Archive for the ‘Ulric Neisser’ Category
Ulric Neisser, an American psychologist and one of the founders of cognitive psychology died last month. Neisser’s life, including his major contributions to the revolution of the study of the human cognition is well documented; see for instance, the NY Times obituary and the Mind Hacks blog. My intention is not to replicate what has appeared elsewhere but to add to it by focusing on Neisser’s later work in ecological psychology, more specifically, his interdisciplinary research on the self which has guided the content and methodology of my own work. I take this as an opportunity to remember him, with the added hope of sparking the interest of those less familiar with his later work.
Behaviourism dominated the scientific study of the mind in the first half of the 20th century. Behaviourists declared that psychology should not attempt to address internal mental events and mechanisms but should focus on the observable markers of cognition, such as stimuli, responses, and the consequences of these responses. Despite its contribution to the development of rigorous experimental techniques and to the domain of learning, behaviourism was limited in explaining many interesting dimensions of human cognition, such as the development of language.