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Chapter 1

Chapter 1-Psychology-Science of Behavior.docx

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Simon Fraser University
PSYC 102
A.George Alder

Chapter 1: Psychology- Science of Behavior Psychology- scientific study of behavior and the mind  Behavior = actions and responses that we can directly observe  Mind = internal states and processes (e.g. thoughts, feelings) that cannot be seen directly and must be inferred from observable, measurable responses Subfields of Psychology: Clinical Psychology- study and treatment of mental disorders  Clinical psychologists diagnose & treat ppl in clinics, hospitals, and private practice, or are scientists who conduct research on causes of mental disorders & effectiveness of various treatments Cognitive Psychology- study of mental processes and views the mind as an information processor  Studies consciousness, attention, memory, decision making & problem solving  Psycholinguistics- psychology of language Biopsychology- biological underpinnings of behavior  How brain processes, genes, & hormones influence actions, thoughts, & feelings  How evolution shaped our psychological capabilities (e.g. capability for advanced thinking and language) and behavioral tendencies (e.g. acting altruistically/aggressively) Developmental Psychology- examines human physical, psychological, and social development across lifespan Experimental Psychology- examines basic processes such as learning, sensory systems (e.g. vision, hearing), perception, and motivational states (e,g, sexual motivation, hunger, thirst)  Experiments mostly done with nonhuman animals Industrial-organizational (I/O) Psychology- examines people’s behavior in workplace  Study leadership, teamwork, & factors that influence employee’s job satisfaction, work motivation, and performance Personality Psychology- study of human personality  Identifying core personality traits and how diff traits relate to one another & influence behavior Social Psychology- examines ppl’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior pertaining to social world  How ppl influence one another, behave in groups, and form impressions and attitudes  Social relationships involving attraction and love, prejudice and discrimination, helping and aggression Psychology’s Scientific Approach Science- process that involves systematically gathering and evaluating empirical evidence to answer questions and test beliefs about the natural world  Empirical evidence = evidence gained through exp and observation (includes manipulating things and observing what happens [experimentation])  Systematic = performed according to system of rules or conditions for objective and precision Understanding behavior: some pitfalls of everyday approaches  Ppl, convo’s, books, internet & popular media may provide inaccurate info/beliefs  exp’s and everyday observations may be empirical, but not systematic  mental shortcuts- judging based on stereotype  failure to consider alternative behavior  confirmation bias- selectively paying attention to info consistent with our beliefs and ignoring info that’s inconsistent Using science to minimize everyday pitfalls  adopting a scientific approach help minimize biases that leads to inaccurate conclusions  use of various instruments, experimentations, and publication of their findings for other scientists to scrutinize & challenge (reduces confirmation bias) o new studies help test or contradict findings  forced belief modifications further research  but science has limitations and pitfalls o limits – cant answer faith or personal value questions (e.g. god existence) o pitfall- poorly designed studies produce misleading data  invalid conclusions  Science is a self-correcting process (represents best estimate of how world operates) o Info increases  info may support or change estimate  scientific progress Thinking critically about Behavior Critical thinking- taking an active role in understanding the world around you rather than merely taking info in  Meaning of info? How does it fit in our exp’s & implications for life and society  Need to evaluate validity with: o What is claim or assertion? o Who’s making claim? Source credible and trustworthy? o What’s the evidence, and how good is it? o Are other explanations possible? Can I evaluate them? o What’s most appropriate conclusion? Pseudoscience- field incorporating astrology, graphology, rumpology- dressed up to look like science but lacks credible scientific evidence Psychology’s Goals 1) To describe how people and other animals behave 2) To explain and understand the causes of these behaviors 3) To predict how people and animals will behave under certain conditions 4) To influence or control behavior through knowledge and control of its causes to enhance human welfare Psychology as a Basic and Applied Science Basic research- quest for knowledge purely for its own sake  Describes how ppl behave and identify factors that cause or influence a particular type of behavior Applied research- designed to solve specific practical problems  Using principles/knowledge derived from basic research to solve practical problems Psychology’s Broad scope: a simple framework Levels of analysis- where behavior and its causes can be examined at biological level (brain processes, genetic influence), psychological level (thoughts, feelings, motives) and environmental level ( exposure to past/current physical and social env’t) Mind-body interactions- relations between mental processes in brain and functioning of other bodily systems (psychological vs biological levels of analysis) Nature vs nurture- nature (biological endowment) interact with nurture (env’t and learning history) in shaping behavior Perspectives on Behavior Perspectives serve as lenses through which scientists use to examine and interpret behavior Mind-body dualism- mind is (separate) spiritual entity not subject to physical laws that govern the body  Problems: if not made of physical matter, how does it control bodily functions?  Rene Descartes says mind and brain interact through pineal gland Monism- mind and body are one and not separate spiritual entity  Mind and body = same thing  Mental events correspond to physical events in brain (Thomas Hobbes) since it can be studied by measuring physical processes in brain (e.g. brain imaging devices)  John Locke from school of British empiricism believed beliefs and ideas should be gained empirically b/c observation is more valid approach to knowledge than pure reason b/c its fraught with potential for error  Charles Darwin theory of evolution attacked religious beliefs b/c he says mind was not spiritual entity but a product of biological continuity between humans and other species Psychophysics- study of how psychologically exped sensations depend on characteristics of physical stimuli (relationship between psychological and physical things) Early schools: Structuralism vs Functionalism st Psychology emerged when Wilhem Wundt established 1 expmental psych lab, training August Kirschmann, James Baldwin, and George Humphrey, Edward Titchener Structuralism- analysis of mind in terms of its basic elements  Founded by Wilhem Wundt 1832-1920) and Edward Titchener  Introspection (“looking within”)-method to study sensations since its basic elements of consciousness o E.g measuring inner exp’s of participants Functionalism- studying functions of consciousness rather than structure  Lead by William James (1842-1910)  Influenced by Darwin’s evolutionary theory  Cognitive psychology (mental processes) and evolutionary psychology (adaptiveness of behavior) *Psych’s intellectual roots lie in philosophy, biology, and medicine. Psychodynamic Perspective: The Forces Within  Searches for causes of behavior within the inner workings of personality (unique pattern of traits, emotions, and motives), emphasizing role of unconscious processes  Developed by Sigmund Freud (1856-1930) o Reasoned that causes of blindness, pain, paralysis, and phobias (intense unrealistic fears) weren’t bodily malfunction/disease but must be psychological,& not produced consciously but hidden from awareness o Free association- allowing patients to express any thoughts that came to mind o Psychoanalysis- analysis of internal and primarily unconscious psychological forces  Freud proposed humans have powerful inborn sexual and aggressive drives and that these drives are punished in childhood, so we learn to fear them and be anxious when we are aware of their presence  The anxiousness leads to defense mechanisms- psychological techniques to help cope w/ anxiety and pain of traumatic exp’s  Repression- primary defense mechanism that protects us by keeping unacceptable impulses, feelings, and memories in unconscious depths of mind  Says all behavior (normal and abnormal) reflect unconscious conflict between defense and internal impulses  Modern psychodynamic theories focus on early relationships with family members and other caregivers in shaping the view that ppl form of themselves and others, which unconsciously influences a person’s relationships with other peeps in life th Behavioral Perspective: The power of the env’t (roots in 18 century British empiricism)  Role of external env’t in governing our actions  Behavior determined by both previous life exp’s and stimuli in immediate env’t  John Locke- Human mind = tabula rasa “blank tablet” upon which exp’s are written on  Ivan Pavlov- learning occurs when events are associated w/ each other (e.g. dog salivate to tone)  Edward Thorndike- Law of effect- responses followed by satisfying consequences become more likely to recur, and those followed by unsatisfying consequences become less likely to recur  Behaviorism- school of thought that emphasized env’tal control of behavior through learning o Found by John B. Watson in 1913 o Opposed ‘mentalism’ of structuralists, functionalists, and psychoanalysts. Says psychology is supposed to be observable behavior not unobservable inner consciousness  B.F. Skinner- believed in role of external env’t influencing behavior o Famous for rat study where behavior is influenced by rewarding and punishing consequences o Radical behaviorism- through ‘social engineering’ society could influence env’t which influences behavior to enhance welfare o Behavior modification- therapeutic procedures based on operant conditioning principles (e.g. positive reinforcement, operant extinction, and punishment)  Aims to decrease problem behaviors, increase positive behaviors through env’t factors manipulation  Albert Bandura- promotes view that env’t exerts its effect on behavior not by ‘stamping in’ or ‘stamping out’ behaviors, but by affecting our thoughts o Cognitive behaviorism- learning exp’s and env’t affect behavior by giving us info we need to behave effectively *Watson and Skinner believed psych should study only observable stimuli and responses Humanistic Perspective: Self-actualization and Positive Psychology  Emphasizes free will, personal growth, and attempt to find meaning in one’s existence  Abraham Maslow- proposed we have inborn force towards self-actualization o Self-actualization- reaching of one’s individual potential  when humans develop in supporting env’t, positive inner nature emerges  misery and pathology occur when env’t frustrate innate tendency toward self-actualization  emphasizes importance of personal choice, responsibility, personality growth, and positive feelings of self-worth – meaning of existence resides in our own hands !  belongingness- basic human need for social acceptance and companionship  Positive Psychology movement- study of human strengths, fulfillment, and optimal living o Instead of ‘whats wrong with this dumb world’, we nurture whats best within ourselves and society to create a happy and fulfilling life Cognitive Perspective: The thinking human  Examines nature of the mind and how mental processes influences behavior  Humans are information processors whose actions are governed by thought  Gestalt Psychology- how the mind organizes elements of exp into a unified or ‘whole’ perception o Perceptions are organized so that ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’  The mind as a system that processes, stores, and retrieves information  Noam Chomsky- argued humans are biologically ‘preprogrammed’ to acquire language and that children come to understand language as a set of ‘mental rules’  Cognitive revolution- period where interest in mental processes swelled in 60’s and 70’s  Cognitive psychology- study of mental processes o Study processes by which people reason, make decisions, solve problems, form perceptions, and produce and understand language  Cognitive neuroscience- study of brain activity when people engaged in cognitive tasks o use brain-imaging techniques and electrical recording o looking at it from cognitive and biological perspective of psych o seeks to determine how the brain goes about learning language, acquiring knowledge, forming memories, and performing other cognitive activities Sociocultural Perspective: Embedded Human  examines how social env’t and cultural learning influence our behavior, thoughts and feelings  the presence of other people influences our behavior, thoughts and feelings o Forms of presence:  Physical presence- e.g in a group  Implied presence- dressing for party to prepare upcoming judgments from ppl  Imagined presence- e.g. slow down driving b/c car behind might be disguise cop  Culture- enduring values, beliefs, behaviors, and traditions that are shared by a large group of pl and passed down from one generation to the next  Norms- rules (often unwritten) specifying acceptable behavior and expectation for members of that group o E.g. how to dress, manners, gender roles o Each new generation must internalize/adopt these norms and values  Socialization- process by which culture is transmitted to new members and internalized by them  Cultural psychology- aka cross-cultural psychology; explores how culture is transmitted to its members and differences among ppl from diverse cultures o Individualism- most industrialized cultures (northern Europe, NA); emphasis on personal goals and self-identity based primarily on one’s own attributes and achievements o Collectivism- Asian, African, SA; individual goals are dependent to those of group. Personal identity is defined largely by ties that bind one to extended family and other social groups.  these differences are created by social learning exp’s that begin in childhood and continue in social customs Biological Perspective: Brain, Genes, and Evolution  examines how brain processes and other bodily functions regulate behavior  behavioral neuroscience- aka physiological psychology; examines brain processes and other physiological functions that underlie our behavior, sensory exp’s, emotions, and thoughts  Donald O. Hebb- proposed changes in connections between nerve cells provide biological bases for learning, memory and perception o Neurotransmitters- chemicals released by nerve cells that allow them to communicate with one another  Behavior genetics- study of how behavioral tendencies are influenced by genetic factors  Evolutionary Psychology- how evolution shaped modern human behavior o Examine behavior in terms of its adaptive functions and seek to explain how evolution has biologically predisposed modern humans toward certain ways of behaving o Human mental abilities and behavioral tendencies evolved along with changing body  E.g. new physical ability such as walking upright allowed tool uses and living in social groups  Psychological abilities (thought, language, capacity to learn and problem solve) became important for survival to new ways of living o Natural selection- if inherited trait gives certain members an advantage over others, these members will be more likely to survive and pass on these characteristics to their offspring  Species evolve as the presence of adaptive traits increases within population over generations  Traits that are disadvantaged become less common within species overtime since members w/ those traits are less likely to survive and reproduce  Adaptiveness of trait depends on env’t -- env’t constantly changing. Sometimes it may be advantage (increase), sometimes disadvantage (decrease)  Specie’s biology evolves in response to env’tal conditions  Adaptations to new env’tal demands  brain development human behavior development  Sociobiology- where complex social behaviors are built into human species as products of evolution o Natural selection favours behaviors that increase ability to pass on one’s genes to next generation  E.g. aggression, competition, dominance in males, cooperative & nurturing tendencies in females o Significance in sex differences in reproduction  females have greater investment in reproductive process  females have less opportunity to reproduce, and is at greater health risk during preggoes and delivery  so, thru natural selection, men and women are biologically predisposed to seek diff qualities in mate o *Main point: One’s genetic survival is greater than one’s own physical survival Using lvls of analysis to integrate the perspectives The 6 major perspectives can be broken down in which behavior can be examined at the biological, environmental, and psychological level.  Biological level of analysis- studying behavior and its causes in terms of brain functioning, hormones, and genetic factors shaped over course of evolution  Psychological level of analysis- looking at cognitive perspective and analyze how thought, memory, and planning influence behavior o E.g humanistic, cognitive, and psychodynamic perspective  Environmental level of analys
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