Control: A History of Behavioral Psychology by John A. Mills

By John A. Mills

Behaviorism has been the dominant strength within the construction of contemporary American psychology. in spite of the fact that, the unquestioned and unquestioning nature of this dominance has obfuscated the complexity of behaviorism. keep watch over serves as an antidote to this historic myopia, delivering the main finished background of behaviorism but written. generators effectively balances the research of person theorists and their contributions with research of the buildings of assumption which underlie all behaviorist psychology, and with behaviorism's function as either author and creature of bigger American highbrow styles, practices, and values. in addition, turbines offers a cogent critique of behaviorists' slender attitudes towards human motivation, exploring how their positivism cripples their skill to account for the unobservable, internal elements that keep watch over habit. Control's mixture of background and feedback advances our realizing not just of behaviorism, but in addition the improvement of social technology and positivism in twentieth-century the US.

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American psychologists invented the neo-Galtonian research method, an integral part of which was the concept of the treatment group. In the neo-Galtonian ap­ proach, the individual became the interactive locus of a number of independent variables, each of which could be manipulated in isolation from the others. Control, as I have already said, was effectively removed from the individual subject and assigned to the investigator. The investigator, in his turn, became a manipulator because, given the equation of science with technology current both within and outside psychology at the time, knowledge was assumed to be derived from action rather than understanding or contemplation, and only those manipulations that had some likelihood of producing socially useful consequences were considered worthwhile.

Behaviorism took root early, prevailed for a long time, and was per­ vasive in American sociology. ”5 The position of a particular person on the scale was to be ascertained by an analysis of objective characteristics (the person’s parentage, cultural origin, and skin color). Giddings did not say so, but the new scale could be con­ strued as an expression of prejudice. He attempted to overcome that potential criticism by constructing each scale point out of his objec­ tive characteristics. Given that he expressed the values of his day with such fidelity, he did not realize that each of his characteristics was value-laden.

But the positive scientific results are small in quantity when compared with the objective experimental work accom­ plished in the past fifty years. There is no conflict between introspective analysis and objective experiment—on the contrary, they should and do continually cooperate. But the rather widespread notion that there is no psychology apart from introspection is refuted by the brute argument of ac­ complished fact. It seems to me that most of the research work that has been done by me or in my laboratory is nearly as independent of intro­ spection as work in physics or in zoology.

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