Empiricism and Behaviorism Essay

1384 Words 6 Pages
the turn of the twentieth century, the field of Psychology found itself in a war between two contending theoretical perspectives: Gestalt psychology versus Behaviorism. With its roots within the United States, behaviorists in America were developing a theory that believed psychology should not be concerned with the mind or with human consciousness. Instead, behavior and the actions of humans would be the foremost concern of psychologists. Across the Atlantic, Gestalt psychology emerged by placing its criticism upon the methodology of introspection, especially by ways of disparaging behaviorism. Although the two theories originated on separate continents, their opposing ideas were brought together after World War II and continued to battle …show more content…
Like Watson, however, Skinner refuted the notion that human behavior is influenced by any action of the mind. As an alternative, our experience of reinforcements determines our behavior.
     During the time that behaviorism was the prevailing learned theory in America, across the sea in Europe, the Gestalt theory was taking form. While behaviorists emphasized the measurement of the outcome of learning without considering the mental processes that may have led to it, the forefathers of the Gestalt theory believed that there was more involved with learning than behaviorism allowed. They supported the notion that there was cognitive processing in the human brain that helped determine our actions and behaviors.
     The Gestalt theory hypothesizes that an individual’s perception of stimuli has an affect on their response. If two individuals are exposed to identical stimuli, their reactions to it would be different, depending on their past experiences. Max Wertheimer is considered, in many respects, to be the founder of Gestalt psychology. Wertheimer had his first breakthrough when he noticed the movement of blinking lights as you traveled at high speeds past them. Wertheimer conducted further research on this concept and developed what is known today as the phi phenomenon. The phi phenomenon

More about Empiricism and Behaviorism Essay

Open Document