Recognize, identify, explain and apply
Psychology is the science that studies behaviour and the physiological and
cognitive processes that underlie it, and it is the profession that applies
the accumulated knowledge of this science to practical problem.
1) History of psychology:
i) Wilhelm Wundt: Fist person to announce to make psychology a science.
Concentrate in sensation perception, reaction times, imagery, and attention,
avoided learning, personality, and abnormal behavior. Observe, analyze and
describe. Wundt wanted to break down the structure of consciousness to
understand how it is built. He defined psychology as "an analysis of
consciousness into its basic elements" (what)
ii) Structuralism emerged through the leadership of Edward Titchener.
iii)Structuralism was based on the notion that the task of psychology is to
analyze consciousness into its basic elements and investigate how these
elements are related.
iv) The structuralists’ reliance on introspection got them in trouble.
Introspection is a systematic self-observation of one's own conscious
v) Problem: only described consciousness, and this process were not objective,
as every person will have their own experience.
vi) For example :different taste of a same orange; hear the word of triangle.
i) William James: emphasized the function or purpose of behavior and
consciousness rather than structure. (Why and how) Inspire by Darwin of
natural selection, heritable characteristics that provide a survival or
reproductive advantage are more likely than alternative characteristics to be
passed on to subsequent generations and thus come to be selected over time. .
Publish a book “principles of psychology. (1890)
ii) James argued that the structuralists’ approach missed the real nature of
conscious experience. Consciousness, he argues, consists of a continuous flow
of thoughts. James wanted to understand the stream of consciousness.
iii) James' methodology was observation of the real world rather than inside an
i) John B. Watson, Ivan Palov: behaviorism is a theoretical orientation based on
the premise that scientific psychology should study only observable
ii) Behavior refers to any overt response or activity by an organism.
iii) Behaviorism thinks that behavior is governed primarily by the environment.
iv) The historical context of behaviourism was the depression, when machines
were threatening to replace humans in the workplace. So behaviourists
attempted to boil human behaviour down to simple processes as well (in
contrast to the complexity of the consciousness as studied by Wundt and
James). v) Behaviourists were interested in observable behaviour that could be
measured scientifically and how it related to observable outcomes.
The stimulus-response relationship was coined to depict the notion that if
you provide a stimulus, behaviour will result.
vi) A stimulus is any detectable input from the environment.
vii)Use lab animals.
viii) B. F. Skinner: radical behaviourism. He did not think that internal, mental
events should be given special status when explaining behaviour. He thinks
that organisms tend to repeat responses that lead to positive outcomes, and
they tend not to repeat responses that lead to neutral or negative outcomes.
Book: beyond freedom and dignity. Free will is an illusion. People are
controlled by their environment, not by themselves.
d) Psychoanalytic theory:
i) Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Alfred Adler: At the same time in history but in
Europe, Freud believed that behaviour was a function of unconscious
thoughts, memories, and desires rather than a present-moment stimulus.
ii) Psychoanalytic theory attempts to explain personality, motivation, and
mental disorders by focusing on unconscious determinants of behavior.
iii) Freud used dream analysis and slips of the tongue to understand the hidden
desires that motivated behaviour
iv) However, Freud's concepts were not falsifiable; if you can't disprove a theory,
it can claim to still be right, even thouit hasn't been scientifically tested.
i) Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow: In contrast to behaviourism (and
psychoanalysis), which used animal models, humanism focused on the
unique qualities of humans: freedom and personal growth. However, their
definitions of these concepts are very vague.
ii) They argued that human behaviour is governed primarily by each
individual’s sense of self, or “self-concept”--which animals presumably lack.
iii) The goal is to help people express themselves creatively and achieve their full
2) Today in psychology:
a) Cognitive/ biological perspectives
i) A popular focus today is how information processing (memory, decision
making etc.) and chemical/biological aspects affect behaviour. Although
somewhat 'unobservable', today's technology allows us to scientifically test
ii) The biological perspective focuses on how bodily events affect behavior,
feelings and thoughts. The message of the biological approach is that we
cannot really know ourselves if we do not know our bodies.
iii) Donald Hebb: highlight the importance of physiological and
neuropsychological perspectives and as having paved the way for the recent
cognitive revolution in psychology. He emphasis on the importance of the
brain in behaviour provided an important counterweight to that time’s
dominance of the behaviourists models. One of the pivotal concepts he
introduced was the cell assembly. iv) The cognitive perspective emphasizes mental processes in perception,
memory, language, problem solving, and other areas of behavior. How people
reason, remember, understand language, solve problems. Involve thinking
and conscious experience.
v) Advocates of the cognitive perspective point out that people’s manipulations
of mental images surely influence how they behave. Consequently, focusing
exclusively on overt behaviour yields an incomplete picture of why
individuals behave as they do.
vi) Jean Piaget: focused increased attention on the study of children’s cognitive
development, while the work of Noam Chomsky elicited new interest in the
psychological underpinnings of language.
vii)Herbert Simon began influential groundbreaking research on problem
solving that eventually led to a Nobel Prize for Simon.
b) Evolutionary psychology:
i) David Buss, Martin Daly, Margo Wilson, Leda Cosmides, John Tooby: This
perspective examines how today's behaviours may have had evolutionary
value in that they helped us to survive (e.g., aggression was necessary to help
us maintain our territories, mates etc). However, evolutionary psychology
does not claim that behaviours that may have had adaptive value still have
that value today. Thus, it may claim aggression was previously adaptive, but
does not claim it is still adaptive today
ii) (From biological perspective)
iii) The basic premise of evolutionary psychology is that natural selection favors
behaviours that enhance organisms’ reproductive success—that is, passing
on genes to the next generation.
iv)Males good at visual-spatial ability, tasks involving mental rotation of images
and navigation in space. This is because the chore of hunting was largely
assigned to men over the course of human history, and these skills would
have facilitated success on hunting trips and thus been flavored by natural
selection. Women are good at spatial skills that would have facilitated
gathering, such as memory for locations.
v) Among other things, they argue that many evolutionary hypotheses are
untestable and that evolutionary explanations are post hoc, speculative
accounts for obvious behavioral phenomena.
c) Cultural psychology:
i) Cultural psychology examines how behaviours that are a function of diverse
cultures affect us. It also brings attention to how each culture has different
views and therefore how disorders and their treatments must vary to be
consistent with each.
ii) Social psychologists focus on social rules and roles, how groups affect
attitudes and behaviour, why people obey authority, and how each of us is
affected by other people--spouses, lovers, friends, bosses, parents and
iii) Ethnocentrism—the tendency to view one’s own group as superior to others
and as the standard for judging the worth of foreign ways.
d) Positive psychology:
i) Martin Seligman: Positive psychology tries to examine the strengths of
humans rather than their weaknesses. Historically, psychology has asked what's wrong with humans, whereas positive psychology would like to ask
what's good about humans.
ii) Positive psychology uses theory and research to better understand the
positive, adaptive, creative, and fulfilling aspects of human existence.
iii) Three areas of interest: the first is the study of positive subjective
experiences, or positive emotions, such as happiness, love and hope. The
second focus is on positive individual traits—that is, personal strengths and
virtues, such as courage, perserance, nurturance, and tolerance. The third
area of interest is in positive institutions and communities. The focus is on
how societies can foster civil discourse, strong families, healthy work
environments, and supportive neighborhood communities.
iv) Richard Lazarus argued that dividing human experience into positive and
negative domains is an oversimplification and that the line between them is
not as clear and obvious as most have assumed.
3) Psychology Today: Vigorous and Diversified
a) Research Areas in psychology
i) Seven major research areas in modern psychology are (1) developmental
psychology, (2) social psychology, (3) experimental psychology, (4)
physiological psychology, (5) cognitive psychology, (6) personality, and (7)
b) Professional specialties in psychology
i) Applied psychology: deal with practical events. Day to day psychology. It
consists of four clearly identified areas of specialization
(3)Educational and school psychology
(4)Industrial and organizational psychology.
c) Differences between clinical psychologist and psychiatrists
i) Clinical psychologists go to graduate school to earn one of several doctoral
degrees in order to enjoy full status in their profession. Clinical psychology
takes a nonmedical approach to such problem.
ii) Psychiatrists go to medical school for their postgraduate education, where
they receive general training in medicine and earn an M.D. degree. They then
specialize by completing residency training in psychiatry at a hospital.
Psychiatry is a branch of medicine concerned with the diagnosis and
treatment of psychological problems and disorders.
4) Themes of psychology (seven)
a) Themes related to psychology as a field of study.
i) Theme 1: psychology is empirical
(1)Empiricism is the premise that knowledge should be acquired through
observation. Its conclusions are based on direct observation rather than
on reasoning, speculation, traditional beliefs, or common sense.
(2)The empirical approach requires a certain attitude—a healthy brand of
skepticism. Psychologists’ commitment tot empiricism means that they
must learn to think critically about generalizations concerning behaviour.
They are trained to ask where is the evidence, how do you know?
ii) Theme 2: psychology is theoretically diverse (1)A theory is a system of interrelated ideas used to explain a set of
(2)A hypothesis is a tentative statement about the relationship between two
or more variable.
iii) Theme 3: psychology evolves in a sociohistorical context.
b) Themes related to psychology’s subject matter
i) Theme 4: behaviour is determined by multiple causes
(1)In general, psychologists find that behaviour is governed by a complex
network of interacting factors, an idea referred to as the multifactorial
causation of behaviour.
ii) Theme 5: behaviour is shaped by cultural heritage
(1)Culture refers to the widely shared customs, beliefs, values, norms,
institutions, and other products of a community that are transmitted
socially across generations.
(2)Although the influence of culture is everywhere, generalizations about
cultural groups must always be tempered by the realization that great
diversity also exists within any society or ethnic group.
iii) Theme 6: heredity and environment jointly influence behaviour
(1) Theorists argued that personal traits and abilities are governed either
entirely by heredity or entirely by environment.
iv) Theme 7: people’s experience of the world is highly subjective.
(1)Even elementary perception—for example, of sights and sounds—is not a
(2)It shows how people sometimes see what they want to see.
(3)Other studies reveal that people also tend to see what they expected to
5) Personal application
a) Developing sound study habits
i) Set up a schedule for studying
ii) Find a place to study where you can concentrate
iii) Reward your studying
(1)The systematic manipulation of rewards involves harnessing the
principles of behaviour modification described by B. F. Skinner
b) Improving your reading
i) Highlighting selected textbook material is a useful strategy—if students are
reasonably effective in identifying the main ideas in the material and if they
subsequently review the main ideas they have highlighted.
ii) SQ3R method: is a study system designed to promote effective reading, which
includes five steps: survey, question, read, recite and review.
(1)Survey: before plunge into the reading itself, glance over the topic
headings in the chapter.
(2)Question: proceed through it one section at a time. Take a look at the
heading of the first section and convert it into a question.
(3)Read: read only the specific section that you have decided to tackle. Read
it with an eye toward answering the question you have just formulated.
(4)Recite: recite the answer out loud to yourself in your own words. Don’t
move to the next section until you understand the main ideas of the
current section. (5)Review: going back over the key points to refresh your memory.
c) Getting more out of lecture
i) Extracting information from lectures requires active listening.
ii) When course material is especially complex, it is a good idea to prepare for
the lecture by reading ahead on the scheduled subject in your text.
iii) You are not supposed to be a human tape recorder. Try to write down the
lecturer’s thoughts in your own words.
iv) Asking questions during lectures can be helpful.
6) Critical Thinking
a) Critical thinking has at least two components:
i) Knowledge of the skills of critical thinking—the cognitive component
ii) The attitude or disposition of a critical thinker—the emotional or affective
iii) Critical thinking exams assumptions discerns hidden values, evaluates
evidence, assesses conclusion.
7) A new science is born: the contributions of Wundt and Hall.
i) Psychology’s intellectual parents were the disciplines of philosophy and
ii) Wundt declared that the new psychology should be a science modeled after
fields such as physics and chemistry.
iii) According to Wundt, psychology’s primary focus was consciousness—the
awareness of immediate experience.
iv) G. Stanley Hall, who studied briefly with Wundt, was a particularly important
contributor to the rapid growth of psychology in America.
1) Dispositional factors:
o Internal, characteristics and potentials
2) Situational factors:
o Come from the outside, from the environment in which my behavior takes place
3) Psychologists working on the molar level might study violent behavior, sexual
attraction, worker moral and productivity or the nature of prejudice. Consider the
background as well.
5) Molecular Lesson 2
1) The scientific approach to behaviour
a. Goals of the scientific enterprise: three sets of interrelated
i. Measurement and description: measure the phenomenon under
study. The first goal of psychology is to develop measurement
techniques that make it possible to describe behaviour clearly and
ii. Understanding and prediction: understand events=explain the
reasons for the occurrence of the event. Hypothesis: a tentative
statement about the relationship between two or more variables.
Variables are any measurable conditions, events, characteristics,
or behaviours that are controlled or observed in a study.
iii. Application and control: design a scientific examination of the
intervention’s effectiveness. Construct theory: a system of
interrelated ideas used to explain a set of observation. Theories
permit psychologists to make the leap from the description of
behaviour to the understanding of behaviour. A scientific theory
must be testable. Most theories are too complex to be tested all at
theory: a coherent
revise refinethe predictionsderived
theory from the theory
confidencein conductstudy to
theory decreases test hypotheses
Discard the theory Confidence in
theory increase b. Steps in a scientific investigation: systematic
i. Formulate a testable hypothesis: translate a theory or an intuitive
idea into a testable hypothesis. To be testable, scientific
hypotheses must be formulated precisely, and the variables under
study must be clearly defined. Researchers achieve these clear
formulations by providing operational definitions of the relevant
variables. An operational definition describes the actions or
operations that will be used to measure or control a variable.
Operational: establish precisely what is meant by each variable in
the context of a study.
ii. Select the research method and design the study: how to put the
hypothesis to an empirical test. Participants, or subjects, are the
persons or animals whose behaviour is systematically observed in
iii. Collect the data: researchers use a variety of data collection
techniques: direct observation, questionnaire, interview,
psychological test, physiological recording, and examination of
archival records, which are procedures for making empirical
observations and measurements.
iv. Analyze the data and draw conclusions: the observations made in a
study are usually converted into numbers, which constitute the
raw data of the study. Use statistics to analyze their data and to
decide whether their hypotheses have been supported.
v. Report the findings: write up a concise summary of the study and
its findings. A journal is a periodical that publishes technical and
scholarly material, usually in a narrowly defined area of inquiry.
Critique new research finds by other scientist.
c. Advantages of the scientific approach: two
i. Its clarity and precision: commonsense notions about behaviour
tend to be vague and ambiguous. The scientific approach requires
that people specify exactly what they are talking about when they
ii. Its relative intolerance of error (greatest): demand objective data
and thorough documentation before they accept ideas.
iii. Research methods consist of various approaches to the
observation, measurement, manipulation, and control of variables
in empirical studies.
2) Looking for causes: experimental research: experiment is a
research method in which the investigator manipulates a variable
under carefully controlled conditions and observes whether any
changes occur in a second variable as result.
a. Independent and dependent variables (Dutton and Aron)
i. An independent variable is a condition or event that an
experimenter varies in order to see its impact on another variable.
Experimenter controls or manipulates this. It is free to be varied.
ii. Dependent variable is the variable that is thought to be affected by
manipulation of the independent variable.
b. Experimental and control groups: two (David Wolfe) i. The experimental group consists of the subjects who receive some
special treatment in regard to the independent variable.
ii. The control group consists of similar subjects who do not receive
the special treatment given to the experimental group.
c. Extraneous variables (Dutton and Aron)
i. Extraneous (secondary, nuisance) variables are any variables
other than the independent variable that seem likely to influence
the dependent variable in a specific study.
ii. Confounding of variables occurs when two variables are linked
together in a way that makes it difficult to sort out their specific
iii. Random assignment of subjects occurs when all subjects have an
equal chance of being assigned to any group or condition in the
d. Variations in designing experiments
i. It is sometimes advantageous to use only one group of subjects
who serve as their won control group. The effects of the
independent variable are evaluated by exposing this single group
to two different conditions—an experimental condition and a
control condition. This approach would ensure that the
participants in the experimental and control conditions would be
alike on any extraneous variables involving their personal
ii. It is possible to manipulate more than one independent variable in
a single experiment. The main advantage of this approach is that it
permits the experimenter to see whether two variables interact.
An interaction means that the effect of one variable depends on the
effect of another.
iii. It is also possible to use more than one dependent variable in a
e. Advantages and disadvantages of experimental research
i. Its principal advantage is that it permits conclusions about cause-
and-effect relationships between variables.
ii. Researchers are able to draw these conclusions about causation
because the precise control available in the experiment allows
them to isolate the relationship between the independent variable
and the dependent variables, while neutralizing the effects of
extraneous variable. No other can do it.
iii. The experimental method can’t be used to explore some research
iv. Limitation: experiments are often artificial. This approach allows
the experimenter to manipulate a variable, however, critics have
pointed out that having a participant read a short case summary
and make an individual decision cannot really compare to the
complexities of real trials. When experiments are highly artificial,
doubts arise about the applicability of findings to everyday
behaviour outside the experimental laboratory. Ethical concerns
and practical realities preclude experiments on many important
questions. 3) Looking for links: descriptive/correlational research
a. Naturalistic observation (Lavine and Norenzayan, 1999)
i. In naturalistic observation, a researcher engages in careful
observation of behaviour without intervening directly with the
ii. The major strength of naturalistic observation is that it allows
researchers to study behaviour under conditions that are less
artificial than in experiments. Can be good place to start when little
is known about phenomena under study.
iii. A major problem with this method is that researchers often have
trouble making their observations unobtrusively so they don’t’
affect their participants’ behaviour. Can’t explain why certain
patterns of behaviours were observed.
b. Case studies (Henriksson, Finland 1993)
i. A case study is an indepth investigation of an individual subject.
ii. When this method applied to victims of suicide, the case studies
are called psychological autopsies.
iii. Interviewing people, direct observation examination of records
and psychological testing.
iv. Clinical psychologists, who diagnose and treat psychological
problems. Routinely do case studies of their clients. But they are
not conducting empirical research.
v. Case study research typically involves investigators analyzing a
collection of case studies to look for patterns that permit general
vi. The main strength of case studies is it can provide compelling,
real-life illustrations that bolster a hypothesis or theory. It is also
particularly well suited for investigating certain phenomena, such
as psychological disorders and neuropsychological issues.
vii. The main problem: highly subjective. It is easy for investigator to
see what they expect to see in case study research.
i. Survey: researchers use questionnaires or interviews to gather
information about specific aspects of participants’ behaviour.
ii. The main strengths: Surveys are often used to obtain information
on aspects of behaviour that are difficult to observe directly. It is
also make it relatively easy to collect data on attitudes and
opinions from large samples participants.
iii. The main problem with survey is that they depend on self-report
data. In addition, not all surveys are conducted with care. They are
often unreliable, due to intentional deception, social desirability
bias, response sets, memory lapses, and wishful thinking.
i. Psychological tests, sometimes called assessment instruments, are
procedures for measuring and evaluating personality traits,
emotions, aptitudes, interests, abilities, and values.
ii. Objective tests, also called inventories, measure beliefs, feelings, or
behaviours of which an individual is aware.
iii. Projective tests are designed to tap unconscious feeling or motives. iv. One test of a good test is whether it is standardized—whether
uniform procedures exist for giving and scoring the test.
v. Norms: in test construction, established standard of performance.
vi. For one thing the test must be reliable—that is, it must produce
the same results from one time and place to the next or from one
scorer to another.
vii. To be useful, a test must also be valid, which means that it must
measure what it sets out to measure.
e. Advantages and disadvantages of descriptive/correlational
i. Advantage: They give researchers a way to explore questions that
could not e examined with experimental procedures. This method
broadens the scope of phenomena that psychologists are able to
ii. Disadvantages: investigators cannot control events to isolate cause
and effect. Consequently, correlational research cannot
demonstrate conclusively that two variable are causally related.
4) Looking for conclusions: statistics and research: statistics is the
use of mathematics to organize summarize, and interpret
a. Descriptive statistics: are used to organize a summarize data.
Provide an overview of numerical data.
i. Central tendency: the score that falls exactly in the center of a
distribution of scores. Mean (most useful but is sensitive to
extreme scores): the arithmetic average of the scores in a
distribution. Mode: the most frequent score in a distribution.
ii. Variability: refers to how much the scores in a data set vary from
each other and from the mean. Standard deviation: index of the
amount of variability in a set of data. High variability leads high
iii. Correlation: exists when two variables are related to each other.
Correlation coefficient is a numerical index of the degree of
relationship between two variables. It indicates: the direction
(positive or negative) of the relationship and how strongly the two
variables are relative.
iv. Positive versus negative correlation: (only direction not strength)
1. Positive: two variables co-vary in the same direction.
2. Negative: two variables co-vary in the opposite direction.
v. Strength of the correlation: the size of the coefficient indicates the
strength of an association between two variables. The strength of a
correlation depends only on the size of the coefficient. +1.00 or -
1.00 indicates a perfect, one to one correspondence between the
two variables. Near 0 indicates no relationship between the
vi. Correlation and prediction: as a correlation increases in strength
(get closer to either -1.00 or +1.00), the ability to predict one
variable based on knowledge of the other variable increases. vii. Correlation and causation: correlation is not equivalent to
causation. Three possible causal relationships between correlated
viii. Scattered diagram: a graph in which paired x and y scores for each
subject are plotted as single points.
b. Inferential statistics
i. Inferential statistics: used to interpret data and draw conclusions.
Evaluate the possibility that their results might be due to the
fluctuations of chance. Statistically significant: when statistical
calculations indicate that research results are not likely (lower
than 5%) to be due to chance. Meta-analysis: the results of findings
obtained in several studies are integrated to allow for conclusions
regarding the set of observed results.
ii. Null hypothesis: in inferential statistics, the assumption that there
is no true relationship between the variables being observed
5) Looking for flaws: evaluating research: replication is the repetition of
a study to see whether the earlier results are duplicated. The replication
process helps science identify and purge erroneous findings. It is an essential
check on the accuracy of scientific findings.
a. Sampling bias
i. A sample is the collection of subjects selected for observation in an
ii. Population is the much larger collection of animals or people from
which the sample is drawn that researchers want to generalize
iii. Sampling bias: exists when a sample is not representative of the
population from which it was drawn.
b. Placebo effects
i. Placebos are given to some subjects to control for the effects of a
treacherous extraneous variable: participants’ expectations.
ii. Placebo effects occur when participants’ expectations lead them to
experience some change even though they receive empty, fake, or
iii. Researchers should guard against placebo effects whenever
subjects are likely to have expectations that a treatment will affect
them in a certain way.
c. Distortions in self-report data
i. The social desirability bias, which is a tendency to give socially,
approved answers to questions about oneself.
ii. Implicit measures: participant’s conscious introspection, they are
assumed by many to be less open to biased responding.
iii. Respondents misunderstand questionnaire items surprisingly
often and the way questions are worded can shape subjects’
iv. Memory errors can undermined the accuracy of verbal reports.
v. Response sets: a tendency to respond to questions in a particular
way that is unrelated to the content of the questions.
d. Experimenter bias i. Experimenter bias occurs when a researcher’s expectations or
preferences about the outcome of a study influence the results
ii. Problem: researchers, like others, sometimes see what they want
iii. Solution: using a double-blind procedure. It is a research strategy
in which neither subjects nor experimenters know which subjects
are in the experimental or control groups.
6) Looking into the future: the internet and psychological research
a. Internet-mediated research refers to studies in which data collection is
done using the Web.
b. Advantage: reduce cost and safe time. Internet offers advantages in the
data collection process. Once an online survey or experiment is set up,
data can be collected effortlessly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
c. Disadvantages: the potential for sampling bias. Web studies tend to have
lower participation rates than conventional studies. Sampling bias due to
self-selection can also occur in lab research, but it appears to be a much
more troublesome issue in internet-mediated research. Web studies also
tend to have higher dropout rates than laboratory studies. Data are
collected under far less controlled conditions than in traditional studies.
d. Future: grow. They appear to have the potential to yield more diverse and
representative samples than traditional approaches to research.
7) Looking at ethics: do the ends justify the means?
a. Dilemmas reflect concern about the possibility for inflicting harm on
b. Tuskegee Syphilis Study carried out in US, a group of black men who had
contracted syphilis were enrolled in the study but were never told that
they had the disease and the doctors conducting the study never treated
them for it.
c. Monster Study: some of the participants, normal-speaking orphan
children were labeled stutterers and belittled every time they showed a
speech imperfection, in order to test a theory about psychological origins
d. First, they asset that deception is only a nice word for lying, which they
see as inherently immoral
e. Second, they argue that by deceiving unsuspecting participants,
psychologists may undermine many individuals’ trust in others
f. They point out that many deceptive studies produce distress for
participants who were not forewarned about that possibility.
g. Ethical guidelines for research in psychology in Canada
i. Canadian Psychological Association (CPA): develop ethical
guidelines to inform psychological research.
ii. Key principles of the CPA’s code of ethics: respect for the dignity of
persons. Responsible caring. Integrity in relationships.
Responsibility to society
8) Putting it in perspective
a. Two of the book’s unifying themes are apparent in this chapter’s
discussion of the research enterprise in psychology: psychology is
empirical, and people’s experience of the world is highly subjective. 9) Personal application
a. The nature of technical journals
i. Written in the special language unique to a particular discipline,
often difficult for nonprofessionals to understand.
ii. Most describe original empirical studies.
iii. Permit researchers to disseminate their findings to the scientific
iv. Review articles: summarize and reconcile the findings of a large
number of studies on a specific issue.
b. Finding journal articles
i. PsycInFo: can locate journal articles by specific researchers.
c. Reading journal articles
i. Abstract: scan to see whether it is relevant to you
ii. Introduction: overview of the problem.
iii. Method: thorough description of the research methods used. Detail
enough to let others to replicate.
iv. Results: create problem for novice reader because in include
complex statistical analyses, figures, tables and graphs. Not include
any inferences based on the data. Concise summary of the raw data
and the statistical analysis.
v. Discussion: allows for interpretation and evaluation of the data.
Include suggestion for future research.
vi. References: bibliographical references.
10) Critical thinking application
a. Anecdotal evidence, which consists of personal stories about specific
incidents and experiences.
b. Problems: the language of research designs, the anecdotal experiences of
one family resemble a single case study. Anecdotal evidence is similar to
self=report data, which can be distorted for a variety o reasons, such as
people’s tendency to give socially approved information about themselves.
Anecdotes are often inaccurate and riddled wit embellishments.
Anecdotal evidence often consists of stories that people have heard about
c. Evidence based decision-making: effective critical thinking is to make
decisions based on solid evidence.
11) Appendix B statistical methods: statistics is the use of mathematics to
organize, summarize, and interpret numerical data.
a. Graphing data
i. Frequency distribution: an orderly arrangement of scores
indicating the frequency of each score or group of scores.
ii. Histogram: a bar graph that presents data from a frequency
iii. Frequency polygon: a line figure used to present data from a
iv. Descriptive statistics: are used to organize and summarize data.
b. Measuring central tendency
i. The median is the score that falls in the center of a distribution, the
mean is the arithmetic average of the scores and the mode is score
that occurs most frequently. ii. Symmetrical distribution: mean, mode and median in one place.
iii. Negatively skewed (tail, mode at the right side of mean)
distribution: most scores pile up at the high end of the scale.
iv. Positively skewed distribution (mode at the left side of mean):
scores pile up at the low end of the scale.
v. In these situations, the mean may be misleading and the median
usually provides the best index of central tendency.
c. Measuring variability
i. Variability refers to how much the scores tend to vary or depart
from the mean score.
ii. High variability means unstable. (Spread out)
iii. Standard deviation (z-scores): an index of the amount of variability
in a set of data.
iv. N= number of groups. EX= total scores. D= deviation from mean.
Standard deviation= √Σd^2/N
d. The normal distribution
i. Normal distribution: a symmetrical, bell-shaped curve that
represents the pattern in which many human characteristics are
dispersed in the population.
ii. A great many physical qualities and psychological traits are
distributed in a manner that closely resembles this bell-shaped
iii. The normal distribution is not a law of nature. It’s a mathematical
function, or theoretical curve that approximates the way nature
seems to operate.
iv. The normal distribution gives us a precise way to measure how
people stack up in comparison to each other.
v. The scores under the normal cure are dispersed in a fixed pattern,
with the standard deviation serving as the unit of measurement.
vi. About 68% of the scores in the distribution fall within plus or
minus 1 standard deviation of the mean, while 95% of the scores
fall within plus or minus 2 standard deviations of the mean. 99.72%
within plus or minus 3.
vii. Percentile score indicates the percentage of people who score at or
below a particular score.
e. Measuring correlation
i. Correlation coefficient—a numerical index of the degree of
relationship between two variables.
ii. Positive correlation: two variables—say x and Y—co-vary in the
same direction. High scores on x are associated with high scores on
iii. Negative correlation: two variables co-vary in the opposite
direction. High on x tend to low on y.
iv. The magnitude of a correlation coefficient indicates the strength of
the association between two variables. The strength of a
correlation depends only on the size of the coefficient. +1.00 or -
1.00 indicates a perfect, one to one correspondence between the
two variables. Near 0 indicates no relationship between the
variables. v. The closer the coefficient is to either -1.00 or +1.00, the stronger
the relationship is.
vi. Scattered diagram: a graph in which paired x and y scores for each
subject are plotted as single points.
f. Correlation and prediction
i. Coefficient of determination: the percentage of variation on one
variable that can be predicted based on the other variable. Square
the correlation coefficient.
g. Hypothesis testing
i. Inferential statistics: used to interpret data and draw conclusions.
They permit researchers to decide whether their data support
ii. Inferential statistics are the key to making the inferential leap from
the sample to the population.
iii. Null hypothesis: the assumption that there is no true relationship
between the variables observed.
iv. Reason: probability calculation depends on assumptions tied to
the null hypothesis. Specifically, we compute the probability of
obtaining the results that we have observed if the null hypothesis
is indeed true. The calculation of this probability hinges on a
number of factors. A key factor is the amount of variability in the
data, which is why the standard deviation in an important statistic.
v. Alternative hypothesis (experimental or research hypothesis):
states that on average, the experimental group will have lower
mood disturbance scores tan the control group. Thee are always
uncertainty about the inferences we draw from the result. Can’t
prove alternative hypothesis.
h. Statistical significance (reject the null hypothesis)
i. Statistical significance: is said to exist when the probability that
the observed findings are due to chance is very low, usually fewer
than 5 chances in 100. This means that if the null hypothesis is
correct and we conduct our study 100 times, drawing a new
sample from the population each time, we will get results such as
those observed only 5 times out of 100. If our calculations allow us
to reject the null hypothesis, we conclude that out results support
our research hypothesis. Thus, statistically significant results
typically are findings that support a research hypothesis.
i. Statistics and empiricism
i. Conclusions based on empirical research are a matter of
probability, and there’s always a possibility that the conclusions
ii. Two major strengths: precision and intolerance of error. Lesson 3
1) Communication in the nervous system
a. Nervous tissue: the basic hardware: The cells in the nervous
system fall into two major categories: glia and neurons
i. Neurons are individual cells in the nervous system that receive,
integrate, and transmit information. Majority communicates only
with other neurons. Small minority receives signals from outside
the nervous system or carry message from the nervous system to
the muscles that move the body.
1. Soma, or cell body, contains the cell nucleus and much of
the chemical machinery common to most cells.
2. Dendrites: are the parts of a neuron that are specialized to
3. Axon: a long, thin fibre that transmits signals away from the
soma to other neurons or to muscles or glands.
a. Many axons are wrapped in cells with a high
concentration of a white, fatty substance called
b. Myelin sheath is insulating material, derived from
glial cells, that encases some axons. It can speed up
the transmission of signals that move along axons.
Example: multiple sclerosis.
4. Terminal buttons: small knobs that secrete chemicals called
neurotransmitters. These chemicals serve as messengers
that may activate neighboring neurons.
5. Synapses: a junction where information is transmitted from
one neuron to another.
6. Summary: information is received at the dendrites, is
passed through the soma and along the axon, and is
transmitted to the dendrites of other cells at meeting point
called synapse. But many exemptions.
ii. Glia is cells found throughout the nervous system that provides
various types of support for neurons.
1. Much smaller than neurons, outnumber neurons by about
10 to 1.
2. Over 50% of the brain’s volume.
3. Glial cells supply nourishment to neurons, help remove
neurons’ waste products, and provide insulation around
many axons. The myelin sheaths that encase some axons
are derived from special types of glial cells.
4. Orchestrating the development of the nervous system in the
5. Glia may also send and receive chemical signals; they may
be implicated in diseases such as amyotrophic lateral
sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.
6. Memory formation: Alzheimer’s disease
b. The neural impulse: using energy to send information
i. The neuron at rest: a tiny battery 1. Neural impulse: a complex electrochemical reaction. The
electrical discharge that travels along a nerve fiber; "they
demonstrated the transmission of impulses from the cortex
to the hypothalamus"
2. Ions: electrically charged atoms and molecules.
3. The cell membrane is semipermeable, permitting
movement of some ions. Positively charged sodium and
potassium ions and negatively charged chloride ions flow
back and forth across the cell membrane, but they do not
cross at the same rate. This difference in flow rates leads to
a slightly higher concentration of negatively charged ions
inside the cell. The resulting voltage means that the neuron
at rest is a tiny battery, a store of potential energy.
4. The resting potential of a neuron is its stable, negative
charge when the cell is inactive.
ii. The action potential
1. Constant voltage of a neuron leads to the cell is quiet and no
messages are being sent.
2. When the neuron is stimulated, channels in its cell
membrane open, briefly allowing positively charged sodium
ions to rush in.
3. Action potential: a very brief shift in a neuron’s electrical
charge that travels along an axon.
4. Absolute refractory period: the minimum length of time
after an action potential during which another action
potential cannot begin.
5. Followed by a brief relative refractory period: the neuron
can fire, but its threshold for firing is elevated, so more
intense stimulation is required to initiate an action
iii. The all-or-none law
1. The neural impulse is an all-or-none proposition.
2. Neuron’s action potentials are all the same size. Weaker
stimuli do not produce smaller action potentials.
3. Neurons can convey information about the strength of a
stimulus. They do so by varying the rate at which they fire
action potentials. Stronger stimulus will cause a cell to fire a
more rapid volley of neural impulses than a weaker
4. Various neurons transmit neural impulses at different
speeds. Thicker axons transmit more rapidly than thinner
c. The synapse: where neurons meet (depend on chemical
i. Sending signals: chemicals as couriers.
1. Two neurons don’t actually touch. They are separated by
the synaptic cleft: a microscopic gap between the terminal
button of one neuron and the cell membrane of another neuron. Signals have to cross this gap to permit neurons to
2. Presynaptic neuron: neuron that sends a signal across the
3. Postsynaptic neuron: neuron that receives the signals.
4. The arrival of an action potential at an axon’s terminal
buttons triggers the release of Neurotransmitters:
chemicals that transmit information from one neuron to
5. Synaptic vesicles: store neurotransmitters chemicals in the
6. The neurotransmitters are released when a vesicle fuses
with the membrane of the presynaptic cell and its contents
spill into the synaptic cleft. After their release,
neurotransmitters diffuse across the synaptic cleft to the
membrane of the receiving cell. There they may bind with
special molecules in the postsynaptic cell membrane at
various receptor sites: specifically tuned to recognize and
respond to some neurotransmitters but not to others.
ii. Receiving signals: postsynaptic potentials
1. When a neurotransmitter and a receptor molecule combine,
cause Postsynaptic potential (PSP): a voltage change at a
receptor site on a postsynaptic cell membrane. It does not
follow the all-or-none law as action potentials do. They are
graded. They vary in size and they increase or decrease the
probability of a neural impulse in the receiving cell in
proportion to the amount of voltage change.
2. Two types of messages can be sent from cell to cell:
excitatory and inhibitory. Excitatory PSP is a positive
voltage shift that increases the likelihood that the
postsynaptic neuron will fire action potentials. Inhibitory
PSP is a negative voltage shift that decreases the likelihood
that the postsynaptic neuron will fire action potentials.
They depend on which receptor sites are activated in the
3. The excitatory or inhibitory effects produced at a synapse
last only a fraction of a second. Then neurotransmitters
drift away from receptor sites or are inactivated by
enzymes that metabolize (convert) them into inactive forms.
Most are reabsorbed into the presynaptic neuron through
reuptake: a process in which neurotransmitters are
sponged up from the synaptic cleft by the presynaptic
a. Synthesis and storage of neurotransmitter molecules
in synaptic vesicles
b. Release of neurotransmitter molecules into synaptic
cleft. c. Binding of neurotransmitters at receptor sites on
d. Inactivation by enzymes or removal drifting away of
e. Reuptake of neurotransmitters sponged up by the
iii. Integrating signals: neural networks
1. A neuron must integrate signals arriving at many synapses
before it “decides” whether to fire a neural impulse. Enough
excitatory PSPs, action potential fires.
2. Our perceptions, thoughts and actions depend on patterns
of neural activity in elaborative neural networks. These
networks consist of interconnected neurons that frequently
fire together or sequentially to perform certain functions.
3. Elimination of old synapses appears to play a larger role in
the sculpting of neural networks than the creation of new
synapses. The nervous system normally forms more
synapses than needed and then gradually eliminates the
less active synapses.
4. Synaptic pruning is a key process in the formation of the
neural networks that are crucial to communication in the
5. Donald Hebb: the organization of behavior. Cell assemblies.
Hebbian learning rule. One neuron stimulating another
neuron repeatedly produces changes in the synapse.
d. Neurotransmitters and behavior
1. ACh has been found throughout the nervous system. It is
the only transmitter between motor neurons and voluntary
muscles. (Activates motor neurons controlling skeletal
2. Contribute to attention, arousal, and memory.
3. Some Ach receptors stimulated by nicotine. When smoke,
some of your Ach synapses will be stimulated by the
nicotine that arrives in your brain. At these synapses, the
nicotine acts like Ach itself. It binds to receptor sites for
ACh, causing postsynaptic potentials. Nicotine is an ACh
agonist: a chemical that mimics the action of a
4. Antagonist: a chemical that opposes the action of a
neurotransmitter. Like curare. It temporarily blocks the
action of the natural transmitter by occupying its captor
sites, rendering them unusable. As a result, muscles are
unable to move.
a. Include three neurotransmitters: dopamine,
norepinephrine, and serotonin. b. Abnormal levels of monoamines in the brain have
been related to the development of certain
c. Temporary alterations at monoamine synapses also
appear to account for the powerful effects of
amphetamines and cocaine.
2. Dopamine (DA): (L-dopa: treat Parkinson)
a. Contributes to control of voluntary movement,
b. Decreased levels associated with Parkinson’s disease.
The reduction in dopamine synthesis occurs because
of the deterioration of a structure located in the
c. Over activity at DA synapses associated with
d. Cocaine and amphetamines elevate activity at DA
e. Dopamine hypothesis asserts that abnormalities in
activity at dopamine synapses play a crucial role in
the development of schizophrenia.
3. Norepinephrine (NE):
a. Contributes to modulation of mood and arousal
b. Cocaine and amphetamines elevate activity at NE
a. Involved in regulation of sleep and wakefulness,
b. Abnormal levels may contribute to depression and
c. Prozac and similar antidepressant drugs affect
d. Dysregulation in serotonin circuits has also been
implicated as a factor in eating disorders, such as
anorexia and bulimia and in obsessive-compulsive
iii. GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) and Glutamate:
1. Serves as widely distributed inhibitory transmitter.
2. Valium and similar antianxiety drugs work at GABA
3. GABA (consist of amino acid) receptors are widely
distributed in the brain and may be present at 40% of all
synapses. GABA appears to be responsible for much of the
inhibition in the central nervous system. (Only has
inhibitory effect) It also contributes to the regulation of
anxiety in humans and that it plays a central role in the
expression of seizures.
4. Glutamate is another amino acid neurotransmitter that is
widely distributed in the brain. It has both inhibitory and exhibitory effects. It is best known for its contribution to
learning and memory.
5. Long-term potentiation (LTP): durable increases in
excitability at synapses along a specific neural pathway.
One of the basic building blocks of memory formation.
1. Morphine exerts its effects by binding to specialized
receptors in the brain.
2. Endorphins: internally produced chemicals that resemble
opiates in structure and effects.
3. Endogenous opioids also contribute to the modulation of
eating behaviour and the body’s response to stress.
4. Contribute to pain relief and perhaps to some pleasurable
2) Looking inside the brain: research methods
a. Electrical recordings
i. The electroencephalograph (EEG): a device that monitors the
electrical activity of the brain over time by means of recording
electrodes attached to the surface of the scalp.
ii. An EEG electrode sums and amplifies electric potentials occurring
in many thousands of brain cells.
iii. The resulting EEG recordings are translated into line tracings,
commonly called brain waves.
iv. The EEG is often used in the clinical diagnosis of brain damage and
v. In research applications, EEG can be used to identify patterns of
brain activity that occur when participants engage in specific
behaviors or experience specific emotions.
vi. EEG is invaluable to researchers exploring the physiology of sleep.
i. Case study method. Most conduct with animal.
ii. Limitations: subjects are not plentiful, and neuroscientists can’t
control the location or severity of their subjects’ brain damage.
Variations in the participant’s histories create a host of extraneous
variable that make it difficult to isolate cause-and-effect
relationships between rain damage and behaviour.
iii. Lesioning involves destroying a piece of the brain. It is typically
done by inserting an electrode into a brain structure and passing a
high-frequency electric current through it to burn the tissue and
disable the structure.
c. Electrical stimulation of the brain
i. Electrical stimulation of the brain (ESB) involves sending a weak
electric current into a brain structure to stimulate (activate) it.
ii. Most on animal, sometime on human who has brain surgery.
iii. Wilder Penfield: Montreal neurological institute and hospital.
Treatment of epilepsy.
iv. Both techniques depend on the use of stereotaxic instruments that
permit researchers to implant electrodes at precise locations in
animals’ brains. d. Transcranial magnetic stimulation
i. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a new technique that
permits scientists to temporarily enhance or depress activity in a
specific area of the brain.
ii. In essence, this technology allows scientists to create “virtual
lesions” in human subjects for short periods of time, using a
painless, noninvasive method.
iii. Moreover, this approach circumvents the host of uncontrolled
variables that plague the study of natural lesions in humans who
have experienced brain damage.
iv. Limitation: it cannot be used to study areas deep within the brain.
e. Brain-imaging procedures
i. Computerized tomography (CT) scan: a computer-enhanced x-ray
of brain structure. CT is the least expensive, and it has been widely
used in research. It can portray only brain structure.
ii. Position emission tomography (PET) scanning is proving
especially valuable. It can examine brain function, mapping actual
activity in the brain over time. It can provide a color-coded map
indicating which areas of he brain become active when subjects
clench their fist, sing, or contemplate the mysteries of the universe.
Because PET scans monitor chemical processes, they can also be
used to study the activity of specific neurotransmitters.
iii. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan: uses magnetic fields,
radio waves, and computerized enhancement to map out brain
structure. Better images of brain structure than CT scans. 3-D of
the brain, high resolution.
iv. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI): new variation on
MRI technology that monitors blood flow and oxygen consumption
in the brain to identify areas of high activity. Like PET scans, it can
map actual activity in the brain over time, but with vastly greater
3) Organization of the nervous system
a. The peripheral nervous system: The first and most important
division separates the central nervous system (The brain and spinal cord)