Chapter Summary Notes
-William Wundt - 1st experimental psychology lab
-Psychology is the scientific study if behaviour and the mind, The term behaviour
refers to actions and responses that we can directly observe whereas the mind
refers to internal states and processes, such as thoughts and feelings, that cannot be
seen directly and that must be inferred from observable, measurable responses.
-The primary goals of psychological science are to describe, explain, predict and
influence behaviour and to apply psychological knowledge to enhance human
-Basic research is the quest for knowledge for its own sake, whereas applied
research involves the application of knowledge derived from basic research to solve
-Several perspectives have shaped psychology's scientific growth. Each perspective
views human nature differently and focuses on different causes of behaviour
-Psychology’s intellectual roots lie in philosophy biology, and medicine. In the late
1800's 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 psychodynamic perspective calls attention to unconscious motives, conflicts
and defence mechanisms that influence personality and behaviour. Freud's
psychoanalytic theory emphasized unconscious sexual and aggressive impulses and
early childhood experiences that shape personality.
-With roots in 18th-centruy British empiricism the behavioural perspective
emphasizes how the external environment and learning shape behaviour.
Behaviourist, such as Watson and Skinner, believed that psychology should study
only observable stimuli and responses not unobservable mental processes. They
argued that the key to changing behaviour is modifying the environment.
Behaviourists discovered basic laws of learning through controlled research with
laboratory animals and successfully applied these principles to enhance human
-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-
-The cognitive perspective views humans as information processors, who think,
judge and solve problems. It's 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. Cognitive neuroscience studies brain processes that underlie mental
-The sociocultural perspective examines how the social environment and cultural
leaning influence our behaviour and thoughts. Cultural psychologists study how
culture is transmitted to its members and examine similarities and differences
among people from various cultures. An orientation toward individualism versus
collectivism represents one of many ways in which cultures vary.
-With its 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 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.
-Factors that influence behaviour can be organised into 3 broad levels of analysis.
The BIOLOGICAL level of annalistic focuses on brainpower, 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.
-The scientific process proceeds through several steps: 1) asking questions based on
some type of observation; 2) gathering information and formulating a testable
hypothesis; 3) conducting research to test the hypothesis; 4) analyzing the data,
drawing tentative conclusions and reporting one's findings to the scientific
community; and 5) building a bod of knowledge by asking further questions
conducting more research, and developing and testing theories
-In every day life, we typically use hindsight to explain behaviour and no way to
ascertain which one is correct. Psychologists prefer to test their understanding
through prediction, control, and theory building.
-A good theory organizes known facts, gives rise to additional hypotheses that are
testable, is supported by the findings of new research, and is parsimonious
-An operational definition defines a concept or variable in terms of the specific
procedures used to produce or measure it.
-To measure behaviour, psychologists obtain people's self-reports and reports from
other who know the participants, directly observe behaviour using unobtrusive
measures, analyze archival data, administer psychological tests, and record
-The goal of descriptive research is to identify how organisms behave, particularly
in natural settings. Case studies involve the detailed study of a person, group, or
event, Case studies often suggest important ideas for further research, but they are a
poor method for establishing cause-effect relations.
-Naturalistic observation can yield rich descriptions of behaviour in real-life settings
and permits examination of relations between variables. Researchers must avoid
influencing the participants they observe.
-Surveys involve administering questionnaires or interviews to many people. Most
surveys study a sample of people that is randomly drawn from the larger
population. Representative samples can lead to inaccurate estimates. Survey results
also can be distorted by interviewer bias or biases in the way participants report
-Correlational research measures the association between naturally occurring
variables. A positive correlation means that higher scores on one variable are
associated with higher scores on a second variable. A negative correlation occurs
when higher scores on one variable are associated with lower scores on a second
The primary goals of psychological science are to describe, explain, predict and influence behaviour and to apply psychological knowledge to enhance human welfare. Basic research is the quest for knowledge for its own sake, whereas applied research involves the application of knowledge derived from basic research to solve practical problems. Each perspective views human nature differently and focuses on different causes of behaviour. Psychology"s intellectual roots lie in philosophy biology, and medicine. 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 psychodynamic perspective calls attention to unconscious motives, conflicts and defence mechanisms that influence personality and behaviour. Freud"s psychoanalytic theory emphasized unconscious sexual and aggressive impulses and early childhood experiences that shape personality. With roots in 18th-centruy british empiricism the behavioural perspective emphasizes how the external environment and learning shape behaviour.