Psychology is the scientific study of mind and behavior. It has major schools of thought which are structuralism, functionalism, psychodynamic, behaviorism, cognitive, and social cultural. In addition, there are primary biological foundations of psychology linked to behavior.
The first school of Psychology is Structuralism. Structuralism was formally set up by Wilhelm Wundt and Edward Titchener. It “uses the method of introspection to identify the basic elements or ‘structures’ of psychological experience. Structuralists used the method of introspection to attempt to create a map of the elements of consciousness. Introspection involves asking research participants to describe exactly what they experience as they work on mental tasks, such as viewing colors, reading a page in a book, or performing a math problem” (24). In some studies, “Wundt discovered that it took people longer to report what sound they had just heard than to simply respond that they had heard the sound” (18). This was the first time researchers realized that there is a difference between the sensation of a stimulus and the perception of that stimulus. The second school of Psychology is Functionalism. This was set up by William James and the other members of the school and the goal of functionalism was to “understand why animals and humans have developed the particular psychological aspects that they currently possess” (18). They were influenced by Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection and they believed that Darwin’s theory applied to psychological characteristics too. Just as some animals have developed strong muscles to allow them to run fast, the human brain must have adapted to serve a particular function in human experience. In addition, Psychodynamic Psychology is the next school of Psychology. It was set up by Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, Erik Erickson and “it focuses on the role of our unconscious thoughts, feelings, and memories and our early childhood experiences in determining behavior” (18). Some assumptions of this particular subject are that:
“There is a tendency to ignore the patient’s current problems by focusing on past conflicts.
There is a lack of scientific evidence concerning major theoretical assumptions” (McGraw-Hill)
Moreover, another school of Psychology is Behaviorism. It overtook structuralism and functionalism, and dominated psychological understanding in the 1950s. It was set up by John B. Watson, B. F. Skinner and it is “based on the premise that it is not possible to objectively study the mind, and therefore that psychologists should limit their attention to the study of behavior itself” (18). Some assumptions of this particular subject are that:
“It reduces the complexity of human behavior to behavioral responses to environmental stimuli.
Only the symptoms of illnesses are treated, not the underlying causes” (McGraw-Hill)
Environmental causes of abnormal behaviors are only rarely discovered in patients.
Furthermore, Cognitive Psychology is the next school of Psychology. It was set up by Hermann Ebbinghaus, Sir Frederic Bartlett, and Jean Piaget. Cognitive psychology focuses on how people perceive, think, remember and learn. “Cognitive psychology emerged in response to what its proponents saw as the significant…