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PSYC 100

PSYCH ONLINE LESSON WEEK ONE -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 19 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 th for all available evidence, was becoming formalized as the scientific method (19 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 its brightness) -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 th -Wundt, von Helmholtz and Fechner are amongst other 19 century German psychologists who are not considered to have followed a structuralist viewpoint, which emphasizes the elemental constituents of experience -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 these sensations -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 Functionalism -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 for?) 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 phenomena 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 -and make predictions about new facts that might be discovered -Famous theories include Darwin’s natural selection and Newton’s gravity -Good hypothesis should be able to be disproved -Study can be replicated by others -Some early psychologists studied mental processes through a process called introspection th -developed around end of 19 century but Edward Titchener (Wundt’s student -Describe the fundamental aspects of the human mind by asking people to give detailed descriptions of the contents of their minds i.e. what are the fundamental aspects of an apple’s colour? What type of red is it? -Problem: cannot be replicated, diff people will describe nature of “red” differently -Related to concept of objectivity EMPIRICAL WORLD -Empirical world is used to describe thigns that are experienced by most individuals in the same manner -In terms of gravity, watching an apple fall is an empirirical observation -Modern psychology uses many methods to study mental processes -Diff sub-disciplines seek diff kinds of explanations -These are sometimes reffered to as different “levels of analysis” -i.e. some are functionalist, analysis, neural explanations, evolutionary theory, learning ORDERED SERIES OF STEPS -Analysis to explain behaviour is composed or an ordered series of steps -1. Research question refined to a hypothesis 2. Study to test the hypothesis=designed and conducted,and data is analyzed 3. Conclusions are drawn from results 4. Entire study (from hypothesis to conclusion) is communicated to the wider scientific community To make subjective phenomena (i.e. thinking or memory) objective, we must operationally define them Operationally define: An operational definition of a concept describes the concept by how it is demonstrated in an observable or measurable way. In other words, an operational definition describes the operation that makes the concept (e.g. memory) observable and measurable Example: Three ways to operationally define memory 1. Recall: Number of items recalled from a list of words 2. Recognition: number o items recognized (given one list, taken away, given another list. Circle the words that appeared on both) 3. Motor behaviour: How long it takes to traverse a maze (the same maze every time) -Important to know that how you operationalize something can affect the conclusions you reach -i.e. people might be better at recalling than they would be at recognizing Hypothesis: prediction about some sort of cause-and-effect relationships -For any experiment must be independent and dependent variable -Must be at least 2 groups: experimental and control -Study: hypothesis: There is a relationship b/w biochemistry and trust -Put ppl in a situation where they could choose to truth or not to trust a stranger -Measured the hormones in their blood to see if any petterns could be found -Found that ppl who trusted strangers also had a high level of oxytocin -But did trust create the hormone? Did the hormone create trust? Or were both affected by something else? -To find out, changed the hypothesis to: high levels of oxytocin make ppl more willing to trust strangers -Researchers artificially raised the
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