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McMaster University
Joe Kim

Levels of AnalysisSeptember1412210 AMUnit 1 What is PsychologyIntroducing PsychologyDef Psychology science of the mind and behaviour where psych uses scientific methods to answer questions through systematic collection and analysis of dataMindmental processes and subjective experiences that make up your sensations perceptions memories thoughts motives andemotionsBehaviourobservable actionsRelated to psychBrain sensation perception memory language animal behaviour friendship attraction stress health child developmentExperimental psychologist work in uni research centres industry to research and understand human thought and behaviourPsychology is a Diverse FieldQuestions askedHow do you recognize a familiar faceHow do social relationships influence your personality How do selective pressures influence the behaviours expressed in a certain environment What are the best strategies for learning new infoTeaches us how we think feel develop learn love interact and growPsychology in our Daily LivesHow does consciousness emerge from the coordinated actions of neurons in the brain Or why do some people fall into a patternof addictive behavioursCritical thinking is essential or might be susceptible to unproven hypotheses eg Water flows down drain in opposite directions in the Northern and Southern hemispheres and we only use 10 of our brainsPsychology as a ScienceExperimental psychology uses scientific method to collect evaluate and interpret info to draw conclusionsUnit 2 A Brief History of PsychologyPsychologys ParentsEbbinghaus Psychology has a long past but a short history 1908To become a science psych needs to break links with the preceding era of mere speculationDef Psychology the term psychology comes from the Greek words psyche which means souland logos meaning wordAristotlePlato how do we learn and remember where does knowledge come fromRene Descartes suggested that mind and body were distinct entities that were causally linked in a dualistic relationship mind controlled movements of the mechanical body mind in turn received info from the outside through the sense organs1800s new tools to explore brainMuller proposed that like an electrical current flowing along a metal conductor the messages transmitted by nerves were coded as electrical impulses that travelled along different channelsHelmholtz measured speed of nerve impulses and found it to be 90 ftsec not as fast as electrical currentsuggests that neural communication involved processes that were much more complex than just an electrical signal traveling along a wireMuller also proposed that particular parts of the body are connected to specific areas of the brain to serve different functions idea supported by Flourens who systematically destroyed different regions of an animals brainFluorens learned which brain regions control heart rate breathing and processing of visual and auditory reflexesPsychology as an Independent Field1879 German scientist Wilhelm Wundt opened first lab devoted to psychology structuralism1881 Wundt launched 1st scientific journal devoted to publishing psych researchWundts student G Stanley Hall founded American Psychological Association in 1892TitchenerWundts student developed a new approach to psychology known as structuralismDef structuralismpsychology should focus on the elements of conscious thought and perception the structure of our mental experiences By means of reducing conscious experience to its core components such as sensations feelings and imagesData was collected through introspectionexperimenters trained subjects to carefully observe and report their own experiencesMost research inspired by a structuralist view focuses on visual auditory touch sensation and perceptionDef Psychophysicsstudy of the relation between human perception and physical realityLooking AheadEarly focus of psych was on the mind little attention on brainToday researches draw more direct links between brain and behaviour Modern DevelopmentsThe Adaptive Nature of Consciousness James and FunctionalismJames functionalismfocuses on what conscious thoughts are for rather than of what they are madeJames and colleagues argued that structuralists were guilty of reductionism breaking a problem into successively smaller and smaller pieces they both lose the sight of the big questions and lose the ability to answer them in a meaningful wayPerception and Reality Wertheimer and GestaltGestalt school of psychology centered on the work of Wertheimer Koffka and others2 influential principles of study of human thought and behaviourPrinciple of Totality the study of any conscious experience must simultaneously take into account all the mental and physical aspects of the individualPrinciple of psychophysical isomorphism there was a systematic relation between any conscious experience and physical events occurring in the brain and central nervous systemUnit 3 Introduction to Levels of AnalysisMultiple Levels of Analysis3 basic levels of anayses Psychological Biological and EnvironmentalPsychological Level of AnalysisMost intuitive level to approach an understanding of human thought and behaviourState questions and look for answers in terms of mental events taking place in our subjectsConcerns related to the role of what lies within a subjects mind How do thoughts memories and emotions motivate our actionsBiological Level of AnalysisPsychologists focus on physiological mechanisms that underlie thoughts and behaviourIncludes structure and function of the brain the molecular effects of neurotransmitters and hormones and how genetic factorscontribute to behaviourEg Studies the role of key neurotransmitters such as serotonin in mood disorders and genetic factors that make some individuals more prone to depressionMagnetic resonance imaging MRI electroencephalography EEG electron microscopy and DNA sequencing enhanced ability to understand biological roots of thought and behaviourEnvironmental Level of AnalysisConcerned with understanding how social cultural and learning interactions can influence thought and behaviourEg Studies condition that triggered and maintain feeling of depression Working to change these external influences may bring positive changes PSYCH 1X03 Page 1 Unit 4 Introduction to PerspectivesMultiple PerspectivesDiagnostic behaviourist psychodynamic cognitive biological developmental evolutionary socioculturalBroad viewspsychological biological and environmentalPerspective that has specific goals and involves 1 levels of analysis include Behavioural Cognitive Neuroscience Developmental Evolutionary and SocioculturalBehavioural PerspectivePavlov reported experiments which demonstrated involuntary learning in dogs demonstration of learning provided a mechanismby which experience with the environment could alter behaviourJohn B Watson father of BehaviourismThis perspective argues that overt behaviour is the only valid means of measure in psychologyWatson argued that scientists should consider the mind to be an off limits black box that takes input and makes outputWhat happens inside the black box should be considered outside the domain of scienceResearchers focus on designing carefully controlled experiments to understand the influence of the environmental level of analysis on behaviourWatson believed in the role of nurture over nature in influencing human behaviourWatson Give me a dozen healthy infants wellformed and my own special world to bring them up in and Ill guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select doctor lawyer artists merchantchief and yes even beggarman and thief regardless of his talents penchants tendencies abilities vocations and race of his ancestorsBF Skinner carried on this view on nurture agreed that although internal mental events must surely exist they remained impossible to measure in a scientific wayHe argued that everything we want to know about an organism can be gained by studying its behaviour General laws of stimulusresponse could explain that an organism will repeat a behaviour if it leads to something pleasant and not repeat a behaviour if it leads to something unpleasantform core of therapy called behaviour modification used in schools factories mental hospitals etcToday technology has allowed us to open the black box and led to opportunities to bridge behavioural perspective to other perspectivesUnconscious Motives Freud and PsychoanalysisPsychoanalysis the school of psychology founded by Sigmund Freud that emphasized conscious conflicts and desires as the motivators of behaviourAt the core of this theory was the idea of the unconsciousFreud suggested that a large portion of our internal mental world was inaccessible to our conscious awareness since we use repression to push down traumatic memories This is a way for the conscious mind to defend itself against trauma and conflictAlthough traumatic material is confined to the unconscious it is still capable of influencing conscious thinking and behaviour in a number of waysAccording to this view the best treatment for a wide variety of mental or behavioural disorders was to seek out the underlying unconscious material at the rootPsychology is the study of unconscious conflict and motivationUnit 5 Introduction to PerspectivesThe Cognitive PerspectivePure behavioural perspective advised that notions of studying the internal events of the mind had to be abandoned for psych to become a scienceIt simplified the view of complex processes like memory into stimulus response relationships1960s the Cognitive Revolution argued that psych must return to an interest in the internal events of the mind but under the right circumstances This movement argued that proper scientific methods can be applied to study internal mental processes that are necessary to fully understand behaviourRealm of memory research suggested that memory wasnt static but rather a reconstructive process that resulted in the retrieved information being changed to better fit with our preconceived ideas and or current circumstancesModels in CognitionDef Models abstract representations of how the mind functions Can be used to make predictions and design experimentsPure cognitive perspective operates at the psychological level of analysis and isnt necessarily concerned with describing the mind in terms of the physiology of the brainCognitive psychologistsuse models to construct abstract representations of how the mind functions They focus on memory attention categorization and decision makingEg Single Memory Model assume that there is only one memory storage and info goes in and can be recalled when needed not accurate representation ofmemory so a change is made New model info first enters a temporary short term memory and with some processing some info can enter the permanent long term memoryNew model is then further tested More info is found to support new model so old model is abandonedModels provide framework to describe data and generate interesting testable questions however it may not be the true model on how things work it may be the best and most useful model until something better comesHuman Exceptionalism Rogers and HumanismHumanist psychology primarily therapeutic psychological movement focused on providing acceptance and encouraging personal growthRogers believed that humanist psychology ignored central issues of human thought and behaviour he believed in human selfconcept or internal self representation was central to understanding human behaviourHe also suggested that this mental self portrait was a characteristic not shared by other species and that much of the work done by behaviourists animal subjects was irrelevant to human conditionMaslow went on to identify the quest for personal growth asa primary motivating factor in human behaviourUnit 6 The Biological Perspective and ReductionismThe Biological Perspective and ReductionismBiological perspective has benefitted through technology to understand the physiological mechanisms of thought and behaviour but it can lead to reductionismDef ReductionismAll human behaviour can be reduced to the biology of the brain Our understanding of the brain is incompleteFrancis Crick devoted latter half of his life after genetics to questions like how does human consciousness arise What is self Can the brain figure itself outOverly restricted view fails to capture subtleties and complexity of processes being studied Additional levels of analysis can enrich this perspectiveIntroduction to NeuroimagingUsed to drill through skull to expose brainModern techniques XRays CT scan etcNeuroimaging is a non invasive method to examine a subjects brain while the subject is fully awakeStructural neuroimaging see physical makeup of the brain Eg Sex differences in the size of a region of the brainFunctional neuroimaging see what brain does Eg Examine whether men and women use the same areas of the brain to perform a particular taskUnit 7 Evolutionary and Developmental PerspectivesEvolutionary and Developmental PerspectivesEg If we ask why do men tend to be more aggressive than women a neuroscientist may conclude that the cause is elevated testosteroneproximate causePsychologist adopting evolutionary perspective wants to explore the ultimate cause Does it make adaptive sense for men to be more aggressive than women Do levels of aggression have an important role in competition and survival in an evolutionary contextDevelopmental PsychologyHow genetic and environmental factors contribute to changes in behaviour over a lifespan Eg Factors that determine the different rates of alcoholism in individuals and populationsEvolutionary Psychology How behaviours develop over many generations and possibly even the history of a speciesMethods of Developmental ResearchDevelopmental researchers often study infants who are unable to articulate or perform complex experimental tasks so researchers must devise methods to compensateEg A developmental psychologist is interested in determining the age at which an infant can first tell individuals apart Since infants are attracted to novel pictures a picture of a person is shown to the infant repeatedly until the infant becomes bored also known as habituation A new pic is presented to the infant and if the infant begins looking with renewed interest it suggests that he recognized it as a new individual Vice versa PSYCH 1X03 Page 2 begins looking with renewed interest it suggests that he recognized it as a new individual Vice versaUnit 8 The SocioCultural PerspectiveThe SocioCultural PerspectiveFocuses on how individuals are influenced by culture and interactions with other peoplePsychologists are interested in one of 3 things the influence of a group on a group the influence of a group on an individual or the influence of one group on another groupEg A social psychologist interested in understanding how crowds react in an emergency situation creates an artificial social situation in which there Is a perceived emergency He systematically manipulates variables such as severity of the emergency or size of the groupcan help predict social behaviour in real life situationsEthicsNote that psychologists must be aware of ethical concerns because they may have to deceive individuals to create artificial social situationsIn creating an artificial social situation the participants often cannot know the true purpose of the experiment and experimenter must consider the ethics of deceptionEthics committees govern ethical questions many o which are a direct result of classic experiments in social psychology fromthe late 50s and 60s Milgram ExperimentUniversity Research Ethics Board pass standards EEG experimentUnit 9 Perspectives on our CaseUnderstanding Depression A Behavioural PerspectiveBehavioural psychologists are only interested in the specific behaviours associated with depressionThese maladaptive behaviours are the problem and if a therapy can be designed to modify the cues and behaviours associated with depression the disorder is curedQuestion what are the behaviours associated with depression and how can they be alteredOne behaviourist view of depression inspired by animal research on a phenomenon called learned helplessness subjects learn through repeated trials that they are unable to escape an unpleasant stimulus and learn that it is helpless and doesnt try to escape from similar situations in the future even when there is a clear course of action to avoid the unpleasant stimulusThis behaviour in animals is similar to depressed humans where they have learned in the past that their actions are ineffective for escaping their negative circumstancestreatment to overcome learned helplessness may be helpful to overcome depressionUnderstanding Depression Other PerspectivesDifferent perspectives would be interested in something differentUnit 10 ConclusionMany Valid ApproachesPerspectives are interconnectedFunction of the brain drives the cognitive processes of the mind which influences the development of the social being which can drive competition between individuals PSYCH 1X03 Page 3
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