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Chapter 1-2

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Douglas Frayne

Psychology Midterm Chapter Notes Chapter 1 What is Psychology? - Psychology is a science - a science with a special focus on behaviour. The primary emphasis is on discovering and explaining the causes of behaviour. - The word psychology comes from two Greek words: psukhe, meaning “breath” or “soul” and logos, meaning “word” or “reason” - Psychology literally means the science of mind - Changed from mind to behaviour because the mind cannot be observed while behaviour can Why Behaviour is Studied - Ultimate goal is understand human behaviour: to explain why people do what they do - How do psychologists provide an explanation of behaviour? - 1. Describe it. Must become familiar with the things that people (or animals) do. Must learn how to categorize and measure behaviour so that they can be sure that different psychologists in different places are observing the same phenomena. - 2. Must discover the causes of the behaviour we observe - the events responsible for a behaviourʼs occurrence. If they can discover the events that caused the behaviour, they have “explained” it. Events that cause other events to occur are called causal events. - Different psychologists study different categories of causal events, referred to as “levels of explanation”. The word levels refers to a common choice of causes to study and methods of research to use. - The purpose of explanation could be for intellectual curiosity. An essential part of human nature seems to be a need to understand what makes things work. - Psychological research holds the promise of showing how to solve our most important and pressing problems - One of the reasons for studying behaviour, in contrast to studying a non-observable mind, is that human behaviour is the root of man of the worldʼs problems: poverty, crime, over-population, drug addiction, bigotry, pollution, oppression, terrorism, and war. Many health-related problems are also caused by human behaviour. - Sometimes, discoveries that originate from different sciences still need knowledge of psychology to facilitate their implementation Fields of Psychology - Psychologists are identified in terms of their activities - Applied psychology: applying what other psychologists have learned to the solution of problems in the world outside the laboratory Areas of Psychology Research - Research psychologists differ one another in two principal ways: in the types of behaviour they investigate, and in the causal events they analyze. That is, they explain different types of behaviours, and they explain them in terms of different types of causes - Physiological psychology: examines the physiology of behaviour. The organismʼs physiology, especially its nervous system, is considered to be the appropriate level of explanation. Physiological psychologists study almost all behavioural phenomena that can be observed in non-human animals, including learning, memory, sensory processes, emotional behaviour, motivation, sexual behaviour, and sleep. - Comparative psychology: the study of the behaviour of members of a variety of species in an attempt to explain behaviour in terms of evolutionary adaptation to the environment. Comparative psychologists study behavioural phenomena similar to those studied by physiological psychologists. They are likely to study inherited behavioural patterns, such as courting and mating, predation and aggression, defensive behaviours, and parental bahviours - Behaviour analysis: the branch of psychology that studies the effect of the environmental events on behaviour. Behavioral analysts are primarily interested in learning and motivation. They believe that an important cause of a specific behaviour is the relationship between the behaviour and some consequent event. Behaviours that produce pleasant outcomes tend to be repeated, whereas those that produce unpleasant consequences are less likely to be repeated. Behavioural analysts do their research in the lab or in applied settings, such as schools, homes, and businesses. Their findings have been applied to teaching, business management, and psychotherapy - Behaviour genetics: the branch of psychology that studies the role of genetics in behaviour. The genes we inherit from our parents include a blueprint for the construction of a human brain. Each blueprint is different, which means that no two brains are exactly alike. Therefore, no two people will act exactly alike, even in identical situations. Behaviour geneticists study the role of genetics in behaviour by examining similarities in physical and behavioural characteristics of blood relatives, whose genes are more similar than those of unrelated individuals. They also perform breeding experiments with lab animals to see what aspects of behaviour can be transmitted in the animalʼs offspring. Using new techniques of molecules genetics, they can even alter parts of the gene during these experiments to determine how differences in the genetic code relate to behavioural differences among animals - Cognitive psychology: the study of mental processes and complex behaviours such as perception, attention, learning and memory, verbal behaviour, concept formation, and problem solving. To cognitive psychologists, the events that cause behaviour consist of functions of the human brain that occur in response to environmental events. Their explanation involve characteristics of inferred mental processes, such as imagery, attention, and mechanisms of language, but recently some have begun collaborating with neurologists and other professionals involved in brain scanning. They study of the biology of cognition has been greatly aided by the development of harmless brain-scanning methods that permit us to measure the activity of various parts of the human brain - Cognitive neuroscience: closely allied with both cognitive psychology and physiological psychology. This branch of psychology is generally interested in the same phenomena studied by cognitive psychologists, but it attempts to discover the particular brain mechanisms responsible for cognitive processes. One of the principal research techniques is to study the behaviour of people whose brains have been damaged by natural causes, such as diseases, strokes, or tumours - Developmental psychology: the study of physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development, especially of children. some developmental psychologists study phenomena of adolescence or adulthood - in particular, the effects of aging. The causal events they study are as comprehensive as all of psychology: psychological processes, cognitive processes, and social influences - Social psychology: the study of the effects of people on people. Social psychologists explore phenomena such as perception (of oneself as well as others), cause-and- effect relations in human interactions, attitudes and opinions, interpersonal relationships, group dynamics, and emotional behaviours, including aggression and sexual behaviour - Personality psychology: the study of individual differences in temperament and patterns of behaviour. Personality psychologists look for causal events in a personʼs history, both genetic and environmental. Some personality psychologists are closely allied with social psychologists; others work on problems related to adjustment to social and hence study problems of interest to clinical psychologists - Evolutionary psychology: seeks to explain cognitive, social, and personality aspects of psychology by looking at their adaptive significance during the evolution of modern species. Clearly, the discoveries of comparative psychologists and behavioural geneticists are of interests to evolutionary psychologists. However, evolutionary psychologists use the theory of evolution by means of natural selections as a guiding principle. The task of evolutionary psychologists is to trace the development of such differences and to explore how their adaptive advantages might explain the behaviours of modern humans - Cross-cultural psychology: the study of the impact of culture on behaviour. Because the ancestors of people of different racial and ethic groups lived in different environments that presented different problems and opportunities, different cultures have developed different strategies for adapting to their environments. These strategies show themselves in laws, customs, myths, religious beliefs, and ethical principles - Clinical psychology: the study if psychological disorders and problems of adjustment. Most clinical psychologists are practitioners who try to help people solve their problems, whatever the causes. The rest are scientists who look for a wide range of causal events, including genetic and physiological factors, and environmental factors such as parental upbringing, interactions with siblings, and other social stimuli. They also do research to evaluate and improve methods of psychotherapy. Clinical psychologists are the people we call on to apply to individuals what we have learned about the causes of a disorder. The Growth of Psychology as a Science - Psychology is a young science, to understand how psychology came to be, we must first trace its roots back through philosophy and the natural sciences, because these disciplines provided the methods we use to study the human behaviour Philosophical Roots of Psychology - Most notable part of our mental experience is that we are conscious of our own existence and tend to relate it to our own behaviour - Earlier in the history of our species, it was common to attribute a life-giving spirits to anything that seemed to move or grow independently. Because early people believed that the movements of their own bodies were controlled by their minds or spirits, they inferred that the sun, moon, wind, and tides were similarly animated. This primitive philosophy is called animism. Even gravity was explained in animistic terms: Rocks fell to the ground because the spirits within them wanted to be reunited with the earth - Now, we refer to the existence of natural forces inherent in physical matter, even if these forces are not completely understood - When we try to explain why people do what they do, we tend to attribute at least some of their behaviour to the action of a motivating spirit - namely, a will - On a scientific level, we need to base our explanations on phenomena that can be observed and measured - Psychology as a science must be based on the assumption that behaviour is strictly subject to physical laws, just as any other natural phenomenon is. This assumption allows us to discover these laws objectively, using the scientific method - The rules of scientific research impose discipline on humans, whose natural inclinations might lead them to incorrect conclusions - The idea that feelings, emotions, imaginational, and other private experiences are the products of physical laws of nature did not come easily; it evolved through many centuries Rene Descartes: - French philosopher and mathematician - Rationalism: pursuit of truth through reason - Father of modern philosophy and of a biological tradition that led to modern physiological psychology - He advocated a sober, impersonal investigation of natural phenomena using sensory experience and human reasoning - He assumed that the world was a purely mechanical entity that, having once been set in motion by God, ran its course without ▯divine interference which challenged the established authority of the Church, which believed that the purpose of philosophy was to reconcile human experiences with the truth of Godʼs revelations - Animals were creatures of the natural world only, their behaviours were controlled by natural causes and could be understood by the methods of science - The human body was a machine affected by natural causes and producing natural effects - Reflexes: an automatic response to a stimulus, such as the blink reflex to the sudden unexpected approach of an object toward the eyes. Energy coming from the outside source would be reflected back through the nervous system to the muscles, which would contract - What set humans apart from the rest of the world, was their possession of a mind. The mind was not a part of the natural world, and therefore it obeyed different laws - Dualism: the belief that all reality can be divided into two distinct entities: mind and matter - He distinguished between “extended things” or physical bodies, and “thinking things” or minds - Physical bodies do not think and minds are not made of ordinary matter - He suggested that a causal link existed between the mind and its physical housing - Dualism was vital to the development of psychological science - He reasoned that the mind controlled the movements of the body, while the body, through its sense organs, supplied the mind with information about what was happening in its environment - Hypothesized that this interactions between mind and body took place in the pineal body, a small organ situated on top of the brain stem, buried beneath the large cerebral hemispheres of the brain. When the mind decided to perform an action, it tilted the pineal body in a particular direction, causing fluid to flow from the brain to the proper set of nerves. This fluid flow caused the appropriate muscles to inflate and move - How did Descartes come up with this mechanical concept of the bodyʼs movement? ▯ - The moving statues in the Royal Gardens served models for Descartes as he ▯ theorized about how the body worked ▯ - He conceived of the muscles as balloons. They became inflated when a fluid ▯ passed through the nerves that connected them to the brain and spinal cord, just ▯ as water flowed through pipes to activate the statues. This inflation was the basis ▯ of the muscular contraction that causes us to move ▯ - Model: a relatively simple system that works on known principles and is able to ▯ do at least some of the things that a more complex system can do John Locke: - an English philosopher - Empiricism: the philosophical view that all knowledge is obtained through the sense. Pursuit of the truth through observation and experience - He proposed that all knowledge must come through experience - His model of the mind was the tabula rasa or “cleaned slate” - the ancient method of writing on waxed tablets that were scraped clean before use. Locke meant to imply that our minds were empty at birth, and read to accept the writings of experience - He believed that knowledge developed through linkages of simple, primary sensations: simple ideas combined to form more complexed ones - George Berkeley: suggested that our knowledge of events in the world also requires inferences based on the accumulations of past experiences. We must learn to perceive - Locke and Berkeley speculated on the origins of knowledge and dealt with the concept of learning. Even though they rejected Descartes' version of the mind, they were trying to fit a non-quantifiable variable - reason - into the equation - With the work of James Mill, animism changed to materialism: a philosophical belief that reality can be known only through an understanding of the physical world, of which the mind is a part - Mill worked on the assumption that humans and animals were fundamentally the same, both were throughly physical in their makeups and were completely subject to the physical laws of the universe - Mill agreed with Descartesʼ approach to understanding the human body but rejected the concept of immaterial mind. To Mill, mind was as passive as the body, it responded to the environment in precisely the same way, the mind, no less than the body, was a machine Biological Roots of Psychology - Like Galileoʼs models of gravitational motion, Descartesʼ concept was based on an actual working model (the moving statue) whose movements seemed similar to those of human beings - Unlike Galileo, Descartesʼ relied on simple similarity as “proof” of his theory; he did not have the means to offer a scientific proof - Luigi Galvani: physiologist that showed that Descartesʼ model was incorrect, he discovered that muscles could be made to contract by applying an electrical current directly to them or to the nerves attached to them. The muscles themselves contained the energy needed to contract, they did not have to be inflated by pressurized fluid Johannes Muller: - German physiologists that showed the way in which emerging biological knowledge shaped the evolution of psychology - He was a forceful advocate of applying experimental procedures to the study of physiology - Doctrine of Specific Nerve energies: different nerve fibres convey specific information from one part of the body to the brain or from the brain to one part of the body. He noted that the basic message sent along all nerves was the same - an electrical impulse. And the impulse itself was the same, regardless of whether the message concerned a visual perception or an auditory one. - The brain distinguishes between different kinds of sensory information because the messages are sent over different channels - Doctrine brought implications: If the brain recognizes the nature of a particular sensory input by means of a particular nerve that brings the message, then perhaps the brain is similarly specialized, with different parts having different functions Pierre Flourens: - French physiologists, provided experimental evidence for the implications of Mullerʼs doctrine of specific nerve energies - He experienced on animals by removing various parts of the nervous systems and seeing the resulting effects depending on which parts were removed - Experimental ablation: the removal or destruction of a portion of the brain of an experimental animal for the purpose of studying the functions of that region Paul Broca: - Performed Mullerʼs logic to humans on a stroke patientʼs body - Psychologists cannot operate on the brains of humans, instead, they must study the effects of the brain damage that occurs from natural causes Gustav Fritsch and Eduard Hitzig: - introduced the use of electrical stimulation as a tool for mapping the functions of the brain. The results of this method complemented those produced by the experimental destruction of nervous tissue and provided some answers that the method of experimental ablation could not Hermann Von Helmholtz: - Muller believed that the human organs were endowed with a vital immaterial force that coordinated physiological behaviour, a force that was not subject to experimental investigation - He successfully measure the speed of the nerve impulses and found that it was only about 27 metres per second. Which suggested to later researchers that the nerve impulse is more complex than a simple electrical current passing through a wire - He tried to measure the speed of a personʼs reaction to a physical stimulus, but he discovered that there was too much variability from person to person - This variability interested scientists who followed him and who tried to explain individual differences in behaviour. Because both the velocity of nerve impulses and a personʼs reactions to stimuli could be measured, researchers theorized that mental events themselves could be the subject of scientific investigation Ernst Weber: - began work that led to the development of a method for measuring the magnitude of human sensations - He found that peopleʼs ability to distinguish between two similar stimuli - such as the brightness of two lights, the heaviness of two objects, or the loudness of two tones - followed orderly laws, which suggested that perceptual phenomena could be studied scientifically as physics or biology - Psychophysics: the branch of psychology that measures the quantitive relation between physical stimuli and perceptual experience Applications in Education and Therapy - Philosophers recognized that a commitment to empiricism and materialism might also imply a commitment to determinism: the doctrine that behaviour is the result of prior events - Psychologists differ concerning views on determinism - Sigmund Freud: believed in a strong version of determinism based on internal psychological events - A source of this assumption can be found in the political efforts of the nineteenth century to reform society and improve individual well-being - The was immense changes in Western politics and culture in the period from Descartesʼ life and Helmholtzʼs - The American and French Revolution ushered in a new conception of government as an institution to improve the lives of its citizens - Education was recognized as an important means of improvement, suggesting a role for the public in an area that had previously been provided for individuals, churches, or charities - At the same times, medical advances arising from the knowledge of biology promised cure for many diseases, including diseases of the mind - Cures change or transform a person, education changes a person by introducing new knowledge - The notion of change was to become an important topic of study in the 1800s - Educators and physicians began to consider the factors that cause change - Dewey argued that education must match the way in which childrenʼs abilities develop - He argued that children learn activities that are organized around goals, and that instruction should match this natural way of learning, he believed that one aim of education should be to establish habits that integrate the child into the community. His views helped shape the movement in the US known as Progressive Education - Edward Thorndike originally studied the behaviour of animals, looking at responses that might indicate intelligence. He noticed that some events, usually those that one would expect to be pleasant, seemed to “stamp in” a response that had just occurred, thereby making it more likely to occur again. Noxious events seemed to “stamp out” the response, or make it less likely to occur - Law of Effect: Thorndikeʼs observation that stimuli that occur as a consequence of a response can increase or decrease the likelihood of making that response again - The law of effect seemed to provide a universal principle by which habits could be learned: Goals were satisfiers that caused the action to recur more frequently - Thorndikeʼs emphasis on “stamping in” responses implied that learning was automatic and inevitable - Maria Montessori: became the first woman in Italy to earn a medical degree. She was appointed to administer an institution for children with developmental disabilities. She discovered Itardʼs work with Victor. She applied Itardʼs approach to individualized instruction with considerable success. She wondered whether children without disabilities would also benefits from this approach. - Montessori Method: based on her belief that children matured though stages and were sensitive to different kinds of instruction at different age ranges. Education was most effective when it provided exercises that matched the competency of the child at his or her stage. In contrast to Thorndikeʼs emphasis on rewards as a basis for learning, Montessori felt that extrinsic rewards actually interfered with a childʼs natural incentive to learn. She also believed that movement was closely related to thought, and encouraged her pupils to move around the classroom - Philippe Pinel: a physician who is now the father of psychiatry, the medical specialty that treats psychological disorders. Prior to Pinelʼs time, people with mental illness were considered to a familyʼs responsibility but everyone feared their illness and they were often locked in cages or chains, and so the government decided to create asylums where persons with mental illness could be centrally cared for. Pinel was then hired to administer one of these facilities - He proposed that an asylum could become a therapeutic institution. He and his followers tried new approaches to restore the cognitive abilities of inmates. Mostly, these approaches took the form of social interventions, which were based on the belief that mental illness had a social cause and could be cured by similar factors. - Many people were brought into these asylums, even people who did not truly have any mental illness, e.g. a woman name Salpetriere who suffered from memory loss, intermittent paralysis, and insensitivity to painful stimuli, which was labelled as hysteria - Jean-Martin Charcot: developed a clinical practice based on observations from the Salpetriere ward. Neurology as a medical system specifically deals with the treatment of diseases of the nervous system and is closely allied with psychiatry. Charcot proposed that hysteria was closely related to the condition produced by hypnosis and treated his patients by hypnotizing them Major Trends in the Development of Psychology - Psychology, separate from biology and philosophy, began in Germany with Willhelm Wundt who was the first person to call himself a psychologist. His book Principles of Physiological Psychology was the first textbook of psychology - Germany was the birthplace of psychology, unlike the French and British scholars who were adopted a philosophical approach to the study of the human mind, German scholars were open to the possibility that it could be studied scientifically Structuralism - Wundt defined psychology as the “science of immediate experience” - Structuralism: the system of experimental psychology that began with Wundt; it emphasized introspective analysis of sensation and perception - Itʼs subject matter was the structure of the mind, built from the elements of consciousness, such as ideas and sensations - Itʼs raw material was supplied by trained observers who described their own experiences - The observers were taught to engage in Introspection: “looking within”, in attempt to describe oneʼs own memories, perceptions, cognitive processes, or motivations - Wundt and his associates made inferences about the nature of mental processes by seeing how changes in the stimuli caused changes in trained observersʼ verbal reports - He was interested in the way that basic sensory information gave rise to complex perceptions. His trained observers attempted to ignore complex perceptions and report only the elementary ones. Eg. the sensation of seeing a patch of red is immediate and elementary, whereas the perception of an apple is complex - James Mark Baldwin: first Canadian Psychology professor at UofT - Structuralism died out in the early twentieth century - The major problem with his approach was the difficulty of reporting the raw data of sensation, unmodified by experience - The emphasis of psychological investigation shifted from the study of the mind to the study of behaviour Functionalism - The strategy to understanding a speciesʼ structural or behavioural features by attempting to establish their usefulness with respect to survival and reproductive success - functionalists focuses on the process of conscious activity (perceiving and learning) - Proponents stressed the biological significance (the purpose, or function) of natural processes, including behaviours. The emphasis was on overt, observable behaviours, not on private mental events - Charles Darwin prop
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