Functionalism in Psychology

Functionalism psychology or functional refers to a broad psychological philosophy which considers psychological behavior and life with regards to active adaptation for the person's surroundings. As such, it gives the general foundation for building psychological theories not quickly testable by managed experiments and for utilized psychology.

Functionalism arose within the U.S. in the late nineteenth century as an option to Structuralism (psychology). Although functionalism never became a official school, it created on structuralism's concern for that anatomy of the brain and resulted in greater concern on the functions of the mind, and afterwards to behaviorism.


Functionalism values practical research and empirical thought, instead of the theoretical science of structuralism. Functionalism investigates consciousness and how thought processes function. It additionally considers how evolution chooses for certain psychological processes over others. 

Functionalism Psychology Definition

The model that mostly changed structuralism was referred to as functionalism. William James agreed along with Titchner that the analysis of consciousness has to be the main theme of psychology. However James disagreed with structuralists search for fundamental elements of mind.

Instead James emphasized which psychologists must study the way the mind functions. William James released a book titled 'Principles of Psychology' in the nineteenth century, which promoted functionalism. James agreed that consciousness is a continuous stream, a property of the brain that constantly interacts with the environment. Via this interaction, humans learn to adjust to their environment. For James, the functions of brain were more essential than the structures of brain. Thus, his system has been rightly known as functionalism in psychology. 

Structuralism Psychology

Structuralism in psychology identifies the theory created by Edward B. Titchener, depending on loose interpretations of the writings of Wilhelm Wundt.

Edward B. Titchener created the theory of structuralism. While he was a student of Wilhelm Wundt in the University of Leipzig, Titchener's ideas on the way the mind worked were greatly influenced through Wundt's theory of voluntarism and his ideas of association and apperception (the passive and active combinations of elements of consciousness respectively). Titchener tried to classify the structures of the brain, like chemists classify the components of nature to the periodic table. 

Titchener thought that the aim of psychology was to research consciousness and mind. He defined consciousness as the sum overall of mental encounter at any provided moment and the brain as the accumulated experience of a life span.