Sun, Nov

Structuralism Psychology | Aims and Objectives of Structuralism

  • According to will elm Wundt, the funds of structure psychology was the study of conscious experienced.
  • His student tichener further explained that....



  • According to will elm Wundt, the funds of structure psychology was the study of conscious experienced.
  • His student tichener further explained that conscious experience can be broken down into basic conscious elements.
  • Structuralists believed that sensations are the basic elements of consciousness for example the sensation of taste, Tichener identified 4 elements, Sweet, sour, salty, bitter.
  • Wundt believed that mind in compare of senses, ideas, images and feelings and each can be described through describing its quality, duration, clearness and intensity, (sweet, how long, vivid, dim).
  • To reduce a normal conscious experience into basic elements, structuralists relied on a method called introspection.
  • Literally it means looking within, to try to describe a person’s memory, perceptions, cognitive processes and motivations.
  • It can also be defined as analysis of one’s own thoughts.
  • In the first laboratory of psychology participants were trained to describe their inner experiences and then exposed to stimuli e.g. light, sound, taste etc and were required to report the characteristics of their feelings and perception.
  • For Example an interpretation upon being shown an apple would be “I see around, red object”.
  • According to structuralists, introspection was their preferred method because it came directly from the person experiencing the phenomena and that analyzing these reports psychologists could come to a better understanding of the structure of mind.

Aims and Objectives of Structuralism:

  • To study the building blocks of the mind structuralists believed that the goal of psychology was to study mind and consciousness.
  • Structuralists were interested in finding the basic components of the mind and they interacted with each other, the way they do to form conscious experience.
  • To find relationship between the conscious experience and the physical process involved.

Criticism on Structuralism:


  • Helps us organize and understand how the world works e.g. psycho-analytical theory comes from a structural model that assumes a three component psyche system of id, ego and super ego.
  • It is a structure which gives us a way of interpreting and understanding human behavior.
  • It is the first major school of thought in psychology.
  • It formed the bans of experimental psychology and provided a foundation for the future researchers of what to do and what not to do.


  • Structuralists tried to deiscover “what is there” and “in what quantity” not why is it there in the first place or what is its function.
  • It assumed that people had a complete understanding of the process of their conscious experience.
  • While many critics argue that introspection students cannot fully appreciate the process or mechanism of their mental processes.
  • For example Different results will be produced depending on who uses it and for what purpose.
  • Structuralism required people to be able to verbalize their thoughts and perceptions.
  • It excluded and ignored the important social and scientific developments happening outside of structuralism. For example- study of animal behavior, abnormal behavior personality.

Theory of evolution.

  • There were no ways to confirm the accuracy of one’s report of introspection, thus reliability of people’s reports could not be demonstrated.
  • By today’s scientific standards, the experimental standards used to study structures of the mind were too subjective and led to a lack of reliability in results.
  • Structuralists did not use psychology to help answer practical problems and solve real life issues and structuralists were too concerned with internal behavior which was neither directly observable nor could be accurately measured.

Criticism From Behaviorists:

  • Subject matter of scientific psychology should strictly be operationalzes in an objective or measureable way.

Structuralism Today:

  • Though, the structuralism theory is extinct today, it is still considered to be the earliest foundations of psychology.
  • Structuralism in its current form can be cognitive psychology.
  • Though, cognitive psychology rejects subjective methods like introspection but it uses later technology scientific techniques to study the physical components and structures of brain.
  • Structuralism established a scientific tradition for the study of congnition that persists to this day.

Major Structuralists
  1. Wilhelm Klundt.
  2. Edward B. Tichener.


  • Developed as a reaction to structuralism theory.
  • Functionalists held that psychologists should study the functions of consciousness was always changing and hence, had no basic structure of its own.
  • Functionalists were influenced by the evolutionary theory of Darwin and stressed the importance of adaptive behavior and how consciousness leads to adaptive behavior for survival.
  • William James, founder of functionalism suggested that habits are repeated activities which are learned and that use repeat something several times our nervous system is learning For example.
  • Each time that we open a door, it is easier than the previous time.
  • He also talked about pragmatism and suggested that beliefs, thoughts and behaviors have to be considered according to their consequences.
  • His theories managed to incorporate evolution and adaptability and helped in the development of applied psychology For example.
  • Functionalists might examine the function of anger as it prepares us to deal with emergency situations.

Aims & Objectives of Functionalism

  • A reaction to structuralism to cope its spread.
  • To make psychological studies practical and applicable To real life situations and issues.
  • To broaden the scope of psychology to animal children’s. And abnormal human research.
  • To study the functions of the components of mind as to why and for what purpose a behavior occurs.


  • The functionalists were more interested in “how u it happens” and “why it happens” as approved to structuralists who seeked “what happen” and “in what amount” when we engage in mental activity the “why” factor also led to interest in motivating.
  • William James psychology included four methods.
  1. Analysis.
  2. Introspection.
  3. Experiment.
  4. Comparison.