Wundt Illusion See Appendix A

WUNDT'S THEORIES/DOCTRINES/ PRINCIPLES. The German physiologist, psychologist, philosopher, and founder of experimental psychology Wilhelm Max Wundt (1832-1920) created and developed the first school of psychological thought, called structuralism/structuralist school, whose basic ten-et was that sensations are the proper subject matter of psychology (the historical psychological school/theory of functionalism emphasized the activity/adaptive dimension of psychological events, whereas Wundt's the-ory/ school of structuralism emphasized the contents of psychological events). Using the method of introspection (i.e., looking within one's own experience and reporting on it), Wundt and his students investigated participants' immediate experience through exacting attention to sensations and feelings. The goals of structuralism were to analyze conscious processes into basic elements, to determine how these elements are connected, and to establish the laws of these connections (cf., Ahsen, 1986). Wundt proposed a tridimen sional theory of feeling in which an equilibrium between pleasure-displeasure, tensionrelaxation, and excitement-calm/depression occupy three independent and distinct dimensions of feeling. Wundt held that emotions are complex compounds of the elementary feelings and that each of the feelings may effectively be described by defining its position on each of the three dimensions (cf., Wundt's formulation of three principles of emotional expression as a reformulation of Darwin's principles: the principles of innervation, association of analogous sensations, and relation of movements to images). Wundt's theory of feeling stimulated a great deal of research in his own, and rival, laboratories but it has not withstood the test of time. Wundt postulated his doctrine of apperception to explain how the various elements of conscious experience are combined to form unified conscious experiences. He used the term apperception in a fashion similar to that of the German philosopher/psychologist Johann Herbart (1776-1841) to refer to the active mental process of selecting and structuring internal experience. The term apperception is rarely used today in experimental psychology, but the concepts underlying it are important, especially to many cognitively oriented psychologists. Wundt designated the active process of combining the various elements into a unity as his law of psychic resultants (also called the principle of creative synthesis/resultants), which states that the combination of elements creates new properties where every psychic compound has characteristics that are more than the sum of the characteristics of the elements when taken singly (cf., Mill, 1874). In a sense, Wundt's principle of creative synthesis (via J. S. Mill) and his law of psychic resultants anticipated the Gestalt theorists' viewpoint that in perception the "whole is more than the sum of its parts," where something new is created out of the synthesis of the elemental parts of experience [cf., synergy theory - developed by the American functionalist/dynamic psychologist Robert Sessions Woodworth (1869-1962), and emphasizes the idea that mental synthesis is a unitary perceptual or motor response that is generated by the aggregate of sensory elements, and is viewed as stimuli converging on a single response mechanism; and dynamic theory - a general approach employed by both Sigmund Freud and Wilhelm Wundt that is concerned with motivational processes and the unconscious; the term dynamism is used to refer to a stable manner of behaving, the purpose of which is to fulfill motives and drives and to protect the individual from debilitating stress]. At the turn of the 20th century, Wundt was involved in an academic controversy called the imageless thought debate. The controversy about the nature of thinking was between the structuralist school of Wundt and E. B. Titchener on the one hand, and the members of the Wurzburg school in Germany on the other hand. Wundt postulated that consciousness is made up of only three elements: sensations, images, and feelings; Titchener placed major emphasis on images as the vehicles of thought. The Wurzburg psychologists hypothesized that participants' responses are due to determining tendencies or sets without the use of imagery (i.e., they argued in favor of "imageless thought"). The topic of images/ imagery waned with the advent of behaviorism in the early 1900s, but then in the 1960s and 1970s, it was revived with the development of the cognitive approach in psychology, and imagery began to play a significant theoretical role in the areas of learning, perception, thinking, and meaning. Wundt's wide-ranging laboratory investigations of psychological phenomena included the psychology and physiology of seeing, hearing, the "lower" senses, optics, reaction-time experiments, word associations, folk psychology, and psy-chophysics. Wundt adopted a purely psychological interpretation of Weber's law, which he considered to be an example of the psychological law of relativity (cf., Muller, 1878). Although there were signs reflecting the theoretical narrowness of Wundt's new experimental psychology, it was through Wundt's vision, largely, that the conception of an independent and inductive psychology became a reality. See also ACH'S



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