Mental Imagery: An Indispensable Psychological Concept

  • O. Hobart Mowrer
Part of the Cognition and Language book series (CALS)


As an undergraduate at the University of Missouri (1925–1929), I majored in psychology of a radically behavioristic type. Under the relentless insistence of Professor Max F. Meyer, we students were taught that all behavior consisted of reflexes, innate or conditioned, and that it was quite inadmissible to mention any “mentalistic” concept or phenomenon whatever, “images” being, of course, a salient case in point. Meyer, in his native Germany, had been trained as a physicist, so it was perhaps natural for him to adopt a highly mechanistic approach when, as a result of an extraordinary set of circumstances (Mowrer, 1976), he found himself head of a psychology department. In this respect he antedated John B. Watson by several years. Although he wrote the first psychology text with “behavior” in the title (Meyer, 1911), he did not, however, as Watson (1914, 1919, 1924) was later to do, use the term “behaviorisim;” and, again unlike Watson, he did not establish a “school” and attract a large number of followers. But it was nevertheless under him that I received my “baptism by fire” in systematic behaviorism.


Conditioned Stimulus Learn Theory Classical Conditioning Image Theory Mental Imagery 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • O. Hobart Mowrer
    • 1
  1. 1.University of IllinoisChampaign-UrbanaUSA

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