Verbal reports on the contents of consciousness: Reconsidering introspectionist methodology

PSYCHE: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research On Consciousness 8 (2002)
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Doctors must now take a fifth vital sign from their patients: pain reports. I use this as a case study to discuss how different schools of psychology (introspectionism, behaviorism, cognitive psychology) have treated verbal reports about the contents of consciousness. After examining these differences, I suggest that, with new methods of mapping data about neurobiological states with behavioral data and with verbal reports about conscious experience, we should reconsider some of the introspectionists' goals and methods. I discuss examples from cognitive psychology, including pain researchers' attempts to develop self-reports of pain so that they can be, like other vital signs, reliable indicators of internal states.

Author's Profile

Eddy Nahmias
Georgia State University


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