PSYC 1000 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Applied Behavior Analysis, Gestalt Psychology, Reinforcement

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Published on 13 Apr 2013
School
University of Guelph
Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC 1000
Professor
Chapter One
Psychology: The Science of Behaviour
The Nature of Psychology
Psychology is the scientific study of behaviour. The term behaviour refers to actions and responses that can be
observed and measured directly as well as mental processes such as thoughts and feelings that must be
inferred from directly observable responses.
Basic research is the quest for knowledge for its own sake, where as applied research involves the application
of knowledge derived from basic research to solve practical problems.
The primary goals of psychological science are to describe, explain, predict, and influence behaviour and to
apply psychological knowledge to enhance human welfare.
Perspectives on Behaviour: Guides to Understanding and Discovery
Several perspectives have shaped psychology’s scientific growth. Each perspective views human nature
differently and focuses on different causes of behaviour.
With roots in physiology, medicine, and Darwin’s theory of evolution, the biological perspective examines
how bodily functions regulate behaviour. Physiological psychologists study brain processes and other
physiological functions that underlie our behaviour, sensory experiences, emotions, and thoughts.
Behaviour geneticists study how behaviour is influenced by our genetic inheritance. Evolutionary
psychologists examine behaviour in terms of its adaptive functions and seek to explain how evolution has
biologically predisposed modern humans toward certain ways of behaving
Psychology’s intellectual roots lie in philosophy, biology, and medicine. In the late 1800s, Wundt and James
helped found psychology. Structuralism, which examined the basic components of consciousness, and
functionalism, which focused on the purposes of consciousness, were psychology’s two earliest schools of
thought
The cognitive perspective views humans as information processors who think, judge, and solve problems. Its
roots lie in the early schools of structuralism, functionalism, and Gestalt psychology. Piaget’s work on
cognitive development, the study of linguistics, and the advent of computers sparked new interest in mental
processes. Research in artificial intelligence develops computer models of human thought, whereas
cognitive neuroscience studies brain processes that underlie mental activity. Social constructivism
maintains that much of what we call reality is a creation of our own mental processes.
The psychodynamic perspective calls attention to unconscious motives, conflicts, and defence mechanisms
that influence our personality and behaviour. Freud’s psychoanalytic theory emphasized unconscious
sexual and aggressive impulses and early childhood experiences that shape personality.
With roots in 18th-century British empiricism, the behavioural perspective emphasizes how the external
environment and learning shape behaviour. Behaviourists such as Watson and Skinner believed that
psychology should only study observable stimuli and responses, not unobservable mental processes. They
argued that to change behaviour, the key is to modify the environment. Behaviourists discovered basic laws
of learning through controlled research with laboratory animals and successfully applied these principles to
enhance human welfare.
Humanists reject the notion that people are controlled by unconscious forces or merely react to environmental
stimuli. Instead, the humanistic perspective emphasizes personal freedom and choice, psychological
growth, and self-actualization.
The sociocultural perspective examines how the social environment and cultural learning influence our
behaviour and thoughts. Cultural psychologists study how culture is transmitted to its members and
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examine similarities and differences among people from various cultures. An orientation toward
individualism versus collectivism represents one of many ways in which cultures vary.
Integrating the Perspectives: Three Levels of Analysis
Factors that influence behaviour can be organized into three broad levels of analysis. The biological level of
analysis focuses on brain processes, hormonal and genetic influences, and evolutionary adaptations that
underlie behaviour. The psychological level of analysis examines mental processes and psychological
motives, and how they influence behaviour. The environmental level of analysis calls attention to physical
and social stimuli, including cultural factors, that shape our behaviour and thoughts.
To understand behaviour, we often move back and forth between these levels of analysis. For example, when
as children we are first exposed to cultural norms, those norms reflect a characteristic of our environment.
However, once we adopt norms as our own, they become a part of our worldview and now represent the
psychological level of analysis.
Biological, psychological, and environmental factors contribute to the development of depression. These
factors can also interact to influence a given behaviour. It may take only a mild setback to trigger
depression in a person who has a strong biological predisposition toward depression whereas a person who
does not have such a biological predisposition may become depressed only after suffering a severe setback
Fields within Psychology
Psychologists specialize in numerous subfields and work in many settings. Their professional activities
include teaching, research, clinical work, and application of psychological principles to solve personal and
social problems.
Psychologists today conduct research and provide services around the globe.
You can use principles derived from psychological science to enhance your learning and increase your
likelihood of performing well on tests. These include time management principles, strategies for studying
more effectively, test-preparation strategies and techniques for taking tests.
Key Terms
Applied Research: research involving the application of scientific knowledge to solve practical problems
Artificial Intelligence: the field within cognitive science that attempts to develop computer simulations of human
mental processes
Basic Research: research designed to obtain knowledge for its own sake
Behaviour Genetics: the scientific study of the role of genetic inheritance in behaviour
Behaviour Modification: therapeutic procedures based on operant conditioning principles, such as positive
reinforcement, operant extinction, and punishment
Behavioural Perspective: a view that emphasizes the manner in which the environment and the learning
experiences it provides shape and control behaviour
Behaviourism: school of psychology that emphasizes the role of learning and environmental control over
behaviour, and maintains that the proper subject matter of psychology is observable behaviour; Watson and Skinner
were major figures in behaviourism
Biological Perspective: perspective that focuses on the role of biological factors in behaviour, including
biochemical and brain processes as well as genetic and evolutionary factors
British Empiricism: philosophical perspective, all the contents of the mind are gained experientially through the
senses
Cognitive Behaviourism: behavioural approach that incorporates cognitive concepts, suggesting that the
environment influences our behaviour by affecting our thoughts and fiving us information; these cognitive processes
allow us to control our behaviour and the environment
Cognitive Perspective: psychological perspective that views humans as rational information processors and
problem solvers, and focuses on the mental processes that influence behaviour
Collectivism: a cultural factor that emphasizes the achievement of the group rather than individual goals and in
which personal identity is largely defined by ties to the larger social group (see individualism)
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Culture: the enduring values, beliefs, behaviours, and traditions that are shared by a large group of people and
passed from one generation to the next
Evolutionary Psychology: a field of study that focuses on the role of evolutionary processes (especially natural
selection) in the development of adaptive psychological mechanisms and social behaviour in humans
Functionalism: an early school of American psychology that focused on the functions of consciousness and
behaviour in helping organisms adapt to their environment and satisfy their needs
Gestalt Psychology: a German school of psychology that emphasized the natural organization of perceptual
elements into whiles, or patters, as well as the role of insight in problem solving
Humanistic Perspective: a psychological perspective that emphasizes personal freedom, choice, and self-
actualization
Hysteria: a psychological disorder studied and treated by Freud in which physical symptoms appear without any
apparent underlying organic cause
Individualism: a cultural characteristic that favours the achievement of the individual over group goals and which is
characteristic of many Western nations; self-identity is based primarily on one’s own attributes and achievements
(see collectivism)
Insight: in Gestalt psychology, the sudden perception of a useful relationship or solution to a problem; in
psychoanalysis, the conscious awareness of unconscious dynamics that underlie psychological problems
Interaction: in analyzing causal factors, the influence that the presence or strength of one factor can have on other
causal factors
Introspection: the method of “looking within” and verbally reporting on immediate experience; used by the
structuralists to study the contents of the mind
Jigsaw Program: an applied research program in which knowledge gained from basic research on factors that
increase and decrease intergroup hostility was translated into a cooperative learning program designed to reduce
interracial hostility in racially integrated schools
Levels of Analysis: an approach to analysing behavioural phenomena and their causal factors in terms of biological,
psychological, and environmental factors
Mind-Body Dualism: the philosophical position that the mind is a non-physical entity that is not subject to physical
laws and cannot be reduced to physical processes; body and mind are separate entities
Monism: the philosophical position that mental events are reducible to physical events in the brain, so that “mind”
and body are one and the same
Natural Selection: the evolutionary process through which characteristics that increase the likelihood of survival
are preserved in the gene pool and thereby become more common in a species over time
Norms: test scores derived from a relevant sample used to evaluate individual’s scores; behavioural “rules”
Perspective: a theoretical vantage point from which to analyze behaviour and its causes
Psychodynamic Perspective: a psychological perspective that focuses on inner personality dynamics, including the
role of unconscious impulses and defences, in understanding behaviour
Psychology: the scientific study of behaviour and its causes
Repression: the basic defence mechanism that actively keeps anxiety-arousing materiel in the unconscious
Self-Actualization: in humanistic theories, an inborn tendency to strive toward the realization of one’s full potential
Social Constructivism: the position that people construct their reality and beliefs through their cognition
Sociobiology: an evolutionary theory of social behaviour that emphasizes the role of adaptive behaviour in
maintaining one’s genes in the species’ gene pool
Sociocultural Perspective: a perspective that emphasizes the role of culture and the social environment in
understanding commonalties and differences in human behaviour
Structuralism: an early German school of psychology established by Wilhelm Wundt that attempted to study the
structure of the mind by breaking it down into its basic components, thought to be sensations
Terror Management Theory: a theory that focuses on the ways people defend against the fear of death
Chapter Two
Studying Behaviour Scientifically
Scientific Principles in Psychology
Curiosity, scepticism, and open-mindedness are key scientific attitudes. The scientific process proceeds
through several steps: (1) asking questions based on some type of observation; (2) formulating a tentative
explanation and a testable hypothesis; (3) conducting research to test the hypothesis; (4) analyzing the data
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Document Summary

The term behaviour refers to actions and responses that can be observed and measured directly as well as mental processes such as thoughts and feelings that must be inferred from directly observable responses. Basic research is the quest for knowledge for its own sake, where as applied research involves the application of knowledge derived from basic research to solve practical problems. The primary goals of psychological science are to describe, explain, predict, and influence behaviour and to apply psychological knowledge to enhance human welfare. Perspectives on behaviour: guides to understanding and discovery. Each perspective views human nature differently and focuses on different causes of behaviour. With roots in physiology, medicine, and darwin"s theory of evolution, the biological perspective examines how bodily functions regulate behaviour. Physiological psychologists study brain processes and other physiological functions that underlie our behaviour, sensory experiences, emotions, and thoughts. Behaviour geneticists study how behaviour is influenced by our genetic inheritance.

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