Psychology Today What is psychology? Psychology is the scientific study of the behavior of individuals and their mental processes. Walter Cannon, John Watson, and Herman Ebbinghaus are only three out of many psychiatrists that have changed the world today. Binge eating and anorexia are two common eating disorders. Anorexia is the disorder you under take when you withdraw yourself from food and Binge eating is when you consume too much food at a certain period of time. But what makes us hungry? How do we know that hunger is what were feeling? We as humans use an external clocks in our daily routines, such as when to sleep or eat.
This external time triggers our hunger. For example when the clock reads 12:00pm many people feel hungry just because it is the universal time for lunch time. This hunger is triggered by learned behavior. In addition, the smell, taste, or texture of food can also trigger your hunger. An example would be if you like hamburgers, the smell of a hamburger cooking may trigger your hunger. Also people can feel hungry for a particular taste, more specifically, the four basic tastes which are salty, bitter, sour, and sweet. People will continue to feel hungry until these four tastes are satisfied. Walter Cannon was a pioneering physiologist.
He believed that gastric Miller2 activity in an empty stomach was the sole basis for hunger. Walter Cannon and his student A. L. Washburn came up with the stomach contraction theory which states that we know we are hungry when our stomach contracts. The two of them conducted an experiment in which Washburn trained himself to swallow a balloon which was uninflated and attached to a rubber tube. The other end of the tube was attached to a device that recorded changes in air pressure. Cannon then inflated the balloon in Washburn’s stomach.
When inflated in his stomach transmitted his stomach contractions to a recording device.While his stomach was being monitored Cannon pressed a key each time Washburn became hungry. The conclusion was that Washburn was indeed having stomach pangs when he began to feel hungry. John Watson was the father of behaviorism. Your behavior is what makes you you. It’s how you react to certain situations, eat, or sleep. Some Behavior can also be hereditary such as anger, intelligence level, or how you handle stress.
John Watson is well known for his “Little Albert” experiment he conducted. John Watson and a graduate assistant named Rosalie Rayner conditioned a small child to fear a white rat.They accomplished this by repeatedly pairing the white rat with a loud, frightening clanging noise. They were also able to demonstrate that this fear could be generalized to other white, furry objects. The ethics of the experiment are often criticized today, because the child grew so terrified that the mother took him out of the experiment immediately and therefore the child’s fear was never deconditioned. Have you ever walked into a room to get something but the minute you step inside you completely forget your purpose of even entering the room? Or have you met someone and they told you there name and then seconds later it slips you mind?Four major reasons why Miller3 people forget are retrieval failure, interference, failure to store and motivated forgetting.
Herman Ebbinghaus was a German psychologist. Using himself as both sole experimenter and subject, Ebbinghaus embarked on an extremely hard process that involved repeatedly testing his memorization of nonsense words devised to eliminate variables caused by prior familiarity with the material being memorized. He created 2,300 one-syllable consonant-vowel-consonant combinations such as taz, bok, and lef to facilitate his study of learning independent of meaning.
He divided syllables into a series of lists that he memorized under fixed conditions and recorded the average amount of time it took him to memorize these lists perfectly. He then varied the conditions to arrive at observations about the effects of such variables as speed, list length, and number of repetitions. He also studied the factors involved in retention of the memorized material, comparing the initial memorization time with the time needed for a second memorization of the same material after a given period of time and subsequent memorization attempts.These results showed the existence of a regular forgetting curve over time. After a steep initial decline in learning time between the first and second memorization, the curve leveled off progressively with subsequent efforts. Psychologist and philosopher William James is often referred to as the father of American psychology.
His 1200-page text, The Principles of Psychology, became a classic on the subject and his teachings and writings helped establish psychology as a science. In addition, James contributed to functionalism, pragmatism, and influenced many students of psychology during his 35-year teaching career.