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Psychophysical Methods and the Evasion of Introspection

Chirimuuta, Mazviita (2012) Psychophysical Methods and the Evasion of Introspection. In: [2012] Philosophy of Science Assoc. 23rd Biennial Mtg (San Diego, CA) > PSA 2012 Symposia.

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    Abstract

    While introspective methods went out of favour with the decline of Titchener’s analytic school, many important questions concern the rehabilitation of introspection in contemporary psychology. Hatfield (2005) rightly points out that introspective methods should not be confused with analytic ones, and goes on to describe their “ineliminable role” in perceptual psychology. Here I argue that certain methodological conventions within psychophysics reflect a continued uncertainty over appropriate use of subjects’ perceptual observations and the reliability of their introspective judgements. My first claim is that different psychophysical methods do not rely equally on the introspective capabilities of experimental subjects. I contrast “minimally-introspective” tasks with “introspection-heavy” ones. It is only in the latter, I argue, that introspection can be said to have a non-trivial role in the subjects’ performance. My second claim is that my rough-and-ready distinction maps onto a number of important “dichotomies” in vision science (Kingdom and Prins 2009). Not coincidentally, the introspection-heavy categorisation captures many of the tasks typically considered less able to yield useful information regarding the processes underlying visual sensation.


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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Keywords: Psychology; Perception; Introspection; Psychophysics; Experimental Methods
    Subjects: Specific Sciences > Psychology/Psychiatry
    Conferences and Volumes: [2012] Philosophy of Science Assoc. 23rd Biennial Mtg (San Diego, CA) > PSA 2012 Symposia
    Depositing User: Dr Mazviita Chirimuuta
    Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2012 18:30
    Last Modified: 06 Nov 2012 18:30
    Item ID: 9416
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/9416

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