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Edward Titchner and Munsterberg. Very philosophical – not a truly separate science Most important “psychologists” was William James who saw himself as more a philosopher This changed when two of Wundt’s students came to the U. S. Edward Titchner Hugo Munsterberg. 1880 American psychology.

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Edward Titchner and Munsterberg

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1880 american psychology
Very philosophical – not a truly separate science

Most important “psychologists” was William James who saw himself as more a philosopher

This changed when two of Wundt’s students came to the U. S.

Edward Titchner

Hugo Munsterberg

1880 American psychology
history titchner and munsterberg
Titchner regarded as a major foundation of psychology

Most people have never heard of Munsterberg or know little about him


Titchner was British; Munsterberg was German

Titchner a more flashier person

The most read history of psychology promoted Titchner’s importance

Many of Munsterberg’s ideas and papers angered certain groups in society

History, Titchner, and Munsterberg
american psychology and titchner
Titchner credited with bringing the true scientific perspective to American psychology

He brought his interpretation of Wundt’s psychology to the U.S.

He appeared to be a follower of Wundt and it was assumed their psychology was the same – it wasn’t

Founder of structuralism

American psychology and Titchner
american psychology and titchner5
Early part of the 20th century, Titchner was the most important psychologist in the U.S.

Highly authoritarian - ruled his students education, research, and private lives

His program had a large drop out rate due to his absolute control and demand for absolute loyalty

But also because of his emphasis on independent learning

American psychology and Titchner
titchner s psychology structuralism
Psychology should be studied like other sciences and all science study begins with experience

The subject of psychology is our experience and is dependent upon the experiencing person

Titchner’s psychology - Structuralism
questions to be answered by psychology
What are the basic elements of experience?

How do these basic elements combine into mental processes?

Why do these processes occur the way they do? Look for and identify causal relationships

Questions to be answered by psychology
psychological method of study
Introspection – highly trained inner observation of mental activity

Exclude all possible topics that cannot be studied using introspection

Study of psychology according to Titchner was very rigid and narrow

Psychological method of study
basis of structuralism
Everything that occurs in consciousness can be reduced to sensation, images and feelings

Sensations – humans could experience thousands of different sensations (32,820 visual sensations.

Images – psychologically the same as sensations

Feelings – emotional reactions that accompany certain mental experiences

Basis of Structuralism
example what is attention
Common belief – attention is something that allows us to perceive certain things more clearly, to focus our attention.

Titchner – rejected this idea because his system of introspection didn’t give description of attention

Attention does bring sensations or ideas to the foreground and dims others, but it is not a part of consciousness

Example – What is attention?
problems with titchner s structuralism
His rigidity of what was to be studied and how it was to be studied excluded much of what other psychologists wanted to study.

Problems with introspection – reporting changes in consciousness while changes are occurring interferes with consciousness

He tried to answer this issue through replication

Problems with Titchner’s structuralism
other problems
Rejected most of what other psychologist felt was an important part of psychology

Mental testing

Educational psychology

Individual differences

Mental health

His personality



While he graduated many students, most abandoned introspection after recognizing problems with it


Other problems
titchner and munsterberg
Very unusual that two individuals who studied under the same person would have such different theoretical perspective

Wundt had the all the power to accept or reject dissertations

Titchner no problem because it was in line with Wundt’s positions

Munsterberg had his 1st rejected – didn’t agree with Wundt

Titchner and Munsterberg
munsterberg as the antithesis of titchner
Advocated a broad science of psychology that studied many aspects of human behavior

Munsterberg much more flexible and personable

Interested in mental health, forensic psychology, and industrial psychology

Did not see himself as a clinical psychologist

Munsterberg as the antithesis of Titchner
Psychotherapy (1909) – defined the role of psychiatry and psychotherapy

directly challenged the ideas of Freud

Opposed a general approach to mental illness

On the Witness Stand (1908) – application of psychology to the courts

Problems with eye witness testimony and questioning techniques

Women should be excluded from juries because they are incapable of rational discussion

Psychology and Industrial Efficiency (1913)

munsterberg s original success
Part intelligence part being in the right place

Came to Harvard when William James wanted to get out of experimental work

U.S. wanted practical contributions from science

Munsterberg’s original success
munsterberg s decline in importance
He was German and attempted to promote Germany and Germans as good just prior to WWI when most Americans pro-British

Reported that women were incapable of rational discussion when the women’s suffrage movement was gaining strength.

Trashed the legal system and their handling of witnesses

He became very unpopular for not being “politically correct”

Munsterberg’s decline in importance