In Germany, the development of psychological thought was also associated with the development of structuralism. Ernst Weber focused on the principles of physiology to explain the psychological processes (Schultz & Schultz, 2015). In his turn, Wilhelm Wundt focused on regarding consciousness as a structured phenomenon (Goodwin, 2015). Thus, the development of psychological thought in Germany influenced the progress of structuralism as a movement the representatives of which tried to explain all the psychological processes with references to physiology and interactions of components in the consciousness as a system.
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From this point, the opposing thought could not appear in Germany, and functionalism began to develop in the United States. In this country, the impact of Charles Darwin’s ideas was significant, and the main focus was on the ability of people to adapt to certain environments and conditions. This approach also reflected the social situation in the United States as the nation’s struggle for adapting to new lands. As a result, William James and John Dewey contributed to the development of functionalism in the country, and they focused on explaining the functions of the consciousness that help people adapt and change their behaviors (Goodwin, 2015; John Dewey and American psychology, n.d.).
Even though the basic concepts were reworked, it is possible to state that contemporary psychology is based on the ideas of structuralism and functionalism. Structuralism provided modern psychologists with the key concepts of experimental, forensic, and clinical psychology that are grounded on the analysis of physiological and brain processes, as well as mental tests, to conclude about the problem (Schultz & Schultz, 2015).
In its turn, functionalism also influenced contemporary psychology in terms of providing the fundament for educational, behavioral, as well as child and adolescent psychology. Functionalism affected the development of behaviorism and the ideas of psychoanalysis which also contributed to the development of modern educational and child psychology (Pickren & Rutherford, 2010). Thus, the focus is on explaining what functions of consciousness make people adapt to certain environments and conditions and what reinforcers can influence the individuals’ behaviors. In modern psychology, the principles associated with structuralism and functionalism are not only applied but also developed and explained in detail.
Goodwin, C. J. (2015). A history of modern psychology. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
John Dewey and American psychology. (n.d.). Web.
O*NET. (2015). Summary report for: 11-1011.00 – Chief Executives. Web.
Pickren, W., & Rutherford, A. (2010). A history of modern psychology in context. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
Schultz, D., & Schultz, S. (2015). A history of modern psychology. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.