Foundations of Psychology

Essay by mkimmerlingCollege, Undergraduate June 2014

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Foundations of Psychology

Melisa Kimmerling


January 25, 2014

Ashley Dolecki





Foundations of Psychology

The major schools of thought in psychology are: Behaviorism, Gestalt, Humanistic, Psychoanalytic, Cognitive, Structuralism and Functionalism. The early schools of thought are Structuralism and Functionalism which were developed by Edward Titchener. Edward Titchener was a student of Wilhelm Wundt who was known as the father of psychology. (Westen, 2011)

Structuralism uses a method called introspection to uncover elements of the consciousness and how they form ideas. Structuralism is both a science and ideaology. As a science Structuralism tells about the fundamental nature of the World. (

One of the founders of functioalism was William James, he wrote the first textbook in psychology. Functionalism focuses on the function of psychological processes and how individuals adapt to their enviroment. (Westen, 2011) An assumption of Functionalism is that human beings are caring and coorperative toward each other.


Behaviorism, also refered to as behavioral perspective or behaviorist, focuses on how enviroment controls learning behavior. The most well know experiment of Behaviorism is Pavlov's dog. Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov did an experiment with his dogs and found out by accident that when he rang a bell his dogs would salavate thinking it was time to eat. Some behaviorist believe that everything we do is by behavior not mind. (

Gestalt psychology argues that perception is an active experience of imposing order on an overwhelming panorama of details bt seeing them as part of the big picture. (Westen, 2011) Gestalt psychology makes the assumption of the here and now.

Cognitive psychology focuses on how people perceive, process and retrieve information. Cognitive psychologist study processes that have to do with memory and decision making. Cognitive psychologist use the brain itself as...