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Lecture

PSY100H1 Lecture Notes - Capsaicin, Detection Theory, Cognitive Neuroscience


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSY100H1
Professor
Dan Dolderman

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Chapter 1: Introduction to psychological science
Goal: understand people by considering how a person’s brain processes information about others, and contextual
factors; how societal beliefs shape how we behave to other individuals
Fundamental aspects to study psych. ; biological, individual, and social
Psychological science: The study of mind and brain and behaviour
Mind- mental activity, experiences you have interacting with the world, thought, speech, smell , taste, hear, touch
(sensory input), mental activity results from biological processes you have form the brain
Brain- action of nerves and associated chemical reactions
oThe physical brain enables what the mind does
oMind is what the brain does.
Behaviour- a term used to describe variety of actions from subtle to complex, that occur in organisms from ants to
humans
What are the themes of Psychological Science?
The themes guide and direct the way psychological scientists study the mind, brain, and behaviour
Psychological scientists – use methods to understand how people think, feel and act.
Scientific method refers to the use of objective, systematic procedures that lead to an accurate understanding of being
studied.
The principles of psychological science are cumulative
THEME # 1- research on mind, brain, behaviour has accumulated over time to produce the principles of
psychological science
oScience builds on the foundation of shared knowledge
PRINCIPLE # 1- harder to recall old info than it is to recognize old info
A new biological revolution is energizing research
THEME # 2- A new biological revolution of profound significance is in progress at dawn of the twenty first century,
bringing with it deeper understanding of the human mind and behaviour
Brain Chemistry:
o1st major development in the biological revolution
oBrain works through actions of chemicals known as neurotransmitters, which communicate messages
through nerve cells
o100s of different substances play critical role in mental activity and behaviour.
Human Genome
oMapped out human genome and various behaviours associated with that genome
oExpression of genes helps give rise to mind and behaviour
oGave scientists a foundational knowledge to study how specific genes affect thoughts, actions, feelings, and
various disorders
Watching the Working Brain
oSome localization of function in the brain but many different brain regions participate to produce behaviour
and mental activity.
The mind is adaptive
THEME # 3- mind has been shaped by evolution
oHumans are product of both biological and cultural evolution.
Evolutionary theory- emphasizes the inherited adaptive value of behaviour and mental activity throughout the entire
history of a species
Natural selection- Darwin’s theory that those who inherit characteristics that help them adapt to their particular
environment have a selective advantage over those who do not
Adaptations- the physical characteristics, skills, and abilities that increase the chances of reproduction or survival
and are therefore likely to be passed along to future generations
The brain has adapted circuits and structures that solve problems by adapting

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Also have built in mechanisms to assist in solving problems ex. infants have fear or heights
Culture- the beliefs, values, rules, norms, and customs that exists within a group of people who share a common
language and environment, and that are transmitted through learning from one generation to the next
Culture provides adaptive solutions
Westerners tend to be more “independent” and self-directed, stressing their individuality
Easterner’s tend to more “dependent” on each other stressing be collective as a group
Westerner’s more likely to emphasize their strengths
Easterner’s more likely to emphasize their need for self-improvement
Cultural rules are learned as norms
Psychological Science crosses levels of analysis
THEME # 4- the mind and behaviour can be studied on many levels of analysis
Category Levels What is studied? Summary
Social Cultural
Interpersonal
Norms, beliefs, values, symbols, ethnicity
Groups, relationships, persuasion, influence,
workplace
Examination of how cultural and
social contexts affect the ways
people interact and influence each
other.
Individual Individual
differences
Perception and
cognition
Behaviour
Personality, gender, developmental age groups,
Self-concept
Thinking decision making, language, memory,
seeing, hearing
Observable actions, responses, physical
movements
Individual differences in personality
and mental processes that concern
and perceive how we know our
worlds.
Biological Brains Systems
Neurochemical
Genetic
Neuroanatomy, animal research, brain imaging
Neurotransmitters and hormones, animal
studies, drug studies
Gene mechanisms, heritability, twin and
adoption studies
How the physical body contributes
to the mind and behaviour, such as
the neurochemical and genetic
processes that occur with the body
and brain
Pleasant music releases serotonin in the brain
What are the intellectual Origins of Psychology?
Nature-nurture debate- the arguments concerning whether psychological characteristics are biologically innate or
acquired through education, experience, and culture
oBoth are very interwoven and inseparable, both play important roles
Mind-body problem- mind and body are separate and distinct or whether the mind is simply the subjective
experience of the physical brain
Dualism- mind exists separately form the body
Mental testing movement- individual differences provide the basis of evolutionary development and some
psychological differences in nature can be tested
How did the scientific Foundations of Psychology develop?
Wundt established psychological laboratories throughout Europe, Canada and USA
oWanted to measure conscious experiences and so he developed the introspection
oIntrospection- a systematic examination of subjective mental experiences that requires people to inspect and
report on the content of their thoughts ex. describing “blueness” of the sky, ex. asked people to compare
subjective experiences, which is more pleasant?
This way of thinking became structuralism
oStructuralism- an approach to psychology based on the idea that conscious experience can be broken down
into its basic underlying components or elements
Problem with introspection: its subjective hard to see whether subjects were using criteria in a similar way

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Stream of consciousness – phrase by William James (physiology prof) believed mind is more complex than its
elements; mind consists of a continuous series of ever-changing thoughts
Functionalism- approach to psychology concerned with the adaptive purpose, or function of mind and behaviour
Profiles in Psychological science- Early women pioneers
Championing the rights of women to become scholars
Gestalt Theory- a theory based on the idea that the whole is different from the sum of the parts
Phenomenological approach – investigating the totality of subjective experience
The mind perceives the world in an organized fashion that cannot be broken down into its constituent elements
Unconscious- mental processes that operate below the conscious level of awareness
oFreud believed that often unconscious and conscious thought were conflicting that lead to discomfort and
psychological disorders
Psychoanalysis- a method developed by Sigmund Freud that attempts to bring the contents of the unconscious into
conscious awareness so that conflicts can be revealed
oThrough free association patients were able to talk about whatever they wanted for as long as they wanted
and Sigmund Freud believed that this would eventually cause the patient to reveal the unconscious problems
that was causing the conflicts
Behaviourism- the psychological approach that emphasizes the role of environmental forces in producing behaviour
Cognitive psychology-concerned with higher order mental functions, such as intelligence, thinking, language,
memory and decision making
Information processing theories: the brain takes in information as a code, processes it, stores relevant sections, and
retrieves stored information as required
All people are influenced by social situations
How can we apply Psychological Science
Psychological scientist- one who uses the methods of science to study the interplay between brain, mind, and
behaviour and how the social environment affects these processes
Psychological practitioners- those who apply findings from psychological science in order to assist people in their
daily lives; design safe and pleasant work environments, counsel people on career paths, or help teachers design
better curricula
Psychologists
Social psychologist- focus on the influences that other situations and people have on how we act think and feel
Personality psychologist- individual preferences
Developmental psychologist- address changes in mind and behaviour over the life span and so they might study
how kids learn the basic structure of music
Cognitive psychology- mental processes such as thinking perceiving, remembering, decision making
Cognitive neuroscience- understand the brain systems involved in the perception of sensory input
Experimental psychopathologist- study abnormal or disordered behaviour
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