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Introduction to Psychology I: Course Notes P1

25 Pages
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Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYA01H3
Professor
Steve Joordens

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Description
12 September 2012 Psychology is the scientific study of mind and behaviour The mind refers to our private inner experience the everflowing stream of consciousness that is made of perceptions thoughts memories and feelings Behaviour refers to observable actions of human beings and nonhuman animals the things that we do in the world by ourselves or with others Why Psychology Is So Young A young and complex science It was only until the end of 18501895 where psychology began to existTo pursue something scientifically one must first assume that the behaviour of that thing conforms to some sort of natural laws laws that can eventually be understood specified and used to predict future behaviour Non spiritual things behave in accordance to physical laws person dropping an item it will do the same thing every time if we study and observe itno degrees of freedom it must do what it will because of nature People have spirits they are different because of souls and by definition a spiritual entity do not have to conform to physical lawsone can not apply God to science This was the mindset of people for many years What changed thatA long time ago people assumed rocks fell to the floor because each of the different elements fire earth water and air liked to be with each other therefore the rock would fall to be close to the earth People viewed that there are souls were a part of everythingfor example people assumed clouds had a soul such that lightning occurred because Gods were angry and what they believed in order to fix this was to bind a virgin to a volcano Once a person understands what an illusionist is doing one might see the skill or talent but the feeling of magic is gone Does intelligence disappear once you understand what underlies itAnimism is the attribution of a living soul to plants inanimate objects and natural phenomenathe belief in a supernatural power that organizes and animates the material universeGreek thinkers such as Plato and Aristotle were among the first to struggle with fundamental questions about how the mind works Plato argued in favour of nativism which maintains that certain kinds of knowledge are innate or inborn Aristotle believed that the childs mind was a tabula rasa blank slate on which experiences were written and he argued for philosophical empiricism which holds that all knowledge is acquired through experienceRene Descartes 15961650 has a similar story with William James Both despite ultimately proving themselves to be extremely intelligent and influential people had a hard time as young peopletrying to where they fit in and suffered many nervous breakdowns Around our age his doctor suggested he spend some times in Paris to wander and enjoy the artwork and nature So Rene went to a garden with a statue of Diana Goddess of the hunt as he approaches the statue the statue of Neptune comes out with a trident barring the wayhe was very impressed as it moved How did it work He learned about a new field called hydraulics stepping on a plate where his weight caused the hydraulics to move the statue This sparked him to think about all the other things that he knows of that move and act with intention coming up with strong views of the world He lived with a strong Christian view He then came up with the following conclusion that animals have no soul they are machines reacting to stimuli producing behaviour Renes perspective of humans is what we now call Cartesian Dualisma machine controlled by a soul mental behaviour can be reconciled and coordinated with physical behaviour He argued that the body and mind are fundamentally different thingsthe body is made of material substance whereas the mind or soul is made of an immaterial or spiritual substance Descartes suggested that the mind influences the body through a tiny structure near the bottom of the brain known as the pineal glandThomas Hobbes 15881679 a British philosopher argued that the mind and body arent different things at all rather the mind is what the brain does From Hobbess perspective looking for a place in the brain where the mind meets the body is like looking for the place in a television where the picture meets the flat panel displayFranz Joseph Gall 17581828 also thought that brains and minds were linked but by size rather than by glands he observed that mental ability often increases with larger brain size and decreases with damage to the brain He developed a psychological theory known as phrenology which held that specific mental abilities and characteristics ranging from memory to the capacity for happiness are localized in specific regions of the brainJohn Locke 16321704 thought that the mind is a machine He came up with the La Table Rassa notion stating that we are born knowing nothing He was the extreme nature side of the debatewhich the person you are now is because the experiences you endured shaped you Empiricism is the theory that all knowledge is derived from experience and testingJames Mill 17731836 came up with the Materialism notionthat we do not have a soul everything is made up of basic materials that follow physical lawsthe extreme antispiritual view Luigi Galvani 17371798 showed that electric signals can make things animate Tested frog legs applied with electrical currents will affect the tissue making it move This was the beginning of the change in perspective of body from being hydraulic machines that liquid was only giving nutrients and not really causing the motion From the empirical perspective it adds physical evidence that bodies are machinelike driven by electrical currents supporting Renes viewJohannes Muller 18011858 proved a doctrine of specific nerve energies He suggested a modulus system the wires from the brain have a specific joblike machines Pierre Florens 17741867 tested with rats where he removed parts of its brain and observed it and put them back suggesting that the brain was machinery He noticed that depending on which part of the brain he removed it loses certain abilities Paul Broca 18241880 a medical doctor that observed when he asked them to do something they understood however when they asked him to do something it made no sense He then asked them to sign forms where it allowed him to test their brains after they have died He found that each of these people had a damaged area on the left side of their brain just above their earagain contributing to the machinelike theory because it has a specific functionAt this current point psychology does not exist yet but people believe there is less soul in humans than they used to think and that they are more materialistichitting the 1800s people are still only studying the world and not ourselves
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