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Psychology 1000

CHAPTER 1: THE NATURE OF PSYCHOLOGY - Psychology: the scientific study of behaviour and the factors that influence it. - Psychologists use the term behaviour very broadly to refer both to actions that we can observe directly and to inner processes - Psychologists take into account biological, individual, and environmental factors Psychology as a Basic and Applied Science - Basic research: the quest for knowledge purely for its own sake. Used to describe how people behave and to identify the factors that influence or cause a particular type of behaviour. - Applied research: designed to solve specific practical problems. Uses principles discovered through basic research to solve practical problems. - Goals of Psychology: 1. to describe how people and other animals live 2. to explain and understand the causes of these behaviours 3. to predict how people and animals will behave under certain conditions 4. to influence or control behaviour through knowledge and control of its causes to enhance human welfare - Successful prediction and control are the best ways for us to know whether we truly understand the causes of behaviour PERSPECTIVES ON BEHAVIOUR - psychologists consider potential causes for behaviour at three different levels of analysis: biological, psychological, and environmental - these diverse viewpoints, or perspectives, serve as lenses through which the world of behaviour is viewed, and they reflect and shape our conception of human nature - six major perspectives characterize modern psychological thought. They are the biological, cognitive, psychodynamic, behavioral, humanistic, and sociocultural perspectives The Biological Perspective: - Many ancient Greek philosophers believed in mind-body dualism, the belief that the mind is a spiritual entity not subject to the physical laws that govern the body - Monism: belief that the mind is not separate, and the mind and body are one, and mental events are simply a product of physical events - The biological perspective focuses on the physical side of human nature - Emphasizes the role of our highly developed brain; the biochemical processes that underlie our every thought, emotion, and action; and the manner in which genetic factors influence the development and behaviour of human organisms - Late 1700’s – Luigi Galvani made discovery of “nervous energy” - Early 1900’s – Karl Lashley – created lesions (damage) in specific brain regions and studied their effects on the learning and memory abilities 1 - 1929, the invention of the electroencephalogram (EEG) allowed researchers to measure the electricity activity of large areas of the brain through electrodes attached to the scalp - biochemical research has shown that the brains electrical activity is controlled by chemical substances released by nerve cells. the role of these neurotransmitters substances in both normal and abnormal behaviour is one of the most important areas of current research Evolution and Behaviour: - Darwin was struck by many differences between seemingly similar species that lived in different environments. He began to view these differences in ways in which the species had adapted to these environments - In his theory of evolution Darwin proposed that species evolve over time in response to environmental conditions through a process called natural selection, or “survival of the fittest” - Natural selection: any inheritable characteristic that increases the likely hood of survival will be maintained in a species, because individuals having the characteristic will be more likely to survive and reproduce - Evolutionary psychology: emerging discipline that focuses on the role of evolution and the development and human behaviour. Psychologists int his field stress that an organism biology determines its behavioral capabilities, and its behaviour (including its mental abilities) determines whether or not it will survive - Sociobiology: holds that complex social behaviours are also built into the human species as products of evolution. These social behaviours include: aggression, competition and dominance in males, and cooperative and nutritive qualities in females - The major point is that, in the eyes of sociobiologists, ones genetic survival, (ie the transmission of ones genes) is more important than ones own physical survival. This principal can explain certain humane behaviours including giving up ones life to save children or relatives Behaviour Genetics: - our development and behaviour are effected by the genetic blueprint with which we are born - Behaviour genetics: the study of how behavioural tendencies are influenced by genetic factors - Animals can be bread selectively not only for physical traits, but also for behavioural traits such as aggression or intelligence. This is done by allowing highly aggressive or very bright males and females to mate with one another over a number of generations - Identical twins who result from the splitting of a fertilized egg and therefore have exactly the same genetic makeup are far more similar to one another on many behavioural traits than are fraternal twins The Cognitive Perspective: - Cognitive perspective: views humans as information processors and problem solvers whose actions are governed by thought and planning 2 - The cognitive perspective causes us to ask how mental processes influence our motives, emotions and behaviour Structuralism: - Wilhelem Wundt – German scientist who wanted to model thte study of the mind after the physical and biological sciences - He believed that the mind could be studied by breaking it down into its basic components or structures, therefore known as structuralism - Structuralism: the analysis of the mind in terms of its basic elements - The structuralist believe that sensations are the basic elements of consciousness and study sensations through method of introspection: looking within Functionalism: - holds that psychology should study the functions, the whys, of conciousness, rather than its structure, the whats - functionalism was influenced by darwins evolutionary theory - functionalism endures in modern day society as an emphasis on how the mind processes information and directs our behaviour - it is seen also in evolutionary psychology’s focus on the origins of adaptive behaviour. Gestalt Psychology: - can be translated as “whole” or “organization” - Gestalt psychology was concerned with how elements of experience are organized into wholes - This was the opposite of the view taken by structuralists - Gestalt psychologists argued that our perceptions and other mental processes are organized so that the whole is not greater than, but also quite different from, the sum of its parts - Believed that this tendency to perceive wholes is like other forms or perceptual organization built into our own nervous system - Woolfgang Kohler – one of the leaders of Gestalt psych, concluded that the ability to perceive relationships is the essence of what we call “intelligence” - Defined insight as the sudden perception of a useful relationship or solution to a problem, a kind of “Aha!” experience - Gestalt psychs demonstration of insight learning in both animals and humans stimulated new interest in cognative topics such as perception, problem solving and intelligence Piaget: Cognitive development in children - Piaget was concerned with how the mind and its development contribution to our ability to adapt to our environment - Piaget’s primary technique was to carefully observe children as they tried to solve problems. He then tried to imagine how they must have experienced the situation, in order to respond as they did - Piaget concluded that new and specific stages of cognitive development unfolded naturally as children mature 3 - The stages that naturally unfold represent fundamentally different ways of learning about and understanding the world Cognitive approaches to psychological disorders: - by emphasizing the fact that distress and maladaptive behaviour are caused by external situations, but by the ways we think about those situations and developing ways of helping people to change self-defeating thought habits. Modern Cognitive Science: - today’s cognitive science has link with computer science, linguistics, biology, and mathematics. - one area of cognitive science, artificial intelligence, develops computer models of complex human thought, problem solving, and reasoning - cognitive scientists are interested in how people produce and recognize speech and how creative solutions are produced. - An important melding of the biological and cognitive perspectives has resulted in a new area called cognitive neuroscience, in which scientists use sophisticated electrical recording and brain imagining techniques to eavesdrop on the brain as people engage in mental activities Social Constructivism: - a highly influential viewpoint within the cognitive perspective - its supporters maintain that we consider reality is our own mental creation. - According to these theorists little shared reality exists apart from what groups and people socially construct through the subjective meaning they give to their experiences The Psychodynamic Perspective - searches for the causes of behaviour inside the workings of our personality - emphasizes the role of unconscious processes and unresolved conflicts from the past - the first and most important psychodynamic theory was Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis Psychoanalysis - Freud emphasized the role of complex psychological forces in controlling behaviour - Psychoanalysis: the analysis of internal unconscious psychological forces - Focused his attention on the treatment of hysteria, a psychological disorder in which physical symptoms such as blindness, pain, or paralysis develop without an apparent cause - Found patients consistently reported long forgotten childhood sex experiences - However, argued that people cannot always tell the difference between memory representations of real as opposed to imagined events - Thought women were making it up because of sexual frustration - Often found them making “Freudian slips”, sexual slips of tongue - Believed we influenced by forces which we are unaware of (unconscious) 4 - Believed in repression, which protects us by keeping anxiety-arousing impulses, feelings, and memories in the unconscious depths of the mind The Behavioural Perspective - the behavioural perspective focuses on the role of the external environment in shaping and governing our actions. - Believe people’s behaviour is jointly determined by learned habits fashioned by their previous life experiences and by stimuli in their immediate environment - Emphasis is placed on the effect of rewards and punishment in shaping behaviour Origins - British empiricism, believed all ideas and knowledge are gained empirically – that is, through the senses - Humans are born as a tabula rasa – a blank tablet – then shaped by their environment - Maintained that observation is a more valid approach to knowledge than is reason – seeing is believing Behaviourism - in the 1920s, behaviourism, a school of thought that emphasizes environmental control of behaviour through learning, emerged as an alternative to the cognitive and psychodynamic perspectives - John B. Watson was the leader of the movement - Argued that the proper subject matter of psych was observable behaviour, not inner workings - believed humans could be controlled completely by manipulating their environment - behaviourists devoted their efforts to discovering the laws that govern learning and performance - the leading modern figure in behaviourism was B. F. Skinner, who insisted that a person does not act upon the world, the world acts upon him - Skinner maintained that an environment could be manipulated through rewards and punishments - Behaviourism inspired powerful techniques of behaviour change that were known collectively as behaviour modification - Effective in altering problem behaviours and increasing the frequency of positive behaviours through alterations in environmental factors Cognitive Behaviourism - an attempt to bridge the gap between the behavioural and cognitive perspectives and to combine them in a more comprehensive theory - Albert Bandura promotes the view that the environment exerts its effects on behaviour not by automatically affecting behaviour, but rather by affecting our thoughts. In this view, learning experiences and the environment affect our behaviour by giving us the info we need to behave effectively 5 - Also stress that we can learn new behaviours by observing the actions of others and storing this info in memory. We can imitate and reproduce these behaviours when we believe they will be suitable - These theorists also maintain that our mental abilities allow us to control our won behaviour and thereby influence our environment The Humanistic Perspective - arose largely out of philosophical schools that emphasize free will, innate tendencies toward growth, and the attempt to find ultimate meaning in one’s existence - emphasize the role of internal personality processes, but in contrast to the psychoanalytic emphasis on unconscious determinants of behaviour, humanists stress the importance of conscious motives, freedom, and choice - humanistic theorists believe that in every human being there is an active force toward growth and self-actualization, the reaching of one’s individual potential - when the human personality unfolds in a supportive environment that allows these creative forces to run free, the positive inner nature of a person emerges - human misery is fostered by environments that frustrate the innate tendencies toward self-actualization - according to terror management theory, an innate desire for continued life, combined with the human awareness of death, creates an anxiety called existential terror - thus, people who see themselves living up to their culture’s values score higher on measurements of self-esteem and report lower death anxiety The Sociocultural Perspective - every person has his or her individual learning history, but each of us is also embedded in a larger culture that helps shape who we are - focuses on the manner in which culture is transmitted to its members and on the similarities and differences that occur among people from diverse cultures - culture refers to the enduring values, beliefs, behaviours, and traditions that are shared by a large group of people and are passed on from one generation to the next - norms are rules that specify what is acceptable and expected behaviour for members of that group - the fact that norms can differ widely from culture to culture introduces another environmental factor that must be considered if we are to understand the causes of behaviour - cultures introduce order and a particular world view into a social system, thus creating predictably, guidelines for thought and behaviour, and a kind of map for living our lives - culture also provides an expression of a people’s way of being through art, literate, and the development of knowledge - most industrialized cultures promote individualism, an emphasis on personal goals and a self-identity - in contrast, many cultures in Asia, Africa, and South America promote collectivism, in which individual goals are not important 6 CHAPTER 2: STUDYING BEHAVIOUR SCIENTIFICALLY SCIENTIFIC PRINCIPLES IN PSYCHOLOGY - curiosity, skepticism and open-mindedness are driving forces behind scientific inquiry Scientific Attitudes: - the immediate environment powerfully influences behaviour - in the example of bystander apathy, scientists concluded that the presence of multiple bystanders make a diffusion of responsibility  each thinks someone else will do something Gathering Evidence: - the following are the steps through which gathering scientific evidence often proceeds: 1. Initial observation/question 2. Form hypothesis 3. Test hypothesis (conduct research) 4. Analyze data 5. Further research and theory building (additional studies to support the hypothesis and build a theory  a theory is a set of formal statements that explains how and why certain events are related) 6. New hypothesis derived from theory (the theory is tested directly by forming a new hypothesis and conducting new research) Two Approaches to Understanding Behaviour: Hindsight Understanding: - in everyday life, after-the-fact (hindsight) explanation is our most common method of trying to understand behaviour - the major limitation of relying solely on hindsight understanding is that past events usually can be explained in many ways, and there is no sure way to determine which is correct - despite this drawback, hindsight understanding can provide valuable insight, and is often the foundation on which further scientific inquiry is built Understanding through Prediction, Control, and Theory Building - if we understand the causes of a given prediction we can predict conditions under which the behaviour occurs, and control those conditions to produce that behaviour - theory development is the strongest test of scientific understanding - good theories have an integrated network of predictions, and follow several characteristics: 1. incorporates existing facts and observations within a single broad framework. In other words, it organizes info in a meaningful way 2. it is testable. It generates new hypotheses – new specific predictions – whose 7 accuracy or inaccuracy can be evaluated by gathering new evidence 3. the predictions made by the theory are supported by the findings of new research 4. it conforms to the law of parsimony: if two theories can explain and predict the same phenomena equally well, the simpler theory is the preferred one - even when a theory is supported by many successful predictions, it is never considered an absolute truth - the displacement of old beliefs and theoretical frameworks by new ones is the essence of science Defining and Measuring Variables - Variable: any characteristic that can differ - Can include memory, personality, intelligence, stress, learning, and motivation - However, these words mean different things for different people, making them impossible to measure - Operational Definition: defines a variable in terms of the specific procedures used to produce or measure it. Translates an abstract term into something observable and measurable Self-Report Measures - ask people to report on their knowledge, beliefs, feelings, experiences and behaviours - info can be gathered in interviews, questionnaires, or tests - when questions focus on subjects such as drugs or sex, respondents tend to skew results based on social desirability bias: the tendency of participants to give an answer that gives a good impression rather than one that reflects how they truly feel or behave - must try and word question in a way that makes social desirability irrelevant, or if not possible, guaranteeing respondents anonymity/confidentiality Reports by Others - parents, spouses, and teachers who know a person can provide useful info about them Physiological Measures - measure what is happening inside the body - can examine heart rate, blood pressure, respiration rate, and hormonal secretions Behavioural Observations - usually need to develop coding systems made up of specific behaviour categories to measure diverse behaviours - once a coding system is developed, observers use it in exactly the same way so their measurements will be reliable, or consistent - sometimes gather info on behaviour using archival measures, which are already existing documents - however, people tend to act differently if they know they are being observed, resulting in an unrepresentative sample of behaviour 8 - researchers use unobtrusive measures, which keeps participants unaware they are being observed METHODS OF RESEARCH - descriptive methods: involve recording observations or surveys - correlational methods: involve measuring the strength f an association between two or more events - experimental methods: involve manipulations to establish cause and effect relationships between two or more events Descriptive Research - seeks to identify how humans and other animals behave in natural settings - eg. Case studies, naturalistic observation, and surveys are common descriptive methods Case Studies: - an in depth analysis of an individual, group, or event - in studying a single case researchers hope to discover principles of behaviour that are true for people or situations in general - data may be gathered through observation, interviews, psychological tests, physiological recordings, and task performance - can produce many new ideas and hypotheses - allows scientists to study phenomena intensively and collect large amount of data - may challenge the validity of theories - poor method for determining cause-effect relationships - will the findings in the case study hold true for other people in other situations? - To establish the generalization of a general principle, investigators must conduct more case studies, use other research methods, and test a variety of cultural groups - possible lack of objectivity in the way the researcher gathers and interprets data Naturalistic Observation: - the researcher observes behaviour as it occurs in a natural setting. Naturalistic observation is used extensively to study animal behaviour - does not permit causal conclusions about the relations between variables since in the real world, many variables simultaneously influence behaviour, and they cannot be studied separately using this technique - also a possibility of bias in the way that researchers interpret the behaviours they observe - must avoid influencing the participants being studied, as it will affect behaviour Survey Research: - info about a topic is obtained by administering questionnaires or interviews t many people - questions typically ask about participants attitudes, opinions, and behaviours 9 - population: consists of all the individuals we are interested in studying - sample: a subset of individuals drawn from the larger population of interest - a representative sample is one that reflects the important characteristics of the population. To obtain a representative sample, researches typically use random sampling - thus, every member in the population has an equal chance of being chosen - three major drawbacks: unrepresentative samples can lead to faulty generalizations, surveys rely on participant’s self-reports and they can thus be dishonest, and cannot be used to draw conclusion about cause and effect Correlational Research - three components: 1. the researcher measures one variable (X) 2. the researcher measures a secondary variable (Y) 3. the researcher determines statistically whether X and Y are related - often used not only to describe events, but also to study associations between variables The Correlation Coefficient - a correlation coefficient is a statistic that indicates the direction and strength of the association between two variables - a positive correlation means that higher scores on one variable are associated with higher scores on a second variable - a negative correlation occurs when higher scores on one variable are associated with lower scores on the second variable - Correlational research identifies associations in real-world contexts that can then be studied in the lab - Allow us to make predictions. If two variables are correlated, either positively or negatively, knowing the score of one variable helps us to predict the score on the second Experiments: The Logic of Experimentation - a powerful tool for examining cause-effect relationships - experiments have three essential characteristics: 1. the researcher manipulates the variable 2. the researcher measures whether this manipulation produces changes in a second variable 3. the researcher attempts to control for extraneous factors that might influence Independent and Dependent Variables - independent variable (IV): the factor that is manipulated by the experimenter - dependent variable (DV): the factor that is measured by the experimenter and may be influenced by the IV - the IV is the cause and the DV is the effect 10 Experimental and Control Groups - experimental group: the group that receives a treatment or an “active level” of the independent variable - control group: not exposed to the treatment; it receives a zero-level of the IV - the control group provides a standard of behaviour to which our experimental group can be compared Two Basic Ways to Design an Experiment - one common way is to have different participants in each condition, either in the control group of the experimental group - researches generally use random assignment, a procedure in which each participant has an equal chance of being assigned to any group - a second way is to expose each participant to all the conditions, then measure how participants perform in each 11 CHAPTER 3: BIOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS OF BEHAVIOUR THE NEURAL BASIS OF BEHAVIOUR Neurons: - specialized cells called neurons are the basic building blocks of the nervous system - these nerve cells are linked together in circuits - at birth the brain contains about 100 billion neurons - about 100,000 of them are lost each day - each neuron contains three main parts: a cell body, dendrites, and an axon - the cell body, or soma, contains the biochemical structures needed to keep the neuron alive, and its nucleus carries the genetic info that determines how the cell develops or functions - Emerging from the cell body are branchlike fibers called dendrites. These specialized receiving units are like antennas that collect messages from neighbouring neurons and send them on to the cell body. There, the incoming information is combined and processed - the surface of the cell body also has receptor areas that be directly stimulated by other neurons - Extending from one side of the cell body is a single axon, which conducts electrical impulses away from the cell body to other neurons, muscles, or glands. The axon branches out at its end to form a number of axon terminals – as many as several hundred in some cases. Each axon may connect with dendritic branches from numerous neurons, making it possible for a single neuron to pass messages to as many as 50,000 other neurons - Neurons can vary greatly in size and shape – neurons in the spinal cord can have an axon that extends almost a meter to the fingertips, whereas ones in the brain can be less than a millimeter - Neurons are supported in their functions by glial cells - Glial cells surround neurons and hold them in place. Glial cells also manufacture nutrient chemicals that neurons need, form the myelin sheath around some axons, and absorb toxins and waste materials that might damage neurons - During prenatal brain development, as new neurons are being formed through cell division, glial cells send out long fibers that guide newly divided neurons to their targeted place in the brain - Within the nervous system, glial cells outnumber neurons about ten to one - Another function of glial cells is to protect the brain from toxins - A specialized barrier, the blood-brain barrier, prevents many substances and toxins from entering the brain. The walls of the blood vessels within the brain contain smaller gaps than elsewhere in the body, and are covered in a specialized type of glial cell - One type of glial cell can exchange chemicals with adjacent neurons and help to synchronize the activity of axons. 12 - Glial cells have even been found to have the mechanisms necessary to allow them to communicate with other glial cells and with neurons Nerve Conduction: An Electrochemical Process - neurons do two important things: they generate electricity and they release chemicals - neurons function a bit like batteries in that their own chemical substances are a source of energy - neurons are surrouneded by a salty liquid environment. This environment’s high concentration of sodium carries a positive electrical charge - the inside of the neuron is electrically negative in relation to the outside, producing an electrical resting potential of about -70millivolts (mV) - when in its resting state, the neuron is said to be polarized The Action Potential - sudden and extreme changes can occur in their resting potential voltage. - An action potential, or nerve impulse, is a sudden reversal in the neuron’s membrane voltage, during which the membrane voltage momentarily moves from -70mV to +40mV - This shift from negative to positive is called depolarization - When the dendrites or the cell body of a neuron are stimulated by axons from other neurons, small shifts occur in the cell membrane’s electrical potential - These changes, called graded potentials, are proportional to the amoun
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