The model that largely replaced structuralism was known as functionalism. William James (1842-1910) agreed with Titchner that the study of consciousness must be the central theme of psychology. But James disagreed with structuralists’ search for basic elements of mind.

Rather James emphasized that psychologists should study how the mind functions. William James published a book titled ‘Principles of Psychology’ in 1890, which promoted functionalism. James agreed that consciousness is an ongoing stream, a property of the mind that continually interacts with the environment. Through this interaction, human beings learn to adapt to their environment. For James, the functions of mind Were more important than the structures of mind. Thus, his system was rightly called as ‘functionalism’.

Functionalism was developed by the American philosopher John Dewey. He applied the assumptions of functionalism in developing the field of school psychology and educational practices. As the functionalists studied the functions of consciousness, gradually their attention shifted to the learning process itself. They paid less attention to the study of consciousness, and more to the environmental conditions that facilitate mental functions.