papalagi (papalagi) wrote,

Encyclopedia of Psychology Alan E. Kazdin, PhD, Editor-in-Chief


Although he has received far less recognition than Ivan Pavlov, Bekhterev probably had more influence than Pavlov on the early, general acceptance of conditioning by psychologists. Bekhterev and his students introduced motor conditioning using animals and humans, which he believed provided a better methodological foundation for psychology than Pavlov’s salivary conditioning. Bekhterev’s “objective psychology,” a sophisticated “behaviorism,” influenced John B. Watson’s development of behaviorism.

Watson emphasized Bekhterev’s methods, but instead of Bekhterev’s term association reflex used Pavlov’s term conditioned reflex, which stamped the latter into the vocabulary of behaviorism and obscured Bekhterev’s influence.

His textbook in social psychology, Collective Reflexology, Part I, received its first English translation in 1994, only the second of Bekhterev’s psychological texts ever to be translated into English.

For example, he compared social suggestion to “psychological infection” which he related to infectious disease, “every personality. . . inoculates others with the peculiarities of his own psychological nature, and . . , takes from them one or another kind of psychological trait”

Like I. M. Sechenov. Russia’s “father of physiology,” who influenced him, Bekhterev believed that psychology must be methodologically objective and philosophically mechanistic and materialistic (e.g.. “mind” reduced to actions of the brain).

BENTLEY, MADISON (1870-1955)

Theoretically, Bentley opposed both behaviorism and mentalism. His own position was intended to overcome metaphysical dualism and to establish a distinctly psychological science that was not merely secondary to biology. He proposed a disciplinarily neutral organism whose functions could be classified as either biological or psychological. Psychological functions were distinguished in that they overcame the separation of organism and environment through “absorption” of the latter by the former, as when one imaginatively plans to rebuild an object that no longer exists. Research, in Bentley’s view, ought to be less concerned with measuring results of tasks completed by psychological functions than with describing their modes and derivations.

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