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Lecture 1

Lecture 1-Fundamental Insights of Psychology

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University of Toronto St. George
Michael Inzlicht

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 L989K0 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 signals. -thus, what the brain has learned to see in the past, is largely what it sees in the present -what it doesnt decode, it either guesses (if it has some reasonable info) or ignores entirely, or just sees what it wantslikes 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 parts that seem reasonable in the circumstances. -Whats reasonable? How do our brains decide this? 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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