Black box (psychology)

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An external signal is processed in a black box, which generates an output . This abstract model can be transferred to a biological system, for example to the brain : External stimuli are processed in the brain, and the stimulus processing results in a reaction, namely a certain behavior .

Black Box ( "black box") is in the behavioral biology , especially in the early behaviorism a metaphor for all the mental and cognitive processes that are not objectively measure (yet) by scientific methods, describe and can be reproduced. The metaphor is based on the epistemology of objectivism . The term stimulus does not refer to a discrete physical event, as in physiology, but to all (relevant) internal and external stimuli of a given situation.

A black box is called - based on z. B. to John B. Watson - hence the model of a system for processing internal and external stimuli, the structure of which is (still) unknown: a box that has an entrance and an exit, but the inner workings are dark or are declared uninteresting.

In early behaviorism, the learner was viewed as a black box, whose motivation, thinking, creativity, and remembering were considered inaccessible to scientific investigation (methodological behaviorism). It is only important that the behavior determined as desired (e.g. knowledge) is shown last .

The metaphor black box is also used today in the field of physiology when a first approximation of an as yet unknown interaction of elements, for example from a certain area of ​​the nervous system, is to be achieved: For example, one gives a signal to the "input" and reads the "output signal". With a sufficiently large number and variance of input and output patterns, a first hypothesis can be formed about what is happening “inside” the black box.

The philosophical theory of Radical Constructivism postulates that people act with one another as if the respective counterpart were a black box, since one does not know their inner workings and can only infer the inner workings from the signals given to the outside. The signal query is called communication here .

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