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The Fractionation of Introspection

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Edward Titchener, one of the great champions of introspectionist psychology, declared that 'the term Introspection, as we find it used today, is highly equivocal, and that the procedure which it connotes may be scientifically illegitimate, or even wholly imaginary' (Titchener, 1912b, p. 485). He made the point because he wanted to insulate his preferred method of doing psychological research from criticisms that were directed against forms of introspection that he conceded to be unreliable. The point, however, is not just that we can introspect more or less carefully. It is that there are 'gross differences in the meaning of the word' (Titchener, 1912a, p. 433). 'Introspection' is Janus-faced. It splinters into several different species, involving different underlying mechanisms.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2004

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