Natural Response Theory


NATURALISTIC THEORY OF HISTORY. Two general approaches may be taken to explain how a science, such as psychology, develops: the naturalistic (or Zeitgeist - "spirit of the times") theory and the personalistic (or "great man/person") theory. The naturalistic theory holds that "the times make the person" or at least make possible the acceptance of what she or he has to say [cf., the Ortgeist theory ("spirit of the place") -states that a given culture, place, or location determines the characteristics of theories and research, as contrasted with a given historical time or era as supposed by the Zeitgeist theory]. The personalistic theory suggests that scientific events would not have happened had it not been for the appearance of the great men and women; this theory maintains that "the person makes the times." Are the great men/great women the causes of progress, or are they merely its symptoms? The American psychologist/historian Edwin Garrigues Boring (1886-1968) suggests that they are neither; rather, they are the agents of progress. The naturalistic theory stresses the role of the social, cultural, and intellectual climate within which the investigator works and lives (cf., doctrine of social determinism - holds that history is influenced primarily by broad social and cultural forces rather than by individuals). However, the acceptance and use of a discovery may be limited by the dominant pattern of thought in a culture, region, or era. An idea that is too novel or unique to gain acceptance in one period of civilization may be readily accepted a generation or a century later. Slow change seems to be the pattern of scientific progress. For example, the Scottish physiologist Robert Whytt (1714-1766) first suggested the concept of conditioning of responses in 1763, but it was well over 100 years later - at a time when psychology was moving toward greater objectivity - that the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936) expanded and developed the concept in 1927 into a systematic body of knowledge. The great scholars, themselves, have become eponyms; that is, their names have been given to systematic positions or laws (the study/science of names and naming is called onomastics and is divided into "anthroponomastics" - the study of personal names, and "toponymy" - the study of place names); and this personalistic process fosters the belief that a scientific discovery is the result of one person's sudden insight. According to Boring (1963), eponymy may "distort" history by not taking proper account of the Zeitgeist and of earlier neglected contributions by other scientists. In the final analysis, however, the history of psychology should probably be considered in terms of both per-sonalistic and naturalistic theories of history, with a major role being assigned to the influence of the Zeitgeist. See also HISTORICAL MODELS OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY; PAVLOVIAN CONDITIONING PRINCIPLES/LAWS/THEORIES; PERSONALITY THEORIES; STIGLER'S LAW OF EPONYMY.

Conquering Fear In The 21th Century

Conquering Fear In The 21th Century

The Ultimate Guide To Overcoming Fear And Getting Breakthroughs. Fear is without doubt among the strongest and most influential emotional responses we have, and it may act as both a protective and destructive force depending upon the situation.

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