The functional‐cognitive framework for psychological research: Controversies and resolutions

Sean Hughes, Jan De Houwer, Marco Perugini
Published Online:
30 Nov 2015
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 51 Issue 1

Additional Options


The scientific goals, values and assumptions of functional and cognitive researchers have propelled them down two very different scientific pathways. Many have, and continue to argue, that these differences undermine any potential communication and collaboration between the two traditions. We explore a different view on this debate. Specifically, we focus on the Functional‐Cognitive (FC) framework, and in particular, the idea that cognitive and functional researchers can and should interact to the benefit of both. Our article begins with a short introduction to the FC framework. We sweep aside misconceptions about the framework, present the original version as it was outlined by De Houwer (2011) and then offer our most recent thoughts on how it should be implemented. Thereafter, we reflect on its strengths and weaknesses, clarify the functional (effect‐centric vs. analytic‐abstractive) level and consider its many implications for cognitive research and theorising. In the final section, we briefly review the articles contained in this Special Issue. These contributions provide clear examples of the conceptual, empirical and methodological developments that can emerge when cognitive, clinical, personality and neuroscientists fully engage with the functional‐cognitive perspective.

© 2015 International Union of Psychological Science