[PSYA01H3] - Midterm Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam (27 pages long!)

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PSYA01H3
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE
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PSYA01 – Lecture 1 (Chapter 1) - There’s No Soul in Psychology:
A science is defined as applying a scientific method, or when a concept is approved or
disproved. It is also testing predictions. Psychology is considered a science because people
want to figure out how people behave via the scientific method. Psychology was discovered
very recently and is considered one of the youngest and newest sciences. It came into effect in
the late 1800s.
For many years, humans thought that they were some sort of spiritual being and everything else
was below them. Science says concepts like religion do not matter when trying to further
understand a topic since you cannot scientifically study it. Science uses facts and examples to
explain certain topics and follows natural laws. A natural law would be considered like the law of
gravity since it follows specific rules and laws. It is also based on predictions and predictions are
based on constrains of some sort. Souls do not conform to natural laws so we cannot use
science to understand them.
Concept of Intelligence:
The concept of intelligence is like the concept of magic.
For example, if we see a magician performing a special trick, we are fascinated since we
do not know how they are preforming the trick. If we knew the background information,
the trick wouldn’t be as interesting as it was when we didn’t know the background
information. We are still impressed by the ability of the person performing the trick, but it
does seem to be magical anymore.
Likewise, we call people intelligent because they are successful and we don’t
understand the exact concept. We will not call something intelligent if we know the
background information. If we make complex machines but know the logic behind it, then
it won’t be interesting anymore.
Animism:
Animism means to give a soul to something. If we don’t know the concepts or laws
behind something, we will come up with our own explanations.
There was a time when everything was considered to be made from the four elements:
fire, water, earth, and air. For example, if we drop a pair of keys onto the floor, back then
they would give the item a ‘soul’ by applying characteristics to it. They would say that
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since it is made of metal, the pair of keys want to go back to the earth, from where it
came from. This is called animism, since we gave it characteristics.
Back in the day, people gave a soul to everything. They assumed that a larger entity
controlled the weather etc. For example, if it rained, people assumed that the entity that
controlled the weather was angry at them. Later on, people didn’t like this explanation
and wanted facts which is where artificial intelligence came from.
Once on Jeopardy, a computer, ‘big blue’, was said to be smarter than two people. Does
this make the computer smarter or the human less smart?
Rene Descartes (1596 – 1650):
He was a very important philosopher and mathematician.
He came up with an important concept related to both psychology and philosophy. He
had a few mental breakdowns and went to relax in Paris.
While walking one day in a garden, a statue moved out from a bush. He was amazed
and he believed the statue had an intention and a soul. He believed that things that
moved had souls, whereas things that didn’t move didn’t have a soul. It was actually a
hydraulic system that he stepped on which made the statue move. He started
researching and believed that animals are complex biological machines that can move
but have no soul like the hydraulic system.
A practice that was called ‘vip sections’ started which researched animals. They started
to do surgery on living animals to look inside the ‘machine’.
An example to understand this concept is: if a car was driving extremely fast and an
accident occurred in front of the car, the car would use its breaks but it would make a
horrible sound as the tires scratched against the road. People will think that it is a
machine but it is not in pain. Which is exactly how Rene looked at the animals.
Cartesian Dualism: two different ways that behavior comes from a human. It could come from
the ‘machine’ (biological animal) or it could come from a soul. There is a spiritual aspect which
controls the biological machine. Thus, you are responsible for your actions etc.
John Locke (1632 – 1704):
He was a philosopher. He said our minds, cognitive worlds, are like machines as well.
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