Structuralism is the term commonly used to describe the American version of Wundt's psychology, as developed by Titchener. The term was used by Titchener in an 1898 paper (attacking the functionalism (1896) of James and Dewey) to describe his work (before Roman Jacobson used it in 1929). Aim was to reduce perceptions and ultimately all conscious processes like images (ideas and memories) and affective states (love hate, sorrow) to their simplest components in terms of sensations (sound, sight, smell ... ). The characteristics of these mental elements were, Quality, Intensity, Duration, Clearness and Extension. (Reminiscent of Kant)
European Structuralism as seen in Gestalt psychology and Piaget's Genetic epistemology, apparently did not figure in the American psychological debates of that time?
Challenges to Structuralism
Würzburg School headed by Oswald Külpe, a psychologist influenced by Franz Brentano. Pointed out limitations of introspection, importance of top-down structuring tendencies and recognised mental acts like attending, recognising, willing, comparing, differentiating.
Functionalism Around the same time as Wundt, William James (1842-1910) (more of a theorist and philosopher than an experimental psychologist) established at Harvard a demo lab for Psychology. James emphasised the adaptive function of behaviour: psychological mechanisms exist because they are useful and help individuals to survive and carry out the activities of living. Contents and structure of the mind are not as important as its goal-directedness.
For remarks on Wundt-James see Bechtel et. al., 1999, p.15 (sec. )
Semester 2: James's theory of memory - do in ``Memory''; Comparison between Wundt and James - do in ``Emotions''.