Psychology And William Wundt Essay

1699 words - 7 pages

William Wundt conceived psychology as a science that could be experimented. His work majored on the concept of voluntarism as a way of coming into terms with psychological problems. Wundt’s ideas of understanding psychological problems explored mental disorders and abnormal behavior, religious beliefs, and pronouncement of the damaged parts of the brain. Through his experiments, he was able to distinguish psychology as a distinct science from other topics. He believed that analyzing consciousness as an individual’s subjective experience of the mind and the world, should inform scientific psychology (Rieber, 2001).
Titchener, who was a one student of Wundt, on the other hand, described his system as structuralism, which involves the analysis of the structure of the mind. Tichener broke down consciousness into elemental feelings and sensations. Wundt held the belief that consciousness was vital in scientific psychology, thus dependent on structuralism. He used introspection to study the functions of the mind occurring in active experience. It is however, imperative to note that Wundt’s introspection could not be used to establish higher functions of the mind. He divided the active experiences as feelings and sensations (Titchener, 1915).
The sensations according to Wundt resulted from stimulation of a sense organ. He construed that the sensations go hand in hand with the feelings. The feelings could take the form of excitement-calm, pleasantness-unpleasantness, and straining-relaxation. The feelings and sensations according to Wundt were informed by experiences and the anatomical makeup of an individual. He called the voluntary concentration to elements as apperception, and free will modification of the elements as creative synthesis (Rieber, 2001). He thus held the belief that there was a distinction between physical causation, which was informed by experiences, and the psychological causation, which does not rely on previous conditions.
Wundt’s voluntarism, association and apperception heavily influenced Tichener’s works. He tried to conceptualize the mind into elemental ingredients, by using chemical means, just in the same manner a chemist could break down chemicals into parts. In his efforts to determine the distinct components of consciousness, Tichener, employed Wundt’s introspection methods that could not be observed. His findings indicated that images, affections and sensations are the components of the elemental conscious process (Titchener, 1915). He focused on associationism, contrary to Wundt’s creative synthesis and apperception. It is, however, noted that Tichener’s structuralism could not survive the modern psychology compared to Wundt’s voluntarism because of its overlook on developments in other sciences, failure to include the theory of evolution and the treacherous utilization of introspection. Wundt’s experimental techniques, however, impacted in the utilization of scientific methods by psychologists to study conscious...

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