PSY100H1 Midterm: PSY100 Term Test 1 All Textbook Notes
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Term Test 1 All Textbook Notes
INFLUENCES FROM PHYSICS: EXPERIMENTING WITH THE MIND
Gustav Fechner – coined the term psychophysics, which is the study of the relationship between the
physical world and the mental representation of that world.
INFLUENCES FROM EVOLUTIONARY THEORY: THE ADAPTIVE FUNCTIONS OF BEHAVIOUR:
• Darwin’s theory also helps to explain human and animal behavior. The behavior is shaped by
natural selection, and so are physical traits.
• For example, having some aggressive impulses allowed our ancestors to hunt as well as
defend themselves when threatened.
INFLUENCES FROM MEDICINE: DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENTS:
• Medicine had a considerable influence on the development of clinical psychology which is
the field of psychology that concentrates on the diagnosis and treatment of psychological
• Brain localization is the idea that certain parts of the brain control specific mental abilities
and personality characteristics. This was studied in two ways:
▪ 1. Phrenology: the idea that the brain consisted of 27 ‘organs’ – which
corresponded to mental traits and dispositions that could be detected by
examining the surface of the skull. It was said that when a person has a
certain trait, the part of the brain that controlled that trait would be
enlarged and so would be detected.
▪ 2. How brain injuries affected behavior:
• Paul Broca identified Broca’s area after studying a patient whose left
side of the brain was damaged, and this was where speech
production was localized.
• Karl Wernicke identified Wernicke’s area. Patients with damage to
this area could speak in sentences that sounded normal, but with
unusual or made-up words.
• Psychoanalysis is a psychological approach that attempts to explain how behavior and
personality are influenced by unconscious processes.
• The medical model is the use of medical ideas to treat disorders of emotions, thought and
INFLUENCES OF SOCIAL SCIENCES: MEASURING AND COMPARING HUMANS:
• Galton, believed that heredity explained psychological differences among people. This belief
fit Galton’s idea about social class.
• He noticed that great achievement tended to run in families, it seemed natural to him that
people who did better in scholarship, business and wealth were able to do so because they
were better people, genetically speaking.
• Galton developed ways of measuring eminence, which is a combination of ability, morality
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• Nature and nurture relationships, the inquiry into how heredity and environment influence
behavior and mental processes.
• Galton ignored the fact that great people can and do come from very humble beginnings.
• His beliefs and biases led him to pursue scientific justification for eugenics, which translates
as “good genes”.
STRUCTURALISM AND FUNCTIONALISM: THE BEGINNINGS OF PSYCHOLOGY:
• Wilhelm Wundt was largely responsible for establishing psychology as an independent
• His primary field of research was introspection, which required a trained volunteer to
experience a stimulus and then report each individual sensation he or she could identify.
• He also developed reaction time methods as a way of measuring mental effort.
• A student of Wundt, Edward Titchener, adopted introspection to devise an organized map of
the structure of human consciousness. This line of research was called structuralism, which
was an attempt to analyze conscious experience by breaking it down into basic elements,
and to understand how these elements work together.
• Another physician, William James, was influenced by Darwin’s evolutionary principles, and
instead researched functionalism, which is the study of the purpose and function of behavior
and conscious experience.
• According to this approach, our brains and behaviors have been shaped by the physical and
social environment that our ancestors encountered.
THE RISE OF BEHAVIOURISM:
• Edwin Twitmyer, was an American psychologist interested in reflexes.
• His work involved a contraption with a rubber mallet that would regularly tap the patellar
tendon just below the kneecap, which causes a kicking reflex in most individuals.
• The contraption would ring a bell right before the mallet struck the tendon to not surprise
• However sometimes the machine would ring the bell, but the hammer did not come down
on the volunteer’s knee. What happened was that the volunteer’s leg kicked anyway.
• This happened because the sound of the bell successfully predicted the hammer, the ringing
soon had the effect of the hammer itself. This is called classical conditioning.
• Behaviorism is an approach that dominated the first half of the 20th century of North
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 behavior.
• Watson, who was a researcher at john Hopkins, was dismissed from his university job and
instead found a new career – advertising.
• He applied a scientific approach to advertising and discovered a consumer’s knowledge
about the product really was not that important, as long as he or she had positive emotions
associated with it.
• Another man, B.F Skinner, believed that psychology was the study of behavior and not of the
• In his view, the foundation of behavior was how an organism responded to rewards and
• In order to identify the principles of his view, he conducted a tightly controlled experiment
on rats and pigeons. These animals were held in small chambers in which they could
manipulate a lever to receive rewards. The experimenter would control when rewards were
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available, and would observe the effects that changing the reward schedule had on the
• How does this apply to human behavior? Well the behaviourists believed that the principles
of reward and punishment could apply to all organisms.
HUMANISTIC PSYCHOLOGY EMERGES:
• Humanistic psychology focuses on the unique aspects of each individual human, each
person’s freedom to act, his or her rational thought, and the belief that humans are
fundamentally different from other animals.
• The major figures of this psychology were Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow, which both
focused on the positive aspects of humanity and the factors that lead to a productive and
• Human psychologists want to understand the meaning of personal experience. They believe
that people could attain mental well-being and satisfaction through gaining a greater
understanding of themselves, rather than by being diagnosed with a disorder or having their
• The humanistic perspective also contrasted with behaviourism in proposing that humans
had the freedom to act and a rational mind to guide the process.
THE BRAIN AND BEHAVIOUR:
• Karl Lashley, a professor at Harvard university was interested in locating the engram, the
place in the brain where a memory trace was stored.
• He used rats to examine how the size and location of brain damage affected performance on
tasks such as maze navigation.
• His studies produced two main findings:
▪ 1. The exact location of the damage did not affect performance as long-term
memories are stored throughout many parts of the brain, therefore it is not
▪ 2. The principle of mass action, which stated that the size of the damage did
have an effect, the larger the damage the greater impairment in
• A student of Lashley, Donald Hebb, conducted many studies which examined how cells in
the brain change over the course of learning.
• What he learnt was that when a brain cell continuously stimulates another cell, metabolic
and physical changes occur to strengthen this relationship. This is called Hebb’s Law.
• Wilder Penfield developed a surgical procedure to help patients with epilepsy. This involved
removing cells from the brain regions where the seizures began. This helped prevent the
seizures from spreading to other parts of the brain.
• However, he needed to find a way in which we would not damage the other parts of the
brain, such as the language part of the brain.
• He solved this by electrically stimulating each patient’s brain while the patient was under
local anesthetic, which meant that the patient was conscious.
• This allowed the patient to report the sensations they experienced after each burst of
• After doing this on several patients, he was able to create a map of the sensory and motor
cortices in the brain.
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