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The Organization of Behavior: A Neuropsychological Theory Hardcover – May 1, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0805843002 ISBN-10: 0805843000 Edition: New Ed

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 335 pages
  • Publisher: Psychology Press; New Ed edition (May 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805843000
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805843002
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #506,221 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Undergraduates and graduate students required to read an out-of-print The Organization of Behavior should be very grateful to Richard Brown and Peter Milner for their efforts in re-publishing this seminal book. The arguments outlined in the book remain just as compelling and transparent as they were 40 years ago when I first read the book. The book's Foreword summarizes and integrates many of the observations made about the ideas in the book by scholars in their course materials, biographies, obituaries, and even in the book's reviews that appeared after its initial publication.
Canadian Psychology

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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Joseph C. Aulenbrock on October 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Physical science stands apart. It is basically nineteenth century physics, chemistry, thermodynamics, and the differential equations in which they are expressed. Twentieth century relativity is a carefully reasoned extension into high-speed phenomena. Discrete quantum-mechanical phenomena must be summated before using in deterministic analysis.

In 1952 physical science invaded neurophysiology. Hodgkin and Huxley published a series of four papers in the "Journal of Physiology" that presented a quantitative theory for the action potential, together with careful experiments to support it. The experimental animal was the Atlantic squid. Specimens of approximately the same size and freshness were tested repeatedly, and the results agreed to about two significant figures. Hodgkin and Huxley suspected, and later experiments confirmed, that the theory could be applied to neurons of many other species by a mere change of parameters.

Implied in this result is the possibility that, with the additional support of quantitative understanding of synapses, physical science might also conquer neural networks.

Donald O. Hebb's 1949 book, "The Organization of Behavior", preceded Hodgkin and Huxley's papers, and so missed their implication. But reading Hebb's Introduction, it is apparent that he understood at least most of the issues. He was still young enough (45) to freely consider the possibility that physical science could ultimately explain psychology, and his guess was that it would follow the pattern of his theory of cell assemblies.

So how come Hebb the old man rejected cell assemblies? In the 2006 edition of "Psychology: The Science of Mind and Behavior", edited by D. C. Donderi, Hebb considers the applicability of cell assemblies to various processes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Steven H Propp TOP 50 REVIEWER on August 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Donald Olding Hebb (1904-1985) was a Canadian psychologist who worked in the area of neuropsychology, but is also considered an influential figure within behaviorism.

He writes in the Introduction, "In modern psychology ... (we need) a theory of thought ... to show how 'expectancy' or the like can be a physiologically intelligible process. In the chapters that follow this introduction I have tried to lay a foundation for such a theory... it achieves some synthesis of psychological knowledge, and it attempts to hold as strictly as possible to the psychological evidence in those long stretches where the guidance of anatomy and physiology is lacking."

Here are some representative quotations from the book:

"One cannot logically be a determinist in physics and chemistry and biology, and a mystic in psychology." (Introduction)
"The solution says in short that motor learning at maturity is perceptual learning in the first place. It also says that a true motor learning of infancy is an essential element in the equivalence of adult responses." (Ch. 7)
"(N)eurosis or psychosis is a product neither of experience nor of constitution, but a joint product of both." (Ch. 10)
"(T)he unfortunate fact, however, is that we do not have any very good basis for being sure how children should be brought up, in order to minimize their chances of getting into a state hospital." (Ch. 10)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marcus N. Morgan on November 21, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A classic that is often sited but often not read because it has been out of print for a long time. Recently reprinted and well worth reading. Some of the information is dated but the logic and exposition are excellent.
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By Wise Young on December 1, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the classic book by Donald Hebb that has influenced neuroscience for over 65 years.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By RivieraDude on September 26, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Sure it's an old book published in '49. While we've added a lot to the science of neurology, it's amazing that this guy advanced the state of neurology so much all the way back in '49.
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The Organization of Behavior: A Neuropsychological Theory
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