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Chapter 8: Structure or
A History of Psychology
(3rd Edition)
John G. Benjafield
Edward B. Titchener (1867–1927)
• Graduated from Oxford
• 1890–1892: Studied with Wundt at Leipzig
• Established psychological laboratory at
Cornell University, Ithaca
Titchener’s Method
• Believed ‘the unconscious’ = fiction
• Introspection: process by which individuals
describe their experience
• Psychophysical parallelism: by referring to events
in the nervous system we may be able to explain
mental processes without regarding those events
in the nervous system as causing mental
• Psychology = the study of the generalized human
mind by means of experimental introspection
Phases of Titchener’s Career
1. 1890s: Titchener established the basic
characteristics of his introspectionist approach
Structural vs. functional psychology
2. First decade of the twentieth century: Titchener
was preoccupied with methodological issues
Experimental Psychology
3. Until 1915: Titchener was taken up with defending
himself against various critics
Ex. imageless thought controversy
4. Titchener made some radical changes to his
previous beliefs
• Structuralism: aimed to uncover the
elementary structures of mind
= Titchener’s psychology
Experimental Psychology
• Provides details about how a beginner student in
experimental psychology can acquire the
fundamental skills of the discipline
• Explains that a psychological experiment consists
of an introspection or a series of introspections
made under standard conditions
• Content divided into two parts:
– Qualitiative
– Quantitative
Imageless Thought Controversy
• Critics: the Würzburgers
– Reported that introspection often yielded
nothing more clear and distinct than
imageless thoughts
– The concept of imageless thought was
inconsistent with Titchener’s way of analyzing
mental processes
Dimensions of Consciousness
• Titchener developed an abstract approach
to the study of consciousness
• Stressed the analysis of consciousness in
terms of dimensions
• Never settled the questions of what
dimensions of consciousness were or how
many there were
– He died before producing the great work on
the subject that many of his students
Boring and the
Dimensions of Consciousness
• E.G. Boring published an account of what
he considered to be Titchener’s central
• Singled out four dimensions for
– Quality, intensity, extensity, and protensity
• These dimensions all refer to sensory experience
• Noted the phenomenological nature of the
dimensional approach to experience
Titchener’s Influence
• Little left of the content of Titchener’s
system to influence subsequent
generations of psychologists
– His method of introspection received less and
less support
• Proposition that psychology was an
experimental discipline continued to
receive widespread support in academic
• Set out to violate the strictures that Titchener
tried to place on psychology
• Open to methods other than introspection
– Attempts to select the method to fit the particular
• Interested in what function psychological
processes serve
• Focus on how organisms adapt to their
• Attempts to be practical as well as scholarly
John Dewey (1859–1952)
• Undergraduate at the University of Vermont
• 1884: PhD in philosophy at Johns Hopkins
• 1894: joined the University of Chicago
– Chair of the Department of Philosophy,
Psychology, and Education
• 1904–1930: Teacher’s College at Columbia
Reflex Arc Concept
• Paper contains:
– A criticism of the reflex concept as
elementaristic and mechanistic
– A positive statement of a more organic
approach to psychological phenomena
• Suggested that a stimulus is created by an
organism through the act of paying
attention to something
Dewey’s Influence
on Educational Practice
• Teachers influenced by the psychological
assumptions they make about children and the
educational process
• Children and adults are different
– Adult is already in possession of cognitive abilities
that the child is only in the process of developing
• Argued against teaching the 3Rs
• Progressive education movement
James R. Angell (1869–1949)
• Studied with both Dewey and James
• 1894: Professor of Psychology at Chicago
• Did not believe in restricting psychology to
laboratory investigation
Robert S. Woodworth (1869–1962)
• Background in mathematics and physiology
• 1903: Taught Psychology at Columbia
• 1942: Retirement
– Continued to be extremely productive
• Wrote an introductory text, Psychology
– Sold over 400,000 copies between 1922 and
• 1938: wrote Experimental Psychology
S-O-R Framework
• S-O-R
– S = stimulus
– R = response
– O = organism (subject)
• W-O-W
– O = organsim
– W = world (environment)
• Set: similar in meaning to the determining
tendency of the Würzburgers
– Combination formula: W-S-Ow-R-W
• Ow = individual’s adjustment to the environment, or set
Intelligence Testing
• Functionalism created a climate in
America within which applied psychology
could flourish
– Ex. emergence of intelligence tests in the
United States
James McKeen Cattell (1860–
• Trained with Wundt at Leipzig
• Year at Cambridge
– Became acquainted with Sir Francis Galton’s
• Cattell spent much of his career at
Columbia University to the further
development of measures of individual
• 1890: first to introduce the term mental test
Examples of Cattell’s Mental Tests
Dynamometer pressure Strength of hand squeeze
Rate of movement
Sensation of areas
How quickly the hand can
be moved a distance of
Two-point threshold: How
far apart on the skin must
two stimuli be in order to be
detected as two and not just
as one
Alfred Binet (1857–1911)
• Invented the most influential form of
intelligence test
– In collaboration with Theophile Simon
– Test to discriminate between normal and
subnormally intelligent children
• The Binet-Simon scale allows children to be
compared in terms of their mental age
– Mental age: determined by the age level of the
items a child can pass
Examples of
Binet and Simon’s Items
Give family name
Repeat three numbers
Compare two weights
Evolution of Binet and Simon’s Test
• Lewis M. Terman
– Developed the most successful adaptation of the
Binet-Simon scale in an American context = StanfordBinet
– Innovation of the intelligence quotient, or IQ
• William Stern
– IQ obtained by dividing the person’s mental age (MA)
by his or her chronological age (CA)
IQ 
Army Intelligence Testing
• 1917: Robert M. Yerkes appointed chair of a
committee to investigate how psychology could
contribute to the war effort
• The tests that Yerkes and his group developed
were derived from many sources, including the
Binet tests
– Army Alpha = literate soldiers; Army Beta = illiterate
• Group test administration
• Problems:
– Cultural bias
– National differences in intelligence
– Racial differences in intelligence
What is ‘Intelligence’?
• Acquired? Innate?
• Binet: intelligence as a collection of
different skills
• Boring: capacity to do well in an
intelligence test
Psychology in Business
As the mental testing industry was
beginning to develop, the application of
psychology to problems of interest to
business was also emerging as a
Frederick W. Taylor (1856–1915)
• Lifetime focus on efficiency
• Scientific management
– Ex. Bethlehem Steel Company
• Methods developed further by Frank and
Lillian Gilbreth
– Time and motion study
Elton Mayo (1880–1949)
• 1926: National Research Council studied
the effect of changes in the level of lighting
in the Western Electric Plant in
Hawthorne, Illinois on workers’ output
• Mayo became part of a group called in to
• Hawthorne effect: any change in work
conditions increases output
Taylor vs. Mayo
• Assumed that an
individual is motivated by
• Saw the individual as
motivated by the interests
of the group to which the
person belonged
• Focused on individual
behaviour seen as a
collection of bodily
• Focused on behaviour as
determined by the quality
of one’s interpersonal
Comparative Psychology
• Comparative psychology: understanding the
evolution of behaviour through the comparison
of different species
• George John Romanes
Mind = subject matter
Criticism: anecdotal
• C. Lloyd Morgan
– Experimental approach to study of animal behaviour
– Canon
Edward L. Thorndike (1874–1949)
• Research animal intelligence
• Puzzle box: apparatus assembled by
Thorndike out of wood
• Procedure:
– Cat placed in puzzle box with food outside
– Cat required to pull on a string; push a latch
• Thorndike concluded that the cat did not
use reason to escape
• Law of Effect