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Psy100h1 Class Detail notes Topic 2

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Topic 2 HistoryMethodsHistory of PsychologyScience has always been contextualized in a larger set of societalhistoricalpolitical ideologicaleconomic processesEg Theologicalreligious barriers impeded the progress of physiological sciences and therefore psychologyDirect study of human body was forbiddenDoctrines regarding human exemptionalism ie therefore impossible to learn about humanbiology through animal studiesThe Rise of MechanismDescartes 1600s An extremely intense unbalanced driven personalityProposed a systematic account of the body as a machine physiological processes described in terms of mechanistic interactions controlled by hydraulics fluids and mechanics leversThus human and animal bodies were complicated machines consistent with the mechanistic zeitgeist of the time eg water statues clocksMindBody Dualismhowever what set humans apart from animals was the MIND which was nonphysical but able somehow to interact with the bodyDescartes believed the mindbody nexus was the pineal gland this splitting of the mindbody still plagues usWe either have to accept that the body brain IS the mind in which case humans are just soulless animals ie biogunk or we have to figure out how it is that a morethanphysical mind could exist what its substrate is and how it could interact with a physical bodyMuch of the rest of the history of psychology can be described as a struggle to answer questions that emerge from this dualismeg Is the Mind simply a complicated but deterministic machine or do we have free willCan we do anything creative or are we merely stimulusresponse machinesHow can we study the mind scientificallyHow does it workWhat are the connections between mind and bodyCan we learn to control the mind and use it more effectively How does the brain give rise to the mindHow does objective biological matter produce subjective experienceHow to Study an Immaterial MindBecause the MIND was usually thought of as nonphysical it took a very long time before people realized that you could study the MIND using scientific experimental techniques and prominent philosophers eg Kant argued that it was impossible to empirically study the mindThe turning point that lead to the scientific study of mind really came from studies of physiology using reaction times to measure nerve conduction Helmholtz 1800sPeople started realizing you can study nervous system processes via objective measures such as timeWilhelm WundtthCarefully calculated the distance traveled by the pendulum and the time as 110 of a secondthReasoned that it took humans 110 of a second to reorient their attentionThereforeDarwinPossibly the biggest influence on subsequent psychology was Darwins theory of evolutionBuilt on previous ideas of evolution vs creationism theories Erasmus Darwin Lamarck
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