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Functionalism . 1 st American school of psychology Very eclectic – like Americans Only real commonality was that psychology was to have a function Two most influential functionalist psychologists: John Dewey while at the University of Chicago James Cattel while at Columbia. John Dewey.

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1st American school of psychology
  • Very eclectic – like Americans
  • Only real commonality was that psychology was to have a function
  • Two most influential functionalist psychologists:
    • John Dewey while at the University of Chicago
    • James Cattel while at Columbia
john dewey
John Dewey
  • PhD at Johns Hopkins with G. Stanley Hall
  • Eventually chosen to be the chair of philosophy department at the new University of Chicago
  • 1887 – He wrote the 1st psychology textbook in U.S. Not as good as William James (1890)
  • 1896 – He wrote the classic paper – The reflex arc concept in psychology – cited as the 1st “functionalist” paper
dewey s purpose for psychology
Dewey’s purpose for psychology
  • Study the mind as a coordinated whole and study behaviors and ideas in a functional context
  • To study behaviors and ideas, you have to study how they allow organisms to adapt to their environment
dewey and education
Dewey and education
  • Proposed a very progressive education system
  • Children should learn to learn not through rote learning and memorization
  • Designed educational laboratory to determine the best ways to teach children
    • Conclusion: best way was to promote creative thought instead of the memorization of dogma
dewey and education cont
Dewey and education (cont.)
  • Dewey left Chicago in 1904 and moved to Columbia where he moved further away from psychology. Became an internationally know educational consultant
  • Why?
  • Politics
james angall
James Angall
  • Credited with formulating what functionalist psychology should be and how it differed from structuralism
    • Functionalism studies how consciousness works and why it works this way
    • Functionalism studies the mind in action because it cannot be stopped for analysis; it is continually changing and adapting
    • Functionalism involves the study of the interaction between the physical and psychological worlds
angall s most important contribution
Angall’s most important contribution
  • Harvey Carr – took over chair when Angall left – continued the idea that psychology should never become restrictive
  • John B. Watson – founder of behaviorism
  • Both heavily involved in animal research
functionalism at columbia university
Functionalism at Columbia University
  • James Mckeen Cattel
    • PhD with Wundt
    • Most influenced by Galton
    • 1890 – published Mental Tests and Measurements while at University of Pennsylvania
cattel at columbia
Cattel at Columbia
  • “Freshman test” – given to 100 volunteers a year.
    • Anthropomorphic test – attempt to measure psychological abilities using physical measurements ( similar to Galton)
    • Unsuccessful – no correlation between scores o n the physical tests and academic performance
    • Demonstrated the need to design tests that measured complex mental processes
other contributions of cattel
Other contributions of Cattel
  • Memory – human memory not as good as we think
  • Judgments of relative rank
  • Two important students – Edward Thorndike and Robert Woodworth
cattel after columbia
Cattel after Columbia
  • Fired from Columbia University for pacifist beliefs
  • Sued Columbia and won, but never got his position back
  • Formed the Psychological Corporation
  • 1st psychologist elected to the National Academy of Sciences
  • Bought and saved the journal Science from extinction
robert s woodworth
Robert S. Woodworth
  • Took over chair of the department at Columbia when Cattel fired
  • Very eclectic in his approach
  • Developed psychometric tests
  • Studied imageless thought
  • Stressed the importance of motivation
  • The most honored psychologist in U.S. history
edward thorndike
Edward Thorndike
  • Like most functionalist came to major in psychology after reading James’ Principles of Psychology
  • Studied with James at Harvard until he moved to Columbia to study with Cattel
  • Best known for his work with cats and his puzzle boxes
  • Highly critical of early comparative psychologists and largely ignored their works
contributions of thorndike
Contributions of Thorndike
  • Law of effect
  • Learning to learn
  • Prolific writer – over 430 publications in 43 years at Columbia
  • Of course most of his work was criticized by Titchner
fate of functionalism
Fate of Functionalism
  • Up until 1920’s Functionalism made psychology very important and influential
    • Seen as exciting
    • More in line with society idea about being useful
    • Not identified with any one person
  • The decline of functionalism
    • So diverse that it split up into many different disciplines – academic and applied
    • The rise of behaviorism
discrimination against women in early 20 th century psychology
Discrimination against women in early 20th century Psychology
  • Inferiority of women firmly believed when it had never been scientifically investigated
  • Academia dominated by men and the fact was so obvious it didn’t need to be studied
  • Example Broca – (circular arguments)
    • Older people have smaller brains than young people. Young people more intelligent
    • “primitive” people have smaller brains than “civilized” people, and are less intelligent
    • Women have smaller brains than men, they are less intelligent
galton and the inferiority of women
Galton and the inferiority of women
  • Women inferior because of poorer performance on sensory discrimination tasks
  • Women scored higher on tests of visual imagery.
  • Therefore visual imagery not an important task because women are better and they are inferior
misuse of darwin s theory
Misuse of Darwin’s theory
  • Variability hypothesis – based upon Darwin’s data that in many species males show greater variability in traits and abilities than females
  • Interpretation of data:
    • Since women have less variability they tend to cluster around the mean – be more average and have few abilities
helen bradford thompson woolley
Helen Bradford Thompson Woolley
  • Investigated sex differences scientifically
  • Found little or no sex differences in emotional functioning and intelligence
  • Differences that were found could be attributed to environmental factors
  • Accused by males as “giving a feminist interpretation to the data”