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Chapter 1

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Western University
Psychology 1000

Chapter 1: Psychology, the Science of Behaviour Psychology the scientific study of behaviour and the mind. Behaviour is observable actions and mind refers to internal states and processes that must be inferred. Subfields within psychology a) Clinical psychology study and treatment of mental disorders b) Cognitive mental processes c) Biopsychology the influence of brain processes, genes and hormones on our mind and behaviour d) Development human development over a life time e) Experiment learning, sensory, perception and motivational states f) Industrial-organizational behaviour of people in the workplace, and the influences that can affect human behaviour g) Personality identifying core personality traits and how different traits relate to one another and influence behaviour h) Social examines people’s thoughts, feelings and behaviour pertaining to the social world Topics tend to overlap. For instance, a cognitive psychologist might study how wording the same info in different ways can affect people’s decision making skills; a social psychologist might study how kids’ decision making skills change overtime. 1) Psychology’s Scientific Approach Psychology is empirical, as in empirical data is collected through experience and observation. The data is then organized and evaluated to answer questions Goals of Psychology 1) To describe how people and animals behave 2) To explain and understand the causes of these behaviours 3) Predict how people will behave under certain conditions 4) Influence and control behaviour through knowledge and for human welfare Basic Research is done for knowledge’s sake, whereas applied research applies to principles of basic research to create solutions. Scientific Study 1) Identify the problem and formulate a hypothesis *most difficult 2) Design and execute *most important 3) Determine the truth 4) Communicate the results 2) Perspectives on Behaviour/Explanations of Behaviour Perspectives are different ways of viewing people and allow psychologists to interpret and examine behaviour in different ways, thus allowing them to learn the different causes of behaviour. a) Biological (eg. Neural, hormonal) - Irregularities in neural wiring - Neurotransmitters - Tumours - Brain structures b) Individual & Psychological (eg. Learning, cognitive) - Violence in the home, i.e. Culture can create an environment in which behaviours are established - Learning history of an individual; perspectives c) Cultural/environmental (eg. Value system) - Cultural system and values - Rewards and cultural support - Hot weather makes people angry *They all influence one another, i.e. the way you are wired influences your behaviour, even a group that creates culture. None are better; they all just provide different explanations and perspectives. 3) Schools of Psychology A school of thought is an approach to studying psychology a) Structuralism - Examines the basic components and how they operate b) Functionalism - Examines the purpose of the functions of consciousness, or the significance of behaviour - Q: How does behaviour help us adapt - Explained as biological, Darwinian viewpoint and passing genes - Examples: psychobiology, neuroscience and ethology c) Psychodynamic - Discovered by Sigmund Freud. He was convinced that unconscious sexual and aggressive impulses and early childhood experiences helped shape our personalities - Focuses on the role of the unconsciousness, how behaviour is caused by the inner workings of our personality (i.e. Traits, emotions, unresolved conflicts, childhood experiences and motives), aka psychodynamic therapy - Importance of personality - Examples: unconscious processing, psychodynamic therapy, psychoanalysis the analyzing of the internal and unconscious psychological forces d) Behaviourism - Behaviour is learned through the environment - Focuses how behaviour changes under various conditions - Stems from British empiricism, a belief that all ideas and knowledge are gained empirically through senses. Observation is more valid than inferring reason - Empiricists believed that human behaviour is developed through nurture - Watson & Skin
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