Essay on Principles and Laws of Psychology

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The notion that memories are formed in our minds using associations of individual elements, known as associationism, has been ongoing for a long period, at least since the time of Aristotle. In other terms, Associationism is the impression that psychologicalprogressionswork through the association of a single psychological state with multiple other successor states. On a global basis, it is agreed that associationism refers to a theory in philosophy or psychology that puts into consideration the basic co-occurrence of sensations or ideas as the primary starting point of thought, meaning, or learning. As an idea, associationism was first introduced to the world by Plato and Aristotle; these two believed in the succession of memories.

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As an idea, associationism was found to be under record in the works of Aristotle and Plato, more so concerning the progression of reminiscences. Alumnae of the chiefly British "AssociationsInstitute," counting David Hume, John Locke, David Hartley, John S. Mill, James Mill, Ivan Pavlov, and Alexander Bain made an assertion that associationismpractical to all or the majority of mental processes. Later on, all the aforementioned psychologists came up with very detailed principles that gave an explanation of the manner in which associations functioned and even a biologicaltoolposture no similitude to contemporary neurophysiology (Hinton & Anderson, 2014).

Laws of Association

The three most generally asserted principles of the association include similarity, contrast, and contiguity; many others had been added in the course of the 19th century. The laws of association give an explanation of how human beings get to learn and remember details. The philosopher Aristotle was the founder of the three fundamental laws of Association; these include the law of similarity, the law of contiguity, and the law of contrast.

The Law of Contiguity posits that human beings associate occurrences that take place close to each other in space or time. For instance, if we think about thunder, we almost immediately think about lightening, reason being that the two often take place at around the same time. Secondly, the Law of Similarity affirms that when two occurrences are very similar to one another, the contemplation of one will many a time trigger the thought of the other. For instance, the moment humans think about coffee, they are bound to think about tea as well (Hinton & Anderson, 2014).

The law of Contrast suggests that the thought of something will most likely bring about the thought of its immediate opposite. For instance, when we think about the word cold, we are most likely think about the word hot. Conclusively, the three primary laws were later revised and expanded by myriad other associationists, but the Laws of Associations can be deemed to be the very seeds through which human beings can trace the very initial stages of Psychology.

By the end of the 19th-century, physiological psychology was so changing the approach to this subject that many of the previous associationist schools of thought were rejected. Daily observation of the association of a single idea or recall with the other offers faces validity to the idea. Moreover, the notion of association between behavior and ideas gave some early momentum to behaviorist thinking. The primary ideas of associationist thinking recur in some up to date thoughts on cognition, more so consciousness (Stelmach, 2014). History and Development of Associationist Theory

The associationist school of thought is projected in Plato's Phaedo, as part and parcel of the principle of anamnesis. The notion of Simmias is recalled by the picture of similarity, i.e., Simmias and that of an acquaintance by the sight of the lyre upon which he played (contiguity). All the same, Aristotle is credited with originating associationist thinking founded upon the passage:

"What time, for that reason, we achieve an act of recollection; we undergo a certain sequence of precursive movements until we reach a movement upon which the moment we are looking for is customarily consequent. For this reason, too, it is that we hunt with the help of the mental train, excogitating from the present time or some other, and from similar or contrary or coadjacent. Via this process reminiscence occurs. For the movements are, in such instances, sometimes at a similar time, at instances parts of the same whole, such that the subsequent movement is already more than half realized.

The above passage is obscure, but it does at all instances show the myriad principles commonly known as similarity, contiguity, and contrast. In the same way, similar principles are stated by Zeno the Stoic, by St Augustine of Hippo, and by Epicurus. The doctrine of Aristotle got a more or less intellectual expansion and design from the schoolmen and commentators of the past, and in the still later time of transition from the time of scholasticism to the much-modernized philosophy, long-drawn-out in the works of some writers far into the 17th century (James, 2013).

William Hamilton adduced not very limited physical authorities who offered prominence to the wide-ranging actuality of mental association; the Spanish philosopher LudovicusVives (1492-1540) more so being exhaustive in his account of memory.

The Importance of Hebbs Principle

Hebb's principle is important in understanding the manner in which information is retained in mind. Besides, it helps explain the function of the brain and its relationship to the actions of the brain. Associative learning can be accounted for by Hebbs Principle because in that the functions of the brain are the cause of the higher functions of the mind. His proposal of "cell assemblies" as the basis of memory "engrams" not only took care of the mind-body problem but also laid the foundation for the improvement of artificial neural networks and the creation of computational devices that impersonate the knowledge on living systems. Hebb's ideas have had wide-ranging and positive implications for the study of learning, brain functions, and memory.

Hebb's theory is many a time evoked to give an explanation of some associative learning types whereby simultaneous activation of cells culminates to a well-defined increase in synaptic strength. Besides, the Hebbian school of thought is a representation of how neurons may link up to become "engrams" of memory, a theoretical means through which traces of memory are stored as biophysical or biochemical alterations in the brain (and other neural tissue) concerning exterior stimuli. About matters of association, Hebb's general idea is that any two nerve cells or groups of nerve cells that are over and over again active at the same period will tend to be associated such that activity in a single one facilitates activity in the other.

In essence, Hebbian theory is a school of thought in neuroscience that is a proponent of the need of an explanation for the adaptation of neurons in the brain in the course of learning, giving a description of an essential mechanism for synaptic plasticity, whereby a rise in synaptic efficacy comes from the presynaptic cell's persistent and repeated stimulation of the postsynaptic cell. Brought in by Donald Hebb in his 1949 publication; "The Organization of Behavior." The theory is also known as Hebb's rule, the cell assembly theory, or Hebb's postulate (Hinton & Anderson, 2014).

Discuss key experimental evidence that confirms the Hebbs Principle.

The synaptic plasticity and memory hypothesis makes an assertion that synaptic plasticity that is activity dependent is caused in the right synapses in the course of memory formation and is both a sufficient condition and a prerequisite when it comes to matters of encoding and trace storage of the type of memory mediated by the brain area within which it is experiential. Evidence derived using optical imaging, optogenetic techniques, and molecular-genetic techniques, in conjunction with fitting behavioral analyses, goes on to offer support for the notion that altering the strengths of connections between nerve cells happens to be one of the main mechanisms through which engrams are stored in the brain. Besides, the first ever experimental evidence came from studies of sensitization and habituation within the aquatic molluscAplysia. The discovery of longstanding potentiation acted as more stimulus to the concept, not limited since Long Term Potentiation was initially discovered in a part if the brain that is, the hippocampal formation which had been implicated in memory from clinical psychology observations of amnesia.All the aforementioned psychologists came up with very detailed principles that gave an explanation of the manner in which associations functioned and even a physiological mechanism bearing no similitude to modern neurophysiology


Anderson, J. R., & Bower, G. H. (2014). Human associative memory. Psychology Press.

Hinton, G. E., & Anderson, J. A. (2014). Parallel models of associative memory: updated edition. Psychology Press.

James, W. (2013). The principles of psychology. Read Books Ltd.

Stelmach, G. E. (Ed.). (2014). Motor control: Issues and trends. Academic Press.

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