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Discussion Questions

Early Psychology

1. What is psychophysics? What did Wundt and Titchener desire to accomplish with research in this field?

  • 2. How does Titchener account for the structure of experience? In what sense is his account similar to explanations in chemistry?
  • 3. If Titchener believed the mind had a neurobiological basis, why didn’t he attempt to explain psychology in terms of the brain instead of pursuing psychophysics? How might Titchener have responded to this question?
  • 4. How is Wundt’s introspectionism different from Descartes’s? Why does he think it is superior? Is he right, and why, or why not?
  • 5. In what sense is science about experience? How would Kant and Wundt answer this question respectively? Are they in agreement with each other? Why, or why not?
  • 6. Kant didn’t think we could go beyond experience and understand the ultimate nature of reality. Why doesn’t Wundt agree with Kant’s analysis?
  • 7. How do researchers in natural science and psychology adopt different perspectives according to Wundt? Why does he make this distinction? Is it helpful?
  • 8. In what sense does Wundt believe that psychology is fundamental to—and perhaps the foundation of—all scientific efforts? How could psychology help ground science in his view? How might Wundt have arrived at this view?
  • 9. Why is William James unsatisfied with structuralism in psychology? What weaknesses does he see? What alternative approach to psychology does he offer?
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