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Terms in this set (26)

Identifying a quantitative relationship between the mind and the body:

+ Fechner had a flash of insight between the mind and the body while lying in bed one morning. He said that a quantitative relationship between a mental sensation and a material stimulus could be found.

+ He proposed two ways to measure sensations:
1. We can determine whether a stimulus is present or absent, sensed or not sensed.
2. We can measure the stimulus intensity at which subjects report that the sensation first occurs, which is the absolute threshold of sensitivity - a point of intensity below which no sensation is reported and above which subjects do experience a sensation.

+ To relate both intensities, we must be able to specify the full range of stimulus values and their resulting sensation values. To accomplish this, Fechner proposed the differential threshold of sensitivity - the least amount of change in a stimulus that gives rise to a change in sensation.

+ Fechner denied ever having this idea credited from Weber, despite attending his lectures and Weber having published a similar topic a few years earlier. It wasn't until a long time later that Fechner digressed and explained that the principle he explained was essentially based on Weber's work.

Specific methods in psycho-physics:
+ Fechner developed one and systematized two of the three total fundamental methods used in psycho-physics research today:

1. The method of average error: consists in having subjects adjust a variable stimulus until they perceive it to be equal to a constant standard stimulus.

2. The method of constant stimuli: involves two constant stimuli, and the aim is to measure the stimulus difference required to produce a given proportion of correct judgement.

3. The method of limits: when two stimuli, are presented to the subjects, one is increased or decreased until subjects report that they detect a difference.

Definition of psycho-physics:
+ The word defines itself: the relationship between the mental (psycho-) and material (physics) worlds.

+ Textbook definition: The scientific study of the relations between mental and physical processes.
+ Methods of research included:

1. Nonsense syllables:
Invented nonsense syllables to create staffs which revolutionized the study of learning. He looked for alternatives to everyday words and had homogenous unfamiliar material, which attributed to the time it took too learn.

2. Forgetting Curve:
Created a learning curve for memorizing the nonsense syllables and it showed that the material was forgotten rapidly in the first few hours after learning, but more slowly thereafter.

+ Other Contributions to Psychology:
Ebbinghaus unfortunately didn't make any theoretical contributions to psychology, created no formal systems, and had no formal disciples; he didn't found a school of thought (nor did he seem to want to).
+ Although, his research brought objectivity, quantification, and experimentation to the study of learning, a topic that remained central to much of the twentieth-century psychology, and many of his conclusions about learning and memory remain valid today.

+ Beliefs on Higher Mental Processing:
Ebbinghaus experimented successfully on the higher mental processes.

+ Methods of research included:

1. Mediate and immediate experiences:
Mediate experiences provide us with information or knowledge about something other than the elements of an experience ("This rose is red." implies that what caught our interest was the flower and not the color of it first). Immediate experiences are our unbiased interpretation of events (Instead of looking at the flower, you just define the object as red and, not looking into it further and identifying the specific object).

2. Introspection: Examining one's mind to inspect and report on personal thoughts and feelings. Combined with a set of rules and conditions, Wundt's purpose of practicing internal perception under stringent experimental conditions is to produce accurate observations that are capable of being replicated, the same way that perception yields observation for the natural sciences that can be repeated independently by other researchers.

+ Experimental Psychology:
Wundt created the term experimental psychology when wanting to learn the scientific study of consciousness such as sensations, images and feelings.

+ Cultural Psychology:
Wundt attempted to study higher mental processes with non-experimental methods of investigation, but unfortunately concluded that it cannot be studied experimentally overall. (Unbeknownst to Ebbinghaus).

+ Unfortunately, Wundt's ideas did not have a lasting impart as cultural psychology was scraped and not pursued (which could just be the issue of timing).
+ His method of introspection was criticized for not being a reliable method.
+ Had many competing theoretical positions that were better sounding than his
+ Didn't gain a lot of popularity in general due to his beliefs on World War I.