Introspection means to examine one’s own mental and emotional processes. It is considered a technique of understanding one’s own mental awareness and state of mind, or is it?
Wilhelm Wundt, one of the founding fathers of modern psychology first brought introspection to the discipline. Originally a tool of the philosophers, Wilhelm Wundt tried to employ it as a scientific tool to study the structure of the mind. He called it objective introspection.
However objective introspection failed to get results. It turns out the process of introspection itself changes the state of mind, hence becoming inaccurate.
Here is a simple example to understand the process of introspection. Imagine yourself in front of a small pond. Can you see your reflection? Now throw a pebble into the pond and try to see your reflection. A bit blurry isn’t it? Now throw a few pebbles and now try to see your reflection. You would probably see a very blurry version of yourself. This is how the process of introspection proceeds. Initially you could see your reflection clearly, but the more you introspected the blurrier your reflection became until you could not recognize it no more.
Despite it’s faults, introspection method is an important part of research. As a psychology study we are required to take the introspective report of the subject on whom we performed any experiment or issued any psychometric test. An introspective report allows the psychologist to peep into the workings of the subject.
So though introspection is an important tool for understanding the human psyche, it does not come without it’s flaws. It is okay to do some introspecting now and then, but one should not make a habit of it.