Dictionary of Theories, Laws, and Concepts in Psychology

By Jon E. Roeckelein | Go to book overview

B

BAER/VON BAER’S LAW. See RECAPITULATION, THEORY/LAW OF.

BALANCE, PRINCIPLES/THEORY OF. See ATTRIBUTION THEORY; FESTINGER’S COGNITIVE DISSONANCE THEORY.

BALDWIN EFFECT. The American developmental psychologist James Mark Baldwin (1861–1934) developed a refined Darwinian genetic psychology (Baldwin, 1894b, 1902). Baldwin’s chief goal was to explain the adaptive correspondence of mental life and thoughts to material things, which he argued evolved through the formation and transformation of habits via the interacting processes of assimilation and imitation (Baldwin, 1906–1911). Baldwin held a functional view of mind as sensorimotor process and emphasized the importance of intentional action as the mechanism of selection in the development of mental faculties. In his approach, Baldwin combined Darwinian and Lamarckian ideas of evolution to formulate his own sophisticated hypothesis of organic selection, which accounted for the course and direction of growth. Baldwin’s notion of organic selection came to be known as the Baldwin effect (Broughton, 1994). Baldwin also applied his model of intentional action to the moral, religious, and social aspects of human behavior where cycles of suggestion and imitation were mechanisms by which individuals developed socially, and where social progress was viewed as social selection along with the transmission and conservation of adaptive values. In some of his writings, Baldwin referred to numerous laws that occur in psychology. For example, Baldwin (1894a) described laws of nervous accommodation, habit, inheritance, evolution, motives, contradictory representation, reversion to type, mental dynamogenesis, attention, and voluntary interest. Also, in another case (Baldwin, 1906), he referred to laws of imagination, association, associative reproduction, correlation, preference in associations, identity in judgment, contiguity, contradiction, partial effect, sensation,

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