PSYC 3F40 Lecture Notes - Hermann Von Helmholtz, Cerebral Cortex, Clinical Psychology

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4 Feb 2013

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Cognitive neuroscience – attempts to understand cognitive psychological
functions by studying brain mechanisms that are responsible for them
(cognitive psychology + physiological psychology)
oStudy people whose brains have been damaged by natural causes –
disease, stroke, tumors
Developmental psychology – studies changes in behavioural, perceptual, and
cognitive capacities of organisms as a function of age and experience
oStudy causal events that are as comprehensive as all of psychology –
physiological processes, cognitive processes, and social influences
Social psychology – study of effects people have on each other’s behaviour
oExplore perception, cause-and-effect relationships, group dynamics, and
emotional behaviours (agressions, sexual behaviour)
Personality psychology – attempts to categorize and understand causes of
individual differences in patterns of behaviour
oLook for causal events in person’s history – genetic and environmental
Evolutionary psychology – explains behaviour in terms of adaptive
advantages that specific behaviours provided during evolution of a species
(use natural selection as guiding principle)
oInterested in studies of behavioural genetics and comparative psychology
Cross-cultural psychology – studies effects of culture on behaviour
Clinical psychology – devoted to investigation and treatment of abnormal
behaviour and mental disorders
Fields of applied psychology:
Clinical neuropsychologists – specializes in the identification and treatment of
behavioural consequences of nervous system disorders and injuries
Health psychologists – works to promote behaviours and lifestyles that
improve and maintain health and illness
Engineering psychologists (ergonomists or human factors psychologists) –
focus on the ways that people and machines work together
oUse knowledge of behaviour and its causes to help designers and
engineers design better machines
Forensic psychologists – advise members of legal and justice systems with
respect to psychological knowledge
Philosophical roots of psychology
Animism (animare – to quicken, enliven, endow with breath or soul) – belief
that all animals and all moving objects possess spirits providing their motive
Psychology as a science is based on assumption that behaviour is subject to
physical laws
Rene Descartes ( 17th century French philosopher and mathematician) -
advocated sober, impersonal investigation of natural phenomena using
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sensory experience and human reasoning
oWorld is mechanical entity set in motion by god but runs on its own
oTo understand world one must understand how it was constructed –
opposes church’s belief that purpose of philosophy was to reconcile
human experience with truth of god’s revelation
oLiving things were machines affected by natural causes and producing
natural effects
oReflexes - automatic response to stimulus not using mind
oDualism – belief that reality consists of mind and matter with a causal link
between mind and physical housing (unique)
Extended things – physical bodies
Thinking things - minds
oHumans are set apart b/c they possess a mind which is not part of natural
world and therefore obeys different laws
oMind controlled movements of body and body supplied mind with info
about environment (through organs)
Took place in pineal body – small organ on top of brain stem
buried beneath large cerebral hemispheres
Pineal body tilted causing flow of fluid to proper set of nerves and
initiated muscles to inflate and move
Moving statues in Royal Garden served as inspiration
First to use technological device as model of nervous system
John Locke (17th century philosopher) – replaced Descarte’s rationalism
(pursuit of truth through reason) with empiricism (pursuit of truth through
observation and experience)
oRejected belief that idea were innately present in infant’s mind and
proposed that all knowledge must come through experience
oModel of mind was tabula rasa (clean slate)
oKnowledge developed through linkages of simple, primary sensations
combined to form complex ones
George Berkeley (18th century Irish bishop, philosopher and mathematician)
– knowledge of events in world required inferences based on accumulation of
past experiences – we learn how to perceive
Tried to fit nonquantifiable variable reason into equation
James Mill (19th century Scottish philopher) – developed materialism (reality
can be known only through an understanding of physical world which mind is
a part of ) into system for looking at human nature
oMind was also a machine, passive responding to body
Biological roots of psychology
Luigi Galvani (18tth Italian physiologist) showed Descarte’s hydraulic model
of body to be incorrect – showed muscles could contract by applying electrical
stimulus to them or to nerves attached to them
Johannes Muller (19th German physiologist) believed in isolating organs
oDoctrine of specific nerve energies – same current different channels
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