Functionalism vs. Behavioral Theory: Mind/Body Problem Perception

What is the mind/body problem and how does the nature of the mind relate to the brain? Essentially, the mind-body problem is a useful question in understanding how the brain states are interpreted to analyze different psychological situations (Cucu and Brian 95). This discussion examines two critical theories of mind that include Behaviorism and Functionalism. The former notes that personal decisions and actions are determined by an individual’s level of interaction with the environment (Cucu and Brian 97). Behaviorism enhances an understanding of the mind/body question attributes among individuals. On the contrary, Functionalism notes that things or principles are defined based on the collective contribution of achieving common goals and objectives. Both theories are useful frameworks of mind which strengths and weaknesses answer fundamental aspects of the question provided (Olen 778). Functionalism theory presents a stronger explanation than the Behaviorism psychological framework in accuracy and relevance of understanding the mind-body problem.

The human brain has distinct biological roles and responsibilities that operate similarly as components of a system. Essentially, both psychological and physiological frameworks are objective in understanding the mind-body problem. For instance, functionalism is an approach that refers to the mind as an inherent component or part of the body. The theory perceives the human brain as an element of the more extensive body system. Functionalism considers brain processes as part of body organs which roles and responsibilities determine biological processes’ efficiency (Cucu and Brian 98). It is important to note that the brain’s primary role entails controlling other body organs. The mind/body problem, in some instances, evaluates mental states that necessitate certain actions despite social judgment. For instance, self-defense is a useful approach to protecting vulnerable individuals from harm. As a result, a presiding judge is expected to evaluate the circumstantial evidence that cases murder for self-defense, including mental states. Essentially, Functionalism enhances the mind/body problem by elaborating mental states that facilitate certain actions.

Additionally, the mind-body problem is attributed to both psychological and physiological challenges encountered by the human body. Ideally, the failure of an important component within the system affects the quality of output or outcome. The human brain encounters psychological difficulties during stressful events (Cucu and Brian 99). It highlights that an individual’s health is partially determined by mental states. For instance, it is common to find stressed patients deteriorating body weight. Functionalism, nevertheless, aids in understanding the mind-body problem from a physiological viewpoint. The approach is more useful than Behaviorism as it can be universally applied to psychological conditions affecting individuals’ physical well-being (Cucu and Brian 96). Failure of core brain functionality, for instance, can cause partial paralysis on one side of the body. Such patients are unable to control vital body processes due to inaccurate brain functioning. Moreover, the human brain contains neurons surrounded by a strong electromagnetic force. The biological system depends on neural communication for organ coordination and collaboration in executing varying tasks. Communication is useful for elaborating how body organs operate as components of a system, as noted in Functionalism (Olen 779). For instance, the secretion of adrenaline follows specific instructions from the brain, enabling an individual to react proactively during danger. This phenomenon is useful in identifying critical mental states depicted in the mind/body problem.

An argument can be made challenging the psychological framework of Functionalism in explaining learned characteristics. In this case, Behaviorism acknowledges mental states’ essence in determining personalities and decision-making (Cucu and Brian 97). It explains why students in private academic institutions with high-quality tutors perform better than those in public education. As a theory in psychology, behaviorism describes the mind as a disposition compelling one to behave in a particular way. From a personal perspective, behaviorism is incomprehensive in understanding extreme personal traits among individuals. Brain processes constitute an essential part of human behavior noted in one’s characteristics. For instance, high anxiety and alertness levels result in unconscious reactions among ex-military officers who have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after many years of war. This condition explains a learned behavior or attributes after long periods of working in a hostile environment (Cucu and Brian 99). For instance, athletes participating in mind-related competitions, such as chess, make decisions based on long experience playing this game. Ideally, hard work and consistency in doing a particular task result in inefficiency. Achieving competence inactivity is described by a physiological perspective of the brain process. Undertaking a particular task frequently trains the brain on the best possible strategies acquired from previous experience. For instance, online influencers have learned the art of communicating issues that resonate with a certain population category. Perfecting the art would require constant influencing acts aimed at changing human behavior towards intended targets.

Behaviorism, however, presents significant challenges associated with Functionalism’s justifications presented above. In simpler terms, contradicting events explain that the mind/body problem is beyond brain functionality (Cucu and Brian 102). Theorists, in favor of Behaviorism, acknowledge the contribution of external factors that affect mental states. It acknowledges that change in behavior with the help of a therapist also elaborates the mind/body problem. Professional capacity of influences, for instance, aids in promoting positive behavior intended for specific outcomes among individuals. The environmental impact on human behavior is also critical in elaborating the mind/body problem (Olen 785). For instance, it is common to find identical twins with different characters despite growing up in the same environment. The brain processes associated with individual behavior development fail to explain disparities in such a mind-body problem. The same case of identical twins also depicts differences in intellectual capacity (Cucu and Brian 103). In some scenarios, one of the twins is brighter than their siblings despite going to the same tutors and school. Behaviorism has been objective in illustrating behavioral attributes using varying psychological theories.

In conclusion, Functionalism is an instrumental theory that explains the mind-body problem better than the psychological framework of Behaviorism. The former recognizes the human body is a biological system with different organs as components. As a result, each body organ has distinct biological roles that regulate and control other parts. Functionalism presents a valid physiological framework that exceeds the theory of Behaviorism discussed above. The latter perceives the mind from a psychological perspective with disputable aspects. In essence, the theory fails to explain exceptional cases of behavioral characteristics not associated with environmental interaction (Olen 780). Additionally, the framework is defective in explaining exceptional cases entailing decision-making and problem-solving. I believe that Functionalism is more instrumental than Behaviorism in facilitating a basic understanding of the mind-body problem. Perceiving the brain as a distinct biological organ like the heart and lungs is easy to comprehend and interpret the coordination of body parts.

Works Cited

Cucu, Alin C., and J. Brian Pitts. “How Dualists Should (not) Respond to the Objection from Energy Conservation.” Mind and Matter, vol. 17 no. 1, 2019, pp. 95-121.

Olen, Peter. The Varieties and Origins of Wilfrid Sellars’ Behaviorism. Routledge, 2018.

Cite this paper

Select style


PsychologyWriting. (2022, February 5). Functionalism vs. Behavioral Theory: Mind/Body Problem Perception. Retrieved from


PsychologyWriting. (2022, February 5). Functionalism vs. Behavioral Theory: Mind/Body Problem Perception.

Work Cited

"Functionalism vs. Behavioral Theory: Mind/Body Problem Perception." PsychologyWriting, 5 Feb. 2022,


PsychologyWriting. (2022) 'Functionalism vs. Behavioral Theory: Mind/Body Problem Perception'. 5 February.


PsychologyWriting. 2022. "Functionalism vs. Behavioral Theory: Mind/Body Problem Perception." February 5, 2022.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Functionalism vs. Behavioral Theory: Mind/Body Problem Perception." February 5, 2022.


PsychologyWriting. "Functionalism vs. Behavioral Theory: Mind/Body Problem Perception." February 5, 2022.