What Is an Example of Structuralism?

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Structuralism is a psychological theory that was introduced by psychologist Wilhelm Wundt and that was popularized by Edward B. Tichener. An example of structuralism is a camouflage fleece blanket. It is warm, soft, fuzzy and green. Another example would be an apple. It is red, crisp, hard and sweet. Structuralism is only interested in understanding the basic definitions of something, not the more complex ideas and reasons behind it.

Using the example of an apple, a person practicing structuralism can only describe it in terms of their most basic perceptions. They cannot simply describe it as an apple, because structuralism believes that it is the total sum of the parts that have been broken down into the most simple elements that make up the whole of something.

The theory of structuralism strives to understand the key components of the mind by breaking each thought and emotion down to its most basic elements. The process of introspection, or looking deeper into the self, was used to understand and interpret the conscious mind. Introspection required people to focus on the emotion that they were currently feeling or the thought they were currently having and try to understand what made them experience that feeling or thought.