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Simon Fraser University
PSYC 100
Sherri Atwood

1 Perspective Overview Psychology – scientific study of behaviour and the mind (or mental processes) • Scientific – answering questions objectively based on observation, data, and established methods. Empirical methods • Behaviour – directly observable behaviour • Mind – internal thoughts, feelings, sensations, perceptions, subjective experiences only indirectly observed 4 Goals of Psych: 1. To describe behaviour and mental processes 2. To explain/understand causes of these behaviours 3. To predict behaviours 4. To influence/control behaviours under certain conditions Empirical approaches make use of research evidence • Empirical research relies on or is derived from observation, experimentation, measurements Psychology may help us to look for alternative explanations, other perspectives Critical Thinking Questions – what’s the claim, is the source credible, what’s the evidence for that claim, are there other explanations, what’s the appropriate conclusion Levels of Analysis: • Biological – genetics, neurotransmitters, brain areas affected • Environment – childhood, abuse, social support, cultural norms, coping skills, stress levels • Psychological – pessimistic thinking style, heightened sensitivity due to childhood experiences may lead to different reactions Perspectives: • Provide history and context for study of psych • Are guides to understanding • Are viewpoints on behaviour • Consider different components to be important • Illustrate that behaviour has diverse causes Roots of psych are in philosophy: • Plato – Nativism – the idea that certain kinds of knowledge are inborn or innate ((eg. language, morality)) • Aristotle – Philosophical Empiricism – the idea that all knowledge is acquired through experience • Descartes – Dualism – the idea that the mind is a spiritual entity, not a material one; therefore, mind is not subject to physical laws that govern the body. Mind and body are separate but interact through pineal gland. 2 Perspective Overview Roots of psych: • Hobbes – Monoism – mind and body are one; we can study mental events by looking at the body/brain • Locke – Empiricism – all ideas are gained empirically; observation is a better form of understanding than reason because reason can be faulty Three Early Psychologies: • Structuralism – analyzing the mind in terms of its basic elements ((the way things are built; what makes up things)) • Functionalism – study of the functions of consciousness ((eg. what can your hand do)) • Psychoanalysis – look for causes of behaviour in our personality with a focus on unconscious processes Early Schools of Psych: • The Science of Psych – Wundt promotes the belief that experimental methods should be used to study mental processes • Structuralism and Introspection – Titchener held that we can observe, analyse, and describe our own sensations, mental processes and images, our emotional reactions - too subjective, takes too long, can’t make a science out of this • Functionalism – advocated by William James, influenced by Darwin. Focuses on how behaviours function to allow people and animals to adapt t
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