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Lecture 1

Lecture 1-Fundamental Insights of Psychology

Course Code
Michael Inzlicht

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Psychology Lecture #1
Fundamental Insights of Psych
-psychology research has taught us, and they can deeply change the way you understand
yourself, other people, and the world around you
1) reality is a story, told to us by our brains.
-how do we interact with reality? Truth, the reality that we act in, is one that we
constructed. We hope that LW¶VWKH reality thats out there.
-reality: many pieces of information that are coming at you, colours, pressures, smells
-unfortunately, our sensory cannot see all the arrows. Ie, cant detect electrical
currents, smells, and some sounds.
-so therefore the many arrows gets narrowed down to a couple arrows. Weve cut out
a huge amount of reality. Were only dealing with a partial sample of reality.
-We add these arrows up to something we recognize, and thats our perception. Our
making sense of all the arrows.
-psychology studies that humans mess up, and were always wrong, but the
perception of our reality is usually right. Its highly functional, most of the time.
-BUT some of our time were wrong, When we cant see because its too dark, or
youre drunk, and our sensory mechanism is wrong.
-perception is a process of creative story-telling and inference making. We have to fill
in a lot of gaps
-Given this insight, its no surprise that humans ( and animals) generally like the
known, familiar, predictable and fear the unknown, unfamiliar, unpredictable.
But how does the Mind perceive Reality?
-the brain uses its pre-existing patterns (ie, knowledge) to decode incoming sensory
-thus, what the brain has learned to see in the past, is largely what it sees in the
-what it doesnt decode, it either guesses (if it has some reasonable info) or ignores
entirely, or just sees what it wants/likes to see
-we are heavily biased to what we already know.
-ie. Perception is a process of PATTERN-MATCHING.
2) We have a limited capacity to process information
-our brains did not evolve to process everything that we experience at once.
-we streamline our brains activating primarily just the µparts that seem reasonable in
the circumstances.
-Whats reasonable? How do our brains decide this?
Æ what has happened recently. Ie, what situation we are in, what information we
have recently accessed in our brains.
-since we are in a situation, our brain has expectations about the class, expectations of
their students
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-whatever we have on our minds, is what well process.
ÆWhat we expect.
-past experience has taught us lessons; remember, our brains strive to be
-our pre-existing knowledge and expectations make us biased, and these biases can
lead us astray
Ie Donald Study: -you perceive things with peoples race. You can infer some kind of
hostility if they were members of a certain race.
-on the computer screen there were black faces and white faces but they were moving
so fast that the people were not able to see them. Then everyone watches the same
video and the people who have seen black faces they see the situation as more hostile.
-we can be so powerfully led astray by our biases, that we cant be led without us
even knowing.
-whether you like it or not, we have many biases.
-these biases influence how we see reality.
Expectations«.. Reality «« Memory
-your memories have more to do with your expectations then with what actually
happened to you.
-1) we ignore, downplay all the bad things that happened
-Access memoryÆGood timesÆ It was fantastic
-2) its bad enough that we come to the opposite conclusion, that it was a terrible
vacation, well bias ourselves in the opposite direction.
-in both cases we make up stories
Q. Who is the most amazing person on the entire plant?
A. The person you have just fallen in love with.
Q. Who is the slimiest jerk on the entire plant?
A. The person you have just broken up with. (HAHAHAHA)
Primacy of Attention
-because of our limited info processing channel, ATTENTION is critically important.
It is what determines the reality we experience, and the manner in which we
experience it
-it determines how we are affected by the circumstances of our lives, how well we
perform on tasks, and many other things.
-ATTENTION is something that we can learn to control to an extraordinary degree.
-attention affects how well we do things.
Ie, How do you feel when you talk to someone who isnt really listening to you?
-attention affects performance
-there are exceptions to the laws and rules of ³attention´
-attention also affects Quality of experience
Ie. wine tasting
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