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Brierley, M. (1943). Psychology: Dynamics in Psychology. By Wolfgang Koehler. (Faber and Faber Ltd., London, 1942. Pp. 120. Price, 8 s. 6 d.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 24:84.

(1943). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 24:84

Psychology: Dynamics in Psychology. By Wolfgang Koehler. (Faber and Faber Ltd., London, 1942. Pp. 120. Price, 8 s. 6 d.)

Review by:
Marjorie Brierley

This book provides useful insight into the theory and the experimental methods of 'Gestalt' psychology, although it contains little reference to the all-important concept of 'organization'.

The author writes: 'The threads of purely psychological information disappear everywhere into another domain which is not accessible to our methods. Few psychologists will deny that this other domain is biology.' (p. 85.) Also, in countless cases, 'psychological facts as such are vividly experienced, whereas of their dependence on other facts there is no immediate awareness whatsoever. In other words, we do not generally know why our experiences are as they are, because they tell us little about their genesis.' (p. 11.) 'Now, one of the main tasks which psychology has to solve consists in the discovery of those functional relations which are responsible for the occurrence and characteristics of our experiences. We want to know not merely what happens in mental life but also how and why it happens.' (p. 12.)

The psycho-analyst will agree with the author's observations as to the limits of conscious experience but will maintain that many conscious phenomena can be explained, in strictly psychological terms, by reference to 'unconscious' mental factors. Professor Koehler, however, seems to equate mental life with consciousness and therefore concludes that biological theory alone can solve such problems. Answers to questions of 'how' and 'why' are to be sought in the physiological realm, the brain processes 'correlated' with mental happenings.

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