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01- Levels of Analysis.docx

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Joe Kim

Levels of Analysis What is Psychology?  Is really all about you.  Teaches us how we think, feel, develop, learn, love, interact, and grow.  Teaches us about who we are.  Has a long past, but a short history. A Brief History of Psychology Ancient Greeks  Aristotle and Plato  Contemplated psychological questions.  “How do we learn and remember?”  “Where does knowledge come from?”  Later philosophers would soon find the answers. Rene Descartes  Suggested that the mind and body were distinct entities that were casually linked in a dualistic relationship.  The mind controlled the movements of the mechanical body; the mind in turn received information about the outside world through the sense organs.  This dualistic view became influential to the work of physiologists. Physiology’s Influence  Innovations in technology helped to make the 1800s a particularly exciting period for physiologists who had new tools to explore and make significant discoveries about the brain.  Muller  proposed that like an electric current flowing along a metal conductor, the messages transmitted by nerves were coded as electrical impulses that travelled along different channels. He also proposed that different areas of the brain serve different functions.  Flourens  systematically destroyed parts of an animal brain to study the function of different regions (which brain region controls heart rate, breathing, visual reflexes, etc.)  Helmholtz  measured speed of nerve impulse. Psychology as an Independent Field  1879- German scientist Wilhelm Wundt opened the first lab to the study of psychology.  He believed that conscious experience could be studied using the same experimental tools chemists and physicists use.  By 1881, Wundt launched the first scientific journal devoted to publishing psychological research.  One of Wundt’s students, G. Stanley Hall would go on to open the first psychology lab in North America at John Hopkins University in 1883. Introduction To Levels of Analysis Psychological Level of Analysis  May be the most intuitive level to approach an understanding of human thought and behaviour.  Concerns itself with the role of what lies within a subject’s mind.  How do thoughts, memories, and emotions motivate our actions? Biological Level of Analysis  Psychologists focus on the physiological mechanisms that underlie thoughts and behaviour.  May include structure and function of the brain, the molecular effects of neurotransmitters and hormones, and how genetic factors contribute to behaviour.  Ex. Serotonin is a key neurotransmitter in mood disorders. Environmental Level of Analysis  Concerned with understanding how social, cultural, and learning interactions can influence thought and behaviour.  Working to change external influences to bring about positive behaviour. Introduction to Perspectives in Psychology  From a broad view, psychologists may choose from psychological, biological, and environmental analyses to help frame the research questions that will be explored.  Some commonly used perspectives include: behavioural, evolutionary, cognitive, neuroscience, developmental, and socio-cultural. Behavioural Perspective  John B. Watson- father of behaviouralism.  According to this perspective, overt behaviour is the only valid means of measure in psychology.  Treat the mind as a “black box”.  Whatever happens inside the “black box” is outside the domain of science.  Watson believed in the role of “nurture” over “nature” in influencing human behaviour.  His quote said to give him a dozen healthy babies and he will turn them into whatever specialist he wants- doctor, lawyer, artist, etc.  He made the statement to be purposely provocative in making the case for the important role of environmental influences on behaviour.  This strong “nurture” view was later carried on by B.F. Skinner who argued that everything we want to know about an organism could be gained by studying its behaviour.  An organism will repeat a behaviour if it leads to something pleasant, and not repeat a behaviour if it leads to something unpleasant.  These ideas formed the core of a therapy called behaviour modification, which is widely
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