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Building American Psychology Four “stages” of psychology in the U.S. – Pre-revolution – use of reason to distinguish between God, beliefs, religion, and.

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Presentation on theme: "Building American Psychology Four “stages” of psychology in the U.S. – Pre-revolution – use of reason to distinguish between God, beliefs, religion, and."— Presentation transcript:

1 Building American Psychology Four “stages” of psychology in the U.S. – Pre-revolution – use of reason to distinguish between God, beliefs, religion, and state. – – “common sense” philosophers accept feelings and senses as equal to reason. – – psychology is separated from philosophy and religion (James and Dewey). – Since 1896 – modern psychology begins.

2 Functionalism: An American Psychology As noted in your text, Functionalism embraced a process orientation rooted in becoming while other psychologies (e.g., Structuralism, Wundt’s laboratory research) accepted fixed or static elements of experience and a being approach. Functionalism is difficult to define, but functionalists emphasized the importance of how questions in addition to what questions.

3 Functionalism in a Nutshell Functionalism was rooted in Darwin’s theory of evolution. Evolution is based on individual differences and the survival of adaptive features. Herbert Spencer, who coined the expression “survival of the fittest”, proposed a “nurtured” aspect of human adaptation which is equivalent to intelligence. (original nature- nurture debate). Yes, according to Spencer, adaptation could by taught, ostensibly to the masses.

4 Functionalism and Adaptation Spencer saw evolution as the progressive development of the physical world, biological organisms, the human mind, and human culture and societies. “Adaptation” becomes a popular approach to measuring intelligence, and “individual differences” become a valued part of mental research.

5 Functionalism (cont.) Unlike most other psychologists who were interested in the structure of mental activity, functionalists were interested in the “function” – the mental aspects of adapting to an environment. Whereas other psychologists were interested primarily in the “common denominator” of different mental activity, functionalists were equally interested in individual differences of all mental activity.

6 John Dewey and James Angell Cornell was bedrock for Structuralism; the University of Chicago was the birth place of Functionalism. John Dewey criticized reductionistic approaches to psychology and argued that experience must be understood in a naturalistic context. His areas of interest included democracy, economics, schools, art, and the nature of learning. James Rowland Angell defined functional psychology as “the identification and description of mental operations rather than the mere elements of mental experience.” He argued that a functional approach must include a social and biological context, and he advocated the study of the contributions of mental events to our adjustment to the world.

7 William James ( ) Commonly considered the father of American psychology. Was 25 years older than Titchener, died at the peak of Titchener’s career, but his ideas became more influential than Titchener’s. He endorsed some aspects of functionalism, but he was not a true functionalist. He approach was much more comprehensive and arguably the first complete system for understanding human behavior.

8 James’s early years Attended major universities across America and Europe, ultimately becoming a physiologist. James was initially impressed with the scientific advancements tied to both materialism and evolution, but those sciences left him disappointed and even depressed. – Materialism – human qualities are biological in nature, so human nature was pre-determined. – Evolution – as with materialism, would exclude freedom from pre-determined nature.

9 James’s early years His depression ended while reading about free will. He doubted free will was an illusion if he could voluntarily believe in free will. “Voluntary belief” also influenced his approach to science. – Pragmatism – “if an idea works, it is valid.” Ideas can be judged based on usefulness. – Radical empiricism – if a human experience is consistent, it can be addressed scientifically.

10 Principles of Psychology (1890) William James’s major publication, Principles of Psychology provided a solid foundation of modern psychology in America. Attempting to cover every aspect of psychology, James took 12 years to write it, and it was 1,393 pages long (published as two volumes).

11 Mind-body debate Principles of Psychology generally supports a dualist, interactionist approach to human nature. – Dualism – rejecting the nature of materialism, dualism is based on separated mind and body. – Interactionism – the mind can influence the body, and the body can influence the mind. James presents separate “mind phenomena” and “brain phenomena,” and proposes ways in which they interact.

12 Consciousness Most experimental psychologists at that time were looking for “elements” of consciousness – the mental parts which made a whole. – Based and dependent on sensation (mind and body). James presented the concept of a “stream” of consciousness – mental activity could not be addressed with “parts” or “wholes.” – Can be independent of sensations (mind only)

13 Stream of Consciousness Consciousness is not made up of a bunch of little pieces put together. “…A “river” or “stream” are the metaphors by which it is most naturally described. In talking of it therefore, let us call it the stream of thought of consciousness or subjective life.” (Principles, Vol 1, p 239)

14 Stream of Consciousness Consciousness is … 1) Personal – no need for common elements 2) Continuous – cannot be dismantled 3) Always changing 4) Always selective and choosing – free will 5) Dealt of objects other than itself – the purpose is functional and adaptive.

15 The Self The self (in the mind) is the sum of all things which a person can call “mine.” 1. Material Self - included the body and all possessions 2. Social Self (Selves) - the self as it is known by others (similar to Jung’s “Persona”) 3. Spiritual Self - made up of “all the psychic faculties or dispositions taken together”

16 The self Self as Knower (the “I,” “pure ego”) – the ultimate vantage point – the self that does the knowing – the part of you that remains constant in a changing stream of consciousness Self-esteem – ultimately, it is a “ratio” of the actual self over the potential self. Esteem can come from achievements and from lowering expectations.

17 Free will Certainly, there were many concepts of free will before James, but they were not based on functionalism. – Greeks – idealism and/or achieving form – Christians – spiritual will – Rationalists – abstractions of reason – Romanticists – manifested in feelings – Existentialists – manifested in feelings, but is formless in origin (life shapes free will)

18 Free will Consistent with materialism and evolution, James believed that science opposed the existence of free will. In turn, he proposed free will to be beyond the realm of science. The nature of free will (in the mind) is reflected in voluntary behavior. “Ideas of action” can lead to action, or can be held back consciously. To control our voluntary behavior, we must control the ideas of behavior.

19 Habits and Instincts Both habits and instinct are within the brain (not in the mind), and outside of free will. Habits (learned) - continuous repetition could stabilize mental functions in the brain. Instinct (unlearned) - patterns of reacting. – Instincts are not “blind and invariable,” and can be molded by habit.

20 Emotions Previous theories of emotion Classic theory: S - E - R First, perceive object (Stimulus) Second, experience emotion (Emotion) Third, respond to it (Response)

21 Emotions James-Lange theory of emotion: S – R – E – The behavior (response) is a functional reaction to the stimulus, and the emotion is the result of the response. – “We are sad because we cry, we are angry because we strike.” – A functional result: “Act the way you want to feel.” Behaviors associated with how you want to feel CAN give you that feeling.

22 Emotions Cannon’s Theory: S - E and R Emotion and response occur at the same time


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