Tag Archives: consciousness

History of psychology in Nautilus

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The popular publication on science, Nautilus, offers two recent features relevant to our readership.

The first is an adroit biographical and theoretical sketch of distinctive psychologist and historian of psychology Julian Jaynes. In addition to a survey of the impact his opus The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind  made upon its publication, focus is also placed on current interpretations of his polarizing thinking, and the ways in which it can be said to have anticipated persistent “vexations” in neuroscience. Find here.

The second, in spite of a somewhat click-baity title, provides a rather nuanced and concise history of research on gender differences in ‘spatial skills,’  touching on the various tensions that are at play in any discussion of why females are currently understood to struggle with spatial cognition, including the perennial oversimplification of  a nature/nurture dichotomy, social construction, neuro plasticity, sexism in STEM fields, and even evolutionary explanations. Find here. 

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“The First Modern Battle for Consciousness”

The latest issue of the Journal of Consciousness Studies, 14(11), includes an article by David Berman and William Lyons that examines “the first modern battle for consciousness.”

Here is the abstract:

This essay investigates the influences that led J. B. Watson to change from being a student in an introspectionist laboratory at Chicago to being the founder of systematic (or radical) behaviourism.  Our focus is the crucial period, 1913-1914, when Watson struggled to give a convincing behaviourist account of mental imaging, which he considered to be the greatest obstacle to his behavourist programme.  We discuss in detail the evidence for and against the view that, at least eventually, Watson rejected outright the very existence of mental images.  We also discuss in detail whether or not Knight Dunlap was the crucial influence on his eventual rejection of mental images.  Finally we consider whether Watson’s rejection of mental images was bolstered by some personal incapacity as regards imaging or whether his rejection was more like a form of ‘ideological blindness.’

Two related resources are also included below.

Continue reading “The First Modern Battle for Consciousness”

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