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Module 4-4 Functionalism

Module 4-4 Functionalism

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Functionalism

Module 4 - 4 History & Systems Online

Definition

“…the psychological orientation that stresses the function or utility of the behavior and consciousness of organisms in their adaptation to the environment.”

Reasons for the Rise of Functionalism in the U.S.
(early 1900’s)
 

Dissatisfaction with limitations of Structuralism Moral, Social, Educational Climate
   

Idealism Feelings of Moral and Economic Superiority Growth of American Universities Desire for development of an “American Psychology” Emphasis on practicality and the “how” of experience and behavior

Philosophy of Pragmatism

Description of Functionalism
 

More of a general orientation than a “school” Origins:

Galton’s work
 

Mental inheritance, individual differences, mental tests Statistical analysis Evolutionary theory Studies on animal behavior

Darwin’s (more important) work
 

Titchener “named it,” in order to differentiate it from his theory of structuralism

Galton & Darwin

Francis Galton (1822 – 1911) .

Galton’s Mental Inheritance  The occurrence of “greatness” in families   Cannot be explained by environment. Genius is hereditary… Encourage the birth of the more eminent/fit Discourage the birth of the unfit  Goal: “Eugenics”     His goal led to work in measurement and statistics…to help identify the “fit” individuals Originated “Mental Tests” .

1996. (Schultz & Schultz. child development. heredity vs. mental tests and individual differences. questionnaire method. p. Conducted original research which became topics of interest to psychologists:  Adaptation. or even eugenicist.Galton: Summary   An “extremely gifted person” whose interests surpassed a single discipline. statistical techniques. environment. comparison of species. 141) .  Had a greater impact on American Psychology than did Wilhelm Wundt. but not really a psychologist. anthropologist.

Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882) .

& Am. Psychology Living things change with time (old idea) But a new impact because of the Zeitgeist of Change and an idea of how it occurred: Natural Selection    On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (1859)   Scientific discoveries about other species occurring Explorers finding previously unknown forms of life Fossil finds…animals that once roamed the earth and then disappeared Societal change due to the Industrial Revolution Growing domination of Modern science over religious ideas .   Impacted society as a whole.

Darwin’s Hesitations  Why did Darwin hesitate to publish his findings?  (Readings: A History of Psychology in Letters) Letters .

but…  A shift from reliance on introspective data to emphasis on behavioral data . mental tests.Effects (continued)   Psychology now applied to emotions. individual differences. personality. social behaviors. etc. psychopathology. New Emphases:   Operations rather than elements Experimentation is still important. animal behaviors.

Herbert Spencer (18201903) .

“Synthetic Psychology”  Arguments:   Development of all aspects of the universe is evolutionary Universal principles: Survival of the fittest  Struggle for existence   Spencer’s views influenced every field of learning. including Psychology .

“Social Darwinism”      Spencer applied the theory of evolution to human nature and society Well received by Americans Human perfection is inevitable. if nothing interferes with the natural order Promoted individualism. laissez-faire economics Individuals and institutions that fail to adapt should be allowed to perish .

“Synthetic Philosophy”   Application of evolutionary principles to all human knowledge and experience 1855: The Principles of Psychology  Used by William James at early Harvard Psych classes   Mind exists in the present form due to past and continuing efforts to adapt to environments Increasing complexity of experiences/behavior is normal evolution .

William James (18421910) “Anticipator” of .

S. .“Anticipator” of Functional Psychology    Not actually the “founder” Did influence the functional movement A pioneer of new scientific psychology in the U.

A Negative Force?  Seen by some as a negative force for scientific psychology    Believed in mentalistic and psychic phenomena Not an experimentalist in attitude Called Psychology: “That nasty little science” and  “The elaboration of the obvious”  .

it is valid . medicine. biology…abandoned 1872 – taught physiology at Harvard (enamored of Wundt & Helmholz) “Time for psychology to be a science” Pragmatist: If knowledge is useful. the novelist Studied chemistry.Life and Career       Multiple interests…wanted to become an artist Older brother of Henry James.

Life and Career (2)  1875-1876 Taught his first course in psychology at Harvard. 1889 – Professor of psychology (formerly professor of philosophy)  . the first time experimental psychology was taught in the US.

Wrote with a rare clarity But afterward. James thought he had nothing more to say about psychology Turned to religion and then to spiritualism Varieties of Religious Experience (1902) .” Most influential psychology textbook ever A 12 year effort.Principles of Psychology (1890)       – “most important landmark in the development of functionalism in the United States.

yorku.ca/James/Principles/in Psychology—a biological science   Goal: Study how humans adapt to their environments Human consciousness must have had some function in order to survive .Some Content   Available: http://psychclassics.Principles -.

Principles -. James-Lange Theory of Emotion: Emotions are the result of physiological (autonomic) reactions.g.Some Content      Emphasizes the nonrational aspect of human nature Intellect operates under physiological influences of the body Beliefs are determined by emotional factors E. not the cause Reason and concept formation are affected by human wants and needs .

.      A continuous flow: “stream of consciousness” Always changing Cumulative Selective: only pays attention to relevant stimuli Purposive: has biological utility. allows for choices that aid in adaptation .Some Content    Consciousness: produced by biology and affected by brain Mental life is a unity Consciousness is.Principles -.

free-willist. idealistic. materialistic. fatalistic. sensationalistic. intellectualistic. Tender minded (rationalistic.James’ Views and Contributions  Example:  Views on Temperament (2 types)  Tough minded (empiricist.)  . etc. etc.

Cattell and Edward Thorndike (Columbia University) John Dewey and James Angell (U.James’ Influence  James was soon joined by others:    G. Stanley Hall (Harvard. then Clark University) James K. of Chicago—considered the locale for the “formal founding of functional psychology” .

Stanley Hall (18441924) .G.

Early History    Encountered James at Harvard James was a mentor who helped his career Hall began studying for the ministry…became influenced by Darwinian ideas…left the US for 3 years of independent study of Physiology in Germany…encountered $ problems… returned without a degree…found a tutoring position at Antioch College (Ohio)…where he read Wundt…and decided to join Wundt in Leipzig .

D. Did not stay long…helped with Wundt’s experiments…and won his recommendation for possible future openings in psychology in America.Early History (2)   Stopped at Harvard…offered a position as tutor in English…where he met James (who was 2 years older)… James persuaded him to do experimental research on muscular cues and space perception…and Hall eventually earned his Ph. 1878… Hall did go to study with Wundt and was Wundt’s 1st American student…albeit with a graduate degree. ..the First American Ph. in experimental psychology. .D.

in Baltimore where he was invited to become professor of psychology and pedagogy in 1884. MA (Harvard) and was invited to deliver lectures on Education on Saturday mornings. No jobs available. Attracted the attention of president of John Hopkins U.Early History (3)   1880 – returned to US. Crucial turning point   1. . Turned his serious attention for the 1st time to developmental psychology in teaching 2. Went back to Cambridge.

Early History (4)    Established the 1st American research facility for psychology at Johns Hopkins University 1887 -.Established the American Journal of Psychology 1888 Was offered the presidency of Clark University in Worcester MA… devoted exclusively to graduate study…He remained at Clark for the rest of his life… .

D.Early History (5)    Clark had financial difficulties from time to time… Hall also was very controlling in his administrative style… great facilities… poor faculty pay He continued to teach psychology and education through the 1890’s… and Clark produced more than half of all American Ph.’s in psychology .

Stanley Hall  Founder of 1st US psychology lab (1883) at Johns Hopkins Established 1st psychology journal: American Journal of Psychology (1887) in addition to other journals in later years… Co-founder of APA – American Psychological Association (1892) started with 31 members (by 1990 had over 60 thousand members)   .Contributions of G.

Crime. Religion and Education His book popularized the term “Adolescence” Later published another book: Senescence .Other Accomplishments      Popularized use of surveys (questionnaires) as a research tool Stimulated interest in a variety of applied fields in psychology. Anthropology. especially child & adolescent psychology and development Wrote his most popular book: Adolescence: Its Psychology and its relationship to Physiology. Sex. Sociology.

reenacts phylogenetically all the steps in the evolutionary process” . and general psychological development parallels the stages experienced by our pre human ancestors.    “Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” “the individual in his/her development. emotional.Hall’s Philosophy  Attempted to integrate evolutionary theory with psychology Proposed a “Darwinian and ‘recapitulationist’ theory of child development: each individual’s intellectual.

Adolescence. Hall invited Freud to speak at Clark University’s 20th anniversary celebration in 1909. .Hall’s Philosophy    Hall’s work began a general interest in developmental psychology His work. involved him with many of the same emotional (“storm and stress” ) and sexual issues investigated by Freud.

Other Accomplishments   Brought Freud and Jung to America in 1909 for a conference at Clark University A great success and introduced Freud’s ideas to the American continent. Freud Hall Jung .

and better educated audience in America than would have been the case otherwise” (Fancher. including Freud. Boring. p. 517) “Thanks to the institutions.G. caught for the moment by James’ influence. more receptive. .Summary Statement    Although Hall managed to antagonize many of his mentors. “Hall was a comet.” (E. 1957. James. 1990. 263). the ideas of Wundt. but presently shooting off into space never to return.… he genuinely promoted their new psychologies. p. journals and organizations that Hall founded. James and Wundt. Freud and countless others found a much larger.

James McKeen Cattell (1860 – 1944) .

Historical Notes       Graduate study under Wundt at Leipzig 1880 Studied under Hall at Johns Hopkins Returned to Germany in 1883 to work with Wundt to obtain his doctorate… Taught at Bryn Mawr and U of PA Taught at Cambridge in UK 1888 Became professor of Psychology at U of PA (Dad’s influence and economy issues) .

executive and administrator of psychological science and practice. .Contributions (1)      Impact on American Psychology via his work as organizer. and especially promoted the practical applications of his field. Established several journals… Established the Psychological Corporation Publishers Helped found American Association of University Professors (AAUP) An ambassador for psychology.

Contributions (2)   Trained more graduate students in psychology than anyone else in the US during his years at Columbia. several becoming prominent. including Robert Woodworth and Edward Thorndike Studies on      Reaction time Mental Testing Individual Differences Psychophysics The use of statistical analysis .

Boring.” .Cattell Summary  Upon Cattell’s death. E. to make it different from the German psychology from which it stemmed. wrote to Cattell’s children:  “In my opinion your father did more than William James even to give American psychology its peculiar slant. the historian of psychology.G.

Interesting note: University of Chicago “enticed” many of the professors and students from Clark University (where Hall was president) .The Founding of Functionalism  The Flight to Chicago   The Date of Functionalism’s founding at University of Chicago is set at 1894 when John Dewey and James Angell came to Chicago from U of Michigan.

John Dewey (1859 – 1952) .

Contributions to Psychology   Founder of functionalism at University of Chicago Major contribution to Psychology: Criticism of the “reflex arc” concept (“The Reflex Arc Concept in Psychology. 1896)  Attacked the “molecularism. and reductionism of the reflex arc”  “Neither behavior nor conscious experience can be reduced to parts or elements” (as Wundt and Titchener claimed)  Coordination is more than the sum of reflexes. and thus reflexes must be considered in terms of their utilitarian (functional) nature. [Cp. a reflex is an ordered sequence of coordinated movements that is indivisible. elementism.” Psychological Review. Gestalt thinking] .

…the proper study of psychology [is] …the study of the total organism as it functions in its environment.Reductionism vs. Functionalism   Artificial reduction and analysis “causes behavior to lose all meaning”…leaving “only abstractions” Rather. . “behavior should be treated…in terms of its significance to the organism in adapting to the environment.

 Left the U. of Chicago in 1904. leaving the leadership of functionalism movement to James Rowland Angell .Dewey’s Significance  “Dewey’s significance for psychology lies in   his influence on psychologists…and his development of the philosophical framework for the new school of thought.

Other Contributions  Best known for his educational philosophy:  Stressed the importance of “Learning by doing” Popularized the view that teaching should be student-oriented rather than subject-oriented  .

James Rowland Angell (1869 – 1949) .

Masters degree in 1892. .Brief History & Contributions     “Molded the functionalist movement into a working school of thought U of Chicago psychology department the most influential in its day… major training ground for functional psychologists Studied under Dewey… Read James’ Principles of Psychology…influenced his thinking more than any other book Worked with James at Harvard for a year.

of Chicago remained for 25 years…until leaving to become president of Yale U. of Halle (Germany)… Wundt was not accepting any more students at Leipzig that year… Never received his doctorate…but went to U of MN.   . After 1 year at Minnesota.History/Contributions  Grad studies at U. …eventually received 23 honorary degrees. went to Univ.

Psychology. 1904  Angell published this text in 1904… finalized the form of functionalism:  “The goal of psychology was to study how the mind assists this adjustment of the organism to its environment.” .

Functionalism is…(3 Major Themes)    1. 2. and under what conditions it occurs. The psychology of mental operations (not mental elements). The psychology of the fundamental utilities of consciousness. “Consciousness…mediates between needs of the organism and the demands of the environment.” 3. Goal: To discover how a mental process operates. . what it accomplishes. The psychology of psychophysical (mind/body) relations--concerned with the total relationship of the organism to its environment.

etc.Critique of Functionalism    Term was not clearly defined… various forms of definition… function = activity? Or function = usefulness? Interchangeable Titchener criticized it because it was not structuralism! Chaney: The appeal to Function does not really explain the mechanisms of psychology      Why consciousness? To adapt Why reflexes? To adapt Why does any behavior exist? To adapt Why does thinking exist? To adapt Why does a person hate his mother? To adapt….. etc… .

Contributions of Functionalism     Shift in emphasis from structure to function Research in animal behavior Broad definition actually helped spur research in a wide diversity of fields: developmental psych. Increased the number of “respectable” sources of psychological data in addition to introspection: physiological research. mental tests. questionnaires and objective descriptions of behavior . disabilities. etc.

psychopathology Gave America its own orientation in psychology (which persists to the present day)   Emphasis on applied psychology Use of a variety of methods to assess behavior  The bridge that facilitated the transition from structuralism to behaviorism and gestalt psychology . mental testing.Functionalism’s Legacy to American Psychology   Stimulated the use of experimental research in a variety of fields. such as animal learning. educational psychology.

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