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Ψ  Introduction
- Historical Approaches -

•  Structuralism: elements of the mind     Note: associated with Wilhelm Wundt - Introspection

    Introspection: the contemplation of your own thoughts & desires & conduct. Introspection was once an acceptable means of gaining insight into psychological phenomena. Introspection was used by German physiologist Wilhelm Wundt in the experimental psychology laboratory he had founded in Leipzig in 1879. Wundt believed that by using introspection in his experiments he would gather information into how the subject's minds were working, thus he wanted to examine the mind into its basic elements.

•  Functionalism: functions of the mind   Note: associated with William James - Purpose of mental activity
    The primary interest in this approach is in the function of mental processes, including consciousness. While not the creation of any single scholar, William James was clearly its most famous advocate.
    The functionalists tended to use the term 'function' rather loosely. The term is used in at least two different ways. It can refer to the study of how a mental process operates. This is a major departure from the study of the structure of a mental process, the difference between stopping a train to tear it apart to study its parts (structuralism), and looking at how the systems interact while it is running (functionalism). The term 'function' can also refer to how the mental process functions in the evolution of the species, what adaptive property it provides that would cause it to be selected through evolution.
    Functionalism never really died, it became part of the mainstream of psychology. The importance of looking at process rather than structure is a common attribute of modern psychology. As an individual approach it lacked a clear formulation & inherited the problems of the structuralist reliance on introspection.

•  Gestalt approach: sensations versus perceptions. Perception is more than the sum of its parts.

Note: associated with Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Köhler, Kurt Koffka

                e.g. Apparent motion (demonstrated by the phi phenomenon)

            rcgexample of the phi phenomenon

•  Behavioral approach: objective, scientific analysis of observable behaviors. dominant approach: 1920s - 1960s

Note: associated with John B. Watson - B. F. Skinner

•  Cognitive approach: dominant approach: 1970s - present

    The cognitive approach deals with mental processes like memory & problem solving.

General Psychology
Robert C. Gates