Psychology of learning


Limitations of Introspection Methods



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Limitations of Introspection Methods


In introspection, one needs to observe or examine one’s mental processes carefully in the form of thoughts, feeling and sensation. The state of one’s mental processes is continuously changing therefore when one concentrates on introspecting a particular phase of one’s mental activity that phase passes off. For example when you get angry at something and afterwards sit down to introspect calmly the state of anger is sure to have passed off and so what you try to observe is not what is happening at that time with yourself but what had happened sometime before.

The data collected by introspection cannot be verified. An individual may not pass through the same mental state again. There is no independent way of checking the data.

The data collected by introspection lacks validity and reliability. It is impossible to acquire validity and exactness in self- observation of one’s own mental processes.




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The data collected by introspection in highly subjective. It has danger of being biased and influenced by preconceptions of the individual.

The observer and the observed are the same. Hence there is ample scope fro the individual to lie deliberately and hide the facts to mislead.

Introspection cannot be applied to children, animal and abnormal people. It requires highly trained and skilled workers to introspect.

Introspection us logically defective because one and the same person is the experiencer and observer. It is not possible for the same individual to act as an experiencer as well as an observer. There introspection is logically defective.




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