DUALISMS IN PSYCHOLOGY


Psychology can be characterized by a number of dualisms. Why would a psychologist focus on one side of the dualism? On the other side?

***A dualism can be defined as two separate and independent forces or ways of thinking that are equal in strength and logical reasoning. The separate ways of thinking are not considered opposite, but different. The ultimate goals of both are usually similar, but distinctly different. Psychologists choose the side of the dualism that fits their perspective and beliefs.***

MIND / BEHAVIOR

INTERNAL / EXTERNAL CAUSES

BASIC / APPLIED GOALS

EXPERIMENTAL / NONEXPERIMENTAL METHODS


Dualisms in Psychology

MIND / BEHAVIOR

Lyle Zynda, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Indiana University in South Bend , Indiana, provides a summary and discussion questions for Descartes' Mind-Body Dualism.
Serendip provides a complete discussion and gives a lot of background information in "Rene Descartes and the Legacy of Mind/Body Dualism":
The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy provides a definition and description of Behaviorism. The description tells that John Watson believed "the only way to accurately interpret someone's mental states was through observing their behavior".
According to Serendip, there is a contradiction in the common sense view of mind and body.

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Dualisms in Psychology

INTERNAL / EXTERNAL CAUSES

***Psychologists look at events and/or patterns of events and try to determine how the events came about. They seek explanations by looking at immediate causes. These causes can be external or internal. External causes are the things that happen outside the person: the properties of the immediate situation. Internal causes are the things inside the person: the characteristics of the person. To get a deeper understanding, some psychologists look for explanations in terms of developmental causes, others focus on evolutionary causes.***
Still searching for sites that directly address this issue

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Dualisms in Psychology

BASIC / APPLIED GOALS

***The goal a basic psychology is to control behavior. Basic psychology deals with general, universal laws. On the other hand, the goal of applied psychology is to understand the person as a whole and find ways to solve current human problems. Applied psychology deals with insight into the person. Applied psychology is concerned with both the inner experience and the outward behavior and looks for existing motives rather than external causes.***
Denise Theresa Fillion, a student at The University of Calgary in Canada, presents an essay that is a short biography of Alfred Binet and provides a practical application using Binet's theory from which he develop his intelligence test.

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Dualisms in Psychology

EXPERIMENTAL / NONEXPERIMENTAL METHODS

***Experimental methods are consistent with the assumptions of basic psychology and believe that behavior is the result of external causes. Experimental methods, used to test assumed relationships, give psychologists a means of determining if a change in X causes any changes in Y. On the other hand, nonexperimental methods are used to determine if there is a relationship. Nonexperimental methods observe and measure things as they are without manipulating the situation.***
Shawn Bayern, a student at Yale University, provides definitions of some terms used in nonexperimental designs which he compiled from the transparencies of Professor Kurt Frey's psychology class.
Professor William N. Singleton at Bridgewater State College gives a discussion of experimental method and nonexperimental situations in "Criteria for Establishing Causality in Nonexperimental Situations."

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12-10-96