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Riggall, R.M. (1925). General: Dr. J. B. Watson. Behaviorism—The Modern Note in Psychology. Psyche, 1924, Vol. V, p. 3.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 6:223-224.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: General: Dr. J. B. Watson. Behaviorism—The Modern Note in Psychology. Psyche, 1924, Vol. V, p. 3.

(1925). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 6:223-224

General: Dr. J. B. Watson. Behaviorism—The Modern Note in Psychology. Psyche, 1924, Vol. V, p. 3.

Robert M. Riggall

The object of this paper is to give a brief résumé of behaviorism and to show why it will work and why McDougall's introspective psychology will not work. Early psychology was behavioristic, and behaviorism is a return to early common-sense. It is based on the reaction of the individual to a certain object or situation, or the prediction of the cause of a certain reaction. Speculating on the origin of the supernatural in the general laziness of mankind it is observed that behavior is more easily controlled by fear than by love. The fear of the father accounts for the power of religion and superstition as well as for modern psychology. It also partly accounts for the convincingness of McDougall's argument for purpose. The dogma of the concept 'soul' has dominated psychology from earliest times; Wundt merely substituting the word 'consciousness' for the word 'soul'. This is just as unprovable as the old concept of 'soul'. The result of this assumption and that consciousness can be analyzed by introspection is that there are as many analyses as there are individual psychologists. There is no control or standardization. Behaviorism limits itself to things that can be observed, its laws are concerned only with observed things. Behavior, or in other words what the organism does or says, can be observed. The behaviorist endeavours to describe behavior in terms of 'stimulus and response'. He touches humanity at every point. He looks for the stimulus which makes the newborn baby behave in a certain way and finds that the fear response is only caused by a loud noise or lack of support. Later if the loud noise becomes associated with something

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else, a fear response will be produced and the behaviorist calls this the conditioned emotional response. Under certain conditions love will also produce this conditioned emotional response. The methods by which dangerous emotional responses can be removed is being studied in an infant laboratory in New York. The process of thinking is not mysterious: thought is simply the saying of words which must be hidden from society; thinking is acting with muscles hidden from ordinary observation. To accept behaviorism means the formation of new habits, it is new wine which cannot be poured into old bottles.

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Article Citation

Riggall, R.M. (1925). General. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 6:223-224

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