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Chapter 1&2

Psychology Textbook Notes - Chapters 1 & 2.docx

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McGill University
PSYC 100
Jens C Pruessner

Psychology Textbook Notes By: Adam Palter Chapter 1  Why Study Psych? o People’s fascination with own mental activity.  Understanding your personality, motives, and memory  Understanding thoughts, feelings, and actions  Understanding the brain, genetics, the senses, memory, sexuality, aging, psychological disorders o Psychologists explain human behaviors in real life contexts  Understanding motives, thoughts, desires, intentions, moods, actions, etc.  Psychological Science: the study of mind, brain, and behavior  Mind: mental activity  Brain: physical brain enables the mind o “The mind is what the brain does”  Behavior: observable actions  Goals of psych: to understand mental activity, social interactions, and how people acquire behaviors. o Results of psych. Research are often surprising and counterintuitive. o Psych knowledge is used in many professions  Opportunities are steadily growing for psych grad students to approx. 12% by 2018 o Psych sci. teaches critical thinking  Humans are intuitive psychologists  People cannot intuitively know if many psychological claims are T or F  As a consumer of psych sci we must be skeptical of overblown media reports of brand-new findings and groundbreaking research  Amiable Skepticism: combines openness and wariness by being open to new ideas but being wary or new sci. findings that seem unreasonable. Carefully weigh facts and decide what to believe  Critical thinking: look for holes in evidence, using logic see if info makes sense or can be explained differently.  What are the Sci. foundations of Psych? o History:  Psych originated in Phil.  Confucius emphasized human development, education, and interpersonal relations.  Western psych can be found in Muslim philosopher AL-Kindi’s writings about sorrow and grief and depression.  Schools of thought developed. o Nature/Nurture debate’s long history  Nature/Nurture Debate: arguments concerning whether psych. Characteristics are innate or acquired  Aristotle/Plato debated  Individual’s psych attributable to nature or to nurture  Are psych characteristics innate? Or acquired through education, experience, and culture?  Culture: the beliefs, values, rules, and customs existing in a group sharing common language and environment, transmitted generationally. o Mind/Body problem also has ancient roots  Mind/Body Problem: Are mind and body separate and distinct or is the mind the brain’s subjective experience  Quintessential psych issue  Scholars believed mind was separate and in control of body  1500: Da Vinci challenged this after dissections  Sensory messages arrived at one location in the brain called sensus communis (common sense?). He was wrong  1600: René Descartes promoted dualism  idea that mind and body are separate but intertwined  Many mental functions resulted from body functions o Experimental Psych began with introspection  1850: psych became built upon experimental method  John Stuart Mill:  A System of Logic (1843) o Psych must become observational and experimental not philosophical and spectating o Only through methods of science will processes of mind be understood  1870: Wilhelm Wundt  Established first psych lab in Leipzig, Germany enabling students to get degrees in psych  Pioneered use of reaction time to study psych processes  Not satisfied with that so he introduced introspection to measure conscious experiences  Introspection: systematic examination of subjective mental experiences requiring people to inspect and report on the content of their thoughts o Introspection and other methods led to structuralism  Wundt’s student Edward Titchener pioneered structuralism  Structuralism: approach to psych based on idea that conscious experience can be broken down into its basic underlying components  Problem: it is very subjective  Reporting the experience changes the experience.  Became abandoned because unreliable method for understanding psych processes o Functionalism addressed purpose of behavior  1875: William James  Harvard prof captivated by conscious experience’s nature  Gave his fist lecture on psych  Principles of Psychology (1890)  The mind was much more complex than its elements and therefore cannot be broken down  Stream of Consciousness: James’s phrase describing people’s continuous series of ever-changing thoughts.  Psychologists using the structural approach is like trying to understand a house by studying individual bricks  Functionalism: William James’s pioneered approach to psych concerned with the adaptive purpose or function or mind and behavior.  The mind helps humans adapt to environmental demands o Evolution, Adaptation, and Behavior:  Charles Darwin  On the Origin of Species (1859)  Evolutionary theory: history of a species in terms of inherited, adaptive value of physical characteristics, of mental activity, and of behavior.  Adaptations: physical characteristics, skills, or abilities that increase the chance or reproduction or survival and therefore more likely to be passed to future generations  Natural selection: the idea that those who inherit characteristics that help the adapt to particular environments have a selective advantage over those who do not  Survival of the fittest o Gestalt psych emphasized patterns and context in learning  School of thought opposing structuralism  1912: Max Wertheimer  Expanded by Wolfgang Kohler  Gestalt theory: the whole of personal experience is different from simply the sum of its constituent elements  Gestalt psychologists didn’t rely on reports of observers, but of ordinary people’s observation  Perception is subjective and dependent on contexts o Women have helped shape the field  Mary Whiton Calkins  Wellesly College  Studied with William James and Hugo Munsterberg  Earned, but was denied her Ph.D from Harvard.  First woman to set up psych lab  First woman president of American Psych Association  Margaret Floy Washburn:  First woman psych Ph. o Cornell  Studied with Edward Titchener  2 woman president of American Psych association  worked at Vassar College  Nancy Bayley  First woman to receive the American Psych Association’s Distinguished Sci. Contribution Award  Eleanor Gibson:  2 woman to receive the American Psych Association’s Distinguished Sci. Contribution Award  Study of perceptual learning  Dorothea Jameson:  Understanding colour vision  Mary Cover Jones:  Behavioral therapy  Brenda Milner:  understanding brain function  Janet Spence:  Effect of anxiety on learning  Male dominance of psychology affected the content.  1974: Eleanor Maccoby and Carol Jacklin o The Psychology of Sex Difference  Today, majority of Psych Ph.D.s are awarded to women o Freud Emphasized the Power of the Unconscious  Sigmund Freud  Worked with people wit neuro. Disorders  Patients have few medical reasons for paralysis  Conditions are caused by psychological factors  Human behavior is determined by mental process operating below the level of conscious awareness  Unconscious: the mental processes that operate below the level of conscious awareness  Unconscious mental forces mostly stemming from troubling childhood experiences blocked from memory produced psych disorders  Psychoanalysis: brings the contents of the unconscious into conscious awareness so that conflicts can be revealed  Analyzed symbolic content in a patient’s dreams in search of hidden conflicts  Free association: patient talked about whatever for however long he/she wanted o Behaviorism studied environmental forces  1913: John B. Watson  challenged psych’s focus on conscious and unconscious mental processes  if psych was to be a science it had to stop trying to study unobservable mental events.  Scorned introspection and free association. Developed behaviorism  Behaviorism: psychological approach emphasizing role of environmental forces in producing behavior.  Nature/nurture question: Nurture. (to Watson).  Influenced by Pavlov  Humans acquired, or learned all behaviors through environmental factors. o Thus, we should stud the environmental stimuli in particular situations so we can predict behavioral responses to those stimuli and situations  Psychologists wouldn’t be taken seriously as scientists until they studied observable behaviors.  B. F. Skinner:  Behaviorist  Denied existence of mental states  Beyond Freedom and Dignity (1971) o Concepts about mental processes were of no sci. value in explaining behavior  Animals learn to perform a behavior if doing so in the past led to a positive outcome  Thought processes influence outcomes, and therefore few psychologists are behaviorists today. o Cognitive approaches emphasized mental activity  Perceptions of situations could influence behavior  Wolfgang Köhler:  Gestalt theorist  Found that chimps could solve problem of retrieving banana out of reach  Edward Tolman:  Showed animals could learn by observation  Contradicted behaviorist theory because the animals weren’t rewarded.  All of these findings suggested that mental functions were important for understanding behavior  1957: George A. Miller  Cognitive revolution  Cognitive psychology: study of how people think, learn, and remember o Concerned with mental functions like intelligence, thinking, language, memory, and decision making  Ulric Neisser  Wrote Cognitive Psychology (1967)  Alan Newell and Herbert Simon:  Computers dictate how info is processed.  Applied this process to explanation of how the mind works  Information processing theory of cognition o The brain runs the mind, or mental processes o The brain is the hardware, and the mental processes the software  Cognitive neuroscience: the study of neural mechanisms that underlie thought, learning, and memory o Social Psych Studies how situations shape behavior  People’s behavior is affected by the presence of others  Why had Germans/Poles/Austrians willingly participated in murders of innocents?  Floyd Allport, Solomon Asch, and (Gestalt-trained) Kurt Lewin:  Rejected Freudian theorizing  Emphasized a scientific and experimental approach to understanding how people are influenced by others  Social Psychology: study of how people are influenced by their interactions with others.  “How do people form their identities through interactions with social groups? How do these social identities affect how people interact with members of other groups?” o Science informs Psychological therapy  1950s: Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow  Treatment of psych disorders – let people come to know and accept themselves in order to reach potentials  Aaron T. Beck: developed therapies to correct faulty cognitions  Drugs that alter brain chemistry are the most effective treatments for conditions. Drugs combined with cognitive behavioral therapy are the best treatment.  Psych disorders result as much from the brain’s wiring as how people are reared and treated (nature/nurture)  Disorders can be affected by context  Some people inherit genetic predispositions to developing certain psych disorders  nature activates nurture  Contrary to Freud, B.F.Skinner, and Carl Rogers, there is no universal treatment for all psych disorders.  What are the latest developments in Psych? o Biology is increasingly important o Brain Chemistry:  Hundreds of substances play critical roles in mental activity and behavior  Its is diferent when we are aroused than when we are calm o Neuroscience  There is some localization of function: some areas are important for specific feelings thoughts and actions  There is also collaboration between regions to produce behavior and mental activity o Human Genome  The basic genetic code/blueprint for the human body  Genes can affect thoughts actions feelings and disorders o Evolution is increasingly important  Human mind has been shaped by evolution  Evolutionary change to the brain have occurred in response to our anestors’ solving of problems related to survival and reproduction o Solving adaptive problems  Considering whether behaviors and physical mechanisms are adaptive  Whether they affect survival and reproduction  Eg. with the baby not crawling over the visual cliff  the fear of hights is an adaptive mechanism that will enhance their chances of survival o Our evolutionary heritage  Scientists should try to understand how the brain works within the context of environmental pressures facing humans during the Pleistocene era (the earliest era Homo sapiens can be traced back to) o Culture provides adaptive solutions  Most demanding adaptive challenges involve dealing with other humans  Selecting mates  Cooperating in hunt and gathering  Alliance forming  Resource competition  Warring  Complexity of living in groups led to culture  Culture’s various aspects are transmitted from one generation to the next through learning  We are strongly affected by culture we are raised in  Culture’s “rules” largely rerflect adaptive solutions worked out by previous generations  Culture plays foundational role in shaping people’s views of the world around them and that different culture people possess different minds  2001: Richard Nisbett  People from Eu and N.A. are more analytical than Asians  Cultural rules are leaned as norms  Cultural neuroscience studies way that cultural variables affect brain mind genes and behavior.  Info about brain function and emotional/social/perceptual processes are brought together o Psych sci now crosses levels of analysis  4 levels of analysis: 1. Biological level: deals with physical body/brain/mind/behavior 2. Individual level: individual differences in personality and mental processes affecting how people perceive and know the world 3. Social Level: how group contexts affect how people interact and influence each other 4. Cultural level: how people’s thoughts feelings and actions are similar or different across cultures  Music can be studied across all 4 levels  Ethnomusicology is cross-cultural study of music preferences o Subfields in psych focus on diff levels of analysis  Neuroscience/biological psychologists  Cognitive psych  Experimental psych  Developmental psych  Person
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