StudentShare solutions
Triangle menu

William James : Habit (From The Principles of Psychology) - Research Paper Example

Not dowloaded yet

Extract of sample
William James : Habit (From The Principles of Psychology)

Psychology is one of the most essential areas in the sphere of science and human life and is studied in an attempt to understand why people behave in the manner in which they do and to comprehend their subconscious (Benjafield 1-4). A prominent author in the field is William James. He has written a number of texts on the subject including The Principles of Psychology in 1980. Within this book he considers a number of different aspects of psychology that play a large role in humans, including habit. Habit is a form of behavior that is followed routinely and repeated for a longer period of time which ultimately ends up occurring subconsciously in a person. He argues that some habits occur as the result of instinct, innate qualities that we have no control of but are part of our human nature, while others occur because of a choice. However, while humans may choose to do an action, they often do not intend for this to remain as a habit. The chapter considers habit from a physical point of view, examining the principles at a mechanical level that cause habits to become ingrained, and to form in the first place. Often habits can be thought of as a human trait. They are something that grows from repeated action to an extent that they can occur without intent. Some habits are innate, inherent in our genetic structure and may be an indication of earlier times for our species. Such habits include the rush of adrenaline when in danger or looking for exits when entering a new area. Other habits are more connected to our society, with smoking and alcohol drinking often considered to be strong bad habits. Habits however are not limited to humans. Rather “…the laws of habits are nothing but the immutable habits which the different elementary sorts of matter follow…” . Thus habits can be applied at all levels of matter and energy. For example, a particle of matter can be considered to have habits, as James himself considers, although these habits are unchangeable, much like the particle itself. In contrast, an organism or more complex collection of matter is able to change, and consequently its habits are not static. A term that can be used in this case is plasticity. This word can be applied both to physical and organic systems, and suggests a structure that is able to be influenced and changed, but that retains the strength not to change all at one time. James proposes that it is this plasticity at the level of matter that underlies the ability of living organisms to develop habits . Thus, we form habits because the systems in our body are formed in such a way to encourage many types of repeated action. Within living organisms, the level at which habits are formed also varies. A scar can be considered a form of habit. Wherever the body forms a scar, this location is more vulnerable than other parts of the body, even those nearby, and thus feels pain when other parts do not, is more sensitive to temperature and injury. Many diseases too show the behavior of habit. They are dominant in the system simply because they are present, providing a self-reinforcing cycle. The application of treatment or medication is often sufficient to break this cycle. Finally, and perhaps most evidently, habits form at the level of the brain. These are not the consequence of physical strain or pressure but of paths within the nerve centers, which follow each other in a string of action. Thus, when one action along the path is taken it is difficult to prevent the subsequent actions from occurring. Many reflex habits can be explained in this manner, such as nail biting or brushing hair behind the ears. Some habits however are formed initially from the conscious action, or formed de novo as James suggests. This can be likened to trampling a path through high grass. At first ...Show more

Summary

Human life is a phenomenon which is bound by many things. Thought and actions determine the life of a person and hence the internal or mental aspects which affect the way that we perform these parts play an essential role in life…
Author : emmettokeefe
William James : Habit (From The Principles of Psychology) essay example
Read Text Preview
Save Your Time for More Important Things
Let us write or edit the research paper on your topic
"William James : Habit (From The Principles of Psychology)"
with a personal 20% discount.
Grab the best paper

Related Essays

Conditioning and habit
This is basically known as conditioning which are of three types- Classical conditioning, Operant conditioning and observational learning. The things we learn in them and how we learn are totally different with respect to the different conditioning patterns.
6 pages (1500 words) Research Paper
Principles of Positive Psychology
In a phrase of terms it can be said that on the positive side of Diener’s positivist psychology, is the very positivist attitude toward science exhibited throughout the work. For Diener, you can’t get more positive than being scientific which is what is implied on that play on words, and in regard to the positivist school of scientific thought.
6 pages (1500 words) Research Paper
William Ernest Henley's exclusion from the Literary Canon
Student name: Professor Name: Course name: Date: William Ernest Henley's exclusion from the Literary Canon William Ernest Henley (1849-1903) is one of the distinguished poets and critics of later part of nineteenth century, who has left indelible imprints of his literary talent on English Literature through his dexterous critical analysis and wonderful creative writing.
4 pages (1000 words) Research Paper
James Mill
James Mill is a thinker whose importance to the history of political economy has long been acknowledged by scholars. However, his contributions are often misinterpreted. Mill is traditionally understood as an exponent of a utilitarian perspective in which human happiness is thought largely to be connected to the satisfaction of material wants.
14 pages (3000 words) Research Paper
Counterparts From Dubliners by James Joyce
The story revolves around one evening of Farrington’s life. Mr. Farrington, a clerk is also referred to as “the man” in the story. The most important aspect of the story is the manner in which the author, Joyce uses the plotline and the events in the story, its characters and literary devices to build and strengthen the theme of the story.
7 pages (1750 words) Research Paper
Cog psy
It involves transmission of signals in nervous system thus is as a result of physical stimulations of sense organs. For instance, when light strike the eye retina causes an individual to see using the eye, the hearing sensation is triggered by waves of pressure.
10 pages (2500 words) Research Paper
From a short story Barn Burning by William Faulkner
Symbolism in literature refers to language as a system of sound and written symbols that imply meanings and substance to the literary work (Bloomfield 74). Among the types of literary symbolism, this paper will put emphasis on the use of the sound symbolism and tackle partly the symbolic nature of food and other symbolisms that were used in the short story by William Faulkner.
5 pages (1250 words) Research Paper
James Booker
Precisely speaking James booker did potentially come from a musical background with his father and grandfather both having been family Baptist ministers who surprisingly played the piano. While growing up listening to them made James
6 pages (1500 words) Research Paper
William James Habit (From The Principles of Psychology)
n the sphere of science and human life and is studied in an attempt to understand why people behave in the manner in which they do and to comprehend their subconscious (Benjafield 1-4). A prominent author in the field is William James. He has written a number of texts on the
8 pages (2000 words) Research Paper
James Nachtwey
His core purpose was to reveal to the world and specifically citizens residing in other peaceful regions about the utter reality evident in the war torn countries. He also intends to reveal these
2 pages (500 words) Research Paper
Get a custom paper written
by a pro under your requirements!
Win a special DISCOUNT!
Put in your e-mail and click the button with your lucky finger
Your email
YOUR PRIZE:
Apply my DISCOUNT
Comments (0)
Rate this paper:
Thank you! Your comment has been sent and will be posted after moderation