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Psychology Exam Study Notes, for the fall exam

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Psychology 1000
Nick Skinner

1 Chapter 1 Psychology can be defined as the discipline concerned with behaviour and mental processes and how they are affect by an organisms physical state, mental state and external environment. Thinking CRITICALLY about psychology Ask Questions- be willing to wonder Define your terms Examine the evidence Analyze assumptions and biases Dont over simplify Avoid emotional reasoning Tolerate uncertainty Consider other interpretations Beginnings of Psychology Psychology wasnt even a formal discipline until the 1800s. However, philosophers throughout history have been raising questions about psychology, or would be considered psychology by today standards. Hippocrates, the Greek physician known as the founder of modern medicine observed that patients with head injuries and inferred that the brain must be the ultimate source of our pleasures, joys and laughter and jests, sorrows, pains, grief and tears. In first century AD the stoic philosophers observed that people do not become angry or sad or anxious because of actual events, but because of their explanations of those events. In the 17 century, John Locke, an English philosopher argued that the mind works by associating ideas arising from experience, and this notion continues to influence many psychologists today. The Birth of Modern Psychology The first official psychological lab was established in 1879 by Wilhelm Wundt who studied in philosophy and wrote many volumes on psychology, physiology, natural, history, ethics and logic. He was the first person to announce in 1873 that he intended to make psychology a science and his lab was the first to have results published in a scholarly journal. The Leipzig lab soon became the place to go for anyone who wanted to become psychologists. One of Wundts students, Mark Baldwin helped to found modern psychology in Canada. Wundt and his team concentrated on sensation, perception, reaction times, imagery and attention, avoided learning, personality and abnormal behaviour. One of Wundts main techniques was to train volunteers to carefully observe, analyze and describe their own sensations, mental images and emotional reactions. Once trained it might take as long as 20 minutes to report inner experience from a 1.5 second experiment. The goal was to break down behaviour into its most basic elements, much as a chemist might break down a chemical. Wundt hoped that this introspective method would produce reliable, verifiable results, but most psychologists eventually rejected it as too subjective. Wundt is credited with formally initiating the movement to make psychology a science. 3 Early Psychologies Structuralism: Wundts ideas were popularized in somewhat modified form by one of his students E.B. Titchener, who gave Wundts approach the name of structuralism. Like Wundt, structuralists hope to analyze sensations, images and feelings to basic elements. Despite an intensive program of research, structuralism 2 became unpopular; the structuralisms reliance on introspection by volunteers got them into trouble. Introspectors often produced conflicting themes. Functionalism: Another early approach to scientific psychology which emphasized the function or purpose of behaviour, as opposed to its analysis and description. William James an American philosopher, physician and psychologists who argued that searching for building blocks of experience, as structuralism tries to do, was a waste of time. The brain and mind are constantly changing, he noted. Permanent ideas do not appear periodically before the footlights of consciousness. Attempting to grasp the nature of the mind through introspection is like seizing a spinning top to catch its motion. Structuralists asked what happens when an organism does something, the functionalists ask why and how. They were inspired in part by the theories of Charles Darwin. Darwin argued that a biologists job was not merely to describe but to also figure out why and how. Similarly, the functionalists wanted to know how specific behaviour and mental processes. Unlike structuralists, they felt free to pick and choose among many methods, they broadened the field of psychology to include children, animals, religious experiences, and what James called the stream of consciousness- a term still used today. As a school of psychology functionalism was short lived, lacking precise theory or program research. However, functionalists emphasis on the causes and consequences of behaviour was to set the course of psychological science th Psychoanalysis: The 19 century also saw the development of various psychological therapies. In north America the Mind cure craze lasted from 1830-1900. Efforts to correct false ideas that were said to make people anxious, depressed, and unhappy. The form of therapy that would have the greatest impact worldwide came from Austria. Sigmund Freud was an obscure neurologist, unlike his colleagues he wasnt in a lab but listening to his patients reports of depression, nervousness and obsessive habits. Freud became convinced that many of his patients symptoms had mental, not physical causes. Their distress, he concluded, was due to conflicts and emotional traumas that had occurred early in childhood and that were too threatening to be remember consciously, such as forbidden sexual feelings for a parent. Freud argued that conscious awareness is merely the tip of the mental iceberg. Beneath the surface, lies the unconscious part of the mind, containing unrevealed wishes, passions, guilty secrets, unspeakable yearnings and conflicts between desire and duty. Many of these urges and thoughts are sexual or aggressive in nature, we are not aware of them on a conscious level, yet they make themselves known, in jokes, dreams slips of the tongue, apparent accidents. Freud wrote no human can keep a secret, if the lips are silent, he chatters with his fingertips, betrayal oozes out of him at every pore. Eventually his ideas evolved into a broad theory of personality and method of psychotherapy, which become known as psychoanalysis. Most Freudian concepts were rejected by evidence, but they had a profound influence on psychology, art, literature and philosophy. Major Psychological perspectives 1. The Biological Perspective: focuses on how bodily events affect behaviour, feelings and thoughts. Researchers such as Donald O. Hebb argue that all behavioural and mental phenomena arise as the result of the physical activity. Biological psychologists study the nervous system, hormone levels, organ functions, ect and how they interact with events in the external environment to roduce perceptions, memories and behaviour. Researchers study how biology affects learning and performance, perceptions of reality, the experience of emotion, ect. The study of how the mind and body interact in illness and health; they investigate the contribution of genes and other biological factors in the development of abilities and personality traits. A popular study evolutionary psychology follows the tradition of functionalism by focusing on how genetically influenced behaviour that was functional or adaptive during our evolutionary past may be reflected in our 3 present behaviours, mental processes and traits. The message of biological approach is that we cannot really know ourselves if we do not known our bodies 2. The Learning Perspective: is concerned with how the environment and experience affect a persons actions. Within this perspective, behaviourists focus on the environmental rewards and punishers that maintain or discourage specific behaviours. Behaviourists do not invoke the mind or mental states to explain behaviours. They prefer to stick to what they can observe and measure directly. For example, if you have trouble sticking to a schedule, a behaviourists would analyze the environment distractions that could help account for this common problem. Behaviourism was the dominant school of scientific psychology in the 1960s. Social cognitive learning theorists on the other hand, combine elements of behaviourism with research on thoughts, values, expectations and intentions. They believe that people learn not only by adapting their behaviour to the environment but also by imitating others and by thinking about the vents happening around them. The learning perspective has many practical applications. Historically, the behaviourists insistence on precision and objectivity has done much to advance psychology as science and learning research in general has given psychology some of its most reliable findings. 3. The Cognitive Perspective: emphasizes what goes on in peoples heads- how people reason, remember, understand language, solve problems, explain experiences, acquire moral standards and form beliefs. (The word cognitive means to know). A cognitive revolution in psychology during the 1970s brought this perspective to the forefront. One of its most important contributions has been to show how peoples thoughts and explanations affect their actions, feelings and choices. Using clever methods to infer mental processes from observable behaviour, cognitive researchers have been able to study phenomena that were once only the stuff of speculation, such as emotions, motivations and insight. They are creative computer programs to see what goes on in the mind of a baby, that can model how humans perform complex tasks. The cognitive approach is one of the strongest forces in psychology and it has inspired an explosion of research on the complex workings of the human mind. 4. The Sociological Perspective: focuses on social and cultural forces outside the individual, forces that shape ev
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