|Edward L. Thorndike|
|Born||Edward Lee Thorndike
August 31, 1874
Williamsburg, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||August 9, 1949
Montrose, New York
|Education||Roxbury Latin School, Wesleyan University, Harvard University, Columbia University|
|Employer||Teachers College, Columbia University|
|Known for||Father of modern educational psychology|
|Spouse(s)||Elizabeth Moulton (married August 29, 1900)|
The real difference between a man's scientific judgments about himself and the judgment of others about him is he has added sources of knowledge.
Human beings are accustomed to think of intellect as the power of having and controlling ideas and of ability to learn as synonymous with ability to have ideas. But learning by having ideas is really one of the rare and isolated events in nature.
Psychology is the science of the intellects, characters and behavior of animals including man.
This growth in the number, speed of formation, permanence, delicacy and complexity of associations possible for an animal reaches its acme in the case of man.
On the whole, the psychological work of the last quarter of the nineteenth century emphasized the study of consciousness to the neglect of the total life of intellect and character.
Amongst the minds of animals that of man leads, not as a demigod from another planet, but as a king from the same race.
From the lowest animals of which we can affirm intelligence up to man this type of intellect is found.
Some statements concern the conscious states of the animal, what he is to himself as an inner life; others concern his original and acquired ways of response, his behavior, what he is an outside observer.
Human education is concerned with certain changes in the intellects, characters and behavior of men, its problems being roughly included under these four topics: Aims, materials, means and methods.
The intellectual evolution of the race consists in an increase in the number, delicacy, complexity, permanence and speed of formation of such associations.
It will, of course, be understood that directly or indirectly, soon or late, every advance in the sciences of human nature will contribute to our success in controlling human nature and changing it to the advantage of the common weal.
The function of intellect is to provide a means of modifying our reactions to the circumstances of life, so that we may secure pleasure, the symptom of welfare.
To the intelligent man with an interest in human nature it must often appear strange that so much of the energy of the scientific world has been spent on the study of the body and so little on the study of the mind.
There is no reasoning, no process of inference or comparison; there is no thinking about things, no putting two and two together; there are no ideas – the animal does not think of the box or of the food or of the act he is to perform.
When, instead of merely associating some act with some situation in the animal way, we think the situation out, we have a set of particular feelings of its elements.
The un-conscious distortion of the facts is almost harmless compared to the unconscious neglect of an animal's mental life until it verges on the unusual and marvelous.
The dog, on the other hand, has few or no ideas because his brain acts in coarse fashion and because there are few connections with each single process.
For origin and development of human faculty we must look to these processes of association in lower animals.
Just as the science and art of agriculture depend upon chemistry and botany, so the art of education depends upon physiology and psychology.
The restriction of studies of human intellect and character to studies of conscious states was not without influence on a scientific studies of animal psychology.
Dogs get lost hundreds of times and no one ever notices it or sends an account of it to a scientific magazine.