What is Structuralism?

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What is Structuralism, the method of study,limitations,and persons associated?

-- Jessica Taylor (Iluv2beEaten@aol.com), June 28, 2004


"Structuralism" is the name that Titchener gave to his own school of psychology, to distinguish it from the kind of psychology being done by people such as Baldwin, Angell, and Dewey, which he called "functionalism." Titchener's approach grew from his experience as Wundt's student, but it would be a mistake (one made all too often) to refer to Wundt as a structuralist as well. You can find descriptions of Titchener's approach to psychoogy in most any history of psychology textbook.

-- Christopher Green (christo@yorku.ca), June 29, 2004.

Hi Jessica, I am not a specialist in cognitive psychology, and I do not want to do all your work for you. Structuralism is an early school (with several different forms) of experimental psychology, and you can find some of the information about them in a history of psychology text and some introductory psychology texts. I will, however, discuss some relevant issues. There were several methodological and conceptual problems that early Structuralism ran into, as well as strong competition from often more objective and practical forms of psychology, eventually leading to the school, as such, "fading into the background of psychology. Of course, not all of their methods were inappropriate and not all their finding were incorrect, but most people in psychology eventually wanted to move on to what they thought were more productive approaches to psychology. It is interesting, however, that there are still some similarities betweem Structuralism and modern psychology. For example, in modern cognitive psychology, cognitive structures (and processes) are still referred to (e.g., various memory stores), though they are typically different than those used by the early Structuralists. Also like the early Structuralism, some modern psychologists are still interested in conscious experience as measured by asking participants to report their current mental experiences. I hope this gets you started. Paul

-- Paul Kleinginna (pkleinginna@georgiasouthern.edu), June 28, 2004.

it is a school of psychology initially founded by wilhelm wundt and popularised by tichner.these psychologists attemted to give an analysis of conscious experience by breaking it down into components.they were influenced by the periodic table of elements and hence wanted to break e.g pressure into its specific elements.subjects were trained to report back their mental processes and feelings as accuratel as possible.they used a method of research called introspection.the validity of the responses influenced other psychologist to come up with new schools.

-- mfundo mlilo (mfundomlilo@yahoo.com), October 07, 2004.

In response to Mfundo's reply, it is a common misconception to claim that Wundt was a structuralist. In fact, it was Titchener who gave his "school" this name, and he claimed that he was loyally following Wundt's research program. Recent research (since about 1980), however, has shown that Titchener's program followed from only a narrower portion of Wundt's and seemd to have had several fairly rigid imperatives and injunctions that Wundt did not share, at least not consistently. See the work of researchers such as Kurt Danziger and Arthur Blumenthal.

-- Christopher Green (cgreen@chass.utoronto.ca), October 07, 2004.

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