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Lecture

COMPLETE COURSE NOTES for Psychology 1000


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYCH 1000
Professor
Terry Biggs

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Chapter 1 – Psychology: The Science of Behaviour
Psychology = The scientific study of behaviour and the factors that influence it.
Taking into account Biological, Individual and Environmental factors.
Basic and Applied Science
Two types of research:
oBasic research: Knowledge gained purely for its own sake. The goals are
to describe how people behave and to identify factors that influence it.
Research maybe carried out in lab or real world
e.g. Robert Cave – Jigsaw case study - showed how competition
leads to hostility but could be reduced by making them dependent
on each other.
oApplied research: Knowledge gained to solve specific practical
problems. Uses principles discovered via basic research to solve practical
problems.
Goals of Psychology
Four basic goals: DEuPIc
oDescribe how people and animals behave
oExplain and understand the causes of the behaviour
oPredict how people and animals behave under certain conditions
oInfluence or control the behaviour through knowledge and control of
causes
Importance of Perspectives
Diverse viewpoints allows for enriched understanding of behaviour and its causes
Six different perspectives: biological, cognitive, psychodynamic, behavioural,
humanistic, and sociocultural. PBS & HBC
oPsychodynamic - unconscious forces motivating
behaviour
oBehavioural - role of external environment on out
action
oSociocultural - culture and behaviour relate
oHumanistic - self actualization and free will
oBiological - physical side of human nature, brain
and genes
oCognitive - thought process
The Biological Perspective
Focuses on the physical side of human nature
oEmphasizes role of brain, including biochemical processes
Mind-body dualism: The belief that the mind is a spiritual entity not subject to the
physical laws that govern the body
oNo amount of research on the body could ever explain the mind
oAncient widely-held view, especially by Greeks
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Monism: The belief that the mind and body are one, and mental events are a
product of physical events
oModern view by most scientists
Discovery of Brain-Behaviour Relations
Late 1700s, Luigi Galvani discovered severed leg of frog moved with
electrical current applied to it
oDefied prior belief that bodily movements were caused by soul
By 1870, researchers applied electrical stimulation directly to brains of
animals
oStimulation of specific areas on brain resulted in movements of
particular muscles
Karl Lashley damaged specific regions of brain and studied effects on
learning and memory abilities in animals trained to run through mazes
In 1929, invention of electroencephalogram (EEG) allowed researchers to
measure electrical activity of large areas of brain
Evolution and Behaviour
Darwin’s theory of natural selection demonstrated that inheritable
characteristics that increase likelihood of survival will be maintained.
Proposed that humans and apes arose from the same ancestor.
Evolutionary psychology focuses on role of evolution in development of
human behaviour
oPsychologists stress organism’s biology determine its behavioural
capabilities and behaviour
Sociobiology holds that complex social behaviours are built into human
species as products of evolution
oNatural selection favors behaviours that increase ability to pass on
genes (aggression, competition, dominance in males, cooperation
and nurturing in females, etc.)
oSociobiologists believe that one’s genetic survival is more
important than one’s own physical survival (altruism)
oCriticized for overemphasizing innate biological factors at expense
of cultural and social learning factors in explaining complex
human social behaviour
Behaviour Genetics
Study of how behavioural tendencies are influenced by genetic factors
Animals can be bred not only for physical, but also behavioural traits
(aggression, intelligence, etc.)
Identical twins, with identical genetic makeup, are very similar in
behaviour compared to fraternal twins
oFound even when identical twins reared in different homes
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The Cognitive Perspective
Views humans as information processors and problem solvers whose actions are
governed by thought and planning. What sets humans apart is that we have mental
capabilities.
oStudies how mental processes influence our motives, emotions, and
behaviour
Several schools and individuals contributed to modern cognitive perspective:
oStructuralism
Analysis of mind in terms of its basic elements
Studied sensations through introspection (“looking
within”)Patients were exposed to stimuli and asked to explain their
experiences.
Wilhelm Wundt wanted to model study of the mind after physical
and biological sciences. Believed mind could be studied via
breaking it down to its basic parts, this was called structuralism.
Believed sensations were basic elements of consciousness.
Founded first laboratory of experimental psychology in
1879
oFunctionalism
Psychology should study the functions of consciousness (the
“why’s) rather than its structure- (the What’s)
Influenced partly by Darwin’s evolutionary theory (adaption to
succeed)
William James broad functionalist approach helped widen the
scope of psychology to include biological/mental processes and
behaviour
oGestalt Psychology
Concerned with how elements of experience are organized into
wholes
Opposite of structuralism
Wolfgang Kohler concluded that ability to perceive relationships is
the essence of intelligence
Defined “insight” as sudden perception of a useful
relationship or solution to a problem
Demonstrated insight by observing chimpanzee use various
items in a cage to reach a banana at the top
oJean Piaget
Studied how children think, reason, and solve problems
Concerned with how the mind and its development contribute to
our ability to adapt to our environment
oAlbert Ellis and Aaron Beck
Attempted to understand how mental distortions and irrational
thought patterns create emotional problems
Emphasized that distress and maladaptive behaviour are caused by
the ways situations are thought about, not by external situations
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