Shared Flashcard Set


Hist Psy Test 2
history of modern psychology
Undergraduate 4

Additional Psychology Flashcards




What was the functionalists' central interest?

How an organism uses its mind to adapt to the environment.


Not just the functioning of the mind/how the mind functions, but how function helps you to adapt.

Functionalism vs Structuralism


  • structure of the human mind and contents of the mind, consciousness.
  • Not interested at all in application to the world.


  • how the mind works and PURPOSE.
  • Interested in applying Psy to real world.
  • How organism uses mind to adapt to environment. Purpose of function.
  • First uniquely American system of psychology
  • Deliberate protest against Wundt's and Titchener's structuralism
  • Interest in applied psychology
Forerunners (Main people) of Functionalism
  1. Darwin
  2. Fechner
  3. Galton
  4. Animal psy experiments
The "Evolution Revolution"
  • Charles Darwin
  • "On the Origins of Species...." contained nothing new
  • the idea of living things changing with time dates back to 5th century b.c.

Evolution and Functionalism


  • Darwin's theory of evolution interested in function
  • structural similarities= ancestry similarities
  • but ALSO, structure as a means of function
    • ex) birds can fly so they can escape ice age
  • phylogenesis of behavior
phylogenesis of behavior

phylogenesis: The evolutionary development and diversification of a species or group of organisms, or of a particular feature of an organism


phylogenesis of behavior: organize a group based on function (not structure)

 ex) 2 kinds of digger wasps: same structure, very different nest-building


Darwin's theory of evolution

Erasmus Darwin
  • Charles Darwin's grandfather
  • believed all animals evolved from a single strand made alive by god
    • so, belief in evolution but also in "elan vital" idea


modification of animal's bodily form:

  1. through efforts to adapt to environment
  2. inherited by succeeding generations


(very wrong, however Darwin actually supported but just believed this wasn't the MAIN form of evolution).

  • Evolution of the Geology of the Earth
  • mid 1800's
  • showed that the earth was very old, not just a few thousand years. This helped to support evolution b/c evolution would take a very long time if it existed
  • Darwin highly influenced by this book on his voyage where he could see evidence of geology.
  • Lyell supported Darwin
evolution of culture
  • different than regular natural selection, learning can be passed down through generations, too, but only AFTER birth.
  • ex) chimpanzees can sort seed from sand by dropping it in water; they don't become built-in knowing this, but they can teach their kids this and then each generation learns and does this.
  • but NOT an inherited thing, only a learned/cultured thing.
Darwin's life
  • expected to be a physician, but rejected medicine >studied theology
  • HMS Beagle: Captain Rober Fitzroy
  • When he returned to England, married, problems with physical health (associated w/ interruptions of his work)
  • Worked on his theory of evolution for 22 years
  • Then Alfred Russel Wallace wrote darwin a very similar theory of evolution, scared Darwin to publish quickly.
  • Published book in 1859
HMS Beagle: Darwin's Voyage
  • Goal was to collect data to support the biblical view of creation
  • Teacher John Henslow secured the position for Darwin, even though Darwin had been uninterested in school studies at that point, and Captain Fitzroy had judged Darwin to be lazy because of his nose.
  • Trip: 1831-1836 all around the world (mostly around bottom halves of coast lines and most of S. America)
  • Darwin collected various specimens, studied a variety of plant and animal life, and collected an immense amount of data.
Why a movement away from biblical creationism?
  • Many new species discovered: how could they all fit on Noah's ark?
  • People first able to view arangatans and chimpanzees -noticed their intelligent, human-like behavior!!
  • Fossils and bones of extinct species found
  • People were bored with old theories -change was the interest. were tired of the bible's explanations.
  • Growing domination of science
  • Darwin's overwhelming data could not be ignored
Spontaneous variability

The idea that one of the general laws of heridity is that offspring will show variation among themselves


(then some of these will be good, others bad -in the long run, the useful variations/mutations will survive and the others will die out)

Finche's beaks

Originally, Darwin had studied variation of species on the galapagos islands in the pacific ocean.

He had seen how animals of the same species had evolved in different ways in response to differing environmental conditions


In 1973, Peter and Rosemary Grant visited the islands and found 13 species of finches. For 30 years, they researched and witnessed evolution in action. Darwin had underestimated the power of natural selection: the finches had evolved multiple times in a period of only 20 years!!!

Huge fossil fish in 2006
  • New species, Tiktaalik roseae
  • Provides the missing link b/w fish and land animals.
  • Giant fish has small, strong limbs that would allow it to not only swim but walk on land!
  • Also has a flat, crocodile-like head with nostrils on the side for breathing air, a neck, and ribs.
  • prehistoric ancestors of humans.
  • the fish shows how fins on freshwater species first began transforming into limbs some 380 million years ago. The change was a huge evolutionary step that opened the way for vertebrates—animals with backbones—to emerge from the water


Darwin's influence on Psychology
  1. a focus on animal psychology, which formed the basis of comparative psychology
  2. an emphasis on the functions rather than the structure of consciousness
  3. the acceptance of methodology and data from many fields
  4. a focus on the description and measurement of individual differences


Francis Galton
  • Darwin's cousin
  • 1822-1911
  • very religious, creative, artistic.
  • worked on mental inheritance and individual differences
  • founded eugenics (later Hitler studied and liked!)
  • developed many statistical methods (with student, cattell)
  • association of ideas with mental imagery
Galton's view on mental inheritance
  • Believed intelligence was 100% inherited
  • "eminent men have eminent sons"
  • founded eugenics: improve inherited human traits through artificial selection
  • believed in a "general intelligence" that covered everything
  • applied statistics to heredity problems, like using mean, standard deviations, etc. to produce a "normal curve"
Galton's mental tests
  • term came from student Cattell but idea originated by Galton
  • Galton assumed intelligence could be measured by perceptual and sensory capacities (not true)
  • Established laboratory to test british population for human capacities
  • His data was reliable, but interpreted wrong. Bigot. (Later used info to help with developmental trend studies)
Association of Ideas
  • Galton
  • found that 40% of associations can be traced to chldhood events
  • the unconsciouss influences thought processes
  • word-association test: 1 experimental attempt to examine associations
Mental Imagery


  • 1st extensive use of psychological questionnaire
  • imagery is normally distributed in the population (?)
  • siblings more similar than non-relatives in mental images (he thought this meant inheritence, but actually shows impact of shared environment)
Individual Differences

Had been recognized by Weber, Fechner, Helmholtz, etc.

but never researched


Galton researched mental inheritence, associations and imagery, sensory capacities, etc.

found a "normal curve"

George Romanes
  • 1848-1894
  • selected by Darwin to apply the theory of evolution to the mind
  • well-known physiologist, prolific publisher
  • he was given lots of data by darwin but used anecdotal method and introspection by analogy to develop his theory
  • Morgan went against Romanes's methods and proposed law of parsimony (science as simple and testable)

Morgan's Canon



=Law of Parsimony: just like Occam's razor but for psy

  • Was against Romanes's flowery explanations and anecdotal methods
  • Keep explanations as low-level and simple as possible
  • Science should be simple and testable
Romanes's Methods
  • Anecdotal instead of experience
  • Introspection by analogy
  • High-flown explanations
Mental Ladder
  • Romanes's theory
  • publishes "Animal Intelligence" in 1883 (first book of camparative psy)
  • Collected data on all sorts of species to demonstrate the high level of intelligence of animals and its similarity to humans
  • said that the kinds of intelligence aren't any different, but just lower-level functioning in other species compared to humans
  • Ladder to illustrate the continuity in mental development and arranged animals according to their level of mental functioning
Problems with the "Mental Ladder"

Used anecdotal method- casual observation of behavior, or reports and narratives given about animal behavior.

uncritical, untrained observers who might be biased or careless


used introspection by analogy- compared animals behavior to human behavior and derived conclusions based on human motivations and reasoning. assumed the same mental processes as humans. not scientific data b/c subjective interpretation.

Social Darwinism
  • Theory by Herbert Spencer, NOT darwin, although based on Darwin's ideas
  • Social darwinism: applying the theory of evolution to human nature and society
  • Spencer coined the phrase "survival of the fittest" (not darwin)
  • Met with much enthusiasm by the public
  • Idea that all aspects of the universe are evolutionary.
  • Led to "lassaize-faire" business practices; aligned with America's individualistic spirit. "struggle for existence"; utopian society
Synthetic Philosophy
  • Herbert Spencer
  • really should be called "sythesized philosophy"
  • Application of evolutionary principles to all human knowledge and experience
  • book "Principles of Psychology" published in 1855 discussed synthetic philosophy


"Princples of Psychology" by Spencer
  • book by Herbert Spencer in 1855; extremely influential
  • 2 volume book about synthetic philosophy
  • Notion that the mind exists in its present form because of past and continuing efforts to adapt to various environments
  • emphasized the adaptive nature of nervous and mental processes
  • organism MUST adapt in order to survive
  • used as a textbook by William James
Spencer's Influence
Emphasizing concepts of adaptation, continuity, and development, Spencer attempted to found psychology on principles of evolutionary biology. In so doing he laid the groundwork for scientific functionalism.
The continuing evolution of machines

Could machines evolve the way animals and humans do to higher forms?


Samuel Butler: the evolution of machines had already occurred

  • compare wedges, levers, pulleys to complex machinary like steam-engines, etc.
  • mechanical evolution occurs through same process: natural selection and the struggle for existence
  • Inventors constantly creating new machines to gain competitive advantage; new machines eliminate or render extinct the older, inferior machines
  • rapid development of technology was faster than the evolution of animals
  • predicted that machines would someday become capable of simulating human mental processes= a kind of intelligence

Henry Hollerith: created punch cards; established IBM

Life of William James
  • 1842-1910
  • graduated from Harvard. became teacher of physiology, experimental psychology, philosophy, and psychology.
  • Emotional man plagued by doubt, poor health, low self-esteem, neuroticism, depression, and severe emotional problems (suicidal)
  • married father's choice of woman but started his first book on his honeymoon (took 12 yrs to write)
  • criticized his own book and then gave up on psychology, angry, saying that psychology was hopeless.
Why was William James both a champion and enemy of psychology at times?

His book "principles of psychology" was considered one of the most intelligent, influential books ever written in psychology and founded some of the central tenants of later functionalism.


But he also angrily gave up on psychology, saying that it had no hope of becoming a science. and then switched to philosophy.

Basic tenants of "the Principles of Psychology" by James
  1. The Goal of Psychology: is not the discovery of the elements of experience but rather the study of living people as they adapt to their environment.
  2. Consciousness: The function of consciousness is to guide us to those ends required for survival.
  3. Methods: don't restrict to a certain technique; use introspection, experimental method, and comparative psy
  4. Pragmatism: "if it works, it is true"
  5. Theory of Emotions: bodily sensation IS the fear (fear doesn't come first)
  6. Habit: all creatures are "bundles of habits"; repetitive action causes permanent changes in neural system

Central Tenets of "Principles of Psy" by James: Consciousness


  • The function of consciousness is to guide us to those ends required for survival
  • Consciousness is vital to the needs of complex beings in a complex environment
  • without consciousness, human evolution could not have occurred
  • Consciousness is:
  1. a continuous flow
  2. always changing, not recurrent
  3. cumulative
  4. selective (via relevance)
  5. puposive
Central Tenets of "Principles of Psy" by James: Pragmatism
  • "anything is true if it works"
  • idea that the validity of an idea or conception must be tested by its practical consequences
  • how good an idea is depends on how well it can be applied to the real world. a test of the value of an idea (complete opposite of "ivory tower" psychologists)
Central Tenets of "Principles of Psy" by James: Theory of Emotions

opposite of traditional example: see-fear-run

Jame's idea: see-run-fear

  • Feeling of bodily changes IS the emotion
  • Supported by introspective observation that w/o bodily changes such as rapid heart rate, shallow breathing, and muscle tension, then fear would not occur.
  • A year later, Carl Lange published similar theory called "James-Lange theory of emotions"
Central Tenets of "Principles of Psy" by James: Habit
  • all living creatures are "bundles of habit"
  • repetitive/habitual actions serve to increase plasticity of neaural matter
  • habit becomes easier to perform and requires less attention
  • "it is best that most of us, by the age of 30, have our character set like plaster... [because it helps us to] make the best of a pursuit that agrees b/c there is no other for which we are fitted, and it is too late to begin again"
Supporting users have an ad free experience!