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Chapter 8

Chapter 8: Structure or Function?

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Michelle Hilscher

C85: History of Psychology Chapter 8: Structure or Function? EDWARD B. TITCHENER Went to Leipzig to study with Wundt and later established a psychological lab in Cornell University. His work is similar to Wundts experimental psych, but the complexity of Wundts approach to psych was lost in Titcheners much simpler approach. He was unsympathetic to unconscious concepts. He distinguished psych from other disciplines in terms of the different points of view taken. Introspection- the process by which individuals describe their experience. Human experience is embodied in the sense that it cannot exist apart from someones nervous system; however Titchener did not reduce human experience to events in the nervous system. Rather, events in the nervous system run parallel to those in human experience but should not be seen as causing them. psychophysical parallelism- the doctrine that for every event in the mind there is a corresponding event in the body. Titchener believed psychology to be generalized human mind by means of experimental introspection. By generalized he meant that psych was to develop principles that were true of all minds, not just some minds. Although he acknowledged that many interesting cases of unusual mental processes occur, these were not to be used to form the basis of psychology. He did not believe that only humans have minds, he argued that the range of mind...appears to be as wide as the range of animal life; however animal psych was not a central feature of the discipline (his opinion) Mind began to seem to other psychologists to be a slippery category Structuralism Structuralism- the attempt to uncover the elementary structure of the mind (Titchener) He went through 4 different phases which shaped his career life: Phase 1 Differentiating bw structural and functional psych Phase 2 Produced Experimental Psychology: A Manual of Lab Practice Phase 3 Defends himself against critics as the Wurzburgers. Phase 4 Develops an abstract approach to the study of consciousness Phase 1 Differentiating bw structural and functional psych he established the basic characteristics of his introspectionist approach tried to differentiate bw a structural and a functional psychology 1 www.notesolution.com subject matter of psych is consciousness which can be understood in terms of what it is (structure) or what it does (function) o naturally, we should know what consciousness is before we try to say what it is for; we can discover structure of consciousness through introspective experimentation o Biology: anatomy (deals with structure) and physiology (deals with functions) We ordinarly experience perceptions, ideas and emotions. By means of introspection, Titchener argued that everyone admits that sensations are elementary mental processes and underlie our perceptions. Images also figured large in Titcheners system. Ideas were believed to be accompanied by images. He also believed that affection was the elementary process of underlying emotions; Wundt had developed an elaborate tri-dimensional theory of feeling, but Titchener simplified the number of affective dimensions into just one: pleasant-unpleasant Titcheners Experimental Psychology Phase 2 Produced Experimental Psychology: A Manual of Lab Practice He lays out how a beginning student in experimental psych 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; however to introspect, one must learn the right vocabulary Problem arises when students are taught the language to use when describing their experience= Titchener says good terminology should be absolutely transparent, letting the facts be seen through the words, the terms must be neither familiar or unfamiliar Students must be taught new language bc ordinary language usually describes events in the external world and not our experience of those events Stimulus error- describing the object rather than the ones experience of the object, students are trained to avoid this error o H/w critics say there is never precisely how the person learns to introspect, the language of experimental introspection is imprecise and unreliable The content of his experimental psych was divided into two: qualitative and quantitative Titchener and the Imageless-Thought Controversy Phase 3 Defends himself against critics as the Wurzburgers. 2 www.notesolution.comThe Wurzburgers reported that introspection often yielded nothing more clear and distinct than imageless thoughts. This concept was inconsistent with Titcheners way of analyzing mental processes, since he maintained that ideas were always accompanied by images. The Wurzburgers implied that some mental processes may be unconscious and therefore inaccessible through introspection Workers in Titcheners lab were able to find the imageless thoughts were not really imageless at all He argued that sensitive introspection disclosed kinaesthetic sensations, perhaps arising from the speech musculature as the person spoke silently to themselves while introspecting o h/w different introspectionist labs were coming up with different results results of Titcheners work in this area were not entirely negative, but led to future research Titchener and the Dimensions of Consciousness Phase 4 Develops an abstract approach to the study of consciousness. He began to stress the analysis of consciousness in terms of dimensions He never settled the question of precisely what dimensions of consciou
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