Prologue - Reading (NOTES).docx
Prologue - Reading (NOTES).docx

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University of Ontario Institute of Technology
Criminology and Justice
Leigh Harkins

th Prologue – Reading (January 9 ) What is Psychology?  When and how did psychological science begin? o To be human is to be curious about ourselves and the world around us o Before 300 B.C the Greek naturalist and philosopher Aristotle theorized about  learning and memory  motivation and emotion  perception and personality o Psychology was born on a day in December 1879  In a small third floor room at Germany’s University in Leipzig  Discovered that people responded in about one-tenth of a second when asked to press a key as soon as the sound occurred  Thinking About the Mind’s Structure o 1892 Wundt’s student Edward Bradford Titchener joined Cornell University and introduced Structuralism o Aimed to discover the structural components of the minds o His method was to engage people in self-reflective introspection (looking inwards) o He trained them to report elements of their experience as they looked at a rose, listened to metronome, smelled a scent or tasted a substance o What were their immediate sensations, images, feelings and how they related to one another?  He shared that there was one thing and one thing only in the whole universe which we know more about than we could learn from external observations  That one thing was “OURSELVES” o Introspection required smart, verbal people  Thinking About the Mind’s Functions o William James thought it more fruitful to consider the evolved functions of our thoughts and feelings  Smelling is what the nose does  Thinking is what the brain does  But why do our nose and brain do these things? o Under the influence of evolution theorist Charles Darwin, James assumed that thinking, like smelling, developed because it was adaptive o Our consciousness serves a function  it enables us to consider our past, adjust to our present circumstances and plan our future  As a functionalist, James encouraged explorations of down-to-earth emotions, memories, willpower, habits, and moment to moment steams of consciousness  What is Structuralism? o An early school of psychology that used introspection to explore the structural elements of the human kind  What is Functionalism? o A school of psychology that focused on how our mental and behavioural processes function – how they enable us to adapt, survive, flourish  Psychological Science Develops o The young science of psychology developed from the more established fields of philosophy and biology o Wundt (German) was both a philosopher and psychologist o Sigmund Freud, developed an influential theory of personality…he was an Austrian physician o Jean Piaget, the last century’s most influential observer of children was a Swiss biologist o The rest of the story of psychology –  The subject of the book develops at many levels  From nerve cell activity to international conflicts  Psychology is not easily defined o Wundt and Titchener focused on inner sensations, images and feelings in the early days of psychology o From the 1920’s into the 1960’s American psychologists initially led by John B. Watson and later B. F. Skinner dismissed introspection and refined psychology as  The scientific study of observable behaviour o They established that you cannot observe a sensation, a feeling or a thought but you can in fact observe someone’s behaviour as they respond to different situations o Humanistic Psychology – emphasized the growth potential of healthy people and the individuals potential for personal growth  Rather than focusing on the meaning of early childhood memorie
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