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Psychology Notes- Levels of Analysis.docx

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYCH 1X03
Professor
Joe Kim
Semester
Fall

Description
Psychology Web Module Notes Introduction/ Levels of Analysis  Psychology teaches us how we think, feel, develop, learn, love, interact and grow; psychology teaches us about who we are.  Experimental psychology uses the scientific method to collect, evaluate and interpret information to draw sound conclusions.  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. Levels of Analysis  The modern approach to different questions of psychology draws on expertise from many converging fields including: physical, biological, chemical, social, mathematical and computer sciences.  A problem can be approached from a number of perspectives that take into account one or more of three basic levels of analyses- Psychological, Biological and Environmental. The Psychological Level of Analysis  May be the most intuitive level to approach an understanding of human thought and behaviour  This level concerns itself with the role of what lies within a subjects mind: how do thoughts, memories and emotions motivate our actions? The Biological Level of Analysis  Psychologists focus on the psychological mechanisms that underlie thoughts and behaviour.  This may include the structure and function of the brain, the molecular effects of neurotransmitters and hormones, and how genetic factors contribute to behaviour.  Study the role of key neurotransmitters, genetic factors, etc. The Environmental Level of Analysis  Concerned with understanding how social, cultural and learning interactions can influence thought and behaviour.  Study the conditions that trigger and maintain certain states of mind or feelings (such as depression).  Working to change some external influences may bring about positive changes. Perspectives use Multiple Levels of Analysis  From a broad view, a psychologist can choose from psychological, biological and environmental levels of analyses to help frame the research questions that will be explored.  Involves more than one of the levels of analyses  Some commonly used perspectives include: Behavioural, Cognitive, Neuroscience, Developmental, Evolutionary and Socio-cultural. The Biological Perspective The “Black Box”  The father of Behaviourism, Watson believed that behaviour is the only valid means of measure in psychology.  Watson argued that scientists should consider the mind to be an off limits “black box” that takes input and makes output.  What actually happens inside the “black box” should be considered to be outside the domain of science (at least for the present).  Researchers adopting a behavioural perspective focus on designing carefully controlled experiments to understand the influence of the environmental level of analysis on behaviour.  Watson strongly believed in the role of “nurture” over “nature” in influencing human behaviour as he famously argued in 1924: “Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed and my own special world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one type of specialist I might select and regardless of talents, tendencies, abilities, vocations and race of his ancestors.” BF Skinner  This strong “nurture” view was later carried on by him who conceded that although internal mental events must surely exist, they remained impossible to measure in a scientific way.  General laws of stimulus-response could explain that an organism will repeat a behaviour if it leads to somethin
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