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Lecture

Lecture 1.doc


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 100
Professor
Daniel Levitin

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PSYC 100 Lecture1 (02/09/2010)
Psychological Science – For most of recorded history, 2000 to 5000 years, humans
have tried to understand the nature of the word and nature of human behavior. We are
social animals. This developed questions and puzzles but no scientific approach.
During the last 200 years, human curiosity explored the human mental world and the
physical world. Despite all the discoveries in science, still exists the mystery of the
human though and intelligence, and the nature of human’s behavior.
Cultural Adaptation: Sociological phenomena
Biological Adaptation: E.g. being resistant to certain bacteria
Theory of Evolution
1. Through reproduction genes are transmitted from one generation to the next
2. Once in a while, there are transcription errors when passing genes from one
generation to the next. Randomly, these errors may cause an advantage or a
disadvantage. Sometimes, these might not have major consequences, for
example freckles. An example of an advantageous error is the moth and the
bark; this is an example of dissent modification which allows the transfer of
these advantageous genes to next generations.
3. Evolutionary psychologists: Besides the physicality, the brain evolves too. The
structure of the brain and its anatomy are dictated by our genome. Certain
modes and thoughts, example modes of problem solving, can be traced to a
structure and function of the brain. And there can be psychological and neuronal
adaptations besides the physiological ones. The study of the evolution of the
brain and the mind. E.g. how did the capacity of language evolved? Maybe
survival advantage, or developed capacity to get a mate or find cheaters.
Richard Dawkins: Each of us is descendent from an ancestor that has
successfully reproduced. We are the result of a chain of people that has
reproduced successfully. Their particular qualities worked well and were adapted.
The mind and the brain have evolved similarly as our physical parts.
Human behavior can be studied scientifically.
The Mind Brain Problem: Thoughts, believes and desires have an existence that
seems independent of the body. Descartes stated that the mind was a separate
entity from the body. He proposed that the mind existed before we were born and
existed after we died and that the body was just a temporary housing form.
Where do thoughts or ideas come from? Nowadays, there is strong evidence that
they come from the brain and from the firing of neurons. So the mind is a function of
the brain; they are the same thing. An evidence for this is that people with brain
damage have disordered thoughts.
E.g. Patient asked to raise hand; he believes he raises his hand while in fact he
cannot.
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