PSYCO104 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Wilhelm Wundt, Experimental Psychology, Voluntary Action

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20 Nov 2012
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Founder: Wilhelm Wundt
- To understand how Voluntary action is formed
- To discover the basic elements of thought
- To discover how the laws that operate on elements of thought combine to form more
complex mental processes
To understand how voluntary action is formed took into account the thought meter.This
showed that people are 1/10th of a second off when changing their attention from one thing
to another. Behaviors sometimes chosen, not merely reflexive
- Event (cause)
- Effect
- Rule of extraneous events for (effect) occurrence
Causation is a physics law that gives u an expected outcome such as a domino falling. But
this didn’t apply to mental events. Also Causation can see someone making choice and can
see the stimulation. In between this cause and effect the 1/10th delay applies. This time
allows a lot of random stuff to happen which voids causation which voids psychology from
other types of science. There is too much happening in brain to describe.
Sensations + Feelings two basic mental experiences
- Sensations are described in terms of modality and intensity
- Feelings accompany sensations and describe how pleasant/unpleasant, excitable/
calming, strained/relaxed the sensation is
- Sensations begin psychological events
- Pure introspection is unstructured, freeform self observation
- Experimental Introspection is directed, binary and replicable
- Experimental Introspection used by Wundt, also it is an objective observation and
- Wundt believed mental processes lawful just complicated/impossible to measure
- If we are to understand rigorous, repeatable methods of observation must be employed
Wundt’s Work
-Largely interpreted due to the fact he spoke German and his students knew poor German.
Also when they left back to America they lost touch so there were large misinterpretations of
Wundt’s work.
Founder: Edward Titchener (Studied under Wundt)
Goals: To expand on Wundt’s work and catalog the basic mental elements that account
for all of conscious experience
- The goal was to create a psychological equivalent of the periodic table of elements
- Structuralists used pure introspection
- Wanted to find underlying structure of mind/hence structuralism
- Wanted to discover all bits of mind
- Lack of Replicability
- Imageless Thought
Lack of Replicability:
- Hard to replicate
- Two researchers sitting down would both come up with different properties
- This would lead to argument instead of substantial progress
Imageless Thought:
- Some thoughts aren’t accompanied by definable mental elements i.e 1+1 is instantly 2
- This meant that there was more to psychological experience than Structuralism's basic
- Structuralism was ultimately viewed as a dead end
Once Titchener died Structuralism ended
Founder: William James
Major Contributions:
- Stream of Consciousness
- Pragmatism
- How and why thought existed not what it is
- Apply to real world
- Reaction to structuralism
Stream of Consciousness:
- It was opposed to Voluntarism and Structuralist ideas of static “elements”
- Three Key Points
- 1 Consciousness is constantly changing (no static elements, like wandering mind)
- 2 Consciousness is selective (We have attention and choose what to attend to)
- 3 Consciousness is personal (Subjective experience)
- Ebb + Flow of consciousness + we chose what to pay attention to and subjective
- Nature of consciousness there are no basic details
- Can’t divide consciousness up for analysis, cause no absolute detail
- We can study consciousness because people can still study the infinite amount of
numbers using math
- Every Future thought depends on what came before. Therefore, to understand an
individuals life, we must know their own personal past history, as such it is stupid to search
for elements common to all minds as the structuralists did
- Reasons for this
- Upbringing: wanted to be artist but not good enough so followed family footsteps in
- Materialism: fell into depression went to amazon for break, fell into depression again and
then went to Europe where he learned of Materialism
- Lack of free will: Due to new belief he thought life is predestined so why not end it now.
Fell into really deep depression so he dropped his belief and finished med school + less
depressed.Encounters philosophers and finds his calling, dedicated work on mind +
- Is the belief that if an idea works it is valid; ideas should only be judged in terms of what
they gain you
Approach + Late work:
- Used scientific and philosophical methods to understand psycho
- Science bad at answering big question good at small ones
- Philosophy is good at big problems bad at small ones
- Neither is better, one should use most appropriate to help ones understanding
- Believed in Radical Empiricism, al consistently reported aspects of human experience are
worthy of study. Opposed to logical positivism, which is if it cant be verified as true or false
with data or math it is meaningless. However consciousness is subjective, means cant be
verified as true + false
- James views led him to write on many topics that others would touch. Most of his work
didn’t go anywhere, belief was very different, without having new ideas psychology
wouldn’t be where it is today