World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Edwin Twitmyer

Article Id: WHEBN0011819715
Reproduction Date:

Title: Edwin Twitmyer  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Classical conditioning
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Edwin Twitmyer

Edwin Burket Twitmyer (1873-1943) was Professor of Psychology and Director of the Psychological Laboratory and Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a little-known figure in the history of psychology, but he independently discovered classical conditioning at approximately the same time as the famous Russian physiologist, Ivan Pavlov, who is normally given credit for this achievement.[1][2]

Twitmyer initially studied the patellar tendon reflex, and devised an apparatus that delivered a light tap below the knees of his research subjects in order to elicit this reflex. Twitmyer warned his subjects that the tap was about to be delivered with a bell. During the course of his research, the sound of the bell was accidentally presented to one of his subjects without the tap below the knee. In a serendipitous discovery much like Pavlov's, Twitmyer realized that the auditory stimulus was sufficient to produce the now conditioned reflexive response.[3][4]

Twitmyer replicated the experiment with six more subjects and found that all of them learned to associate the bell with the hammer, and would produce the response to the sound of the bell alone. This typically took several dozen trials and the conditioned response was not only unintentional, but several of his subjects found themselves unable to prevent the response even when they attempted to do so. This finding is the first experimental demonstration of classical conditioning in a human being.[5]

Twitmyer published this research in his doctoral dissertation in 1902, one year before Pavlov announced the results of his research with dogs at the 1903 International Medical Congress in Madrid. He also presented his work at a meeting of the American Psychological Association in 1904, presided over by William James. His paper, Knee jerks without stimulation of the patellar tendon, was given late in the session, well-past the scheduled lunch break, and drew little response from the crowd.[6]

No one at the time realized the significance of the discovery, possibly because it did not fit in with existing work in psychology.[7] Twitmyer faded into obscurity, but only a few years later, John B. Watson had great success popularizing classical conditioning as part of the growing behaviorist movement in psychology.

See also

References

External links

  • Edward B. Twitmyer at www.psych.upenn.edu
  • Tale of the Almost Was: E.B. Twitmyer at www1.appstate.edu
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Hawaii eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.