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Chapter 1

Psychological Science Chapter 1

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PSYC 100
Jens C Pruessner

1.1 Why study psychology?  Psychologists explain human behavior in real life context: Psyc science: study of mind, brain, behavior. Mind: mental activity, e.g. perceptual experiences. Responsible for memories, thoughts, feelings; due to bio brain processes (“mind is what brain does”). Behavior: observable actions. Goals of psychology are to understand mental activity, social interactions, how people acquire behaviors. o Surprising results: Many people initially reject idea that thoughts, feelings, actions may be determined by unconscious influences, “automaticity of everyday life,” priming  US Dept Labor: jobs expected to grow 12% - 2018. Analysis, communication, critical thinking, learn  Psyc science teaches critical thinking: Humans intuitive psychologists: try to understand, predict behavior, cannot intuitively know if claims T/F. Amiable skepticism: open + wary, weighing facts. Critical thinking: systematically evaluating inforeasonable conclusions. E.g., sweets  hyperactivity, Mozartintelligence 1.2: What are scientific foundations of psychology? Psyc originated in phil. Confucius: human development, education, interpersonal relations. Early Muslim philosophers and scientists: Al-Kindi (sorrow, grief, depression). 19 century Europe: psyc developed into a discipline  schools of thought  Nature/nurture debate: are psyc characteristics biologically innate or acquired by education, experience and culture: beliefs, values, rules customs that exist in group of people with common language, environment, are transmitted through learning one generation. Both important to psychological development  Mind/body problem: separate, distinct, or is mind the brain’s subjective experience? Leonardo challenged doctrine that mind is separate from body. All sensory messages arrived at sensus communis. Attempt to link brain anatomy to psyc functions. 1600s: Descartes dualism: mind and body separate. Body is machine ruled by reflex, body functionmental function, but action controlled by rational mind (divine and separate)  Experimental psyc began with introspection: Mid-1800s Europe: psyc based on experimental method. John Stuart Mill declared psyc should leave philosophy/speculation, become science of observation/experiment; only through methods of science would be understood. 1879: Wundt established first psyc lab institute, advanced degrees. Introspection: systematic examination of subjective mental experiences, requires people to inspect, report on content of thoughts  Introspectionstructuralism (Titchener): conscious experience broken down into underlying components, but problem is subjectivity, reporting of experience changes experience  Functionalism addressed purpose of behavior: James criticized structuralism’s failure to capture most important aspects of mental experience; mind more complex than elements, could not be broken down. Stream of consciousness: continuous series of thoughts, not be frozen in time (structuralists’ techniques artificial). Psyc should study functions served by mind (how mind operates). functionalism: mind came into existence over evolution, useful for preservation, passing along genes, helps adapt to environment o Evolution, adaptation, and behavior: Darwin: influence on functionalism, On Origin of Species introduced evolutionary theory: species change over time through random genetic mutations, can increase individuals’ chances of surviving, reproducing, changes passed along are called adaptations. Natural selection: mechanism of evolution; random mutations that are adaptive are passed along and those that are not adaptive are not – survival of fittest. Functionalists argue that if behavior serves a purpose, that purpose is reflected in daily human life  Gestalt emphasized patterns, context in learning: personal experience not sum of parts (seeing dog from spots). Criticism of structuralism – perception of objects is subjective, context-dependent  Women: Mary Whiton Calkins: studied w/ James at Harvard, denied Ph.D, wrote intro textbook 1901, first woman to set up psyc lab, published articles, president of APA. Major research interest: self. Margaret Floy Washburn: first to get psyc Ph.D. (Cornell, Titchener). 2 woman president. 1970s: women’s participation in psyc expanded interest in how earlier male domination of field affected content, such as research subjects, topics (relationships, masculinity/femininity). Majority of doctorates today in psyc are for women  Freud emphasized unconscious: believed psyc factorsneuro conditions. Behavior determined by mental processes operating below conscious awareness (unconscious). Unconsci
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