PSYC 100 Lecture Notes - Wilhelm Wundt, Edward B. Titchener, Scientific Method
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PSYCH ONLINE LESSON
-While some psychologists are “clinical”, many have little or no connection w/ therapy
-Some are researchers, teachers, advertisers, communications, business and human resources, and
governmental and community service organizations
-Psych has roots in Western philosophy, which originated w/ the ancient Greeks
-Many philosophers, i.e. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle dealt w/ issues that are still relevant to present day
-Ancient Greek philosophers examined many questions through rationalism – the pursuit of truth
through reason and knowledge
-i.e. Plato’s writings b/w Socrates & students |do you perceptions equal reality”
Through logical argument, Socrates concluded that perceptions aren’t always the same as reality
-i.e. parallel lines moving away from us don’t actually meet somewhere in the distance
-Drive to use scientific as opposed to philosophic approach arose from the influence of physiologists or
scientists who study the function of living systems
-Many physiologists in the late 19th century attempted to answer the questions raised by philosophers
-These especially included questions concerning the relationship b/w mind & body
-Empiricism=applied to questions about why people do the things they do
Empiricism, or the belief that people can describe the word through ryles generation by observation,
quantification, and the principle of parsimony, or accepting the simplest testable solution that accounts
for all available evidence, was becoming formalized as the scientific method (19th century)
-Psychophysicists measured the relationship b/w changes in the magnitude of the physical energy in a
stimulus (i.e. light intensity) & our sensation of the changes in stimulus magnitude (i.e. how we perceive
-They discovered that physical and sensory magnitudes weren’t equivalent
-No matter what question you ask, you probably cannot answer it by reason alone, or by simply
measuring human actions and perceptions
-However, if you combine reason w/ your thoughts about how the human body collect info, you may
come up with these refined questions
How does the body combine experiences or elements to produce this behaviour?
What possible function could this behaviour have?
-Both these questions were asked by early psychologists
-Wilhelm Wundt & William James=usually considered founding fathers of psychology
-Wundt & his followers focused on the smaller elements that made up the human experience
-James and his followers focused on the purposes associated w/ various human traits
-Both groups used scientific methods and scientific thought to help organize their research
-Wundt, von Helmholtz and Fechner are amongst other 19th century German psychologists who are not
considered to have followed a structuralist viewpoint, which emphasizes the elemental constituents of
- Structuralist psychologists break complex phenomena down to their smallest components and then study these
components, assuming that if they understand all the parts, they will understand the whole.
-Thought that human experience was built up of elemental sensations
-Taking their lead from the physical sciences (physics and chemistry|), they attempted to understand
perception by dissecting it into its constituent elemental sensations, and then cataloguing and exploring
-Introspection was one of their tools, but the importance of introspection to the structuralist way is
overexmphasized in the textboo
-The important element to the structuralist view is that if we can break things down into simpler parts
and understand these, we can understand the whole
-Willaim James=medical doctor, philosopher and physiologist who studied aspects of psychology
-His textbook: the principles of psychology (1890) still has phenomena in common use
-i.e. he coined the term: tip of the tongue
-In contrast to Wundt, James took a functionalist approach
-Was influenced by Charles Darwin and natural selection
-Functionalist emphasizes not the elemental structure of processes, but their purpose (what are they
You don’t perceive and apple, you perceive red, roundness, sweetness and crunchiness
-All these elemental sensations put together are what is meant by “perceiving an aple”
-Might think about why we perceive apples? Why does perceiving apples contribute to the ability to
survive and make babies?
Structuralism and functionalism are different bty virtue of focusing on very different aspects of mental
Psychology is the science of behaviour and mental processes
Two scientific problems we ask in life sciences
1. How does something occur or work?
2. Why is something the way it is?
-How refers to the mechanisms that causes something to occur
i.e. we hear b/c of sound waves, virbration transmitted to the eat, etc.
-Why might be answered from a functional or evolutionary point of view
i.e. why do some species have better hearing than others?
-Through natural selection, over time, species that rely on hearing for survival or reproduction should
end up having better hearing
-Behaviour is any action that can be observed, recorded or measured
-Video of baby looking at spices
-First time she sees the jar, she looks for a while
-Then less and less time every time she is shown it
-Means she must have a functioning memory (even though she won’t remember this when she grows up
-Researcher concluded that novel or new stimuli produced more attention and interest
PSYCH ONLINE LESSON – WEEK 2
The Ways and Means of Psychology
Focus Question: What is the scientific Method?
-Science is how we learn more about events that can be described precisely and objectively and reliably
(repeatedly) observed under similar circumstances
-These scientific observations are sometimes organized into theories
Theory: A scientific theory is an idea, or a conceptual model, that is designed to explain existing facts
While some psychologists are clinical , many have little or no connection w/ therapy. Some are researchers, teachers, advertisers, communications, business and human resources, and governmental and community service organizations. Psych has roots in western philosophy, which originated w/ the ancient greeks. Many philosophers, i. e. socrates, plato, aristotle dealt w/ issues that are still relevant to present day psychologists. Ancient greek philosophers examined many questions through rationalism the pursuit of truth through reason and knowledge. I. e. plato"s writings b/w socrates & students |do you perceptions equal reality . Through logical argument, socrates concluded that perceptions aren"t always the same as reality. I. e. parallel lines moving away from us don"t actually meet somewhere in the distance. Drive to use scientific as opposed to philosophic approach arose from the influence of physiologists or scientists who study the function of living systems. Many physiologists in the late 19th century attempted to answer the questions raised by philosophers.