Bibliography: History of Functionalism

This post is written by Christopher Green, York University and is part of a special series of bibliographies on topics in the history of psychology.

For the past few years I have been working on the American school of psychology that was known as Functionalism. Functionalism was prominent from around 1890 to around 1920, though its roots go back into the 1870s and, in some ways, it carries forward to the present day. I have made two video documentaries about it (,, and I had an article in the February 2009 issue of American Psychologist (as part of their Darwin bicentennial celebration). I will also have a related article on Titchener and objectivity in the December 2010 issue of Isis. One of the reasons I became interested in this topic was the relative lack of good historical work on it, but I have put together a list of the books and papers that I found to be most helpful in understanding it. Most of it is primary source, but I have included some secondary material as well (some of which has a somewhat different focus — e.g., pragmatism, intelligence testing, applied psychology, behaviorism — but still bears on Functionalism in important ways).

Angell, James R. (1903). The relation of structural and functional psychology to philosophy. Decennial publications of the University of Chicago (First Series, Vol. 3, pp. 55-73).

Angell, James Rowland. (1907). The province of functional psychology. Psychological Review, 14, 61-91.

Angell, James Rowland & Moore, Addison W. (1896). Studies from the psychological laboratory of the University of Chicago: 1. Reaction-Time: A study in attention and habit. Psychological Review, 3, 245-258.

Backe, Andrew. (2001). John Dewey and early Chicago functionalism. History of Psychology, 4, 323-340.

Baldwin, James Mark. (1895b). Mental development in the child and race. New York: Macmillan.

Baldwin, James Mark. (1896a). A new factor in evolution. American Naturalist, 30, 441-451, 536-553.

Bjork, Daniel W. (1997). William James: The center of his vision. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Brent, Joseph. (1998). Charles Sanders Peirce: A life. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Bryan, W.L. & Harter, N. (1899). Studies on the telegraphic language: The acquisition of a hierarchy of habits. Psychological Review, 6:345-375.

Burnham J. & Cravens H. (1971). Psychology and evolutionary naturalism in American thought. 1890-1940. American Quarterly, 23, 635-657.

Cattell, J. M. & Farrand, L.(1896). Physical and mental measurements of the students of Columbia University. Psychological Review, 3, 618-648.

Dewey, John. (1896). The reflex arc concept in psychology. Psychological Review, 3, 357-370.

Dewey, John. (1899). The school and society. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Fancher, R. E. (1985). The intelligence men: Makers of the IQ controversy. New York: W. W. Norton.

Goddard, Henry H. (1910). Four hundred feeble-minded children classified by the Binet method. Journal of Psycho-Asthenics, 15, 17-30.

Goddard, Henry H. (1914). Feeble-mindedness: Its causes and consequences. New York: Macmillan.

Hall, G. S. (1904). Adolescence: Its psychology and its relations to physiology, anthropology, sociology, sex, crime, religion, and education (Vols. I & II). New York: D. Appleton & Co.

James, William. (1879). Are we automata? Mind, 4, 1-22.

James, William. (1884). What is an emotion? Mind, 9, 188-205.

James, William. (1890). Principles of psychology (2 vols.). New York: Henry Holt.

Madden, Edward H. (1963). Chauncey Wright and the foundations of pragmatism. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Minton, Henry L. (1998). Lewis M. Terman: Pioneer in psychological testing. New York: New York University Press.

Menand, Louis. (2001). The metaphysical club: A story of ideas in America. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Münsterberg, H. (1909a, November). Psychology and the market. McClure’s Magazine, 34, 87-93.

O’Donnell, John M. (1985). The origins of behaviorism: American psychology, 1870-1920. New York, NY: New York University Press.

Peirce, Charles Sanders. (1955). The fixation of belief. In J. Buchler (Ed.), Philosophical writings of Peirce (pp. 5-22). New York: Dover. (Original work in Popular Science Monthly, 1877)

Peirce, Charles Sanders. (1955). How to make our ideas clear. In J. Buchler (Ed.), Philosophical writings of Peirce (pp. 23-41). New York: Dover. (Original work in Popular Science Monthly, 1878)

Richards, Robert J. (1987). Darwin and the emergence of evolutionary theories of mind and behavior. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Richardson, Robert D. (2006). William James in the maelstrom of modernity. Boston,MA: Houghton Mifflin.

Ross, Dorothy. (1972). G. Stanley Hall: The psychologists as prophet. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Scott, W. D. (1910). The psychology of advertising. Boston: Small, Maynard.

Shook, J. R. (Ed.) (2001). Introduction. Chicago School of Functionalism. History of American Thought (3 vols.). Bristol, UK: Thoemmes.

Small, Willard S. (1901). An experimental study of the mental processes of the rat II. American Journal of Psychology, 12, 206-239.

Sokal, Michael M. (Ed.) (1981). An education in psychology: James McKeen Cattell’s journal and letters from Germany and England, 1880-1888. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Sokal, Michael M. (Ed.) (1987). Psychological testing and American society. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Terman, L. M. & Childs, H. G. (1912). A tentative revision and extension of the Binet-Simon measures scale of intelligence. Journal of Educational Psychology, 3, 61-74, 133-143, 198-208, 277-289.

Thorndike, Edward L. (1898). Animal intelligence: An experimental study of the associative processes in animals. Psychological Review Monograph Supplements, 2 (4), 109 pp.

Thorndike, Edward L. & Woodworth, Robert S. (1901a). The influence of improvement in one mental function upon the efficiency of other functions (I). Psychological Review, 8, 247-261.

Titchener, Edward B. (1898). The postulates of a structural psychology. Philosophical Review, 7, 449-465.

Titchener, Edward B. (1899). Structural and functional psychology. Philosophical Review, 8, 290-299.

Watson, John B. (1907). Studying the mind of animals. The World Today, 12, 421-426.

Watson, John B. (1913). Psychology as the behaviorist views it. Psychological Review, 20, 158-177.

Wiebe, Roert H. (1967). The search for order: 1877-1920. New York, NY: Hill & Wang.

Wissler, Clark. (1901). The correlation of mental and physical tests. Psychological Review Monograph Supplement (vol. 3, no. 6).

Wozniak, R. H. (1997). Theoretical roots of early behaviorism: Functionalism, the critique of introspection, and the nature and evolution of consciousness.

Wright, Chauncey. (1971). The limits of natural selection. In C. E. Norton (Ed.), Philosophical discussions (pp. 97-125). New York: Burt Franklin. (Original work published in North American Review, Oct, 1870)

Wright, Chauncey. (1971). Evolution of self-consciousness. In C. E. Norton (Ed.), Philosophical discussions (pp. 199-266). New York: Burt Franklin. (Original work published in North American Review, April, 1873)

Yerkes, R. M. & Morgulis, S. (1909). The method of Pawlow in animal psychology. Psychological Bulletin, 6, 257-273.

Zenderland, L. (1998). Measuring minds: Henry Herbert Goddard and the origins of American intelligence testing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

About Christopher Green

Professor of Psychology at York University (Toronto). Former editor of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences. Creator of the "Classics in the History of Psychology" website and of the "This Week in the History of Psychology" podcast series.

2 thoughts on “Bibliography: History of Functionalism

  1. I saved your contribution to access your videos. There is no time at the moment. I have also commented on Darwin here at the UofA, and since for the Arizona Senior Academy.
    Ev Wyers

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