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F., J.C. (1927). The Psychology of the Thinker: By I. B. Saxby, D.Sc., Lecturer in Education, University College, Cardiff. (University of London Press, 1926. Pp. viii + 355. Price 7 s. 6 d.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 8:294-296.

(1927). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 8:294-296

The Psychology of the Thinker: By I. B. Saxby, D.Sc., Lecturer in Education, University College, Cardiff. (University of London Press, 1926. Pp. viii + 355. Price 7 s. 6 d.)

Review by:
J. C. F.

Dr. Saxby has here made an attempt—in many ways a very interesting and instructive attempt—to fuse certain aspects of the work of Semon, Koffka and Freud into a consistent account of the nature and function of thought. In view of the still existing lack of genera1 agreement in psychology as regards even the most fundamental questions of standpoint, principles and method, attempts of this kind—provided they are carried out with insight and discrimination—are almost bound to be of value, and it is interesting to note that in Europe such attempts appear to be more numerous in Great Britain than on the Continent, where for the most part different schools of thought are tending to pursue their work in severe (and sometimes hostile) isolation.

The four fundamental concepts in the present book are engram, ecphory, configuration and complex. The first two of these are used pretty much in Semon's original wide and useful sense. Configuration is defined as 'a group of engram-sets which have become associated together in such a way that ecphory spreads rapidly from point to point, with the result that the group is able to function more or less completely as a unitary whole'. Thinking is 'ecphory within a configuration', while a complex is 'a configuration of engram sets which contain impulses within its system'. This last term seems to mean the same thing as Shand's and McDougall's 'sentiment'. Dr. Saxby however deprecates the use of this latter word as emphasizing the emotional element, whereas she herself sees 'the vital part of the complex in its effect on action'.

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