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Week 1 psychology 1115 notes (prologue).docx

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PSYC 1115
Troy Chenier

Week 1 May 9/2013 Prologue: The Story of Psychology Psychological Science is Born - Greek naturalist and philosopher Aristotle theorized about learning and memory, motivation and emotion, perception and personality - he thought that a meal makes people sleepy by causing gas and heat to collect around the source of our personality, the heart - Wilhelm Wundt- founder of Psychology - believed an empirical psychology was possible and fought to establish its independence from physiology and philosophy - published Principles of Physiological Psychology in 1890 - establishes first psychology laboratory at University of Leipzig in 1879 - Wundt was seeking to measure “atom of the mind”-the fastest and growing mental processes - new science of psychology became organized into different branches or schools of thought, each promoted by pioneering thinkers - two early schools of thought were structuralism and functionalism - after receiving his PhD from Wundt, Titchener made his way to Cornell University where he established a lab and began to promote his brand of psychology which was structuralism - he engaged people in self-reflective introspection (looking inward) training them to report elements of their experience as they looked at a rose, listened to a metronome, smelled a scent, or tasted a substance - What were their immediate sensations, their images, their feelings? And how did these relate to one another - Unfortunately, introspection proved to be unreliable, it required smart, verbal people, and its results varied from person to person and experience to experience - this school thrived under Titchener at Cornell, however when he unexpectedly died in 1927, the school collapsed and introspection waned - Philsopher-pscyhologist William James thought it would be more productive to consider the evolved functions of our thoughts and feelings - Smelling is what the nose does; thinking is what the brain does. But why do the nose and brain do these things? - Under the influence of Charles Darwin, James assumed that thinking, like smelling, developed because it was adaptive –it contributed to our ancestors survival - Consciousness serves a function; it enables us to consider our past, adjust to our present, and plan our future - As a functionalist, James encouraged explorations of down-to earth emotions, memories, willpower, habits, and moment to moment thoughts of consciousness - In 1890, over objections of Harvard’s president, he admitted Mary Whiton Calkins into his graduate seminar (In those years women even lacked right to vote) - When Calkins joined, the other students (all men) dropped out, so James tutored alone - She later finished all of Harvard’s Ph.D. requirements, outscoring all the male students on the qualifying exams - Alas, Harvard denied her the degree she earned, offering her instead a degree from Radcliffe College, its undergraduate “sister” school for women - Calkins resisted the unequal treatment and refused the degree; she went on to become a distinguished memory researcher and the American Psychological Association’s (APA’s) first female president in 1905 - The honor of being the first female psychology Ph.D. later fell to Margaret Floy Washburn, who wrote an influential book, The Animal Mind, and became the second female APA president in 1921 - Washburn like Calkins also faced unequal treatment as her gender “barred doors” for her - Although her thesis, was the first foreign study Wundt published in his journal, she could not join the all male organization of experimental psychologists founded by Titchener, her own graduate adviser - James’ writings moved the publisher Henry Holt to offer a contract for a textbook of the new science of psychology - James began work in 1878, with an apology for requesting two years to finish his writing, it actually took him 12 years to complete it (Principles of Psychology) Psychological Science Develops - In the field’s early days, many psychologists shared with English Essayist C.S. Lewis the view that “ there is one thing, and only one in the whole universe which we know more about than we could learn from external observation - That one thing, Lewis stated was ourselves. “We have to speak, inside information.” - Wundt and Titchener focused on inner sensations, images and feelings - James engaged in introspective examination of the stream of consciousness and of emotion - For these and other pioneers, psychology was defined as “the science of mental life” - John B. Watson and B.F. Skinner, dismissed introspection and redefined psychology as “the scientific study of observable behaviour” - they believed that you cannot observe a sensation, a feeling, or a thought, but you can observe and record people’s behaviour as they respond to different situations - many agreed and the behaviourists were one of the major forces in psychology well into the 1960s - the other major force was Freudian Psychology, which emphasized the ways our unconscious thought and processes and our emotional responses to childhood experiences affect our behaviour - two other groups had rejected the definition of psychology that was current in the 1960s - the first, the humanistic psychologists, led by Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow, found both Freudian Psychology and behaviorism too limiting - rather than focusing on the meaning of early childhood memories or the learning of conditioned responses, the humanistic psychologists drew attention to many ways that current environmental influences can nurture or limit our growth potential, and the importance of having our needs for love and acceptance satisfied - the rebellion of a second group of psychologists during the 1960s is now known as the cognitive revolution, and it led the field back to its early interest in mental processes, such as the importance of how our mind processes and retains information - cognitive psychology scientifically explores the ways we perceive, process, and remember information - Cognitive neuroscience, an interdisciplinary study, has enriched our understanding of the brain activity underlying mental activity - The cognitive approach has given us new ways to understand ourselves and to treat disorders such as depression (Chapters 15 and 16) - today we define psychology as the science of behaviour and mental processes - behaviour is anything an organism does- anything we observe and record - yelling, smiling, blinking, sweating, talking, and questionnaire marking are all observable behaviours - mental processes are the internal subjective experiences we infer from behaviour- sensations, perceptions, dreams, thoughts, beliefs and feelings Psychology’s Biggest Question (What is Psychology’s biggest historic issue) -Psychology’s biggest and most persistent issue: Are our human traits present at birth, or do they develop through experience? -Greek Philosopher Plato (428- 348 B.C.E.) assumed that we inherit character and intelligence and that certain ideas are inborn - Aristotle (384-322 B.C.E.) countered that there is nothing in the mind that does not come from the world through the senses -in the 1600, European phlisophers rekindled the debate regarding the nature-nurture issue -John Locke argued that the mind is a blank sheet on which experience writes -Rene Descartes Disagreed believing that some ideas are innate; his views gained support from a curious naturalist by the name of Charles Darwin - Darwin was an ardent collector of beetles, mollusks and shells who had set sail on a historic round-the-world journey - Darwin, the 22 year old voyager, encountered the incredible species variation including tortoises on one island that differed from those on nearby islands - Darwin’s 1859 On the Origin of Species explained this diversity by proposing the evolutionary process of natural selection: From among chance variations, nature selects traits that best enable an organism to survive and reproduce in a particular environment - Philosopher Daniel Bennett has called Darwin’s principle of natural selection “the single best idea anyone has had”, which is still with us 150+ years later as biology’s organizing principle - Evolution has been an important principle for twenty-first-century psychology - this would have surely pleased Darwin, for he believed that his theory not only explained not only animal structures (such as a polar bear’s white coat) but also ani
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