Principles of Psychology: A Systematic Text in the Science of Behavior

Principles of Psychology: A Systematic Text in the Science of Behavior

Principles of Psychology: A Systematic Text in the Science of Behavior

Principles of Psychology: A Systematic Text in the Science of Behavior

Excerpt

Psychologists have been ardent professionals, an eager, easily converted lot. No wonder the cry is often heard among them "There is news in the land of Babel," meaning "Here now is the psychology!" So it has come about that there are mechanisms of automatic defense against the asserted exclusiveness and the propaganda of behavior theorists. Chief among them is undoubtedly negative adaptation or, as the authors of this book would have it, with greater illumination, "absence of reinforceinent."

I grant the serviceableness of such defenses in preserving common sense and healthy skepticism, yet I am sorry for the psychologist who misses this out-of-the-ordinary textbook. He may be one whose own work lies far afield. But no matter what that work may be, it would enhance his vision and build his morale to know that it has been possible already to demonstrate, operationally and therefore beyond challenge, so much lawfulness of behavior on the single assumption that all the features of learned behavior are but the routes, straight routes and detours, down which an organism has been baited. He might quibble over the excessive use of rats and balk at the extrapolations to higher behavior, but he could not deny massive facts that stick.

I especially congratulate you, the thoughtful student, whose first or early exposure to psychologgy is through this book. Its use as a text is a guarantee that you have an instructor who knows that the basis of every science lies not in talk and proof by say-so, but in experimental methods. At best you are going to learn psychological science by your own sciencing, in a laboratory. If circumstances deny that privilege, your instructor will still see to it that you get the next best by perfectly feasible demonstrations in the classroom. Finally, if this book . . .

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