Twentieth Century Psychology: Recent Developments in Psychology

By Philip Lawrence Harriman | Go to book overview

THE CONCEPTUAL FOCUS OF SOME PSYCHOLOGICAL SYSTEMS

EGON BRUNSWIK University of California

In the present paper the attempt is made to order systematically some of the conceptual tools which have been used in dealing with psychological topics. In the opinion of the author, a suitable starting point for such a consideration is furnished by a scheme of the following kind (Fig. 1).

The drawing represents an organism within its surroundings as described by an observing physicist in terms of measurement and computation. This observer might be able to distinguish different layers within the whole causal texture with reference to the organism. Some of those which became most outstanding in psychological discriminations might be designated by the terms (c) remote past, (b) the realm of palpable bodies in the actual environment, (a) stimulus events located on the retina or on other stimulus surfaces of the organism, (o) intraorganismic events, (A) muscular reactions, or behavior in the narrower sense of the word, (B) effects of these reactions with regard to the relationship between organism and surroundings, as e.g., the reaching of a goal, and finally (C) the more remote consequences and final products of life activities including stabilized mechanical or conceptual tools for further use. For the purpose of further explanation, some of the customary terms not used in this list are included in the chart.

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