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Chapter 1

PSYCH 1X03 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Johns Hopkins University, American Psychological Association, Video Lesson

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Video Lecture Psych 1X03
Chapter 1: Foundations of Psychology
Levels of Analysis
Psychology as a Science
Experimental psychologists use a variety of tools to ask wide-ranging questions with
the goal of understanding human thought and behavior
Psych teaches us how we thing, feel, develop, learn, love, interact and grow
Experimental psychology uses the scientific method to collect, evaluate and interpret
information to draw sound conclusions
o This process of critical thinking are important basic tools to guide you through a
world of information overload
A Brief History of Psychology
Many views and schools of thought have influenced psychology which introduce new
questions, tools and perspectives
Today the diverse field is united by the use of rigorous methods to understand human
thoughts and behavior
150+ years ago, Greek “psyche” which means soul
o Before that, the study of the mind was told from the perspective of philosophy
and physiology
Thousands of years before the ride of psychology philosophers (such as Aristotle and
Plato) asked questions (such as “how do we learn and remember?”)
Rene Descartes, philosopher the mind and body are distinct entities that were
casually linked in a dualistic relationship
o Mind controlled the movements of the mechanical body in turn received
information about the outside world through the sense organs
Muller messages transmitted by nerves were coded as electrical impulses that
travelled along different channels (like an electrical current flowing along a metal
o Helmholtz measured the speed of nerve impulses 90 feet/second, slower than
electrical current
o Muller proposed that particular areas of the body are connected to specific areas
of the brain to serve different functions
o Flourens destroyed certain areas of an animal brain to learn which regions
control heart rate, breathing, and processing of visual and auditory reflexes
1879 Wilhelm Wundt, German scientist opened the first lab devoted to the study of
o Believed that conscious experience could be studies using the same rigorous
experimental tools that chemists and physicists use to study their research
o 1818 Wundt launched the first scientific journal devoted to publishing
psychological research
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Video Lecture Psych 1X03
1883, G. Stanley Hall Wundt’s student who founded the first psychology lab in North
America at John Hopkins university
o 1892, Founded the American Psychological Association
Early focus on psychology was on the mind, with little attention paid to the brain
Today, new technologies allow researchers to draw more direct links between brain
and behavior
Introduction to Levels of Analysis
A problem can be approached from a number of perspectives that take into account
one or more of the three basic levels of analysis
1. Psychological
o Most intuitive level to approach an understanding of human thought and
o Concerns itself with the role of what lies within a subjects mind, how do
thoughts, memories and emotions motivate our actions?
o How emotions, memories and patterns of thinking lie at the core of ones feelings
2. Biological
o Physiological mechanisms that underlie thoughts and behavior
o Structure and function of the brain, the molecular effects of neurotransmitters
and hormones, and how genetic factors contribute to behavior
3. Environmental
o Understanding how social, cultural and learning interactions can influence
thought and behavior
o Working to change external influences may bring about positive changes
1. Behavioral
2. Cognitive
3. Neuroscience
4. Developmental
5. Evolutionary
6. Socio-Cultural
o Watson, father of behaviorism, is credited with formalizing the methodology of
research methods in the field of behaviorism
Believed in the role of nurture over nature
Eg/ Dozen healthy babies, raise them to be any specialist
o Behaviorism: Overt behavior is the only valid means of measure in psychology
o Mind should be considered a “black box” that we cannot gain access into as it is
outside the domain of science, that takes input and makes output
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