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PSYC85-chapter 8.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
G Cupchik

PSYC85 Chapter 8: Structure or Function? Edward B. Titchener (1867-1927)  was unsympathetic to psychological explanations that invoked concepts such as “the unconscious”  he distinguished psychology from other disciplines, such as psychics, in terms of the different point of view taken by psychologists  believed that the proper method for psychology was introspection: the process by which individuals describe their experience  this way of defining the subject matter of psychology leads to the definition of mind as „ the sum-total of human experience considered as dependent upon a nervous system‟  human experience is embodied in the sense that it cannot exist apart from someone‟s nervous system o rather events in the nervous system run parallel to those in human experience but should not be seen as causing them  psychophysical parallelism: by referring to events in the nervous system, we may be able to explain mental processes without regarding those events in the nervous system as causing mental processes  By „generalized‟ meant that psychology was to develop principles that were true to all minds, not just some minds o The study of individual differences was a source of considerable controversy, partly because the study of deviant minds was left out  Freud: the study of abnormal psychology was a central part of psychological inquiry  Titchener- insisted on the necessity of experimentation Structuralism  Structuralism-> aimed to uncover the elementary structure of the mind  Titchener tried to differentiate between structural and functional psychology  Anatomy precedes physiology  He argued that „everyone admits that sensations are elementary mental processes that underlie our perceptions‟  Ideas are accompanied by images  Affection is the elementary process underlying emotion Titchener’s Experimental Psychology  Experimental Psychology: A manual of Laboratory Practice: Titchener lays out great detail how a beginning student in experimental psychology is to acquire the fundamental skills of the discipline  A psychological experiment consists of an introspection or a series of introspections made under standard conditions  Stimulus error-> describing the object rather than one‟s experience of the object  Content of Titchener‟s experiments were divided into two parts: Qualitative and Quantitative o The former the sort of experiment most frequently associated with introspection that includes the study of sensation, affection, attention, perception, and the association of ideas Titchener and the Imageless-Though Controversy  Reported that introspection often yielded nothing more clear and distinct than imageless people  The controversy over imageless thought tended to bring experimental introspection into disrepute, since there were different introspections laboratories apparently coming up with entirely different results Titchener and the Dimensions of Consciousness  Quality-> refers to variation in basic experiences such as colour and taste  Intensity-> refers to the strength of an experience such as how strong an odor is  Extensity-> best seen in relation to touch, in which an experience can vary across a wide area  Propensity-> refers to the duration of a sensory experience in time  These dimensions all refer to sensory experience Titchener’s Influence  Boring‟s Physical Dimensions of Consciousness o Developed Titchener‟s doctrine of conscious dimensions along more physicalistic lines o Psychology is first and foremost an experimental discipline o History of Experimental Psychology: presents psychology as a fundamentally experimental discipline Functionalism  Functionalism: Considered one of the schools of psychology  Deliberately sets out to violate the strictures that Tichener tried to place on psychology  It is open to methods other than introspection that is fact is quite eclectic-> attempts to select the method of solution to fit the particular problem  Eclectics are not bound by any one approach but borrow methods as the need arises John Dewy (1859- 1952)  Critique of the Reflex Arc Concept: o Argues that the reflex was mistakenly understood as a stimulus followed by a central process followed by a response o Suggest that a stimulus does not elicit a response, but rather a stimulus is created by the organism through the act of paying attention to something o „ the fact is that stimulus and response are teleological distinctions, that is distinctions of function‟ Dewey’s Influence on Educational Practice  Laid down foundations to psychology and education  Argued against teaching the 3R‟s and argues for curriculum reform  Progressive education: wanted schools that imposed no discipline on their pupils and allowed children to study whatever they wanted James R. Angell (1869-1949)  One of the chief proselytizers for functiona
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