The term introspection is generally used by psychologists to refer to people's observation and contemplation of their own thoughts, feelings, and sensations. In early psychology, trained introspection was viewed as a useful tool for acquiring data about the nature of such cognitions, though the methodology fell into disfavor and was largely abandoned during the past century. However, introspective self-reports are still employed in social psychology to assess such constructs as attitudes, leading to continuing debate over the proper role of introspection in scientific psychology.


The controversial nature of introspection stems from its use as a methodological tool by the structuralists, who sought to create modern, empirical psychology toward the end of the 19th century. Wilhelm Wundt and others trained research subjects to examine and describe their ...

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