What Is Functional Psychology?

Functional psychology is a branch of psychology that developed in the late 19th century that focused on both the function of consciousness and how consciousness influences behavior. Functional psychology sprang up in opposition to the prevailing Stucturalists who strived to determine the structure of the adult mind.

Functionalists believed that psychology could be practical and not just the exploration of consciousness and the mind. William James was the pre-eminent functionalist, and he believed that consciousness only exists because it has a purpose and that psychology can be used to improve people's lives. Some historians consider functionalism as appropriate for the progressive time period from which it came, because it attempted to use a practical application of psychology to solve the mind's problems.