Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Vladimir Bekhterev's legacy

Vladimir Bekhterev’s research and discovery of certain brain formations revolutionized the way neurophysiologists and psychologists around the world would understand the relationship between man’s physical condition and his mental state.

Bekhterev’s 1910 publication of “The Objective Psychology” asserts that all behavior can be explained by the objective studying of reflexes. Assuming this is true, we can infer that behavioral traits are observable. Conceptually, Bekhterev’s theory is opposed to that of structuralism, a more subjective view. Structuralism places a high value on introspection to study the mind, unlike Bekhterev’s objective psychology which is associated with external metacognition (thinking about thinking). 

Bekhterev was the rival of Ivan Pavlov who also studied behaviorism. They both developed theories about conditioned reflexes which are responsible for instinctual responses to environmental stimuli. Bekhterev’s association reflex is almost identical to Pavlov’s conditioned reflex. John Watson was the first to discover Pavlov’s research regarding his famous classical conditioning experiment. This research was adapted by Watson who later developed his own theory of behaviorism, effectively making Pavlov very well known in the world of psychology. Watson used Pavlov’s research to support his behaviorist claims, but later analysis suggests that Watson’s view is actually better supported by Bekhterev’s study.

No comments: