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Contemporary Psychology. Scientific reasons for the decline of behaviorism. Findings began to occur that were inconsistent with learning theories Behaviorist began to argue among themselves about the need to develop learning theories. The Zeitgeist. Psychologist became involved in WWII

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Scientific reasons for the decline of behaviorism l.jpg
Scientific reasons for the decline of behaviorism

  • Findings began to occur that were inconsistent with learning theories

  • Behaviorist began to argue among themselves about the need to develop learning theories


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The Zeitgeist

  • Psychologist became involved in WWII

  • Behaviorist psychology could not address important questions being asked

  • Psychologists were working with other professionals who contributed new tools for looking at human behavior


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1950’s –The beginning of the cognitive movement

  • 1954 – P. W. Bridgman, who gave psychology the concept of operational definitions renounced strict behaviorism

  • Jean Piaget – most of his studies done in 1920’s and 30’s, but not translated until 1950’s


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1950’s –The beginning of the cognitive movement

  • Two people instrumental in the resurgence of cognitive psychology

  • George Miller and Ulric Neisser


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George Miller

  • Introduction to psychology mostly self-taught

  • 1950’s all textbooks were purely behaviorist

  • Latter part of the 1950’s he became interested in computers and computer simulations of the mind

  • Also encouraged to abandon behaviorism when he developed allergies to animal hair


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Miller at Harvard

  • 1960 Hr and Jerome Bruner given William James old house to set up a lab to study the human mind

  • Miller chose the name cognition as the name for their subject


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Center for Cognitive Studies

  • Developed to be against behaviorism

  • Behaviorism the ruling authority, they were anti-establishment (1960’s)

  • Topics studied: language, memory, perception, thinking, development, etc.

  • All basic parts of cognitive psychology and forbidden topics for behaviorists


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Ulric Neisser

  • Physics undergraduate who took a psychology course from Miller

  • M.A. degree from Kohler and in 1956 received his PhD from Harvard

  • Found behaviorism to be very peculiar if not crazy


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Ulric Neisser

  • 1st academic position was at Brandeis University – Abraham Maslow was chair of the dept.

  • 1967 – he published Cognitive Psychology in which he defined what it was

  • He was proposing a new way of studying human behavior not trying to start a new school of psychology

  • In 1976, he published a new book Cognition and Reality in which he criticized cognitive psychology for too much reliance on laboratory studies


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Cognitive psychology today

  • The information processing and computer model of Miller and others has been abandoned for a brain model

  • The basic topics have remained the same although the immense increase in knowledge has created more specialized areas of study

  • Cognitive psychology like behaviorism has impacted all disciplines in psychology


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Humanistic psychology

  • Basic ideas of Humanistic psychology were not new

  • Humanistic supporters developed the ideas at a time it when it could be accepted

  • Greatly effected by the unrest and dissatisfaction of young people in the 1960’s


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Humanistic criticism of Behaviorism

  • 1. too narrow, sterile, and artificial approach

  • Emphasis on overt behavior was dehumanizing

  • Rejected the concept of humans functioning in a deterministic manner

  • Behaviorism did not address human characteristics that made us different than nonhumans


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Humanistic criticism of Psychoanalytic theory

  • Too deterministic and ignored the role of consciousness

  • It only studied disturbed individuals

  • It ignored positive human qualities


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Basic concepts of Humanistic psychology

  • Study all aspects of the human experience

  • Study normal healthy humans

  • Help normal people grow


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Abraham Maslow

  • A staunch behaviorist who became influenced by Wertheimer and Ruth Benedict, an American anthropologist

  • Developed his hierarchy of need with self-actualization at the pinnacle of the pyramid

  • Humans seen in a very positive light – always striving to improve


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Criticisms of Maslow

  • Subjective criteria for a person to be self-actualized

  • Very little empirical support for his theory

    • Based on very few subjects

    • Limited research failed to support his theory

  • Theory found to have a low degree of scientific validity and a very limited application to business and industry


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Carl Rogers

  • Person-centered or client centered therapy

  • Personality was the result of a motivation similar to self-actualization

  • Studied people with mental disorders because he was treating people

  • People can rationally change their thoughts and behaviors from undesirable to desirable


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Influence of Humanistic psychology

  • Roger’s person centered therapy still popular and frequently used

  • Never replaced behaviorism and psychoanalysis and never developed into a school of psychology

    • Most humanist were in clinical practice not academic positions

    • Continued to attack behaviorism and Freudian psychology long after their influence was gone

    • They never truly defined what it was, just what it wasn’t


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Growth of Professional psychology in the U. S.

  • 1930’s almost all people calling themselves psychologists worked in universities and colleges

  • 1950’s only half were in academic positions


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Influence of WWII

  • Need to treat war large number of war casualties and others created a large need for psychologists working outside academia

  • 1950’s APA set up the Board of Professional Psychologist to test and license professional psychologists

  • 1950’s and 1960’s demand for clinical psychologist much greater than the demand; now supply has caught up with demand


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Changes in the nature of professional psychology

  • The result of other professions recognizing that knowledge of human behavior can be applied to many situations

    • Industrial settings

    • Management consulting

    • Quantitative applications – surveys, opinion polls etc.


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Outside influences on psychology

  • Computers that revolutionized statistical analysis – Multi-variant statistics

  • Combining psychology with biological sciences – Cognitive Neuroscience

  • Psychology and medicine – behavioral medicine and health psychology


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Has parapsychology (ESP) earned a place in psychological science?

  • Attempts of scientific study of psychic phenomenon date back to 1882 – the Society for Psychical Research in London

  • Proponents argue that parapsychology was once tangles up with astrology, numerology, magic and the occult, but it no longer is associated with these forms of mysticism. It now only includes

    • Precognition

    • Clairvoyance

    • Psychokinetics

    • Mental telepathy


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Advocates of ESP science?

  • There are now experimental techniques that conform to strict scientific methodology

  • History is full of examples of phenomenon which at one time were caused by unknown factors

  • Their “science” is being held up to standards that no science could pass


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Criticisms of ESP as a science science?

  • Gullibility of humans ; we easily fooled

  • Inaccuracy of our sensory systems

  • Inaccurate perception of probability of events

  • Illusion of control

  • No acceptable theory of what ESP is and how it works only what it isn’t


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Examples of criticism science?

  • Probability – there are 22 people in a room. What is the probability that 2 of them have the same birthday?

  • What we perceive as a rare event isn’t always

  • Deja vue –

  • Dreams and other premonitions of things that will happen


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Bottom line science?

  • The study of ESP will probably not be considered as a science by most until they can describe what it is and the system that underlies it.

  • Does this mean that it does not exist?

    • No, only that current evidence does not seem to support it now. It is necessary to be highly critical of their existence until the mechanisms have been identified.


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