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III Seemesterr
(22011 Ad
Caliicut Univ
versity P.O. Malap
ppuram, Kerala, IIndia 673
3 635
Study Material
2011 Admission
Prepared by:
Prof. (Dr.) C. JAYAN
Department of Psychology University of Calicut Layout:
Computer Section, SDE
The course will familiarize students with the basic
psychological process and the studies related to the factors which
influence them. It will also focus on some important application
areas of psychology.
Module 1
Motivation is the activation or energization of goal-orientated behavior. Motivation is said to be
intrinsic or extrinsic. The term is generally used for humans but, theoretically, it can also be used to
describe the causes for animal behavior as well. This article refers to human motivation. According
to various theories, motivation may be rooted in the basic need to minimize physical pain and
maximize pleasure, or it may include specific needs such as eating and resting, or a desired object,
hobby, goal, state of being, ideal, or it may be attributed to less-apparent reasons such as altruism,
selfishness, morality, or avoiding mortality. Conceptually, motivation should not be confused with
either volition or optimism. Motivation is related to, but distinct from, emotion.
Nature of Motivation
Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation Intrinsic motivation has been studied by social and educational psychologists since the early 1970s.
Research has found that it is usually associated with high educational achievement and enjoyment
by students. Intrinsic motivation has been explained by Fritz Heider's attribution theory, Bandura's
work on self-efficacy, and Ryan and Deci's cognitive evaluation theory. Students are likely to be
intrinsically motivated if they:
attribute their educational results to internal factors that they can control (e.g. the amount of effort
they put in),
believe they can be effective agents in reaching desired goals (i.e. the results are not determined by
are interested in mastering a topic, rather than just rote-learning to achieve good grades.
Extrinsic motivation comes from outside of the performer. Money is the most obvious example, but
coercion and threat of punishment are also common extrinsic motivations.
While competing, the crowd may cheer on the performer, which may motivate him or her to do
well. Trophies are also extrinsic incentives. Competition is in general extrinsic because it
encourages the performer to win and beat others, not to enjoy the intrinsic rewards of the activity.
Social psychological research has indicated that extrinsic rewards can lead to overjustification and a
subsequent reduction in intrinsic motivation. In one study demonstrating this effect, children who
expected to be (and were) rewarded with a ribbon and a gold star for drawing pictures spent less
time playing with the drawing materials in subsequent observations than children who were
assigned to an unexpected reward condition and to children who received no extrinsic reward.
Classificattion of motives
According to
t Maslow, motives
are of
o the follow
wing types:
1) Physiolog
2) Security
3) Affiliatioon/ Belongingness
4) Esteem
5) Self- Actuualisation
These motivves are well explained inn his Need H
Hierarchy Mo
The need hierarchy
y model
An interp
pretation of M
Maslow's hieraarchy of need
ds, representeed as a pyram
mid with the m
more basic neeeds at the bottom. Maslow's hierarchy
off needs is a theory
in psyychology, prroposed by Abraham
Maaslow in his 1943
paper A Thheory of Hu
uman Motivvation. Maslow subsequ
uently extended the idea to includee his
observationss of human
ns' innate cuuriosity. Hiss theories parallel
manny other theeories of huuman
developmenntal psycholoogy, all of which
focus oon describingg the stages of
o growth in
n humans.
Maslow stuudied what he
h called exeemplary peoople such as Albert Einsstein, Jane Addams,
Roosevelt, and
a Fredericck Douglasss rather thann mentally ill
i or neurottic people, writing
that "the
study of cripppled, stunteed, immaturee, and unheaalthy specim
mens can yielld only a criipple psychoology
and a crippple philosophy." Masllow also sttudied the healthiest 11% of the college stuudent
Maslow's theeory was fullly expressedd in his 19544 book Motivvation and Personality.
Maslow's hierarchy of needs is often portrayed in the shape of a pyramid, with the largest and
lowest levels of needs at the bottom, and the need for self-actualization at the top, also the needs for
Deficiency needs
The lower four layers of the pyramid contain what Maslow called "deficiency needs" or "d-needs":
physiological (including sexuality), security of position, friendship and love, and esteem. With the
exception of the lowest (physiological) needs, if these "deficiency needs" are not met, the body
gives no physical indication but the individual feels anxious and tense.
Physiological needs For the most part, physiological needs are obvious—they are the literal requirements for human
survival. If these requirements are not met (with the exception of clothing, shelter, and sexual
activity), the human body simply cannot continue to function.
Physiological needs include:
Air, water, and food are metabolic requirements for survival in all animals, including humans.
Clothing and shelter provide necessary protection from the elements. The intensity of the human
sexual instinct is shaped more by sexual competition than maintaining a birth rate adequate to
survival of the species.
Safety needs With their physical needs relatively satisfied, the individual's safety needs take precedence and
dominate behavior. These needs have to do with people's yearning for a predictable orderly world
in which perceived unfairness and inconsistency are under control, the familiar frequent and the
unfamiliar rare. In the world of work, these safety needs manifest themselves in such things as a
preference for job security, grievance procedures for protecting the individual from unilateral
authority, savings accounts, insurance policies, reasonable disability accommodations, and the like.
Safety and Security needs include:
Personal security
Financial security
Health and well-being
Safety net against accidents/illness and their adverse impacts.
Love and Belonging After physiological and safety needs are fulfilled, the third layer of human needs are social and
involve feelings of belongingness. This aspect of Maslow's hierarchy involves emotionally based
relationships in general, such as:
Humans need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance, whether it comes from a large social
group, such as clubs, office culture, religious groups, professional organizations, sports teams,
gangs, or small social connections (family members, intimate partners, mentors, close colleagues,
confidants). They need to love and be loved (sexually and non-sexually) by others. In the absence
of these elements, many people become susceptible to loneliness, social anxiety, and clinical
depression. This need for belonging can often overcome the physiological and security needs,
depending on the strength of the peer pressure; an anorexic, for example, may ignore the need to eat
and the security of health for a feeling of control and belonging.
Esteem All humans have a need to be respected and to have self-esteem and self-respect. Also known as the
belonging need, esteem presents the normal human desire to be accepted and valued by others.
People need to engage themselves to gain recognition and have an activity or activities that give the
person a sense of contribution, to feel accepted and self-valued, be it in a profession or hobby.
Imbalances at this level can result in low self-esteem or an inferiority complex. People with low
self-esteem need respect from others. They may seek fame or glory, which again depends on others.
Note, however, that many people with low self-esteem will not be able to improve their view of
themselves simply by receiving fame, respect, and glory externally, but must first accept
themselves internally. Psychological imbalances such as depression can also prevent one from
obtaining self-esteem on both levels.
Most people have a need for a stable self-respect and self-esteem. Maslow noted two versions of
esteem needs, a lower one and a higher one. The lower one is the need for the respect of others, the
need for status, recognition, fame, prestige, and attention. The higher one is the need for selfrespect, the need for strength, competence, mastery, self-confidence, independence and freedom.
The latter one ranks higher because it rests more on inner competence won through experience.
Deprivation of these needs can lead to an inferiority complex, weakness and helplessness.
Maslow stresses the dangers associated with self-esteem based on fame and outer recognition
instead of inner competence.
Self­actualization “What a man can be, he must be.” This forms the basis of the perceived need for self-actualization.
This level of need pertains to what a person's full potential is and realizing that potential. Maslow
describes this desire as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that
one is capable of becoming. This is a broad definition of the need for self-actualization, but when
applied to individuals the need is specific. For example one individual may have the strong desire
to become an ideal parent, in another it may be expressed athletically, and in another it may be
expressed in painting, pictures, or inventions. As mentioned before, in order to reach a clear
understanding of this level of need one must first not only achieve the previous needs,
physiological, safety, love, and esteem, but master these needs. Below are Maslow’s descriptions of
a self-actualized person’s different needs and personality traits.
Maslow also states that even though these are examples of how the quest for knowledge is separate
from basic needs he warns that these “two hierarchies are interrelated rather than sharply separated”
(Maslow 97). This means that this level of need as well as the next and highest level are not strict,
separate, levels but closely related to others and this is possibly the reason that these two levels of
need are left out of most textbooks.
In their extensive review of research based on Maslow's theory, Wahba and Bridgewell found little
evidence for the ranking of needs Maslow described, or even for the existence of a definite
hierarchy at all. Chilean economist and philosopher Manfred Max-Neef has also argued
fundamental human needs are non-hierarchical, and are ontologically universal and invariant in
nature—part of the condition of being human; poverty, he argues, may result from any one of these
needs being frustrated, denied or unfulfilled.
The order in which the hierarchy is arranged (with self-actualisation as the highest order need) has
been criticised as being ethnocentric by Geert Hofstede.
He was also heavily criticized for his limited testing of only 100 students.
Courses in marketing teach Maslow's hierarchy as one of the first theories as a basis for
understanding consumers' motives for action. Marketers have historically looked towards
consumers' needs to define their actions in the market. If producers design products meeting
consumer needs, consumers will more often choose those products over those of competitors.
Whichever product better fills the void created by the need will be chosen more frequently, thus
increasing sales. This makes the model relevant to transpersonal business studies.
Techniques for Assessment of Motivation
Where a resume can trace an individual's history, and a personality profile can categorize a person
by traits, only by understanding motivation can we clearly see where an individual's talents, desires
and potential lie. Personal motivations in categories like temperament, aptitude and vocational
interests can be identified and rated according to their intensity. By charting these motivations, we
can provide an understanding of the intricacies that keep individuals happy, thriving and effective
in their work.
There are many techniques available to assess motivation, some of them are ‘Motivation
Assessment Scale’ and ‘Assessment of Motivation and Potential For Personal and Professional
Development ’
Motivation Assessment Scale (MAS) as an additional way to find out why people’s problem
behaviors persist by assessing the influence of social attention, tangibles, escape, and sensory
consequences on problem behavior. The MAS is a sixteen item questionnaire that assesses the
functions or motivations of behavior problems. The sixteen items are organized into four categories
of reinforcement (attention, tangible, escape, and sensory) described in the previous section. The
MAS asks questions about the likelihood of a behavior problem occurring in a variety of situations
(e.g., when presented with difficult tasks).
"In addition, using this scale does not involve making behavior problems worse, a feature that has
obvious advantages. It is hoped that through the use of the MAS, people with severe behavior
problems will have greater access to positive interventions."
MAPP (Motivational Appraisal of Personal Potential) is a tool used to create more productive and
efficient organizations. It is based on a comprehensive and integrated personal inventory for
understanding motivation and potential…it allows employers to make the most successful
employees benchmarks for others…it enables businesses to hire more thoughtfully and accurately
and to build healthier and more efficient teams…it facilitates wise promotion decisions…it can
target specific areas for training…it reduces turnover by accurately matching individuals to their
positions. And, in turn, it helps keep employees satisfied and productive.
Motivational Appraisal of Personal Potential gives companies an unprecedented glimpse into what
makes individuals who they are and who they can be. Combine the MAPP™ of many employees,
and one has access to a digital talent pool that can help utilize people in the best way possible,
whether a business is growing and changing, merging, reorganizing or downsizing. It provides
powerful insight needed for building stronger organizations.
Motivation and Learning
The Behaviorist Model
In the 1960s and early 1970s, the behaviorist model had become the dominant model in psychology
(Greeno, Collins, and Resnick, 1996). According to that model, learning was the development of
associations between stimuli and responses or stimuli and other stimuli through the act of pairing
and the delivery of contingencies based on responses. Behaviorism was a very important movement
for psychology at the time, even though it had rejected much of the work that had gone before it as
unscientific. The reasoning was that in order for psychology to be a science, it had to focus on
repeatable, verifiable, observable events that everyone could agree had taken place. There was no
advantage to resorting to no observable mediating events like thinking because environmental
consequences were capable of explaining even very complex chains of behavior (Skinner, 1953).
Though the model may seem a bit drastic in retrospect, it was an important step in psychology’s
attempt to be accepted as a science. Adopting the scientific criteria of observation and replication
meant that psychology was trying to move away from speculative and mysterious causes of
behavior into a more positivist approach that identified verifiable cause and-effect relationships.
Instructional Implications. During its tenure as the dominant theory, behaviorism provided a lot of
good information and ideas about the causes of learning. The purpose of instruction under
behavioral models was to increase the frequency of correct responses and minimize errors. Learners
were fairly passive participants in the whole process. They merely responded and experienced the
consequences of the response. Positive consequences increased the response’s probability; negative
consequences decreased it. The instructor organized the learning environment to ensure that correct
responses were likely to occur, and when they did, they were rewarded. Incorrect responses were
either punished or ignored and as a result lost strength.
The Cognitive Model
In the 1970s and 1980s, the ideas of cognitive psychology began to resurface in the field. The initial
versions of cognitive theory were still fairly mechanistic and continued to revolve around the
concept of associations among stimuli, but now the focus was on mental associations, which could
only be inferred from external responses made by the learner (Anderson, 1983). Learners were still
somewhat at the mercy of environmental input, but at this point, the influence of the learner began
to be considered. This influence was primarily a result of the effects of the learner’s prior
knowledge and existing schemata (concepts) on the storage and organization of new information,
so it was not as if the learner was actively directing his or her learning yet. Storage of new
information in memory could still theoretically occur without active direction by the learner. In a
fairly simplistic way, incoming information could bounce around in the learner’s consciousness
until it was matched with the same or a similar pattern already stored in
memory, at which point the memory pattern was either strengthened or modified to accommodate
the new information. These cognitive theories focused on learning as a structuring and restructuring
of memory. Information coming in from the environment received the learner’s attention and as a
result entered consciousness (working memory), where it was held briefly until either processed
into long-term memory, discarded as unimportant, or displaced by incoming information. These
theories, called information processing theories, were most useful in advising teachers how to
design instruction that would benefit this form of learning; they were not very useful in classroom
or behavior management. Instructional Implications. The goal of instruction under this paradigm is
to organize the presentation of new information so that it can be easily stored in memory.
Emotion is associated with mood, temperament, personality and disposition, and motivation. The
English word 'emotion' is derived from the French word émouvoir. This is based on the Latin
emovere, where e- (variant of ex-) means 'out' and movere means 'move'. The related term
"motivation" is also derived from movere.
No definitive taxonomy of emotions exists, though numerous taxonomies have been proposed.
Some categorizations include:
'Cognitive' versus 'non‐cognitive' emotions •
Instinctual emotions (from the amygdala), versus cognitive emotions (from the prefrontal cortex). •
Categorization based on duration: Some emotions occur over a period of seconds (for example, surprise), whereas others can last years (for example, love). A related distinction is between the emotion and the results of the emotion, principally behaviors
and emotional expressions. People often behave in certain ways as a direct result of their emotional
state, such as crying, fighting or fleeing. If one can have the emotion without the corresponding
behavior, then we may consider the behavior not to be essential to the emotion. Neuroscientific
research suggests there is a "magic quarter second" during which it's possible to catch a thought
before it becomes an emotional reaction. In that instant, one can catch a feeling before allowing it
to take hold.
The James-Lange theory posits that emotional experience is largely due to the experience of bodily
changes. The functionalist approach to emotions (for example, Nico Frijda and Freitas-Magalhaes)
holds that emotions have evolved for a particular function, such as to keep the subject safe.
Nature of Emotion
There are basic and complex categories, where some basic emotions can be modified in some way
to form complex emotions (for example, Paul Ekman). In one model, the complex emotions could
arise from cultural conditioning or association combined with the basic emotions. Alternatively,
analogous to the way primary colors combine, primary emotions could blend to form the full
spectrum of human emotional experience. For example interpersonal anger and disgust could blend
to form contempt. Robert Plutchik proposed a three-dimensional "circumplex model" which
describes the relations among emotions. This model is similar to a color wheel. The vertical
dimension represents intensity, and the circle represents degrees of similarity among the emotions.
He posited eight primary emotion dimensions arranged as four pairs of opposites. Some have also
argued for the existence of meta-emotions which are emotions about emotions.
Another important means of distinguishing emotions concerns their occurrence in time. Some
emotions occur over a period of seconds (for example, surprise), whereas others can last years (for
example, love). The latter could be regarded as a long term tendency to have an emotion regarding
a certain object rather than an emotion proper (though this is disputed). A distinction is then made
between emotion episodes and emotional dispositions. Dispositions are also comparable to
character traits, where someone may be said to be generally disposed to experience certain
emotions, though about different objects. For example an irritable person is generally disposed to
feel irritation more easily or quickly than others do. Finally, some theorists (for example, Klaus
Scherer, 2005) place emotions within a more general category of 'affective states' where affective
states can also include emotion-related phenomena such as pleasure and pain, motivational states
(for example, hunger or curiosity), moods, dispositions and traits.
The neural correlates of hate have been investigated with an fMRI procedure. In this experiment,
people had their brains scanned while viewing pictures of people they hated. The results showed
increased activity in the medial frontal gyrus, right putamen, bilaterally in the premotor cortex, in
the frontal pole, and bilaterally in the medial insula of the human brain. The researchers concluded
that there is a distinct pattern of brain activity that occurs when people are experiencing hatred.
Theories about emotions stretch back at least as far as the Ancient Greek Stoics, as well as Plato
and Aristotle. We also see sophisticated theories in the works of philosophers such as René
Descartes, Baruch Spinoza and David Hume. Later theories of emotions tend to be informed by
advances in empirical research. Often theories are not mutually exclusive and many researchers
incorporate multiple perspectives in their work.
Somatic Theories Somatic theories of emotion claim that bodily responses rather than judgements are essential to
emotions. The first modern version of such theories comes from William James in the 1880s. The
theory lost favour in the 20th century, but has regained popularity more recently due largely to
theorists such as John Cacioppo, António Damásio, Joseph E. LeDoux and Robert Zajonc who are
able to appeal to neurological evidence.
James­Lange theory William James, in the article 'What is an Emotion?' (Mind, 9, 1884: 188-205), argued that
emotional experience is largely due to the experience of bodily changes. The Danish psychologist
Carl Lange also proposed a similar theory at around the same time, so this position is known as the
James-Lange theory. This theory and its derivatives state that a changed situation leads to a
changed bodily state. As James says "the perception of bodily changes as they occur is the
emotion." James further claims that "we feel sad because we cry, angry because we strike, afraid
because we tremble, and neither we cry, strike, nor tremble because we are sorry, angry, or fearful,
as the case may be."
This theory is supported by experiments in which by manipulating the bodily state, a desired
emotion is induced. Such experiments also have therapeutic implications (for example, in laughter
therapy, dance therapy). The James-Lange theory is often misunderstood because it seems counterintuitive. Most people believe that emotions give rise to emotion-specific actions: i.e. "I'm crying
because I'm sad", or "I ran away because I was scared". The James-Lange theory, conversely,
asserts that first we react to a situation (running away and crying happen before the emotion), and
then we interpret our actions into an emotional response. In this way, emotions serve to explain and
organize our own actions to us.
The James-Lange theory has now been all but abandoned by most scholars.
Tim Dalgleish (2004) states the following:
“ The James-Lange theory has remained influential. Its main contribution is the
emphasis it places on the embodiment of emotions, especially the argument that
changes in the bodily concomitants of emotions can alter their experienced
intensity. Most contemporary neuroscientists would endorse a modified JamesLange view in which bodily feedback modulates the experience of emotion."
The issue with James-Lange theory is that of causation (bodily states causing emotions and being a
priori), not that of the bodily influences on emotional experience (which I would argue is still quite
prevalent today in biofeedback studies and embodiment theory).
Neurobiological theories Based on discoveries made through neural mapping of the limbic system, the neurobiological
explanation of human emotion is that emotion is a pleasant or unpleasant mental state organized in
the limbic system of the mammalian brain. If distinguished from reactive responses of reptiles,
emotions would then be mammalian elaborations of general vertebrate arousal patterns, in which
neurochemicals (for example, dopamine, noradrenaline, and serotonin) step-up or step-down the
brain's activity level, as visible in body movements, gestures, and postures.
For example, the emotion of love is proposed to be the expression of paleocircuits of the
mammalian brain (specifically, modules of the cingulate gyrus) which facilitate the care, feeding,
and grooming of offspring. Paleocircuits are neural platforms for bodily expression configured
millions of years before the advent of cortical circuits for speech. They consist of pre-configured
pathways or networks of nerve cells in the forebrain, brain stem and spinal cord. They evolved
prior to the earliest mammalian ancestors, as far back as the jawless fish, to control motor function.
Presumably, before the mammalian brain, animal life was automatic, preconscious, and predictable.
The motor centers of reptiles react to sensory cues of vision, sound, touch, chemical, gravity, and
motion with pre-set body movements and programmed postures. With the arrival of night-active
mammals, circa 180 million years ago, smell replaced vision as the dominant sense, and a different
way of responding arose from the olfactory sense, which is proposed to have developed into
mammalian emotion and emotional memory. In the Jurassic Period, the mammalian brain invested
heavily in olfaction to succeed at night as reptiles slept—one explanation for why olfactory lobes in
mammalian brains are proportionally larger than in the reptiles. These odor pathways gradually
formed the neural blueprint for what was later to become our limbic brain.
Emotions are thought to be related to activity in brain areas that direct our attention, motivate our
behavior, and determine the significance of what is going on around us. Pioneering work by Broca
(1878), Papez (1937), and MacLean (1952) suggested that emotion is related to a group of
structures in the center of the brain called the limbic system, which includes the hypothalamus,
cingulate cortex, hippocampi, and other structures. More recent research has shown that some of
these limbic structures are not as directly related to emotion as others are, while some non-limbic
structures have been found to be of greater emotional relevance.
Prefrontal Cortex There is ample evidence that the left prefrontal cortex is activated by stimuli that cause positive
approach. If attractive stimuli can selectively activate a region of the brain, then logically the
converse should hold, that selective activation of that region of the brain should cause a stimulus to
be judged more positively. This was demonstrated for moderately attractive visual stimuli and
replicated and extended to include negative stimuli.
Two neurobiological models of emotion in the prefrontal cortex made opposing predictions. The
Valence Model predicted that anger, a negative emotion, would activate the right prefrontal cortex.
The Direction Model predicted that anger, an approach emotion, would activate the left prefrontal
cortex. The second model was supported.
This still left open the question of whether the opposite of approach in the prefrontal cortex is better
described as moving away (Direction Model), as unmoving but with strength and resistance
(Movement Model), or as unmoving with passive yielding (Action Tendency Model). Support for
the Action Tendency Model (passivity related to right prefrontal activity) comes from research on
shynes[ and research on behavioral inhibition. Research that tested the competing hypotheses
generated by all four models also supported the Action Tendency Model.
Homeostatic Emotion Another neurological approach, described by Bud Craig in 2003, distinguishes between two classes
of emotion. "Classical emotions" include lust, anger and fear, and they are feelings evoked by
environmental stimuli, which motivate us (in these examples, respectively, to copulate/fight/flee).
"Homeostatic emotions" are feelings evoked by internal body states, which modulate our behavior.
Thirst, hunger, feeling hot or cold (core temperature), feeling sleep deprived, salt hunger and air
hunger are all examples of homeostatic emotion; each is a signal from a body system saying
"Things aren't right down here. Drink/eat/move into the shade/put on something warm/sleep/lick
salty rocks/breathe." We begin to feel a homeostatic emotion when one of these systems drifts out
of balance, and the feeling prompts us to do what is necessary to restore that system to balance.
Pain is a homeostatic emotion telling us "Things aren't right here. Withdraw and protect."
Cognitive Theories There are some theories arguing that cognitive activity—in the form of judgments, evaluations, or
thoughts—is necessary for an emotion to occur. This, argued by Richard Lazarus, is necessary to
capture the fact that emotions are about something or have intentionality. Such cognitive activity
may be conscious or unconscious and may or may not take the form of conceptual processing.
An influential theory here is that of Lazarus: emotion is a disturbance that occurs in the following
order: 1.) Cognitive appraisal—The individual assess the event cognitively, which cues the
emotion. 2.) Physiological changes—The cognitive reaction starts biological changes such as
increased heart rate or pituitary adrenal response. 3.) Action—The individual feels the emotion and
chooses how to react. For example: Jenny sees a snake. 1.) Jenny cognitively assesses the snake in
her presence, which triggers fear. 2.) Her heart begins to race faster. Adrenaline pumps through her
blood stream. 3.) Jenny screams and runs away. Lazarus stressed that the quality and intensity of
emotions are controlled through cognitive processes. These processes underlie coping strategies
that form the emotional reaction by altering the relationship between the person and the
There are some theories on emotions arguing that cognitive activity in the form of judgements,
evaluations, or thoughts is necessary in order for an emotion to occur. A prominent philosophical
exponent is Robert C. Solomon (for example, The Passions, Emotions and the Meaning of Life,
1993). The theory proposed by Nico Frijda where appraisal leads to action tendencies is another
example. It has also been suggested that emotions (affect heuristics, feelings and gut-feeling
reactions) are often used as shortcuts to process information and influence behaviour.
Perceptual theory A recent hybrid of the somatic and cognitive theories of emotion is the perceptual theory. This
theory is neo-Jamesian in arguing that bodily responses are central to emotions, yet it emphasises
the meaningfulness of emotions or the idea that emotions are about something, as is recognised by
cognitive theories. The novel claim of this theory is that conceptually based cognition is
unnecessary for such meaning. Rather the bodily changes themselves perceive the meaningful
content of the emotion because of being causally triggered by certain situations. In this respect,
emotions are held to be analogous to faculties such as vision or touch, which provide information
about the relation between the subject and the world in various ways. A sophisticated defense of
this view is found in philosopher Jesse Prinz's book Gut Reactions and psychologist James Laird's
book Feelings.
Affective Events Theory This a communication-based theory developed by Howard M. Weiss and Russell Cropanzano
(1996), that looks at the causes, structures, and consequences of emotional experience (especially in
work contexts). This theory suggests that emotions are influenced and caused by events which in
turn influence attitudes and behaviors. This theoretical frame also emphasizes time in that human
beings experience what they call emotion episodes—a "series of emotional states extended over
time and organized around an underlying theme". This theory has been utilized by numerous
researchers to better understand emotion from a communicative lens, and was reviewed further by
Howard M. Weiss and Daniel J. Beal in their article, Reflections on Affective Events Theory
published in Research on Emotion in Organizations in 2005.
Cannon­Bard theory In the Cannon-Bard theory, Walter Bradford Cannon argued against the dominance of the JamesLange theory regarding the physiological aspects of emotions in the second edition of Bodily
Changes in Pain, Hunger, Fear and Rage. Where James argued that emotional behaviour often
precedes or defines the emotion, Cannon and Bard argued that the emotion arises first and then
stimulates typical behaviour.
Two­factor theory Another cognitive theory is the Singer-Schachter theory. This is based on experiments purportedly
showing that subjects can have different emotional reactions despite being placed into the same
physiological state with an injection of adrenaline. Subjects were observed to express either anger
or amusement depending on whether another person in the situation displayed that emotion. Hence,
the combination of the appraisal of the situation (cognitive) and the participants' reception of
adrenaline or a placebo together determined the response. This experiment has been criticized in
Jesse Prinz's (2004) Gut Reactions.
Component process model A recent version of the cognitive theory regards emotions more broadly as the synchronization of
many different bodily and cognitive components. Emotions are identified with the overall process
whereby low-level cognitive appraisals, in particular the processing of relevance, trigger bodily
reactions, behaviors, feelings, and actions.
Physiological Correlates of Emotions Recent sensor development enables wireless capture of context information, i.e., body and
environmental data, in an unobtrusive way. Collected data is provided to mobile systems, which in
turn respond intelligently, providing meaningful services to the user. Within the European project
e-SENSE, the affective state of the users is one component of context capture. To develop
algorithms for emotion inference, an experiment was conducted in which five different emotional
states were induced. Heart rate, electrodermal activity, breathing rate, and skin temperature were
utilized to measure the respective emotional states. Self-assessment ratings were applied for
manipulation check and comparison with the collected physiological data. Results show that at least
three of the four measures seem promising for detecting differences in affective states and support a
dimensional model of affect.
Among the theories for categorizing or structuring emotions, two approaches have been widely
accepted. The discrete or categorical approach claims the existence of a set of universal, ‘basic
emotions’ that can be distinguished clearly from one another and form the basis for all other
emotions we might experience. Studies performed in search of physiological patterns specific to
basic emotions concentrated mainly on activities of the autonomous nervous system (ANS) and
characteristic speech signal changes. ANS-related studies and many others) showed very interesting
results each on its own, but until now no distinct fixed patterns for the proposed six basic emotions
could be found. The results of the studies are controversial and the variables measured do not seem
to allow a clear distinction between different emotions.
The other approach proposes two or more major dimensions, which enable the description of
different emotions and the distinction between them . According to the dimensional view, emotions
are mainly characterized by their valence and arousal whereas the arousal dimension spans between
the two poles sleepy/calm for very low arousal and aroused/excited for very high arousal. Valence
and arousal have proven to be the two main dimensions, accounting for most of the variance
observed. Cowie et al. proposed the application of additional dimensions for emotions that share
the same degrees of arousal and valence, but are perfectly distinguishable in everyday life. For fear
and anger a dominance or control dimension would support the distinction between the two
emotions. For psycho-physiological studies the dimensional model has a high face validity, since
physiological data is continuous and should correspond well to the dimensions proposed. The most
commonly used physiological parameters applied in studies based on the dimensional model are
skin conductance level (SCL), facial electromyogram (EMG) and heart rate (HR), but speech
parameters have also been examined. Lang found linear increases of Galvanic skin response as an
indicator of SCL with the level of overall arousal. Burch und Greiner predict the same for
electrodermal responses.
Definition of Intelligence
"An intelligence is the ability to solve problems, or to create products, that are valued within one or
more cultural settings ( Gardner, 1983/2003, )"
Intelligence derives from the Latin verb intellegere; per that rationale, “understanding”
(intelligence) is different from being “smart” (capable of adapting to the environment). Scientists
have proposed two major “consensus” definitions of intelligence:
Intelligence A very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to
reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn
from experience. It is not merely book learning, a narrow academic skill, or test-taking smarts.
Rather, it reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our surroundings “catching
on”, “making sense” of things, or “figuring out” what to do.
Nature versus nurture
"Nature versus nurture" is a term coined by the English Victorian polymath Francis Galton
regarding the influence of heredity and environment on social careers. Galton was influencedby the
book The Origin of the Species written by his cousin, Charles Darwin. The concept embodied in
the phrase has been criticizedfor its binary simplification of two tightly interwoven parameters, as
for example an environment of wealth, education and social privilege are often historically passed
to genetic offspring.
The nature versus nurture debates concern the relative importance of an individual's innate qualities
("nature", i.e. nativism, or innatism) versus personal experiences ("nurture", i.e. empiricism or
behaviorism) in determining or causing individual differences in physical and behavioral traits.
The view that humans acquire all or almost all their behavioral traits from "nurture" is known as
tabula rasa ("blank slate"). This question was once considered to be an appropriate division of
developmental influences, but since both types of factors are known to play such interacting roles
in development, many modern psychologists consider the question naive - representing an outdated
state of knowledge. Psychologist Donald Hebb is said to have once answered a journalist's question
of "which, nature or nurture, contributes more to personality?" by asking in response, "Which
contributes more to the area of a rectangle, its length or its width?"
For a discussion of nature versus nurture in language and other human universals, see also
psychological nativism.
Scientific approach
To disentangle the effects of genes and environment, behavioral geneticists perform adoption and
twin studies. Behavioral geneticists do not generally use the term "nurture" to explain that portion
of the variance for a given trait (such as IQ or the Big Five personality traits) that can be attributed
to environmental effects. Instead, two different types of environmental effects are distinguished:
shared family factors (i.e., those shared by siblings, making them more similar) and nonshared
factors (i.e., those that uniquely affect individuals, making siblings different). To express the
portion of the variance due to the "nature" component, behavioral geneticists generally refer to the
heritability of a trait.
With regard to the Big Five personality traits as well as adult IQ in the general U.S. population, the
portion of the overall variance that can be attributed to shared family effects is often negligible. On
the other hand, most traits are thought to be at least partially heritable. In this context, the "nature"
component of the variance is generally thought to be more important than that ascribed to the
influence of family upbringing.
In her Pulitzer Prize-nominated book The Nurture Assumption, author Judith Harris argues that
"nurture," as traditionally defined in terms of family upbringing does not effectively explain the
variance for most traits (such as adult IQ and the Big Five personality traits) in the general
population of the United States. On the contrary, Harris suggests that either peer groups or random
environmental factors (i.e., those that are independent of family upbringing) are more important
than family environmental effects.
Although "nurture" has historically been referred to as the care given to children by the parents,
with the mother playing a role of particular importance, this term is now regarded by some as any
environmental (not genetic) factor in the contemporary nature versus nurture debate. Thus the
definition of "nurture" has expanded to include influences on development arising from prenatal,
parental, extended family, and peer experiences, and extending to influences such as media,
marketing, and socio-economic status. Indeed, a substantial source of environmental input to
human nature may arise from stochastic variations in prenatal development.
Heritability estimates
While there are many examples of single-gene-locus traits, current thinking in biology discredits
the notion that genes alone can determine most complex traits. At the molecular level, DNA
interacts with signals from other genes and from the environment. At the level of individuals,
particular genes influence the development of a trait in the context of a particular environment.
Thus, measurements of the degree to which a trait is influenced by genes versus environment will
depend on the particular environment and genes examined. In many cases, it has been found that
genes may have a substantial contribution, including psychological traits such as intelligence and
personality. Yet these traits may be largely influenced by environment in other circumstances, such
as environmental deprivation.
This chart illustrates three patterns one might see when studying the influence of genes and environment on traits in individuals. Trait A shows a high sibling correlation, but little heritability (i.e. high shared environmental variance c2; low heritability h2). Trait B shows a high heritability since correlation of trait rises sharply with degree of genetic similarity. Trait C shows low heritability, but also low correlations generally; this means Trait C has a high nonshared environmental variance e2. In other words, the degree to which individuals display Trait C has little to do with either genes or broadly predictable environmental factors—roughly, the outcome approaches random for an individual. Notice also that even identical twins raised in a common family rarely show 100% trait correlation. A researcher seeking to quantify the influence of genes or environment on a trait needs to be able to
separate the effects of one factor away from that of another. This kind of research often begins with
attempts to calculate the heritability of a trait. Heritability quantifies the extent to which variation
among individuals in a trait is due to variation in the genes those individuals carry. In animals
where breeding and environments can be controlled experimentally, heritability can be determined
relatively easily. Such experiments would be unethical for human research. This problem can be
overcome by finding existing populations of humans that reflect the experimental setting the
researcher wishes to create.
One way to determine the contribution of genes and environment to a trait is to study twins. In one
kind of study, identical twins reared apart are compared to randomly selected pairs of people. The
twins share identical genes, but different family environments. In another kind of twin study,
identical twins reared together (who share family environment and genes) are compared to fraternal
twins reared together (who also share family environment but only share half their genes). Another
condition that permits the disassociation of genes and environment is adoption. In one kind of
adoption study, biological siblings reared together (who share the same family environment and
half their genes) are compared to adoptive siblings (who share their family environment but none of
their genes).
Some have rightly pointed out that environmental inputs affect the expression of genes (see the
article on epigenetics). This is one explanation of how environment can influence the extent to
which a genetic disposition will actually manifest. The interactions of genes with environment,
called gene-environment interaction, are another component of the nature-nurture debate. A classic
example of gene-environment interaction is the ability of a diet low in the amino acid phenylalanine
to partially suppress the genetic disease phenylketonuria. Yet another complication to the naturenurture debate is the existence of gene-environment correlations. These correlations indicate that
individuals with certain genotypes are more likely to find themselves in certain environments.
Thus, it appears that genes can shape (the selection or creation of) environments. Even using
experiments like those described above, it can be very difficult to determine convincingly the
relative contribution of genes and environment.
Interaction of genes and environment
In only a very few cases is it fair to say that a trait is due almost entirely to nature, or almost
entirely to nurture. In the case of most diseases now strictly identified as genetic, such as
Huntington's disease, there is a better than 99.9% correlation between having the identified gene
and the disease and a similar correlation for not having either. On the other hand, Huntington's
animal models live much longer or shorter lives depending on how they are cared for (animal
husbandry). At the other extreme, traits such as native language are environmentally determined:
linguists have found that any child (if capable of learning a language at all) can learn any human
language with equal facility.
When traits are determined by a complex interaction of genotype and environment it is possible to
measure the heritability of a trait within a population. However, many non-scientists who encounter
a report of a trait having a certain percentage heritability imagine non-interactional, additive
contributions of genes and environment to the trait. As an analogy, some laypeople may think of
the degree of a trait being made up of two "buckets", genes and environment, each able to hold a
certain capacity of the trait. But even for intermediate heritabilities, a trait is always shaped by both
genetic dispositions and the environments in which people develop, merely with greater and lesser
plasticities associated with these heritability measures.
Heritability measures always refer to the degree of variation between individuals in a population.
These statistics cannot be applied at the level of the individual. It is incorrect to say that since the
heritability index of personality is about .6, you got 60% of your personality from your parents and
40% from the environment. To help to understand this, imagine that all humans were genetic
clones. The heritability index for all traits would be zero (all variability between clonal individuals
must be due to environmental factors). And, contrary to erroneous interpretations of the heritibility
index, as societies become more egalitarian (everyone has more similar experiences) the heritability
index goes up (as environments become more similar, variability between individuals is due more
to genetic factors).
A highly genetically loaded trait (such as eye color) still assumes environmental input within
normal limits (a certain range of temperature, oxygen in the atmosphere, etc.). A more useful
distinction than "nature vs. nurture" is "obligate vs. facultative" —under typical environmental
ranges, what traits are more "obligate" (e.g., the nose —everyone has a nose) or more "facultative"
(sensitive to environmental variations, such as specific language learned during infancy). Another
useful distinction is between traits that are likely to be adaptations (such as the nose) and those that
are byproducts of adaptations (such the white color of bones), or are due to random variation (nonadaptive variation in, say, nose shape or size).
IQ debate
Evidence suggests that family environmental factors may have an effect upon childhood IQ,
accounting for up to a quarter of the variance. On the other hand, by late adolescence this
correlation disappears, such that adoptive siblings are no more similar in IQ than strangers.
Moreover, adoption studies indicate that, by adulthood, adoptive siblings are no more similar in IQ
than strangers (IQ correlation near zero), while full siblings show an IQ correlation of 0.6. Twin
studies reinforce this pattern: monozygotic (identical) twins raised separately are highly similar in
IQ (0.74), more so than dizygotic (fraternal) twins raised together (0.6) and much more than
adoptive siblings (~0.0).
Personality traits
Personality is a frequently cited example of a heritable trait that has been studied in twins and
adoptions. Identical twins reared apart are far more similar in personality than randomly selected
pairs of people. Likewise, identical twins are more similar than fraternal twins. Also, biological
siblings are more similar in personality than adoptive siblings. Each observation suggests that
personality is heritable to a certain extent. However, these same study designs allow for the
examination of environment as well as genes. Adoption studies also directly measure the strength
of shared family effects. Adopted siblings share only family environment. Unexpectedly, some
adoption studies indicate that by adulthood the personalities of adopted siblings are no more similar
than random pairs of strangers. This would mean that shared family effects on personality are zero
by adulthood. As is the case with personality, non-shared environmental effects are often found to
out-weigh shared environmental effects. That is, environmental effects that are typically thought to
be life-shaping (such as family life) may have less of an impact than non-shared effects, which are
harder to identify. One possible source of non-shared effects is the environment of pre-natal
development. Random variations in the genetic program of development may be a substantial
source of non-shared environment. These results suggest that "nurture" may not be the predominant
factor in "environment"
Advanced techniques The power of quantitative studies of heritable traits has been expanded by the development of new
techniques. Developmental genetic analysis examines the effects of genes over the course of a
human lifespan. For example, early studies of intelligence, which mostly examined young children,
found heritability measures of 40 to 50 percent. Subsequent developmental genetic analyses have
found that genetic contribution to intelligence increases over a lifespan, reaching a heritability of 80
percent in adulthood.
Another advanced technique, multivariate genetic analysis, examines the genetic contribution to
several traits that vary together. For example, multivariate genetic analysis has demonstrated that
the genetic determinants of all specific cognitive abilities (e.g., memory, spatial reasoning,
processing speed) overlap greatly, such that the genes associated with any specific cognitive ability
will affect all others. Similarly, multivariate genetic analysis has found that genes that affect
scholastic achievement completely overlap with the genes that affect cognitive ability.
Extremes analysis, examines the link between normal and pathological traits. For example, it is
hypothesized that a given behavioral disorder may represent an extreme of a continuous distribution
of a normal behavior and hence an extreme of a continuous distribution of genetic and
environmental variation. Depression, phobias, and reading disabilities have been examined in this
For highly heritable traits, it is now possible to search for individual genes that contribute to
variation in that trait. For example, several research groups have identified genetic loci that
contribute to schizophrenia (Harrison and Owen, 2003).
Moral difficulties
Some observers believe that modern science tends to give too much weight to the nature side of the
argument, in part because of social consciousness. Historically, much of this debate has had
undertones of racist and eugenicist policies — the notion of race as a scientific truth has often been
assumed as a prerequisite in various incarnations of the nature versus nurture debate. In the past,
heredity was often used as "scientific" justification for various forms of discrimination and
oppression along racial and class lines. Works published in the United States since the 1960s that
argue for the primacy of "nature" over "nurture" in determining certain characteristics, such as The
Bell Curve, have been greeted with considerable controversy and scorn.
Philosophical difficulties
Are the traits real? It is sometimes a question whether the "trait" being measured is even a real thing. Much energy has
been devoted to calculating the heritability of intelligence (usually the I.Q., or intelligence
quotient), but there is still some disagreement as to what exactly "intelligence" is.
Biological determinism If genes do contribute substantially to the development of personal characteristics such as
intelligence and personality, then many wonder if this implies that genes determine who we are.
See Genetic determinism and Biological determinism.
Myths about identity
Within the debates surrounding cloning, for example, is the far-fetched contention that a Jesus or a
Hitler could be "re-created" through genetic cloning. Current thinking finds this largely inaccurate,
and discounts the possibility that the clone of anyone would grow up to be the same individual due
to environmental variation. For example, like clones, identical twins are genetically identical, and
unlike the hypothetical clones share the same family environment, yet they are not identical in
personality and other traits.
History of the nature versus nurture debate
Traditionally, human nature has been thought of as not only inherited but divinely ordained. Whole
ethnic groups were considered to be, by nature, superior or inferior. Since the late Middle Ages,
intellectuals increasingly attributed differences among races, classes and genders to socialization
(nurture), rather than to innate qualities (nature). In the 20th century, the Nazis pursued an agenda
based on the concept of human nature as defined by one's race. The Communists, on the other hand,
largely followed Marx's lead in defining the human identity as subject to social structures, not
nature. In scientific circles, this conflict led to ongoing controversy of sociobiology and
evolutionary psychology.
The emergence of Emotional Intelligence (EI) as a key factor in corporate recruitment has led
psychologists, researchers and educationalists to reevaluate their traditional views of intelligence
and to explore ways of testing and measuring EI dimensions. The American psychologist Daniel
Goleman has been an influential figure in bringing EI to the attention of researchers and alerting
employers and others to the importance of this fundamental area of enquiry. To date there have
been a number of serious attempts to test and measure EI, notably the 'Geneva Appraisal
Questionnaire' (2002), which was produced by the Geneva Emotion Research Group, and the
earlier 'BarOn Emotional Quotient Inventory' (1997), which is marketed by Multihealth Systems
(MHS) in Canada. In addition to these models there are many less well known instruments
available on-line, many of which claim to produce an Emotion Quotient (EQ) for individuals
engaging with the tests, though very few of the instruments include a visible scoring system or the
type of information that is required to validate or give credibility to the assessment.
This article aims to consider the areas and dimensions that comprise the EI concept and presents a
new model, the Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (EIQu), which places individuals into one of
twelve sectors on a polar graph and identifies their strengths and weaknesses on a range of EI
factors. It is envisaged that the EIQu will become a significant means of measuring EI for the
purposes of psychometric testing, recruitment and educational psychology.
Theories of Intelligence
While intelligence is one of the most talked about subjects within psychology, there is no standard
definition of what exactly constitutes 'intelligence.' Some researchers have suggested that
intelligence is a single, general ability, while other believe that intelligence encompasses a range of
aptitudes, skills and talents.
The following are some of the major theories of intelligence that have emerged during the last 100
Louis L. Thurstone - Primary Mental Abilities:
Psychologist Louis L. Thurstone (1887-1955) offered a differing theory of intelligence. Instead of
viewing intelligence as a single, general ability, Thurstone's theory focused on seven different
"primary mental abilities" (Thurstone, 1938). The abilities that he described were:
Verbal comprehension
Perceptual speed
Numerical ability
Word fluency
Associative memory
Spatial visualization
Charles Spearman - General Intelligence:
British psychologist Charles Spearman (1863-1945) described a concept he referred to as general
intelligence, or the g factor. After using a technique known as factor analysis to to examine a
number of mental aptitude tests, Spearman concluded that scores on these tests were remarkably
similar. People who performed well on one cognitive test tended to perform well on other tests,
while those who scored badly on one test tended to score badly on other. He concluded that
intelligence is general cognitive ability that could be measured and numerically expressed
(Spearman, 1904).
Howard Gardner - Multiple Intelligences:
One of the more recent ideas to emerge is Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences.
Instead of focusing on the analysis of test scores, Gardner proposed that numerical expressions of
human intelligence are not a full and accurate depiction of people's abilities. His theory describes
eight distinct intelligences that are based on skills and abilities that are valued within different
The eight intelligences Gardner described are:
Visual-spatial Intelligence
Verbal-linguistic Intelligence
Bodily-kinesthetic Intelligence
Logical-mathematical Intelligence
Interpersonal Intelligence
Musical Intelligence
Intra personal Intelligence
Naturalistic Intelligence
J.P. Guilford - Structure of Intellect
Structure of Intellect is a general theory of human intelligence.
This is a three-dimensional model in which Guilford identified three fundamental components of
intelligence. These were
1. Operations (five kinds)
2. Contents (five kinds)
3. Products (six kinds)
Guilford's Model of the Structure of Intellect
According to Guilford's Structure of Intellect (SI) theory, an individual's performance on
intelligence tests can be traced back to the underlying mental abilities or factors of intelligence. SI
theory comprises up to 150 different intellectual abilities organized along three dimensions—
Operations, Content, and Products.
Operations dimension
SI includes six operations or general intellectual processes:
Cognition—The ability to understand, comprehend, discover, and become aware of information.
Memory recording—The ability to encode information.
Memory retention—The ability to recall information.
Divergent production—The ability to generate multiple solutions to a problem; creativity.
Convergent production—The ability to deduce a single solution to a problem; rule-following or
Evaluation—The ability to judge whether or not information is accurate, consistent, or valid.
Content Dimension
SI includes three broad areas of information to which the human intellect applies the six operations:
Figural - Concrete, real world information, tangible objects -- things in the environment. It includes
visual—Information perceived through seeing, auditory—Information perceived through hearing
and kinesthetic—Information perceived through one's own physical actions.
Symbolic—Information perceived as symbols or signs that stand for something else; e.g., Arabic
numerals or the letters of an alphabet, musical and scientific notations..
Semantic-Which is concerned with verbal meaning and ideas. Generally considered to abstract in
Behavioral—Information perceived as acts of people. (This dimension was not fully researched in
Guilfords project and remain theoretical and is generally not included in the final model that he
proposed for describing human intelligence.)
Product dimension
As the name suggests, this dimension contains results of applying particular operations to specific
contents. The SI model includes six products, in increasing complexity:
Units—Single items of knowledge.
Classes—Sets of units sharing common attributes.
Relations—Units linked as opposites or in associations, sequences, or analogies.
Systems—Multiple relations interrelated to comprise structures or networks.
Transformations—Changes, perspectives, conversions, or mutations to knowledge.
Implications—Predictions, inferences, consequences, or anticipations of knowledge.
Evolution of Intelligence Tests
Interest in intelligence dates back thousands of years, but it wasn't until psychologist Alfred
Binet was commissioned to identify students who needed educational assistance that the first IQ
test was born.
Alfred Binet and the First IQ Test
During the early 1900s, the French government asked psychologist Alfred Binet to help decide
which students were mostly likely to experience difficulty in schools. The government had
passed laws requiring that all French children attend school, so it was important to find a way to
identify children who would need specialized assistance. Faced with this task, Binet and his
colleague Theodore Simon began developing a number of questions that focused on things that
had not been taught in school such as attention, memory and problem-solving skills. Using these
questions, Binet determined which ones served as the best predictors of school success. He
quickly realized that some children were able to answer questions that were more advanced than
older children were generally able to answer, while other children of the same age were only able
to answer questions that younger children could typically answer. Based on this observation,
Binet suggested the concept of a mental age, or a measure of intelligence based on the average
abilities of children of a certain age group. This first intelligence test, referred to today as the
Binet-Simon Scale, became the basis for the intelligence tests still in use today. However, Binet
himself did not believe that his psychometric instruments could be used to measure a single,
permanent and inborn level of intelligence (Kamin, 1995). Binet stressed the limitations of the
test, suggesting that intelligence is far too broad a concept to quantify with a single number.
Instead, he insisted that intelligence is influenced by a number of factors, changes over time and
can only be compared among children with similar backgrounds (Siegler, 1992).
The Stanford-Binet Intelligence Test
After the development of the Binet-Simon Scale, the test was soon brought to the United States
where it generated considerable interest. Stanford University psychologist Lewis Terman took
Binet's original test and standardized it using a sample of American participants. This adapted
test, first published in 1916, was called the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale and soon became
the standard intelligence test used in the U.S. The Stanford-Binet intelligence test used a single
number, known as the intelligence quotient (or IQ), to represent an individual's score on the test.
This score was calculated by dividing the test taker's mental age by their chronological age, and
then multiplying this number by 100. For example, a child with a mental age of 12 and a
chronological age of 10 would have an IQ of 120 (12 /10 x 100).
The Stanford-Binet remains a popular assessment tool today, despite going through a number of
revisions over the years since its inception.
Intelligence Testing During World War I
At the outset of World War I, U.S. Army officials were faced with the monumental task of
screening an enormous number of army recruits. In 1917, as president of the APA and chair of
the Committee on the Psychological Examination of Recruits, psychologist Robert Yerkes
developed two tests known as the Army Alpha and Beta tests. The Army Alpha was designed as
a written test, while the Army Beta was administered orally in cases where recruits were unable
to read. The tests were administered to over two million soldiers in an effort to help the army
determine which men were well suited to specific positions and leadership roles (McGuire,
At the end of WWI, the tests remained in use in a wide variety of situations outside of the
military with individuals of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities. For example, IQ tests were
used to screen new immigrants as they entered the United States at Ellis Island. The results of
these mental tests were inappropriately used to make sweeping and inaccurate generalizations
about entire populations, which led some intelligence "experts" to exhort Congress to enact
immigration restrictions (Kamin, 1995).
The Wechsler Intelligence Scales
The next development in the history of intelligence testing was the creation of a new
measurement instrument by American psychologist David Wechsler. Much like Binet, Wechsler
believed that intelligence involved a number of different mental abilities, describing intelligence
as, "the global capacity of a person to act purposefully, to think rationally, and to deal effectively
with his environment" (1939). Dissatisfied with the limitations of the Stanford-Binet, he
published his new intelligence test known as the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) in
Wechsler also developed two different tests specifically for use with children: the Wechsler
Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) and the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of
Intelligence (WPPSI). The adult version of the test has been revised since its original publication
and is now known as the WAIS-III.
The WAIS-III contains 14 subtests on two scales and provides three scores: a composite IQ
score, a verbal IQ score and a performance IQ score. Subtest scores on the WAIS-III can be
useful in identifying learning disabilities, such as cases where a low score on some areas
combined with a high score in other areas may indicate that the individual has a specific learning
difficulty (Kaufman, 1990).
Rather than score the test based on chronological age and mental age, as was the case with the
original Stanford-Binet, the WAIS is scored by comparing the test taker's score to the scores of
others in the same age group. The average score is fixed at 100, with two-thirds of scores lying in
the normal range between 85 and 115. This scoring method has become the standard technique in
intelligence testing and is also used in the modern revision of the Stanford-Binet test.
Verbal Intelligence Tests
Verbal intelligence is the ability to analyze information and solve problems using language-based
reasoning. Verbal intelligence test measures the verbal intelligence of the individuals.
Verbal tasks may involve concepts such as:
Concrete or abstract ideas; or
Internalized language-based reasoning.
Verbal tasks involve skills such as:
The ability to listen to and recall spoken information;
Understanding the meaning of written or spoken information;
Solving language based problems of a literary, logical, or social type;
Understanding the relationships between language concepts and performing language
analogies or comparisons; and
The ability to perform complex language-based analysis.
Verbal reasoning is important in most aspects of school work. Reading and language arts tasks
required verbal reasoning skills. Even the more abstract courses such as math and physics require
verbal reasoning skills, as most concepts are either introduced orally by the teacher or introduced in
written form in a textbook.
Verbal reasoning is typically assessed in a full intellectual assessment of IQ. Basic verbal reasoning
may also be evaluated through brief intelligence tests and language assessment.
Nonverbal Intelligence Tests
Nonverbal Intelligence is an intelligence test that measures nonverbal abilities. The CTONI's tasks
are designed to remove verbal intelligence from the assessment of a child's reasoning
abilities.Nonverbal Intelligence Tests - In general, nonverbal assessments attempt to remove
language barriers in the estimation of a student's intellectual aptitude. This is especially helpful in
assessing students without speech or who have limited language ability, those with deafness or who
are hard of hearing, and those with English language limitations. To accommodate students with
speech or language limitations, the student can be administered either orally or by using
pantomime. Individual and Group IQ Tests Individual intelligence tests
There are two major types of intelligence test, those administered to individuals and thsoe
administered to groups.
The two main individual intelligence tests are the:
Stanford-Binet Intelligence Test
Wechsler tests, i.e. WISC for children and WAIS for adults These are individual
intelligence tests which require one-on-one consultation with the child. The tests involve
various verbal and non-verbal subtests which can be combined to give an overall IQ, but
which also provide valuable separate subtest scores and measures based on the behavioural
responses of the child to the test items.
Some of the content of these tests is clearly culture-loaded, hence there is the:
Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children - a more recent test which attempts to minimize
cultural bias. The test also attempts to separate crystallised and fluid intelligence.
Group intelligence tests
Group-administered intelligence tests involve a series of different problems and are generally used
in mass testing situations such as the military and schools. Examples of group tests are:
Multidimensional Aptitude Battery
The Cognitive Abilities test
Scholastic Assessment Tests
There has been a trend towards the use of multiple choice items. Many of theses tests have
separately timed sub-tests. A major distinction made between types of items is verbal and nonverbal. In recent years there has been a trend away from verbal and mathematical items towards
non-verbal represented problems in pictures.
Part of the reason for shifting away from verbal-based tests, in particular, is the issue of cultureloading.
Advantages of group tests:
can be administered to very large numbers simultaneously
simplified examiner role
scoring typically more objective
large, representative samples often used leading to better established norms
Disadvantages of group tests:
examiner has less opportunity to establish rapport, obtain cooperation, and maintain interest
not readily detected if examinee tired, anxious, unwell
evidence that emotionally disturbed children do better on individual than group tests
examinee’s responses more restricted
normally an individual is tested on all items in a group test and may become boredom over
easy items and frustrated or anxious over difficult items
individual tests typically provide for the examiner to choose items based on the test takers
prior responses - moving onto quite difficult items or back to easier items. So individual
tests offer more flexibility.
In performance tests, the subject actually executes some motor activity; for example, he assembles
mechanical objects. Either the quality of performance as it takes place or its results may be rated. Emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence (EI) describes the ability, capacity, skill or, in the case of the trait EI
model, a self-perceived grand ability to identify, assess, manage and control the emotions of
one's self, of others, and of groups. Different models have been proposed for the definition
of EI and disagreement exists as to how the term should be used. Despite these
disagreements, which are often highly technical, the ability EI and trait EI models (but not
the mixed models) enjoy support in the literature and have successful applications in
different domains.
The earliest roots of emotional intelligence can be traced to Darwin's work on the
importance of emotional expression for survival and second adaptation. In the 1900s, even
though traditional definitions of intelligence emphasized cognitive aspects such as memory
and problem-solving, several influential researchers in the intelligence field of study had
begun to recognize the importance of the non-cognitive aspects. For instance, as early as
1920, E.L. Thorndike used the term social intelligence to describe the skill of understanding
and managing other people.
Similarly, in 1940 David Wechsler described the influence of non-intellective factors on
intelligent behavior, and further argued that our models of intelligence would not be
complete until we can adequately describe these factors. In 1983, Howard Gardner's Frames
of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences introduced the idea of multiple intelligences
which included both Interpersonal intelligence (the capacity to understand the intentions,
motivations and desires of other people) and Intrapersonal intelligence (the capacity to
understand oneself, to appreciate one's feelings, fears and motivations). In Gardner's view,
traditional types of intelligence, such as IQ, fail to fully explain cognitive ability. Thus,
even though the names given to the concept varied, there was a common belief that
traditional definitions of intelligence are lacking in ability to fully explain performance
The first use of the term "emotional intelligence" is usually attributed to Wayne Payne's
doctoral thesis, A Study of Emotion: Developing Emotional Intelligence from 1985.
However, prior to this, the term "emotional intelligence" had appeared in Leuner (1966).
Greenspan (1989) also put forward an EI model, followed by Salovey and Mayer (1990),
and Goleman (1995). The distinction between trait emotional intelligence and ability
emotional intelligence was introduced in 2000.
As a result of the growing acknowledgement by professionals of the importance and
relevance of emotions to work outcomes, the research on the topic continued to gain
momentum, but it wasn't until the publication of Daniel Goleman's best seller Emotional
Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ that the term became widely popularized.
Nancy Gibbs' 1995 Time magazine article highlighted Goleman's book and was the first in a
string of mainstream media interest in EI.
Defining emotional intelligence
Substantial disagreement exists regarding the definition of EI, with respect to both
terminology and operationalizations. There has been much confusion regarding the exact
meaning of this construct. The definitions are so varied, and the field is growing so rapidly,
that researchers are constantly amending even their own definitions of the construct. At the
present time, there are three main models of EI:
Ability EI models
Mixed models of EI
Trait EI model
Measurement of Emotional Intelligence
The ability­based model Salovey and Mayer's conception of EI strives to define EI within the confines of the standard
criteria for a new intelligence. Following their continuing research, their initial definition of EI was
revised to "The ability to perceive emotion, integrate emotion to facilitate thought, understand
emotions and to regulate emotions to promote personal growth."
The ability based model views emotions as useful sources of information that help one to make
sense of and navigate the social environment. The model proposes that individuals vary in their
ability to process information of an emotional nature and in their ability to relate emotional
processing to a wider cognition. This ability is seen to manifest itself in certain adaptive behaviors.
The model claims that EI includes four types of abilities:
1. Perceiving emotions – the ability to detect and decipher emotions in faces, pictures,
voices, and cultural artifacts—including the ability to identify one's own emotions.
Perceiving emotions represents a basic aspect of emotional intelligence, as it makes all
other processing of emotional information possible.
2. Using emotions – the ability to harness emotions to facilitate various cognitive
activities, such as thinking and problem solving. The emotionally intelligent person can
capitalize fully upon his or her changing moods in order to best fit the task at hand.
3. Understanding emotions – the ability to comprehend emotion language and to
appreciate complicated relationships among emotions. For example, understanding
emotions encompasses the ability to be sensitive to slight variations between emotions,
and the ability to recognize and describe how emotions evolve over time.
4. Managing emotions – the ability to regulate emotions in both ourselves and in others.
Therefore, the emotionally intelligent person can harness emotions, even negative ones,
and manage them to achieve intended goals.
The ability-based model has been criticized in the research for lacking face and predictive validity
in the workplace.
Measurement of the ability­based model Different models of EI have led to the development of various instruments for the assessment of the
construct. While some of these measures may overlap, most researchers agree that they tap slightly
different constructs. The current measure of Mayer and Salovey's model of EI, the Mayer-SaloveyCaruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) is based on a series of emotion-based problemsolving items. Consistent with the model's claim of EI as a type of intelligence, the test is modeled
on ability-based IQ tests. By testing a person's abilities on each of the four branches of emotional
intelligence, it generates scores for each of the branches as well as a total score.
Central to the four-branch model is the idea that EI requires attunement to social norms. Therefore,
the MSCEIT is scored in a consensus fashion, with higher scores indicating higher overlap between
an individual's answers and those provided by a worldwide sample of respondents. The MSCEIT
can also be expert-scored, so that the amount of overlap is calculated between an individual's
answers and those provided by a group of 21 emotion researchers.
Although promoted as an ability test, the MSCEIT is most unlike standard IQ tests in that its items
do not have objectively correct responses. Among other problems, the consensus scoring criterion
means that it is impossible to create items (questions) that only a minority of respondents can solve,
because, by definition, responses are deemed emotionally "intelligent" only if the majority of the
sample has endorsed them. This and other similar problems have led cognitive ability experts to
question the definition of EI as a genuine intelligence.
In a study by Føllesdal, the MSCEIT test results of 111 business leaders were compared with how
their employees described their leader. It was found that there were no correlations between a
leader's test results and how he or she was rated by the employees, with regard to empathy, ability
to motivate, and leader effectiveness. Føllesdal also criticized the Canadian company Multi-Health
Systems, which administers the MSCEIT test. The test contains 141 questions but it was found
after publishing the test that 19 of these did not give the expected answers. This has led MultiHealth Systems to remove answers to these 19 questions before scoring, but without stating this
Mixed models of EI The model introduced by Daniel Goleman focuses on EI as a wide array of competencies and skills
that drive leadership performance. Goleman's model outlines four main EI constructs:
Self-awareness – the ability to read one's emotions and recognize their impact while using gut
feelings to guide decisions.
Self-management – involves controlling one's emotions and impulses and adapting to changing
Social awareness – the ability to sense, understand, and react to others' emotions while
comprehending social networks.
Relationship management – the ability to inspire, influence, and develop others while managing
Goleman includes a set of emotional competencies within each construct of EI. Emotional
competencies are not innate talents, but rather learned capabilities that must be worked on and can
be developed to achieve outstanding performance. Goleman posits that individuals are born with a
general emotional intelligence that determines their potential for learning emotional competencies.
Goleman's model of EI has been criticized in the research literature as mere "pop psychology"
(Mayer, Roberts, & Barsade, 2008).
Measurement of the Emotional Competencies (Goleman) model Two measurement tools are based on the Goleman model:
The Emotional Competency Inventory (ECI), which was created in 1999, and the Emotional and
Social Competency Inventory (ESCI), which was created in 2007.
The Emotional Intelligence Appraisal, which was created in 2001 and which can be taken as a selfreport or 360-degree assessment.
The Bar­On model of Emotional­Social Intelligence (ESI) Bar-On defines emotional intelligence as being concerned with effectively understanding oneself
and others, relating well to people, and adapting to and coping with the immediate surroundings to
be more successful in dealing with environmental demands. Bar-On posits that EI develops over
time and that it can be improved through training, programming, and therapy. Bar-On hypothesizes
that those individuals with higher than average EQs are in general more successful in meeting
environmental demands and pressures. He also notes that a deficiency in EI can mean a lack of
success and the existence of emotional problems. Problems in coping with one's environment are
thought, by Bar-On, to be especially common among those individuals lacking in the subscales of
reality testing, problem solving, stress tolerance, and impulse control. In general, Bar-On considers
emotional intelligence and cognitive intelligence to contribute equally to a person's general
intelligence, which then offers an indication of one's potential to succeed in life. However, doubts
have been expressed about this model in the research literature (in particular about the validity of
self-report as an index of emotional intelligence).
Measurement of the ESI Model The Bar-On Emotion Quotient Inventory (EQ-i), is a self-report measure of EI developed as a
measure of emotionally and socially competent behavior that provides an estimate of one's
emotional and social intelligence. The EQ-i is not meant to measure personality traits or cognitive
capacity, but rather the mental ability to be successful in dealing with environmental demands and
pressures. One hundred and thirty three items (questions or factors) are used to obtain a Total EQ
(Total Emotional Quotient) and to produce five composite scale scores, corresponding to the five
main components of the Bar-On model. A limitation of this model is that it claims to measure some
kind of ability through self-report items (for a discussion, see Matthews, Zeidner, & Roberts, 2001).
The EQ-i has been found to be highly susceptible to faking (Day & Carroll, 2008; Grubb &
McDaniel, 2007).
The trait EI model Petrides and colleagues (see also Petrides, 2009) proposed a conceptual distinction between the
ability based model and a trait based model of EI. Trait EI is "a constellation of emotional selfperceptions located at the lower levels of personality". In lay terms, trait EI refers to an individual's
self-perceptions of their emotional abilities. This definition of EI encompasses behavioral
dispositions and self perceived abilities and is measured by self report, as opposed to the ability
based model which refers to actual abilities, which have proven highly resistant to scientific
measurement. Trait EI should be investigated within a personality framework. An alternative label
for the same construct is trait emotional self-efficacy.
The trait EI model is general and subsumes the Goleman and Bar-On models discussed above. The
conceptualization of EI as a personality trait leads to a construct that lies outside the taxonomy of
human cognitive ability. This is an important distinction in as much as it bears directly on the
operationalization of the construct and the theories and hypotheses that are formulated about it.
Measurement of the trait EI model There are many self-report measures of EI, including the EQ-i, the Swinburne University
Emotional Intelligence Test (SUEIT),the Schu EI model, none of these assess intelligence, abilities,
or skills (as their authors often claim), but rather, they are limited measures of trait emotional
intelligence (Petrides, Furnham, & Mavroveli, 2007). One of the more comprehensive and widely
researched measures of this construct is the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (TEIQue),
which is an open-access measure that was specifically designed to measure the construct
comprehensively and is currently available in many languages.
The TEIQue provides an operationalization for Petrides and colleagues' model that conceptualizes
EI in terms of personality. The test encompasses 15 subscales organized under four factors: WellBASIC PSYCHOLOGY – III Semester 37 SCHOOL OF DISTANCE EDUCATION
Being, Self-Control, Emotionality, and Sociability. The psychometric properties of the TEIQue
were investigated in a study on a French-speaking population, where it was reported that TEIQue
scores were globally normally distributed and reliable.
The researchers also found TEIQue scores were unrelated to nonverbal reasoning (Raven's
matrices), which they interpreted as support for the personality trait view of EI (as opposed to a
form of intelligence). As expected, TEIQue scores were positively related to some of the Big Five
personality traits (extraversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness) as well as inversely
related to others (alexithymia, neuroticism). A number of quantitative genetic studies have been
carried out within the trait EI model, which have revealed significant genetic effects and
heritabilities for all trait EI scores.
Almost everyday we describe and assess the personalities of the people around us. Whether we
realize it or not, these daily musings on how and why people behave as they do are similar to what
personality psychologists do.
While our informal assessments of personality tend to focus more on individuals, personality
psychologists instead use conceptions of personality that can apply to everyone. Personality
research has led to the development of a number of theories that help explain how and why certain
personality traits develop.
Components of Personality
While there are many different theories of personality, the first step is to understand exactly what is
meant by the term personality. A brief definition would be that personality is made up of the
characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that make a person unique. In addition to
this, personality arises from within the individual and remains fairly consistent throughout life.
Some of the fundamental characteristics of personality include:
There is generally a recognizable order and regularity to behaviors. Essentially,
people act in the same ways or similar ways in a variety of situations.
Consistency -
Psychological and physiological -
Impact behaviors and actions
Multiple expressions -
Personality is a psychological construct, but research
suggests that it is also influenced by biological processes and needs.
- Personality does not just influence how we move and respond
in our environment; it also causes us to act in certain ways.
Personality is displayed in more than just behavior. It can also be seen in
out thoughts, feelings, close relationships, and other social interactions.
Psychoanalytic Approach
Much of what causes our personality takes place in ourUnconscious: thoughts, feelings, wishes,
and drives that operate below our level of conscious awareness. We don't consciously know they
What’s in the unconscious mind can be revealed in several ways:
Slips of the tongue
At birth, our personality consists of the Id.
Id: the completely unconscious part of the mind, without morals or logic, driven by two
Eros, the life instinct: the instinct to gratify biological urges including food thirst, physical
comfort, and sexual pleasure.
Libido: sexual motivation, part of Eros
Thanatos, the death instinct: the instinct to destroy others and oneself
The id is made of the battling forces of Eros and Thanatos.
The id is ruled by the Pleasure Principle: the drive to immediately increase pleasure, reduce
tension, and avoid pain. The id tries to satisfy its needs through: Primary process thinking: forming
a mental image of the object the id desires and satisfying the desire through the mental image.
Want food: imagine a cake.
Want drink: imagine a soda.
Want a certain person: imagine them, or have a dream about them.
Ego: the partly conscious part of the mind that organizes behavior, is logical, and makes
plans to satisfy the Id in safe, realistic ways. The ego develops in the first few years of life.
Reality Principle: the attempt by the ego to find safe, realistic ways of meeting the needs of the id.
The ego is that part of the personality that adapts the person to the real world:
It makes plans to take care of the Id’s needs.
Modifies the Id’s needs to make them possible to satisfy
Represses or hides the Id’s needs if they are impossible to satisfy
Over time, society’s demands become accepted as an “internal voice” in the child. This is the
Superego: the moralistic component of personality, that judges one’s actions, thoughts, and
feelings according to society’s rules and attempts to reach perfection.
True punishment comes from the superego:
The superego also provides rewards for attempting to be perfect:
By adolescence everyone has a personality structure consisting of:
An Id, with instinctive drives for sex and destruction
A Superego, which is very judgmental and makes us feel guilty because of our secret
An Ego, which tries to be practical and satisfy the needs of the Id without causing guilt or
shame or anxiety from the Superego.
The Ego tries to take care of the Id's needs without causing guilt from the Superego.
Sometimes this is possible. Sometimes it's impossible.
Humanistic Approach Humanism: An Introduction
Humanism is a philosophical movement that emphasises the personal worth of the individual and
the centrality of human values. The Humanistic approach rests on the complex philosophical
foundations of existentialism, and emphasizes the creative, spontaneous and active nature of human
beings. This approach is very optimistic and focusses on noble human capacity to overcome
hardship and despair.
Carl Rogers (1902-1987)
The idea that we are responsible for our own lives, embodied in existentialism, is exemplified in the
work of Carl Rogers. However Rogers approach was extremely OPTIMISTIC. Rogers believed that
“The organism has one basic tendency and striving- to actualize, maintain, and enhance the
experiencing organism” (1951, p. 487).
Rogers believed that all people have a tendency toward growth = ‘Actualization’. The need to
maintain and enhance life. The goal of existence is to satisfy this need. This desire to preserve and
enhance oneself is on one level:
Physical = staying alive by eating, keeping warm, avoiding physical danger etc. On a higher level:
Psychological = self-actualization is about testing and fulfilling our capabilities: seek out new
experiences, master new skills, quit boring jobs and find more exciting ones etc.
In the course of pursuing self-actualization, people engage in what Rogers called the organismic
valuing process. Experiences that are perceived as enhancing to oneself are valued as good and are
therefore sought after. Experiences perceived as not enhancing are valued as bad and are avoided.
In other words, we know what’s good for us!
Rogers used the term Fully Functioning Person for someone who is self-actualizing. These people
are OPEN TO EXPERIENCING THEIR FEELINGS, don’t feel threatened by those feelings no
matter what they are. They trust their own feelings. They are open to the experiences of the world.
They live lives full of meaning, challenge and fulfillment.
According to Rogers, the main determinant of whether we will become self-actualized is childhood
experience. Rogers believed that it is crucial for children to receive positive regard, that is affection
and approval from the important people in their lives, particularly their parents. Rogers believed it
is important for us to receive unconditional positive regard, that is affection and acceptance with no
strings attached. Often however, according to Rogers this regard is conditional, it comes with
strings attached. To be loved and approved the child must be well-mannered, quiet, assertive,
boyish, girlish, whatever. These things are incorporated as conditions of worth. If the conditions are
few and reasonable then the child will be fine but if the conditions of worth are severely limiting
then self-actualization will be severely impeded. According to Rogers, external conditions of worth
come to control more and more of a person's behaviour. We even start to apply these conditions to
ourselves. This pattern of self-acceptance and self-rejection is called conditional self-regard.
Eventually, a gap opens between a person’s actions and his or her true self. The person
automatically covers over the split with perceptual distortions, denying the conflict between self
and reality. Rogers felt that theses distortions can become so severe that they may lead to
personality breakdown.
Rogers: Self congruence Rogers is sometimes called a self-theorist. He assumed that the self doesn't exist at birth but
that infants gradually differentiate self from non-self. The self is constantly evolving.
One way of looking at the self is to look at the ideal self and the actual self:
The ideal self is the person you’d like to be
The actual self is what you are now or even what you THINK you are because remember from this
perspective it’s all about subjective perceptions.
When you are self-actualized then there is congruence (i.e. harmony or agreement) between the real
and the actual selves. That is you become more like the self you want to be.
There’s a second kind of congruence and that is between the actual self and experience. That is the
experiences in life should fit with the type of person you think you are. So there will be
incongruity if you think you’re generous but find yourself being mean to someone or if you think
your ruthless and you find yourself being soft and mushy. If you think you’re clever and do badly
in a test there will be incongruence.
Incongruence is bad and means there is a breakdown in your unitary sense of self. Incongruence
leads to anxiety, whether the incongruence is between actual & real self or between actual self and
experience. Rogers believed we defend ourselves against incongruence or even the perceptions of
Rogers: Incongruence and Defenses This concept of defenses is very similar to the psychodynamic concept. Rogers assumes 2 main
categories of defenses:
1. DISTORTION OF EXPERIENCE: An example is rationalization: creating a plausible but untrue
reason for why something is the way it is. OR another distortion of experience is when you try to
change you perception of an event from what you really know it to be: you go out with someone
other than your partner but tell yourself that it doesn’t matter because your partner won’t mind.
ALL: Denial serves this function.
Ultimately, defenses are there to maintain the congruity or integrity of self. Defenses protect and
enhance our self-esteem.
Ed Deci (1975) - Self-Determination (Autonomy)
Rogers’ ideas are echoed in a more recent theory of self-determination proposed by Ed Deci (1975)
and expanded upon by Deci and Richard Ryan (1980, 1985, 1987, 1991, 1995).
Some actions we perform are done to gain payment or to satisfy someone else (their pressures or
demands on us). These are known as CONTROLLED actions (or introjected regulation). These are
“should”, “ought”: behaviour done to avoid guilt or anxiety, gain self-approval, etc.
Some actions we perform are done so because they have intrinsic value to the person, These are
known as SELF-DETERMINED actions (identified regulation). This is behaviour which is
accepted as personally meaningful and valuable We stay interested in performing a behaviour if it’s
self-determined. e.g. you’re more likely to stick with this course and study hard if you are doing it
because it has intrinsic value for you, rather if it’s what your parents want you to do or even if it’s
because you think it will result in a good job and therefore you pressure yourself.
There’s a wealth of evidence that shows that promising someone rewards for working on an activity
can undermine people’s interest in them (intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation). However, sometimes
the presence of reward can increase motivation. Deci argues that this is because reward has 2
aspects: a controlling (non self-determined) aspect and an informational aspect. The informational
aspect tells you something about your skills. If the reward is telling you you’re competent then it
increases your motivation but if the reward implies conditions of worth then the controlling aspect
is more salient and motivation decreases.
In other words, people are motivated by self-determination and autonomy. WHY a person has
various motivations to do things, rather than what the aspirations are, is the key to selfactualization.
Maslow (1970, 1987) - Hierarchy of Needs
Abraham Maslow began his psychological research studying basic motivations of animals, but then
shifted his focus to the higher motivations of human beings. Abraham Maslow, like Rogers,
focussed on the positive. He was interested in the qualities of people who get the most out of life.
He was interested in what motivates them (but his view of motivation was very different from what
we looked at in the dispositional perspective).
Hierarchy of Needs He viewed human needs or motives as forming a hierarchy.
1. PHYSIOLOGICAL NEEDS: At the bottom are the basic, primitive needs for air, food, water those things we HAVE to have to survive
2. SAFETY AND PHYSICAL SECURITY NEEDS: shelter from weather, protection against
tigers etc. Very important but not QUITE as important as the physiological needs.
3. LOVE AND BELONGINGNESS NEEDS: Companionship, acceptance from others (like
Rogers’ positive regard), affection.
4. ESTEEM NEEDS: needs for a sense of mastery and power. Need for appreciation from others.
5. SELF ACTUALIZATION: similar use of the term to the way Rogers used it. “The tendency to
become whatever you’re capable of becoming”: The highest of human motives. In trying to
describe the process of self-actualization, Maslow focused on moments when self actualization was
clearly occurring. Maslow used the term “peak experiences” to refer to moments of intense selfactualization. At these moments people feel connected to their surroundings and aware of all the
sounds and colours around them. There’s a loss of a sense of time as the experience flows around
you. You may feel awe, wonder or even ecstasy. This is similar to what Csikszentmihalyi (chicksent-me-high) calls “flow” but he sees it not so much as joy or ecstasy but rather as a period of
intense concentration, with a slightly elevated mood when time flows by very quickly.
Motives WEAKEN as go from the more primitive to the higher needs (up the pyramid). In general
you need to deal with lower level needs before you can move onto other needs.
Maslow: Self­Actualizing People •
Characteristics of self-actualized people according to Maslow (1968):
efficient and accurate in perceiving reality
are accepting of themselves, of other people and of nature
are spontaneous in thought and emotion, rather than artificial
are problem-centred - are concerned with the eternal philosophical questions of humankind
are independent and autonomous
have a continued “freshness of appreciation” of ordinary events
often experience “oceanic feelings” that is a sense of oneness with nature
identify with all of humanity and are democratic and respectful of others
form very deep ties but only with a few people
appreciate for its own sake the process of doing things
have a philosophical, thoughtful, non-hostile sense of humour
have a childlike and fresh creativity and inventiveness
maintain an inner detachment from the culture in which they live
may appear temperamental or ruthless as they are strong and independent people guided by
their own inner visions
Maslow suggested that from his observations “probable” self-actualizers included:
Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, William James, Albert Schweitzer, Aldous Huxley, Baruch
Spinoza, Abe Lincoln
Studies have shown that only approximately 1% of people self-actualize. Most others live
between ‘love and belongingness’ needs and ‘self-esteem’ needs. Self-actualization is of course
the weakest of needs, and is easily impeded. Some people have a fear of self-knowledge &
entering into state of uncertainty. Sometimes cultural norms stifle us e.g. ‘manly’. Many people
feel the need for a balance between safety and freedom.
Maslow: Transpersonal Psychology (1971) Maslow proposed a ‘higher psychology’ which he called Transpersonal psychology = beyond
human. Toward the end of his life, Maslow made a distinction between two different kinds of selfactualizers. The type I’ve just described and others he called “transcendent self-actualizers”. These
people focus on mystical, ecstatic, spiritual states, cosmic awareness, unitive consciousness, etc.
Self-actualization becomes the most important aspect of their lives. They are motivated by beauty,
truth, unity, religiosity. All experience is sacred to them.
Maslow: Problems of measuring self­actualisation Maslow used interviews, observations, biographical studies, self-report questionnaires and
projective tests to “measure” self-actualization. It was and is a very loose approach to
measurement. It’s hard for theorists to agree precisely WHAT self-actualization is and HOW to
measure it. In other words it’s not been tightly defined and operationalised. The concept of self
actualization provides some very interesting insights but it is hard to actually verify selfactualization scientifically. One scale, the Personal Orientation Inventory (POI) by Shostrom
(1974), is a self-report measure of self-actualization . research using this measure finds the scale
has various validity and reliability weaknesses but does at least capture some aspects of a “healthy”
personality (e.g. Burwick & Knapp, 1991).
Therapeutic Approach
While humanistic and existential psychology both stress freedom, they understand it slightly
differently. For humanists, freedom is liberation from limiting conditions of worth: once achieved
that will lead to self-actualization
Rogers ‘Client­centred Therapy’ (1951) The best known and probably the most popular humanistic therapy is Rogers “client-centred
therapy”. Remember that Rogers believed that human beings are intrinsically good and are
motivated to self-actualize. Self-actualization may be impeded by conditions of worth so they need
to be removed. REMOVING these conditions of worth is the way to solve people’s problems.
Client centred therapy is the means to that end. Treatment is focussed on the INDIVIDUAL. The
therapist tries to see the world through the client’s eyes so that the client will come to see his or her
view of reality as having value. The therapist empathizes with the client and offers unconditional
positive regard i.e. UNLIMITED ACCEPTANCE. By doing this, the therapist hopes to induce the
client to accept the totality of his or her experience and thus facilitate unconditional positive SELFregard.
The therapist “hears” the client by mirroring back the message they are getting from the client.
They restate the content and state the feelings they are picking up from the client. This process
helps the client clarify their feelings and not to feel threatened when doing so. The touchstones of
Ultimately the client is responsible for his or her own growth - the therapist just helps to facilitate
this process. .
Therapeutic Approach: ‘Group­based Growth and Therapy’ Other types of “therapy” based on the phenomenological approach to personality (whether
existential or humanistic) are group-based therapies. These growth groups offered something
lacking in everyday life at work, school, church, and within the community. Some examples of
various groups based on this tradition are:
Encounter Groups
Gestalt Groups
Sensitivity Training Groups
Marathon Groups
Sensory Awareness Groups, Body Awareness Groups, Body Movement Groups
Creativity Workshops
Team Building Groups
Experiential Education (e.g. Adventure programs)
Many of these groups are not really therapy as such but are just meant to be beneficial to all.
Encounter groups, which were very popular in the 60s are given this name because the group helps
people encounter the reality of their own experiences more directly.
Although each type of group is different there are some important similar features:
Encouraging people to get in touch with their feelings
Encouraging people to get in touch with their sensory experiences
Encouraging people to act out fantasies, impulses and feelings within the group
atmosphere of mutual trust (safe place for change and growth) and unconditional
positive regard
They offer social support, empathy, encouragement, feedback
Exploration of possible new ways of being socially, psychologically, and physically. The
idea being to transfer this growth to the rest of life.
Generally, this type of therapy is more likely to be beneficial than not but not as good
as individual therapy. Better if the leaders use caring rather than confrontation. Group
leaders need to be properly trained or there can be negative effects. Not marvellous for
people experiencing SEVERE psychological distress.
The dark side to this process is deindividuation - absorption in the group and a
lessened sense of individuality. This is the possible outcome of some of these groups.
Deindiviuation has a number of negative consequences such as aggressive and
antisocial behavior.
Trait and Type Approach
Trait Approach
A major weakness of Sheldon's morphological classification system and other type theories in
general is the element of oversimplification inherent in placing individuals into a single category,
which ignores the fact that every personality represents a unique combination of qualities. Systems
that address personality as a combination of qualities or dimensions are called trait theories. Wellknown trait theorist Gordon Allport (1897-1967) extensively investigated the ways in which traits
combine to form normal personalities, cataloguing over 18,000 separate traits over a period of 30
years. He proposed that each person has about seven central traits that dominate his or her behavior.
Allport's attempt to make trait analysis more manageable and useful by simplifying it was expanded
by subsequent researchers, who found ways to group traits into clusters through a process known as
factor analysis. Raymond B. Cattell reduced Allport's extensive list to 16 fundamental groups of
inter-related characteristics, and Hans Eysenck claimed that personality could be described based
on three fundamental factors: psychoticism (such antisocial traits as cruelty and rejection of social
customs), introversion-extroversion, and emotionality-stability (also called neuroticism). Eysenck
also formulated a quadrant based on intersecting emotional-stable and introverted-extroverted axes.
Type Approach
Perhaps the earliest known theory of personality is that of the Greek physician Hippocrates (c. 400
B.C.), who characterized human behavior in terms of four temperaments, each associated with a
different bodily fluid, or "humor." The sanguine, or optimistic, type was associated with blood; the
phlegmatic type (slow and lethargic) with phlegm; the melancholic type (sad, depressed) with black
bile; and the choleric (angry) type with yellow bile. Individual personality was determined by the
amount of each of the four humors. Hippocrates' system remained influential in Western Europe
throughout the medieval and Renaissance periods. Abundant references to the four humors can be
found in the plays of Shakespeare, and the terms with which Hippocrates labeled the four
personality types are still in common use today. The theory of temperaments is among a variety of
systems that deal with human personality by dividing it into types. A widely popularized (but
scientifically dubious) modern typology of personality was developed in the 1940s by William
Sheldon, an American psychologist. Sheldon classified personality into three categories based on
body types: the endomorph (heavy and easy-going), mesomorph (muscular and aggressive), and
ectomorph (thin and intellectual or artistic).
Biocultural and Sociocultural Determinants
Personality is the outcome of a continuous personal quality development process. The role of
personality becomes clear in a particular situation. Personality is recognised in a situation. It is the
result of personal quality interaction in a particular condition. The major determinants of
personality of an individual are given below:
Heredity refers to those factors that were determined at conception. Physical stature, facial
attractiveness, sex, temperament, muscle composition and reflexes, energy level, and biological
rhythms are characteristics that are generally considered to be either completely or substantially
influenced by who your parents were; that is, by their biological, physiological, and inherent
psychological makeup. The contribution of heredity to personality development is vividly clear for
developing external appearance, behaviour, social stimuli, self inner awareness, organising traits,
Brain has a great impact on personality. The psychologists are unable to prove empirically the
contribution of human brain in influencing personality. Father and children generally adopt the
same type of brain stimulation. The differences are caused by environment. Electrical stimulation
of brain (ESB) and split brain psychology (SBP)are the outcome of genetic transmision. The are
helpful in moulding employee's behaviour. ESB is used for motivating employees towards better
performances. Managers are trained to use SBP for mobilising employees for proper behaviour.
Perhaps the most outstanding factor that contributes to personality is the physical stature of an
individual. An individual's external appearance is proved to be having a tremendous effect on
personality. For example, the fact that a person is short or tall, fat or thin, handsome or ugly, black
or whitish will undoubtedly influence the person's effect on others and in turn will affect the selfconcept. A person's physical characteristics may be related to his approach to the social
environment, to the expectancies of others, and to their reactions, to him. These in turn may have
impact on personality development.
Personality is a result of the combination of four factors- physical environment, heredity, culture
and particular experiences. Geographical environment sometimes determines cultural variability.
Man comes to form ideas and attitudes according to the physical environment he lives in. To the
extent that the environment determines cultural development and to the extent that culture in turn
determines personality a relationship between personality and environment becomes
clear.Montesque in 18th century claimed that the bravery of those blessed by a cold climate enables
them to maintain their liberties. Great heat enervates courage while cold causes certain vigor of
body and mind. The people of mountain as well as deserts are usually bold, hard and powerful.
However physical conditions are more permissive and limiting factors than causative factors. They
set the limits within which personality can develop. Hereditary is another factor determining human
Some of the similarities in man’s personality are said to be due to his common heredity. Every
human group inherits the same general set of biological needs and capacities. These common needs
and capacities explain some of our similarities in personality. Man tends to resemble his parents in
physical appearance and intelligence. However heredity does not mould human personality alone
and unaided. We can assume that there are genes for normal personality traits just as there are
genes for other aspects of human life and functioning. Heredity only furnishes the materials out of
which experience will mould the personality. Experience determines the way these materials will
be used. An individual may be energetic because of his heredity but whether he is active on his own
belief or on behalf of others is a matter of his training.
There can be little doubt that culture largely determines the types of personality that will
predominate in the particular group. According to some sociologists personality is the subjective
aspect of culture. They regard personality and culture as two sides of same coin. Spiro had
observed the development of personality and the acquisition of culture are not different processes
but one and the same learning process. Personality is an individual aspect of culture while culture is
a collective aspect of personality. Each culture produces its special type or types of personality. A
given cultural environment sets its participant members off from other human beings operating
under different cultural environments. According to Frank culture is a coercive influence
dominating the individual and molding his personality by virtue of the ideas, conceptions and
beliefs which had brought to bear on him through communal life. The culture provides the raw
material of which the individual makes his life. The traditions, customs, mores, religion,
institutions, moral and social standards of a group affect the personality of the group members.
From the moment of birth the child is treated in ways which shape his personality. Every culture
exerts a series of general influences upon the individuals who grow up under it. It can be summed
up that culture greatly moulds personality. The individual ideas and behavior are largely the results
of cultural conditioning. However it should not be concluded that culture is a massive die that
shapes all that come under it with an identical pattern. All the people of a given culture are not of
same cast. Personality traits differ within any culture. Personality is not totally determined by
culture even though no personality escapes its influence. It is only one determinant among others.
Personality is also determined by another factor the particular and unique experiences. There are
two types of experiences one those that stem from continuous association with one’s group, second
those that arise suddenly and are not likely to recur. The type of people who meet the child daily
has a major influence on his personality. The personality of parents does more to affect a child’s
personality. The social rituals ranging from table manners to getting along with others are
consciously inculcated in the child by his parents. The child picks up the language of his parents.
Group influences are relatively greater in early childhood. This is the period when the relationships
of the child with the mother, father and siblings affect profoundly the organization of his drives and
emotions, the deeper and subconscious aspects of his personality. Group interaction moulds the
child’s personality. It may also be inferred that personality is a matter of social situations. It has
been shown by social researchers that a person may show honesty in one situation and not in
another. The same is true for other personality traits also. Personality traits tend to be specific
responses to particular situations rather than general behavior patterns. It is a dynamic unity with a
creative potential.
Heredity, physical environment, culture and particular experiences are thus the four factors that
explain personality –its formation, development and maintenance. Beyond the joint influence of
these factors however the relative contribution of each factor to personality varies with the
characteristic or personality process involved and perhaps with the individual concerned.
Techniques of assessment
The major Assessment methods areThe interviewRating scales ,Self-report tests,Personality
inventories, Projective techniques, Behavioral assessment, Cognitive assessment, Bodily
assessment, Personal factsReliability and validity of assessment methods & Clinical Evaluation.
Self-report Tests
A self-report inventory is a type of psychological test in which a person fills out a survey or
questionnaire with or without the help of an investigator. Self-report inventories often ask direct
questions about symptoms, behaviors, and personality traits associated with one or many mental
disorders or personality types in order to easily gain insight into a patient's personality or illness.
Most self-report inventories can be taken or administered within five to 15 minutes, although some,
like the MMPI, can take up to three hours to fully complete.
Problems with Self-report Tests
The biggest problem with self-report inventories is that patients may exaggerate symptoms in order
to make their situation seem worse, or they may under-report the severity or frequency of
symptoms in order to minimize their problems. For this reason, self-report inventories should be
used only for measuring for symptom change and severity and should never be solely used to
diagnose a mental disorder. Clinical discretion is advised for all self-report inventories.
Many personality tests, such as the MMPI or the MBTI are designed to make it very difficult for a
person to exaggerate traits and symptoms. However, these tests suffer from the inherent problems
associated with personality theory and testing, in that personality is a fluid concept that can be
difficult to define. Most personality inventories are based on a particular personality theory.
Popular Self-Report Tests
16 PF
Beck Anxiety Inventory
Beck Depression Inventory
Beck Hopelessness Scale
California Psychological Inventory
Geriatric Depression Scale
Hirschfeld Mood Disorder Questionnaire
Kuder Occupational Interest Survey
Major Depression Inventory
Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
Projective test
An inkblot from the Rorschach inkblot test, the most well‐known and widely used of the projective tests BASIC PSYCHOLOGY – III Semester 50 SCHOOL OF DISTANCE EDUCATION
In psychology, a projective test is a personality test designed to let a person respond to ambiguous
stimuli, presumably revealing hidden emotions and internal conflicts. This is different from an
"objective test" in which responses are analyzed according to a universal standard (for example, a
multiple choice exam). The responses to projective tests are content analyzed for meaning rather
than being based on presuppositions about meaning, as is the case with objective tests. Some
criticisms of projective tests include that they rely heavily on clinical judgement, lack reliability
and validity and many have no standardized criteria to which results may be compared, however
this is not always the case. These tests are used frequently, though the scientific evidence is
sometimes debated. There have been many empirical studies based on projective tests (including
the use of standardized norms and samples), particularly more established tests. The criticism of
lack of scientific evidence to support them and their continued popularity has been referred to as
the "projective paradox".Projective tests have their origins in psychoanalytic psychology, which
argues that humans have conscious and unconscious attitudes and motivations that are beyond or
hidden from conscious awareness.
The terms "objective test" and "projective test" have recently come under criticism in the Journal of
Personality Assessment. The more descriptive "rating scale or self-report measures" and "free
response measures" are suggested, rather than the terms "objective tests" and "projective tests,"
The general theoretical position behind projective tests is that whenever a specific question is
asked, the response will be consciously-formulated and socially determined. These responses do
not reflect the respondent's unconscious or implicit attitudes or motivations. The respondent's deepseated motivations may not be consciously recognized by the respondent or the respondent may not
be able to verbally express them in the form demanded by the questioner. Advocates of projective
tests stress that the ambiguity of the stimuli presented within the tests allow subjects to express
thoughts that originate on a deeper level than tapped by explicit questions. Projective tests lost
some of their popularity during the 1980s and 1990s in part because of the overall loss of popularity
of the psychoanalytic method and theories. Despite this, they are still used quite frequently.
Common variants
.The best known and most frequently used projective test is the Rorschach inkblot test, in which a
subject is shown a series of ten irregular but symmetrical inkblots, and asked to explain what they
see. The subject's responses are then analyzed in various ways, noting not only what was said, but
the time taken to respond, which aspect of the drawing was focused on, and how single responses
compared to other responses for the same drawing. For example, if someone consistently sees the
images as threatening and frightening, the tester might infer that the subject may suffer from
Thematic apperception test Another popular projective test is the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) in which an individual
views ambiguous scenes of people, and is asked to describe various aspects of the scene; for
example, the subject may be asked to describe what led up to this scene, the emotions of the
characters, and what might happen afterwards. The examiner then evaluates these descriptions,
attempting to discover the conflicts, motivations and attitudes of the respondent. In the answers, the
respondent "projects" their unconscious attitudes and motivations into the picture, which is why
these are referred to as "projective tests."
Draw­A­Person test The Draw-A-Person test requires the subject to draw a person. The results are based on a
psychodynamic interpretation of the details of the drawing, such as the size, shape and complexity
of the facial features, clothing and background of the figure. As with other projective tests, the
approach has very little demonstrated validity and there is evidence that therapists may attribute
pathology to individuals who are merely poor artists. A similar class of techniques is kinetic family
Sentence completion test Sentence completion tests require the subject complete sentence "stems" with their own words. The
subject's response is considered to be a projection of their conscious and/or unconscious
attitudes,personality characteristics, motivations, and beliefs.
Other Measures
Behavioural observation & interview Behavioural observation is the act of noting and recording something, such as a phenomenon, with
instruments and reaching at an inference or a judgment that is acquired from or based on
In an interview the individual under assessment must be given considerable latitude in “telling his
story.” Interviews have both verbal and nonverbal (e.g., gestural) components. The aim of the
interview is to gather information, and the adequacy of the data gathered depends in large part on
the questions asked by the interviewer. In an employment interview the focus of the interviewer is
generally on the job candidate’s work experiences, general and specific attitudes, and occupational
goals. In a diagnostic medical or psychiatric interview considerable attention would be paid to the
patient’s physical health and to any symptoms
Module 4
BasicThought Processes
Thoughts are forms created in the mind, rather than the forms perceived through the five senses.
Thought and thinking are the processes by which these imaginary sense perceptions arise and are
manipulated. Thinking allows beings to model the world and to represent it according to their
objectives, plans, ends and desires. Similar concepts and processes include cognition, sentience,
consciousness, ideas, and imagination.
Representative reactions towards stimuli from internal chemical reactions or external
environmental factors (this definition precludes the notion that anything inorganic could ever be
made to "think": An idea contested by such computer scientists as Alan Turing (see Computing
Machinery and Intelligence)). The word comes from Old English þoht, geþoht, from stem of
þencan "to conceive of in the mind, consider".
In common language, the word thinking covers numerous diverse psychological activities. It is
sometimes a synonym for "tending to believe," especially with less than full confidence ("I think
that it will rain, but I am not sure"). At other times it denotes the degree of attentiveness ("I did it
without thinking") or whatever is in consciousness, especially if it refers to something outside the
immediate environment ("It made me think of my grandmother").
A neuron (also known as a neurone or nerve cell) is an excitable cell in the nervous system that
processes and transmits information by electrochemical signalling. Neurons are the core
components of the brain, the vertebrate spinal cord, the invertebrate ventral nerve cord, and the
peripheral nerves. A number of specialized types of neurons exist: sensory neurons respond to
touch, sound, light and numerous other stimuli affecting cells of the sensory organs that then send
signals to the spinal cord and brain. Motor neurons receive signals from the brain and spinal cord
and cause muscle contractions and affect glands. Interneurons connect neurons to other neurons
within the brain and spinal cord. Neurons respond to stimuli, and communicate the presence of
stimuli to the central nervous system, which processes that information and sends responses to
other parts of the body for action. Neurons do not go through mitosis, and usually cannot be
replaced after being destroyed, although astrocytes have been observed to turn into neurons as they
are sometimes pluripotent.
Psychologists have concentrated on thinking as an intellectual exertion aimed at finding an answer
to a question or the solution of a practical problem. Cognitive psychology is a branch of psychology
that investigates internal mental processes such as problem solving, memory, and language. The
school of thought arising from this approach is known as cognitivism which is interested in how
people mentally represent information processing. It had its foundations in the Gestalt psychology
of Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Köhler, and Kurt Koffka, and in the work of Jean Piaget, who
provided a theory of stages/phases that describe children's cognitive development.
Cognitive psychologists use psychophysical and experimental approaches to understand, diagnose,
and solve problems, concerning themselves with the mental processes which mediate between
stimulus and response. They study various aspects of thinking, including the psychology of
reasoning, and how people make decisions and choices, solve problems, as well as engage in
creative discovery and imaginative thought. Cognitive theory contends that solutions to problems
take the form of algorithms—rules that are not necessarily understood but promise a solution, or
heuristics—rules that are understood but that do not always guarantee solutions. Cognitive science
differs from cognitive psychology in that algorithms that are intended to simulate human behavior
are implemented or implementable on a computer. In other instances, solutions may be found
through insight, a sudden awareness of relationships.
In developmental psychology, Jean Piaget was a pioneer in the study of the development of thought
from birth to maturity. In his theory of cognitive development, thought is based on actions on the
environment. That is, Piaget suggests that the environment is understood through assimilations of
objects in the available schemes of action and these accommodate to the objects to the extent that
the available schemes fall short of the demands. As a result of this interplay between assimilation
and accommodation, thought develops through a sequence of stages that differ qualititatively from
each other in mode of representation and complexity of inference and understanding. That is,
thought evolves from being based on perceptions and actions at the sensorimotor stage in the first
two years of life to internal representations in early childhood. Subsequently, representations are
gradually organized into logical structures which first operate on the concrete properties of the
reality, in the stage of concrete operations, and then operate on abstract principles that organize
concrete properties, in the stage of formal operations. In recent years, the Piagetian conception of
thought was integrated with information processing conceptions. Thus, thought is considered as the
result of information processing mechanisms that are responsible for the representation and
processing of information. In this conception, speed of processing, cognitive control, and working
memory are the main functions underlying thought. In the neo-Piagetian theories of cognitive
development, the development of thought is considered to come from increasing speed of
processing, enhanced cognitive control, and increasing working memory.
"Id", "ego", and "super-ego" are the three parts of the "psychic apparatus" defined in Sigmund
Freud's structural model of the psyche; they are the three theoretical constructs in terms of whose
activity and interaction mental life is described. According to this model, the uncoordinated
instinctual trends are the "id"; the organized realistic part of the psyche is the "ego," and the critical
and moralizing function the "super-ego."
The unconscious was considered by Freud throughout the evolution of his psychoanalytic theory a
sentient force of will influenced by human desire and yet operating well below the perceptual
conscious mind. For Freud, the unconscious is the storehouse of instinctual desires, needs, and
psychic drives. While past thoughts and reminiscences may be concealed from immediate
consciousness, they direct the thoughts and feelings of the individual from the realm of the
For psychoanalysis, the unconscious does not include all that is not conscious, rather only what is
actively repressed from conscious thought or what the person is averse to knowing consciously. In
a sense this view places the self in relationship to their unconscious as an adversary, warring with
itself to keep what is unconscious hidden. If a person feels pain, all he can think of is alleviating the
pain. Any of his desires, to get rid of pain or enjoy something, command the mind what to do. For
Freud, the unconscious was a repository for socially unacceptable ideas, wishes or desires,
traumatic memories, and painful emotions put out of mind by the mechanism of psychological
repression. However, the contents did not necessarily have to be solely negative. In the
psychoanalytic view, the unconscious is a force that can only be recognized by its effects—it
expresses itself in the symptom.
Social psychology is the study of how people and groups interact. Scholars in this interdisciplinary
area are typically either psychologists or sociologists, though all social psychologists employ both
the individual and the group as their units of analysis.
Despite their similarity, psychological and sociological researchers tend to differ in their goals,
approaches, methods, and terminology. They also favor separate academic journals and
professional societies. The greatest period of collaboration between sociologists and psychologists
was during the years immediately following World War II. Although there has been increasing
isolation and specialization in recent years, some degree of overlap and influence remains between
the two disciplines.
The collective unconscious, sometimes known as collective subconscious, is a term of analytical
psychology, coined by Carl Jung. It is a part of the unconscious mind, shared by a society, a people,
or all humanity, in an interconnected system that is the product of all common experiences and
contains such concepts as science, religion, and morality. While Freud did not distinguish between
an "individual psychology" and a "collective psychology," Jung distinguished the collective
unconscious from the personal subconscious particular to each human being. The collective
unconscious is also known as "a reservoir of the experiences of our species."
In the "Definitions" chapter of Jung's seminal work Psychological Types, under the definition of
"collective" Jung references representations collectives, a term coined by Lucien Lévy-Bruhl in his
1910 book How Natives Think. Jung says this is what he describes as the collective unconscious.
Freud, on the other hand, did not accept the idea of a collective unconscious.
Philosophy of mind is a branch of modern analytic philosophy that studies the nature of the mind,
mental events, mental functions, mental properties, consciousness and their relationship to the
physical body, particularly the brain. The mind-body problem, i.e. the relationship of the mind to
the body, is commonly seen as the central issue in philosophy of mind, although there are other
issues concerning the nature of the mind that do not involve its relation to the physical body.
The mind-body problem
The mind-body problem concerns the explanation of the relationship that exists between minds, or
mental processes, and bodily states or processes. The main aim of philosophers working in this area
is to determine the nature of the mind and mental states/processes, and how or even if minds are
affected by and can affect the body.
Our perceptual experiences depend on stimuli which arrive at our various sensory organs from the
external world and these stimuli cause changes in our mental states, ultimately causing us to feel a
sensation, which may be pleasant or unpleasant. Someone's desire for a slice of pizza, for example,
will tend to cause that person to move his or her body in a specific manner and in a specific
direction to obtain what he or she wants. The question, then, is how it can be possible for conscious
experiences to arise out of a lump of gray matter endowed with nothing but electrochemical
properties. A related problem is to explain how someone's propositional attitudes (e.g. beliefs and
desires) can cause that individual's neurons to fire and his muscles to contract in exactly the correct
manner. These comprise some of the puzzles that have confronted epistemologists and philosophers
of mind from at least the time of René Descartes.
There are prevailing theories in contemporary philosophy which attempt to explain the nature of
concepts (abstract term: conception). The representational theory of mind proposes that concepts
are mental representations, while the semantic theory of concepts (originating with Frege's
distinction between concept and object) holds that they are abstract objects. Ideas are taken to be
concepts, although abstract concepts do not necessarily appear to the mind as images as some ideas
do. Many philosophers consider concepts to be a fundamental ontological category of being.
A concept is a cognitive unit of meaning—an abstract idea or a mental symbol sometimes defined
as a "unit of knowledge," built from other units which act as a concept's characteristics. A concept
is typically associated with a corresponding representation in a language or symbology such as a
single meaning of a term.
The meaning of "concept" is explored in mainstream cognitive science, metaphysics, and
philosophy of mind. The term "concept" is traced back to 1554–60 (latin conceptum - "something
conceived"),but what is today termed "the classical theory of concepts" is the theory of Aristotle on
the definition of terms.
Origin and acquisition of concepts
A posteriori abstractions
John Locke's description of a general idea corresponds to a description of a concept. According to
Locke, a general idea is created by abstracting, drawing away, or removing the common
characteristic or characteristics from several particular ideas. This common characteristic is that
which is similar to all of the different individuals. For example, the abstract general idea or concept
that is designated by the word "red" is that characteristic which is common to apples, cherries, and
blood. The abstract general idea or concept that is signified by the word "dog" is the collection of
those characteristics which are common to Airedales, Collies, and Chihuahuas.
In the same tradition as Locke, John Stuart Mill stated that general conceptions are formed through
abstraction. A general conception is the common element among the many images of members of a
class. "...[W]hen we form a set of phenomena into a class, that is, when we compare them with one
another to ascertain in what they agree, some general conception is implied in this mental
operation" (A System of Logic, Book IV, Ch. II). Mill did not believe that concepts exist in the mind
before the act of abstraction. "It is not a law of our intellect, that, in comparing things with each
other and taking note of their agreement, we merely recognize as realised in the outward world
something that we already had in our minds. The conception originally found its way to us as the
result of such a comparison. It was obtained (in metaphysical phrase) by abstraction from
individual things" (Ibid.).
For Schopenhauer, empirical concepts "...are mere abstractions from what is known through
intuitive perception, and they have arisen from our arbitrarily thinking away or dropping of some
qualities and our retention of others." (Parerga and Paralipomena, Vol. I, "Sketch of a History of
the Ideal and the Real"). In his On the Will in Nature, "Physiology and Pathology," Schopenhauer
said that a concept is "drawn off from previous images ... by putting off their differences. This
concept is then no longer intuitively perceptible, but is denoted and fixed merely by words."
Nietzsche, who was heavily influenced by Schopenhauer, wrote: "Every concept originates through
our equating what is unequal. No leaf ever wholly equals another, and the concept 'leaf' is formed
through an arbitrary abstraction from these individual differences, through forgetting the
By contrast to the above philosophers, Immanuel Kant held that the account of the concept as an
abstraction of experience is only partly correct. He called those concepts that result of abstraction
"a posteriori concepts" (meaning concepts that arise out of experience). An empirical or an a
posteriori concept is a general representation (Vorstellung) or non-specific thought of that which is
common to several specific perceived objects (Logic, I, 1., §1, Note 1).
A concept is a common feature or characteristic. Kant investigated the way that empirical a
posteriori concepts are created.
The logical acts of the understanding by which concepts are generated as to their form are: (1.)
comparison, i.e., the likening of mental images to one another in relation to the unity of
consciousness; (2.) reflection, i.e., the going back over different mental images, how they can be
comprehended in one consciousness; and finally (3.) abstraction or the segregation of everything
else by which the mental images differ ... In order to make our mental images into concepts, one
must thus be able to compare, reflect, and abstract, for these three logical operations of the
understanding are essential and general conditions of generating any concept whatever. For
example, I see a fir, a willow, and a linden. In firstly comparing these objects, I notice that they are
different from one another in respect of trunk, branches, leaves, and the like; further, however, I
reflect only on what they have in common, the trunk, the branches, the leaves themselves, and
abstract from their size, shape, and so forth; thus I gain a concept of a tree.
– Logic, §6
Kant's description of the making of a concept has been paraphrased as "...to conceive is essentially
to think in abstraction what is common to a plurality of possible instances..." (H.J. Paton, Kant's
Metaphysics of Experience, I, 250). In his discussion of Kant, Christopher Janaway wrote:
"...generic concepts are formed by abstraction from more than one species."
A priori concepts
Kant declared that human minds possess pure or a priori concepts. Instead of being abstracted from
individual perceptions, like empirical concepts, they originate in the mind itself. He called these
concepts categories, in the sense of the word that means predicate, attribute, characteristic, or
quality. But these pure categories are predicates of things in general, not of a particular thing.
According to Kant, there are 12 categories that constitute the understanding of phenomenal objects.
Each category is that one predicate which is common to multiple empirical concepts. In order to
explain how an a priori concept can relate to individual phenomena, in a manner analogous to an a
posteriori concept, Kant employed the technical concept of the schema.
Conceptual structure
It seems intuitively obvious that concepts must have some kind of structure. Up until recently, the
dominant view of conceptual structure was a containment model, associated with the classical view
of concepts. According to this model, a concept is endowed with certain necessary and sufficient
conditions in their description which unequivocally determine an extension. The containment
model allows for no degrees; a thing is either in, or out, of the concept's extension. By contrast, the
inferential model understands conceptual structure to be determined in a graded manner, according
to the tendency of the concept to be used in certain kinds of inferences. As a result, concepts do not
have a kind of structure that is in terms of necessary and sufficient conditions; all conditions are
contingent (Margolis:5).
However, some theorists claim that primitive concepts lack any structure at all. For instance, Jerry
Fodor presents his Asymmetric Dependence Theory as a way of showing how a primitive concept's
content is determined by a reliable relationship between the information in mental contents and the
world. These sorts of claims are referred to as "atomistic", because the primitive concept is treated
as if it were a genuine atom.
Conceptual content
In cognitive linguistics, abstract concepts are transformations of concrete concepts derived from
embodied experience. The mechanism of transformation is structural mapping, in which properties
of two or more source domains are selectively mapped onto a blended space (Fauconnier & Turner,
1995; see conceptual blending). A common class of blends are metaphors. This theory contrasts
with the rationalist view that concepts are perceptions (or recollections, in Plato's term) of an
independently existing world of ideas, in that it denies the existence of any such realm. It also
contrasts with the empiricist view that concepts are abstract generalizations of individual
experiences, because the contingent and bodily experience is preserved in a concept, and not
abstracted away. While the perspective is compatible with Jamesian pragmatism (above), the notion
of the transformation of embodied concepts through structural mapping makes a distinct
contribution to the problem of concept formation.
A schema (pl. schemata), in psychology and cognitive science is:
A mental structure that represents some aspect of the world. A structured cluster of pre‐conceived ideas. BASIC PSYCHOLOGY – III Semester 58 SCHOOL OF DISTANCE EDUCATION
An organized pattern of thought or behavior. A specific knowledge structure or cognitive representation of the self. A mental framework centering around a specific theme, that helps us to organize social information. Structures which organize our knowledge and assumptions about something and are used for interpreting and processing information. A schema for oneself is called a "self schema". Schemata for other people are called "person
schemata". Schemata for roles or occupations are called "role schemata", and schemata for events
or situations are called "event schemata" (or scripts).
Schemata influence our attention, as we are more likely to notice things that fit into our schema. If
something contradicts our schema, it may be encoded or interpreted as an exception or as unique.
Thus, schemata are prone to distortion. They influence what we look for in a situation. They have a
tendency to remain unchanged, even in the face of contradictory information. We are inclined to
place people who do not fit our schema in a "special" or "different" category, rather than to
consider the possibility that our schema may be faulty. As a result of schemata, we might act in
such a way that actually causes our expectations to come true.
The concept of schemata was initially introduced into psychology and education through the work
of the British psychologist, Sir Frederic Bartlett (1886–1969). This learning theory views organized
knowledge as an elaborate network of abstract mental structures which represent one's
understanding of the world. Schema theory was developed by the educational psychologist R. C.
Anderson. The term schema was used by Jean Piaget in 1926, so it was not an entirely new concept.
Anderson, however, expanded the meaning.
People use schemata to organize current knowledge and provide a framework for future
understanding. Examples of schemata include Rubric (academic), social schemas, stereotypes,
social roles, scripts, worldviews, and archetypes. In Piaget's theory of development, children adopt
a series of schemata to understand the world.
Imagery and Cognitive map
Imagery is a set of mental pictures or images. The use of vivid or figurative language to represent
objects, actions, or ideas. Psychologists often use it as a technique in behavior therapy in which the
patient uses pleasant fantasies to relax and counteract anxiety.
Cognitive maps, mental maps, mind maps, cognitive models, or mental models are a type of mental
processing composed of a series of psychological transformations by which an individual can
acquire, code, store, recall, and decode information about the relative locations and attributes of
phenomena in their everyday or metaphorical spatial environment.
The credit of the creation of this term is given to Edward Tolman. Cognitive maps have been
studied in various fields, such as psychology, education, archaeology, planning, geography,
architecture, landscape architecture , urban planning and management. As a consequence, these
mental models are often referred to, variously, as cognitive maps, mental maps, scripts, schemata,
and frames of reference.
Put more simply, cognitive maps are a method we use to construct and accumulate spatial
knowledge, allowing the "mind's eye" to visualize images in order to reduce cognitive load, and
enhance recall and learning of information. This type of spatial thinking can also be used as a
metaphor for non-spatial tasks, where people performing non-spatial tasks involving memory and
imaging use spatial knowledge to aid in processing the task. The oldest known formal method of
using spatial locations to remember data is the "method of loci". This method was originally used
by students of rhetoric in ancient Rome when memorizing speeches. To use it one must first
memorize the appearance of a physical location (for example, the sequence of rooms in a building).
When a list of words, for example, needs to be memorized, the learner visualizes an object
representing that word in one of the pre-memorized locations. To recall the list, the learner mentally
"walks through" the memorized locations, noticing the objects placed there during the
memorization phase.
The neural correlates of a cognitive map have been speculated to be the place cell system in the
hippocampus and the recently discovered grid cells in the entorhinal cortex.
Tolman believed that we learn by trial and error. When we are successful, we remember and create
cognitive maps of the places and circumstances (or context). The proof for this came from
experiments with rats in a maze performed by Tolman in the 1940s:
1. It seems the rats explore the maze for no other reason than for the fun of it.
2. If they know the maze well they will find their way even if the maze is filled with water and
the rats are forced to swim in order to find their way to food.
Tolman's is more complex than learning theory, which is based on reward and punishment as
motivators. Behaviorists like Watson & Pavlov would see the nervous system as rather simple, and
according to them learning is formed by reward and punishment. Metaphorically the brain is like a
simple switchboard. Albert Bandura and G.H. Mead would add that imitating others (having role
models) is also a motivator for learning. Tolman is talking about cognitive behaviorism, which is an
important part of cognitive therapy today.
The rats in the maze seem to learn even if they are not rewarded for it, and they also remember
what they learn. This is a school of thought nowadays known as field theory. This group believes
that in the course of learning something like a field map of the environment gets established in the
rat's (or person's) brain. You could argue that the rat in running a maze is exposed to stimuli and is
finally led as a result of these stimuli to the responses which actually occur. However the
intervening brain processes are more complicated, more patterned and often, pragmatically
speaking, more autonomous than do the stimulus-response psychologists. Although it's most likely
that the rat is bombarded by stimuli, it's very likely that the nervous system is surprisingly selective
as to which of these stimuli it will let in at any given time. Learning gives us a better chance to
evaluate the future and survive .
The maps in the brain cannot be seen; we can only see the consequences of learning. The brain
makes connections far more complex than those possible to see in a microscope or a scanner.
Reductionism and Occams razor are excellent topics to read about if you want to learn more about
how brain and learning relate to each other. It's a known fact that the human brain becomes more
complex and interrelates in new ways during childhood and adolescence.
The "central office" (the Brain) itself is far more like a map control room than it is like an oldfashioned telephone exchange. The stimuli, which are allowed in, are not connected by just simple
one-to-one switches to the outgoing responses. Rather, the incoming impulses are usually worked
over and elaborated in the central control room into a tentative, cognitive-like map of the
environment. And it is this tentative map, indicating routes and paths and environmental
relationships, which finally determines what responses, if any, the animal will finally release.
The map here is known to most people. However, it is upside down. Rotate the picture in your mind
(or stand on your head) and you will see Africa. Now where is the Republic of South Africa? You
know the map and you can use that knowledge. You just rotate the map in your mind and there you
have it. Attempting to teach such a concept to an animal would prove difficult. If you reorganize
knowledge and learn a lot from it, it is Gestalt learning or an Aha moment (Aha-Erlebnis).
Sometimes you have to combine knowledge in new ways.
Finally, it is also important to note how these maps are relatively narrow and strip-like, or broad
and comprehensive. Both strip-maps and comprehensive-maps may be either correct or incorrect in
the sense that they may, when acted upon, lead successfully to the animal's goal. The differences
between such strip maps and such comprehensive maps will appear only when the rat is later
presented with some change within the given environment. Then, the narrower and more strip-like
the original map, the less will it carry over successfully to the new problem; whereas, the wider and
the more comprehensive it was, the more adequately it will serve in the new set-up. In a strip-map
the given position of the animal is connected by only a relatively simple and single path to the
position of the goal. In a comprehensive-map a wider arc of the environment is represented, so that,
if the starting position of the animal be changed or variations in the specific routes be introduced,
this wider map will allow the animal still to behave relatively correctly and to choose the
appropriate new route.
A language is a system of signs (indices, icons, symbols) for encoding and decoding information.
Since language and languages became an object of study (logos) by the ancient grammarians, the
term has had many and different definitions. The English word derives from Latin lingua,
"language, tongue," with a reconstructed Proto-Indo-European root of *dnghû-, "tongue," a
metaphor based on the use of the physical organ in speech.[1] The ability to use speech originated in
remote prehistoric times, as did the language families in use at the beginning of writing. The
processes by which they were acquired were for the most part unconscious.
In modern times, a large number of artificial languages have been devised, requiring a distinction
between their consciously innovated type and natural language. The latter are forms of
communication considered peculiar to humankind. Although some other animals make use of quite
sophisticated communicative systems, and these are sometimes casually referred to as animal
language, none of these are known to make use of all the properties that linguists use to define
The term “language” has branched by analogy into several meanings. The most obvious
manifestations are spoken languages such as English or Spoken Chinese. However, there are also
written languages and other systems of visual symbols such as sign languages. In cognitive science
the term is also sometimes extended to refer to the human cognitive facility of creating and using
language. Essential to both meanings is the systematic creation and usage of systems of symbols,
each pairing a specific sign with an intended meaning, established through social conventions.
In the late 19th century Charles Sanders Peirce called this pairing process semiosis and the study of
it semiotics. According to another founder of semiotics, Roman Jakobson, the latter portrays
language as code in which sounds (signantia) signify concepts (signata). Language is the process of
encoding signata in the sounds forming the signantia and decoding from signantia to signata.
Concepts themselves are signantia for the objective reality being conceived. When discussed as a
general phenomenon then, "language" may imply a particular type of human thought that can be
present even when communication is not the result, and this way of thinking is also sometimes
treated as indistinguishable from language itself. In Western philosophy, language has long been
closely associated with reason, which is also a uniquely human way of using symbols. In Ancient
Greek philosophical terminology, the same word, logos, was a term for both language or speech
and reason, and the philosopher Thomas Hobbes used the English word "speech" so that it similarly
could refer to reason, as presented below.
The properties of language
Arbitrary symbols
A key property of language is that its symbols are arbitrary. Any concept or grammatical rule can
be mapped onto a symbol. In other words, most languages make use of sound, but the combinations
of sounds used do not have any necessary and inherent meaning; they are merely an agreed-upon
convention to represent a certain thing by users of that language. For instance, the sound
combination nada carries the meaning of "nothing" in the Spanish language and also the meaning
"thread" in the Hindi language. There is nothing about the word nada itself that forces Hindi
speakers to convey the idea of "thread", or the idea of "nothing" for Spanish speakers. Other sets of
sounds (for example, the English words nothing and thread) could equally be used to represent the
same concepts, but all Spanish and Hindi speakers have acquired or learned to correlate their own
meanings for this particular sound pattern. Indeed, for speakers of Slovene and some other South
Slavic languages, the sound combination carries the meaning of "hope", while in Indonesian, it
means "tone".
This arbitrariness applies to words even with an onomatopoetic dimension (i.e. words that to some
extent simulate the sound of the token referred to). For example, several animal names (e.g.
cuckoo, whip-poor-will, and katydid) are derived from sounds made by the respective animal, but
these forms did not have to be chosen for these meanings. Non-onomatopoetic words can stand just
as easily for the same meaning. For instance, the katydid is called a "bush cricket" in British
English, a term that bears no relation to the sound made by the animal. In time, onomatopoetic
words can also change in form, losing their mimetic status. Onomatopoetic words may have an
inherent relation to their referent, but this meaning is not inherent; thus they do not violate
arbitrariness. For instance, an English speaker may describe a dog's bark as "ruff" or "bow-wow,"
as to where the Japanese would describe it as "wan-wan."
Related symbols
The meanings of signs may be arbitrary, but the process of assigning meaning is not; it is the
activity of the entire society; individuals are not allowed to change them arbitrarily, even though
they may contribute some new meanings. A continuous thread of socially recognized meaning
requires that the allowed meanings of individual signs be related. The relatedness of signs was
formally recognized by Charles W. Morris, who divided semiotics into three fields, based on "the
three dimensions of semiosis:"
"...syntactics studies the relation between a given sign vehicle and other sign vehicles, semantics
studies the relations between sign vehicles and their designata, and pragmatics studies the relation
between sign vehicles and their interpreters....
These types of relatedness allow a finite set of signs to be combined into a potentially infinite
number of meaningful utterances.
Psycholinguistics or psychology of language is the study of the psychological and neurobiological
factors that enable humans to acquire, use, comprehend and produce language. Initial forays into
psycholinguistics were largely philosophical ventures, due mainly to a lack of cohesive data on how
the human brain functioned. Modern research makes use of biology, neuroscience, cognitive
science, linguistics, and information theory to study how the brain processes language. There are a
number of subdisciplines with non-invasive techniques for studying the neurological workings of
the brain; for example, neurolinguistics has become a field in its own right.
Psycholinguistics covers the cognitive processes that make it possible to generate a grammatical
and meaningful sentence out of vocabulary and grammatical structures, as well as the processes that
make it possible to understand utterances, words, text, etc. Developmental psycholinguistics studies
children's ability to learn language.
Areas of study
Psycholinguistics is interdisciplinary and is studied by people in a variety of fields, such as
psychology, cognitive science, and linguistics. There are several subdivisions within
psycholinguistics that are based on the components that make up human language.
Linguistic-related areas:
Phonetics and phonology are concerned with the study of speech sounds. Within
psycholinguistics, research focuses on how the brain processes and understands these
Morphology is the study of word structures, especially the relationships between related
words (such as dog and dogs) and the formation of words based on rules (such as plural
Syntax is the study of the patterns which dictate how words are combined together to form
Semantics deals with the meaning of words and sentences. Where syntax is concerned with
the formal structure of sentences, semantics deals with the actual meaning of sentences.
Pragmatics is concerned with the role of context in the interpretation of meaning.
Psychology-related areas:
The study of word recognition and reading examines the processes involved in the
extraction of orthographic, morphological, phonological, and semantic information from
patterns in printed text.
Developmental psycholinguistics studies infants' and children's ability to learn and process
language, usually with experimental or at least quantitative methods (as opposed to
naturalistic observations such as those made by Jean Piaget in his research on the
development of children).
Theories about how language works in the human mind attempt to account for, among other things,
how we associate meaning with the sounds (or signs) of language and how we use syntax—that is,
how we manage to put words in the proper order to produce and understand the strings of words we
call "sentences". The first of these items—associating sound with meaning—is the least
controversial and is generally held to be an area in which animal and human communication have
at least some things in common (See animal communication). Syntax, on the other hand, is
controversial, and is the focus of the discussion that follows.
There are essentially two schools of thought as to how we manage to create syntactic sentences: (1)
syntax is an evolutionary product of increased human intelligence over time and social factors that
encouraged the development of spoken language; (2) language exists because humans possess an
innate ability, an access to what has been called a "universal grammar". This view holds that the
human ability for syntax is "hard-wired" in the brain. This view claims, for example, that complex
syntactic features such as recursion are beyond even the potential abilities of the most intelligent
and social non-humans. (Recursion includes the use of relative pronouns to refer back to earlier
parts of a sentence ("The girl whose car is blocking my view of the tree that I planted last year is
my friend.")) The innate view claims that the ability to use syntax like that would not exist without
an innate concept that contains the underpinnings for the grammatical rules that produce recursion.
Children acquiring a language, thus, have a vast search space to explore among possible human
grammars, settling, logically, on the language(s) spoken or signed in their own community of
speakers. Such syntax is, according to the second point of view, what defines human language and
makes it different from even the most sophisticated forms of animal communication.
The first view was prevalent until about 1960 and is well represented by the mentalistic theories of
Jean Piaget and the empiricist Rudolf Carnap. As well, the school of psychology known as
behaviorism (see Verbal Behavior (1957) by B.F. Skinner) puts forth the point of view that
language is behavior shaped by conditioned response. The second point of view (the "innate" one)
can fairly be said to have begun with Noam Chomsky's highly critical review of Skinner's book in
1959 in the pages of the journal Language. That review started what has been termed "the cognitive
revolution" in psychology.
The field of psycholinguistics since then has been defined by reactions to Chomsky, pro and con.
The pro view still holds that the human ability to use syntax is qualitatively different from any sort
of animal communication. That ability might have resulted from a favorable mutation (extremely
unlikely) or (more likely) from an adaptation of skills evolved for other purposes. That is, precise
syntax might, indeed, serve group needs; better linguistic expression might produce more cohesion,
cooperation, and potential for survival, but precise syntax can only have developed from
rudimentary—or no—syntax, which would have had no survival value and, thus, would not have
evolved at all. Thus, one looks for other skills, the characteristics of which might have later been
useful for syntax. In the terminology of modern evolutionary biology, these skills would be said to
be "pre-adapted" for syntax (see also exaptation). Just what those skills might have been is the
focus of recent research—or, at least, speculation.
The con view still holds that language—including syntax—is an outgrowth of hundreds of
thousands of years of increasing intelligence and tens of thousands of years of human interaction.
From that view, syntax in language gradually increased group cohesion and potential for survival.
Language—syntax and all—is a cultural artifact. This view challenges the "innate" view as
scientifically unfalsifiable; that is to say, it can't be tested; the fact that a particular, conceivable
syntactic structure does not exist in any of the world's finite repertoire of languages is an interesting
observation, but it is not proof of a genetic constraint on possible forms, nor does it prove that such
forms couldn't exist or couldn't be learned.
Contemporary theorists, besides Chomsky, working in the field of theories of psycholinguistics
include George Lakoff and Steven Pinker.
Much methodology in psycholinguistics takes the form of behavioral experiments incorporating a
lexical decision task. In these types of studies, subjects are presented with some form of linguistic
input and asked to perform a task (e.g. make a judgment, reproduce the stimulus, read a visually
presented word aloud). Reaction times (usually on the order of milliseconds) and proportion of
correct responses are the most often employed measures of performance. Such experiments often
take advantage of priming effects, whereby a "priming" word or phrase appearing in the experiment
can speed up the lexical decision for a related "target" word later.
Such tasks might include, for example, asking the subject to convert nouns into verbs; e.g., "book"
suggests "to write," "water" suggests "to drink," and so on. Another experiment might present an
active sentence such as "Bob threw the ball to Bill" and a passive equivalent, "The ball was thrown
to Bill by Bob" and then ask the question, "Who threw the ball?" We might then conclude (as is the
case) that active sentences are processed more easily (faster) than passive sentences. More
interestingly, we might also find out (as is the case) that some people are unable to understand
passive sentences; we might then make some tentative steps towards understanding certain types of
language deficits (generally grouped under the broad term, aphasia).
More recently, eye tracking has been used to study online language processing. Beginning with
Rayner (1978) the importance and informativity of eye-movements during reading was established.
Tanenhaus et al., have performed a number of visual-world eye-tracking studies to study the
cognitive processes related to spoken language. Since eye movements are closely linked to the
current focus of attention, language processing can be studied by monitoring eye movements while
a subject is presented with linguistic input.
Until the recent advent of non-invasive medical techniques, brain surgery was the preferred way for
language researchers to discover how language works in the brain. For example, severing the
corpus callosum (the bundle of nerves that connects the two hemispheres of the brain) was at one
time a treatment for some forms of epilepsy. Researchers could then study the ways in which the
comprehension and production of language were affected by such drastic surgery. Where an illness
made brain surgery necessary, language researchers had an opportunity to pursue their research.
Newer, non-invasive techniques now include brain imaging by positron emission tomography
(PET); functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI); event-related potentials (ERPs) in
electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG); and transcranial magnetic
stimulation (TMS). Brain imaging techniques vary in their spatial and temporal resolutions (fMRI
has a resolution of a few thousand neurons per pixel, and ERP has millisecond accuracy). Each type
of methodology presents a set of advantages and disadvantages for studying a particular problem in
Computational modeling e.g. the DRC model of reading and word recognition proposed by
Coltheart and colleagues is another methodology. It refers to the practice of setting up cognitive
models in the form of executable computer programs. Such programs are useful because they
require theorists to be explicit in their hypotheses and because they can be used to generate accurate
predictions for theoretical models that are so complex that they render discursive analysis
unreliable. Another example of computational modeling is McClelland and Elman's TRACE model
of speech perception.
Issues and areas of research
Psycholinguistics is concerned with the nature of the computations and processes that the brain
undergoes to comprehend and produce language. For example, the cohort model seeks to describe
how words are retrieved from the mental lexicon when an individual hears or sees linguistic input.
Recent research using new non-invasive imaging techniques seeks to shed light on just where
certain language processes occur in the brain.
There are a number of unanswered questions in psycholinguistics, such as whether the human
ability to use syntax is based on innate mental structures or emerges from interaction with other
humans, and whether some animals can be taught the syntax of human language.
Two other major subfields of psycholinguistics investigate first language acquisition, the process by
which infants acquire language, and second language acquisition. In addition, it is much more
difficult for adults to acquire second languages than it is for infants to learn their first language
(bilingual infants are able to learn both of their native languages easily). Thus, sensitive periods
may exist during which language can be learned readily. A great deal of research in
psycholinguistics focuses on how this ability develops and diminishes over time. It also seems to be
the case that the more languages one knows, the easier it is to learn more.
The field of aphasiology deals with language deficits that arise because of brain damage. Studies in
aphasiology can both offer advances in therapy for individuals suffering from aphasia, and further
insight into how the brain processes language.
Inductive reasoning
Inductive reasoning, also known as induction or inductive logic, is a kind of reasoning that
allows for the possibility that the conclusion is false even where all of the premises are true. The
premises of an inductive logical argument indicate some degree of support (inductive probability)
for the conclusion but do not entail it; i.e. they do not ensure its truth. Induction is employed, for
example, in the following argument:
All of the ice we have examined so far is cold.
Therefore, all ice is cold.
The president looks uncomfortable
Therefore, the president is uncomfortable.
(Note that mathematical induction is not a form of inductive reasoning.)
Strong and weak induction
The words 'strong' and 'weak' are sometimes used to praise or demean the goodness of an inductive
argument. The idea is that you say "this is an example of strong induction" when you would decide
to believe the conclusion if presented with the premises. Alternatively, you say "that is weak
induction" when your particular Weltanschauung does not allow you to see that the conclusions are
likely given the premises.
Strong induction
All observed crows are black.
All crows are black.
The conclusion of this argument is not certain. Though all crows that we have observed are black, it
is logically possible that there is a white crow. However, though the conclusion is not certain given
the premises, it is nevertheless highly likely. We have very good reason to accept it, though it is not
indefeasible. So we call this argument an instance of strong induction.
Weak induction
Consider this example:
I always hang pictures on nails.
All pictures hang from nails.
Here, the link between the premise and the conclusion is very weak. Not only is it possible for the
conclusion to be true given the premise, it is even very likely that the conclusion is false. Not all
pictures are hung from nails; moreover, not all pictures are hung. Thus we say that this argument is
an instance of weak induction.
Types of inductive reasoning
A generalization (more accurately, an inductive generalization) proceeds from a premise about a
sample to a conclusion about the population.
The proportion Q of the sample has attribute A.
The proportion Q of the population has attribute A.
There are 20 balls in an urn, either black or white. To estimate their respective numbers you draw a
sample of 4 balls and find that 3 are black, one is white. A good inductive generalisation would be:
there are 15 black and 5 white balls in the urn.
How great the support is which the premises provide for the conclusion is dependent on (a) the
number of individuals in the sample group compared to the number in the population; and (b) the
degree to which the sample is representative of the population (which may be achieved by taking a
random sample). The hasty generalization and biased sample are fallacies related to generalisation.
Statistical syllogism
A statistical syllogism proceeds from a generalization to a conclusion about an individual.
A proportion Q of population P has attribute A.
An individual X is a member of P.
There is a probability which corresponds to Q that X has A.
The proportion in the first premise would be something like "3/5ths of", "all", "few", etc. Two dicto
simpliciter fallacies can occur in statistical syllogisms: "accident" and "converse accident".
Simple induction
Simple induction proceeds from a premise about a sample group to a conclusion about another
Proportion Q of the known instances of population P has attribute A.
Individual I is another member of P.
There is a probability corresponding to Q that I has A.
This is a combination of a generalization and a statistical syllogism, where the conclusion of the
generalization is also the first premise of the statistical syllogism.
Argument from analogy
Some philosophers believe that an argument from analogy is a kind of inductive reasoning.
An argument from analogy has the following form:
I has attributes A, B, and C
J has attributes A and B
So, J has attribute C
An analogy relies on the inference that the attributes known to be shared (the similarities) imply
that C is also a shared property. The support which the premises provide for the conclusion is
dependent upon the relevance and number of the similarities between I and J. The fallacy related to
this process is false analogy. As with other forms of inductive argument, even the best reasoning in
an argument from analogy can only make the conclusion probable given the truth of the premises,
not certain.
Analogical reasoning is very frequent in common sense, science, philosophy and the humanities,
but sometimes it is accepted only as an auxiliary method. A refined approach is case-based
reasoning. For more information on inferences by analogy, see Juthe, 2005.
Causal inference
A causal inference draws a conclusion about a causal connection based on the conditions of the
occurrence of an effect. Premises about the correlation of two things can indicate a causal
relationship between them, but additional factors must be confirmed to establish the exact form of
the causal relationship.
A prediction draws a conclusion about a future individual from a past sample.
Proportion Q of observed members of group G have had attribute A.
There is a probability corresponding to Q that other members of group G will have attribute
A when next observed.
Bayesian inference
Of the candidate systems for an inductive logic, the most influential is Bayesianism. This uses
probability theory as the framework for induction. Given new evidence, Bayes' theorem is used to
evaluate how much the strength of a belief in a hypothesis should change.
There is debate around what informs the original degree of belief. Objective Bayesians seek an
objective value for the degree of probability of a hypothesis being correct and so do not avoid the
philosophical criticisms of objectivism. Subjective Bayesians hold that prior probabilities represent
subjective degrees of belief, but that the repeated application of Bayes' theorem leads to a high
degree of agreement on the posterior probability. They therefore fail to provide an objective
standard for choosing between conflicting hypotheses. The theorem can be used to produce a
rational justification for a belief in some hypothesis, but at the expense of rejecting objectivism.
Such a scheme cannot be used, for instance, to decide objectively between conflicting scientific
Edwin Jaynes, an outspoken physicist and Bayesian, argued that "subjective" elements are present
in all inference, for instance in choosing axioms for deductive inference; in choosing initial degrees
of belief or prior probabilities; or in choosing likelihoods. He thus sought principles for assigning
probabilities from qualitative knowledge. Maximum entropy a generalization of the principle of
indifference – and transformation groups are the two tools he produced. Both attempt to alleviate
the subjectivity of probability assignment in specific situations by converting knowledge of features
such as a situation's symmetry into unambiguous choices for probability distributions.
Cox's theorem, which derives probability from a set of logical constraints on a system of inductive
reasoning, prompts Bayesians to call their system an inductive logic.
Deductive reasoning
Deductive reasoning, also called Deductive logic, is reasoning which constructs or evaluates
deductive arguments. Deductive arguments are attempts to show that a conclusion necessarily
follows from a set of premises. A deductive argument is valid if the conclusion does follow
necessarily from the premises, i.e., if the conclusion must be true provided that the premises are
true. A deductive argument is sound if its premises are true. Deductive arguments are valid or
invalid, sound or unsound, but are never true or false.
An example of a deductive argument:
1. All men are mortal
2. Socrates is a man
3. Therefore, Socrates is mortal
Deductive reasoning is sometimes contrasted with inductive reasoning.
Deductive logic
Deductive arguments are generally evaluated in terms of their validity and soundness. An argument
is valid if it is impossible both for its premises to be true and its conclusion to be false. An
argument can be valid even though the premises are false.
This is an example of a valid argument. The first premise is false, yet the conclusion is still valid.
1. Everyone who eats steak is a quarterback.
2. John eats steak.
3. Therefore, John is a quarterback.
This argument is valid but not sound. For a deductive argument to be considered sound the
argument must not only be valid, but the premises must be true as well.
A theory of deductive reasoning known as categorical or term logic was developed by Aristotle, but
was superseded by propositional (sentential) logic and predicate logic.
Deductive reasoning can be contrasted with inductive reasoning. In cases of inductive reasoning, it
is possible for the conclusion to be false even though the premises are true.
Mental Imagery
Mental imagery (varieties of which are sometimes colloquially refered to as “visualizing,” “seeing
in the mind's eye,” “hearing in the head,” “imagining the feel of,” etc.) is quasi-perceptual
experience; it resembles perceptual experience, but occurs in the absence of the appropriate
external stimuli. It is also generally understood to bear intentionality (i.e., mental images are always
images of something or other), and thereby to function as a form of mental representation.
Traditionally, visual mental imagery, the most discussed variety, was thought to be caused by the
presence of picture-like representations (mental images) in the mind, soul, or brain, but this is no
longer universally accepted.
Very often, imagery experiences are understood by their subjects as echoes, copies, or
reconstructions of actual perceptual experiences from their past; at other times they may seem to
anticipate possible, often desired or feared, future experiences. Thus imagery has often been
believed to play a very large, even pivotal, role in both memory (Yates, 1966; Paivio, 1986) and
motivation (McMahon, 1973). It is also commonly believed to be centrally involved in visuospatial reasoning and inventive or creative thought. Indeed, according to a long dominant
philosophical tradition, it plays a crucial role in all thought processes, and provides the semantic
grounding for language. However, in the 20th century vigorous objections were raised against this
tradition, and it was widely repudiated. More recently, it has once again begun to find a few
Creativity is the ability to generate innovative ideas and manifest them from thought into reality.
The process involves original thinking and then producing.
The process of creation was historically reserved for deities creating "from nothing" in Creationism
and other creation myths. Over time, the term creativity came to include human innovation,
especially in art and science and led to the emergence of the creative class.
Creativity comes from the Latin term creō "to create, make". The ways in which societies have
perceived the concept of creativity have changed throughout history, as has the term itself.
Originally in the Christian period: "creatio" came to designate God's act of Ex nihilo, "creation
from nothing." "Creatio" thus had a different meaning than "facere" ("to make") and did not apply
to human functions. The ancient view that art is not a domain of creativity persisted in this period.
History of the term and the concept
A shift occurred in modern times. Renaissance men had a sense of their own independence,
freedom and creativity, and sought to give voice to this sense. The first to actually apply the word
"creativity" was the Polish poet Maciej Kazimierz Sarbiewski, who applied it exclusively to poetry.
For over a century and a half, the idea of human creativity met with resistance, due to the fact that
the term "creation" was reserved for creation "from nothing." Baltasar Gracián (1601–58) would
only venture to write: "Art is the completion of nature, as if it were a second Creator..."
The ancient Greek concept of art (in Greek, τέχνη, téchnē—the root of "technique" and
"technology"), with the exception of poetry, involved not freedom of action but subjection to rules.
In Rome, this Greek concept was partly shaken, and visual artists were viewed as sharing, with
poets, imagination and inspiration.
Although neither the Greeks nor the Romans had a word that directly corresponded to the word
"creativity," their art, architecture, music, inventions and discoveries provide numerous examples
of what today would be described as creative works. The Greek scientist of Syracuse, Archimedes
experienced the creative moment in his Eureka experience, finding the answer to a problem he had
been wrestling with for a long time. At the time, the concept of "genius" probably came closest to
describing the creative talents that brought forth such works.
By the 18th century and the Age of Enlightenment, the concept of creativity was appearing more
often in art theory, and was linked with the concept of imagination.
The Western view of creativity can be contrasted with the Eastern view. For Hindus, Confucianists,
Taoists and Buddhists, creation was at most a kind of discovery or mimicry, and the idea of
creation "from nothing" had no place in these philosophies and religions.
In the West, by the 19th century, not only had art come to be regarded as creativity, but it alone was
so regarded. When later, at the turn of the 20th century, there began to be discussion of creativity in
the sciences (e.g., Jan Łukasiewicz, 1878–1956) and in nature (e.g., Henri Bergson), this was
generally taken as the transference, to the sciences, of concepts that were proper to art.
Creative process
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, leading mathematicians and scientists such as Hermann
von Helmholtz (1896) and Henri Poincaré (1908) began to reflect on and publicly discuss their
creative processes, and these insights were built on in early accounts of the creative process by
pioneering theorists such as Graham Wallas (1926) and Max Wertheimer (1945).
However, the formal starting point for the scientific study of creativity, from the standpoint of
orthodox psychological literature, is generally considered to have been J.P. Guilford's 1950 address
to the American Psychological Association, which helped popularize the topic and focus attention
on a scientific approach to conceptualizing creativity and measuring it psychometrically.
In parallel with these developments, other investigators have taken a more pragmatic approach,
teaching practical creativity techniques. Three of the best-known are:
Alex Osborn's "brainstorming" (1950s to present),
Genrikh Altshuller's Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ, 1950s to present),
and Edward de Bono's "lateral thinking" (1960s to present).
Creative thought
Creative thought is a mental process involving creative problem solving and the discovery of new
ideas or concepts, or new associations of the existing ideas or concepts, fueled by the process of
either conscious or unconscious insight.
From a scientific point of view, the products of creative thought (sometimes referred to as divergent
thought) are usually considered to have both originality and appropriateness.
Although intuitively a simple phenomenon, it is in fact quite complex. It has been studied from the
perspectives of behavioral psychology, social psychology, psychometrics, cognitive science,
artificial intelligence, philosophy, aesthetics, history, economics, design research, business, and
management, among others. The studies have covered everyday creativity, exceptional creativity
and even artificial creativity. Unlike many phenomena in science, there is no single, authoritative
perspective or definition of creativity. And unlike many phenomena in psychology, there is no
standardized measurement technique.
Creativity has been attributed variously to divine intervention, cognitive processes, the social
environment, personality traits, and chance ("accident", "serendipity"). It has been associated with
genius, mental illness, humor and REM sleep. Some say it is a trait we are born with; others say it
can be taught with the application of simple techniques. Creativity has also been viewed as a
beneficence of a muse or muses.
Although popularly associated with art and literature, it is also an essential part of innovation and
invention and is important in professions such as business, economics, architecture, industrial
design, graphic design, advertising, mathematics, music, science and engineering, and teaching.
Despite, or perhaps because of, the ambiguity and multi-dimensional nature of creativity, entire
industries have been spawned from the pursuit of creative ideas and the development of creativity
Creativity has been associated with right or forehead brain activity or even specifically with lateral
Some students of creativity have emphasized an element of chance in the creative process. Linus
Pauling, asked at a public lecture how one creates scientific theories, replied that one must
endeavor to come up with many ideas, then discard the useless ones.
Another adequate definition of creativity, according to Otto Rank, is that it is an "assumptionsbreaking process." Creative ideas are often generated when one discards preconceived assumptions
and attempts a new approach or method that might seem to others unthinkable.
Understanding and enhancing the creative process with new technologies
A simple but accurate review on this new Human-Computer Interactions (HCI) angle for promoting
creativity has been written by Todd Lubart, an invitation full of creative ideas to develop further
this new field.
Groupware and other Computer Supported Collaborative Work (CSCW) platforms are now the
stage of Network Creativity on the web or on other private networks. These tools have made more
obvious the existence of a more connective, cooperative and collective nature of creativity rather
than the prevailing individual one. Creativity Research on Global Virtual Teams is showing that the
creative process is affected by the national identities, cognitive and conative profiles, anonymous
interactions at times and many other factors affecting the teams members, depending on the early or
later stages of the cooperative creative process. They are also showing how NGO's cross-cultural
virtual team's innovation in Africa would also benefit from the pooling of best global practices
online. Such tools enhancing cooperative creativity may have a great impact on society and as such
should be tested while they are built following the Motto: "Build the Camera while shooting the
film". Some European FP7 scientific programs like Paradiso are answering a need for advanced
experimentally-driven research including large scale experimentation test-beds to discover the
technical, societal, and economic implications of such groupware and collaborative tools to the
On the other hand, creativity research may one day be pooled with a computable metalanguage like
IEML from the University of Ottawa Collective Intelligence Chair, Pierre Levy. It might be a good
tool to provide an interdisciplinary definition and a rather unified theory of creativity. The creative
processes being highly fuzzy, the programming of cooperative tools for creativity and innovation
should be adaptive and flexible. Empirical Modelling seems to be a good choice for Humanities
If all the activity of the universe could be traced with appropriate captors, it is likely that one could
see the creative nature of the universe to which humans are active contributors. After the web of
documents, the Web of Things might shed some light on such a universal creative phenomenon
which should not be restricted to humans. In order to trace and enhance cooperative and collective
creativity, Metis Reflexive Global Virtual Team has worked for the last few years on the
development of a Trace Composer at the intersection of personal experience and social knowledge.
Metis Reflexive Team has also identified a paradigm for the study of creativity to bridge European
theory of "useless" and non-instrumentalized creativity, North American more pragmatic creativity
and Chinese culture stressing more creativity as a holistic process of continuity rather than radical
change and originality. This paradigm is mostly based on the work of the German philosopher Hans
Joas, one that emphasizes the creative character of human action. This model allows also for a more
comprehensive theory of action. Joas elaborates some implications of his model for theories of
social movements and social change. The connection between concepts like creation, innovation,
production and expression is facilitated by the creativity of action as a metaphore but also as a
scientific concept.
The Creativity and Cognition conference series, sponsored by the ACM and running since 1993,
has been an important venue for publishing research on the intersection between technology and
creativity. The conference now runs biennially, next taking place in 2011.
Social attitudes to creativity
Although the benefits of creativity to society as a whole have been noted, social attitudes about this
topic remain divided. The wealth of literature regarding the development of creativity and the
profusion of creativity techniques indicate wide acceptance, at least among academics, that
creativity is desirable.
There is, however, a dark side to creativity, in that it represents a "quest for a radical autonomy
apart from the constraints of social responsibility".In other words, by encouraging creativity we are
encouraging a departure from society's existing norms and values. Expectation of conformity runs
contrary to the spirit of creativity. Sir Ken Robinson argues that the current education system is
"educating people out of their creativity".
Nevertheless, employers are increasingly valuing creative skills. A report by the Business Council
of Australia, for example, has called for a higher level of creativity in graduates. The ability to
"think outside the box" is highly sought after. However, the above-mentioned paradox may well
imply that firms pay lip service to thinking outside the box while maintaining traditional,
hierarchical organization sctructures in which individual creativity is not rewarded.
Problem solving
Problem solving is a mental process and is part of the larger problem process that includes
problem finding and problem shaping. Considered the most complex of all intellectual functions,
problem solving has been defined as higher-order cognitive process that requires the modulation
and control of more routine or fundamental skills. Problem solving occurs when an organism or an
artificial intelligence system needs to move from a given state to a desired goal state.
Problem-solving techniques
Abstraction: solving the problem in a model of the system before applying it to the real
Analogy: using a solution that solved an analogous problem
Brainstorming: (especially among groups of people) suggesting a large number of solutions
or ideas and combining and developing them until an optimum is found
Divide and conquer: breaking down a large, complex problem into smaller, solvable
Hypothesis testing: assuming a possible explanation to the problem and trying to prove (or,
in some contexts, disprove) the assumption
Lateral thinking: approaching solutions indirectly and creatively
Means-ends analysis: choosing an action at each step to move closer to the goal
Method of focal objects: synthesizing seemingly non-matching characteristics of different
objects into something new
Morphological analysis: assessing the output and interactions of an entire system
Reduction: transforming the problem into another problem for which solutions exist
Research: employing existing ideas or adapting existing solutions to similar problems
Root cause analysis: eliminating the cause of the problem
Trial-and-error: testing possible solutions until the right one is found
Creative problem solving
Creative problem solving is the mental process of creating a solution to a problem. It is a special
form of problem solving in which the solution is independently created rather than learned with
Creative problem solving always involves creativity. However, creativity often does not involve
creative problem solving, especially in fields such as music, poetry, and art. Creativity requires
newness or novelty as a characteristic of what is created, but creativity does not necessarily imply
that what is created has value or is appreciated by other people.
To qualify as creative problem solving the solution must either have value, clearly solve the stated
problem, or be appreciated by someone for whom the situation improves.
The situation prior to the solution does not need to be labeled as a problem. Alternate labels include
a challenge, an opportunity, or a situation in which there is room for improvement.
Solving school-assigned homework problems does not usually involve creative problem solving
because such problems typically have well-known solutions.
If a created solution becomes widely used, the solution becomes an innovation and the word
innovation also refers to the process of creating that innovation. A widespread and long-lived
innovation typically becomes a new tradition. "All innovations [begin] as creative solutions, but not
all creative solutions become innovations." Some innovations also qualify as inventions.
Inventing is a special kind of creative problem solving in which the created solution qualifies as an
invention because it is a useful new object, substance, process, software, or other kind of
marketable entity.
Techniques and tools
Many of the techniques and tools for creating an effective solution to a problem are described in
creativity techniques and problem solving.
Creative-problem-solving techniques can be categorized as follows:
Creativity techniques designed to shift a person's mental state into one that fosters
creativity. These techniques are described in creativity techniques. One such popular
technique is to take a break and relax or sleep after intensively trying to think of a solution.
Creativity techniques designed to reframe the problem. For example, reconsidering one's
goals by asking "What am I really trying to accomplish?" can lead to useful insights.
Creativity techniques designed to increase the quantity of fresh ideas. This approach is
based on the belief that a larger number of ideas increases the chances that one of them has
value. Some of these techniques involve randomly selecting an idea (such as choosing a
word from a list), thinking about similarities with the undesired situation, and hopefully
inspiring a related idea that leads to a solution. Such techniques are described in creativity
Creative-problem-solving techniques designed to efficiently lead to a fresh perspective that
causes a solution to become obvious. This category is useful for solving especially
challenging problems. Some of these techniques involve identifying independent
dimensions that differentiate (or separate) closely associated concepts. Such techniques can
overcome the mind's instinctive tendency to use "oversimplified associative thinking" in
which two related concepts are so closely associated that their differences, and
independence from one another, are overlooked.
The following formalized and well-known methods and processes combine various creativity and
creative-problem-solving techniques:
TRIZ, which is also known as Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TIPS), was developed
by Genrich Altshuller and his colleagues based on examining more than 200,000 patents. This
method is designed to foster the creation and development of patentable inventions, but is also
useful for creating non-product solutions.
Mind mapping is a creativity technique that both reframes the situation and fosters creativity.
Brainstorming is a group activity designed to increase the quantity of fresh ideas. Getting
other people involved can help increase knowledge and understanding of the problem and
help participants reframe the problem.
Edward de Bono has published numerous books that promote an approach to creative problem
solving and creative thinking called lateral thinking.
The Creative Problem Solving Process (CPS) is a six-step method developed by Alex Osborn
and Sid Parnes that alternates convergent and divergent thinking phases.
A frequent approach to teaching creative problem solving is to teach critical thinking in addition to
creative thinking, but the effectiveness of this approach is not proven. As an alternative to
separating critical and creative thinking, some creative-problem-solving techniques focus on either
reducing an idea's disadvantages or extracting a flawed idea's significant advantages and
incorporating those advantages into a different idea.
Creative-problem-solving tools typically consist of software or manipulatable objects (such as
cards) that facilitate specific creative-problem-solving techniques. Electronic meeting systems
provide a range of interactive tools for creative-problem-solving by groups over the Internet.
Module 5
Consciousness is variously defined as subjective experience, or awareness, or wakefulness, or the
executive control system of the mind. It is an umbrella term that may refer to a variety of mental
phenomena. Although humans realize what everyday experiences are, consciousness refuses to be
defined, philosophers note (e.g. John Searle in The Oxford Companion to Philosophy):
"Anything that we are aware of at a given moment forms part of our consciousness, making
conscious experience at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives."—
Schneider and Velmans, 2007
Consciousness in medicine (e.g., anesthesiology) is assessed by observing a patient's alertness and
responsiveness, and can be seen as a continuum of states ranging from alert, oriented to time and
place, and communicative, through disorientation, then delirium, then loss of any meaningful
communication, and ending with loss of movement in response to painful stimulation.
Consciousness in psychology and philosophy has four characteristics: subjectivity, change,
continuity and selectivity. Philosopher Franz Brentano has suggested intentionality or aboutness
(that consciousness is about something). However, within the philosophy of mind there is no
consensus on whether intentionality is a requirement for consciousness.
Consciousness is the subject of much research in philosophy of mind, psychology, neuroscience,
cognitive science, cognitive neuroscience and artificial intelligence. Issues of practical concern
include how the presence of consciousness can be assessed in severely ill or comatose people;
whether non-human consciousness exists and if so how it can be measured; at what point in fetal
development consciousness begins; and whether computers can achieve a conscious state.
A daydream is a visionary fantasy experienced while awake, especially one of happy, pleasant
thoughts, hopes or ambitions. There are so many different types of daydreams that there is still no
consensus definition amongst psychologists. While daydreams may include fantasies about future
scenarios or plans, reminiscences about past experiences, or vivid dream-like images, they are often
connected with some type of emotion.
While daydreaming has long been derided as a lazy, non-productive pastime, daydreaming can be
constructive in some contexts. There are numerous examples of people in creative or artistic
careers, such as composers, novelists and filmmakers, developing new ideas through daydreaming.
Similarly, research scientists, mathematicians and physicists have developed new ideas by
daydreaming about their subject areas.
Daydreaming was long held in disrepute in society and was associated with laziness. In the late
1800s, Toni Nelson argued that some daydreams with grandiose fantasies are self-gratifying
attempts at "wish fulfillment". In the 1950s, some educational psychologists warned parents not to
let their children daydream, for fear that the children may be sucked into "neurosis and even
In the late 1960s, psychologist Jerome L. Singer of Yale University and psychologist John S.
Antrobus of the City College of New York created a daydream questionnaire. The questionnaire,
called the Imaginal Processes Inventory (IPI), has been used to investigate daydreams.
Psychologists Leonard Giambra and George Huba used the IPI and found that daydreamers'
imaginary images vary in three ways: how vivid or enjoyable the daydreams are, how many guiltor fear-filled daydreams they have, and how "deeply" into the daydream people go.
Recent research
Eric Klinger's research in the 1980s showed that most daydreams are about ordinary, everyday
events and help to remind us of mundane tasks. Klinger's research also showed that over 75% of
workers in "boring jobs", such as lifeguards and truck drivers, use vivid daydreams to "ease the
boredom" of their routine tasks. Klinger found that less than 5% of the workers' daydreams
involved explicitly sexual thoughts and that violent daydreams were also uncommon.
Israeli high school students who scored high on the Daydreaming Scale of the IPI had more
empathy than students who scored low. Some psychologists, such as Los Angeles' Joseph E. Shorr,
use the mental imagery created during their clients' daydreaming to help gain insight into their
mental state and make diagnoses.
Other recent research has also shown that daydreaming, much like nighttime dreaming, is a time
when the brain consolidates learning. Daydreaming may also help people to sort through problems
and achieve success. Research with fMRI shows that brain areas associated with complex problemsolving become activated during daydreaming episodes.
Therapist Dan Jones looked at patterns in how people achieved success from entrepreneurs like
Richard Branson and Peter Jones to geniuses like Albert Einstein and Leonardo da Vinci. Jones
also looked at the thinking styles of successful creative people like Beethoven and Walt Disney.
What he found was that they all had one thing in common. They all spent time daydreaming about
their area of success.
Sports psychologists have used this knowledge for years without making the connection to
daydreaming. They would have sports people visualise success. Studies have shown that those that
use visualisation outperform those that use practice alone.
Nowadays it is understood that visualisation or guided imagery is the same state of mind as
States of Consciousness & Extended States of Consciousness
Man lives in 3 relative states of Consciousnes- waking, dreaming & dreamless sleep known in
Sanskrit as Jagrata, Swapna & Sushupti. Now there is a Transcendental state of Consciousness
known as the Fourth (Tureeya) & there are still higher states of Consciousness.
Seven States of Consciousness
1. Waking
2. Dreaming (REM sleep)
3. Dreamless Sleep (non- REM)
4. Transcendental Consciousness (TC)
5. Cosmic Consciousness (CC)
6. Glorified State of Cosmic Consciousness (GC)
7. Unified State of Cosmic Consciousness
Cognitive Phenomena can be classified as "complex" phenomena because they typically
involve the spontaneous emergence of "concepts" or "ideas" which are formulated out of
"thoughts" or "feelings" that are holistic in nature. Unlike colorful distortions of raw perception
from our sensory cortices or the emergence of primal impulses from our emotional brain, Cognitive
Phenomena are typically defined in terms of "expanded states" of consciousness, the production of
"novel memes," and the shifting or shattering of the "paradigms" through which we view reality.
Cognitive Phenomena are tied closely to both concepts of self as well as the basic logic and
language functions of the brain (which would be located in the prefrontal cortex), but they also rely
on areas of our brain responsible for more intuitive, loosely-associative interpretations of data.
Because of this, Cognitive Phenomena may seem cryptic, paradoxical, and grand in scope; the
states are often described in spiritual terms of mystical awareness and metaphysical awakening; and
reports from users all over the world often use the same language metaphors to describe various
states of "expanded consciousness." And since Cognitive Phenomena emerge into both the "mind"
and into the culture arena as fully-formed as experiential "concepts" or "ideas," they are arguably
the most powerful, transformative, and easy-to-translate artifacts of the psychedelic experience.
Hypnosis is a mental state (state theory) or imaginative role-enactment (non-state theory) usually
induced by a procedure known as a hypnotic induction, which is commonly composed of a long
series of preliminary instructions and suggestions. Hypnotic suggestions may be delivered by a
hypnotist in the presence of the subject, or may be self-administered ("self-suggestion" or
"autosuggestion"). The use of hypnotism for therapeutic purposes is referred to as "hypnotherapy."
The words 'hypnosis' and 'hypnotism' both derive from the term "neuro-hypnotism" (nervous sleep)
coined by the Scottish surgeon James Braid around 1841. Braid based his practice on that
developed by Franz Mesmer and his followers ("Mesmerism" or "animal magnetism"), but differed
in his theory as to how the procedure worked.
Contrary to a popular misconception - that hypnosis is a form of unconsciousness resembling sleep
- contemporary research suggests that it is actually a wakeful state of focused attentionand
heightened suggestibility, with diminished peripheral awareness. In the first book on the subject,
Neurypnology (1843), Braid described "hypnotism" as a state of physical relaxation accompanied
and induced by mental concentration ("abstraction").
Skeptics point out the difficulty distinguishing between hypnosis and the placebo effect, proposing
that hypnosis is so heavily reliant upon the effects of suggestion and belief that it would be hard to
imagine how a credible placebo control could ever be devised for a hypnotism study..
It could be said that hypnotic suggestion is explicitly intended to make use of the placebo effect.
For example, in 1994, Irving Kirsch proposed a definition of hypnosis as a "nondeceptive megaplacebo," i. e., a method which openly makes use of suggestion and employs methods to amplify its
The earliest definition of hypnosis was given by Braid, who coined the term "hypnotism" as an
abbreviation for "neuro-hypnotism", or nervous sleep, which he opposed to normal sleep, and
defined as:
A peculiar condition of the nervous system, induced by a fixed and abstracted attention of the
mental and visual eye, on one object, not of an exciting nature.
Braid elaborated upon this brief definition in a later work:
…the real origin and essence of the hypnotic condition, is the induction of a habit of abstraction or
mental concentration, in which, as in reverie or spontaneous abstraction, the powers of the mind are
so much engrossed with a single idea or train of thought, as, for the nonce, to render the individual
unconscious of, or indifferently conscious to, all other ideas, impressions, or trains of thought. The
hypnotic sleep, therefore, is the very antithesis or opposite mental and physical condition to that
which precedes and accompanies common sleep …
Braid therefore defined hypnotism as a state of mental concentration which often led to a form of
progressive relaxation termed "nervous sleep". Later, in his The Physiology of Fascination (1855),
Braid conceded that his original terminology was misleading, and argued that the term "hypnotism"
or "nervous sleep" should be reserved for the minority (10%) of subjects who exhibited amnesia,
substituting the term "monoideism", meaning concentration upon a single idea, as a description for
the more alert state experienced by the others.
Since it can not (or has not) been defined in scientific terms. It can not be subjected to the scientific
method for confirming its existence as more than a theory.
Meditation is a holistic discipline by which the practitioner attempts to get beyond the reflexive,
"thinking" mind into a deeper state of relaxation or awareness. The term can refer to the process of
reaching this state, as well as to the state itself. Meditation is a component of many religions, and
has been practiced since antiquity. It is also practiced outside religious traditions. Different
meditative disciplines encompass a wide range of spiritual and non-spiritual goals including
achieving a higher state of consciousness or enlightenment, increasing one's compassion and
lovingkindness, receiving spiritual inspiration or guidance from God, achieving greater focus,
creativity or self-awareness, and simply cultivating a more relaxed and peaceful frame of mind.
Eastern meditation techniques have been adapted and increasingly practiced in Western culture
resulting in some opposition from organizations such as the Catholic Church.
In spirituality and religion
There are literally hundreds of types of meditation styles.
Meditation has been defined as: "self regulation of attention, in the service of self-inquiry, in the
here and now."
Meditation can be practiced while walking or doing simple repetitive tasks. Walking meditation
helps break down habitual automatic mental categories, "thus regaining the primary nature of
perceptions and events, focusing attention on the process while disregarding its purpose or final
outcome." In a form of meditation using visualization, such as Chinese Qi Gong, the practitioner
concentrates on flows of energy (Qi) in the body, starting in the abdomen and then circulating
through the body, until dispersed. Some meditative traditions, such as yoga or tantra, are common
to several religions.
Buddhist meditation is fundamentally concerned with two themes: transforming the mind and using
it to explore itself and other phenomena.[47] The historical Buddha himself, Siddhartha Gautama,
was said to have achieved enlightenment while meditating under a Bodhi tree. In Buddhist
mythology, there have been twenty eight Buddhas and all of them practiced meditation to make
spiritual progress.
All Buddhist traditions recognize that the path to Enlightenment entails three types of training:
virtue (sīla); concentration (dhyāna); and, wisdom (paññā). Thus, meditative process alone is but
one aspect of the path to Enlightenment.
A traditional Buddhist explanandum distinguishes two classes of meditation practices, samatha and
vipassana, which together will lead one all the way to enlightenment. The former consists of
practices aimed at developing the ability to focus the attention single-pointedly; the latter includes
practices aimed at developing insight and wisdom through seeing the true nature of reality. The
differentiation between the two types of meditation practices is not always clear cut, which is made
obvious when studying practices such as anapanasati which could be said to start off as a shamatha
practice, but goes through a number of stages, and ends up as a vipassana practice.
Theravada Buddhism emphasizes the meditative development of mindfulness (sati, see for example
the Satipatthana Sutta) and concentration (samadhi, see kammatthana), as part of the Noble
Eightfold Path, in the pursuit of Nibbana (Nirvana). Theravada buddhism was the original practice,
and uses a style of individuality by which each person is seen as different; therefore each person's
path to Nirvana may also differ. Traditional popular meditation subjects include the breath
(anapana) and loving-kindness (mettā).
One particularly influential school of Buddhist meditation in the 20th century was the Thai Forest
Tradition which included such notable practitioners of meditation as Ajahn Thate, Ajahn Maha Bua
and the Ajahn Chah.
Anapanasati, or watching the breath, has been practiced since the time of The Buddha. In this type
of meditation one simply turns the attention to each breath. Sometimes the breaths are counted on
the inhalation (or sometimes the exhalation is chosen as well), "1... 2... 3... 4...," up to ten and then
the practitioner begins from 1 again. Sometimes the breaths are simply watched without counting.
When the attention goes to something else it is gently brought back to the breath; If the count is lost
then the practitioner simply starts from 1 again. This type of meditation has been shown to improve
the ability to sustain one's attention to any stimuli as well as improving executive functioning and
slow the natural aging process of the brain.
Sometimes, in a certain style of calm abiding, a practitioner will concentrate on an object such as a
candle flame or the statue of The Buddha. Meditation on a concept, such as the temporary nature of
reality, is also sometimes practiced.
Meditation in Tibetan Buddhism grew up as an integral part of religious life, alongside other
practices like mantra recitation, study of sacred literature, hand mudras, prostrations, and so forth.
All Tibetan schools share the preliminary practice of Ngondro. From there one begins either with
Dzogchen in the Nyingma path or with Mahamudra in the Kagyu lineage. There is a fairly wide
consensus among lamas of both the Nyingma and Sarma schools that the end state of dzogchen and
mahamudra are the same. The result of these practices is to awaken to the sky-like nature of mind,
the primordial, pure, nondual state, the unchanging awareness which underlies the whole of life and
death, and then to abide in this state until complete and precious Enlightenment is attained.
Also in Tibetan Buddhism there are other forms of meditation including mettā, or compassion
meditation, where one generates a state of boundless compassion (recognized in science as selfinduced high-amplitude gamma synchrony) and simultaneously increases the compassion one has
for others, or, in other words, trains, "the mental expertise to cultivate positive emotion alters the
activation of circuitries previously linked to empathy and theory of mind in response to emotional
stimuli." There is also the practice of Tonglen where one takes on the suffering and stress of others
while radiating happiness and success to others, and the practice of Tummo wherein monks learn to
generate enough body heat so that others have seen these practitioners, fully submerged beneath icy
lakes, cause steam to rise from the surface of the water. Tibetan Buddhism is considered part of the
Vajrayana and Mahayana traditions.
In Japanese Mahayana schools, Tendai (Tien-tai), concentration is cultivated through highly
structured ritual. Especially in the Chinese Chán Buddhism school (which branched out into the
Japanese Zen, and Korean Seon schools), ts'o ch'an meditation and koan meditation practices allow
a practitioner to directly experience the true nature of reality (each of the names of these schools
derives from the Sanskrit dhyana, and translates into "meditation" in their respective languages).
The esoteric Shingon sect shares many features with Tibetan Buddhism. The Japanese haiku poet
Basho saw poetry as a process of meditation concerned with the art of describing the brief
appearances of the everlasting self, of eternity, in the circumstances of the world. We get a sense of
this ethical purpose in his writing at the commencement of his classic work Narrow Roads to the
Deep North. In a more lonely and perhaps more profound pilgrimage than Chaucer depicted in the
Canterbury Tales, Basho reflects on mortality in intermingled poetry and prose as he journeys north
from shrine to shrine.
It has been argued that meditative traditions of Buddhism (which predated the recorded birth of
Jesus by 500 years and were present in Asia Minor and Alexandria during Jesus' life), influenced
the development of some aspects of Christian contemplative faith (Buddhism and Christianity).
Meditation has been one of the core spiritual practices undertaken by the Jains since the era of first
Tirthankar Lord Rishabha. All the twenty four Tirthankars have practiced deep meditation before
attaining enlightenment. They are all shown in meditative postures in the images or idols. Lord
Mahaveer practiced deep meditation for twelve years and attained enlightenment.
The Oldest Jain Canon (4th Century BCE) describes meditation of Mahavira before attaining
kevala Jnana:
Giving up the company of all householders whomsoever, he meditated. Asked, he gave no answer;
he went, and did not transgress the right path.(AS 312) In these places was the wise Sramana for
thirteen long years; he meditated day and night, exerting himself, undisturbed, strenuously. (AS
333) And Mahavira meditated (persevering) in some posture, without the smallest motion; he
meditated in mental concentration on (the things) above, below, beside, free from desires. He
meditated free from sin and desire, not attached to sounds or colours; though still an erring mortal
(khadmastha), he wandered about, and never acted carelessly.(AS 374-375)
After more than twelve years of austerities and meditation, Mahavira entered the state of Kevala
Jnana while doing shukla dhayana, the highest form of meditation:
The Venerable Ascetic Mahavira passed twelve years in this way of life; during the thirteenth year
in the second month of summer, in the fourth fortnight, the light (fortnight) of Vaisakha, on its
tenth day called Suvrata, in the Muhurta called Vigaya, while the moon was in conjunction with the
asterism Uttaraphalguni, when the shadow had turned towards the east, and the first wake was over,
outside of the town Grimbhikagrama, on the northern bank of the river Rigupalika, in the field of
the householder Samaga, in a north-eastern direction from an old temple, not far from a Sal tree, in
a squatting position with joined heels exposing himself to the heat of the sun, with the knees high
and the head low, in deep meditation, in the midst of abstract meditation,he reached Nirvana, the
complete and full, the unobstructed, unimpeded, infinite and supreme best knowledge and intuition,
called Kevala.
The Jains use the word Samayika, a word in the Prakrit language derived from the word samay
(time), to denote the practice of meditation. The aim of Samayika is to transcend the daily
experiences of being a "constantly changing" human being, Jiva, and allow for the identification
with the "changeless" reality in the practitioner, the Atma. If the present moment of time is taken to
be a point between the past and the future, Samayika means being fully aware, alert and conscious
in that very moment, experiencing one's true nature, Atma, which is considered common to all
living beings. To live in samayik is called living in the present. The Samayika takes on special
significance during Paryushana, a special eight- or ten-day period (depending on the sect) practiced
by the Jains. One of the main goal of Samayika is to inculcate the quality of equanimity. It
encourages to be consistently spiritually vigilant. Samayaika is practiced in all the Jain sects and
Acharya Mahaprajna, the 10th Head of Jain Swetamber Terapanth sect , formulated a well
organized meditation system known as preksha meditation in the 1970s. With this, he rediscovered
the Jain Meditation techniques available in ancient Jain scriptures. The system consists of the
perception of the breath, body, the psychic centres, psychic colors, thought and of contemplation
processes which can initiate the process of personal transformation. A few important contemplation
themes are - Impermanence, Solitariness, Vulnerability. It aims at reaching and purifying the
deeper levels of existence. Regular practice is believed to strengthen the immune system and build
up stamina to resist against ageing, pollution, viruses, diseases. Meditation practice is an important
part of the daily lives of the religion's monks.
The kayotsarg method is found to be very useful by many Jains. It is the process of complete
relaxation with high degree of self awareness.
Contemplation is a very old and important meditation technique. The practitioner meditates deeply
on subtle facts. In agnya vichāya, one contemplates on seven facts - life and non-life, the inflow,
bondage, stoppage and removal of karmas, and the final accomplishment of liberation. In apaya
vichāya, one contemplates on the incorrect insights one indulges into and that eventually develops
right insight. In vipaka vichāya, one reflects on the eight causes or basic types of karma. In
sansathan vichāya, when one thinks about the vastness of the universe and the loneliness of the
There exists a number of meditation techniques such as pindāstha-dhyāna, padāstha-dhyāna,
rūpāstha-dhyāna, rūpātita-dhyāna, savīrya-dhyāna, etc. In padāstha dhyāna one focuses on
Mantras. A Mantra could be either a combinations of core letters or words on deity or themes.
There is a rich tradition of Mantra in Jainism. All Jain followers irrespective of their sect, whether
Digambara or Svetambara practice Mantra. Mantra chanting is an important part of daily lives of
Jain monks and followers. Mantra chanting can be done either loudly or silently in mind.
There is evidence that Judaism has had meditative practices that go back thousands of years. For
instance, in the Torah, the patriarch Isaac is described as going (lasuach) in the field a term
understood by all commentators as some type of meditative practice (Genesis 24:63), probably
Similarly, there are indications throughout the Tanach (the Hebrew Bible) that meditation was
central to the prophets. In the Old Testament, there are two Hebrew words for meditation: hāgâ
(Hebrew), which means to sigh or murmur, but also to meditate, and sîḥâ (Hebrew), which means
to muse, or rehearse in one's mind.
The Jewish mystical tradition, Kabbalah, is inherently a meditative field of study. The Talmud
refers to the advantage of the scholar over the prophet, as his understanding takes on intellectual,
conceptual form, that deepens mental grasp, and can be communicated to others. The advantage of
the prophet over the scholar is in the transcendence of their intuitive vision. The ideal illumination
is achieved when the insights of mystical revelation are brought into conceptual structures. For
example, Isaac Luria revealed new doctrines of Kabbalah in the 16th Century, that revolutionised
and reordered its teachings into a new system. However, he did not write down his teachings, which
were recounted and interpreted instead by his close circle of disciples. After a mystical encounter,
called in Kabbalistic tradition an "elevation of the soul" into the spiritual realms, Isaac Luria said
that it would take 70 years to explain all that he had experienced. As Kabbalah evolved its
teachings took on successively greater conceptual form and philosophical system. Nonetheless, as
is implied by the name of Kabbalah, which means "to receive", its exponents see that for the
student to understand its teachings requires a spiritual intuitive reception that illuminates and
personalises the intellectual structures.
Corresponding to the learning of Kabbalah are its traditional meditative practices, as for the
Kabbalist, the ultimate purpose of its study is to understand and cleave to the Divine. Classic
methods include the mental visualisation of the supernal realms the soul navigates through to
achieve certain ends. One of the most well known types of meditation in early Jewish mysticism
was the work of the Merkabah, from the root /R-K-B/ meaning "chariot" (of God).
In modern Jewish practice one of the best known meditative practices is called "hitbodedut"
(alternatively transliterated as "hisbodedus"), and is explained in Kabbalistic, Hasidic, and Mussar
writings, especially the Hasidic method of Rabbi Nachman of Breslav. The word derives from the
Hebrew word "boded" meaning the state of being alone. Another Hasidic system is the Habad
method of "hisbonenus", related to the Sephirah of "Binah", Hebrew for understanding. This
practice is the analytical reflective process of making oneself understand a mystical concept well,
that follows and internalises its study in Hasidic writings.
New Age
New Age meditations are often influenced by Eastern philosophy, mysticism, Yoga, Hinduism and
Buddhism, yet may contain some degree of Western influence. In the West, meditation found its
mainstream roots through the social revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, when many of the youth of
the day rebelled against traditional belief systems as a reaction against what some perceived as the
failure of Christianity to provide spiritual and ethical guidance. New Age meditation as practiced
by the early hippies is regarded for its techniques of blanking out the mind and releasing oneself
from conscious thinking. This is often aided by repetitive chanting of a mantra, or focusing on an
object. Many New Age groups combine yoga with meditation where the control of mind and
breathing is said to be the highest yoga.
In Zen Yoga Aaron Hoopes talks of meditation as being an avenue to touching the spiritual nature
that exists within each of us.
At its core, meditation is about touching the spiritual essence that exists within us all. Experiencing
the joy of this essence has been called enlightenment, nirvana, or even rebirth, and reflects a deep
understanding within us. The spiritual essence is not something that we create through meditation.
It is already there, deep within, behind all the barriers, patiently waiting for us to recognize it. One
does not have to be religious or even interested in religion to find value in it. Becoming more aware
of your self and realizing your spiritual nature is something that transcends religion. Anyone who
has explored meditation knows that it is simply a path that leads to a new, more expansive way of
seeing the world around us.
Among the meditation techniques identified as "New Age" are Sahaja Yoga, Transcendental
Meditation, Natural Stress Relief, 5Rhythms, Transmission Meditation, and Theta Healing.[97]
In Sikhism, the practices of simran and Nām Japō encourage quiet meditation. This is focusing
one's attention on the attributes of God. Sikhs believe that there are 10 'gates' to the body; 'gates' is
another word for 'chakras' or energy centres. The top most energy level is called the tenth gate or
dasam dwar. When one reaches this stage through continuous practice meditation becomes a habit
that continues whilst walking, talking, eating, awake and even sleeping. There is a distinct taste or
flavour when a meditator reaches this lofty stage of meditation, as one experiences absolute peace
and tranquility inside and outside the body.
Followers of the Sikh religion also believe that love comes through meditation on the lord's name
since meditation only conjures up positive emotions in oneself which are portrayed through our
actions. The first Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Nanak Dev Ji preached the equality of all humankind and
stressed the importance of living a householder's life instead of wandering around jungles
meditating, the latter of which being a popular practice at the time. The Guru preached that we can
obtain liberation from life and death by living a totally normal family life and by spreading love
amongst every human being regardless of religion.
In the Sikh religion, kirtan, otherwise known as singing the hymns of God is seen as one of the
most beneficial ways of aiding meditation, and it too in some ways is believed to be a meditation of
one kind.
Taoism includes a number of meditative and contemplative traditions, said to have their principles
described in the I Ching, Tao Te Ching, Chuang Tzu and Tao Tsang among other texts. The
multitude of schools relating to Qigong, Neigong, Internal alchemy, Daoyin and Zhan zhuang is a
large, diverse array of breath-training practices in aid of meditation with much influence on later
Chinese Buddhism and with much influence on traditional Chinese medicine and the Chinese as
well as some Japanese martial arts. The Chinese martial art T'ai Chi Ch'uan is named after the wellknown focus for Taoist and Neo-Confucian meditation, the T'ai Chi T'u, and is often referred to as
“meditation in motion”.
"The Guanzi essay 'Neiye' (Inward training) is the oldest received writing on the subject of the
cultivation of vapor and meditation techniques. The essay was probably composed at the Jixia
Academy in Qi in the late fourth century B.C."
Often Taoist Internal martial arts, especially Tai Chi Chuan are thought of as moving meditation. A
common phrase being, "movement in stillness" referring to energetic movement in passive Qigong
and seated Taoist meditation; with the converse being "stillness in movement", a state of mental
calm and meditation in the tai chi form.
In a Western context
"Meditation" in its modern sense refers to Yogic meditation that originated in India. In the late
nineteenth century, Theosophists adopted the word "meditation" to refer to various spiritual
practices drawn from Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and other Indian religions. Thus the English
word "meditation" does not exclusively translate to any single term or concept, and can be used to
translate words such as the Sanskrit dhāraṇā, dhyana, samadhi and bhavana.
Meditation may be for a religious purpose, but even before being brought to the West it was used in
secular contexts, such as the martial arts. Beginning with the Theosophists, though, meditation has
been employed in the West by a number of religious and spiritual movements, such as Yoga, New
Age and the New Thought movement, as well as limited use in Christianity.
Meditation techniques have also been used by Western theories of counseling and psychotherapy.
Relaxation training works toward achieving mental and muscle relaxation to reduce daily stresses.
Jacobson is credited with developing the initial progressive relaxation procedure. These techniques
are used in conjunction with other behavioral techniques. Originally used with systematic
desensitization, relaxation techniques are now used with other clinical problems. Meditation,
hypnosis and biofeedback-induced relaxation are a few of the techniques used with relaxation
training. One of the eight essential phases of EMDR (developed by Shapiro), bringing adequate
closure to the end of each session, also entails the use of relaxation techniques, including
meditation. Multimodal therapy, a technically eclectic approach to behavioral therapy, also
employs the use of meditation as a technique used in individual therapy.
From the point of view of psychology and physiology, meditation can induce an altered state of
consciousness, and its goals in that context have been stated to achieving spiritual enlightenment, to
the transformation of attitudes, and to better cardiovascular health.
Altered state of consciousness
An altered state of consciousness, (ASC) also named altered state of mind, is any condition which
is significantly different from a normal waking beta wave state. The expression was used as early as
1969 by Charles Tartand describes induced changes in one's mental state, almost always temporary.
A synonymous phrase is "altered states of awareness".
It can be associated with artistic creativity.
An altered state of consciousness can come about accidentally through, for example, fever,
infections such as meningitis,[5] sleep deprivation, fasting, oxygen deprivation, nitrogen narcosis
(deep diving), psychosis[6], temporal lobe epilepsy or a traumatic accident.
An ASC can sometimes be reached intentionally by the use of sensory deprivation, an isolation
tank, sleep deprivation, lucid dreaming, hypnosis, meditation, prayer, or disciplines (e.g. Mantra
Meditation, Yoga, Sufism, dream yoga, or Surat Shabda Yoga).
It can also be attained through the ingestion of psychoactive drugs such as alcohol and opiates, but
more commonly with traditional hallucinogens of indigenous cultures, plants such as cannabis,
psilocybin mushrooms, peyote, ayahuasca, or datura (though less common and much more lethal).
Other modern hallucinogens that some attempt to use for a similar purpose are (D)-methorphan,
Salvia divinorum, LSD-25, subsituted phenethylamines, substituted tryptamines, and substituted
amphetamines such as those listed in the books PiHKAL and TiHKAL by Dr. Alexander Shlugin, a
former forensic and analytical organic chemist of the Drug Enforcement Administration. These
drugs are often noted as "designer drugs" by authorities and professionals or as "research
chemicals" by the hallucinogen-use and distribution underground, as an attempt to avoid
prosecution under the Federal Analogue Act.
Another effective way to induce an altered state of consciousness is using a variety of
Neurotechnology such as psychoacoustics, binaural beats, light and sound stimulation, cranial
electrotherapy stimulation, and such; these methods attempt to induce specific brainwave patterns,
and a particular altered state of consciousness.
1. Baron,R.A.(2002), Psychology(5th ed), India Pearson Education, Asia.
2. Hilgard, E.R, Atkinson, R.C & Atkinson, R.I.(1990), Introduction to Psychology(7th ed),
Oxford & IBH Publising company, New Delhi.
3. Zimbardo, P.G. & Weber, A.L.(1997), Psychology, Harper Collins, N.Y.
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