INTROSPECTION

From Big Medical Encyclopedia

INTROSPECTION (Latin introspectare to look inside, to peer) — overseeing by own mental states and actions; it is used for a research of mental activity. It is necessary to distinguish a phenomenon And. and method I. As a real mental phenomenon And. expresses such property of the conscious act as reflexivity, i.e. display along with an external object of the thoughts and experiences caused by it in the subject. And. as «tracking» own subjective states is a form of introspection and self-checking of the personality. At the same time reflection, decision-making, estimates and other cognitive or estimated acts demand self-checking as well, as well as direct behavioural.

Method I. represents fixing and the description of subjective experiences in the natural or created by the experimenter conditions.

In the history of philosophy and psychology a method I. it was often interpreted and used from idealistic positions. The Introspektsionistsky psychology [W. Wundt, etc.] gravitating to idealistic installations absolutized a method I., including it only adequate means of studying of consciousness. On the other hand, resolute opponents of a method I. as allegedly absolutely unscientific positivists [A. Comte, etc.] and the behaviourists relying on their methodological principles acted [Watson (J. Century of Watson), Torndayk (E. Thorndike), etc.].

From positions of Marxist philosophy both of these estimates are insolvent, contradicting experience of modern science. Materialistic interpretation of a method I. opens its subjective nature, but at the same time specifies that it is capable to provide to the researcher information, to-ruyu it is impossible to receive in other way. Without being the only and main method of psychology, a method I. delivers to the researcher the «crude» empirical material demanding the additional analysis. PI. P. Pavlov recognized a method I. valuable in the field of psychology itself also gave an example of its fruitful use, having analyzed on itself symptoms of postoperative neurosis of heart.

Method I. assumes certain techniques of the organization of introspection of the examinee, assessment of his results and the subsequent correlation with the data obtained on the basis of objective methods of psychology (results of overseeing by examinees, various objective tests). By means of a method I. the analysis of own introspection or the analysis of results of introspection of examinees of persons is possible. In the first case it is about the single or systematic introspection which is carried out usually in any emergency situation (e.g., during the flight in space, in the conditions of an attack of a disease, etc.). In the second case the psychologist or the clinical physician will organize introspection at examinees of persons or just interviews them, setting for himself the clinicodiagnostic purposes, a task of diagnosing of certain qualities of the personality is normal or other questions. Valuable results on the basis of a method I. are received in psychopharmacology and the field of experimental psychopathology, adjacent to it, and also in aviation and space psychology, social psychology, in works on heuristic programming and creation of cybernetic models of functions of intelligence.



Bibliography: Dubrovsky D. I. Mental phenomena and brain, page 230, M., 1971; Krav S. V k. Introspection, M., 1922; With p and r to both A. G. Soznaniye's N and consciousness, M., 1972; I r about sh e of Sunday to and y M. G. Istoriya of psychology, page 295, M., 1966.

D. I. Dubrovsky.

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