Positive Limitations Of Introspection

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Introspection, or the ability to “look within”, was a theory developed in the late 19th Century (Reisberg, 2016, pp. 8-9). It was a theory devised to study the mental world pertaining to behavior. While this deep internal self-study of mental process seemed an obvious solution, time produced some unscientific limitations. First, all though introspection could study the conscious thoughts, feelings, perceptions, etc., it had no way of studying the unconscious workings of the mind. Ultimately, this limited the effectiveness of the research (Reisberg, 2016, p. 9). Another limitation was that people could not read each other’s minds. This meant that there was no way to measure the falsity and/or accuracy of assertions and descriptions. For example, one could not ascertain how significant one person’s headache was compared to another’s because each person has their own limitations for pain. Overall, these limitations made introspection an unfit form of research for testing hypotheses (Reisberg, 2016, p. 10).

As introspection fell, behaviorism rose. Because behaviorism focused on observable behaviors, it made more sense that this theory could be used to test hypotheses and form data. However, psychology is about more than just observing the physical stimulus and a person’s response to it. An issue that arose out of behaviorist theory was the fact that there are many dissimilar stimuli that can mean the same
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