Psychology Lecture 1 9/11/2012 6:49:00 AM
What is psychology?
-The study of the “psyche”
Psyche = mind (soul)
o Psyche was the daughter of a king and sister of 3 (greek
Psyche has a transformation from mortal to goddess
-The science of behavior and mental processes
but in science we have to be able to:
o define our variables
o observe our variables
o measure (quantify) our variables
o What is behavior
o Observe behavior
o Measure behavior
o What is the “mind”
o What are “mental processes”?
o Difficult to define
o Mental processes cannot be observed
o They can be inferred
Is this an experiment in psychology?
-In a true experiment we manipulate or change a “variable”.
-In physics we, examine the physical universe
-Mental process that searches a long term memory
-Lexicon: long term memory
What mental processes were involved?
Major Divisions of Psychology
-Experimental (oldest, mid – late 1800’s)
first experimental psychology lab – Wilhelm Wundt in Leipzig,
“The exact description of consciousness [Bewuusstsein] is the sole
aim of experimental psychology"
Structuralism: Edward Titchener in the U.S.
o Attempted to discover the basic structures of the mind
(analogous to the basic elements in chemistry). o He used a method called introspections.
o The participant had to look inward (self-reflect) on the
contents of their consciousness
o This proved to be very unreliable and highly subjective.
o Developed by William James in the U.S.
o What is the function of our thoughts and emotions
o James did not carry out experimental research.
Rather he developed a number of theories about
consciousness, attention, memory. He wrote the first
textbook on Psychology
o Again, the study of functions proved to be highly subjective
-Clinical (newest, after WWII)
Sigmund Freud is generally considered to be the founder of
psychotherapy but Freud was not a psychologist
Major roots of clinical psychology and therapy are recent – perhaps
in the late 1940s in the U.S.
First clinical Psychology Dept in Canada… U. Ottawa
Now the major field in psychology
Apply knowledge of basic, fundamental (experimental) psychology
Social, developmental, educational
Schools of Psychology
-Began in 1920s with J. Watson. Criticism by cognitive psychology and
-The study of mental events in unscientific. This is because
o Mental events are private (science is objective!) o They cannot easily be defined.
o They cannot be observed.
o They cannot be measured.
-Psychology as an objective science
-B.F. Skinner (1935-1990). The principles of “behaviourism”
Why do we cat the waywe do? (motivation)
All behavior is learned
All behavior can be explained by the consequences of of behavior!
We must learn to repeat behavior that has been “reinforced”.
We learn not repeat behavior that has not been reinforced
If behavior is inappropriate, it is because of poor learning
(reinforcement was given inappropriately) and…
Will have to be re-learned or (“corrected”)
-A strict, environmental (no inner “mind”) explanation of behavior.
No need to postulate about genetic influence.
A criminal is a criminal because of their past learning
They have been reinforce for their criminal behavior and thus
No need to infer “inner” mental causes
No point inferring about different types of memory; consciousness,
-Deterministic – all behavior is deteremined by cognitive
- The major branch of experimental psychology from 1800s to 1930
- Psychology is the study of behavior and the mind (mental states)
What “behavior: did we directly observe and measur