Encyclopedia of the History of Psychological Theories

2012 Edition
| Editors: Robert W. Rieber


  • Rand B. Evans
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0463-8_33


Structuralism was a systematic, experimental, introspective psychology of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The term is typically identified with the systematic psychology of Edward Bradford Titchener (1867–1927). Titchener’s structuralism used analytical introspection as its primary method for most of its existence to reduce complex mental states to the simplest elemental mental processes that appear in consciousness. It explained those processes in terms of the physiological processes of the organism. The final form of Titchener’s psychology, called by him and his school “existential psychology,” diverged from the earlier elementistic form and used phenomenological description rather than analytical introspection and making no attempt at explanation. There is some question whether this last form of Titchener’s psychology, roughly between 1921 and 1927, should be called “structural” at all (Evans 1972).

The term “structuralism” has sometimes been used to...

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.East Carolina UniversityGreenvilleUSA