PSY100H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Biopsychosocial Model, Mental Disorder, Shooting Of Amadou Diallo

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PSY100 Sept 12, 2013
Psychology Evolves in a Socio-Historical Context
- Psyche + logos – study of soul/mind
- Philosophical and physiological influences
- Wilhelm Wundt: psychology as the scientific study of conscious experience
History of Psychology
- Wilhelm Wundt is given the honor of formally founding experimental
- Edward Titchener was a student of Wundt’s who believed psychologist
should study consciousness (the sum total of mental experience at any given
moment), unlike Wundt, he was more interested in describing conscious
experience than explaining it (structuralism)
- Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection played a significant role in the
development of both functionalism and behaviorism
- William James & Functionalism: wanted to understand the function of the
mind rather than provide a static description of its contents
- Accepted both mental processes and behavior as legitimate subject matter
foe psychology
- Stream of consciousness vs. static elements. Believed consciousness was
personal, continuous, constantly changing, functional, and could not be
divided up for analysis
Behaviourism: (John Watson) Some functionalists were impressed by how much
could be learned without the use of introspection
- Watson believed the goal of Psychology should be the prediction and control
of behavior (this influence is still seen today)
- B.F Skinner and free will (free will is an illusion, behavior is determined by
environmental influences)
- Sigmund Freud: the unconscious contains thoughts, memories, and desires
that are well below the surface of conscious awareness but that nonetheless
exert great influence on behavior (psychoanalytic theory). Obviously
conflicted with the current focus of psychologists on observable behavior
Humanism (Carl Rogers, Abraham Maslow): Revolted against both psychoanalytic
theory and behaviourism, seen as unappealing, dehumanizing. Emphasizes the
unique qualities of humans, especially their freedom and potential for personal
- A return to its roots: Cognition. Mental functions were important for
understanding behavior (cognitive revolution). Beginnings of cognitive
psychology: the studies of how people think, learn, and remember (mental
processes involved in acquiring knowledge)
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- Return to its roots: Physiology. Interrelations among mind, body and
behavior. Donald Hebb’s research on cell assemblies and his focus on the
biological basis of behavior highlighted the importance of physiological and
neuropsychological perspectives and set the stage for contemporary
developments in cognition and neuroscience
World War II
Social Psychology is the scientific study of the way in which a person’s thoughts,
feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the real, imagined or implied presence of
Social Norms
Obedience to authority: a powerful social norm, which refers to the shared view that
people should obey those with legitimate authority
Milgram’s studies of obedience: performed a series of experiments involving a
learner (confederate/pretending), teacher (participant), and an experimenter
(authority figure). (Electric Shock experiment)
Variations of the Experiment
- Importance of the legitimacy of the authority figure: obedience was
somewhat reduced (47.5%) if not conducted at Harvard University
- Importance of the accessibility if the obedience norm: obedience was
reduced (21%) if the experimenter was no there in person (directions over
the phone)
- Importance of suppressing any incompatible norms: not to harm others.
Obedience was reduced (30%) if the teacher had to actually touch the learner
to administer the shocks
- Importance of other individuals in the situation: if other teachers refuse to
obey, obedience is drastically reduced (10%), if another teacher gives the
shocks compliance increases
Implicit Measures
- Research in this area has exploded in the last couple of decades
- Driven largely by stories like the Amadou Diallo case
Psychological Disorders
- Psychopathologya disorder of the mind
- How do we distinguish between a natural emotional experience and a mental
- The symptoms of the disorder must interfere with at least one aspect of the
person’s life
Brief History o Mental Illness
- Supernatural explanations
- Biological – Hippocrates, humors, hysteria
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- Middle ages - return to supernatural, witch hunts, magic
- 18th century- moral management, humane treatment
- Return to the brain, naturalism – pros and cons
- Prevalence of organic/medical model
- Biopsychosocial model - consideration of the whole person, in context
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