Chapter 9-Voluntarism, Structuralism, And Other Early Approaches To Psychology Flashcards Preview

History Of Psychology > Chapter 9-Voluntarism, Structuralism, And Other Early Approaches To Psychology > Flashcards

Flashcards in Chapter 9-Voluntarism, Structuralism, And Other Early Approaches To Psychology Deck (21)
Loading flashcards...

A group of scientist who share common assumptions, goals, problems, and methods



The founder of experimental psychology as a separate discipline and of the school of voluntarism

Wilhelm Wundt


According to Wundt, that aspect of humans that allows them to direct their attention anywhere they wish. Because of his emphasis on this, his version of psychology was called voluntarism



The name given to Wundt's School of psychology because of his belief that, through the process of apperception, individuals could direct their attention toward whatever they wish

He believed that humans can decide what is attended to and thus what is perceived clearly. He believed that much behavior and selective attention are undertaken for a purpose; that is, such activities are motivated


Emphasizes will, choice, and purpose


Summarize Wundt's contributions with respect to psychologies goals

Is agreed that psychology could never be a science, and he disagreed with her Bart, who said that psychology could be a mathematical science but not an experimental one. He believed strongly that psychology had in fact become an experimental science

He believed that experimentation could be used to study the basic processes of the mind but could not be used to study the higher mental processes, only various forms of naturalistic observation could be used for those.

Psychologies goal was to understand both simple and complex conscious phenomena. For the former, experimentation could be used; for the latter, it could not


Summarize Wundt's contributions with respect to The role of introspection

Do you study the basic mental processes involved in immediate experience, Wundt used a variety of methods, including introspection. He distinguished pure introspection, the relatively unstructured self observation used by earlier philosophers, and experimental introspection, which he believed to be scientifically respectable

He had little patience with colleagues who used introspection in the more philosophical and less objective way, and used it as a technique to determine whether a person is experiencing a specific sensation or not. It could be used to study immediate experience, but not the higher mental processes


The measurement of the time required to perform various mental acts

Mental chronometry


Summarize Wundt's contributions with respect to mental chronometry including the use of reaction time as a dependent variable, and the work of Franciscus Cornelius Donders

He believed that reaction time could supplement introspection as a technique for studying the elemental contents and activities of the mind

Donders, a famous Dutch physiologist, began an ingenious series of experiments involving reaction time. First, he measured simple reaction time by noting how long it took a subject to respond to a predetermined stimulus such as light with a predetermined response such as pressing a button. Next, he reasoned that by making the situation more complicated, he could measure the time required to perform various mental acts. For example, in one experiment he presented several different stimuli to his subjects but instructed them to respond to only one that was designated ahead of time. This required to subjects to discriminate among the stimuli before responding. He called reactions under these circumstances choice reaction time, and the time required to make a choice was determined by subtracting both simple and discrimination reaction times from choice reaction time.

Wundt wasn't enthusiastic about Donders methods, and believed that they could provide a mental chronometry, or an accurate cataloging of the time it took to perform various mental acts.

He eventually abandoned his reaction time studies. One reason was that he found that reaction times very too much from study to study and from subject to subject, and often for the same subject at different times. It also varied with the sense modality stimulated, the intensity of the stimulus, the number of items to be discriminated and the degree of difference among them, how much practice a subject received, and several other variables


Describe the general problem of the misunderstanding of Wundt's work

Many are in agreement that The way he is portrayed today in many texts and courses is largely fictional and often Bears little resemblance to the actual historical figure. It is speculated that his early use of the word Element was responsible for his being misinterpreted by so many.

A major source of the distortion of his ideas were the American students who went abroad to attend his lectures and because US psychology embraced the empiricistic-positivistic tradition, and Wundt's reflected The rationalist tradition, very little of his psychological system survived the return passage


Created the school of structuralism. Unlike Wundt's Voluntarism, structuralism it was much more in the tradition of empiricism-associationism

Edward Bradford Titchener


Describe Titchener's behavior toward women colleagues and students

Although the APA had admitted woman as members almost from its inception, he created the experimentalists, and women were excluded. The ban on women lasted from the organizations inception until it's reorganization two years after his death in 1929.

However, his first doctoral candidate was a woman, Margaret Floyd Washburn who became the first woman to receive a doctorate in psychology

Including Washburn and parish, half of kitcheners first 12 doctorates were awarded to women, and of the 56 doctoral students he directed between 1984 and 1927, 19 were women. He took women into his graduate program at a time when university such as Harvard and Columbia would not.


Describe Titchners view of psychology's goals

Psychology should study immediate experiences-that is, consciousness. He defined consciousness as the sum total of mental experience at any given moment and mind as the accumulated experiences of a lifetime

Sent as goals for psychology the determination of the what, how, and why of mental life. The what was to be learned through careful introspection. The goal here was a cataloging of the basic mental elements that account for all conscious experience. The how was to be an answer to the question of how the elements combine, and the why was to involve a search for the neurological correlates of mental events

Did not want to explain conscious experience but only to describe it

It was the structure of the mind that he wanted to describe so he named his version of psychology structuralism


The school of psychology founded by Titchener, the goal of which was to describe the structures of the mind



Describe Titchners use of introspection

Was more complicated than Wundt's. Whereas Wundt had subjects simply report whether an experience was triggered by an external object or event, Titchener's subjects had to search for the elemental ingredients of their experiences. Their job was to describe the basic, raw, elemental experiences from which complex cognitive experience was built

His subjects had to be carefully trained to avoid reporting the meaning of a stimulus. The worst thing introspectionist could do would be to name the object of their introspective analysis. If the subjects were shown an apple, for example, the task would be to describe hues and spatial characteristics. Calling the object an Apple would be committing what he called the stimulus error. He wanted his subjects to report sensations, not perceptions


Letting past experience influence an introspective report

Stimulus error


Describe the decline of Titcheners structuralism

Nothing of substance from his system has survived. The decline was inevitable because structuralism was essentially an attempt to study scientifically what had been the philosophical concerns of the past-how does sensory information give rise to simple sensations, and how are the sensations then combined into more complex mental events? The structuralists used introspection which was also inherited from the past and it's results were inconsistent and there was a lack of agreement among highly trained introspectionist concerning the correct description of a given stimulus display

Besides the apparent unreliability of introspection, structuralism came under attack because it excluded several developments that researchers outside the school of structuralism were showing to be important to such as the study of animal behavior and the study of abnormal behavior. They also ignored the study of personality, learning, psychological development, and individual differences while others were making major breakthroughs in these areas. Also damaging was the refusal to seek practical knowledge.

Most importantly, structuralism's demise came down to its inability to assimilate one of the most important developments in human history, the doctrine of evolution


Contended that because sensations are all that we can be certain of, all conclusions reached about so-called physical reality must be fictitious. Although fictions or false, they are nonetheless essential for societal living

Hans Vaihinger


The first to study learning and memory experimentally

Herman Ebbinghaus


The difference between the time it originally takes to learn something and the time it takes to relearn it



Describe Ebbinghaus's methods of studying remembering and the basic findings of this work

To study learning as it occurred, he needed material that had not been previously experienced. For this, he created a pool of 2300 nonsense syllables. It was not his syllables that had little or no meaning; it was a series of syllables that was essentially meaningless.

From the pool of syllables, he chose a series to be learned. The series usually consisted of 12 syllables, although he varied the size of the group in order to study rate of learning as a function of the amount of material to be learned. Keeping the syllables in the same order and do using himself as a subject, he looked at each syllable for fraction of a second. After going through the list in this fashion, he pause for 15 seconds and went through the list again. He continued in this manner until he could recite each syllable without making a mistake, at which point mastery was said to have occurred.

And various time intervals following mastery, he relearned the group of syllables. He recorded the number of exposures it took to relearn the material and subtracted that from the number of exposures it took to initially learn the material. He called the difference between the two savings.

By plotting savings as a function of time, he created psychologies first retention curve. He found that forgetting was most rapid during the first few hours following a learning experience and relatively slow thereafter. And he found that if he overlearned the original material (if he continued to expose himself to the material after he had attained mastery) the rate of forgetting was considerably reduced. He also studied the effect of meaningfulness on learning and memory, for example, he found that it took about 10 times as many exposures to learn 80 random syllables as it did to learn 80 success of syllables from Byrons Don Juan


Describe Wilhelm Wundt's early experiment with his thought meter

This experiment led him to believe that a full-fledged discipline of experimental psychology was possible

A clock was arranged so that the pendulum swung along a calibrated scale. The apparatus was arranged so that a bell was struck by the metal poles at the extreme of the pendulum swing. Wundt discovered that if you looked at the scale as the bell sounded, it was never at the extremes of the pendulum swing but some distance away from either. Thus, determining the exact position of the pendulum as a bell sound it was impossible. Readings were always about 1/10 of a second off. He concluded that one could either attend to the position of the pendulum or to the bell, but not both at the same time

He showed that it took about 1/10 of a second to shift one's attention from the sound of the bell to the position on the pendulum or vice versa. He believed that, with his thought meter, he had demonstrated that humans could attend to only one thought at a time and that it takes about 1/10 of a second to shift from one thought to another

He concluded not only that experimental psychology was feasible but also that such a psychology must stress selective attention, or volition