From neurology, not psychology. The 1st example of behavior not internally caused was the reflex.  

Reflex: an unlearned consistent relation between an environmental event and a piece of behavior.

Descartes, René (1596-1650), French philosopher, scientist, and mathematician, sometimes called the father of modern philosophy.

He was a dualist. He believed in a dichotomy. Behavior has two causes:

  1. Mechanical – external events impinging on behavior
  2. Psychological (mind) – internal events

Claimed that man’s unique behaviors are products of the mind. Therefore man was still responsible for his acts and sins – the church liked it.

Descartes would go to royal events with the kings. The royal gardens were like a first Disneyland with animals jumping out. He saw a water tank used for animation.

 There was a pathway that the guess would walk down. Upon stepping on a treadle, a valve would release water from a reservoir down a spout and into a bladder which would cause animals attached to it to move or jump out. Descartes believed that explained human behavior.

He believed that movement started from the environment, to the skin, the nerves, enter into the brain, releasing animal spirits, which then moved down towards the muscles causing human movement.


Descartes contributed to reflex physiology and set off two disciplines:  

  1. Psychology
  2. Physiology (reflex)