By Wade Pickren, Alexandra Rutherford

In A heritage of contemporary Psychology in Context, the authors face up to the conventional storylines of significant achievements through eminent humans, or faculties of suggestion that upward push and fall within the wake of medical development. in its place, psychology is portrayed as a community of medical practices embedded in particular contexts. The narrative is expert by means of 3 key concepts—indigenization, reflexivity, and social constructionism—and by way of the attention-grabbing interaction among disciplinary Psychology and daily psychology.

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The former referred to the latent energy of the nerves that found expression in reflexes. Sensorium commune encompassed the medulla, basal ganglia, and spinal cord. Its role was to link sensory input to motor responses, without reliance on consciousness. These earlier uses of the reflex concept were typically not precise or precisely linked to physiological processes. But with the articulation of the sensory–motor distinction, the English physiologist Marshall Hall offered a specific connection between local nerve action and behavior.

Gall argued that there had to be a physical, innate foundation for organizing the knowledge that PHYSIOLOGY AND MEDICINE: THE SEARCH FOR MATERIAL EXPLANATIONS OF HUMAN NATURE came to us through our senses. Unlike the followers of Descartes, Gall’s point was that there was no division of mind and body and no need to reserve higher mental functions for the providence of God. Second, the search for a materialist basis for mind proved extremely important, although controversial. Perhaps the controversy helped make it important.

Only humans were blessed with the latter and its chief characteristic, reason. Two cautions are needed as we proceed. First, Descartes was not a psychologist, nor was he a protopsychologist. He was a philosopher concerned with placing knowledge on a sure foundation and from that foundation constructing knowledge about how the Creation worked, including the human brain and body. Descartes’s worry about the certainty of knowledge was with him even as he finished school. What compounded this worry was the state of his world as a young man.

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