Intro to Psychology (Reading).docx
Intro to Psychology (Reading).docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Dan Dolderman

Intro to Psychology (PSYA01) Chapter 1 – Psychology: The Evolution of a Science  William James discovered the science of “psychology”  Psychology is the scientific study of mind and behavior, mind refers to our private inner experiences, behavior refers to observable actions of human beings and nonhuman animals  Nativism – philosophical view that certain kinds of knowledge are innate or inborn  Aristotle believe a child’s mind is a tabula rasa (blank slate) - He argued for philosophical empiricism which holds that all knowledge is acquired through experience  Rene Descartes argued that the mind and body are fundamentally different things- that the body is made of a material substance, whereas the mind is made of an immaterial or spiritual substance - “Mind” influences “body” through the pineal gland  Thomas Hobbes argued that the mind and body aren’t different things; “rather the mind is what the brain does”  Franz Joseph Gall thought that brains and minds were linked, but they are related through size rather than glands -Gall developed the theory known as Phrenology – specific mental abilities and characteristics, ranging from memory to the capacity for happiness, are localized in specific regions of the brain  Pierre Flourens disagreed with Gall’s theory, so he conducted an experiment by surgically removing parts of the brain from animals, to show that their actions differed from those of animals with intact parts of the brain  Paul Broca through surgery with a patient came to the realization that damage to a specific part of the brain impaired a specific mental function, demonstrating that the brain and mind are closely linked  Physiology the study of biological processes, especially in the human body  Hermann Von Helmholtz conducted the frog experiment, which lead to him realizing the length it takes for nerve pulses to reach the brain  Wilhelm Wundt founder of the first laboratory devoted to psychology, believed that scientific psychology should focus on consciousness (a persons subjective experience of the world and mind) - Wundt’s students developed the approach called structuralism – analysis of basic elements that constitute the mind - Because consciousness is so vague, Wundt tried to analyze them in a systematic way called introspection - the subjective observation of one’s own experience  Edward Titchener studied under Wundt in Germany, and brought structuralism to America by setting up a laboratory at Cornell University  Because William James disagreed with Wundt’s view of consciousness, he decided to approach it from a different view called functionalism – the purpose mental processes serves in enabling people to adapt to their environment  William James came about this idea by influence of Charles Darwin’s idea of natural selection features of an organism that help it to survive and reproduce are more likely than others to be passed on in generations - James believed mental abilities were naturally selected, because they must have helped people solve problems in the past  After Sigmund Freud visited Charcot’s clinic in Paris, he returned to Italy to work on his hysteric patients - Freud theorized that many of the patients problems resulted from painful childhood experiences that the person could not remember, and he suggested that powerful influence of these lost memories lead to an unconscious mind - Unconscious – is the part of the mind that works outside of conscious awareness but influences conscious thoughts, feelings, and actions - This led to the development of psychoanalytic theory – an approach of that emphasizes the importance of unconscious mental processes in shaping feelings, thoughts and behaviors - However since Freud’s theories were difficult to test, it is limited in psychology and other sciences  This is when psychologists Maslow and Rogers, created the new movement called humanistic psychology – understanding human nature that emphasizes the positive potential of human beings  John Watson believed that private experience was too vague to be an object of scientific inquiry - He then proposed that psychologists focus on the study of behavior – what people do rather than what they experience - Behaviorism – an approach that says that psychologists restrict themselves to the scientific study of objectively observable behavior  Cognitive Psychology – scientific study of mental processes, including perception, thought, memory, and reasoning  Evolutionary Psychology- a psychological approach that explains mind and behavior in terms of the adaptive values of abilities that are preserved over time by natural sel
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