Introspection


Introspection

Introspection is the self-observation and reporting of conscious inner thoughts, desires and sensations. It is a conscious mental and usually purposive process relying on thinking, reasoning, and examining one's own thoughts, feelings, and, in more spiritual cases, one's soul. It can also be called "contemplation" of one's self, and is contrasted with extrospection, the observation of things external to one's self. Introspection may be used synonymously with self-reflection and used in a similar way.

Behaviorists claimed that introspection was unreliable and that the subject matter of scientific psychology should be strictly operationalized in an objective and measurable way. This then led psychology to focus on measurable behavior rather than consciousness or sensation. [Frank C. Keil, Robert Andrew Wilson (eds) The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences p.xx] Cognitive psychology accepts the use of the scientific method, but rejects introspection as a valid method of investigation for this reason. It should be noted that Herbert Simon and Allen Newell identified the 'thinking-aloud' protocol, in which investigators view a subject engaged in introspection, and who speaks his thoughts aloud, thus allowing study of his introspection.

On the other hand, introspection can be considered a valid tool for the development of scientific hypotheses and theoretical models, in particular in cognitive sciences and engineering. In practice, functional (goal-oriented) computational modeling and computer simulation design of meta-reasoning and metacognition are closely connected with the introspective experiences of researchers and engineers.

Introspection was used by German physiologist Wilhelm Wundt in the experimental psychology laboratory he had founded in Leipzig in 1879. Wundt believed that by using introspection in his experiments he would gather information into how the subjects' minds were working, thus he wanted to examine the mind into its basic elements. Wundt did not invent this way of looking into an individual's mind through their experiences; rather, it can date to Socrates. Wundt's distinctive contribution was to take this method into the experimental arena and thus into the newly formed field of psychology.

In fiction

Introspections (also referred to as internal dialogue, interior monologue, self-talk) is the fiction-writing mode used to convey a character's thoughts. As explained by Renni Browne and Dave King, "One of the great gifts of literature is that it allows for the expression of unexpressed thoughts…" Harvard citation | Browne and King | 2004 | p = 117. According to Nancy Kress, a character's thoughts can greatly enhance a story: deepening characterization, increasing tension, and widening the scope of a story Harvard citation | Kress| 2003 | p = 38. As outlined by Jack M. Bickham, thought plays a critical role in both scene and sequel Harvard citation | Bickham |1993 | pp = 12-22, 50-58. Among authors and writing coaches, there appears to be little consensus regarding the importance of introspection [ [http://www.helium.com/tm/624520/introspection-thinking-fiction-writing Fiction writing: The importance of your characters thoughts - Thoughts on Writing - Helium - by Mike Klaassen ] ] and how it is best presented. [ [http://www.helium.com/tm/614947/mechanics-introspection-fiction-writing Fiction writing: How to write your characters thoughts - Writing Tips - Helium - by Mike Klaassen ] ]

References

Bibliography

*Schultz, D. P. & Schultz, S. E. (2004). A history of modern psychology (8th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.
*Bickham, Jack M. (1993). Scene & Structure. Writer's Digest Books. ISBN 0-89879-551-6.
*Browne & King (2004). Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself into Print. New York: Harper Resource. ISBN 0-06-054569-0
*Kress, Nancy (August 2003), Writer's Digest

External links

* [http://atheism.about.com/library/glossary/general/bldef_introspection.htm?terms=introspection About.com article on Introspection]
*, entry by Brie Gertler (2003)

ee also

*Choice blindness
*Phenomenology
*Phenomenology (psychology)
*Psychophysics
*Reflection
*Self-awareness
*Self-consciousness
*Style (fiction)
*Mode (literature)


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  • introspection — [ ɛ̃trɔspɛksjɔ̃ ] n. f. • 1838; mot angl., du lat. introspicere « regarder à l intérieur » ♦ Psychol. Observation d une conscience individuelle par elle même. Se livrer, être porté à l introspection, à analyser ses états d âme, ses sentiments. La …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Introspection — In tro*spec tion, n. [Cf. F. introspection.] A view of the inside or interior; a looking inward; specifically, the act or process of self examination, or inspection of one s own thoughts and feelings; the cognition which the mind has of its own… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • introspection — I noun contemplation, innermost thoughts, introversion, ipsum se inspicere, looking within, meditation, musing, pensiveness, reflection, reverie, self absorption, self communion, self counsel, self examination, self inspection, self knowledge,… …   Law dictionary

  • introspection — 1670s, noun of action from pp. stem of L. introspicere to look into, look at, from intro inward (see INTRO (Cf. intro )) + specere to look at (see SCOPE (Cf. scope) (1)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • introspection — [n] self analysis brooding, contemplation, deep thought, egoism, heartsearching, introversion, meditation, reflection, rumination, scrutiny, self absorption, selfexamination, self observation, self questioning, soul searching; concepts 24,410 …   New thesaurus

  • introspection — ► NOUN ▪ the examination of one s own thoughts or feelings. DERIVATIVES introspective adjective introspectively adverb. ORIGIN from Latin introspicere look into , or from introspectare keep looking into …   English terms dictionary

  • introspection — [in΄trōspek′shən, in΄trəspek′shən] n. a looking into one s own mind, feelings, etc.; observation and analysis of oneself introspective adj. introspectively adv. introspectiveness n …   English World dictionary

  • Introspection —  Pour l’article homonyme, voir Introspection (informatique).  Étymologiquement, le terme d introspection vient du latin « introspectus », action de regarder à l intérieur. En général, il désigne le fait, pour une conscience,… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • introspection — introspectional, adj. introspectionist, n., adj. /in treuh spek sheuhn/, n. 1. observation or examination of one s own mental and emotional state, mental processes, etc.; the act of looking within oneself. 2. the tendency or disposition to do… …   Universalium

  • introspection — The process of looking into one s mind, to examine one s own thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Data from introspection can be of some value in examining mental processes, but our introspection may not be accurate, and many mental processes are …   Dictionary of sociology


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