Limitations Of Introspection And Behaviorism

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In the beginning of the chapter, some limitations and shortcomings of introspection and behaviorism are explained and illustrated as reasons for the occurance of the “cognitive revolution.” During the late nineteenth century, Wilhelm Wundt and Edward Bradford Titchener decided that the only way to study thoughts was through introspection, or to look within oneself to study the topic of our mental lives. The primary limitation of this method lies in its nature. When studying or researching oneself, there is not another party to test the claims and perform the scientific method to prove or disprove findings. “Science” that is performed by one individual and based on one individual is simply anecdotal and opinionated. Additionally, there is no way to “introspect” on one’s unconscious self, which is a huge influence on decision making and a person’s mental makeup as whole. Due to these limitations of introspection as a research tool, many psychologists abandoned it completely on the basis that psychology would never be a science, should it progress in this manner (Cognition, pg. 9). By the first half of the twentieth century, behaviorist theory started to control the field of psychology. The study of behaviors could yield testable claims due its objective data that could be recorded by observing another human’s behaviors. The stimuli that happens in the environment around people is also objective data that could be recorded and manipulated for different tests and experiments.
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