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1.0 Aims and Objectives

1.1 Introduction
1.2 Psychology Defined
1.3 Scope of Psychology
1.4 Fields and Functions
1.5 Types of Psychological Research
1.5.1 Naturalistic Observation
1.5.2 Survey Research
1.5.3 Case Study
1.5.4 Correlational Research
1.5.5 Experimental Research
1.6 Let us sum up
1.7 Lesson-End activities
1.8 Points for Discussion
1.9 Check your progress
1.10 References



In this Unit the nature and scope of psychology as a discipline will be discussed. After
going through this lesson you will be able to
i) gain an understanding Psychology as a discipline
ii) understand the vast scope of psychology
iii) appreciate the nature of sub fields of psychology
iv) the type of work various psychologists are doing in their sub fields.


Psychology is a scientific discipline. It branched off from philosophy and has ushered as
an independent science on its own right. The definition of psychology had undergone
several revisions in the past. It is currently defined as a discipline engaged in studying
behavior and mental processes. The field of psychology is ever expanding and
diversifying. Several sub fields of psychology have been developed. The strength of
psychology as a science rests on its methods. A wide variety of methods have been eve
loved by psychologists over the century. These methods help collecting data needed to
build up a reliable and valid psychology.
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Rudolph Goclenius, a Greek philosopher, invented the term 'psychology' in1590.

The English word ‘Psychology’ originated from the root ‘psyche’ in Greek. The root
word in Greek meant ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’. Logos in Greek meant ‘knowledge.’ Since the
beginning psychology has been continuously undergoing redefinitions. Thus psychology
was conceived to be a study of soul in the ancient time. At the end of the last century,
psychology was recognized as the study of mind and consciousness through
introspection, the description of experience. In 1818 James R. Angell, (J.B.Watson's
professor) noted the pressure to shift the focus of psychology from consciousness to
behavior moderated the position by defining behavior as "thinking, feeling and acting.”
In the second decade of the century when extreme behaviorist stance arose and concept of
consciousness was challenged and in 1913, John B. Watson defined psychology entirely
in behavioral terms "the science of behavior." At the end of this century, the focus of
psychology has been broadened and it is considered a science and practice concerned
with human behavior as well as the mental processes that underlie physical and mental
health. During the 1920s and 1930s, definitions in psychology dropped references to
"mind" and "consciousness." In practice the subject of introspection largely disappeared
by the 1930s. Howard C. Warren (1934), in his Dictionary of Psychology, gave four
definitions of psychology, ranging from "a branch of science that investigates mental
phenomena or mental operations" to "the science concerned with the mutual interrelations
of organism and environment through transmission of energy," to "the systematic
investigation of the behavior of organisms" to "the science of the self or personal
individual." Norman Munn (1946) defined psychology as "the science of experience and
behavior." In the late 1960s, cognitive psychology ushered and humanistic psychology
gained popularity and the definition of psychology had a renewed emphasis on
experience. By the 1970s, psychology's definition shifted yet again toward a more
moderate and commonly defined "science of behavior and experience." In the last two
decades of the century, the recognition that psychology is not only a science but also a
practice. Currently, psychology is most often defined as "the study of behavior and
underlying mental phenomena."

One of the philosophers sarcastically commented on this turn of events in which

the terms soul, mind and consciousness were banished one by one in preference to the
term behavior, that ‘Psychology lost its soul first, its mind next, its consciousness later
and is left to loath only with behavior.’ Now, the extremism in psychology has subsided
and psychologists are more tolerant and open to accept phenomena for their
psychological enquiry including consciousness. Currently there is consensus among
psychologists in defining psychology as the study of behavior and mental processes
(Coon and Mittrer, 2007). Another definition made by other contemporary psychologists
states, “Psychology as the scientific study of behavior and mind (Passer and Smith,

The subject matter of Psychology revolves around the study of behavior, human
and animal. Psychology does not restrict itself to studying overt or observable behavior.
Overt behavior includes walking, talking, laughing, hitting, or jumping. It necessarily
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includes study of covert behavior as well. Covert behavior includes internal events like
learning, motivation, attitudes, beliefs, values, and feeling. Psychology is a Scientific
Study. It involves systematic study of behavior and mental processes in which the
observed data is organized based on theory. Further it involves measurement. Psychology
is regarded a social science.


. The scope of psychology constantly extends to include a wide range of

phenomena of scientific interest. The interest of the investigators ranges from interest in
astrology, graphology to parapsychology. The psychological studies range from
investigations of individuals to studies of groups, organizations and nations. Psychology
studies all sorts of individuals, from mentally retarded to genius, from mentally ill to
people who are selfactualizing. The spectrum of phenomena of interest to psychologists
include every thing from egotism to altruism, from truancy, delinquency, criminality,
psychopath to spiritualism, from peace to violence, terrorism and war, from behavior of
plants to that of animals and human beings, and what not? It is not surprising that modern
psychology has been some times commented to be a psychotic octopus that stretches and
catches every thing that comes across it by its innumerous ever lengthening limbs.


Psychology is a broadening and diversifying field. A number of different sub fields and
specialty areas have newly emerged. The following are a few of the major areas of
research and application within the field of psychology.

1.4.1. Clinical Psychology is the branch of psychology that is devoted to study, diagnosis
and treatment abnormal behavior. Their area of work covers a large range from milder
disturbances like adjustment disorders that occur due to identifiable stressor on one hand
to the more severe disorders like schizophrenia where the level of impairment of
psychological functioning in the individual is extreme. Learning about the factors
contributing to clinically significant impairment or disorders, arriving at a diagnosis, and
evolving methods to treat these disorders are the common interests of clinical
psychologists. Some clinical psychologists devote all their time in applying the
theoretical understanding on psychopathology to treat their clients who are called as
practitioners. Some others are primarily interested in issues like delineating factors
influencing mental breakdowns, identifying the first signs of psychiatric breakdowns, the
efficacy of certain kinds of therapy on certain types of patients, etc. They carry out
research on various aspects of psychopathology and are called as clinical researchers.

1.4.2 Community Psychology

A related field to clinical psychology is the community psychology. Community
psychology is a growing field that focuses on promoting community-wide mental health
through research, prevention, education, and consultation.

1.4.3.Industrial and organizational psychology is also known as I/O psychology, work

psychology, work and organizational psychology, W-O psychology, occupational
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psychology, personnel psychology or talent assessment. It is concerned with the

application of psychological theories, research methods, and intervention strategies to
solve workplace issues. I/O psychologists are interested in making organizations more
productive and ensuring workers are able to lead physically and psychologically healthy
lives. I/O psychologists are educated in the topics that include personnel
psychology,motivation and leadership, employee selection, training and development,
organization development and guided change, organizational behavior, and work and
family issues. I/O psychologists who work in an organization are likely to work in the
Human Resorce (HR) department. Many I/O psychologists pursue careers as independent
consultants or applied academic researchers.

1.4.4.Consumer psychology is a branch related to Industrial-Organizational psychology.

It deals with issues like people’s buying behavior, effects of advertisements on buying
behavior, and better marketing strategies.

1.4.5. Health psychology investigates the relationship between psychological factors and
physical illnesses. For example, they may be interested to study effect of psychological
factors like maternal deprivation on physical illnesses like asthma. They also are
interested in identifying health-enhancing behaviors like dieting, exercise, yoga on
physical health and psychological well being, and promoting them among people. Further
they research to identify psychological factors associated with health compromising
behaviors like smoking, drinking. In addition to this they also work with those patients
suffering from chronic or terminal illnesses, like diabetes and cancer, to evolve methods
to rehabilitate them.
1.4.6 Medical Psychology is the field of psychology that applies psychology to manage
medical problems. Issues like emotional impact of illness, self-screening for cancer and
disabilities, and compliance in taking medications are within the scope of medical

1.4.7 Counseling psychology tries to study problems relating to educational, social and
career adjustment. Health psychologists handle less severe problems than those attended
to by the clinical psychologists. They teach students methods to enhance their learning
capacity, helping the students to resolve their everyday difficulties, teaching the students
principles to solve the problems with their roommates, etc. are done by counseling
psychologists. Counseling psychologists employed in business organizations help the
employees handle their problems that are work-related, interpersonal problems among
colleagues, etc. Couples with marital problems also can seek help from counseling
psychologists. Counselors also can help people handle their problems within the context
of the family, like parents’ difficulty in communicating with their children.

1.4.8 School Psychology is the branch of psychology that works within the educational
system to help children with emotional, social, and academic issues. As a branch of
psychology it applies principles of cinical psychology and educational psychology to the
diagnosis and treatment of students' behavioral and learning problems. School
psychologists are educated in child and adolescent development, learning,
pychoeducational assessment, personality, therapeutic interventions, special education,
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psychology, consultation, child and adolescent psychpathology, etc., They help children
and youth succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. They collaborate with
educators, parents, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning
environments for all children and to strengthen connections between home and school.

1.4.9 Industrial and organizational psychology is also known as I/O psychology,

work psychology, work and organizational psychology, W-O psychology, occupational
psychology, personnel psychology or talent assessment. It is concerned with the
application of psychological theories, research methods, and intervention strategies to
solve workplace issues. I/O psychologists are interested in making organizations more
productive and ensuring workers are able to lead physically and psychologically healthy
lives. I/O psychologists are educated in the topics that include personnel
psychology,motivation and leadership, employee selection, training and development,
organization development and guided change, organizational behavior, and work and
family issues. I/O psychologists who work in an organization are likely to work in the
Human Resorce (HR) department. Many I/O psychologists pursue careers as independent
consultants or applied academic researchers. Consumer psychology, a branch related to
Industrial-Organizational psychology, deals with issues like people’s buying behavior,
effects of advertisements on buying behavior, and better marketing strategies.

1.4.10 Engineering psychology focuses on ways to improve the relationship between

people and machines. They design machines in such a manner as to reduce human error.
Some examples of the works of engineering psychologists are designing air traffic control
systems and underwater habitats for oceanographic research. The design of the person-
machine interface, the point at which the person interacts with the machine is especially
important in computer systems.

1.4.11 Biopsychology specializes in understanding the biological bases of behavior. The

field of Biopsychology focuses on the functions of the brain and nervous system.
Studying about the various lobar functions and how neurotransmitters in our brains
influence our behavior can be seen as some of the interests of Biopsychologists.

1.4.12 Comparative psychology is yet another field of psychology that has a fairly long
history. It primarily focused on studying and comparing the behavior of different species,
especially that of animals.

1.4.13 Experimental Psychology f o c us on the study of processes like sensation,

perceiving, learning and thinking. If one is interested in finding out how one perceives
pain, or how one learns new concepts the he would resort to experimental psychology.
Some critics question the term ‘experimental psychology’ as psychologists studying any
other phenomena as well may use experimental method. Neither do the experimental
psychologists limit themselves to purely experimental method of investigation.

1.4.14 Sensation and Perception Psychology deals with studies on the sense organs
and the process of perception. It also is involved in investigating the mechanisms of
sensation and developing theories about how perception occurs.
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1.4.15 Learning psychology is related to studying about how and why learning occurs.
They invest large part of their work in attempts to develop theories of learning.

1.4.16 Cognitive psychology can be seen as a specialty that grew out of experimental
psychology. It includes study of higher mental processes like thinking, language,
memory, reasoning and logic, problem solving, and decision- making. In short, it deals
with studying phenomena of human thinking and information processing.

1.4.17 Developmental psychology traces the behavioral changes that occur in people
from years as prenatal stages to old age. They also study about the influence on the
individual from the point of conception unto death and analyze how behavior is
influenced by these varied factors. In short Developmental Psychologists deal with
studying how people grow and change throughout the course of the lives. They are more
concerned about universal milestones rather than focusing on individual changes.

1.4.18 Personality psychology This is the branch of psychology that focuses on

individual differences is called. Both consistency in an individual’s behavior and the
changes occurring in him over time are points of interest to personality psychologists. In
addition to this they try to understand how one individual is different from the other
given the same situation, there by highlighting the uniqueness of the person.

1.4.19 Sports psychology If one is unable to carry on with his routine activities or if he
is experiences difficulty in mixing with others around him then he would find it
worthwhile to consult one of the psychologists who devote their effort in studying issues
relating to physical and mental health.

1.4.20 Social psychology Man is a social animal. We are not isolated being. We are all
parts of a complex network of social relationships. Social psychology studies how others
affect people’s thinking, feelings and behavior. Social psychologists cover various topics
like how one forms attitude and prejudices, human aggression, decision making while in
a group, and why we form relationships with others. Researches on difference between
males and females, the acquisition of gender identity, and how gender affects behavior
throughout one’s life are of interest to the gender psychologists.

1.4.21 Cross-cultural psychology is a branch of psychology that deals w i t h

investigating the similarities and differences in psychological functioning among various
cultural and ethnic groups. This branch focuses on issues like how child-rearing practices
differ with regard to different cultures, what are the factors affecting the achievement of
women in different cultures, and why do cultures vary in their standards for physical
attractiveness. Contemporary psychology invests a lot on studying the cultural diversity
of virtually every psychological phenomenon.
1.4.22 Environmental psychology The numbers of specialty areas continue to grow
even today. Environmental psychology is a field of psychology that studies the
relationship between people and their physical environment. They study the effect of
neighborhood, crowding, pollution and other environmental factors on psychological
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factors like our social behavior, our emotions, perception of stress and even the way we

1.4.23 Forensic psychology deals with legal issues like deciding what criteria indicate
that a person is legally insane, and whether smaller or larger juries make fairer decisions.

1.4.24 Space Psychology With more human beings visiting outer space than before the
requirement of Space Psychology has come to be acknowledged. Space flights are longer
and more frequent than earlier. This necessitated the emergence field of psychology that
focuses on issues like screening of astronauts to weed out people who are more
vulnerable to conflict in cramped, public quarters, handling the problem of space
sickness, factors that affect sanity of crew that are on long space travels, decision making
while on space travel when individuals are in small isolated groups, and so on.


Psychology is defined as the scientific study of behavior and mental processes. A

‘Scientific Study’ strictly uses data that are biased and objective. The data collected are
unbiased in that they do not support one hypothesis over the other. Similarly the data
collected are objective; any other who repeats the observation since the manner in which
the research is being done is adhering to research principles can obtain the results
obtained by one researcher.

Scientific investigation refers to an empirical investigation that is structured in

order to find solutions to certain questions that are practically relevant. Any scientific
investigation typically involves three steps: (1) Identifying questions (2) Formulating
explanation and (3) Carrying out research that would support/refute the explanations.
Methods of research can be classified into two types based on the focus of the
research. The two basic types of research in science are basic research and applied
research. Basic research primarily focuses on extension of theoretical understanding and
reflects purely the quest for knowledge. On the other hand applied research focuses on
finding solutions to problems that are specific and practical.

Research in Psychology involves both basic and applied type of research. Basic
research in Psychology is carried out in laboratories with human or animal participants.
In applied research the psychologist may try to design specific intervention program
based on available scientific knowledge.

The research in Psychology can be classified into different types, namely

Descriptive Method and Experimental Research. The basic goal of descriptive research is
to describe phenomena. They aid in generating hypothesis regarding phenomena of
interest that can be tested later using experimental methods. Naturalistic Observation,
Survey Research, and Case Study are the three popular descriptive methods.
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1.5.1.Naturalistic Observation is one where the researcher systematically observes and

records the behaviors that occur naturally in various situations. Behavior in natural
setting is observed and Observation is systematic. The objective of the naturalistic
observational is to study the relationship among variables and to generate hypothesis.

The research trying to study particular phenomena strictly refrains from actively
manipulating any of the features in the natural setting. Detailed information about the
nature, frequency and context of such naturally occurring behaviors can be obtained from
the field notes that are maintained by the researcher.

The starting point of a number of researches in Psychology is such careful

observation of animal and human behavior. The understanding on the range of variation
in human institutions that is revealed by a study of preliterate tribes may go unrecognized
if one restricted to studying his own culture.

Observational methods, in general, may be used in a natural setting or in

laboratory settings. A researcher who wishes to study altruistic behavior may choose a
high-crime area of a city and observe the helping behavior that people extent to the
victims of crime. If, however, one wishes to undertake a study that involves biological
variables then laboratory observation would be the best suited method.

One of the major disadvantage of the observational method is that a cause-and-

effect relationship between the variables being studied cannot be established using this
method. This is because one is unable to control any of the factors of interests. For
instance, one might find a few incidence of naturally occurring helping behavior that a
concrete conclusion may not be possible merely from such limited data.

Influence of observer may cause reactivity in the participants. As a result of social

facilitation or social impairment effect the participants’ behavior is be altered with the
presence of the observer. This is often seen as a constraint in carrying out a good
naturalistic observational research. Reactivity in participants because of presence of
observer may be controlled when observer is non-detectable to the participants.

Systematic errors in observation that results from the observer’s expectations are
termed as Observer Bias. Knowledge of previous research may create expectation
regarding how a behavior would occur in a given instance. This expectancy, termed as
Expectation Effect, can create errors in observation. Observer bias can be controlled by
being aware of probability of observer bias and limiting information available to the

1.5.2. Surveys are basic research instrument. Surveys are being popularly employed to
understand the political opinions, product preferences, health care needs, and the like. It
involves asking people about their attitude, beliefs, plans, health, income, life
satisfaction, concerns, etc. Any one can be surveyed. The method was developed by
Social Scientists of 20th century. It seeks to describe the current status of population and
discover relationship between variables.
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In Survey Research people are asked directly about their behavior. Survey is
usually conducted on a sample drawn at random from a large population. They involve
use of questionnaires that contain statements relating to the phenomena being studied.
The success of this method lies in proper selection of sample that is truly representing the
population being studied. Given a sound sampling technique a survey research can yield
information that depicts the population accurately. Survey research methods may be of
different types depending on how the data is being collected. There are four different
types of survey research methods: (1) Personal Interviews (2) Mail Surveys (3)
Telephonic Survey and (4) Internet Surveys.

In personal interview respondents are contacted at home or in office and they are
interviewed face-to- face. It is time consuming and expensive since the respondents are
contacted at their places. Since the interviewer collects information using face-to-face
interviews it allows lots of flexibility. The success of the method relies much on
interviewer’s expertise.

Mail survey uses self-administered questionnaire that are mailed to large sample.
It is time consuming and helps covers vast geographical area. Many a times subjects do
not respond, and sometimes the questionnaires are filled incompletely. Non-response
remains a major problem of mail survey method. Further it cannot be used when the
sample consists of illiterates.

Telephone surveys are conducted by telephonically contacting different

individuals and collecting the data based on the telephonic interview. It does not involve
much time or cost. Respondents from a vast area can be covered easily with ease.
However, this would restrict the sample to only those who own a telephone that would
result in selection bias. Subjects may not be adequately motivated to answer to faceless
voice that becomes a drawback of this method.
Social desirability bias where the participants want to behave in manner that is
best expected from them may contaminate the results obtained through surveys since it
heavily relies on participant’s self-report. Interviewer bias also poses serious threat to the
validity of the findings. Non-representative sample may distort the results.

1.5.3 Case Study method involves in-depth interview to understand an individual

better. Psychometric tests may also be used to assess various attributes like personality,
motivation in addition to such in-depth interviews to understand the individual in greater
depth. The case study, in other words, is a detailed examination of an individual, group or
an event. It involves intensive description and analysis of a single individual.

This often proves to be a rich source of descriptive information that may not be
accessible while using other research methods. The idiosyncrasy of the individual being
studied can be identified only using case study approach. For this reason Case Study
method is also said to follow an ideographic approach to studying human behavior. The
findings obtained may serve as good pointers to frame hypothesis that may be verified
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later using rigorous experimental methods. Case Studies help to frame hypothesis.
Experimental Methods help to test hypothesis.

One of the advantages of this method is that it helps to understand behavior and
frame hypothesis, though the findings are not conclusive. Further it provides opportunity
for clinical innovation. When the researcher is interested in studying rare phenomena like
say impact of Tsunami on an individual or impact of child abuse on the personality of the
individual this is the method of choice. The findings of case study method are potent to
challenge theoretical assumptions, and can offer tentative support for psychological
theory. They often complement to nomothetic study of Behavior.

Since the efficacy of the method largely lies on the expertise of the investigator
one needs to pay caution in training the researcher. Reliance on the subjective
interpretations of the investigator may jeopardize the complete analysis if he/she is not
adequately trained in various aspects of interviewing and test administration in addition
to scoring them and finely interpreting the scores. Sources of Bias in Interpretation stands
as serious threat to the validity of the findings arrived at using case study method. Since
the data collected are often from sources like personal documents the very source of data
can be a source of bias. One cannot see the findings as suggesting any cause-and-effect
relationships because no factor is controlled in this method. This problem extends to
difficulty in generalization of the results as the researcher has no idea about how the
phenomena being studied are varied in the population.

1.5.4 Correlational Research studies the strength of the association between the
naturally occurring variables. For example, a correlational research may be used to assess
whether motivation of children is related to motivation of parents. It ideally attempts to
understand whether two sets of factors are related or not.

Correlational researcher typically involves three steps: (a) Measuring variable ‘X’
(for example, motivation of children), (b) Measuring variable ‘Y’ (for example,
motivation of parents), and (c) Systematically determines whether ‘X’ and ‘Y’ are

Only naturally occurring variables are studied using Correlational research. The
variables are not manipulated to see the effect of one on the other. For example, in order
to study the relationship between motivation of children and motivation of parents a
researcher simply records the motivation of children and parents as it is rather than trying
to manipulate and change the motivation of children in order to see the corresponding
changes in parents’ motivation.

The correlation coefficient refers to the statistic that indicates the direction and
magnitude of the relationship between the variables. Correlation coefficient can take
values between +1 and -1. Where +1 indicates perfect positive correlation -1 indicates
perfect negative correlation. A positive correlation occurs when high score on one
variable is associated with high score on another variable. Motivation and performance
may be seen as example of positive correlation: higher the motivation higher is the
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performance. A negative correlation occurs when high score on one variable is associated
with low score on another variable. Anxiety and performance of a student may be seen as
negatively correlated: higher anxiety results in poor performance and vice versa. One
may be tempted to conclude from the Correlational research

Correlation does not imply causation. A study reported that very happy people
had stronger and satisfying social relationships as compared to unhappy people (Diener
and Seligman, 2002). On such a finding one may be tempted to conclude that stronger
social relationships cause people to be happier. However a Correlational research does
not allow such a conclusion that implies causation. It is quite possible that by virtue of
being happy those individuals were able to have good social bonding with others around.
So one has to closely consider both the possibilities equally: ‘X’ (social relationships)
causing ‘Y’ (happiness) and ‘Y’ causing ‘X’. This is called problem of bi-directionality.

Another problem that arises in Correlational research is that two variables ‘X’ and
‘Y’ may be correlated because of the third variable ‘Z’ that are independently responsible
for ‘X’ and ‘Y’. For example, Personality Style ‘Z’ may be causing ‘X’ (better social
relationship) and also ‘Y’ (greater happiness). When ‘Z’ changes it causes a change in
‘X’, and also in ‘Y’. As a result it ‘X’ and ‘Y’ change in unison. This is not because of
direct effect of X or Y but of the third variable ‘Z’. Such a correlation is called spurious
correlation, which means ‘not genuine’. Hence correlation cannot be seen as indicating
causation. Yet it can stand as a base for predictions

1.5.5 Experimental Research is prototypical of scientific method. They are employed

to test hypothesis. They stand as powerful tools to examine cause-and-effect relationship
between variables. The essential characteristics of an experiment are that Manipulation,
Experimental Controls and Random assignment of subjects to various conditions.

Experimental manipulation is the changes that are deliberately produced in an

experiment to detect the relationships between different variables. Instead of searching
for naturally occurring situations the experimenter creates the conditions necessary for
observation. A cause-and-effect relationship between variables is possible because of
experimental manipulation.

Experimenter controls and thus systematically varies conditions to study the same
general situation with and without crucial element. For example, if a researcher is
interested in studying the effective of psychological intervention in rehabilitation of HIV
patients then he would consider two groups of HIV patients both of which are
comparable in all respects (like age, education, socio-economic status, social support,
etc.). After doing so the experimenter provides intervention, which in this case would be
psychological intervention, to the patients in the experimental group and not to those in
the control group. Thus he controls all factors other than the crucial element, the
availability of psychological intervention, in his experiment.

One variable is manipulated to study its effect on another variable. Experimental

manipulation of one variable (say, A) is done, while all other variables are controlled (say
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C, D, and E), to see its effect on another variable (say B). Here variable ‘A’ that is
manipulated is called ‘Independent Variable’, ‘B’ is called the ‘Dependent Variable’
which is the variable of interest and ‘C’,’D’, and ‘E’ are called ‘Extraneous Variables’
whose possible influence on ‘B’ are effectively controlled.

Independent Variable is the variable that is manipulated. Psychological

intervention to HIV patients, in the above example, would be an independent variable.
Dependent Variable is one that a researcher is interested to study about. In other words,
dependent variable is the variable of interest. The experiment attempts to study the effect
of independent variable on the dependent variable. In the above example extent of
rehabilitation of the HIV patients may be seen as the dependent variable.

Experiments usually begin with a set of hypothesis regarding the variables being
studied. Hypotheses are assumptions about the relationships between the variables. To
test these hypotheses two groups are formed, namely experimental group and control
group. Subjects in the experimental group receive the intervention and those in the
control group do not receive the intervention.

If a researcher is interested to study the effectiveness of counseling on academic

performance of 12th grade students he would be randomly assigned to either of the two
groups– experimental group or control group. Random assignment would ensure that
each student has an equal chance of being included in the experimental group. The
experimental group and control group would remain comparable in all respects, say age,
motivation, and intelligence. Experimenter’s assigning subjects randomly to different
conditions is yet anther important characteristic of experiment.

The first phase of the experiment would involve taking a pre-test measure of the
variable of interest. Here, in this example, the level of academic performance of students
in both the groups would be measured before any intervention is given. The second phase
of the experiment would include implementing the treatment. The subjects in the
experimental group would receive the treatment while those in the control group would
not receive any treatment. For example, students in the experimental group would be
given counseling to enhance their academic performance while those in the control group
would not receive any such treatment. The final phase of the experiment consists of
taking a post-test measure of the variable of interest. The level of academic performance
of the students in both the groups would be assessed after the counseling program is
terminated. If the level of academic performance of experimental group is better than that
of the control group then it may be concluded that counseling has actually had an effect
on enhancing the academic performance of the students. A cause-and-effect relationship
between the variables can be inferred since all the other factors controlling the dependent
variable have been controlled (kept as comparable in both the experimental group and
control group). Since both experimental group and control group are both employed in an
experiment we can rule out all the possibility that anything other than the experimental
manipulation has produced the results seen in the experiment.
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Even the best experimental designs are vulnerable to experimental bias that
distorts the researcher’s understanding of how the independent variable affected the
dependent variable. Experimenter expectations are very common forms of experimental
bias. The experimenter may unintentionally send clues to the subjects about the way they
are expected to behave in the experimental conditions. Similarly the subject’s expectation
may also affect the experimental results. The subjects’ behavior may be more due to their
interpretation of what is the expected behavior in the experiment rather than the treatment

Placebo control is often employed to solve the issue of subject expectation.

Placebo is an inert substance that is given to the subjects to keep them unaware of
whether or not they have received a behavior-altering drug or not. Similarly double-blind
procedures are used to control experimental biases. In experiments that employ double-
blind procedure both the experimenter and subjects are unaware of which the
experimental group is and which the control group is. These types of controls make
experiments more reliable.


In this Unit we have learned the following points
i) Psychology has a long past and a recent history
ii) The definition of psychology had been changing over time
iii) Psychology is currently defined to be a scientific study of behavior and mental
iv) The scope of psychology expands consistently to bring various phenomena
under its fold for scientific understanding
v) A number of sub fields have ushered within the broad discipline of
vi) A variety of methods are used in psychology that lend it its credibility


i) Does the defined nature of psychology as a study of behavior and
mental processes interest you? How far it deviates from the way you
thought is, in your past?
ii) Which field of psychology appeals to your interest? Why?
iii) Which of the methods used in psychology appeals to your interest?


(i) Substantiate how the science of psychology can be viewed as study of
(ii) Evaluate the role played by psychologists employed in various fields of
(iii) Critically analyze the advantages and disadvantages of various methods of
research in psychology.
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ii) What is psychology?
iii) What are the branches of psychology?
iv) What are the methods adopted in psychology for obtaining data needed for its


Ash, M. and Woodward, W. (1989). Psychology in 20th Century Thought and Society.

Boring, Edwin G.(1950). A History of Experimental Psychology. 2d Ed. New York:


Coon, D. and Mitterer, J.O. (2007). Introduction to Psychology. First Indian

Reprint.Delhi.Akash Press.

Hilgard, Ernest H. (1987. Psychology in America: A Historical Survey. San Diego:

Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Kassin,S. (2005). Psychology (MSN/Encarta). Microsoft® Encarta® Online

Encyclopedia 2005. © 1997-2005 Microsoft Corporation.

Passer, M.W. and Smith, R.E. (2007). Psychology The Science of Mind and Behavior.
Third Edition.New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill.
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2.0 Aims and Objectives

2.1 Introduction
2.2 Origin of Psychology
2.2.1 Philosophical roots of psychology
2.2.2 Influence of Biology.
2.2.3 Emergence of Scientific Psychology.

2.3 Modern Psychological Perspectives

2.3.1 Biological Perspective
2.3.2 Behavioral Perspective
2.3.3 Cognitive Perspective
2.3.4 Psychoanalytical Perspective
2.3.5 Phenomenological Perspective
2.3.6 Relationship between Perspectives
2.4 Let us sum up
2.5 Lesson-End activities
2.6 Points for Discussion
2.7 Check your progress
2.8 References


In the last Unit we saw the definition, scope and methods of psychology. After your
going through this Unit you will be able to
i) appreciate contemporary roots of psychology and
ii) understand the modern perspectives of psychology
iii) understand the relationship between various schools of thought in psychology


Numerous and diverse perspectives are available that have attempted to explain
the subject matter of psychology. These perspectives differ right from the way the define
psychology to the research methods that they employ to investigate various psychological
phenomena. Different perspectives can explain every phenomenon in psychology

For example, consider a man running on the street. This simple act can be
explained from a number of points of views. From biological viewpoint this action of
running can be seen as firing of nerves that activate the muscles that are involved in
movement. When you try to study the same behaviour in terms of behaviouristic
approach then the act may be seen as something outside the body being responsible for it.
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It could be a car that’s running out of control that has made the man run on the street to
save himself. Psychologists who try to understand this act using cognitive perspective
may explain the same using goals and plans. It could be a friend who has forgotten to
take his mobile phone that the man running wants to hand over. This could be a simple
explanation of the action.

Despite the availability of numerous perspectives in psychology five approaches

to modern study of psychology have gained much prominence through out the history of
psychology. The contemporary approaches to psychology are discussed here after a brief
orientation to the origin of psychology.


Many fields have contributed to forming the foundations for psychology.
Philosophy and biology provided the backdrop for the scientific field of psychology. The
link between these are briefly discussed below.

2.2. 1 Philosophical Roots Of Psychology. Modern psychology can be seen to have

originated some time in the fourth and fifth century B.C. The origin of psychology is
rooted to philosophy. Its origin can be traced to the times of great Greek philosophers like
Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle who posed fundamental questions about mind and mental
process. They put forth intriguing questions relating to phenomena like pleasure and pain,
knowledge, desire, motivation, memory, and the subjectivity in perception. Issues like
whether we perceive reality appropriately or not, and whether we really have a free
choice in life that were of prime importance two thousand years ago are also considered
to be pertinent today even though they deal with aspects of mind and mental processes
and not with behaviour or nature of body.

2.2.2 Influence of Biology. The biological perspective also shares an equally long
history. Hippocrates, popularly known as “father of medicine,” lived during the times of
Socrates. His interest in physiology (the branch of biology that studies the normal
functions of the living organism and its parts) resulted in work that has contributed to
biological perspective in psychology. He studied brain controlled various organs of the
body which set the foundation for not only modern approach to physiology but also the
study of psychological phenomena using a biological approach.

2.2.3 Emergence of Scientific Psychology. The emergence of scientific psychology

can be traced to the latter part of the nineteenth century. The basic tenet on which it was
built was that like planets, chemical and human organs mind and behaviour can also be
the subject matter of scientific analysis. In the initial period questions on philosophy and
methods of physiology were found mixed in the study of psychology. However, these
two approaches emerged as distinct perspectives in later years. Today these perspectives
are referred to as cognitive and biological perspectives to psychology.
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The development of the biological perspective has been continuous since the
nineteenth-century, though the perspective in those times was markedly different from
that of today’s. For example, the nervous system about which numerous researches have
are available today was not found in the nineteenth-century. The development of
cognitive perspective was not as continuous as that of the biological perspective.
Cognitive perspectives of the nineteenth-century had its major focus on mental
experiences. Much of the data in those times was based on introspections, or self-
observations. Extreme reliance on introspection, where an individual observes and
records his own perceptions, thoughts and feelings, proved to be a major drawback.
Despite extensive training in introspection people produced very different types of
introspections about simple sensory impressions. Considering these limitations, the
current cognitive perspective does not lay much emphasis on introspection.


Five perspectives have dominated the modern perspectives of psychology namely

biological, psychoanalytical, behaviouristic, cognitive and phenomenological perspective.
We have to treat these approached not as mutually exclusive ones since each one focus
on different aspects of the same complex psychological phenomenon. An integrated
perspective is always needed to arrive at a holistic understanding of the phenomena

2.3.1 Biological Perspective

Perhaps the human brain containing over 10 billion nerve cells and an almost
infinite number of interconnections is the most complex structure in the universe. In fact,
all psychological events can be seen as related to the activity of the brain and the nervous
system. The biological perspective attempts to related overt behaviour to electrical and
chemical events taking place inside our body. It primarily focuses on effect of brain and
the nervous system, and endocrine glands on behaviour. It seeks to explain the
neurobiological processes underlying mental processes and behaviour.

A typical example of a psychological study in biological perspective is the study

of split-brain patients. It explains how neural fibres connecting the two hemispheres of
the brain mediate normal conscious experience. In addition to this, it also attempts to
locate where certain abilities are localized within the brain. For example, if a word is
presented only to the right hemisphere of a split-brain subject, the person can still
correctly select by touch the named object from a pile hidden from view. This clearly
shows that the right hemisphere can make discriminations based on touch. Further it can
also understand some language, since it can interpret single words. The split-brain
subject cannot name the word presented which indicates that only the left hemisphere has
the power of speech.

The biological perspective has also contributed to progress in the study of

phenomena like learning and memory. Neurobiologists have proposed cell-by-cell
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accounts of learning by conditioning. They hold that conditioning involves changes in

connections between neurons, where these neural changes are themselves mediated by
changes in the amount of certain chemicals produced in the brain. The biological
approach to memory has demonstrated the importance of certain brain structures,
including the hippocampus, in consolidating memories. Childhood amnesia, hence, may
be partly due to an immature hippocampus, as this brain structure is not fully developed
until a year or two after birth.

The biological perspective has also attempted to study motivation and emotion,
particularly with other species. Research on rats, cats, and monkeys have helped us to
identify certain regions in the brain that when electrically stimulated produce excessive
overeating and obesity, and other nearby regions. These studies stand as support to the
belief that biology alone contributes to motives and emotions.

Brain is highly complexity structure because of which tremendous gaps exist in

our understanding of neural functioning. Hence the biological perspective alone cannot
adequately explain human behaviour.

2.3.2. Behavioural Perspective

A behaviourist would study individuals by just looking at their behaviour that can
be observed rather than looking at their brain or nervous system. In early 1900s the
American Psychologist John B.Watson put forth a view that behaviour that is observable
by naked eyes should only be the subject matter of psychology. Before Watson cognitive
perspective that emphasised on introspection was the dominant nonbiological approach.
Watson observed that introspections have a subjective quality that differentiates them
from observations made in other fields of science. While any observation in natural
sciences can be replicated only only one person, the one who introspects, can report the
introspection. Watson argued that if psychology is to be considered a science then its data
must be observable by any qualified scientist. The inferences of introspection are
available only to the one who is introspective. On the other hand, behaviour is observable
to everyone. Even verbal behaviour is rich source of information about one’s perception
and feeling. Watson emphasised that only studying observable behaviour can be the
objective of psychology, which is scientific study of behavior.

Watson’s position, popularly known as Behaviorism shaped the course of

psychology during the first half of this century. Stimulus-Response (S-R) psychology that
was born out of behaviorism is still more influential. The stimuli in the environment, the
response elicited by them and the rewards or punishments that follow these responses are
the issues of interest to S-R psychologists.

This perspective can be used to explain obesity and aggression. For instance,
some people may overeat (which signified a specific response) only in the presence of
specific stimuli. Hence learning to avoid these stimuli is included as part of many weight-
control programs. Children are likely to express aggressive responses such as hitting
another child when another child withdraws as a response to it. This withdrawal is
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considered as a reward that would reinforce aggressive behavior. On the other hand if the
other child counter-attacks in response to aggression from the first child then aggressive
behavior would decrease. Here the counterattacks are punishments that follow the
aggressive response.

The behavioural approach totally ignores individual’s mental processes. They

chose not to conjecture about the mental processes that intervene between the stimulus
and the response (Skinner, 1981). Few psychologists today would regard themselves as
strict behaviorists. However, many modern developments in psychology have evolved
from the work of behaviorists.

2.3.3 Cognitive Perspective

The modern cognitive perspective emerged as a reaction to behaviorism. In part it

can also be seen as return to the cognitive roots of psychology. Just like the psychologists
in the nineteenth-century the modern cognitive psychologists also showed interest in
mental processes like perception, memory, reasoning, decision- making and problem
solving. Only difference between the modern cognitive psychology and the one in the
nineteenth-century was that the former was not based on introspection.

Modern cognitive psychology is built on the assumption that studying the mental
processes is the only way to fully understand the behavior of the organisms. They also
contended that mental processes could be studied in an objective manner by focussing on
specific behaviors just like the behaviorists. However, the focus of the cognitive
psychologists would be in understanding the behavior in terms of the underlying mental

The cognitive perspective emerged partly in reaction to the narrowness of the S-R
view. To view human actions purely in terms of stimulus and response may be
considered as adequate for the study of simple forms of behavior. But the S-R view
neglects too many important areas of human functioning. Humans are capable of
reasoning, planning, making decisions on the basis of information stored in the memory,
and, even to use language in order to communicate with one another. These are more
complex phenomena that are largely neglected by the behavioural perspective.

The behavioural approach can be seen as analogous to an old- fashioned telephone

switchboard in which the stimulus goes in, and after a series of cross connections and
circuits through the brain, the response comes out. On the other hand, cognitive
psychology is like a modern computer or an information-processing system where the
incoming information is processed in many ways. In this the information is selected,
compared with other available information, and combined with the information stored in
the memory, transformed, and rearranged. The output of the response depends on these
internal processes.
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Cognitive analyses can also be used in explain obesity and aggression. Some
obese people fit so perfectly with a specific pattern like they diet successfully for a while,
then break down and overeat excessively. In this process they eventually consume more
calories than they would have had they not dieted at all. Breaking of the plan and the
feelings of lack of control from come out of the loss of cognitive control seems to be the
critical factor here. The importance of cognition or knowledge is quite clear and straight
with regard to aggression. When someone insults us we are more likely to return back
the verbal aggression if the person is an acquaintance than if he was a mentally ill person.
Though the stimulus situation is almost the same in both the cases our response is
different since what we know about the other person seems to control our behavior.

2.3.4 Psychoanalytical Perspective

About the same time when behaviorism was Sigmund Freud in Europe developed
evolving in the United States conceptions about psychoanalysis. The influence of the
development of cognitive perspective in Europe on Freud is evident in the theory of
psychoanalysis. It can be seen as a good blend of nineteenth century versions of cognition
and physiology. Freud combined the cognitive notions of consciousness; perception and
memory with ideas relating to biologically based instincts to develop his theory on

The basic assumption of the theory is that much of our behavior has its roots in
the processes that are unconscious. Unconscious process refers to beliefs, fears, and
desires that one is not aware of. Nevertheless the unconscious influences behavior. Many
of our impulses that originate from innate instincts are forbidden or punished by parents
or society during our childhood. Since we all are born with these impulses they exert a
pervasive influence on our behavior. Every individual in some manner must deal with
this influence. Forbidding the expression of these impulses would only force them out of
our awareness. On doing so it is not got ridden off completely but is sent to stay safely in
the unconscious. These impulses remain in the unconscious from where they affect our
dreams, slips of speech and mannerisms, symptoms of mental illness, or manifestation as
emotional problems. They may also get manifested as socially approved behavior like
involvement in art and literary activity.

Freud maintained that all of our actions have a cause and that the cause is often
not the rational reason we may give but some unconscious motive. Human nature is
viewed as essentially negative. We are driven by the same basic instincts as the animals
namely sex and aggression. The society stresses control over these impulses. So we are
continually struggling against the society. Even those psychologists who would not
accept Freud’s ideas of the unconscious completely they would probably agree that
individuals are not fully aware of some important aspects of their personality.

The psychoanalytic perspective would suggest new ways of looking at problems

of obesity and aggression. With regard to obesity, the psychoanalytic perspective holds
that these people may be responding to an anxiety-producing situation by doing the thing
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that has brought them comfort all their lives, which is eating. And about aggression,
Freud claimed that it is an instinct. This implies that people aggress to express an inborn
desire. Although this proposal is not widely accepted in human psychology, some
biologists and psychologists who study aggression in animals would agree with this view.

2.3.5 Phenomenological Perspective

In contrast to all the theories discussed above, the phenomenological perspective

focuses entirely on subjective experience. It is concerned with the individual’s
phenomenology, which is individual’s personal view of events. This approach developed
partly as a reaction to overly mechanistic quality of the other perspectives in psychology
as opined by the phenomenologist. The phenomenologist rejects the idea that behavior is
controlled by external stimuli (behaviorism), or by mere processing of information in
perception and memory (cognitive psychology), or by unconscious impulses
(psychoanalytic theories. Moreover they have different goals than psychologists who are
given to other perspectives. They are concerned more with describing the inner life and
experiences of individuals than with developing theories or predicting behavior.

According to this perspective forces that are beyond our control do not act us on,
but instead we are actors who are capable of controlling our own destiny. We have free
life choices and hence we build our own lives. Because some phenomenological theories
emphasis those qualities that differentiate people from animals (like self-actualization, for
example) they are also called humanistic.

Phenomenological theorists maintain that individual’s principal motivational

force is a tendency toward growth and self-actualization. We all have a basic need to
develop our potential to the fullest, to progress beyond where we are at present despite
environmental and social obstacles. Various types of ‘consciousness expanding’ and
mystic experiences are closely associated with these theories. They are more aligned to
literature and humanities than with science.

Some humanists reject scientific psychology altogether reasoning that its methods
have nothing to contribute to the understanding of human nature. This position appears to
be quite extreme. Undoubtedly the humanistic view makes a valuable point towards
warning that psychology needs to focus on solving problems relevant to human welfare
rather than studying isolated bits of behavior that lend themselves to easy scientific
analyses. But discarding the need for scientific methods of investigation assuming that it
would solve the problems of mind and behavior is nothing less that outright fallacy.

2.3.6 Relationship Between Perspectives

The biological perspective that uses concepts and principles that are drawn from
physiology and other branches of biology is at a totally different level than all other
perspectives, which rely on concepts, and principles that are purely psychological
(concepts like unconscious, perception and memory, and self-actualization).
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But biological perspective makes direct contact with the more psychological
perspectives by attempting to explain psychological concepts and principles in terms of
their biological counterparts. Many believe that explaining psychological notions to
biological ones is highly reductionistic. However, no one can overlook the importance of
explaining everything at a psychological level. In fact, psychological concepts and
principles can be used to direct biological psychologists. Human brain contains billions
of brain cells and countless interconnections. Biological researchers cannot hope to
discover something of interest by just arbitrarily selecting some brain cells to study. On
the contrary they must have a way of directing their search to relevant groups of brain
cells. Psychological findings can provide pointers for research that can be taken up by
psychobiologists. For instance, if psychological researches suggest that conditioning is a
slow process that is difficult to undo then psychobiological can direct their research on
studying brain processes that permanently alter neural connections (Churchland &
Sejnowski, 1988).

Perspectives at the psychological level like behavioural, cognitive, and

psychoanalytic are mutually compatible sometimes and compete with each other at other
times. The perspectives are compatible when they focus on different aspects of the same
phenomenon. For instance, there may be many different reasons why people overeat
some of which is behavioristic (for example, the stimuli of a holiday meal situation
trigger overeating), and some psychoanalytic (for example, being competitive). Such
conflicts point towards the fact that our knowledge of the relevant phenomenon is
imperfect. The views may become compatible with one another when more is learned
about the phenomena. Initial conflict among the various views may be just another step
towards the process of scientific psychology.


In this Unit we have covered the following points
i) Numerous and diverse perspectives are available that have attempted to
explain the subject matter of psychology
ii) Modern psychology can be seen to have originated some time in the fourth
and fifth century B.C.
iii) The emergence of scientific psychology can be traced to the latter part of the
nineteenth century.
iv) In this unit are elucidated, biological, psychoanalytical, behaviouristic,
cognitive and phenomenological perspectives in psychology.
v) The biological perspective focuses on nerves system and also on physiology.
vi) Psychoanalytical perspective emphasises the role of unconscious in
understanding human being.
vii) The Behavioural perspective tries to reduce the phenomena in to stimulus
response connections and studies them objectively.
viii) Cognitive perspective emphasises the need to include cognitive processes in
studying behaviour.
ix) Phenomenological perspective emphasises understanding the subjective
experiences and emphasises human potentiality.
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x) The various perspectives are not mutually exclusive and an integrated and
eclectically perspective is needed to understand psychology of human being.


i) Which one of the perspectives is more appealing to you? Why?
ii) Identify an experience in your past and try to adopt each one of the theories to
explain the experience.


i) Critically evaluate the various perspectives of psychology.

ii) Analyse the features of philosophy found in contemporary psychology.
iii) Are the various perspective autonomous and independent? Justify your stand.
iv) Establish an eclectic approach based on the approaches discussed here in this


i) What are the basic tenets of biological perspective?
ii) Differentiate behavioural and cognitive perspective.
iii) What are the strengths of psychoanalytical perspective?
iv) Discuss the fundamental ideas propounded by the phenomenological

Ash, M. and Woodward, W. (1989). Psychology in 20th Century Thought and Society.

Boring, Edwin G.(1950). A History of Experimental Psychology. 2d ed. New York:


Coon, D. and Mitterer, J.O. (2007). Introduction to Psychology. First Indian Reprint.
Delhi: Akash Press.

Hilgard, Ernest H. (1987. Psychology in America: A Historical Survey. San Diego:

Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Kassin, S. (2005). Psychology (MSN/Encarta). Microsoft® Encarta® Online

Encyclopaedia 2005. © 1997-2005 Microsoft Corporation.

Passer, M.W. and Smith, R.E. (2007). Psychology - The Science of Mind and Behavior.
Third Edition. New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill.

Nemec, T. (2007). The Perspectives of Psychology. http://www.wisc-
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3.0 Aims and Objectives

3.1 Introduction
3.2 Nervous System
3.2.1 Central Nervous System
3.2.2 Peripheral Nervous System
3.3 Neurons
3.3.1 Structure of Neuron
3.3.2 The Process
3.3.3 How the Messages Pass?
3.4 The Brain
3.4.1 Structure and Functions
3.5 Let us sum up
3.6 Lesson-End activities
3.7 Points for Discussion
3.8 Check your progress
3.9 References


In the last Unit we presented a brief history of psychology and also described the
different perspective dominant in psychology. After going through this Unit you will be
able to
i) appreciate the neurobiological basis of human being
ii) understand the structure of central nervous system
iii) understand the peripheral nervous system
iv) appreciate the role of neuron in nervous system


The nervous system provides a neurobiological substratum for the living organism. It
coordinates the entire functioning of the individual. The nervous system can be seen as
body's information gatherer, storage center and control system. The function of the
nervous system is to collect information about the external conditions in relation to the
body’s external state, to analyze the information and to initiate appropriate responses to
satisfy certain needs, most important of which is survival need.


Just like how the individual neurons are complicated structures the structures
formed by the neurons are also complicated. The nervous system is divided into two main
parts namely the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system.
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4.2.1 Central Nervous System. The Central Nervous System consists of the Spinal
Cord and the Brain. The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that leaves the brain and runs
down the length of the back. The spinal cord is the main means of transmitting messages
between the brain and the body. Simple kinds of behaviors, called the reflexes are
organized by the spinal cord itself. Reflexes are involuntary response to an incoming
stimulus without the involvement of the brain. When you touch a candle flame you would
immediately withdraw the finger. Even though the brain analyses the pain the response of
withdrawing the finger is entirely directed by the neurons present in the spinal cord.
Reflex actions involve three types of neurons namely sensory neurons (also called
afferent neurons), motor neurons (also called efferent neurons, and interneurons. The
sensory neurons transmit the information from the perimeter of the body to the central
nervous system. The motor neurons communicate information from the nervous system
to muscles and glands of the body. The interneurons connect the sensory and motor
neurons, and they carry messages between the two.

4.2.2 Peripheral Nervous System. The Peripheral Nervous System branches out from
the spinal cord and brain and reaches the periphery of the body. They cover all parts of
the nervous system other than the brain and spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system is
subdivided into the Sensory-Somatic Nervous System and the Autonomic Nervous
System. Both these connect the central nervous with sense organs, muscles, glands, and
other organs. The somatic division controls voluntary movements. The communication of
information to and from the sense organs is done through this somatic division. The
autonomic division is concerned with parts of the body that are involved in essential
functions like heart, blood vessels, glands, lungs, and other organs that function without
our awareness. Motion of your eyes when reading this page and movement of your hand
to turn this page can be seen as somatic nervous system activity, while heart beating and
pumping of blood through your body can be seen as an autonomic nervous system
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During emergency situations it is the autonomic nervous system that plays a vital
role. The autonomic nervous system is further divided into two parts namely the
sympathetic and the parasympathetic system. The sympathetic division prepares the body
to respond in a stressful emergency situation. The response would often take the form of
‘fight’ or ‘flight’. On the contrary the parasympathetic division calms the body and
brings the functions back to normal after the stressful emergency situation is over. Your
heart pounding and mouth getting dried up on seeing a snake in your cupboard is an
effect of sympathetic activity. When you find that what was appearing like a snake was
actually a fancy belt then your heartbeats would come down slowly to normal, and you
would stop sweating. This is the effect of parasympathetic activity. Examples of
sympathetic activity are accelerated heart rate, dilation of pupil of the eye, increased
activity of the sweat glands, swollen lungs, decreased activity of the salivary glands and
slowing of digestive functions of stomach and intestines. Examples of activities of
parasympathetic activity are slow heart rate, constriction of pupil of the eye, increased
activity of the salivary glands and also increased digestive functions of stomach and


The ability to play guitar, ride a cycle, or play a video game all appear to depend
on muscle coordination. But a closer analysis at a deeper level we can understand that the
more fundamental processes are involved in the activation of the muscles. The body
sends messages to the muscles in order to coordinate the muscles to perform these
complex muscular actions. Such messages are passed through neurons that are the basic
elements of our nervous system.

Neurons are a major class of cells in the nervous system. About 100 billion
neurons are present in our nervous system that is spread in various parts like our brain,
spinal cord, and in the nerves and ganglia of the peripheral nervous system. These are
specialized cells whose main function is to process and transmit information. They are
enveloped by excitable membranes that allow them to generate and propagate electrical

3.3.1 Structure of Neuron. The neuron like any other cell in our body has a cell body
that contains the nucleus. The inherited materials are incorporated in the nucleus
that decides how the cell would function.

Picture courtesy:

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Neurons perhaps are the only cells in our which has a unique ability to
communicate with other cells. They have a large number of extensions that look like
branches or spikes extending out of the cell body. These extensions are called dendrites.
The surface of the dendrites receives chemical messages from other neurons.

One extension is different from all the others are called Axons. They are placed at
the end opposite to the end that has the dendrites. An axon can be easily distinguished
from dendrites by its length. It is longer than the dendrite, and can be as long as even
three feet. The function of the axon is to transmit an electro-chemical signal to other

Present at the very end of the axon is the Synoptic Knob (Bouton). These are
small bulges on the end of branches that extend from the end of axon. Through these
terminal buttons the messages are relayed to other cells. The electro-chemical signal that
has traveled the length of the axon is converted into a chemical message at this synaptic
knob. The chemical message then travels to the next neuron

Synapse is the tiny gap between the axon ending and the dendrite of the next
neuron. It is also known as synaptic cleft or synaptic gap. There are between 1000 and
10,000 synapses for every neuron.

The messages traveling through the neuron are electrical in nature. The electric
events moving along axon are called Nerve Impulse. The electric signals travel as
unidirectional electrical signals. They travel in only one direction, from the dendrite,
through the soma or cell body, along the axon. Dendrites detect the messages from other
neurons while axons carry signals away from the cell body. Neuron’s way of carrying
information, like a signal along a telephone wire is called action potential.

The myelin sheath is a protective coating that covers the long axons. These are a
series of fatty cells that are wrapped around axon many times. This myelin sheath makes
the axon look like a necklace of sausage-shaped beads. They serve the same function as
that of insulation around the electric wire. They prevent the messages from short-
circuiting one another.

3.3.2 The Process. A neuron either fires or does not fire. It works on an all-or-none
principle. When the neurons are off then they are said to be in resting state. The neurons
fire once they are triggered beyond a certain point.

The resting neuron has a negative electrical charge. This is so because of the
presence of more negatively charged ions within than outside the neurons. The channels
in the neuron membrane open when the stimulus impinging on the cell reaches a
particular intensity or threshold. When the channels in the cell wall open the fluid present
outside the cell rush into the cell. These fluids contain positively charged sodium ions. As
the sodium ions that are positively charged move into the cell the cell becomes positively
charged. When the charge reaches a critical level an electric nerve impulse travels down
the neuron. This electrical nerve impulse is known as action potential. The action
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potential moves from one end of the neuron to the other end. After nerve impulse occurs
potassium ions inside the cell flows out. This movement of ions results in sequential
changes in the charge from negative to positive along the cell. This change from negative
to positive charge in cell is rapid and brief. The positive ions are pumped out of the
neuron after the passage of impulse. Finally the neurons return to negative charge. This is
called its resting state.

Immediately after the action potential the neuron is not ready for firing. This
period is called absolute refractory period. During the absolute refractory period the
neuron cannot be triggered, no matter how strong is the stimulation. A relative refractory
period follows the absolute refractory period in which it is more difficult than usual (i.e.,
when it is in the resting state) to stimulate a neuron. However it is possible to trigger the
neuron when in a relatively refractory period. Eventually the neuron returns to its resting
state. In the resting state it is ready to be fired again.

The structure and functions of the neuron demonstrate how fundamental

biological aspects of the body underlie each and every psychological process. Without
the understanding about the neurons our understanding of how we see, perceive and learn
things in this world would be greatly stunted.

3.3.3 How the Messages Pass? A chemical connection bridges the gap between two
neurons. When the nerve impulse moves through the axon and reaches the terminal
bouton, the terminal bouton releases a chemical. This chemical is called neurotransmitter.
The neurotransmitters are synthesized by the transmitting neuron. The bouton vesicles of
the transmitting neurons store the neurotransmitters. The message travels within the
neuron in electrical form. But the messages travel in the form of chemical transmission
when moving from one neuron to the other.

There are different types of neurotransmitters. Not all receptor cells (a neuron that
receives the message is called a receptor neuron) are capable of receiving the chemical
messages carried by every neurotransmitter. Each kind of neurotransmitter has a distinct
configuration that would fit into a specific type of receptor neuron. Only when a
neurotransmitter fits precisely with the receptor cells can successful communication take
place between the neurons.

When the neurotransmitter fits the receptor neuron the chemical message that
arrives can be of either excitatory or inhibitory. Excitatory message is one that is more
likely to trigger the receptor neuron and that the resulting action potential will travel
down the axon. On the contrary, an inhibitory message is one that prevents or decreases
the probability that the receptor neuron will be triggered.

Dendrites of a neuron receive many messages simultaneously, some of which may

be excitatory and some inhibitory. The neuron integrates this in some fashion through a
summation process. At the end, if the excitatory messages outweigh the number of
inhibitory messages then an action potential occurs. In contrast, if the inhibitory
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messages outweigh the number of excitatory messages then no action potential will be
produced and the neuron will remain in resting state.

If the neurotransmitters remain at the site of the synapse there would be

continuous stimulation of the receptor cells which would make it impossible to have an
effective communication. Instead of this the neurotransmitters are either deactivated by
enzymes or reabsorbed by the terminal button. This process of re-absorption by the
terminal button is called ‘reuptake’ of the neurotransmitters.


For all those who want to study the brain, the brain has posed a big challenge
always. The study of the brain has been made possible by the use of brain scan. Brain
scan helps us to picture the working of the brain without surgically cutting into the
patient’s skull. Electroencephalogram (EEG), computerized axial tomography (CAT)
scan, magnetic resonance imagining (MRI) scan and Positron emission tomography
(PET) scan are the kinds of scanning techniques that are available today.

The electrical signals being transmitted inside the brain are recorded using EEG
by placing electrodes on the outside of the skull. The brain’s electrical activity is
transformed into a pictorial representation of the brain. This allows easy diagnosis of
conditions like epilepsy and learning disabilities.

The CAT scan involves constructing an image of the brain by using a computer.
The computer combines thousands of separate x-rays taken in different angles. This helps
locate the abnormalities in the structure of the brain like swelling or enlargement of
certain parts. However, it does not give any information about the brain activity.

The MRI scan produces a powerful magnetic field that provides a detailed
computer- generated image of the brain structures. The PET scan indicates the actual
activity within the brain at a given point of time. The PET scan procedure begins with
injecting a radioactive isotope into the brain. Measuring the location of radiation within
the brain the computer can locate the active regions of the brain and provide a picture of
the brain at work.

3.5.1 Structure and function of Brain. While some brain structures are clearly
demarcated others gradually merge into each other. This often leads to debate about the
exact boundaries and their respective functions.
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Picture courtesy:

Human brain can be seen as composed of three concentric layers namely the
central core, the limbic system and the cerebral hemispheres.

The central core of the brain includes most part of the brain stem. The medulla
is the slight enlargement of the spinal cord as it enters the skull. It is a narrow structure
that is involved in controlling our breathing and also some reflexes that help an organism
maintain an upright position. This is the point at which the major nerve tracts coming
from the spinal cord cross over so that the right side of the brain is connected to the left
side of the body and vice versa.

The cerebellum is the structure attached to the rear of the brain stem. It is a
convoluted structure that is positioned slightly above the medulla. It controls coordination
of movement. Though specific movements may be initiated at higher levels the smooth
coordination of movements depends solely on cerebellum. Any damage to the cerebellum
would result in jerky and uncoordinated movements.

Inside the cerebral hemisphere just above the cerebral hemisphere is located the
thalamus. The thalamus consists of two egg-shaped groups of nerve cell nuclei. One
region of the thalamus acts as relay station. It directs incoming information to the
cerebrum from the relay receptor for vision, hearing, touch and taste. The other region of
the thalamus is concerned with control of sleep and wakefulness.

Located just below the thalamus is the hypothalamus. It is a much smaller

structure than the thalamus. It controls eating, drinking, and sexual behavior. The most
important function of the hypothalamus is that is regulates endocrine activity and
maintains homeostasis. Homeostasis refers to the normal level of functioning of the
healthy organism like normal body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. The
homeostasis gets disturbed when under stress and we are set into action to correct the
disequilibrium. And the hypothalamus is the one that restores the equilibrium. For
example, when we are too cool we shiver. The hypothalamus gets our temperature back
to normal.
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In addition to controlling the homeostasis, the hypothalamus plays an important

role in emotions. It controls how we respond to stress-producing situations. Mild
electrical stimulation of certain portions of the hypothalamus produces feelings of
pleasure while stimulation of certain other portions of the hypothalamus produces
sensation of pain. The pituitary gland lies just below the hypothalamus. Because of the
influence of the pituitary gland the hypothalamus controls the endocrine system, and in
turns the production of hormones. This is especially important when a body must
mobilize complex set of physiological functions to deal with stress or an emergency.
Since hypothalamus is involved in mobilizing the body for action during emergencies it
is also called as ‘Stress Center’.

A network of neural circuits extends from the lower brain up to the thalamus
traversing through some other central core structures. These form the reticular system.
The reticular system is involved in controlling our state of arousal. When we implant
electrodes in the reticular system of an animal and pass certain voltage of electric current
the animal goes to sleep, and when stimulated at different intensity would awaken the
sleeping animal.

All the sensory receptors present in our body have nerve fibers that feed into the
reticular system. Thus it controls our ability to focus attention on particular stimuli. It acts
as a filter allowing some sensory messages to pass to the cerebral cortex while blocking
some others. Hence our state of consciousness at any point of time is influenced by the
filtering process in the reticular system.

Limbic system consists of a number of structures that are located around the
central core of the brain. Being interconnected to the hypothalamus this system imposes
additional control over certain instinctive behaviors that are regulated by the
hypothalamus and the brain stem. The limbic system is certain animals like fish and
reptiles are only in rudimentary level. Such animals carry out acts like feeding, mating,
fleeing from danger and attaching through stereotyped behaviors. However in mammals
the limbic system is well developed. It allows the organism to be more flexible and
adaptive to the changing environment.

Hippocampus, a part of the limbic system, plays an important role in memory.

Accidental damage or surgical removal of the hippocampus demonstrates that it is
responsible for storage of new events in your memory bank. However, it is not necessary
for the retrieval of old information. On recovery from such a surgical operation one may
be able to recall old memories and recognize old friends, will be unable to read and
perform skills leaned during early days of his life. However, he will be very vaguely (if at
all he does!) recall events that occurred in the year, or things that happened just before
the surgery. But he will be totally unable to remember anything that happens to him after
the surgery.

In addition to memory, the limbic system is also involved in emotional behavior.

Lesion in some region of the limbic system in monkeys makes them react with rage at the
slightest provocation. On the other hand, the monkeys do not show any reaction even
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when attached if the lesion is in some other region of the limbic system. This clearly
shows that limbic system plays an important role in the controlling of emotional

Human beings have a highly developed cerebrum than any other organism. Its
outer layer is called cerebral cortex (or simply cortex). The cortex contains a large
number of nerve cell bodies and unmylienated fibers. Hence the cortex of a preserved
brain appears gray, and is called the ‘gray matter’. Beneath the cortex, inside the
cerebrum, a number of mostly myelinated axons are present. This makes it appear white,
and is called ‘white matter’.

The cortex of lower mammals is small and smooth. As one moves up the
phylogenetic scale to higher mammals the amount of cortex relative to the total brain
tissue increases, and becomes progressively wrinkled and convoluted.

The sensory organs project information to the specific areas of the cortex, which
is called sensory cortex. The movement of the body parts is also controlled by another
area of the cortex, called motor cortex. The rest of the areas in the cortex are neither
sensory nor motor, and is called association area. The association area covers the major
part of the cortex and it is responsible for memory, thought and language.

Picture courtesy:

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Picture courtesy:…/ency/imagepages/9549.htm

The brain consists of two cerebral hemispheres that are symmetrical. There is a
deep division between these two hemispheres running from front to the rear, resulting in
right hemisphere and left hemisphere. Each hemisphere is further divided into four lobes
namely frontal lobe, parietal lobe, temporal lobe and occipital lobe (as seen in the picture
above). The central fissure runs from near top of the head sideways to the ears. This
separates the frontal lobe from the parietal lobe. The parietal lobe is located at the top of
the brain behind the central fissure while the occipital lobe is at the rear of the brain. The
lateral fissure is a deep fissure at the side of the brain that demarcates the temporal


i) The nervous system is body's information gatherer, storage center and control
ii) The nervous system is divided into two main parts namely the central nervous
system and the peripheral nervous system.
iii) The Central Nervous System consists of the Spinal Cord and the Brain.
iv) The Peripheral Nervous System cover all parts of the nervous system other than
the brain and spinal cord, which is subdivided into the Sensory-Somatic Nervous
System and the Autonomic Nervous System.
v) The autonomic nervous system that plays a vital role in emergency situations.
vi) Neurons are a major class of cells in the nervous system.
vii) Neurons send nerve impulses to other neurons with nerve impulse traveling from
the dendrite, through the soma or cell body, along the axon.
viii) Messages travel in the form of chemical transmission when moving from one
neuron to the other through neurotransmitters.
ix) EEG, CAT, MRI and PET scan are used in brain research.
x) Brain is made up of a complex network of number of parts, each looking after a
unique function.
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(i) Visit the neurology department of an institute as see scan reports to learn
about techniques in brain research.
(ii) Take a look at the brain preserved at Zoology department to understand the
brain anatomy.
(iii) Draw a chart on structure of neuron and mark its parts.
(iv) Tabulate the various structures in the brain and their functions.


(i) Substantiate the fact that neurons work on an all-on-none principle.
(ii) Critical analyze the role of neurotransmitters in influencing our behavior.
(iii) Discuss the functions of various parts of the brain.


(i) What are the various components of our nervous system?
(ii) Name the different types of neurons present in our nervous system.
(iii) Discuss how a neuron carries information.
(iv) Which part of the brain controls emotions?


Ash, M. and Woodward, W. (1989). Psychology in 20th Century Thought and Society.

Boring, Edwin G.(1950). A History of Experimental Psychology. 2d ed. New York:


Coon, D. and Mitterer, J.O. (2007). Introduction to Psychology. First Indian

Reprint.Delhi.Akash Press.

Hilgard, Ernest H. (1987. Psychology in America: A Historical Survey. San Diego:

Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Kassin,S. (2005). Psychology (MSN/Encarta). Microsoft® Encarta® Online

Encyclopedia 2005. © 1997-2005 Microsoft Corporation.

Kolb, Bryan Whishaw, Ian Q.(2003). Fundamentals of Human Neuropsychology.

W.H.Freeman & Co.

Passer, M.W. and Smith, R.E. (2007). Psychology The Science of Mind and Behavior.
Third Edition.New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill.
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4.0 Aims and Objectives

4.1 Introduction
4.2 Peripheral Nervous System
4.2.1 Somatic division
4.2.2 Autonomic division Sympathetic division Parasympathetic division
4.3 Endocrine System
4.3.1 Various Glands
4.3.2 Nervous system and Endocrine system.
4.4 Genetics and behavior
4.4.1 Genetic influence on behavior
4.4.2 Behavioral Genetics.
4.4.3 Family, Adoption, and Twin Studies.
4.4.4 Estimating genetic influence
4.5 Let us sum up
4.6 Lesson-End activities
4.7 Points for Discussion
4.8 Check your progress
4.9 References


In Lesson 3 we briefly studied about the various sections of the nervous systems
focusing on the functioning of the neurons and the brain of the central nervous system.
Here we discuss about the role played by peripheral nervous system and our endocrine
system on our behavior. We also discuss on how genetics affects behavior.
By the end of this lesson you will be able to:
i) Understand how the sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions of the
autonomic nervous system
ii) Appreciate the functioning of endocrine system and how it influences
iii) Understand the genetic basis of human behavior
iv) Gain orientation to the field of behavioral genetics and its research methods.

To understand the biological bases of human behavior we need to study the
functions of the nervous system and endocrine system in addition to analyzing the
influence of heredity. Peripheral nervous system plays a significant role when we meet
emergency situations. Hormones secreted by endocrine glands have a tremendous effect
on our behavior. For instance, hypothyroidism would result in conditions similar to that
of depression. In addition to the nervous system and endocrine system our genetics also
plays a vital role in influencing our behaviors. Behavior genetics is a specialized field
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that studies the effect of heredity on behavior using standard scientific methods. An
overview of all these aspects will help us appreciate how our biology can influence our


As seen in the earlier chapter our nervous system is divided into two main parts
namely central nervous system (CNS) and peripheral nervous system (PNS). The
peripheral nervous system, as its name suggests, branches out from the spinal cord and
the brain, and reaches the extremities of the body.

The PNS is made up of long axons and dendrites and encompasses virtually all parts
of the nervous system other than brain and spinal cord. The two major divisions of the
peripheral nervous system are the somatic division and the autonomic division. Both
these divisions are connected to the central nervous system with the sense organs,
muscles, glands, and other organs.

4.2.1 The somatic division is involved in control of voluntary movements. Movement

of the eyes when you read this paper and the movement of the hands involved in turning
the paper is, for instance, controlled by the somatic division of the PNS. It is also in
charge of communication of information from and to the sense organs.

4.2.2 The autonomic division on the other hand is concerned with all those parts of the
body that are essential to keep us alive. This division is basically involved with organs
like heart, blood vessels, glands, lungs, and other organs that function without our
awareness. Pumping of blood through your body, and salivation in your mouth as you see
pickle may be seen as instance of working of the autonomic nervous system.
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Picture courtesy: The autonomic nervous system has a very important role to play during
emergencies. Imagine you are reading a book and suddenly notice a snake creeping into
your room. Your heart will start racing, blood pressure would shoot up, your mouth
would get dry and you may even start sweating. Your immediate physiological reaction
occurs due to the activation of the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous
system. The sympathetic system prepares the body in stressful emergency situations. It
engages all the resources of the body to meet the threat and respond to it. Basically the
response can take the form of flight or fight reaction to the threat. Once the emergency is over another division of the autonomic nervous system
comes to play. It is the parasympathetic nervous system that acts after the emergency
situation to calm down the body. For instance if you happen to sit near the door enabling
you to make an easy exit from the room and if there are people around to help you get the
snake chased out of your room then your heart rate will slow down, you might stop
sweating, and your body would get back to the state in which it was before the
emergency situation. Not just this, the parasympathetic division also helps the body
maintain storage of energy sources like nutrients and oxygen.


The endocrine system may be seen as a network of chemical communication that

sends messages through out the nervous system through the bloodstream and secrete
hormones that affect the growth and functioning of the body. The endocrine glands are
ductless glands that secrete chemical substances called hormones into the bloodstream.
These hormones control the internal environment of each cell and organ, and also of the
entire body.

4.3.1 Various glands.

The endocrine system consists of a number of endocrine glands namely pineal gland,
Pituitary, Thyroid, Parathyroid, Thymus, Adrenals, Pancreas and Gonads (ovaries or
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Picture courtesy:

The pituitary gland comprises the major portion of the endocrine system. Since it
directs the work of all the other glands it is often referred to as ‘Master Gland’. Pituitary
gland is a pea-sized gland located under hypothalamus in the brain. Hormones secreted
by this gland are essential for controlling growth. Pituitary deficiency may be the reason
behind some people being unusually tall like giants or extremely short people like dwarfs.
Though it is considered as master gland it actually plays the servant of the brain since it is
the brain that is ultimately responsible for the entire functioning of the endocrine system.

The pineal gland is often referred to as third-eye in certain fishes, frogs, and lizards
since it is associated with light-sensitive organ. It was once considered as a useless
remnant of evolution. . Nevertheless today the usefulness of the pineal gland is well
recognized. This gland secretes the hormone called melatonin as a response to daily
variations in light. The melatonin level in the bloodstream rises at dusk and reaches the
peak around midnight, falling again as morning approaches. This helps in controlling
body rhythms and sleep cycles.

The thyroid gland located in the neck regulates the body's metabolism.

The adrenal glands, the twin structures located near the kidneys secrete adrenaline
that arouses the body to respond to stress and emergencies. In addition to helping the
body in adjustment to stress they also regulate salt balance and affect our sexual
functioning. The adrenaline stimulates other hormones active in carbohydrate

The pancreas release insulin that regulates the level of sugar in the bloodstream and
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The gonards, namely the testes or the ovaries, secrete hormones that govern sexual
behaviors. The testes in males secrete testosterone and the ovaries in females secrete
estrogen, which regulate the sexual behavior in males and females respectively. In
addition to regulating sexual development and ovulation they play a vital role in the
growth of the sex organs.

4.3.2 Nervous system and Endocrine system.

Endocrine system consisting of a number of hormone secreting glands is spread

through out the body. One of their functions is conveying information from one area of
the body to the other, just like the nervous system. The nervous system conveys messages
using nerve impulses. The endocrine system, in contrast, conveys messages in the form of
chemicals. They secrete hormones that serve as chemical messengers. Just like the
neurons having receptors for certain neurotransmitters the cells in the body also respond
to hormones from specific endocrine glands. Our psychological development and
functioning is affected to a large extent by some of the hormones secreted by the
endocrine glands.

Although just like the neurons the endocrines also send messages through out the
body, the speed and mode of transmission are distinctly different. While neural messages
are measured in thousandths of a second the hormonal communications may take minutes
to reach their destination. The neural messages move across neurons in specific lines
while the hormones move throughout the entire body. Thus when the brain has some
important information to be transmitted it can chose to send it directly to a relatively
small group of neurons in the form of nerve impulses or send it indirectly to large number
of cells by means of hormones. Both the communication networks are used often that
results in immediate and prolonged stimulation.

The nervous system and the endocrine system have a reciprocal influence on each
other. The endocrine messages can trigger responses in the brain and similarly the brain
can affect endocrine functions. For instance, negative thoughts in a stressful situation can
stimulate the secretion of stress hormones (Borod, 2000).

The influence of hormones on our behavior can be traced back to prenatal period.
During the third to fourth months of pregnancy a genetically programmed release of sex
hormones in the fetus determines the development of sex organs. Further other hormones
determine the development of the structure and function of many parts of the nervous
system including the hypothalamus. In fact this continues to later life where one area of
the hypothalamus influences the release of hormones during female menstrual cycle.

In addition to the influence on reproductive structures and sexual development the

prenatal hormones also seem to influence sex difference in aggressiveness and longevity
(Nelson & Luciana, 2001). They also are responsible for sex difference in brain structure.
It is found that females have greater density of neurons in language-related areas of the
temporal lobe (Collins & Kimura, 1997). Females are also found to have relatively larger
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corpus callosum which accounts for the fact that language functions in females are less
localized as compared to males.

Adrenal glands that regulate many metabolic processes within the brain and other
parts of the body have a special importance to psychology. They produce dopamine (a
neurotransmitter) in addition to host of other stress hormones. The sympathetic branch of
the autonomic division of the nervous system activates the adrenal glands during
emergency. The adrenal glands in turn secrete stress hormones into the bloodstream
thereby mobilizing the body’s emergency response system. The actions of these adrenal
hormones are especially important under conditions of prolonged stress since these
hormones remain in the bloodstream for considerable time. If the hormones did not have
the long-term effect then the autonomic nervous system would have to produce a constant
barrage of nerve impulses to the organs that respond during stress.


The beginning of this year witnessed breakthrough research in mapping human

genome which is nearing completion at least in it preliminary form. This, is many ways,
represents one of the greatest feat in the history of science.

Our genetic makeup composed of 100,000 genes made up of millions of

individual amino acids is extremely complex. Identifying our genes increases the
possibility of understanding the role played by genetics in our behavior.

Right from the ancient times in the history of psychology there has been a serious
debate among psychologists on the relative role of genetic and environment on behavior.
The nativists believe that behavior is basically innate and the environmentalists believe
that behavior is shaped by the environment to a large extent. Contemporary psychologists
use a variety of techniques to explore the issues of heredity. One of the most recent
techniques is called evolutionary psychology that focuses on application of evolutionary
theory to understand how inherited behaviors may have originated.

Evolutionary psychologists maintain that human nature consists of inborn

biological tendencies that have evolved through natural selection. Some of the evidences
the evolutionary psychologists have to prove their much of human behavior serves
adaptive functions are briefly given below.

Infants are born into this world with an innate ability to acquire any language
spoken in this world, and what language they learn depends on to which language they
get an exposure. Similarly newborns are prewired to perceive certain stimuli. They are
able to discriminate the odor of their mother’s milk from that of the other women
(McFarlane, 1975). This helps in adapting better to the care giver.

Even by one week of age human infants show primitive mathematical skills that
improve with age even in the absence of training. The infants are able to discriminate
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between two and three. The brain seems to be designed to make ‘lesser than’ and ‘greater
than’ judgments that can be clearly seen in our decision making (Geary, 1995).

One behavior that is critical to the human species’ survival and reproductive
success is establishing cooperative relationships with group (Hogan, 1983). Hence
humans show a need to belong and strongly fear being ostracized from the group. Social
anxiety, in this context may be seen as an adaptive mechanism that protects one from
doing things that would result in group rejection.

Human’s altruistic behavior also seems to serve adaptive functions. We tend to

help one another, especially our children and relatives. The degree of help extended is
directly related to the degree of relatedness. Evolutionary theorists maintain that we
engage altruistic behavior helping our family members and relatives because that would
increases the probability of passing on the genes that we share with them.

Researches suggest that there is a set of basic emotions that are universally
recognized (Ekman, 1973). For instance, all over the world happiness and good will is
expressed through smiling.

4.4.1 Genetic influence on behavior

Evolutionary history has played a significant role in shaping up humans to be

what they are today. Evolution operates through genetic transmission across various
generations. Starting from our physical development everything including the
development of nervous system is to a large extent directed by the elaborate genetic blue
print that is passed on to us by our parents.

Gregor Mendel, an Austrian monk is considered the father of genetic. His

research with garden peas marked the beginning of modern genetics. According to
Mendel heredity is not a simple blending of both the parents’ characteristics but it
involves passing on of specific organic factors. These specific factors may produce
visible characteristics. Otherwise they may be simply be carried further for possible
transmission to another generation. In either of the above case all of the offspring of one
set of parents do not inherit the same traits.

Geneticists make a clear distinction between genotype and phenotype. Genotype

is the specific makeup of the individual while phenotype refers to individual’s observable
characteristics. Genotype can be compared to the commands of computer software
program. Some of the directives may be used in some occasions while the others may be
used in other occasions. Some of them, either because they are contradicted by other
genetic directives or because environment never allows their expression, are never used.
The genotype is present from birth, but the phenotype is affected by both genetics and

4.4.2 Behavioral Genetics. Behavior genetics deals with research that study how
heredity and environment interact to influence psychological characteristics. While
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evolutionary psychology focuses on the commonalities among people, behavior genetics

focuses on the potential role of genetic factors in accounting for differences among

Children get half their genetic material from each of their parents. Hence the
probability of you sharing any particular gene with your parents would be 0.50. Brothers
and sisters also have 0.50 probability of sharing the same genes since they get the genetic
material from the same parents. Similarly we may conclude that 0.25 would be the
probability of sharing your gene with that of your grandparents. Facts such as these, on
genetic similarities stand as basis for studying the role of genetics in physical and
behavioral characteristics. Genetic contribution can be inferred if a characteristic has
higher concordance (or co-occurrence) in people who are more closely related to one
another, more so if they live in different environments.

4.4.3 Family, Adoption, and Twin Studies. The level of genetic similarity among
family and kin stands as the basis for estimating the relative contribution of heredity and
environment to physical and psychological characteristics. Researches have shown that
the more the genetic similarities between people the more the are likely to be similar
psychologically. The degree of similarity in the characteristic depends however on the
characteristic in question.

Adoption studies that studies people who are adopted very early in life are
compared with both their biological parents (with whom they share genetic endowment)
and their adopted parents (with whom they share a common environment but not any
genetic endowment) on some characteristics. If they are more similar to their biological
parents on a particular characteristic as compared to their adopted parents then a genetic
influence on the particular characteristic is indicated. On the contrary, if they are more
similar to their adopted parents on the characteristic as compared to their biological
parents then an environmental influence is indicated.

Twin studies compare trait similarities in identical and fraternal twins. Identical
twins, also referred to as monozygotic twins, are genetically identical since they develop
from the same zygote. Fraternal twins, also called as dizygotic twins, develop from two
zygotes and hence they share only 50% of the genetic endowment. Fraternal twins are no
more genetically alike than siblings. Twins are generally raised in the same familial
environment. Twin studies often compare concordance rates or behavioral similarities in
sample of identical and fraternal twins. If identical twins are found to be more similar on
the characteristic than fraternal twins then can be judged that genetic factor is involved in
this characteristic. But it also could be partially because of environmental similarity since
fraternal twins who look similar to each other in appearance may also be treated the same
way by others! To rule out this environmental influence behavior genetics have adopted
much more rigorous research methods. Studying identical twins who were separated very
early in life and raised in different environments is one of such methods. Eliminating
environmental similarity permits better basis for evaluating the relative contributions of
genes and environment.
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Psychological traits like intelligence, personality traits and even some

psychological disorders are found to have notable genetic contribution (Bouchard, 2004).
Adopted children seem to be more similar to their biological parents than their adopted
parents on these measures. Similarly, identical twins are found to be more similar than
fraternal twins even when they were separated early in life and are reared apart (Loehlin,
1992,; Lykken et al., 1992; Plomin & Spinath, 2004). Nevertheless, identical twins reared
together tend to be more similar than identical twins reared apart that indicates that
environment also makes a difference.

4.4.4 Estimating genetic influence. Heritability co-efficient estimates the degree to

which the differences in a specific characteristic within a group of people can be
attributed to genetic factor. One of the common methods used to estimate heritability co-
efficient is to double the absolute difference between correlation coefficient derived from
identical and fraternal twins on the particular characteristic. For instance, the correlation
of IQ scores in sets of identical twins is 0.85 and in sets of fraternal twins is 0.50 (Plomin
& Spinath, 2004). The absolute difference between these correlation coefficients is 0.35
(0.85-0.50= 0.35).Doubling of this difference gives 0.70 (0.35X2=0.70) which gives the
heritability for intelligence. This indicates that 70% of the variation in that sample’s IQ
can be attributed to genetic differences among its members. It is important to note that
this does not mean that 70% of a particular person’s intelligence is due to genetic factors
since heritability applies only to differences within groups.

Behavior geneticists realize that genes and environment are not two separate
determinants of behavior. They, instead, operate as a single integrated system. Gene
expression is influenced by the environment on a day-to-day basis. For example, high or
low environmental stress can turn on or off genes that regulate stress hormones. Hence
gene environment interactions must be recognized in order to understand any phenomena.

Technological advancement has enabled scientists to map the human genome and
also to duplicate and modify the structures of the genes. Genetic manipulation makes it
possible for scientists not only to duplicate or alter genetic material but also to repair
dysfunctional genes. These procedures promise great advances in treating physical as
well as psychological disorders.
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(i) The two major divisions of the peripheral nervous system are the somatic division
(controls voluntary movements) and the autonomic division (controls functions
essential for living).

(ii) Sympathetic division of the ANS prepares the body in stressful emergency
situations. Parasympathetic division acts after the emergency situation to calm
down the body.

(iii) The endocrine glands secrete hormones into the bloodstream that control the
internal environment of each cell and organ, and also of the entire body.

(iv) The endocrine system consists of a number of endocrine glands namely pineal
gland, Pituitary, Thyroid, Parathyroid, Thymus, Adrenals, Pancreas and Gonads
(ovaries or testes).

(v) Behavior genetics deals with research that study how heredity and environment
interact to influence psychological characteristics.

(vi) Family, Adoption, and Twin Studies stands as the basis for estimating the relative
contribution of heredity and environment to physical and psychological

(vii) Behavior geneticists realize that genes and environment are not two separate
determinants of behavior. They, instead, operate as a single integrated system.


(i) Observe how your autonomic system works when you face a threat and describe it.
(ii) Draw and mark the parts and write the functions of each part of the endocrine
(iii)List the genetic influences on your physical and psychological characteristics
carried over from your parents.


(i) Analyze the sequence of reactions triggered by our ANS during an emergency.
(ii) Substantiate how important is the role played by hormones on our behavior.
(iii) Evaluate the role played by genetics and environment on human behavior.
(iv) Are genes and environment independent determinants of behavior? Explain.
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(i) What is the function of the somatic division of our PNS?

(ii) Why is pituitary gland called as ‘master gland’?
(iii) What are the research methods used to estimate the relative contribution of
heredity and environment?
(iv) How do you estimate Heritability co-efficient?


Coon, D. and Mitterer, J.O. (2007). Introduction to Psychology. First Indian

Reprint.Delhi.Akash Press.

Kolb, Bryan Whishaw, Ian Q. (2003). Fundamentals of Human Neuropsychology.

W.H.Freeman & Co.

Passer, M.W. and Smith, R.E. (2007). Psychology The Science of Mind and Behavior.
Third Edition.New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill.
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5.0 Aims and Objectives
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Vision
5.2.1 The process
5.2.2 Color Vision
5.3 Hearing
5.3.1 Mechanism of Hearing
5.3.2 Deafness
5.4 Smell and Taste
5.4.1 Pheromones
5.4.2 The sense of taste
5.5 Somesthetic Senses
5.6 Skin senses.
5.6.1 Dynamic touch
5.7 Let us sum up
5.8 Lesson-End activities
5.9 Points for Discussion
5.10 Check your progress
5.11 References


This lesson deals with sense organs and their functioning. After going through
this lesson you will be able to:
i) understand the mechanism underlying sensory experiences
ii) know the process by which light waves end up as images, both black and
white ones and colored images
iii) understand how our ear functions and what is deafness
iv) appreciate other subtle senses that are called somesthetic senses.


While ‘stimulus’ is a source of physical energy that produces a response in sense

organ ‘sensation’ refers to the process by which an organism responds to the stimulus.
Sensation is the typically the first stage in any biochemical and neurologic events. It
begins with the impinging of a stimulus upon the receptor cells of a sensory organ.

Imagine a situation when you are out for dinner with your friends: The dim lit and
pleasantly decorated restaurant, the aroma of the food being served on the next table, the
soft music in the background and the taste of the delicious dish that was served to you. If
there were no senses like sight, hearing, taste and smell, for instance, then the most
important part of the experience would be missing. An important dimension of every
situation will be lacking if there was no sensation.
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The sensations mentioned above talk about merely the sensory experience at the
surface. Though we are thought that there are basically five senses namely sight, sound,
taste, smell, and touch, our human capacity can go to experience wider set of stimuli like
pressure, pain, temperature, etc. All the senses play a critical role in determining our
experience in this world. Nevertheless, vision and hearing are considered as most
conspicuous of the senses that help us to interact with the environment successfully.


Light is the stimulus that produces the sensation of vision. The range of
wavelengths to which human beings are sensitive is referred to as visual spectrum. In
spite of the fact that this spectrum is relatively small the differences among the
wavelengths within that spectrum are just enough to allow us to see a range of all colors.

Light waves coming from objects outside our body encounter our eyes. First it
travels through the cornea that is a transparent protective window into the eyeball. Once
it moves through the cornea the light traverses the pupil that is a dark hole in the center of
the eye’s iris. The pupil changes its size according to the amount of incoming light
changes. Dimmer the light the more the pupil opens so as to allow more light to enter.
See the picture below showing the anatomy of eye to follow the sequence described

Picture courtesy: 3D:Noob to Pro…

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The light after passing through the pupil enters the lens that is located directly
behind the pupil. The lens helps bend the light rays so as to focus them on to the retina.
The lens focuses the light by changing its own thickness and this process is called
accommodation. Distance objects need a relatively flat lens. So while focusing on distant
objects the muscles controlling he lens relax which allows the lens to become flatter.

Finally after traveling through the pupil and lens the image of the object reaches
the retina, which is the final destination. Retina is that part of the eye that converts the
electromagnetic energy of light into useful information for the brain. This is nothing but a
thin layer of nerve cells that is located at the back of the eyeball. Two kinds of receptor
cells are found in the retina namely rods and cones. The rods and cones are not only
different in structure but they play different roles in vision.

The rods are long, cylindrical cells that work well in poor light. However, they are
not sensitive to color and small details, and are responsible for night vision. The cones
are, as the name suggests, cone-shaped sensitive receptor cells that help us to make sharp
focus. They are involved in color vision and work well in bright light. The rods and cones
are distributed unevenly throughout the retina. However, the cones are concentrated to
the greatest degree at a point in the retina called Fovea. This is a very sensitive region in
the retina that helps in focusing of images.

5.2.1 The process:

A chain of events occur when the light energy strikes the rods and cones that
transforms the light energy into the neural energy that can be communicated to the brain.
Rods contain Rhodopsin that is a complex reddish purple colored substance that changes
when it is energized by light. Though the substance found in cones is different the
process is similar. When the nerve cells in the eye are stimulated a neural response is
triggered. This neural impulse is then transmitted to other nerve cells known as bipolar
cells and ganglion cells. The bipolar cells are the nerve cells leading to the brain that are
triggered by the nerve cells in the eye. The ganglion cells are the nerve cells that collect
the information from the nerve cells in the eyes, summarize the information and then
carry it to the brain.

Bipolar cells received the information from nerve cells in the eyes (rods and
cones) and transmit it to the ganglion cells. The ganglion cells in turn collect this visual
information, summarize it and move it out of the back of the eye ball though the optic
nerve. The optic nerve is a bundle of ganglion axons that are located in the back of the
eyeball that carry information to the brain. The opening of the optic nerve pushes through
the retina. Hence there are no rods or cones in that area which is hence called the blind
spot. Since we automatically compensate for the missing part of our field of vision the
absence of nerve cells in the blind spot does not actually interfere with vision.

The neural signals relating to the object that is seen moves through the optic
nerve. As the optic nerve leaves the eye ball it does not take a direct route connecting the
right eye ball to the right hemisphere while connecting the left eye ball to the left
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hemisphere of the brain. The optic nerve from each of the eye meets at a point between
the two eyes and splits here. This point of crossing over is called optic chiasm. The nerve
impulses coming from the right half of each retina are sent to the right side of the brain.
Similarly, the nerve impulses coming from the left half of each retina are sent to the left
side of the brain.

5.2.2 Color Vision

The cones in the retina are sensitive to the yellow- green part of the spectrum of
light. If all the colors are tested in normal day light then yellowish green appears to be the

Rods, however, are not sensitive to color. Yet they seem to be sensitive to blue-
green lights. At night or when there is a dim illumination the brightest colored light
would be one of wither blue or blue-green.

Two major theories attempt to explain how cones produce color sensations. They
are Trichromatic theory and Opponent Process theory. The trichromatic theory of color
vision states that there are three types of cones. Each type of cones is sensitive to red,
green or blue. All the other colors result from mere combinations of the three. Black and
white colors are basically produced by rods and not cones.

The Opponent Process theory states that vision analyses colors into ‘either-or’
messages. The visual system can produce messages for either red or green, yellow or
blue, black or white. When one of these pairs is coded the other gets blocked. As a result
of this a yellowish blue is not possible but a bluish green is possible.

It is found that both the theories of color sensation are valid. The Trichromatic
theory applies to the retina where three different types of visual pigments are found. Each
of these pigments is most sensitive to red, blue or green light. All the three types of cones
fire nerve impulses at different rates in order to produce various color sensations. The
opponent-process theory explains everything that happens in the optic pathways once the
information leaves the eye. Some nerve cells in the brain have been found to be excited
by the red color and inhibited by the green color. Hence both these theories are valid.
While one explains what happens in the eye the other explains how colors are analyzed
after the message leaves the eye.

Color Blindness: People who cannot perceive colors are said to be color blind. They
either lack cones or have cones that do not function normally. Though total color
blindness is rare color weakness or partial color blindness is not uncommon. Some see
reds and greens as the same color – yellowish blue! Genetic factors seem to be involved
in color blindness.
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When a stone is thrown into a pond it causes ripples that spread in all directions.
In the same way sound also travels as a series of invisible waves of compression and
rarefactions in the air. Any vibrating object would produce sound. Fluids and solids can
also carry sound. But it does not travel in vacuum. The pitch (lower or higher tone) of the
sound is determined by the frequency of the sound waves. The energy of the sound waves
is shown by the amplitude, or the physical ‘height’ of the sound waves. Amplitude
corresponds to loudness that is sensed by an organism.

5.3.1 Mechanism of hearing:

The external part of the ear is called the pinna. Hearing involves chains of events
that start with the pinna that acts as funnel to concentrate sounds. Sound waves, as they
move into the ear canal, collide with the tympanic membrane (or the ear drum) and set it
into motion. This, in turn, sets the auditory ossicles in vibration. Auditory ossicles are
three small bones namely malleus, incus, and stapes that are in hammer, anvil and stirrup
shape respectively. These structures connect the ear drum with the cochlea which is a
snail-shaped organ making up the inner ear. The stapes is attached to the oval window
which is a membrane in the cochlea. Movement of the oval window moves back and
forth makes waves in a fluid that is present in the cochlea.

Picture courtesy:
In the cochlea are the tiny hair cells that detect waves in the fluid. Hence, often
cochlea is really the organ of hearing. The hair cells are part of the organ of Corti. It is
this organ of Corti that makes up the central part of the cochlea. On top of each hair cell
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is the stereocilia or some bristles. When waves ripple through the fluid that surrounds the
organ of Corti these hair cells brush against the tectorial membrane. Nerve impulses are
triggered as the stereocilia or bristles on top of the hair cells are bent which are later sent
to the brain.

Two theories explain how we detect sounds. The frequency theory holds that
nerve impulses of a corresponding frequency as that of the pitch are fed into the auditory
nerve as the pitch rises. For instance, a 900- hertz tone produces 900 nerve impulses per
second. This theory explains how all sounds upto 4,000 hertz reach the brain. Place
theory, on the other hand, explains how higher tones or lower tones excite specific areas
of the cochlea. Higher tones have a string impact at the base of cochlea near the oval
window. Lower tones, in contrast, move the hair cells near the outer tip of the cochlea.
The area of the cochlea most strongly activated decides the pitch of the sound.

5.3.2 Deafness.

The two main types of deafness are construction deafness and nerve deafness.
When the transfer of vibrations from the eardrum to the inner ear is weak it results in
conduction deafness. Generally, this deafness could be caused because of disease or
injury that results in damage or immobilization of the eardrums or ossicles. This defect
may be overcome by wearing a hearing aid. Damage to the hair cells or auditory nerve
may result in nerve deafness. Since the auditory messages are blocked from reaching the
brain hearing aid does not come as a solution to this type of deafness. Artificial hearing
systems are making it possible for some people to overcome their nerve deafness.

In addition to these types of deafness very loud sounds can cause damage to the
hair cells resulting in stimulation deafness. Working in a noisy environment, enjoying
loud music, motor racing, and similar activities may increase one’s vulnerability to
stimulation deafness. Hair cells once dead never gets replaced. Both loudness of the
sound and the duration of exposure decide the danger of hearing loss. Everyday exposure
of 85 decibels or higher or short periods of exposure to 120 decibels (like what we see in
rock concerts) may result in permanent deafness.


A perfume blender, chef or a wine taster would be the best person to tell the importance
of the sense of smell and taste. These two are called as chemical senses since they are
receptors that respond to chemical molecules. Human sensation cannot be complete
without the sense of smell and taste.

The sense of smell: The smell receptors respond to airborne molecules that enter the nose
passing over nearly 5 million nerve fibers that are embedded in the lining of the upper
nasal passage. Air borne molecules passing over these fibers trigger nerve signals that are
eventually sent to the brain. The surface of these fibers contains receptor proteins that are
sensitive to various airborne molecules.
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There are separate receptors for specific odors. Molecules having a particular odor
have similar shapes. About 300 to 400 types of smell receptors are believed to exist in
humans. These molecules trigger activity in different combinations of odor receptors
making it possible for humans to detect at least 10,000 different odors. Olfactory
receptors send distinct patterns of messages to the brain. The brain makes use of these
messages to recognize particular scents.

The lock and key theory explains how we sense different odors. ‘Holes’ of
different shapes exists on the surface of the olfactory receptors. Just like how different
pieces of the jigsaw puzzle fit in the puzzle board the chemicals produce odors when the
part of molecule fits a hole of the same shape. To some extent scents are also identified
by the location of the receptors in the nose that get activated by the particular smell. How
strong is the odor that we sense depends on how many receptor cells are activated. The
message about the number of activated receptors is sent to the brain that judges the
strength of the odor.

Anosmia means inability to sense smells. One person out of one hundred are said
to be suffering from anosmia (Gilbert & Wysocki, 1987). Infections, allergies and blow
to the head are among few of the risk factors for anosmia. Even exposure to certain
chemicals like ammonia, photo-developing chemicals and hair-dressing portions can
increase once vulnerability to anosmia.

Though adults have strong opinion about what are good smells and what are bad
smells new born infants fail to show any signs to reacting more strongly to ‘good’ or
‘bad’ odor. It appears that likes and dislikes for various smells are not inborn but learned.
Someone who smells rose for the first time in his mother’s funeral may dislike the smell
of roses.

5.4.1 Pheromones

Pheromones are airborne chemicals that greatly affect mating, sexual behavior,
recognizing family members, and territorial markings among animals. The sense organ
for pheromones is Vomeronasal Organ (VNO). Earlier it was believed that humans either
did not have VNO or they only had a vestigial VNO. However, recent studies that have
attempted to locate the VNO in humans suggest that the VNO looks like a small pit inside
the nose one on either side of the septum. These pits are lined with nerve cells and
respond to chemicals that are suspected to be pheromones.

Pheromones are not something that is seen, heard, smelt or felt. In humans they,
however, appear to produce a vague feelings like well-being, attraction, uneasiness, or
anxiety. The idea that human pheromones directly release sexual behavior in humans is
subject to criticism by few scientists. They contend that pheromones may perhaps affect
one’s general mood and not anything beyond that.
Evidences for the existence of human pheromones are mixed. However, the
possibilities are intriguing. For instance, human pheromones seem to explain why the
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menstrual cycle of women who live together tend to become synchronized. Further
studies are needed to resolve the conflicts in the understanding on human pheromones.

5.4.2 The sense of taste

At least four basic taste sensations are identified. They are sweet, salt, sour, and
bitter. It is found that we are most sensitive to bitter, less sensitive to sour, even less
sensitive to salt and least sensitive to sweet. Now it is believed by many experts that there
is a fifth taste quality. The Japanese word Umami describes the pleasant savory or
“brothy” taste. The receptors of Umami are sensitive to glutamate which is an ingredient
of taste enhancers.

We include sensations of texture, temperature, smell, and even pain along with
taste and hence seem to sense so many varied flavours. If we block our nose and try to
taste different dishes they may all taste the same. Subjective flavor is perhaps one half

Taste buds are largely located on the top side of the tongue and even around the
edges, while some are also found elsewhere inside the mouth. The food that we chew gets
dissolved and enters the taste buds that triggers of nerve impulses to the brain. Just like
sense of smell taste like sweet and bitter also appears to be based on a lock-and-key
match between molecules and receptors. In contrast, salt and sour tastes are triggered by
direct flow of charged atoms on to the tips of the taste receptors (Lindemann, 2001).

Differences in sense of taste seem to be partially genetic. It also seems to be

related to the number of taste buds one may have on his tongue. Age also seems to have
an effect of the sense of taste. The life span for taste cells is only for several days. Aging
affects cell replacement that results in diminished taste. Nevertheless, most taste
preferences are acquired.


Sensations produces by the skin, muscles, joints, viscera, and organs of balance
are referred to as somesthetic sense. In other words, the somesthetic senses include skin
senses, kinesthetic senses and vestibular senses. Skin sense is otherwise referred to as
sense of touch. Kinesthetic senses are receptors in muscles and joints that help us detect
body position and movement. Vestibular senses are the receptors in the inner ear that is
responsible for sensing balance, gravity and acceleration.
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5.5.1 Skin senses.

Skin receptors produce at least five different sensations namely light, touch,
pressure, pain, cold, and warmth. Receptors with specific shapes specialize in various
sensations. All put together, the skin has about 200,000 nerve endings for temperature,
500,000 for touch and pressure, and 3 million for pain.

The number of skin receptors varies from one area to the other on the skin. The
number of skin receptors in an area of the skin decides its sensitivity. Density of receptors
in areas like lips, tongue, face, hands, and the genitals are generally higher. Similar to any
skin sense pain receptors also vary in their distribution. Pain points of about 232 pain
points per centimeter are found behind the knees, about 184 on the buttocks, 60 on the
pad of the thumb, and 44 on the tip of the nose on an average.

Pain fibers are also located in the internal organs. When these organs are
stimulated one would experience visceral pain. Surprisingly the visceral pain is felt on the
surface of the body, far away from its origin. It is also known as referred pain. An
example of this is in the case of heart attack one may feel the pain in left shoulder, arm,
or even little finger. A type of pain, the somatic pain, is experienced in skin, muscles,
joints and tendons. Large nerve fibers carry this pain from specific body areas. The
transfer is sharp, bright, and fast. This signals that the body is, or is about to be, damages.
Hence it is considered to be body’s warning system. Another type of somatic pain is
carried by small nerve fibers. The transfer is slower, aching, widespread, and unpleasant.
If the pain stimulus repeats then the pain becomes worse. This reminds the brain that the
body is damaged. Hence it is considered as body’s reminding system. The reminder
system can actually cause agony after the injury is healed or in terminal illnesses when
the reminder is useless.

5.5.2 Dynamic touch.

This is a sensation that combines sensations from skin receptors with kinesthetic
information from muscles and tendons. Dynamic touch gives us enough information
regarding the objects around, especially their size and shape. It is much about sensing the
inertia of object as they move through arcs. But for this sense it would be almost
impossible for us to make use of wide range of tools, utensils and objects which we now
use as if they are just extensions of our own body.
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5.5.3 The Vestibular System.


(i) Sensation begins with the impinging of a stimulus upon the receptor cells of a
sensory organ.
(ii) Though there are five basic senses namely sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch,

our human capacity can experience wider set of stimuli like pressure, pain,

(iii) Vision involves conversion of light waves coming from objects outside our body
encounter our eyes through cornea, pupil, lens, and reaching into useful
information for the brain.
(v) Hearing involves chains of events that start with sound waves entering the
pinna and moving into the ear canal, reaching the eardrum and ultimately setting cochlea
in motion.
(vii) Air borne molecules passing over nerve fibers that are embedded in the lining of
the upper nasal passage fibers trigger nerve signals that are eventually sent to the
(viii) Food that we eat gets dissolved and enters the taste buds are largely located on the
top side of the tongue and even around the edges which triggers of nerve impulses
to the brain.
(ix) Somesthetic senses include skin senses, kinesthetic senses and vestibular senses.


(i) What are the sensory inputs that have undergone adaptation as you read this
(ii) Try to close your eyes and trace mentally all the steps involved in the
sensing the sounds around you.
(iii) Take salt, honey, bitter guard and tamarind. Place small pinch of these on various
locations and try to identify the parts on your tongue that are most sensitive to the
four basic tastes.
(iv) Lift one of your legs and try standing on the other for a minute. Can you identify
the sense that was used in the task you just performed?
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(i) Critically analyse the role of genetics and environment on our senses.
(ii) Evaluate the role of pheromones in humans.
(iii) Are all senses equally important for survival? Discuss.


(i) Name the parts of human eye.

(ii) What causes color blindness?
(iii) What are the causative factors for Anosmia?
(iv) List the functions served by somesthetic senses.


Coon, D. and Mitterer, J.O. (2007). Introduction to Psychology. First Indian

Reprint.Delhi.Akash Press.
Passer, M.W. and Smith, R.E. (2007). Psychology - The Science of Mind and Behavior.
Third Edition.New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill.

Soderquist,D. (2007). Sensory Processes. Sage.

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6.0 Aims and Objectives

6.1 Introduction
6.2 Laws of Perceptual Organization
6.2.1 Figure and Ground
6.2.2 Perceptual Grouping Similarity Proximity Good Continuation Symmetry
6.2.3 Closure
6.3 Perceptual Constancies
6.3.1 Size Constancy
6.3.2 Color Constancy
6.3.3 Shape Constancy
6.4 Distance Perception
6.4.1 Monocular Cues Relative size Interposition Linear perspective Aerial perspective Height on plane Texture gradient Monocular movement parallax
6.4.2 Binocular Cues Convergence Retinal Disparity
6.5 Depth Perception
6.5.1 Visual Cliff Experiment
6.6 Illusion
6.7 Extra-Sensory Perception
6.8 Let us sum up
6.9 Lesson-End activities
6.10 Points for Discussion
6.11 Check your progress
6.12 References


In the previous lesson we discussed about the various sensations that help us
understand this world. Sensation, however, does not complete the whole process by
which we understand the world around us. In this lesson we will see in detail the
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perceptual process that is the stage next to that of sensation. At the end of the lesson you
will be able to:
(i) understand how we draw meaning out of the numerous and chaotic sensory
impressions through perception
(ii) know about the various principles that guide our perception
(iii) understand how principles that guide our perception can deceive our eyes
resulting in illusions
(iv) appreciate the phenomena of extra-sensory perception and learn about the
findings of scientific research on ESP.


Our brain organizes and gives meaning to sensory inputs by the process called
Perception. Perception includes process of selecting, ordering, synthesizing and
interpreting the sensory impressions that impinge on our sensory organs. Studies on
perception are focused to find out how we take the stimuli and form conscious
representations of the environment around us.

Perception is an outgrowth of sensation. Sensation can be seen as the first encounter

with a raw sensory stimulus. On the other hand, perception is a process by which the raw
sensory impressions are interpreted, analyzed and integrated with other sensory

The basic principle of perceptual processing is selective attention. It refers to focusing

on one or few stimuli of particular significance and ignoring the other stimuli. Sudden
changes in the stimulus, contrast and novelty, extreme stimulus intensity like very high or
very low intensity, repetition and difficult stimuli are few of the factors that affect our


Our basic perceptual process works according to a series of principles referred to as

gestalt laws of organization. The gestalt laws of organization were put forth by a group of
German psychologists in early 1900s (Wertheimer, 1923) that is found to be valid for
visual and auditory stimuli. These principles explain how bits and pieces of information
are organized into meaningful wholes.

The elementary sensations that are usually in the form of dots, lines, edges,
brightness, and varied hues are structured into the objects as seen by us because of this
phenomenon called perceptual organization.

Among the various principles of perceptual organization the following are found to
be very prominent:
1. Figure and Ground
2. Perceptual Grouping
3. Closure
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6.2.1 Figure Ground

Processing and interpretation of information takes place in various levels as a result

of perceptual organization. Figure-ground segregation is one aspect of perceptual
organization. Imagine a visual stimulus that is a blob of contours at the retinal level. In
this, the figure is an integrated group of contours while the ground is the background
against which it stands. Often not all of its contours are actually detected at the retina
when a figure is perceived. Some of them are subjective contours. These contours are not
physically present at the retina, but are the product of intelligent perception.

Top-down processing is one where the perception is guided by knowledge,

experience, expectations and motivations. Bottom- up processing is one that involves
recognition and processing of information about individual components of a stimulus.
Hence, phenomenon of figure-ground segregation is not a purely bottom-up process (i.e.,
it is not simply data-driven) but is bottom- up (data-driven) as well as top-down

The above figure can either be seen a vase or pair of faces. If you focus on the white
portion of the figure you would see a vase, while focusing on the black portion of the
figure would show a pair of faces. The gestalt psychologists greatly emphasized on the
fact that the same figure may be seen in either of the two ways. This shows that we do not
passively respond to visual stimuli that fall on our retina but we try to organize and make
sense of what we see. Hence perception is often seen as a constructive process that is
beyond the stimuli presented to us and is an attempt to construct a meaningful situation.

6.2.2 Perceptual Grouping

The gestalt laws of perceptual grouping hold that objects in a scene appear to group
according to certain laws or principles. Some of the laws of grouping are listed

1. Similarity: Objects with similar properties or that appear similar are grouped
together (e.g. shape, color)

2. Proximity: Objects that are close by are grouped together.

3. Good Continuation: Objects that define smooth lines or curves are seen as one
group than seeing them as incomplete and disjointed. It is the tendency to perceive a
pattern in the most basic, organized and straightforward manner possible. In the
figure below one would view it as two wavy lines rather than two curves opposite to
each other.

1. Symmetry: Objects that form symmetrical patterns are grouped together.

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Picture courtesy:

6.2.3 Closure

The Principle of Closure states that we tend to fill in missing bits, and perceive
visuals as complete, or closed, entities. In other words it refers to the tendency to
group according to enclosed or complete figures instead of open or incomplete ones.


Picture courtesy:

In the above figure we see the black lines as forming a triangle instead of three
small ‘v’ shaped brackets. Similarly, the black dots though incomplete are seen as
dots than a broken figure. This explains the phenomenon of closure.

Another often quoted gestalt principle is that the whole is greater than its parts.
Perception of stimuli is beyond the individual elements that we sense. It represents an
active, constructive process carried out by the brain by which bits and pieces of
sensations are assembled together to make something greater and more meaningful than
separate elements.


Objects are normally perceived to be constant in size, color and shape despite the fact
that their retinal image change according to the conditions. The phenomenon by which
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the physical objects are perceived as same in spite of changes in their physical
appearance is called perceptual constancy.

When you stretch your right hand farther away from your body still you perceive it to
be of the same size as that of your left hand. We do not see it as the right hand shrinking
but realize that it is at a farther distance. This is due to size constancy. There are few
types of perceptual constancies namely size constancy, color (or brightness) constancy
and shape constancy.

6.3.1 Size Constancy

Though retinal image of object becomes smaller as the object moves to farther
distance the viewer adjusts for this change as perceives the object to be of same size. A
teenager standing at a farther distance from you is not seen as smaller in size than the
teenager standing near you in front. Similarly, when you move away from a building you
do not perceive the building shrinking but understand that it remains in the same size.
This phenomenon is called size constancy.

6.3.2 Color (or brightness) Constancy

Despite changes in illumination we see the object having same color. This is due
to color constancy. When we see the same mug in different illumination we are still able
to perceive all the sides of the mug as having the same color.

6.3.3 Shape Constancy

Though the retinal images of an object change when we view it from different
angles we see the object to have same shape. Look at the pictures below for instance.
These are different pictures of the door, each in one position. When we see these pictures
we do not perceive them as a change in shape, but perceive it to be of the same
rectangular shape. This is possible due to shape constancy.

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Perceptual constancy depends on our past experiences. This is obvious when we

examine the behavior of people brought up in different cultures. An instance of this
would be a study on Bambuti Pygmies. These pygmies live in dense forest in Zaire. Their
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vision is consistently limited to short distances. Due to this restriction they are deprived
of the experiences that can help one to develop size constancy. They are found to have
difficulty in judging the size of buffalo at a long distance that they mistook the buffalo to
be some kind of an insect! This was reported by Colin Turnbell, an anthropologist, based
on his first- hand experience with the pygmies.

Two theories attempt to explain the perceptual constancy phenomena.

Constructive theory holds that when we try to make inferences about the location of
objects we greatly use our previous experience and expectations about the size of the
object. Since we know the size of the particular object based on our earlier experience we
easily make up for the changes in the size of the retinal image.

An alternative view proposed by James Gibson, referred to as ecological theory,

suggests that relationship between objects in a scene gives us clue about the objects’ size.
In addition to this information on the nature of the surfaces in the environment also helps
us to judge the distance of the stimuli. Farther objects seem to have a different surface
texture than those that are closer. Such differences provide us clue that help us to make
judgments about depth.

Neither of the above theories independently explains all instances of perceptual

constancies completely. Both construction and ecological processes work in combination.


Depth or location can be perceived even by a single sense organ. It is not always
necessary to use both the eyes for perceiving depth. Certain cues, called the monocular
cues, help us to perceive depth and distance even with just one eye.

6.4.1 Monocular Cues

Several strong monocular cues allow relative distance and depth to be judged. They
are listed below:

1. Relative size
2. Interposition
3. Linear perspective
4. Aerial perspective
5. Height on plane
6. Texture gradient
7. Monocular movement parallax

Relative Size. Smaller objects are seen as farther from us. Hence the sizes of the objects
tell us about the distance at which they are located. Objects furthest away are higher in
our visual field. The closer an object is to the level of the horizon, the farther away an
object appears.
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Interposition. Interposition cues occur when there is overlapping of objects. The

overlapped object is considered further away. Closer objects block out parts of objects
that are farther. Hence complete objects are nearer to us than the objects that appear to be

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In the figure the lines that make up the gift boxed in the
distance are hidden by the lines of the objects nearer to you.

Linear Perspective. P arallel objects converge when stretched into distance. This is a
monocular cue in which distant objects appear to be closer together than nearer objects.
When objects of known distance subtend a smaller and smaller angle, it is interpreted as
being further away. Parallel lines converge with increasing distance such as roads,
railway lines, electric wires, etc.

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In the above figure the lines that subtend a larger angle are judged to be closer than those
that subtend a smaller angle.
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Aerial Perspective. Objects that are far away appear fuzzier than closer objects since
distance increases smog, dust, and haze thereby reducing the clarity of object. It is caused
by the scattering of light in the atmosphere by small particles or vapor. Blue light, which
has a shorter wavelength than other colors, is scattered more than the other colors. This
scattering causes distant objects to appear slightly hazy and bluish in color. This also
explains why mountains appear much closer on clear, dry days.

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Height on plane. Objects that are higher on plane of view are seen as farther.

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In the above picture the tree on top half of the picture is seen as farther away than the tree
that appears on the bottom half of the picture.

Texture gradient. The closer something is to us, the more detail and texture can we se.
As the distance increases the amount of texture lessens until it looks uniform. Elements
closer are seen as father apart or less dense than objects farther away.

Motion parallax/ Relative Motion. The changes in position of the image of an object on
the retina as our head moves provide a monocular cue for distance. Closer objects move
greater distance rapidly than farther objects. When our heads move from side to side,
objects at different distances move at a different relative velocity. Closer objects move
"against" the direction of head movement and farther objects move "with" the direction of
head movement.

In addition to these one more of the cues comes from bending if the lens to focus
on the nearby objects. This is referred to as accommodation. The sensations from the
muscles attached to each eye lens flow to the brain. The changes in these sensations help
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us to judge distances. Since this information is available even if we use only one eye it is
a monocular cue.

6.4.2 Binocular Cues

When we see a distant object the lines of vision from our eyes are parallel.
However, eyes must converge to view closer objects, something that is at 50 feet or lesser
in distance. This creates more muscle tension. The amount of strain or tension in the eye
muscles while focusing on an object gives us a clue, referred to as convergence, to the
depth at which the object is present. The muscles provide information to the brain
regarding eye position in order to judge the distance. This may be seen in Picture a

Both our eyes are about 2.5 inches apart from each other. Due to the lateral
displacement of our eyes, slightly dissimilar retinal images result from the perception of
the same object from each eye. This results in retinal disparity. It is also referred to as
binocular disparity. Stereoscopic vision occurs when both the retinal images are fused
into one overall image that helps in perception of depth. Stereopsis is shown in Picture b

Picture a
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Picture b

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Depth perception refers to the ability to see three-dimensional space and to judge
distances accurately. Driving a car, riding a bike, shooting baskets, threading a needle or
even walking around in the room would be almost impossible without this ability to
perceive depth.

Depth perception is an important advantage for humans and other binocular

animals. Both monocular and binocular cues are used to perceive depth. Not only does it
give us an accurate sense of where objects are in relation to one another but also where
we stand in relation to those same objects.

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6.5.1 Visual Cliff Experiment

Some psychologists hold that depth perception is inborn while others argue that it is
learned. It is likely that depth perception is partially innate and partially learned. The
famous “Visual Cliff” experiments of the 1960’s by Eleanor Gibson and Richard Walk is
a classic experiment done to study development of depth perception which supports the
hypothesis that depth perception could be partially innate and partially learned.

Visual cliff is a glass-topped table as shown in the picture above. A checkered surface
lies directly beneath the glass surface on one side. On the other side the checkered surface
lies about 4 feet below the glass surface of the table. Because of the above arrangement
the glass looks like tabletop on one side of the table while it looks like a cliff, or drop-off,
on the other side. The glass provided on the deeper side of the table prevents the babies
from falling down.
The experiment involved babies as old as 6- to 14-months-old who were placed in the
middle of the visual cliff. This provided them a choice of either coming to the shallow
side or the deep side of the table. Most of the babies preferred to move to the shallow
sides. Surprisingly, some babies refused to move to the deeper side even when their
mothers tried calling them towards it.

The fact that babies as old as just six months old would not venture over a drop
covered by glass (Gibson & Walk, 1960) implying that they are able to perceive depth at
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that age. This serves as evidence to the fact that depth perception in humans is either
innate ability or learnt very early in life.

More recent studies have shown more interesting findings. Babies over nine months
old when placed on the glass-covered drop have an increased heart rate, which could be
perhaps showing that they are frightened. Babies less than six months of age actually
showed a decrease in heart rate. Some other experiments have shown that the sight of
their smiling mother on the other side of the drop will encourage the toddlers move
across it, overriding their fear (Talaris, 2002).
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Our perception gets largely altered with our experience. Perceptual learning refers
to changes in perception that can be attributed to prior experience. These are caused due
to changes in the brain that alter the way we process sensory information.

Illusions are false perceptions in which length, position, motion, curvature, or

direction is consistently misjudged. Illusions are distorted perceptions of the stimuli that
exist in reality unlike in hallucination the perception takes place in the absence of the
actual sensory stimulus.

Perceptual learning results in a number of illusions. Size and shape constancy,

habitual eye movement, continuity, and perceptual habits combine in various ways to
produce a number of illusions. Some of the common illusions are Muller- Lyer Illusion,
Poggendorff illusion, The Hermann grid, Ponzo illusion, and Moon Illusion to name a

In Muller- Lyer Illusion, as may be seen below, though the length of the two lines
are the same we find the line enclosed by the feather-head is longer than the one enclosed
by arrow- head (see picture a given below). This may be explained based on the real life
experience with the edges and corners of rooms and buildings. The line with the
featherhead is viewed as if it were the corner of the room viewed from inside (Gregory,
2000). In contrast, the line with the arrowhead is viewed as if it were the corner of a room
seen from outside (see picture b given below). In short, our perception of two-
dimensional designs is largely misguided by the cues that suggest a 3-D space.

Picture a
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Picture b
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If two objects make images of the same size then the more distant object must be
definitely larger. This also explains Muller-Lyer Illusion. If the feather-headed line looks
farther than the arrow-headed line then it has to be longer than the latter.

The above explanation, of course, presumes that the viewer has years of
experience with straight lines and sharp edges. Groups of people in South Africa, the
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Zulus, live in a ‘round’ culture and they rarely encounter straight lines in their everyday
life. They live in huts that are shaped like rounded mounds, their toys are round in shape
and are curved, and there are no straight roads or rectangular buildings in their
environment. Research on the Zulus report interesting findings. The Zulus hardly
experience the Muller-Lyer illusion that confirms that past experiences and perceptual
habits determine how we view the world.
We tend to perceive movement or motion when the objects rapidly change their
positions. This is called as stroboscopic movement. This is typically seen in the strobe
lights flashed on dance floors. Each time the strobe flashes it shows the dancers in a
particular static position. But when the light flashes rapidly then normal motion is seen.

Another well-known visual illusion is the Poggendorff Illusion (shown below).

Picture courtesy:

In the figure above it appears that the angular line that is on the left side of the parallel
lines is at a higher plane as compared to the angular line that is on the right side of the
parallel lines. However, one would find on extending the angular lines towards each other
they are placed in exactly the same plane.


Though almost half of the general public believes in existence of extra-sensory

perception (ESP) very few psychologists share this belief. It is seen that movies and
television programs picture a lot of ESP and other paranormal phenomena as accepted
facts. But how far are these facts are based on evidence is questionable.

ESP refers to the purported ability to perceive events in ways that cannot be
explained by mere sensory capabilities. The study of ESP phenomena is the subject
matter of the field of psychology called Parapsychology. Clairvoyance, telepathy,
precognition and psychokinesis are few of the basic forms of ESP.

The purported ability that allows a person to perceive events or gain information
in ways that appear to be unaffected by distance or normal/usual physical barriers is
referred to as clairvoyance. Telepathy is one where one is able to have an extrasensory
perception of another person’s thoughts. To put it in simple terms, telepathy refers to the
ability to read someone else’s mind. The purported ability to perceive or to predict a
future event is called precognition. This may take prophetic dreams that foretell future.
Under psychokinesis one is able top exert influence over inanimate object by will power.
Though this does not come under the realm of ESP it is often studied by
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If one has an apparent clairvoyant or telepathic experience he would be convinced

that ESP exists. But to determine how much of the experience is beyond mere
coincidence is always difficult.

Late.J.B.Rhine had done tremendous work in the area of psi events. Much of his
experiments made use of the Zener cards that consists of a deck of 25 cards with each
bearing one of five symbols. In a typical clairvoyant test the subjects were asked to guess
the symbol of the cards as they were turned up from a shuffled deck of cards. A pure
guess in this test generally produced an average score of 5 hits out of 25 cards.

None of the early experiments by Rhine using the Zener cards were valid for
many reasons. The cards were poorly made that the symbols almost showed faintly on the
back of the cards. Further there is also enough evidence that early experimenters had
tendency to sometimes unconsciously give clues about the cards using their eyes.

Nevertheless, modern psychologists who are well aware of the need for double-
blind experiments, security and accuracy in record keeping meticulous control. Hundreds
of experiments have been reported in parapsychology journals that support psi abilities in
the past one decade. Still psychologists are skeptical about psi abilities because fraud
continues to plague this field. Especially in places where the purported psychic abilities
are involved in making money more caution needs to be exerted in trusting the findings
as valid.

Another major factor that stands as a drawback to research in parapsychology is

inconsistency. Every study with positive findings has another study to prove it wrong.
ESP researches hold that this effect shows that parapsychology skills are very delicate.
On the other hand the critics argue that one scoring temporarily above change can only
receive credit for run of luck. It is not fair to assume that the ESP is temporarily gone
when the run is over. They emphasize on the point that all the runs must be counted and

Many of the most spectacular studies in parapsychology cannot be replicated. The

same researcher using the same experimental subjects cannot get the similar results every
time. To add to this improved research methods usually result in fewer positive results.
This stands as a major drawback.

Another problem that plagues psi experiments in that of reinterpretation. For

instance, ex-astronaut Edgar Mitchell worked on telepathetic experiments from space. In
some trials, Mitchell claims, the ‘receivers’ scored above chance while the others scored
‘below chance’. Though we might assume that below-chance trials were failures to find
telepathy Mitchell interpreted them as ‘successes’. He claimed that the ‘failures’
represented intentional ‘psi missing’. Skeptics argue that if both high scores and low
scores indicated success then what indicates failure!

Nevertheless, the outcome of many ESP studies is beyond debate. In a recent

study that involved mass media, people attempted to identify ESP targets from a distance.
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This enabled large scale testing of the ESP phenomena. The results of about 1.5 million
ESP trials can be summarized in one single line: There was no significant ESP effect
(Milton & Wiseman, 1999).

Results of various researches done on ESP phenomena for nearly 13 decades

indicate that nothing conclusive can be said about the occurrence of psi events. Serious
problems relating to evidence, procedure and scientific rigor are found in psi
experiments. Survey of leading parapsychologists and skeptics by Blackmore (1989)
reveal that belief in psi has decreased in contrast to the unconditional acceptance of psi
by the media. Some researchers will, however, continue to attempt to prove the psi. Some
would continue to remain skeptic considering the results of the huge body of research
evidence available in the past 13 decades as good enough to abandon the concept of ESP
(Mark, 2000). One has to, at the least, exert caution in accepting the evidence reported by
researchers who are uncritical ‘believers’.


(i) Perception includes process of selecting, ordering, synthesizing and interpreting

the sensory impressions that impinge on our sensory organs.
(ii) Gestalt laws of organization how bits and pieces of information are organized into
meaningful wholes. Figure and Ground, Perceptual Grouping, Closure are some
of them.
(iii) Perceptual constancy connotes the phenomenon by which the physical objects are
perceived as same despite changes in their physical appearance. Size Constancy,
Color (or brightness) Constancy, Shape Constancy are few of them.
(iv) Both monocular and binocular cues are used to perceive distance and depth.
Relative size, Interposition, Linear perspective, Aerial perspective, Height on
plane, Texture gradient, Monocular movement parallax are few of the monocular
cues. Binocular Cues include convergence and retinal disparity.
(v) Visual Cliff experiments of the 1960’s by Eleanor Gibson and Richard Walk is a
classic experiment done to study development of depth perception which supports
the hypothesis that depth perception could be partially innate and partially
(vi) Perceptual learning refers to changes in perception that can be attributed to prior
experience due to changes in the brain that alter the way we process sensory
information. This results in distorted perceptions of the stimuli referred to as
(vii) ESP refers to the purported ability to perceive events in ways that cannot be
explained by mere sensory capabilities.
(viii) Clairvoyance, telepathy, precognition and psychokinesis are few of the basic
forms of ESP.
(ix) Researches done on ESP phenomena over 13 decades indicate that nothing
conclusive can be said about the occurrence of psi events. Serious problems
relating to evidence, procedure and scientific rigor are found in psi experiments.
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(i) Look around the room and identify each principle of perceptual organization
evident there.

(ii) Take a photograph of natural scenery and identify the monocular cues that is used
to perceive.

(iii) Looking at the moon on a dark night check if you experience moon light illusion.

(iv) Make an attempt to stimulate discussions about ESP among your friends
highlighting the research evidences for and against it.


(i) Justify how gestalt laws of perception help us understand this world.

(ii) Establish how learning plays an important role in perception.

(iii) Substantiate the principles behind the illusions commonly experienced.

(iii) Critically analyze the research evidences available on psi phenomena.


(i) List the various principles of perceptual organization.
(ii) Explain various types of perceptual constancies with examples.
(iii) Describe ‘Visual Cliff’ experiment.
(iv) What are binocular cues?

Coon, D. and Mitterer, J.O. (2007). Introduction to Psychology. First Indian
Reprint.Delhi.Akash Press.

Passer, M.W. and Smith, R.E. (2007). Psychology The Science of Mind and
Behavior. Third Edition.New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill.

Goldstein, E. B. (Ed.) (2001). Blackwell handbook of perception. Malden, MA:


Gaetano Kanizsa (1979) Organization in Vision: Essays on Gestalt

Perception. Praeger Publishers .

MSN Encarta. (2007). Perception © 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation.
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7.0 Aims and Objectives
7.1 Introduction
7.2 Nature of Learning
7.3 Classical Conditioning
7.3.1 Pavlov’s Experiment
7.3.2 Extinction
7.3.3 Spontaneous recovery
7.3.4 Stimulus generalization
7.3.5 Stimulus discrimination
7.3.6 Higher-order conditioning
7.4 Operant Conditioning
7.4.1 Thorndike’s Law of Effect
7.4.2 Skinner’s Experiment
7.4.3 Types of Reinforcement Primary Reinforcer & Secondary Reinforcer Positive Reinforcement Negative Reinforcement Punishment
7.4.4 Schedules of Reinforcement Fixed-ratio schedule Variable-ratio schedule Fixed-Interval schedule Variable-Interval schedule
7.5 Observational Learning
7.5.1 Principles of Observational Learning
7.5.2 Bandura’s Bobo Doll Experiment
7.5.3 Steps in Observational Learning
7.6 Cognitive Learning
7.6.1 Insight Learning Kohler’s Experiment with Sultan Critical aspects of Insight Learning Cognition in Animals
7.6.2 Sign Learning Tolman’s classic experiment
7.7 Let us sum up
7.8 Lesson-End activities
7.9 Points for Discussion
7.10 Check your progress
7.11 References
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The previous lessons focused on elementary phenomena like sensation and

perception. This lesson covers issues concerned with the phenomena learning. At the end
of this lesson you will be able to:
(i) appreciate how we learn various behaviors by forming associations between
different stimuli
(ii) understand how reinforcements shape our behavior
(iii) learn how observing others’ experience can cause change in our behavior
(iv) understand how our cognitive processes aid in learning


Learning is a process that depends on one’s experience. It is something that results in

long term changes in behavior potential. Many theories are available that provide a varied
explanation on learning process. Major traditional behavioristic theories are classical
conditioning, operant conditioning, observational learning and cognitive learning. These
theories provide important insights into learning, even though some of them use much
simpler organisms than humans to draw emperical evidences supporting their stand.
Pavlov’s experiment with dogs, Skinner’s experiment with rats and pigeons, Tolman’s
experiment with rats, and Kohler’s experiments with chimps are few examples.This
lesson will cover the basic theories of learning, specifically the behavioral and cognitive


Learning is often referred to as a relatively permanent change in behavior (or

behavior potential) that results from experience or practice. Changes in behavior due to
maturation process or that occurs as a result of temporary conditions like effect of drug,
adaptation, disease, and fatigue.

The phrase ‘relatively permanent’ in the definition above implies that changes in
behavior that are transient or spontaneously reversible cannot be considered as learned
behavior. For instance, adaptation to dim illumination can be easily reversed on exposure
to bright light. Even repeated exposure to this process does not affect the nature of
change. On the contrary, a behavior that is learned is long lasting and repeated exposure
affects the nature of change. The change is accumulative.

For ‘learning’ to be inferred the change has to observable. It should be either

directly observable from the way in which an individual behaves, or it should be
indirectly observed by comparing those exposed to certain conditions with those who are
denied the exposure.

The term ‘due to practice’ denotes exposure to specific experiences. Now

consider the example of an experimental condition that studies verbal learning. Practice,
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here, would refer to successive presentation of list of words at a rate determined by the

Imprinting and habituation may be eliminated from what it means by learning

since neither of these phenomena involves practice. Similarly, short term memory would
be excluded from what is considered as ‘learning’ because it is not a ‘relatively
permanent’ change.

Though literally a number of different problems have been investigated by

learning studies only a small number of paradigms are needed to describe the
experimental procedures. Paradigms refer to the basic arrangements used by an
experimenter to produce the phenomenon that is of interest to him. The few paradigms
that have been used in experiments on learning are listed below:

· Classical Conditioning
· Operant Conditioning
· Observational Learning
· Cognitive Learning


Russian Physiologist, Ivan Pavlov, is famous for his theory of classical

conditioning. Conditioning is a process by which a natural response to a stimulus begins
to follow another stimulus that remained neutral to it earlier. Pavlovian Classical
Conditioning was considered as the prototype of all learning by most psychologists of the

7.3.1 Pavlov’s Experiment

Pavlov, while experimenting with dogs to study his physiological research,

noticed that the dog salivated not only to the sight of food but also to the sound of
footsteps of the attendant who brought food. The dogs were responding to both the
biological need (hunger). In addition to this natural response they also displayed a learned
response of salivating to a neutral stimulus ‘footstep of the attendant’. This kind of
learning is termed as ‘Classical Conditioning’.

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Classical conditioning is one in which an organism learns a response to a neutral

stimulus that had not brought that response earlier. To demonstrate classical conditioning
Pavlov conducted a series of experiments. For instance, in one of his experiments he
attached a tube to the salivary gland of the dog that helped him to measure precisely the
amount of salivation that occurred. Then, he sounded the bell few minutes after which he
presented the dog with meat powder. While pairing the sound of bell and the presentation
of meat powder Pavlov made sure that exactly the same amount of time lapsed between
the presentation of sound and the meat. During the initial trials of the experiment the dog
would salivated only to the meat powder. However, after few pairings of the sound and
the meat the dog started salivating just on hearing the sound, even when there was no
meat presented.

We would perhaps have a startle reaction when we hear a bell and would not
salivate. It is obvious that salivation was not a natural response to the sounding of bell.
Hence the sound of the bell in the experiment mentioned above is a neutral stimulus.

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Salivating to the meat is a natural response. When meat is placed on the mouth of
the dog it would salivate because of the biological makeup of the dog. Hence the meat in
the above experiment is called the unconditioned stimulus (US) and the salivation
produced in response to presentation of meat is an unconditioned response (UR).
Unconditioned responses are innate responses that are natural and that do not involve any
training. They are always a response to the unconditioned stimulus.

For conditioning to take place the neutral stimulus (ringing of bell) is repeatedly
paired with unconditioned stimulus (meat powder). During the process of conditioning
the bell gradually gets associated with the meat. Now the bell brings in the same kind of
response like that of the meat. During this phase the salivation gradually increases each
time the bell is sounded, until the bell alone in the absence of meat powder causes the dog
to salivate.
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By the time the conditioning is complete the bell has evolved from a neutral
stimulus to a Conditioned Stimulus (CS). The bell, now, can bring in salivation on its
own. Salivating to the bell is called as Conditioned Response (CR).

7.3.1 Extinction.

The property of the conditioned stimulus to bring in a conditioned brought out by

conditioned response is not permanent. It gradually loses its property is it is presented
alone without the unconditioned stimulus over a number of trails. This phenomenon is
called as extinction. Extinction occurs when a previously conditioned response gradually
decreases in frequency and disappears eventually in time.

7.3.2 Spontaneous Recovery

One interesting fact about conditioning is that once a conditioned response is

extinguished it is not vanished forever. The extinguished response may reappear after
time has elapsed without exposure to the conditioned stimulus. This is called
spontaneous recovery. Nevertheless, the response that occurs after the extinction is
much weaker that the original conditioned response and they would get extinguished
more readily than before.

7.3.3 Stimulus Generalization

Pavlov noticed that his dogs that were used in conditioning were not only
responding to the sound of the bell but also to stimulus that were similar to bell, like the
sound of the buzzer, or the tuning fork. This phenomenon he termed as stimulus
generalization. It occurs when a conditioned response follows a stimulus that is similar
in characteristics to the original conditioned stimulus. The more the two stimuli are
similar the greater would be the generalization.

7.3.4 Stimulus Discrimination

On the other hand, if the stimuli are sufficiently different from one another that
they both are perceived as different then only the conditioned stimulus would evoke a
conditioned response and the other would not. This is called stimulus discrimination. It
is the process by which an organism learns to differentiate among stimuli and restricts its
response to one stimulus in particular.

7.3.5 Higher-order conditioning

One conditioned stimulus can act as a natural stimulus when paired with a neutral
stimulus. Such frequent pairing would get the organism respond to the neutral stimulus as
it would to the conditioned stimulus. This is called higher-order conditioning. It is a
form of conditioning that occurs when an already conditioned stimulus is paired with a
neutral stimulus over a number of trials till such time the neutral stimulus evokes the
same response as that of the conditioned stimulus.
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The classical conditioning explains how we learn responses like fear for darkness
and how one gets back to drinking at the sight of alcohol after a period of abstinence.
Much of our behavior in daily life can be explained using classical conditioning.


Not all learning is involuntary. Operant conditioning explains how voluntary

responses are strengthened or weakened depending on positive or negative consequences.
In classical conditioning the original behavior is a natural biological response. On the
contrary, operant conditioning is applied on the behaviors that are voluntary. In operant
conditioning the organism performs a behavior deliberately in order to produce a
desirable outcome. Here the organism operates on its environment to produce a result that
it desires.

7.4.1 Thorndike’s Law of Effect

E.L.Thorndike observed that when cats were put in a cage with a fish dangling
outside the cats would learn, by trial and error, to press the paddle and get out of the cage.
He explained this formulating the Law of effects. He theorized that responses that satisfy
are more likely to be repeated while those that are not satisfying are less likely to be
repeated. Here, in his experiment, pressing the paddle resulted in satisfaction since the cat
could get out of the cage by this behavior. Hence the cat learnt the response of pressing
the paddle that it tends to repeat every time it was put in the cage.

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7.4.2 Skinner’s Experiment

Thorndike’s research served as the foundation for the work of B.F.Skinner who is
considered to be one among the most popular behaviorists of his times. Skinner devised a
Skinner box that he used to study operant conditioning. The animals in the Skinner box
learn to press the lever so as to obtain food that would be delivered on the tray placed
inside the box.
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Suppose a pigeon is placed inside the Skinner box. It would just move around
exploring the place in a relatively random fashion. By chance, at some point of time, it
would peck the key that in turn would result in delivery of food pellet. The pigeon does
not learn the connection between the pecking at the hole key and getting the food pellet
right after the first trial. It would still continue exploring the box. Again by chance,
sooner or later, the pigeon pecks the key and gets the food pellet delivered. In time the
frequency of the pecking behavior will increase. Eventually the pigeon would simple go
pecking the key to get the food pellets until its hunger is satisfied. This demonstrates that
the pigeon has learnt that receipt of food pellet is contingent on the pecking behavior.

The pigeons in a variation of this experiment were taught to discriminate between

two stimuli using the same principle of reinforcement. As seen in the picture above the
Skinner Box was provided with two lights (red and green). If the pigeons pecked the key
when green light was on then it was provided with a food pellet. On the other hand if it
pecked the key when red light was on the pigeon will not get any food pellet. The red and
green lights were randomly flashed for brief periods in the experiment. The pigeons
gradually learned to discriminate between red light and green light. They pecked the key
only when the green light was on and not when the red light was on!

7.4.3 Types of Reinforcement

In this situation, the food pellet serves as a reinforcer that increases the probability
that the pecking behavior will be repeated. Any stimulus that increases the probability of
occurrence of a preceding behavior is termed as a reinforcer. There are two types of rein
forcers: the primary reinforcer and the secondary reinforcer. Primary reinforcer and Secondary reinforcer. A primary reinforcer is that

stimulus that satisfies biological needs like hunger and thirst. Food to satisfy hunger,
water to satisfy thirst, and woolen clothes to keep oneself warm can be seen as primary
reinforcers. In contrast, a secondary reinforcer becomes reinforcing not by itself, but
because of its association with the primary reinforcer. Money is a reinforcer because it
can get us food, or a bottle of biseleri water. What makes a stimulus a reinforcer is highly
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individualistic. If on presentation of the stimulus the rate of response of previously

occurring behavior increases then that stimulus can be identified as a reinforcer. Positive reinforcer. Another way in which reinforcers are classified is based on
their effect on behavior. If a reinforcer increases the probability of occurrence of a
behavior then it is termed as positive reinforcer. Food, water, praise, and money, for
example, when presented following a response are likely to increase the likelihood of
occurrence of the response in future. These are examples of positive reinforcers. Negative reinforcer. On the contrary, if removal of a stimulus following a

response results in increased probability of occurrence of the behavior then it is a
negative reinforcer. A typical example is going to a movie when you are worked out to
relieve your tension. In this example getting rid of your tensions and getting refreshed
after a movie reinforces movie-going behavior. Removal of the negative state increases
the occurrence of the behavior, and this acts as negative reinforcer. Punishment. Punishment is presenting a negative stimulus that would decrease

the occurrence of the behavior. The distinction between negative reinforcement and
punishment is very important. While negative reinforcement involves removing of
negative stimulus punishment involves presenting a negative stimulus. Negative
reinforcement increases the occurrence of the behavior while punishment decreases the
occurrence of the behavior.

7.4.4 Schedules of reinforcement

Equally important as the type of reinforcement is the schedule of reinforcement.

The frequency and the timing of reinforcement following the behavior are varied in
different schedules of reinforcement. Continuous reinforcement is one where every time
the organism exhibits the desired behavior it is reinforced. For example, a pigeon on
continuous reinforcement schedule would get a food pellet every time it pecks the key.
The other type of reinforcement schedule is called the partial reinforcement schedule. In
this schedule the behavior is reinforced some, and not all, of the times. Gambling is a
typical example of partial reinforcement. In this the behavior may some times be
rewarded and some times not.

Although many different partial reinforcement have been studied four of them are
popularly used. The schedules differ in two ways: one is the number of responses needed
to elicit reinforcement, and the other is the amount of time that needs to be elapsed before
the reinforcement. The first type may be of either fixed-ratio or variable-ratio schedule.
The second type may be of either fixed- interval or variable- interval schedule. Fixed-Ratio schedule. In the fixed-ratio schedule the reinforcement is provided

only after a certain number of responses made. Piece-rate pay in industry is a typical
example of this. A tailor in an industry will receive the pay depending on the number of
garments she has stitched. Another example is a pigeon on a FR10 schedule would
receive a food pellet after every 10th peck.
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reinforcement is provided after an average number of responses but unpredictably.
Gambling devices and systems that arrange occasional but unpredictable payoffs may be
seen as examples of this type of reinforcement. Another example of this could be a
pigeon on VR10 that would receive food pellet after say 5th , 10th , 9th, 15th, 11th over five
trails which averages out to 10 (5+10+9+15+11=50, and average rate of reinforcement
would be 50/5=10). Fixed-Interval schedule. This type of schedule is one in which the organism is
reinforced after an established time interval. For example, a rat on FI 5 may be reinforced
once every five minutes. The major drawback of this schedule is that the behavior
decreases immediately after reinforcement. The rat would stop responding immediately
after reinforcement but responds more and more rapidly as the time for the next
reinforcement approaches. Variable-interval schedule. In this schedule the reinforcement is given at various

times, and it generally results in more consistent behavior. If a response has been
reinforced on the average every five minutes but unpredictably, the rat responds at a
steady rate. For example, a rat on VI 10 would receive reinforcement after say 7th , 12th,
10th, 10th, 11th second (7+12+10+10+11=50, and average rate of reinforcement would be
50/5=10). The rate is high if the average interval is short, and the rate is low if it is long.


Conditioning principles do not exhaust possible explanations of all behaviors,

especially human learning. Learning need not occur through direct experience.
Observational learning, in which we observe and imitate others behaviors, also play a big
part. The process of observing and imitating specific behavior is often called modeling.
By observing and imitating models we learn all kinds of social behaviors. Bandura and
others (1961) have developed their social learning based on social modeling.

7.5.1 Principles of Observational Learning

This type of learning was first explained by Albert Bandura (1977) in his popular
social learning theory. He says we learn by watching others. People whose behavior is
observed are called Models. Any one can serve as a model. Examples of models can be
parents, politician, movie stars, friends or even the boy next door. If the model’s behavior
is rewarded then the observer may imitate that behavior. On the other hand, if the
model’s behavior is not rewarded one may not imitate that behavior.

7.5.2 Bobo Doll Experiment

The observational learning was dramatically demonstrated by Bandura and his co-
workers. In the classic experiment by Bandura young children watched a film of an adult
wildly hitting a 5- foot-tall inflated bobo doll (Bandura, Ross, & Ross, 1963a, 1963b).
Later the children were brought to another room where attractive toys were kept but were
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denied the chance to play with the attractive toys. This was done to frustrate the children
since the experimenters were interested to see the children’s reaction to frustration. The
children were now given the bobo dolls similar to the one shown on the movie, and sure
enough the children displayed the same kind of behavior as it was done by adult models
in the movies. Amazingly some of the children mimicked the aggressive behavior almost
identically. The complete sequence of Bandura’s experiment is shown in the picture

Picture Courtesy:

Not only negative behaviors but also positive behaviors are learned through
observational learning. When children were exposed to a model playing with a dog in
‘Fearless Peer’ they were more likely to approach a strange dog than those children who
had not watches the Fearless Peer.

7.5.3 Steps in Observational Learning

According to Bandura, observational learning takes place through four steps. The
first step involves paying attention to the model’s behavior. Attention is drawn towards a
modeled behavior and most critical feature of the model’s behavior is noted. After doing
so the mental image of the model’s behavior is stored in memory so that it can be
retrieved later. The third step involves reproducing the action. Any specific situation
similar to the one stored in memory may trigger us to convert remembered behavior into
action. The fourth step involves remaining motivated to learn and carry out the behavior.
If the action performed by us is reinforced we add it to our behavior repertoire or else it
may be gradually wither away.
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The cognitive learning theorists argue that learning cannot be reduced to mere
forming of ‘association’ as contented by Pavlovian and Skinnerian psychologists. They
hold that cognitive process like perception, thinking and memory play key role in
learning. Insight Learning by Kohler and Latent Learning by Tolman may be seen as
examples of cognitive learning theories. In fact even Bandura’s observational learning
may be seen as an instance of cognitive learning since it also explains learning as one that
involves attention, imagery, and memory. In sum, the cognitive learning theorists try to
study the cognitive processes that underlie learning. Cognitive learning connotes higher-
level learning involving knowing, understanding, and anticipation.

7.6.1 Insight Learning.

Wolfgang Kohler, German psychologist, proposed that sudden recognition of

relationships lead to solution of complex problem. He experimented with chimpanzees.
Kohler’s work with chimpanzees, carried out in 1920’s, remains particularly important to
understand cognitive learning. The problems that Kohler set for his chimpanzees left
enough scope for insight, because no parts of the problem were hidden from view(in
contrast to Skinnerian experiments where the food dispenser in skinner box are hidden
from the animal’s view). Typically Kohler placed a chimpanzee in an enclosed area with
a desirable piece of fruit, often banana, out of reach. To obtain the fruit the animal had to
use the near by object as a tool. Usually the chimpanzee solved the problem, and did it in
a way that suggested he had some insight. Kohler’s Experiment with Sultan. Kohler’s typical experiment can be described
as follows: Sultan [Kohler’s most intelligent chimpanzee] is squatting at the bars but
cannot reach the fruit which lies outside by means of his only available short stick. A
longer stick is placed outside the bars about two meters on one side of the object and
parallel with the grating. It cannot be grasped with the hand, but it can be pulled within
reach by means of small stick. Sultan tries to reach the fruit with the smaller of two
sticks. Not succeeding, he tears at a piece of wire that projects from the netted cage, but
that is too in vain. Then he gazes about him (there are always in the course of these tests
some long pauses, during which the animal scrutinizes the whole visible area). He
suddenly picks up the little stick once again, goes upto the bars directly opposite to the
long stick, pulls it towards him with the “auxiliary”, seizes it, and goes with it to the point
opposite to the objective (the fruit), which he secures.

Picture Courtesy:

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Several aspects of the performance of those chimpanzees are unlike those of

Thorndike’s cat on skinner’s rats and pigeons. The solution here is sudden rather than
being the result of a gradual trial and error process. Another point is that once a
chimpanzee solved a problem with few irrelevant moves. This is most unlike a rat, which
continues to make irrelevant responses in Skinner box for many trials. Kohler’s
chimpanzees could readily transfer what they have learned to a novel situation. For
example in one problem, sultan was not put in a cage, but some bananas were placed too
high for him reach. To solve the problem, sultan stacked some boxes thrown around him,
claimed the “platform”, and grabbed the bananas. In subsequent problems, if the fruit was
again too high to reach, sultan found other objects to construct a platform. In some cases
sultan used table and a small ladder, and in one case sultan pulled Kohler himself over
and used the experimenter as a platform. Critical aspects of Insight Learning. There are three critical aspects of the
chimpanzee’s solution: its suddenness, its availability once discovered and its
transferability. These aspects are at odds with the behaviorist notion of trial and error
behaviors like the one observed by Thorndike, Skinner, and others. Instead the
chimpanzee’s solution may reflect a mental trial and error. The animal forms a mental
representation until it hits on a solution, and then enacts the solution in the real world.
The solution, therefore, appears sudden because the representation persists over time, and
the solution is transferable because the representation is either abstract enough to cover
more than the original situation or malleable enough to be extended to a novel situation. Cognitions in Animals. More recent studies done on primates provide even
stronger evidence for cognition in animal learning. Particularly fascinating are studies
showing that chimpanzees can acquire abstract concepts that were once believed to be the
sole province of humans. In the typical study, chimpanzees learn to use plastic tokens of
different shapes size and colors as words. For example, they might learn one token refers
to apple and another to papers, where there is no physical resemblance between the token
and the object. The fact that chimpanzees can learn these references means they
understand concrete concept like “apple” and “paper”. More impressively they also have
abstract concept like “same”, “different” and “cause”. Thus chimpanzees can learn to use
their “same” token when presented either two “apple” tokens or two “orange” ones and
their “different” token when presented one “apple” and one “orange” token. Likewise
chimpanzees seem to understand casual relations: they will apply token for “cause” when
someone cut paper and scissors, but not when shown some intact paper and scissors
(premack, 1985a; premack&premack, 1983).

7.6.2 Tolman’s Sign Learning

Operant Conditioning principle emphasis that the reinforcement in essential to

‘stamp in’ new behavior. In contrast, latent learning principle suggests that learning
occurs even in the absence of reinforcement. However, for the behavior to occur overtly
reinforcement is requirement. It is for demonstration and not for learning per se that
reinforcement is required. This is demonstrated by Edward Tolman. His experiments are
said to demonstrate what is called Sign learning or latent learning.
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The Pavlovian conditioning theorists believe that the rat learns specific units of S-
R connections. The Skinnerian conditioning theorists believe that the rat learns the
situation through successive approximations that is shaping, and perhaps, chaining.
However Tolman believes that the exact thing that happens in the learning is signs and
not the learning of specific units either alone or in combination and summation. The rat
rather learns a cognitive map of learning task. Sign learning connotes an acquired
expectation that one stimulus will be followed by another in a particular context. Thus,
what is learned is expectations rather than sequence of responses. Tolman allowed his
rats to learn a maze and later interrupted their path with barriers. The rats immediately
shifted to the nearest straight path to their goal as if they already knew the entire path.
Even when the maze has been suddenly rotated to 90°, the rats were able to follow their
learned path. These experiments, Tolman holds show that the learning occurring in these
cases are sign learning not mere bonding of unitary S-Rs. Tolman’s classic experiment. Tolman’s classic experiment demonstrating latent

learning consisted of three groups of rats that were made to run in complex maze for 16
consecutive days. Rats in Group 1 i.e., ‘Reward group’ were rewarded every time they
reached goal box on all the 16 days. Rats in Group 2 i.e., in ‘Non-reward group’ were not
given any reward on any of 16 days when they it reached goal box. The rats in the Group
3 i.e., ‘Latent Learning group’ were not given any reward for the first 10 days, but were
given reward for the remaining 6 days. Results of Tolman’s experiment were interesting.
For the first 10 days the rats in the Reward groups did better than those in the Non-
reward and Latent Learning groups. On the 11th day when the reward was introduced for
the first time to the rats in the Latent Learning group they performed as well as the ones
in the Reward group. This demonstrates the distinction between learning and

Cognitive maps are internal images or mental representations of an area like

maze, city, campus, and the like that underlie an ability to choose alternative paths to the
same goals. The rats seemed to develop a ‘Cognitive Map’ of maze even when no reward
was given. When reward was administered to them this cognitive map allowed them to
reach high level of performance immediately.

Discovery learning is a type of cognitive learning in which skills are gained by

insight and understanding and not by rote (de Jong & Van Joolingen, 1998). Although
rote learning is efficient most psychologists agree that when people discover facts and
principles on their own then it is more lasting and flexible than rote learning. Discovery
seems to offer better understanding of new and unusual problems. Two groups of
students, for instance, were asked to calculate the area of a parallelogram by multiplying
the height by the length of the base. One group was encouraged to see how a piece of
parallelogram could be moved to create a rectangle. Later both the groups of students
were made to work on problems where height times base formula didn’t seem to work.
Those students who simply memorized the formula got confused. Those who were
encouraged to discover had better understanding of this new problem. Thus the best
teaching strategies are based on guided discovery where in the students are given
adequate freedom to actively think about problems and adequate guidance to gain useful
knowledge by themselves.
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(i) Learning is referred to as a relatively permanent change in behavior (or behavior

potential) that results from experience or practice.

(ii) Classical conditioning by Ivan Pavlov states that learning involves forming
association between two stimuli. The learner associates previously neutral stimulus
(CS) with a stimulus (UCS) that elicits a natural response (UCR). After
conditioning the CS acquires the capacity to elicit a response similar to the UCR.

(iii) Thorndike in his law of effect theorized that responses that satisfy are more likely to
be repeated while those that are not satisfying are less likely to be repeated.
(iv) Operant conditioning explains how voluntary responses are strengthened or
weakened depending on positive or negative consequences. In operant conditioning
the organism performs a behavior deliberately in order to produce a desirable

(v) Consequences of behavior are termed as reinforcements. The types of

Reinforcement and the schedules of reinforcement will decide how quickly a
behavior is learnt and how long it would stay.

(vi) Albert Bandura who put forth the observational learning theory says we learn by
watching others. Those whose behavior is observed are called Models. If the
model’s behavior is rewarded then the observer may imitate that behavior. On the
other hand, if the model’s behavior is not rewarded one may not imitate that

(vii) The cognitive learning theorists argue that learning cannot be reduced to mere
forming of ‘association’ as contented by Pavlovian and Skinnerian psychologists.
They hold that cognitive process like perception, thinking and memory play key
role in learning.

(viii) Insight Learning and Sign learning can be seen as instance of cognitive theory in
addition to Bandura’s theory.

(ix) Wolfgang Kohler observed that animal forms a mental representation of the
problem until it hits on a solution, and then enacts the solution in the real world.
The solution will appear sudden because the representation persists over time. The
solution is transferable because the representation is abstract enough to cover more
than the original situation.

(x) Tolman’s Sign Learning is also known as latent learning. It suggests that learning
occurs even in the absence of reinforcement. However, for the behavior to occur
overtly reinforcement is requirement.
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(i) Reflecting back on your personal experience which type of reinforcement has been
effective in getting you learn better?
(ii) If you find your sister spanking your niece what would be your advice (apply
principles of operant conditioning)?
(iii) Apply principles of observational learning act as a model and try helping a kid in
your neighborhood some specific behavior.


(i) Critically compare and contrast classical and operant conditioning theories.
(ii) Bandura’s theory is a cognitive theory. Substantiate.
(iii) Evaluate the validity of cognitive learning theories.


(i) What are the essential features of learning?
(ii) What is higher order conditioning?
(iii) Which is the most effective schedule of reinforcement?
(iii) Describe Tolman’s experiment in the study of sign learning?


Coon, D. and Mitterer, J.O. (2007). Introduction to Psychology. First Indian Reprint.
Delhi. Akash Press.

Cormier, S.M. (1986) Basic Processes of Learning, Cognition and Motivation. NJ. :
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Mowrer, R.R. (2001). Handbook of Contemporary Learning Theories. NJ : Lawrence

Erlbaum Associates.

Passer, M.W. and Smith, R.E. (2007). Psychology The Science of Mind and Behavior.
Third Edition. New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill.
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8.0 Aims and Objectives
8.1 Introduction
8.2 Historical Approach to Memory
8.3 Theoretical Model of the Memory System
8.3.1 Sensory Memory
8.3.2 Short-term Memory (STM)
8.3.3 Long-term Memory (LTM) Procedural Memory Declarative Memory
8.4 Memory Process
8.4.1 Encoding Automatic Processing Effortful Processing
8.4.2 Storage
8.4.3 Retrieval
8.4.4 Interaction between Encoding and Retrieval Organization of information Context of encoding
8.5 Forgetting
8.5.1 Causes of Forgetting Decay of memory trace Interference mechanism Retrieval failure Motivated forgetting Organic causes of forgetting Amnesia caused by disease Retrograde Amnesia Anterograde Amnesia
8.6 Let us sum up
8.7 Lesson-End activities
8.8 Points for Discussion
8.9 Check your progress
8.10 References


In this lesson, the faculties of memory and forgetting will be discussed in detail.
After going through this lesson, you will be aware of the following items.
1. Model of memory system
2. Different types of memory
3. Forgetting and
4. Various causes of memory
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Memory connotes the capacity of an individual to record, retain and reproduce the
same information. Memory may be seen as referring dual aspect. In one way memory
may be seen as a process by which we store newly acquired information for later recall.
Another way in which memory is defined is the recall for specific experience or the
complete recollection of all the remembered experiences that are stored in the brain
Crooks & Stein, 1991).


Hermann Ebbinghaus (1850 – 1909) is recognized as the first researcher who used
scientific techniques to study memory. He prepared a list of ‘non-sense syllables’ that
consisted of consonant- vowel-consonant trigrams. In order to test his memory he used
relearning. He quantified his memory performance using a saving score. To identify the
relationship between savings and the time between learning and relearning he used a
forgetting curve.

Frederic Bartlett (1886-1969) tested memory using everyday stimulus materials

such as objects, birds and stories. He used the method of serial reproduction to
demonstrate effects of social factors on the recalling capacity of an individual.
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The three-stage information-processing model of memory has been guiding

psychologists’ thinking on memory since 1960s. Three distinct stages of memory have
been identified namely sensory memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory.
These three distinct systems of memory help is to process, store and recall information
(Atkinson and Shiffrin, 1968, 1971).

Information coming via sensory input


Brief impressions from senses: Forgetting due to decay

Visual (Iconic), Auditory (Echoic),
and so on.


Acoustic, Visual and semantic Forgetting due to improper

coding coding and lack of rehearsal.

LONG-TERM MEMORY Forgetting due to interference,

retrieval failure, and possible
Encoding of procedural and decay.
declarative memories

Adapted from Crooks & Stein (1991)

During early years of research in psychology of remembering it was believed that

we use the same kinds of memory to store all kinds of information. For instance, it was
believed that varied type of information like the recollection of your first school and the
skills needed to drive a car are stored in the same LTM. However, recent researches
suggest that we use different long-term memories to remember incidents and a different
one to retain a skill. Similarly, we may also use a different memory to remember general
facts and a different one to store personal facts relating to an experience.
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8.3.1 Sensory memory.

Information entering through the sensory system is stored in the sensory memory
as brief impressions, approximately to the initial 200 - 500 milliseconds after an item is
perceived. This sensory memory is highly transitory and hence we may not even be
consciously aware of the memory. This type of memory is also referred to as sensory
registers. The stimuli that we first receive are momentarily retained in sensory memory.
These fleeting impressions appear to be accurate reproductions of original sensory inputs.
The coding process that takes place in the sensory memory is in the form of physiological
process of our sensory system. No organization or categorization of information take
place in this stage, and it is regarded as the most primitive memory storage. The basic
purpose of this memory is to hold sensory impressions just long enough for important
features of this information to be transferred to the next system, the short term memory.
If we do not attend to these impressions then they may just be forgotten within a second
or two. If we attend to these sensory impressions then they get transferred to the STM.
There are as many sensory memories as there are sensory modalities. Most
prominent ones among them are the visual and auditory information. Iconic (visual)
memory consists of the images that we see. The impressions may fade away within 0.3
seconds when not used. The Echoic (Auditory) memory is the auditory after image or
echo that remains after the physical stimulus ceases. The echoic memory also, like the
iconic memory, functions to retain information temporarily for possible further
8.3.2 Short-term memory.

Information from sensory memory that have been attended to are sent to the STM.
This is an intermediate between sensory memory and long-term memory. Unless active
effort is taken to hold the information in consciousness the information in the STM fades
away within 20 seconds or less. Unless repeatedly rehearsed the information is likely to
fade from this memory quickly. This can be seen in the case of remembering a phone
number. Unless we rehearse the number it fades and we are no longer able to remember
the number. By active rehearsal, however, we can retain information in the STM as long
as we wish to.

Further the amount of information that can be stored in this system is less than
that of the sensory memory. The STM has limited capacity to hold information. It can
hold about 7 items or chunks of unrelated information on the basis of how it sounds
(acoustic coding). Only about 3 chunks can be stored when information is stored based
on how they look (visual coding) or what they mean (semantic coding). Chunk simply
refers to a meaningful unit of STM. It should be noted that the STM capacity does not
necessarily reflect 7 numbers or letters and they can store about 7 pieces of information
that can be letters, words or even meaningful sentences.
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8.3.3 Long-term memory.

The information that we remember for more than 20 seconds moves to the LTM
and get stored in it. Information from the short-term memory, when repeatedly rehearsed,
reaches the long-term memory (LTM). Information may remain for hours, days, and even
a lifetime in this LTM. While we retrieve information for LTM it passes through the
STM. LTM usually lasts longer, or even indefinitely. However, if the information is
encoded poorly it will be subjected to interference and hence may be quickly forgotten.
The LTM is filled with facts, feelings, images, skills, and attitudes resembling a
giant storehouse. In addition to storing information from past experiences LTM also
helps us to deal with and process new information. When faced with new problems and
situations we could simply pull certain chunks of information from LTM to STM and use
it to handle the situation.
Information in the LTM is organized in the form of network of linked ideas, as
shown in the section 8.4.4. The more two items are separated in the network the longer
the time it would take to answer. Networks of associated memories may have a common
experience. For instance, when you see a picture of your high-school graduation day
celebration you would remember a plethora of things that are connected to it. You will
find that one memory leads to the other, which again would lead to another, and so on.
Redintegrative memory seems to spread through the various branches of the memory
network. The basic idea in redintegration is that one memory serves as a clue to another

Information is stored in the LTM in the form of either Procedural memory or

Declarative memory. Procedural Memory. Procedural memory is what helps us to perform skills. It is
primarily employed in learning motor skills. For example: typing, playing a piano, or
participating in sports competition. The information that we learn from books and from
listening to lectures when recalled maybe termed as declarative memory. Procedural
memories are hard to acquire but remain almost permanently. Declarative Memory. Declarative memory stores factual information. It is

expressed in words or symbols. It is acquired more quickly but the information is
susceptible to forgetting. These two memories are stored in different parts of the brain
and develop at different times. Abilities develop quite early in life during infancy, but we
develop capacity to remember facts much later.

The Declarative memory can be categorized into episodic memory and semantic
memory. The former refers to autobiographical events and is stored in a chronological
order. Semantic memory, on the other hand, consists of general non-personal knowledge,
like meanings, facts, and concepts.
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Memory is described in terms of three specific processes namely encoding, storage and
retrieval. Encoding refers to getting information into the brain, Storage refers to retaining
the information and Retrieval refers to getting back the information.

8.4.1 Encoding

Some encoding occurs almost automatically. For instance, one’s memory for the
route he walks to class everyday is handled by automatic processing. On the other hand,
learning conceptual material requires conscious and effortful processing. Automatic processing occurs with little or no effort where enormous amount of
information is encoded. Automatic processing occurring without the effort of the
individual occurs without interfering with thinking. Some examples are, recalling the
entire day’s events when searching for something misplaced, and understanding a word
spoken in the native language of the person. Some types of automatic processing are
learned. For instance, reading a sentence from the reverse end may be difficult initially.
But after effortful practice it would become almost automatic. Effortful Processing is one where information is remembered only with effort
and attention. Rehearsal or conscious repetition may boost memory. Repetition,
relearning and over- learning lead to better memory in verbal tasks.
Information is processed in three ways: By encoding its meaning, by visualizing
and by mentally organizing it. This processing is done automatically but requires
different methods to enhance it. Some of the strategies to enhance coding are given

Encoding meaning: Meanings are encoded while processing verbal material,

which we associate with what we already know or imagine. In memorizing
materials deeper semantic encoding is recognized to be far more superior to
shallow visual encoding.

Encoding Imagery: Images help us enhance memory. Mnemonic devices that aid
in improving our memory are based on this principle.
Organizing: Meaning and imagery enhance memory by organizing information.
Chunking demonstrates how we organized information into meaningful units.
Hierarchies also play a role in enhancing memory. Information that is not encoded
effectively is forgotten.

8.4.2 Storage (retaining memory)

Retaining involves three types of storage namely sensory memory storage, STM
storage and LTM storage. Sensory memory is largely in the form of Iconic and Echoic
memory. Some of the information from the sensory memory is given importance that is
attended to is transferred to the STM. The STM has limited storing capacity. If the
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information is repeatedly rehearsed then it reaches the LTM. The storage here is limitless.
An average adult has about a billion bits of information in memory.

8.4.3 Retrieval (getting information out)

Memory connotes the process when something has been learned and is retained. It
may be indicated by recalling, recognizing and relearning. More the number of
information in the STM the more is the time taken to retrieve information from the STM.
During the process of retrieval each and every item is examined one at a time. This serial
search takes place in amazing speed that we are not aware of (Sternberg, 1966).
Difficulty in remembering information stored in LTM could be due to long time taken to
access them rather than due to loss of information. In other words, poor memory at this
point would reflect retrieval failure and not to problem in storage. If retrieve information
from the LTM can be compared to trying to locate a book in a huge library, then retrieval
failure can be compared to searching for the book in the wrong rack or searching for the
book that is misfiled and hence inaccessible.

Forgetting or retrieval problems are common with everyone. For instance, a

student who is unable to retrieve a specific term or formula in an exam may be able to
remember the same after he moves out of the exam. Tip of the tongue phenomena (TOT),
also known as tip-pf-tongue aphasia is a typical example of retrieval failures. In this
unusual condition of forgetting we find that we are unable to reproduce an item like name
of a person, or a term at the first attempt, even though we are quite confident that we
know the word, and also the first letter of the word. It is likely that we know how the
word sounds, the shape of the word, its meaning and perhaps even the first letter of the
word. We may even readily recognize the word among other words when someone tells it
as the word that we have been searching for. TOT where the person knows everything
about that information but is unable to retrieve it is an example of ‘stage one retrieval
error’. This may be due to some interference with the normal retrieval process. Seeing the
TOT we can understand that the information is organized in the LTM in the form of
associations and linkages (Collins and Quillion, 1969). Sometimes the word is recovered
through spontaneous recovery. Studying things that are related to the word while they are
in the TOT would help us identify the associations and linkages of items in LTM that
form categories and hierarchies.

8.4.4 Interaction between Encoding and Retrieval

The operations carried out during the encoding phase make later retrieval easier.
Organizing the information during the encoding stage and ensuring that the context of
retrieval is the same as the one where encoding has taken place are two ways by which
we can improve the chances of successful retrieval.
Retrieval is successful if effort is made to organize the information during
encoding stage. An experiment by Bower, Clark, Wizzenz and Lergold (1969) beautifully
illustrates the beneficial effect of categories in organizing encoding memory. In this
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experiment the subjects were asked to memorize lists of words. Some of the subjects
were given the list of words by arranging them in the form of a hierarchical tree.
Other subjects were given the same list of words that were arranged randomly.
On later testing it was found that the subjects who were presented the words with the
hierarchical organization were able to recall 65% of the words while those subjects who
were presented the same set of words arranged in random order recalled only 19% of the

In addition to the organization of the information the context of encoding and

retrieval also plays an important role in the success of retrieval. Retrieval is successful
when the context in which the information is to be retrieved is the same as the one where
the information was originally encoded. For instance, we would be able to recollect the
names of our classmates in the first grades better when we walk into the corridors of the
elementary school. Thus, the context in which we encode the information stands as an
important cue for retrieval. Here context can seen as including both external environment
and internal Organization of Semantic memory: Organization of information makes

retrieval easier. Bower, Clark, Wizzenz and Lergold (1969) conducted an experiment that
illustrates the beneficial effect of categories in organizing encoding memory. T h e
subjects were asked to memorize lists of words. For some subjects the words in a list
were arranged in the form of a hierarchical tree, much like the example shown in figure.
For other subjects, the words were arranged randomly. When tested later, the subjects
presented with the hierarchical organization recalled 65% of the words; where as the
subjects presented with random order recalled only 19% of the same words. Figure given
below illustrates one way concepts are thought to be arranged in LTM. It has been
concluded that information is filled in categories and subcategories as a network with
several pathways to reach a piece of information. Another common experience that
details the organization of LTM is reintegration, where a particular event may bring up
old emotions and memories. These thoughts and emotions show that there is a connection
in the way in which LTM stores or categorizes information. Context of encoding: It is easier to retrieve a particular factor episode if one is in

the same context in which he encoded it. This may mean that we can remember events
better when we are in the same situation as of the event. The context in which an event
was encoded is itself one of the most powerful retrieval cues possible, and a mass of
experimental evidence supports this. Context is not always external to memorizer. What
is happening inside of us when we encode information – our internal state – is also part of


Forgetting or retention loss connotes the apparent loss of information already

encoded and stored in an individual's long term memory. It can be a spontaneous one or
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may involve a gradual process in which old memories are unable to be recalled. There are
many reasons why we forget things. Some of them are briefly discussed below.

8.5.1 Causes of Forgetting

There are five basic reasons for why forgetting occurs:

1) The decay of memory trace,
2) Problems with interfering materials,
3) A break down in retrieval process,
4) Emotional and motivational conditions, and
5) Organic factors. Decay of memory trace: This decay maybe said to occur due to neuro-
chemical or anatomical changes. Some state that information in the STM may decay but
that information in the LTM are permanent and difficulty in recalling events maybe due
to retrieval problems. Some scientists state that decay does occur in the LTM and that
memorized decay over time and disappear. If decay theory explained all forgetting, we
would expect that the longer the time between the initial learning of information and our
attempt to recall it, the harder it would be to remember it, since there would be more time
for the memory trace to decay. Yet people who take several consecutive tests won the
same material often recall more of the initial information when taking later tests than they
did on earlier tests. If decay were operating we would expect the opposite to occur. Interference mechanism: This theory states that our memory of new information
maybe hindered by the events that occur before or after we learn. There may be two types
of interference, Retroactive interference and Proactive interference.




Retroactive interference occurs when a later event interferes with recall of earlier
information. Proactive interference is where previously learnt information hinders
learning in the present.

The following diagram illustrates experimental paradigm followed in experiments on

retroactive and proactive interference.
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Experimental Design for the study of Retroactive interference:

Group Step 1 Step 2 Step 3

Experimental Group Learn Hindi Learn Marathi Test retention of Hindi
Control Group Learn Hindi Rest Test retention of Hindi

Experimental design for the study of proactive interference

Group Step 1 Step 2 Step 3

Experimental Group Learn Hindi Learn Marathi Test retention of Marathi
Control Group Rest Learn Marathi Test retention of Marathi Retrieval failure: In certain cases retrieval may not occur because of the TOT
phenomena. Failure to retrieve information does not mean the information has
disappeared it may mean that there has been a poor encoding of the information. Even
memories that seem impossible to retrieve may pop into mind when right cues are used. Motivated forgetting: Repression is an example of motivated forgetting where

memories that is painful, embarrassing or degrading maybe forcibly forgotten. According
to Freud, repression occurs because we re unable to deal with these events in the
conscious level. There is general agreement among psychologists that motivated
forgetting dies play a role in blocking at least some material stored in long term memory. Organic causes of forgetting: Certain physical illnesses or accidents may

cause a loss of memory. There are three prominent types of organic amnesia:
1) Amnesia caused by disease
2) Retrograde Amnesia
3) Anterograde Amnesia Amnesia caused by disease: Some diseases produce actual physical

deterioration of brain cells, impairing memory as well as a variety of cognitive functions.
For instance, cardiovascular disease is characterized by decreased blood circulation,
which sometimes limits o2 supply to the brain to the point that some brain cells die.
Strokes are another common physical cause of memory impairment. Here, a vessel in the
brain ruptures, with resulting damage to cells. Alzheimer’s disease is another illness that
produces progressively widespread degeneration of brain cells. This devastating disease
produces severe memory deficits and other impairments of mental functioning. Retrograde Amnesia: Sometimes a blow to the head may cause loss of
memory for certain details or events that occurred prior to the accidents. This condition
is called as retrograde amnesia. In many of the cases, lost memories return gradually,
with older memories tending to come back first. In almost all cases investigated,
memories for recent events have been shown to be more susceptible to disruption than
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older memories. Retrograde amnesia is more likely to impair declarative memory,

particularly episodic type, than to interfere with procedural memory Anterograde Amnesia: Amnesia can also work in the opposite direction.
Some victims of brain damage may be able to recall old memories established before the
damage but cannot remember information processed after the damage has occurred. This
condition is called anterograde amnesia. It may be caused by injury to a specific area of
the brain. It may also be associated with certain surgical procedure and chronic
alcoholism. Unlike retrograde amnesia, anterograde amnesia is often irreversible.


(i) Memory connotes the capacity of an individual to record, retain and reproduce the
same information.

(ii) Hermann Ebbinghaus (1850 – 1909) Frederic Bartlett (1886-1969) we the first
ones to use scientific techniques to study memory.

(iii) The three-stage information processing differentiates three distinct stages of

memory namely sensory memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory.
(iv) The stimuli that we first receive are momentarily retained in sensory memory.
Images that we see are stored as Iconic memory and the auditory stimuli are
stored as Echoic memory.
(v) Information from sensory memory that has been attended to are sent to the STM
where it stays for 20 seconds or less. If no effort is taken to rehearse the
information at STM it would fade away.
(vi) Information from the short-term memory, when repeatedly rehearsed, reaches the
long-term memory (LTM). Procedural memory and Declarative memory are the
two types of memory in the LTM.

(vii) Memory process includes encoding, storage and retrieval. Encoding refers to
getting information into the brain, Storage refers to retaining the information and
Retrieval refers to getting back the information.
(viii) Successful retrieval depends on organization of the information and the context of
encoding and retrieval.

(ix) Forgetting or retention loss connotes the apparent loss of information already
encoded and stored in an individual's long term memory.

(x) Few causes of Forgetting that have been identified are the decay of memory trace,
problems with interfering materials, a break down in retrieval process, emotional
and motivational conditions, and organic factors.
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(i) Try and draw a hypothetical network of facts on animals to depict how
information is organized in LTM.
(ii) Listen to the song that is close to your heart and record the flood of memories that
flow on hearing the song. Record the information stored in redintegrative memory.
(iii) List some instances when you have forgotten something. Analyze the cause
behind each ‘forgetting’.


(i) Evaluate the information processing model of memory.
(ii) Critically examine the factors influencing forgetting.
(iii) Validate the TOT phenomena using Freudian theory.


(i) Name the process involved in memory.
(ii) Discuss how information moves from sensory memory to LTM.
(iii) What is meant by interference?
(iv) What do you mean by motivated forgetting?


Baddeley, A.D. (1999). Essentials of Human Memory. Hove, England: Psychology


Coon, D. and Mitterer, J.O. (2007). Introduction to Psychology. First Indian Reprint.
Delhi. Akash Press.

Cormier, S.M. (1986). Basic Processes of Learning, Cognition and Motivation. NJ. :
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Passer, M.W. and Smith, R.E. (2007). Psychology The Science of Mind and Behavior.
Third Edition. New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill.
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9.0 Aims and Objectives

9.1 Introduction
9.2 Thinking
9.2.1 The Process of thinking
9.2.2 Components of Thinking Implicit speech elements Mental images Concepts
9.3 Concept Formation
9.3.1 Types of Concepts
9.3.2 Theories on Concept Formation Association Theory Hypothesis-Testing Theory Exemplar Theory
9.4 Problem Solving
9.4.1 What are problems?
9.4.2 Stages of Problem Solving Representing the problem Generating possible solutions Evaluating the solution
9.4.3 Problem Solving Strategies Trial and error Testing hypothesis Use of algorithms Heuristics
9.4.4 Factors affecting problem solving Characteristics of the problem Perceptual obstacles
9.5 Let us sum up
9.6 Lesson-End activities
9.7 Points for Discussion
9.8 Check your progress
9.9 References
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This lesson deals with the fundamentals of thinking. By the end of this lesson you
will be able to:
(i) understand what our thinking is made up of
(ii) learn how we acquire concepts
(iii)understand how we solve problems by thinking
(iv) appreciate the process of thinking as a whole


Animals’ adaptability owes to their physical strength. Human beings are highly
adaptable creatures who owe a large part of the success to their intelligence and thinking.
Cognition connotes mentally processing information. Concepts are the fundamental
blocks of thinking. Mental images and language also aid in thinking process. Further,
thinking can be seen as taking various forms like day dreaming, problem solving and
reasoning. Thus a complete understanding of the constituents of thinking and the forms of
thinking is essential to understand our thinking process.


Thinking refers to the collection of internal processes directed towards solving a

problem. Specifically, it connotes the use of symbols or concepts to imagine something
internally, and to solve problems mentally. As a process thinking involves manipulation
of mental representations available to us in order to solve problems. This mental
representation could be a word, a visual image, a sound, or data in any other form.
Diverse cognitive processes like understanding the language, memory retrieval and
perceiving patterns in sensory inputs are involved in thinking.

9.2.1 Process of thinking

The process of thinking involves transforming the representation into new and
different form that would enable one to answer a question, solve a problem, or help him
reach a goal. Though what actually goes on during thinking is elusive the nature of the
fundamental elements that are used in thinking is fairly well understood today.

9.2.2 Components of thinking

Thoughts are basically made up of implicit speech elements, mental images or

concepts. Implicit speech refers to the motoric elements of thought. Mental images refer
to those images made up of visual scenes, sounds, or tactile sensations that are
manipulated in some systematic manner. Concepts, on the other hand, represent abstract
or symbolic forms. Implicit Speech. Psychologists during Watson’s time believed that thinking
was essentially talking to ourselves. John Watson (1930) who is considered as the
founder of behaviorism argued that thinking involves specific motor reactions that are
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perhaps difficult to observe. He maintained that sub-vocal or implicit speech occurs when
we think. This he said was evident from the tiny movements of the tongue and throat that
occur while we think. Jacobson (1932), for example, used recording device to record very
subtle muscular movements of the tongue and throat when the subjects in his experiment
were asked to silently think about various problems. In contrast, a study by Smith and his
coworkers (1947) reported that even when all of the skeletal muscles of his subject were
temporarily paralyzed in order to make them immobile he could think not only about the
questions put to him during the experiment but also about the entire experimental
procedure. Findings of Simth’s study suggest that thinking is an internal mental activity
that is independent of motor action. Mental Speech. Thinking is also defined as consisting of mental images of

visual scenes, sounds, or tactile sensations that are systematically manipulated by us.

Imagery is a quasi-sensory or quasi-perceptual experience occurring in the

absence of stimulus conditions that are known to produce genuine sensory counterparts
(Richardson, 1969). Imagery can also be seen as reinstatement of the perceptual activity
that goes on in an individual (Hebb, 1968).

The functions served by imagery are ubiquitous. Though very vivid imagery can
even disrupt adoptive problem solving it does play an important role in certain fields like
mnemonics. A strong positive correlation is said to exist between image-ability of the
stimuli and accuracy of recall in a variety of learning test situations.

A number of studies were done to investigate the physiological correlates of

imagery in order to distinguish it from other mental events and other processes that
characterize perception. Much of the researches in this line have focused on the eye
movement activity as the most relevant correlate of mental imagery. Bower (1972) and
Janssen (1976) report that eye movements are neither a necessary nor sufficient condition
for imaging. Imaging a moving stimulus at the most appears to benefit from the chance to
make eye movements (Antrobus, Antrobus and Singer, 1964). Concepts. If you are asked to describe what is in your kitchen you may give a
detailed list of things like a few boxes of masala, some spoons and plates, rice, dal, sugar
and salt. However, you are more likely to use broader categories like utensils, groceries,
etc. Usage of such categories implies operation of concepts.

Concepts are regarded as building blocks of thinking. It refers to categorization of

objects, events, or people that share common properties. Concepts help us to classify new
objects into some form that is comprehendible in terms of our past experience. For
instance, on seeing a small, four-legged creature with a small tail we may easily identify
it as a dog even if we have never come across that particular breed of dog in life before.
Concepts right away influence our behavior. Here in this example, once you identify it to
be dog you may perhaps pet it rather than fearing it.
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9.3 Concept formation

We develop concepts of different kinds in varied ways. They are explained by

different theories on concept formation that are discussed below. Before going on to
understand how we form concept it is essential for us to know about the different types of
concepts that exist.

9.3.1 Types of Concepts

Concepts may be categorized as artificial concepts and natural concepts. If a

concept is clearly defined by a unique set of properties then it is called as artificial
concept. They are also referred to as Formal concepts. For example, consider the
geometric shape ‘square’. Only if a shape has all four sides of it equal to one another we
call it ‘square’.

Some concepts are fuzzier and are difficult to define. For example, consider trying
to define table and bird. The natural concepts, nevertheless, have much relevance to our
everyday lives. Unlike artificial concepts these do not have any universal, unvarying
defining feature. They are, in contrast to the artificial concepts, defined by a set of
general, relatively loose characteristic features. These are exemplified by prototypes that
are typical and highly representative example of a concept. For example, a crow may be
considered as prototype of ‘bird’ and a study table may be considered as prototype of
‘table’. There is generally good agreement between people as to which examples of a
natural concept are prototypes and which examples fit less well. While cars are viewed as
good examples of vehicles, elevators are not. Hence, cars can be taken as examples of

The concepts are also often categories as Broad Vs Specific concepts. This can be
identified when concepts are hierarchically arranged. For example, Airplane may be seen
to refer to a broad concept while Fighter planes, helicopter, and commercial passenger
jets can be seen as specific concepts.

Concepts help us to think about and understand the complex, intricate world in
which we live. One of the most important undertakings for cognitive psychologists
represents gaining understanding of how people classify their knowledge of the world.

9.3.2 Theories on Concept Formation

Three popular theories that explain the process by which we acquire concepts are
Association Theory, Hypothesis-Testing Theory and Exemplar Theory. Association theory, proposed by Clark Hull (1920) maintains that learning
concepts are through acquisition of S-R associations. For example, we associate pattern
of stimuli like ‘has wings’, ‘can fly’, ‘lays eggs’ and ‘builds nest’ with the response ‘bird’
and thus form the concept of ‘Bird’. As the first step we form a mental representation of
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the concept that is brought enough to permit us to generalize the responses to many
different instances of the concept. After doing so whenever we encounter a new instance
of the concept we respond correctly based on stimulus generalizations. Hypothesis testing theory proposed by Jerome Bruner and his coworkers
suggests that we develop concepts by forming and testing hypothesis systematically. We
develop a strategic hypothesis-testing plan that would enable us to identify the member of
a particular concept. At the first level, we list the attributes critical for belonging to that
particular category. We then generate hypothesis about how attributes determine the
particular concept. If the hypothesis enables us to make the correct decision then we
retain the hypothesis and if not we discard it. This theory largely explains how we form
artificial concepts rather than natural concepts. The theory proposed by Eleanor Rosch (1973)’s called Exemplar theory
provides explanation of how we form natural concepts. It states that natural concepts are
represented in our memories by examples and not by abstract rules. Attributes of natural
concepts are not easily described. For example, concepts like fish, furniture, and bird
cannot be precisely defined to include all cases under the category since not all instances
are good examples of the concept. We find that not all instances of a natural concept are
equally good examples of their respective categories. Some examples seem to be more
typical while some are less typical. Our concept always centers on the best example,
referred to as prototype. The more the object is closer to the prototype the more easily it
is identified as belonging to that category.


Imagine you want to go to watch a movie with your friends and your professor
asks you to complete some assignment that he had given you. Situations like these are
said to be problematic.

9.4.1 What are problems?

When there is a discrepancy between our current status and some goal that we
wish to achieve, with no obvious ways to bridge the gap then a problem is said to be
present. The three essential components of a problem are original state (OS), goal state
(GS) and the Rules and restrictions that govern movement from original state to goal
state. The basic crux of the problem is that we must find out ways and means to resolve a
predicament in order to achieve some goal. In the above example, your goal is to go out
to watch a movie but the teacher’s assignment is holding you back from reaching your

9.4.2 Stages of Problem Solving.

No matter how complex the problem is all problems require the same step of
responses while arriving at a solution. Representing the problem, generating possible
solutions and evaluating the solution are the three logical steps involved in problem
This watermark does not appear in the registered version - Representing problems. The first step towards solving any problem is defining
the problem to conceptualize it in familiar terms that would help better understanding of
the problem. Better understanding of the problem in turn will help us solve the problem
easily. The manner in which the problems are represented in your mind will influence the
ease with which solutions can be generated. In the case of some problems representing
them visually would make solutions easy. In some other cases representing the problem
mathematically would also help. Generating possible solutions. The second step consists of generating possible
solutions. One approach could be of trial-and-error. This involves logically listing out the
various alternatives and picking up the best solution available. Here again, how we
represent the particular problem decides how quickly it can be solved. In some cases
representing the problem as a mathematical formula would work while in others
representing the problem as a word problem would prove better. Consider for example
the following problem: Find a number such that if 3 more than 4 times the number is
divided by 3, the result is the same as 5 less than 2 times the number (Mayer, 1982,
p.448). The same problem can be represented in another manner: (3+4) ÷ 3= 2X-5. In the
case of this problem representing it in mathematical formula makes solutions much
quicker and easier than when it is represented in word form. Evaluating the solution. The final stage in problem solving involves evaluating
the appropriateness of the solutions. It may be very easy for some types of problems like
the one mentioned above. Simply by substituting the value obtained, as solution in the
formula would reveal whether the solution is right or wrong. However, evaluating a
solution to a problem when more than one solution is possible to the problem is not
simple. For instance, problems like which course should I join is such a problem where
evaluating the solutions would be complex. This is due to the vague nature of the
problem. Since most students are not too clear about their goals they are uncertain about
the effectiveness of their choice even after they have selected the course. In short,
vaguely defined problems are always difficult to evaluate.

9.4.3 Problem Solving Strategies

Our ability to find a workable solution to a problem is dependent on how clearly

the problem is defined and the way we approach the problem. A number of strategies are
available to solve a problem. Four strategies that are commonly used to solve problems
are going by trial and error, testing hypothesis systematically, Use of algorithms, and
Heuristics. Trial and Error. Some problems have a narrow range of solution. In such cases
trial and error seems to be the best strategy that can be used for a solution. For instance,
imagine a situation in which your roommate in the hostel tells you that there was a visitor
for her who wanted to meet her urgently, and that she does not remember the visitor’s
name. You would, logically ask for what could be the age of the lady and how she
appeared, and start phoning the ladies whom you know and who fit the description of the
visitor, one by one. You continue calling to check if it was that person who visited you
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until you hit the right person. This explains how we arrive at solutions using trial-and-
error. This strategy appears to be effective when the likely solutions are probably few in
number. Hypothesis Testing. This is rather a systematic approach to solve problems. In

case the number of probable solutions is many then trial-and-error would not be a feasible
one. In such cases, you may use hypothesis testing which would be narrowing down the
choices of solutions based on some information. In the above example, you could think of
those people whom you had some important business like someone whom you had
promised to lend money or someone who had lent you her notes and phone only those
ladies. Algorithms. Systematic exploration of every possible answer until the right one
is hit is called algorithm. Algorithms are best suited for computers that can sort thousands
of possible solutions without getting exhausted. This strategy guarantees a correct
solution if one is aware of all the possibilities, which is very rare in reality. For instance,
we cannot apply this strategy to the above mentioned problem. Using this strategy we
may call every single lady who fits your friend’s description the phone numbers of whom
are available with you. However, not everyone’s number may be available with you. It is
even possible that you have never met this person before. Heuristics. This refers to a variety of rule-of-the-thumb strategies that can get
us quick solutions. Based on our knowledge and experiences with strategies in the past
we develop certain ‘quick- fix’ methods for dealing with problems. Means-ends analysis
is perhaps one of the most common heuristics we use. This involves identifying the
distance between the original state and goal state, and choosing the set of operations that
will reduce this distance by moving through a series of sub-goals that would help us to
move systematically towards the final solution. Another common heuristics strategy is
working backwards. This involves moving from the goal state towards the original state.

9.4.4 Factors affecting problem solving

Characteristics of the problem and the perceptual obstacles in us affect the way in
which a problem is solved. Characteristics of the problem. Ill-defined problems and complex problems are
difficult to be solved. A jigsaw problem may be a well-defined problem while problems
like ‘what do I do after completing MSc Psychology?’ are not clearly defined.
Complexity of the problem is defined as the number of steps required to solve the
problem. The more the number of steps needed to solve the problem the more difficult it
is. Perceptual Obstacles. More than the characteristics of problems perceptual

obstacles affect the way we understand and solve the problem. Some of them are mental
set, functional fixedness and confirmation bias.
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Mental Set. This refers to the tendency to approach a problem in a set or

predetermined way regardless of the requirements of the specific problem. As a result we
would apply strategies that have been successful in the past, without analyzing the current
problem carefully.

Functional Fixedness. This refers to set or fixed in our perception about the
functions of an object. It restrains one from thinking of novel use of the particular object.
Imagine you are in the situation shown in the first picture. The task given to you is to tie
both the strings that are dangling. The strings are placed enough apart that it is impossible
to hold on to one and grasping the other even after stretching the maximum. As may be
seen in the picture several objects are present in the room that can be used to arrive at the
solution. It occurs to very few people that the pliers can be tied to one string and may be
used as pendulum that can be freely grasped when it comes swinging near you (as shown
in the second figure). We, generally, overlook this simple solution since we may so fixed
in our perception in the way pliers are used and cannot think of using it as a pendulum!

Picture courtesy:

Confirmatory Bias. We are inclined to seek out evidence that will confirm our
hypothesis and overlook all the evidences to the contrary. This phenomenon is called
confirmatory bias. This is beautifully demonstrated in Peter Watson (1968) experiment
where he gave the subjects some three number series (4, 6, 8; 10, 12, 14; or 1, 3, 5) and
asked them to identify the rule. He asked the subjects to propose additional series that
would indicate whether each one did or did not conform to the rule. The subjects
identified the rule to be ‘increasing by two’ while Watson’s unknown rule was ‘numbers
in increasing magnitude’! The only way to find out Watson’s general rule would be to
search for evidences and propose series of number that would disprove your hypothesis
(like suggesting 4, 5, 7).
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(i) Thinking connotes the use of symbols or concepts to imagine something

internally, and to solve problems mentally.

(ii) Thoughts are basically made up of implicit speech elements, mental images or
concepts, where implicit speech refer to the motoric elements of thought, mental
images refer to images made up of visual scenes, sounds, or tactile sensations that
are manipulated in some systematic manner, and concepts represent abstract or
symbolic forms.

(iii) Concepts are categories into artificial and natural concepts based on how clearly
they are defined. Based on the hierarchical arrangement of concepts they are also
categorizes as Broad Vs Specific concepts.

(iv) We develop concepts of different kinds in varied ways like by S-R associations, or
by forming and testing hypothesis systematically, or by representing them as

(v) A problem is said to be present when there is a discrepancy between our current
status and some goal that we want to achieve, with no obvious ways to bridge the

(vi) While solving a problem we typically go through three logical steps namely
representing the problem, generating possible solutions and evaluating the solution.

(v) Four commonly used problem-solving strategies are going by trial and
error, testing hypothesis systematically, Use of algorithms, and Heuristics.

(vi) Characteristics of the problem and the perceptual obstacles in us affect the way in
which a problem is solved. Ill- defined problems and complex problems are difficult
to be solved. Our previous experiences resulting in mental set and functional
fixedness, and the confirmation bias in us also affect problem solving.


(i) List the type of imageries you had used this morning. After doing so try and
identify the how many of them were visual, auditory, and tactile.

(ii) Drawing a network connecting various concepts identify the broad and specific
concepts in that.
(iii) Recollect the problem that you encountered recently. Identify the strategy that you
used to solve the problem.
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(i) Evaluate the role played by mental images and concepts in our thinking process.

(ii) Critically analyze how perceptual obstacles affect our ability to solve problems.


(i) What are mental imageries?
(ii) Define a prototype.
(iii) What are heuristics? Give examples.
(iv) How can characteristics of problems affect the ease with which they can be solved?


Coon, D. and Mitterer, J.O. (2007). Introduction to Psychology. First Indian

Reprint.Delhi.Akash Press.

Passer, M.W. and Smith, R.E. (2007). Psychology The Science of Mind and Behavior.
Third Edition.New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill.
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10.0 Aims and Objectives
10.1 Introduction
10.2 Reasoning
10.2.1 Types of Reasoning Deductive reasoning Inductive reasoning
10.2.2 Syllogisms.
10.2.3 Causes of Errors in Reasoning. Faulty Premise Misinterpretation Belief bias Effect
10.3 Decision Making
10.3.1 Rational Approaches Compensatory Models Additive Model Utility Probability Model. Non-Compensatory Model Maximax strategy Minimax Conjunctive strategy Elimination by aspects

10.3.2 Heuristic Approaches The representative heuristics The availability heuristics

10.4 Let us sum up

10.5 Lesson-End activities
10.6 Points for Discussion
10.7 Check your progress
10.8 References


The previous lesson offered fundamentals on concept formation and problem

solving to orient the student to thinking process. In continuation with it this lesson
includes reasoning and decision making which are again forms of thinking. A student
successfully completing reading this lesson will possess:
(i) a broad understanding of different kinds of logical reasoning
(ii) an appreciation of factors leading to faulty reasoning
(iii) an understanding of various approaches to decision making.
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Thinking takes different forms like problem solving and reasoning. Our life is
filled with choices. Where we are confronted with innumerable choices from which we
need to pick the right one we resort to our thinking capabilities. Faulty reasoning may
result in inappropriate decisions. Various approaches are available that can guide us to
make the right decision. Choice of the decision making strategy will depend on the
factors that make up the situation. In the following sections fundamentals of reasoning,
causes of errors in reasoning and the varied approaches available to make appropriate
decisions are briefly discussed.


Life is full of situations that have inbuilt problems or that pose situations
requiring us to make decisions. Our ability to reason decides how effectively we can
solve problems and making good decisions. There are two ways in which people reason
when they make decisions.

10.2.1 Types of reasoning

Poor decisions and failure to solve problems are often attributed to faulty
reasoning. The two basic types of reasoning are Deductive reasoning and Inductive
reasoning (Rips, 1990). Deductive reasoning begins with assumption that what one thinks is true.
This assumption is used to draw conclusions about a specific instance. For instance we
know that all cats have a shorter life span compared to humans. So we can deduce that
three-year old Arthi who receives a kitten for her birthday from her aunt would outlive
the kitten. It should be noted that the deductions are valid as long as they begin with valid
assumptions and follow certain rules of logic (Skyrms, 1986).




1 2 3 4 5 Inductive reasoning, in contrast to deductive reasoning, starts with specific

instances. Starting with specific instances it reaches a general conclusion by
generalizations. For example, if you see every women acquaintance being sensitive, say
you find your wife, mother, sister, girlfriends, and almost every woman you know being
sensitive then you would conclude that women in general are sensitive beings.
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2 3 4
1 5

In our lives most of us use both deductive and inductive reasoning (Halpern,
1984). Yet the discipline of formal logic plays emphasis on deductive reasoning. A
classic model often used to study deductive reasoning is provided by syllogism.

10.2.1 Syllogisms

Syllogism is a model for studying deductive reasoning. It is an argument consisting of

two or more presumably true statements. These presumably true statements are called
premises. Premises are followed by a conclusion which may or may not follow logically
from the premises. Once the syllogism is established one is not asked whether the
premises are true or the conclusion is valid, but is asked whether the conclusion logically
follow the premises.

Consider the following examples:

All men are humans
All humans are animals
Therefore, all men are animals

God is love
Love is Blind
Therefore, God is blind

As may be seen above the conclusion logically follows the two premises in the
first example. We are comfortable with this kind of argument since it is consistent with
our knowledge of the world. On the other hand, everyone may have doubts on the
validity of the argument in the second example. If we accept the first example and reject
the second it merely reflects our inconsistency in applying principles of formal logic.
This explains how psychological content verbally expressed arguments can misdirect our
reasoning. Abstracting the above examples of syllogisms by substituting letters for real
words we see that both follow the same form.

All Xs are Ys.

All Ys are Zs.
Therefore, all Xs are Zs.
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In order to apply syllogistic reasoning correctly the following three requirements

have to be met:
(1) Each premise must be considered in terms of all of its possible meanings.
(2) All of the possible meanings of the premises must be combined in every
possible way
(3) Only if a conclusion applies to every possible combination of all possible
meanings of premises can we call it a valid conclusion.

Even if one combination of the premise meanings is inconsistent with the

conclusion the syllogism is considered to be erroneous.

10.2.3 Causes of Errors in Reasoning

By applying the rules of formal logic consistently and systematically while we

reason out things we would be successful in solving problems and making decisions. By
quickly accepting faulty premises, or by misinterpreting a premise, or because of our
attitudes and beliefs acquired due to experience we end up erring in our reasoning. Faulty Premise. Even when the syllogism is actually valid the conclusions
drawn may be faulty owing to incorrect premise.

Consider the following examples:

Children from broken homes end up as delinquents.
Ramu is from broken home.
Ramu will end up as delinquent.

All women are emotionally labile

No one who is emotionally labile can become a President
Therefore, no women can become a president

Though the syllogism is actually valid in the above examples, the conclusions are
faulty. This is because the basic premise itself is not correct. Not all children from broken
homes end up as delinquents. Similarly not all women are emotionally labile. Hence the
conclusions drawn are also incorrect. Misinterpretation. Instead of considering all possible meanings of the

premise we may conclude that there is only one meaning which can be a cause of
misinterpretation of a premise. Most common misinterpretation is when we assume that if
a premise is true then its converse is also true: We assume that is ‘All As are Bs’ then
‘All Bs are also As’. However, using syllogism we may find that this need not be the
case. Consider the following example: Belief bias Effect. We tend to accept conclusions that conform to our beliefs
and reject those that do not conform to our beliefs. This is labeled as belief bias effect.
When we face a conflict between principles of logic and what we believe about the world
then we tend to rely more on our preexisting beliefs, which can hamper our ability to
think logically.
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Our life is shaped by the decisions we take in a number of situations. Decision

making is a process that occurs when there are lots of alternative choices from which we
need to choose one and reject the rest. Our approach to arrive at a decision can be based
on strong logical analysis of the various aspects of the situation, or could be based on
some rule-of-thumb which we have framed over years through experience. Various
decision making approaches are discussed below.

10.3.1 Rational Approaches

Few rational approaches, based on some logical analyses, to decision making are
outlined below: Compensatory Models. Making decisions is quite complex since there are
both desirable and undesirable dimensions on either sides of an issue. Compensatory
models help us to evaluate how the desirable outcomes, all put together, can compensate
for undesirable ones. The two specific models of decision making under the
compensatory model type are Additive Model and Utility-Probability Model. Additive Model allows us to weigh both potential positive features as well as
negative features for each available alternative. To begin with we list the common
features of the various alternatives and assign arbitrary units that reflect what value it has
for us. These numbers are then totaled for obtaining a separate score for each alternative
that is listed.

For instance, consider the situation in which one needs to make a career decision.
You have three alternatives after narrowing down your choices. They are becoming a
Psychology teacher, or taking up private psychological consultancy or looking after your
family business. There are both attractive and unattractive dimensions for each
alternative. You may assign quantitative values (from -2 to +2) on each dimension
relative to each of the three alternatives, as may be seen in table below:

FACTORS Teaching Psychological Family
Psychology consultancy business
Interest +1 +2 -1

Personal +1 +1 +1
Income 0 +2 +2

Vacation +2 -1 0
Stress +1 -2 -2

Satisfaction +2 +2 -2

Score +7 +4 -2

Adapted from Feldman, R.S. (1993).

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Scanning through the final score for each alternative it appears that teaching
psychology would be the most satisfying alternative. This model is very easy to
implement. Utility Probability Model. This model weighs the desirability of each option
on two scales namely utility and probability. Utility here refers to the value placed on
positive or negative outcomes. Probability refers to the likelihood that the choice would
actually produce the potential outcome.

As shown in the table below the first step in this model involves listing several
potential outcomes and assigning a utility score (from -10 to +10). The second step
involves assigning a number to indicate the probability that the choice made would
actually result in the given potential outcome (values range from 0 to 1). Consider the
potential outcome ‘financial difficulty’. The table reveals that according to the decision
maker in this example probability that he would run into financial difficulties is more
when he chooses option ‘marriage’ than ‘no marriage’. The next step involves multiply
the utility values by the probability values to determine expected utilities. Finally, all the
expected utilities are added under each option. The alternative that has the highest value
is ultimately selected. In the example here, the total expected utility value for choice of
marriage is 1.8 while it is 7.7 for no-marriage decision (use the values in the last column).
Hence it is likely that the decision maker may decide not to go in for marriage at this
point of time.
Potential Utility Probability Expected
Outcome (-10 to +10) (0 to 1.0) Utility
Marriage/No Marriage/No (U X P)
marriage marriage Marriage/No

Happy +10 / +10 .7 / .2 +7 / +2

Good Study +5 / +5 .8 / .3 +4 / +1.5
Personal +6 / +6 .2 / .9 +1.2 / +5.4
space needs
Financial -8 / -8 .8 / .1 -6.4 / -.8
Limited -4 / -4 .7 / .1 -2.8 / -.4
Lowered -3 / -3 .4 /0 -1.2 / 0
Motivation to
stay trim

Adapted from Feldman, R.S.(1993) Non-Compensatory Model. In certain decision- making approaches not all

features of each alternative is considered since the features do not compensate for each
other. Table below lists choices of four cars. Assume that all the four are comparably
priced. Hence the decision models are applied to five other features namely mechanical
reliability, crash test rating, leg room, noise level, and resale value. Maximax strategy, the basic strategy, involves comparing the choices on
their best features. After comparing so the alternative with the strongest best feature will
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be selected. In the example here, car B will be chosen since it has the best mechanical
reliability. Minimax strategy is one where the alternatives are compared on their
weakest feature. For instance, in the example given below car A has 4 as the least value
while B, C and D have 3, 3, and 1 respectively. Since car A has the weakest feature
highly rated than the rest of the cars it may be chosen. Conjunctive strategy sets minimum acceptance value for the features. We
might set a minimal acceptable value for features. For example, we may set 4 as
minimum of every feature. If so then car A which has 4 or more than 4 on each feature it
will be selected. Elimination by aspects involves eliminating undesirable alternatives one by

one. This involves setting certain criteria that each feature must meet, failing which it will
be eliminated. If even after this elimination we are left with more than one alternative
then we use another criteria. This is continued until we are left with just one alternative.


Feature A B C D

Mechanical 6 10 9 5

Crash test 4 9 6 1

Leg room 5 5 4 3
Noise level 5 3 3 6

Resale 5 4 7 3

Adapted from Feldman, R.S. (1993).

10.3.2 Heuristic Approaches

It is not always possible to make decisions based on such rational and systematic
strategies. If we did so then we would be left with nothing else than charting alternatives
and calculating probabilities. Important life choices may be made using those strategies
since they are worth investing the time. In our everyday life we need to make a dozen
decisions that are not so important, and that need to be done quickly. In such cases we
only rely on few relevant facts, intuitions and certain heuristics to make decisions.
Heuristics are short-cut approaches with their unique advantages. Two common rule-of-
the-thumb decision- making strategies are discussed hereunder. The representative heuristics involves judging the likelihood of something

by comparing it intuitively to our preconceived notion of a few characteristics that
represent a given category to us. If you are given description of a person as ‘petite, soft
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spoken, very gentle, sensitive and willing to listen’ and were asked whether it is that of a
psychologist or a police officer you are more likely to see it as a psychologist than a
police officer. This is so because you might have seen prototype of police officer as
‘tough, daring, and assertive’ while that of a psychologist as ‘gentle, soft-spoken, and
gentle’. If, one the other hand, you by chance had an experience where police officers
were considerate and soft spoken and also knew that the population of police in that city
is 100 times more than that of psychologists then that could have changed your decision. The availability heuristics, another heuristic strategy, bases decisions on the
degree to which we can access information from our memories. It is based on two
assumptions: the probability of an event is directly related to its frequency of occurrence
in the past, and the events occurring frequently are better remembered than less common

We decide to serve fast food in kids’ party at home instead of a full course meal
because past experience shows that kids prefer snacks and fast-foods rather than complete
cuisine. Similarly one living near Bhopal may consider relocation seriously to avoid the
tragedy that could happen as it did many years back despite the fact that the probability of
occurrence of such an accident is statistically minute today. Here, we find that decision-
making is based on vivid images rather than by logical evaluation of probabilities.

With little intellectual effort heuristics strategies can help us make accurate
decisions. If used inappropriately these rule-of-thumb strategies may lead to bad


(i) Our ability to reason decides how effectively we can solve problems and making
good decisions.

(ii) People reason logically using Deductive reasoning and Inductive reasoning.
Deductive reasoning begins with assumption that what one thinks is true and this
assumption is used to draw conclusions about a specific instance. In contrast,
inductive reasoning starts with specific instances and tries to reach a general
conclusion by generalizations.

(iii) Deductive reasoning can be studied using Syllogism. Syllogism is an argument

consisting of two or more presumably true statements called premises followed by a
conclusion that may or may not follow logically from the premises. Once the
syllogism is established one is asked whether the conclusion logically follow the

(iv) Some of the causes of errors in reasoning are quickly accepting faulty premises,
misinterpreting a premise, and our own attitudes and beliefs acquired due to past
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(v) Decision making is a process that occurs when there are lots of alternative choices
from which we need to choose one and reject the rest.

(vi) Our approach to arrive at a decision can be based on strong logical analysis of the
various aspects of the situation referred to rational approach, or could be based on
some rule-of-thumb which we have framed over years through experience called

(vii) Rational Approaches are further divided into Compensatory models and Non-
compensatory models. Compensatory models help us to evaluate how the desirable
outcomes, all put together, can compensate for undesirable ones. Non-
Compensatory Model does not consider all features of each alternative since the
features do not compensate for each other and hence focus on either the strongest or
the weakest feature to make a decision.

(viii) Heuristics are short-cut approaches also referred to as rule-of-the-thumb decision

making strategies. The representative heuristics involves judging the likelihood of
something by comparing it intuitively to our preconceived notion of a few
characteristics that represent a given category to us. The availability heuristics bases
decisions on the degree to which we can access information from our memories of
past experience with similar factors.


(i) What kind of reasoning do you find people use commonly? Think of two
instances where your friends have used deductive reasoning and inductive
(ii) What was the toughest decision you had to take so far? Analyze the kind of
approach to had taken to make that decision.


(i) Compare the two types of logical reasoning and discuss which one is preferable
over the other.
(ii) Critically evaluate the rational approaches and heuristic approaches to decision


(i) What is Syllogism?
(ii) List the common errors in reasoning.
(iii) Differentiate compensatory and non-compensatory models of decision making.
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Coon, D. and Mitterer, J.O. (2007). Introduction to Psychology. First Indian Reprint.
Delhi. Akash Press.

Passer, M.W. and Smith, R.E. (2007). Psychology The Science of Mind and Behavior.
Third Edition. New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill.

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11.0 Aims and Objectives
11.1 Introduction
11.2 Structure of language
11.2.1 Phonemes
11.2.2 Morphemes
11.2.3 Rules of Language
11.3 Language and Cognition
11.3.1 Whorfian Hypothesis
11.3.2 Studies on Dani of New Guinea
11.3.3 Language and stereotypes
11.3.4 Language and thinking capabilities
11.4 Language Acquisition
11.4.1 Language Acquisition Device (LAD).
11.4.2 Critical periods in language acquisition
11.5 Language Development
11.5.1 Sequence of Language Development
11.6 Let us sum up
11.7 Lesson-End activities
11.8 Points for Discussion
11.9 Check your progress
11.10 References


In the previous lessons we focused our attention on process involved in thinking and
various forms of thinking. This lesson can be viewed as a continuation of that since
language is an expression of thinking. At the end of this lesson you will be able to:
(i) understand what is the structure of language
(ii) appreciate how our thinking affects language and vice versa
(iii) learn about how we learn language
(iv) know about the various stages through which language develops


Language is manifestation of the power of thinking. Language is often said to be

the jewel of in the crown of human cognition (Pinker, 2000). It is also referred to as the
‘human essence’ (Chomsky, 1972). Every language has a structure that defines
everything from the basic sound in the language to the rules that guide the language. It is
fascinating to study how language influences our thought and in turn how our thoughts
influence the language that we speak. There are a many view points suggesting different
kind of relationship between language and cognition. All these aspects of language in
addition to language acquisition and development are discussed below.
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The three building blocks of language are the Phonemes, the Morphemes and the
Grammar. Grammar includes Semantics and Syntax.

11.2.1 Phonemes

The elementary sounds of different languages are called phonemes. To say ‘Mat’
we need a set of basic sounds like ‘m’, ‘a’ and‘t’. These are called phonemes. Each and
every language differs from each other with regard to the number of phonemes it has.
While English language has about 40 there are other languages that have about 20 to 80
phonemes. People who grow up hearing to a set of phonemes from one language usually
find it difficult to pronounce phonemes of another language.

11.2.2 Morphemes

The smallest unit of language that carries meaning is termed as Morpheme. Some
phonemes are morphemes in English language like ‘I’ and ‘a’. However, most of the
morphemes are combinations of two or more phonemes. Some morphemes are words. An
example of this could be ‘Mat’. Some morphemes are prefixes and suffixes, like ‘pre’
means that occurs before, and ‘ed’ that denotes past tense.

11.2.3 Rules of Language

Grammar refers to a system of rules that help us to speak and understand. It

includes semantics and syntax. The rules we use to derive meaning from morphemes,
words or sentences are called semantics. It tells is that adding ‘ed’ to talk’ would mean
that it has happened in the past. When we read the words ‘hunting fox’, given the context,
the semantics tells us whether it refers to a fox that is hunting or it is people who are
hunting fox. The rule that an adjective should come before a noun (like ‘black horse’) in
English is an example of syntax.


The understanding on the mutual influence of language and cognition has

undergone significant changes since 1950s. The various views and development in the
understanding of how our language and thinking are related is discussed below.

11.3.1 Whorfian’s hypothesis

It is well accepted that language bears a relation with thinking. Benjamin Lee
Whorf (1956), a linguist, contended that language not only influences thinking but it also
determined what we are capable of thinking. This he called the linguistic relativity
hypothesis. If this was true then people who grew up in a culture that has only few words
for colors should have problems in perceiving the spectrum of colors than do those whose
languages have many words for colors.
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11.3.2 Dani of New Guinea.

Eleanor Rosch (1973) studied the Dani of New Guinea who has only two words
for colors. One of the two words is for bright warm colors while the other is for dark cool
ones. Eleanor found that the Dani could still discriminate among different colors, and
could remember different hues virtually in the same way as an English speaker does. This
proves contrary to the linguistic determinism. More support to this is got from a more
recent study by Davidoff (2004) that compared English children and Himba children. It
suggests that the color categories in a language have a greater influence on the color
perception in the native language users. The English language contains 11 basic color
terms while the Himba language has only 5 basic colors. Davidoff noted that English
children distinguished more colors and remembered the different hues better than the
Himba children.

Even today many linguists do not agree with Whorfian hypothesis that language
actually determines how we think. However, they do not hesitate to accept that language
can influence how we think and how we categories our experiences effectively and even
the extent to which we attend to details in our everyday experiences. Language influences
our perception, and even our decisions.

11.3.3 Language and Stereotypes

Language can help create and maintain stereotypes. When a group of students
were asked to rate the attractiveness of psychology as a career for men and women, those
who read statements written in a gender- neutral language rated it as more attractive than
those who read statements written in sexist language.

11.3.3 Language and thinking capabilities

Language not only influences how we think but also may influence how well we
think is certain domains. For examples children from Asian countries score better in
mathematical skills than English-speaking children as the Asian language makes it far
easier to learn numbers that have a base-10. Chinese language, for example, has number
‘11’ and ‘ten-one’ and ‘12’ as ‘ten-two’. The English language, in contrast, bears little
conceptual relation to the base-10 mode of thinking where ‘11’ is ‘eleven’ and ‘12’ is
‘twelve’. In total the English language seems to hamper the development of mathematical
skills while the Asian languages seem to facilitate it.

To sum up, language appears to provide the whole foundation for many human
behaviors and capabilities.


Invariance of Language Development is evident. All over the world children go

through the same stages of language development. Learning language is a part of the
biological heritage of the developing infant and child (Chomsky, 1972).
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11.4.1 Language Acquisition Devise

Children are biologically predisposed to learn any language very easily due to the
presence of Language Acquisition Device (LAD). It is this LAD is responsible for the
process of language development.

Young children from many different cultures acquire language in virtually the
same manner without any formal instructions. This invariance of language development
among children stands as proof to the fact that all children have a native ability to
develop language. Another evidence for this fact is the similarity in the sequence of
language acquisition among children all over the world. In spite of the large variations in
the language of the adults around them children across the world see to develop language
in virtually same sequence. Even when there are no models around children seem to go
through the same sequence of language development.

11.4.2 Critical periods in language acquisition

Language learning too, like any other innate behaviors, has some critical period.
This is particularly evident when it comes to acquiring the sound system of new
language. There exists a critical period for learning new phonemes and the rules of their

The first few months of one’s life is the critical period for shaping the phonemes
of one’s native language. It is noted that infants less than one year old easily discriminate
phonemes of any language. Nevertheless they lose this ability by the end of first year.
Similarly there is critical period for acquiring the sound of a second language. Young
children are more likely than adults to speak a second language without an accent after a
few years of picking up the language.

There is no strong evidence for a critical period in learning syntax. Studies on few
children who grew up in dire circumstances that prohibited them from learning any
language stand as evidence to this. Perhaps the case study of ‘Genie’ is the best
documented one. She stuttered horribly when she was in her childhood. It was when she
was fourteen years of age that she was discovered. She had lived tied to a chair since the
age of 20 months without being spoken to. She was fed by her mother who was blind.
Her mother would feed her hurriedly and would punish her if she ever uttered a word.
Genie had virtually grew up without any social contact. As one can expect, Genie did not
develop language. After she was discovered at fourteen years of age she was taught
language by psychologists and linguists. She could not become proficient at syntax
despite all the teaching. Genie learned to use many words but never could learn how to
combine them into simple phrases. Neither could she combine phrases to form elaborate
sentences. The critical factor behind this lack of language development appears to be the
relatively late age at which the language was learned. This is consistent with the fact that
there is a critical period for learning syntax. It also is compatible with the fact that
Genie’s lack of language during the early years had led to some atrophy of the left brain
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The word infant has its root in the Latin word ‘infans’ that means ‘without
language’. Neither the brain nor the shape of the mouth and throat of an infant is yet
ready for speech, and hence they are not capable of speech at birth. But sure they can
vocalize from their first moments of living on this earth.

11.5.1 Sequence of Language Development

The average ages at which children acquire different levels of language abilities
are listed by Lenneberg (1969) and Moskowitz (1978). Random vocalization and cooing
starts as early as three months in one’s life. By six months the baby is able to engage in
babbling which increases in quantum by the end of the first year. By the baby’s first
birthday it is able to comprehend few words in addition to increased babbling. When they
reach one year and a half the child is able to use some individual words that are mostly
nouns. However, it is still unable to make use of any phrase. A two year old has a
vocabulary for about 50 words that include many two word phrases. Ability to form
sentences is still not developed at this period. Good language comprehension in addition
to using longer phrases and short sentences though with errors in often seen commonly
by the time the child is two and a half years old. The vocabulary goes on a constant
increase with the child holding a vocabulary of about 1000 words with much lesser errors
when he reaches three years of age. He can now form longer sentences too. By four years
of age the language development is close to basic adult speech competence.

Infant Crying and Cooing: Crying and cooing are the only means of vocalization
for the first four months in life. Parents find it impossible to differentiate between cries of
pain, hunger or surprise on the basic of sound alone until five months of age. But by the
time the baby is seven months old parents can fairly discriminate between these different
sounds (Muller, Hollien, and Murry, 1974; Ricks, 1975). Though there is no evidence
that infants cry to communicate it certainly does help parents with information about
what they want. So very early in life infants learnt that vocalizations improve their well-
being by getting them what they need.

Infant babbling: Babbling begins by the time infant reaches fourth or fifth month
in life. Infant babbling consists of sounds like ba-ba, da-da, ma-ma or goo-goo. It is
closer to speech than crying. Infant babbling is similar across all cultures, and there
seems to be uniformity universally. Babbling is mixture of certain phonemes and it can
form the base for any language. Babbling is controlled by a maturational process which
prepares the vocal tract for speech. Vocalization is influenced by the surrounding
environment over the next several months. Infants continue to use the sounds that are
similar to what they hear around them. They may stop using the sounds that do not match
with their parents’ language. Gradually the speech sounds they produce come to resemble
the phonemes of the language that is being spoken around them.

The beginning of speech: By the time the infants reach the sixth or seventh month
they start communicating with others through gestures. They might hold up objects to
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show them to others. Eventually, by ten or eleven months, they start pointing at objects to
direct attention of others towards it. At this stage they also understand the meaning of
other’ pointing at things. They would now start looking at the place where other’ point
rather than looking at the face or hand of the adult as they did earlier. When they reach
the end of the first year they start combining gestures with single words to communicate.
These one-word utterances mark the beginning of speech.

Single-word utterances: Speech through one-word utterances is minimal. But it

does convey lot of information. For instance, when a one year old says ‘mama’ for
mother it might express any of the following ideas: ‘I want mommy’, ‘Mommy is there’,
‘Mommy, come here’, ‘Mommy, look here’, ‘Where is mommy?’. By the beginning of
the second year the child has only about a handful of words. It increases to over 200
words by the end of the second year. Nelson (1973) observed that children first talk about
such things as food, animals, and toys that they are attracted to. Only much later do they
speak about inanimate things like tables, chairs, books, and cars.

Two-word utterances: During the period from one and a half years to two years
the child starts forming two-word utterances like ‘no milk’, and ‘more juice’.
Misinterpretation by parents forces the child to communicate more effectively, and two-
word utterances are an improvement shown towards that. They use only most important
words, and their two-word sentences are short and to the point.

Expanded sentences: From ages two through seven the child’s sentences expand
to help them communicate better. Their communication becomes less ambiguous. They
start, for the first time, using article, past-tense, plurals, and other elements by the time
they are five. The impetus for all this effort is nothing but greater communication of


(i) Language is manifestation of the power of thinking.

(ii) The three building blocks of language are the Phonemes, the Morphemes and the
Grammar. Grammar includes Semantics and Syntax.

(iii) Language affects our Cognition. Whorfian hypothesis that language actually
determines how we think is not accepted by majority of the linguists. But language
is found to influence how we think and how we categories our experiences
effectively. Language influences our perception, and even our decisions.

(iv) Universally all children go through the same stages of language development.
According to Chomsky, (1972) children are biologically predisposed to learn any
language easily due to the presence of Language Acquisition Device (LAD) which
is actually responsible for language development.
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(v) There exists a critical period for acquiring language. There exists a critical period
for learning new phonemes and the rules of their combination especially when it
comes to acquiring the sound system of new language.

(vi) Language Development occurs through a sequence of developmental stages from

the time infant is born. Infants are born without language. The following may be
seen as the sequence of language development: Random vocalization and cooing,
babbling, individual words, two word phrases, longer phrases and short sentences,
and longer sentences.


(i) Identify the phonemes in your native language.
(ii) Make an album with pictures of children (use your own photographs if available)
at different ages and try to match it with the level of language competence that
they have achieved.
(iii) Knowing about LAD and critical period available for acquiring language suggest
some ways in which you can teach language to someone.


(i) Evaluate the validity of Whorfian hypothesis from a psychologist’ point of view.
(ii) Every individual has the same capability to learn any language in the world.
Justify the statement.
(iii) Critically analyze the most often quoted ‘Genie study’.


(i) How is syntax different from semantics?
(ii) What is Chomsky’s contribution in the field of psycholinguistics?
(iii) List the various stages of language development appropriate to each age.


Coon, D. and Mitterer, J.O. (2007). Introduction to Psychology. First Indian Reprint.
Delhi: Akash Press.

Passer, M.W. and Smith, R.E. (2007). Psychology - The Science of Mind and Behavior.
Third Edition. New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill.
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12.0 Aims and Objectives

12.1 Introduction
12.2 Definition of Intelligence
12.3 History of Measurement of Intelligence
12.4 Theories of Intelligence
12.4.1 Factor Theories Two-Factor Theory Primary Mental Abilities The Structure of Intellect
12.4.2 Process Theories Multiple Intelligence Triarchic Theory of Intelligence Componential subtheory Experiential Subtheory Contextual Subtheory
12.5 Assessment of Intelligence
12.5.1 The Classical Tests of Intelligence
12.5.2 Wechsler’s Test of Intelligence Adult Intelligence Scale or WAIS WISC WPPSI WAIS-R NI
12.5.3 Raven’s Progressive Matrices Standard Progressive Matrices Coloured Progressive Matrices Advanced Progressive Matrices Standard Progressive Matrices Plus
12.5.4 Culture- fair intelligence tests Cattell’s Culture Fair Intelligence Test (CFIT). Sternberg Multidimensional Abilities Test (STAT)
12.6 Let us sum up
12.7 Lesson-End activities
12.8 Points for Discussion
12.9 Check your progress
12.10 References


Having studied about certain cognitive processes like thinking and memory in the
previous lesson we now shift our attention to intelligence. A student after completing this
lesson will be able to:
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(i) understand intelligence as a construct

(ii) appreciate the various theories that have tried to explain the structure and
process of intelligence
(iii) learn the historical development in intelligence testing
(iv) gain knowledge on the various assessment tools available to measure


Intelligence may be regarded as mental property that includes many related

cognitive abilities, such as the capacities to reasoning, planning, problems solving,
abstract thinking, comprehending ideas, using language, and learning. Intlligence has
been formally defined in a number of different ways. There are several ways intelligence
is undertood and defined depending on the theoretical orientations of the persons defining
the term. This defining intelligence has always been a matter of controversy.


The word intelligence is derived from the Latin verb, ‘intelligere.’ The root word
intelligre means ‘to understand.’ The original term intelligere in Latin implies that the
construct of intelligence should stand for a deeper understanding of the relationships of
all things around us. Thus, it has to do with a capability for metaphysical manipulation of
such objects once such understanding is mastered. The report of a task force of the
American Psychological Association (1995) had observed that ‘intelligence’ are attempts
to clarify and organize this complex set of phenomena. Inspite of considerable clarity has
been achieved in some areas, no such conceptualization has yet answered all the
important questions and none commands universal assent.In fact, when two dozen
prominent theorists were recently asked to define intelligence, they gave two dozen
somewhat different definitions. Another group of 52 reserachers who have their
background in mainstream science of intelligence assembled in 1994 held that
intelligence is 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. Intelligencet 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.


Alfred Binet (1905) was requested by Paris municipal authorities to diagnose the
reason for poor performance of children in elementary schools and he responded to their
request by attempting to arrive at a scale to apply for identifying the potentialities of the
children to profit from the instruction in the school. Binet conceived the concept of
intelligence and it as ‘...judgment, otherwise called good sense, practical sense, initiative,
the faculty of adapting one's self to’ Since no scientific
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foundation was available for him he resorted to evolving a scale he designated as

intelligence scale that provided a standard measure to identify the mental age of the
children. First he selected a series of items the children are supposed to be capable of
solving. The items were deliberately chosen to be heterogeneous ranging from sensory
discrimination to vocabulary knowledge. The difficulty level of the items ranged from
‘most simple’ to ‘most difficult’ levels. By administering the items across a range of
children varying in age, he could sort out the specific items that were passed by different
age groups of children. Thus he could identify the set of items pertaining to each group of
children that were passed by that age group of children. When a child could answer the
items generally answered successfully by a group of children who were of his age, he was
supposed to be having a normal level of intelligence, and the child is considered to have
an average level of intelligence. When a child could answer the set of items pertaining to
a group of children elder to him, he is considered to have high intelligence and
conversely if he could answer only the set of items pertaining to a group of children
younger to him, he is considered to have less than average intelligence. Thus the sets of
items passed by children of each age group were obtained. Thus, items pertaining to each
group was arrived at and identified as providing measure of mental age of the children.
When a child could pass a set of items pertaining to a particular age, then he is supposed
to be having a mental age matched to the age- level the items stood for. This made it
possible to determine the mental age for each child and to find out the proportion
between the child’s chronological age and his mental age.

Terman (1916) and colleagues at Stanford University translated Binet's test,

adapted the content for U.S. schools, and Terman called the new version the Stanford-
Binet test. Taking the advice from Stern, Terman tried to arrive at an integer based on the
proportion of mental age to the chronological age. Hence he divided the mental age by
the chronological age and multiplied the resultant by hundred to get the measure,
Intelligence Quotient (IQ). Thus 100 had been taken as the average level of IQ and
deviations from the average had been used to identify the extent of mental retardation or
giftedness. During world war several intelligence tests were developed especially for
screening people for recruitment to the armed forces. was initially perceived as a unitary
concept, which could be assessed and quantified and expressed by a single number.
However, sooner psychologists considered whether the concept could legitimately be
split into components.


Numerous theories are available in literature that have made attempts to explain
the construct intelligence. Some of them are focused on explaining the structure of
intelligence. They have attempted to describe intelligence as made up of different
components. On the other hand, some theories have tried to explain intelligence as a
process. Some of the commonly referred theories are discussed below.
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12.4.1 Factor Theory

Factor theories of intelligence focus on the structure of intelligence, that is, on the
skills and abilities that it comprises of. In the course of development of intelligence
theories several attempts have been made to slice the structure into different factors.
Factor analysis, a sophisticated procedure used to identify the constellation of variables in
a domain has been used to identify the factors of intelligence. Factors refer to sources of
differences seen among an array of variables.

12.4.2 Two Factor Theory. Charles Spearman (1940) put forth two- factor theory of
intelligence to account for the variations seen in intelligence. This is the first widely
influential theory of intelligence. Individuals who have the skill to quickly assemble
colored blocks to match pictures of complex designs also found usually tending to
perform well when they are given the task of assembling pieces of a puzzle. This as well
as other behaviors that reflect an ability to visualize and manipulate patterns and forms in
space suggests existence of a spatial ability factor. Spearman factor analyzed the scores
of a large number of subjects on diverse tests that assessed many different intellectual
skills and abilities. This enabled Spearman to assess which of these skills were related to
each other. Based on the findings of the investigation the Spearman’s model of
intelligence was developed.

Spearman observed that some subject consistently scored high and a roughly
equal number consistently scored low on all of the various tests purporting to assess
different aspects of intelligence. People who scored high (or low) on one kind of test
were found to obtain scores at a similar level on the other tests. But, their scores on
various skill tests did tend to differ to some extent.

These observations influenced Spearman to propose that intelligence is made up

of two components: a g- factor or general intelligence and a s-factor or special factor
involving the collection of specific intellectual abilities. The existence of g-factor
suggests that every individual has a certain level of general intelligence (g- factor),
probably genetically determined, and it underlines all of our intelligent behavior. Every
individual also has some specific abilities (s- factors) that are more useful in doing some
tasks than in doing other tasks. General intelligence is needed for all, from plumber to
philosopher to do their intellectual activity. Musical ability, mechanical ability,
mathematical ability are special abilities and are emphasized by s- factor. S-Factor might
vary from persona to person.

Spearman’s ‘g’ factor theory of intelligence had been modified by Raymond

Cattell (1905), his student. Cattle held that ‘g’ itself may considered to be a two part
construct, gF and gC, which stand for fluid and crystalized intelligence. Fluid intelligence
refers to ability to perceive relationships without previous specific experience as is
measured with matrices tests or verbal analogies. Crystallized intelligence involves
mental ability derived from previous experience as are measured by word meanings, use
of tools and cultural practices. Crystalized intelligence may change over years in an
individual due to decline in fluid knowledge.
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intelligence as “Intelligence, considered as a mental trait, is the capacity to make
impulses focal at their early, unfinished stage of formation. Intelligence is therefore the
capacity for abstraction, which is an inhibitory process (Thurstone, 1924/1973).”
Thurstone rejects g was as statistical artifact resulting from the mathematical procedures
used to study it. Adopting factor analysis, Thurstone found that intelligent behavior does
not arise from a general factor, but rather emerges from seven independent factors. He
named the factors identified by him the primary mental abilities. The primary abilities:
word fluency, verbal comprehension, spatial visualization, number facility, associative
memory, reasoning, and perceptual speed (Thurstone, 1938). Even in samples comprised
of people with similar overall IQ scores, different profiles of primary mental abilities
seem to result. Thus primary mental abilities seem to have clinical utility than
Spearman’s ‘g’. However, in an intellectually heterogeneous group of children, he failed
to find that the seven primary abilities were entirely separate, rather there existed an
evidence for presence of ‘g’. onsequently, Thurstone arrived at an elegant mathematical
solution that resolved these apparently contradictory results. His final version of his
theory of primary abilities was a compromise that accounted for the presence of both a
general factor and the seven specific abilities.

The Seven Primary Mental Abilities (Thurston, 1938) are briefly described below:

Table 1. The Seven Primary Mental Abilities (Thurston, 1938)

Primary Mental Ability Factor Nature of the ability implied by the Factor

Verbal Comprehension understanding the meaning of words, concepts and

Numerical Ability using numbers in order to quickly compute answers to
Spatial Relations visualizing and manipulating patterns and forms in
Perceptual Speed grasping perceptual details quickly and accurately;
determining similarities and differences between
various stimuli.
Word Fluency using words quickly and fluently while performing
tasks like rhyming, solving anagrams, and doing
crossword puzzles.
Memory recalling information.
Inductive Reasoning driving general rules and principles from the
information that is presented. Structure of Intellect. J.P.Guilford has propounded a three-dimensional
model of intelligence. His theory of intelligence is termed the Structure of Intellect (SI)
theory. The theory views intelligence as comprising of operations, contents, and products.
Succinctly the model suggest that Five kinds of operations carried on five kinds of
contents yield six kinds of products, and as such one hundred and fifty elements of
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intellect could be generated and identified as constituting and accounting for the structure
of intellect. The five kinds of intellectual operations include cognition, memory,
divergent production, convergent production, evaluation; the six kinds of products
include units, classes, relations, systems, transformations, and implications; and, the five
kinds of contents include visual, auditory, symbolic, semantic, behavioral tasks. . Since
each of these dimensions is independent, there are theoretically 150 different components
of intelligence possible to be identified and tested.

Picture Courtesy:

The Structure of Intellect (SI) Model of J.P.Guilford.

Guilford adopted factor analysis and developed a wide variety of psychometric

tests to measure the specific abilities predicted by SI theory. The tests provide an
operational definition of the many abilities proposed by the theory. The convergent and
divergent production operations are recognized to be synonymous with intelligence and

12.4.2 Process Approaches

The factorial approaches of Spearman, Thurston, and Guilford have contributed to

our understanding of the structure of intelligence as comprising of several factors. They
imply that the concept that intelligence may comprise many separate abilities that operate
more or less independently was established. However they do not address the important
question of how people solve problems and interact effectively (i.e. intelligently) with
their environments. In the last decades new theoretical models of intelligence that seek to
understand intelligence as process have emerged in the field. The multiple intelligence
model and the triarchic theory of intelligence theories of Howard Gardner and Robert
Sternberg represent approaches different to the one adopted by earlier psychologists.
This watermark does not appear in the registered version - Multiple Intelligence. Based on the findings from fields as disparate as artificial
intelligence, developmental psychology, and neurology, a number of investigators have
put forth the view that the mind consists of several independent modules or
"intelligences." Howard Gardener has developed his theory of multiple intelligences, and
argues that human beings have evolved to be able to carry out at least seven separate
forms of analysis. The seven intelligences identified by Gardner include Linguistic
intelligence (as in a poet); Logical- mathematical intelligence (as in a scientist); Musical
intelligence (as in a composer); Spatial intelligence (as in a sculptor or airplane pilot);
Bodily kinesthetic intelligence (as in an athlete or dancer); Interpersonal intelligence (as
in a salesman or teacher); and Intrapersonal intelligence (exhibited by individuals with
accurate views of themselves). Gardner suggests that "although they are not necessarily
dependent on each other, these intelligences seldom operate in isolation. Every normal
individual possesses varying degrees of each of these intelligences, but the ways in which
intelligences combine and blend are as varied as the faces and the personalities of
individuals." Triarchic Theory of Intelligence. Sternberg (1979, 1981 and 1982) has
proposed a theory of Practical intelligence. This theory has departed from adopting a
psychometric approach to intelligence and creativity and leaned heavily on information
processing approach in studying intelligence. The initial approach to developing this
theory focused on how information is processed by people in order to solve problems and
deal effectively with their environments. The steps people go through when solving the
kinds of problems typically encountered in intelligence tests involve six steps. These
steps include. Encoding comprising of identifying the key terms or concepts in the
problems and retrieving any relevant information from Long Term Memory, Inferring
referring to determining the nature of relationships that exist between these terms or
concepts, Mapping referring to Clarifying the relationship between previous situations
and the present one, Application involving deciding if the information about known
relationships can be applied to the present problem, Justification involving deciding if the
answer can be justified and Response referring to providing the best possible answer,
based on proper information processing at each of the previous stages.

Sternberg believes that people can be taught to construct their own problem
solving strategies by learning to think about how they approach problems and how to
function more effectively. Thus by teaching more effectively, intelligence of the
individual, at least as measured by intelligence tests, can be increased. Sternberg’s (1985-
86) has expanded his information – processing approach recently. He calls it the triarchic
theory of intelligence. According to this theory, intelligence is defined as a
multidimensional trait that is comprised of three different abilities: Componential,
Experiential, and Contextual

Sternberg has developed his Triarchic Theory of Human Intelligence (1977, 1985,
1995). TheTriarchic Theory seems to be an attempt to synthesize the various theories of
intelligence. Sternberg views Intelligence as,"Purposive adaptation to, shaping of, and
selection of real-world environments relevant to one's life" (Sternberg, 1984, p.271).
Intelligence is purposive in that it is directed towards goals, however vague or
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subconscious it may be. Thus, intelligence is indicated by one's attempts to adapt to one's
environment. He subsumes both Spearman’s g and underlying information processing
components to account for intelligence. His theory includes three facets or subtheories of
intelligence including Analytical (componential) Intelligence, Creative (experiential)
Intelligence, and Practical (contextual) Intelligence.

Sternberg's theory builds on his earlier componential approach to reasoning and is

mostly based on observing Yale graduate students. He believes that intelligence properly
defined and assessed will manifest in real- life success as he observed amongst his
students. Componential subtheory. Analytical Intelligence (Academic problem-

solving skills) is based on the joint operations of metacomponents and performance
components and knowledge acquisition components of intelligence, The metacomponents
seem to control, monitor and evaluate cognitive processing. Such tasks are the executive
functions to order and organize performance and knowledge acquisition components.
They involve the higher order mental processes that order and organize the performance
components. They are used to analyze problems and pick a strategy for solving them.
They determine what to do and the performance components actually carryout them.

The performance components are the basic operations in any cognitive act. They
execute strategies assembled by the metacomponents. The cognitive processes enable one
to encode stimuli, hold information in short-term memory, make calculations, perform
mental calculations, mentally compare different stimuli, retrieve information from long-
term memory.

The knowledge acquisition components are the processes used in gaining and
storing new knowledge. They are concerned with capacity for learning. Strategies used to
help memorize things provide an instance of the processes involved in this category.
Individual differences in intelligence are hence related to individual differences witnessed
in the use of these cognitive processes. Individuals with better reasoning ability generally
spend more time understanding the problem but reach their solution faster than those who
are less skilled at the task
. Experiential Subtheory. Creative Intelligence involves insights, synthesis
and the ability to react to novel situations and stimuli. Creative intelligence is the
experiential aspect of intelligence. It reflects how an individual connects the internal
world to external reality.

The Creative facet consists of the ability that allows people to think creatively and
that which allows people to adjust creatively and effectively to new situations.
More intelligent individuals will also move from consciously learning in a novel situation
to automating the new learning so that they can attend to other tasks.

It is assumed that the novelty skills and automatization skills are the two broad
classes of abilities associated with intelligence. A task measures intelligence if it requires
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the ability to deal with novel demands or the ability to automatize information
processing, two ends of a continuum. Hence, novel tasks or situations are good measures
of intellectual ability. They assess an individual's ability to apply existing knowledge to
new problems. Contextual Subtheory. Practical Intelligence involves the ability to grasp,

understand and deal with everyday tasks. This is the Contextual aspect of intelligence and
reflects Analytical Facet. Analytical Intelligence is similar to the standard psychometric
definition of intelligence. Measured by Academic problem solving: analogies and puzzles
belong to this category. This corresponds to Sternberg’s earlier componential
intelligence. This reflects how an individual relates to his internal world.

Practical Intelligence may be said to be intelligence that operates in the real

world. Individuals with this type of intelligence can adapt to, or shape their environment.
It might also be called ‘Street-smarts’. In measuring this facet, not only mental skills but
also attitudes and emotional factors that influence intelligence are to be included. The
practical intelligence is a combination of adaptation to the environment in order to have
goals met, changing the environment in order to have goals met and if the two preceding
acts are not working, moving to a new environment in which goals can be met.
Individuals considered intelligent in one culture may be looked on as unintelligent in
another. Sternberg’s theory is distinguished from other theories by not defining
intelligence in terms of psychometric intelligence tests rather than performance in the
everyday world.


Alfred Binet, the French psychologist published the first modern version of
intelligence test called the Binet-Simon intelligence scale, in 1905. He originally evolved
the test to identify students who needed special help in coping with the school
curriculum. Binet published revisions of his intelligence scale in 1908 and 1911. A
further refinement of the Binet-Simon scale was published in in 1916 by Lewis Terman,
the American Psychologist. Terman incorporated the suggestion of William Stern, the
German psychologist that an individual's intelligence level be measured as an (I.Q.).
Terman named the as the Standford-Binet. This scale formed the basis for one of the
modern intelligence tests still commonly used today.

12.5.1 The Classical Tests of Intelligence

The introduction of the Stanford-Binet IQ test initiated the modern intelligence
test movement. The test employed questions of increasing difficulty, and included such
items as attention, memory, and verbal skills. Terman had removed several of the Binet-
Simon test items and added completely new ones. The test gained acceptability and
Rober Yerkes , the President of the American Psychological Association decided to use
the test to develop the Army Alpha and Army Beta tests, which helped classify recruits to
the Army. Thus, a high- scoring individual would get a grade of A (high officer material),
whereas a low-scoring individual would get a grade of E and be rejected (Fancher, 1985).
The Stanford-Binet test under went several revisions and by the time the fifth edition of
the test came up it had been adminsitered to more a stratified sample of 4800 subjects
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and norms have been developed on the data obtained on the sampele. By then the test had
been found to have adequate validity as shown by correlation with the previous versions
as well as other tests including WAIS.- III R. The Binet-Simon Fifth Edition included
Fluid Reasoning , Knowledge, Quantitative Reasoning, Visual-Spatial Processing, and
Working Memory as the five factors tested. Each of these factors is tested in two separate
domains, verbal and nonverbal. Test items like verbal analogies used to test Verbal Fluid
Reasoning and picture absurdities used to test Nonverbal Knowledge provide illustrtion
of the type of items included in the test.It was suggeste that students with exceptional
scores on this test may be deemed bright, moderately gifted, highly gifted, extremely
gifted, or profoundly gifted in contrast to thethose who score poorly on this test.
Applying the propertie of normal curve deviation of the subjects from the average was
traced and used for identifying gifted as well as the individuals who had lower levels of
intelligence were identified. The various rvisions of Standford-Binet Scales are presented
in table below.

Table 1 Test Structure of the Stanford-Binet: 1916 to 2003.

(Adopted from Kirk A. Becker, Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales, Fifth Edition
Assessment Service Bulletin Number 1, WWW.stanford-binet)

Edition Structure Abilities Measured

1916 Parallel vocabulary tests General intelligence
Single age scale
1937 Form L vocabulary test General intelligence
Parallel age scales
1960/1973 Vocabulary test General intelligence
Single age scale
1986 Vocabulary routing test General intelligence
Subtest point scales
Verbal Reasoning
Abstract/Visual Reasoning
Quantitative Reasoning
Short-Term Memory
2003 Hybrid structure General intelligence
Verbal routing test Knowledge
Nonverbal routing test Fluid Reasoning
Verbal and nonverbal age scales Quantitative Reasoning
Visual-Spatial Processing
Working Memory
Nonverbal IQ
Verbal IQ

12.5.2 Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale o r WAIS is a general test of intelligence

(IQ). The test was first published in 1955 as a revision of the Wechler-Bellevue Test
(1939). The later was a battery of tests that is composed from subtests Wechsler
"adopted" from the Army Tests (Yerkes, 1921). Weschler defined intelligence as the
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global capacity of a person to act purposefully, to think rationally, and to deal effectively
with his/her environment.

WAIS comprises of 14 sub tests. There are 7 verbal sub tests and 7 nonverbal or
performance sub tests in WAIS. Wechsler's tests provide three scores including a verbal
IQ (VIQ) , a performance IQ (PIQ) and a composite, single full-scale IQ score based on
the combined scores. The WAIS-R was standardized on a sample of 1,880 subjects in the
age group ranging from 16 to 74. The current version is WAIS-III (1997). The median
score of the sample on the full-scale IQ is centered at 100 with a standard deviation of 15.

The WAIS-III is appropriate for assessing intelligence throughout adulthood and

for use with those individuals over 74 years of age. WAIS, 7 – 16 yrs is used for
assessing the IQ of the children aged between 7 to 16. Wechsler Preschool and Primary
Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI, 2 ½ - 7 yrs) For persons under 16, the Wechsler
Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC, 7-16 yrs) and the Wechsler Preschool and
Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI, 2 1/2-7 yrs) is assess IQ of the chilred in
the age group of 2 ½ to 7 years. WAIS provides an IQ score in case only performance
tests were adminsitered.

A short, four-subtest, version of the battery has recently beenmade available. This
permits clinicians to form a validated estimate of verbal, performance and full scale IQ in
a shorter amount of time. The Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence (WASI) uses
the vocabulary, similarities, block design and matrix reasoning subtests of the WAIS to
provide an estimate of the full IQ scores.
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The 14 subtests of the WAIS-III

12.5.3 Raven’s Matrices.

Verbal Scale Non Verbal or

Name of Test Nature of the Test-Item Name of Test Nature of the test
Information Degree of general information Picture Ability to quickly
acquired from culture (e.g. Who Completion perceive visual details
is the president of Russia?)
Comprehension Ability to deal with abstract Digit Symbol - Visual- motor
social conventions, rules and Coding coordination, motor and
expressions (e.g. What does "Kill mental speed
2 birds with 1 stone"
metaphorically mean?)
Arithmetic Concentration while Block Design Spatial perception,
manipulating mental visual abstract
mathematical problems (e.g. processing & problem
How many 45c. stamps can you solving
buy for a dollar?)

Similarities Abstract verbal reasoning (e.g. In Matrix Reasoning Nonverbal abstract

what way are an apple and a pear problem solving,
alike?) inductive reasoning,
spatial reasoning
Vocabulary The degree to which one has Picture Logical/sequential
learned, been able to Arrangement reasoning, social insight
comprehend and verbally express
vocabulary (e.g. What is a

Digit span attention/concentration (e.g. Symbol Search Visual perception, speed

given the sequence of digits
'123', reverse the sequence.)

Letter-Number attention and working memory Object Assembly Visual analysis,

Sequencing (e.g. Given Q1B3J2, place the synthesis, and
numbers in numerical order and construction
then the letters in alphabetical
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J.C.Raven (1938) developed the Progressive Matrices. They popularly used

tests of reasoning and clear thinking. They are well known as non verbal tests of abstract
reasoning. Each item presents a matrix with a specific pattern and the respondent is
asked to identify the missing segment required to complete a larger pattern. The test
items are presented in the form of a 3x3 or 2x2 matrix, giving the test its name.

The matrices are available in three different forms for testing the participants of different
ability: Standard Progressive Matrices were the original form of the matrices,
published in 1938. The booklet comprises five sets (A to E) of 12 items each. The items
within a set become increasingly difficult, requiring ever greater cognitive capacity to
encode and analyze information. The items are presented in black ink on a white
background. Coloured Progressive Matrices was designed for use with younger children,
the elderly, and people with moderate or severe learning difficulty. This test contains sets
A and B from the standard matrices, with a further set of 12 items inserted between the
two, as set Ab. Mostof the items are presented on a coloured background to make the test
visually stimulating for the test taker. The very last few items in set B are presented as
black-on-white. By this way, if participants performance surpassed the tester's
expectations, transition to sets C, D, and E of the standard matrices is fecilitated. Advanced Progressive Matrices contains 48 items, presented as one set of 12

(set I), and another of 36 (set II). Items are presented in black ink on a white background,
and become increasingly difficult as progress is made through each set. The items are
appropriate for adults and adolescents of above average intelligence. The parallel forms of the standard and coloured progressive matrices were
published in 1998. An extended form of the standard progressive matrices, Standard
Progressive Matrices Plus, was also published at the same time, offering greater
discrimination among more able young adults.Raven's Progressive Matrices and
Vocabulary tests measure the two main components of general intelligence (Spearman’s
g): the ability to think clearly and make sense of complexity, known as eductive ability
and the ability to store and reproduce information, known as reproductive ability.

12.5.4 Culture-fair Intelligence Test

Culture- fair intelligence tests are also called culture- free tests. They are designed
to assess intelligence without relying on knowledge specific to any individual cultural
group. The first culture- fair test developed to assess intelligence was the Army
Examination Beta which was developed by the United States military during World War
II to screen recruits of average intelligence who were illiterate or for whom English was
a second language. From the postwar period, culture-fair tests, which rely largely on
nonverbal questions were used in public schools with Hispanic students and other non-
native-English speakers who were not having familiarity with both English language and
American culture.
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developed the Culture Fair Intelligence Test. (CFIT). The Cattell Culture Fair Series
consist of scales one to three for ages four and four onward. The scales are intended to
assess intelligence independent of cultural experience, verbal ability, or educational level.
The tests consist mostly of paper-and-pencil questions involving the relationships
between figures and shapes. Parts of scale one, used with the youngest age group, utilize
various objects instead of paper and pencil. Activities in scales two and three, for children
age eight and eight onwards, include completing series, classifying, and filling in
incomplete designs Sternberg Multidimensional Abilities Test (STAT). Sternberg published

Sternberg Multidimensional Abilities Test (STAT) in 1992. The STAT is a battery of
multiple-choice questions. The battery divided into nine multiple levels for differing
ages, and will be suitable for group administration to individuals in kindergarten through
college, as well as to adults. Two forms of the test are be available The questions purport
to tap into the three independent aspects of intelligence including analytic, practical and
creative ones proposed in Sternberg’s triarchic theory of intelligence. The STAT
measures three abilities including analytical, creative and practical using both multiple
choice and essay questions. It yields separate scores for componential information
processing (analytical ability), coping with novelty (synthetic ability) and (as a separate
score) automatization and practical- intellectual skills. Crossed with these scores are
scores for three content areas including verbal, quantitative, and figural. The various
kinds of processing are each measured in each of the three content domains, yielding 4 x
3 = 12 separate subtests per level. It is possible to diagnose not only strengths and
weaknesses in information processing, but also in various kinds of representations of
information. The test is a group test, and can be administered in its totality in three class
periods. Portions of can also be administered in the class in lesser period. Thus, the
scores provided by the test correspond strictly to the aspects of intelligence specified by
the Triarchic Theory. The theory specified that intelligence can be understood in terms of
components of information processing being applied to relatively novel experience and
later being automatized in order to serve three functions in the environment: adaptation
to, selection of, and shaping of that environment. All the measures are considered
important to success in life and have been used to develop programs for children and to
select business managers. Together, the three measures provided more information than
just the analytical intelligence measured by standard IQ tests.

The STAT test items differ from those on conventional tests of intelligence. There
is more emphasis on ability to learn than on what has been learned. For instance, verbal
skill is measured by learning from context, not by vocabulary (which represents products
rather than processes of learning). The test measures skills for coping with novelty,
whereby the examinee must imagine a hypothetical state of the world (such as cats being
magnetic) and then reason as though this state of the world were true. The test measures
practical abilities, such as reasoning about advertisements and political slogans, not just
about decontextualized words or geometric forms. These are only a few of the differences
that separate this test from its predecessors claimed by its author. Sternberg admits that
the STAT is not immune to effects of prior learning, nor is it "culture- free." However, he
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states that his test seems broader and more comprehensive than other existing tests, and
hence allows for more diversity in backgrounds than would be true of typical tests.


(i) Intelligence may be regarded as mental property that includes many related
cognitive abilities, such as the capacities to reasoning, planning, problems solving,
abstract thinking, comprehending ideas, using language, and learning.

(ii) Numerous theories that have made attempts to explain the nature of the construct
intelligence can be broadly classified into Factor theories and Process theories.

(iii) Factor theories of intelligence focus on the structure of intelligence, that is, on the
skills and abilities that it comprises of. In the course of development of intelligence
theories several attempts have been made to slice the structure into different factors.

(iv) Some of the factors theories of intelligence are Two- factor theory by Spearman,
Seven Primary Mental Abilities by Thurston and Structure of Intellect by
(v) Two- factor theory by Spearman (1940) propose that intelligence is made up of two
components: a g- factor or general intelligence and a s- factor or special factor
involving the collection of specific intellectual abilities.

(vi) Thurston found that intelligent behavior does not arise from a general factor, but
rather emerges from seven independent factors which he prefered to call primary
mental abilities. The primary abilities: word fluency, verbal comprehension, spatial
visualization, number facility, associative memory, reasoning, and perceptual speed
(Thurstone, 1938).

(vii) J.P.Guilford, in his Structure of Intellect (SI) theory, has propounded a three-
dimensional model of intelligence. The theory views intelligence as comprising of
operations, contents, and products. Since each of these dimensions is independent,
there are theoretically 150 different components of intelligence possible to be
identified and tested.

(viii) Process theories of intelligence seek to understand intelligence as process. The

Multiple Intelligence model by Howard Gardner and the triarchic theory of
intelligence by Robert Sternberg represent approaches different to the one adopted
by earlier psychologists.

(ix) Howard Gardener developed the theory of multiple intelligences, and idenitified at
least seven intelligences that include Linguistic intelligence, Logical- mathematical
intelligence, Musical intelligence, Spatial intelligence, Bodily kinesthetic
intelligence, Interpersonal intelligence and Intrapersonal intelligence.

(x) In Triarchic Theory of Intelligence Sternberg proposed a theory of Practical

intelligence. According to this theory, intelligence is defined as a multidimensional
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trait that is comprised of three different abilities: Componential, Experiential, and

(xi) The Classical Tests of Intelligence include Army Alpha and Army Beta tests, which
helped classify recruits to the Army.
(xii) Modern version of intelligence testing started with Alfred Binet, who published the
Binet-Simon intelligence scale, in 1905 which he revised in 1908 and 1911. Terman
refined the Binet-Simon scale and published Standford-Binet Scale in 1916.

(xiii) Other tests of intelligence are Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) an d its
variations namely Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence (WASI), WISC;
different forms of Raven’s Progressive Matrices namely Standard Progressive
Matrices Coloured Progressive Matrices , Advanced Progressive Matrices ,
Standard Progressive Matrices Plus, Cattell’s Culture Fair Intelligence Test (CFIT)
and Sternberg Multidimensional Abilities Test (STAT) to name a few.


(i) Adapting test items from the standard test try making your own test of
(ii) Make a table with the plus and minus of each theory of intelligence you have
studied in this lesson.


(i) Critical compare the trait theories of intelligence.
(ii) Evaluate Sternberg’s theory of intelligence.
(iii) Can any test be ‘culture fair’?


(i) Define intelligence and IQ?
(ii) State the difference in perspectives of trait theories and process theories of
(iii) Which is the origin of intelligence testing?


Coon, D. and Mitterer, J.O. (2007). Introduction to Psychology. First Indian Reprint.
Delhi: Akash Press.

Passer, M.W. and Smith, R.E. (2007). Psychology - The Science of Mind and Behavior.
Third Edition. New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill.
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13.0 Aims and Objectives

13.1 Introduction
13.2 Extremes of Intelligence
13.2.1 Mental Retardation Description Mild Mental Retardation Moderate Mental Retardation Severe Mental Retardation Profound Mental Retardation
13.2.2 Intellectual Giftedness Definitions of Giftedness Identification of the Gifted Savantism Triarchic Theory of Giftedness Characteristics of Giftedness Characteristics of gifted children Characteristics of gifted adolescents Characteristics of gifted adults
13.3 Genetic and Environmental Influences on Intelligence
13.3.1 Genetic Relationships and Intelligence
13.3.2 Environmental Influences Head Start Programs Kibbutzim

13.4 Let us sum up

13.5 Lesson-End activities
13.6 Points for Discussion
13.7 Check your progress
13.8 References


In the previous Unit we have discussed intelligence as a construct and the various
theories of intelligence and also assessment of intelligence. After completion of
this Unit you will be able to
(i) appreciate different levels of mental retardation
(ii) understand the construct of giftedness and theories of giftedness
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(iii) the various factors influencing intelligence.


There are wide individual differences in intelligence and intelligence is spread through
various levels among the individuals. At one extreme are seen levels of intelligence
characterizing mental retardation. On the other extreme of the intelligence continuum we
find individuals having very high intelligence that contribute to giftedness. However,
psychologists have now come to regard giftedness as not confined to only the range of
intelligence and invoke other variables to explain giftedness. The extremes in levels of
intelligence and the factors influencing intelligence are discussed here under.


13.2.1 Mental retardation

Mental retardation is regarded as a developmental disability. It first appears in

children under the age of 18. Mental disorder is defined as an intellectual functioning
level that is well below average and significant limitations in daily living skills. The level
of intellectual functioning is determined by using standard intelligence tests and
considering the IQ obtained on them. The living skills connote the adaptive functioning. Description. Mental retardation begins in childhood or adolescence, before

the age of 18, and persists throughout adulthood in most cases. An individual diagnosed
as having mental retardation if he or she has an intellectual functioning level well below
average and significant limitations in two or more adaptive skill areas. Mental retardation
is operationally defined as IQ score below 70-75 on standardized tests that measure the
ability to reason. Adaptive skills include the ability to produce and understand language
(communication), home- living skills, use of community resources, health, safety, leisure,
self-care, and social skills, self-direction, functional academic skills (reading, writing,
and arithmetic), and work skills.

Mentally retarded children reach developmental milestones such as walking and

talking much later than the general population. Symptoms of mental retardation may
appear at birth or later in childhood, and the time of onset depends on the suspected cause
of the disability. In certain cases of mild mental retardation, diagnosis may not be made
before the child enters preschool. Because, in these cases, the children typically have
difficulties with social, communication, and functional academic skills which could be
observed prior to they entering the school. Children with a neurological disorder or
illness such as encephalitis or meningitis may suddenly show signs of cognitive
impairment and adaptive difficulties.

Mental retardation varies in severity. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of

Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) is the diagnostic standard for professionals
in mental health in the United States. The DSM-IV classifies four different degrees of
mental retardation: mild, moderate, severe, and profound. These categories are based on
the functioning level of the individual.
This watermark does not appear in the registered version - Mild mental retardation. Children who have their IQ score range from 50-75,
are diagnosed for mild mental retardation. They can often acquire academic skills up to
the 6th grade level. The mildly retarded can become fairly self-sufficient and in some
cases, live independently, with community and social support. Moderate mental retardation. Children who have their IQ score range from
35-55, are diagnosed for moderate mental retardation. Moderately retarded individuals
can carry out work and self-care tasks with moderate supervision. They typically acquire
communication skills in childhood and are able to live and function successfully within
the community in a supervised environment. Severe mental retardation. Children who have their IQ score range from 20-
40, are diagnosed for severe mental retardation. Severely retarded individuals may master
very basic self-care skills and some communication skills. Many severely retarded
individuals are able to live in a group home. Profound mental retardation. Children who have their IQ score range from
20-25, are diagnosed for profound mental retardation. Profoundly retarded individuals
may be able to develop basic self-care and communication skills with appropriate support
and training. Their retardation is often caused by an accompanying neurological disorder,
and they need a high level of structure and supervision.

The American Association on Mental Retardation (AAMR) has also developed

another widely accepted diagnostic classification system for mental retardation focusing
on the capabilities of the retarded individual rather than on the limitations. The categories
used in this classification system describe the level of support required. They are:
intermittent support, limited support, extensive support, a n d pervasive support. The
AAMR classification mirrors the DSM-IV classification. Intermittent support, for
instance, refers to support needed only occasionally, during times of stress or crisis. This
the type of support typically required for most mildly retarded individuals. Pervasive
support, or life-long, daily support for most adaptive areas, would be required for the
profoundly retarded.

13.2.1 Intellectual Giftedness Definitions of giftedness. Lewis Terman has been a source of influenicing

psychologists and educationists to equated giftedness with high IQ. This trend continues
even today evern though work of Guilford and Gardner and others have demonstrated the
existence of multiple intelligence. Researches conducted in the 1980s and 1990s has lent
increasing support to the credibility of the notions of multiple components of intelligence.
Most of the recent investigators define giftedness in terms of multiple qualities, not all of
which are intellectual. Thus, IQ scores are often viewed as inadequate measures of
giftedness, and motivation, high self-concept, and creativity seem to be recognized as the
key qualities in many of these broadened conceptions of giftedness.
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The work of Sternberg and Davidson in presenting the varied conceptions of

giftedness to show that the many different conceptions of giftedness presented are distinct
and that the conceptions of giftedness are interrelated in several ways. Most of the
investigators define giftedness in terms of multiple qualities, not all of which are
intellectual and IQ scores are often viewed as inadequate measures of giftedness.
Motivation, high self-concept, and creativity are key qualities in many of these broadened
conceptions of giftedness.

Joseph Renzulli's (1978) has put forth a definition called "three ring" definition of
giftedness. Renzulli defines gifted behaviors rather than gifted individuals. The three ring
theory suggests that gifted behavior consists of three components that reflect an
interaction among three basic clusters of human traits. These include above average
ability, high levels of task commitment, and high levels of creativity. Those possessing or
capable of developing this composite set of traits and applying them to any potentially
valuable area of human performance are potential candidates to become gifted in their
behavior. These individuals capable of developing gifted behavior require a wide variety
of educational opportunities and services that are not ordinarily provided through regular
instructional programs Identification of the Gifted. A varity of measures including portfolios of

student work, classroom observations, achievement measures, and intelligence scores are
currently used for identifying gifteness (Johnsen, S. K., 2004). Identifying Gifted
Students: A Practical Guide." Waco, Texas: Prufrock Press, Inc.. As seen intelligence is
one of the measures used in identification of gifteness is the score derived from an
intelligence measure. The general cutoff for many programs for the gifted is often placed
near the sigma 2 level on a standardized intelligent test ; children above this level being
labeled 'gifted'.

Some assessors testing IQ use the following classifications to describe differing

levels of giftedness. The following bands apply with a standard deviation of σ = 15 on a
standardized IQ test. Each band represents a difference of one standard deviation from
the mean of a standard deviation.

Bright: 115+, or one in six (84th percentile)

Moderately gifted: 130+, or 1 in 50 (97.9th percentile)

Highly gifted: 145+, or 1 in 1000 (99.9th percentile)

Exceptionally gifted: 160+, or 1 in 30,000 (99.997th percentile)

Profoundly gifted: 175+, or 1 in 3 million (99.99997th percentile)

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Most tests of IQ do not have the capacity to make finer discrimination among the
levels of intellignece at higher levels of IQ.gifted individuals although they may be only
effective at determining whether a student is gifted rather than distinguishing among
levels of giftedness. The Wechsler tests, for instance have a ceiling of about 16and it has
been stated by Wechsler, the author of the test, that they are intended to be used within
the average range (between 70 and 130), and that they are not intended for use at the
extreme ends of the population.

Many people believe giftedness is a strictly quantitative difference, measurable by

IQ tests. Others have described giftedness as a fundamentally different way of perceiving
the world, which in turn affects every experience had by the gifted individual. Savantism. Savants are the people who perform exceptionally in one field of
learning. Autistic savantism connotes the exceptional abilities exhibited by autistics or
people with developmental disorders. The term savaantism was introduced in a 1978
article in Psychology Today that described this condition. Triarchic Theory of

giftedness. Gifted
individuals are proficient in using the knowledge-acquisition components. They are able
to learn new information at a greater rate (Sternberg, 1997). The knowledge-acquisition
components are used in obtaining new information. They complete tasks that involve
selectively choosing information from irrelevant information. They can also be used to
selectively combine the various pieces of information they have gathered. Sternberg
associated the componential subtheory with analytical giftedness.. This is one of three
types of giftedness that Sternberg recognizes. Analytical giftedness is influential in being
able to take apart problems and being able to see solutions not often seen. Individuals
with only this type are not as adept at creating unique ideas of their own. This is the form
of giftedness that is tested most often. Other areas deal with creativity and other abilities
that are not easily tested. Sternberg gave the example of a student, “Alice”, who had
excellent test scores and grades, and teachers viewed her as extremely smart. She was
later seen as having trouble in graduate school because she was not adept at creating
ideas of her own (Sternberg, 1997).

The experiential subtheory correlates with another one of Sternberg’s types of

giftedness. Synthetic giftedness is seen in creativity, intuition, and a study of the arts.
Individuals with synthetic giftedness are not often seen with the highest Iqs, because
there are not currently any tests that can sufficiently measure these attributes. But
synthetic giftedness is especially useful in creating new ideas to create and solve new
problems. Sternberg also associated another one of his students, “Barbara”, to the
synthetic giftedness. Barbara did not perform as well as Alice on the tests taken to get
into school, but was recommended to get admission at Yale University based on her
exceptional creative and intuitive skills. Barbara was found to be very valuable in
creating new ideas for research at later stage (Sternberg, 1997).
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The contextual subtheory of Sternberg explains another type of giftedness, called

practical giftedness. This involves the ability to apply synthetic and analytic skills to
everyday situations. Practically gifted people are superb in their ability to succeed in any
setting (Sternberg, 1997). An example of this type of giftedness given by Sternberg is
"Celia". Celia who did not have outstanding analytical or synthetic abilities, but ‘was
highly successful in figuring out what she needed to do in order to succeed in an
academic environment’. She was found to knew what kind of research was valued, how
to get articles into journals, how to impress people at job interviews, and the like, p.44).
Celia’s contextual intelligence allowed her to use these skills to her best advantage.
Sternberg also admits that an individual is not restricted to having excellence in only one
of these three intelligences. Many people may possess an integration of all three and may
have high levels of all three intelligences. Characteristics of giftedness. Gifted individuals, in general, learn more

quickly, deeply, and broadly than their peers ; may learn to read early and operate at the
same level as normal children who are significantly older ; tend to demonstrate high
reasoning ability, creativity, curiosity, a large vocabulary, and an excellent memory;
often can master concepts with few repetitions, and may also be physically and
emotionally sensitive, perfectionistic, and may frequently question authority.. Some have
trouble relating to or communicating with their peers due to disparities in vocabulary size
(especially in the early years), personality, and interests. Creative individuals, as children,
they may prefer the company of older children or adults (The National Foundation for
Gifted and Creative Children, USA,2007)

Giftedness is often found not evenly distributed throughout all intellectual spheres
an individual may excel in solving logic problems and still be a poor speller while
another gifted individual may be able to read and write at a far above average level and
still have trouble with mathematics. It seems possible that there are different types of
giftedness with their own unique features.

Some gifted individuals experience hightened sensory awareness showing and are
overly sensitive to sight, sound, smell and touch. For instance, they may get extremely
uncomfortable seeing a wrinkle in their socks or may get disturbed showing difficulty in
concentration hearing the sound of the ticking clock. This resembles sensory overload
that can cause one to avoid chaotic and crowded environments. There are also some
gifted individuals who are able to keep unwanted distractions out and focus on the task.
Such individuals are able to thrive in midst of activity and stimulation. However, there
are many cases whose awareness may fluctuate between conditions of hyperstimulation
and withdrawal. Characteristics of Gifted Children. The National Foundation for

Gifted and Creative Children, USA (2007) has listed the characteristics of gifted children
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and the characteristics include high sensitivity, excessive amounts of energy, boredom
and a short attention span. They require emotionally stable and secure adults around.
They resist authority if it not democratically oriented. They have preferred ways of
learning, particularly in reading and mathematics. They may become easily frustrated
because of entertaining their own big ideas and not having the resources or people to
assist them individually in carrying these tasks to fruition. They learn from an exploratory
level and resist rote memory and just being a listener. They cannot sit still unless
absorbed in something of his/her own interest. They are very compassionate and have
many fears such as death and loss of loved ones, If they experience failure early, may
give up and develop permanent learning blocks, and may also withdraw when they feel
threatened or alienated and may sacrifice their creativity in order to "belong". Many
children tested exhibit a high IQ, are often exhibit "frozen" creativity as well. Often there
is an ability to express their feelings initially. Characteristics of Gifted Adolescents. Young gifted people between

the ages of 11 and 15 frequently report a range of problems. Several dynamics of
giftedness seems to continually interfere with adjustment gains during adolescence.
Buescher (1986) found that gifted young people encounter several potent obstacles,
singly or in combination, , during the early years of adolescence.

Ownership: Talented adolescents "own" and yet simultaneously question the

validity and reality of the abilities they possess. Older students and adults have been
found to entertain of disbelief, doubt, and lack of self-esteem (Olszewski, Kulieke, &
Willis, 1987). This is called "impostor syndrome." While talents have been recognized in
many cases at an early age, doubts about the accuracy of identification and the objectivity
of parents or favorite teachers continue to be entertained by the gifted individual (Delisle
& Galbraith, 1987; Galbraith, 1983). The peer pressure toward conformity, coupled with
any adolescent's wavering sense of being can lead to the denial of even the most
outstanding ability. The resulting conflict, whether mild or acute, has to be resolved by
gaining a more mature "ownership" and responsibility for the identified talent. Further,
since they have been given gifts in abundance, they feel that they must give of themselves
in abundance. This adds to the pressures experienced by them. The receiving gifts is also
felt to imply that their abilities belong to parents, teachers, and society.

Dissonance: Talented adolescents often feel like perfectionists. They set their
standards high and expect to do more and be more than their abilities might allow.
Childhood desires to do demanding tasks in a perfect manner get more exaggerated
during adolescence. Talented adolescents experience real dissonance between what is
actually done and how well they expected it to be accomplished.

Taking Risks: Risk taking has been used to characterize younger gifted and
talented children, but it decreases with age, so that the bright adolescent is much less
likely to take chances than others. This may be due to the fact that gifted adolescents
appear to be more aware of the repercussions of certain activities, whether these are
positive or negative. Less risk taking could be attributed to the need to maintain control.
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Competing Expectations: Adolescents are susceptible to criticism, suggestions,

and emotional appeals from others. Delisle (1985) has pointed out that the "pull" of an
adolescent's own expectations must swim against the strong current posed by the "push"
of others' including those of parent and teachers, desires and demands. The dilemma
gets more complicated by the numerous options within the reach of a highly talented

Impatience: As adolescents, gifted adolescent students can be impatient in many

ways. The may be eager to find solutions for difficult questions, anxious to develop
satisfying friendships, and prone to selecting difficult but immediate alternatives for
complex decisions. This predisposition for impulsive decision making, combined with
exceptional talent, can make young gifted adolescents particularly intolerant of
ambiguous, unresolved situations. T

Premature Identity: Due to the competing expectations, low tolerance for

ambiguity, and the pressure of multiple potentials an adolescent wants to have an adult
like identity, a stage normally achieved after the age of 21, much earlier in his age. . This
would create a serious problem for talented adolescents. They may reach out prematurely
for career choices that will short cut the normal process of identity crisis and resolution. Characteristics of Gifted Adults. The personality traits and social and
emotional needs of gifted children have been widely described (Erlich, 1982; Terman,
1925; Torrance, 1962; Webb, Meckstroth, & Tolan, 1982). Several longitudinal studies
have indicated that the early advantage experienced by gifted children continues into
adulthood: gifted children become adults of superior vocational achievement, generally
satisfied with themselves and their lives (Oden, 1968; Terman & Oden, 1947,1959).
Inspite of this, by age 62, most gifted men have experienced the same dissatisfactions
with family life, as have most people (R.R. Sears, 1977). Among the female subjects the
women who reported to be happiest had been found to be those who had the best coping
skills, and the skills were dependent on their early experience (P.S. Sears & Barbee,
1977). The effects of early experience, particularly in terms of early educational
advantage, seem to be one of the most important contributory factors in later adult
achievement (Bloom, 1964; Oden, 1968; Terman, 1925).

The predominant characteristics found among male scientists (Roe, 1952),

creative artists and writers (Cattell, 1971), female mathematicians (Helson, 1971), and
architects (MacKinnon, 1962), among others, include impulsivity, curiosity, high need
for independence, high energy level, introversion, intuitiveness, emotional sensitivity,
and nonconformity.

Based on anecdotal and observational material as a basis, Lovecky (2003) has

described five traits that seem to be present in gifted adults and that seem to be central
features of their giftedness. These traits include divergency, excitability, sensitivity,
perceptivity, and entelechy. They produce potential interpersonal and intrapersonal
conflict, and unless otherwise the gifted adults learn to value themselves and find
support, identity conflicts and depression may result. Self- growth through knowing and
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accepting self may lead to the discovery of sources of personal power. Nurturing
relationships through realistic expectations and learning to share one may provide a
supportive environment for the gifted adults to grow and flourish.


Individuals differ from one another in their intellectual ability. How much of this
difference can be attributed to the particular genes we inherit, and how much to the
environment in which we are raised? Though the heredity – environment issue, has been
debated in regard to many aspects of human behavior, the focus has primarily been on the
area of intelligence. Most experts agree that at least some aspects of intelligence are
inherited, but opinions on the relative contributions made by heredity and environment

13.3.1 Genetic Relationships and Intelligence

Studies correlating IQs between persons of various degrees of genetic relationship

have been the source of evidence bearing on the inheritance of intelligence. Results of
over 100 studies of this nature are tabulated below:

Familial resemblance in intelligence test performance.

Adopted from a survey of 110 studies compiled by Bonchard and Mc Cue (1981).

Relationship Correlation

Identical Twins
Reared together 0.82
Reared apart 0.72
Fraternal Twins
Reared together 0.60
Reared together 0.47
Reared apart 0.24
Parent / child 0.40
Foster parent / child 0.31
Cousins 0.15

In general, more similar tested intelligence is seen in closer genetic relationship.

As may be seen from the above table, the average correlation between the IQs of parents
and their natural children is 0.40; and the correlation between parents and their adopted
children is 0.31. The pair sharing genetic relationship seems to have a higher correlation
between their IQs than the pair that does not share the relationship.

It is also seen in case of twin studies. Identical twins, because they develop from a
single egg, share precisely the same heredity. We find the correlation between their IQs is
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very high of about 0.86. The correlation between the IQs of fraternal twins (who develop
from separate eggs and are not more alike genetically than ordinary siblings) is about
0.60. Here again, the pair that shares closer genetic relationship has higher correlation
between their IQs than the other pair.

The results shown in the table indicate that although genetic determinants of
intelligence are strong, environment is also important. It is noted that when siblings are
reared together – in the same home environment – IQ similarity increases. Other studies
have shown that adopted children’s intellectual ability is higher than what would be
predicted on the basis of their natural parents’ ability. Though the effect of nature (or
genetics) on intelligence is obvious the fact that environment also make a difference in
intelligence cannot be denied.

Estimation of what portion of the variability in test scores is due to environment

and what portion is due to heredity is possible using trait similar to those given in the
table. Several methods are followed to arrive at these estimates. The widely used method
is comparing the variability of fraternal and identical twins on a given trait. Two
quantities are estimated in order to do this. They are:

(a) Estimate of the total variability due to both heredity and environment (VT). This
is estimated from the observed difference between pairs of fraternal twins, and

(b) Estimate of the environmental variability alone (VE). This is estimated from
the observed differences between pairs of identical twins.

The difference between the two quantities is the variability due to genetic factors
(VG). It can be stated as VT – VE = VG

The heritability ratio is given by the ratio between genetic variability and total variability
as shown below.

VG / H = VT or VG / VT = H.

Heritability, hence, may be defined as the proportion of a trait’s variation within a

specified population that can be attributed to genetic differences. Heritability can assume
any value between 0 and 1. H approaches 1 when identical twins resemble each other
much more than fraternal twins on a given trait. H approaches 0 when the resemblance
between Identical twins is about the same as the resemblance between fraternal twins on
a given trait.

Estimation of H can be done in a number of ways other than by comparing

identical and fraternal twins. The theory that permits us to make such estimates is very
elaborate and is presented at length in genetic textbooks. But for our purpose, it is
sufficient to state that H measures the fraction of the observed variance in a population
that is caused by differences in heredity. An important point to be noted is that H refers to
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a population of individuals, not a single individual. For instance, the attribute height has
an H of 0.90. This means that 90% of the variance in height observed in a population is
due to genetic differences and 10% is due to environmental differences. While discussing
intelligence H is generally used to designate the fraction of an individual’s intelligence
that is due to heredity. However, using the term in this way is incorrect.
Studies on intelligences show wide variations in their report on heritability
estimates for intelligence. While some researchers report values as high as 0.87; others
report values as low as 0.10. The estimate of H for the date presented in the table is 0.46
(Chipuer, Rovine & Plomin, 1989). The wide variation in heritability estimates suggests
that the research is weighed down by a number of uncontrolled variables that influence
the results in ways that cannot be specified. It is to be remembered that heritability
research is based on field studies and not on well-controlled laboratory experiments;
individual cases are observed where they can be found. Field studies are always subject
to the influence of uncontrolled variables and it is particularly seen when different
investigators report quite different conclusions.

The situation is further complicated by the fact that assumptions made in

assessing heritability may not always be correct. For example, in research on twins, the
assumption is that twins who are reared together experience roughly the same
environment, whether they are fraternal or identical twins. But this may not be true.
Identical twins look more alike than fraternal twins. It is possible that this may be lead to
parents and others treating them more alike than fraternal twins.

A reliable estimate of heritability is not possible due to the absence of better –

controlled studies. Though heredity clearly has an effect on intelligence, the degree of
this effect is uncertain. Probably it is less influential than claimed by some researchers
but not completely nonexistent, as others have claimed (Kamin, 1976). Most probably, a
number of genes whose individual effects are small but cumulative may be determining
intellectual ability.

13.3.2 Environmental Influences.

Nutrition, health, quality of stimulation, type of feedback elicited by behavior and

emotional climate of the home are few of the environmental conditions that determine
how an individual’s intellectual potential will develop. Given two children with the same
genes, the higher IQ score when tested in first grade will be attained by the child with the
better prenatal and postnatal nutrition, the more intellectually stimulating and emotionally
secure home, and the more appropriate rewards for academic accomplishments. Studies
have shown that IQ difference between children of low and high socio-economic status
become progressively greater between birth and entrance into school. This suggests that
environmental conditions accentuate whatever differences in intelligence are present at
birth (Bayley, 1970). Head Start Programs: Efforts have been made to provide more intellectual
stimulation for children from underprivileged families during their early years because
these children tend to fall behind in cognitive development even before they enter school.
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In 1965, as part of President Johnson’s War on Poverty, funds for a number of programs
designed to provide learning experiences for 2 – 5 years – olds from poor homes was
authorized by the Congress. Project head Start funded these programs and they varied in
their approach. Some programs had special teachers visit the children at home several
times a week to play with them. They got the children engaged in activities like building
with blocks, looking at pictures, and naming colors. They even taught the children
concepts as big - little and rough – smooth. In brief, the kind of intellectual stimulations
that children in upper-class homes usually receive from their parents were provided by
the teachers. The parents were also taught how to provide the same kinds of activities for
their children. In other programs, the children attended special classes that involved
similar interactions with teachers where the children were engaged in play – learning
activities. While some of these programs involved the parents others did not.

In general, these early education programs have been showing promising results.
Higher scores were found in children who have participated in such programs on the
Stanford – Binet or WISC on entering school and they tend to be more self confident and
socially competent than children who have not received special attention.

Follow- up studies suggested that early educational programs produce some

lasting benefits. Several studies have followed progress of disadvantaged children who
participated in special preschool programs when they were 3 years of age upto high
school. By the time they were 15 years of age, these students were more than a full grade
ahead of a matched control group of students who had received no preschool experience.
In addition to this, comparison of the students with preschool experience with the control
group showed that they scored higher on tests of reading, arithmetic, and language
usages, were less apt to need special remedial classes, they exhibited less antisocial
behavior; and were more likely to hold after – school jobs (Hohmann, Banet, & Weikart,
1979; Palmer & Anderson, 1979; Lazar & Darlington, 1982; Zigler & Berman, 1983;
Lee, Brooks Gunn & Schnur, 1988).

Head Start programs showed that early intellectual stimulation can have a
significant impact on later school performance. But they appear to be less important than
parental involvement. Programs that actively involve the parents produce the greatest
gains. Such programs may induce t interest them in their children’s development and
show them how to provide a more stimulating home environment (Darlington, 1986). Kibbutzim: Studies of children living in Israeli Kibbutzim demonstrate the

environmental effects on intellectual performance even more dramatic than Head Start.
For some time, large differences in intellectual and educational background among Jews
of different cultural ancestry were the problem faced by Israel. Generally, the average
intellectual ability of Jews of European ancestry is considerably higher than that of Jews
of Arabic countries. Israeli children who are raised on certain types of Kibbutzim, where
they do not reside with their parent but live in a children’s house under the care of
women specially trained in child rearing are exceptions to this observation. The
children’s IQ scores under these special conditions tend to be unrelated to the country of
parental origin. Children whose parents came from Arabic countries score as high as
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children whose parents came from Europe. Although individual differences in IQ scores
still exist, the differences cannot be attributed to ancestry (Smilansky, 1974; Rabin &
Beit – Hallahmi, 1982). Thus, the contribution an enriched environment can make toward
helping children reach their intellectual potential can be indicated.


(i) Mental disorder is defined as an intellectual functioning level that is well below
average and significant limitations in daily living skills.
(ii) The level of intellectual functioning is determined by using a standard intelligence
tests and considering the IQ obtained on them.
(iii)Mentally retarded children reach developmental milestones much later than the
general population
(iv) Based o n functional levels the DSM-IV classifies four different degrees of
mental retardation: mild, moderate, severe, and profound.
(v) Lewis Terman has been a source of influenicing psychologists and educationists
to equated giftedness with high IQ. This trend continues even today.
(vi) Many different conceptions of giftedness are presented and they are distinct,
but,interrelated in several ways.
(vii) Most of the investigators define giftedness in terms of multiple qualities, not
all of which are intellectual and IQ scores are often viewed as inadequate
measures of giftedness.
(viii) Sternberg suggests that gifted individuals are able to learn new information at
a greater rate , have greater creativity and intution, and practival intellignce.
(ix) Gifted individuals learn effeciently, have high reasoning ability, creativity,
curiosity, a large vocabulary, and an excellent memory; physically and
emotionally sensitive, perfectionistic, and may frequently question authority
(x) Gifted children and adolescents have distinct personality charateristics.
(xi) Most experts agree that at least some aspects of intelligence are inherited, but
opinions on the relative contributions made by heredity and environment


(i) Think of any one you know in person who is mentally retarded and estimate his
level of mental retardation based on information you have on that person.
(ii) Think of any one you know in person who is gifted and estimate try to compare
his potentialities in terms of Sternberg’s mental components.
(iii) Make a self-estimate of your intelligence level.
(iv) Enumerate your characteristics that are similar to be found in gifted people.


(i) Whether mental retarded has no hope in life for self- functioning?
(ii) Critically evaluate the use of IQ to identify the gifted.
(iii) What are the consequences of being mentally retarded or gifted?
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(iv) How do you account for your IQ in terms of contributions of heredity and


(1) What is mental retardation and what would be impact of different levels
of intelligence at lower levels?
(2) What is giftedness and how giftedness in people are recognized?
(3) How heredity and environment determine the level of intelligence of an


Coon, D. and Mitterer, J.O. (2007). Introduction to Psychology. First Indian Reprint.
Delhi: Akash Press.

Passer, M.W. and Smith, R.E. (2007). Psychology - The Science of Mind and Behavior.
Third Edition. New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill.
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14.0 Aims and Objectives

14.1 Introduction
14.2 Definitions of creativity
14.3 Creative Person
14.3.1 Affect and Creativity
14.3.2 Characteristics of creative individuals
14.4 Creative Process
14.4.1 Divergence process
14.4.2 Creative Problem Solving Model
14.5 Intelligence Creativity Distinction
14.6 Neurobiology of creativity
14.7 Measuring Creativity
14.7.1 The Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking
14.7.2 The Creativity Achievement Questionnaire
14.7.3 Guilford test of divergent production
14.7.4 Other tests of Creativity
14.8 Let us sum up
14.9 Lesson-End activities
14.10 Points for Discussion
14.11 Check your progress
14.12 References


In the last Unit we discussed the constructs of mental retardation and giftedness
and characteristics of gifted individuals, and also the factors influencing intelligence.
After going through this lesson you will be able to:

(i) Understand the nature of motivation

(ii) Personal dynamics of creativity
(iii)The processes underling creativity
(iv) The steps involved in creative problem solving and
(v) Appreciate the various tests that are used to assess creativity of individuals.


The word creativity in English and most other European languages is derived
from the original word Latin word creatus, which literally means "to have grown." This
etimological tracing of the word is reflected in the usage of the term in the literature that
creativity is manifested in the production of a creative work (as for instance, a new work
of art or a scientific hypothesis) that is both original a n d useful. Lay men attribute
creativity to splindid peieces of arts and literature that revit one’s attention. Though
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creativity is strikingly seen in these fields it is equally associated with any creation in any
field including economics, commerce, engineering and technology, engineering,
medicine, law, agriculture, etc.

Since mental representations and processes underly creative thought study of

creativity is mainly religated to psychology and cognitive science.Psycholgists use the
term to refer to a well identified phenomena and restricting it to scecific constructs. The
term creativity is a psychological phenomena that contribute to mental process involving
the generation of new ideas and concepts or new associations between existing ideas or
concepts.Creativity is viewed as primarily a thought process involving searching and
seeking solutions that are original and appropriate, and elegant. In common parlance any
thing new is reagrded as involving creativity for its production.No authoritarian
defininition or standardized technique of measurement is available in psychological
literature. However, J.P.Guilford had been recognized to be an recognized authority on
this important subject.


Several attempts have been made to define creativity in precise term. As many as
sixty different definitions of creativity can be found in the psychological literature
(Taylor,1988). Rhodes(1961) has distinguished between creative person, creative
product, creative process, creative press or environment. Psychological analyses pertain
to one or more of these ingredients of creativity. Johnson (1972), admits the presence of
the different factors in creative activity and emphasizes that creative activity may exhibit
several dimensions including sensitivity to problems on the part of the creative agent,
originality, ingenuity, unusualness, usefulness, and appropriateness in relation to the
creative product, and intellectual leadership on the part of the creative agent. Boden
(2004) distinguishes between between ideas which are psychologically creative,which are
novel to the individual mind which had the idea, and those which are historically
creative, which are novel with respect to the whole of human history. She defines
psychologically creative ideas as those which cannot be produced by the same set of
generative rules as other, familiar ideas. Kostler (1964) emphasizes that a a concomitant
presence of inspiration, cognitive leaps, or instutive insight is always present as a part of
creative thought and action.
Creativity could be distinguished from innovtion. Creativity is typically used to
refer to the act of producing new ideas, approaches or actions, while innovation is used to
denote the process of both generating and applying such creative ideas in some specific

The term innovation is often used to refer to the entire process by which an
organization generates creative new ideas and converts them into novel, useful and viable
commercial products, services, and business practices. On the other hand, the term
creativity is reserved to apply specifically to the generation of novel ideas by individuals
or groups, as a necessary step within the innovation process.Amabile et al. (1996) suggest
that while innovation begins with creative ideas," and "...creativity by individuals and
teams is a starting point for innovation; the first is a necessary but not sufficient condition
for the second."
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Standard literature on criativity may be dated to have begun in the late nineteenth
and early twentieth centuries when Helmholtz (1896) and Poincare (1908) had publicly
discuss their creative processes. The early accounts of the creative process by the
pioneering theorists including Graham Wallace (1926) and Max Wertheimer (1945)
incorporated these insights.. However, the formal launching of the scientific study of
creativity, from the standpoint of psychology may be said to have been made by in his
presidential address focusing on concept and measurement of creativity by J.P.Guilford
in 1950. More pragmatic approaches in teaching practical creative techniques may be
credited to Osborn (1950), Altshuller (1950 to date) and Edward de Bono (1960 to date).
The works of them have contributed to brainstorming, inventive problems techniques and
lateral thinking respectively.


Koestler in work, The Act of Creation, has identified three types of creative
individuals inclusing, the Artist, the Sage and the Jester. Such types involve elments
necessary in business and could be recognized in truly creative companies.Biosociation
contributes to creativity in that creativity arises as a result of the intersection of two quite
different frames of reference.

14.3.1 Affect and Creativity

Isen suggests that positive affect has three primary effects on cognitive activity It
makes additional cognitive material available for processing, increasing the number of
cognitive elements available for association. It leads to defocused attention and a more
complex cognitive context, increasing the breadth of those elements that are treated as
relevant to the problem. Finally, it increases cognitive flexibility, increasing the
probability that diverse cognitive elements will in fact become associated. Thus these
processes together lead positive affect to have a positive influence on creativity. In her
Broaden and Build Model, Fredrickson suggests that positive emotions such as joy and
love broaden a person’s available repertoire of cognitions and actions, thus enhancing

Thus, it is reported that positive emotions increasing the number of cognitive

elements available for association (attention scope) and the number of elements that are
relevant to the problem (cognitive scope).

Curiously, negative affect has also been foun to lead to greater creativity. Arnold
Ludwig studied a large sample of 1,005 prominent 20th century individuals from over 45
different professions. Hefound a slight but significant correlation between depression and
level of creative achievement. Further, several systematic studies of highly creative
individuals and their relatives have uncovered a higher incidence of affective disorders
(primarily bipolar illness and depression) among them than that found in the general

It is reported that four patterns of relations could be identified with regard to

affect-creativity relationship. Creativity affect can operate as an antecedent to creativity,
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or as a direct consequence of creativity, or as an indirect consequence of creativity and

affect can occur simultaneously with creative activity.

Susan (2006) has summarized the findings of researchers regarding the affective
characteristics of highly gifted students. A gifted individual,

· Is motivated in work that excites.

· Persists in completing tasks in areas of interest.
· Is self-directed, independent.
· Evaluates and judges critically.
· Has high degree of concentration.
· Becomes bored with routine tasks.
· Is interested in “adult” problems.
· Is concerned about right and wrong, ethics.
· Has higher self-concept, particularly in academics.
· Has a high expectation of self and others.
· Has a sense of humor.
· Is highly sensitive.
· Takes other perspectives; is empathic.

14.3.2 Characteristics of creative individuals

Susan (2006) summarized the findings of various researcher regarding the characteristics
consistently found relating to individuals with highly creative (divergent production)

A high creative individual

· Has in-depth foundational knowledge.

· Prefers complexity and open-endedness.
· Contributes new concepts, methods, products, or performances.
· Has extreme fluency of thoughts and a large number of ideas.
· Is observant and pays attention to detail.
· Uses unique solutions to problems, improvises.
· Challenges existing ideas and products.
· Connects disparate ideas.
· Is constantly asking questions.
· Criticizes constructively.
· Is a risk taker, confident.
· Is attracted to the novel, complex, and mysterious.
· Is a nonconformist, uninhibited in expression, adventurous, able to resist group
· Accepts disorder.
· Tolerates ambiguity; delays closure.
· Is persistent and task committed in area of interest.
· Has a sense of humor.
· Is intellectually playful.
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· Is aware of own creativity.

· Is emotionally sensitive; sensitive to beauty.
· Is intuitive.
· Enjoys alone time.
· Is reflective about personal creative process.

14.3.3 Self-actualizing Personality

Abraham Maslow studied acclaimed historical personalities including including

Abraham Lincoln), Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Albert
Einstein, Aldous Huxley, William James, Spinoza, Goethe, Pablo Casals, Pierre Renoir,
Robert Browning, Walt Whitman, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jan
Addams, Albert Schweitzer, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Joseph Haydn among others as
potential models of a self-actualized person. Based on his findings Maslow identified the
following characteristics as characterizing self-actualizing people. These characteristics
include the following.
Realistically oriented, a Self-Actualizing (SA) person has a more efficient
perception of reality, and has comfortable relations with it. This is extended to all
areas of life. A Self- Actualizing person is unthreatened and unfrightened by the
unknown. He has a superior ability to reason, to see the truth, and is logical and
Self- Acceptance.
Accepts himself, others and the natural world the way they are. Sees human
nature as is, has a lack of crippling guilt or shame, enjoys himself without regret
or apology, and has no unnecessary inhibitions.

Spontaneity, Simplicity, Naturalness.

Spontaneous in his inner life. Thoughts and impulses are unhampered by
convention. His ethics are autonomous, and Self-actualizing individuals are
motivated to continual growth.
Focus of Problem Centering.
A Self-actualizing person focuses on problems and people outside of himself.
He has a mission in life requiring much energy, as it is his sole reason for
existence. He is serene, characterized by a lack of worry, and is devoted to duty.

Detachment: The Need for Privacy.

The Self-actualized person can be alone and not be lonely, is unflappable, and
retains dignity amid confusion and personal misfortunes, all the while
remaining objective. He is a self starter, is responsible for himself, and owns
his behavior.
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Autonomy: Independent of Culture and Environment

The SA person has a fresh rather than stereotyped appreciation of people and the
basic good in life. Moment to moment living for him is thrilling, transcending,
and spiritual as he lives the present moment to the fullest.

Peak experiences
"Feelings of limitless horizons opening up to the vision, the feeling of being
simultaneously more powerful and also more helpless than one ever was before,
the feeling of ecstasy and wonder and awe, the loss of placement in time and
space with, finally, the conviction that something extremely important and val-
uable had happened, so that the subject was to some extent transformed and
strengthened even in his daily life by such experiences" Abraham Maslow.

Interpersonal relations
Identification, sympathy, affection for mankind, kinship with the good, bad,and
ugly are all traits of the SA person. Truth is clear to him as he can see things
others cannot. He has profound, intimate relationships with few and is capable of
greater love than others consider possible as he shares his benevolence, affection,
and friendliness with everyone.

Democratic values and attitudes

The SA person is able to learn from anyone, is humble and friendly with anyone
regardless of class, education, political belief, race or color.

Discrimination: means and ends, Good and Evil

The SA does not confuse between means and ends and does no wrong. He enjoys
being ‘here and now’, getting to goal--not just the result. He makes the most
tedious task an enjoyable game and has his own inner moral standards (appearing
amoral to others).

Philosophical, unhostile sense of humor

Jokes to the SA person are teaching metaphors, intrinsic to the situation and
are spontaneous. He can laugh at himself, but he never makes jokes that hurt

The SA person enjoys an inborn uniqueness that carries over into everything
he does, is original, inventive, uninhibited, and he sees the real and true more

Resistance to enculturation: Transcendence of any particular culture

SA people have an inner detachment from culture. Although folkways may be
observed, SA people are not controlled by them. Working for long term culture
improvement, indignation with injustice, inner autonomy, outer acceptance, and
the ability to transcend the environment rather than just cope are intrinsic to
SA people.
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SA people are painfully aware of their own imperfections and joyfully aware of
their own growth process. They are impatient with themselves when stuck and
feel real life pain as a result.

The SA person is realistically human due to a philosophical acceptance of self,
human nature, social life, physical reality, and nature.

Resolution of dichotomies
Polar opposites merge into a third, higher phenomenon as though the two have
united; therefore, opposite forces are no longer felt as conflict. To the SA person
work becomes play and desires are in excellent accord with reason. The SA
person retains his childlike qualities yet is very wise.

Maslow holds that there are two processes necessary for self-actualization: self
exploration and action; the deeper the self exploration, the closer one comes to self-


Freud main concerns of art and aesthetics included the nature of creative
experience and the artist's inner world, the interpretation of art, and the nature of aesthetic
experience. In his work on Leonardo (Freud, 1910), Freud used a screen memory and two
of his paintings, The Mona Lisa and St Anne, St Mary and Jesus to attempt a
reconstruction of the artist's psycho-sexual development, relating Leonardo's childhood
experiences to his later conflicts between his scientific and artistic creativity. The
findings have their value in the uncovering of the phantasies expressed by the artwork
itself rather than the restructuring of the artist's inner life. In his work on Dostoevsky,
the writer (1928), Freud attempted to analyze the writer's personality, trying to account
for his epilepsy, gambling, and morality.

Graham Wallas ( 1926) may be credited to have presented one of the first models
of the creative process. The stage model of creative insights and illuminations mooted by
him include the following distinct stages.

preparation involving preparatory work on a problem that focuses the individual's

mind on the problem and explores the problem's dimensions,
incubation where the problem is internalized into the unconscious mind and
nothing appears externally to be happening,
intimation the creative person geting a 'feeling' that a solution is on its way,
illumination or insight where the creative idea bursts forth from its preconscious
processing into conscious awareness, and
verification where the idea is consciously verified, elaborated, and then applied.
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The model put forth by Wallas model is some time treated as if it had enumerted
only four stages, and "intimation" is regarded as just a sub-stage in the creative process.
Incubation seems to aid creative problem-solving in that it enables ‘forgetting’ of
misleading clues. When incubation is not present,the problem solver may become fixated
on inappropriate strategies of solving the problem (Ward).

Wallas considered creativity to be a legacy of the evolutionary process. Creativity

has been considered to allow humans to quickly adapt to rapidly changing environments (
Simonton ).

In his book Psychology of Invention in the Mathematical Field, Hadamard uses

introspection to describe mathematical thought processes. He describes his own
mathematical thinking as largely wordless, and often accompanied by mental images that
represent the entire solution to a problem. He surveyed 100 of the leading physicists and
their experiences tallied with his experience just cited. Hadamard described the
experiences of the mathematecians, theoretical physcists including Gauss and Helmholtz,
and Poincare as viewing entire solutions with “sudden spontaneity.” This is confirmed
by many others including Hardy, Heitler, Waerden and Ruegg in the literature. To cite
just one instance, Einstein, after years of fruitless calculations, suddenly had the solution
to the general theory of relativity revealed in a dream “like a giant die making an
indelible impress, a huge map of the universe outlined itself in one clear vision.”

Hadamard described the creative process as having steps (i) preparation, (ii)
incubation, (iv) illumination, and (v) verification . It is to be noted that Hadamard’s
account omits imitation which had been included as a mediating step in creative process
proponded by the five step model of Wallas, and the first three cited by Hadamard as
also having been put forth by Helmholtz.

In 1992 Finke et al. proposed the 'Geneplore' model of creativity. This model
assumes that creativity takes plac intwo distinct phases.
In the generative phase preinventive structres are constructed. In this phase the
individual constructs mental representations.
In exploratory phase the preinventive structures creatd in the first phase are used
to come up with creative ideas.

However, Weisberg had argued that creativity only involves ordinary cognitive
processes yielding extraordinary results.

14.4.1 Divergence process

J.P. Guilford (1950) has putforth his Structure of Intellect Model and had
distingusihed between convergent and divergent thinking as two modes of intellect. The
former is identified with intelligence and the later with cretivity (Wallack and
Kogan).Convergent thinking involves aiming for a single, correct solution to a problem,
whereas divergent thinking involves creative generation of multiple answers to a set
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Divergent thinking may be defined as a process that involves a broad search for
information and the generation of numerous novel alternative answers to problems
(Guilford, 1967). Divergent thinking is reported to occur in a mental state where attention
is defocused (e.g., Mendelsohn, 1976; Kasof, 1997) and thought is associative (e.g.,
Koestler, 1964; Mednick and Mednick, 1967; Ward, Smith, and Vaid, 1997). Hence, an
automatic spreading activation mechanism triggers a large number of simultaneous
mental representations. This spreading activation mechanism establishes associations that
link concepts having remote association. The divergent thinking seems to be an
unconscious ability to simultaneously activate and process a large number of often-
unrelated concepts that belong to distant categories. According to Guilford, divergent
thinking seems to be associated with four main characteristics, including fluency (the
ability to rapidly produce a large number of ideas or solutions to a problem), flexibility
(the capacity to consider a variety of approaches to a problem simultaneously),
elaboration (the ability to think through the details of an idea and carry it out), and
originality (the tendency to produce ideas different from those of most other people). The
traits associated with creativity viewed as divergent process are given in table below.

Traits associated with creativity viewed as divergent process.

Category Example
Ability to see or sensitivity to Can state difficulties or deficiencies in common products
problems or in social institutions, make judgment that desired goals
in a described situation have not been achieved.
Fluency of thinking Able to think well and effortlessly
Word fluency Can easily state words containing a given letter or
combination of letters
Associational fluency Can easily state synonyms for a given word
Expressional fluency Can easily write well- formed sentences with a specified
Ideational fluency Can easily produce ideas to fulfill certain requirements, for
example to name objects that hare hard, white and edible,
or to write an appropriate title for a given story.
Flexibility of thinking Can easily abandon old ways of thinking and adopt new
Spontaneous flexibility Can produce a great variety of ideas. For example in
suggesting uses for a brick, subject can jump among
categories, from building material to weight to missile to
source of red powder.
Adaptive flexibility Can generalize requirements of a problem to find a
solution. For example, in a problem of forming squares
using a minimum number of lines, can abandon the usual
idea that all squares have to be the same size.
Originality Comes up with ideas that are statistically unusual
Remote associations Forms associations between elements that are remote from
each other in time, or remote from each other logically
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Redefinition - gives up old Which of the following objects could best be used to make
interpretations of familiar a needle: pencil, radish, shoe, fish, carnation? (fish - use
objects and uses them in new bone)
elaboration - can fill in details Given a general task, fill in the detailed steps. Given two
given a general scheme simple lines, draw a more complex object.
Tolerance of ambiguity Willingness to accept some uncertainty in conclusions, not
using rigid categories
Interest in divergent thinking Open-ended thinking, where there is not a single right

Divergent thinking appears to be an important component of creative behavior

(Lubart, 2000). However, many creativity researchers do not share this conclusion to
view divergent process to be identical with creativity (Hocevar, 1981; Amabile, 1996;
Sternberg and O'Hara, 1999). There is consensus that divergent thinking creates a new
plane of thought on which original and novel ideas might be generated (e.g., Mednick,
1962; Koestler, 1968; Rothenberg, 1996), but creative performance itself depends on the
contribution of other processes as well (Guilford and Christensen, 1973).

14.4.2 Creative Problem Solving Model

Alex Osburn (1963) who propounded the brainstorming originally formulated the
Creative Problem Solving Model and his follower Sidney Parnes had furthered this

The model is usually presented as five steps. But sometimes a preliminary step is
added called mess-finding to the model. Mess- finding involves locating a challenge or
problem to which to apply the model.

The total six stages involved in creative problem solving include Mess-finding
(Objective Finding), Fact-finding, Problem-Finding, Idea-finding, Solution finding (Idea
evaluation) and Acceptance- finding (Idea implementation). These steps are recognized as
guiding the creative process involved in creative problem solving. They direct one as to
what to do at each immediate step in order to eventually produce one or more creative,
workable solutions. The unique feature of the model is that each step first involves a
Divergent thinking phase in which one generates lots of ideas. Facts, problem definitions,
ideas, evaluation criteria, and implementation strategies are generated using divergent
thinking process. Afterwards a convergent phase follows. During this phase convergent
thinking processes occur and only the most promising ideas are selected for further
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T h e O s b o r n e -Parnes Creative Problem Solving Process

(Courtesy, Notes from the CPSI 1998 brochure.)


Objective Fact Problem Idea

Finding Finding Finding Finding
Identify Goal, Gather Data Clarify the Generate Ideas
Wish, Challenge Problem
What is the What's the What is the What are all
goal, wish, or s i t u a t i o n o r problem that really the possible solutions
challenge upon which background? What needs to be focuses for how to solve the
you want to work? are all the facts, on? What is the problem?
questions, data, concern that really
feelings that are needs to be
involved addressed?


Solution Acceptance
Finding Finding
Select & Strengthen Plan for Action
How can you What are all the
strengthen the solution? action steps that need
WHow can you select the to take place in order to
solutions to know which implement your
one will work best? solution?
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As illustrated above several questions are raised to prompt creativity to fructify.

Parnes (1981) has developed checklist of questions prepared by him to facilitate thinking.
The seminal questions contained in the list of Parnes are presented in the table.

In the Object Finding (FF) step, the individual generates a number of questions to
appreciate the object. Parnes has developed a Checklist to facilitate prompting the
creative process. Such questions raised in this stage include the following.

What What What What do

would you like would you like relationship you wish you
to get out of to do better? would you like had more time
life? to improve? for?
What would you like What What do
are your goals, to happen? would you like you wish you
as yet unfilled? to get others to h a d m o r e
In what do? money for?
What ways are you
would you like inefficient? What What
to accomplish, takes too long? makes you
to achieve? What angry, tense or
would you like What is anxious?
What to organize in a wasted?
would you like better way? What do
to have? What y o u c omplain
What b a r r i e r s o r about?
What ideas would bottlenecks
would you like you like to get exist?
to do? going?

In the Fact Finding (FF) step, ‘Who?’, ‘ What?’, ‘ When?’ , ‘Where?’, ‘Why?’
and ‘How?’ questions are used. Such questions used include the following.

Who is or should be involved?

What is or is not happening?

When does this or should this happen?

Where does or doesn’t this occur?

Why does it or doesn’t it happen?

How does it or doesn't it occur?

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In Problem Finding (PF) step, alternative definitions of the problem are listed
since the definition of a problem will determine the nature of the solutions. In this step
phrasing each statement to begin with ‘In what ways might we (or I)..’, (IWWMW),
would facilitate the process. Such phrases include the following.

What is the real problem?

What is the main objective?

What do you really want to accomplish?

Why do I want to do this?

In Idea Finding (IF) step involves the divergent-thinking. Brainstorming is

invoked in this step. It is here that a variety of idea-generation techniques can be use.
Creative ideas are freely proposed without criticism or evaluation, for each of the
problem definitions accepted in the second stage.

In the Solution Finding (SF) three related steps are made use of. They include
listing the criteria for evaluation of possible solutions considered, the ideas generated are
evaluated and one or more best or appropriate ideas is selected. An evaluation matrix is
useful at this stage. The criteria used in this step in evaluating the solutions possible could
be set with reference to such questions as, ‘Will it work?’, ‘Is it legal?’, ‘Are the
materials and technology available?’, ‘Are the costs acceptable’, ‘Will the public accept
it?’ and ‘Will higher- level administrators accept it?’

In the last step of creative problem solving, Acceptance Finding (AF), the
individual attempting problem solving determines the ways and means to get the best
ideas into action. This requires the individual to chalk out an action plan. The action plan
should specify specific step to be taken and a timetable for taking them.


Whether intelligence and creativity are part of the same process or represent
distinct mental processes has been debated in 1950s. In order to answer the question
many investigations have been under taken correlating performance of subjects on a set
of intelligence test and a set of creativity tests and trying to study the intercorrelations
among scores of the subjects on tests used each domain as well as across the scores of the
subjects on tests used between the domains ( Barron, Guilford or Wallach and Kogan,).
The findings of such studies conssistantly suggestd that correlations between these
concepts were low enough to justify treating them as distinct concepts.

Some researchers believe that creativity is the outcome of the same cognitive
processes as intelligence, and is only judged as creativity in terms of its consequences,
i.e. when the outcome of cognitive processes happens to produce something novel. This
view has been termed as the "nothing special" hypothesis (Perkins).
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Torrance in his ‘the threshold hypothesis’, proposed that a high degree of

intelligence appears to be a necessary but not a suffecient condition for high creativity.
This implies that, in a general sample, there will be a positive correlation between
creativity and intelligence, and this correlation will not be found if only a sample of the
most highly intelligent people are assessed. The findings of the studies have produced
conflicting results ranging from ones lending credibility to the hypothesis an the ones
discrediting the hypothesis. An alternative perspective proposed by Renzulli's three-rings
hypothesis views giftedness as based on both intelligence and creativity.


The neurobiology of creativity has been also proposed. Creative innovation might
require coactivation and communication between regions of the brain that ordinarily are
not strongly connected". Highly creative people who excel at creative innovation tend to
differ from others in three ways. They have a high level of specialized knowledge. They
are capable of divergent thinking mediated by the frontal lobe. They are able to modulate
neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine in their frontal lobe.The frontal lobe appears to
be the part of the cortex that is most important for creativity.

In 2005, Alice Flaherty presented a three- factor model of the creative drive.
Drawing from evidence in brain imaging, drug studies and lesion analysis, she described
the Creative drive is considered to be resulting from an interaction of the frontal lobes,
the temporal lobes and dopamine from the limbic system ( Flasherty,2005).

The frontal lobes have been seen as responsible for idea generation, and the
temporal lobes for idea editing and evaluation. Abnormalities in the frontal lobe such as
depression or anxiety, has been found to generally decrease creativity, while
abnormalities in the temporal lobe often increase creativity. High activity in the temporal
lobe has been observed to typically inhibit activity in the frontal lobe, and vice versa.
High dopamine levels has been found to increase general arousal and goal directed
behaviors and reduce latent inhibition, and all three effects increase the drive to generate

Working Memory and the Cerebellum have been found to have a role to lay in
Vandervert has described how the brain’s frontal lobes and the cognitive
functions of the cerebellum collaborate to produce creativity and innovation. His
explanation is based on the evidence that all processes of working memory that is
responsible for processing all thought are adaptively modeled by the cerebellum. The
cerebellum consisting of 100 billion neurons, which is more that the entirety of the rest of
the brain, is also widely acknowledged to adaptively model all bodily movement. The
cerebellum’s adaptive models of working memory processing are then fed back to frontal
lobe working memory control processes where creative and innovative thoughts arise.
Vandervert’s approach provides an explanation of creativity and innovation manifesting
in sports, art, music, the design of video games, technology, mathematics and thought in
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Creativity tests were mostly devised during the past 4 decaes. They are aimed at
assessing the qualities and abilities that constitute creativity. They evaluate mental
abilities in ways that are different from and even diametrically opposed to conventional
intelligence tests. The kinds of abilities measured by creativity tests differ from those
measured by intelligence quotient (IQ) tests. Hence, persons with the highest scores on
creativity tests do not necessarily have the highest IQs. Creative people tend to have IQs
that are at least average if not above average. Beyond a score of 120 there is little
correlation between performance on intelligence and creativity tests.

Most creativity tests are based at least partially on the theory of creativity evolved
by J. P. Guilford (1950). Guilford conceived that the core of creativity lies the ability to
envision multiple solutions to a problem. This process involves divergent thinking as
opposed to convergent thinking. Early tests designed to assess an individual's aptitude for
divergent thinking include the Torrance (1962) and Meeker (1969) tests.

Guilford's work at the University of Southern California by the Aptitudes

Research Project (ARP) during the 1950s and 1970s helped produce a number of the
ARP divergent thinking tests. These tests have been adapted by a variety of testing
companies for use by educators in placing gifted students and evaluating gifted and
talented programs. The ARP tests are divided into verbal and figural categories. Those
that measure verbal ability include the following .

Word Fluency : writing words containing a given letter

Ideational Fluency : naming things that belong to a given class (i.e., fluids that will burn)
Associational Fluency : writing synonyms for a specified word
Expressional Fluency : writing four-word sentences in which each word begins with a
specified letter
Alternate Uses : listing as many uses as possible for a given object
Plot Titles : writing titles for short-story plots
Consequences : listing consequences for a hypothetical event ("What if no one needed to
Possible Jobs : list all jobs that might be symbolized by a given emblem

The figural ARP tests measure spatial aptitude and include the following:
Making Objects : drawing specified objects using only a given set of shapes, such as a
circle, square, etc.
Sketches : elaborating on a given figure to produce sketches of recognizable items
Match Problems : removing a specified number of matchsticks from a diagram to
produce a specified number of geometric shapes
Decorations : using as many different designs as possible to outline drawings of common

Divergent thinking tests are generally evaluated based on the number and variety of
answers provided by the respondent to the test items. They reflect the originality. The
amount of detail the responses contain is also considered for assessing creativity. This
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reflect eloboration. A number of creativity tests currently in use include sections that
measure divergent thinking. The Creativity Assessment Packet (ages 6-18) provides
measures of Divergent Thinking as well as Divergent Feelings. Screening Assessment
for Gifted Elementary Students (SAGES) (ages 7-13) is the test that measures traits
including imagination, curiosity, risk-taking, and complexity. A Divergent Production
subtest is part of the together with a Reasoning subtest. It emphasizes the identification of
relationships. The Test of Creative Potential (TCP) (ages 2-adult) tests fluency,
flexibility, and elaboration. Like the ARP tests, it has a figural section (Picture
Decoration). This measures nonverbal ability. A verbal section and a symbolic section
are also added in this test. The Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (TTCT) (ages 5-
adult) is also have both verbal and figural sections and measure fluency and other
standard categories.

A few creativity tests evaluate attitudes of the child rather than the thinking.
Ratings are used in these tests for eliciting observations on behavior made by an observer
familiar with the child, usually a parent or teacher), creative perception, or creative
activity. The Creativity Attitude Survey (CAS) (grades 4-6), used 32 statements. Thechild
is asked to indicate agreement or disagreement . The test assesses confidence in one's
own ideas, appreciation of fantasy, theoretical and aesthetic orientation, openness to
impulse expression, and desire for novelty. The Preschool and Kindergarten Interest
Descriptor (PRIDE) (ages 3-6) includes 50 items that assess children's behavior. The test
requires an observer to provide ratings on a child. This test asseses the child in the areas
including Independence-Perseverance, Imagination-Playfulness, Originality, and Many
Interests. The Scales for Rating the Behavioral Characteristics of Superior Students
(SRBCSS) (child and adolescent) include 95 questions. This test is used by teachers to
evaluate students in such areas as motivation, leadership, art, music, dramatics, and both
precise and expressive communication. The Creativity Checklist (CCL) (grades K-
graduate school) also rrequires an observer to check items on the list with regard to a
child being assessed. It measures resourcefulness, constructional skill, ingenuity or
productiveness, independence, and positive self- referencing behavior, as well as the more
standard fluency, flexibility, and complexity that are common to divergent thinking tests.
A few creativity tests are specifically meant for assessing creativity in minority
populations. Such groups have difficulty with regard to taking tests that place a strong
emphasis on verbal and semantic ability. The SOI-Learning Abilities Test (ages 2-adult)
one such tests meant for assessing the creativity of the minority group. This includes
such categories as constancy of objects in space, auditory attention, psychomotor
readiness, auditory concentration for sequencing, and symbolic problem-solving.

The Eby Gifted Behavior Index (all ages) views creativity as specific to different
domains. It is divided into six talent fields including verbal, social/leadership,
visual/spatial, math/science problem-solving, mechanical/technical, and musical. The
Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal, for adolescents and adults, is an analytical
assessment of giftedness based on five components of critical thinking: inference,
deduction, interpretation, awareness of assumptions, and evaluation of arguments.
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Creativity tests have been found reliable. The scores of an individual tend to
remain similar across a variety of tests. However, their predictive validity has been


(i) Creativity is manifested in the production of a creative work (as for instance, a
new work of art or a scientific hypothesis) that is both original and useful.
(ii) Crative individuals are identified to fall into different types.
(iii) Affects have effect on creatvity.
(iv) Creative processes hae been identified.
(v) Divergence processes are identified to constitute creatvity
(vi) Gildfor and others have developed a number of tests to assess creativity.


(i) How do you evaluate yourself as a creative person?

(ii) Identify the time you have been a creative person and examine the process that
contributed to creativity.
(iii) Identify any problem you are confronted with at the present and attempt creative
problem solving method to solve your problem.


(i) Discuss the many dimensions of creativity.

(ii) How far the problem solving is practical using the method suggested in this
(iii) Discuss the various tests of creativity.


(i) What is creativity?

(ii) How creative person is distinguished from a noncreative person?
(iii) How the process of creativity takes place?
(iv) Enumerate steps involved in creative problem solving.
(v) Discuss the various tests used for assessing creativity.


Coon, D. and Mitterer, J.O. (2007). Introduction to Psychology. First Indian Reprint.
Delhi: Akash Press.

Passer, M.W. and Smith, R.E. (2007). Psychology - The Science of Mind and Behavior.
Third Edition. New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill.

Guilford, J.P. (1967) The Nature of Human Intelligence. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1967.
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Guilford, J.P. (1985). The structure-of-intellect model. In B. B.Wolman (Ed.), Handbook

of intelligence: Theories, measurements, and applications (pp. 225–266). New York:

Osborn, A. (1953), Applied Imagination: The principles and procedures of Creative

Thinking, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.

Sternberg, R. J. (1988). The Nature of Creativity. New York: Cambridge University


Torrance, E. P. (1962). Guiding Creative Talent. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

P.E. Vernon (ed.). (1970). Creativity. Penguin Books.

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15.0 Aims and Objectives
15.1 Introduction
15.1.1 Definition
15.1.2 A Model of Motivation
15.1.3 Types of Motives
15.2 Theories of Motivation
15.2.1 Instincts Theories
15.2.2 Drive –Reduction Theories
15.2.3 Arousal Theory
15.2.4 Incentive Theory
15.2.5 Opponent-Process Theory
15.2.6 Cognitive Theories Expectancy-value theory Cognitive Dissonance Attribution theory Expectancy theory Equity Theory
15.2.7 Social Cognitive Theory
15.2.8 Need Theories Maslow’s Hierarchy. ERG Theory Motivation-Hygiene Theory Theory X and Theory Y Acquired Needs Theory
15.3 Primary Motives
15.3.1 Thirst
15.3.2 Hunger
15.3.3 Sex Drive
15.4 Secondary Motives
15.4.1 Need for Achievement.
15.4.2 Need for Affiliation.
15.4.3 Need for Power.
15.5 Let us sum up
15.6 Lesson-End activities
15.7 Points for Discussion
15.8 Check your progress
15.9 References
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In the previous lesson we presented the nature of creativity, dynamics and

processes of creativity, the steps involved in creative problem solving and measurement
of creativity. After going through this Unit you will be able to
(vi) Understand the nature of motivation
(vii) Distinguish different types of motivation from one another
(viii) The theories of emotion.


Etymologically, the English word Motivation is derived from the Latin term
‘Motivus’ which means ‘a moving cause’. This suggests the activating properties of the
process involved in motivation. Thus, motivation is a driving force that compels one to
act towards some goal. It is related to intentions, desires, goals and needs that determine

15.1.1 Definition

Motivation is defined as an internal state or condition (also called as a need,

desire, or want) that activates or energizes behavior giving it direction (Kleinginna and
Kleinginna, 1981). It contributes to the arousal, direction, and persistence of behavior.
Geen (1994) refers to motivation as one that determines the initiation, direction, intensity
and persistence of human behavior. Motivation refers to the dynamics of behavior, the
way in which actions are initiated, sustained, directed, and terminated Petri (2003).

15.1.2 A Model of Motivation

The origin of every motivational activity is from a need or internal deficit. The
need gives rise to drive that is an energized state of motivation. Drive, in turn actuates a
response or a series of actions that are designed to attain a goal. Reaching the goal
satisfies the need and hence it would end the chain of events. For instance, if you were
thirst you would go in search of water, and when your thirst is quenched you are content.
Similarly, one may be suffering from feelings of inadequacy. He may pursue different
activities to compensate for this feeling of inadequacy. Through the compensatory
behaviors he may feel adequate and satisfied.

The state of satisfaction or content achieved through the motivation pursuit is not
a permanent one. The need that originally stirred up the action gets set again which in
turn would initiate the entire chain of motivational behaviors. Thus the need leading to
behavior continues forever as may be seen in figure 1 presented below.
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Figure 1: The Motivational Cycle

15.1.3 Types of Motives

In order to study motivation it is imperative to understand a person’s motives to

explain his actions. There are different types of motives namely primary motives,
stimulus motives and secondary motives.

Primary motives refer to the biological needs that are essential for survival of the
organism. Examples of primary motives are thirst, hunger, pain avoidance, and need for
sleep, oxygen, elimination of wastes from the body, and regulation of body temperature.
These are innate and not learned.

In contrast to our primary needs that are biological we have a set of needs that are
learned and not innate. These are called secondary motives. Examples of secondary needs
include desire for mountaineering, surfing the internet, desire for swimming, ardent
desire to become the president of your association, wanting a promotion, and so on.
Learned needs also include need for affliction, nurturance, achievement, and power.

Stimulus motive refer to our needs for stimulation and information. Examples of
these may include curiosity, exploration, and manipulation. These motives also appear to
be innate. However, they are not essential for survival.


Motivation being a complex phenomenon has led to the development of a variety

of conceptual approaches that attempt to explain what motivation is. Though they each of
them emphasis on different aspects and encompass biological, cognitive and social
factors to varying degrees all of the approaches seek to explain the single phenomena
motivation. A brief account of the basic approaches to motivation is provided here.
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15.2.1 Instincts Theories

Instincts are inborn patterns of behavior that are biologically determined. These
forces are automatic, involuntary, and unlearned behavior patterns of behavior that are
elicited by certain stimuli. Pregnant mother rat building a nest with cotton and straw, Cat
arching its back and hissing in the presence of a threat and hamster accepting a mouse
that smells like a baby hamster are few examples of what an instinct is.

There is a difference among psychologists in their agreement on what are the

primary instincts. William McDougall (1908) suggested that there are 18 instincts
including pugnacity and gregariousness while there are others who claiming that there are
as many as 5,759 instincts.

Although the instinctual theory was adequate to explain some aspects of animal
behavior it was inadequate to address the complexity of human behavior like jealousy,
modesty, altruism and selfishness. Furthermore, instincts do not provide a complete
explanation for why a specific pattern of behavior, and not some other, has appeared in a
given species. Cross-cultural research showed that not all instincts that had b e e n
identified in one culture existed in other cultures. The variety and complexity of human
behavior, much of which is clearly learned, are difficult to explain if we assume instincts
as the primary motivational force. Yet instinct approaches still play a role in certain
theories. Finally, instinctual theories became a circular argument since they are
essentially descriptive and not explanatory. Attempt to explain behavior using instinct
theories resulted in expansion of the list of human instincts that at one point grew to
10,000. Owing to these problems, the instinctual theories were modified and became
need and drive or homeostatic theories

15.2.2 Drive –Reduction Theories

The instinct theory was replaced by simple drive-reduction theories of motivation

(Hull, 1943). Drive-reduction theories are also known as homeostatic theories.

Understanding what drive is would help us understand these theories better. A

drive is defined as a motivational tension, or arousal that energizes behavior in order to
fulfill some need. There are 2 types of drives: Primary drives and Secondary drives.
Primary drives refer to the innate drives that are the result from biological needs. Many
basic drives such as hunger, thirst, sleepiness, and sex, arise from biological requirements
of the body or of the species as a whole. In contrast, the secondary drives refer to the
learned drives that result from prior experience and learning.

We try to resolve a primary drive by reducing the need underlying it. For instance,
if the weather is very chill, we wear woolen clothing in order to keep warm. Such
behavior would help us maintain homeostasis. Homeostasis connotes the maintenance of
some optimal level of internal biological functioning. It is the state of equilibrium.
Organisms attempt to maintain homeostasis by constantly adjusting themselves to
the demands of the environment. For instance, an optimal level exists for body
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temperature, for chemicals in the blood, for blood pressure, and the like. When the body
deviates from these ‘ideal’ levels, automatic reactions begin automatically in order to
restore the equilibrium (Duckers, 2005).

Certain biological needs like sex, hunger, thirst cause imbalance in the system.
This imbalance shakes the homeostasis and causes a psychological state of arousal that is
uncomfortable. This state of arousal is called a drive. In order to get back into
homeostasis the organism engages in behaviors that are designed to reduce the drive and
thereby reduce the need. The process is shown below:


Need State

Drive State

(reduces the need
and drive)

This theory focuses on the maintenance of the internal physiological environment

and the internal influences on homeostasis. But in the case of humans even external
influences can cause need states. For example, we can become hungry by just looking at
a good pastry even though we have just eaten and are no longer hungry. Hence, an
explanation of human behavior purely in terms of drive-reduction may not be sufficient.

Consider behaviors like thrill seeking and curiosity where the goal is not to reduce
the underlying drive but to increase the overall level of stimulation and activity. The
drive-reduction theories that adequately explain how primary drives motivate behavior do
not explain behaviors for which the goal is not to reduce a drive, but rather to maintain or
even to increase a particular level of excitement or arousal like thrill seeking and

15.2.3 Arousal Theory

Arousal theories attempt to explain behavior in which the goal is the maintenance
of or an increase in excitement (Berlyne, 1967; Brehm & Self, 1989).
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Rather than all organisms being motivated to seek to reduce arousal, they seek to
maintain an optimal level of arousal and this optimal level varies from organism to
organism. Drive-reduction model states that if our stimulation and activity levels become
too high, we try to reduce them. In contrast, the arousal model suggests that if the levels
of stimulation and activity are too low, we will try to increase them by seeking
stimulation. For example, extroverts who are believed to have a lower lever of cortical
arousal engage in activities seeking stimulation that will increase their arousal. Extroverts
are more likely to smoke, drink alcohol, have frequent sex, like loud music, eat spicy
foods and engage in activities that will increase their arousal. Introverts, on the other
hand, are believed to have a higher level of cortical arousal and hence do not seek more

Arousal theory explains for one of the oldest principles of psychology put forth in
1908 known as the Yerkes-Dodson law. This law states that a particular level of
motivational arousal produces optimal performance on a task. Specifically, performance
on simple tasks benefits better from higher levels of arousal than performance on more
complex tasks (Hebb, 1955). However, when the level of arousal is too high performance
on both complex and simple tasks suffers. High levels of arousal prove to be distracting
and anxiety- producing which deteriorates performance regardless of the task difficulty.

Arousal theory that adequately accounts for internal influences on behavior does
not explain the external influences that cause need states. This stands as one of the
criticisms on arousal theories.

15.2.4 Incentive Theory

Not all behaviors are always motivated by an internal need, such as the desire to
reduce drives or to maintain an optimum level of arousal. The incentive theories are also
known reinforcement theories. They attempt to explain why behaviors are not always
motivated by an internal need. It explains motivation in terms incentives or external
stimuli that direct and energize behavior. Thus according to this theory, properties of the
external stimuli are considered as important to account for our motivation.

Instead of assuming that organisms are pushed to do things this theory assumes
that the organisms are pulled towards certain goals. We perform certain behaviors in
order to accomplish some goals.

The theory deserves credit for explaining why we may succumb to an incentive
even though internal cues are lacking. But it is certainly inadequate to provide a complete
explanation of motivation since organisms seek to fulfill needs even when incentives are
not apparent. Many psychologists believe that the internal drives proposed by drive-
reduction theory work in tandem with the external incentives of incentive theory. It seems
logical to assume that drives and incentives work together in motivating behavior.
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15.2.5 Opponent-Process Theory

Motivation behind phenomena like drug addiction and the physiological and
emotional reactions that occur as a result of extreme physical danger as in skydiving or
bungee jumping are explained by opponent-process theory.

According to this theory, stimuli that initially produce increases in arousal later
produce an opposite effect, calming the reaction in the nervous system. Similarly, stimuli
that initially produce decreases in arousal later produce an increase in arousal. While with
each exposure to a stimulus the original response to the stimulus remains fairly stable or
perhaps even declines, the opponent process-the reaction to the original response-tends to
grow in strength.

Consider, for instance, a young medical intern who is about to make her first
surgery in her medical career. Her initial reaction is likely to be one of anxiety. But there
will also be an opponent process at work: a feeling of euphoria after the surgery is over.
Opponent-process theory suggests that each time the medical intern does a surgery the
original process resulting in anxiety will not grow stronger and would weaken, and the
opponent process resulting in euphoria is likely to increase. Ultimately, then, carrying out
surgeries may become enjoyable to individual.

This theory explains why people hold strong motivation for behavior that
‘appears’ to have few benefits. It is frequently not the initial reaction but the opponent
process that maintains the motivation to carry out such behavior.

15.2.6 Cognitive Theories

Cognitive theories of motivation emphasis the role played by our thoughts,

expectations, and understanding of the world in energizing and directing our behavior.

Cognitive theories of motivation distinguish between intrinsic and extrinsic

motivation. Intrinsic motivation is one that causes us to participate in an activity for our
own enjoyment and not for any tangible reward that it would get us. On the other hand,
extrinsic motivation is one that causes us to do something for a tangible reward. Research
on the two types of motivation suggests that we are more apt to persevere, work harder,
and produce work of higher quality when we are intrinsically motivated than when we are
extrinsically motivated (Lepper, 1983; Deci & Ryan, 1985). Moreover, some
psychologists suggest that providing rewards for desirable behavior may cause a decline
in the intrinsic motivation and an increase in the extrinsic motivation. Expectancy-value theory recognizes two kinds of cognitions that underlie our
behavior. One is the expectation that our behavior will help us reach a particular goal,
and the other is our understanding regarding the value of the goal to us (Tolman,
1959).For instance, the degree of motivation in a students to study for a test will be
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decided by their expectation of how studying will help them get good grades and the
value they place of good grades. If both expectation and value are high then the students
will be motivated to work diligently. On the other hand, if either of them or both are low
then the motivation to work hard will be lower. Cognitive dissonance theory by Leon Festinger (1957) shares some aspects
similar to disequilibrium in Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. This theory holds
that when there is a discrepancy between two beliefs, two actions, or between a belief and
an action, we will act to resolve conflict and discrepancies. Thus an appropriate amount
of disequilibrium can energize and direct one’s behavior towards resolution of the
cognitive dissonance. The behavior adopted will be such that it leads to a change in
thought patterns. Such changes in thought patterns are potent to cause more changes in
behavior. Attribution theory (Heider, 1958; Weiner, 1974) proposes that every
individual tries to explain success or failure of self and others by making certain
"attributions". The attributions can be either internal or external. Further it could be
something that we have control of or something over which we do not have control.
Example of internal factor we may attribute to over which we do not have any control is
Ability while the one over which we have control is effort. Similarly, the external factor
we may attribute to over which we do not have any control is luck while the one over
which we have control is task difficulty. Expectancy theory by Victor Vroom suggests that individuals' expectations

about their ability to accomplish something affect their success in accomplishing it. This
theory is based on cognition focusing on the thought processes that individuals use.
Further it emphasizes on individual's effort and performance, and also the desirability of
outcomes associated with high performance.

The theory proposes the following equation to explain motivation:

Motivation = Perceived Probability of Success (Expectancy) X

Connection of Success and Reward (Instrumentality) X
Value of Obtaining Goal (Valance, Value)

Motivation is seen as product of three factors namely Expectancy,

Instrumentality, and Valance or Value. A low value in one will result in a low value of
motivation. Further, all three must be present in order for motivation to occur.

For instance, if an individual doesn't believe he or she can be successful at a task

or the individual does not see a connection between his or her activity and success or the
individual does not value the results of success, then the chances of him engaging in the
required activity is low.
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fairly they are treated in comparison to others. Equity is said to exist when people
consider their compensation equal to the compensation received by others who perform
similar work. To judge equity people compare inputs (like education, experience, effort,
and ability) to outputs (like pay, recognition, benefits, and promotion). Inequity is said to
exist when the ratio is out of balance. According to Daft (1997), behavior of individuals
will work towards reduction of perceived inequity by increasing or reducing effort in
addition to host of other changes in behavior. Thus inequality perceived by an individual
can energize and motivate his behavior, and hence can be seen as a source of motivation.

15.2.7 Social Cognitive Theory

According to social cognition theory reciprocal determination is the primary

factor in both learning and motivation. Reciprocal determinism refers to the fact there is a
mutual influence placed on each other by the environment, an individual's behavior, and
the individual's characteristics (e.g., knowledge, emotions, cognitive development).

Self-efficacy (the belief that a particular action is possible and that the individual
can accomplish it) and self-regulation (the establishment of goals) are highlighted as
important aspects in motivation. The development of a plan to attain those goals, the
commitment to implement that plan, the actual implementation of the plan, and
subsequent actions of reflection and modification or redirection are the various steps
involved in our behavior.

15.2.8 Need Theories

The origin of need theories can be traced back to some of the earliest research in
the field of human relations. The premise behind need theories is that if managers can
understand the needs that motivate people, then he can effectively implement reward
systems that can fulfill those needs and reinforce the appropriate behavior. Many theories
that come within this framework are briefly explained below. Maslow’s Hierarchy. Abraham Maslow proposed that different motivational

needs to be ordered in a hierarchy. The model can be conceptualized as a pyramid. The
basic needs are placed at the bottom of the pyramid while the higher –level needs are
placed at the top. Maslow believed that the needs at the lower levels had to be satisfied
before one could focus on satisfying the needs at higher levels.

The most basic needs are the primary drives like need for water, food, sleep, and
sex. Only when these basic physiological needs met a person can move up the hierarchy.
Safety needs are positioned next in the hierarchy. It consists of needs like need for a safe
and secure environment in order to function effectively. The physiological and safety
needs compose the lower-order needs.

The lower order needs are to be met before a person can consider fulfilling higher
order needs. The higher-order needs consist of need for love and belongingness, esteem
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and self-actualization. Love and belongingness needs consist of the need to obtain and
give affection and to be a contributing member of some group or society in general. On
fulfilling these needs the person strives for esteem. Esteem relates to the need to develop
a sense of self-worth by knowing that others are aware of one’s competence and value.

When these four sets of needs are fulfilled, the person is ready to strive for the
highest- level need self-actualization. Self-actualization refers to a state of self- fulfillment
in which people realize their highest potential. People feel at ease with themselves and
satisfied that they are using their talents to the fullest. It provided a sense of satisfaction
with the current state of affairs (Jones & Crandall, 1991). Beyond the need for self-
actualization is the need for self- transcendence. Self- transcendence refers to connecting
to something beyond the ego or to help others find self- fulfillment and realize their
potential. Maslow maintained that as one becomes more self-actualized and self-
transcendent, one develops wisdom and automatically knows what to do in a wide variety
of situations. Perhaps Maslow's ultimate conclusion that the highest levels of self-
actualization are transcendent in their nature is one of his most important contributions to
the study of human behavior and motivation ( Daniels, 2001).

Dearth of research validating the specific ordering of the various stages of

Maslow’s theory, and difficulty in measuring self-actualization objectively have been the
major drawbacks in this theory. Nevertheless, the theory adequately explains the
complexity of human needs, highlighting the fact that people will be unconcerned about
higher-order needs until their basic needs are met. ERG Theory by Clayton Alderfer is expanded on Maslow's theory. According

to this theory there are three categories of needs namely existence needs, relatedness
needs and growth needs. Existence needs are concerned with physical well-being.
Relatedness needs are concerned with having satisfactory relationships with others. The
growth needs focus on need to develop human potential and the desire for personal
growth and increased competence (Daft, 1997).

Unlike in Maslow’s theory where one has to essentially proceed from lower-order
needs to the higher-order needs, ERG theory holds that movement between the different
need levels is not necessarily straight forward in one direction. Failure to meet a higher-
order need results in regression to a lower-order need. Motivation-Hygiene Theory by Frederick Herzberg, states that an individual

will be moved to action based on the desire to avoid deprivation. This motivation,
however, does not provide positive satisfaction because it does not provide a sense of
growth. Herzberg found positive job attitudes to be associated with a feeling of
psychological growth.

Herzberg concluded that people work for two reasons. One reason is to avoid
physical deprivation, and the other reason is for achievement since it provides happiness
and meaning.
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The first set of factors is called hygiene factors. This is based on one’s desire to
avoid deprivation and the resulting physical and emotional discomfort. Examples of
hygiene factors include willingness to supervise, positive working conditions,
interpersonal relations with coworkers, status, job security, and salary. Presence of these
factors does not motivate people, not does it result in job satisfaction. On the contrary
absence of these factors will certainly cause dissatisfaction.

The second set of factors is called motivators. This is based on the positive
satisfaction that is provided by psychological growth. Examples of motivators are
opportunity to take up responsibilities, opportunities for achievement and recognition,
and possibility for growth or advancement. Presence of these factors will motivate
individuals to work further. However, the absence of these factors will neither cause
dissatisfaction nor would it demotivate the individual. Theory X and Theory Y by Douglas McGregor has a greatly influence of

Maslow’s theory on it. It recognizes that people have needs and that those needs are
satisfied at work. Theory X and Theory Y refer to two sets of assumptions about people.

Theory X assumed that most people would avoid work because they don't like it
and they must be threatened or persuaded to put forth adequate effort. It maintains that
people have little ambition and do not want any responsibility. They prefer to be directed
by others. People are basically interested in job security.

Theory Y assumes that to work is in the very nature of people and that most
people are self-directed to achieve objectives that they are committed to. It maintains that
people are ambitious and creative. They desire taking up responsibility and derive a sense
of satisfaction from doing the work that they do.

This theory was applied to management styles where autocratic leaders are said to
be adhering to Theory X while democratic leaders are said to adhere to Theory Y. This
theory, however, fostered a tendency to view people as members of a group rather than as
individuals. Nevertheless, McGregor's theory recognizing these two perspectives and
recognizing people as those who can achieve personal objectives through helping
organizations achieve their objectives is certainly an important contribution in the field of
motivation. Acquired Needs Theory by David McClelland hold that different needs are
acquired throughout an individual's lifetime. Basically there are three needs namely need
for achievement, affiliation and power. The desire to accomplish something difficult,
attain a high standard of success, master complex tasks, and surpass others is called need
achievement. The desire to form close personal relationships, avoid conflict, and establish
warm friendships connotes need for affiliation. The desire to influence or control others,
be responsible for others, and have authority over others characterizes need for power.

Early life experiences are found to determine whether people acquire these needs.
The reinforcement of behavior received as a child when a child is encouraged to do
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things independently influences one’s need for achievement during adulthood. Need for
affiliation as an adult develops if as a child he was reinforced for warm, human
relationships. Need for power will be evident as an adult if as a child he gained
satisfaction from controlling others (Daft, 1997).


Primary motives are those that are biologically rooted. They are innate needs that
are essential for survival. Some of the common primary motives thirst, hunger, sleep and
need for sex. Few of these are discussed below.

15.3.1 Thirst. As more than 75% of our weight is accounted for by water it is not an
easy task to maintain and regulate that amount of liquid in our bodies. We lose a
significant amount of water through perspiration and urination resulting in lowering of
water level in our body. The deficit of water results in thirst that acts as an important
motivational drive.

The stimuli that motivate us to drink are largely internal. Three primary internal
mechanisms produce thirst.

The first mechanism is that since the salt concentration of the cells of the body
varies according to the amount of internal fluid lowering of this concentration beyond a
certain level triggers the hypothalamus to act, thereby, resulting in the experience of

The second mechanism that results in experience of thirst is a decrease in the total
volume of fluid in the circulatory system (Fitzsimons, 1961). This can be seen when a
person who has lost significant amount of blood through an injury experiences a powerful
sense of thirst.

The third mechanism is a rise in body temperature or significant energy

expenditure. Perhaps the rise in body temperature that causes sweating would in turn
affect the concentration of salt in the body thereby causing thirst.

The complexity of the mechanisms of thirst is clearly evident when we find that
people deprived of water for 24hours will consume two-thirds of the water they need in
the first two and a half minutes. They taper off, and drink more slowly after this initial
eager drinking until they ingest enough to replenish nearly the exact amount of the water
they lacked.

15.3.2 Hunger. Hunger is the complex mechanism by which an organism gets to know
whether they require food or if they should stop eating. It is amazing to note that even
people who have had their stomachs removed continued to experience the sensation of
hunger. Hence, an empty stomach causing hunger pangs and a full stomach alleviating
hunger do not seem to explain the phenomena completely.
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Change in the chemical composition of the blood seems to be one mechanism that
regulates food intake. Experiments have found that hunger decreases and animals refuse
to eat when glucose is injected into their blood, while hunger increases when insulin is
introduced (Rodin, 1985).

Further, hypothalamus appears to be primarily responsible for food intake.

Researches suggest that injury to the hypothalamus causes radical changes in eating
behavior, depending upon the site of injury. Though the role played by hypothalamus in
regulating food intake is beyond doubt there is no consensus regarding the mechanism by
which it operates. Some suggest that hypothalamus affect the organism’s perception of
hunger, and some hypothesize that it directly affects the neural connections that control
the muscles involved in eating behavior. Another theory suggests that injury to the
hypothalamus disturbs the weight-set point which refers to the particular level of weight
that the body strives to maintain, and the hypothalamus acts as a thermostat calling for
greater or less food intake to make up for the imbalance.

15.3.3 Sex Drive. Many psychologists do not consider sex as a primary motive since it is
not essential for survival. However, it must be noted that though sex drive may not be
essential for individual survival it is necessary for group survival.

The strength of one’s motivation to engage in sexual behavior is referred to as sex

drive. Hormones directly affect sexual behavior in animals. A release of estrogen in the
bloodstream causes estrus. Only during the time when their fertility cycles are in the
stage of estrus do the female mammals (other than humans) show interest in mating.
Hormones play an important role in male sexual behavior too. Castration in most males
will abolish the sex drive. However, in contrast to the females who are interested in
sexual behaviors only in the stage of estrus, the male animal is almost always ready to
mate. Sex drive in males gets aroused primarily by the behavior and scent of the receptive
females. Thus mating is closely related to female fertility cycles in most species. The link
between hormones and sex drives grows increasingly weaker as we ascend the biological
scale. For instance, there is virtually no link between female sexual activity and women’s
monthly menstrual cycles.

Although hormones affect sex drive in humans it does not affect behavior as
directly as how it does in animals. Androgen released by the testes in male is responsible
for sex drive in them. The supply of androgen increases dramatically after puberty as so
does the male sex drive. In women, the sex drive is related to their estrogen levels. In
addition to estrogen a small amount of androgen is also produced in women. When the
level of this androgen increases women experience a corresponding increase in sex drive
(Van Goozen et al., 1995). Role of hormones in sexual behavior among humans is well
established. Castration in males causes males to lose their sexual drive and women lose
their sexual desire while they are on birth-control pills. However, in humans factors other
than hormones also play an important role in determining sexual behavior. For instance,
in addition to hormones sexual expressions in humans are influenced by mental, cultural
and emotional factors.
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Sex drive is for most part non- homeostatic. It is relatively independent of bodily
states. Anything anytime can arouse sexual drive in humans. Sexual behavior shows no
relationship with deprivation of the need. Though as more time passes by since the drive
was last satisfied there may be an increase the desire we find that a recent sexual activity
does not prevent sexual desire from occurring again.


Although hunger and thirst represent two of the most potent drives in our day-to-
day lives, there are set of powerful secondary drives that motivate us. Secondary motives
are learned motives and do not have a clear biological basis. Need for achievement,
affiliation and power are examples of secondary motives. Need for affiliation and need
for power are often termed as social needs since gratification of these needs involve the
presence of other individuals or society as a whole.

15.4.1 The Need for Achievement. Need for achievement is perhaps the most
prominent of secondary motives. It connotes a stable, learned characteristic in which
satisfaction is obtained by striving for and attaining a level of excellence (McClelland,
Atkinson, Clark & Lowell, 1953).

Those who have a high need for achievement seek out situations in which they
can compete against some standard and prove themselves successful. The standard that
they compete against can be anything from grades to money to winning a game.
Nevertheless, high achievers are not indiscriminate when it comes to picking their
challenges. While avoiding situations in which success will come too easily or those in
which success is unlikely they tend to choose tasks that are of intermediate difficulty. On
the contrary, low achievement oriented individuals who are motivated by a desire to
avoid failures seek out tasks that are very easy or very difficult. They may choose easy
tasks since they are sure to avoid failure by that, or may choose very difficult tasks for
which failure has no negative implications since almost anyone would fail at them. They
stay away from tasks of intermediate difficulty, since they may fail where others have
been successful (Atkinson & Feather, 1996).

The outcomes of a high need for achievement are generally positive, more so in
today’s success-oriented society (Heckhausen, Schmalt, & Schneider, 1985; Spence,
1985). Findings of research by Atkinson & Raynor (1974) suggest that people motivated
by a high need for achievement are more likely to attend college than their low
achievement counterparts, and once in college they tend to receive higher grades in
classes that are related to their future careers. Moreover high achievement motivation is
associated with future economic and occupational success (McClelland, 1985).

Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) is used more frequently to measure

achievement motivation. The amount of achievement imagery in people's stories in
response to TAT stimuli would provide a measure of the need for achievement present in
the individual. Reuman, Alwin, & Veroff (1984) suggest that other techniques are
available for assessing achievement motivation on a societal level. By assessing
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achievement imagery in children's stories or folk tales one can assess the overall level of
achievement motivation in a particular society.

Children of parents who set high standards, who are relatively demanding, and
who strongly encourage independence seem to have high need for achievement. Such
parents are also found to quickly praise their children's success and warmly encourage
their children in all areas of endeavor. Even if children fail these parents do not complain
but urge their children to find areas in which they will be able to succeed (McClelland,

15.4.2 The Need for Affiliation. Need for affiliation connotes a concern with
establishing and maintaining relationships with other people. People who have high need
to affiliate not only desire to maintain or reinstate friendships but also show concern over
being rejected by friends.

People high on affiliation are particularly sensitive to relationships with others.

They desire being with their friends more of the time, and want to be alone less often as
compared to those who are lower in affiliation. Gender seems to be, however, more
important than affiliation motivation in determining how much time is actually spent with
friends. Regardless of their affiliative orientation, female students spent significantly
more time with their friends and less time alone than male students did (Wong &
Csikszentmihalyi, 1991).

15.4.3 The Need for Power. This connotes a tendency to seek impact, control, or
influence over others, and to be seen as a powerful individual, represents an additional
type of motivation (Winter, 1973; 1987).

Individuals with a strong need for power is more apt to belong to organizations
and seek office than those low in the need for power. They also are apt to be in
professions in which their power needs may be fulfilled like in business management and
public administration. Even as students in college, they are more likely to collect
prestigious possessions, such as stereos and sports cars.

Significant sex differences exist in the display of need for power. Men with high
need for power tend to indulge in behaviors that are somewhat extravagant, flamboyant:
they tend to display unusually high levels of aggression, drink heavily, act sexually
exploitative, and participate more frequently in competitive sports (Winter, 1973).
Women with high need for power, however display it in a more restrained manner that is
congruent with traditional societal restraints on women’s behavior. Women who have
high need for power are more likely than men to channel their power needs in a socially
responsible manner like showing concern for others or through highly nurturant behavior
(Winter, 1988).

The need for power can be fulfilled in several different ways (Spangler & House,
1991). The way in which the need is manifested would reflect a combination of people's
skills, values and the specific situation in which they find themselves.
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(i) Motivation is a driving force that compels one to act towards some goal.
(ii) The origin of motivational activity is from an internal deficit. This induces drive
that in turn actuates a response to attain a goal, and the goal satisfies the need and
hence it would end the chain of events.
(iii) Instincts, Drive –Reduction, arousal, incentives, opponent process, cognitive
process, need hierarchy, and X-Y factors are raised to account for motivational
aspects in different theories.
(iv) Motivations could be primary or secondary.
(v) Primary motives are those that are biologically rooted.
(vi) Secondary motives are derived from social learning.


a. Describe the motivational cycle with reference to you own experience.
b. Identify yourself with regard to your position in the hierarchy of needs.
c. Enumerate your secondary motives and work out a programme to
realizing them.


(i) What is the nature of motivation?

(ii) Distinguish primary motives from secondary ones. Discuss the theories of


(i) What is motivation?
(ii) State the theories of motivation. Enumerate the primary and secondary
drives and how do they relate to self-actualization.


Coon, D. and Mitterer, J.O. (2007). Introduction to Psychology. First Indian Reprint.
Delhi: Akash Press.

Passer, M.W. and Smith, R.E. (2007). Psychology - The Science of Mind and Behavior.
Third Edition. New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill.
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16.0 Aims and Objectives
16.1 Introduction
16.2 Components of Emotion
16.3 Classification of Emotions
16.4 Functions of Emotion
16.5 Brain and Emotions
16.5.1 Limbic System
16.6 Theories of Emotion
16.6.1 James-Lange Theory
16.6.2 Cannon-Bard Theory
16.6.3 Schachter -Singer Theory
16.7 Let us sum up
16.8 Lesson-End activities
16.9 Points for Discussion
16.10 Check your progress
16.11 References


In the last lesson we were concerned with understanding the nature of motivation,
distinguishing different types of motivation from one another, and presented the theories
of emotion. After going through this Unit you will be able to
(i) Understand the nature of emotion.
(ii) Appreciate the role of brain in emotion.
(iii) Appreciate various theories of emotion.


Etymologically, the English word emotion is derived from its French root ‘emouvoir’
which is derived from the Latin verb ‘emovere’. The French term means ‘excite’ and the
Latin word means ‘out- move (e = out; movere = move). Emotion refers to a mental state
that arises spontaneously rather than through conscious effort. Physiological changes as
well as a feeling often accompany it. The common emotions experienced by people most
often include the emotions of joy, sorrow, reverence, hate, and love. Oatley and Jenkins
(1996) offer a three-part de nition of emotion. Thus an emotion is usually caused by a
person consciously or unconsciously evaluating an event as relevant to a concern (a goal)
that is important; the emotion is felt as positive when a concern is advanced and negative
when a concern is impeded. The core of an emotion is readiness to act and the prompting
of plans, an emotion gives priority for one or a few kinds of action to which it
gives a sense of urgency – so it can interrupt, or compete with alternative mental
processes or actions. Different types of readiness create different outline relationships
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with them. An emotion is usually experienced as a distinctive type of mental state,

sometimes accompanied or followed by bodily changes, expressions, and actions.


It is well held, as Sigmund Freud once said, that ‘in the wave of emotions
intelligence is a straw’. The very essence of literature is the war between emotion and
intellect" (Isaac Bashevis Singer). This clearly explains how powerful emotions are in
directing behavior. Emotion is characterized by both internal changes and external
observable changes. It is characterized by physiological arousal, cognitive elements, and
changes in facial expressions, gestures, postures, and subjective feelings.

Physiological elements include pounding of heart, sweating, ‘butterflies in the

stomach’, changes in heart rate, blood pressure, and so on. This is caused due to the
activity of the sympathetic nervous system and the hormone adrenaline.

Overt signs of the person’s feelings are another element of emotion. Trembling of
hands, face contours, posture suggesting that one is tensed and defensive, and changes in
voice are few observable signs of emotions. Expressions of emotions help us to identify
the emotion that is being experienced by an individual.

Emotional feeling is the private emotional experience that which all of us are familiar
with. When we say we are happy, or sad we in fact are referring to this component of


Emotions may be classified in to primary and mixed states. Eight emotions have
been identified as more basic than others (Plutchik, 2003). These are termed as primary
emotions. They are fear, surprise, sadness, disgust, anger, anticipation, joy, and trust.
These emotions give rise to a large number of emotions by differing in intensity. For
example, the less intense form of anger would give rise to ‘annoyance’ while the more
intense form of anger would result in ‘rage’.

These basic emotions combine to produce mixed emotions. Foe instance, fear
may combine with anticipation resulting in anxiety. Joy and fear together may result in
guilt! Imagine a 5-year-old child who eats stolen jellybeans. He will feel joy since he is
having the pleasure of tasting the jellybeans while would also fear as they are stolen.


Emotions seem to be linked up with many fundamental adaptive behaviors. It

stands as cause for many adaptive behaviors like attacking, fleeing, seeking comfort,
helping others, and reproducing.
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Emotions prepares for action. We either take a flight or decide to fight on seeing a
threat. Both of these reactions are primarily caused by emotion. For instance, on seeing
an angry dog we may start running or searching for a stick that can scare the dog away.

The emotions that we experience following certain behaviors serve as reinforcers

that increase or decrease the probability of that behavior occurring again in future. Hence
emotions can shape future behavior. Feeling good after charity will increase that behavior
which explains why we repeat that behavior.

On the other hand, emotions also have negative effects. Emotions like hate, anger,
contempt, and disgust can ruin relationships. Fear can disrupt performance. Yet emotions
seem to be essential for us as social animals to live in groups, cooperate, and defend one


There are both positive and negative emotions. Though most of us think these two
are opposites it is not necessarily the case. It is quite possible for us to experience both
the positive and negative emotions at the same time, as the 5 year old who ate the stolen
jellybeans. This is possible because the positive and negative emotions are processed by
different hemispheres of the brain. Positive emotions are processed largely by the left
hemisphere while negative emotions are processed in the right hemisphere. This is the
very reason why we can feel sad and happy at the same time (Canli et al., 1998).

Picture Courtesy:

16.5.1 Limbic System

The limbic system is linked with experiencing emotions. It comprises of the forebrain
areas bordering the brainstem. It consists of amygdala, cingulate cortex, hippocampus,
fornix, various nuclei (septal, mammillary body), and parts of the thalamus &
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hypothalamus. Detailed recall of most emotional experience results in increased activity

of the limbic system.

Amygdala of the brain is involved in production of fear. Bypassing the cortex, the
amygdala receives sensory information directly and quickly. This enables it to respond to
potential danger even before we realize what is happening to us. Fear response, in such a
case, in not under the control of the higher brain centers. Perhaps that explains why in
conditions like phobia and disabling anxiety we are not actually aware of the reason why
we fear. A damage to amygdala results in numbness of emotions. It also causes one to be
‘blind’ to the emotions of others thus leading to interpersonal problems.

The Cingulate Cortex of the limbic system when damaged results in reduced level
of tension and anger. Similarly inactivation of Medial Frontal Cortex leads to impaired
ability to identify angry expressions though ability to identify expressions of happy
emotions remains intact. Insula when damages result in failure to experience disgust or
recognize retching sound of others as indicating nausea or disgust.

As mentioned earlier, the right brain hemisphere (RH) is more sensitive to

emotional stimuli than the left hemisphere (LH). Right amygdala seems to be activated
by laughing or crying. Inactivation of the right hemisphere results in difficulty to
remember past events, though memory for facts remains intact.


Many theories have tried to explain what takes place during emotion. They have
investigated whether arousal, behavior, cognition, expression, and feelings are
interrelated. Each of them offers different explanations for the process of emotions. Some
of the prominent views are discussed below:

16.6.1 James-Lange Theory

Common sense suggests that we see a snake, feel fear, get aroused and run. In
1880s, William James and Carl Lange proposed a theory that reversed the common sense
sequence. They argued that bodily arousal like increased heart rate does not follow a
feeling such as fear. Instead, they maintained that emotional feelings follow bodily
arousal. Thus, we see snake, feel fear and then become aware of our bodily reactions.
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(Eg. Snake)



According to this theory, we do not experience emotions until we react. As soon

as we see a threat the first reaction is activation of visceral bodily changes. Our brain
later interprets visceral changes as emotional experience of ‘fear’. In short, our bodily
reactions determine the subjective emotions that are experienced by us.

16.6.2 Cannon-Bard Theory

Walter Cannon (1932) and Phillip Bard had, In contrast to James-Lange theory,
proposed that emotional feelings and bodily reactions occur at the same time. They
believed that seeing a snake would immediately activate the thalamus in brain which in
turn alerts the cortex and the hypothalamus at the same time. The cortex thus activated
produces emotional feelings and behavior, and the hypothalamus triggers the chain of
events that arouses the body. Thus the brain activity simultaneously produces bodily
arousal, running, and the feeling of fear.





16.6.3 Schachter-Singer Two-Factor Theory

Both James-Lange and Cannon-Bard theory were largely concerned with our
physical responses. Stanley Schachter identified that cognitive factors also come into play
in experiencing emotion. The theory by Schachter- Singer is referred to as two-stage
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theory of emotion. It states that for an emotion to occur there must be a physiological
arousal and an explanation for the arousal. For instance, if someone sneaks up close
behind you in a dark street and shouts ‘ooh!!” your body will be aroused no matter who
the person is. You may interpret this arousal as fear if you notice that the person is a
stranger. On the contrary, you may interpret the arousal as surprise if you recognize the
person to be a friend of yours.




Succinctly, based on the activation of general physiological arousal and the

observation of environmental cues we decide on how the arousal has to be labeled. The
label we give will depend on our past experience, the situation, and other’s reactions.
This theory accounts for subjective interpretation of emotions.


(i) Emotion refers to a mental state that arises spontaneously rather than through
conscious effort. Physiological changes as well as a feeling often accompany it.
(ii) It is characterized by physiological arousal, cognitive elements, and changes in
facial expressions, gestures, postures, and subjective feelings.
(iii) Emotions may be classified in to primary and mixed states.
(iv) Emotions seem to be linked up with many fundamental adaptive behaviors.
(v) There are both positive and negative emotions.
(vi) Amygdala of the brain is involved in production of fear.
(vii) Many theories have tried to explain what takes place during emotion.
(viii) James and Lange held that emotional feelings follow bodily arousal. Canon and
Bard held that emotional feelings and bodily reactions occur at the same time.
(ix) Schachter and Singer held that there must be a physiological arousal and an
explanation for the arousal for emotion to occur.
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(i) Recall from your experience relating to past 24 hours, what were the primary
emotions you experienced? Describe the physiological changes that you went
through while experiencing such emotions.
(ii) How does you experiences of emotion agree or disagree with the basic
propositions of various theories of emotion?


Can you apply your understanding of the various aspects of emotion for
attempting a programme to control your anger? Draw a practical programme step by step.


What is emotion?
What are the functions of brain in emotion?
How different theories explain the relationship between emotion and
physiological changes?


Coon, D. and Mitterer, J.O. (2007). Introduction to Psychology. First Indian Reprint.
Delhi: Akash Press.

Passer, M.W. and Smith, R.E. (2007). Psychology - The Science of Mind and Behavior.
Third Edition. New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill.
This watermark does not appear in the registered version -




17.0. Aims and Objectives

17.1 Introduction
17.2 Psychodynamic Perspective
17.3 Classical Psychoanalysis of Sigmund Freud
17.3.1 Personality Structure The Id The Ego The Superego
17.3.2. Dynamics Of Personality Anxiety And Defense Mechanisms Mental Mechanisms
17.3.3. Psychosexual Development Oral Stage Anal Stage Phallic Stage Latency Genital Stage
17.4 Neo-Freudian Theories
17.4.1 Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler
17.4.2. Analytical Psychology Of Carl J Jung
17.5 Let Us Sum Up
17.6 Lesson-End Activities
17.7 Points For Discussion.
17.8 Check Your Progress
17.9 References


In this unit we discussed how Sigmund Freud advances an explanation of the

psychodynamics of personality, and how Alfred Adler and Carl J. Jung had further such
explanation with their own insights. After going through this unit, you will be able to
i) describe the psychodynamic perspective of personality
ii) understand the contribution of classical psychoanalysis to understanding
personality dynamics and
iii) appreciate the development of the psychodynamic perspective contributed by
Adler and Jung.
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People differ from one another widely and wildly. No two persons are alike.
Personality theories attempt to understand the ways people differ from one another as
well as the way people have certain common traits or characteristics. They are also
concerned with tracing the sources of such individual differences. They also attempt to
predict how an individual may behave in certain defined situation based on certain
theoretical assumption. Thus, personality theories try to have a thorough understanding of
how and to what extent individuals differ from one another and to what extent individuals
are alike and what are the sources of these differences and how far the specific source of
the personality differences are stable, that is long enduring or transient. The focus of
personality theories is on the fundamental nature as far as it reflects in the differences
between individuals as well as the uniqueness of the individuals.

Why there are personality differences? In searching and seeking answers to this
important question the psychologists have followed different paths. The evolutionary
psychologists who have allegiance to Charles Darwin’ theory of evolution try to account
for the individual differences in terms of alternative adoptive strategies followed by
human individuals belonging to the animal kingdom. A few psychologists are convinced
that behavior genetic remains the core of the source of individual differences. The
behavior genetic approach has found a major source of the personality differences could
be explained by genetic inheritance. Hence they try to analyze personality in terms of the
complex interplay of the genetic components and the environmental influences. A few
other psychologists have attempted to understand the individual differences in terms of
the biological underpinnings of temperament and complex behavior since they view
human being as one extending from lower species. A few pioneers in psychology have
attempted to explain the personality in terms of psychodynamics. They attribute
personality differences to psychodynamic factors such as unconscious mind. Though the
merits of the psychoanalytic theorizing, which emphasizes the dynamic concepts, have
contributed a great deal in furtherance of psychology in the early 20th centaury their
validity and value are currently questioned by the modern Western Psychologists. The
social cognitive theories of personality seem to dominate the field today. The
psychologists exposing this point of view emphasize the importance of socialization and
the effect of cognitive processes to create one's personality and behavior. The eastern
thinkers have adduced vast amount of knowledge regarding human nature in general and
consciousness in particular. They have relied on introspection and other subjective
procedures in drawing their inferences. A few psychologists who are discontented with
exclusively following the objective approach for studying personality have now turned to
draw inspiration from the ancient Indian knowledge for furthering understanding of


A w ide group of theories emphasize the overriding influence of instinctive drives and
forces, and the importance of developmental experiences in shaping personality.
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Psychodynamic perspectives in psychology originated with the work of Sigmund

Freud. They emphasize the importance of the unconscious in determining the
thinking, willing and feeling of the individuals. Freudian psychoanalysis stresses that
internal psychological processes are of primary importance for explaining the nature
of the individual. Early childhood experiences have greater impact on one’s
personality. Unconscious motivation contributes to various psychological
phenomena. Rationality and morality sustain our ego and super ego. Individuals
resort to defense mechanism to foster their ego.

In the earlier stage of development the psychodynamic theories were exclusively

concerned with the influence of unconscious drives and forces. However, recent
psychodynamic theory places greater emphasis on conscious experience and its
interaction with the unconscious. Further they accept the role that social factors playing a
significant role in development.


Freudian perspective in psychology is known as classical psychoanalysis. Freud aspired

to develop psychology as science and hence required to bring in the concept of
determinism for explaining psychological phenomena. He posited that human behavior is
determined by the unconscious. He propounded the topographical model of personality.
According to Freud the structure of personality includes the conscious, the preconscious
and the unconscious. What one is presently aware of constitutes the conscious.
Consciousness is riveted by our focus on what is happening at the current immediate
moment, ‘here and now’. Awareness of certain facts relating to one’s experience may not
be present in the conscious but are available for recall. This is designated as the
preconscious. Lastly, there are certain facts relating to experience, especially, emotional
experience may not be felt at the present moment or could be recalled voluntarily by an
individual. However, such material remains dormant and remains buried in the
underneath in the mind. This is known as the unconscious. The unconscious usually
consists of the traumatic childhood experiences and tabooed sexual desires. The material
hidden in the unconscious could hardly be retrieved by the awakened state of awareness.
But, the influence of the unconscious is felt in all aspects of behavior. Freud held that the
mind is like an iceberg. Like an iceberg merged in the water to the extent of 90 percent
and allowing us to view only of its 10 percent of the mass, majority of our emotional
experiences are buried under the unconscious and what we see as behavior out side is
only but a small portion of the mental structure.

17.3.1. Personality Structure

Besides picturing the scenery of personality Freud had identified and described the three
partite structure of the human personality. The three parts of personality structure are
labeled the id, the ego and the super-ego. The Id. When born, the personality of the infant remains to be an embodiment
of id. Thus id is the original system of personality and in the course of development is
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differentiated into the ego and the superego. The id is occupied by a mass of blind
instincts. There is no logical organization of these instincts and impulses in the id. Thus
instincts that contradict one another may simultaneously be present in the id. No sense of
time prevails in the id. Impulses already present in the id and also the new impulses
repressed and sent to be hidden in the unconscious can remain unaltered for indefinite
period in the id. That is how repressed traumatic experiences of childhood tend to persist
and persevere in the adulthood and later. Id is essentially amoral in its character. It has no
sense of values and cannot discriminate the good from the evil. It adheres to only
pleasure principle: it’s only concern is to release tension instantly and relegate the
organism to a comfort zone involving constant and low level of energy. Id is not oriented
to reality. Id always tries to obtain pleasure and avoid pain and operates only on pleasure
principle. The term primary process is used in psychoanalysis to Id’s approach towards
wish fulfillment by avoiding pain and gain pleasure. This is an illusory processes and
constitutes an hallucinatory form of experience in which desired object is present in the
form of memory image of the desired one. Nocturnal dreams represent fulfillment or
attempted fulfillment of a wish. The Id processes remain entirely unconscious. The
processes are inferred by analyzing the manifestation of the processes in dreams, free
associations, and neurotic and psychotic formation. The phenomena mentioned are
known as instinct derivatives. Several primitive instincts are associated with the Id.
However, sexual and aggressive instincts receive special premium. The problem of the Id
as a system is that by itself it is not capable of reducing tension. For instance, a hunger
experience by a person cannot be satiated by images of food and the tension can not be
relieved by such form of wish fulfillment. If Id is not safeguarded and is left to its own
strategies it might annihilate itself. The Ego. The emergence of ego is necessitated by the needs of the individual
demand appropriate transactions with the objective reality. For instance, a hungry man
should search and seek means to satiate his hunger along with adjusting his memory
images of food. Only then his tension due to hunger could be relieved. The ego
discriminates the things in the mind from things in the world of reality. The Id could
hardly discriminate between imagination and reality as the ego. The ego adheres to reality
principles by approaching every thing with invoking higher mental process. It applies
logic in its thinking and is rationalistic in its approach. This process is called the
secondary process in the psychoanalysis. The ego sticking on to reality principle would
examine whether an experience is real or not and whether it has objective existence or a
subjective existence. The Id, of course, would only consider an experience only in terms
of whether it is a pleasurable or painful one. The paramount task for the ego is to mediate
between the instinctual requirements of the individual and the conditions of the
surrounding environment. Its main aim is to uphold the life of the individual and ensure
progeny are reproduced to sustain the existence of the species. The ego is regarded to be
the executive of personality. It controls the gateways to action and selects the features of
the environment to which it will respond. It is the ego that determines which instincts to
be satisfied, which mean is to be adopted and in what manner. In discharging the very
significant executive functions the ego has to integrate the most often conflicting
demands of the Id, the Superego, and the external world. This is a stupendous task and
places a great strain on the ego. The term ego strength is used in psychoanalysis to refer
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to the capacity of the ego to successfully cope with the id, superego, and the real
world. The ego is a rational, well-ordered aspect of personality since it has to deal with
reality effectively. It is the ability of the ego for organizing, for being critical, and for
synthesizing that makes a life of the individual as a life tempered with reason despite his
fundamental animalistic nature. The Superego. The super ego comprises of the internal representative of the
traditional values and ideals of society. The values and ideals are those instructions of dos
and donts imparted by the parents as comprehended by the child. The rewards and
punishments awarded by the parents leads to such incorporation of principles in the child.
The term introjection is used in psychoanalysis to connote this process. Super ego is the
last system of the three partite system of personality to be developed. It represents the
moral objectives and stands for the ideal rather than for the real. It uncompromisingly
strives for perfection rather than operating at pleasure principle. Super ego is developed
in response to the rewards and punishment meted out by the child at the hands of the
parents. Whatever is regarded improper by parents and lead to punishment is shun in the
conscience. Whatever is hailed by the parents and leads to reward are developed as
values and ideals for the child. The term introjection is used in psychoanalysis to refer to
the mechanism through which this incorporation of the indoctrination of the parents takes
place. The conscience adopting the doctrines of the parents would punish an individual
when he transgresses them by invoking feelings of guilt. The conscience would reward
the individual when he adopts himself to the doctrines of the parent by evoking a sense of
pride in himself. Thus, once the super ego emerged self-control gets substituted for
parental control. The super ego has several functions to discharge. It has to inhibit the Id
impulses, especially the Id’s sexual and aggressive impulses. The two impulses
mentioned are the ones usually tabooed in the society. It has to influence the ego to
substitute moralistic goals for realistic goals. It has to constantly strive for perfection.
The superego is also irrational in its nature, like the id. It tries to exercise control over the
instincts. The ego merely tries to postpone instinctual gratification. But, the super ego
tries to block it once and for all. The super ego is evolved during the Oedipal stage as
well as with the resolution of the Oedipal complex on through adolescence.

17.3.2 Dynamics of Personality

An individual’s life is dominated by conflict between Id, ego, and super ego.
Individual’s mind is a field for constant battles between the id, ego, and superego. The id
always insists instant gratification of its felt needs. The ego has to rise to the occasion
and control the Id impulses. The super ego must invoke the guilt feeling to obtain the Id
impulses completely. Usually these conflicts are centered on sex and aggression. This is
because that the social norms governing the sexual behavior and aggression are so
subtle. It is also the case that most often inconsistent messages about what’s appropriate
to deal with sexual and aggressive impulses are passed on to the individual by the
society. Hence these drives create a lot of confusion. Hence, ordinarily these drives are
thwarted more than other basic biological needs.
This watermark does not appear in the registered version - Anxiety and Defense Mechanisms. Most of the conflicts confronting an

individual are usually trivial and are subjected to get resolved within a short span. Yet, a
few conflicts can persist for a long time. Such conflicts are the conflicts the individual
experiencing the conflict might not be aware of since they are rooted in his unconscious.
These conflicts can produce anxiety that that slips to the surface of conscious awareness.
The anxiety so experienced may be attributed to the concerns of the ego. The ego in such
a condition may be worried about the Id getting out of control and leading to severe
negative consequences. The ego may also be concerned that the super ego is getting out
of control leading to feelings of guilt about real or thwarted transgression of the moral
doctrines. The anxiety arising in these conditions is quite distressing to the individual
experiencing the conflict. Under such conditions, individuals may resort to a variety of
strategies to get over the unpleasant experience of anxiety. The strategies so attempted
may constitute largely unconscious reactions that ward of the anxiety and guilt feelings to
certain extant during a span of time. Since they are self-deceptive they do not provide
ultimate solution to the problems of haunting anxiety and tormenting guilt feelings. Such
strategies are termed defense mechanisms in psychoanalysis. Mental Mechanisms. Several are the strategies of the ego to ward of anxiety
and guilt feelings. Repression is an active defense mechanism by which the ego attempts
to push away the anxiety arousing impulses or memories into the unconscious. Keeping
distressing thoughts and feelings buried in the unconscious constitutes this process. This
could be explained by the instance of a woman who was sexually abused in childhood
develops amnesia for the event. In denial, an individual may just refuse to acknowledge
anxiety-arousing conditions of the environment. Such denial may involve either the
emotions attendant with the event or the event itself. Denial connotes the motivated
negation. Here, ego tries to evade the disagreeable realities by refusing to acknowledge
them and arguing against them. Most people who are diagnosed for having diabetic
disorder for the first time usually attempt to ward of their anxiety by denying that they
have the disorder. They often feel that the diagnosis is erroneous. In displacement or
scapegoating and unacceptable dangerous impulse is repressed and there upon shifted to
another substitute target with which the individual could show his reaction in a safe
manner. A person tormented by the boss at his office might not show any revolt at the
office since he cannot do so. But, he may turn to his helpless wife and children and show
his reactions I the form of aggression. In projection an individual might resort to attribute
the forbidden impulses to others. A stingy person might project his unacceptable
character of stinginess to others and call every other person a stingy one. Constructing
false but plausible excuses to an unacceptable anxiety provoking experience or event
might constitute rationalization. In rationalization one resort to argue a case, which is not
acceptable to him at the unconscious, level and builds up an apparent rational excuse. A
research scholar failing in an exam may argue that the teachers had not valued his paper
in a proper manner and the teacher who valued his script had taken revenge on him since
he might have been jealousy of the brilliancy of the scholar. In this mechanism an
individual might also invoke sour grapism arguing that what he could not achieve is not
worth achieving. In reaction formation an individual might resort to an exaggerated
expression of the behavior that stands exactly opposite to what he desires to adopt in his
unconscious mind. The police officer who recklessly beat a culprit of a petty offense
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might be entertaining criminal cravings in his unconscious and the criminal craving
impulses repressed might be contributing to his resorting to this mechanism. Some time
an individual who could not successfully cope with present challenge might fell anxious
and guilty and repress the feelings. Such repressed feeling may be expressed by his
reverting to an earlier stage of his development. This state of affairs is called regression.
A research scholar who cries hysterically when he is told that he had not passed in a
paper might be in this state. In identification an individual might identify himself with
some other person who may be a hero or an aggressor to ward of his repressed anxiety.
Bolstering self-esteem by forming an imaginary or real alliance with a person or a group
might explain the mechanism of identification. In sublimation an individual may accept a
goal alternative to the goal he could not achieve, and which provides a socially
acceptable outlet of expression and yields partial satisfactions that are free of guilt
feelings. Sublimation is regarded the healthiest of all the defense mechanisms used by
individuals. An individual given to aggressive impulses turning himself to boxing and the
an individual with sex-curiosity diverting his curiosity by becoming a scientist are
examples for sublimation. Compensation is another healthy mechanism in which the
individual attempts to disguise the presence of a weak or undesirable trait by emphasizing
a desirable one. A person with stuttering might turn all his efforts to develop excellence
in writing scripts may take up the writing talent to compensate his deficiency in speaking.
However, it should be quickly added that over compensation might prove unhealthy in its
outcome. An unattractive girl trying to compensate her felt deficiency by trying to
become a very interesting speaker must be well with in her limits. Lest she might be
called chatterbox and might have to be anxious about people rejecting her in the area in
which she attempts compensation. In fantasy or daydreaming an individual tries to
invoke imagination and imagine that he achieves his goals and desires. It stands for a
subjective reverie that provides some comfort when the individual is far away from his
desired goal in reality. Building castles in air is another term used to denote this
mechanism. Some time indulging in this mechanism might induce such strong
involvement that the individual might resort to action in overt behavior. A young
adolescent vendor selling glasswares was day dreaming that he will be able to build up
his business and become a great rich man one day. While he had been engrossed in such
fantasy he assumed that he had already become and imagined that he might kick his
subordinate with his foot. He felt that this fantasy was so real that he indeed kicked with
his foot in front and the glass wears in front of him were damaged by his kicking.

17.3.3 Psycho Sexual Development

According to Sigmund Freud, the basic foundation for a person’s personality is

laid down by the age of 5. In psychoanalysis the term sexual is used as a general term for
physical pleasure. Freud had emphasized how young children deal with their
immature but powerful sexual urges. In each stage of development children focus their
sexual energy in typical manner. The psychosexual developmental stages represent
developmental periods with a characteristic sexual focus that leave their mark on adult
personality. Each psychosexual stage has its own developmental challenges and the ways
these challenges are handled determines personality. Developmental period in each stage
is not always smooth and marching forward. Some time fixation might occur during the
developmental process. The term fixation connotes a failure to move forward from one
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stage to another as expected. Fixation can be caused by excessive gratification of needs

or by excessive frustration of those needs. Oral Stage. The first stage of psychosexual development is called the oral
stage. Oral Stage occurs in the first year of life. In this period the libidinal energy is
supposed to be focused on the mouth of the infant. The infant derives pleasure in sucking
the breast or any other object put on its mouth. During oral period the infant is almost
completely dependent upon his mother. Such feelings of dependency may tend to persist
through out one life despite of later ego development. Whenever an individual feels
anxious and insecure the feelings of dependency are likely to reoccur in him.
Incorporation of food and biting are prototypes of many of the later character traits that
develop. Pleasure derived from oral incorporation may be displaced to other modes of
incorporation at later stages. Pleasure gained from acquiring knowledge or possession
may be symbolically representing the sources of pleasure experience during oral period.
Gullibility may denote tendency to swallow almost anything told without applying one’s
mind and the tendency on the part of an individual may be due to his fixation at the oral
stage. Biting or oral aggression may be displaced in the form of sarcasm and
argumentativeness. Through displacements and sublimations of various kinds the
prototypic models of oral functioning may provide the basis for the development of a vast
network of interests, attitudes, and character traits. Anal Stage. Anal stage occurs in the second and third years of life. During this
stage the libidinal pleasure is derived from the process of elimination. It is the stage that
begins with toilet training. The toilet training provides the first decisive experience with
the external regulation of an instinctual impulse. The child has to learn to postpone
pleasure that comes from the release of their anal tensions. The way the toilet training is
imparted by the mother, as well as her feelings concerning defecation, may have far-
reaching effects upon the formation of specific traits and values in the growing
individual. For instance, when the mother is very strict and repressive in her methods
adopted for toilet training, the child may hold back his feces and become constipated. If
this mode generalizes on to other ways of behaving, the child will develop a retentive
character: obstinate and stingy. If repressive measures strain the child it may vent rage by
expelling their feces at the most inappropriate time. This is the prototype of All kinds of
expulsive traits including cruelty, destructiveness, temper tantrums and messy
disorderliness may have their sources with the prototype just cited. If the mother
encourages her child to have a bowel movement by pleasing and rewarding the child with
lavish praises when they do, the child may develop the notion that the whole activity of
producing feces is extremely important. This prototype may be the basis for creativity
and productivity at later stages. Phallic Stage. The third psychosexual developmental period is the Phallic
Stage. This occurs during 4-5 years of age. It is held that at this stage of development the
source of libidinal pleasure resides in the phallic. It is common among the age group of
this period to twist and turn the genital organ for pleasure. During this period sexual and
aggressive feelings associated with the functioning of the genital organs come into focus.
The pleasures of masturbation and the fantasy life of the child, which accompany
autoerotic activity is said to provide the stage for the appearance of the Oedipus complex.
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Oedipus complex is named after the Greek legendary character Oedipus who
unknowingly killed his father in a battle and married his mother. The emotional complex
involving the conflict between love for the mother and hatred for the father is denoted by
Oedipus Complexes. It embodies the sexual catharsis for the parent of he opposite sex
and a hostile catharsis for the parent of the same sex. The boy wants to possess his
mother and remove his father and the girl wants to possess her father and remove her
mother. The female counter part of Oedipus complex is called Electra complex. For both
men and women, the emergence, development and resolution of the OC are regarded as
the chief event of the phallic period. The resolution of the period leaves host residuals in
the personality. For instance, attitudes towards the opposite sex and towards people of
authority are largely conditioned by the OC. The phallic stage stands as a major
milestone in the gender identity among individuals. Ordinarily the children resolve their
conflicts of the phallic period by repressing their sexual impulses and moving from a
sexual attachment to the opposite- sex parent to identification with the same sex-parent.
Boys tend to take the traits of their fathers and girls, the traits of their mothers.

At the conclusion of the phallic stage around the age of 7 the psychosexual development
enters the latency period. During this period the sexuality remains dormant for 6 years.
The sexual awakening begins at adolescence leading to a life long genital stage. Latency. At about the age of 5, as a result of the repression of sexual conflicts
the child enters a latency period, during which impulses tend to be held in a state of
repression. During latency period, the child develops ego functions, such as reading,
arithmetic, and social skills. The dynamic changes of adolescence reactivate the
pregenital impulses and if they are successfully displaced and sublimated by the ego, the
person passes into the final stage of maturity, the genital stage. Genital Stage. The cathexes of the pregenital stages are narcissistic in
character. The individual obtains gratification from the stimulation and manipulation of
their own body. At these stages other people are cathected only because of the fact that
they help to provide additional forms of body pleasure to the child. Some of the self- love
becomes channeled into genuine object choices during adolescence. The adolescence
begins with the tendency to love others for altruistic motives. Adolescent does not love
simply for selfish or narcissistic reasons. Sexual attraction, socialization, group activities,
vocational planning, and preparation for marrying and rising a family begin to manifest
themselves during adolescence period. These help to ultimately transform the adolescent
from a pleasure-seeking narcissistic infant to a reality-oriented somewhat altruistic
socialized adult. The pregenital impulses are not entirely displaced by genital ones the
cathexes of the oral, anal, and phallic stages become fussed with genital impulses. The
path of development does not have sharp breaks or abrupt transitions from one stage to
another. The final organization of personality of an individual represents contributions
from all the four stages of psychosexual development.
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Psychologists who concurred with Sigmund Freud and contributed to development of

Freudian Psychoanalysis had differed from the approach of Freud in different aspects of
explaining the nature of human being in different ways. Those psychologists are
collectively known as Neo Freudian Psychologists. Prominent among the neo Freudians
are Alfred Adler, Carl Jung, Erickson, Karen Horney, Erich Fromm, Harry Stack
Sullivan, Anna Freud, and D.W.Winnicott.

17.4.1 Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler

Alfred Adler’s psychological perspective is termed individual psychology. Adler

emphasizes that an individual’s thinking, feeling, emotion, and behavior can only be
understood as subordinated to the individual's style of life, or consistent pattern of
dealing with life. The personality remains to be one’s style of life. It is not that an
individual is internally divided or his mind remains the battleground of conflicting forces.
Each aspect of the personality points in the same direction. Hence personality is a holistic
phenomenon. Adler emphasizes that an individual’s thinking, feeling, emotion, and
behavior can only be understood as subordinated to the individual's style of life, or
consistent pattern of dealing with life. Adler holds that every one is born into the world
with a sense of inferiority. An individual starts his course of life as a weak and helpless
child and constantly strives to overcome these deficiencies by becoming superior to those
around us. This process of struggling is designated as struggle a striving for superiority.
Striving for superiority remains the driving force behind all human thoughts, emotions,
and behaviors.

Individuals strive to be accomplished writers, powerful business people, or

influential politicians because of their feelings of inferiority and a strong need to over
come this negative part of them. Some time the excessive feeling of inferiority can bring
the opposite effect as well. When this feeling of inferiority becomes overwhelming and
without being accompanied by the needed successes, an individual could develop an
inferiority complex. Inferiority complex as a belief leaves in an individual feeling
incredibly less important and deserving than others, helpless, hopeless, and unmotivated
to strive for the superiority that would make us complete.

The parenting of children is a significant factor influencing the development of

the child. Improper or inefficient child rearing has long-term effects on the child
development. Two of the parental styles identified to exerting great effect on
development of the child connotes papering and neglect. Pampering, a parent
overprotecting a child, giving him too much attention, and sheltering him from the
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negative realities of life might lead a child to grow ill equipped to deal with these
realities, developing doubt about his own abilities or decision making skills, and to
constantly seeking out others to replace the safety he once enjoyed as a child. A
neglected child not protected at all from the world and forced to face life's struggles alone
may grow up to fear the world, have a strong sense of mistrust for others and she may
have a difficult time forming intimate relationships. Properly balanced parental style may
protect children form the evils of the world but not shelter them from it. Such a style
would envisage parents to allowing the child to hear or see the negative aspects of the
world while still feeling the safety of parental influence. Parent who follows the proper
parental style may not immediately rush to the school authorities if his child is getting
bullied; rather he would teach his child how to respond or take care of oneself at school.

The order in which an individual is born to a family inherently affects his or her
personality. The first-born children who later have younger siblings may have the worst
effect on their personality. They are given excessive attention and pampering by their
parents until when the little sibling is born. They find every thing is changed suddenly
and they are no longer the center of attention and fall into the shadows. Such children are
left feeling inferior, questioning their importance in the family, and trying desperately to
gain back the attention they suddenly lost. The theory of birth order theory suggests that
first-born children often have the greatest number of problems, as they get older.

Middle born children may have their personality inspired by their position of birth
in the family. They are not pampered as their older sibling was, but are still afforded the
attention of the parents. As a middle child, an individual may have the luxury of trying to
dethrone the oldest child and become more superior while at the same time knowing that
he or she holds the same power over their younger siblings. Thus, middle children
develop and have a high need for superiority and are often able to seek it out such as
through healthy competition.

Children born as the youngest children, like the first born, may be more likely to
experience personality problems later in life. This is because the youngest born child
who grows up knowing that he has the least amount of power in the whole family. The
youngest born may see his older siblings as having more freedom and more superiority.
The youngest born is also gets pampered and protected more than any other child did.
Such experiences could leave the youngest born individual with a sense that he cannot
take on the world alone and that will always be inferior to others.
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17.4.2 Analytical Psychology of Carl J Jung

The psychological perspectives of Carl Jung are termed analytical psychology. Jung
disagreed with the Freudian formulation of the construct of unconscious. He was
conceived that there were fears, behaviors, and thoughts that children and adults exhibit
that are remarkably similar across time and culture and similarity witnessed was more
than coincidence. He propounded the concept of collective unconscious to account for the
witnessed similarity across time and culture. Jung stresses that it the collective
unconscious that influences the personality. It is generally agreed among the critics that
Jung has pieced together an important, and previously missing, explanation of these
personality aspects that we all share.

The collective unconscious is made up of archetypes which are primordial images

inherited from our ancestors. The immediate attachment infants have for their mother, the
inevitable fear of the dark seen in young children, and how images such as the sun, moon,
wise old man, angels, and evil all seem to be predominate themes throughout history lend
credence to the existence of collective unconscious. Infants are drawn to their mother
because of the unconscious image of mother that is alive in all human beings and every
child fears the dark because of the unconscious image of darkness.

Of the archetypes described by Jung a few including the animus/anima, the

shadow, and the self have more application in personality theory. The masculine side of
the female is terms animus and the feminine side of the male is called the anima. Unlike
Freud who believed that individuals are all born bisexual and develop normal sexual
attraction through our psychosexual development, Jung remained convinced that every
one has an unconscious opposite gender hidden within him or herself and the role of this
archetype is to guide individual toward the perfect mate. In other words, people project
our animus/anima onto others as they project theirs on to us: when a match is made,
people have found a suitable partner.

The shadow is basically the unconscious negative or dark side of one’s

personality. The shadow, like all other archetypes, is passed down through history and
given different names depending on time and culture. The self-archetype is the unifying
part of all the people that finds balance in the lives of the people. Working with the ego
which is partly in our personal unconscious, may help manage the other archetypes and
helps one feel complete.
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i) Personality theories attempt to understand the ways people differ from one
another. Psychodynamic perspectives of Sigmund Freud emphasized the
importance of the unconscious in determining the thinking, willing and
feeling of the individuals.
ii) Freudian posited that human behavior is determined by the unconscious.
iii) The three parts of personality structure are labeled the id, the ego and the
iv) Id, ego and super ego are constantly conflicting giving rise to anxiety.
v) To ward of anxiety defense mechanisms are resorted.
vi) Psychosexual developmental stages represent developmental periods with
leave their mark on adult personality.
vii) Neo-Freudians agree with Freud in sharing the psychic determinism but
disagree with him on specific aspects of explaining personality.
viii) Adler emphasizes life style and the feelings of inferiority and craving for
ix) Jung emphasizes archetypes as contributing to personality of the individuals.


A few activities based on this lesson for your perusal and action.
(i) Describe the dominant features in your super-ego
(ii) Trace the individuals who had impact on your super-ego and out line their role in
development of your super ego.
(iii) Identify the defense mechanisms you often resort to in service of your ego.
(iv) Introspect and report your feelings of inferiority. Under what conditions you
experience the feelings of inadequacy or inferiority. How do you propose to
compensate for your inferiority feelings?


(i) Evaluate the classical psychoanalytic perspective of personality.
(ii) Critically analyze the perspectives Adler and Jung


(i) What is the explanation provided by Freud for personality?
(ii) How do Adler account for the development of personality?
(iii) How does the unconscious of Jungian perspective differ from that of Freud.
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Coon, D. and Mitterer, J.O. (2007). Introduction to Psychology. First Indian Reprint.
Delhi: Akash Press.

Friedman, H.S. and Schustack, M.W. (2004). Personality – Classic Theories and Modern
Research. (2nd Edition). Delhi: Pearson Education.

Hjelle, L.A. and Ziegler, D.J. (1992). Personality Theories – Basic assumptions, research,
and applications. (Third Edition). Singapore: McGraw-Hill International Edition.

Passer, M.W. and Smith, R.E. (2007). Psychology - The Science of Mind and Behavior.
Third Edition. New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill.
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18.0 Aims And Objectives

18.1 Introduction
18.2 Erik Erikson
18.2.1 Stages of Psychosocial Development Trust Verses Mistrust. Autonomy Vs. Shame And Doubt.. Initiative Vs. Guilt. Industry Vs. Inferiority. Identity Vs. Role Confusion. Intimacy Vs. Isolation.. Generativity Vs. Stagnation. Ego Integrity Vs. Despair..
18.3 Karen Horney
18.3.1 Neurotic Relationships
18.4 Harry Stack-Sullivan
18.4.1. Personifications
18.4.2 Developmental Stages
18.5 Erich Fromm.
18.5.1 Families
18.5.2 The Social Unconscious Orientations
18.6 Let Us Sum Up
18.7 Lesson End Activities
18.8 Points For Discussion
18.9 Check Your Progress
18.10 References


In Lesson 17 we presented the psychodynamic theories of Freud, Adler and Jung.
After going through this unit you will be able to
(i) identify the perspectives of Neo-Freudians that distinguish them from Freud.
(ii) appreciate desexualized developmental stages of personality development
(iii) appreciate the developmental crisis arising at various stages of personality
(iv) trace the development of neurotic personality to patterns of interpersonal
(v) understand an eclectic view of personality development through
(vi) appreciate the impact of biological and social determinism on development of
personality orientations
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In the Lesson 17 we focused on psychodynamic perspective of personality and

discussed the contribution of Freud, Adler and Jung. In this Lesson we are going to
present the contribution of a few psychologists who belong to the school of thought
called Neo-Freudians. The Neo-Freudians were those followers of Sigmund Freud who
accepted the basic tenets of his theory of but altered it in one way or the other. For
instance, Erikson did not subscribe to the sexual ingredient of the development
emphasized by Freud, but, developed his developmental theory correlating the
psychosexual developmenta; stages described by Freud.


Erikson believed that the ego Freud described was far more than just a mediator
between the superego and the id. He saw the ego as a positive driving force in human
development and personality. As such, he believed the ego's main job was to establish
and maintain a sense of identity. A person with a strong sense of identity is one who
knows where he is in life, has accepted this positions and has workable goals for change
and growth. He has a sense of uniqueness while also having a sense of belonging and

Those who have weaker egos, encounter trying times, or who have poorly
developed egos get trapped in what is termed an identity crisis. According to Erikson, an
identity crisis is a time in a person's life when they lack direction, feel unproductive,
and do not feel a strong sense of identity. He believed that we all have identity crises at
one time or another in our lives and that these crises do not necessarily represent a
negative but can be a driving force toward positive resolution.

18.2.1 Stages of Psychosocial Development

Erikson, along with Freud and many other psychologists maintained that
personality develops in a predetermined order. He shifted the focus from sexual
development to how children socialize and how this affects their sense of self. He views
personality as a phenomena developing throughout the lifetime of an individual and
looked specifically at identity crises at the focal point for each stage of human

According to Erikson, the psychosocial development of individuals proceeds

through eight distinct stages. Each stage is associated with two possible outcomes.
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Successful completion of each stage results in a healthy personality and successful

interactions with others and failure to successfully complete a stage can result in a
reduced ability to complete further stages and therefore a more unhealthy personality and
sense of self. The crises attached with the different stages, however, can be resolved
successfully at a later time. Trust Verses Mistrust. Since birth to one year, a child begins to learn the
ability to trust others based upon the consistency of his or her caregiver(s). If trust
develops successfully in the child, he or she may gain confidence and security in the
world around him to such an extent that enables him or her to feel secure even when
threatened. Unsuccessful completion of the first stage may result in an inability to trust.
Under such condition the individual may develop a sense of fear about the inconsistent
world. This may incite in the individual anxiety, heightened insecurities, and an over
feeling of mistrust in the world around him or her. Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt. Between the ages of one and three, a child
begins to assert his or her independence, by walking away from this or her mother,
picking which toy to play with, and making choices about what he or she likes to wear, to
eat, etc. If a child in this stage is encouraged and supported in his or her increased
independence, he or she becomes more confident and secure in his or her own ability to
survive in the world. If a child is criticized, overly controlled, or not given the
opportunity to assert him self or her self, the child begins to feel inadequate in his or her
ability to survive, and may then become overly dependent upon others, lack self-esteem,
and feel a sense of shame or doubt in their his or her own abilities. Initiative vs. Guilt. Around age three and continuing to age six, a child asserts
himself or herself more frequently. The child begins to plan activities, makes up games,
and initiates activities with others. If given this opportunity, a child develops a sense of
initiative, and feel secure in his or her ability to lead others and make decisions. On the
contrary, if this tendency is squelched, either through criticism or control, the child
develops a sense of guilt. He or she may feel like a nuisance to others and will therefore
remain a follower, lacking in self- initiative. Industry vs. Inferiority. From age six years to puberty, a child begins to
develop a sense of pride in their accomplishments. The child initiates projects, sees them
through to completion, and feels good about what they have achieved. During this period,
teachers play an increased role in the development of the child. If a child is encouraged
and reinforced for the initiative, he or she begins to feel industrious and feels confident in
his or her ability to achieve goals. If the initiative is not encouraged, if it is restricted by
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parents or teacher, then the child begins to feel inferior, doubting his own abilities and
therefore may not reach his or her potential. Identity vs. Role Confusion. The transition from childhood to adulthood
assumes significance during adolescence stage. A child growing into adolescent becomes
more independent, and begins to look at the future in terms of career, relationships,
families, housing, etc. During this period, the adolescent explores possibilities and begins
to form his or her own identity based upon the outcome of his or her explorations. This
sense of who one is can be hindered, which results in a sense of confusion about himself
or herself and his or her role in the world. This condition of is attributed to identity crisis
experienced in adolescence. Intimacy vs. Isolation. This dilemma occurs in Young adulthood. The young
adult begins to share himself or herself more intimately with others. He or she explores
relationships leading toward longer term commitments with someone other than a family
member. Successful completion of this crisis can lead to comfortable relationships and a
sense of commitment, safety, and care within a relationship. Avoiding intimacy, fearing
commitment and relationships can lead to isolation, loneliness, and sometimes depression
in the individual who is given to intimacy. Generativity vs. Stagnation. This crisis is common during the middle
adulthood when one establishes his or her careers, settles down within a relationship,
begins own families and develops a sense of being a part of the bigger picture. At this
stage an individual returns the favor received from society by raising our children, being
productive at work, and becoming involved in community activities and organizations.
When an individual is not successful in resolving the crisis at this stage he or she we
becomes stagnant and feel unproductive. Ego Integrity vs. Despair. The last of the crisis occurs in old age. As one
grows older and becomes a senior citizen, one would tend to slow down our productivity,
and explore life as a retired person. It is during this time that an individual contemplates
his or her accomplishments and is able to develop integrity if he sees himself or herself as
leading a successful life. If one sees his or her life as unproductive, feels guilt about our
pasts, or feels that he or she we did not accomplish his or her life goals, he or she gets
dissatisfied with life and develops despair, often leading to depression and hopelessness.
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Horney disagreed with Freud's belief that males and females were born with
inherent differences in their personality. She tried to account for personality differences
among male and female in terms of societal and cultural elements rather than citing
biological differences. Men and women are equal outside of the cultural restrictions often
placed on being female. The views expressed by Horney were used to help promote
gender equality. She focused her study on neurotic personality. According to her,
neurosis may be defined as a maladaptive and counterproductive way of dealing with
relationships. Neurotic people are unhappy and desperately seek out relationships in
order to feel good abut themselves. Neurotic’s ways of securing these relationships
include projections of their own insecurity and neediness, which eventually drives others

Individuals who seem to successfully irritate or frighten people away with their
clinginess, significant lack of self esteem, and even anger and threatening behavior have
adapted this personality style through a childhood filled with anxiety. Though this way of
dealing with others may have been beneficial in youth, in adult hood it will not serve
their needs.

18.3.1 Neurotic relationships

Three typical ways of dealing with the world that are formed by an upbringing
in a neurotic family could be identified. They include Moving Toward People, Moving
Against People, and Moving Away From People. Individuals who adopt the style moving
toward people have a typical orientation. Children who feel a great deal of anxiety and
helplessness move toward people in order to seek help and acceptance. They are striving
to feel worthy and believe that the only way to gain this is through the acceptance of
others. They have an intense need to be liked, involved, important, and appreciated to a
great extent that they will often fall in love quickly or feel an artificial but very strong
attachment to people they may not know well. Their attempts to make that person love
them creates a clinginess and neediness that more often results in the other person leaving
the relationship. Individuals adopting the style of moving against people have a distinct
pattern in forming relationships. They try to force your power onto others in hopes of
feeling good about them selves. Those with this personality style would result in the
making of an individual a bossy, demanding, selfish, and even cruel. These people
project their own hostilities onto others and therefore use this as a justification to 'get
them before they get me.' Here again, relationships appear doomed from the origin.
Another pattern of developing relationships orients the individual towards moving away
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from people. One of the possible consequence of a neurotic household is a personality

style filled with asocial behavior and an almost indifference to others. This pattern of
forming or avoid forming of relationships is governed by the dictum,” If I don’t get
involved with others, they can not hurt me!’ While it may serve some preventive function
it may also keep one away from other positive aspects of relationships possible. Such a
pattern of functioning would leave the individuals alone and empty.


Sullivan trained in psychoanalysis drifted from the specific psychoanalytic beliefs

while retaining much of the core concepts of Freud. He placed a lot of focus on both the
social aspects of personality and cognitive representations. He gave up the orientation
towards psychosexual development and moved toward a more eclectic approach to
understand personality.

To Freud, anxiety was an important aspect in his theory since it represented

internal conflict between the id and the superego. To Sullivan, however, anxiety seems to
exist only as a consequence of social interactions. In describing techniques, much like
defense mechanisms that provide tools for people to use in order to reduce social anxiety,
he pitched upon Selective Inattention as a significant mechanism. Mothers show their
anxiety about child rearing to their children through various means and the child, having
no way to deal with this, feels the anxiety himself or her self. The child sooner learns
selective inattention, and the child begins to ignore or reject the anxiety or any interaction
that could produce these uncomfortable feelings. Similarly, adult individuals use the
technique of selective inattention to focus the minds away from stressful situations.

18.4.1 Personifications

Through social interactions and our selective attention or inattention, one

develops personifications of others and ourselves. As mental images personifications
allow people to better understand themselves and the world. One could see himself or
herself in three basic ways. One may see himself as the bad-me, the good-me and the not-
me. The bad me represent those aspects of the self that are considered negative. They are
therefore hidden from others and possibly even the self. The anxiety one feels is often a
result of recognition of the bad part of him self or her self such as when one recalls an
embarrassing moment or experience guilt from a past action. The good me is everything
one likes about him self. It represents the part of one self he or she shares with others.
One is often choosing to focus o good me since it is least producing anxiety. The final
part of the individual called the not-me, represents all those things that are so anxiety
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provoking that one can not even consider them a part of him self or her self. Focusing on
not- me definitely creates anxiety that one wishes to avoid in lifetime. The not- me is kept
out of awareness by repression. Such matters are pushed deep into the unconscious.

18.4.2 Developmental Stages

Like Freud, Sullivan also emphasizes that the childhood experiences determine
the adult personality to a large extent. Throughout our childhood, the mother plays the
most significant role through out the childhood. Unlike Freud, Sullivan believes that
personality can develop past adolescence and even well into adulthood. Sullivan has
propounded his developmental theory relating to the epochs of personality development.
Every individual passes through these stages in a particular order. But, the timing of such
developmental periods and process are dictated by one’s social environment. The epoch
theory mostly revolves around the conflicts of adolescence. According to this theory
three stages are devoted to adolescent. Much of the problems of adulthood, believed
Sullivan, arise from the turmoil of our adolescence.

The epoch theory conceives seven stages of development including infancy,

childhood, juvenile, preadolescence, early adolescence, late adolescence, and adulthood.
The infancy period occurs from birth to one year. During this period the child begins the
process of developing. No special significance is attached to this period compared to the
other stages of development as did by Freud. Childhood is spread from the end of the first
year to five years. The development of speech and improved communication is the
significant tasks happening at this stage of development. Juvenile period occurs during
six to eight years. During this period the main focus for a juvenile is the need for
playmates and the beginning of healthy socialization. Preadolescence stage occurs from 9
to 12 years. During this period the child's ability to form a close relationship with a peer
is under the major focus. Because, the relationship formed in this stage of development
will later assist the child in feeling worthy and likable and without this ability, forming
the intimate relationships in late adolescence and adulthood will be difficult. The early
adolescent stage occurs from 13 to 17 years. During this period the onset of puberty
changes the need for friendship to a need for sexual expression. Self worth will often
become synonymous with sexual attractiveness and acceptance by opposite sex peers in
this period. Late adolescent period is spread from 18 to 22 or 23. During this period the
need for friendship and need for sexual expression get combined and a long term
relationship becomes the primary focus. Conflicts between parental control and self-
expression are commonplace in this period. The overuse of selective inattention in
previous stages can result in a skewed perception of the self and the world during late
adolescent period. Adulthood begins at the age of 23 and extends later. During adulthood
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the struggles experienced by the individual include financial security, career, and family.
If the individual has passed through the previous stages, especially the adolescent stages
successfully, he or she could easily establish adult relationships and much needed
socialization. When the earlier development has not been smooth for the individual, he or
she may have to encounter interpersonal conflicts that result in anxiety.


Fromm's theory is a rather unique blend of Freud and Marx. Freud. He identified
two deterministic systems to account for human character: the biological determinism
and the societal determinism. He added to this mix the idea of personal freedom to admit
that people can transcend the determinisms that Freud and Marx attribute to them. Fromm
regards individual freedom the central characteristic of human nature. A simplistic pure
biological determinism is applicable to animal life and the purely societal determinism is
applicable to the type of traditional society of the Middle Ages.

Historically speaking, this simple, if hard, life began to get shaken up with the
Renaissance from which time onward people started to see humanity as the center of the
universe, instead of God. Over the past half a centaury the idea of the individual, with
individual thoughts, feelings, moral conscience, freedom, and responsibility, came into
being. But the individuality has come to be associated with isolation, alienation, and
bewilderment. Individual freedom is a difficult thing to have, and when one can he or she
tends to flee from it. Three ways in which people escape from freedom could be
identified. In authoritarianism, people seek to avoid freedom by fusing themselves with
others, by becoming a part of an authoritarian system like the society of the Middle Ages.
Alternatively they might submit to the power of others, becoming passive and compliant.
In another alternative they might become an authority themselves and such people tend to
apply structure to others. Either way, they escape their separate identity. People may
escape freedom through destructiveness. Authoritarians respond to a painful existence by
eliminating themselves, in a figurative sense. They follow the dictum, ‘ if there is no me
then how anything could hurt me!’ Others attempt to destroy the world following the
dictum, ‘If I destroy the world, how can it hurt me? ’ Such escape from freedom may
accounts for much of the indiscriminate nastiness of life including brutality, vandalism,
humiliation, vandalism, crime, and terrorism. If a person's desire to destroy is blocked by
circumstances, he or she may redirect it inward. Suicide may be one such destructive act.
Many illnesses like drug addiction, alcoholism, even the joys of passive entertainment
also represent such destructive activities under the condition just referred to. People also
escape from freedom through automaton conformity. When choosing to hide they hide in
mass culture. If one looks like, talks like, thinks like, feels like... everyone else in his
society, then he would disappear into the crowd, and he does not need to acknowledge his
or her individual freedom or take responsibility. This represents the horizontal
counterpart to authoritarianism. The automaton conformist experiences a split between
his genuine feelings and the colors he shows the world. Man is born as a freak of nature,
being within nature and yet transcending it and he has to find principles of action and
decision making which replace the principles of instincts. Man has to have a frame of
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orientation that permits him to organize a consistent picture of the world as a condition
for consistent actions. Man has to fight not only against the dangers of dying, starving,
and being hurt, but also against becoming insane. Man, thus has to protect himself not
only against the danger of losing his life but also against the danger of losing his mind

18.5.1 Families

Choice of the ways of escaping from freedom depends upon the kind of family
one had grown up with. In symbiotic families of the kind of traditional middle age ones
some members of the family are "swallowed up" by other members, so that they do not
fully develop personalities of their own. In withdrawing families are notable for their cool
indifference. These families are very demanding and set high well defined standards to
achieve. Punishment is inflicted claiming to be done for the victim’s own good and guilt
and withdrawal of affection may be used as punishment to enforce family norms.

A good, healthy, productive family is a family where parents take the

responsibility to teach their children reason in an atmosphere of love and no such families
might encourage children to learn to acknowledge. However, no such family exists today
in the modern world.

18.5.2 The Social Unconscious Orientations

Social unconscious could be best understood by examining the economic systems.

Five personality types or orientations could be identified in economic terms in this

People adhering to the receptive orientation expect to get what they need and if
they don't get it immediately, they might wait for it. They believe that all goods and
satisfactions come from outside themselves and such people are most common among
peasant populations. It is also found in cultures that have particularly abundant natural
resources where one need not work hard for one's sustenance. It is also found at the very
bottom of any society as is the case of Slaves, serfs, and welfare families, migrant
workers. All these people are at the mercy of others.

This orientation is associated with symbiotic families, especially where children

are "swallowed" by parents, and with the masochistic (passive) form of authoritarianism.
In its extreme form, it can be characterized by adjectives such as submissive and wishful
and in a more moderate form, adjectives such as accepting and optimistic are more
descriptive of these people.

People with the exploitative orientation expect to have to take what they need.
Things are perceived to have increased value to the extent that they are taken from others
and wealth is preferably stolen, ideas plagiarized, love achieved by coercion among these
people. The exploitative orientation is associated with the "swallowing" side of the
symbiotic family, and with the masochistic style of authoritarianism. In extremes, they
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are aggressive, conceited, and seducing. When mixed with healthier qualities, they are
assertive, proud, captivating.

People with the hoarding orientation expect to keep and they view the world as
possessions and potential possessions. They consider even loved ones as things to
possess, to keep, or to buy. Hoarding is associated with the cold form of withdrawing
family, and with destructiveness. In its pure form, they are stubborn, stingy, and
unimaginative, and in its a milder version of hoarding, they might be steadfast,
economical, and practical.

People with the marketing orientation expect to sell. They consider success in
terms of how well one can sell himself or herself, package oneself, advertise oneself.
They regard every thing with reference to themselves. Every thing stands for their
advertisement and they insist that every thing should be right. They treat even love as a
transaction and marriage as a contract. In extreme, the people with marketing orientation
are opportunistic, childish, tactless and in less extreme, and they are purposeful, youthful,
and social

People with the productive orientation have a healthy personality and are without
a mask. The productive oriented person doe not reject his or her biological and social
nature, but nevertheless does not shirk away from freedom and responsibility. Such a
person hails from a family that loves without overwhelming the individual that prefers
reason to rules, and freedom to conformity. According to Fromm, no society seems to
exist that definitely gives rise to the productive type.

People adopting the first four orientations seem to be living in the having mode focusing
on consuming, obtaining, possessing and are driven by our possessions while those with
the productive orientation seem to be living in the being mode focusing on own actions,
experiencing life, relating to people, and being themselves.


In This Unit we have briefly dealt with the Neo-Freudian Perspectives of Personality.

i) the Neo-Freudian theories de-emphasize the undue emphasis on the sexual

nature of the unconscious motives
ii) Social fabric provides the site for personality development
iii) Erickson emphasizes that the ego's main job is to establish and maintain a
sense of identity. The social nature of the structure society gives rise to
identity crisis.
iv) Anna Freud tried to account for personality differences in terms of societal
and cultural elements rather than citing biological differences. Three typical
ways of dealing with the world that are formed by an upbringing in a neurotic
family could be identified.
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v) To Sullivan, anxiety seems to exist only as a consequence of social

interactions. Through social interactions and our selective attention or
inattention, one develops personifications of others and ourselves.
vi) Fromm has made a judicial blending of the biological determinism and the
societal determinism and added to this mix the idea of personal freedom to
explain the personality dynamism of the individuals.
vii) The Neo-Freudian perspectives enlarge the understanding of human
personality by sketching the picture of human personality on an extended


(i) Identify the nature of adolescent crisis experienced by you and your peers.
Evaluate the out come of such crisis experienced by you on yourself.

(ii) What is your typical orientation you adopt in dealing with people in terms of
stratifies identified by Anna Freud. Evaluate your orientation to its relevance to
neurotic pattern.
(iii) Do you use selective inattention? What is your patronization?
(iv) What is your dominant orientation in terms of orientations identified by Fromm?

Elaborate the characteristics of your orientation to justify your identification.

(v) Draw a plan of action for you to ensure that you do not escape freedom.


(i) Critically evaluate the contribution of Neo Freudian perspectives with reference to
understanding the personality of individuals.
(ii) Debate: “The Personality is developed by the Individual Vs Personality is
imposed by the Society.”


(i) What distinguishes the Neo-Freudians from Freudians?

(ii) How Erickson provides an account of individual development?
(iii) How does Anna Freud explain the neurotic personality?
(iv) How do we develop personality according to Sullivan’s view?
(v) How does Fromm conceive personal freedom?
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Coon, D. and Mitterer, J.O. (2007). Introduction to Psychology. First Indian Reprint.
Delhi: Akash Press.

Friedman, H.S. and Schustack, M.W. (2004). Personality – Classic Theories and Modern
Research. (2nd Edition). Delhi: Pearson Education.

Hjelle, L.A. and Ziegler, D.J. (1992). Personality Theories – Basic assumptions, research,
and applications. (Third Edition). Singapore: McGraw-Hill International Edition.

Passer, M.W. and Smith, R.E. (2007). Psychology - The Science of Mind and Behavior.
Third Edition. New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill.
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19.0 Aims And Objectives

19.1 Introduction
19.2 The Behavioral Perspective
19.2.1. Shaping
19.2.2. Freedom And Dignity
19.3 Social Cognitive Perspective
19.3.1 Bandura’s Observational Learning
19.3.2 Observational Learning, Or Modeling
19.3.3 Self- Regulation
19.4 Humanistic Perspective
19.4.1 Maslow’s Theory Of Need Hierarchy Self- Actualization Self Actualizes Metaneeds and Metapathologies
19.5 Carl Rogers
19.5.1 Incongruity
19.5.2 Defenses
19.5.3 Denial
19.5.4 The Fully-Functioning Person
19.5.5 Experiential Freedom,
19.5.6 Creativity
19.5.7 Therapy
19.6 Let Us Sum Up
19.7 Check Your Progress
19.8 Lesson End Activities
19.9 Points For Discussion
19.10 References


In the lesson 17 we have presented the Neo Freudian Perspectives of personality. After
going through this lesson, you will be able to

i) describe personality in terms of behavioral perspective

ii) adopt a learning frame work to explain personality
iii) describe social cognitive approach to personality
iv) describe the humanistic perspective of personality
v) present Abraham Maslow’s conception of personality
vi) present Carl Rogers’ contribution to understanding personality

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Strictly speaking no behaviorist subscribes to any theory of personality since they

do not recognize any thing special to explain the phenomena called by others as
personality. For them personality is just but an instance amenable for explanation by
learning principles. Personality is another form of change of behavior, of course,
relatively long enduring pattern of behavior of the individual shaped by reinforcement.
However, learning principles advocated in behaviorist perspective do shed some new
light to account for the development of personality in the individual. The social cognitive
theorists consider that personality is determined by an interaction among the
environment, behavior, and the person’s psychological processes.


The behavioral perspective about human nature focuses on identifying universal

laws governing human and animal behavior rather than the uniqueness and individual
differences. They do not give any special status to personality as long enduring
characteristic of an individual. Hence they did not formulate any theory exclusively
concerned with what other psychologists call the phenomena of personality. Instead, they
regard such phenomena as one of cases of learning phenomena. Thus considered what is
called personality is nothing by an out come of learning similar to learning the path way
to reach food in a maze by a rat or a child learning to crawl, to speak or to write. The
seminal perspective of the behaviorists that environment conditions behavior in general
does has application to explain personality as one of the outcomes of learning. In this
manner the behavioral perspective account for personality differences invoking factors
present out side the person, Viz, the environment. This in contrast to the attempts of the
psychodynamic perspective that personality is accountable in terms of factors residing
inside the person, Viz, the unconscious.

The origin of behavioral perspective may be attributed to the systematic work of

B.F.Skinner. Behaviorists explain personality in terms of learning. Skinner never meant
his principles of operant conditioning to be a theory of personality. Personality is
regarded by this perspective as a collection of response tendencies that are tied to various
stimulus situations.

The behavioral perspective views personality as simply a person's distinct

behavior pattern that emerged in specific situations. The behaviorists reject the traits as
constituent of personality. Common observation would show that individuals behave in
very different manner from situation to situation and this fact contradicts assuming that a
person has a single pattern of consistent behavior labeled personality.

To B. F. Skinner, the entire behavior system is based on operant conditioning.

The organism is in the process of “operating” on the environment. That is an organism is
left to indulge in any behavior in the environment. During this processes of operating the
organism’s behavioral acts may meet with certain stimuli that impart a tendency in the
organism to repeatedly indulge in the selected behavioral act. This special stimulus is

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termed reinforcing stimulus, or simply a reinforcer since it has the effect of increasing
the operant, the behavior indulged in at the time of receiving the special stimuli. That is,
the behavior occurring just before the reinforcer gets consolidated in the behavior
repertoire. The principle of operant conditioning holds that the behavior is followed by a
consequence, and the nature of the consequence modifies the organisms tendency to
repeat the behavior in the future. In this manner rewards and punishments reinforce the
behavioral pattern of the individuals. Personality is one such behavioral pattern witnessed
among individuals.

19.2.1. Shaping. Acquiring more complex sorts of behaviors is accounted by Skinner in

terms of shaping, or “the method of successive approximations.” Shaping involves first
reinforcing a behavior only vaguely similar to the target behavior and once that is
established, gradually resetting the behavior to be reinforced in such a manner that in
each step the out come of learning approximate the target behavior desired to reach. The
feats of animals and human artists performing marvelous acts in circus stand evidence to
this principle. Skinner had demonstrated that animals could be successfully taught to do
some quite extraordinary things. The application of principles of shaping or successful
approximation to explaining what we regard as personality could be instantly appreciated.

19.2.2. Freedom and Dignity. Skinner rejects giving any special consideration to
characters like freedom and dignity and dubs them, as mentalist constructs having no
special claim for explanation. . A person recognized as a good person in society behaves
in ways recognized as good by the society and this could be explained by the
reinforcement principles of learning rather than assuming formation of a good
personality. Similarly a so-called bad person behaves in a so-called bad manner because
of the type of behavior reinforced in him. It simply means, “The good does good because
the good has been rewarded; the bad does bad because the bad has been rewarded.”

Skinner criticizes such constructs as defense mechanisms, the unconscious,

archetypes, fictional finalisms, coping strategies, self-actualization, consciousness, even
things like hunger and thirst as mental constructs which has no use in a scientific
psychology. He asserts that the assumption of other psychologists that ‘ the little man’ is
present in every person and it is he who used to explain our behavior, ideas like soul,
mind, ego, will, self, and personality. The term homunculus in Latin means ‘the little
man’, and as used here the inner subjective elements assumed in psychodynamics.
Skinner believes that assuming a human being as homunculus is unwarranted and
recommends that psychologists concentrate on observable, that is, the environment and
our behavior in it.


The social cognitive perspective emphasizes the cognitive element contributing to

personality. This perspective tries to understand personality in terms of interaction
between individual’s inherent tendencies, the environment and the cognitive factors to
account for personality.

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19.3.1 Bandura’s Observational Learning

Bandura is regarded the Father of cognitive movement. The attempt of the behaviorist
perspective to accounting for human behavior entirely by the environment seemed to be
simplistic to Bandura and he found such perspective did not augment his observation of
aggression in adolescents. Initially he suggested that environment and behavior mutually
influence one another and called this relationship as reciprocal determinism. Later he
developed the view that personality is determined by an interaction among three things,
that is, the environment, behavior, and the person’s psychological processes. T h e
psychological processes consist of ability to entertain images in the mind, and language.
Using imagery and language make observational learning or modeling and self- regulation

19.3.2 Observational learning, or modeling

Bandura conducted the bobo doll studies involving aggression directed toward a
bobo doll bearing a clown named Bobo. In the study a young woman indulged in
essentially beating up a bobo doll. A bobo doll is an inflatable, egg-shape balloon
creature with a weight in the bottom that makes it bob back up when it is knocked down.
The woman punched the clown, shouting “sockeroo!”, kicked it, sat on it, hit with a little
hammer, and so on, shouting various aggressive phrases. The aggressive scene was
filmed. When the film was exhibited to groups of kindergartners and they liked it a
lot. When they were let out to play in the play room after seeing the film, a lot of little
kids instantly started beating the bobo doll, punched it and shouted “sockeroo,” kicked it,
sat on it, hit it with the little hammers, and so on. Thus they were observed to imitate the
young lady in the film. The children have been found to have changed their behavior
without first being rewarded for approximations to that behavior. Such behavior, which
had not been receiving any reinforcement, is not amenable for explanation in learning
theory adopted by the behaviorists. Bandura termed this learning observational learning
or modeling.

Based on consistent findings observed in a number of experiments in which

variations were made with reference to the original, Bandura established that the
modeling process involves predictable steps. These steps involve attention, retention,
reproduction, and motivation.

19.3.3 Self-regulation

Self-regulation refers to controlling our own behavior and is regarded the other
“workhorse” of human personality. Bandura suggests that self-regulation involves three
steps including self-observation, judgment and self- response. In self-observation one
looks at his or her own self and exercises control over it. In judgment, one compares what
one sees with a standard and could compete either with oneself or with others. If one had
done well in comparison with your standard, he or she may reward himself or herself
with self- responses. If one did poorly, he or she may punish himself or herself with self-

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responses. These self-responses can range from the most obvious to the more covert

Self-regulation is associated with self-concept or self-esteem. If, over the years,

one finds himself or herself meeting his or her standards and life loaded with self-praise
and self-reward, he or she will have a pleasant self-concept or high self-esteem. On the
contrary, if one, finds himself or herself forever failing to meet his or her standards and
punishing himself or herself, he or she will have a poor self-concept or low self-esteem.
When excessive self-punishment occurs it may lead to compensation and/or inactivity
and/or escape. Under such conditions the individual may develop a superiority complex
such as delusions of grandeur, apathy, boredom, depression, turn to drugs and alcohol,
television fantasies or even suicide. By ensuring that one has an accurate picture of
himself or herself, and that the standards set are too high, and use self-rewards rather than
punishments by celebrating victories and not dwelling on failures poor self-concepts
could be corrected. Bandura’s recommendations to those who suffer from poor self-
concepts come straight from the three steps of self-regulation:


The humanistic perspective arose as a reaction to the psychoanalysis that

discredited individuals’ potentialities. This school of thought emphasizes that human
being is capable of rising to higher levels of functioning including selfactualization.

Humanistic perspective emerged in the 1950’s thanks to work of Abraham

Maslow and Carl Rogers. This perspective emphasizes that a person has within him or
her self the vast resources for altering his or her self-concept, attitudes, and self-directed
behavior. The unique qualities of humans, especially their freedom and their potential for
growth are stressed by this approach. It is asserted that individual can rise above his
primitive animal heritage and control biological urges. An individual is primarily and
largely a conscious individual who is not dominated by unconscious irrational needs and

19.4.1 Malow’s Theory of Need Hierarchy

Taking the clue from the observation that monkeys show a definite priority for
satisfaction of their needs, Maslow conceived the hierarchy of needs involving five
broader layers staked on one after the other. These layers include, the physiological
needs, the needs for safety and security, the needs for love and belonging, the needs for
esteem, and the need to actualize the self, in that order, as may be seen in figure below.

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Picture courtesy:

The physiological needs include the needs to have for oxygen, water, protein, salt,
sugar, calcium, and other minerals and vitamins, homeostasis, activity, rest, sleep,
elimination of wastes, avoid pain and sex. Deprivation of such needs may drive the
human being or the animal to go in pursuit of things that might satiate the needs. When
the physiological needs are largely taken care of, the safety and security needs in the
second layer of needs comes into play. Under such condition an individual will become
increasingly interested in finding safe circumstances, stability, protection and develop a
need for structure, for order, some limits.

When physiological needs and safety needs are, by and large, taken care of, the
love and belonging needs in the third layer starts to show up. One may begin to feel the
need for friends, a sweetheart, children, affectionate relationships in general, even a sense
of community. When the love and belonging needs are met one move towards the esteem
needs. The esteem needs may be either lower or higher. The lower one is the need for
the respect of others, the need for status, fame, glory, recognition, attention, reputation,
appreciation, dignity, even dominance and the higher form involves the need for self-
respect, including such feelings as confidence, competence, achievement, mastery,
independence, and freedom.

The preceding four levels of needs are called deficit needs, or D-needs. If one
doesn’t have enough of something and has a deficit he feels the need. But if one get all
he or she needs, he or she feels nothing at all. Such need satisfaction cease to be

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He also talks about these levels in terms of homeostasis. When body, lacks a
certain substance, it develops a hunger for it and when it gets enough of it, then the
hunger stops. Thus the homeostatic principle could be extended to such needs as safety,
belonging, and esteem that we don’t ordinarily think of in these terms. All these needs are
essentially survival needs. Even love and esteem are needed for the maintenance of
health and we all have these needs built in to us genetically, like instincts. They are hence
called instinctoid, instinct- like needs. Self-actualization

The last level of needs in the need hierarch is called growth motivation. The needs
in the last layer stand in contrast to D-motivation and hence are essentially called B-
needs. The B- needs and D -needs are also termed being needs and becoming needs
respectively. These are the needs that do not involve balance or homeostasis. Once
engaged, they continue to be felt and they are likely to become stronger as one starts
feeling them. These needs involve the continuous desire to fulfill potentials and to “be all
that one can be.” They are the needs for self-actualization. Self Actualizes

Maslow has identified the personality of self actualizes using biographical

analysis. He analyzed the biographies of a group of selected individuals who represented
self-actualization in their life. The group of individuals selected for the analysis include
Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jane Adams,
William James, Albert Schweitzer, Benedict Spinoza, and Alduous Huxley, and 12
unnamed people who were alive at the time. The self-actualizers were reality-centered,
in that they usually differentiated between what is fake and dishonest from what is real
and genuine. T h e y were problem-centered, in that they treated life’s difficulties as
problems demanding solutions, not as personal troubles to be railed at or surrendered to.
They had a different perception of means and ends. They felt that the ends don’t
necessarily justify the means, that the means could be ends themselves, and that the
journey was often more important than the ends.

The self-actualizers also had a different way of relating to others in that they
enjoyed solitude, and were comfortable being alone. They enjoyed deeper personal
relations with a few close friends and family members, rather than more shallow
relationships with many. They enjoyed autonomy, a relative independence from physical
and social needs, and they resisted enculturation, in that they were not susceptible to
social pressure to be "well adjusted" or to "fit in." They were nonconformists in the best
sense of the term. They had an unhostile sense of humor, preferring to joke at their own
expense, or at the human condition, and never directing their humor at others. They
showed an acceptance of self and others, by which he meant that these people would be
more likely to take any one as he or she is than try to change him or her into what they
thought he or she should be. They applied the same acceptance to their attitudes towards
themselves as well. They were often strongly motivated to change negative qualities in
themselves that could be changed, and if some quality of theirs wasn’t harmful, they let it

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be, even enjoying it as a personal quirk. They were given to spontaneity and simplicity..
They preferred being themselves rather than being pretentious or artificial, But, for all
their nonconformity they seem to be committed, they tended to be conventional on the
surface rather be dramatic. They had a sense of humility and respect towards others. They
democratic values in that they were open to ethnic and individual variety, even treasuring
it. They had a quality called Gemeinschaftsgefühl, human kinship that connotes social
interest, compassion, humanity. This was accompanied by a strong ethics, which was
spiritual but seldom conventionally religious in nature. They had a certain freshness of
appreciation, an ability to see things, even ordinary things, with wonder and also ability
t o b e creative, inventive, and original. Finally, they tended to have more peak
experiences than the average person. Such peak experience involves an experience in
which one transcends himself or herself and feels being very tiny, or very large, to some
extent one with life or nature or God. Peak experience installs in a person a feeling of
being a part of the infinite and the eternal. The peak experiences tend to leave their mark
on a person, change them for the better, and many actively seek them out. The peak
experiences are also called mystical experiences. They are an important part of many
religious and philosophical traditions. Self-actualizers were not perfect human beings.
They often suffered considerable anxiety and guilt, but, which were realistic rather than
misplaced or neurotic ones. Some of them were absentminded and overly kind and some
of them had unexpected moments of ruthlessness, surgical coldness, and loss of humor.

Two other points he makes about these self-actualizers: Their values were "natural" and
seemed to flow effortlessly from their personalities. And they appeared to transcend
many of the dichotomies others accept as being undeniable, such as the differences
between the spiritual and the physical, the selfish and the unselfish, and the masculine
and the feminine. Metaneeds and metapathologies

The special, driving needs (B-needs,) of the self-actualizers distinguishes them

from others. The B-needs needed for the self-actualizers in their lives in order to be
happy include truth, goodness, beauty, goodness, beauty, unity/wholeness/transcendence
of opposites, aliveness, uniqueness, perfection and necessity, completion, justice and
order, simplicity, richness, effortlessness, playfulness, self-sufficiency and
meaningfulness. When a self-actualizer doesn’t get these needs fulfilled, they respond
with metapathologies. That is when forced to live without these values, the self-
actualizers develop depression, despair, disgust, alienation, and a degree of cynicism.


Rogers based his personality theory on years of clinical experience. However,

Rogers views people as basically good or healthy. Mental health is to be regarded as the
normal progression of life, and mental illness, criminality, and other human problems, as
distortions of that natural tendency.

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Rogers has built his theory anchored around a single “force of life” he calls the
actualizing tendency. Self actualizing tendency may be defined as the built- in motivation
present in every life- form to develop its potentials to the fullest extent possible and goes
beyond mere survival: All creatures strive to make the very best of their existence and
when they fail to do so, it is not for a lack of desire. All the motives found in human
being could be derived from the need just cited.

Human being is a social creature by nature. But rather than remaining close to
other aspects of our nature, man had moved toward creating and living in a culture and
ultimately the culture becomes a force that direct and organize his life. In the long run, a
culture seems to interfere one’s actualization and even annihilates it. Culture is not
intrinsically evil and aspects of culture that were developed a purpose some time persist
longer even when they were outmoded and have become unsuitable to another point of
time. Our elaborate societies, complex cultures, incredible technologies, for all that they
have helped us to survive and prosper, may at the same time serve to harm us, and
possibly even destroy us.

Organisms know what is good for them. Since evolution has endowed them with
the senses, the tastes, the discriminations they need. This is called organismic valuing.
Thus every one distinctly values certain things like love, affection, attention, and
nurturance. This is recognized and termed positive regard. One achieves this positive
self-regard by experiencing the positive regard others showed him or her over years of
growing up. Without this self-regard, one feels small and helpless, and again he or she
fails to become all that one can be.

Somewhere in the course of evolution people had created an environment for

themselves that is significantly different from the one in which they evolved. In the new
environment so created certain aspects are come into existence that does not serve
actualization in different periods. For instance, such things as refined sugar, flour, butter,
chocolate, and so on, unknown to our ancestors have organismic valuing. But, they do not
serve our actualization well

Getting positive regard contingent on certain conditions is termed conditional

positive regard. Every one essentially needs positive regard. Hence the conditions
imposed become very powerful. One bends himself or herself into a shape determined,
not by his organismic valuing or his actualizing tendency, but by a society that may or
may not truly have his best interests at heart. Due to this sort of growing up a “good little
boy or girl” may not be a healthy or happy boy or girl!

In the long run this “conditioning” leads one to have conditional positive self-
regard as well. One begins to like himself or herself only if he or she meet up with the
standards others have applied to him or her, rather than if he or she is truly actualizing his
or her potentials. Since these standards were created without keeping each individual in
mind, more often than not one finds himself or herself unable to meet them, and therefore
unable to maintain any sense of self-esteem.

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19.5.1 Incongruity

The development of real self and ideal self is well traced by Rogers and is
depicted in the flow chart given below.

Flow Chart explaining the processes involved in creation of neurosis as a form of

incongruity between real and ideal self. (© Copyright 2006, C. George Boeree)

The aspect of our being that is founded in the actualizing tendency, follows
organismic valuing, needs and receives positive regard and self-regard is termed the real
self. It connotes to evolving a ‘pure unpolluted self’ when the processes are not unduly
polluted by forces that contaminate the pure self. An individual develops a ‘real self ’
instead of ‘the ideal self ’ to the extent that the society in which he or she lives is
thwarting the actualizing tendency, and he or she is forced to live with conditions of
worth that are out of step with organismic valuing, and receives only conditional positive
regard and self- regard.

This gap between the real self and the ideal self, the “what I am” and the “ what I should”
is termed incongruity. The greater the gap, the more incongruity, and the more
incongruity, the more suffering neurosis.

19.5.2 Defenses

When one is in a situation where there is an incongruity between hie or her image
of himself or herself and his or her immediate experience of himself or herself (i.e.
between the ideal and the real self), he or she is in a threatening situation. For instance,
if a student believes due to social pressure that he is unworthy if he does not pass an
examination, and he or she is not having the aptitude for appearing for such

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examinations, then situations such as examinations will bring that incongruity to light
and tests will be very threatening situation to that student. Such threatening situation
induces anxiety. Anxiety is a signal for on coming danger and catastrophe. One would
like to flee away from such situation. When physically one could not do running away
from the situation he or she may flee away in mind in a psychological way, using

Rogers considers everything from a perceptual point-of-view, so that even

memories and impulses are thought of as perceptions. He has emphasized only tow
defenses including denial and perceptual distortion.

19.5.3 Denial means blocking out the threatening situation altogether. For instance a
student afraid of examination might avoid classes meant for preparing students from
examination point of view and seeing the examination announcement in the notice board
and never discuss the results of the examination results. Denial includes repression. If
one may avoid a threatening situation by keeping a memory or an impulse out of
awareness or by refusing to perceive it he may avoid anxiety.

Perceptual distortion is similar to rationalization and is a matter of reinterpreting

the situation so that it appears less threatening. It is very similar to Freud's
rationalization. A student that is threatened by exams blames the teachers for not
preparing him well, for setting the paper very difficult and being stringent in giving
marks and entertaining hostility against him. For the poor neurotic (and, in fact, most of
us), every time he or she uses a defense, they put a greater distance between the real and
the ideal. Neurotics become ever more incongruous, and find themselves in more and
more threatening situations, develop greater and greater levels of anxiety, and use more
and more defenses. It sets a vicious cycle that the person eventually is unable to get out
of, at least on his or her own. This provides a partial explanation for psychosis.
Psychosis occurs when one’s defense are overwhelmed, and their sense of self becomes
"shattered" into little disconnected pieces.

19.5.4 The fully-functioning person

The healthy person is fully functioning and involves openness to experience,

existential living, organismic trusting, experiential freedom, and creativity. Openness to
experience is the opposite of defensiveness. It is the accurate perception of one's
experiences in the world, including one's feelings and also means being able to accept
reality, again including one's feelings. Feelings are such an important part of openness
because they convey organismic valuing and if one cannot be open to his or her feelings,
he or she cannot be open to actualization. The difficulty, of course, lies in distinguishing
real feelings from the anxieties brought on by conditions of worth. Existential living
emphasizes living in the here-and- now. As a part of getting in touch with reality one
should not live in the past or the future. Since, the one is gone, and the other isn't
anything at all, at the present. The present is the only reality we have. It doesn't mean
one shouldn't remember and learn from our past or we shouldn't plan or even daydream

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about the future. One may just recognize these things for what they are as memories and
dreams, which one is experiencing here in the present.

Organismic trusting involves that one should allow himself or herself to be

guided by the organismic valuing process. One should trust himself or herself, and do
what one feels right, and what comes natural to him or her. Organismic trusting assumes
one is in contact with the actualizing tendency.

19.5.5 Experiential freedom

It stresses that it is irrelevant whether or not people really had free will. One
must feel very much as if he or she has the freedom. It does not mean that every one is
free to do whatever he or she wants. A deterministic universe surrounds every one. Even
so one should stretch the arms and try to flutter, even though he or she can not fly like a
Superman., so that, flap my arms as much as I like, I will not fly like Superman. It means
that one must feel free when choices are available to us. The fully functioning person
acknowledges that feeling of freedom, and takes responsibility for his choices.

19.5.6 Creativity

It emphasizes that if feels free and responsible, he or she will act accordingly, and
participate in the world. A fully functioning person is in touch with actualization and
hence would will feel obliged by their nature to contribute to the actualization of others,
even life itself. The manifestation of this creativity may be through creativity in the arts
or sciences, through social concern and parental love, or simply by doing one's best at
one's job.

19.5.7 Therapy

Originally called non-directive counseling/therapy and later named or client

centered counseling/therapy, the Rogerian counseling/therapy employs a unique
technique known as reflection. Reflection involves mirroring of emotional
communication of the client in the course of counseling. Reflection would impress the
client that the counselor/therapist is indeed listening and cares enough to understand him
or her. It also has been found to facilitate the client to deeply retrospect over his or her
dilemmas and problems and have an insight into them.


In this Unit we have made the following points

i) Behaviorists regard personality as one of the cases of learning phenomena

ii) Personality is an out come of operant conditioning
iii) Personality is conditioned by the environment

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iv) Bandura suggests that personality is determined by an interaction among the

environment, behavior, and the person’s psychological processes
v) Bandura studied observational learning and applied it to personality.
vi) Bandura emphasizes self- regulation.
vii) Maslow has described hierarchy of needs with self actualization at its top
viii) Maslow has described the characteristics of selfactualising personality
ix) Maslow has explained dynamics of self-actualization in terms of needs.
x) Rogers identified selfactualizing tendency contributing to growth
xi) Rogers emphasizes unconditional positive regard and incongruity
xii) Rogers have described the personality of fully functioning persons


i) Enumerate the factors that reinforce your personality characteristics.

ii) Trace the sources of aggression in you with the aid of the findings of
Bandura’s observational learning experiments.
iii) Count the characteristics you share with self-actualizers described by
iv) To what extent you are fully functioning? How are you going to achieve
still higher level of fully functioning?
v) Debate: Human Personality is determined by Environmental Conditioning
Vs Human Personality is a resultant of unfoldment of potentialities.


(i) Is human dignity is an illusion? Discuss this issue with reference to

B.F.Skinner’s conception of behavior.
(ii) Explain the impact of observational learning on one’s personality.
(iii)Critically evaluate the contributions of humanistic psychologists for
furthering our understanding of human personality.


i) How does operant conditioning accounts for long enduring characteristics

called personality?
ii) How observational learning has an impact on personality?
iii) How self-actualization is possible?
iv) How fully functioning is possible?

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Coon, D. and Mitterer, J.O. (2007). Introduction to Psychology. First Indian Reprint.
Delhi: Akash Press.
Friedman, H.S. and Schustack, M.W. (2004). Personality – Classic Theories and Modern
Research. (2nd Edition). Delhi: Pearson Education.
Hjelle, L.A. and Ziegler, D.J. (1992). Personality Theories – Basic assumptions, research,
and applications. (Third Edition). Singapore: McGraw-Hill International Edition.

Passer, M.W. and Smith, R.E. (2007). Psychology - The Science of Mind and Behavior.
Third Edition. New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill.

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20.0 Aims And Objectives

20.1 Introduction
20.2 Gordon Allport
20.2.1 The Proprium
20.2.2 Traits Or Dispositions
20.2.3 Psychological Maturity
20.2.4 Functional Autonomy
20.3 Ancient Theories Of Temperament
20.3.1 The Four Humours
20.3.2 Influence Of Ancient On Contemporary Models
20.4 Hierarchy Of Traits And Super-Factors
20.4.1 Eysenck Personality Theory Extraversion Neuroticism Psychoticism
20.5 Cattell’s Sixteen Personality Factors.
20.6 The Five-Factor Theory
20.6.1 Three Factors Model & Five Factor Model
20.7 Let Us Sum Up
20.8 Lesson End Activities
20.9 Points for Discussion
20.10 Check Your Progress
20.11 References


In Lesson19 we presented behavioral, cognitive, and humanistic theories of personality.

After going through this Unit you will be able to

i) appreciate trait approach to personality exemplified by Gordon Allport

ii) understand various aspects of self as understood by Allport
iii) comprehend the dynamics of functional autonomy
iv) appreciate the type approach to personality exemplified by Hans J.Eysenck
v) analyse the factors constituting personality in terms of factors by R.B.Cattell
vi) value the five factors of personality met with the consensus among


Nature, character, disposition, personality are all regarded as synonymous with

Temperament. Thinkers have made attempts to understand the individual differences

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observed among individuals in temperament since ancient time. Gordon Allport had
attempted the first scientific conceptualization of personality in terms of well-defined
traits. Hans J.Eysenck had attempted a sophisticated system of structure of personality in
terms of factors identified him and also had suggested neurobiological explanation to
individual differences in extroversion, neuroticism and psychoticism. Raymond B. Cattell
has done extensive empirical studied to identify the factors accounting for individual
differences in personality. Based on the findings of his studies he has identified 16
Personality Factors, which are accessible for questionnaire approach. Consensus has been
reached among the psychologists regarding the minimum number of factors f o r
accounting for individual differences in personality. The Five Factors of personality have
been ultimately identified and described. The Five Factor Model of personality seems to
be promising to succinctly account for the personality differences among the individuals.


Allport distinguished between the conditions that motivate human beings called
Opportunistic functioning and propriate functioning.

Opportunistic functioning is the tendency that motivates human beings to satisfy

biological survival needs, which. This can be characterized as reactive, past-oriented,
and, of course, biological. Propriate functioning is a tendency that motivates human
beings functioning in a manner expressive of the self. Propriate functioning can be
characterized as proactive, future-oriented, and psychological. Propriate functioning
rather than opportunistic functioning motivates most people.

The word propriate used as an adjective in propriate functioning is derived from

the term proprium, which means the self. To get an intuitive feel for what propriate
functioning means, think of the last time

When an individual wants to do something or become something because he or

she really felt that doing or becoming that something would be expressive of the things
about himself or herself that he or she believes to be most important he is said to be in the
mode of propriate functioning. Doing things in keeping with what the individual really is
denotes propriate functioning.

20.2.1 The proprium

The self, that is proprium is defined in terms of phenomenology and in terms of

its functionally. Phenomenological self is the self that is experienced as himself or herself
by an individual. Self is composed of the aspects of your experiencing that one views as
most essential (as opposed to incidental or accidental), warm (or “precious,” as opposed
to emotionally cool), and central (as opposed to peripheral) to himself or herself. The self
develops in a systematic developmental sequence. The self has seven functions associated
with its various developmental stages. The functions of self include sense of body, self-
identity, self-esteem, self-extension, self-image, rational coping and propriate striving

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Sense of body and Self- identity develop in the first two years of life. Every one
has a body and feel its closeness, its warmth. Body sense has its own boundaries that
pain and injury, touch and movement, make us aware of. If any thing like saliva or waste
products is eliminated from the body, the thing eliminated is regarded as foreign to the
body-self and rejected with contempt.

Self- identity also at the point of time when we recognize ourselves as continuing,
as having a past, present, and future. We see ourselves as individual entities, separate
and different from others have names. We are confident that we will remain the same
person when till death. We take this sense of continuity in body sense granted. you wake
up tomorrow? Of course -- we take that continuity for granted.

Self-esteem develops between two and four years old when we recognize that we
have value, to others and to ourselves. This is tied to a continuing development of our

Self-extension occurs between four and six. At this stage certain things, people,
and events around us also come to be thought of as central and warm, essential to my
existence. The sense of “My” is very close to the sense of “me!” Some define
themselves in terms of their parents, spouse, or children, their clan, gang, community,
college, or nation. Some find their identity in professions, say ‘I am a scholar’, ‘I am a
lawyer’, etc. Some find identity in a place, as is explicit with Malaylees who adopts the
name of his native place for identity. It this sense of extension that leads to development
of empathy with children by parent, attachment to ideas one’ owns, patriotism, etc.

Self- image also develops between four and six. The self as developed at this stage
is called the “looking- glass self,” since at this stage the child identifies ‘the me’ as ‘others
see me’. This is the manner how ‘my out look ’, ‘my social esteem or status’, including
‘my sexual identity’ are formed.

Rational coping is learned predominantly from six till twelve years of age. In this
phase the child begins to develop his or her abilities to deal with life’s problems
rationally and effectively.

Self or propriate striving doesn’t usually begin till the child is twelve years old.
This installs such aspects of ‘my self ‘ as goals, ideal, plans, vocations, callings, a sense
of direction, and a sense of purpose. The epitome of propriate striving is the ability to
say that ‘I am the proprietor of my life’, that is recognizing that ‘ I am the owner and

20.2.2 Traits or dispositions

When the self or the proprium is developing in this sequence, personal traits, or
personal dispositions also develop in an individual at the same time. Allport uses the
term traits to denote unique, individual characteristics within a person, rather than traits
as perceived by someone looking at another person or measured by personality tests.

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Allport defines personal disposition as a generalized neuropsychic structure, peculiar to

the individual, with the capacity to render many stimuli functionally equivalent, and to
initiate and guide consistent (equivalent) forms of adaptive and stylistic behavior.

A personal disposition produces equivalences in function and meaning between

various perceptions, beliefs, feelings, and actions that are not necessarily equivalent in
the natural world, or in someone else’s mind. A person with the personal disposition may
be given to entertain stereotypes and deal with an individual as if he bears all the qualities
attached with the category of persons due to entertaining stereotype. Dispositions are
concrete, easily recognized, consistencies in our behaviors.

Traits are essentially unique to each individual. Hence ideographic methods

focusing on studying one person at a time, such as interviews, observation, analysis of
letters or diaries, and so on seem to be most suited for understanding personal disposition
of individuals. Within any particular culture, there are common traits or dispositions,
ones that are a part of that culture, that everyone in that culture recognizes and names. In
Indian culture, people given to philanthropy and altruistic behavior or helping is
commonly differentiated from those who are given to hoarding and egoistic behavior.

Some traits are more closely tied to the proprium or one’s self, than others.
Central traits are the building blocks of personality. When one describes someone, he or
she is likely to use adjectives to refer to the central traits, such as smart, dumb, wild, shy,
sneaky, dopey, and grumpy. It is likely that most people have somewhere between five
and ten of these. Secondary traits are the ones that aren’t quite so obvious, or so general,
or so consistent. Preferences, attitudes, situational traits all seem to be secondary traits.
For example, “he gets angry when you try to tickle him,” “she has some very unusual
sexual preferences,” and “you can’t take him to restaurants.”

Cardinal traits are the traits that some people have which practically define their
life. Central traits distinguish an individual investing all his energy for a particular cause
or spirit. For instance, one may spends all his or her life seeking fame, or fortune, or
wealth or sex. Historical characters reflect such cardinal traits. Often we use specific
historical people to name these cardinal traits. Ambition distinguishes Alexander the
G r e a t , s e lf-esteem distinguishes King Purushothaman, Cunning manipulation
distinguishes Chanakya, tolerance distinguishes Akbar the Great, and compassion
distinguishes Gaudama Buddha. Only a relatively small number of individuals develop a
cardinal trait. But, when an individual develops such cardinal traits they tend do so late
in life.

20.2.3 Psychological maturity

Psychological maturity is contingent on a well-developed proprium or the self,

and a rich, adaptive set of dispositions. As used here, the term psychological maturity is
used to denote mental health. Psychological maturity is characterized by seven
characteristics. Specific enduring extension of self, like involvement, contributes to
psychological maturity. Dependable techniques for warm relating to others, such as trust,

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empathy, genuineness, add to ones maturity. Emotional security is an essential ingredient

of maturity of an individual. Habits of realistic perception influence the maturity.
Psychological maturity also requires problem centeredness and the development of
problem solving skills. Self-objectification in terms of insight into one’s own behavior,
the ability to laugh at one self, etc, promote psychological maturity. Finally, a unifying
philosophy of life, including a particular value orientation, differentiated religious
sentiment, and a personalized conscience is of paramount importance to psychological

20.2.4 Functional autonomy

Functional autonomy is condition of personality where in one lives in the present,

and his or her motives today are independent or autonomous, of their origins thus there is
no necessity to probe into the past of the individual to trace his motivational history to
understand an individual. It is immaterial whether one chose to be dancer or a singer, or
why a person develops a taste for cheese, and it would suffice to accept the fact that the
person is what he is now.

Allport distinguishes Perseverative functional autonomy and Propriate functional

autonomy from one another. The perseverative functional autonomy refers essentially to
habits, behaviors that no longer serve their original purpose, but still continue to function
in an individual. One might initially turn to alcohol for one reason or the other. But, once
started the drinking habit persists even after the so-called reason attributed to the
initiation of the habit has become obsolete. Propriate or self- functional autonomy seems
to be a little more self-directed than habits, such as values. Allport and his colleagues
have developed a test of values titled A Study of Values (Allport-Vernon-Lindzey,1960)
that provides assessment of individuals given to different values. The test measures six
values including the theoretical value exemplified by a scientist valuing truth, the
economic value demonstrated by business man valuing material gain, the aesthetic value
illustrated by an artist valuing beauty, the social value depicted by a nurse valuing
nurturing people, the political value showed by a politician valuing power, and religious
value exposed by a saint valuing devotion. Every one has several of these values at more
moderate levels, also that one may value one or two of these quite negatively.


Temperament is considered as the aspect of personality that is genetically based,

inborn, there from or even prior to, birth. It does not mean that personality theories of
temperament deny the existence of aspects that are not having genetic origin. They only
selectively focus their attention exclusively on nature and confine themselves to the
aspects of the genetic nature rather than attending to other aspects, we call, the nurture.

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20.3.1 The four humours

Galen (AD 130–200), a Greek physician, formulated the temperament in terms of

humors. He identified the temperament falling into four types. They include melancholic
(tending towards low mood), choleric (tending toward anger), phlegmatic (tending
towards stolid calmness) and sanguine (tending towards optimism and confidence). The
temperamental types are based on what kind of fluids, called humors; they had too much
or too little of. T h e sanguine type is cheerful and optimistic, pleasant to be with,
comfortable with his or her work. Sanguinity is attributed a particularly abundant supply
of blood, and so also is characterized by a healthful look, including rosy cheeks. The
choleric type is characterized by a quick, hot temper, often an aggressive nature and the
temperament is attributed to bile excreted by the gall bladder to aid in digestion. The
choleric person is endowed with a yellowish complexion and tense muscles. The
phlegmatic type is characterized by slowness, laziness, and dullness. This temperament
is associated with phlegm or the mucus. The individual having this type is very cold. The
melancholic type temperament tends to be sad, even depressed, and is pessimistic. This
type is associated with black bile. We do not know what the ancient Greek refers to as
black bile, today. The melancholic was thought to have too much of black bile, whatever
it is. The four types are conceived to be the corners of two temperature and humidity
represented in dissecting lines. Sanguine are warm and wet, choleric are warm and dry,
phlegmatic are cool and wet. Melancholy people are cool and dry.

20.3.2 Influence Of Ancient On Contemporary Models

The ancient theory of temperamental type had been pervasive in their in their
influence on the thinkers of later ages. Ivan Pavlov, the Russian physiologist had
attempted a description of dogs in terms of the above four temperamental types. He
believed the differences in temperament witnessed by him among the dogs he
experimented with could be accounted by level of arousal distinguishing between the
types. The over all arousal or the excitation, and inhibition was considered to provide
explanation for the various type of temperament he witnessed among the dogs.

One of the things Pavlov tried with his dogs was conflicting conditioning --
ringing a bell that signaled food at the same time as another bell that signaled the end of
the meal. Some dogs took it well, and maintain their cheerfulness. Some got angry and
barked like crazy. Some just laid down and fell asleep. And some whimpered and
whined and seemed to have a nervous breakdown. I don’t need to tell you which dog is
which temperament!

Pavlov believed that he could account for these personality types with two
dimensions: On the one hand there is the overall level of arousal (called excitation) that
the dogs’ brains had available. On the other, there was the ability the dogs’ brains had of
changing their level of arousal -- i.e. the level of inhibition that their brains had
available. Lots of arousal, but good inhibition: sanguine. Lots of arousal, but poor

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inhibition: choleric. Not much arousal, plus good inhibition: phlegmatic. Not much
arousal, plus poor inhibition: melancholy. Arousal would be analogous to warmth,
inhibition analogous to moisture! This became the inspiration for Hans Eysenck’s theory
of personality.

Inspired by the account of temperament Pavlov had suggested to account for the
variations in temperament of the dogs used by him in his experiments in the laboratory,
Hans J Eysenck had developed his theory of personality to account for the differences in
the personality among human beings. Though he has allegiance to behaviorist theory of
learning, he attributes great importance to genetic inheritance to explain human

Eysenck has formulated the PEN (Psychoticism, Extroversion and Neuroticism)

model of personality based on extensive research involving factor analysis and
experimental studies. The methods used involve not only the human subjects, but also
animals such as rats. He advocated his model as the overarching paradigm of personality


According to hierarchical theory of personality, everyone exhibits specific

responses to both internal and external stimuli. These specific responses vary according
to the intensity of the stimuli, the situation, state of mind, and many other factors. At
some point, trends set in in our responding to stimuli in a characteristic way. Once such
trend is set in, the individual and others could see the trends of behavior of the individual.
A trend of such behavior is reflected in for instance, a person shying away from a
stranger in most specific situations. When this behavior becomes the usual way of the
individual to respond to new people, the response then becomes a habit. Similar habits
give rise to traits. Traits give rise to personality types.

20.4.1 Eysenck Personality Theory Eysenck applied the method of factor analysis,
a method invented by Charles Spearman to study personaity. He first identified two
factors accounting for individual differences in temperament in his book Dimensions of
Personality, and named them extraversion (E) and neuroticism(N). He even believed that

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the combination of the two dimesions could account for the four personality types
proposed by Hippocrates.

Eysenck's results suggested two main personality factors. The first factor was the
tendency to experience negative emotions, and Eysenck referred to it as Neuroticism.The
second factor was the tendency to enjoy positive events, especially social events, and
Eysenck named it Extraversion. The two personality dimensions were described in his
1947 book Dimensions of Personality. It is common practice in personality psychology to
refer to the dimensions by the first letters, E and N. E and N provided a 2-dimensional
space to describe individual differences in behaviour. An analogy can be made to how
latitude and longitude describe a point on the face of the earth. Also, Eysenck noted how
these two dimensions were similar to the four personality types first proposed by the
Greek physician Hippocrates.The third dimension, psychoticism wad added to the model
in the late 1970s, based upon collaborations between Eysenck and his wife, Sybil B. G.
Eysenck, who is the current editor of Personality and Individual Differences.

Extraversion Psychoticism

Neuroticism Non-neuroticism


It is comprised of three personality dimensions based on psychophysiology:

Psychoticism, Extraversion, and Neuroticism. As dimensions of temperament, the three
dimensions are related to Basic Emotions. PEN model is based on biological dynamics
The PEN model has two main aspects: descriptive and causal. Eysenck formulated his
description of the model in terms of a hierarchical taxonomy based on factor analysis. At
the peak of the hierarchy are the superfactors of Psychoticism, Extraversion, and
Neuroticism (PEN). The superfactors are comprised of factor analyses of lower-order
factors such as sociability and positive affect (components of Extraversion). These
factors are comprised of factor analyses of low-order habits such as liking to study with a
group of people (a component of sociability). These habits are comprised of factor
analyses of lower-order behaviors such as studying for the personality midterm with a
group of people.

The PEN Model emphasizes aggregation a n d the state-trait distinction. The

principle of aggregation means that measures will have higher reliability if they are
comprised of many items. For instance, Extraversion is comprised of many different
factors, habits, and behaviors, and hence should be a reliable dimension of personality.
The state-trait distinction denotes that factor involving lesser degree of consistency
should be distinguished from factors that are more stable ones. Thus the superfactors of
P, E, and N are to be considered as traits that are very stable across time and situation. At

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the bottom level, behavior states manifesting in situations may be regarded as traits. For
instant, combined-studying for the examination with a group of people (a state connoting
sociability) could vary widely depending on situational constraints such as the
availability of study partners. The states are very changeable compared to traits, the traits
are changeable to factors and the factors are very stable.

Traits are essentially dispositional factors that regularly and persistently

determine our conduct in many different types and situations as opposed to states which
define temporary or “singular occurrences. For instance, an individual described as
cheerful will not be cheerful all the time. The descriptor points only to a predisposition to
be cheerful and the likelihood to act in a cheerful manner. The correlation or clustering of
traits leads to a personality types of psychoticism, extroversion and neuroticism. Extraversion. Extraversion relates to an individuals’ “ability to engage the

environment”. Extraverts are characterized as sociable, lively, active, assertive, carefree,
dominant, venturesome and sensation-seeking (Eysenck & Eysenck, 1985). The extrovert
is preoccupied with external appearance and how others perceive their actions.

Extraversion is attributed to cortical arousal. Arousal is usually measured by skin

conductance, brain waves, or sweating. The theory holds that introverts are chronically
over-aroused and jittery, while the extraverts are chronically under-aroused and bored.
The theory also presupposes that there is an optimal level of arousal. The finding that
arousal is related to performance as an inverted U-shaped curve is called the Yerkes- less
aroused than the optimal level. Extraversion is found to be related to social interest and
positive affect. Neuroticism. The neurotic type is composed of the first-order traits: anxious,
depressed, guilt feelings, low self-esteem, tense, irrational, shy, moody, and emotional
(Eysenck & Eysenck, 1985). Neuroticism is attributed to activation thresholds in the
sympathetic nervous system or visceral brain. This part of the brain is responsible for the
fight-or- flight response in the face of danger. Activation is usually measured by heart
rate, blood pressure, cold hands, sweating, and muscular tension (especially in the
forehead). Neurotic individual, who have a low activation threshold, experience negative
affect (fight-or- flight) in the face of very minor stressors. They are emotionally easily
upset. Emotionally stable people, who have a high activation threshold, experience
negative affect only in the face of very major stressors. They are calm under pressure and
stress. Measures of activation are not highly correlated. People differ in their stress
responses. Some individuals sweat while some others get headaches while under stress.
This is referred to as individual response specificity. It is also found that stressors differ
in the responses they elicit. This is termed stimulus response specificity. Psychoticism. Psychoticism is characterized as aggressive, cold, egocentric,

impersonal, impulsive, antisocial, unempathetic, creative, and tough- minded (Eysenck &
Eysenck, 1995). Individuals scoring high on the psychoticism scale show a disregard for
authority and society’s rules and regulations, exhibiting a need to be on the edge.
Psychotics are unlikely to feel guilt, empathy, or sensitivity to the feelings of others

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Psychoticism is associated with the liability to have a psychotic episode or break

with reality. It is also associated with aggression. Researches indicate that Psychoticism
too has a biological basis. Psychoticism is attributed to increased testosterone levels.

Eysenck believed that the three types of personality factors have been connected
to neurobiological factors such as the difference in cortical arousal in introverts and
extroverts and psychopathologies, where extreme scores can represent psychopathy,
dysthymia, hysteria, and other dysfunctions (Eysenck & Eysenck, 1985). CATTELL’S SIXTEEN PERSONALITY FACTORS.

The Project lunched by Cattell to explain individual differences in every area of

life from psychometrically sound measures of ability, motivation, personality and mood
is one of the most ambitious ever undertaken in psychology.

Cattell's Sixteen Personality Factor Model attempts to explain personality

differences in terms of adjectives used to refer to different aspects of individual
differences in the natural language. The 16 Personality Factor Model aims to construct a
common taxonomy of traits using a lexical approach to narrow natural language to
standard applicable personality adjectives. Cattell relied heavily on the previous list of
personality descriptors developed by Allport and Odbert in 1936.

Cattell believed that there are three major sources of data when it comes to
research concerning personality traits (Hall & Lindzey, 1978). The sources include L-
Data, Q-Data, T- Data. L-Data is also referred to as the life record. L-Data includes actual
records of a person's behavior in society such as court records, and ratings given by peers.
Q-Data refers to responses to Self -rating questionnaires, and includes data gathered by
allowing participants to assess their own behaviors. T-Data refers to data collected using
objective tests and involves a unique situation in which the subject is unaware of the
personality trait being measured. Cattell gathered data from the three sources from
sample population representing age groups including adolescents, adults and children as
well as representing several countries including the U.S., Britain, Australia, New
Zealand, France, Italy, Germany, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, India, and Japan.

Cattell analyzed these data using factor analysis. He identified what he termed as
surface and source traits. Surface traits represent clusters of correlated variables. Source
traits represent the underlying structure of the personality. Cattell considered source traits
much more important in understanding personality than surface traits. The 16 Personality
Factor Model thus refers to sixteen source traits identified to account for the individual
differences in entire domain of personality. Consequently, the 16 Personality Factor
Model aims to measure personality based upon sixteen source traits.

Table 1summarizes the surface traits as descriptors in relation to source traits within a
high and low range.

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Table 1. Primary Factors and Descriptors in Cattell's 16 Personality Factor

Model (Adapted From Conn & Rieke, 1994).

Adjuctives use for describing Adjuctives use for describing

individuals at the Low individuals at the High
Range of the factor Range of the factor

Reserve, impersonal, distant, Warm, outgoing, attentive to

cool, reserved, impersonal, others, kindly, easy going,
detached, formal, aloof participating, likes people
(Sizothymia) (Affectothymia)
Concrete thinking, lower Abstract-thinking, more
general mental capacity, less intelligent, bright, higher
intelligent, unable to handle Reasoning general mental capacity, fast
abstract problems (Lower learner (Higher Scholastic
Scholastic Mental Capacity) Mental Capacity)
Reactive emotionally,
changeable, affected by Emotionally stable, adaptive,
feelings, emotionally less mature, faces reality calm
stable, easily upset (Lower Ego (Higher Ego Strength)
Deferential, cooperative,
avoids conflict, submissive, Dominant, forceful, assertive,
humble, obedient, easily led, Dominance aggressive, competitive,
docile, accommodating stubborn, bossy (Dominance)
Lively, animated, spontaneous,
Serious, restrained, prudent,
enthusiastic, happy go lucky,
taciturn, introspective, silent Liveliness cheerful, expressive, impulsive
Rule-conscious, dutiful,
Expedient, nonconforming,
Rule- conscientious, conforming,
disregards rules, self indulgent
Consciousness moralistic, staid, rule bound
(Low Super Ego Strength)
(High Super Ego Strength)
Socially bold, venturesome,
Shy, threat-sensitive, timid, Social
thick skinned, uninhibited
hesitant, intimidated (Threctia) Boldness
Utilitarian, objective,
Sensitive, aesthetic,
unsentimental, tough minded,
Sensitivity sentimental, tender minded,
self-reliant, no- nonsense,
intuitive, refined (Premsia)
rough (Harria)

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Trusting, unsuspecting, Vigilant, suspicious, skeptical,

accepting, unconditional, easy Vigilance distrustful, oppositional
(Alaxia) (Protension)
Grounded, practical, prosaic, Abstract, imaginative, absent
solution orientated, steady, Abstractedness minded, impractical, absorbed
conventional (Praxernia) in ideas (Autia)
Forthright, genuine, artless, Private, discreet,
open, guileless, naive, nondisclosing, shrewd,
unpretentious, involved polished, worldly, astute,
(Artlessness) diplomatic (Shrewdness)
Self- Assured, unworried, Apprehensive, self doubting,
complacent, secure, free of worried, guilt prone, insecure,
guilt, confident, self satisfied worrying, self blaming (Guilt
(Untroubled) Proneness)
Traditional, attached to Open to change, experimental,
familiar, conservative, Openness to liberal, analytical, critical, free
respecting traditional ideas Change thinking, flexibility
(Conservatism) (Radicalism)
Group-oriented, affiliative, a Self-reliant, solitary,
joiner and follower dependent Self- Reliance resourceful, individualistic, self
(Group Adherence) sufficient (Self-Sufficiency)
Perfectionistic, organized,
Tolerated disorder, unexacting,
compulsive, self-disciplined,
flexible, undisciplined, lax,
socially precise, exacting will
self-conflict, impulsive, Perfectionism
power, control, self –
careless of social rues,
sentimental (High Self-
uncontrolled (Low Integration)
Concept Control)
Relaxed, placid, tranquil,
torpid, patient, composed low


In recent decades, an increasing number of theorists and researchers have come to

the consensus that five temperament dimensions adequately explain the personality
dimensions witnessed among people. Warren Norman introduced the first version, called
The Big Five, in 1963. It was a fresh reworking of an Air Force technical report by E. C.
Tuppes and R. E. Christal, who in turn had done a re-evaluation of Cattell’s original 16
Personality Factors research. R. R. McCrae and P. T. Costa, Jr. (1990) presented their
version, called The Five Factor Theory. The five factors identified include Extraversion,

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Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Emotional Stability, Neuroticism and Culture or

Openness to Experience.

Extraversion is described with the adjectives adventurous, assertive, frank,

sociable and talkative. Introversion, in contrast includes such descriptors as Quiet,
reserved, shy, and unsociable. Agreeableness is described with the adjectives altruistic,
gentle, kind, sympathetic and warm. Consciousness includes such adjectives competent,
dutiful, orderly and responsible, and thorough. Emotional Stability could be described
using adjectives including calm, relaxed and stable. Neuroticism is referred to by such
descriptors as angry, anxious and depressed. Culture or Openness to Experience could be
described using such traits as cultured, esthetic, imaginative, intellectual and open. The
Big Five have also been shown to have a considerable genetic component via twin

20.6.1 Three Factors Model & Five Factor Model

Eysenck (1991) advocates that his three- factor model provides an alternative to
the five- factor model. It is admitted that the two models are related (Costa & McCrae,
1992, 1992; Eysenck, 1992). Both share the factors of extraversion and neuroticism,
Eysenck’s factor of psychoticism is related (negatively) to agreeableness and
conscientiousness. Eysenck states that agreeableness and conscientiousness belong at a
lower level in the hierarchy than psychoticism, extraversion, and neuroticism. The
extraversion is made up of the intercorrelations of other lower- level factors such a s
impulsivity and sociability. Similarly, psychoticism is made up of the intercorrelations of
lower- level factors such as agreeableness and conscientiousness. At the highest level in
the trait hierarchy are the superfactors P, E, and N. These superfactors provide a
psychometrically sound description of personality. Eysenck’ theory has a physiological
basis dynamic causation is claimed for the Big Five Factors.


In this lesson we have covered the following points
i) Nature, character, disposition, personality are all regarded as synonymous
with Temperament.
ii) Allport conceived a concept of self and traced its development
iii) Allport conceived a trait theory and identified the nature of dispositional traits.
iv) Allport described the nature of functional autonomy of the self
v) An hierarch of traits giving rise to factors and superfactors have been
developed by psychologists that links habitual association between responses
to traits and ultimately to types.
vi) Eysenck has developed his theory and identifies the structure of personality
with extroversion, neuroticism and psychoticism.
vii) Eysenck has also suggested the dynamics of the personality factors identified
by him
viii) Cattell has empirically derived his personality factors
ix) Five Factor model has been met with general acceptance of psychologists.

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i) Reflecting on your self describe your sense of body, self- identity, self-esteem,
self-extension, self- image, rational coping and propriate striving
ii) Identify your personal disposition in terms of values, attitudes and beliefs
iii) Identify your self with regard to the temperamental model identified by
ancient thinkers and adopted by Eysenck’s personality quadrant
iv) Consider the characteristics of extraversion, neuroticism, and psychoticism
and evaluate your characteristics with regard to the dimensions just cited.
v) Identify your personality with regard to the 16 factors described by Cattell and
prepare a self-evaluation of your personality. Obtain comments on your
description from any one who knows you intimately.
vi) How far the five factors of personality represent your personality?
vii) Debate: Our Knowledge of Personality is Complete Vs