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Chapter 7: Functionalism. William James (1842-1910): anticipator of functional psychology. General paradox Major figure in American psychology, yet viewed by some colleagues as a negative force Considered by many scholars to be greatest American psychologist

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chapter 7 functionalism
Chapter 7:


william james 1842 1910 anticipator of functional psychology
William James (1842-1910): anticipator of functional psychology

General paradox

  • Major figure in American psychology, yet viewed by some colleagues as a negative force
    • Considered by many scholars to be greatest American psychologist
    • Espoused mentalistic and psychical phenomena (telepathy, séances, etc.)
    • Not an experimentalist in attitude or deed
  • Did not found functional psychology, but did influence the movement
james s life
James’s life
  • Wealthy family
  • Career: art, chemistry, medicine, zoology
  • Lifelong problems with self-esteem, neurotic
    • “neurasthenia” or “Americanitis”
  • Most interested in consciousness
  • Disliked lab work/ doing experiments
  • Taught psychology for a time, then moved exclusively into philosophy

The principles of psychology - 1890

  • Espoused new goal of psychology:
    • Study of people as they adapt to their environment
  • Function of consciousness:
    • To enable survival
  • Interested in how brain (physical structures) affect consciousness
  • Stream of consciousness
    • Is a continuous flow, always changing
    • Cannot be “reduced” to elements
    • Is selective about what it attends to
  • Humans are sometimes nonrational

The theory of emotions

  • The then-current theory:
    • Emotion precedes physical arousal/response
    • We see a lion,
      • we feel fear (emotion)  we run (response)
  • James:
    • Physical arousal/response precedes emotion
    • We see a lion,
      • we have a bodily response 

we run (response)  we fear (emotion – an interpretation of bodily changes)

    • Bodily change is the emotion (increased heart rate, increased breathing, sweaty palms)
    • If no bodily change, then no emotion
methods of psychology
Methods of Psychology
  • Introspection
  • Experimentation
  • Comparative method
  • Pragmatism
    • The validity of an idea must be tested by looking at its practical consequences
    • “anything is true if it works”
why was james so important
Why was James so important?
  • Very clear, interesting writing style
  • Opposed Wundt
  • Offered an alternative to Wundt
the functionalist protest
The Functionalist Protest
  • Functionalists’ central interest:
    • how the organism uses the mind to adapt to the environment
  • First uniquely American system of psychology
  • Deliberate protest against Wundt's and Titchener's systems
  • Interest in applying psychology to real world
some central tenets
Some Central Tenets
  • Consciousness cannot be meaningfully analyzed into elements, it removes all meaning
  • Argued structure and function cannot be meaningfully separated
  • Behavior should be treated in terms of its significance to the organism as it functions in its environment
  • Proper subject for psychology:
    • study of the total organism as it functions in its environment
the founding of functionalism
The founding of functionalism
  • Functionalists did not mean to start a new school of though
  • Formalized indirectly when Titchener named it
  • Therefore, there was no single functional psychology, no leaders
reasons functional psychology flourished in u s not england
Reasons functional psychology flourished in U.S., Not England
  • American temperament
    • Individualistic, independent, hard-working, adaptable, practical
  • Distinctive social, economic, and political character
    • Pioneering society
    • US population census (1890)
criticisms of functionalism
Criticisms of Functionalism
  • Functionalism not clearly defined
  • Did not follow Titchener’s subject matter or methods
  • Applied to real-life situations
contributions of functionalism
Contributions of functionalism
  • Opposition to structuralism
  • Bridged move from study of subjective mind to study of objective behavior
  • Legitimacy of research on animal behavior
  • Inclusion of humans other than “normal adults” as subjects
  • Allowed applied aspects of research
  • Development and inclusion of research methods beyond introspection
chapter 8 applied psychology
Chapter 8:

Applied Psychology


Drug Bust!

toward a practical psychology
Toward a practical psychology
  • By the end of the 19th century, evolutionary theory and functional psychology had a strong footing in United States
  • American psychology guided more by ideas of Darwin and Galton than by Wundt
  • Although Wundt trained 1st generation of American psychologists, few of his ideas accompanied them home
  • Strong interest in a useful, applied psychology
psychology in the us
Psychology in the US
  • Applied psychology took hold in the discipline
    • 1900: 25% of articles in American psychology journals had applied focus
    • Only 3% used introspection
    • Even Titchener acknowledged the strong trend toward application
  • Dominance in numbers
    • 1903: more PhD's in psychology than in any science other than chemistry, zoology, and physics
    • 1913: United States had more of world’s leading psychologists than any other country

Psychology in the US

  • Popularity
    • Within 20 years of the founding of psychology, America became undisputed leader of the field
      • Required psychology courses included in the undergraduate curriculum
      • Burgeoning enrollment in psychology courses
      • Increasing number of students engaged in original research
economic influences on applied psychology
Economic influences on applied psychology
  • 1900: three times as many PhDs as laboratories
  • Pressure to prove psychology’s value
  • Opportunity
james mckeen cattell 1860 1944
James McKeen Cattell (1860-1944)
  • Graduate work: Gottingen, then Leipzig with Wundt
  • Work:
    • Major interest: philosophy
    • Interest in psychology due to experiments with drugs
    • Began reaction-time research
One of first in United States to stress quantification, ranking, ratings
    • Developed ranking method
    • First psychologist to teach statistical analysis of experimental results
    • Encouraged the use of large groups of subjects
  • Interested in Galton’s eugenics
  • His organization and editing of numerous publications took time away from research
At Columbia
    • More PhDs in psychology than anywhere else in the united states
    • Emphasized independent research by graduate students
    • Urged increased faculty governance: one of founders of American association of university professors (AAUP)
  • 1917: fired by Columbia university on grounds of disloyalty to united states
  • 1921: organized psychological corporation
Mental testing
    • 1890: coined term mental tests
    • To be a science, psychology requires a foundation of experimentation and measurement
    • His intelligence tests: elementary sensorimotor (not cognitive) measurements
    • 1901: concluded such tests not valid predictors of intelligence
    • Strongest impact: as organizer, executive, administrator, and link to scientific community
    • Contributed through his students
    • Reinforced functionalism
the psychological testing movement
The psychological testing movement
  • Binet, Terman, and the IQ test
    • “Mental tests”: “tests of motor skills and sensory capacities; Intelligence tests use more complex measures of mental abilities.”
    • Cattell originated the term but Binet developed the 1st genuinely psychological test of mental ability

Binet (1857-1911)

  • Independently wealthy
  • Self-taught psychologist
  • Published 200+ books and articles
  • Mental testing
    • His two young daughters did as well as adults on sensorimotor tasks but did not do as well as adults on tests of cognitive ability
    • Binet’s conclusion: cognitive functions reflect intelligence, sensorimotor responses do not

Modern IQ Testing

  • 1904: opportunity through French public schools bureau to test his hypothesis
    • Binet appointed to find out why some students with were having difficulty learning
    • Examined intellectual tasks that children of different ages could accomplish and built an intelligence test
  • Concept of mental:
    • “the age at which children of average ability can perform certain tasks.”
lewis terman 1877 1956
Lewis Terman (1877-1956)
  • Developed the now standard version of Binet’s test: the Stanford-Binet
  • Used Stern’s intelligence quotient IQ concept: “A number denoting a person’s intelligence, determined by multiplying mental age by 100 and dividing by chronological age.”
  • Stanford-Binet still in widespread use after a number of revisions
world war i and group testing
World War I and group testing
  • 1917: on day U.S. entered WWI
    • Robert Yerkes, APA president: urged Titchener’s society of experimental psychologists to aid war effort
    • Titchener declined to participate
      • British citizen
      • Disliked idea of applying psychology
world war i and group testing30
World War I and group testing
  • Military leaders: need to assess intelligence of troops for
    • Stanford-Binet: individual test requiring trained administrator
    • Needed: group test that was simple to give
world war i and group testing31
World War I and group testing
  • Army alpha and army beta
    • Group tests: easy to administer and efficient
    • Work on the tests very time-consuming
    • Significant impact on psychology as a discipline
the industrial organizational psychology movement
The industrial-organizational psychology movement
  • The impact of the world wars
    • During the wars: testing, screening, classifying recruits
    • After the wars: need for industrial psychologists
      • Subspecialty: human engineering
      • Work on a myriad of consumer products, not just military hardware
Industrial Testing
    • 1920’s: selection and placement of job applicants
    • 1927: focus expanded to social/psychological conditions of the workplace
Hawthorne plant of western electric company
    • Pioneering research program
    • First studied influences of the physical environment on employee efficiency
    • Found social and psychological factors in the workplace more important than physical ones
Led to studies of work climate, leadership, communication patterns and other factors affecting worker motivation, productivity, and satisfaction
  • APA's division of industrial psychology changed to society for industrial and organizational psychology
applied psychology in the united states a national mania
Applied psychology in the United States: A national mania
  • Cattell: WWI put psychology “on the map and on the front page”
  • Between world wars
    • Applied psychology respected
    • Sufficient jobs and funding in academia
    • New departments, buildings, and labs
    • Tripling of APA membership
    • Still a contempt for applied psychology
    • 1919: APA required published experimental research for membership
    • 1920’s: enormous public enthusiasm for psychology
    • The depression years: attacked for failure to cure
applied psychology
Applied Psychology
  • Cattell
    • Mental testing
      • Measure of range and variability of behaviors among a large group (ex. Intelligence)
  • Binet
    • Expanded mental testing to include cognitive abilities
  • WWI
    • Army needed simple group test to sort soldiers
      • Alpha and Beta tests
  • Tests likened to a thermometer
applied psychology38
Applied Psychology
  • Industrial-organizational psychology
    • People saw practical applications of psychology
    • During war, ergonomics
      • Testing human limitations when using weapons
    • After WWI, employers wanted to use tests also
      • Hawthorne studies: best working environment
        •  social psychology
    • Eyewitness memories

“People came to believe that psychologists could fix everything…”

Movement from focus on mental elements to focus on mental activity
    • Shift in academic research from content to function
    • Broadening of psychology from academic settings to applied settings and concerns
    • Contextual factors
  • Shift was reinforced by behaviorism