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


Cross-Cultural Experience

To study consciousness, nineteenth-century psychologists proceeded by means of “introspection.” This method, deemed unscientific and unreliable, because it produced inconsistent findings, was rejected by J. B. Watson and other American psychologists of the behaviorist school in the early 1900s and for more than 40 years, consciousness was not a topic of psychological study in the United States. In the 1950s diverse factors emerged in American life and science that again made consciousness a significant area of research in psychology, neurobiology, and philosophy. These factors included the development of psychoactive drugs in psychiatry and in the counterculture: experiments in psychological warfare and brainwashing as a result of the Korean War and the Cold War: studies in cybernetics and artificial intelligence: and developments in brain and sleep research, as well as interest in Eastern religions (Yoga, Zen Buddhism, and others). Intensive comparative and experimental research, some under secret governmental auspices, was carried on for some years, beginning in the 1950s

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