Chapter 1- Week 1
- Psychologists engage in research, teaching, counseling, psychotherapy etc…
- What is psychology? A science with a special focus on behavior. Primary
emphasis is on discovering and explaining the causes of behavior.
- Psychology comes from 2 greek words: psukhe meaning ‘breath’ or ‘soul’
and logos meaning ‘word’ or ‘reason’. The modern meaning is mind-science.
- Events that cause other events (including behavior) to occur are called casual
- Psychology: the scientific study of the causes of behavior, the application of
the finding of psychological research to the solution of problems
- The word levels refer to a common choice of causes to study and methods of
research to use.
- A reason for studying behavior is that human behavior is the root of many of
the worlds problems (ie. Poverty, crime, overpopulation…)
- Research psychologists differ from one another in 2 principal ways: 1. In the
types of behavior they investigate, and 2. In the casual events they analyze
- Physiological psychology examines the physiology of behavior.
- Comparative psychology is the study of the behavior of members of a variety
of species in an attempt to explain behavior in terms of evolutionary
adaptation to the environment. Likely to study inherited behavioral
patterns such as courting and mating, predation and aggression
- Behavior analysis is the branch of psychology that studies the effect of the
environmental events on behavior. Mostly interested in learning and
motivation. Their belief is that an important cause of a specific behavior is
the relationship between the behavior and some consequent event.
- Behavior genetics is the branch of psychology that studies the role of genetics
in behavior. Examines similarities in physical and behavioral characteristics
of blood relatives.
- Cognitive psychology is the branch of psychology that studies complex
behaviours and mental processes such as perception, attention, learning and
memory, verbal behavior, concept formation, and problem solving. Events
that cause behavior consist of functions of the human brain that occur in
response to environmental events. Primary contribution to the study of drug
addiction has been the development of therapeutic methods that have
proven themselves useful in the treatment of addictive behaviours.
- Cognitive neuroscience is the branch of psychology that attempts to
understand cognitive psychological functions by studying the brain
mechanisms that are responsible for them. Research technique is to study
the behavior of people whose brains have been damaged by natural causes
(ie. Strokes and tumours)
- Developmental psychology is the branch of psychology that studies the
changes in behavioural, perceptual, and cognitive capacities of organisms as
a function of age and experience. Studies the effects of aging including
physiological processes, cognitive processes and social influences. - Social psychology is devoted to the study of the effects people have on each
other’s behavior. Explore perception, cause and effect relations in human
interactions, includes aggression and sexual behavior.
- Personality psychology attempts to categorize and understand the causes of
individual differences in patterns of behavior. Look for casual events in a
person’s history (genetic and environmental).
- Evolutionary psychology explains behavior in terms of adaptive advantages
that specific behaviors provided during the evolution of a species.
Evolutionary psychologists use natural selection as a guiding principle.
These psychologists explore how adaptive advantages might explain the
behaviors of modern humans.
- Cross cultural psychology studies the effects of culture on behavior. Different
cultures have developed different strategies for adapting to their
environments. In some societies, drugs are associated with sacred rituals.
- Clinical psychology devoted to the investigation and treatment of abnormal
behavior and psychological disorders. They have developed therapeutic
methods to prevent and treat drug abuse.
- Behavioral analysts focus on the environment as a source of differences
among individuals, while behavioral geneticists look at genetic variation
- **more definitions on pg. 9 (applied areas of psychology)
- each of us is conscious of our own existence. We consider alternatives, make
plans, and then act. We assume that others are conscious as well. Because a
lot of our behaviours are similar, we assume that are mental states are
similar as well.
- Animism is the belief that all animals and all moving objects possess spirits
providing their motive force (from the latin “to quicken, enliven, endow with
breath or soul)
- Scientific understanding of our natural world requires that we reject such
notions as rocks falling because they “want to”, but rather there is the
existence of natural forces.
- Psychology as a science must be based on the assumption that behavior is
subject to physical laws, just like any other natural phenomenon
- The idea that feelings, emotions etc… and other private experiences are the
products of physical laws of nature evolved through many centuries.
- Rene Descartes has been called the father of modern philosophy. Advocated
a sober, impersonal investigation of natural phenomena using sensory
experience and human reasoning. He believed that the world was set in
motion by God, but now run without divine interference.
- Church believed that purpose of philosophy was to reconcile human
experiences with the truth of God’s revelations.
- Descartes believed that animals behaviours were controlled by natural
causes and understood by the methods of science.
- Reflexes are an automatic response to a stimulus, such as the blink reflex to
the sudden unexpected approach of an object toward the eyes
- Dualism is the philosophical belief that reality consists of mind and matter.
Descartes distinguished between two things: extended things (physical bodies) and thinking things (minds). Physical bodies don’t think, and minds
aren’t made of ordinary matter
- Hypothesized that the interaction between mind and body took place in the
pineal body, a small organ situated on top of the brain stem. When the mind
decided to perform an action, it tilted the pineal body in a particular
direction, causing fluid to flow from the brain into the proper set of nerves
- Model is a simple system that works on known principles and is able to do at
least some of the things that a more complex system can do.
- Descartes rationalism (pursuit of truth through reason) was replaced by
Locke’s empiricism- pursuit of truth through observation and experience
(philosophical view that al knowledge is obtained through the senses)
- In greek, empeiria means experience. His model of the mind was tabula rasa
“cleaned slate”- the ancient method of writing on waxed tablets that were
scraped clean before use, implying that our minds were empty at birth but
ready to accept the writings of experience.
- George Berkeley suggested that our knowledge of events in the world
requires us to learn how to perceive things. Our perceptions of the world
involve activity of different sense organs (ie. When we hear, see, smell, and
- James Mill talked about Our perceptions of the world involve activity of
different sense organs (ie. When we hear, see, smell, and feel)
- James Mill talked about materialism- the belief that reality can be known only
through an understanding of the physical world, of which the mind is a part.
He didn’t invent it, but opened it as a system for looking at human nature.
Worked on the assumption that humans and animals were practically the
- Mill agreed with Descartes understanding of the human body but rejected the
concept of an immaterial mind.
- Luigi Galvani discovered that muscles could be made to contract by applying
an electrical current directly to them or to the nerves attached to them.
- Johannes Muller advocated applying experimental procedures to the study of
physiology. Said that biologists should remove/isolate an organs responses
to test their responses to chemicals
- Doctrine of specific nerve energies: mullers observation that different nerve
fibres convey specific information from one part of the body to the brain or
from the brain to one part of the body. The basic message sent along the
nerves is an electrical impulse.
- Messages are sent over different channels. If different nerves convey
messages about different kinds of information, then the regions of the brain
that receive these messages must have different functions.
- Pierre Flourens, a French psychologist operated on animals. Practiced
something called experimental ablation
- Experimental ablation: the removal or destruction of a portion of the brain of
an experimental animal for the purpose of studying the functions of that
region. - Fritsch and Hitzig introduced electrical stimulation to map the functions of
- Muller believed that human organs has a immaterial force that coordinated
physiological behavior, and could not be experimented.
- Hemholtz measured the speed of the nerve impulse (27 m/sec).
- Weber developed a way to measure the magnitude of human sensations.
Found that people’s ability to distinguish between 2 simlar stimuli (2 heavy
objects, 2 brights