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Titchener (1867-1927). And Structuralism. What is structuralism?. Structuralism is an approach that seeks to analyze a complex reality into its components. It seeks to: Find the fundamental elements upon which structures are built Understand the interrelations between elements.

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titchener 1867 1927

Titchener (1867-1927)

And Structuralism

what is structuralism
What is structuralism?
  • Structuralism is an approach that seeks to analyze a complex reality into its components. It seeks to:
    • Find the fundamental elements upon which structures are built
    • Understand the interrelations between elements
structuralism in psychology
Structuralism in Psychology
  • It is the approach of Wundt and Titchener
  • Later in psychology (second half of 20th century), this approach has also been used in cognitive psychology, especially in psycholinguistics and in artificial intelligence modeling. It also was used in a version of psychoanalysis that analyzed the unconscious as a language system.
some modern names in psychology s structuralism
Some modern names in psychology's structuralism
  • Jacques Lacan (French psychoanalytical theorist)(1901-1981)
  • Jean Piaget (1896-1980)
  • Donald Broadbent (1926-1993): pioneer in applying information processing computer models to psychology.
  • Current concepts of symbolic architecture of the mind
structuralism in the social sciences
Structuralism in the Social Sciences
  • Two "founders":
    • A linguist: Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913) (language as a system of phonemes)
    • An anthropologist: Claude Levi-Strauss (1908- ) (culture and kinship systems, myth analysis)
structuralism vs functionalism
Structuralism vs functionalism
  • Functionalism looks primarily at the role behaviors, thoughts etc. play.
  • It does not ask the question of the composition of the thought, behavior etc..
  • In psychology, the functionalist question often is: how does this behavior, thought etc… help the organism adapt?
the subject matter of psychology for titchener
The Subject Matter of Psychology for Titchener
  • Psychology, for Titchener is about conscious experience from the perspective the person who is actually experiencing it.

i.e. NOT objective time, but time as it is experienced, and sometimes one hour seems longer than another, though the "objective" reality is the same.

the stimulus error
The Stimulus Error
  • Confuses the mental process with the object we are observing.
  • Psychology, says Titchener, observes the experience, the mental process --NOT the stimulus.
observing illusions
Observing Illusions
  • …is a good way to differentiate between the "object' and the mental experience. Look for example at the moon illusion: the moon appears bigger on the horizon.
reducing the complex
Reducing the Complex
  • Titchener started w/ a complex experience, and tried to REDUCE it into smaller parts.
  • Wundt tried to make a SYNTHESIS from smaller parts.
a mechanistic view
A Mechanistic View
  • Titchener thought observers could operate like "machines", they were like measuring instruments
  • Similarly, people were viewed as machines: elements combine automatically etc…
titchener s system
Titchener's System
  • Titchener identified 44,500 individual sensation qualities, of which 32,820 were visual, and 11,600 were auditory. Each sensation quality could vary in intensity, duration, clearness, and sometimes extensity.
  • Affective states could vary in quality, intensity and duration.
toward phenomenology
Toward Phenomenology
  • In later years, Titchener gave up his "elements" to think in terms of larger dimensions.
  • By 1920, he was shifting toward a more phenomenological approach, and that may be where he would have ended up, had he not died in 1927.
structuralism beyond titchener
Structuralism Beyond Titchener
  • Titchener's structuralism was not very sophisticated in the sense that he was not reflecting upon the nature of structure itself, upon the relation of the terms with each other.
  • Other structuralists build systems, and think more carefully about the relationship of the elements with each other.