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Chapter 1_P.docx

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Steve Joordens

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PSYA01 K.X CHAPTER 1:P SYCHOLOGY :T HE EVOLUTION OF A SCIENCE Psychology: The scientific study of mind and behaviour Mind: Our private inner experience of perceptions, thoughts, memories, and feelings Behaviour: Observable actions of human beings and nonhuman animals  William James (1842-1910) was excited by the new field of psychology, which allowed him to apply a scientific approach to age old questions about the nature of human beings o wrote the influential book “The Principles of Psychology”  What are the bases of perceptions, thoughts, memories, and feelings, or our subjective sense of self? – subjective experiences arise from the electrical and chemical activities of our brains  Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) = allows scientists to scan a brain and see which parts are active when a person reads a word, sees a face, learns a new skill, or remembers a personal experience Psychology’s Roots: the Path to a Science of Mind Psychologists divided into different “schools of thought”: 1. Structuralists – who tried to analyze the mind by breaking It down into its basic components 2. Functionalists – who focused on how mental abilities allow ppl to adapt to their environments Psychology’s Ancestors: The Great Philosophers Nativism = The philosophical view that certain kinds of knowledge are innate or inborn (Plato) Philosophical Empiricism = The philosophical view that all knowledge is acquired through experience (Aristotle) From the Brain to the Mind: The French Connection  Rene Descartes argued that the body and mind are fundamentally different things o body is made of a material substance o mind (or soul) is made of an immaterial or spiritual substance o dualism = how mental activity can be reconciled and coordinated with physical behaviour o suggested that the mind influences the body through a tiny structure near the bottom of the brain known as the pineal gland  Thomas Hobbes argued that the body and mind AREN’T different things at all – the mind is what the body DOES  Franz Joseph Gall also thought that brains and minds were linked but by SIZE o Examined brains of the decease and discovered the mental ability increases w/ larger brain size & decrease w/ damage to the brain – this was generally accepted 1 PSYA01 K.X o Went beyond his evidence to create a psychological theory known as phrenology  Phrenology = A now defunct theory that specific mental abilities and characteristics, ranging from memory to the capacity for happiness, are localized in specific regions of the brain (Franz Joseph Gall)  Psychological capacities (i.e. capacity of friendship) and traits (i.e. cautious, friendly) were located in particular parts of the brain  More of these capacities and traits a person hard, the larger the corresponding bumps on the skull  Pierre Flourens (was appalled by Gall’s findings) conducted experiments where he surgically removed specific parts of the brain from animals and found that their actions and movements differ w/ those with intact brains  Paul Broca worked w/ patients that suffered damage to a small part of the left side of the brain o Patients couldn’t speak a single syllable but could understand everything o Demonstrated the mind was closely linked st o Broca & Flourens were the 1 to prove that the mind is grounded in a material substance Structuralism: Applying Methods from Physiology to Psychology th  In the 19 century, psychology benefited from German scientists who were in the field of physiology o Physiology = The study of biological processes, especially in the human body o Scientists had developed methods to allow them to measure such things as the speed of nerve impulses Helmholtz Measures the Speed of Responses  Hermann von Helmholtz had developed a method for measuring the speed of nerve impulses in a frog’s leg, which he later adapted for humans o Stimulus = Sensory input from the environment o Reaction time = The amount of time taken to respond to a specific stimulus o From the reaction times he was able to estimate how long it took a nerve impulse to travel to the brain Wundt and the Development of Structuralism  Wilhelm Wundt was credited for the official emergence of psychology o Believed that scientific psychology should focus on analyzing consciousness  Consciousness = A person’s subjective experience of the world and he mind o He and his students adopted the approach of structuralism  Structuralism = The subjective observation of one’s own experience  This involved breaking the consciousness down into elemental sensations and feelings and tried to analyze them in a systematic way using the method of introspection 2 PSYA01 K.X  Introspection = The subjective observation of one’s own experience o He used reaction time techniques to examine a distinction b/w the perception and interpretation of a stimuli Titchener Brings Structuralism to the United States  Edward Titchener brought Wundt’s approach to America and changes to them o Instead at looking at the relationships of the elements of consciousness, he focused on identifying the basic elements itself o List of more than 44,000 elemental qualities of conscious experience, most of them visual and auditory o Structuralism faded due to the method of introspection b/c science needs replicable observations James and the Functional Approach  William James argued that consciousness was more like a flowing stream than a bundle of separate elements so he them developed a completely different perspective, functionalism o Functionalism = The study of the purpose mental processes serve in enabling ppl to adapt to their environment (William James)  Out to find out the functions of the mental processes served  His ideas were inspired by Charles Darwin  Natural Selection = Charles Darwin’s theory that the features of an organism that help it survive and reproduce are more likely than other features to be passed on to subsequent generations  Mental abilities must have evolved b/c they adapted Ways to Improve Study Skills - Spaced Rehearsal - Think about the meaning and reflect on its significance - Visualizing Information: Method of Loci  mentally depositing info in familiar locations -  G. Stanley Hall o Contributed greatly to the growth of psychology in North America. He founded the continent’s first psychology laboratory at Johns Hopkins University, the first academic journal devoted to psychology, and the first professional organization (the American Psychological Association) o He believed as children developed they pass through stages that repeat the evolutionary history of the human race – the mental capacities of a young child resemble those of our ancient ancestors  Children grow over a lifetime in the same way that a species evolves over aeons 3 PSYA01 K.X The Development of Clinical Psychology The Path to Freud and Psychoanalytic Theory  Jean-Martin Charcot and Pierre Janet discovered sticking observations w/ patients that had hysteria o Hysteria = A temporary loss of cognitive or motor functions, usually as a result of emotionally upsetting experiences o However, when patients were hypnotized their symptoms disappeared  Sigmund Freud did more research on hysteria and concluded that many of the patient
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