functionalism ii nd yr

• The attack on introspection was by no means
new either. For example, Kant held that an
attempt to introspect, changes the conscious
experience by virtue of introducing an
observing element into the content of this
conscious experience
• The positivist, Auguste Comte, also attacked
the method.
• Several decades before Wundt founded the
new psychology, Comte wrote this most
telling criticism of psy
• The mind may observe all phenomena but its own. . . . The
observing and observed organ are here the same, and its
action cannot be pure and natural. In order to observe, your
intellect must pause from, activity; yet it is this very activity
that you want to -observe. If you cannot effect that pause, you
cannot observe; if you do effect it, there is nothing to observe.
The results of such method are in proportion to its absurdity.
After two thousand years of psychological pursuit, no one
proposition is established to the satisfaction of its followers
[1896, Vol. I., p. 9].
• Turner (1967, p. 11) lists additional criticisms leveled against
introspection by the Englishman, Henry Maudsley, in 1867, a
few years before the new science
• There is little agreement among
• Where agreement does occur, it can be
attributed to the fact that introspectionists
must be meticulously trained, and thereby
have a bias built into their observations.
• A body of knowledge based on introspection
cannot be inductive; no discovery is possible
from those who are trained specifically on
what to observe.
• Due to the extent of the pathology of mind,
self-report is hardly to be trusted.
• Introspective knowledge cannot have the
generality we expect of science. It must be
restricted to the class of sophisticated,
trained adult subjects.
• Much of behavior (habit and performance)
occurs without conscious correlates.
• One criticism relates-to-the- definition of introspection.
Titchener seems to have had a difficult time defining
it with any agree of rigor, and apparently attempted to
do so by relating it to the particular experimental
• The course that an observer follows will vary in detail
with the nature of the consciousness observed, with
the purpose of the experiment, with the instruction
given by the experimenter. Introspection is the generic
term and coves an indefinitely large group of specific
methodological procedures [Titchener, 1912, p. 485]."
With so much variation, it is difficult to find similarities
among the different uses of the term.
Training question
• An observer learning to introspect had to
ignore certain classes of words—the socalled "meaning" words—that had become an
established part of his vocabulary.
• The phrase, "I see a table," for example, had
no scientific meaning to a structuralist, for the
word "table" is a meaning word, based on
previously established and generally agreed
upon knowledge about the specific
conglomeration of sensations
• We have learned to identify and label as
"table." The observation, "I see a table," told
the structuralist nothing about the observer's
conscious experience..
• The structuralist was interested not in the
aggregate of sensations summarized in a
meaning word, but in the specific elementary
forms of the experience. An observer who
said "table" was committing the stimulus error
• Thus everyday words had to be taken out from the
introspective language or vocabulary
• Since both Wundt and Titchener emphasized that
the external conditions of the experiment must, be
carefully controlled so that the conscious contents
could be precisely determined, then two observers
should have the same experience and their results
should serve to corroborate one another.
• Because of these highly similar experiences under
controlled conditions, it seemed possibe
theoretically at least, to develop a working
vocabulary devoid of meaning words. It is, after all,
because of commonalities of experience in every
day life that we are able to agree on a conventional
• Also it was charged that introspection was, in
reality, retrospection, because-.same period of
time must elapse between the experience itself
and the-reporting of- it
• Since forgetting is particularly rapid immediately
after an experience, it seems likely that $ome of
the experience would be lost. The structuralists'
answer to this criticism was to specify that the
observers work with very short time intervals. The
structuralists also postulate the existence of a
primary mental image that was alleged to maintain
e.g anger
• Another difficulty is that the 'very act of minutely examining the
ex- perience in introspective fashion may radically change the
experience. Consider the difficulty in introspecting the
conscious state of anger. In the process of rationally attending
to it and trying to dissect the experience into its elementary
components, the anger may subside or disappear completely.
Titchener believed, however, that the experienced, welltrained
introspector became unconscious of his observational task
with continued practice.
• Animal psychology for example, were rapidly accumulating
useful data, obviously without the use of introspection. The
psychoanalysts were pointing to the imp of unconscious
• movement was accused of artificiality and sterility because of
Attempt to analyze _conscious processes into elements.
Critics agree that whole of an experience cannot be
recovered by any synthesis or compounding of the elemental
• Experience, they argue ,comes in unified wholes.
Something of the experience must inevitably be lost in
what critics consider an-artificial breakdown of the
conscious- experience. The Gestalt school made most
effective use of this criticism launching their "new
psychology," their revolt against structuralism.
• The structuralists' narrow definition of psychology has also
come under attack Psychology was growing in a number of
areas and Titchener, preferred to exclude these newer areas
Wundt’s legacy
– Rejection of nonscientific thinking
– Summarized and combined physiology and philosophy
– Training the first generation of psychologists
– Severing of ties between psychology and non-modern
– Served well in provoking rebellions
– Considered by many as the “most important
psychologist of all time”
Looking ahead…
• Psychology fraught with divisions and
controversies from the beginning
• New ideas appearing other countries
– Darwin
– Freud
– Titchener
• Germany did not remain the center of
• Functional psychology is, concerned with the mind as it
functions or as it is used in the adaptation of the
organism to its environment.
• The movement focused on the very practical and
utilitarian question of what the mind or mental processes
• Functionalists studied the mind, not from the standpoint
of its composition ; that is, a structure of elements),but
rather from the point of view If the mind as a
conglomerate of activities (functions) which lead to
eminently practical consequences in the real world.
• 1st non-German based school of
• Heavily influenced by Charles Darwin and
his cousin Sir Francis Galton
Embraced a process orientation
– rooted in becoming.
– Other psychologies accepted static
elements of experience and a being
Functionalism is difficult to define.
Functionalists emphasize the importance
of how questions in addition to what
Darwin’s theory of evolution
• Based upon natural selection – not
survival of the fittest
– Characteristics that are advantages for
survival of one’s offspring will be selected to
be passed on
– Adults with these characteristics were more
likely to survive and have offspring that
– Adaptability was seen as important
“Psychological” contributions of
• Descent of man (1871)
– There is no fundamental difference between man and
the higher mammals in their mental abilities
• Expression of the emotions in man and animals
– Presented a possible cause of insanity
• A biographical sketch of an infant (1877)
– Recorded his observations of his children’s
Charles Darwin
• 1831 – 1836 – Darwin’s voyage on the HMS Beagle as a
• 1859 – finally published his theory of evolution
• Ethical dilemma – Alfred Wallace, another naturalist,
sent Darwin a copy of his theory of evolution to get help
having it published
• Solution – both presented their theories at the same
meeting – Darwin’s had much more data and support for
the theory
Charles Darwin
• While his theory was controversial, Darwin was
not and did not personally take part in the
vicious debate his theory created
• He remained friends with church officials, and
was buried in a place of honor at his church
• Never knighted
Opposition to theory of evolution
• Religious leaders who were defending
church dogma
• White supremacists - if all races
descended from a common ancestor how
could the white race be superior
• John Landon Down’s explanation
Darwin as a foundation for
• Importance of the study of animals –
comparative psychology
• Stressed functions of the mind; not the
• Expanded the methodologies available to
study psychological processes
• Focused on individual differences and the
importance of variation
Francis Galton (1822-1911)
• Galton was one of the last amateur
scientists, with eclectic interests:
– Meteorologist, experimented with
stereoscopic photos, studied fingerprints,
invented an early teletype.
• Anthropologist and explorer (sought
source of the Nile).
– Galton was impressed by how well people he
met had adapted to their harsh desert
environment (Kalahari).
– He published “Art of Travel.”
Individual Differences
• Galton was interested in measuring
– Whenever you can, count.” Fidgets per
minute in kids, middle-aged and elderly.
“Beauty map” of Britain.
• In 1884 he established an anthropometric
laboratory to collect data on individual
– Psychometrics – measurement of mental
Galton as Hereditarian
• In “Hereditary Genius” he discussed the relative
contributions of environment & genetics to ability.
– “I propose to show in this book that a man’s natural
abilities are derived by inheritance under exactly the
same limitations as are the form and physical
features of the whole organic world.”
– He proposed that abilities were on the same
continuum as other physical traits – Quetelet’s law of
deviation from the average (like the normal curve).
Galton & Statistics
• Galton developed the following terms:
– Median, bell-shaped curve, correlation, dispersion,
interquartile range, regression, percentile.
• Galton’s student Pearson introduced:
– Histogram, kurtosis, random sampling, random walk,
skewness, standard deviation, variance.
– Formula for the correlation coefficient, Pearson’s r.
• The concept of dealing with individual differences in a
probabilistic way – the characteristics of a population
are regular, even if people are not.
Nature and Nurture
• Galton argued that because talent seemed to
concentrate in eminent families (Hereditary Genius),
individuals must be inheriting such abilities.
– He introduced the terms nature vs nurture into the
debate and the idea of twin studies.
• Candolle criticized this idea, cataloging the favorable
circumstances in eminent families.
• In response, Galton wrote:
– “English Men of Science: Their Nature and Nurture.”
Galton and Eugenics
• Galton was fascinated by the idea of human
improvement via genetic control, which he called
– He proposed voluntary means of improvement.
• Eugenics societies and idea were widespread after WWI
– G.B. Shaw & Isadora Duncan (his brain…).
– Abuses were justified in the name of eugenics,
including forced sterilization and restrictive
immigration in the US.
– With the rise of the Nazis, these were implemented
as Hitler’s “final solution to the Jewish question.”
1st psychometric laboratory
• Galton created 1st clinic designed to measure
human abilities
• For 3 pennies, you could have your mental and
physical abilities tested
• Most measured human attribute was sensory
– Men have better discriminatory ability than women
– Women better at visual imagery, but . . .
Important contributions to
• Applied statistical probability to human attributes
• Use of the survey or questionnaires to gather data
– Study of English and Scottish schools
• Development of 2 association tests that are still used
– Word association
– Free association
• Identical twin studies of nature-nurture
Influence of the Zeitgeist
• Inquiries into human faculty and its
development (1884)
– Included 2 chapters on the faculty of prayer
• 2nd edition 1904
– Omitted the 2 chapters on prayer
• 1909 – he was knighted for his
“contributions to science”
Social Darwinism of Herbert
• Application of evolutionary theory to social and
economic systems
• Spencer coined the expression “survival of the
• Fit the American personality of the times:
– Development of the biggest most powerful companies
because they are “most fit”
– Genocide of native populations as unfit
Application of evolutionary theory
• Europe – widely accepted as it applied to biology and
development of species
• United States – less accepted as it applied to biology,
but widely accepted as it was applied to social and
economic policy
• Problem: data supported the evolution of species, but
no evidence of data to suggest social evolution functions
the same as physical evolution
Influence of evolution
• Child development was a recapitulation of
• All forms of development (behavioral, social,
etc.) recapitulate human evolution
• Unable to abandon recapitulation theory of
development even when shown to be wrong
William James
• Considered to be the most important
psychologist at the beginning of the 20th century
• More of a philosopher – he rejected strict
experimental laboratories
• Major contributions to psychology presented in
his book, Principles of Psychology
William James
William James brought psychology to the US.
James’s work was extremely broad
He moved from psychology to philosophy.
General characteristics of James’s thought:
He took a strong individualistic perspective rooted
in individual experience.
He advocated multiple levels of analysis,
There is not one correct level of analysis.
Jamesian pluralism had several implications for his
He denied that there is a primary or foundational content
area in psychology.
• Born 1842, eldest child of a wealthy family
• Grandfather William: Irish immigrant who made a
fortune, owned the Erie Canal, railroads – once
bought Syracuse, New York for $30,000.
Married 3 times, had 16 children.
• Father Henry not a businessman – engaged in
philosophy and writing; suffered severe depression in his
thirties – talked himself out of it.
• The James children (incl. Alice, Rob, and
Wilkie)traveled in Europe for much of their
childhood,toured museums, and had
tutors.* Occasionally went to school in
whatever town they were living in.
• * But family debate was their main arena
for learning
• * Multi-lingual.
• Brother Henry the famous novelist - known
for psychological complexity of his
characters. Lived in Europe most of his
life. Henry & William - very different
personalities.* Henry – reserved,
contemplative, refined; for him, to think
was an end in itself. William – outspoken,
immersed in the world; for him, to think
was to act.
William James
General characteristics of James’s thought:
Free will as found in experience.
Moralistic psychology and philosophy.
He was willing to tell the reader what to do.
Radical empiricism.
Philosophical discussion should be limited to and include
all things found in experience.
Monism should be regarded as a hypothesis.
Pragmatism was a method, a theory of truth, and a
way of thinking about the world.
Theories should be judged by the work they do in the
Words, theories, concepts, and such are “instruments, not
answers to enigmas”
• First, James pointed out the characteristics of
consciouness, which are studied only by psychology
• It is personal, individualistic---belongs only to a single
• it is forever changing—is essentially a process and
should be studied first as such (his famous phrase
"stream of consciousness" was coined to express this
• it is sensibly continuous—in spite of gaps, individual
identity is always maintained; I
• It is selective—it chooses, with attention providing the relevance and
continuity for choice and it occurs in transitive as well assubstantive form. Dichotomy between clear content and so-called
fringe states of consciousness, is one of James's more noteworthy
emphases.James held that transitive are less easily noticed but are
very important and that they had not been given sufficient credit or
study. He thought that all ideas enter consciousness as transitive,
marginal in attention, and often fleeting and. that. they may or, may
not then proceed to substantive form, in which the idea has more
stability, more "substance."
• Transitive or fringe ideas (as of unfamiliarity, relation, and the Iike)
account for much meaning and behavior. The other characteristics
of consciousness matter it a unique personal possession which
helps us to reach goals by acting in ever-changing ways on everchanging content.
• Second, James emphasized the purpose of consciousness and felt
that consciousness must have some biological use or else it would
not have survived. Functional;
purpose is to aid
the individual in adapting to the
William James
Habits and Instincts
• Much human and animal behavior is guided by instinct.
• “…every creature likes its own ways, and takes to following
them as a matter of course.” Instincts
-Always have a function, a survival value
• Instincts may be inhibited by habit. Thus the org may become
partial to the very stimulus to which it reacted
• Spalding’s work chicks born in the absence of a hen will follow
any moving object
• And when guided by sight alone, they seem to have no
disposition to follow hen than to follow a duck or a human being
• Transiency instinct ripe for only a brief
period / sucking , crying biting clasping
imitating and certain fears are instinctive
Habits are functional because they simplify the movements
required to achieve a result, increase the accuracy of
behavior, reduce fatigue, and diminish the need to
consciously attend to performed actions.
-Habits allow society to exist.
-Habits keep people working at boring jobs
and keep the social strata from mixing.
• Habits: Those learned patterns of behavior that James
and others believed were vital for the functioning of
society (instinct-like patterns of behavior).
– Repetition causes the same neural pathways to, from,
and within the brain to become more entrenched,
making it easier for energy to pass through those
• Maxims to follow in order to develop good
– Place yourself in situations that encourage good
habits and discourage bad ones.
– Do not act contrary to a habit you are trying to
– Do not attempt to slowly develop new good habits
or slowly cease bad habits.
– Intentions are not enough, actions matter.
– Force yourself to act in ways which are beneficial to
you, even when they are distasteful at first.
William James
The Self
• Empirical Self: According to James, the
self that consists of everything a person
can call his or her own. The empirical self
consists of the material self (all of one's
material possessions), the social self
(one's self as known by others), and the
spiritual self (all of which a person is
• In its widest possible sense… a mans Me (empirical self) is the sum
total of all he CAN call his, not only his body and his psychic
powers, but his clothes, and his house, his wife and children, his
ancestors and friends, his reputation and works, his lands and
horses, and yacht, and bank account.”
• -Material Self: body, family, property
• -Social self: self known by others.
-”A man has as many social selves as there are individuals
who recognize him and carry the image of him in their mind.”
• -Spiritual self: Everything we think of ourselves as thinkers.
-All emotions associated with various states of consciousness.
-Associated with the experiences of subjective reality.
The self is “…partly known and partly
knower, partly object and partly subject.”
• Self as Knower: According to James, the pure
ego that accounts for a person's awareness of
his or her empirical self.
– Similar to older notions such as soul, spirit, or
transcendental ego.
• If the empirical self is the “Me”, then the Self as
knower is the “I”.
William James
The Self
• Self-Esteem: According to James, how
a person feels about himself or herself
based on the ratio of successes to
attempts. One can increase selfesteem either by accomplishing more
or attempting less.
Self  esteem 
Pr etensions
• Self esteem increases if we succeed more or attempt
-”To give up pretensions is as blessed a relief as
to get them gratified.”
-”There is the strangest lightness about the heart
when one’s nothingness in a particular line is once
accepted in good faith”
-”How pleasant is the day when we give up
striving to be young,-or slender!”
-”A certain man who lost every penny during our
civil war went and actually rolled in the dust, saying he
had not felt so free and happy since he was born.”
Self & self-esteem
Self-esteem: a ratio of success to ‘pretensions’
I, who for the time have staked my all on being a psychologist, am
mortified if others know much more psychology than I. But I am
contented to wallow in the grossest ignorance of Greek. My
deficiencies there give me no sense of personal humiliation at all. Had
I 'pretensions' to be a linguist, it would have been just the reverse. So
we have the paradox of a man…. shamed to death because he is only
the second pugilist or the second oarsman in the world. That he is
able to beat the whole population of the globe minus one is nothing;
he has 'pitted' himself to beat that one; and as long as he doesn't do
that nothing else counts. He is to his own regard as if he were not,
indeed he is not.
We feel sad because we are crying.
We feel happy because we smile
• Experience of emotion is awareness of
physiological responses to emotion-arousing
Sight of
(perception of
• Evidence supporting James-Lange
– The arousal associated with different emotions is
distinctly, though subtly, different.
– Soldiers that are paralyzed below neck report that
emotions don’t have the same intensity that they
used to.
– Merely smiling leads to greater reported happiness.
William James
Free Will
• Inasmuch as psychology is science,
determinism MUST be assumed.
• However, James believed that there
were many ways to study
psychology and science was only
one of them. Using the other ways
the assumption of free-will might be
very fruitful.
Much of the functional value of consciousness came
through the possession of free will.
James ‘chose’ to believe in free will
opposing determinism… idea that complete
knowledge of the present allows perfect prediction
of the future
BUT free will operates under constraint
William James
Free Will
Analysis of Voluntary Behavior
• Ideo-motor Theory of Behavior:
According to James, ideas cause
behavior, and thus we can control our
behavior by controlling our ideas.
• ”…what holds attention determines
• The will functions by selecting one from
among many ideas of action we are
interested in doing.
• -In the vast majority of cases, ideas of actions flow
immediately and automatically into behavior.
-This automatic process continues unless mental
effort is expended to purposively select and hold an idea
in consciousness.
-From the ideas of various possible actions, one is
selected for attention, and that is the one that causes
behavior and continues to cause behavior as long as the
idea is attended to.
• James own example of the value of
hypothesis was that if one has trouble in
getting out of the bed in the morning, one
has simply to keep getting up in mind and
clear out all conflicting ideas . One can
soon find oneself standing up
• Pragmatism is the cornerstone of
• Any belief, thought, or behavior must be judged
by its consequences.
• Truth must be gauged by effectiveness under
changing circumstances.
– The criterion of validity of an idea is its
• -In Pragmatism (1907) James identified two types of people, tenderminded and tough-minded.
– -Tender-minded are rationalistic, intellectual, idealistic,
optimistic, religious and dogmatic and tend to believe in free-will
– -Tough-minded are empiricistic, sensationalistic, materialistic,
pessimistic, irreligious, skeptical, and fatalistic.
– -Pragmatism is a compromise between the two worldviews. A
pragmatist takes what works best from each list.
• -Following in this pragmatic view, James embraced parapsychology
as one more way of knowing about humans.
-Founder of the American Society for Psychical Research.
• The investigation of mystical experience was constant
throughout the life of James, leading him to experiment
with chloral hydrate (1870), amyl nitrite (1875), nitrous
oxide (1882), and even peyote (1896). James claimed
that it was only when he was under the influence of
nitrous oxide that he was able to understand Hegel. He
concluded that while the revelations of the mystic hold
true, they hold true only for the mystic; for others, they
are certainly ideas to be considered, but can hold no
claim to truth without personal experience of such
• Motor theory of consciousness - feeling of
will occurs because we are aware of our
behaviour & initial tendency to behave
James experienced the usual textbook writer's
dissatisfaction with his product, saying when he finished
that his book proved only `:that there is no such thing as
a science of psychology" and that psychology is still in
"an ante-scientific condition" (Boring, 1950, p. 511).
• Yet
even today James seems to have an incredible
modernity. Herrnstein and Boring (1965, pp. 483-495)
reprinted the selection from James in which he had
brilliantly refuted the same sorts of behavioristic
arguments that were presented by John B. Watson
about 25 years later.
• It would be easy to conclude that William
James was perfect, completely prescient
and above the limitations of his time.
However, even James had feet which
could be trapped in the clays of culture,
as the following excerpt (1890, II) shows:
• We observe an identical difference between men as a whole and
women as a whole. A young woman of twenty reacts with intuitive
promptitude and security in all the usual circumstances in which she
may be placed. Her likes and dislikes are formed; her opinions, to a
great extent, the same that they will be through life. Her character is,
in fact, finished in its essentials. How inferior to her is a boy of
twenty in all these respects! His character is still gelatinous,
uncertain what shape to assume, "trying it on" in every direction.
Feeling his power, yet ignorant of the manner in which he shall
express it, he is, when compared with his sister, a being of no
definite contour.
• )
• But this absence of prompt tendency in his brain to set
into particular modes is the very condition which insures
that it shall ultimately become so much more efficient
than the woman's. The very lack of pre appointed trains
of thought is the ground on which general principles and
heads of classification grow up; and the masculine brain
deals with new and complex matter indirectly by means
of these, in a manner which the feminine method of
direct intuition, admirably and rapidly as it performs
within its limits, can vainly hope to cope with. (pp. 368369
G. Stanley Hall (1844 - 1924)
– Interests in childhood development and
evolutionary theory.
First president of APA and of Clark.
He earned his doctorate in psychology under
William James at Harvard.
In 1882 (until 1888) appointed Prof. of
Psychology and Pedagogics at Johns Hopkins
where he organized the first psychology
• Founded the American Journal of Psychology
G. Stanley Hall
Hall’s psychology was centered in development
across the lifespan including:
He advocated a biological approach to psychology.
He argued for a wide range of approaches to the
study of childhood.
Recapitulation Theory: Hall's contention that all
stages of human evolution are reflected in the life of
an individual
Another functionalist: John Dewey
Philosophy at Johns
PhD with Hall
Chair in Psy & Phil at
then Columbia
Dewey’s most famous paper: The
Reflex Arc (1896)
paper is considered a very significant
landmark in the beginning o the
functionalist movement.
Dewey objected to the reflex-arc
analysis, which broke behavior down
into separate stimulus and response
units and assumed that the -sensory and
motor nerves that participate in reflexes
thus behave separately
• According to the reflex-arc schema, the behavior
chain can be broken down into
• (1) an afferent, or sensory, component initiated
by the stimulus and mediated by the sensory
• (2) a central, or associative, component
mediated by the spinal cord and the brain; and
(3) an efferent, or motor, component mediated
by motor nerves and culminating in a response.
This schema is still in widespread use.
Stimulus - association - response
are not separable psychic entities
they are differing functions within an integrated whole … and
one does not cause the other in any simple sense
Reflex arc
see candle-grasp-burn-withdraw hand
(stimulus-response-stimulus-response) but
act of looking, of seeing, reaching and pain
Activities obtain their significance only as part of the whole
so not see – reach – grasp
but an integrated system (see also Charles Sherrington)
• He viewed beh as a total coordination which adapted
the org to a situation
• He thus followed James’s spirit of continuity to a
consciousness rather than James's view of reflex action.
Dewey regarded S and R as convenient abstractions
rather than as realities, and he pointed out the,
necessity for having a response before we can
meaningfully say that we. have a stimulus.
• The overall reflex is not a composition made of a
stimulus succeeded by a response, for there is no such
successive relationship involved. The stimulus-response
distinction is artificial; it is a result of the holding over ot
the old mind-body dualism. It is a bit of a shock to think
of Dewey making this "modern" claim in 1896.
• The two main points that can be
abstracted from Dewey (1) that behavior
should be considered in relationship to
function.(2) that molar units of analysis
should be used. The first point marked the
beginning of the Chicago school of
functional psychology, and the second
was a Gestalt point made 20 years before
Gestalt psychology existed.
• The fact is that stimulus and response are not
distinctions of existence, but teleological
distinctions, that is, distinctions of function, or
part played, with reference to reaching
maintaining an end. . . . There is simply a
continuously ordered sequence of acts, all
adapted in themselves and in the order of their
sequence, to reach a certain objective end,
reproduction of the species, the preservation of
life, locomotion to a certain place. The end has
got thoroughly organized into the means. (pp.
Dewey as functionalist
Dewey mostly worked mostly in education and philosophy. He laid out
the program "for the progressive education movement in an address,
"Psychology and social practice" (1900, delivered upon his retirement
as president of the American Psychological Association.
He, more than anyone else, was responsible for the application of
pragmatism in education—the notion that education is life, learning is
doing, and teaching should be student-centered rather than subject
centeredIn 1904. Dewey went to Columbia University Teachers College as
professor of philosophy, and he remained there for the rest of his
Dewey, like William James, was always the philosopher in reality, whatever
academic title he happened to be assuming at the time. Thus his
importance to psychology does not come primarily from his direct
contributions to the subject matter. He is remembered for his stimulation of
others, particularly through his delineation of the philosophical foundations
of functionalism and of their applications in education.
• Similarly Angell's contributions to
psychology are all the more remarkable in
view of his enormous time commitments to
administration. His most visible scholarly
contributions t to psychology were
produced during his tenure in the
psychology department at the University of
Chicago. In 1904, he published a text,
Psychology, that quickly went through four
1) Functionalism is concerned with mental operations, the "how"
and "why" of consciousness, as contrasted to the "what" of the
psychology of mental elements.
2) Mind is a means of mediating between the needs of the
organism and the environment. Consciousness, in accordance with
the emergency theory of James, is utilitarian, since it serves some
end. Because consciousness helps to solve problems, an interest in
the applied fields of psychology flows naturally from an interest in
• 3) Functional psychology is a psychophysical psychology that
requires that the in-body relationship be taken into consideration in
psychology. The functional psychology is interested in studying
mental processes as a means of adjustment
• Angell saw the introspective study of consciousness as
the principal method of psychological investigation, but it
was not the analytical introspection of Wundt or
• The type of introspection used at Chicago was more like
that of James, a phenomenological description of
ongoing experience.
• Angell's approach differed from that of Titchener also
because he accepted the objective observation of the
individual's actions as a supplement. He even allowed
his students to do research on animals, although he
required them to "introspect" for the animals, attempting
to describe what was going on in their minds.
• Thus the study of behavior was explicitly accepted as a
method of psychology, but was only secondary to the
study of mental functions.
• Angell's functionalism emphasized the mind as a whole,
not made up of atomistic parts. He opposed the view that
the primary purpose of psychology is the analysis of
immediate experience into its elements and their
attributes. There was room in Angell's psychology for the
mentalistic findings of Wundt or Titchener's
psychologies, but there was also room for objective
• Angell viewed mind as having three primary functions,
knowing, feeling and doing, making his functionalism
part of the line of functional psychological thought from
Aristotle to James.
• Angell was not only influenced by James but also by the
functionalism, however, was teleological. It emphasized
mind in use. Like James. Angell believed that mind had
survival value. If it did not, it would have dropped off in
the evolutionary development. To Angell, consciousness,
was a problem solver.
• According to Angell, the functionalist
approach is illustrated in studies of animal
behavior, developmental psychology, and
psychopathology. A functionalist
psychology is inherently social and
biological and emphasizes experience and
behavior in the service of adaptation.
Functionalism at the University of
Harvey Carr
consolidation and extension of the functionalist position
took place under the leadership of Angell's student,
Harvey A. Carr. Born in Indiana on April 30, 1873, Carr
was educated first at DePauw University and later at the
University of Colorado. At Colorado, Carr was influenced
by Arthur Allin, a disciple of G. Stanley Hall. After
completing a master's degree at Colorado, Carr enrolled
in the doctoral program at the University of Chicago. His
dissertation, directed by Angell, was completed in 1905
• Carr worked briefly in a high school
position in Texas and then at the Pratt
Institute before returning to the University
of Chicago in 1908. He remained at
Chicago from 1908 to 1938, chairing the
department through much of that period.
Under his leadership, Chicago became
one of the leading schools in psychology.
• Carr contended that psychology is concerned primarily
with mental activity. By mental activity, he was referring
to "the acquisition, fixation, retention, organization, and
evaluation of experiences, and their subsequent
utilization in the guidance of conduct" (Carr, 1925, p. 1).
Thus, both experience and behavior (conduct) are
central features of functionalism as interpreted by Carr.
He argued, "The type of conduct that reflects mental
activity may be termed adaptive or adjustive behavior"
(p. 1).,
• Adaptation or adjustment, according to
Carr, involves a response that alters a
situation so as to satisfy a motivating
stimulus. A motivating stimulus may be a
hunger pang, an itch, excessive
temperature pain, and so forth. Clearly,
the subject of motivation is elevated in the
functionalist system.
• Carr accepted a variety of methods,
including introspection and objective
observation. He had questions about
whether the methods of all the sciences
are really comparable. For example, he
noted that "geology, astronomy, and
mathematics are usually regarded as
sciences, but are they experimental in the
usual laboratory sense of the term?" (Carr,
1930/1961, p. 80)
• Carr expressed doubt "that the
experimental method—in the usual sense
of that term—is the only scientific method"
(p. 81). In his view, psychologists should
not be doctrinaire about method, but
attend, first and foremost, to the nature of
the problem.
• .
• Carr, like Angell, believed in a psychology
that is broad in scope, encompassing
problems in learning, motivation,
psychopathology, education, sensation,
perception, and development. Like Angell,
he also believed that all problems should
be approached in terms of biological and
social context
• The Chicago functionalists devoted little
space to the metaphysical problems that
occupied the attention of other
psychologists. Carr, in his book
Psychology: The Study of. Mental
Activities discussed various positions on
the issue of free will and determinism but
seemed most interested in the ways that
freedom might have meaning and utility
• The metaphysical status of the two
positions was not of great interest, but the
meaning of the two positions—their utility,
the work they accomplish or the various
meanings they convey—were important
problems. Believing that freedom is
acquired through knowledge, Carr quoted
with approval the injunction, "Seek the
truth and the truth shall make you free"
(Carr, 1925, p. 332).
Robert S. Woodworth
Interested in what and why of
people’s behavior, particularly
He called his brand of psychology
dynamic psychology
He formulated the symbols S-O-R to
include the organism and
particularly the organism’s
His text, Experimental Psychology,
remained the standard text in
experimental psychology for two
• Part of Columbia University to be with his professor, James
McKeen Cattell, head of Columbia's psychology department.
Woodworth was one of psychology's most remarkable men. His
professional career fact at about the time that Thomdike was
working with his chickens and cats, and led in the modem era.
Woodworth received the first American Psychological Foundation
Gold Medal Award in 1956; published Dynamics of behavior in
1958, when was 88; and started revising his popular
Contemporary schools of psychology (1964), doubt in the midst
of a busy schedule of other activities.
• Woodworth's systematic viewpoint was first expressed in
his Dynamic psychology 1918). There are many
resemblances between Woodworth's position and that of
chicago functionalists He developed his positon
independently of Chicago functionalists. His
psychology owed less to the analytic tradition of the
associationists, and was never quite as fond of the
nonsense syllable experiment
• His system, like that of other functionalists,
is moderate, eclectic, and unassuming,
with no pretensions to finality or
completeness. All these related
functionalist views are experimentally
oriented, with little general theoretical
superstructure. Woodworth's functionalist
electicism is extreme as tried to take the
best features from all systems
• Woodworth was less influenced by associationism and a
strict stimulus-response approach.
• His viewpoint is the basis for the complaint that much of
psychology deals with the "empty organism.“
• Woodworth "put the 0 back in psychology" by insisting
that the formula for psychology should be S-0-R, not just
• His long-time study of physiology, Woodworth insisted
upon considering the physiological events which underlie
motivation as well as its behavioral manifestations.
• The heart of Woodworth's system is his concept of
mechanism, which has more or less the same meaning
as Carr's adaptive act. Mechanisms for Woodworth were
purposive responses or sets of responses.
• made the same distinction as Sherrington (1906,1947)
between preparatory and consummatory reactions. The
former prepare for oncoming reactions, while the latter
carry out the intention. Thus we must open our mouths
(preparatory reaction) before we can receive food and
consume (consummatory reaction). •
• Drives for Woodworth were closely related to
mechanisms. Although drives are generally defined as
internal conditions that activate mechanisms, Woodworth
preferred to think of internal drive processes as being
themselves kinds of responses. The reverse was also
true: mechanisms , the overt behavioral ways in which
drives are satisfied, could become drives. Woodworth
felt that practically all mechanisms could become drives
and thus run under their own power, so to speak. G. W.
Allport (1937) later advanced a similar idea in his theory
of the "functional autonomy of motives."
• his suggestion that the act of perceiving is intrinsically
reinforcing, which was proposed in an unpretentious
paper entitled "Reinforcement of perception“
(Woodworth, 1947).
• Perception is here interpreted as an adaptive behavior
whose successful performance is reinforcing without the
operation of either extrinsic drive conditions or extrinsic
reward conditions.
• more in the cognitive camp than in the S-R
reinforcement camp, since he did not see any necessity
for external reinforcing operations in order for behavior to
be maintained.
functionalism was not well enough defined to constitute a meaningful
. C. A. Ruckmick (1913),, objected to the vague and vacillating use of the
term function. He found it used in two senses: first to mean an-activity, or a
use, and second, in themathematical sense, to indicate a dependence of
one variable on another (a functional relationship).
There is nothing wrong with that if the two usages are both acceptable and
are not confused.
They wanted to keep the best of two worlds in their multiple definitions.
They retained an evolutionary point of view (first definition above) at the
same time that they emphasized their "scientific" reliance on
experimentation, which seeks functional relationships between independent
and dependent variables (second definition above). Carr said, correctly we
believe, that the mathematical meaning could be shown to include the
others. This meaning of "function" is so general that there is nothing
peculiarly functional (in the sense of functional psychology) about it.
Applied Science
• The fact t. that functionalists, with their many interests in useful
activities, did not distinguish carefully between pure and applied
science was disturbing to critics.
• Contemporary psychologists take a similar position.
• , Pure and, applied scientists use the same essential scientific
procedures and can be distinguished only by the intent of the
investigator (that is, the extent to which he or she has an application
in mind).
• Thus the contemporary position would be that the pure-applied
distinction is not in itself very important, and the functionalist should
not be criticized for deemphasizing the distinction.
• The functionalists were accused of using
the ultimate consequences of behavior to
explain behavior. In the absence of
relevant evidence, such an explanation
would be teleological. We have seen
Dewey talking about the end getting
thoroughly organized into the means, but
such a statement, based on evolutionary
thinking, is not teleological.
• There is some similarity between the teleological
accusation made against the functionalist and the
accusation made against Thorndike and other
reinforcement theorists that their explanation of
reinforcement requires that a cause work backward to an
effect that preceded it in time. In the case of both
"instincts" and "behaviors learned through the action of
reinforcement," however, the cause acts forward in time.
When only the fittest survive, the effect is to select
behaviors that are already adaptive When reinforcement
occurs, the effect is seen on subsequent trials and is
presumed to be mediated through effects on activity
simultaneous with or following the reinforcement.
• Many people use an analogy from another field.
Assume that a believer in teleology points to the
heavens and notes how beautifully the planets are
adapted to their "task" of revolving about the sun. How
could this have happened unless the orbits were
designed to fulfill the final purpose, revolution around the
central star? The answer of the consistent non
teleologist is simply that any planet o planetary
component which got into the wrong orbit either fell into
the sun or fell away from it The fittest planets survived.
• So it is with organisms. We see only the
survivors, most of them fitted to their
environments. Again, we cannot conclude that
any mechanism beyond selection was needed to
lead them to their present adaptation. If
teleology were involved, we should not have
seen the many extinctions that have recently
occurred and the many endangered species
which now exist
• functionalists have generally been willing to
accept so many different kinds of problems and
techniques of investigation, they have often been
weak and unremarkable eclectics. Kuhn
probably take a ad broad
eclecticism as a sure indication that psychology
was decaying in a preparadigmatic state
• Henle
Functionalismm, directing her attention mostly to
Woodworth She maintained that an eclectic tended to
accept the good features of contradictory positions at the
expense of blurring the distinctions between them.
Henle was ‘speaking of a theoretical eclectism. She maintained if there are
alternative deductive Systems for arriving at empirical statements, we
cannot afford to fall between them If we do , we have no genuine deductive
capacities. Thus eclectic must either choose a theory or devise one.
• One can easily imagine a rigid theoretical
functionalism under the autocratic Titchener.
The point is that eclecticism depends on the
personalities of a school's leaders as well as on
the metatheoretical precepts of the school.
There is nothing in functionalism to make it
permanently atheoretical, nor is there any
stipulation that it must forever have a wider
range of experimental interests than other
schools. Eclecticism has a subsidiary and partly
accidental relationship to the functionalist
Columbia University
Psychology at Columbia University was also functional.
James McKeen Cattell initially developed mental tests.
Unfortunately, his tests were not correlated with anything
Cattell’s career as an editor was more fruitful.
He edited Science as well as numerous other prestigious journals.
He helped to bring psychology into mainstream science.
Robert Sessions Woodworth expanded experimental
Functional Autonomy refers to the idea that a means for
satisfying a motive may acquire drive properties.
Dynamic psychology emphasized the importance of
understanding the causes of behavior.
Woodworth also influenced psychology through his textbooks.
In his texts, he clarified the notion of the experiment and separated
it from correlational work.
• Since functionalism has been so moderate and lacking
in presumption, it is easy to underestimate the
importance of its contribution to psychology. \
• It has erected no fancy theories and has not been much
of a school or system, in a formal sense. However,
functionalism has always been mainstream American
psychology. It has never had to apologize for overlooking
• Its early opposition to structuralism enlarged the
conception of psychology just as the embryonic outlines
of the new discipline were emerging.
• Functionalism very literally gave birth to behaviorism, in
the person of one of its students, John B. Watson
• . The experimental contributions of functionalists have
been most impressive.
• They pioneered in studies of learning, animal as well as
human; in psychopathology; in mental testing; and in
genetic and educational psychology, applied psychology,
Without the mental testers and applied psychologists,
and without the clinical side of psychology to which
functionalism contributed, psychology today would be a
much more limited, and probably less interesting,
• As to research, two classical illustrations of the
patient and systematic functionalist approach.
Woodworth's scholarly manual Experimental
psychology (1938; Woodworth & Schlosberg,
1954) is a classic of its kind. Just as James's
Principles are still read, so the Woodworth
handbooks are still consulted by experimental
• An extended series of studies, on the effects of
distribution of practice on human verbal learning. They
were carried out by Benton Underwood (1915–) and his
associates (e.g. Underwood & Ekstrand, 1967).
Underwood's persistent productivity in research nicely
illustrates the functionalist tendency to deal intensively
with interdependencies of empirical variables
• Fred McKinney (1908-1982) worked in
mental health and counseling, after getting
his Chicago degree and working on
forgetting. He also worked in television
instruction and the problem of values in
teaching. These people have pursued
empirical problems, many of them in
applied areas, carefully and intensively, in
a true functionalist tradition.
Functionalism, in the broad sense of the term, is very strong today.
In 1973, in his introductory psychology textbook Psychology: Man in perspective,
Arnold Buss expressed the opinion that evolutionary theory was the only theory
sufficiently encompassing that one could organize all of psychology around it.
Geneticists, ethologists, and sociobiologists have filled in so many pieces of the
evolutionary puzzle that one can begin to believe that a comprehensive framework
may be within reach, despite widespread controversy about many details of the
picture. At the same time, a cognitive psychology is developing which, at every turn,
combines introspective and objective data as it attempts to develop its view of human
thinking. All of these developments are so consistent with functionalism that we can
imagine warm smiles on the faces of James, Dewey, Angell, Woodworth, and Carr,
as their broad n o psychology emerges victorious.
Mary Whiton Calkins
Mary Whiton Calkins completed an informal
doctoral program at Harvard.
She was denied her doctoral degree because of her
Calkins defined psychology as the science of the
conscious self.
Her emphasis on the self continued the tradition of
Calkins developed the paired-associate method to
study memory.
She conducted one of the first formal studies of
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