According to Bem’s self-perception theory, people know their own minds in the same way that they know those of others: they infer their own minds by observing their own behavior and the circumstances in which this behavior takes place. Although Bem’s theory seems anti-introspectionistic, it claims that people infer their minds by observing their own behavior only when internal cues are weak, ambiguous, or un- interpretable. This has led some to argue that Bem does not rule out a priori introspec- tive access to the mind and thus introspection as a research method. This paper will discuss self-perception theory and its influence over recent research and will argue that introspection is not an autonomous research method. This is so because of its radical behavioristic outlook, according to which all methods and data of psychology must be public and not private. Then, the paper will discuss the epistemological implications of this behavioristic attitude on psychology. Finally, it will argue in favor of introspection as an autonomous research method and an independent source of data for psychology.
- Social Psychology