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PSYA01 Chapters 1-8 Exam & mTuner Notes

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Steve Joordens

Psychological ScienceChapter 1 Introducing Psychological Science11 The Science of PsychologyPsychology is the scientific study of behavior thought and experienceoPsychology is a vast discipline Better yet a collection of disciplines composed of many overlapping fields of studyoTwo unifying qualities allow us to group all these fields into the category of psychological scienceFirst psychology involves the study of behavior This can include perceptions thoughts and emotionsSecond psychologists employ the scientific method in their workThe scientific method is a way of learning about the world through collecting observations proposing explanations for the observations developing theories to explain them and using the theories to make predictionsoWhether a field of study is a science or a specific type of research is scientific is based not on the subject but on the use of the scientific methodoIt involves a dynamic interaction between hypothesis testing and the construction of theoriesoTheoryHypothesisTest hypothesisConfirm or reject hypothesisA hypothesis plural hypotheses is a testable prediction about processes that can be observed and measuredoA testable hypothesis is one that can be confirmed or rejected you do not prove a hypothesis and a scientific hypothesis must be testablePseudoscience refers to ideas that are present as science but do not actually utilize basic principles of scientific thinking or procedureoAstrology is a pseudoscience because unlike science there is no scientific basis around it Scientists are eager to test hypotheses whereas astrologists would rather you just take their word for itA theory is an explanation for a broad range of observations that also generates new hypotheses and integrates numerous findings into a coherent wholeoHypotheses are a major component of scientific theoriesoTheories are built from hypotheses that are repeatedly tested and confirmed in turn good theories eventually become accepted explanations of behavior or other natural phenomenaoSimilar to hypotheses an essential quality of scientific theories is that they can be proved false with new evidence In fact any scientific theory must be falsifiable The process helps to ensure that science is selfcorrectingbad ideas typically do not last long in the sciencesoTheories are not the same thing as opinions or beliefsoAll theories are not equally plausible There are good theories and there are notsogood theoriesoA measure of a good theory is not the number of people who believe it to be true For example 39 of Americans believe in the theory of evolution by natural selection despite the fact that it is the most plausible rigorously tested theory of biological change and diversityThe biopsychosocial model is a means of explaining behavior as a product of biological psychological and sociocultural factors oBiological influences on our behavior involve brain structures chemicals hormones and drug effects Your family peers and immediate social situation also determine how you think feel and behave Culture and gender can also influence human behavioroBehavior can be fully explained only if multiple perspectives are incorporatedScientific literacy is the ability to understand analyze and apply scientific informationoScientific literacy has several key components starting with the ability to learn new informationoBeing scientifically literate is to be able to read and interpret new terminology or know where to go to find out more Individuals should also be able to use their thinking skills to evaluate information and claimsCritical thinking involves exercising curiosity and skepticism when evaluating the claims of others and with our own assumptions and beliefsoFor psychologists critical thinking means that we apply scientific methods carefully examine our assumptions and biases and tolerate ambiguity when the evidence is inconclusiveoCuriosity is essential to psychology because many of us think about the causes of behavior only when it affects us negatively or when it strikes us as unusual As psychologists we are always curious and ask questions about all kinds of behaviorsnot just the unusual or problematic Because we are curious psychological theories should provide meaningful explanations for all behaviorsoSkepticism and curiosity is viewed as a means of raising important questions both lead us to search for and evaluate new evidence1oBe curious Examine the nature and source of the evidence not all research is of equal quality Examine assumptions and biases Avoid overly emotional thinking Tolerate ambiguity Consider alternative viewpoints and alternative interpretations of the evidence12 How Psychology Became a SciencePsychologys Philosophical and Scientific OriginsoScience is a philosophy of knowledge that stems from two fundamental beliefs empiricism and determinismoEmpiricism is a philosophical tenet that knowledge comes through experienceKnowledge about the world is based on careful observation not common sense or speculation Whatever we see or measure should be observable by anyone else who follows the same methodsoDeterminism is the belief that all events are governed by lawful causeandeffect relationshipsThe philosophical debate regarding whether or not we have control over our own actions is often referred to as free will versus determinismPsychologists recognize that behavior is determined by both internal and external influencesoZeitgeist refers to a general set of beliefs of a particular culture at a specific time in history It can be used to understand why some ideas take off immediately whereas other perfectly good ideas may go unnoticed for years oMaterialism is the belief that humans and other living beings are composed exclusively of physical matterAccepting this idea would mean that we are nothing more than complex machines that lack a selfconscious selfcontrolling soul The opposing belief dualism is the belief that there are properties of humans that are not material a mind or soul separate from the bodyPsychophysics is the study of the relationship between the physical world and the mental representation of that worldoAn example of psychophysical research is one done by Gustav Fechner He tested how people detect changes in physical stimuli In a situation where a 5 lb weight would be placed in one hand and a 1 lb weight would be placed in the other and iflb weights were added to each he wondered which one would be perceived as heavier He found that it felt heavier when the additional weight was added to the existing 1 lb versus the 5 lbDarwins theory of evolution by natural selectionoBased on his observations that the genetically inherited traits that contribute to survival and reproductive success are more likely to flourish within the breeding populationoThis theory explains why there is such a diversity of life on EarthoDarwin found that emotional expressions and other behaviors were influenced by natural selection as welloArtificial selection is when humans selectively breed animals to behave in certain waysClinical psychology is the field of psychology that concentrates on the diagnosis and treatment of psychological disordersoAn interesting area of medical study was brain localization the idea that certain parts of the brain control specific mental abilities and personality characteristicsoBrocas area is the area of the brain where speech production is localizedoWernickes area is the area of the brain where when damaged patients could speak in sentences that sounded normal but with unusual or madeup wordsoPsychosomatic medicine is used to refer to cures that work due to belief in the treatment Franz Mesmer later named the phenomenon hypnosis Psychoanalysis is a psychological approach that attempts to explain how behavior and personality are influenced by unconscious processesoSigmund Freud used hypnosis to treat his own patients and was particularly interested in how hypnosis seemed to have cured several patients of hysterical paralysisa condition in which an individual loses feeling and control in a specific body part despite the lack of any known neurological damage or disease This led him to develop his famous theory and technique called psychoanalysisoFreud acknowledged that conscious experience includes perceptions thoughts a sense of self and the sense that we are in control of ourselves He also believed in an unconscious mind that urges to fulfill selfserving sexual and 2aggressive impulses He believed that when a person is hypnotized the psychoanalyst could have more direct access into the individuals unconscious mindoThe medical model is an approach involving the use of medical ideas to treat disorders of emotions thought and behaviorSir Francis Galton believed that heredity genetics explained psychological differences among people It fit his beliefs about social class For example he noticed that great achievement tended to run in familiesoTo support his beliefs Galton developed ways of measuring what he called eminence a combination of ability morality and achievement oHe took on the question of nature and nurture relationships the inquiry into how heredity nature and environment nurture influence behavior and mental processesoGalton pursued scientific justification for eugenics which literally means good genes and promoted the belief that only intelligent talented individuals should have childrenoBiological psychology seeks to explain the underlying genetic physiological and brain basis for behaviorThe Beginnings of Contemporary PsychologyoWilhelm Wundts primary research method was introspection meaning to look within It required a trained volunteer to experience a stimulus and then report each individual sensation he or she could identify through introspection He developed reaction time methods as a way of measuring mental effort Wundt found that mental activity is not instantaneous and requires a small amount of effort measured by the amount of time it takes to reactStructuralism was an attempt to analyze conscious experience by breaking it down into basic elements and to understand how these elements work togetheroEdward Titchener believed that mental experiences were made up of a limited number of sensations which were analogous to elements in physics and chemistry According to Titchener different sensations can form and create complex compounds just like hydrogen and water can combine to form waterHO2Functionalism is the study of the purpose and function of behavior and conscious experience oThe incorporation of Darwins ideas can be found today in the modern field of evolutionary psychology an approach that interprets and explains human behavior in terms of forces acting upon our distant ancestors According to this approach the physical and social environment that our ancestors encountered has shaped our brains and behaviorsthBehaviorism is an approach that dominated the first half of the 20 century of American psychology and had a singular focus on studying only observable behavior with little to no reference to mental events or instincts as possible influences on behavioroThe credit for discovering classical conditioning went to Ivan Pavlov who showed dogs could learn to salivate to a tone if the tone has a history of sounding just prior to the delivery of foodoCredit for the rise of behaviorism in the United States went to John B WatsonoBF Skinner was a behaviorist who had considerable influence over American psychology for several decades and believed that psychology was the study of behavior and not of the unobservable mindHumanistic psychologyfocuses on the unique aspects of each individual human each persons freedom to act his or herrational thought and the belief that humans are fundamentally different from other animalsoPsychologists Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow believed that humans strive to develop a sense of self and are motivated to personally grow and fulfill their potentialThe Cognitive RevolutionoHermann Ebbinghaus studied data on remembering and forgetting The results of his studies produced forgetting curves which showed that most of what a person learns will be forgotten rapidly but then forgetting slows to a crawl The forgetting curve is now a staple of modern psychologyoFrederick Bartlett illustrated that memory is an interpretive process that involves cultural knowledge He demonstrated that in a movie for example we are more likely to remember the general storyline than details such as exact words in the script or what the characters were wearing Our cultural knowledge shapes what we find important enough to rememberoGestalt psychology is an approach emphasizing that psychologists need to focus on the whole of perception and experience rather than its parts The whole is greater than the sum of its partsoCognitive psychology is a modern psychological perspective that focuses on processes such as memory thinking and languageoNorman Triplett investigated how other people influence individual behavior and observed that cyclists ride faster in the presence of other people than when riding aloneoThe field of social and personality psychology is the study of the influence of other people on our behavior along with what makes each individual unique3
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