Structuralism in Psychology

1157 words (5 pages) Essay

11th Sep 2017 Psychology Reference this

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Structuralism in psychology is considered as a theory of consciousness which was suggested by Wilhelm Wundt and developed by his student Edward Titchener. The theory came to be in the 20th century: where its reliability was debated and challenged by the growing scientific community at that time. Structuralism is also considered as a school of psychology which seeks to analyze the components of an adult mind. It seeks to analyze the simplest thoughts of a mind that bring about the more complex experience that we go through in our day to day life.

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There are various sources such as books and articles that speak about structuralism. One such source is an article “How structuralism and functionalism influenced early psychology” written by Kendra Cherry. The article informs us that in the early 20 the century Psychology was separated from biology. At that time there was a raging debate in the scientific community on how the human mind and behavior worked. This questions led to the establishment of two major schools of Psychology. They included Structuralism and Functionalism. Structuralism was the first school of thought. Many if not all structuralism components were idealized by (Wilhelm Wundt) who was also the founder of the first psychological lab.

Later on, one of his student (Edward B. Titchener) went on to formally establish structuralism as a theory. However, Edward’s ideas had misrepresented the teachings of Wundt. Almost immediately after the establishment of structuralism other ideas emerged such as functionalism from thinkers like Charles Darwin (Cherry, 2016). Furthermore, we learn that structuralism was the first school of psychology and it focused on breaking down the mental process into basic elements. Researchers tried to learn the basic elements of the mind through a method known as introspection.

A second source of the formation, background and development of structuralism is an article “Structuralism” written by Richard Hall. Richard informs us that in the past many advances in science were occurring due to the concept of “elementism”. “Elementism” referred to the conception of complex phenomena in terms of underlying elements. It was at this moment that what psychologist refer to as the first school of psychology was established. A psychologist called Wilhelm Wundt started the first psychological laboratory in Leipzig, Germany. Hall further informs us that the school of psychology that Wundt championed was called Structuralism. It led many people to refer to Wundt as the father of Structuralism.

Structuralism in fundamentally defined as the study of the human conscious (Hall, 2001). The rationale behind it is that the human conscious could be broken down into basic conscious elements. Most of the experiments conducted in Wundt’s laboratory involved cataloging primary conscious elements. To research on the basic elements, structuralism relied on a method called introspection. An example is how someone can describe the basic elements of an orange (cold, juicy). Introspection involved describing each basic elements separately from the complex entity. Through the use of this method, Wundt was able to catalog different human experience in mind.

Although structuralism was established as a psychological theory, it faced a lot of criticism through the times. Many psychologist failed to accept the theoretical background of Structuralism. The experimental methods that was used to study the structures of the mind were too subjective. Moreover, we also learn that through using introspection, this led to unreliability of the data gotten. Others critics also argued that structuralism was concerned with internal human behaviors. Internal human behaviors are considered non- observable which cannot be accurately measured.

Moreover, we also learn that structuralism faced more limitations such as not having its principal theory supported by most psychologist in the scientific world. In the present times, Structuralism is considered to be dead in psychology. Hall (2001) informs us that one reason why Structuralism faced criticism was because of a methodological flaw in Wundt’s structuralism. The theory relied on introspection which lacked subject agreement and reliability. In psychology, it is important that many observers agree independently on phenomena. When it comes to Wundt’s Structuralism experiment, his observes were student’s trained by him. Wundt was also the one who resolved any disagreement of concepts during the experiments. The use of trained observers is opposed to the current practice of psychology.

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However, the existence of criticism was not enough to undermine the strength of structuralism. Structuralism was important because it was the first school of thought. Structuralism led to the development of experimental psychology. Structuralism has been dead for many years since the passing of Wundt. Other sources differ on how Structuralism developed. The last alternative narrative of how structuralism was formed is that Structuralism was a theory that was introduced by psychologist Wilhelm Wundt and was later on popularized by Edward Titchener. An article written and submitted to the journal of psychologist informs us that, an example of Structuralism is a fleece blanket, it can be considered as warm, fuzzy, soft and green. The breakdown of a complex component such as the fleece blanket to its basic elements (soft, fuzzy) is what’s considered as structuralism. Another example is how an apple can be described as red, crisp and sweet (Editor, 2016). Structuralism was only interested in showing the basic elements of something and not the complex ideas. The person describing the apple or fleece blanket can only describe it to its most basic elements.

In conclusion, structuralism dictates that the total sum of parts that have been broken down are what make up the whole “something.” Wundt mainly formed structuralism to focus on understanding the fundamental component of the human mind. Through the use of different processes such as introspection, he was able to conduct experiments to the conscious mind. This way Wundt subjectively identified what makes them experience those thoughts. However, the structural school lost considerable influence when Titchener died. In the end structuralism led to the development of other theories such as behaviorism, functionalism and Gestalt psychology.

References

Cherry, K. (2016). How Structuarlism and Functionalism Influenced Earky Psychology. Verywell, 68- 77.

Editor. (2016). Structuralism Psychology. Brtannica, 115- 120.

Hall, R. (2001). Structuralism. Psychology World, 45- 53.

Structuralism in psychology is considered as a theory of consciousness which was suggested by Wilhelm Wundt and developed by his student Edward Titchener. The theory came to be in the 20th century: where its reliability was debated and challenged by the growing scientific community at that time. Structuralism is also considered as a school of psychology which seeks to analyze the components of an adult mind. It seeks to analyze the simplest thoughts of a mind that bring about the more complex experience that we go through in our day to day life.

There are various sources such as books and articles that speak about structuralism. One such source is an article “How structuralism and functionalism influenced early psychology” written by Kendra Cherry. The article informs us that in the early 20 the century Psychology was separated from biology. At that time there was a raging debate in the scientific community on how the human mind and behavior worked. This questions led to the establishment of two major schools of Psychology. They included Structuralism and Functionalism. Structuralism was the first school of thought. Many if not all structuralism components were idealized by (Wilhelm Wundt) who was also the founder of the first psychological lab.

Later on, one of his student (Edward B. Titchener) went on to formally establish structuralism as a theory. However, Edward’s ideas had misrepresented the teachings of Wundt. Almost immediately after the establishment of structuralism other ideas emerged such as functionalism from thinkers like Charles Darwin (Cherry, 2016). Furthermore, we learn that structuralism was the first school of psychology and it focused on breaking down the mental process into basic elements. Researchers tried to learn the basic elements of the mind through a method known as introspection.

A second source of the formation, background and development of structuralism is an article “Structuralism” written by Richard Hall. Richard informs us that in the past many advances in science were occurring due to the concept of “elementism”. “Elementism” referred to the conception of complex phenomena in terms of underlying elements. It was at this moment that what psychologist refer to as the first school of psychology was established. A psychologist called Wilhelm Wundt started the first psychological laboratory in Leipzig, Germany. Hall further informs us that the school of psychology that Wundt championed was called Structuralism. It led many people to refer to Wundt as the father of Structuralism.

Structuralism in fundamentally defined as the study of the human conscious (Hall, 2001). The rationale behind it is that the human conscious could be broken down into basic conscious elements. Most of the experiments conducted in Wundt’s laboratory involved cataloging primary conscious elements. To research on the basic elements, structuralism relied on a method called introspection. An example is how someone can describe the basic elements of an orange (cold, juicy). Introspection involved describing each basic elements separately from the complex entity. Through the use of this method, Wundt was able to catalog different human experience in mind.

Although structuralism was established as a psychological theory, it faced a lot of criticism through the times. Many psychologist failed to accept the theoretical background of Structuralism. The experimental methods that was used to study the structures of the mind were too subjective. Moreover, we also learn that through using introspection, this led to unreliability of the data gotten. Others critics also argued that structuralism was concerned with internal human behaviors. Internal human behaviors are considered non- observable which cannot be accurately measured.

Moreover, we also learn that structuralism faced more limitations such as not having its principal theory supported by most psychologist in the scientific world. In the present times, Structuralism is considered to be dead in psychology. Hall (2001) informs us that one reason why Structuralism faced criticism was because of a methodological flaw in Wundt’s structuralism. The theory relied on introspection which lacked subject agreement and reliability. In psychology, it is important that many observers agree independently on phenomena. When it comes to Wundt’s Structuralism experiment, his observes were student’s trained by him. Wundt was also the one who resolved any disagreement of concepts during the experiments. The use of trained observers is opposed to the current practice of psychology.

However, the existence of criticism was not enough to undermine the strength of structuralism. Structuralism was important because it was the first school of thought. Structuralism led to the development of experimental psychology. Structuralism has been dead for many years since the passing of Wundt. Other sources differ on how Structuralism developed. The last alternative narrative of how structuralism was formed is that Structuralism was a theory that was introduced by psychologist Wilhelm Wundt and was later on popularized by Edward Titchener. An article written and submitted to the journal of psychologist informs us that, an example of Structuralism is a fleece blanket, it can be considered as warm, fuzzy, soft and green. The breakdown of a complex component such as the fleece blanket to its basic elements (soft, fuzzy) is what’s considered as structuralism. Another example is how an apple can be described as red, crisp and sweet (Editor, 2016). Structuralism was only interested in showing the basic elements of something and not the complex ideas. The person describing the apple or fleece blanket can only describe it to its most basic elements.

In conclusion, structuralism dictates that the total sum of parts that have been broken down are what make up the whole “something.” Wundt mainly formed structuralism to focus on understanding the fundamental component of the human mind. Through the use of different processes such as introspection, he was able to conduct experiments to the conscious mind. This way Wundt subjectively identified what makes them experience those thoughts. However, the structural school lost considerable influence when Titchener died. In the end structuralism led to the development of other theories such as behaviorism, functionalism and Gestalt psychology.

References

Cherry, K. (2016). How Structuarlism and Functionalism Influenced Earky Psychology. Verywell, 68- 77.

Editor. (2016). Structuralism Psychology. Brtannica, 115- 120.

Hall, R. (2001). Structuralism. Psychology World, 45- 53.

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