Psychology Prologue.doc

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25 Mar 2012
Psychology Prologue
-on the scale of outer space, we are a single grain of sand on all the oceans' beaches
-there is nothing more awe inspiring and absorbing than our own brain
-the brain is by far the most complex and physical object known to us
-our consciousness, mind, thinking, emotions, actions are complex
-psychologists analyze personality, offer counselling, give advice
-psychology is a science that answers how and why we think, feel, and act as we do
What is Psychology?
-psychology is a science that had its beginnings with the first psychological laboratory
founded by a German philosopher and physiologist Wilhelm Wundt in 1879 where he was
seeking to measure the fastest and simplest mental processes
-early schools of psychology include structuralism and functionalism, Gestalt psychology,
behaviourism, and psychoanalysis
-structuralism seeks to study the structural elememnts of the mind
-developed by Titchener
-introspection (looking inward) was used as a method to engage people in order to
explore the structural elements of the human mind
-subjects were trained to report elements of their experience as they did certain
-introspection was unreliable
-functionalism seeks to explore the down-to-earth emotions, memories, willpower, habits,
and moment-to-moment streams of consciousness
-developed by William James who though it was better to consider the evolved
functions of our thoughts and feelings
-focuses on how our mental and behavioural processes function, how they enable
us to adapt, survive and flourish
How did psychology continue to develop from the 1920s through today?
-psychology developed from the more established fields of philosophy and biology
-in its early days, psychology focussed on inner sensations, images, and feelings
-from the 1920s to 1950s, led by Watson and Skinner, introspection was dismissed and
psychology was defined as the study of observable behaviour
-behaviourists and behaviourism views that psychology should be an objective science
and that psychology should study behaviour without reference to mental processes
-most modern psychologists agree with only the first part
-humanistic psychology found behaviourism too mechanic
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