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Behaviorism Rivalries

Behaviorism Foundations
John Broadus Watson
Behaviorism Rivalries
After Watson's Discoveries
Related Links

Gestalt Psychology

World War II forced the founders of the Gestalt school to migrate to the US and they brought their outdated opposition of Wundt’s / Titchner’s psychology with them. Unfortunately, Gestalt theories were not mainstream ideas once they left Germany because of the strong influence that the Behaviorist school had on US society at the time. Also, most of the Gestalt psychology published works were in German which would pose as a language barrier that would prevent sufficient translation. I believe that because of this language barrier the mistranslation led to many psychologists not understanding the Gestalt psychologists and misinterpreting the goal of Gestalt psychology. Psychologists understood Gestalt psychology’s goals as only dealing with perception issues or theories about perception, which was not the primary and/or only goal of Gestalt psychology. Because the fight against Wundtian psychology was long over when the Gestalt psychologists arrived in the US and Wundtian psychology had been ousted from American psychology altogether, the gestalt psychologists had to locate a new target. The target would shift to the dominant behaviorist school focusing on their reductionistic traits. Gestalt psychologists also focused on the behaviorist school not recognizing the validity of introspection and their denial of the significance of consciousness.

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