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PSY100H1 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Heritability, Human Genome Project, Zygote

Course Code
Dan Dolderman
Study Guide

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Chapter 1
What Are the Themes of Psychological Science?
The Principles of Psychological Science are Cumulative
Science builds on the foundation of shared knowledge.
A New biological Revolution Is Energizing Research
Brain chemistry: neurotransmitters and their roles in mental activity and behaviour
The human genome: the link between genes and behaviour
Watching the working brain as it performs its vital psychological function: how different
brain regions interact
The Mind Is Adaptive
Evolutionary theory: natural selection provided physical characteristics, skills and abilities, all known as
Solving adaptive problems: behaviour that is critical for survival is adaptive (e.g. social)
Modern minds in stone age skulls: some of our current behaviour is based on (or by-
products of) adaptive solutions in the past that were useful (e.g. sweet tooth)
Culture provides adaptive solutions: shared social understanding of how the world works
(e.g. westerners are more analytic, easterners, holistic); norms for different contexts
Psychological Sciences Crosses Levels of Analysis
Breaking down behavioural phenomena into its component parts
Social: cultural & interpersonal
Individual: individual differences, perception and cognition & behaviour
Biological: brain systems, neurochemical & genetic
What are the Intellectual Origins of Psychology?
The nature-Nurture Debate Considers the Impact of Biology and Environment
Nature is tightly interwoven with nurture. (e.g. Mental disorders results as much from the way the brain is
wired as from the way people are treated.)
The Mind-Body Problem Has Challenged Philosophers and Psychologists
Are the mind and body separate and distinct or is the mind the subjective experience of the brain?
René Descartes promoted the theory of dualism: the mind and body are separate yet intertwined
The body is an organic machine governed by reflex but in whose functions and
experiences (e.g. love, hate, anger) result mental ones (e.g. memory, imagination)
Evolutionary Theory Introduces Natural Selection
“Survival of the fittest”

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Inheritable individual differences provides basis of evolutionary development
can be applied to individual differences in psychology (e.g. intelligence)
How did the Scientific Foundations of Psychology Develop?
John Stuart Mill declared psychology should leave the realm of speculation and philosophy and become a
science of observation and experience.
Experimental Psychology Begins with Structuralism
Wilhelm Wundt measured mental reaction times, then conscious experiences (through
introspection – the systematic examination of subjective mental experiences)
Edward Titchener used introspection to develop structuralism – conscious experience can
be studied when it is broken down into its underlying components or elements
oProblem: each person brings in a unique perceptual system/subjectivity
Functionalism Addresses the Purpose of Behaviour
William James criticized structuralism (the mind’s usefulness to people is more important
than its elements), believing that the mind was much more complex than its elements
oe.g. stream of consciousness – a continuous and everchanging series of thoughts
ofunctionalism concerns how the mind operates (in a way that is useful in fitness),
how it can be applied to the real world (e.g. a behaviour’s purpose reflected in
Gestalt Psychology Emphasizes Patterns and Context in Learning
Gestalt theory: the whole is different from the sum of its parts, the mind perceives the
world in an organized fashion that cannot be broken down into its constituent elements
Phenomenological approach: unstructured reporting of experiences (subjective)
The Unconscious Influences Everyday Mental Life
Sigmund Freud believed that unconscious mental forces in conflict produced
psychological discomfort and, in some cases, disorders
Developed psychoanalysis to bring the contents of the unconscious into the conscious
Most Behaviour Can Be Modified by Reward and Punishment
John B. Watson emphasized behaviourism – behavioural response relied solely on
environmental stimuli and triggers (nurture, no nature)
B.F. Skinner denied the scientific value of mental processes in explaining behaviour
How People Think Affects Behaviour
It soon became clear that mental functions were important for understanding behaviour

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George A. Miller introduced cognitive psychology, the study of higher-order mental
functions (e.g. intelligence, thinking, language, memory) like information processing
Social Situations Shape Behaviour
Kurt Lewin’s field theory emphasized the interplay between people (biology, habits,
beliefs) and their environment (social situations, group dynamics)
Psychological Therapy Is Based on Science
People who come to know and accept themselves can reach their unique potentials
Therapeutic approaches depend on:
oAdopting a treatment widely recognized to be clinically effective
oRecognizing that each person is a unique individual with specific needs
There is no universal treatment or approach for all psychological disorders
How can we apply Psychological Science?
Subdisciplines Focus on Different Levels of Analysis
Psychological scientist use science to study the brain, practitioners apply the knowledge
Social psychologist – how cultural values/peer groups shape musical preferences
Personality psychologist – individual preferences in types of music
Developmental psychologist – how musical preference changes as one ages
Cognitive psychologist – how music changes that way people think
Cognitive neuroscientist – perception of music differing from auditory processing
Behavioural neuroscientist – how music affects the body and brain
Experimental psychopathologist – using music in studies of disordered behaviour
Psychological Knowledge Is Used in Many Professions
Because psychology focuses on human behaviour
People Are Intuitive Psychological Scientists
Humans naturally explain and predict the behaviours of others, but cannot intuit the inner
workings of psychology.
Psychological Sciences Require Critical Thinking
Scepticism is an important element of science and requires critical thinking and the
evaluation of evidence and conclusions
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