Essay on the “Rise of Behaviorism”
Ladd, Hall and James for a long time, to American psychologists, the study of the workings of mind was much more important than that of the experiences of the individual. They never considered psychology as ‘the science of consciousness.
‘ Psychological mechanism of mental life had special interest for Ladd, Hall showed how physiological mechanisms developed in the child and in the race, and James came forward with his new ‘Functional Psychology.
‘Followers of Functional and Structural Psychology did not agree with each other. The analysis of consciousness was the domain of Structural Psychology, while the Functional Psychology concerned itself with the part that ‘consciousness’ played in the life of an individual.
Watson considered that the followers of Functional and Structural Psychology went only half the way. To him the introspectionists were wasting their time in observing what did not exist. They concerned themselves with the immaterial outside the scope of natural phenomena.
Watson did not recognize ‘consciousness’ in a psychological sense. To him sensation, feeling and image were not the elements of conscious experience. Memory, images and feelings as well were no facts.
Former psychologists gave undue attention to brain, ‘but the behaviorists asserted that in doing so they had isolated it from the rest of the body and made it just another substitute for soul.’ Watson believed that behaviour might consist in instinctive or unlearned responses explicitly or implicitly.
Thus, he was not always external but internal too. He believed that the task of psychology lay in tracing the individual’s development of explicit and implicit habits.