Handbook of Mental Deficiency: Psychological Theory and Research

By Norman R. Ellis | Go to book overview
lems. This viewpoint continues despite the increasing fund of information building up with geometric rapidity, and one sometimes suspects that those. who defend it most insistently have expended the least effort in discovering the state of knowledge in this area. Allied with this view is the comment that we cannot speculate about things we cannot see, although this is a common procedure in science, as for example when astronomers accurately plot from the course and speed of known planets the presence and course of unseen planets. There are many other examples.Support of one manner of approaching a problem does not mean a depreciation of the importance of other approaches. If reductionism means that there is only one way to study human behavior, there must be very few, if any, reductionists ( Cantor & Cromwell, 1957). One approach may be preferred as being more productive in the long run, but this is a wholly different matter. Knowledge of brain processes by itself would probably alter very little the educational and environmental problems of dealing with mental retardates and would be of very little help in understanding group processes, although even in these instances it cannot be ignored. But the more we know about the way in which the brain operates, the more we will know about the sources of the mental retardates' limited intellectual behavior. In any case, if the primary driving force and purpose of the basic researcher is the desire to know and understand what is not yet known and understood, any attempt to defend such research on practical or applied grounds is superfluous.In a world where the natural sciences have been advancing at a rapid pace, some of the most exciting research is being carried out in attempts to understand the neurophysiological processes which underlie behavior. There have been some dramatic descriptions of the manner in which these incredibly complex processes are thought to occur, such as Sherrington's famous and beautifully literate analysis of brain processes as "an enchanted loom where millions of flashing shuttles weave a dissolving pattern, always a meaningful pattern though never an abiding one; a shifting harmony of subpatterns" ( 1951, p. 178); and Lashley's "network of cells, organized in various structures and systems, subject to constant excitation from the sense organs, and capable of developing and maintaining a great variety of patterns of activity" ( 1958, p. 17). Both authors, widely distant from each other in basic viewpoint, nevertheless see a constantly active brain with ever- changing patterns.If the present standpoint is nothing more than an antidote to the often stodgy, arbitrary, rigid approaches on the one hand, as well as to the unscientific, subjectively based approaches on the other, it will have achieved some purpose. If it arouses eagerness and curiosity in the minds of some students who will one day contribute to our knowledge of the way the brain functions, it will be a great success; and the mentally deficient among others will be the beneficiaries.
REFERENCES
ALDRICH, C. G., & DOLL, E. A. "Problem solving among idiots". J. comp. Psychol., 1931, 12, 137-169. (a)

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Handbook of Mental Deficiency: Psychological Theory and Research
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contributors vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xi
  • Contents xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I 9
  • 1 - Field Theory in Mental Deficiency 11
  • Introduction 11
  • References 36
  • 2 - A Social Learning Approach to Mental Retardation 41
  • Summary 86
  • References 86
  • 3 - Hull - Spence Behavior Theory and Mental Deficiency 92
  • Introduction 92
  • A Summing-Up 129
  • References 129
  • 4 - The Stimulus Trace and Behavioral Inadequacy 134
  • Summary 155
  • References 155
  • 5 - The Role of Attention in Retardate Discrimination Learning 159
  • References 220
  • 6 - Intelligence and Brain Damage 224
  • References 251
  • 7 - Genetic Aspects of Intelligent Behavior 253
  • References 291
  • 8 - The Application of Piaget's Theory to Research in Mental Deficiency 297
  • Introduction 297
  • References 323
  • 9 - Social Psychologies of Mental Deficiency 325
  • Summary 348
  • References 348
  • 10 - Psychological Studies of Mental Deficiency in the Soviet Union 353
  • Part II 389
  • 11 - Learning: Verbal, Perceptual-Motor, and Classical Conditioning 391
  • References 420
  • 12 Discrimination Learning 424
  • 12 Discrimination Learning 436
  • 13 - Problem - Solving and Conceptual Behavior 439
  • Conclusions 458
  • References 458
  • 14 - Sensory Processes and Mental Deficiency 463
  • Summary 476
  • References 476
  • 15 - Perceptual Processes 480
  • Conclusions 506
  • References 507
  • 16 - Language and Communication of Mental Defectives 512
  • Introduction 512
  • Summary and Overview 550
  • References 550
  • 17 - Psychophysiological Studies in Mental Deficiency 556
  • 17 - Psychophysiological Studies in Mental Deficiency 569
  • References 571
  • 18 - Abnormal Behavior and Mental Deficiency 574
  • Introduction 574
  • Summary and Conclusions 595
  • References 595
  • 19 - Motor Skills in Mental Deficiency 602
  • Summary 626
  • References 626
  • 20 - Research in Activity Level 632
  • Summary 657
  • References 657
  • 21 - Academic Skills 664
  • Summary 687
  • References 687
  • Contributors 691
  • Name Index 699
  • Subject Index 713
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