Midterm #1: Introduction to Psychology
Chapter 1: What is Psychology?
Empirical: Relying or derived form observation, experimentation, or measurement.
Psychobabble: Pseudoscience and quackery covered by a veneer of psychological
and scientific-sounding language.
Critical Thinking: The ability and willingness to assess claims and make objective
judgments on the basis of well-supported reasons and evidence, rather than
emotion or anecdote.
Ask Questions; Be willing to wonder
o “Can I recall the events from my childhood accurately?”
Define your terms
o By ‘childhood’, I mean ages 3 to 12. Etc.
Examine the evidence
o “I feel I recall my fifth birthday party perfectly, but studies show that
people often reconstruct past events inaccurately”
Analyze assumptions and biases
o “I’ve always assumed that memory is like a tape recorder, but maybe
it’s just a bias, because it’s so reassuring.”
Avoid emotional reasoning
o “I really want to believe this memory is true, but that doesn’t mean it
o Some of my childhood memories could be accurate, others mistaken,
and some partly right or wrong”
Consider other interpretations
o Some ‘memories’ could be based on what my parents told me later,
not on my own recall”
o “I may never know for sure”
Occam’s Razor: The principle of choosing the solution that account for the most
evidence while making the fewest unverified assumptions.
Phrenology: The now discredited theory that different brain areas account for
specific character and personality traits, which can be read from bumps on the skull. Three Early Psychologists
Structuralism – An early psychological approach that emphasizes the
analysis of immediate experience into basic elements.
Fucntionalism – An early psychological approach that emphasized the
function or purpose of behaviour and consciousness
Psychoanalysis – A theory of personality and a method of psychotherapy,
originally formulated by Sigmund Freud, which emphasizes unconscious
motives and conflicts.
The Major Psychological Perspectives
1. The biological perspective
o Emphasizes bodily events and changes associated with actions,
feelings, and thoughts.
2. The learning perspective
o Emphasizes how the environment and experience affect a person’s or
animal’s actions; it includes behaviorism and social-cognitive learning
3. The cognitive perspective
o Emphasizes mental processes in perception, memory, language,
problem solving, and other areas of behaviour.
4. The sociocultural perspective
o Emphasizes social and cultural influences on behaviour
5. The psychodynamic perspective
o Emphasizes unconscious dynamics within the individual, such as
inner forces, conflicts, or the movement of instinctual energy.
Evolutionary Psychology: Emphasizes evolutionary mechanisms that may help
explain human commonalities in cognition, development, emotion, social practices,
and other areas of behaviour.
Behaviorism: An approach to psychology that emphasizes the study of observable
behaviour and the role of the environment as determinant of behaviour.
Humanist Psychology: Emphasizes personal growth and the achievement of
human potential, rather than the scientific understanding and assessment of
behaviour. Feminist Psychology: Analyzes the influence of social inequities on gender
relations and on the behaviour of the two sexes.
Psychological Practice: Providing health or mental services.
Basic Psychology: The study of psychological issues in order to seek knowledge for
its own sake rather than for its practical application.
Applied Psychology: The study of psychological issues that have direct practical
significance; also, the application of psychological findings.
Types of Psychotherapists
Psychotherapist: Unregulated person who does any kind of psychotherapy
Psychoanalyst: A person who practices psychoanalysis, and who has obtained
special training and undergone extensive psychoanalysis personally.
Psychiatrist: A medical doctor who has completed a three-year residency in
psychiatry to learn how to diagnose and treat mental disorders under the
supervision of more experienced physicians.
Clinical Psychologist: Diagnoses, treats, and/or studies mental and emotional
problems, both mild and severe, has a PhD, an EdD, or a PsyD.
Chapter 2: How Psycholgists do Resarch
Theory and Hunch Hypothesis operat