PSYA01H3 Psychology 09/16/2012
There’s No Soul In Psychology
• Psychology is a very progressive science, very young (as we go through chapter
one). There’s still a whole lot to know.
• Physics and chemistry are very old, and have things in place.
• How young is psychology?
• Up to 1600’s a lot of sciences were getting in the way, primal period for sciences, a
lot of physics of science were going on. 1660’s-1850. A lot of sciences began their
• End of 1850-1895 right around here that psychology began to exist in its first form.
• Why is psychology so young? Answer goes back to the title “All about Soul”
• For many years, humans thought of themselves as spirits in material world. Things
of God, things of a spiritual world or embodiment of Christ. “Angels in a physical
world” everything else follows laws of nature, but we have a soul, spirit—something
• There are no degrees of freedom that the potato story, does.
• Souls are spiritual entities. Does not have to conform to physical laws.
• “God works in mysterious ways”
• Cannot imply God to science.
• Science is not anti-religion, finds religious ideas useless from a scientific
• If were are spiritual ntities, and is governed by spiritual forces and not natural laws,
then are behavior is not subject to scientific investigation.
• Humans are different and therefore, we did not study ourselves. Never turned the
scientific process on ourselves.
• What changed that?
• Magic, Falling Rocks, Volcano Bound Virgins…and a concept called animism
• Back in the day, 1000 years, we were very generous with souls.
• Rock, stays with earth cause falls. Air goes into air. Enjoys air.
• Animism- suggesting something has a soul • Thunderstorms have a soul, or at least a soul behind them.
• Magic- if you seen an illusionist do a trick, and understand what they are doing its
no longer magic.
• If a computer can do what a human do, is the machine intelligent? Or is the human
• And what about soul?
• William James important person—relatively true of rene de carte. Both of them,
prove they were extremely intelligent, had hard time as young people in finding
where they fit in. Rene de carte suffered from a lot of psychological issues and
nervous breakdowns. About our uni age, doctor suggested that he spend some time
in Paris, wondering around and enjoying artwork and getting away from the grind.
Walking around at palace of Versailles, statue moved.
• But in his day statues didn’t move, they stayed in place. But these statues moved,
was mind-blowing to him. How did it work? He learned about this new field called
hydraulics. Stepped on pressure plate of a fine channel of water. Statue was on
friction of set of rails, that strength or his weight was enough to cause the statue to
move. Hydraulics, movement that seemed human and intentional to him. Neptune
was intentionally blocking his path to Diana. Thought wow?
• Came up with strong debates of the world. Lived in Christian world where church
was great political and social force. Big trouble if you crossed the church. Believed
or liked the notion that humans have souls.
• He said animals have no soul, they are machines. They look complicating, look like
they are behaving with intention, but it is all an illusion. No soul within any animal,
according to Rene De Carte.
• This got extreme, as a result of Rene de Carte, people began performing a lot of
research on animals. People would nail animals to board, and cut them to test them
without numbing them. He said cut their vocal cords because they will scream.
• Rene de carte thought they don’t feel a thing, but they act like they do. Animals as
• Humans, people said he felt the same, but couldn’t because of church, but that’s not
• Rene thought, said we, humans, are partly machine. Our bodies are ultimately
controlled by a soul.
• Body driven by a soul, part spiritual and part material.
• Rene De Carte’s ideas, opened the biological side of human investigation. • John Locke- said he even thinks the human mind is a machine. I don’t think we
don’t have to stop by just the body, but whole human body and mind is materialistic.
We are material beings, in a material world.
• He was the guy of the notion of born knowing nothing. Extreme nature side, of
nature vs. nurture debate.
• You became the person you are now, because of the experiences you went through.
• He was also the one that said all you philosophers, why just because you think these
things, why does it make them true?
• Shouldn’t we have more reasons and a method to test whose ideas are good and
bad ones. We need to test the idea by doing experiments and making prediction of
what happens in the real world.
• James Mill- first one that actually used this term of “materialism” notion that we do
not have a soul. Everything in the universe is made up of basic materials that follow
physical laws. Extreme anti-spirituality view. Religion something we created, and
makes us feel good, but not true. We are all material beings living in a material
• Why should we believe in any of this? And think its true
• Luigi Galvani, day when most scientists did science as a hobby, on the side.
Occasionally would get together and try to impress each other with things they
• People were getting excited about electricity in this time.
• Body seems to be machine-like, driven by electrical currents, cause of how they
move. Seemed worth of belief.
• Johannes Muller- cut up bodies. Nerve fibers, deliver electrical signal. Seem like
wires we think about it, in the sense that the wires seem like basic conductive wiring.
• Not the kind of wiring, but where it began and ended. What makes a wire special is
where you plug it in the output and input.
• Its about where the wires start and end. Suggest that where they start and end a
modular system. Various beginning places for wires seem to have a specific job.
Doing different things. Maybe brains were modular like machines, with everything
doing a specific task. Fit well with philosipcal beliefs.
• Pierre Florens: Moving parts of animal parts. He would remove their brain and put it
back. Depending on what part you remove, they would lose a certain ability, that’s
what he noticed.
• Specific brain areas did specific things, suggesting brain is machine-like. • Paul Broca- medical doctor. Clever enough to realize that he would run into patients
that would show same behavior. Speak to them and ask them to do complex things.
• They could understand meaning, but couldn’t produce meaning. Paul made them
sign forms to crack open their brain and examine it when they die. Waited for them
to die, and so he removed their brains and found that a part of their brains, left side
over the ear had damage, Brocazeria.. That part of the brain is machine-like.
• Humans seem to be material beings, partially. If this is true we can start to apply a
scientific method to them.
• 18 century studying the world and not ourselves. What started psychology …?
• Psychology- The Birth and Early Years 09/16/2012
• We’ve come to a place where humanities were okay with being part machine and
• Interesting to understand the roles that others play. A lot of Germans had such a
stronge influence in psychology. Mid-Late 1800’s, before WW1 And WW2, prominent
because they were a super power at the time.
• In Germany, government had a lot of money. They thought science and
understanding of knowledge gave the country a strong advantage. It was also
building its academia, sciences while also building its militia.
• If they want to try something new they get support from the government.
• Psychology was weirdly different, wouldn’t have been born, but Germany took the
• Hermann Von Helmholtz- Measuring speed of neutral impulses
• How fast do signals travel along the nerve tissue? Something he would ask
• A lot of people before his demonstration would say its hard to measure, but he said
not really if you think about it in a clever way. He would say lets find average human
and figure out how long nerve tissue is form one hand to spine to brain, to other
• Something are hard to measure, but if your clever you can
• Ernst Weber- psychophysics (1795-1878)
• In Weber’s mind he wanted to take notion of physics and apply it to internal mind
• Important to start getting people to think of what’s going on in our minds
• Wilhelm Wundt was the firt to refer to himself as a psychologist
• He wrote the first psychology textbook “The Principles of Physiological Psychology”
• Loved introspection founded what is termed the structuralist approach…not
• Physiological trying to understand nerve tissues and what it tells us of the mind
• About 1898 as birth of psychology
• Structuralism- early psychologist following Weber trying to understand our internal
mental worlds, our conscious experiences what Wundt did was teach students how
to look within their minds. Introspect- look within their mind
• A lot of people were worried about psychology being a science
• In physics you can objectively measure things
• With introspection you cannot directly observe or measure the thing you are
interested in, relying on subject, somebody else, to do it for you and tell you what
they see Psychology- The Birth and Early Years 09/16/2012
• That means trust subject, but don’t know if they do trust subject
• We don’t really see in our mind, is it vision?
• Leaving it to subject to define what you mean and put it into verbal words
• A lot of scientists felt it didn’t feel scientific
• Darwin (1809-1882)-
• Structuralism largely gave way to functionalism…a focus on the purpose of mental
world, not what it “looks” like
• Came up with notion of evolution, he was Christian and family was.his theory
conflicted with dominant religious views
• He didn’t realize his finding of a long time, until he found out someone else was
about release the same theory
• Structuralism, taking animals and then categorizing them,,,extent of biology. Figuring
out where animals fit
• Darwin did to biology was not to talk about what animal looks like. Look at why it
looks like it does, look further…they look like they do because something allows
them to live as they do and behave in such ways
• Survival of the fetus
• General notion impacted psychology—do we care about what our psychology does
for us? What are the functions of the various psychological processes?
• William James (1842-1910)
• Evolution is not a theory of creation—vs. creationism
• Creationism assumes you have an internal being who is able to create something
out of nothing
• Evolution is a theory of how once matter exist, how matter changed overtime
• Sigmund Freud- (1856-1939)
• Trained as a medical doctor, not as a scientist
• Popularized the notion of psychological disease, and linked them mostly to
psychological conflict… The medical model
• Invented psychoanalysis, promoted cocaine, spoke a lot about sexual and
aggressive urges, popularized his notion psychology, and drove (and still does) drive
• When Freud hit the scene, psychology became two things related to two points, but
coming at it in different ways Psychology- The Birth and Early Years 09/16/2012
• Came across patients that would exhibit bizarre symptoms, but when you did
neurological follow up, they acted blind, but no physical reason for them to be blind
• Psychological concepts
• Conflict was the cause
• Related to two drives, sex and aggression
• People were learning psychology through Freud
• Set science of psychology in a tailspin
• Friction point Freud left it with
• Science and Therapy: Psychologies Recent Past 09/16/2012
• Sigmund Freud (1856-1939): very much widened what psychology was about.
• Before, It was trying to do physics, but turning it inwards
• Or attempt to understand the mind
• All Freud suggested can not be scientifically tested, did not make clear prediction
that you can test in a lab
• A scientist want to see empirical data
• Science and religion are not competitors. Religion is more like Freud, bunch of ideas
theory that describes a way of living, but nothing in an religious text lends itself to
scientific test or investigation, that’s what a lot scientist felt about Freud
• Gestalt Psychology: trying to understand the laws underlying our amazing ability to
acquire and maintain stable percepts in a noisy world
• Also “humanistic psychology” was born largely as a direct counter-response to
Freud’s…focusing on the positive aspects of humanity.
• The North American Reaction
• Behaviorism…shunned all discussion of any psychological concept that could not be
directly and objectively measured and/or manipulated
• Consciousness: attention, memory, perception, pretty much everything
• Psychology became the study of the association between stimuli (any object
or situation) and responses (how an organism behaved)
• Skinner died relatively depressed guy, believed we are very material and that
consciousness played no role
• Behaviourism didn’t stay in power Finding Answers Begins by Finding Questions 09/16/2012
Theories and Hypothesis:
• Usually the scientific process begins with a theory…somebody’s explanation meant
to explain things they have seen
• “Good” theories lead to hypothesis…predictions that cam be empirically tested in a
way that might prove them to be in incorrect (i.e., falsifiable!)
• Freud’s theories of human behaviour, and religious theories of existence, are often
criticized for being un-falsifiable and, therefore, impossible to test.
THE PROS AND CONS OF NATURALISTIC OBSERVATION
• “variable” is used to refer to anything that can take on multiple “values”
• “Eye Colour”, for example, can have the values of “green”, “blue”, “brown”, etc…it is
a categorical variable (or is it?)