Handbook of psychology. Volume 1: History of psychology by Donald K. Freedheim (volume editor), Irving B. Weiner

By Donald K. Freedheim (volume editor), Irving B. Weiner (editor-in-chief)

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The subject of psychology, Titchener argued, was the understanding of the human, adult, normal, generalized mind through the use of introspection; only after psychology had completed that task could the nonhuman, child, abnormal, or individual mind be understood. For Titchener, psychology needed to emulate physics, with its pursuit of the analysis of matter into the smaller units of which it was composed. Titchener stood for rigorous experimental pursuit of the elements of mind, pursued for their own sake and not for any potential application.

By striking a steel bar with a hammer, Watson and Rayner were able to elicit crying in the infant; when they subsequently paired presentation of a white rat, to which Albert had shown no fear, with the striking of the bar, Albert showed fear to the rat. They reported successfully conditioning fear of the rat in Albert, and, further, the fear generalized to a rabbit, a dog, a fur coat, and a Santa Claus mask (J. B. Watson & Rayner, 1920; see Harris, 1979). The study was more a dramatic demonstration than a carefully controlled experiment, but nevertheless exemplified Watson’s vision for identifying the origins and development of behavior and provided an approach to the study of the growth and development of children (Mateer, 1918).

380). Although the theory was later discredited, it served a useful purpose in stimulating research. In 1891, Hall introduced the use of child-study questionnaires, the “Clark method” (Danziger, 1985, 1990). Questionnaires were designed to investigate “(a) simple automatisms, Although recapitulation theory influenced Hall’s approach to child study, the direct influence of evolutionary theory on child study was slight (Charlesworth, 1992). However, the theory of evolution strongly influenced the study of individual differences.

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