Week of September 9: Levels Of Analysis
Psychology: comes from the Greek words "psyche" which means soul.
Aristotle & Plato: contemplated the fundamental questions of "how do we learn and remember?" and "where does knowledge come
from?" Rene Descartes, suggested that the mind and body were distinct entities that were casually linked in a dualistic relationship;
the mind in turn received information about the outside world through sense organs. This dualistic view became influential to the work
Muller proposed that like an electrical current flowing along a metal conductor, the messages transmitted by nerves were coded as
electrical impulses that travelled along different channels. Also suggested that specific parts of the brain to serve different functions.
Helmholtz measured the speed of nerve impulses, he found it to be 90 feet/second. Fast, not as fast as electric current. Flourens, used
a technique to systematically destroy different regions of an animal's brain. By this method, he learned which brain regions control
heart rate, breathing, and processing of visual and auditory reflexes.
Case Study: Michael is adjusting to a transition in schools. He has a hard time making friends, and is always in a bad, and is
doing bad in school. Social withdrawal has caused problems with appetite and sleep.
A problem can be approached from a number of perspectives that take into account one or more of three basic level of analyses-
Psychological, Biological, and Environmental.
Psychological Level of Analysis may be the most intuitive level to approach an understanding of human thought and behaviour. This
level concerns itself with the role of what lies within a subjects mind: hot do thoughts, memories, and emotions motivate our actions?
Michael's depression may be interested in studying how emotions, memories and patterns of thinking lie at the cored of
Michael's feelings of isolation and depressive episodes.
Biological Level of Analysis psychologists focus on the physiological mechanisms that underlie thoughts and behaviour. This may
include the structure and function of the brain, the molecular effects or neurotransmitters and hormones, and how genetic factors
contribute to behaviour. Psychologist may study the role of key neurotransmitters such as serotonin in mood disorders and
genetic factors that make some individuals more prone to depressive episodes.
Environmental Level of Analysis: are concerned with understanding how social, cultural and learning interactions can influence
thought and behaviour. Psychologist may study the conditions that triggered and maintain his feelings of depression; in this
manner, working to change these external influences may bring about positive changes.
Watson argued that the mind should be an off limits "black box" that takes input and makes output. What happens inside the "black
box" should be considered to be outside the domain of science. He believe in nurture over nature in influencing human behaviour as
he argued. BF Skinner conceded that although internal mental events must surely exist, they remained impossible to measure in a
Models: abstracts representations of how the mind functions
- can be used to make predictions and design experiments
Example: Sue is a cognitive psychologist who proposes a Single Memory Model. She assumes that here is only one memory storage
and information goes in and can be recalled when needed. This may begin to trigger research questions about how information is
entered the memory storage area.
New Model must be tested(experiments) adopt the new model.. no experiments..revise or abandon new model
Structural Neuroimaging: Allows us to see th ephysical make up of the brain.
Functional Neuroimaging: Allows us to see what the brain is actually doing
Proximate vs Ultimate Causes: example, if we asked the question, why do men tend to be more aggressive than women? A
neuroscientist would say because of testosterone levels. Someone with an evolutionary perspective would want to understand why?
Does it make adaptive sense for men to be more aggressive than women?
Developmental Psychology: how behaviours develop over the lifespan. Focus on how genetic and environmental factors contribute to
changed in behaviour across a lifespan.
Evolutionary Psychology: how behaviours develop over many generations. Consider much larger periods of time-- thousands, if not
millions of years across the history of a species.
Socio-cultural: perspective focuses on how individuals are influenced by culture and interactions with other people. Psychologists
interested in 1/3 things: the influence of an individual on a group, influence of a group on an individual, or the influence of one group
on another group. Views on Depression... behaviourist view of depression is inspired by animal research on a phenomenon called learned helplessness.
Subjects have learned through repeated trials that they are unable to escape an unpleasant stimulus; the subject essentially learns that it
is "helpless" and does not try to escape from similar situations in the future. This suggests that treatments that overcome this learned
helplessness may be helpful in overcoming the depressed behaviour in humans. Cognitive psychologist would seek to learn something
different than a colleague with a more biological perspective, who in turn would be interested in something different from a colleague
following an evolutionary perspective.
Week of September 16: Research Methods *watch moduel for graphs!
The Scientific Method
this method provides a 7 step process for how to collect and analyze information while trying to minimize biases, conflicts,
1. Construct a Theory
General set of ideas about the way the world works
the theory guides the scientist to create a hypothesis
2. Generate a Hypothesis
Testable statement guided by theories that make specific predictions about the relationship between variables
3. Choose Research Method
Determine in what way the hypothesis will be tested
4. Collect Data
Take measurements of the outcomes of the test
5. Analyze Data
Understand the data and discover trends/ relationships between the variables
6. Report the Findings
Publish articles in scholarly journals
7. Revise existing Theories
To include new information into our understanding of the world
Paradigm Shift: when there is a change in our thinking
example: 1543, Copernicus challenged the existing dogma that the earth was the center of the universe
Theory: Erics theory is that test scored can be affected by external factors.
Hypothesis: if students take energy drinks their performance will be improved compared to students not taking the drinking energy
Collect Data: Eric with energy drink(independent variable) Erics roommate no energy drink
Dependant variable: test results
Analyze Data: over the semester Eric might take tests with and without the drink. He could then compare his performance.
Report the Findings: with drink A+, without drink C-
Revise existing Theories:
When scientists use the experiment to measure the effect of one variable on another. Scientist manipulated independent variable and
observes the effect on the dependent variable.
experiment: scientific tool used to measure the effect of one variable on another
independent variable: variable manipulated by the scientist
dependent variable: variable being observed by the scientist
experimental group: receive a manipulation of the independent variable
control group: will not receive a manipulation of the independent variable
within- subject design: manipulating the independent variable within each participant to minimize the effect of external variables on
the dependent measure
practice effect: improved performance over the course of an experiment due to becoming more experienced
confounding variable: a variable other than the independent variable that has an effect on the results
Random Sampling: choosing a sample at random, avoids being specific to a certain group, overall population
Random Assignment: assign subjects to experimental or control groups at random to avoid any biases that could cause differences
between groups What is experimental bias, and how can it be avoided?
Experimenter Bias: actions made by the experimenter, unintentionally/ deliberately, to promote the result they wish to achieve.
test improvement may be due to an experimenters influence not experimental manipulation
how to avoid? experimenter does not know who is taking or not taking drink (double blind studies)
What are subject biases and how can they be avoided?
participants improvement may be due to participant influence, not experimental manipulation
may really want to do well
participant bias: participant actions in an experiment influence the results outside of the manipulations of the experimenter
blinding: when participants dont know which group, experimental or controlled, or which treatment receiving
what is the placebo effect?
effect that occurs when an individual exhibits a response to a treatment that has no related therapeutic effect.
Week of September 23: Classical Conditioning
Classical Conditioning: learning of a contingency between a particular signal and a later event that are paired in time and/or place
Instrumental Conditioning: reinforcement or punishment are used to either increase or decrease the probability that a behavior will
occur again in the future.
Ivan Pavlov made the observation dogs salivate before food reaches the mouth. He trained the dog to salivate once he heard the bell,
and didn't see the food. Conditional reflex, conditional upon training. Signal(bell) -> Event(meat). Contingent relationship between 2
Contingencies: when the first event is consistently followed by the second event, the association that an organism may form between
these events is a contingency.
Unconditional Stimuli: any stimulus or event. Occurs naturally, prior to learning.
example: food places in a dog's mouth or a slice of lemon placed in your own mouth will naturally trigger a response without
any training being necessary
Unconditional Response: the response that occurs after the unconditioned stimulus. Occurs naturally, prior to any learning.
example: food elicits an UR of salvation in the dogs mouth. Lemon juice placed in your own mouth elicits a similar UR.
Conditioned Stimulus: paired with the unconditioned stimulus to produce a learned contingency.
example: Pavlov paired a CS of sound of a metronome with the US of placing of food in the dogs mouth.
the CS appears before the US. It may take several trials of training in which the stimuli are paired before the CS alone elicits
a response. When this occurs the organism has learned a contingent relationship between the 2 stimuli.
Conditioned Response: the response that occurs once the contingency between the CS and the US has been learned
example: the sound of the bell will elicit a CR.
The acquisition of a contingency typically requires may trials, but can occur quickly in certain situations. Process of a CS and US is
called a acquisition. Pavlov characterized the process of acquisition as following a negative accelerating curve. Contingencies are
normally learned slowly taking many trials before UR and CS are effectively paired.
Consumed Poison= makes you feel sick
= elicits a strong aversion response
Aversion Aversion the sickness is paired with the novel
taste of the food, a contingency that
the rat can learn in one trial.
CS CR Case 1
CS continues to be a reliable sue for the
CS CR US, the contingency will be maintained.
If conditions change such that the CS is
no longer a reliable cue the CK will
New eventually fade.
Spontaneous Recovery demonstrated that the original contingency is not unlearned during extinction. Extinction procedure, the CS is
presented repeatedly in the absence of the US, the CR gradually fades. Following a rest period, the CS is presented once more, it once
again elicits a CR. This suggest that original learned association between the conditional and unconditional. Stimuli is not unlearned.
Rather extinction seems to promote a learned inhibitory response that competes with the original learned contingency.
Generalization occurs when the organism produces a CR to stimuli that appear similar to the original CS. Stimuli similar to the CS
will often elict a response. Example. Imagine as a child you were bitten by a dog. Now the sight of a god elicits a response(bad one,
you are afraid of dogs)
CS+...predicts presence of shock
CS-...predicts absence of shock
Phobias and their treatment can be understood in the context of classical conditioning. For example, a traumatic experience to a snake.
This produces a long lasting fear to the animal. A story or movie about a snake bite, may be enough to elicit a response for the next
time you decide to go for a walk through a forest.
Implosive Therapy: an individual with a phobia is encouraged to confront the CS that evokes the anxiety.
Systematic desensitization: more gradual exposure to the feared stimulus.
Spontaneous recovery: thinking recovered but then hearing or feeling phobia and being scared, maybe years later.
Homeostasis benefits greatly from classical conditioning mechanisms.
Compensatory responses: CC allows body to prepare for the challenges to homeostasis. Example. Cola vs sugar free cola. Body used
to regular cola, so when drinking sugar free, insulin levels still rise. US ingestion of sugar, naturally elicits the spike in blood glucose
levels. Eventually the flavour cues alone will elicit a CR of insulin release.
Addictions and withdrawal symptoms can be understood in the context of classical conditioning. Naturally occuring effects of drug
are collectively the US. The drug effects are a challenge to homeostasis: body responds with compensatory mechanisms that function
to counteract drug effects.
Week of September 30: Instrumental Conditioning
Instrumental Conditioning: the learning of a contingency between behaviour and their consequences. A specific behaviour leads to a
example: touch a hot stove, you will get burned. Misbehave-timeout.
Early research on IC was often performed on non-human animals. Thorndike, cat tried to get out. Cat accidently pulls string.
Prediction is that once the cat figure out that the string is how to escape he immediately does it the next time he is in the box.
Law of Effect: behaviours with positive consequences are stamped in, while those with negative consequences are stamped out. Reward Punish
Removal of a
of a Positive Negative
Presentation Removal of a
of a Negative Positive
Reward Training: involves the presentation of a positive reinforcer following a response which increase the frequency of behaviour.
Example. Every time a dog sits he gets a treat, behaviour is likely to increase.
Punishment: Presentation of a negative reinforcer. Example. If you continue to leave your toenail clippings on the floor your xbox
will get taken away.
Process of Acquisition: the target behaviour initially occurs by chance and is reinforced as a result of the reward.
Overjustification: example. Volunteer went to South Africa to make her resume look better but came back wanting social change
Omission Training: involves removing a positive reinforcer and it leads to a decrease in the behaviour being reinforced. Example.
You made fun of you sister, meaning no tv for you.
Example. After a child has performed some undesirable behaviour, he is made to leave the play area and sit alone for some time
without access to the toys or friends that the other children are free to enjoy. Removal of positive reinforcers the child will often stop
the unwanted response.
Escape Training: when a response is followed by the removal of a negative reinforcer. Example. Rat is in a cage. One side of the
cages floor delivers an electric shock, but can be avoided if rat moves to other side.
Example: landlord with very sensitive hearing lives below a tenant playing music in his apartment. The landlord bangs on the ceiling
with a broom=music off. Landlord avoids music(negative reinforcer) by initiating a response of banging on the ceiling. Landlord
avoids the music(negative reinforcer) by initiating a response of banging on the ceiling,
Autoshaping: involves identifying an association through random behaviour. Example. Pigeon in a cage, peck lock, seed comes out.
At first pigeon would not know but then he would realize. He will eventually learn the contingency.
SD(S+): when a contingency between a particular response and reinforcement is "on"
S-delta(S-): a cue which indicates when the contingent relationship is not valid.
Stimuli similar to the SD can indicate the validity of a contingency to a certain degree. Generalization. Example. Toenail clippings. He
is used to a green room, but he goes to his other friends and stays in a red room. He then cuts his toenails and leaves them. Response
and reinforcement now extinct.
The ability to elicit a response involuntarily marks an important distinction between the CS and the SD. CS is paired with US and
elicits a response reflexively- Involuntary and automatic. In IC or SD is paired with the response reinforcer outcome, the SD itself
does not reflexively elicits the response. More accurate to say the SD sets the occasion for a response by signaling when the response-
reinforcer outcome relationship is valid. In IC the response is voluntary.
Discriminative Stimulus: whenever Greg goes to his grandmothers he chews with his mouth closed.
Fixed Ratio: subjects placed on a fixed ratio schedule display a characteristic type of cumulative record called a pause and run
pattern. Following reinforcement, a subject will pause with in activity before beginning the next run of responding. constant
Variable Ratio: the slope of a variable ratio's schedule cumulative record reflects the number of responses required before
reinforcement is delivered. Example, reinforcement players receive from a slot machine in a casino. Eventually returns rewards. Only
way to win- keep playing.
Fixed Interval: weekly quizzes for psych. Study behaviour increases before quiz, the pause after quiz. Schedules produce a
cumulative record with a characteristic scallop pattern.
Variable Interval: responds steady rate, which means they won't miss opportunity for reinforcement. Fixed Ratio Variable Ratio
Fixed Interval Variable Interval
Week of October 7: Problem Solving
Intelligence: the cognitive ability of an individual to learn from experience, reason well, remember important information, and cope
with the demands of daily living(Sternberg Theory). Psychology makes two assumptions, intelligence involved ability to perform
cognitive tasks and the capacity to learn from experience and adapt.
Deductive Reasoning: reasoning to determine that the ground will soon be wet (you come to a concrete conclusion based on a general
Inductive Reasoning: generate a general idea given some concrete information. Example, you wake up, ground wet, you can use
inductive reasoning to determine that it must have rained overnight.
Functional Fixedness: our difficulty seeing alternative uses for common objects. Example, you are given a box of tasks, a candle, and
a bulletin board. Your task is to attach a candle to the board without burning the board. The solution, if you pin the box the board,
you can use it as a stand for the candle. The challenge is to realize the box is more than a place for the tacks.(Insight problems)
Reliability: a reliable test produces the same result if one person takes it multiple times. Reliability of testing is an important concern
for psychologists measuring any effect; it is especially important for an intelligence test, psychologists assume that intelligence is a
static, internal quality. Example, quiz, you have a set of random questions drawn from a large test bank.
Validity: a valid test measures only the trait it is supposed to be measuring. Validity in research is an intelligence measurement , does
a given test actually measure your intelligence or rather, your ability to answer certain types of question or even your writing speed?
This is a question that entrance of ficers must consider when asking applicants to complete standardized tests. Keep these qualities of
reliability and validity in mind as you consider the intelligence tests utilized in the past and to day.
Francis Galton, modern study of intelligence started with Francis. His goal was to formally quantify intelligence is an unbiased
manner. Considering reliability and validity Galton created a solution. He recorded how quickly subjects could respond to sensory
motor tasks by their reaction time. Faster reaction times with higher intelligence whether or not this is a valid measure of intelligence
is questionable, but it was a unbiased and reliable measure.
Charles Spearman: he observed most people who performed well on classical intelligence tasks performed well on all kinds of tasks.
He said this because there is generalized intelligence. He was known to advocate the only individuals with G should be allowed to
vote and that only individuals with a base 'g' level should be allowed to reproduce.
Howard Gardener: he proposed a multiple intelligence theory and intelligence test argued 8 types of intelligence. Each intelligence is
independent from the other. Meaning you can have one intelligence without the other.
Kinesthetic- Bodily Interpersonal
While it is an appealing theory some researchers have argued that it ignores Spearman's findings that people who do well on one type
of intelligence test are very likely to do well on others. For this reason and others, the debate over whether there is a single intelligence
or many continues to this day.
The Weschler Scales, characteristics of modern day IQ tests: tests are standardized so that someone who achieves the mean score will
be assigned on IQ of 100. IQ scores surrounding the mean are assigned around a perfect normal distribution with a standard deviation
Correlation between IQs of twins:
identical= 0.80: share 100% of genes
fraternal= 0.60: share 50% of genes
Identical twins raised in different environments, and yet correlation still high at= 0.73%. Suggests a strong role of genetics in
intelligence development. Genetics and environment play a role in intelligence development.
The Flynn Effect: raw IQ scores have been on the rise since 1932. IQ points rise 9-15 points every 30 years.
Jean Piaget suggested theories of intelligence development that remain influential to this day.
Schema: a mental framework for interpreting the world around us. Example, use Schema to know when someone is upset.
Assimilation: incorporation new information into existing schemas.
Accommodation: modifying existing schemas to fit incompatible information
Four Stages of Development
Cognitive Development leads to:
Sensorimotor Stage -> Preoperational Stage -> Concrete Operational Stage -> Formal Operational Stage
The transition from one stage to another is marked by changes in child's schema. Although children progress through the stages at
different rates every child must pass through the stages in the same sequential order, and that not stages can be stripped.
The Sensorimotor Stage:
Object Permanence: realization that objects continue to exist when no longer visible
Age: (0-2) child recognizes he can affect world around. He can engage in world. Cry= mom attention, rattle toy for sound.
Milestones: child realizes objects still exists when he can't see them. Parents leave room, they still exist.
Age: (2-7) mastered object permanence still had cognitive limitations
Egocentrism: hard time understanding world other than his won. Example, if I want to play now surely my mother does too
Seriation: logically order a series of objects. Example, child asks to put sticks in order tallest to shortest, may not do it exactly.
Reversible Relationships: for example, you asked your child if she had a brother. She responded yes, Matthew. But if you asked does
Matthew have a sister, she may say no.
Conservation: show a child two glasses of milk, child agrees same amount of milk. Poor glass #1 into taller glass, ask the child again,
child will say #2 has more milk because of taller glass. Even though they saw you pour it.
Age: (7-12), child schemas= concrete and based on her experience with the world.
Characteristics: perform all things that the preoperational child struggled with. Child cannot think in abstract terms.
Characteristics: think in abstract terms, work with hypothesis and do everything that make up the range of adult cognitive abilities.
Develop interesting books, online games. Begin to understand games are not real.
Availability Heuristic: our tendency to base our decision on the first thing that comes to mind Representativeness Heuristic: our tendency to assume what we see is representation of larger category. Example, heads or tales?
Always 50/50 chance.
Week of October 14: Language
3 Classifications of Language:
Regular: it is governed by rules and grammar. A sentence can be reorganized and still retain its meaning because a system of rules,
details how each word fits with the ones around it.
Arbitrary: what specific sound is assigned to represent a concept it completely arbitrary. There is nothing about the sound of the
word cat to indicate that it refers to a furry animal with whiskers and a tail. If the sounds we used to identify an object had to
relate/describe that object in some way, it would not make sense to call the same object a cat in English and a gayangee in Korean.
Productive: this means that there are almost limitless ways to combine words to describe objects situations and actions. This is
particularly evident when observing native language development in the youngest learners. Infants have an impressive propensity for