousness.
For example, if you were presented with a slice of cake, it would not be enough to simply identify the type of food before you. You would also need to explain the basic elements of the cake that you able to sense. For example, you might describe the taste, smell, texture, colour, and shape of the cake in as much detail as possible.
Structuralism played a significant role in shaping the field of psychology during its formative years. Wundt and his followers helped to establish psychology as an independent experimental science and their emphasis on scientific methods of inquiry remains a key aspect of the discipline today. Nevertheless, structuralists could not escape criticism.
Despite their noble attempt at scientific investigation, introspection was less than ideal because no two persons perceive the same thing in exactly the same way. Some of the fiercest criticisms of structuralism came from the person of William James, one of the leading proponents of the functionalist perspective.
Functionalism From the point of view of American scholar William James, structuralists were sorely misguided. The mind is fluid, not stable; consciousness is ongoing, not static. Attempts to study the structure of the mind would therefore be futile at worst and frustrating at best.
Function in this sense can mean one of two things — first, how the mind operates — that is, how the elements of the mind work together — and second, how mental processes promote adaptation.
Clearly influenced by the teachings of Charles Darwin and the principle of natural selection survival of the fittestJames believed that mental processes serve vital functions that enable us to adapt and survive in a changing world. It extended both the subject matter of psychology as well as the range of methods use to acquire data.
Functionalists are also credited with bringing the study of animals, children and abnormal behaviour into psychology, as well as an emphasis on individual differences Hergenhahn, In addition, while the structuralists established psychology as a pure science, the functionalists broadened this narrow focus by also concentrating on the practical application of psychology to real-world problems.
Nevertheless, functionalists had their share of flaws. Psychoanalysis Mention the word psychology, and few persons would fail to recall Sigmund Freud. Like the structuralists and functionalists before him, Freud believed in studying covert behavior, but unlike his predecessors, Freud was not content with examining only conscious thought; he dived head-first into the unconscious.
Freud compared the human psyche to an iceberg — only a small portion is visible to others with most of it lying below the surface. Freud also believed that many of the factors that influence our thoughts and actions lie outside of conscious awareness and operate entirely in our unconscious.
Psychology therefore needed to study these unconscious drives, motives and impulses to arrive at a more complete understanding of the individual. He opened up whole new frontiers in psychology and proposed one of the most comprehensive theories of personality ever written, complete with explanations of how the unconscious mind works and how personality develops in the early years of life.
One of the biggest criticisms is that his theory falls short of being scientific as many of his concepts are not testable. Freud also failed to recognize how experiences after childhood contribute to personality development and focused mainly on psychological disorders rather than more positive, adaptive behaviours Burger, Behaviourism Despite their differences, structuralism, functionalism and psychoanalysis all shared an emphasis on mental processes — events that are unseen to the naked eye.
Watson, a staunch supporter of behaviourism, strongly objected to this approach and prompted a revolution in psychology. Watson was an advocate of scientific scrutiny but for him, covert behavior, including mental processes, could not be studied scientifically.distinction between the two approaches In the fields of psychology and sociology, structuralism proposes that consciousness View the full answer.
How Would You Distinguish Between Structuralism And Functionalism In Early Formal Psychology DISTNGUSH BETWEEN STRUCTURALISM AND FUNCTIONALISM a new child was born into an unsuspecting world The sire of this grand progeny, William Wundt. Thomas Leahey states that “Wundt is the founder [of modern .
The main difference between structuralism and functionalism is that structuralism focuses on different brain elements and their capacities whereas functionalism is focused on the adaptation of human mind to different environments.
This article covers, 1. What is Structuralism – Theory of . Structuralism in psychology (also structural psychology) is a theory of consciousness developed by Wilhelm Wundt and his protégé Edward Bradford Titchener.
This theory was challenged in the 20th century. Structuralism and Functionalism. STUDY. PLAY. Influenced experimental psychology, an early school of psychology that used introspection to explore the elemental structure of the human mind tasting the chocolate, feelings emotions memories you experience introspection.
Wilhelm wundt. structuralism; in founded first psychology laboratory. Being the first two formal theories introduced in psychology, both structuralism and functionalism have made a significant impact in the development of the subject.
The main difference between structuralism and functionalism is that structuralism focuses on different brain elements and their capacities whereas functionalism is.