-Psychology: Psyche = soul and logos= study for an subject study of the mind
a German prof. mounted a campaign to make psychology an independent discipline rather than
a stepchild of philosophy or physiology.
German universities were in a healthy period of expansion, so resources were available for new
1879 in Germany: he succeeded in establishing the first formal lab for research in psychology at
the University of Leipzig. This date is considered to be psychology’s date of birth. Therefore he
is referred to the founder of psychology.
He declared that the new psychology should be a science modelled after fields such as physics
He claimed that psychology’s primary focus was consciousness (awareness of immediate
experience). Therefore it became the scientific study of conscious experience which kept it
focused on mind and mental processes.
-G. Stanley Hall:
Important contributor to the rapid growth of psychology in America
He established America’s first research lab in psychology at John Hopkins University
He launched America’s first psychology journal
He was the driving force behind the establishment of the American Psychological Association
(APA) and was its first president.
-America took to psychology quicker than Europe because America’s young universities were more open
to new disciplines versus Europe’s older and traditional universities.
-In psychology the first to major schools of thought were structuralism and functionalism:
o Emerged through the leadership of Edward Titchener.
o Based on the notion that the task of psychology is to analyze consciousness into its basic
elements and investigate how these elements are related.
o To examine the contents of consciousness, the structuralists depended upon the
method of introspection: the careful, systematic self observation of one’s own conscious
o Emerged through William James
o Based on the belief that psychology should investigate the function or purpose of
consciousness, rather than its structure. o James contended that psychology should investigate the functions rather than the
structure of consciousness because consciousness stuck around through natural
o Consciousness consists of a continuous flow of thoughts and analyzing consciousness
into its elements meant that structuralists were looking at static points in that flow.
James wanted to understand the flow itself which he named stream of consciousness.
o Functionalists were interested in how people adapt to their behaviour to the demands
of the real world around them.
-Although both schools faded away, functionalism fostered the development of 2 descendants:
behaviourism and applied psychology
-John B. Watson:
Founded behaviourism: theoretical orientation based on the premise that scientific psychology
should study only observable behaviour.
He thought that mental processes were not a proper subject for scientific study because they
are ultimately private events.
Campaigned to redefine psychology as the science of behaviour.
-Because the behaviourists investigated stimulus-response relationships, the behavioural approach =
stimulus response psychology
-The gradual emergence of behaviourism was partly attributable to an important discovery made by
Showed that dogs could be trained to salivate in response to an auditory stimulus such as a
He claims that the unconscious contains thoughts, memories, and desires that are well below
the surface of conscious awareness but that nonetheless exert great influence on behaviour.
Psychoanalytic theory attempts to explain personality, motivation, and mental disorders by
focusing on unconscious determinants of behaviour.
Suggested that people are not masters of their mind and that behaviour is greatly influenced by
how people cope with their sexual urges.
His ideas were controversial and they met with resistance in academic psychology. However, as
more psychologists developed an interest in personality, motivation, and abnormal behaviour,
psychoanalytic concepts were incorporated into mainstream psychology.
-Most scientists viewed psychoanalytic theory as unscientific speculation that would eventually fade
away but they were wrong and it survived to become an influential theoretical perspective.
-B. F Skinner: Asserted that psychology should study only observable behaviour.
He worked with lab rats and pigeons and demonstrated that organisms tend to repeat
responses that lead to positive consequences and not repeat responses that lead to neutral or
Argued that free will in an illusion and his ideas were controversial and misunderstood.
refers to the mental process involved in acquiring knowledge. Psych. returned to its original
Jean Piaget focused increased attention on the study of children’s cognitive development, while
the work of Noam Chomsky elicited new interest in the psychological underpinnings of
Cognitive theorists argue that psychology must study internal mental events to fully understand
Advocates of the cognitive perspective point out that human behaviour cannot be understood
without considering how people think.
James Olds demonstrated that electrical stimulation of the brain could evoke emotional
responses such as pleasure and rage in animals.
Roger Sperry showed that the right and left halves of the brain are specialized to handle
different types of mental tasks.
o highlighted the importance of physiological and neuropsychological perspectives and as
having paved the way for the recent cognitive revolution in psychology.
o He argued that the locus of behaviour should be sought in the brain.
o Introduced cell assembly: repeated stimulation leads to the development of cell
assemblies. These cell assemblies resemble cognitive units that together or in concert
with other cell assemblies facilitate behaviour.
-interest in neuroscience approach to psychology has increased
Bullying: relational and control oriented bullying often associated with the interpersonal
relationships of girls.
Videotaped aggressive and socially competent students
The bullying involved verbal aggression, physical aggression, and a combination of physical and
Boys were involved 2 times the rate of girls
Aggressive kids did not bully more than the social kids and it was never an isolated situation.
Rate of violence involving females is in increasing at a faster rate compared to males.
Naturalistic observation o Advantages: allowing researchers to document an important phenomenon outside of
the constraints of the lab. Allows researchers to observe behaviour that is
uncontaminated by the intervention of the scientists.
o Disadvantages: Does not allow for clear casual statement regarding the phenomenon
under investigation. Does the microphone that the kids were wearing change their
-Reasons why the focus of western psychology been so narrow
1. Cross cultural research is $$$, difficult and time consuming. Better to study middle class white
students who study at their school.
2. Worry that cultural comparisons may accidentally foster stereotypes of various cultural groups
3. Ethnocentrism: viewing one’s own group as superior to others
-Psychologists are devoting increased attention to culture as a determinant of behaviour:
What brought shift?
o Socio-political upheavals of 1960s and 1970s
o Civil rights movement, women’s movement, gay rights movement all raised doubts
about whether psych. dealt effectively with human diversity.
New interest in culture due to two trends:
o Advances in communication, travel and international trade shrunk world and
increased global interdependence Americans/Europeans and non westerners contact
with each other
o Ethnic make up of western world = increasingly diverse multicultural mosaic
Western psychologists are striving to understand the unique experiences of culturally diverse
people from the point of view of those people
-Evolutionary psychologists examine behavioural processes in terms of their adaptive value for members
of a species over the course of many generations.
The basic premise is that natural selection favours behaviours that enhance organism’s
Gender differences: Men are better at visual spatial tasks because of ancestors having to hunt.
Females are better at spatial skills because of having to gather food.
Psychology witnessed the birth of its first major, new theoretical perspective since the cognitive
revolution = evolutionary biology.
Argued that evolutionary hypotheses are untestable and that evolutionary explanations are post
hoc, speculative accounts for obvious behavioural phenomena.
-Positive psychology: (Martin Seligman) uses theory and research to better understand the positive,
adaptive, creative, and fulfilling aspects of human existence. Has three areas of interest
o Positive subjective experiences (happiness, love, gratitude, contentment and hope
o Positive individual traits (personal strength and virtues)
o Positive institutions and communities ( how societies can foster civil discourse, strong
families, healthy work environments and supportive neighbourhood)
-hypothesis: tentative statement about the relationship between two variables
-variables: any measureable condition, events, characteristics, or behaviours that are controlled or
observed in a study
-theory: a system of interrelated ideas used to explain a set of observations
Steps in scientific investigation:
1. Formulate a testable hypothesis (-operational definition: describes the actions or operations
that will be used to measure or control a variable)
2. Select research method and design the study
3. Collect the date
4. Analyze the date and draw conclusion
5. Report findings
-Advantages of scientific approach: 1) clarity and precision 2) its relative intolerance of error
Hypothesis: Fear/anxiety can, under specific conditions, be relabelled as sexual attraction.
Method: Males will cross either a bridge that was very high or a bridge that was very low.
Procedure: After crossing either bridge the men were confronted by a confederate. The confederate
then gave the men her number in case they had any other questions. If the high bridge men called then
their fear was mislabelled as sexual attraction.
-extraneous variables: variables other than the independent variables that seem likely to influence the
dependent variable in a specific study.
-cofounding variables: occurs when two variables are linked together in a way that makes it hard to sort
out their specific effects
-Variations in designing experiments:
1. Advantageous to use only one group for experimental and control
2. It is possible to manipulate more than one independent variable in a single experiment
3. It is possible to use more than one dependent variable in a single experiment -advantages and disadvantages of experimental research: 1) permits conclusions about cause and effect
relationships between variables 2) experiments are often artificial since it requires great control 3) can’t
be used to explore some research questions
-These methods include naturalistic observation, cause studies, and surveys. What distinguishes these
methods is that the researcher cannot manipulate the variables under study.
-naturalistic observation: a researcher engages in careful observation of behaviour without intervening
directly with the subjects. Minimizes artificiality but often difficult to remain unobtrusive and can’t
explain why patterns of behaviour were observed
-a case study: use an in depth investigation of an individual subject. Case studies are well suited for
investigating certain phenomena such as psychological disorders and neuropsychological issues but
subjectivity makes it easy to see what one expects to see based on one’s theoretical slant
-survey: researchers use questionnaires or interviews to gather information about specific aspects of
participants’ behaviour. They can gather data on difficult to observe aspects of behaviour but self report
data are often unreliable
-Advantages and disadvantages of descriptive/correlational research: 1) they give researchers a way to
explore questions that could not be examined with experimental procedures 2) investigators cannot
control events to isolate cause and effect
Stats and Research:
-Inferential stats: used to interpret data and draw conclusions
-statistical significance: said to exist when probability that the observed findings are due to chance is
very low. Very low = < 0.05%.
Looking for flaws:
-placebo effect: when participants’ expectations lead them to experience some changes even though
they receive empty, fake or ineffectual treatment.
-experimenter bias: when a researcher’s expectations or preferences about the outcome of a study
influence the results obtained.
-information is received at the dendrites, is passed through the soma and along the axon, and is
transmitted to the dendrites of the other cells meeting at the synapses.
-neurons are the nervous system’s input-output devices that transmit, receive, and integrate
-they convey info about the strength of stimuli by varying the rate at which they fire action potentials
-Glia: are cells found throughout the nervous system that provides various types of support for
They supply nourishment to neurons, help remove neuron’s waste products and provide
insulation around many axons.
They may also send and receive chemical signals.
the myelin sheaths that encase some axons are derived from glial cells.
May play an important role in memory formation
Deterioration of them = Alzheimer
-the resting membrane potential of a neuron is its stable negative charge when cell is inactive(-70MV)
- Synapse: special junctions where transmission takes place which depend on chemical messengers.
-neurons that sends a signal across the presynaptic neuron and the neuron that receives the signal is the
1. Synthesis and storage of neurotransmitter molecules in synaptic vesicles
2. Release of the neurotransmitters into synaptic cleft. Released when vesicle fuses with
membrane of presynaptic cell and contents spill into synaptic cleft.
3. Binding of neurotrans. at receptor sites on postsynaptic membrane
4. Inactivation (by enzyme) or removal (drifting away) of neurotrans.
5. Reuptake of neurotrans. sponged up by the presynaptic neuron. Allows synapse to recycle their
6. This causes either excitatory or inhibitory PSPs.
Dendrite: like a tree that carries incoming messages
Axon: electrical cable that carries information
terminal button: small knobs that secrete neurotransmitters
-Agonist: a chemical that mimics the action of a NT
-Antagonist: a chemical that inhibits the action of a NT
-Acetylcholine: activates motor neurons controlling skeletal muscles, contributes to the regulation of
attention, arousal and memory, some Ach receptors stimulated by nicotine.
-monoamines: regulate aspects of everyday behaviour; abnormal levels of them have been related to
the development of certain psychological disorders.
Dopamine: contributes to control of voluntary movement, pleasurable emotions; decreased
levels associated with Parkinson’s disease; overactivity of its synapses associated with
schizophrenia; coke and amphetamines elevate activity of its synapses
Norepinephrine: contributes to modulation of mode and arousal; coke and amphetamines
elevate activity of its synapses Serotonin: involved in regulation of sleep and wakefulness, eating and aggression; abnormal
levels may contribute to depression and OCD; Prozac and similar antidepressant drugs affect
-GABA: serves as widely distributed inhibitory transmitter that regulates anxiety and sleep; valium and
similar anti anxiety drugs work at its synapses
-Endorphins: resemble opiate drugs in structure and effects; contribute to pain relief and perhaps to
some pleasurable emotions
-the electroencephalograph is a device that monitors the electrical activity of the brain over time by
means of recording electrodes attached to the surface of the scalp. Different brain waves were
associated with different states of consciousness.
-lesioning involves destroying a piece of the brain. Typically done by inserting an electrode into a brain
structure and passing a high frequency electric current through it to burn the tissue and disable the
-electrical stimulation of the brain involves sending a weak electric current into a brain structure to
stimulate (activate) it.
-These techniques have enormous potential for exploring brain behaviour.
-Brain scans are not precise and unambiguous as they appear to be. And increased metabolic activity in
an area does not prove that it is crucial to a particular psychological function.
-Asked to encode using four encoding tasks: Self task, other task, general task, syllable task.
-Results: Self task words were associated with somewhat better memory than the other two semantic
tasks. The deeper the encoding task leads to better memory.
-The hindbrain: includes the cerebellum and two structures found in the lower part of the brainstem:
the medulla( responsible for regulating largely unconscious functions such as breathing and circulation),
the pons( involved in sleep and arousal) and the cerebellum (structure coordinates fine muscle
movement and balance).
-The midbrain: is the segment of the brainstem that lies between the hindbrain and the forebrain. An
important system of dopamine releasing neurons that projects into various higher brain centres
originates here. The decline in the dopamine synthesis is due to the degeneration of a structure located
in the midbrain.
-The forebrain: largest and most complex region of the brain, encompassing a variety of structures,
thalamus (relay center for cortex, handles incoming and outgoing signals; all sensory info except
smell must pass to get to the cerebral cortex), hypothalamus (responsible for regulating basic biological needs: hunger, thirst and temperature
limbic system(loosely connected network of structures located roughly along the border
between the cerebral cortex and deeper subcortical areas) ; includes parts of the thalamus,
hypothalamus, hippocampus (learning and memory), the amygdala ( emotion and aggression)
and other structures; rich in emotion-tinged pleasure centres; location of self stimulation
cerebrum (responsible for complex mental activities: sensing, thinking, learning, emotion,
consciousness, and voluntary movement)
o different lobes:
occipital: has area called primary visual cortex
parietal: primary somatosensory cortex: registers touch
temporal: primary auditory cortex
frontal: primary motor cortex and prefrontal cortex (contributes to memory and
-brain plasticity: brain’s ability to change structure and function.
Right brain and left brain
-Broca’s area: plays an important role in speech
-Wernicke’s area: important in comprehension of language; temporal lobe of left hem.
-perceptual asymmetries: left-right imbalances between cerebral