Tuesday, January 10 , 2011
Turning the clock back to the early 1900s, the type of questions important in psychology
(just a science) were:
Psychophysics: how long it takes you to make a certain type of decision/detect a
certain type of stimuli (mechanistic view of the mind)
Cognition/Learning: how people learn things (experiments where you had to learn
long lists of words, and they looked at what you remembered)
Psychopathology: clinical part of psychology; when human being’s developments
bring them off track and they experience difficulties. What is the source of the
difficulties? How do they get like that?
But some psychologists thought that this didn’t tell the whole story.
What was missing?
People often say relationships are the most important things in their lives (therefore
shouldn’t we study these more?). Groups also have a big influence on behavior (eg:
Vancouver riot; people never riot on their own). Violence is something characteristic of our
species. It affects our relationships between people, countries, etc. On the other hand,
people do things that are very selfless; altruism. Etc…
Star Trek Video 1
Pick up lines and relationships; you need to meet, say something to each other. We will
study the interchange that lead people to be attracted to one another, and what are the
building blocks or relationships.
Star Trek Video 2
Sometimes you need exit lines for a relationship as well. What happens as relationships
Star Trek Video 3
When you start a relationship, there are certain scripts that you will follow, in anticipation
that the other person understands the context. We will study such scripts.
Anger Management Video
Theories discussed anger as something that builds up under pressure inside of you, and the
idea is that unless the aggression was let out, it would lead to other psychiatric problems.
Star Trek Video 4 Putting yourself in danger in order to protect someone else; why would someone do this? It
is against evolutionary tendency; if you die, you cannot pass on genetic material. What
propels people to do nice things?
Star Trek Video 5
Maybe it is something about feeling for someone else. When we see someone else suffer, we
seem to suffer as well. This is strange in a species. It is postulated that empathy is often the
motivation to help.
Smoking is Believing
Day to day, there is information around that has as its primary goal to change the way that
we think and ultimately behave. How does the commerce world manipulate information to
Social Psychology: The Beginning
The type of thinking that gave rise to the models we will discuss.
From the dawn of ages
As soon as humans had the rudiments of a mind, they began to reflect on that mind. The first
evidence of writing comes from when people started writing on rock (in sand and on trees
didn’t really last). This is the first we know about how people used language.
The Greek Philosophers
Made efforts on how to understand human nature and the mind. Plato said that the forces
that govern the mind are distinct from what governs the body (dualism).
Aristotle believed that we have fluids in the body, and health depended on relative
equilibrium of these fluids. He was one of the first to propose the notion of associationism;
things that are similar are more likely to be remembered.
Flurry of activity with a lot of thinkers sharing our ideas about the human condition.
More accurate to consider him an interactionalist. Early on he knew that the human mind
did not control everything in the body (eg: we cannot stop a startle response). So he
considered the mind and the body to be separate, but not completely independent.
De Rene Descartes
Illustration of one of the models that he put forth. Fire opened up pores in the body, spirits
went through the pores, eventually to the brain, where the person can experience the pain.
Now the idea has not changed much; there is an assault on the body, and the signal travels
to the brain. Descartes thought that pain was completely an experience of the body. Now
this has changed; psychological factors played an important role in how people are
experiencing their pain. Next Slide
This is what this tells us. He is basically thinking of the body as something separate form the
mind. He says that all of the things that the body needs to survive does not require the
psyche to function (eg: you don’t need to think about breathing). He considered the inside of
the body to be sort of mechanistic, and the mind is not part of it.
He was a purist in that everything that you do is driven by your spirit, except something like
inhibition of surprise response. Therefore there is incomplete control over the body. One
thing that he had trouble with was that at the time they struggled with the truth of nature;
what existence and reality is all about. This suggested that there is an objective external
reality (without one there would be no quest to figure it out). But since perceptions filter
information before it gets to your mind (senses), this means that there is something about
you that changes the perception of external information; therefore it is always altered.
Similar perspective to Descartes. He thought of the body as mechanistic. He thought that
objects in the world created vibrations in your senses that became perceptions. He though