Edward Chace Tolman (Encyclopedia of Psychology)
American psychologist and one of the leaders of the behaviorist movement.
Edward Tolman was born on April 14, 1886, in Newton, Massachusetts. After graduation from the Newton public schools in 1907 and from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1911, he did graduate study in psychology at Harvard. At Harvard (1911-1915), Tolman witnessed the initial reaction of the academic world to two new sets of psychological ideas: those of the Gestalt psychologists (Wolfgang Köhler, Kurt Koffka, and Max Wertheimer) and those of John B. Watson, the behaviorist.
Tolman's later theory of behavior is rooted in these two schools. From Gestalt psychology he borrowed the idea of pattern: in Tolman's theory, perception, motivation, and cognition are regarded as processes in which patterns of stimulation are identified and interpreted and patterns of reactions are planned and executed. From behaviorism he borrowed the idea that such mental processes must be objectively defined in terms of behavioral properties that can be objectively recorded. Such objectivity is necessary, he thought, not only in our study of the mental processes of rats, cats, monkeys, and so on, but also in our study of our own mental processes. Whatever is private or subjective in our...
(The entire section is 486 words.)
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