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Forerunners of Functionalism. Functionalism. 1 st non-German based school of psychology Study of the functions and adaptive value of the mind Heavily influenced by Charles Darwin and his cousin Sir Francis Galton. Darwin’s theory of evolution.

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  • 1st non-German based school of psychology
  • Study of the functions and adaptive value of the mind
  • Heavily influenced by Charles Darwin and his cousin Sir Francis Galton
darwin s theory of evolution
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 survive
    • Adaptability was seen as important
psychological contributions of darwin
“Psychological” contributions of Darwin
  • 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 (1872)
    • Presented a possible cause of insanity
  • A biographical sketch of an infant (1877)
    • Recorded his observations of his children’s development
charles darwin
Charles Darwin
  • 1831 – 1836 – Darwin’s voyage on the HMS Beagle as a naturalist
  • 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 darwin6
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
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 functionalism
Darwin as a foundation for functionalism
  • Importance of the study of animals – comparative psychology
  • Stressed functions of the mind; not the structure
  • Expanded the methodologies available to study psychological processes
  • Focused on individual differences and the importance of variation
francis galton
Francis Galton
  • Independently wealthy, intelligent, and curious
  • Greatest contributions involved the social and psychological implications of evolution
    • Hereditary Genius (1869)
    • Eugenics – eminent people should be encouraged to reproduce and discourage the unfit from reproducing
  • Also important development and use of statistical methods
    • Use of the mean, normal distribution, standard deviation, and correlation
    • Regression to the mean
1 st psychometric laboratory
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 acuity
    • Men have better discriminatory ability than women
    • Women better at visual imagery, but . . .
important contributions to psychology
Important contributions to psychology
  • 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 today
    • Word association
    • Free association
  • Identical twin studies of nature-nurture
influence of the zeitgeist
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 spenser
Social Darwinism of Herbert Spenser
  • Application of evolutionary theory to social and economic systems
  • Spenser coined the expression “survival of the fittest
  • 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
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
william james
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
principles of psychology
Principles of Psychology
  • What was important to know about consciousness was how it worked and its adaptability
  • 4 basic characteristics of consciousness:
    • It is personal
    • It is ever-changing
    • It is continuous
    • It is selective
principles of psychology cont
Principles of Psychology (cont.)
  • Habit formation – nervous system is plastic; it can be changed by experience until age 30. Habits are reflexes; established pathways between brain areas
  • Temperament – individuals differ in temperament
  • Motivation – derived from competing instincts
legacy of william james
Legacy of William James
  • His importance and his acceptance of functionalism gave it validity
  • But, his hatred of the lab and teaching of psychology may have prevented functionalism from being accepted if not for a student who had a more experimental perspective
g stanley hall
G. Stanley Hall
  • 1st PhD awarded from Harvard department of philosophy and 1st American PhD on a psychological topic – 1878
  • 1884 – professorship and the 1st psychological research laboratory at Johns Hopkins
  • 1888 - 1st president of Clark University
general contributions
General Contributions
  • Founded the American Journal of Psychology
  • Founded the Journal of Genetic Psychology
  • One of the founders of the American Psychological Association in 1892
  • Brought Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung to the U.S. to speak in 1909
  • Unique contribution was in developmental psychology
    • 1st psychologist to describe adolescence as a distinctive period of development
influence of evolution
Influence of evolution
  • Child development was a recapitulation of evolution
  • All forms of development (behavioral, social, etc.) recapitulate human evolution
  • Unable to abandon recapitulation theory of development even when shown to be wrong
interest in sex differences and sex education
Interest in sex differences and sex education
  • Instrumental in the beginning of studying sex differences and education
  • Led to his opposition to co-education and the education of women between 13-25 years of age (the adolescent period)
arguments against co education
Arguments against co-education
  • Women were not inferior; they were different
  • 3 arguments against co-education:
  • 1. Adolescence was a critical period for the development of female reproductive organs
    • All female powers were needed during adolescence for proper development of these organs
    • Education would damage reproductive organs by diverting energy to mental activity
    • This would result in decreased fertility and sickly children
arguments against co education24
Arguments against co-education
  • 2. Adolescent males needed freedom to engage in cathartic expressions of his savage impulses
    • Making them be gentlemen resulted in them becoming a feminine or a wild male
  • 3. Natural sex differences during adolescence was the basis for future attraction between sexes
    • Overexposure leads to disillusionment in both sexes
president of clarke university
President of Clarke University
  • From 1896 – 1920 approx. 150 women earned graduate degrees at Clarke
  • All graduate students admitted by the President
  • Why the paradox? Education bad for women. We will educate them.
  • Money
hall and eugenics
Hall and Eugenics
  • Attempting to improve the human “stock” through selective breeding thereby improving the genetic make up of society
  • Hall supported government control of reproduction and held a belief in higher and lower classes
  • Very influential in Europe and North America
  • Educational discrimination – educational resources should only be spent on the best children (from the best families, of course)