Krupat Readings

by Shari S.
Psychology 222
Spring 1983

Passage 1
Passage 2


For my final contribution to the Generational Curriculum of the Community classroom, Spring 1983, I chose to the Krupat reading report. One of the chapters was of specific interest to me, the section on "environment and City".

Before I proceed with my research gatherings, I feel it necessary to explain briefly about the threefold self and the self-witnessing method. Let's begin with self-witnessing. Self-witnessing is an objective report on how you were involved in a particular event; it is not to be confused with a detailed report on what happened as seen through your eyes. It focuses on your thought processes, causes of these thoughts, and the origin of these causes which--and we go back to the beginning--were all triggered that initial event. To make the picture clearer, imagine climbing up a three rung ladder. On the first rung is the 'effect' where the particular action, sensation, or outer dialogue takes place. Now as you move up one more rung (also think of this as moving inward) you will find the 'cause' of that 'effect'. A 'cause' is a rational evaluation or reasoning of the event. Then at the inmost and top rung is the 'origin'. The 'origin' encompasses things such as values, loves/hates, and wants, which all have immediate influence on the two lower rungs or outer levels: the 'causes' and 'effects'. These three levels are further classified by labeling them A, B, and C: A (origin), B (causes), C (effects); which is why Dr. James- calls this the "ABC's of Self-Witnessing".

The idea of the "ABC's" leads us directly into a discussion of the threefold self. Briefly, when we refer to the threefold self we think of the ennead matrix and the interrelation of internalization and externalization. Internalizing processes go through the automatic self to the reflective self eventually leading to the spiritual self. Externalization begins with the "Affective" (A levels), goes to the "Cognitive" (B level), which ultimately appears in the "Sensorimotor" (C level).

The threefold self is continuously growing and improving. Growth is associated with internalization; therefore, the more internalized a person is, ;he more in touch he is with his true spiritual self. We can liken this idea to being 'more you'. For example, the more you K° in (internalize), the more it's the real you coming out on the sensorimotor, reflective levels. Understanding the threefold self is really a key to better understanding yourself. Personally, this has broadened my perspective. One of the things I have found out is that many times I misattribute the causes of my actions to negate a feeling of contradiction with my values. In other words, I did a lot of rationalizing just to achieve immediate and temporary satisfaction. In sum, understanding the threefold elf and practicing self-witnessing can become an important tool to a more fulfilling and altruistic life.

Another point I would like to discuss is the positive and negative bias in science. These biases are divisions of the threefold self. The positive bias occurs in the spiritual self; whereas, negative bias is from the automatic self. Let us begin with the positive bias because this is the root of self-witnessing. The positive bias is an empirically subjective observational approach. This approach requires that you l) first assume your hypothesis to be true and 2) utilize your internal self in observations. Therefore, you begin with a predetermined bias, and end with confirmation (experimental results) that you, personally, have observed to be true. Emanuel Swedenborg is responsible--through the experiment a. method--for much of what we know of as the positive bias. Going back to the positive bias, he says that I is not enough to just believe in something, you must go further and confirm your beliefs. His work was in the spiritual world which he called 'eternity'. As a proponent of his ideas, he claimed to have visited the spiritual world, thereby confirming that it did exist.

In review, the experimental method used by Swedenborg, was, for the first time, used to probe the spiritual world through positive bias. Let us briefly discuss the experimental method to tie in the negative bias with the positive. Basically, the experimental method is used to promote better understanding and control of human behavior. It is the reflective world that you work through in experimental methodology. Here we have the appearance of space/time? our pragmatism, and reasoning. Now what do I mean by appearance of space/time? For example, let's consider dreams. Dreams are in the reflective world because what we see in our dreams only look like the natural world. They look like it, but laws in the dream world are entirely different. Also, most observations of the experimental method depend upon a pragmatic approach.

Now shift your attention to the negative bias. In this case, you are empirically objective. This is also referred to as a more pessimistic method because you begin with the null hypothesis, meaning that prior to observations, instead of assuming truth, you doubt the validity of the hypothesis. Those who use the negative bias observe only what would be present in the natural world of time and space. Unlike the positive bias (confirming results by personal verification), the negative bias hypothesis can be confirmed on the basis of some ore else's authority.

* * * * * *

This introduction describes the theories which both directly and indirectly have been used in my investigation of environmental psychology through the context of my threefold self. And now on to the results of my readings.

Results of Readings

The Procedure.

Before I actually began reading he various texts I collected, I sat down and tried to get a clear conception of what Dr. James wanted its to focus on in this project- My understanding is that the purpose was to concentrate almost solely on our reaction to the readings, rather than our comprehension or interpretation oŁ them.

Our directions were to choose one chapter from the Krupat text ("Psychology is Social") and additional books that applied to this chapter. Then we were to read the material and record any of our reactions to the readings. The aforesaid concept of the threefold self and ennead matrix was the framework in which we reported our reactions. Initial responses were put in the first box, called "low sensorimotor". From there it took an unfolding process of deeper, more internal probing that filled the eight other boxes. What you will see on my charts is how my reaction to what I read is ultimately tied to my universal values, beliefs, affections, etc.

You will begin to understand the different approach used in this project after reading the passages with their correlating ennead matrix tables. Once again, the objective was to analyze our personal reactions.

Passages from Krupat Readings

1) ". . . concept of overload. This term...refers to a system's inability to process inputs from the environment because there are too many inputs for the system to cope with, or because successive inputs come so fast...hen overload is present, adaptation occurs."2

2) 'Architectural and planning literature deals with privacy in terms of windows, overlooks, site lines. The idea that if no one from outside can peek into where you live--behold, privacy. This is simple- minded. window privacy is the easiest commodity in he world to get... The privacy of keeping one's personal affairs to those selected to know them, and the privacy of having reasonable control over who shall make inroads on your time and when, are rare commodities in most of this world, however, and they have nothing to do with the orientation of windows." 3

3) "But let the mishap of disorientation once occur, and the sense of anxiety and even terror that accompanies it reveals to us how closely it is linked to our sense of balance and well-being. The very word 'lost' in our language means much more than simple geographical uncertainty; it carries overtones of utter disaster."4

Passages from Related Readings

1) "People who remain in public areas for long periods-- whether at a habitual chair at a weekly conference or on a commuter train--can establish a form of tenure. Their rights to this space will be supported by theirs neighbors even when they are not physically present."

2) "Goffin’s Presentation of Self in Everyday Life is a detailed, sensitive record of observations on the relationship of the facade that people present to the world and the self they hide behind it. The use of the term facade is in itself revealing. It signifies recognition of levels to be penetrated and hints at the functions performed by architectural features which provide screens behind which to retire from time to time. The strain of keeping up a facade can be great. Architecture can and does take over this burden for people. It can also provide a refuge where the individual can 'let his hair down' and be himself."6

3) "But architects and planners have another kind of almost endemic conceptual weakness--that is, they tend to regard space as a purely visual construct. Intellectually, of course, they may know better; but the consequence of this basic attitude is that the environment is largely thought of from a visual point of view and its organization, therefore, is regarded as being largely a problem in visual aesthetics. All the other environmental attributes of architectural space--thermal, sonic, olfactory, tactile, etc.--are insufficiently understood or attended to. The result is a high degree of environmental malfunction in even some of our most prestigious new buildings.

Results of Readings

The Discussion.

Now I would like to discuss the two tables in comparison. First of all, I noticed that my later reactions became much more critical
of the authors and their ideas. It seemed as if I altered my reactions to a narrower scope, focusing on tiny details in the passages. This subsequent change may have had something to do with the first set of reactions I made. While filling out the tables for my first reaction, I felt I was blindly internalizing everything I read without question.

Secondly, something that interested me was that when I traced my second reaction to the Krupat readings I found a transformation of original assumptions. After I realized this, I thought about how moldable my spiritual self still is. This is probably why I had such a hard time trying to fill these upper boxes. Now I can see why Dr. James told us that it is not until one nears middle age that his spiritual self really begins to unfold.

In regards to the topics of the readings, their similarity lies in the fact that they are all fragments of studies done in environmental psychology. My tendency was to stress their utilization in the area of architecture (my educational emphasis). More specifically, I found--through the topics I responded to--that I became very fascinated with space and it's relation to human behavior. But I also realized that the more information I accumulated, the more I felt I needed to know about these topics. Hopefully in the future we will see more research being done in this area of psychology.

The final point I would like discuss is a comparison of the texts used in my research. Krupat's text was a good condensed compilation of he vas; regions of study in social psychology. Therefore, here were many duplicate research results with the various texts that I used. Earlier in this paper I summarized the experimental method. It appears to me that of the four texts I retrieved information from, each employed this procedure and this procedure only.


"An enlightening experiment" .

Prior to working on this paper, I must admit I could not see he usefulness of it. It wasn’t until I let myself get fully involved in what I was doing that I understood the relevance and yes, usefulness, of the assignment.

There are so many things I learned from this report. However, I cannot say if they would be of any interest to someone else who may be reading this. I feel I found little slits of insight to my internal self. Realizing this gave me such joy! It opened me up to a part of my reality which I never knew I could explore. This then, is why I said I did not know if someone else would get any enjoyment or understanding from my experience because of the intangibility of the knowledge I gained. But let's not linger on this point any longer.

The uses of the ennead matrix are Ear reaching. It is not only applicable to studies of the self, but can be used for numerous other purposes, such as: critiques, scientific experiments, and analyses of all sorts. This theory that Dr. James origin aced, is very carefully thought out. In some ways, it seems to be a summation o. the best of the 'self' theories to this ate, with additional concepts primal to Dr. James teaching. I hope no one would be offended by my calling it somewhat 'eclectic'.

At this time I now have a clear picture of the threefold self. In time I hope I can become much more familiar with all the material contained in my report, and use this knowledge as an integral part of my everyday life.


1)Emanuel Swedenborg studies psychology as an occult/spiritual science through the Christian religion.

2)The experience of Living, in Cities, by Stanley Milgram, ed. Edward Krupat (Glenview Illinois: Scott, .-Foresman and Co., 192, 1975), p. 351 "Psychology is Social':

3)The Use of Sidewalks: Contact, by Jane Jacobs, ed. Edward Krupat Glenview, Illinois: Scott, Foresman and Co., 1982, 1975), p. 371

4)The Image of the Environment, by Kevin Lynch, ed. Edward Krupat (Glen view. Illinois: Scott, Foresman and Co., 1932, 1975), p. 365

5)Robert Sommer, Personal Space (New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 169, p. 52.

6)Edward T. Hall, The Hidden Dimension (New York: Doubleday and Co., Inc., 1969) p. 104.

7)Behavior and Environment, discussion by J.. Fitch, ed. Aristide H. Esser (New York: Plenum Press, 1971), p. 258.

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