Concept Questions

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“The year had not been marked by any of those striking discoveries which at once revolutionize, so to speak, the department of science on which they bear”

– President of the Linnean Society, Annual report of the year Darwin presented the theory of evolution.

Antecedents of Functionalism

Darwin’s Life
Feb. 12, 1809
Erasmus Darwin
Religious views
H.M.S. Beagle
Later life

H.M.S. Beagle
Offered position as a naturalist
2 year voyage (became 5)

Captain Robert FitzRoy
Intentions for the trip

“The Philosopher”
The questions led to his keen observations

The Galapagos Islands
Study of the differences between species
Food supply?
Adopted 2 lines of thought:
What are the possible functions of characteristics?
How is the geographical distribution important?
Beginning of his 3 assumptions of evolution:
World is ever-changing
Process of change is slow but continuous
Process results in different manifestations of traits


Theory of Evolution
What is the point of species changing?
Malthus & food shortages
Presented with Wallace July 1, 1858
Other points of the theory:
Contiguity: no differences in mental faculties between man & higher organisms
Mechanism: could not explain the mechanism underlying evolutionary processes

Contributions to Psychology
Facial expression of emotion
Evolution of emotion
Social reform
Comparative psychology
Early observations of infants & children
Methods shared by others
Began questions about heredity

The Figures of Functionalism

William James
One of the greatest American psychologists

Did not think of himself as a psychologist

Controversial interests

Taught first psych course while at Harvard
Never took any psych courses

Principles of Psychology (1890)

James’ Psychology
“Psychology is the science of mental life, both of its phenomena and their conditions” (1890, V. 1 pg. 1)
Phenomena: immediate experience
Conditions: the brain and body (physical aspects of mental life)

Consciousness must be considered in its natural setting (the physical person)
You cannot separate consciousness from the person

Psych should not be limited to a single method

James’ Psychology, cont.
Psychologist’s Fallacy: belief that experiences will be the same for an untrained individual and a trained introspectionist

Stream of Consciousness: conscious thought is a continuous flow (5 characteristics of thought):
Constantly changing
Sensibly continuous
Deals with objects outside itself

James’ Psychology, cont.
3-part self
Material self: what we call our own
Social self: recognition from others
Spiritual self: inner being

Habits: all beings are “bundles of habits”
Repetition of habits leads to pathways in the brain through which energy is channeled.

James’ Contributions
Defined central tenet of functionalism: the study of how we adapt to the environment

Focus on non-rational aspect of psychology

Started applied psychology

Mary Whiton Calkins
James helped her education
PhD was never granted from Harvard

Developed paired-associate technique to study memory

First female APA president

Variability hypothesis: men show more variability in characteristics whereas women are more average
Used to justify denying education

Helen Bradford Thompson Woolley
Received PhD in 1900 under Angell
Experimental test of variability hypothesis
Attributed small differences to environment

Director of vocation bureau of public school system

Merrill-Palmer Institute to study child development and mental abilities

Leta Stetter Hollingworth
PhD in 1916 under Thorndike

Extensive research on variability hypothesis

Challenged belief in an innate motherhood instinct
Desire for an education is not abnormal

“Gifted” children’s emotional and educational needs

G. Stanley Hall: Labs come to the US
Experimental lab in 1883
American Journal of Psychology
First president of Clark University
Founded & first president of APA
First PhD received in US
Started Clark U’s graduate school
Equality was important

Studied with Wundt briefly

Wanted to apply psych to education

John Dewey
PhD at Johns Hopkins in 1884

First textbook: Psychology (1886)

Apply psych to educational and philosophical problems

One of the founders of the Chicago School

Reflex Arc: Connection between S & P is not a dichotomy
Not opposite forces
Sensation, perception, & the organism should be examined together

James Rowland Angell
No PhD

One of the founders of the Chicago School

Function of consciousness is to improve an organism’s adaptive abilities

3 themes of functionalist movement:
Psychology of mental operations
Psychology of the fundamental utilities of consciousness
Psychology of psychophysical relations

Functionalism at Columbia: Woodworth
PhD at 30 under Cattell

Dynamic Psychology: influence of causal factors and motivations on feelings and behaviors
Focus on the organism, not just S-R
What motivates people?


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