Functionalism & Behaviorism


William James

1842 - 1910

-Four Beliefs of Consciousness: 1. Personal, 2. Ever-changing, 3. Continuous, 4. Selective
-Function of Consciousness: guide us to ends required for survival.
-Psych must be within natural setting
-Methods: not introspection! 1. Studying in natural environment, 2. Phenomenological method (descriptions of experience). 3. Physiological effects on consciousness (doesn't cause it but does influence it).
Theory of Emotion: Cognitive labeling of physiological arousal.
-Habits: Formed by nurture and set in stone by age 30. Hoped to understand formation of habits and use to create a better world. JUST LIKE BEHAVIORISTS.
-Very little empirical or research contributions to psych.

-Did begin the move away from introspection and Wundt.

Pavlov (1849-1936)

1849 - 1936

-You can control behavior
-Even that thought to be under the control of unconscious mind (reflexes).

John Dewey

1859 - 1952

Reflex Arc: Whole system, not broken down components of mental elements. Cognition, behaviors, and emotions occur within a context.


1869 - 1962

Motivational Psychology:
-Stimuli do not cause response, the excite them but the form and energy of response may be independent of the stimulus.
-Stressed context and the state of the organism receiving the stimulus.

James Rowland Angell

1869 - 1949

-Dewey's student
1. Functionlism is psych of mental operations or functions, structuralism is psych of mental elements (how and why versus what)
2. Functionalism describes operations of mind and functions of consciousness under actual life conditions. It's adaptive and mediates between environment and needs of the organism. Active and changing.
3. Functionalists assume constant interplay between psych and physical. No real distinction, they are one.

Harvey Carr

1873 - 1954

-Subject Matter of Psych: Mental activity including memory, perceptions, feeling, judgement etc.
-Psychology rooted in world of everyday affairs, precursor to applied psychology


1874 - 1949

Puzzle-Box Cats
-Trial and Error
-As correct response led to escape (reward) trial and error decreased.
-Learning Sets: doing more boxes makes you better and faster at solving new boxes. You have a "set" of what boxes operate liek.

John Watson

1878 - 1958

-Hated introspection, believed it had completed all it could and sought the next step.
-Wanted to move away from consciousness, deemed it irrelevant to true psychology.
-Suggested methods like: 1. Observation with and without instruments, 2. Mental Testing, 3. B Verbal report, 4. Conditioned reflex method (this is most important). 5. Animal Psych, 6. Introversion of Behavior Pavlovian style.
-Instinct: By end of career, believed there was no instinct.
-Theory of Emotion: Fear, Rage, Love. All elicited by specific stimuli and producing specific responses.

Clark Hull

1884 - 1952
  1. Hypothetico-deductive model (Scientific Method) -Omitted mentalist terms and only used mechanistic terms -Human behavior is: mechanistic, robotic, automatic, reducible to language of physics.
  2. Radical Behaviorism: Behavior, rather than mental states shoudlb ethe focus of study in psychology.
  3. Drive Reduction: When S-R relationship results in the reduction of bodily need, the probability increases that in the future, the same S will elicit the same R. -Learning cannot happen without reinforcement. -Strength of S-R is increased by the number of pairings.
  4. Motivation: Proper reinforcement schedules harness and organism's internal physiological drives to capitalize on reinforcement quality.

E.C. Tolman

1886 - 1959

More than S-R Behaviorism of Watson
-Different reward values elicit different responses.
Intervening Variables:
-S-O-R system in which O is the observer who Tolman believed had a great influence on the response. (Precursor to the concept of individual differences).
-Explained inconsistencies in behavior not explained by differing reinforcement histories, more like real life.
-Not observable making it difficult to control and predict (the goal of behaviorism).


Approx. 1890


1904 - 1990

Operant and Classical Conditioning
-Intermittent reinforcement better maintains the frequency of responding.
-Super specific prediction of how reinforcement controls behavior.


  1. Empirical science which appealed to the general trend towards objectivity of the day.
  2. Practicality: world had issues that needed to be solved and psychology according to behaviorism's goals (predict and control) was a better answer to these problems than introspection or even functionalism.
  3. Clarity of subject matter.
  4. Subjects became less important than the experimenter.

-Make yourself useful or make yourself scarce.
-WWs and Great Depression caused real problems. There was no time for frivolous academic research without application to solving problems.
-Conflict within Psych: on value of introspection, on existence of mental elements, on need to remain a pure science.

-Clear definitive beginning.
-Not building on or adding to Wundtian Psych, a complete and total rebellion against. First time this has happened since Wundt declared a beginning to Psychology.