His father held a series of posts as a clerk or in accountancy before dying of tuberculosis in The family, of five surviving children 4 girls, 1 boy , moved at least 10 times during this time. When he was 9, Titchener was sent to live with his paternal grandparents and two aunts. His namesake grandfather was a successful solicitor and investor and also an ex-mayor of Chichester. He ensured that Titchener was first privately tutored and then given a grammar school education. However, his investments collapsed in and he died a few months later.
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His father held a series of posts as a clerk or in accountancy before dying of tuberculosis in The family, of five surviving children 4 girls, 1 boy , moved at least 10 times during this time. When he was 9, Titchener was sent to live with his paternal grandparents and two aunts. His namesake grandfather was a successful solicitor and investor and also an ex-mayor of Chichester.
He ensured that Titchener was first privately tutored and then given a grammar school education. However, his investments collapsed in and he died a few months later. His interests began to change to biology. He spent an extra year at Oxford in , working with John Scott Burdon-Sanderson , a physiologist to learn scientific methodology. He completed his doctoral program in with a dissertation on binocular vision.
He developed a psychology laboratory, gained editing positions and in gained tenure, a full professorship and independence from the Sage School. Personal life[ edit ] Titchener was married in to Sophie Bedloe Kellogg, a public school teacher from Maine. They had four children 3 girls, 1 boy. Once Titchener had a position at Cornell he gave financial support to his mother for the rest of his life. She, and his sisters, had lived in difficult circumstances after the death of his father, with his sisters spending time in an orphanage and then entering domestic service.
Titchener attempted to classify the structures of the mind in the way a chemist breaks down chemicals into their component parts—water into hydrogen and oxygen, for example. Thus, for Titchener, just as hydrogen and oxygen were structures, so were sensations and thoughts. He conceived of hydrogen and oxygen as structures of a chemical compound, and sensations and thoughts as structures of the mind. A sensation, according to Titchener,  had four distinct properties: intensity, quality, duration, and extent.
Each of these related to some corresponding quality of stimulus, although some stimuli were insufficient to provoke their relevant aspect of sensation. He further differentiated particular types of sensations: auditory sensation, for example, he divided into "tones" and "noises. What each element of the mind is, how those elements interact with each other and why they interact in the ways that they do was the basis of reasoning that Titchener used in trying to find structure to the mind.
Introspection[ edit ] The main tool that Titchener used to try to determine the different components of consciousness was introspection. The subject would be presented with an object, such as a pencil.
The subject would then report the characteristics of that pencil color, length, etc. The subject would be instructed not to report the name of the object pencil because that did not describe the raw data of what the subject was experiencing. Titchener referred to this as stimulus error. In "Experimental Psychology: A Manual of Laboratory Practice", Titchener detailed the procedures of his introspective methods precisely. As the title suggests, the manual was meant to encompass all of experimental psychology despite its focus on introspection.
To Titchener, there could be no valid psychological experiments outside of introspection, and he opened the section "Directions to Students" with the following definition: "A psychological experiment consists of an introspection or a series of introspections made under standard conditions. Titchener wrote another instructive manual for students and two more for instructors in the field Hothersall , p.
The level of detail Titchener put into these manuals reflected his devotion to a scientific approach to psychology. He argued that all measurements were simply agreed-upon "conventions"  and subscribed to the belief that psychological phenomena, too, could be systematically measured and studied.
Titchener put great stock in the systematic work of Gustav Fechner , whose psychophysics advanced the notion that it was indeed possible to measure mental phenomena Titchener , p. The majority of experiments were to be performed by two trained researchers working together, one functioning as the "observer" O and the other as the "experimenter" E. The experimenter would set up the experiment and record the introspection made by his or her partner.
After the first run of any experiment, the researchers were to then switch roles and repeat the experiment. Titchener placed a great deal of emphasis on the importance of harmony and communication between the two memberships in these partnerships. Communication, in particular, was necessary, because illness or agitation on the part of the observer could affect the outcome of any given experiment. The structuralist method gradually faded away due to the advent of newer approaches such as the introspective approach.
It is not until recently that research has generated robust evidence that attention operates at a perceptual level. Behavioral studies  looking at the speed of perception of attended stimuli suggest that the law of prior entry holds true. Recent brain imaging studies  have been able to confirm these findings by showing that attention can speed up perceptual brain activation.
Life and legacy[ edit ] Titchener was a charismatic and forceful speaker. However, although his idea of structuralism thrived while he was alive and championing for it, structuralism did not live on after his death. For example, whereas Wilhelm Wundt emphasised the relationship between elements of consciousness, Titchener focused on identifying the basic elements themselves. In his textbook An Outline of Psychology , Titchener put forward a list of more than 44, elemental qualities of conscious experience.
It should be stressed that Titchener used the term "empathy" in a personal way, strictly intertwined with his methodological use of introspection, and to refer to at least three differentiable phenomena.
Two others did not formally graduate due to personal circumstances. In , he founded the group "The Experimentalists,"  which continues today as the " Society of Experimental Psychologists ".
Edward Bradford Titchener
Edward B. Titchener
Edward Bradford Titchener