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Chapter 1

Chapter 1: What is Psychology
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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC 1020H
Professor
Wolfgang Lehmann
Semester
Fall

Description
What Is Psychology?  Psychology is the discipline concerned with behaviour and mental processes and how they are affected by an organism’s physical and mental state, and the external environment  Psychobabble is pseudoscience and quackery covered by scientific-sounding language that is made popular by the public thirst for psychological information and is accessed through unrealistic ‘quick fixes’  Popular psychological ideas that the public mistakenly believes to be true is false o Playing Beethoven to an infant will make them smarter o Abused children inevitably become abusive parents, through a cycle of abuse  Popular opinion and ‘common sense’ not necessarily a reliable guide to human behaviour  Annette Taylor & Patricia Kowalski gave 90 intro psych students a ‘Psychological Information’ questionnaire in 2004  Purpose was to determine how many of their students entered with false ideas and if that semester would dislodge them of those ideas  Despite all the answers on the test being false, the overall class accuracy was 38.5%  No correlation between high GPA and performance on the test (so much for common sense)  Accuracy rate improved to 66.3% in the final week of the semester, and demonstrated that they were possibly beginning to be unsure of their misconceptions Critical Thinking  Critical thinking is one’s ability and willingness to assess claims and make objective judgments through the use of well supported reasoning and evidence  Not all viewpoints, theories, and opinions are equally valid and supported by evidence: open- mindedness is not always a good thing o Saying “Ford is better than Honda” is more than just an opinion and requires evidence and facts based on the car’s history whereas no one can argue when you state you prefer Ford over Honda There are 8 critical-thinking guidelines: 1. Ask Questions, Be Willing to Wonder 2. Define Your Terms 3. Examine The Evidence 4. Analyze assumptions and biases 5. Avoid emotional reasoning 6. Don’t oversimplify 7. Consider other interpretations  Occam’s Razor: the principle of choosing the solution that accounts for the most evidence while making the fewest unverified assumptions 8. Tolerate insecurity The History of Psychology th  Was not a formal discipline until the 19 Century, but Aristotle and Zoroaster questioned things that would be psychological today, but did not rely on empirical evidence like they do today  Phrenology means ‘study of the mind’ in Greek, and is a discredited theory that different parts of the brain account for a specific character and personality trait  First psychological laboratory made in Germany by Wundt in 1879, and was the first to announce he was going to make psychology a science; his findings and results were deemed as being too subjective  Mark Baldwin, a student of Wundt, helped found ‘modern psychology’ in Canada Three Early Psychologies 1. Structuralism  E.B. Titchener popularized Wundt’s ideas into a modern form and gave it the structuralism name  Structuralists hope to analyze sensations, images, and feelings into basic elements  Structuralists ask what  Is no longer in use today 2. Functionalism  It emphasized the function or purpose of behaviour and consciousness  William James stated that the brain are always changing and permanent ideas do not appear periodically before consciousness  Functionalists ask how and what  Partially inspired by Charles Darwin’s theories on how biologists should determine how certain attributes enhance an animal’s survival  Functionalists seek to know how specific behaviours and mental processes help one adapt to the environment by looking for underlying causes  Is no longer in use today, but their emphasis on causes and consequences of behaviour led to the beginning of psychological science 3. Psychoanalysis  Is a theory of personality and method of psychotherapy emphasizing unconscious motives and conflicts, formulated by Sigmund Freud  “Mind Cures” was a movement from 1830 to 1900 which were efforts to correct ‘false ideas’ that caused depression, anxiety, anxiousness, and unhappiness  Instead, Freud stated th
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