The Nature of Thought: Essays in Honor of D. O. Hebb

By Peter W. Jusczyk; Raymond M. Klein | Go to book overview

1 D. O. Hebb: An Appreciation

Raymond M. Klein Dalhousie University

Donald Olding Hebb was born in Chester, Nova Scotia on July 22, 1904. He attended Dalhousie University in Halifax, Novia Scotia, and in 1925 received his Bachelor's degree.1 Today, Don Hebb is again living in Chester and has returned to Dalhousie as Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychology. In the intervening years he became a major force in international psychology and major architect of modern psychological theory.

Hebb is perhaps best known for his neuropsychological cell-assembly theory, which was described in The Organization of Behavior in 1949. A central tenet of his theory is that one's previous experiences leave structural traces that exert an enduring influence on one's later perceptions and thoughts. Therefore, it would seem appropriate to examine Hebb's illustrious career in light of some of the prior experiences that shaped his thinking.2


GRADUATE WORK

On graduating from Dalhousie, Hebb aspired to write novels but chose instead to earn a living in the field of education. He spent several years as a teacher in the public schools and later as a public school principal. During this

____________________
1
Although Hebb's undergraduate performance was not exceptional, it was also not as poor as he later made it out to be ( 1959). Hebb's best subjects were mathematics and physics. Interestingly, in 1925, psychology was taught within the Philosophy Department at Dalhousie, which did not have a separate Department of Psychology until 1948.
2
For more thorough treatments of the influential experiences in Hebb's career, and more personal ones, see Hebb, 1959; 1980.

-1-

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The Nature of Thought: Essays in Honor of D. O. Hebb
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents ix
  • Preface xiii
  • Introduction xix
  • 1- D. O. Hebb- An Appreciation 1
  • References 17
  • 2- The Structure of Thought 19
  • II- Information-Processing Analysis *
  • 3- Information-Processing Explanations of Understanding 37
  • 4- The Comparative Study of Serially Integrated Behavior in Humans and Animals 53
  • Conclusion--Back Again 83
  • Acknowledgments 91
  • References 92
  • III- Attention and Performance *
  • 5- Mental Chronometry and the Problem of Consciousness 95
  • Acknowledgments 112
  • References 113
  • 6- The Limits of Cognition 115
  • IV- Mental Representation *
  • 7- On Weighing Things in Your Mind 133
  • 8- The Lingua Mentis and Its Role in Thought 155
  • References 184
  • 9- On the Psychology of Structural Simplicity 189
  • Appendix Proof That Smaller Than Is Structurally Simpler Than Smagger Than in the Sense of Definition () 203
  • V- Mind and Brain *
  • 10- Cognitive and Neural Maps 207
  • References 227
  • 11- Component Properties of the Memory Machine- Hebb Revisited 231
  • References 247
  • Author Index 248
  • Subject Index 253
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