Meyers Psychobiology Theory


MEYER'S PSYCHOLOGICAL THEORIES. About eight years prior to John B. Watson's (1919) publication of his influential "Psychology from the Standpoint of a Behav-iorist," the German-American psychologist Max Frederick Meyer (1873-1967) provided the rudiments of a behavioristic psychology in his "Fundamental Laws of Human Behavior" (1911), followed up by a more systematic account in his "Psychology of the Other One" (1921) wherein he stated that the task of psychology is the study of public data. Meyer asserted, in particular, that the concept of consciousness can be studied scientifically only if it is made public. Meyer's major contributions to empirical psychology were in the areas of audition and musical acoustics where he published for over 50 years (1899-1950). Meyer proposed a theory of hearing - that almost equaled Helmholtz 's audition theory in popularity - in which he made the variable of pitch a function of frequency of sound waves and excluded the variable of resonance. Meyer's theory also dealt with the perception of loud-ness of complex sound waves by placing the locus for analysis of such waves in the inner ear rather than in the brain. In 1912 and 1913, Meyer - who was an uncompromising neuro-physiological reductionist and anticipated the development of modern cognitive neuropsy-chology - considered the problem of mind and body, and used mechanical analogies to prove that the behavioristic conception of nervous function is superior to others. Later, Meyer devised a scheme of abnormal psychology based on behavioristic principles. See also AUDITI ON/HEARING, THEORIES OF; BEHAVIORIST THEORY; CONSCIOUSNESS, PHENOMENON OF; EMPIRICAL/ EMPIRICISM, DOCTRINE OF; EMPIRICIST VERSUS NATIVIST THEORIES. REFERENCES

Roback, A. A. (1964). History of American psychology. New York: Collier. Zusne, L. (1984). Biographical dictionary of psychology. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

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