chapter  11
9 Pages

A Sketch for a Psychology

T o take the stimulus as a starting-point is in some ways mis­ leading. O f the possible stimuli which we might at any moment receive, only a few actually take effect. Which are received and which impulses ensue depends upon which of our interests is active, upon the general set, that is, of our activities. This is con­ ditioned in a large degree by the state, of satisfaction or unrest, of the recurrent and persistent needs o f the body. When hungry

A stimulus then must not be conceived as an alien intruder which thrusts itself upon us and, after worming a devious way through our organism as through a piece of cheese, emerges at the other end as an act. Stimuli are only received if they serve some need of the organism and the form which the response to them takes depends only in part upon the nature of the stimu­ lus, and much more upon what the organism ‘wants’, i.e. the state o f equilibrium of its multifarious activities.