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University of Toronto Scarborough
Steve Joordens

1.1 The Science of Psychology - Psychology: the scientific study of behaviour, thought, and experience - Hypothesis: testable prediction of a process that can be observed or measured - Pseudoscience: ideas that are presented as science but do not actually utilize the basic principles of scientific thinking (horoscope)  Theories are not the same as opinions or beliefs, and not all theories are equally plausible - Biopsychosocial model: a means of explaining behaviour as a product of biological, psychological and sociocultural factors  Biological influences on behaviour involve brain structures, chemicals, hormones and drug efforts - Scientific Literacy: the ability to understand, analyze and apply scientific information - Critical Thinking: exercising curiosity and skepticism when evaluating the claims of others, and with our own assumptions are beliefs - People connect more significance to coincidental events when they are negative 1.2 How Psychology Became a Science - Science is a philosophy of knowledge that stems from two fundamental beliefs: Empiricism: - A philosophical tenet that knowledge comes through experience - Knowledge about the world is based on careful observation, not common sense or speculation - Seeing is believing, however thinking and reasoning about observations is just as important Determinism: - The belief that all events are governed by lawful, cause and effect relationships - Free will versus determinism - Our behaviours are determined - Psychological science is a mixture of both - Why did it take so long for psychology to become a science?  Zeigist: “spirit of the times”; refers to a general set of beliefs of a particular culture at a specific time in history - people weren’t ready to accept that science could be applied to human behaviour - early influences on psychology came from natural and physical science - psychophysics: the relationship between the physical world and the mental representation of that world - Darwin recognized that behaviour, like physical traits, are subject to hereditary influences and natural selection was a major contribution to psychology - Eugenics movement: good people should have kids and criminals shouldn’t - Structuralism: analyze conscious material by breaking it down and understanding how its elements work together - Functionalism: the purpose and function of behaviour - Humanistic psychology: humans are fundamentally different from any other animal - 2.1 Principles of Scientific Research - Objectivity: certain facts can be observed and tested independently from the scientist who describes them - Subjectivity: knowledge of an event is shaped by prior beliefs - Quality scientific research must: 1. be based on objective, reliable, valid measurements 2. be generalized 3. reduced bias 4. is made public 5. can be replicated - Objective measurements: the measure of something with an allowed error, that is consistent with all instruments and observers; in psych, objectivity comes from person doing the measuring - Self reporting: responses are provided by the people being studied - Operational definitions: statements that describe the procedure and measures used to get observations - Reliability: consistent stable answers across multiple times/observations; mathematical instruments (scale, stopwatches, brain scanners) - Validity: the degree to which an instrument actually measures what it claims to; you cannot measure intelligence by shoe size - Generalizability: the degree to which one set of data can be applied to other situations - Random sample: every individual of a population has an equal chance - Convenience sample: whoever is most available - Ecological validity: the degree to which the result of a lab study can be applied to the natural environment - Hawthorne effect: you act different when being watched - The act of taking a drug engages a physiological response for reducing pain - Single blind study: reduces bias because participant doesn’t know what the study is about - Double blind study: the participant and experimenter don’t know what it’s about - Completion of research editorpeer reviewreplication - Anecdotal evidence: an individual’s story or testimony about an observation or even that is used as evidence - Appeal to authority: the belief in an expert’s claim isn’t always true - Appeal to common sense: a claim that appears to be sound but lacks scientific evidence 2.2 Scientific Research Designs - To test hypotheses, researchers use research designs; guide investigations in organizing the study, making observations and making results - All must have variables, operational definitions (details that define variables) and data Method Info Strength Weakness Case Study - In depth report about Yields detailed info Focusses on a single details of a specific caseoften of rare conditions subject; limits or observations generalizability Naturalistic - Unobtrusively Allows for detailed Poor control over Observation observing/recording descriptions of subjects possibly influential behaviour as it occurs in environments where variables in the subject’s natural behaviour normally habitat occurs Correlational Research - Measuring the degree Shows strength of Does not allow of association between relationships between determination of cause two or more variables variables and effect - Takes a positive or negative direction - Have a magnitude or strength -1.0-1.0; the closer to 1 the stronger; measure of association only Experimental Method - Radom assignment: Tests for cause and Risk of being artificial dividing samples into effect; offers good with limited two or more groups; when groups are not control over variables generalization to real- world situations random confounding variables occur - Experimenter manipulates independent variable(experimental group is exposed to it, control is not, both are exposed to dependent) Quasi-Experimental - Two or more groups are compared based on predetermined characteristics; no random assignment; men and women - Actually correlational 2.3 Ethics in Psychological Research - Institutional review board: protection of human research participants - Mortality salience: made aware of death; psychologists learn how decisions are influenced by recent events in a person’s life - Writing about upsetting experiences: learn how coping through expression can help emotional adjustment and physical health - Anonymity: participant remains anonymous - Confidentiality: participants data must be secure - Animals are beneficial because of their short lifespans and selective breeding - When it’s necessary, pain can be justified by benefits of research - Descriptive statistics: techniques used to organize, summarize and interpret data - Frequency, central tendency and variability describe data - Skewed distribution: negative= left tail, positive= right tail, normal=symmetrical - Central tendency: measure of the central point of a distribution - Mode: category with the highest frequency - Mean and median: give most info about the central tendency - Perfectly symmetrical curves have equal mean, median and mode - Variability: the degree to which scores are dispersed in a distribution; when it’s low, measures of central tendency are the same, good rep of distribution - Standard deviation: measure of variability around the mean - Statistical significance: means of groups are farther apart than you’d expect if it was random chance - Hypothesis test: a statistical method of evaluating whether differences among groups are meaningful or could been arrived at by chance alone 3.1 Genetic and Evolutionary Perspectives on Behaviour - Research has made it clear that behaviours are influenced by genes just as physical characteristics are - Genotype: the entire genetic makeup of an organism - Phenotype: the observable characteristics (structures and behaviours) - If two corresponding genes at any given location on a pair of chromosomes are the same homozygous - Behavioural genetics: the study of how genes and environment influence behaviour - Both monozygotic twins show anxiety more than dizygotic; shows how genes play role - Heritability: a statistic expressed as a number 0-1 that represents the degree to which genetic differences between individuals contribute to individual differences in a behaviour of a population  0 means it doesn’t, 1 means it contributes to all; rare  if it’s 0.76, 76% of the individual differences in depression can be attributes to genetic factors in the studied population - Nature and nurture; young adopted children are more like adoptive parents; as they get older, intelligence matches biological parents; for depression heritability decreases with age - Behavioural Genetics: the study of DNA and the ways in which specific genes are related to behaviour; human genome project; combinations of genes influence behaviour and single genes affect multiple genes - Evolutionary psychology: views modern human behaviour as an outcome of the processes of survival and reproduction among early human ancestors - Evolution: the change in the frequency of genes in a population - One adaptation relates to how the brain processes cues that determine whether we are attracted to someone - We cannot assume all behavioural traits have adaptive function - Stereotypical threat: women reading stereotypical stuff produces lower test scores; gender differences may not happen because of genes but because people believe they exist - People who have short copies of the gene that absorbs serotonin are at greater risk for depression 4.2 Cells and Neurotransmitters - Cell body: soma; contains nucleus, synthesizes proteins that form chemicals and structures that allow the neuron to form - Dendrites: branches that receive messages from cells and transmit them to the body - Axon: transports info from the neuron to neighbouring cells - Neurotransmitter: chemicals that function as messengers - Synapses: space between nerve cells - Sensory neurons: body to brain - Motor neurons: brain to body - Myelin sheath: MS - Glial cells: mount immune response in the brain, remove waste, synchronize neuron activity; outnumber neurons - Resting potential: stable; outside has positive Na and K, inside has negative CL (-70mV) - Neural firing: positive ions enter and break threshold - As soon as an action potential happens, it goes back to resting - When action potential reaches terminals, neurotransmitters are released into the synaptic cleft and bind to dendrites of next cell like a key in a lock - Either excitatory or inhibitory effect - Refractory period: brief period when a neuron can’t fire - A given neuron always fires at the same speed/intensity - All-or none principle: nerve cells fire at the same strength every time - Strength of a sensation is determined by rate at which nerve cells fire/number that are stimulated - Neurogenesis is real - After neurotransmitters have bound to dendrites they are released and degraded or reuptake may occur and they are reabsorbed - Monoamine transmitters: influence mood; dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, acetylcholine - GABA: inhibitory; prevents neurons from action potentials by reducing negative charge - Glutamate: excitatory; learning and memory - Substance P: neurotransmitter involved in pain, naked mole rats - Agonists: enhance or mimic a neurotransmitter’s action (Xanax is a GABA agonist) - Antagonists: inhibit neurotransmitter activity by blocking receptors or preventing synthesis (Botox) - Hypothalamus: regulates basic biological needs; prepares body for stress - Adrenal glands: release epinephrine and norepinephrine for stress - Endorphin: reduces pain and increases pleasure; morphine binds to endorphin receptors - Testosterone: levels increase in men after winning a competition and decrease after marriage/having kids 4.3 Structure of the Nervous System - Peripheral nervous system: brain and rest of the body; somatic and autonomic - Autonomic: sympathetic (fight or flight) and parasympathetic (homeostasis) - Central nervous system: brain and spinal cord - Brain: hindbrain, midbrain, forebrain Hindbrain - Critical to life - Brain stem: medulla and pons; regulates breathing, heart rate - Recticular formation; sends signals - Cerebellum: details of movement, balance, learning new motor skills Midbrain - Relay station between sensory and motor - Tectum: coordinates sensation of motion with actions Forebrain - Emotion, memory, thinking and reasoning - Basal ganglia: planned movements, skill learning, rewards - Nucleus accumbens: reward - Limbic: emotion and memory - Amygdala: memory formation for emotional events, responses, recognizes and interprets emotional stimuli (faces) - Hippocampus: learning and remembering - Thalamus: relays sensory info to different regions of the brain Cerebral cortex - Wrinkled outer layer; higher functions: thought, language, personality - Wrinkled to increase surface area - Gray matter has cell bodies, white matter has myelinated axons - Ventricles has liquid that eliminates waste and provides nutrition and hormones to brain, and gives a cushion - Corpus callosum: the neural fibers that connect hemispheres Hemispheres - Frontal, parietal, temporal, occipital - Frontal: higher function; planning, regulating impulses, language, movement; primary motor complex - Parietal: touch, bodily awareness; somatosensory cortex (touch sensation); mathematical and visuospatial - Occipital: visual info - Temporal: hearing, higher vision (recognition) - Two sides of the cortex perform different functions; left is for language right is for visual and spatial; patient cannot use language to describe things on the left - EEG: patterns of brain activity; real time - PET: monitors brain activity during tasks; metabolic activity of brain; long time to acquire - MRI: magnet arranges hydrogen - fMRI: measures difference between blood cells with oxygen versus without; moment-by- moment - MEG: measures tiny magnetic fields created by electrical activity of nerve cells in the brain a few ms after it occurs - Lesioning: a technique where researchers intentionally damage a part of the brain (a lesion is an abnormal or damaged brain tissue) - TMS: electromagnetic pulse to brain; stimulates or impairs brain function 4.1 Sensation and Perception - Sensation: the process of detecting external events by sense organs and turning them into neural signals - Perception: attending to, organizing and interpreting stimuli that we sense - Sensory receptors: respond to stimuli; on skin, eyes, in nose, ears - Transduction: physical or chemical stimulation is converted into a nerve impulse relayed to the brain; in ear this happens in cochlea - Sensory adaptation: the reduction of activity in sensory receptors with repeated exposure to a stimulus - Psychophysics: the field of study that explores how physical energy and their intensity relate to psychological evidence - Absolute threshold: the minimum amount of energy or quantity of a stimulus required for it to be reliably detected 50% of the time it is presented; dogs have lower absolute thresholds - Difference threshold: the smallest detectable difference between stimuli; whether you can detect a difference if known as the noticeable difference and depends on the intensity of the original stimulus - Signal detection theory: whether a stimulus is perceived depends on both sensory experience and judgement made by the subject; sensory process= shining light, decision process=reporting whether light was present - We can perceive subliminal stimuli but they do not control our minds ; produces small effects in the nervous system - Gestalt: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts - Figure-ground principle: figures in our environment tend to stand out against a background; applies to hearing as well - Proximity and similarity: we treat two or more objects that’s are in close proximity to each other as a group - Continuity: lines and other objects tend to be continuous rather than abruptly changing direction - Closure: our tendency to fill in gaps in order to complete a whole object - Top down processing: when prior knowledge and expectations guide what is perceived; you know what to look for - Bottom up processing: constructing a whole stimulus or concept from bits of new unfamiliar info - The way we perceive the world is a combo of both (parallel processing) - Selective attention: focussing on one task - Divided attention: paying attention to several stimuli or tasks at once - Whether we engage in either depends on familiarity and mental energy level - Frequent multitaskers are bad multitaskers; multitasking reduces learning and remembering - Inattentional blindness: a failure to notice clearly visible events or objects because focus is directed elsewhere 4.2 The Visual System - Sclera: the white outer surface of the eye - Cornea: the clear layer that covers the front portion of the eye and helps it focus - Pupil: regulates the amount of light that enters by changing its size - Iris: a round muscle that adjusts the size of the pupil - Lens: focuses light onto the back of the eye - Retina: lines the inner surface of the eye and consists of specialized receptors that absorb light and send signals to the brain; lined with photoreceptors - Cones: sensitive to colour - Rods: sensitive under low light - In daylight cones are more active, in low light rods are - Dark adaptation: rods and cones become increasingly sensitive to light under low levels of illumination - Optic nerve: a cluster of neurons that gather sensory info and exit at the back of the eye to the brain - Optic disc: no rods or cones, blind spot - Nearsightedness: eyeball is slightly elongated; image falls short of the retina - Farsightedness: image is focussed behind the retina - Optic nerveoptic chiasm lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN)visual cortex (occipital lobe, perception begins) - Feature detection cells: respond selectively to simple and specific aspects of a stimulus such as angles and edges - Ventral stream: a pathway extending from the visual cortex to the temporal lobe and is where object recognition occurs - Dorsal stream: visual cortex to parietal lobe; depth and motion are perceived - Perceptual consistency: the ability to perceive objects as having constant shape, colour, despite changes in perspective - A region of the brain is specialized to detect faces; prosopagnosia: unable to recognize faces but able to recognize voices and faces in picture - Binocular depth cues: distance cues that are based on the differing perspective of both eyes - One type, called convergence happens when the eye muscles contract so that both eyes focus on a single object - Our eyes face forward so we perceive objects with enhanced perception - Retinal disparity: the difference in relative position of an object as seen by both eyes which provides information to the brain about depth - Monocular cues: cues that we can perceive with only one eye - One type called accommodation takes place when the lens of your eye curves to allow focus on nearby objects; another type is motion parallax used when surroundings are in motion 4.3The Auditory System - Pitch: the perceptual experience of sound wave frequencies - Amplitude: determines loudness - Humans can detect 20Hz-20,000Hz - The Ear: outer, middle and inner regions - Pinna: outer region that helps channel sound waves to the ear and allows to determine the source of the location - Auditory canal: extends from the pinna to the eardrum - Ossicles: tiny bones; hammer, avil and stirrup - Cochlea: a fluid filled membrane that is coiled and contains structures that convert sound into neural impulses; hair-like projections line the basilar membrane of the cochlea - Auditory nerves: composed of bundles of neurons that fire as a result of hair cell movements - Sound localization: the process of identifying where sound comes from; handled by midbrain inferior colliculus  We localize sound by taking advantage of the slight time difference between a sound hitting one ear then the other  Using differences in intensities which the sound is heard - High frequency sounds stimulate hair cells closest to the ossicles whereas lower frequency sounds stimulate hair cells toward the end of the cochlea - Place theory of hearing: how we perceive pitch is based on the location along the basilar membrane that sound stimulates; works well to explain high frequencies but low frequency hairs are not laid out at the end of the cochlea - The rate at which the ossicles press into the cochlea determines what we hear - Frequency theory: the perception of pitch is related to the frequency at which the basilar membrane vibrates; a 70 Hz sound at 70 cycles per second stimulates the hair 70 times per second; low pitch sounds - Neurons: cannot fire more than 1,000 times per second (unless volley) - Primary auditory complex: a major perceptual center of the brain involved in percieiving what we hear; high notes are processed at the end - Conduction hearing loss: anything on the cochlea is damaged - Sensorineural hearing loss: damage to cochlear hair cells and neurons composing the auditory nerve 5.1 Wakefulness and Sleep - Consciousness: a person’s subjective awareness, including thoughts, perceptions, experiences of the world and self-awareness - People sleep for one third of their lives - Circannual rhythm: yearly cycle - Circadian rhyhms: internally driven daily cycles of approximately 24 hours affecting physiological and behavioural processes; tendencies to be asleep or awake/feel hungry/concentrate during certain situations; regulated by daylight interacting with nervous and endocrine systems - Suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN): hypothalamus; cells in retina relay messages about light level in environment to the SCN, communicates with pineal gland, melatonin released (peaks at nighttime); not regulated by light for blind people; change with age - Polysomnography: a set of objective measurements used to examine physiological variables during sleep - Electroencephalogram (EEG): a device that measures brain waves  Beta waves: high frequency, low amplitude, fast; wakefulness  Alpha waves: slower, larger, more predictable; daydreaming, meditating, starting to fall asleep  Stage 1:  Theta waves: slower, higher in amplitude  Stage 2:  10-15 mins after, brain waves continue to slow  Sleep spindles and K complexes (periodic bursts of EEG energy) Stage 3:  20 mins later, brain waves slow into delta waves Stage 4:  Hard to awaken, lasts for an hour - At the end of stage 4 the sleep cycle goes in reverse - REM Sleep: a stage of sleep characterized by quickening brain waves, inhibited body movement, and rapid eye movement; other 4 stages can be called non-REM  When we are deprived of sleep we engage in REM Rebound: our brains spend an increased time in the REM phase when given the chance Theories of Sleep - Restore and repair: the body needs to restore energy levels and repair any wear and tear on the body from the day’s activities - A lack of sleep leads to emotional disturbances, cognitive decline and immune system issues - Preserve and protect: sleep is for preserving energy and protecting the organism from harm - Best theory is a combination - Sleep deprivation: occurs when an individual cannot or does not sleep - Sleep displacement: occurs when an individual is prevented from sleeping at the normal time although she may be able to sleep earlier or later in the day than usual; Jet lag: the discomfort a person feels when sleep cycles are out of synchronizing with light and darkness; it’s easier to adjust when travelling west - Freud views dreams as an expression of wish fulfillment - Manifest content: the images and storylines that we dream about [involve sexuality and aggression] - Latent content: the actual symbolic meaning of a dream built on supressed sexual or aggressive urges - Activation-synthesis hypothesis: dreams arise from brain activity originating from bursts of excitatory messages from the brainstem; brain stem actions initiate the activation complex and the synthesis arises as the brain tries to make sense of all the images; making a story out of random words - Problem solving theory: thoughts and concerns are continuous from waking to sleeping and that dreams may function to facilitate finding solutions to problems encountered while awake - Sleep is important for the formation of new memories Disorders - Insomnia: extreme lack of sleep; not defined by hours of sleep but degree to which someone feels rested during the day  Onset: a person has (+30 minutes) difficulty falling asleep  Maintenance: when a person cannot fall back to sleep  Terminal: a person wakes up too early and can’t get back to school  Stem from internal sleep disturbances rather than external stimuli over one has little control  Primary: cases that arise from an internal source (worrying or stress)  Secondary: result of other disorders such as depression - Nightmares: vivid and disturbing dreams that occur during REM - Night terrors: bouts of panic and arousal during NREM sleep; most people don’t recall dream content; more common in children - Restless leg syndrome: a persistent feeling of discomfort in the legs and the urge to continuously shift them (5-10 percent of population) - REM behaviour disorder: people who appear to act out dreams - Somnambulism: wandering and performing other activities while asleep; not acting out dreams; do not remember the episode; not dangerous to wake up person - Sleep Apnea: a disorder characterized by the temporary ability to breathe during sleep - Narcolepsy: a person experiences extreme sleepiness and even sleep attacks; person goes from wake to REM sleep immediately; orexin hormone functions to maintain wakefulness (narcoleptic people don’t have a lot) - Sleep state misperception(SSM): a person underestimates amount of sleep - Positive sleep state misconception: a person overestimates sleep - Alcohol disrupts REM cycle sleep 5.2 Hypnosis, Meditation and Disorders of Consciousness - Hypnosis: a procedure of inducing a heightened state of suggestibility; not a trance - Suggestions are most effective when they fall into: 1. Ideomotor suggestions: related to specific actions that could be performed, such as getting into a position 2. Challenge suggestions: the subject appears to lose the ability to perform an action 3. Cognitive-perceptual: to remember or forget, or to experience altered perceptions such as reduced pain sensations - Dissociation theory: explains hypnosis as a unique state in which consciousness is divided into two parts: an observer and a hidden observer - The hidden observer is like who pays attention while you drive; the hypnotized individual if focussed on suggestions while the other is attending to something else - Social cognitive theory: explains hypnosis by emphasizing the degree to which beliefs and expectations contribute to increased suggestibility - CBT: cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy - Hypnosis works well for pain - Déjà vu: some people with temporal lobe epilepsy have déjà vu right before a seizure (hippocampus); could arise when visual info in one pathway is processed a split second earlier than in the other pathway (contradicted by blind people); people who travel frequently are more prone to déjà vu, as are people who have lots of dreams (these individuals have more scenes to access which increases the chance that they’ll find something familiar) - Coma: a state marked by a complete loss of consciousness beginning with a serious brain injury or trauma; brain stem reflexes are suppressed (pupils no longer dilate) - Persistent vegetative state (PVS): a state of minimal to no consciousness in which the patient’s eyes may be open and the individual will develop sleep-wake cycles without clear signs of consciousness; do not track movement or focus on objects; chances of recovery decline after 6- 12 months; after 12 months it is unlikely that they will ever recover - Minimally conscious state (MCS): a disordered state of consciousness marked by the ability to show some behaviours that suggest at least partial consciousness, even if on an inconsistent basis; patient can follow basic instructions, grasp things, provide yes/no answers (even if wrong) or produce speech 5.3 Drugs and Conscious Experience - Psychoactive Drugs: substances that affect thinking, behaviour, perception and emotion; can speed up, slow down, stimulate pleasure centres or distort processes in the nervous system - Illicit drugs: illegal; many prescription drugs are similar - Stimulants: speed up the nervous system typically y enhancing wakefulness and alertness  Cocaine: blocks reuptake of dopamine by binding to presynaptic terminals, allowing extra amounts of it to remain in the synapse and continue binding to postsynaptic receptors  Amphetamines (deterioration to face and teeth)  Methamphetamines: increase presynaptic release of dopamine and norepinephrine and slows their reuptake  MDMA: stimulant with hallucinogenic effects; heat stroke and dehydration - Hallucinogens: substances that produce perceptual distortions  Visual, auditory, tactile  LSD: synthetic  Psilocybin: mushrooms  Mescaline: peyote cactus  LSD and mushrooms act on transmission of serotonin  Ketamine: blocks receptors for glutamate which is an excitatory neurotransmitter that is important for memory - Marijuana: hallucinogenic, stimulant, and relaxing; memory impairment because canniboid receptors are in hippocampus; anandimide binds to cannibanoid regions which regulate circadian rhythm - Opiates: narcotics; reduce pain and induce feelings of euphoria  Bind to endorphin receptors  Morphine and heroine  Methadone is an opioid used to treat withdrawal - Sedatives: downers; supress nervous system activity  Increase GABA an inhibitory neurotransmitter that reduces anxiety and panic  Barbiturates  Reduce REM - Prescription drug abuse: legal and abused more than illegal drugs  Dispose of drugs properly, avoid pleasure drugs, become aware of abusers - Alcohol: most widely used; targets GABA (inhibitory); affects opiate and dopamine receptors; depresses CNS  The frontal lobe of the cortex inhibits behaviour and impulses, and alcohol impairs the frontal lobe 6.1 Classical Conditioning - Learning: the process by which behaviour or knowledge changes as a result of experience - Cognitive learning: acquiring new info - Associative learning: classical conditioning Pavlov - Classical conditi
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