PSYCH CH. 1.doc

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10 Apr 2012

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Chapter 1 The Evolution of Society (Introduction)
- One of the reasons that students and researchers are drawn to psychology is that it has
much to offer in the analysis and possible prevention of social problems (such as bullying)
oPsychologists seek to describe, explain, and predict why such behaviours occur
- Psychology is practical, it is also a way of thinking
- Psychology covers a great variety of topics
oIt looks at different topics such as work, sleep, stress, trauma, and brain function
How Psychology Developed
- The term psychology was derived from two Greek words: (psyche—soul, spirit, or mind, and
logos—the study of a subject)
- By 18th century, the term psychology is referred to as “the study of the mind
The Contributions of Wundt and Hall
- Wilhelm Wundt
oA German professor who is widely known as the founder of psychology
oCreated a campaign to make psychology an independent study rather than a branch
of philosophy or physiology
oAdvocated a scientific approach to psychology
Declared that psychology should be a science modelled after fields like physics
and chemistry
oEstablished the first formal lab for research in psychology in 1879 (psychology’s date
of birth)
oIn 1881, established the first journal to publish research on psychology
oDeclared that the primary focus for psychology is consciousness—the awareness of
immediate experience
This orientation kept psychology focused on the mind and mental processes
But, the methods psychologists use to investigate the mind must be as
scientific as those chemists and physicists
- G. Stanley Hall
oStudied briefly with Wundt
oImportant contributor to the rapid growth of psychology in America
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oLaunched a series of ‘firsts’ for American psychology:
Established America’s first research lab in psychology at Johns Hopkins
University, 1883
Launched America’s first psychology journal
He was the driving force behind the establishment of American Psychological
Association (APA)
APA became the largest organization in the world devoted to
advancement of psychology
Battle of ‘Schools’: Structuralism vs. Functionalism
- Structuralism:
oBased on the notion that the task of psychology is to analyze consciousness into its
basic elements and investigate how these elements are related
i.e. to examine the fundamental component of conscious experience (such as
sensations, feelings, and images)
otheory is led by Edward Titchener
omost of their work concerned sensation and perception in vision, hearing, and touch
omethod of examination: introspection
introspection = the careful, systematic self-observation of one’s own conscious
introspection requires training to make the subject (the person being studied)
more objective and more aware
once trained, the subjects are exposed to auditory tones, optical illusions, and
visual stimuli under controlled and systematically varied conditions and they
are asked to analyze what they experience
limitations of introspection: if you depend solely on an individual’s reflection of
document a phenomenon, there is no independent objective evaluation of that
claim (since no one can be completely objective)
- Functionalism:
oBased on the belief that psychology should investigate the function or purpose of
consciousness, rather than its structure
oTheory is led by William James
oJames is known for his work: Principles of Psychology (1890)
Became standard reading for generations of psychologists
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Perhaps the most influential text in the history of psychology
oJames was impressed by Darwin’s natural selection concept
Natural selection = heritable characteristics that provide a survival or
reproductive advantage are more likely than alternative characteristics to be
passed on to subsequent generations and thus come to be “selected” over
Suggest that typical characteristics of a species must serve some
James applied this concept to humans
oSuggested that consciousness is an important characteristic of
our species and thus, we should investigate the functions rather
than the structure of consciousness
oHe argued that consciousness consists of a continuous flow of
thoughts (stream of consciousness)
Thus, you can’t break it apart into individual sections like
how structuralists attempted
oMajor difference between structuralism and functionalism:
Structuralism—mainly studies psych in labs
Functionalism—studies psych according to how people adapt their behaviour to
the demands of the real world around them (more practical)
- Functionalism eventually fostered the development of two descendants that have
dominated modern psychology:
oApplied psychology
Watson and Behaviourism
- Behaviourism was founded by John B. Watson
- It was a school of thought that dramatically altered the course of psychology in the early
- Behaviourism:
oA theoretical orientation based on the premise that scientific psychology should study
only observable behaviour
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