Psychologists have hitherto devoted the larger part of their energy to investigating the structure of the mind. Of late, however, there has been manifest a disposition to deal more fully with its functional and genetic phases. To determine how consciousness develops and how it operates is felt to be quite as important as the discovery of its constituent elements. This book attempts to set forth in an elementary way the generally accepted facts and principles bearing upon these adjacent fields of psychological inquiry, so far as they pertain to the mind of man. Inasmuch as it is mental activity, rather than mental structure, which has immediate significance for thought and conduct, it is hoped that students of philosophy, as well as students of education, may find the book especially useful. The differing conditions under which introductory courses in psychology are offered at various institutions render it desirable that a text-book should be adaptable to more than one set of circumstances. The present text has accordingly been arranged with the purpose of permitting considerable flexibility in the emphasis laid upon the several portions of the subject. This fact accounts for an amount of repetition and cross-reference which otherwise would have been regarded as unnecessary. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2004 APA, all rights reserved).
"The present volume contains the first series of lectures delivered upon the Ichabod Spencer Foundation at Union College, during the early part of the year 1911. It was the desire of the founder, Mrs. William Leavitt, to do honor to the memory of her father, the Rev. Ichabod Spencer, D.D., of the class of 1822 at Union College. She wished also to encourage the study of a branch of knowledge in which he was deeply interested and well skilled. It was specified, therefore, that the lectures should deal primarily with psychological subjects. It seemed to the author, who was honored by selection for this agreeable task, that the opening course might properly deal in an introductory manner with the main characteristics of the contemporary situation in psychology, leaving to subsequent lecturers the more intensive consideration of one or another of the problems now engaging the attention of specialists. He has carried out this plan as completely as he could within the limits of the eight lectures of the series. The material was arranged for presentation to a general college audience, and has, therefore, been freed as far as possible from the technicalities of scientific terminology. The attempt has been made to convey a just and comprehensive impression of the principal features of the psychology of to-day; but much selection among topics has been necessary, and this has been guided by a purpose to avoid the more abstruse aspects of the subject which are somewhat remote from the usual interests of the layman"--Preface. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).