Chapter 1 –The Science of Psychology
Slide 2- The Philosophical Root of Psychology
- Psychology comes from the roots of Philosophy and Biology
- For many years it was not ok for human to study themselves. This is because humans were
thought to be different, but the erosion of that notion led to the birth of psychology.
- Why are humans unique?
- For many years, the notion was that humans possess a soul. We are Gods’ chosen beings and
everything in the earth was created for us, because of our soul.
- In earlier history, people gave everything souls. (zippy and Ralph- Profs cars that by naming
them he kind of gives them a soul and a personality)
- When we understand something, the magical feeling begins to disappear(for example, in the
case of magic, intelligence, or souls)
- So, Are human beings completely spiritual beings or completely physical beings? Is there
something in between?
- That’s what Rene Descartes believed called his dualistic philosophy.
- His philosophy was built on the idea that human behaviour is reflective of 2 distinct
components. Rene began to think that, maybe to a large extent, humans are just physical
elements interacting (machine-like). Though, we are not just a machine, we are like a puppet
with a puppet master as well. The soul is the puppet master pulling the strings and controlling
the human. This notion is called DUELISM
- John Locke theorized that maybe there was no soul but we are controlled by the mind which is
also a machine. We are just physical matter interacting.
- Why is this important?
- If we are just physical matter interacting, then we probably interact according to various rules
and we could probably figure out those rules scientifically, but if we are spiritual, then we do not
conform to the rules of science.
- John Locke also advocated the practice of EMPIRICISM.
- A critical step that makes something a science is called empiricism, also known as running
- The idea behind doing experiments is to PROVE something; to show the accuracy of an
- John Locke also stated and argued that a lot of who we are and whom we become is because of
the experiences we have in life.
- How does that happen? What are the processes? Is it true? - This in fact is not strictly true because there are genetic influences that determine who you
become. So it is a combination of the two (experience (learning) and genetics)
- MATERIALISM is the notion that we are all just physical beings with no soul. If you try to do an
experiment on a human property, you must assume materialism because the soul cannot be
explained with science. Therefore, materialism must reign in science.
Slide 5- The Biological Roots of Psychology
- Biological studies were going on at the same time as Philosophical studies.
- Luigi Galvani tried to prove that a body is a machine by experimenting on frog legs. When he
attached a battery to the frog leg, it bent, so he predicted that the body could be moved with
something other than a soul, something like electricity.
- Johannes Muller noted that the nerve system was a lot like wires and all these nerve cells were
very similar to each other. This also tried to prove that the human body is much like a machine.
Also, these nerve impulses came and went to a specific part of the brain which suggests that the
brain has sub-systems doing different things. PSYA01-Lecture 3
Chapter 1 –The Science of Psychology
- Ablation research: Scientists put animals through tests to diagnose certain behaviour
characteristics. Then, they surgically remove part of the brain and make the animal go through
the same process again to see the difference and to see what the removed part of the brain was
in charge of.
- What was found?
- When the back part of the brain was removed, the animal seemed to become blind
- When the center top part (where a headband lies) part of the brain was removed, then the
animal would become paralyzed (motor problems) or would lose its sense of touch (sensation
- This means the b