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Title: History of Psychology 2008

History of Psychology 2008
Lecture 7
Professor Cupchik Office S634 Email
cupchik_at_utsc.utoronto.ca Office hours Wed 1-2
Thurs 12-1 Course website www.utsc.utoronto.ca/
TA Michelle Hilscher Office S142C Email
hilscher_at_utsc.utoronto.ca Office hours Wed 12-2
pm Textbook Benjafields History of Psychology
THE SCOTTISH SCHOOL A strong reaction to the
position of the Empiricists came from professors
in the Scottish Universities who were reflecting
the feelings of their church.
They were concerned about the denial of the
external world and the emphasis on contents of
the mind. This conflicted with the conception of
the soul as unitary. They developed a faculty
psychology. Thomas Reid (1710-1796) - He argued
for the distinction between perception and
sensation. - How do we experience a rose? -
Sensation may be in the mind but perception is of
the object outside in the world. - We add the
conception of it and the belief in its
existence. - This was a partial answer.
Further, Reid argued against the idea that the
mind knows only its contents. He listed 24 active
powers of the mind such as self-preservation,
hunger, desire for power, self-esteem, gratitude,
pity. He included 6 intellectual powers such as
perception, judgment and memory. The lists of
regions of the mind names by the phrenologist
Gall comes from Reid.
Thomas Brown (1778-1820) - He made his major
contribution in 1826 The recognition of a muscle
sense which could add to the other senses in the
interpretation and recognition of objects. -
Charles Bell had already recognized the presence
of sensory and motor nerves in the muscles. -
Brown argued that the felt resistance of muscular
exertion gives us the belief in external
objects! Reids rose provides at first a smell as
pure sensation. But when we find that it requires
muscular effort to move it, then the sensed rose
gains perceptual unity. This is an
Associationistic solution. And of course it
anticipates Piagets sensorimotor basis for the
emergence of objects in the world as well as
Freuds notion of double touch whereby the child
squeezes his/her own arm it both feels and is
felt at the same time.
Sir William Hamilton (1788-1856) - He contributed
to a faculty psychology by believing in an active
mind that controlled mental states and directed
action. - The faculty of perception deals with
the direct entrance of knowledge. - The faculty
of preservation retains ideas. Redintegration -
One part of an experience tends to recall the
whole. This suggests the activity of the mind.
GERMAN RATIONALISM The English psychologists set
out from the ideas of the contents of the mind
and explained the unity of consciousness by the
natural affinities between these contents which
are at various times described as associated,
chemically united or physiologically assimilated.
So they emphasized going from the plurality to
the unity. John Locke gave the impression that
the outer sense was separate from the power of
reflection. German rationalists set the unity
first and left to others the task of showing how
this unity occurred. They also emphasized the
spontaneity of the mind or soul. The work of the
mind was something more than a mere arranging,
sorting, and associating of the given it was
essentially productive, creative, and freely
Gottfried Leibniz (1646-1716) Born in Leipzig
during the 30 Years War which ended in 1648.
Germany was at its lowest ebb of prosperity and
culture. This was an age of reviving aspirations.
He was the first philosophical mind to appear in
modern Germany and was the founder of German
psychology. He was cosmopolitan in life,
character and thought and lived his last years in
Paris which was the focus of Europe. His ideas
fit with the post-war theme of inner welfare and
mysticism. Three points in his doctrine are
important to psychology 1. Theory of mind-body
relations. 2. Introduction of the term
apperception. 3. His insistence against Locke
that one must have general ideas in the mind in
advance of experience.
Mind-Body Relations Underlying these points is
his picture of the universe which is composed of
independent entities that may be represented as
thinking atoms. Each entity is both a material
and thinking being and these aspects dont
interact (dualism). Every existing thing from the
smallest particle to God is a monad. Each monad
is defined in terms of its degree of
consciousness or potency. It is a centre of
force, a living reality, a pure energy known and
interpreted through our own self-consciousness. Th
e material monads have only vague ideas and the
range of clearness passes through animals and
humans to attain perfect clearness in God. This
was based on a Law of Continuity in the study of
quantity and relates to the idea of a continuous
uninterrupted scale of being (i.e., degrees of
mind). What is the relationship of this to the
mind-body problem? The body was made up of a vast
number of monads each of which had unclear
notions only. The mind was made up of clearer
ideas or monads. The body could be controlled by
the mind on the assumption that a great idea
might dominate a vaguer one.
Leibniz was little concerned for the body in
general and makes no provisions for the body to
influence the mind. This notion of psychophysical
parallelism was later adopted by Wundt. Body and
mental processes go on side by side but dont
influence each other. Apperception This term
developed from grading the ideas in the monads
according to their clearness. Just as different
monads exhibit different degrees of clearness in
ideas, so, in the individual human consciousness,
ideas vary in distinctness. According to the Law
of Continuity a perception rises by degrees to
the stage of actual realization. The very
faint petites perceptions (minutes
perceptions) The very clear Apperceptions
Apperceptions are always fully self conscious in
addition to being clearly conscious. The degree
of clearness is a sign of truth. Like Descartes,
he asserts that what is fully clear is true,
while the vague ideas may be false or uncertain.
Clearness carries with it a greater strength of
action. The existence of unconscious ideas and
the relation between clearness and activity both
continue as elements of the notion of
apperception until Wundt. This also relates in a
meaningful way to the psychodynamic notion of
potent unconscious ideas. There is a clear
contrast between the German and French notion of
clarity and the English notion of vividness.
Arguments Against Lockes Sensationalism The idea
that all knowledge comes through the senses was
incompatible with Leibnizs theory. He prepared a
work refuting paragraph by paragraph Lockes
Essay Concerning Human Understanding. But he
withheld publication because Locke had just died
and he did not want to increase the bitterness of
the English toward him which was great because
they erroneously believed that he had plagiarized
Newtons Theory of the Calculus. Leibniz felt
that knowledge through the senses is vague and
cannot be relied on for accuracy. True knowledge
is innate. To Lockes axiom that there is
nothing in intellect that was not previously in
sense, Leibniz added except the intellect
itself and that comprised all general and
reliable knowledge. The activities of the mind
are fundamental. The mind absorbs all things,
not by receiving them, but purely by being in
relation to them.
German Psychology in the 18th Century The
development of a national scholarly discipline,
in general, and a strictly national psychology
was slower in Germany than in the neighboring
states. Why? Education held to traditional
scholastic forms until well into the 18th
century. This is evident in the slow development
of the use of German in scholarly books. For
example, Descartes and Hobbes were writing by
preference in French and English in the 17th
century. Leibniz, a generation later, still
writes in Latin, or sometimes in French but never
in his mother tongue. This situation was partly
due to the fact that German scholars were almost
all connected with universities while French and
English scholars were outside the scholastic
The universities were state supported and
controlled directly by the ministry of education
in each state. They were conceived of as
assemblages of scholars who were free to do as
they pleased in their scholarly work but
appointments were made by the central ministry.
The lowest level (privatdozent) had permission
to teach but had no stipend, save a portion of
the fees paid by the students who attended his
lectures. As openings were created by the death
or resignation of his seniors, he was advanced by
a rank and received a small salary and finally to
the Full professor position. Appointments to the
higher ranks were generally for life.
Christian Wolff (1679-1754) He was the first
academic psychologist and wrote the first two
textbooks Psychologia Empirica
(1734) Psychologia Rationalis (1754) He was a
typical professor. Only one event disturbed his
career. In 1723, the orthodox Pietist citizens
secured his dismissal from the university because
they regarded his teachings as atheistical. He
was reinstated in 1740 by Fredrich the Great. He
organized the scattered writings of Leibniz and
put them into a teachable form and his ideas
replaced those of Aristotle in the universities
of Germany. For Wolff, mind was a greater force
than it was for Leibniz and he also assigned a
more significant role to the body. Instead of
merely mirroring events, the mind is a real,
active force.
He holds to a psychophysical parallelism view
(like Leibniz) to the effect that ideas run their
course at the same rate as the corresponding
bodily processes but neither is regarded as the
determinant of the other. He divides the mind
into faculties i. Knowing ii. Feeling or
Desire a. perception or sensing a. pleasure or
pain b. imagination completes percept b. will c.
memory d. understanding (considering what is
possible) e. pure reason (drawing conclusions) In
addition Attention was the capacity for clearing
up ideas. The field of attention varies with the
degree of clearness a wide field implies less
clearness than a restricted field.
Law of Redintegration One can control the course
of recall by attending to ideas that are similar
to or have on another occasion accompanied or
preceded the idea that one desires to recall.
When a present perception forms part of a past
perception, the whole past perception tends to
reinstate itself. The will is a free agent, thus
opposing Leibniz who gave G-d alone freedom in
choosing one from among the many possible
worlds. He also used the term apperception to
designate the clearness of ideas and connected it
with attention.
AFTER 1750 There was a strong interest in the
more popular aspects of morals and psychology.
One aspect of this movement was partially
scientific another was merely individual. There
were innumerable introspective records, diaries
of the inner development of individuals called
secular confessions. Some studied their own
day-to-day emotions. In Goethe, self-observation
reached the level where experience is the best
form of experiment. The sentimental romance
became the medium of self-expression
(Rousseau)....like the Confessions of Saint
Augustine. This attitude also led to careful
records of, for example, child-life (by
Intermediate between the subjective cultivation
of emotion and introspective analysis of the mind
came the attempts to arrive at knowledge of
abnormal states by the use of drugs. For example,
De Quinceys Confessions of an Opium Eater.
This work implied a growing belief in the close
relations between mental changes and physical
states during the decade 1770-1780 due to the
progress made by physiology and the rise of a
distinct group of physiological psychologists.
The dominant view is the recognition of
activity which begins with Leibniz and, after
being submerged by waves of empiricism, reappears
as an assertion of the rights of form against
matter and of the total life of the mind against
particular contents.
In the last phase, the following points were
made 1. Association is only one aspect of a
process which is ultimately the reconstruction of
a total state of mind from a given part
redintegration. 2. Form is distinct from content
and is seen in the variety of arrangements which
different minds give to the same ideas. 3. A
science of the mind must unite, with the doctrine
of its powers, a consideration of the body as the
condition of all their manifestation. The 18th
century was the real end of the Medieval Period
in the history of the sciences.
Great Developments in the 19th Century
One of the two main streams in intellectual
development contrasted Naturalism versus
Anti-Naturalism (Greeks) and The Enlightenment
approach to knowledge with that of the German
Rationalists. This is essentially a contrast
between atomistic and holistic approaches. Today
we will consider the implications of the
atomistic approach for the development of
scientific psychology.
The atomistic stream can be traced back to Greek
Naturalism. We will recall the basic tenets of
this Materialistic approach
  • Monistic rejects mind/matter distinction
  • - Matter is fundamental
  • - Explain all by physical laws
  • Atomistic reduce complex to simple
  • - Reduce matter to smaller parts which are
    accepted as fundamental
  • Reduce quality to quantity
  • - Qualities such as red and blue, sweet and
    sour, warm and cold are reduced to wavelengths of
    light, chemical reactions in receptors and
    transmission of molecular motion.
  • - Qualities are secondary, to be restated
    eventually as quantitative differences in the
    behaviour of a single primary substance.

  • Reduce function to structure
  • - Organisms behave as if trying to maintain
    themselves, seeking appropriate food, defending
    against danger, selecting mates.

- These are organismic functions with
purpose. - From a materialist viewpoint, purpose
cannot exist in nature. - Purposive functions
must be explained in terms of structures which
have evolved (through natural selection) in such
a way that the species is preserved. - The
structure is inherited or built up through
learning (e.g., structure of the eye) - The fine
distinctions of logicians refer to structural
relations among cortical elements.
This approach was revived during the Renaissance
by scholars in Italy and elsewhere who focused on
nature in the absence of dogma as the real
authority the new naturalism. It was accompanied
by major scientific revolutions including the new
heliocentric theory proposed by Copernicus
(1473-1543) and refined by Keplers (1571-1630)
laws of planetary (elliptical) motion, Galileos
(1564-1642) dynamics of moving bodies, and
Newtons (1642-1727) principle of gravitation,
laws of motion, and analysis of white light as a
mixture of colours.
PHYSIOLOGY Biological science started as medical
science which, with the Greeks and before then,
was a mixture of anatomy, surgery and knowledge
of medicinal plants, supplemented by magic and
other dogmatic principles. The law forbade the
dissection of human bodies so that advances in
the correct knowledge of anatomy depended on
animal dissection. So physiological knowledge was
held back by ignorance of anatomy. Major Figures
in the Development of Physiology 1. Hippocrates
(ca. 460-370 BC) He was the father of
medicine who showed rare objectivity toward
medical facts but he lacked anatomical
knowledge. 2. Galen (ca. 129-199 AD) He was a
good observer and limited experimenter. He (i)
localized the mind in the brain, and (ii)
distinguished between sensory and motor nerves,
an idea which was lost and rediscovered in the
19th century.
In the 16th century dissection of the body was
being practiced, although with opposition from
the Church. Both Leonardo da Vinci and
Michelangelo performed dissection. In other
words, artists were one step ahead of the
scientists. 3. Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564)
Born in Belgium. He marked the triumph of
over dogma in medicine. By 1537 he was lecturing
to large audiences in anatomy. It took another
century to pick up on his work of which the
church disapproved. Vesalius was born into a
family long associated with the medical care of
the imperial dynasty, most notably being his
father who was the pharmacist for Charles V of
Germany. From an early age, Vesalius showed an
inclination to follow in the family tradition
through his dissection of dead birds and mice. He
studied at the University of Leuven from 1530
until 1533, when he began his studies at the
University of Paris under Jacobus Sylvius and
Johann Guinter.
At the outbreak of the war between France and the
Holy Roman Empire in 1536, Vesalius returned home
to complete his studies at the University of
Leuven, where he received his medical degree in
1537. In the autumn of 1537, Vesalius enrolled in
the medical school of the University of Padua,
and received his doctorate of medicine shortly
thereafter. Upon his graduation, he was
immediately offered the chair of Surgery and
Anatomy (explicator chirurgiae) at Padua, where
he began giving public lectures. His innovative
lectures and course plans were unique for two
reasons. First, he performed his own dissections
rather than reading aloud while a demonstrator
did the dissection and second, because he used
drawings to aide his teaching. These drawings
became an integral part in his teaching, and
later in his published works.
Soon thereafter, Vesalius became interested in
the validity of Galen's findings, and began his
study on human anatomy and his major work, De
humani corporis fabrica. In 1539, a Paduan judge
became interested in Vesalius' work, and made
bodies of executed criminals available for
dissection. His collection of detailed anatomical
diagrams grew, many were produced by artists and
were of better quality than previous diagrams.
His diagrams became known as the first accurate
set to be produced.
4. William Harvey (1578-1657) He did for
physiology what Vesalius had done for anatomy.
Through observation and experiment, he worked out
the exact connection of the cavities of the heart
with each other and with the lungs, the arteries,
and the veins. The connections and the valves
showed the way the blood must be flowing.
Harveys work appears very modern he
experimented and obeyed the injunction of the
Paduan anatomists to see for oneself. I profess
to learn and teach anatomy not from books but
from dissections, he declared, not from the
tenets of Philosophers but from the fabric of
Nature. But that is only half true certainly he
looked for himself (and without the aid of the
microscope), but he saw through Aristotelian
spectacles. Harvey did not, as sometimes
supposed, conceive of the body in a modern
mechanical fashion it was too a machine, but was
moved by vital forces.
In discussing the circulation, he wrote, drawing
on traditional macrocosm/microcosm correlations,
that it was to transport life-giving blood to the
periphery and then to return it to the heart
where it could be re-enlivened. There was no
burst of good work in scientific physiology right
after Harvey nor in fact in the 18th century. In
the 19th century there was a chain reaction, one
discovery making another possible, one enthusiasm
setting off another. This work in the 19th
century laid the foundation for experimental
physiological psychology. Interestingly, this
kind of work appealed more to the Germans than to
the English or French scholars Why did
scientific psychology begin in Germany? It began
as taxonomic description. While we associate
Germans with a phenomenological approach, its
real foundation has to do with description,
classification and induction which contrasts with
the mathematical and deductive approaches. This
requires the attitude of a painstaking and
methodological culture.
Biology was not yet ready to lend itself to great
generalizations. So the Germans took up the task
of collecting observational facts that were
sound, detailed, conscientious and thorough. So
psychology joined the family of sciences because
the Germans had faith in collecting data and
welcomed biology into the circle of science. The
French and English hesitated because biology did
not fit with the scientific pattern set by
physics. The holistic attitude of the Germans
saved the day.
Physiology in the First Half of the 19th
Century There are 9 major developments between
1800 and 1850 all but two of which belong as much
in the history of physiology. None of these
findings were made by scholars who considered
themselves to be psychologists. 1. Sensory and
Motor Nerves Sir Charles Bell (1774-1842)
re-discovered the fact of the differences between
sensory and motor nerves in the spinal cord
that they were anatomically and functionally
discrete. Rule The posterior or dorsal roots of
the spinal cord contain only sensory fibres and
the anterior roots only motor fibres. Bell later
showed that some cranial nerves are entirely
sensory, some entirely motor, and some mixed. He
later established the law of forward direction in
the nervous system which holds that conduction in
a nerve normally flows in one direction.
The significance of this work   We could no
longer regard the nerves as transmitting both the
powers of sensation and of motion.   Note that
Francois Magendie made the same discovery
independently but later and he had the more
convincing experiment. He was also a notorious
vivisector whose shocking dissections of live
animals led in England to anti-vivisection laws.
2. Reflex Action This research was basic to the
conception of reflex action and the reflex arc.
Bell published the results privately in 1811 in a
pamphlet (100) for his friends and colleagues. In
1751, Robert Whytt, a Scot (1714-1766), described
experiments with frogs showing that the spinal
cord was both necessary and sufficient for many
automatic movements which occur in response to
stimulation when the spinal cord is severed from
the brain. He distinguished between i. Voluntary
movement, which is an act of will ii. Involuntary
spontaneous movement which occurs instantaneously
with no time for the exercise of reason but it
was dependent on sensation in the nervous system.
M. Hall (1790-1857) distinguished between
conscious voluntary movement and involuntary
movement dependent only on the spinal cord,
independent of the brain and consciousness. The
unconscious reflexes were relegated to
physiology. The new physiological psychology,
which got under was around 1850, was organized as
a psychology of conscious voluntary action and
reaction time. The distinction broke down with
(1) Pavlovs demonstration that unconscious
movements can be learned (conditioned reflex) and
(2) Freuds discovery of unconscious motives and
3. Electrical Nature of the Nerve Impulse The
17th century furnished a means for generating
static electricity and the 18th century made it
more available by the invention of the Leyden Jar
Galvani began experiments on the stimulation of
frogs legs by electric discharges. In 1791 he
produced a kick in the frogs leg with an
electric charge and concluded that animal tissues
generate electricity. Volta showed that this kind
of electricity
electricity can be had without animal tissues by
creating an inorganic battery. He thought that he
had disproved animal electricity.
du Bois-Reymond developed a theory of the
polarization of animal tissues in 1848-49. He
argued that muscles and nerves consist of
electrically charged particles with a positive
charge on one face and a negative charge on the
opposite oriented like a magnet. This relates to
the modern concept of polarization. He brought
the nervous impulse out of the mystical realm of
animal spirits and into material science
suggesting to Helmholtz that the activity of the
impulse may not be instantaneous but finite and
4. Velocity and Conduction of the Nerve
Impulse It had been supposed that the velocity of
the nervous impulse was so rapid as to be
practically immeasurable. i. 9000 ft/min ii.
32,400 ft/min iii. 57,600 ft/sec which is 60
times the velocity of light. Hallers estimate of
150 ft/sec is close to the truth which is 3-400
ft/sec depending on the diameter of the
conducting fibre.
  • It is important for psychology to determine that
    transmission is not instantaneous but relatively
  • To separate the movement of a finger in time from
    the event of will that caused it was in a sense
    to separate the body from the mind.
  • So bodily motion becomes part of a series of
    events and this contributed to the materialist
    view of the psycho-physical organism that was the
    essence of 19th century science.
  • Other developments
  • Electrical depolarization Bernstein (1866)
  • Wave of negativity passing along the nerve.
  • All or none principle Bowditch (1871)
  • -A nerve fibre supplies the energy for an impulse
    and is completely discharged when excited.

5. Specific Energy of Nerves Müller (1826) The
central principle is that (1) we are directly
aware, not of the object, but of our sensory
nerves themselves. So the idea is that the mind
is the result of a reaction excited in the eye or
brain and not of anything received. The operation
of the mind is determined by the kinds of senses
that we have. (2) There are five kinds of nerves
(specificity) each kind imposes its specific
quality on the mind. So the quality of sensation
depends not upon the nature of the cause but upon
the nature of the nerve which the cause
affects. Now we know that qualitative differences
lie not in the nerve excitation themselves but
rather different central effects.
6. Phrenology Phrenology relates to the problem
of where the mind is located in the body. It was
not commonly held that the mind was in the brain.
Phrenology tried to establish that (1) The brain
is the organ of the mind. (2) Particular parts of
the brain are associated with separate mental
HISTORY Aristotle Mind ? Egyptians Thought ?
Judgment ? Pythagoras Seat of mind
and intellect ? Plato Seat of mind ? ? ? ?
Alexandrian anatomists Seat of mind ? Also
brain Descartes Soul ? in the entire body but
specifically the pineal gland, did not identify
the brain with the mind.
The modern idea of the brain as the seat of the
mind emerged in the 19th century. It was prepared
in the late 18th century by Jean Baptiste Pinel.
After Pinel possession was treated as a disease.
To recognize the mind as subject to disease
orients us towards the idea of the minds
dependence on the body, the usual seat of
A Little History The first humane impulse of any
considerable importance in this field seems to
have been aroused in America. In the year 1751
certain members of the Society of Friends founded
a small hospital for the insane, on better
principles, in Pennsylvania. To use the language
of its founders, it was intended as a good work,
acceptable to God. Twenty years later Virginia
established a similar asylum, and gradually
others appeared in other colonies. But it was in
France that mercy was to be put upon a scientific
basis, and was to lead to practical results which
were to convert the world to humanity. In this
case, as in so many others, from France was
spread and popularized not only the scepticism
which destroyed the theological theory, but also
the devotion which built up the new scientific
theory and endowed the world with a new treasure
of civilization.
In 1756 some physicians of the great hospital at
Paris known as the Hotel-Dieu protested that the
cruelties prevailing in the treatment of the
insane were aggravating the disease and some
protests followed from other quarters. Little
effect was produced at first but just before the
French Revolution, Tenon, La Rochefoucauld-Liancou
rt, and others took up the subject, and in 1791 a
commission was appointed to undertake a
reform. By great good fortune, the man selected
to lead in the movement was one who had already
thrown his heart into it - Jean Baptiste Pinel.
In 1792 Pinel was made physician at Bicetre, one
of the most extensive lunatic asylums in France,
and to the work there imposed upon him he gave
all his powers. Little was heard of him at first.
The most terrible scenes of the French Revolution
were drawing nigh but he laboured on, modestly
and devotedly - apparently without a thought of
the great political storm raging about him.
His first step was to discard utterly the whole
theological doctrine of possession,'' and
especially the idea that insanity is the result
of any subtle spiritual influence. He simply put
in practice the theory that lunacy is the result
of bodily disease. It is a curious matter for
reflection, that but for this sway of the
destructive philosophy of the eighteenth century,
and of the Terrorists during the French
Revolution, Pinel's blessed work would in all
probability have been thwarted, and he himself
excommunicated for heresy and driven from his
position. Doubtless the same efforts would have
been put forth against him which the Church, a
little earlier, had put forth against inoculation
as a remedy for smallpox but just at that time
the great churchmen had other things to think of
besides crushing this particular heretic they
were too much occupied in keeping their own heads
from the guillotine to give attention to what was
passing in the head of Pinel. He was allowed to
work in peace, and in a short time the reign of
diabolism at Bicetre was ended.
What the exorcisms and fetiches and prayers and
processions, and drinking of holy water, and
ringing of bells, had been unable to accomplish
during eighteen hundred years, he achieved in a
few months. His method was simple for the
brutality and cruelty which had prevailed up to
that time, he substituted kindness and
gentleness. The possessed were taken out of their
dungeons, given sunny rooms, and allowed the
liberty of pleasant ground for exercise chains
were thrown aside. At the same time, the mental
power of each patient was developed by its
fitting exercise, and disease was met with
remedies sanctioned by experiment, observation,
and reason. Thus was gained one of the greatest,
though one of the least known, triumphs of modern
science and humanity.
Phrenology emerged due to the work of Franz
Joseph Gall (1758-1828) who was an anatomist. As
a schoolboy, he observed a relationship between
mental qualities of his school mates and shapes
of their heads (e.g., prominent eyes and good
memories). His doctrine gained public attention
and the church tried to have the government of
Austria force him to discontinue his lectures. He
moves to France!
The Basic Propositions 1. Phrenologists must show
conformation of exterior to interior skull and
brain. 2. The mind can be meaningfully analyzed
into a number of faculties or functions. 3.
Faculties and powers of the mind are localized in
the brain and an excess of any faculty is
correlated with an enlargement of the
corresponding place in the brain. So a protrusion
of the brain would indicate an excess in the
particular faculty. Phrenology flourished for a
century. There were 29 societies in Great Britain
and several journals. But it was never accepted
as a science even though it retained popular
appeal even though knowledge of the brain
physiology rendered it impossible.
The importance of phrenology lies in its effect
on scientific thought of the period. From a
negative standpoint (1) Physiologists
disbelieved the relation of the skull to the
brain. (2) Philosophers objected to analysis of
the mind into faculties because it violated the
principle of unity of mind. But, while
essentially wrong, it furthered scientific
thought by (1) Establishing the brain as the
organ of the mind. (2) It suggested localization
of function in the brain. It mediated between the
Cartesian concept of an unsubstantiated soul and
the concept of mere material neural function.
Phrenology was wrong only in detail.
7. Physiology of the Brain A. The French
physiologist Bichat (1771-1802) assumed a
connection between the mind and brain. He felt
that the brain is the centre for intelligence,
perception, imagination and judgment but that
emotions are centred in the internal
organs. Galls specific psychophysiology made a
radical but less extreme view seem conservative.
He prompted Pierre Flourens to associate
different functions with the cerebrum,
cerebellum, medulla and spinal cord. So Flourens
mediated between the too vague tradition of
Descartes and the too specific doctrine of the
phrenologists. His conclusions were based on
Moment in scientific wisdom. He said There is a
great secret behind being brief. That is to be
clear. Flourens substituted carefully planned
experiments for natures experiments that occur
in accidental lesions and disease. Using animals,
his method was the extirpation of parts and he
looked for a correlation between brain area and
function. For example, the function of the
cerebral cortex is willing, judging, and seeing.
He distinguished six parts. He also distinguished
action propre from action commune. Action
propre or exact localization implies a special
function for each of the 6 parts (in the
direction of Gall). Action commune or field
theory implies a general function such that the
removal of one part reduces the energy of every
other. This is related to the unity of mind which
philosophers had contended.
B. The improvement of the microscope around 1830
led to histological research. Luigi Rolando first
thought (1824) of cutting thin sections of brain
tissue chemically hardened for microscopic
examination. This procedure was important because
Flourens had divided the brain into a few gross
parts each with its own function. But he didnt
analyze further within each part.
The histological work led the brain to be
considered as composed of an almost infinite
number of separate cells which connect in a
complicated network. This view of the brain bore
a close resemblance to the picture of the mind
adhered to by the Associationists, the dominant
psychology of the period which held that the mind
consisted of an infinitude of ideas. These ideas
are bound together into more complex ideas by
association, just as the nerve cells are
connected by fibres. In sum, the new knowledge of
the division of the brain into many tiny
interconnected units implied that further
separation of localized mental functions should
be sought. Later research localized functions
such as hearing, somesthesis, and sensation.
Two Important Discoveries Outside the Field of
Physiology 8. Hypnotism While this phenomenon was
intentionally induced in tribal religious
ceremonies, the scientific discovery had other
origins. It used to be regarded as a mysterious
natural force. The Doctrine of Animal Magnetism
Van Helmont (1577-1644) maintained that a
magnetic fluid radiates from all men that can be
guided by will to influence the mind and bodies
of others. For the next century and a half, men
appeared around Europe who purported to have
curing skills. Mesmerism Friedrich Anton Mesmer
(1734-1815) was a physician in Vienna who
discovered how to produce these phenomena. He
started by trying to explain the effects of stars
on people and sought a principle in the universe
associated with electricity or magnetism. This
led him to stroke peoples bodies with magnets
and he found that he could induce what we call
hypnosis. In 1776, he abandoned the use of metal
magnets and spoke only of animal magnetism.
Mesmer cured many psycho-neurotic patients. His
work was ignored by official circles and so he
moved to Paris in 1778. A French government
commission declared that animal magnetism was not
magnetism in the normal sense. They assumed he
possessed the secret of another force and offered
him 20,000 Francs to share it with them. He
refused since he believed that a magnetic power
within himself was the source of his ability. He
fell into disrepute, conservative scientists
rejecting his results, he moved to Switzerland.
John Elliotson (1791-1868), a famous English
physician of radical temperament, explored the
use of Mesmerism in spite of professional
opposition. He was initially interested in the
therapeutic value of Mesmerism to cure hysterical
diseases but shifted his interest toward its use
as an anaesthetic agent. In 1846, this idea was
superceded by the development of ether which was
more reliable.
The term hypnotism comes from James Braid
(1795-1860). He was not regarded as a Mesmerist
and described the trance as a nervous sleep
(neurypnology short for neurohypnology or
hypnotic). Braid was a hypnotist which was more
acceptable and he discovered the roots of
Mesmerism. He could induce an artificial sleep in
the members of his family and friends by having
them stare fixedly at some bright object above
the line of vision and he developed a
physiological theory of the elevator muscles of
the eyelids. This related to a more psychological
emphasis on fixity of attention. Later, he
recognized the role of suggestion for inducing
this phenomenon. So physiological thought of the
19th century took up the problem of Mesmerism. It
is part of the psychology of motivation but was
treated as part of abnormal psychology.
9. The Personal Equation Astronomers were
concerned with the physiological or psychological
source of error in their measurement of the times
of stellar events. At Greenwich in 1796,
Maskelyne dismissed his assistant because the
latter observed the time of stellar transits
across the Meridian at Greenwich a second later
than he did. So mental processes take time.
Bessel discovered (1) the personal equation - a
difference between two observers and (2)
variability in the personal equation. Astronomers
could then correct for them (from 1/4 sec to 1
sec). The personal equation also varied for sun
and stars. In the 1850s, the absolute personal
equation emerged as a measure. It is the reaction
time of a subject making a movement a rapidly as
he can after perceiving a signal.
The idea that mental processes take time was
central to research in the 1860s and 1870s. This
led to the psychological problem of reaction time
and fit with Helmholtzs idea that nerve
conduction takes time. Researchers found that
expectations, preparation, and attention are
important factors. In addition, it takes time to
process or attend to events in the brain.
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