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Chapter 1

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PSYC 100
Jill L Atkinson

Chapter 1 – PSYC Reading o Psychology: The scientific study if the causes of behaviour; also, the application of the findings of psychological research to the solutions of problems o To provide an explanation of behaviour we must, first, describe it, second, discover the causes of behaviour o Causal Events: an event that causes another to occur o Levels: refers to a common choice of causes to study and methods of research to use. o Physiological Psychology: the branch of psychology that studies the physiological basis of behaviour o Comparative Psychology: the branch of psychology that studies the behaviours of a variety of organisms in an attempt to understand the adaptive and functional significance of the behaviours and their relation to evolution. Ex. Courting and mating, predation and aggression, defensive behaviours, and parental behaviours o Behaviour Analysis: the branch of psychology that studies the effect of the environment on behaviour – primarily, the effects of the consequences of behaviours on the behaviours themselves o Behaviour Genetics: the branch of psychology that studies the role of genetics in behaviour o Cognitive Psychology: the branch of psychology that studies complex behaviours and mental processes such as perception, attention, learning and memory, verbal behaviour, concept formation, and problem solving o Cognitive Neuroscience: the branch of psychology that attempts to understand cognitive psychological functions by studying the brain mechanisms that are responsible for them o Developmental Psychology: the branch of psychology that studies the changes in behavioural, perceptual, and cognitive capacities of organisms as a function of age and experience (especially in children) o Social Psychology: the branch of psychology devoted to the study of the effects people have on each other’s behaviour. o Social psychologists explore: perception (of oneself as well as of others), cause-and-effect relations in human interactions, attitudes and opinions, interpersonal relationships , group dynamics, and emotional behaviours, including aggression and sexual behaviour o Personality Psychology: the branch of psychology that attempts to categorize and understand the causes of individual differences in patterns of behaviour – Personality psychologists look for causal events in a person’s history, both genetic and environmental. Work closely with social psychologists, work on problems related to adjustment to society o Evolutionary Psychology: the branch of psychology that explains behaviour in terms of adaptive advantages that specific behaviours provided during the evolution of a species – use natural selection as a guiding principle – evolutionary psychologists trace the development of such differences and to explore how their adaptive advantages might explain the behaviours of modern humans o Cross-Cultural Psychology: the branch of psychology that studies the effects of culture on behaviour – different cultures have different strategies for adapting to their environments – strategies show themselves in laws, customs, myths, religions, beliefs, and ethical principles o Clinical Psychology: the branch of psychology devoted to the investigation and treatment of abnormal behaviour and psychological disorders – clinical psychologists help people solve their problems, look for causal events: genetic and physiological factors and environmental factors such as parental upbringing, interactions with siblings, and other social stimuli o Applied Areas of Psychology: clinical neuropsychologists, clinical psychologists, community psychologists, consumer psychologists, engineering psychologists and ergonomics, forensic psychologists, health psychologists, organizational psychologists, school psychologists o Psychology started in the late nineteenth century in Germany o Most notable part of our mental experience is that each of us is conscious of our own existence o Animism: the belief that all animals and all moving objects possess spirits providing their motive force o Rene Descartes: - seventeenth century French philosopher and mathematician - Father of modern philosophy - Advocated an impersonal investigation of natural phenomena using sensory experience and human reasoning - The world was a purely mechanical entity-ran its course without divine interference - Animals were creatures of the natural world only-their behaviours were controlled by natural causes and could be understood by the methods of science - Human body=machine affected by natural causes and producing natural effects (reflexes) - Set humans apart=possession of the mind (mind was not part of natural world-obeyed different laws) - Dualism: the philosophical belief that reality consists of mind and matter - Suggested that a causal link existed between the mind and its physical housing - Inspired by the moving statues in the Royal Gardens – thought of muscles as balloons-inflated when a fluid passed through the nerves that connected them to the brain and spinal cord. - Model: a relatively 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. - Refused to deny a spiritual basis to human action - Rationalism: pursuit of truth through reason o John Locke: - English philosopher (1632 – 1704) - Empiricism: the philosophical view that all knowledge is obtained through the senses (pursuit of truth through observation and experience) - Believed all knowledge must come through experience - Model of the mind-“cleaned slate” - Minds were empty at birth, ready to accept the writings of experience o George Berkeley: - Irish bishop, philosopher, mathematician (1685-1753) - believed that our knowledge of events in the world also requires inferences based on the accumulation of past experiences - must learn how to perceive o James Mill: - Scottish philosopher (1773-1836) - Materialism: a philosophical belief that reality can be known only through an understanding of the physical world, of which the mind is part - did not invent materialism, but developed it into a complete system for looking at human nature - humans and animals were fundamentally the same –both subject to the physical laws of the universe - the mind, no less than the body, was a machine o Luigi Galvani: (1737-1798) discovered that muscles could be made to contract by applying an electrical current directly to them or to the nerves attached to them o Johannes Müller: - German physiologist (1801-1858) - Emerging biological knowledge shaped psychology - Advocate of applying experimental procedures to the study of physiology - Doctrine of Specific Nerve Energies: observation that different nerve fibres convey specific information from one part of the body to the brain or form the brain to one part of the body - basic message sent along all nerves was the same-an electrical impulse - regions of the brain that receive these messages must have different functions o Pierre Flourens: - French physiologist (1774-1867) - Experimental Ablation: the removal or destruction of a port
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