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ERIC Number: EJ916553
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Mar
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 47
ISSN: ISSN-0033-2909
Introspecting in the Spirit of William James: Comment on Fox, Ericsson, and Best (2011)
Schooler, Jonathan W.
Psychological Bulletin, v137 n2 p345-350 Mar 2011
Fox, Ericsson, and Best's (2011) thoughtful justification of the use of think-aloud protocols for revealing the stream of consciousness comes on the centennial of the death of William James, history's greatest practitioner and advocate of introspection. This confluence naturally invites speculation about how James might have responded to the analysis of Fox et al. I suggest that although James would likely view the think-aloud procedure as a scientifically rigorous form of introspection, he would also admonish us not to overlook its limitations. Most notably, although the think-aloud procedure readily captures substantive verbal thoughts, it is less able to capture inchoate cognitions. The conclusion that verbal protocols are nonreactive also raises several additional issues. First, the nonreactivity of thinking aloud does not necessarily speak to its validity. Second, the conclusion that verbal protocols are benign is at odds with recent findings in which verbalization impairs performance on various tasks. I suggest that whereas James might express some concerns regarding aspects of conscious thought that may be overlooked by the think-aloud procedure as well as some caution regarding the possible situations in which thinking aloud might still be reactive, he would almost certainly be pleased to see introspection finally getting the scientific grounding that it deserves. (Contains 1 footnote.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A