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Lecture 1

Story of Psych.docx

Course Code
PSYC 1000
Jeffrey Yen

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Psych Modules 1 & 3 Notes
Module 1: The Story of Psychology
Psychological Science is Born
Wilhelm Wundt: established the first psychology laboratory at the University of Leipzig,
Germany, formed an experimental machine measuring the time between peoples hearing a ball hit
a platform and their pressing a telegraph key (fast & simple mental processes)
Different branches of psychology were formed: functionalism (each part in terms of how it
contributes to the stability of the whole society)& structuralism (cultures viewed as systems)
William James: thought it would be fruitful to consider the evolved functions of our thoughts and
feelings. Ex. Smelling is what the nose does, thinking is what the brain does, but why do they do
those things?
James assumed that these developed because they were adaptive-ancestors survival
Charles Darwin: evolutionary theorist.
Psychology Science Develops
Wundt and Titchener focused on inner sensations, images & feelings
James engaged in introspective examination of the stream of consciousness and of emotion
Psychology defined as “science of mental life”
John B. Watson & B. F. Skinner dismissed introspection and redefined psychology as “the
scientific study of observable behavior” because science is observable and one cannot observe
feelings, thoughts & sensations
Freudian Psychology: emphasized the ways our unconscious thought processes and our emotional
responses to childhood experiences affect our behavior
Humanist Psychologists drew attention to ways that current environmental influences can nurture
or limit our growth potential, and to the importance of having our needs for love and acceptance
Cognitive Neuroscience studies brain activity/mental activity
“Science of behavior & mental processes”
Contemporary Psychology
Are our human traits present at birth? Or do they develop through experience?
Nature vs. Nurture
Three Levels of Analysis: Biopsychosocial Approach
Natural selection of adaptive traits
Brain mechanisms
Hormonal influences
Genetic predispositions
Learned fears
Emotional responses
Cognitive processing and perceptual interpretations
Presence of others
Cultural, societal and family expectations
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