PSYA01H3- Midterm Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam ( 119 pages long!)

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PSYA01H3
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE
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Lecture 1: There’s No Soul in Psychology
Psychology: You’re So Young!
-humans have always wanted to know about the world but only started studying themselves a
few hundred years ago compared to other scientific topics — it is a newer science
The Relevance of Soul
-to pursue something scientifically, we have to first assume that the behaviour of that thing
conforms to some sort of natural laws that can be understood, specified, and used to predict
future behaviour — can only use science to understand things that follow rules
-some people think we’re just as material as the rest of the world while others believe we are
different; if we are spiritual beings, we cannot be studied by science
-souls — spiritual entities; do not conform to natural laws so can’t use scientific process
Back in the Day
-magic — the hair on the back of our necks stands up when we see a magician do something
weird but once we understand how he did it, we are no longer shocked; this is how we look at
people who are intelligent because we don’t understand how they are smart but once we do,
e.g. by making a robot, we are no longer shocked
-falling rocks — humans were willing to give a soul to everything (animism); e.g. rock falls
when you let go of it and they said it was made of earth material so when you let go of it, it
goes back to the earth because it wants to be back with the earth - gave everything a soul
-animism — if you got drought or too much rain, it was because an entity got mad at you and
to fix it, you’d have to do a sacrifice, such as throwing a virgin in a volcano
What About Humans?
-if a computer can do what a human can do, is the machine intelligent or is the human not?
and what about the soul?
-e.g. jeopardy — put a computer against the 2 best human players in the world; the computer
won the most money so it is smarter than 2 human beings (or is it?)
-contrasting world views — give everything a soul; fussy about giving things souls, such as
computers, and sometimes even humans
Dualism: A Foot in the Door
-Rene Descartes — saw a statue and as he approached it, another statue came out and
blocked his path; he was shocked because it moved on its own; before that, he thought that if
!1
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something moved, it had a soul but he was sure the statue didn’t have a soul (what actually
happened was that he stepped on a plate that had hydraulics that pushed the statue out)
-he thought animals were like the statue, move as if they have a soul but do not have one; big
issue because they treated them like machines so they opened them up alive (vivisection)
-Cartesian Dualism — a machine, controlled by a soul; he thought there were 2 different ways
behaviours came from humans - a biological machine part, like animals, and also a soul that
controlled the machine that animals did not have; we aren’t completely spiritual beings
Allowing Others to Barge Through!
-John Locke
mind is also a machine, not just the body
la tabla rassa — you’re born as a blank slate and experience writes your story; anyone on
earth can become anything in life, depending on experiences and opportunities they had
empiricism — you have to try to find situations in which theories make predictions about
what should happen in a given situation and which one is true (do experiments)
-James Mill
materialism — concept that humans are completely physical, material beings with no soul
Why Believe Any of This?
-Luigi Galvani — dead frog leg; used battery to touch leg, “dancing frog leg”, mind-blowing
because we are like biological machines because adding power caused the leg to move
And It Didn’t Stop There…
-Johannes Muller — doctrine of specific nerve energies; cut open bodies and saw a lot of
nerve fibres, said electricity passed through these “wires”
-Pierre Florens — ablation studies; destroyed part of animal’s brain; made it do tasks and then
tried to make it do same tasks after, saw what abilities the animal lost; if you destroy specific
parts of the brain, you see specific deficits - brain was compartmentalized, like a machine
-Paul Broca — localization of language; gave people directions, could understand language
but not speak properly - used right words but couldn’t produce meaningful speech; had
damage in same spot on left - Broca’s area; brain was compartmentalized, like a machine
And So the Stage is Set… For Act II
-if human behaviour is at least partly determined by natural laws, it is capable of being
scientifically studied
-by the mid 1800s, nobody was doing it
!2
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