Book Definition

The practice of asking people to report on their mental experiences. Used by structuralists, functionalists, and Gestalt psychologists, rejected by behavioralists.

Quite Simply...

  • Looking within yourself to examine your thoughts, emotions, and needs.
  • Reflecting on one's own mental experiences.
  • Describing the thoughts that went into your actions.
  • Reporting on your own thought processes, experiences, and feelings.


“Mom, Dad, I’m fourteen, I see what the world is like. And, no, I did not get this from the psychologist...I came to this understanding on my own, from what I really see in myself and about life.Darryl Steven Markowitz, Call Of The Tree


  • Saying something and thinking, "Why did I say that?" afterwards
  • Telling someone a secret then thinking, "Should I have told them that?"
  • Insulting someone, then asking yourself "How would I feel if that person did that to me?"
  • Wundt and the structuralists first used introspection in their search for the elements of conscious experience.
  • Tripping over something you saw and asking yourself "Why did I trip over that, I knew it was there..?"
  • Structuralism used the technique of introspection to study consciousness. Many objective psychologists later complained that this technique is far too subjective for adequate study.
  • Used it to obtain information from suspects in murder cases.
  • Causes people to make decisions, then regret them later.

The picture shows that the guy (let's call him Wang) stops what he's doing and starts to think about his actions. Wang looks into himself to understand why he is banging his head against the wall and tries to find a new way to deal with it, but in the end he goes back to his old actions because the wall tells him "enough introspection." (Wang is also hallucinating)

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