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Lecture

PSYCH 1X03: LEVELS OF ANALYSIS.docx


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYCH 1X03
Professor
Joe Kim

Page:
of 3
Psych 1X03
Web Module: Levels of Analysis
PSYCHOLOGY
Greek words meaning "psyche" - soul
DESCARTES
Mind and body were distinct entities that were casually linked in a dualistic relationship
Mind controlled body and received info about outside world through sensory organs
MULLER
Messages transmitted by nerves were coded as electrical impulses that travelled along
different channels
Parts of the body are connected to certain parts of the brain to serve certain functions
LEVEL OF ANALYSIS: PSYCHOLOGICAL
Most intuitive to approach an understanding of human thought and behaviour
How do thoughts, memories and emotions motivate our actions?
LEVEL OF ANALYSIS: BIOLOGICAL
Focus on physiological mechanisms that underlie thoughts and behaviour
Includes structure and function of brain, molecular effects of neurotransmitters and
hormones; how genetic factors contribute to behaviour
LEVEL OF ANALYSIS: ENVIRONMENTAL
How social, cultural and learning interactions can influence thought and behaviour
Perspectives: has specific goals and involves one or more levels of analysis
PERSPECTIVE: BEHAVIOURAL
Watson
Overt behaviour is the only valid means of measure in psychology
Mind is a "black box" - what happens inside should be considered outside the domain of
science
Focus on designing experiments to understand the influence of environmental level of
analysis
Watson - nurture over nature - make babies into whatever
New technologies allowed researchers to begin opening "black box"
Depression - once behavioural cues are cured, disease is cured
Learned helplessness: subject learns it is helpless to a certain situation and doesn’t try to
escape from a similar situation in the future
BF SKINNER
Behavioural
internal mental events exist, but remain impossible to measure in a scientific way
everything we want to know can be gained by studying its behaviour
Stimulus response: organism will repeat a behaviour if it leads to something pleasant and
not repeat a behaviour if it leads to something unpleasant
Behaviour modification
PERSEPCTIVE: COGNITIVE
Psychology must return to internal events of the mind
Proper scientific methods can be applied to study internal mental processes that are
necessary to understand behaviour
Psychological level of analysis
Not concerned with physiology
Use models to represent how to mind functions
MODELS IN COGNITION
create modify, and organize complex processes; used to make testable predictions
Models are tested to see if they represent the concept
new models might appear that cause us to revise or abandon old models
PERSPECTIVE: BIOLOGICAL
Physiological mechanisms of thought and behaviour
Can lead to reductionism - reducing the problem to only biological mechanisms of the
brain
Neuroimaging is a non-invasive method used to examine a subject's brain while they are
fully awake
Structural neuroimaging: physical makeup of the brain
Functional neuroimaging: what the brain is actually doing
PERSPECTIVE: EVOLUTIONARY
Explore the ultimate cause
Interested in the influence of genetic and environmental factors
Consider larger periods of time than developmental - history of a species
PERSPECTIVE: DEVELOPMENTAL
Focus on how genetic and environmental factors contribute to changes in behaviour
across a lifespan
Methods
Presents the same picture to an infant until he becomes bored - habituation
Then presents him with a new picture - if he remains bored he does not recognize it as a
new individual - if he has renewed interest, it is recognized
PERSPECTIVE: SOCIO-CULTURAL
Focuses on how individuals are influenced by culture and interactions with other people
Interested in the influence of an individual on a group, a group on an individual, or one
group on another group