Edward Thorndike Quotes

edward thorndike quotes



The restriction of studies of human intellect and character to studies of conscious states was not without influence on a scientific studies of animal psychology.


Human education is concerned with certain changes in the intellects, characters and behavior of men, its problems being roughly included under these four topics: Aims, materials, means and methods.


To the intelligent man with an interest in human nature it must often appear strange that so much of the energy of the scientific world has been spent on the study of the body and so little on the study of the mind.


It will, of course, be understood that directly or indirectly, soon or late, every advance in the sciences of human nature will contribute to our success in controlling human nature and changing it to the advantage of the common weal.


Human beings are accustomed to think of intellect as the power of having and controlling ideas and of ability to learn as synonymous with ability to have ideas. But learning by having ideas is really one of the rare and isolated events in nature.


There is no reasoning, no process of inference or comparison; there is no thinking about things, no putting two and two together; there are no ideas - the animal does not think of the box or of the food or of the act he is to perform.


On the whole, the psychological work of the last quarter of the nineteenth century emphasized the study of consciousness to the neglect of the total life of intellect and character.


The dog, on the other hand, has few or no ideas because his brain acts in coarse fashion and because there are few connections with each single process.


The un-conscious distortion of the facts is almost harmless compared to the unconscious neglect of an animal's mental life until it verges on the unusual and marvelous.


Some statements concern the conscious states of the animal, what he is to himself as an inner life; others concern his original and acquired ways of response, his behavior, what he is an outside observer.


This growth in the number, speed of formation, permanence, delicacy and complexity of associations possible for an animal reaches its acme in the case of man.


The intellectual evolution of the race consists in an increase in the number, delicacy, complexity, permanence and speed of formation of such associations.


The function of intellect is to provide a means of modifying our reactions to the circumstances of life, so that we may secure pleasure, the symptom of welfare.


When, instead of merely associating some act with some situation in the animal way, we think the situation out, we have a set of particular feelings of its elements.




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