Psychology 1000 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Sickle-Cell Disease, Confounding, Phenotype

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13 Apr 2012
Psychology 1000: Mid-term Notes
Chapter 1: The Nature of Psychology
Philosophical roots of psychology: Early Greeks humans and Gods were quite separate from
other living things they reasoned about the world, while animals behaved instinctively
(without reason)
Aristotle (naturalist): placed humans at the top of a scale of intelligence (but Christian Scholars
believed that humans alone possessed a rational soul, an idea which persisted for centuries)
o Believed brain was located in the heart
René Descartes: “I think, therefore I am”
Reason vs. Instinct this problem remained, creating a distinction between the mind and body
The brain has two of everything, except for the pineal gland intersection of mind and body?
After Descartes, study of the mind became philosophy, the study of the body became
physiology, and psychology evolved from both philosophy and physiology
What is Psychology?
Psychology: the scientific study of behaviour and the factors that influence it
Behaviour is defined broadly: both mental events or physical ones
Basic research: quest for knowledge purely for its own sake
Applied research: designed to solve specific practical problems uses principles discovered in
basic research
Robber’s Cave: Sherif et al., 1961 11-year old boys camp
o Competition can breed hostility and conflict between groups, but this can be decreased
by making the groups dependent on one another for cooperation
o Similar to Jigsaw classroom: Aronson et al., 1978 small pieces of info for bigger
Goals of psychology:
1. Describe how people and other animals behave
2. Explain and understand the causes of these behaviours
3. Predict how people will behave under certain circumstances
4. Influence or control behaviour through knowledge and control of its causes to
enhance human welfare
The Whitman case illustrates how many potential causes could contribute to a given behaviour
o Potential causes include biological, psychological, and environmental
Nature vs. Nurture:
o Empiricists: behaviour is shaped by experiences, deny influence of genes tabula rasa
o Nativists: behaviour is largely inborn
Six major perspectives: characterize contemporary psychological thought
The Biological Perspective: Natural Selection, Survival of the Fittest
Mind-body dualism: the belief that the mind is a spiritual entity not subject to the physical lows
that govern the body
Monism: mind and body are one, mental events are a product of physical ones
The biological perspective focuses on the physical side of human nature
o Electrical nature of nerve conduction Galvani
Evolutionary psychology: focuses on the role of evolution in the development of behaviour
o Biology determines behaviour, and behaviour determines if it will survive
Sociobiology: complex social behaviours are also built into the human species as products of
evolution natural selection favours behaviours that allow the passing on of genes to the next
generation (ex. Altruism)
Behaviour genetics: how behavioural tendencies are influenced by genetic factors
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Psychology 1000: Mid-term Notes
The Cognitive Perspective
The thinking human: humans as information processors and problem solvers whose actions are
governed by thought and planning
Structuralism: analysis of the mind in terms of its basic elements (like what biologists or
chemists would do) the “what
Functionalism: psych should study the “why” of consciousness rather than the “what
Gestalt Psychology: how elements of experience are organized into whole (opposite of
structuralists), whole is different from parts
Insight: sudden perception of a useful relationship or solution
o Wolfgang Kohler chimpanzees, “Sultan”
o Jean Piaget problem-solving in children
Artificial intelligence: an area of cognitive science
Social constructivism: what we consider ‘reality’ is in large part our own mental creation
shared views within social norms vs. nature
The Psychodynamic Perspective
Searches for the cause of behaviour within the workings of our personality, emphasizing the role
of unconscious processes and unresolved conflicts from the past
Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis: developed from his interest in hysteria sexual memories,
‘Freudian slips’
Repression: a defence mechanism often used to cope with anxiety
The Behavioural Perspective
The role of the external environment in shaping and governing our actions
British empiricism: all ideas and knowledge are gained empirically or through the senses (John
Locke) Ivan Pavlov’s salivating dogs
Behaviourism: environmental control of behaviour through learning
o John B. Watson (1878-1958) proper subject matter of psychology was observable
behaviour, not inner consciousness, B.F. Skinner “world acts upon him”
Cognitive behaviourism: an attempt to bridge the gap between the behavioural and cognitive
perspectives, and combine them in a more comprehensive theory
The Humanistic Perspective
Emphasizes free will, innate tendencies towards growth, and the attempt to find ultimate
meaning in one’s existence importance of conscious motives
Self-actualization: the reaching of one’s individual potential
Terror management theory: an innate desire for continued life, with the awareness of the
inevitability of death, causes an anxiety called existential terror
o To defend its members against terror, each culture establishes its own world view, and
people are motivated to support this world view
The Sociocultural Perspective
The manner in which culture is transmitted to its members, the similarities and differences that
occur between cultures
Humans seem to have an inherent need to develop cultures
Individualism (personal goals, self-identity based on own achievements) vs. collectivism
(individual goals subordinate to group, ties to the family)
Perspectives on Behaviour Summary
Biological = brain processes
Behavioural = learned behaviour
Cognitive = thought processes
Psychodynamic = unconscious processes
Humanistic = striving to achieve
Sociocultural = importance of cultural beliefs
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Psychology 1000: Mid-term Notes
Chapter 2: Studying Behaviour Scientifically
Bystander apathy: Kitty Genovese murder
Darley and Latané believed it was unlikely all 38 bystanders were apathetic. Believed
environment influenced (someone else called)
Diffusion of responsibility: a psychological state in which each person feels decreased personal
responsibility for intervening
The Scientific Process/ Theories
6 steps in the scientific process:
1. Initial observation/ question
2. Form hypothesis
3. Test hypothesis
4. Analyze data
5. Further research and theory building
6. New hypothesis derived from theory
Theory: a set of formal statements that explains how and why certain events are related to one
Hindsight understanding: most common method used to try to understand behaviour in
everyday life. Problem: related past events can be explained in many ways
Understanding through prediction, control and theory building
o Theory development is the strongest test of scientific understanding because they
generate an integrated network of predictions
Good theories:
o Incorporate existing facts and organizes it
o Are testable
o Predictions made are supported by the findings
o Law of parsimony: if two theories can explain and predict equally well, the simpler
theory is preferred
A theory is never regarded as absolute truth: always possible for a future observation to
contradict it, or a more accurate theory will arise
Prediction does not require understanding, although the advantage of this is that it satisfies
curiosity and increases knowledge
Variable: any characteristic that can differ
Operational definition: defines a variable in terms of the specific procedures used to produce or
measure it: translate an abstract term into something observable
Theory Measures
Self-report measures: ask people to report on their own knowledge/e experiences/ behaviour
(tests, interviews to gather info)
o Accuracy depends on people’s ability to respond honestly. May be distorted by a social
desirability bias: participants may give a ‘good impression’ rather than the truth
Reports by others: rate others’ experiences
Physiological measures: measure rates like blood pressure, hormones Links between patterns
of physiological activity and particular mental events are still not completely understood
Behavioural observations: observe overt behaviour in real life or lab settings
o Archival measures: already-existing records used n studies
o Humans may behave differently when they know they are being watched, resulting in an
unrepresentative sample of behaviour (need to use unobtrusive measures to record, so
participants don’t know they are being observed)
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