What Similarities Do Structuralism and Functionalism Share?

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Structuralism and functionalism are the first two schools of thought to emerge in psychology during the 19th century. In 1906, Mary Whiton Calkins, the first female president of the American Psychological Association, published an article in the Psychological Review arguing that structuralism and functionalism were not very different ways as both schools of thought were primarily concerned with consciousness of thought.

Structuralism was the first school of thought to develop in the field of psychology. The theoretical term was coined by Edward Titchener, a student of Wilhelm Wundt. Wundt is credited with opening the first structuralist psychology lab. The school of thought behind structuralism primarily deals with breaking down mental processes into the most basic components. About.com notes that structuralist theory did not last very far beyond Titchener’s death, as it was widely criticized for its subjectivity. Structuralism is credited with helping to develop many of the ideas used in experimental psychology. Functionalism emerged soon after structuralism, and it is widely associated with William James and Charles Darwin. Functionalism sought to understand the elements of behavior and was more focused on the process of breaking down consciousness into its basic parts, rather than the parts themselves like structuralism. Functionalism is credited with influencing later schools of thought of behaviorism and applied psychology.