Five Schools of Psychology Through Comparison and Wilhelm Wundt Essay

Five Schools of Psychology through Comparison and Wilhelm Wundt Krystal Ransome PSY 401: Physiological Psychology Dr. Fred Bleck November 7, 2005 ABSTRACT Modern psychology has many divisions and a lot of history only to say that it is relatively new in comparison to other sciences.

This paper is to look at five of the major schools of psychology through their histories and theories and some comparison of them. This paper will also look at Wilhelm Wundt and make a case of him being the greatest psychologist. Krystal Ransome PSY 401 – History and Systems Dr.F. Bleck November 7, 2005 Five Schools of Psychology through Comparison and Wilhelm Wundt Modern Psychology has a lot of history and divisions to say that it is relatively new in comparison to the other fields of scientific study.

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For this paper, five of schools of psychology will be studied. In addition, Wilhelm Wundt will be studied, and a case will be made for him to be considered the greatest of all psychologists. Structuralism came during a time when Wilhelm Wundt founded the first school devoted to psychology in Leipzig, Germany, in the year 1875.

Wundt was not seeking to start to a school, or theory, of psychology but to establish a center of teaching and learning for psychology. Wundt would not name the movement because he felt that he was doing “psychology without qualification. ”[1] Wundt’s German students later named Wundt’s psychology Ganzheit psychology, or “holistic” psychology. However, Edward Titchener named his version of Wundt’s psychology structuralism in order to distinguish he was doing from those of theAmerican functionalism movement, which Titchener also named. Structuralism, as Titchener knew it, was alive and well until Titchener’s unexpected death in 1927.

[2] Overall, Structuralism dealt with the conscious mind and breaking down the mind into basic elements that could be described. The structuralists saw psychology as having a task to discover and describe the elements of consciousness and “determine how they combine to produce the more complicated structures. [3] Structuralism, as Titchener knew and studied, not only dealt with the basic elements but also looked at different sensations and experiences to figure out what were the basic elements and how those elements fit together. Functionalism, like Structuralism, was not founded to be a separate school but out of a backlash to Wundt. Most Functionalists did not agree with Wundt especially when it came to what to study concerning the mind and conscious.

For the Functionalists and the Functionalism movement, the main theme was to study how the mind functions, not just its structures.Functionalism can trace its roots back to Charles Darwin, Sir Francis Galton, and the animal psychology experiments of the 1870s and 1880s,[4] but William James was the one who truly gave rise to functionalism in American with his ideas as John Dewey firmly established it with his essay on the reflex arc. [5] Functionalism was never an organized school because many of those who were considered functionalists were heading into different directions. Functionalism eventually faded away, but out of functionalism came applied psychology and the testing movement.

As stated in the previous paragraph, functionalism was about studying the functions of the mind, not just its structures. In addition, functionalists were interested in an organism’s mental functions and capabilities. Like structuralism, functionalism concerned itself with the conscious mind, but unlike structuralism, observation was not enough for studying the conscious mind. This is where the testing movement came in to being because most people during the time of World War II were interested in seeing how and where a person could fit in and/or what role or capacity the person could fulfill.In addition, intelligence testing became popular as Alfred Binet devised his tests to determine how bright a person was. Eventually Binet’s tests and other tests alike became standard and revised to be used in educational settings to place children in appropriate programs. Behaviorism rose as those like John B.

Watson and B. F. Skinner were not interested in how the mind functions but the mind’s influence in behavior through research. Just as Functionalism was a backlash to Wilhelm Wundt, Behaviorism was one for Functionalism.Most behaviorists wanted to factor out the conscious mind and any other environmental factors and focus on the behavior of an organism under strict controlled conditions.

Such cases were demonstrated with Skinner’s dogs and his experiments to condition the dogs to salivate to the sound of a bell, a neutral stimulus in the beginning of the experiments. Later, some behaviorists began factoring in the conscious mind and thought processes to what was originally classical conditioning. Still until the present day, behaviorism exists for it has not ended abruptly like structuralism nor go into separate directions like functionalism.The psychoanalysis movement ran parallel with behaviorism and functionalism.

Psychoanalysis started separately by Sigmund Freud, as he was interested in dreams, the unconscious, and therapy. Following closely in Freud’s footsteps was Carl Jung. Carl Jung himself was interested in dreams and the occult. Out of the interests of those like Freud and Jung, concepts like the id, ego, and superego were born. The psychoanalysis school also brought forth an aspect of the human mind that was never studied before, the unconscious.

The psychoanalysis school main roots and location was in Europe. Psychoanalysis was not as popular, widespread, and influential as the other schools of psychology—as it is known that behaviorism and functionalism at that time dominated, but the legacy of psychoanalysis is and continues to be those concepts like the id, ego, and superego and the unconscious mind. Psychoanalysis saw demise through dismissals by the other schools of psychology especially the behaviorists and neobehaviorists of the 1940s and 1950s after they attempted to accept it in the behaviorist school.

Gestalt psychology, like Functionalism, was a backlash to Wundt and structuralists like Titchener. Most Gestalt psychologists like Max Wertheimer and Kurt Koffka exhorted the theme “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. ” This theme was based on the fact the Gestalt school considered the conscious mind as study material but those elements as described by the structuralism existed as parts of forms or wholes of the conscious mind, if those elements existed. Arising in Gestalt psychology was Wertheimer’s phi-phenomenon, the illusion of movement between still objects.Gestalt psychology gained ground in Europe as behaviorism took America by storm and functionalism went into different directions. Like psychoanalysis, Gestalt psychology did not gain a lot of ground and later ended because of lack of interest as behaviorism, humanism, and products of the functionalist school, like applied psychology dominated.

As with all the major psychologists of all the schools of psychology, there is always debate to who contributed the most and who should be the best and/or greatest of them all. I, the author, join in the debate as I make a case for Wilhelm Wundt.I will make my case based on some of his contributions and results of his contributions. Wilhelm Wundt, as stated much earlier founded a school for the study of and experimentation of psychology as we know it today. Wundt only wanted to make psychology more as a scientific study and not start a school, or theory, of psychology that would lead to other schools of psychology through backlashes and dismissals. However, it is because of the fact that these backlashes happened in addition to Wundt founding a center for psychology that Wundt should be considered as someone who contributed the most to psychology.

Wundt’s ideas of the conscious mind was that the conscious mind had basic elements, but those like the functionalists and the Gestalt psychologists either rejected the ideas completely or put a spin on those ideas to formulate ideas and theories of their own. There was also Edward Titchener, a student of Wundt, accepted most but not all of Wundt’s ideas. From Titchener, it is where structuralism came into being. Though behaviorism was not directly linked to Wundt or structuralism, behaviorism was a backlash to functionalism citing that studying the conscious mind was only a waste of time.These schools all help to create the modern psychology that we all know today, but it could not have been possible without Wundt. The founding of Wundt’s school for psychology also helped to establish psychology as some people termed it the science of the mind. Psychology existed only as small concepts in earlier civilizations. There was also the church, which dominated during the middle ages, that kept science in general suppressed for so long.

Once the church began losing power, science began to flourish, but psychology still existed only as a few small concepts bouncing among different disciplines and theories. It was Wundt who established psychology as a mainstay in society through his school, and it all it took was his concepts to create the backlashes that evolved the field of psychology.Bibliography Leahey, Thomas A. A History of Modern Psychology. Prentice Hall: Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Peters, R.

S. , ed. Brett’s History of Psychology. The M. I. T. Press: Cambridge Massachusetts. Pillsbury, W.

B. , Ph. D. The History of Psychology. W.

W. Norton Publishers: New York. ———————– [1] Leahey pg. 55 [2] Leahey pg. 63 [3] Pillsbury, pg. 272 [4] From course text, A History of Modern Psychology [5] Pillsbury, pg.