The Problem of Instincts and Its Relation to Social Psychology

Jacob Robert Kantor
Indiana University

WHENEVER the study of a scientific problem is vigorously pursued, misunderstandings of various sorts almost inevitably appear. The problem of instincts, displaying as it does, a veritable babel of misconstructions, is no exception to the general rule. Apparently such opposing interpretations arise because of the different cultural backgrounds of writers and their specific interests in the problem studied. Because the present writer's previous articles[1] on the subject have probably added somewhat to the existing confusion he submits the following paper with the hope of clarifying to some extent the instinct problem and its bearing upon social psychology.

Recent discussions of instincts reveal the fact that possibly much of the misinterpretation concerning such behavior arises because of the many problems symbolized by the one term instinct. We mean to say that the facts and interpretations or alleged facts and interpretations do not all belong to the same domain of inquiry. By instincts different writers refer to entirely different phenomena, all of which things are confused by the use of the simple term instinct.[2] This particular situation arose because originally a great complex of animal and human behavior was casually observed and given a name, instinct. When psychologists take up the problem and attempt to analyze and interpret the exact facts they naturally face numerous difficulties of terminology. Accordingly, we shall attempt in the following discussion to single out certain particular issues involved in the general instinct problem.


In our first inquiry, namely, what various writers mean by the term instinct, we attempt to determine whether instincts are mental : forces, hypotheses, or actual reactions.

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1. Instincts as Springs of Action. The first contention is that instincts are springs of action; they are forces or powers of some sort which bring about the kind of behavior we actually find in animal and human adjustment. Such instincts are frankly teleological processes, existing quite aside from the animal organism. Just how they exist is not so definitely stated by Professor McDougall [3] who stands sponsor for this type of doctrine, but from his writings we may gather that he thinks of instincts as being (mental) forces operating upon a mechanical "body" and determining its actions. In Professor McDougall's doctrine we have a definitely animistic conception. The writer in his latest statement to date thinks of an instinct as some sort of power or process which is decidedly not a neural or bodily affair, but which makes use of neural and other bodily mechanisms to bring about its purposes. (pp. 311–326 et passim).

It is very important to notice here that in his last statement of instincts,[4] Professor McDougall overtly repudiates his previous conception that the instinct is somehow a neural mechanism or connected with such a mechanism. Possibly we can best understand what our author means by an innate force or mentality in general, when we refer to his explanation of Miss Beauchamp's case of dissociation of personality. Such a condition he definitely thinks of in terms of a mental power or a soul entering somehow into the body and bringing about the kind of behavior that the dominating personality performs at the time.[5]

In general this view of McDougall's stands in clear contrast to other interpretations contained in recent articles,[6] and especially in the fact that it separates so sharply the organism from its governing process. Does not such a doctrine definitely appear to hark back to a prescientific type of psychology? ,

Such crude animism is probably not entirely satisfactory to Professor McDougall himself for he says in an early paragraph of his article (p. 286) that the evidence of instincts cannot be an observable fact but it is and must remain a hypothesis. Now here we must ask what is meant by an hypothesis? Can one offer

( 52) propositions to account for natural events if those propositions have no connection with the events? This question we ask on two grounds. In the first place, is there such a fact in the field of psychology as a neural mechanism or a body, determined and conditioned in its behavior by some non-bodily (animistic) process? In the second place, if we could admit this, which we absolutely cannot, would this help us in any sense to account for actual human facts, that is to say, for a mother's care of her child or a person's sexual behavior? The precise value of Professor McDougall's hypothesis is quite clear from an illustration he uses (p. 313).

"I return to its cage, after handling it, a young white rat. Its mother hops about it in an agitated manner, then seizes it in her mouth and drags it to the back of the cage. An onlooker, knowing that rats, when short of food, sometimes eat their young, says, `She's going to eat it.' I reply confidently, `No, it's all right, it's the maternal instinct.' In saying that, I imply much that is given neither by simple inspection of the action nor by the statement that the action is instinct. If the mother rat proceeds to devour the young one, that shows that I was mistaken. But if I had merely remarked that her behavior was instinctive, I could not be accused of error for the act of dragging the young one to the back of the cage was instinctive in this case also, though perverted; was an expression, not of maternal instinct, but of a very different one, the food-seeking instinct" (italics ours).

Because instincts for Professor McDougall are general explanatory hypotheses to account for anything that happens, all you need to do when the situations vary is to apply different names to them. What, we ask, can such hypotheses really explain? Yet it is such an hypothesis which Professor McDougall characterizes as the one fruitful working conception that we have. As we have elsewhere indicated,[7] such a conception in fact not only does not give us any suggestion whatsoever as to how our behavior operates; but it does, on the other hand, prevent us from observing all the numerous stimuli conditions constituting phases of our action, conditions, that is, which operate to bring about the culturalization processes through which every person passes. It is in such culturalization processes that we find the sources for the acquisition by the individual of whatever social conduct is contained in his reactional equipment. It is only Professor McDougall's thorough immersion in the animistic, conception which prevents him from accepting such concrete constructive sug-

( 53) -gestions. We are forced to believe, however, that Professor McDougall himself appreciates the potency of stimuli conditions in modification of our conduct, because he asks, who knows how much and how subtly one is moulded by his environment in spite of his instincts (p. 312). Also, in his discussion of Rivers' instincts in the illustration of the soldier's action (p. 323) he indicates how complicated and tremendously important behavior can be accounted for on the basis of stimulating situations.

To understand Professor McDougall's doctrine of springs of action we must observe that he is referring immediately back to a problem of vitalism versus mechanism. We submit that no such problem is at all involved in a psychological study of instincts. For no such ultimate processes as a final mechanism or teleology exist any more than do mermaids or round squares.

Even if there were such ultimate problems they would have no manner of relation to the psychological facts of human or infrahuman activities. When I perform the action we call fear am I in fact carrying out some kind of ultimate teleological or mechanical process, or is it a matter of doing a particular thing, running, hiding, screaming, etc., because some thing, person, or condition to which I have previously built up such reactions now incites me to perform them?

So far as vitalism and mechanism are concerned the present writer is entirely willing to admit that Professor McDougall's insistence upon the teleological character of psychological activity is just as valid as the conclusions of the psychologists he opposes. Such psychologists he interprets as believing that psychological responses are the mechanical issues of nerve currents (p. 295). In the face of this interpretation when Professor McDougall observes the obvious human character of some psychological phenomena he assumes the necessity of a vitalistic process. As we have seen, however, neither of these doctrines has anything to .do with scientific facts.

How far Professor McDougall is from a sympathetic appreciation of what at least some of the instinct deniers are doing and thinking is well indicated by his ascribing to them a crude sort of impossible mechanism and by asserting that they are reactionaries in that they go back to a tabula rasa doctrine. The fact is, that an objective, or organismic psychology at least, is not concerned even in the remotest way with any kind of mentalism or spiritualism, whether of the tabula rasa variety, or the type of innate ideas or forces, or any kind of mechanism and teleology. None of these theories has anything to do with psychology, con-

( 54) -cerned as it is, we repeat, with nothing but the way actual persons respond to each other and to the various objects around them during their daily round of actual behavior.

However mistaken Professor McDougall is in injecting a metaphysical or philosophical problem into psychological discussions, and however wrong is the kind of philosophical conception he utilizes, we cannot overpraise his attitude in appreciating that his psychological view emerges from a. general philosophical background, and that it is unsafe to neglect the scrutiny of that setting. Is it not true that all scientific thinking has a philosophical background and that we must take account of it?

Great credit is due Professor McDougall, we repeat, because by contrast with his attitude all too many psychologists refuse to acknowledge that they have a philosophical position. Thus by easily propitiating their intellectual consciences they maintain the most unscientific doctrines in their works. Overlooking the fact that there is and must be a general hypothetical or cultural background to their studies, psychologists do not realize the danger of some false philosophical hypothesis seeping into their work and distorting the facts they are supposed to be investigating. When the hypothetical background of a scientist is not a critically investigated and accepted attitude that scientist's work is founded upon nothing more solid than vague folklore. We would suggest, however, that the cultural or reflective background for psychological work can only be methodological; that is to say, the hypotheses used must be based firmly upon previously authenticated and verified scientific facts and may be considered only as tools for present investigation and not as substitutes for the investigated data.

2. Instincts as Driving Adjustments or Mechanisms. Another instinct doctrine similar to, if not identical with, the springs of action view is that of Professors Woodworth[8] and Tolman [9] who assume that there are within the individual certain series of innate forces, called by them driving adjustments or mechanisms which result in some sort of indeterminate final response or series of responses (Woodworth's loosely organized instincts). In other words, these authors believe that our actual behavior under various conditions of stimulation is determined by some factor which is not developed or derived from the immediate situation or ones

( 55) similar to it. Unlike Professor McDougall these authors attempt to handle the springs of action or driving adjustments in physiological terms.

As Professor Tolman [10] expresses it, he is opposed to the view, that the organism is born with actions suitable to particular stimuli, but he says "there are innate connections of specific driving adjustments to original external or internal stimulating conditions." [11] "It is these driving adjustments which tend to release particular sets of random acts."

Does the assertion that the innate driving adjustments refer to physiological mechanisms change their character materially from that of the animistic springs of action? In the first place, is it a more factual description? Are there any such driving mechanisms,? The answer to this question depends upon what we mean by a driving mechanism. If we mean, say, the secretory operations of the sex glands, we are dealing with absolute facts, but in what sense are the latter driving mechanisms? We should call such operations component functions of sex or other responses. Again, if we think of such gland action as producing uneasiness in the organism, which uneasiness in turn stimulates other activity, then the gland activities are stimuli but only stimuli for uneasiness responses and not ever, in the human being at least, exclusively stimuli for sex behavior, much less any other sort. But from the standpoint of the sponsors of the doctrine we are criticizing some teleological processes must be involved, although they cannot be found in the situation.

On the other hand, if what is meant by a driving mechanism is some sort of neural operation which has a teleological function, must we not question the existence of any such physiological process? If psychologists attempt to locate such driving mechanisms in the nervous system we should insist upon the absolutely imaginary character of their neurology. That this attempt is merely making use of the physiological mechanisms to conceal some unverifiable conceptions is clear when we observe that Professor Tolman accepts as driving adjustments the instincts of McDougall and also admits that he doesn't know what the physiological mechanisms are.[12] (Can Instincts Be Given Up in Psychology? p. 145.)

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Furthermore, we observe that the notion of driving adjustments, much as we might translate them into physiological terms, cannot avoid the animistic implication of the springs of action theory, for somewhere Professor Tolman (that is when he attempts to connect the action with a stimulus) will have to add to his physiological mechanisms some mental factors. In consequence, he will be forced to assume innate mental processes.

With several emendations this view of driving mechanisms can be made into a very effective description of behavior, but in that case it will not be an instinct theory in any sense. To begin with, whenever we have behavior activities conditioned by something other than a surrounding object or other such external stimulus, those conditions themselves must be looked upon as concrete behavior responses, which have been started in the individual by some stimulus that has operated before the stimulus which aroused the conditioning action. In other words, we have no such thing as a spring of action at all but a series of definite responses of the person to their own appropriate stimuli. These determining (stimuli) responses may be reactions that were developed sometime in the past history of the individual and thus constitute some `phase of the person's behavior equipment. In the situation where no such conditioning reactions intervene the conditions of action are always outside stimuli, whether objects or things, and are never driving forces of any description.

And finally, if we look upon the previously acquired behavior systems of the person as conditions of his later behavior, as in the case of once having learned to swim the person can now jump into the water and swim to someone's rescue, we must observe that those adjustments or mechanisms can only function as actual behavior responses having their appropriate stimuli in precisely the same fashion as all other types of behavior.

3. Instincts as Determiners of Conduct. According to this view instincts constitute a series of tendencies which in the final analysis condition the development and the character of individuals. This attitude may be connected with the exposition of Professor Thorndike.[13] These instincts and other original tendencies are brought into the world with the individual and determine what that person shall ultimately become. "The springs of ideals and of work in their service are surely not in the environment of rocks, rivers, animals and plants" (p. 311) but rather in man himself, namely, in those original tendencies.

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Professor Thorndike, of course, allows for the operation of the environment (p. 213). Nevertheless, there is no mistake about the source of human action and development, for this writer places the tendencies in the neural apparatus of the organism; so that the environment becomes merely an occasion for action and development but not a definite determiner. Original tendencies give us abilities. Only how they are to be used is conditioned by the environment.

A determiner of conduct, as we use the term here, differs primarily from a spring of action in that (1) the animistic motive is not stressed (2) the general purposiveness is set aside in favor of specific results, (3) the tendencies are presumed to be or result in specific acts and (4) the whole mechanism is, or is a function of a neural apparatus. All of these points follow from the attempt to handle the entire matter in terms of specific neurons and particular neuron action (p. 317).

Now the issue is, are there such determiners of human conduct and are they responsible for human development and action? In an attempt to answer this question we must ask whether the data of psychology are specific responses to particular stimuli or whether they are something else, for example, movements determined by a nervous mechanism.

If we accept the first alternative, namely, that a psychological datum is a response to a stimulus, then our instinct determiners disappear, for in that case there is never any evidence that the action is owing to anything but the stimulus (besides, of course, the type of behavior equipment previously acquired).

If the second alternative is accepted, then the tendencies or determiners may be posited; in this case, however, numerous difficulties arise. First, are there any factual supports for such a view? Are not the behavior facts all turned in the direction of development and organization? In brief, are not the upholders of the determiner doctrine merely asserting that if, or when, the organism can do certain things it must be because of certain determiners? Secondly, does not this alternative give up the specific character of tendencies and make them into general potencies? Are there any such potencies in the nervous system? Thirdly, even if we translate the term tendency into function and as a consequence agree that the presence of certain biological structures provide tendencies for such very elementary reactions as reaching or grasping, how can we carry this conception over to the large mass of distinctly human and social or cultural reactions? In the fourth place, does not this view introduce a decided fixity into

( 58) human development, since the person must always remain as he is born? And finally does not such an attitude really deny that psychological facts are responses to stimuli and thus turn aside all of the possibilities of interplay of organisms and their particular surrounding stimuli?

An exceptionally damaging criticism of the determiner doctrine is that it is cast in a general biological mould and as a result all behavior must be conceived of as very close to the physiological activities. In consequence, whenever complicated human behavior is in question some sort of mentalism must be resorted to.[14]

4. Instincts as Natural Characteristics or Traits. In an attempt to account for the kinds of activities that the person performs the idea has been proposed that instincts may be looked upon as elements of the natural make-up of the organism. It is implied that since an organism belongs in a certain place on the evolutionary scale that it therefore has certain traits or characteristics of action which mark it as a member of, say, the human-animal group, the mammalian group, and the primate group. This view is suggested by Professor Thorndike [15] and elaborated somewhat by Professor Woodworth.

This conception of instincts as natural characteristics serves two purposes, on the one hand, to guarantee the genuineness of native powers and processes, and on the other, to afford a means of breaking down the distinction between instincts as definite specific reactions, and general capacities to perform various kinds of activities. On the basis of this view is brought in a large series of behavior characteristics such as the maternal and gregarious instincts, self-assertion, self-submission and many of the other traditional "instincts." With the enunciation of these instincts it is apparently presumed that all of our complicated individual and social conduct can be traced back to a source in the natural constitution of our biological organization.

But for all the truth contained in the statement that human individuals have human characteristics one may make the statement of it very false indeed. Such an unfortunate situation occurs when we permit such an assertion to support our belief in all sorts of powers and potencies as determiners of psychological activities. In order to avoid such scientific difficulties a number of safeguards are necessary, a few of the more obvious of which we will mention.

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In the first place, we must differentiate the crude data of science, or the assertion of the existence of certain facts, from the scientific propositions which are evaluations and organizations of those facts. When we assert that a pair of human parents reproduce only human offspring, or that roses grow only on rose bushes and not on bean stalks, these assertions are merely verbal expressions of genuine abstractions [16] or the verbal reference to crude facts similar in every respect to pointing at things, and are not therefore scientific propositions. Now in so far as this is true these facts or their assertions are totally unrelated to any scientific data or propositions. Hence they cannot be employed to establish the existence of any other facts.

In order to become scientific facts such crude data must be connected with other facts in some sort of necessary relation (causal, for example). In other words, we must discover or contrive some interaction between two or more things or events. In our particular example, the facts may belong to the same fact system, and to be specific, we will have to connect the fact that human parents can reproduce only human offspring with specific genetic data, in the sense of definite anatomical resemblances between parent and offspring, such as color of eyes, hair, shape of head, nose, etc. When such connections between facts are made we may make certain assertions depending upon such connections, as for example, degree of relation as based upon degree of resemblance, etc. Now the question is whether we have any such connection between our offspring fact and the presence of instincts as natural characteristics or traits.

In the second place, we must not commit the methodological error of using limiting conceptions or propositions as bases for other concrete propositions. The proposition that man belongs to a certain class of animals may be admitted as a limiting proposition or general outpost in our thinking, say, as a guide in the same sense as the propositions concerning mass and energy conservation serve as limiting propositions in the physical sciences. The question arises whether we are going to confuse the proposition that an individual organism having certain characteristics (parent-offspring resemblance) as members of the biological group in which it is placed, with the assertion that all or other of the person's qualities (pugnacity, leadership, musicianship, etc.) are

( 60) also capable of such a biological grouping? [17] To make such use of the limiting conception that man belongs to a certain class of animals is almost to wreck the observational character of psychological science itself. It means to miss all of the actual facts that have to be accounted for in the person's complex activities, such as all the historical, hygienic, economic, cultural, geographical, human or social and other conditions and agencies which surround any case of human action, for example, courtship and marriage. The study of such essential conditions can scarcely be given up in favor of a magical formula, namely, mating instinct.

Furthermore, such a process results in confounding different classes of action. For example, we confuse the classes based upon actions we perform as biological organisms with classes of action based upon the fact of having acquired certain behavior traits, or with still other classes based upon the possession of behavior traits which may have only an accidental, nonpsychological, or even non-biological basis. Such confusions we bring about when we place individuals in the same class (namely as having human characteristics, self-assertion, parenthood, etc.) because they possess certain other characteristics in common (breathing, digesting, up-right walking, etc.). How different are the classes! To attempt to establish the traditional instincts upon such a basis is to court serious disaster to one's thinking and psychological results. Even if we do allow the assertion that human beings are all the same kind of organisms, in that they have a capacity to develop traits, we are not thereby absolved from showing in the case of each specific trait the exact conditions of its development.

Lastly, such a misuse of a limiting conception always involves an unallowable mixture of facts, such as confusing anatomical characteristics with acts. Also we are liable to confuse activities like breathing and other reflexes with complex social conduct, or activities intermediate in kind or complexity between the two.

We must conclude, therefore, that we may not look upon traditional instincts as characteristics of human or animal organisms, but we need not leave the problem without further examining some factors which are .probably responsible for such an error. These misleading factors are (1) the presence in the organism of certain organs, and (2) certain necessary conditions. That is to say, the mating and reproductive instinct for example, will be presumed to be based upon the presence of sexual organs, and the

( 61) fact that were they not used there would be no organisms reproduced.

We ask, does the presence of sex organs argue for a sex instinct-characteristic? Hardly. What the sex organs argue for is their essential presence and operation when sex activity is performed, nothing more. To base one's belief in sex instincts as absolute characteristics on the presence of sex organs is to overlook the fact that in every kind of conduct some things and conditions as means of doing the action, or as making it possible, are absolutely necessary. The presence of an ocean for navigation or continental discovery is just as essential as sex organs in sex conduct, but who would say that such a necessary condition makes necessary the navigator's explorational characteristics ! Is not this making a phase of an event or situation the cause of the whole event?

Hardly more support does this argument receive from the fact that unlike the ocean in our example, the sex organs are an integral part of the organism itself. For in the first place, in all higher animals the mere operation of sex organs does not constitute sexual action; there must be hundreds and hundreds of other acts (meeting, courtship, etc.). Again, as the genesis of this type of attitude indicates, sex action itself is not a single kind of conduct ; that is to say, it may be part of reproduction or a part of pleasurable play. Furthermore, there are other organs and functions of the person necessary for sex conduct, which indicates that merely the presence of the organ does not argue for any connate sex characteristic. Moreover, other things and conditions are also essential, such as the presence of an individual of the other sex, a place and opportunity to perform the action, hygienic circumstances, sexual maturity, etc. Is it not impossible then to argue from the mere occurence of some action and the presence of the means to carry it out, that the action is governed by an instinct characteristic of the organism. More decidedly, of course, appears the impossibility of arguing from the presence of one kind of characteristic to the presence of another. In other words, if we cannot argue for sex instinct even when we find sex organs, how much less may we argue for other instincts for which we have no organs[18] as is the case in all social conduct.[19]

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Now as to the fact of reproduction being necessary for animal existence, does this argue for a mating instinct? Is not this fact of reproduction an abstraction which has no bearing upon the problem at issue? For reproduction as here used does not mean actual concrete behavior of any sort. For there is no specification of what the process is like and obviously there are many ways of reproducing. Can the fact of reproduction in the higher animals be used as an argument for an instinct any more than the reproduction of simple animals and plants can argue for such an instinct; and obviously the latter type of reproduction has absolutely no connection with the facts of human courtship, marriage or mating. At any rate, we conclude that the argument of reproduction gives no warrant whatsoever for arguing that sex action, of however universal sort, in human conduct implies a sex impulse or force which brings the action about. Impulses in the sense of characters of a biological sort certainly do not constitute valid data for scientific pursuits. In every case of psychological action we must study the details of every part of the occurrence, observe all of the particular happenings, and especially the development of the action equipment which constitutes the capacities to do things, and finally the stimuli conditions which are the only immediate causes (if there be any at all) for the particular action.

But here an objection might be made by sponsors of this view that they distinguish between the highly organized instincts and the general capacities and therefore, what we have said does not apply to them. We cannot allow this objection. For on the one hand, there is no clear distinction made between these in their exposition,[20] and on the other, if mating is called an instinct or random activity then the authors themselves break down the distinction between the general capacities and specific instincts. To a great extent, this doctrine of instincts reduces itself to the abstracting of a name of an action and calling it by the name of some force or power: The specific way this is done is by shifting from instincts to impulses, the term impulse, tendency or trait allowing great leniency for the magnifying of a specific activity connected with some particular organ into a general trait or characteristic of the organism.

5. Instincts as Bases of Action. Another view very frequently espoused is the idea that instincts constitute a kind of basic

( 63) behavior, action material which becomes organized into more complicated actions. Because of the obvious impossibility of organizing present actions into future ones this view is perhaps always connected up directly with nervous structures (typical reflex view) though it may more immediately be associated with any sort of animistic background. Once more, this theory may be built up on the analogy of the organization of unit typewriting acts, say into more complicated action. In its implications this view stands for the conception that all of our complicated activity has a basis in simpler kinds of action which serve as the elements out of which the larger actions are compounded. "Anger becomes righteous indignation by the substitution of a new and (in this case) an ideal stimulus for the sensory (animal) one and by the conversion of the gross bodily attack into the response of denunciation, purchasing Liberty Bonds, or longer hours of labor. Sex impulses may be sublimated in artistic activity, in dancing, in religious activity, or, when joined possibly with the parental impulse, in social service." [21] Not only is the principle of "sublimation" employed but also that of reflex conditioning; in both methods some or all of the original action is left intact in the new action.[22] Here we have a novel method of bringing into our complex social conduct all sorts of determining tendencies.

What possible facts of our simple individual or complicated social conduct can be observed to represent such mosaics of conduct? A more serious objection concerns the question as to what is the factual basis for saying that any element of our behavior existed before the individual actually performed such behavior in such a way that it could be compounded into the present complex? Can we escape the fact, if we are interested in actual behavior, that whatever sort of reaction we possess (can perform) must have been acquired as they are and cannot be said to have been compounded out of simpler behavior elements.[23] In other words, we cannot say that any action is anything but what it is at the moment of its performance. However much we might allow the figure of speech that a man's behavior is the development of the action of a child, the compounding psycho-

( 64) -logical doctrine is nothing short of a non-factual structuralism which cannot ever be worked out on an action basis, but must be carried back to some sort of stuff of a "psychic" or "physical" type. If we assume that an action [24] changes in some form, then we must also assume that we have an entirely different kind of action.

The asserted 'basis for the belief in instincts as bases of later social and other conduct is the view that these instincts persist, in some fashion in their original form, perhaps as synaptic connections in the nervous system and that upon occasion such as a great shock to the individual [fright or very precarious circumstances (starvation)] they assert themselves once more. It is this erroneous theory which has been designed to substitute for the observation that human individuals and other animals have what we may call a behavior equipment in the form of reaction systems, the individual members of which are correlated with particular kinds of stimuli. Not only does the basis theory suffer from its lack of connection with actual behavior facts but it must almost inevitably merge with the doctrine of animistic determinism.

Does the fact that under extraordinary conditions, for example, starvation or serious bodily danger, persons will do peculiar and astonishing actions, require any other interpretation than that such persons either have reactions which have as their stimuli only extraordinary circumstances, or that they can develop such reactions (at the moment) when conditions warrant or demand such acquisitions ?

Stated in a very different and more factual way, we may accept the proposition that instincts are the bases of future conduct. But according to this new method of interpretation we use the term instinct not as any sort of permanent basis, but to represent some actual simple mode of response which becomes integrated into later and more elaborate reaction systems and as a consequence disappears as a part of the person's reactional equipment.

More plainly put, when the organism first comes into the observational domain of the psychologist it is constituted of a series of actions. At any later observational period, another, and for the most part, different series of reactions will constitute the organism. Now have we not at least a logical warrant for asserting that the later behavior in part was integrated out of some of the earlier response systems? Moreover, because we can fairly well observe actual integration of behavior, such as the sound acts

( 65) into word acts and word acts into sentence acts, as well as type-writing strokes into larger typewriting responses, we may speak of the integration function as something more than mere logical processes. Now we assume that it is primarily the reflexes which are not thus integrated, while instinct actions, if they are ever present, become integrated into later forms of action systems and permanently disappear.

Two distinct differences between the basis view and our emended conception are to be especially observed. On the one hand, if it is instincts that are considered to be the integrational elements, a different kind of thing is involved. Instead of dealing with a potency of some sort or a basis of a potency, such as a nervous mechanism, we are dealing with a definite response of the organism. On the other hand, we are dealing not with any mosaic of elements but a genuine integrational effect. As a consequence of both of these differences we must look upon the basic character of prior action as being basic merely in a chronological sense and never in a mosaic sense. Possibly we can best show the difference between the two conceptions by pointing out that according to the basic view, instincts are presumed to remain in the later mosaics or organizations of actions as potencies or determiners of behavior in some form.

How then must we interpret instincts?  Our answer: when we use the term at all it must serve as a mark of differentiation between specified types of actual responses to stimuli. To illustrate, instincts may be taken to be comparatively simple responses which differ from reflexes in two ways. They may be considered as (1) more complex than reflexes and (2) as capable of integration. Reflexes may be looked upon as almost incapable of any marked degree of change, since aside from conditioning they remain permanently as constituents of the organism's behavior equipment. Also, the term instinct is used to mark off a type of behavior which is very well organized, from the random movements which are not organized with respect to adjustment objects. Probably no human illustration can be given, but in the case of animals they are easily observable.

If we ask what is the essential fact which unites the three types of behavior that have been enumerated, namely, instincts, reflexes and random movements, as bases for other actions, the answer is summed up by the statement that the organism has a particular kind of biological structure. That is to say these are names for classes of movement which the organism can make because of the kind of organization it has. The point here is that because of

( 66) the character of psychological organisms and the correlated stimulational surroundings, the former have very early in their psychological careers a series of types of reactions, some of which are integrated into larger and later reactions, while all of them may be thought of as chronologically basic to later activities.

Now if it is true that whatever action is basic to another action is entirely different from the newer developed action, the question arises as to what is the basis for continuity. Especially pertinent is this question when we consider that much more by far is contributed to the new action by the stimulating conditions than by the previous behavior of the person. The answer to this question is doubtless that the continuity lies only in the anatomical persistence of the organism. That means to say, that in many cases the newer actions involve the same [25] anatomical functions that operate in other and previous responses of the organism. When we speak we use the same organs that we use when we merely make simple vocal sounds. Our comment here is that such facts of continuity lend no support to the theory that our adult behavior consists of traditional instincts overlaid with habits.

Here we must be on our guard against misleading language. We mean to point out that the mature individual, as a complex of behavior -systems which are different from those that an infant has, should not be called the same person as the infant in order to establish the doctrine of the basic character of instincts. We have here the problem of the "vessel of Theseus." Although its beams, masts, decks, oars, etc., have 'been successfully replaced it is still called the same ship. No such notion is admissible when we study specific acts of individuals. From a psychological standpoint it is more important to insist upon the essential differences between persons at their different chronological ages than upon their unessential likenesses. And finally, if we cannot allow mosaic combinations with respect to actual actions, how much less can we admit them in the case of tendencies and potencies which are presumed to be combined into larger potencies.

6. Instincts as Ends. Besides the doctrine that instincts constitute springs of action, which virtually amounts to calling them means whereby certain ends are achieved, instincts are also considered to be ends in a more practical sense. Several writers have attempted to introduce a teleology into human and animal behavior by the method of ascribing ends to various organs. Thus, they say that we must admit that the sex organs have the end of sexual

( 67) intercourse. Likewise they declared that perhaps the neurons and muscles also, which operate in some particular kind of action, have the end of bringing that action about. Now having attempted to establish some kind of a practical teleology in psychological facts they wittingly or unwittingly assume that this permits them to say as a consequence, that to the organism may be ascribed other ends, such as religion, self abasement, fear, anger, etc. In other words, they use this doctrine of practical teleology to inject into the field of psychology the various traditional instincts which upon other grounds appear objectionable.

We wish to point out (1) that this attitude is absolutely condemned by the fact that upon the basis of such a practical teleology one can introduce into psychology objectionable forces and powers. (2) Also, that as a matter of fact this doctrine of practical teleology is based upon wrong premises and is on the whole scientifically inadmissible. Furthermore, we shall attempt to indicate (3) that this type of doctrine rests upon a confusion of teleological processes with functions, the latter being the bases of scientific propositions because of the actual observation of them.

The upholders of this view argue that the wing for example, has as its end flying, the lung breathing, legs walking, and the sex organs reproducing or sex activity in general. Now what can be meant by an end? First, is it some sort of power residing in the organ 'by which the wing, say, is made into an instrument for flying; or secondly, is the end a name for the act which the wing executes. If the first is meant, then, of course, our problem of ends reduces itself to a type of animism which we have already treated sufficiently in section 1, and which of course is not empirical teleology at all. If the second meaning is intended, then we ask what is the act which the wing performs, surely not flying. Wings cannot fly, for no smaller part than the whole bird can fly. We have not then discovered an end, unless indeed the end of the wing is to be an element in a total organism's action, which action itself may be flying. But even this point is not established, for wings are used for fighting as well as for flying. Appears also the question: what if the wing is devoured either before or after flying, then is not its end food rather than flight?

Naturally of course, we agree that we may speak of ends or practical teleology for purposes of description and exposition,[26] but then how are we to determine these ends and what are we to mean by them? In other words, it is perfectly permissible to say

( 68) that the end of a chair is the use of it as a "choo-choo" train, a table or a step ladder, or that the end of a wing is flight, etc. In every case, that is to say, we mean by end the use of a thing or what it does. We insist that this means, so far as the performances of organisms are concerned, that we must describe the performance as correlated with specific stimulating conditions, which determine or condition such use.

Does not the entire instinct problem in a traditional sense absolutely fail to get any support from this type of practical teleology? Instinct terms then such as gregariousness, pugnacity, mating, etc., become nothing more than names for actions. Furthermore, each name such as pugnacity becomes a class term for a set of specific circumstances in which a specific organism is performing particular acts with respect to specialized objects, conditions, etc.

Much worse is it to use this form of practical teleology in order to argue for complex ends of persons, such as religious action, parenthood, etc. Here we see a complete justification for any hair splitting argument that may be attributed to us when we question the validity of calling functions ends, for how much more damaging it is to go from the end of an organ (flying of wing) to other ends which not only have no organs (fear, religious action, gregariousness, etc.) but which, being nothing but terms, do not refer to any actual or specific action.

At the basis of the doctrine of instincts as ends, lies the assumption that there are certain structures in the organism which make it do things when cues are provided in the form of stimuli. Just here we have a great source of devastating misconceptions. Because some responses and their consequences are simple it may appear that the stimuli are cues merely, but this is an illusion for the stimulus is in no case any more a cue merely, then are the forces of the Newtonian laws, though the details in the two cases are entirely different. Here we have a very strong misconception of stimuli. Think of what it means to say that I fight or fear merely because I have a mechanism of fearing or fighting and not because I have built up all sorts of reaction systems to specific situations, which situations infinitely complex as they are, now bring about the reactions previously acquired. How can stimuli be cues unless they are definite interacting processes with the building up and operation of the reactions! An inevitable result of putting the sources of action into an organ or a process in the individual organism instead of in the numerous multiple interrelations between individuals and their equally numerous stimuli, is to believe that everyone has it in him to be a king (perform

( 69) royal functions) if only the right cue can be found. That this statement is no caricature of the "ends" view is manifest when we consider that the purpose, of at least some of the believers in ends is to make religious action the result of such ends, or at least to explain it in this way. On the whole, the instinct argument is made mainly for purposes of accounting for social conduct, and here it becomes exceedingly extravagant.

An easy way out of serious difficulties adopted by believers in ends is to say that what they mean is the projection of ends rather than that there really are ends. If ends are merely expository terms, then there is no discussion necessary, for in that case no instincts are insisted upon. Moreover, if the ends are in the attitudes of behavior students rather than in the events themselves, then surely the latter will not wish to overlook all of the specific facts of the interaction of the organism and its surrounding objects. But as a matter of fact, the writer has never met with this type of argument that did not end up with ends in a metaphysical teleological sense.

7. Instincts as Innate or Congenital Action. Because certain simple activities of an organism are part of its behavior equipment more because of the organism's organization and its biological conditions of development, rather than because it has built up specific types of activity, some writers have fallen into the error of expanding this truth into a set of false beliefs. In other words, they have considered this elementary fact as a foundation for the belief in traditional instincts and thus have considered the latter as congenital or innate forms of behavior. It is necessary for us then to examine the truth here and indicate how far it can be used to support the notion of the traditional instincts.

In every investigation of this sort we must absolutely keep before us this unforgettable fact, that the data of psychology are constituted of specific responses to specific stimuli. Keeping this in mind we may avoid practically all errors of observation and interpretation. Now what are the facts with respect to organisms? First, we observe that every organism of the higher types is capable of performing various movements, of doing various things in infancy. These acts are all absolutely simple and must be described in terms of what actually occurs. From this standpoint we must look upon an infant organism as a series of mechanisms, say, breathings, cryings, movings, turnings, etc. So simple are these reactions that we have almost no means of distinguishing between functions and structures. The "crying" of an infant on the response side is practically nothing but the operation of the pulmonary-laryngeal system. As we have formerly seen (section 5)

( 70) possibly we can put all of these into a set of three classes, namely, random movements, instincts, and reflexes, although there are possibilities that more classes may be necessary. None of the actual (particular) forms of behavior are individualized and complex enough to have a name attached to them, such as fear, anger, etc. And were it not for the persistence of one sort, namely, the reflexes, we should have very little understanding of such actions. As it is, we may say in general, that when the organism is in this stage of development, its biological and psychological natures are not, superficially at least, differentiated. In so far as this differentiation does exist we find the simple activities, which are as a matter of fact practically original functions of the animal structures, correlated with very simple stimuli, and since stimuli and responses are always interacting behavior phases of specific action situations, these stimuli correspond in simplicity to the action.

In every case, whatever act the organism performs, we must consider as a distinct movement capable, in theory at least, of a definite description; for each act is a mode of the organism's behavior to particular conditions. And the organism is a definite morphologico-functional being. To such simple activities we may unreservedly attach the name of congenital behavior.

Is there any mode of transition, however, from these elementary forms of action to the traditional instincts ? Unequivocably we answer that there is no way of establishing the existence of any other kind of activity at this stage of the individual's development, than these elementary types just described. At this point of a. human organism's life there is absolutely not present in its behavior equipment any kind of action which we ordinarily call fear, anger, self assertion, self abasement, pugnacity, curiosity, parentalism, sexuality, etc. All of the actions capable of subsumption under these names, and they are thousands in number, are built up as definite and special forms of response to particular objects, events and circumstances which serve as the stimuli to arouse these reactions.[27] Since the elementary and more complex reactions are each specific adjustments of the organism the theory of general tendencies can scarcely be used as a bridge to connect genuine congenital behavior with traditional instincts.

So powerful is the instinct tradition, however, that other suggestions to bridge the gap from congenital behavior to instincts, as forces or determiners, are not lacking. One of these is the as-

( 71) -sumption that there is some sort of preëstablished harmony between the organism and the objects constituting its environment. Now in a practical way we must admit that such an interpretation of the elementary reactions and their stimuli is feasible and especially in infra-human organisms; that is to say, since the psychological activities of an organism emerge from a biological matrix we may agree that because of the constitution of the animal and the nature of its particular environment there is at the moment of the organism's birth a simple and limited coördination of stimuli and responses. But this admission certainly does not go far in establishing any kind of teleological conception. To what we have already said concerning teleology we might offer this suggestion, to wit, that although the infant is born with lungs and although there is sufficient air around, the obstetrician not infrequently has to establish a relationship between the two.

Moreover to assume a preformed organization of stimuli and responses in our complicated activities means to misconstrue the nature of a stimulus. Since a stimulus is an intimately interacting phase of a 'behavior segment with the response, we have no right to call an object a stimulus unless the organism has already built up a specific response to that object. Unless indeed we take the cases mentioned above, to wit, those in which the reaction is so simple that the mere maturation of the organism to the point of birth is itself the fact of being able to perform a response to a very elementary form of stimulus.[28] On this basis how can we assert the existence of prenatal organizations of stimulus and response in such situations as anger, fear, hate, love, or any of the other activities which are miscalled instincts or prenatal tendencies ?

8. Instincts as Inherited Actions. Instincts are very frequently , considered as the inherited factors of psychological activity. True it is they are thought to be behavior factors in some sense, or influences upon behavior factors, but in general they are presumed to be transmitted to the individual with other of his inherited characteristics. But if the phenomena of psychology are actual reactions to specific stimuli, how can there be an inherited psychological factor'? Surely behavior cannot be inherited. Those who believe, however, in the inheritance of our actions immediately transform the inherited factors into tendencies, asserting, that although reactions cannot be inherited, tendencies can. Now what

( 72) is a tendency? Is it an animistic process in the form that McDougall thinks of it; or considering a more scientific attitude, is a tendency the functioning of an organ belonging to the biological make-up of the individual?

First we ask, what kind of action of ours does have in it an inherited basis ? The only possible answer here could be those simple forms of action which represent the point of emergence of the biological into the psychological organism.[29] That is to say, since there are only a comparatively few and simple reactions which depend upon the biological construction of individuals, we may grant, that since these structures are inherited, that the functions are also inherited. Obviously, such functions are not expandible into characteristics of the individual as a whole.

Mark you well, however, that the action is not inherited but only the structure and we are permitting this relationship of structure and function to be symbolized by the term tendency. Tendencies have for us no other existence than as symbols for structure-function relation. Two important points follow. First, no inheritance whatsoever may be asserted of any but some very simple action. No inheritance can possibly be allowed for complex behavior.

Another question is as to just how much of our structure may be called inherited. As the biologists are pointing out, there are very few if any of our structures that do not develop under great influence of environmental factors [30] and this would reduce to a small point the inheritance factors in the simpler behavior already referred to. How much less then would any more complex behavior be affected by inheritance factors?

But in spite of these conditions there are writers who would attempt to use the facts just mentioned in an entirely different way. Instead of finding in them a lessened plausibility of the inheritance doctrine, they would attempt to argue from them as a basis, that there is an inheritance factor in all of our behavior, and therefore (they argue) we have instincts in our behavior equipment. Further, they would insist that then we might say that religion and other social conduct has an instinctive and an inevitable basis. , Illustrative of this type of writer is Professor Wells.[31] He argues that the disbelievers in instincts are working on the basis of a fallacy, to wit, that since all of our actions are

( 73) acquired, therefore we have no instincts. In consequence, Professor Wells brings out a fairly elaborate study of the facts indicated in the previous paragraphs, to the effect that both an hereditary and environmental factor are operative in every phase of human development; and consequently that the deniers of the traditional instincts are in error.

To such an indictment we have already indicated our reaction. From the psychological standpoint the main point to consider is this : supposing we take any sort of even simple behavior, such as a fear reaction, what phase of it may be said to be due to inheritance? Is not all of the activity we observe to happen and which we call fear reaction, an outcome of actual contacts with the object feared or objects similar to it, such objects having become specialized stimuli for the performance of particular forms of action. Is it not merely arguing for some theory or cultural perspective to say that, as a matter of fact, because some phases of our structure development are partially owing to inheritance factors that our complicated social behavior such as religious activity may be said to be in part inherited? In establishing such a proposition does not a puny verifiable fact of biology become stretched to a giant teleological proposition upon the procrustean bed of metaphysics'?

In justification to Professor Wells, however, we must say that he himself does not argue that the fact of our development being partially hereditary and partially environmental proves the existence of instincts, but only the possibility of their existence. For such evidence, he says, we must go to the work of Professor McDougall. We have already seen that the latter does not offer any evidence for the existence of instincts. In view, however, of some of Professor Wells' other writings,[32] and also because of the fact that we are interested in an important methodological problem, it might not be unfair to say that he intends first, to establish instincts and secondly, to show how our complex behavior (for example, religion) is based upon them.

9. Instincts as Habits. Instincts have recently been very closely connected with reactions ordinarily called habits. In the first place, instincts are contrasted with habits, the former being presumed to be unlearned actions or capacities, while the latter are supposed to be acquired capacities. Again, habits are stated to be instincts which have become developed; in other words, habits are presumed to be acts representing the actualization of

( 74) innate powers. Several sorts of difficulties have arisen from the close coördination of instinct and habit action.

In the first place, the assumption that all of our behavior can be summed up under the two headings of instincts and habits brings into the field of psychology a type of simplification exceedingly detrimental. It involves overlooking the fact that we have innumerable types of actions, so innumerable in fact that no psychologist has yet done justice to the great variety of behavior we perform. Furthermore, reducing all behavior to two types means that we do not carefully enough scrutinize the details of development and operation of any of our behavior, and especially the simple types. And so we find ourselves facing the tradition, that because the organism at birth is able to do a few types of simple action, that we therefore have a series of behavior types which are unlearned, or not developed in the lifetime of the individual.

Probably the most serious result of limiting psychological behavior to the two general types of instincts and habits is the notion becoming current that the fact of habit formation supports the doctrine of instincts. Instincts here mean unlearned capacities and tendencies of various sorts. The argument is made in this way, that the fact of having habits means that we have tendencies to do certain things when the appropriate stimuli are presented. Now, then, runs the argument, even if we allow that these tendencies are acquired they are still tendencies nevertheless. Upon this basis it is further argued that we may also assert that we have a lot of tendencies, namely, to become angry, to be leaders, etc., which are innate and perhaps also inherited.

In our opinion, we face here two entirely different kinds of situations. In the first place, why should we confuse the concrete observable facts we find in the case of habit formation with the absolutely unobservable putative powers sponsored by the up-holders of instinct doctrines. Concerning a tendency, if we admit the term at all, we must make it refer to some specific kind of observable fact. When we use the term in the study of habits, a tendency, as we have stated before, merely means that given a specific coördination of response and stimulus the future presentation of the same stimulus will evoke the customary response. Tendency, then, is not the name for any force or power, but is a relationship between two things, a person (his action) on the one hand, and a stimulus object on the other. When the acts of the person are taking place the capacity or tendency lies as much in the stimulus object as in the person. Concluding that this is all we

( 75) can mean by a tendency, then we have a criterion with which to judge the different sides of the instinct controversy. And as we have previously indicated there are no tendencies of anger, fear, pugnacity, etc., before learning or acquiring such action traits.

There still remains of course this problem, why the human or animal organism is so constructed that it can interact with stimuli with the result that it can acquire all sorts of behavior. If this is a scientific problem at all it means merely that we must penetrate deeper into the organization and action of psychological organisms. But howsoever deeply we penetrate into psychological problems we never can get away from behavior origins rooted in the coördination of organisms and stimuli conditions. Never are we forced to resort to putative powers of any description.


Brief is the answer to the question as to what is the relationship between social psychology and instincts. Plainly, there is no relationship. Social psychology is essentially a science of post-infantile human activities, and since instincts clearly have no manner of connection with such behavior, there is no place for them in social psychology. This proposition is made very definitely with respect to instincts, whether we consider them as a type of actual elementary behavior or as mental forces or purposes of some sort.

That social psychology has no place in it for instincts in the sense of mental forces appears plain, because as we have attempted so frequently to state, the data of psychology, whether individual or social, are constituted of actual concrete responses of organisms to surrounding objects and conditions. What room is left, then, in a scientific psychology for any animistic force or teleological process?

No more does social psychology have anything to do with instincts taken in a more scientific sense, for the human activities constituting the subject matter of social psychology have no biological basis whatsoever. While it is true that our individual behavior may in some of its forms depend directly upon our biological constitution, this is never true of our social conduct. In the latter instance the reactions of the individual are absolutely arbitrary, artificial and conventional. Such reactions depend not upon any biological traits, we repeat, but upon the cultural history of the individuals who perform such reactions, and upon the institutions, namely, conventions, modes of actions, etc., which constitute the stimuli for the responses belonging to social psychology.

( 76)

To illustrate our point we might take language reactions as an example. Immediately we discover that the particular kinds of cultural linguistic phenomena we find in any group of individuals obviously have no relation to the organs which function in those language activities. Any set of vocal organs can be made to function in the speaking of any language. In consequence, we say that language as cultural activity has no relationship with the underlying biological structures and functions, and hence no relationship with instincts as simple reactions involving those structures and functions. Do such facts dissociate man from his biological setting? Decidedly not.

Man is an animal. And in consequence, much that is true of animals is true of human individuals. Man very distinctly shows in his anatomical and physiological organization a direct continuity of animal existence with the infrahuman organisms and it is impossible for him in any way to belie his relationship to the other animals. But does this relationship obliterate the fact that after all man is also his own particular kind of animal, and moreover, one, that finding himself in a distinctly human environment, can build up distinctly human types of behavior, that is distinctly human reactions to that environment. In other words, we find that if we approach our psychological observations in the scientific spirit, namely, studying the facts we investigate as definite concrete events, then we discover absolute differences between the lower animals and human organisms. Differently expressed, we must handle human facts from an anthropomorphic standpoint and not attempt to level the dividing line which separates off human behavior from animal conduct. When we study human behavior, or the facts of social psychology, in this way we do not even have to deny the presence of instincts, for there is no possible room for them in that field. So far are biological processes of any sort from being elements of human behavior that students of culture deny that the psychologist can throw any light at all upon the development and operation of social or cultural reactions.[33]

Man is a machine. Whoever denies that man is a machine, a piece of apparatus which performs certain definite activities in the presence of other objects and conditions, flies in the face of scientific facts. But whoever accepts this true proposition as a substitute for the proposition that man is also much else, is flying away from the same scientific facts. The human organism is very definitely a system of functions of a physiological sort, and every

( 77) reaction it performs, no matter how complicated, is performed as an organism (machine). But does this mean that we can overlook the fact that the human individual belongs to a number of different domains of science? That is, in some of his phases he operates upon a level of action entirely out of the range of the machine level. Using our language illustration again, no matter what one speaks, how complicated the process whereby such speech is developed, nor how abstract the things spoken of, true it is that the reaction when performed consists partly of the operation of physiological functions and anatomical structures. What ends of science are served, however, by confusing these two different levels of facts or by trying to replace one by the other? [34]

Man is a physical object. When we enter the domain of the chemist and the physicist we find that the human organism may just as readily be reduced to physical things and actions as to biological or psychological facts. What we are interested in pointing out here is, that as a matter of fact, each type of study of human animals is worth while on its own account. Each phase is as valuable as any other. Accepting the view that man constitutes the data of all these different sciences is merely reinforcing the suggestion that we have no right to reduce one type of data to the other. And so we insist again that the particular cultural responses forming the subject matter of social psychology must be handled on their own level without any admixture into them of biological processes. From the standpoint of our interest in the present paper, we repeat once more that the relationship between social psychology and instincts is non-existant.


  1. A Functional Interpretation of Human Instincts, Psychol. Rev., 1920, 27, 50. An Attempt Toward a Naturalistic Description of Emotions, Ibid., 1921, 28, 19. How Do We Acquire Our Basic Reactions? Ibid., 1921, 28, 328. Intelligence and Mental Tests, Journ. of Philos., 1920, 17, 260.
  2. In consequence of this fact the present study is primarily methodological in character and the writer is interested in the validity of doctrines. For convenience of reference and orientation the doctrines are attached to persons, but it is not to be assumed that the psychologist named is the sole sponsor for the doctrine or that he does not also subscribe to other instinct doctrines.
  3. Cf. McDougall, The Use and Abuse of Instincts in Social Psychology, Journ. of Abnormal Psychology and Social Psychology, 1921—1922, XI, 285—333.
  4. The writer assumes that Professor McDougall reprints the same statement in his "Outline of Psychology," published since this article was written.
  5. Cf. Mind and Body, p. 367 ff., also references there given.
  6. How glaring are the misunderstandings in the study of instincts is apparent from McDougall's suggestion (p. 292) that he can see no difference between the present writer's view (Psycho. Rev., 27, 50—72) and his own, although the article McDougall refers to was written partly as an attack upon his type of animistic doctrine. The only common element is in the name.
  7. A Functional Interpretation of Human Instincts, Psychol. Rev., 1920, 27, 50.
  8. Psychology, 1921.
  9. Instinct and Purpose, Psychol. Rev., 1920, 27, 217—233; Can Instincts Be Given Up in Psychology? Journ. of Abnormal Psychology and Social Psychology, 1922, 17, 134—152.
  10. From this point on in this section we shall discuss Tolman Is statement and not Woodworth Is.
  11. Can Instincts Be Given Up in Psychology? p. 147.
  12. We suggest that it is always a methodological error to infer a physiological function from theoretical premises, much as we may infer such function from other closely related physiological facts.
  13. Educational Psychology, 1913, vol. I.
  14. It is no doubt such conceptions as these which Professor McDougall considers as necessitating a completely teleological conception.
  15. Op. cit.
  16. By genuine abstraction we mean abstractions from natural phenomena as opposed to fictitious abstractions as when we speak of angels.
  17. A very suspicious. factor in the discussion of characteristics is the counter-tendency. It appears that some characteristics are not characteristics; so counter characteristics have to be introduced. Cf. Woodworth, loc. cit., ch. VIII.
  18. A decidedly peculiar result of connecting complex conduct with organs is Dunlap's connection of self-assertion (leadership) and conformity instincts (desires) with the circulatory and respiratory systems. Cf. Elements of Scientific Psychology, 1922, p. 324.
  19. What is a sex organ or sex action anyway? Such a question might lead us by a devious route to the sperm-ovum secretory activity of the sex glands. But as soon as we got down to this point would our instinct in a traditional sense not be completely dissipated, Would anybody dissent from the suggestion that such activities are genuine reflexes and that such organs can only have reflex functions,
  20. In fact, as we have pointed out, the characteristics doctrine is designed to break down such a distinction.
  21. Hunter, The Modification of Instinct from the Standpoint of Social Psychology, Psychol. Rev., 27, July, 1920, p. 249.
  22. Note that Hunter does not mean here that a person who falls in love or perhaps is sexually aroused will be stimulated by his own sex action to do some other kind of action. On the contrary, it is implied that social conduct even has animal components in it.
  23. Whoever attempts to compound either simple individual or complex conduct out of simpler activities by the "organization of neurons" is simply illustrating the magical and imaginary uses to which the nervous system is put by psychologists.
  24. What we are really dealing with here are of course the different ways in which a person acts.
  25. Disregarding growth and other changes,.
  26. Nor do we object to anyone using teleological expressions of a metaphysical sort if they are not confused with descriptive propositions.
  27. Some suggestions as to how these acquisitions are brought about we have made in an article entitled, How Do We Acquire Our Basic Reactions Psychol. Rev., 1921, 28, 328.
  28. Would it be too far-fetched to look upon this process of maturation as a case of acquiring these elementary actions?
  29. Not that there really is any such point, but we may assume it for expository purposes.
  30. Cf., for example, Goodrich, Some Problems in Evolution, Science, LIV, p. 529.
  31. The Meaning of "Inherited" and "Acquired"in Reference to Instincts, this Journal, 1922, XVII, 153-161.
  32. For example, The Biological Foundations of Belief, Journ. of Philos., 1919, 16, 259-271.
  33. An Essay Toward an Institutional Conception of Social Psychology, American Journal of Sociology, XXVII, 6, May 1922.
  34. Here is where the animists find scientific support for their view. Because some psychologists argue that man consists of nothing but physiological mechanisms, other psychologists insist that he must also be something more. This other something has been termed by psychologists, spiritual or mental stuff, or forces.

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