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Chapter 1

PSYC 2310 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Demand Characteristics, Animism, Operational Definition

Course Code
PSYC 2310
Paula Barata

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Chapter 1,2,11 Notes
Chapter 1: Psychology, The Science of Behaviour
-psychology is the scientific study of behaviour and the factors that influence it
-behaviour actions observed directly, inner processes (mental events) ie,
thoughts, feelings images, etc
-basic research is the quest for knowledge for its own sake (ie. how people
behave + influences), while applied research is to solve specific practical
-The Robbers Cave Study showed that competition brewed hostility while
cooperation and dependence decreased it/formed relationships (an example of the
link between basic/applied research)
1. Describe behaviour
2. Explain/understand cause of behaviour
3. Predict behaviour under certain conditions
4. Influence/control behaviour through knowledge
-perspectives are diverse viewpoints
- different perspectives: sociocultural, biological, cognitive, psychodynamic,
humanistic, behavioural.. each guides modern psychology’s attempts to
understand human behaviour and show how each has contributed to the evolution
of psychology
The Biological Perspective
- brain, genes, behaviour
- relationship between body + mind?
- Greek philosophers: mind-body dualism (mind spiritual entity not subject to
physical laws of the body)
- “monos”- Greek for “one”
-Monism says that the mind is not a spiritual entity, mind and body are one
mental = product of physical
- Bio perspective focuses on physical side of human nature, emphasizes role of
highly developed brain, genetic factors, biochem processes and behaviour of
- Galvani’s discovery of “nervous energy” led to the mapping of the diff. areas of
the brain surface
- Invention of electroencephalogram (EEG) allowed measurement of electrical
activity of large areas of the brain through electrodes attached to scalp
- Brain’s electrical activity controlled by release of chem. substances by nerve cells
(neurotransmitter substances)
- Darwin proposed “survival of the fittest” and natural selection, meaning any
inheritable characteristic that increases the likelihood of survival will be
maintained in the species because individuals with the characteristic will be more
likely to survive and reproduce

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-Evolutionary psych focuses on role of evolution in the development of human
-Sociobiology holds that complex social behaviours are built into human species
as products of evolution
- Study of how behavioural tendencies are influenced by genetics is behaviour
The Cognitive Perspective
- cogitare (Latin for “to think”)
- cognitive perspective describes humans as info processors and problem solvers
whose actions are governed by thought and planning (how mental processes
influence motives, emotions, behaviour)
-Structuralism: Wilhelm Wundt- wanted to model study of the mind after
physical and biological sciences, believed mind to be studied when broken down
into its components or structures, therefore structuralism is the analysis of the
mind in terms of basic elements
-Functionalism: William James- psychology should study the functions (why) of
consciousness instead of structure (what)
-Gestalt psychology: Wolfgang Kohler- gestalt: whole/organization, concerned
with how elements of experience are organized into wholes, opposite of
structuralism! Argues that our perceptions/mental processes organized so that
whole is greater than and different from sum of its parts. Insight as sudden
perception of useful relationship or solution to problem (Aha!) strong influence
on cognitive perspective
-Piaget: cognitive development in children: Jean Piaget- how children think,
reason, problem solve, concerned with how mind/development lead to adaptation
to environment
-artificial intelligence an area of cognitive science, computers modelling human
- how people produce/recognize speech, creative solutions to problems created,
resulted in cognitive neuroscience
-social constructivism highly influential viewpoint- what we consider reality is
largely our own mental creation
The Psychodynamic Perspective
- searches for causes of behaviour within workings of personality, emphasizing role
of unconscious processes and unresolved past conflicts
- Sigmund Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis- introduced complex psychological
forces controlling human behaviour: the analysis of internal unconscious
psychological forces
-Unconscious forces: much of behaviour is fuelled by forces of which we are
- Anxiety humans create defence mechanisms ie. repression: keeps anxiety
arousing impulses in the unconscious depths of the mind remaining sources of

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The Behavioural Perspective
- focuses on the role of external environment in shaping/governing actions, rooted
in 17th century British empiricism (all ideas and knowledge are gained through
- rewards/punishment
- Ivan Pavlov’s experiment demonstrated involuntary learning in dogs: salivate to
sound of stimulus when paired a number of times with food
-Behaviourism: school of thought emphasizing environmental control of
behaviour through learning (B.F. Skinner)
-Behaviour modification: powerful techniques of behaviour change
-Cognitive behaviourism: attempt to bridge the gap between behavioural and
cognitive perspectives (Albert Bandura)
The Humanistic Perspective
- arose out of philosophy (free will, innate tendencies toward growth) to find the
ultimate meaning in one’s existence
- emphasize role of internal personality processes, stress importance of conscious
motives, freedom, choice
- in every human an active force toward growth and self-actualization (reaching of
one’s potential)
-terror management theory: innate desire for continued life combined with
awareness of inevitability of death existential terror
The Sociocultural Perspective
- focuses on the manner in which culture is transmitted to its members and on the
similarities and differences that occur among people from diverse cultures
-culture: enduring values, beliefs, behaviours, traditions shared by large group,
passed on through generations : complex definition
-humans have a need to develop cultures, expresses way of being through art,
literature and development of knowledge
- individualism vs. collectivism (how cultures differ)
-individualism: (northern Europe and North America) emphasis on personal goals
and a self-identity based on own attributes/achievements
-collectivism: (Asia, Africa, South America) individual goals=group goals,
personal identity=ties binding one to family/other social groups
- one of most commonly experienced psychological problems
- normal response to negative events: sadness, grief, loss of appetite, difficulty
sleeping, etc, when remain intense over a long time, alongside hopelessness and
inability to experience pleasure= clinical depression
-1/4 women, 1/8 men
- possibly genetics, biochemical factors, sleep/wakefulness in brain
- person interprets things in a pessimistic way, can be related to tragic events,
abuse, past painful experience, etc
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