A history of introspection

Boring, Edwin G. (1953). “A history of introspection”. Psychological Bulletin 50 (3): 169–189.



A proper but cumbersome title for this article would be “The History of the Availability of Consciousness to Observation in Scientific Psychology.” If conscious experience can be said to exist, then the question arises as to whether modern psychology ought not to take into consideration its data, as indeed it used always to do. Thus my paper might even be called “What Became of Introspection?” One common answer to that question would be that introspection was not viable and so gradually became extinct. Another answer, however, is that introspection is still with us, doing its business under various aliases, of which verbal report is one. The former statement about the failure of introspection is approximately true of that introspection which flourished under Titchener at Cornell in 1900-1920, whereas the latter statement about camouflaged introspection is accepted by the modern positivists who hold that the concept of conscious experience has meaning only when it is defined operationally.”

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