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Tip: To sort articles by year…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

After you perform a search, you can sort the articles by Year. This will rearrange the results of your search chronologically, displaying the earliest published articles first. This feature is useful to trace the development of a specific psychoanalytic concept through time.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Murphy, W.F. (1951). Studies in Human Behavior: By Merle Lawrence. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1949. 184 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 20:139-141.

(1951). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 20:139-141

Studies in Human Behavior: By Merle Lawrence. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1949. 184 pp.

Review by:
William F. Murphy

This book is a laboratory manual in general psychology organized, according to the author, to stress some of the basic principles of individual and group behavior with emphasis on perception. The first part, experiments 1 through 7, is classical in nature and scope and concerned with the perceptual characteristics of hearing and seeing. From the very beginning, however, the influence of gestalt psychology is everywhere in evidence as well as the present-day tendency to realize the importance of the inner world of man, and that meaningfulness is an individual affair in terms of past experience '… which in early life relates directly to sensory impressions, the satisfaction of needs or the stirring of emotions'. It is extremely difficult to choose and arrange experiments that demonstrate this concept as well as problems in the nature of thought, reasoning, concept formation, and the effect of social environment. The author has succeeded reasonably well in doing this, partly due to the ingenious nature of the experiments and in part due to simplicity of approach and clarity in style. Part II, experiments 8 through 12, deals with the source, stimuli, and function of perception and the ambiguity of cues. Experiment 10 is an excellent demonstration of how perceptions are inner experiences based on 'statistical averages built up from past perceptions', which is true only if we bear in mind that past experiences are evaluated according to their affective complement.

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