PSY100H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Wilhelm Wundt, Experimental Psychology, Scientific Method

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3 Feb 2016
Tuesday, January 12th, 2016
PSY100 – Lecture #1
Psychology definition
-Textbook definition: “The scientific study of behaviour, thought and experience, and how
they can be affected by physical, mental, social, and environmental factors.”
-Simple definition: The study of human behaviour, why we think/behave the way we do
on a personal level?”
Some Major Research Areas
-Biological/Physiological Psychology
-Cognitive Psychology; Perception; Cognitive Neuroscience
-Social Psychology; Personality Psychology; Cultural Psychology
-Developmental Psychology
-Clinical/Abnormal Psychology
-There is lots of overlap among these different areas
Unifying Themes
-Use of empiricism, the scientific method
oPsychological science, approaching psych from science, making observations,
collecting data
-Importance of socio-historical context
-Recognition of multiple influences on behaviour
oNo simple answer to how human beings behave/interact with one another
-The mind is adaptive
oIt’s flexible, your brain structures can change in your lifetime
-Experience is subjective
oEveryone experiences the world differently
-People are generally unaware of the influences on their behavior
Psychology is an Empirical Science
-Origins of psychology as a science
oHistorical (and modern) barriers to the recognition of psychology as a scientific
The seeds of psychology were planted long before he came along,
Wilhelm Wundt is given the honour of formally founding experimental
Ex of one of his experiment: Thought Meter” and he came to the
conclusion that people can’t attend to two things at the same time
-The scientific method
-Importance of skepticism and critical thinking
oWhen people are good at explanations and then you need to think if those are
valid claims
Psychology Evolves in a Socio-Historical Context
-Psychological research doesn’t exist in a bubble
oEx. WWII and social psychology; “Decade of the Brain”
Multiple Factors Influence Behaviour
-There are no simple answers to why people think, feel, and behave the way they do
-Biopsychosocial model
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