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PS101 Chapter 1—What is Psychology

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Mindi Foster

th September 13 , 2012 Chapter 1—What is Psychology? Psychology: how our physical, mental states and external environment affects our thoughts, feelings and behaviours Psychology vs. Pseudoscience Empirical Observation (systematic) Experimentation Measurement Midlife ―crisis‖ Unsupported Popular opinion, Psychobabble ―empty nest syndrome‖ (scientific-sounding language) How to do Psychology with Critical Thinking  Ask questions and examine evidence:  What’s your source?  Define your terms  Crisis: - Psychotic break? - Fancy toys?  Analyze assumptions/biases  Don’t oversimplify ―I know someone who‖ One person’s opinion doesn’t mean it’s the truth.  Avoid emotional reasoning (avoid preference based opinions over fact based opinions)  Tolerate uncertainty Often in psychology, evidence to support both sides.  Consider alternative interpretations - Midlife crisis? (guy in nice car) or disposable income? History of Psychology Pre-modern: - Phrenology  head bumps affecting personality - Pseudoscience - Modern  Structuralism – looked at how conscious experience is broken down into its basic elements. o Introspection (methodology) – figuring out others conscious experiences. o Criticism? – Too subjective, not everyone experiences something the same way.  Functionalism – Conscious experience is not static but flows and changes with time, situations. o Criticism? – No set methodology/ theory.  Psychoanalysis – Behavior is a function of unconscious desires and conflicts.  Has to do with conflicts from your childhood years. o Criticism? – Not falsifiable. (You can’t disprove it) Today’s Psychology Type
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