James Rowland Angell - Functional Psychology

Functional Psychology

He was greatly influenced by the thought of John Dewey and is closely identified with functional psychology.

Angell laid out his three major points about functionalism during his presidential address for the American Psychological Association.

1. Functional psychology is interested in mental operations by way of mental activity and its relation to the larger biological forces. Angell believes that functional psychologists must consider the evolution of the mental operations in humans as one particular way to deal with the conditions of our environment. Mental operations by themselves are of little interest. Functional psychology is not conscious elements .

2. Mental processes aid in the cooperation between the needs of the organism and its environment. Mental functions help the organism survive by aiding in the behavioral habits of the organism and unfamiliar situations.

3. Mind and body cannot be separated because functionalism is the study of mental operations and their relationship with behavior. The total relationship of the organism and the environment and the minds function/place in this union is at question.

By stating these points, Angell drew the difference between functionalism as a study to discover how mental processed operate, what they accomplish that has kept them around, and the conditions in which they occur or the how and why of consciousness and its predecessor, structuralism, which focused on individual mental elements or the what of consciousness.

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