Ch.1 Psychology: The Science of Behavior
1. Define psychology and indicate what kinds of behaviors it studies.
Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and the mind. The term behavior refers to action and
responses that we can directly observe. Whereas the term mind refers to internal states and processes,
such as thought and feelings, that cannot be seen directly and that must be inferred from observable
and measurable responses.
2. What are the four goals of psychology? How are these goals linked to one another?
The four goals of psychology are:
1- To describe how people and other animals behave
2- To explain and understand the causes of these behaviors
3- To predict how people and animals will behave under certain conditions
4- To influence or control behavior through knowledge and control of its causes to enhance
The scientific goals of understanding, prediction and control are linked in the following manner: If we
understand the causes of behavior and know when the causal factors are present or absent, then we
should be able to successfully predict when behavior will occur. Moreover, if we can control causes,
then we should be able to control the behavior.
For scientists, successful prediction and control are the best ways for us to know whether we truly
understand the causes of behavior.
3. How do the goals of basic research and applied research differ?
A distinction is made between basic research, the quest for knowledge purely for its own sake and
applied research, which is designed to solve specific practical problems. In psychology, the goals of basic
research are to describe how people behave and to identify the factors that influence or cause a
particular type of behavior. Applied research often uses principles discovered through basic research to
solve practical problems.
4. What are perspectives on behavior? Cite four ways in which they can influence psychological
Psychologists’ focus on biological, psychological, and environmental factors that influence behavior is
not new 5. Contrast the positions of dualism and monism as they apply to the “mind-body problem.
Mind-body dualism Monism
The mind is a spiritual entity not The mind and body are one
Definition subject to physical laws that
govern the body
Nature of the mind Mind is not composed of physical Mind is not a separate spiritual
Mind body Mind and body interact through Mental events correspond to
interaction/relationship the brain’s tiny pineal gland physical events in the brain
No amount of research on the The mind could be studied by
physical body could ever hope to measuring physical processes
Research unravel the mysteries of the within the brain
6. Compare the goals of structuralism and functionalism.
Structuralism: the analysis of the mind in terms of its basic elements.
Functionalism: psychology should study the functions of consciousness rather than its structure.
Example: Consider your hands. A structuralist would try to explain their movement by studying how
muscles, tendons, and bones operate. In contrast a functionalist would ask, “Why do we have hands?
How do they help us adapt to our environment?” The functionalists asked similar questions about
mental processes and behavior.
7. What causal factors are the focus of the psychodynamic perspective?
Psychodynamic perspective: searches for the causes of behavior within the inner working of our
personality (our unique pattern of traits, emotions, and motives) emphasizing the role of unconscious
10. What are the important causal factors in behavior within behavioral perspective? How was this
school of thought influenced by British empiricism?
Behavioral perspective: focuses on the role of the external environment in governing our actions. Our
behavior is jointly determined by habits learned from previous life experiences and by stimuli from our
It is influence d by British empiricism because the early empiricist John Locke believes that at birth the
human mind is a tabula rasa (a blank tablet) upon which experiences area written. In this view, human
nature is shaped purely by the environment.
11. What is cognitive behaviorism? How does it differ from radical behaviorism? Learning experiences and the environment affect our behavior by giving us the information we need to
behave effectively. It differs from radical behaviorisms’ view because it challenges the view that mental
life was off-limits as a topic for scientific study.
12. How does the humanistic conception of human nature and motivation differ from that advanced
by psychoanalysis and behaviorism?
The humanistic perspective emphasized free will, personal growth and the attempt to find meaning in
one’s existence. Humanists rejected psychodynamic concepts of humans as being controlled by
unconscious forces, and rejected behaviorism’s view of human as mere reactors to the environment.
13. What is the conception of human nature advanced by the cognitive perspective?
The cognitive perspective examines the nature of the mind and how mental processes influence
behavior. In this view, humans are information processors whose actions are governed by thought.
14. What does gestalt mean? How does this meaning relate to the goals and findings of Gestalt
Gestalt roughly translates as “whole” or “organization”. Gestalt psychology examined how the mind
organizes elements of experience into a unified or “whole” perception. Scientists argued that
perceptions are organizes so that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
15. Define culture and norms. What functions does a culture serve?
Culture refers to the enduring values, beliefs, behaviors and traditions that are shared by a large group
of people and passed from one generation to the next. Norms are rules (often unwritten) that specify
what behavior is acceptable and expected for members of a certain cultural group.
Cultural psychology (som