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• Psychology Def.: Scientific study of the mind and behavior.
Philosophy – Nature vs. Nurture
Plato (428 – 347 BC) :
Nativism: Certain types of knowledge are innate.
Aristotle (384 – 322 BC):
Philosophical empiricism: Everything is learned through experience; nothing is innate.
- Tabula Rasa A.K.A. “Blank Slate.”
Hippocrates (460 – 377 BC): Greek physician
- Described symptoms of depression, mania, postpartum depression, phobias,
paranoia, and hysteria.
- Theory of four humors: 1.) Blood – air 2.) Yellow Bile – fire 3.) Phelm – Water 4.)
Black Bile - Earth
French Background and Brain Analysis
Rene Descartes (1596 – 1650): Argued the mind and body are completely different from one
- Pineal Gland
Franz Joseph Gall (1758 – 1828):
Phrenology: characteristics and traits are localized to particular areas of the brain.
Paul Broca (1824 – 1880):
- Damage to a specific area led to “aphasia”.
- Patient could understand words but Patient could only say “tan”
- Broca’s area/ Broca’s aphasia: language disorder that affects a person's ability to
communicate. More specifically, it limits an individual's ability to convey thoughts
through the use of speech, language, or writing.
• Birthdate of Psychology & Approaches to psychology:
Wilhelm Wundt (1832 – 1920): Father of Psychology
- First psychological laboratory in 1879. Studied consciousness.
- Introspection: Examining our own conscious thoughts and feelings.
- Structuralism: breaking down consciousness into it’s basic components for
- Functionalism: How consciousness contributes to our survival
William James (1842 – 1910):
- Inspired by Darwin’s theory of natural selection.
Psychoanalytic Theory: The impact of the unconscious on feelings, thoughts, and behavior. Part
of mind that operates outside of conscious awareness
Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939): Developed Psychoanalysis: Understand psychological disorders
by bringing unconscious material into conscious awareness
- Hypnosis, free association, interpretation of dreams
- Behaviorism: Focuses on directly observable behavior through controlled, objective
John Watson (1878-1958): Believed the environment was the most important influence on
- Little Albert experiment: Albert was exposed to the rat, Watson made a loud
noise by hitting a metal pipe with a hammer. Naturally, the child began to cry after
hearing the loud noise. After repeatedly pairing the white rat with the loud noise,
Albert began to cry simply after seeing the rat.
B.F. Skinner (1904-1990):
- Skinner box: Taught rats to press a lever for a reward. Believed free will is an illusion.
Cognitive Psychology: Scientific study of mental processes
- Brought on by the invention of the computer and Challenged behaviorism
- Cognitive psychologists developed new methods to allow them to study cognitive
Behavioral & Cognitive Neuroscience
Behavioral neuroscience: examines the relationship between the brain and behavior
- Brain surgery on rats and other animals
- Birth defects, accidents, and illnesses that impact specific brain regions
- Brain scanning techniques
Cognitive Neuroscience: examines the relationship between the brain and cognitive processes
Social Psychology: examines the effects the social environment has on behavior
Developmental Psychology: examines normal changes in behavior that occur across the
Clinical Psychology: seeks to explain, define, and treat abnormal behaviors
Individual differences (Personality Psychology): investigates variations in behavior from one
person to another.
Research Methods: The scientific study of behavior and mental processes.
- Accurate knowledge can be acquired through observation and experimentation
Example: Does exercise improve mood
Scientific Method: Procedure for finding truth using empirical evidence.
- Usually starts with an observation that leads to a theory
- A hypothetical explanation of a natural phenomenon
1.) Organize and link observed facts
Ex. Friend who exercises is always cheerful, when he goes a week without exercising he
gets grumpy, exercise releases endorphins, etc.
2.) Offer testable predictions
Ex. People who exercise smile more often than those who don’t
3.) Are parsimonious. Simplest explanation that works is the best
Formulating a Hypothesis:
Hypothesis: A testable prediction made by a theory
Theory: Exercise makes people happy
Hypothesis: If a person exercises regularly, then they will be happier
A good hypothesis is two things: Falsifiable & Testable.
Operational definition: describe variables of interest in concrete, measurable terms.
Ex.: Happy = # of smiles in a day; some sort of self-report inventory. How could we
operationalize “exercise regularly”?
• Observations require measurements
1.) First operationally define Detect using an instrument