Introducing the Basics

History and Pioneers

How did James’s functionalism differ from Wundt’s structuralism?

James was particularly interested in how the mind affects behavior, how it helps us function in the world. He was less interested in simply identifying the components of the mind, which was more in keeping with Wundt’s structuralism. In fact, later in his career, James abandoned psychology for a school of philosophy called pragmatism. Pragmatists maintained that the value of a belief was less in its accuracy than in its effectiveness, the degree to which it helped people function in their environment.


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