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Chapter 1

PSY100Y5 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Empiricism, Neuropsychology, Ethnocentrism

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Ayesha Khan

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From Speculation to Science: How Psychology Developed
Philosophy, Physiology, and Psychology
Psychology comes from two Greek Words
o Psyche = soul and Logos = the study of subject
Psychology is the study of the mind
Classical Greek philosophers, such as Socrates and Aristotle, considered issues such as mind-body
and the nature of memory
Later philosophers, such as Descartes, Hume, and Mill, speculated on the mind and emotions
Physiologists, such as Gall, Broca, and Muller, demonstrated the value of an empirical approach
A New Science is Born: The Contributions of Wundt & Hall
Born out of philosophy and physiology movement led by Wilhelm Wundt
o Wundt known as father of psych
o According to Wundt, psych should be a science. Focus on consciousness
o Psych became the scientific study of conscious experience.
Hall, G Stanley studied briefly with Wundt, contributor to American Psych
o Established first American research lab John Hopkins (1883)
o Launched American’s 1st Journal (1887)
o 1892 Became 1st president of APA.
The Battle of the “Schools” Begins: Structuralism versus Functionalism
Structuralism was led by English Edward Tichener
o Structuralism Based on the notion that the task of psychology is to analyze consciousness
into its basic elements and investigate how these elements are related (Sensation, perception,
hearing and touch)
o Relied on method of Introspection careful, systematic, self-observation of one’s own
conscious experience.
o Once trained, subjects were exposed to auditory tones, optical illusions, and visual stimuli
under carefully controlled and systematically varied conditions. Then asked to analyze what
they experienced.
Functionalism was led by American William James
o Functionalism based on the belief that psychology should investigate the purpose of
consciousness, rather than its structure
o Has now faded, but led to today’s “applied psych” and “behaviorism”
Influenced by Darwin, Natural Selection heritable characteristics that provide a survival or
reproductive advantage are more likely than alternative characteristics to be passed on to
subsequent generations, and thus become selected over time
o I.e. typical characteristics of a species must serve a purpose.
James argued that consciousness was “flow” of thoughts and structuralists examined only static
Watson Alters Psychology’s Course as Behviourism Makes Its Debut
Behaviourism was founded by John B. Watson, and asserted that psychology should study only
observable behavior
Behaviour Refers to any overt (observable) response or activity by an organism
o Watson believed one could study what people do or say, but not their thoughts and wishes.
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The behaviourists stressed the important of environment over heredity and pioneered animal
Psych’s Mission: relate behavior (responses) to observable events in environment (stimulus)
o Stimulus is any detectable input from the environment
o Behavioral Approach often called S-R (stimulus-response) psych
Freud Brings the Unconsciousness into the Picture
Sigmund Freud Austrian Physician approach to psych grew out of treatment of mental
Freud focused on the Unconscious thoughts, memories, and desires that are well below the
surface of conscious awareness but that nonetheless exert great influence on behaviour
o Believed slip in words and dreams were people’s true feelings
o Psychological Disturbances largely caused by conflict existing at unconscious level
Psychoanalytic Theory attempt to explain personality, motivation, and mental disorders by
focusing on unconscious determinants of behaviour.
o People are fully aware of forces on their behaviour
o Behaviour is greatly influenced by how people cope with their sexuality urges
Skinner Questions Free Will as Behaviorism Flourishes
Skinner American psych
o Believed in strict focus of observable behaviour and “nurture” idea.
o “Organisms tend to repeat responses that lead to positive outcomes, and tend not to
repeat response that lead to negative or neutral outcomes”
Behavioural primciples are now widely used in factories, schools, prisons, mental hospitals
Generated controversy by arguing that free will is an illusion
The Humanists Revolt
Humanism 1950’s. Theoretical Orientation that emphasizes the unique qualities of humans, esp.
freedom and potential for personal growth.
Finding both behaviourism and psychoanalysis unappealing, advocates of humanism, such as Carl
Rogers and Abraham Maslow, began to gain some influence
Humanism emphasizes the unique qualities of human behaviour and the irrelevance of animal
Carl Rogers behaviour governed by sense of self or “Self Concept”
o Not found in animals
o Maslow and Rogers believed in fundamental human drive to personal growth
Humanism has faded. Greatest contribution is treatment of psych problems and disorders
Psychology in Canada
The first experimental laboratory in Canada was established in 1891 at the University of Toronto by
James Mark Baldwin
John Wallace Baird was the first Canadian President of APA (in 1918)
The Canadian Psychological Association was formed in 1939
Rapid growth in Canadian psychology has been evident over the last century
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