Psych: Evolution of a Science 3/13/2013 8:47:00 AM
(PSYCH DAY 1 IN DIFFERENT DOCUMENT)
Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behavior.
Psychologists engage in the study of psychology in order to understand,
explain and predict behavior.
The Major Philosophical Issues
Free Will- the way that one behaves is completely determined by
whatever spirit moves them. We don‟t know what you are going to
do because you don‟t know what you are going to do.
Determinism- Your behavior is determined. It is caused by some
specific event of experience, or genes. We can explain all behavior
if we understood all factors that influence it. Everything happens for
a reason, everything has a specific cause.
Clinical psychology- cognitive, behaviorism Methods of Psychology 3/13/2013 8:47:00 AM
Cognitive Psychology- study of mental processes
Broadbent (1858) only attend to a limited number of stimuli at a time
Miller (1956) studied how much information you could hold in your head at
any given time. He determined you can hold about 7 items in your memory
(telephone numbers) Opened the floodgates for studying mental processes.
Cognitive neuroscience- studies the links between cognitive
processes and brain activity.
Karl Lashley made major contribution to neuroscience. He destroyed
different regions of the brain in a rat and looked for where memory was
stored. He did not come up with the area of the brain where memories was
stored. Was not a single area of the brain that was solely responsible for
memory. Opened the way for behavioral neuroscience.
Evolutionary Psychology- mind and behavior is explained by
adaptive value of abilities preserved by natural selection.
Cultural psychology- how cultures reflect and shape the psychology
processes of their members. How does culture influence how we
think. Does it have a major affect? If so that person is viewed as a
relativist. If culture has little effect on the way we think you are an
47% of doctorates awarded in psychology are clinical psychologists.
Scientific Methods of Psychology
Empiricism- accurate knowledge of the world requires observation.
Way of evaluating knowledge through observation.
Science from Latin roots: „scientia‟ meaning “knowledge”
Scientific method- accurate measure of some phenomenon. Serious
of guidelines for evaluating claims where claims are in fact
hypothesis. Provides a set of principles about the relationship
between an idea and evidence. Provides evidence that is probable support for an idea or observation. You cannot prove a fact but you
can lend increasingly supportive evidence.
What is a theory?
A theory is a comprehensive explanation of observable events and
A good theory makes precise and consistent predictions.
Falsifiability- can you test it and determine if its true or false.
Parsimony- obeys laws of parsimony. Keep it simple. Good theories
are simple. The simpler the explanation the better. Based on the
fewest number of assumptions.
How do we support claims scientifically?
The scientific word for a claim is hypothesis.
A hypothesis testable prediction
We create hypothesis, develop method to test hypothesis,
hypothesis is tested, evaluation is made, you either find results that
support hypothesis which leads you to be confident or the opposite
and you may find results that don‟t support your hypothesis which
means confidence in your hypothesis is diminished.
Video is she a witch? Conclusion- she is a witch based on her weight
Just goes to show- even if you apply logic and hypothesis testing,
confirmation does not prove your claim.
Why is observing humans so difficult?
Operational definition- defines the property to be measured in concrete
3 Properties of a good measure Validity- the measure and the property are related. The property
happiness is related to the measure smiling. They are linked to
Reliability- every time you go out to measure you get the same
response, it is a reliable response.
Power- detect differences in the measure, when differences exist.
Big smile should be dramatic change in emg response. When you
are not smiling you should not have the same high emg response.
Detecting differences in the measuring of emg response.
The small number of individuals or observations is called a sample.
Convenience sample- convenient sample, just choosing by hanging
around people leaving a store and whoever answers is part of
sample. Not chosen for any particular reason.
Random sample- any individual has the same probability of being
selected into a specific group as anyone else.
Observer Bias- unintentional distortion of procedures/results based on
Counteracting Experimenter bias:
Placebo control- treatment that makes if difficult for subjects
(single-blind) or subjects and experimenter (double-blind) to know
who has received the treatment and who has not.
General Principals of Research
Experiment: a study in which the investigator manipulates at least
one variable (independent) while measuring at least one other
Independent variable: manipulated variable, e.g. exposure to media
Dependent variable: measures variable, e.g. aggression
Naturalistic Observation- careful monitoring and examination of
what subjects do under natural circumstances. Demand Characteristics
Observational Research Design
Case Study- a thorough observation of a single individual.
Survey- study of beliefs, attitudes, or behaviors based on response
to specific questions.
Correlation is a measure of the relationship between two variables.
Correlation coefficient- can range from -1.0 to +1.0
Some problems with interpreting correlation research: correlation is not
equal to causation
Third variable correlation
Normal or Gaussian distribution
Measures of variability- range and standard deviation
Ethical concerns in research involving human subjects
Use of informed consent
Institutional research board (IRB) approval
Criteria for care and use of animals are established by professional
APA the Neuroscience society animal care committees at research
institutions Neuroscience and Behavior ch. 3 3/13/2013 8:47:00 AM
Franz Gall- phrenology
Nervous System Cells
Neurons are a unique type of cell that can receive and transmit
Gila are the support cells.
Anatomy of a neuron
Neurons have a variety of shapes.
3 basic parts: dendrites, cell body, axon
An action potential is an excitation that travels along the axon.
An action potential is an all-or-none process.
Resting and Action Potential (diagram in book)
Resting potential- difference in voltage between inside and outside cell
During an action potential, sodium (Na+) gates open, Na+ ions
enter the axon.
After an action potential, Na+ close, potassium (K+) gates open,
and K+ flow out of the axon.
Synapse is a specialized junction between two neurons where chemical
messages cross from one to the other
Neurotransmitters and Behavior
Parkinson‟s disease- linked to a gradual loss of the neurotransmitter
(table 3.1 neurotransmitters and their functions)
acetylcholine, dopamine, glutamate, GABA, norepinephrine, serotonin,
A drug that can act at the synapse on a specific receptor site
The Major divisions of the Nervous System Peripheral, central
Peripheral- autonomic, somatic
Central Nervous system- brain, spinal cord
Peripheral Nervous System
Somatic- controls voluntary muscles and conveys sensory information to the
central nervous system
Autonomic- controls involuntary muscles
Sympathetic: expends energy
Parasympathetic: conserves energy