Course: PSYC*1000 (DE)
Professor: Harvey Marmurek
Schedule: Summer, 2012
Textbook: Psychology – Tenth Edition in Modules authored by David G. Myers
Textbook ISBN: 9781464102615
Module 01: The Story of Psychology
Psychology is a science that seeks to answer questions about us all – how and why we think, feel, and act as we
What are some important milestones in psychology’s early development?
Psychological Science is Born
• Before 300 BCE, Aristotle theorized about learning, memory, motivation, emotion, perception and
• December 1879 – Wilhelm Wundt (press button when you hear a sound)
o Wundt established the first psychology laboratory at the University of Leipzig, Germany
• Two early schools
• Edward Bradford Titchener
o Introduced introspection to search for the mind’s structural elements
o Introspection – looking inward – used by structuralism
o Concerned with sensory experiences
• William James; functionalist
o Began working on Principles of Psychology in 1878 (text)
o William James and Mary Whiton Calkins – Legendary teacher James mentored Calkins, who
became a pioneering memory researcher and the first woman to be president of the APA (1905)
• Margaret Floy Washburn
o First woman to receive a psychology Ph.D.; synthesized animal behaviour research in The Animal
Mind; second woman president of APA (1921)
What event defined the start of scientific psychology?
In Germany in 879 when Wundt opened his first psychological laboratory.
Why did introspection fail as a method for understanding how the mind works?
People’s self-reports varied, depending on he experience and the person’s intelligence and verbal ability.
_______ used introspection to define the mind’s makeup; ______ focused on how mental processes enable
us to adapt, survive, and flourish.
Psychology: the science of behaviour and mental processes.
Structuralism: an early school of psychology that used introspection to explore the structural elements of the human
Functionalism: a school of psychology that focused on how our mental and behavioural processes function – how
they enable us to adapt, survive, and flourish.
Introspection: self-reflective, looking inward
Adaptive: contributed to our ancestors’ survival
How did psychology continue to develop from the 1920s through today?
• Behaviourist psychologists
o John B. Watson and Rosalie Rayner
working with Rayner, Watson championed psychology as the science of behaviour and
demonstrated conditioned responses on a baby who became famous as “Little Albert.”
o B. F. Skinner A leading behaviourist, Skinner rejected introspection and studied how consequences
o These two men defined psychology as the scientific study of observable behaviour.
• Sigmund Freud
o The controversial ideas of this famed personality theorist and therapist have influenced humanity’s
o Freudian psychology emphasized the ways our unconscious thought processes and our emotional
responses to childhood experiences affect our behaviour.
• Humanistic psychologists
o Carl Rogers & Abraham Maslow
Behaviourist and Freudian psychology too limiting
Drew attention to ways that current environmental influences can nurture or limit growth
potential; importance of having needs for love and acceptance satisfied.
• Cognitive Revolution – 1960s
o Cognitive psychology scientifically explores the ways we perceive, process, and remember
o Cognitive neuroscience – study of brain activity underlying mental activity.
From the 1920s through the 1960s, the two major forces in psychology were _____ and ____ psychology.
Behaviourism and Freudian
How did the cognitive revolution affect the field of psychology?
It recaptured the field’s early interest in mental processes and made them legitimate topics for scientific
Behaviour: something an organism does that we can observe and record (blinking, smiling, crying)
Mental processes: internal subjective experiences we infer from behaviour. (sensations, dreams, thoughts, beliefs)
Behaviourism: the view that psychology (1) should be an objective science that (2) studies behaviour without
reference to mental processes. Most research psychologists today agree with (1) but not with (2).
Humanistic Psychology: historically significant perspective that emphasized the growth potential of healthy people.
Cognitive Neuroscience: the interdisciplinary study of the brain activity linked with cognition (including perception,
thinking, memory, and language).
What is psychology’s historic big issue?
• Plato assumed that we inherit character and intelligence and that certain ideas are inborn.
• Aristotle believed that all things that come into the mind from somewhere.
• John Lock – the mind is a blank slate on which experience writes.
• Rene Descartes believed some ideas are innate.
• Charles Darwin 1831 – evolutionary process of natural selection which shapes behaviours as well as
Nature works on what nature endows.
• Every psychological event (every thought and emotion) is simultaneously a biological event (depression can
be a brain disorder and a thought disorder).
What is natural selection?
The process by which nature selects from chance variations the traits that best enable an organism to
survive and reproduce in a particular environment.
What is contemporary psychology’s position on the nature-nurture debate?
Psychological events often stem from the interaction of nature and nurture, rather than from either of them
acting alone. Nature-Nurture Issue: 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.
Natural Selection: the principle that, among the range of inherited trait variations, those contributing to reproduction
and survival will most likely be passed on to succeeding generations.
What are psychology’s levels of analysis and related perspectives?
Levels of analysis
• Biopsychosocial Approach – this integrated viewpoint incorporates various levels of analysis and offers a
more complete picture of any given behaviour or mental process.
Biological Influences: Psychological Influences
Natural selection of adaptive traits Learned fears and other learned expectations
Genetic predispositions responding to environment Emotional responses
Brain mechanisms Cognitive processing and perceptual interpretations
Behaviour or mental process
Presence of others
Cultural, societal, and family expectations
Peer and other group influences
Compelling models (such as in the media)
Neuroscience perspective – study brain circuits that cause us to be red in the face or hot under the collar.
Evolutionary perspective –analyze how anger facilitated survival of our ancestors’ genes.
Behaviour genetics perspective – study how heredity and experience influence our individual differences in
Psychodynamic perspective – might view an outburst as an outlet for unconscious hostility.
Behavioural perspective – might attempt to determine which external stimuli trigger angry responses or aggressive
Cognitive perspective – study how our interpretation of a situation affects our anger and how our anger affects our
Social-cultural perspective – explore how expressions of anger vary across cultural contexts Examples of
Perspective Focus Sample Questions Subfields Using
How the body and brain How do pain messages travel from the Biological
hand to the brain? How is blood
Neuroscience enable emotions, memories, chemistry linked with models and Cognitive
and sensory experiences. motives? Clinical
How the natural selection of Biological
Evolutionary traits has promoted the How does evolution influence behaviour Developmental
survival of genes. tendencies? Social
To what extent are psychological traits