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A History of Modern Psychology 11th Edition

A History of Modern Psychology (11th Edition)

Book Edition11th Edition
Author(s)Schultz, Schultz
Chapter 12, End of Chapter, Review Questions, Exercise 1
Page 286

In what ways did the Gestalt and the behaviorist revolts against Wundtian psychology differ from one another?

Here is a tip:

Functionalism was an inspiring notion for the new schools of thought and viewpoints in the scientific discipline of psychology.


Psychologist Wundt's theory revolved around the elements of consciousness. The theory was opposed by gestalt and behavioral psychologists because of the following reasons:

  • Gestalt psychologists made Wundt's theory of sensory elements a target for their opposition. They referred to Wundt's approach as the brick-mortar psychology. They argued that the combination of sensory elements is vital for configuration as the entire object is greater than the combination of its bits. For instance, the melody of the guitar comes with the combination of all strings, not by one cord.
  • Behavioral psychologists stated that the focus of psychology should be on external behavior that can be observed and measured by standard psychological testing. Behavioral psychologists rejected Wundt's idea of studying the internal aspects of a person's mind. The behaviorists' experiments on animals were a powerful attack on Wundt's view of psychology.

Verified Answer

Gestalt and behaviorists are the old school of psychology that have different perspectives of studying human behavior. The difference in the behaviorist and gestalt revolts in opposition to the theories of psychologist Wundt is as follows:

  • Gestalt psychologists accepted Wundt's theory of consciousness, but they criticized the idea of reducing consciousness to atoms or elements.
  • Behaviorists opposed the idea of studying consciousness as a part of the scientific discipline of psychology.
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