PSYC 1010 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Acetylcholine, Social Desirability Bias, Margo Wilson
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CHAPTER 1: THE EVOLUTION OF PSYCHOLOGY
Psychology = Psyche (soul, spirit, mind, as distinguished from the body) + logos
(study of subject). Psychology is the science that studies behaviour and the
physiological and cognitive processes that underlie it. It is also the profession that
applies the accumulated knowledge of the science to practical problems.
Ancient Greek philosophers such as Socrates (469 – 399 BCE), Plato (427 – 347
BCE) and Aristotle (385 – 322 BCE) considered and debated issues of relevance to
psychology including such subjects as the separation of mind and body and whether
knowledge is inborn (nativism) or gained through experience (empiricism)
(Hothersall, 1995). Plato, an ancient Greek scholar, proposed that “the mind is
separate from the body” and the mind continues to exist after death and ideas are
innate. Aristotle, the grandfather of psychology, a naturalist who placed humans at the
top of Natural Scale of intelligence, right above the elephant. Aristotle claimed that
the mind is not separate from the body and knowledge grows from experience.
With the developments in physiology, Christian Wolf (1679 – 1754) proposed that
psychology could become a science.
It was a German professor, Wilhelm Wundt who is credited for being the father of
psychology. The time and place were right for Wundt. German universities were in a
healthy period of expansion, so resources were available for new disciplines. Also,
Wundt’s proposals were well received by the academic community.
In 1879, Wilhelm Wundt succeeded in establishing the first formal laboratory for
research in psychology at the University of Leipzig. Soon afterward, in 1881,
Wundt established the first journal devoted to publishing research on psychology.
G. Stanley Hall (1846 – 1924), who studied briefly with Wundt, was a particularly
important contributor to the rapid growth of psychology in the United States. He
established America’s first research laboratory in psychology at Johns Hopkins
University in 1883.
In 1887, he launched America’s first psychology journal.
Furthermore, in 1892, he was the driving force behind the establishment of the
American Psychological Association (APA) and was elected its first president. Today,
the APA is the world’s largest organization devoted to the advancement of psychology,
with over 154000 members and affiliates.
In Canada, the first experimental laboratory was established by James Mark
Baldwin at the University of Toronto in 1891. Rapid growth in Canadian psychology
has been evident over the last century.
Schools of Psychology
1. Structuralism: based on the notion that the task of psychology is to analyze
consciousness into its basic elements and investigate how these elements are
-Depend on the method of introspection which is the careful, systematic
self-observation of one’s own conscious experience.
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-NOF: Edward Titchener
2. Functionalism: based on the belief that psychology should investigate the
function or purpose of consciousness rather than the structure.
-Impressed with Charles Darwin’s concept of natural selection =>
consciousness is an important characteristic which came to be “selected”
-Consciousness consists of a continuous flow of thoughts. Functionalists
call them the stream of consciousness.
-NOF: Williams James (1842 – 1910)
3. Behaviourism (1913 – present): based on the premise that scientific
psychology should study only observable behaviour.
-Behaviour refers to any overt (obvious, observable) response or activity by
-The issue of nature versus nurture, whether behaviour is determined
mainly by genetic inheritance (nature) or by environment and experience
(nurture). Behaviourists believe that bahaviours can be learned or nurtured.
-A stimulus is any detectable input from the environment. Stimuli can range
from light and sound waves to such complex inputs as advertisements on
TV, or sarcastic remarks by a friend. Only observable events (stimulus –
response relationships) can be studied scientifically.
-NOF: John B. Watson (1878 – 1958), B. F. Skinner (1904 – 1990)
4. Psychoanalytic (1900 – present): emphasized the unconscious determinants
of behaviours and the importance of sexuality.
-A method of treatment and a theory of the mind
-NOF: Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939), Carl Jung, Alfred Adler
5. Humanistic (1950s – present): emphasized the unique qualities of humans,
especially their freedom and their potential for personal growth.
-Take an optimistic view of human nature.
-Because human are fundamentally different from other animals, research
on animals has little relevance to the understanding of human behavior.
-NOF: Carl Rogers (1902 – 1987) and Abraham Maslow (1908 – 1970).
6. Cognitive (1950s – present): Human behaviour cannot be fully understood
without examining how people acquire, store and process information.
-Application of scientific methods to studying internal mental events.
-NOF: Jean Piaget, Noam Chomsky
7. Biological (1950s – present): study the relationship between the brain and
behaviour, such as how the brain and nervous system impact our thoughts,
feeling, and moods.
-An organism’s functioning can be explained in terms of the bodily
structures and biochemical processes that underlie behaviour.
-NOF: James Olds, Roger Sperry, David Hubel, Torsten Wiesel
8. Evolutionary (1980s – present): Human behaviour is the result of natural
selection that promote survival and reproduction.
-Studied natural selection of mating preferences, jealousy, aggression,
sexual behaviour, language, decision making, personality, and
-NOF: David Buss, Martin Daly, Margo Wilson, Leda Cosmisdes, John
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