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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC 1000
Professor
Dan Meegan
Semester
Fall

Description
Psychology September 15th, 2013 Module 1 - The Story of Psychology  Before 300 B.C.E., the Greek philosopherAristotle theorized about learning and memory, motivation and emotion, perception and personality.  The "birth" of psychology was on a December day in 1879 at Germany's University of Leipzig. Two young men helped a middle-age professor, Wilhelm Wundt, create an experimental machine. The machine measured the time lag between people hearing a ball hit a platform and their pressing a telegraph key. Wundt was seeking to measure "atoms of the mind" - the fastest and simplest mental processes. This was the first psychological laboratory.  Through time, the new science of psychology became organized into different branches (or schools of thought)  Two early schools of thought were structuralism and functionalism  Psychology was defined as "the science of mental life", which continued into the 1920s  The first two provocativeAmerican psychologists came - John B. Watson and later, B. F. Skinner dismissed introspection (the examination of one's own conscious thoughts and feelings) and redefined psychology as "the scientific study of observable behaviour"  Behaviourists were one of the two major forces in psychology well into the 1960's.  Freudian Psychology was the other major force, emphasizing the ways our unconscious thought processes and our emotional responses to childhood experiences affect our behaviour.  Humanistic Psychologists, led by Carl Rogers andAbraham Maslow, found Freudian psychology and behaviourism too limiting. They drew attention to ways that current environmental influences can nurture or limit our growth potential, and to the importance of having our needs for love and acceptance satisfied.  Cognitive Psychology scientifically explores the ways we perceive, process, and remember information.  Cognitive Neuroscience, an interdisciplinary study, has enriched our understanding of the brain activity underlying mental activity.  Today we define psychology as the science of behaviour and mental processes.  Behaviour is anything n organism does, any action that we can record.  Mental processes are the internal, subjective experiences we infer from behaviour - sensations, perceptions, dreams, thoughts, beliefs and feelings.  Nature-Nurture is the longstanding controversy over the relative contributions that genes and experience make to the development of psychological traits and behaviours. Today's science sees traits and behaviours arising from the interaction of nature and nurture. The argument first started withArtistotle, then with John Locke and Rene Descartes.  Charles Darwin introduced the principle of natural selection - From among chance variations, nature selects traits that best enable an organism to survive and reproduce in a particular environment.  BiopsychosocialApproach is the different levels of analysis  Three Main Levels of Analysis: Biological Influences, Psychological Influences, and Social-Cultural Influences.  Biological Influences - natural selection of adaptive traits, genetic predispositions responding to environment, brain mechanisms, hormonal influences.  Psychological Influences - learned fears and other learn expectations, emotional responses, cognitive processing and perceptual interpretations.  Social-cultural Influences - presence of others, cultural/societal and family expectations, peer and other group influences, compelling models (media)  Subfields of psychology - scientist, researcher, therapist, teacher, travelor  Basic Research - aims to builds psychology's knowledge base.  Applied Research - aims to tackles practical problems.  Counseling Psychologists - a branch of psychology that helps people to cope with challenge and crises.  Clinical Psychologists - asses and treat mental, emotional and behavioural disorders.  Psychiatry - provides medical treatment (drugs) as well as psychological therapy to deal with psychological disorders.  Positive Psychology - scientifically explores the study of human functioning with the goals of discovering and promoting strengths and virtues that will help the individuals and community thrive.  Community Psychology - work to create social and physical environments that are healthy for all. Ex: in schools, to prevent bullying they may study how the school and neighbourhood foster bullying.  Psychologists teach in medical schools, law schools, theological seminaries, and work in hospitals, factories, and even corporate offices. Module 2 - Thinking Critically With Psychological Science  Hindsight Bias is the tendency to believe, after learning an outcome, that one would have foreseen it (Also known as "I knew it all along")  Psychological research has overturned popular ideas - familiarity breeds contempt, that dreams predict the future, and that most of us use only 10% of our brain.  Overconfidence - We humans tend to think we know more than we do.Asked how sure we are of our answers to factual questions, we tend to be more confident than correct.  Perceiving Order in Random Events - in our natural eagerness to make sense of our world, we are prone to perceive patterns. Even in random data we often find order because random sequences often don't look random. In actual random sequences, patterns and streaks occur more often than people expect.  Hindsight bias, overconfidence, and our tendency to perceive patterns in random events often lead us to overestimate our intuition.  The scientific attitude prepares us to think smarter.  Critical Thinking examines assumptions, discerns hidden values, evaluates evidence, and assesses conclusions.  Critical Thinking helps clear the coloured lenses of our biases.  Can laboratory experiments illuminate everyday life? - the experimenter intends the lab environment to be simplified reality, one that simulates and controls important features of everyday life.Alab experiment lets psychologists recreate psychological forces under controlled conditions. Psychological science focuses less on particular behaviour than on seeking general principles that help explain many behaviours.  Does behaviour depend on one's culture and gender? - Our culture shapes our behaviour. It influences our standards of promptness and frankness, our attitudes toward premarital sex and varying body shapes, our tendency to be casual or formal, our willingness to make eye contact, our conversational distance, and many more. Researchers report gender differences in what we dream, in how we express and detect emotions, and in our r
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