Psychological science is the study of the mind, the brain and behaviour.
Mind refers to mental activity, the perceptual experiences we have while interacting with
the world are examples of the mind in action.
The mind is also responsible for thoughts, memories, feelings.
Mental activity results from biological processes within the brain, the physical brain
enables the mind or the mind is what the mind does.
Behaviour encompasses observable actions. They can be subtle or complex. Scientists
would focus on behaviours rather than mental states because they’re more easily
Unconscious influences are the automaticity of everyday life (2). Ideas regarding
intelligence in accordance to specific social groups may be completely opposite to what is
actually thought. The example of the warm cup of coffee, where the person regard another
as being warmer and less selfish as opposed to people holding a cup of cold coffee.
Amiable scepticism which combines openness and wariness.
Critical thinking: correlation between children and sweets, what is really making your
child hyperactive, the sugar or the environment in which it was given?
“Mozart effect” – non-reproducible experiment
Chinese philosopher, Confucius, emphasized human development, education, and
interpersonal relations (all of which are topics in psychology).
19 century: psychology developed into a discipline.
Nature versus nurture
Are psychological processes biologically innate or are they acquired through
education, experience, and culture (the beliefs, values, rules, norms, and customs
existing within a group of people who share a common language and environment)?
- are they separate and distinct?
- Is the mind simply the brain’s subjective experience?
- In history the mind has been viewed to reside in many organs (liver, heart)
- Scholars continues to believe that the mind is separate from, and in control of
the body (because of religion)
- 1500 Leonardo Da Vinci challenged the latter when he dissected organisms,
including humans. He theorized that all sensory messages arrived at one
location of the brain – sensus communis and its name may be the root of the
modern word common sense
- 1600s Rene Descartes promoted his influential theory of Dualism, where the
mind and body are separate but intertwined. Experimental psychology began with introspection.
- mid-1800s, psychology rose as a field
- A System of Logic (1843) by John Stuart Mill declared that psychology should
leave the realms of philosophy
- Wilhelm Wundt established the first psychology laboratory and institute. He
realized that psychological processes, the products of physiological actions in
the brain, take time to occur. He studied reaction times. He also developed a
method of introspection which is a systematic examination of subjective
mental experiences that requires people to inspect and report on the content of
Introspection led to Structuralism.
- Developed by Edward Titchener
- Idea that conscious experience can be broken down into its basic underlying
- If you study these basic components, you can understand the mind
- Problem with introspection: subjective; hard to tell if subjects are
experiencing things similarly, the reporting of the experience changes the
experience; generally not reliable
Functionalism addressed the purpose of behaviour.
- William James
- Argued that the mind was more complex than its elements and therefore could
not be broken down
- Mind consisted of ever-changing continuous series of thoughts, termed the
stream of consciousness which could not be frozen in time
- The whole functioning of the brain was important and not just the pieces or
parts of it
- Mind came into existence over the course of evolution; helps humans adapt to
Evolution, adaptation and behaviour
- Charles Darwin was an influence of functionalism
- He’s a naturalist
Gestalt psychology emphasized patterns and context in learning.
- also opposed structuralism
- Max Wertheimer in 1912
- Whole personal experience is not simply the sum of its constituent elements.
- The whole is different than the sum of its parts
- Example of three lines on a paper versus seeing a triangle
- Two people can look at the same object and see different things
Mary Whiton Calkins
Greek instructor (temporary) Studied with William James
Met all the requirements for a PhD but couldn’t get it because she’s a girl
Margaret Floy Washburn
First woman to receive PhD in psychology at Cornell
Nancy Bayley and Eleanor Gibson both received the American Psychological
Association’s Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award – both making great
contributions to the study of perceptual learning.
Women’s contribution to psychology rapidly expanded in the 1970s. Many of the
researchers’ projects were off because they only had male participants, and when males
wanted to join the field, studies between male and female relationships and such started
Freud emphasizeththe power of the unconsciousness.
- 20 century psychology influenced by Freud
- Trained in medicine and treated neurological disorders
- Noticed that his patients had few medical reasons for their paralysis and
believed their conditions were caused by psychological factors.
- Unconscious mental forces, often sexual and in conflict, produced