Psychology: From the Standpoint of a Behaviorist

By John B. Watson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
THE ORGANISM AT WORK

A. THE FUNCTIONING OF ESTABLISHED HABIT SYSTEMS.

What is Meant by Function .--Several times in the text we have had occasion to speak of functions. Now that we have examined most of the phases of an individual's acquisitions both of the explicit and implicit kinds it seems well to get a more exact formulation of what is meant by the term. After an act has been acquired and used for a definite time and is then repeatedly put away and again used, the learning and re-learning phases and periods of no practice become of little consequence. We assume that every normal individual can perform the acts required by a social environment and we do not care particularly whether it took him a long time to learn them or a short time. We are interested, in the discussion which follows, in the question as to the rapidity and accuracy with which those habits work and the factors which influence them. It is convenient to call each organized habit system of an individual which is always ready to act under appropriate stimulation, an acquired function, in contrast to emotional and instinctive functions. (The total assets of an individual are the sum of his hereditary and acquired functions, his retentiveness and his plasticity. Examples of such acquired functions are, of course, talking, walking, swimming, addition, subtraction, writing and all similar ones discussed in the preceding two chapters. As we use the term, it has no fixed implication and is not a mathematical or even a rigidly scientific one. A function is really, then, a phase of activity that one happens to be studying and measuring; the acquired functions are equivalent really to habits except for the fact that when we use the term function we generally (but not even here always) leave the genetic aspect out of consideration. New habits, if continued, end always by giving us new functions. In studying children (or adults if learning) the term habit is emphasized; in studying adults the term function is most frequently met with,

-348-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Psychology: From the Standpoint of a Behaviorist
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 432

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.