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University of Toronto St. George
Michael Inzlicht

CHAPTER 1 Psychology is studying the different ways of how to peek inside the mind in order to discover what people are thinking and feeling. the roots of psychology are found in philosophy and medicine John Stuart Mill declared that psychology should become a science of observation and experiment and he argued that through the methods of science, psychologists would better understand the processes of the mind.As a result, psychology shifted from theorizing to experimentation Prejudice and Psychology prejudices or stereotypes against certain groups of people influences others beliefs and expectations about others leading to racist behavior. Groups of people who are the victims of prejudice often change their behavior according to othersbeliefs about them. Psychologists look for ways to reduce stereotypes and prejudice, giving us a sneak peak into the human mind, how it works and its relevance to human behavior. Studying/observing the working brain Brain imaging = a collection of techniques which involves assessing and documenting changes in brain activity. IE noting where the blod flows through the brain as people process information. Changes in blood flow represent changes in brain activity. Changes in brain activity indicate which part of the brain is being used. For example, monitoring brain activity at a certain point (ie when a threatening image pops up) shows which part of the brain is activated when one feels threatened Implicit attitude test = a test that directly assesses how people associate positive and negative words with certain groups of people (ie you hear the word black, you negatively associate it withAfrican Americans). So for this test, people would react negatively to images of unfamiliar faces, especially if the people in the images were black, because blacknesshas a negative connotation associated with it (this is in comparison to how people would react if they saw an image of an unfamiliar white person). This means that increasing familiarity reduces the likelihood of a fearful/threatened reaction. So, if people were more familiar with black faces, their reaction to their images in this sort of of study, wouldnt activate their fear indicators in their brains. More familiarity with the black race (as an example) could potentially reduce prejudice and discrimination Psychologists cover a range of studies, including basic mental processes (ie learning, memory, emotion, perception) and document changes in individuals from birth to seniority. Psychologists note the importance and the affect of the social world in which we live, ie how people are influenced by the presence of others and certain situations that lead certain people to prefer certain types of people. The environment in which a person lives helps shape each individual in a unique way = personality. The goal for psychologists today is to understand two main factors about people: a) individual factors ie how a persons brain processes information about others, b) contextual factors ie how societal beliefs shape how individuals behave towards other people (like in the case of prejudices and stereotypes). Psychology research and how it includes new research about biology shows that new discoveries about genes and biology influence human mental life Main goal of psychology research is to explain the most important human behaviors in real life context. ie how people behave day to day. To do this, psychologists need to study biological information (how the brain functions, genes), the individual him/herself and social contexts (social understandings, social events, social beliefs). Psychologies have to figure out what brain mechanisms (or which part of our brain is active) when we interact with the environment, and how the environment influences our brain activity. They also have to figure out how people are shaped by the cultures in which they live psychological science = the study of the mind, brain and behavior MIND = mental activity (thoughts/feelings), perceptual experiences that you have while interacting with the world (your senses that become activated when you socialize), memories. This sort of mental activity results from biological process within the BRAIN.Activity within your brain enables the mind to feel, smell, see, touch, etc. BEHAVIOR = describes a wide range of actions, and it describes different mental states. Due to recent technology that allows us to observe the working brain, psychologists are able to study different mental states such as consciousness, which in turn, allows us to further understand human behavior. Themes of Psychological Science: understanding other people, what they are thinking about themselves and others, their motives, their moods etc. Using our impressions of other people, we categorize people, predict their intentions and actions. The people who study this are psychological scientists who use methods of science to understand how people think, feel and act. *The next 4 themes guide and direct the way psychological scientists study the mind, brain and behavior* 1. The Principles of Psychological Science are Cumulative - research on mind, brain and behavior has accumulated over time to produce the principles (or themes) of psychological science. a. Using what is known in psychological science to search for the unknown (ie with the concept of memory, it is known that it is easier to recognize old information than recall old information) 2. Biological Revolution - new biological research brings forward a deeper understanding of the human mind and behavior; New methods that give psychologists the opportunity to answer questions such as what is consciousness? what is emotion? where does emotion come from and how does it affect the brain processes? how are memories stored in the brain? Psychological scientists now have the resources to understanding the biological aspect of these mental activities - looking at different sections of the brain that are activated during certain activities that could lead to psychological disorders. b. BRAIN CHEMISTRY is the first major development in the biological revolution. ii. The brain works through neurotransmitters = chemicals that communicate messages between nerve cells (the part of the brain that instructs your body how to act). By understanding the chemical processes of the brain, we can get a better insight into mental activity and behavior. These insights are useful in developing treatments to help those with psychological disorders c. THE HUMAN GENOME (genetic processes) is the 2nd major development in the biological revolution. c. the human genome is the basic genetic code, or the blueprint for the human body. Using this, scientists are able to discover the link between genes and behavior, genes and memories etc. ci.Almost all psychological and biological activity is affected by the actions of multiple genes. So, shyness (for example) is the result of multiple genes that could possibly be inherited cii.The expression of genes helps give rise to mind and behavior. Scientists are now looking to understand how specific genes affect thoughts, actions, feelings and disorders d. WATCHING THE WORKING BRAIN is the 3rd development in the biological revolution d. studying how cells operate in the brain and how this influences behavior. di. this advancement is possible from the cooperation between psychological scientists and neuroscientists who are able to address different questions of the human experience in relation to the brain (ie how different brain regions interact to activate the senses during an experience) dii.The key is not just to watch where in the brain things occur, but to look at consistent patterns of brain activity associated with specific mental tasks. This proves the connection between the location, the activity within the brain, and the task itself. 3. The Mind is Adaptive - The mind has been shaped by evolution (biologically speaking and culturally speaking). According to the evolutionary theory (theory that emphasizes the inherited adaptive value of behavior and mental activity throughout the history of a species), the brain has evolved to solve problems related to survival and reproduction. So those who were able to adapt to their environments and survive had an advantage to those who were not. Naturally, these people passed on these skills to further generations (Natural Selection). These physical characteristics, skills, and abilities (aka adaptations) increased their chances of survival and reproduction. The adaptations were passed along to future generations. The evolutionary theory represents a way of thinking that can be used to understand different aspects of mind and behavior. We will look at three aspects of the evolutionary theory to illustrate this point: c. SOLVINGADAPTIVE PROBLEMS - as humans evolve, we build our behaviors (physically and mentally) according to our environments.Accordingly, the body contains specialized mechanisms that have evolved to solve problems that require adaptation. The evolutionary theory is useful when we think of adaptive problems that we, humans, have encountered over the years (ie language, eating etc). iii.the evolutionary theory is also useful when we think of the
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