What is a casual event?
- An event that causes another event to occur
What is Psychology?
- The scientific study of the causes of human behaviour
What are the 12 fields of psychology?
1) Physiological: examines physiology of behaviour (especially the nervous system)
2) Comparative: comparing the behaviour of the members of a variety of species.
3) Behaviour Analysis: looks at the environmental effects on behaviour (learning, motivation;
relationship between behaviour and a consequent event)
4) Behaviour genetics: the role genetics plays in behaviour
5) Cognitive: study of mental processes & complex behaviours. (perception attention, learning and
memory, verbal behaviour, concept formation, problem solving)
6) Cognitive Neuroscience: which parts of the brain are responsible for certain mental processes
and behaviours? (Same as cognitive psych but looks at the actual parts of the brain that do it.)
7) Developmental: how behaviour develops through a lifetime (social, physical, cognitive and
8) Social: the influence other people have on ones behaviour.
9) Personality: categorizes/understand the causes of individual differences in patterns of
10) Evolutionary: the study of behaviour throughout evolution (natural selection**)
11) Cross-cultural: effects of culture on behaviour
12) Clinical: diagnoses and treats behavioural and psychological disorders.
Philosophical roots of Psychology:
o Primitive philosophy: every animal has a spirit providing their motive force
- Psychology is based on the assumption that behaviour is strictly subject to physical laws like any
other phenomenon. *this thought evolved through centuries*
- Rene Descartes (1596-1650) proposed 2 ideas:
o Reflex: the automatic response
o Dualism: philosophical belief that reality consists of mind and matter.
- Everyone is conscious of their own existence
- We believe our conscious mind controls our behaviour generally
- We consider alternatives, make plans, etc. Early Psychology:
A) Rationalism: (Descartes) pursuit of thought through reason
B) Materialism: reality can only be known through an understanding of the physical world.
C) Empiricism: all knowledge is obtained through the senses and experience
D) Structuralism: (Wundt) emphasizes an introspective (looking within) analysis of sensation and
E) Functionalism: strategy of understanding behavioural features by establishing their usefulness
(Survival and reproductive success)
i) Behaviourism: the only proper subject matter for scientific study in psychology is
ii) Humanistic Psychology: emphasizes human experience, choice, creativity, self-realization
and positive growth.
iii) Gestalt psychology: cognitive processes could be understood by studying their organization
Development of psychology:
i) Psychophysics: measure the quantitative relation between physical stimulation and
ii) Determinism: doctrine that behaviour is the result of prior elements.
Major types of scientific research:
a) Naturalistic observation: Observation of behaviour in natural environments.
b) Clinical observation: Observation of people who are undergoing diagnosis or treatment.
c) Connectional studies: examination of relations between two or more measurements of
behaviour (doesn’t prove causation***)
d) Experiments: researcher changes the independent variable and observes the effects of the
dependent variable in a controlled environment (proves causation**)
e) Case studies: individual study on a case (written out like a biography)
f) Surveys: collecting information about a large number of people. Extrapolates (makes the results
different/larger) for a different sized population (usually larger)
5 Steps of the Scientific Method:
1) Identify the problem, formulate a hypothesis and identify the variables
2) Design your experiment
3) Perform said experiment
4) Evaluate your hypothesis (correct or incorrect?) by examining the data from the study
(experiment you just performed)
5) Communicate your results Principles of a good experimental design are:
a) Clear connections between the experiment, observations and conclusions.
b) You can determine a relationship between the variables
c) You can infer causality was due to strict control (experiment) *AKA what happened was
purposeful and because of what you did
d) Considers validity, reliability and generalization
e) Randomly selecting a sample from all possible members of the population necessary
Problems with selection of participants include but are not limited to: people leaving the
I. Validity: the degree to which the operational definition of a variable accurately reflects the
variable it is designed to measure or manipulate. If something is valid than it is correct and true
to what it is used for.
II. Reliability: the likelihood that if the measurement was made again it would yield the same result
(not due to chance). SO if multiple experiments are done they would have the same result =
reliability. Reliable = happens over and over again without fail.
Subjective vs Objective (Measurements)
- Subjective measurements require judgement and expertise to study the variables
- Objective measurements can be made by anyone and are just a general procedure that anyone
Independent and Dependent variables
- Independent variables are variables that are manipulated to determine the causation (don’t
change because of anything un-purposeful)
- Dependent variables are the variables that are being measured (depend on the independent.
Change is possible)
What does statistically significant mean?
- The likelihood that the observed relation between two variables exists
- It is not due to chance
Guidelines to promote the humane and ethical treatment of living participants
o Safety; that the benefits outweigh the risks; that there is informed consent obtained;
and that there is privacy. 4 main goals of health psychology:
1) Health promotion and maintenance
2) Prevention and treatment of illness
3) The cause and correlations of health what causes good and bad health
4) Analyze and improve health
4 ways to cope with stress:
1) Problem focused coping: engage in behaviour to directly reduce/eliminate stressor
2) Emotion focused coping: reduce distress produced by stressor (social support, relax, exercise)
3) Proactive coping: beforehand to prevent/reduce the stressful event
4) Stress inoculation training: prepares people for negative effects of stressful events. Gives skills
to deduce their susceptibility to those effects
How does stress affect our bodies?
a) Short term:
o Adrenaline secreted: increased heart rate, blood pressure and blood sugar
o Breathing speeds up for more oxygen
o Digestion slows down to divert energy elsewhere
b) Long term:
o Increases the spread of cancer
o Causes illness
o Increases blood pressure
o Weakens immune system
i. All of these can lead to unhealthy behaviours
Physiological basis of the stress response:
- Reflexes = instant survival reactions
- Adrenaline flows quicker
- Our body goes on alert; our senses quickly gather information on stressors and solutions
- Once the threat is removes; our body goes back to baseline state
- Frequent flight or fight (physically and psychologically) reactions can cause harm to the body
3 stages of the general adaptation syndrome
1) Alarm: fight or flight or other response occurs
2) Resistance stage: body adjusting to stressor
3) Exhaustion stage: after prolonged exposure to stressor body wears out 2 steps in Lazarus and Folkman’s model
- 1 : do I perceive a threat?
o If no: Stops
o If yes: -> 2 : can I cope with the threat?
If no: Greater stress -> Worse health outcomes
If yes: Less Stress -> Better Health outcomes
Theory of planned Behaviour
- Attitudes: represents our positive and negative evaluation of the behaviour in question
- Subjective Norms: represent our beliefs about what other people think we should do
- Perceived Behavioural Control: represent our confidence that we can achieve the desired
All part of Behavioural Intention which is essentially Behaviour
Benefits of unhealthy and healthy behaviours:
- Unhealthy: Highly rewarding immediately; more likely to be repeated; become learned habits
- Healthy: predict long term benefits
Ways in which genes and environment interact to produce mental disorders
- Most mental disorders have a genetic basis
- Our environment can significantly affect how the genetic disposition is manifested
- Brains can be changed by the environment
- However, the most severe disorders (endogenous) occur without environmental triggers
- Genetic disposition is only fully expressed when triggered by environmental stress
3 conditions that must be met to be diagnosed as having a mental disorder
1) Impairment is clinically significant
a. Causes severe distress, impairs functioning
2) Behaviour is internally driven
a. Source of distress or impairment is located within the person
3) The behaviour is involuntary
a. Cannot be deliberate voluntary decision, person isn’t doing it purposely.
3 factors that can cause abnormal behaviour
1) Biological (brain function)
2) Psychological (learning experiences)
3) Sociological (cultural views about normal and abnormal) Describe DSM-IV-TR and the pros/cons of the system
- Developed various strategies to increase the reliability and validity of mental disorder diagnoses
- Outlines all legitimate mental disorders known
- Includes the specific criteria required for each disorder’s diagnosis.
- It changes quite often due to new disorders or criteria
Pros: Leads to better treatment and more fruitful research.
Cons: it is a difficult and subjective process
Risks and problems of diagnosing psychological disorders
- Sex differences
- Bias in diagnosis
- Reporting symptoms (men supress distress)
- Biological: societal expectations (anorexia)
Mental Disorders! Causes? Sympto