Free «Aspects of Psychology: Functionalism, Structuralism and Behaviorism» Essay Sample


Structuralism is the initial school of psychology. This school of psychology deals with the explanation of such process as disintegration of one’s immediate mental activities into fundamental units. This school of psychology was devised by Wilhelm Wundt who used it to evaluate the different elements of consciousness (Calkins, 1906). Notably, the school uses introspection techniques as an approach to the evaluation of the consciousness.  A good example of structuralism school of psychology is the modernized experimental methodologies used to analyze the structures of the human mind (Calkins, 1906).

Functionalism expounds on mental activities, having assumed a systematic and concise approach. This school of psychology, which was led by William James, is concerned with different elements of consciousness and the underlying purpose of human behavior. It should be noted that functionalism emphasized on impeding individual differences that depict human knowledge (Nikov, 2012). A good example of the application of functionalism is the current modernized educational system. Behaviorism is the methodology used to expound on human behavior traits without the involvement of either mental or cognitive activities. This school of psychology was established in 1913 by John B. Watson who proposed a scientific way of perceiving the subject-matter. A good example of behaviorism is the modern developments of languages (Moore, 2011).

Similarity and Differences

The key similarity amongst the aforementioned schools of psychology is depicted in the manner for which they conducted research on the mental processes of human beings. It is fair to postulate that the three schools of thought either directly or indirectly put focus on mental activities of people.

The core difference, amongst these schools of psychology, lies in the fact that while both functionalism and structuralism were subjective, behaviorism was objective in its mission. Thus, behaviorism assumed natural science-based techniques that depicted mental activities as a fundamental subject matter and the process of introspection as a methodology science (Hempel & Oppenheim, 1948).


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