Tabitha L. Blackshear
August 7, 2013
Foundations of Psychology
The world of psychology is vast and expanding every day. The search to find answers to why people act the way they do, is a never ending search. Trying to understand others is human nature and is something we do unconsciously, most of the time. Starting first with the major schools of thought in psychology is the best place to begin. There are many factors that are studied in psychology along with biological perspectives. Functionalism, structuralism, behaviorism, and psychoanalysis are schools of thought in psychology and the basis for future findings and beliefs.
The two earliest schools of thought in psychology are structuralism and functionalism. Structuralism, developed by Edward Titchener, attempted to use introspection to uncover the basic elements of consciousness and the way they combine with one another into ideas (Kowalski & Westen, 2011). Introspection was the main tool used in structuralism. Functionalism looked for explanations of psychological processes in their role, or function, in helping the individual adapt to the environment (Kowalski & Westen, 2011). Some criticize Functionalism because you cannot do a controlled experiment to test it since the main theory is that people’s mental state is adaptive to their environment.
Two other schools of thought are behaviorism and psychoanalysis. Behaviorism is the school of thought that external actions should be studied instead of the mental state. In this school of thought behavior is dependent on things that can be observed to be happening not what is being thought of in the mind. Psychoanalysis, founded by Sigmund Freud, is a combination of theories and techniques. Childhood experiences are a big factor attributed to our adult behaviors in psychoanalysis. Human behavior