In 1890s American Psychologist, William James defined the scientific study of mental
processes. People studied the processes that occur in the human mind. Studying the processes of
In 1919 John Watson defined to be the scientific study of behaviour.
Watson stated that if were to be a science it would have to be the study of something
observable. (behaviour, not cognitive processes.)
The 2 definitions were then combined so is the scientific study of behaviour and mental
Long past but short history. People have been interested in ever since cognition became
comes from philosophy and physiology.
Philosophers speculate. Psychologists observe. Physiologists are interested in the structure and
function of the body including the brain and nervous system.
First school of scientific psychology: structuralism. Started in Germany in the late 1800s until
Started by Wilhelm Wundt. Studied the structure of the mind (not the brain) or consciousness.
Introspection: To look inward- Wundts method for studying people. They looked at themselves
from an inside POV. Wundt had thousands of introspective from people on various subjects.
Kitchener. (only for final exam)
Functionalism began 1920. Still with us today, it studies the functions of consciousness and was
started by William James.
Gestalt school of psychology. Started in 1910 still with us today in very limited applications.
Started in Germany. Premise of gestalt therapy. Your behaviour should match your emotions and
thoughts. If you mask your emotions you will alienate yourself.
Psychoanalysis. Started in 1900s still with us today but not as powerful a theory as it was when
it was first started. Freud was the singlehanded inventor of psychoanalysis.
1. All human beings are motivated by 2 powerful, primitive instincts; sex and aggression.
Sexual and aggressive instincts rule our lives. These instincts operate involuntarily,
subconsciously. Behaviourism: Started in 1920 still around today and was started by Watson. This theory stated
that the only thing that could be studied is objective behaviour. Watson observed psychoanalysis
and noted that the unconscious cannot be studied because nobody is aware of their subconscious.
Humanistic psychology started around 1950.Interested in studying the elements that make human
beings different from animals. We are different because we are motivated by a concept called
self actualization. We are motivated to reach our fullest potential. Have a very positive view of
human nature. Left to their own devices people will grow and develop to the best person that
they are capable of becoming. (Analogy: Place a seed in nutritive soil and if it receives enough
water and sunlight then it will become the best plant it can.) Humans are similar because if we
are given the correct devices then we can reach our maximum potential. Whereas Freud thought
that we would be the most cruel that we could be. Humanists: We respond to rewards and
punishments that the environments hand out. This is what drives our behaviour.
Biological approach. neuroscience approach. Studies the underlying neurological causes of
Cognitive approach- most popular perspective. Interested in how thoughts and expectations
affect your behaviour/ emotions.
Phenomenological approach.- you believe that no 2 people share the same experience in the
same way. Everyone has a unique objective experience. The only way one can understand an
experience is how it affects/ applies to them. We all live in the same planet but we each live in
our own worlds.
Evolutionary approach/ psychology- uses the perspective of Darwins theory of evolution. Look
at things in terms of how behaviour aids us in the process of evolution.
Socio-cultural- how someones culture affects their behaviour.
Specialization is next topic. (Different fields in psychology.)
Clinical- diagnosis and treatment of people with mental disorders
counselling, personality/social/developmental , school and educational. Other, industrial/
organizational, experimental. Empirical discipline. Uses only evidence obtained through collecting data and doing research.
Topic 1- Part2
Descriptive- data collected that do not manipulate variables. A situation is provided and
information is collected. The data is described. Cannot establish causality.
To establish causality an experimental method is required.
Experimental- Variables are manipulated. What causes variable A to change? How does
variable B affect variable A? [CAUSALITY]
1. Observation- data is collected under careful observation. Naturalistic or systematic
observation are terms used. What variable is being observed? Define the variable. Make
observations. A good sample of behaviour must be taken. Aggression in 3 grade
students. What classifies as aggression? : throwing things, beating up kids, verbal
aggression (swearing, yelling). Observing if any aggressive acts are carried out.
Caution: There is always the affect of being observed. People may modify their
behaviour if they are aware that they are being watched. To eliminate this problem
participative observation may be carried out or a situation may be recorded on camera to
be later analyzed in great detail.
2. Survey- descriptive method typically using questions. Questionnaire must be designed
and administered. Questions must not be biased which means that the form of the
question should not suggest the answer. Randomization is necessary; it provides a good
representation of the general population.
3. Case Study- Involves a careful detailed examination of a situation (typically a person).
Find an appropriate case. You must be sure of the type of person that you are studying to
avoid errors collected in your information. What information do you want to obtain from
this case? How are you going to collect the information? Interview the person under
study, various tests, interview family members
4. Longitudinal Study- Variable under study. How long will the study be carried out for?
Keep the same subjects for the entire duration of the study. Collect data.
5. Correlational- In what degree do two variables relate to each other? Symbol: (coefficient)
r. the closer the number is to 1, the greater the relation. Closer to zero, not a strong
correlation. Correlation of size of the head to IQ; 0.15 not a valid correlation. A correlation allows for a prediction to be made. A negative correlation just correlates in
the opposite direction therefore the closer the number to -1 the stronger the correlation.
The Most misunderstood concept in psychology:
Correlation does not imply causality. Another kind of study will be necessary to prove a
Experimental Methods (demonstrating causality)
Independent variable- the variable that is manipulated in the study.
Dependent variable- the variable that is examined to see if it is affected by the
Experimental group- group that undergoes a manipulation
Control group- does not undergo a manipulation; this group is the same as the
experimental group except for the one manipulation.
How do I collect subjects for experiment? Randomization.
Double blind- ensuring that the subjects are unaware of the manipulated variable. The
person who collects the data should not know which group the subject comes from.
Code of ethics lists the obligations of a psychologist undertaking a study and the rights
that a subject holds when entering a study.
1. Privacy- subject decides what to reveal to a psychologist in a study. It is your right to
refuse to answer any question. Subjects information must remain confidential.
2. Voluntary participation- subject must be a willing volunteer in the study. Subject may
not be forced or bribed to participate and participation may be withdrawn at any time.
3. Informed consent- subject must know what the study is about.
4. Deception- if there is a chance to carry out the study non-deceptively then it must be
carried out in such a manner. After the data is collected the subject must be notified
(debriefed) that they were deceived. The subject must be made aware of the purpose
of the study. This is the only way that deception may be used in a study.
5. Treatment- Harm may not be done to any subject. Physical or psychological. Subjects
may not be exposed to undue levels of stress. Levels of stress greater than usually
experienced on a normal day may not be achieved. If after a study is carried out and
the subject does not want his data to be counted then the psychologist cannot use this
Topic 2- The Biology of the Mind.