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Chapter 1

PSY 102 Chapter 1 Notes

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PSY 102
Kosha Bramesfeld

Chapter 1: Psychology & Scientific Thinking Overview  What is Psychology?  The History of Psychology  Evaluating Psychological Claims What is Psychology? Psychology is the scientific study of the mind, brain, and behavior at multiple levels of analysis.  Biological (or molecular/neurochemical level) – molecules and brain structure  Psychological (or mental/neurological level) – thoughts, feelings, and emotions  Social cultural (or social/behavioral level) – relating to others, personal relationships Psychology is Complex  Multiply determined  Interacting factors  Individual differences  Cultural influences  Social influences Universality: as humans, we have common connections regardless of fundamentality  Nature vs. nurture Psychologists are scientists, researchers, therapists, practitioners, consultants, writers and much more The History of Psychology Psychology’s philosophical roots: What is thought? Are the mind, body, and soul separate?  1875 – Psychology is born o Late 1800s, psychology broke away from philosophy & began to use the tools of science to explore the mind o In 1875, William James created a small psychology laboratory at Harvard University o In 1879, Wilhelm Wundt conducted the first psychology experiment in Leipzig, Germany  1880s – Mental processes: psychology’s first scientific questions centered around the structures and functions of the mind (mental processes) o Structuralism focused on basic elements, or “structures” of psychological characteristics o Functionalism focused on the adaptive purposes of psychological characteristics  1890s – Psychology as a practice: in 1896, Lightner Witmer created the first psychology clinic, launching psychology as a clinical practice  1900s – Psychodynamic theory: in 1900 Freud launched the field of psychoanalysis focused on unconscious internal processes (outside of awareness)  1920s – Behavioral revolution: in the 1920s behaviorists advocated that scientists and practitioners should focus only on observable behaviors  1950s – Reactions and technology: in the 1950s, the cognitive revolution, the humanist movement, and new technologies helped to redefine psychology as a dynamic, complex and multifaceted field of study, focused on behavior and mental processes. Evaluating Psychological Claims Psychology as a Science  Intuition versus science o What we think is common sense, isn’t so common  Heuristics are mental shortcuts that help us streamline our thinking. Some of the time shortcuts work, sometimes, they lead us down the wrong path o Representative heuristic – make judgments based on a “typical” prototype o Availability heuristic – judgment based on how easily something comes to mind  Is psychology just common sense? o Overconfidence – tendency to overestimate our own predictions o Hindsight bias – things often seem obvious “after the fact”  To prevent us from fooling ourselves (and doing potential damage to others), psychology relies on science, not intuition or common sense  Psychology is guided by scientific theories, which provide explanations for a large number of findings in the
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