In subjective observation, which is also called introspection, a person observes his own mental activities. Introspection literally means, “Looking within”. It means getting insight into one’s own mental activities. In introspection, a person perceives, analyses, and gives a report of his own feelings and experiences.
Although introspection is self-observation, all self-observations are not introspection. A person may keep his hand on his forehead and report that he his having temperature, and is suffering from fever. This is not introspection, but self-examination. Introspection is a type of self-observation in which a person perceives his mental activities.
Introspection method was introduced by Wundt and was popularized by E.B. Titchener, the founder of structuralism. Wundt viewed that psychology is a science of mental contents and Titchener defined psychology as the “science of consciousness or mind.” So, both psychologists accepted mental activities as the subject matter of psychology, and accordingly, they used introspection as the method of study. For this reason, “Htchener’s system is sometimes called as “Introspectionism”. He said that observation is a method common to all sciences and introspection is a form of observation. But introspection ‘equires two tasks to be done simultaneously, i.e., to engage in a mental activity, and also to look within to analyze the contents of this mental activity. The person has to be trained to introspect. Wundt trained his subjects with a minimum of 10,000 practice trials to be able to introspect.
Thus, introspection requires hard work and considerable effort on the part of the person who would introspect himself.