Textbook Notes (280,000)
CA (170,000)
UTSC (20,000)
Psychology (10,000)
PSYA01H3 (1,000)
Chapter 1

Chapter 1 Textbook Notes

Course Code
Steve Joordens

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Psychology: The Science of Behaviour
Areas of psychological research:
x Physiological psychology - studies physiological basis of behaviour
o Learning, memory, sensory process, emotional behaviour, motivation, sexual behaviour,
o All observed in non-human animals
x Comparative psychology - studies behaviour of a variety of organisms in an attempt to
understand adaptive and functional significance of behaviour and their relationship in
o Inherited behaviour patterns – courting, mating, predation, aggression, defensive
behaviours, and parental behaviours
x Behaviour analysts – studies effect of environment on behaviour – effects of consequences
of behaviour on behaviour themselves
x Behaviour genetics – studies role of genetics in behaviour
o Examine similarities in physical and behavioural characteristics of blood relatives
x Cognitive psychology – studies complex behaviours and mental processes such as
perception, attention, learning and memory, verbal behaviour, concept formation, and
problem solving
o Events that cause behaviour consist of functions of brain in response to environmental
o Explanations involve characteristics of inferred mental process such as imagery,
attention, and mechanisms of language
x Cognitive neuroscience – attempts to understand cognitive psychological functions by
studying brain mechanisms that are responsible for them (cognitive psychology +
physiological psychology)
o Study people whose brains have been damaged by natural causes – disease, stroke,
x Developmental psychology – studies changes in behavioural, perceptual, and cognitive
capacities of organisms as a function of age and experience
o Study causal events that are as comprehensive as all of psychology – physiological
processes, cognitive processes, and social influences
x Social psychology – study of effects people have on each other’s behaviour
o Explore perception, cause-and-effect relationships, group dynamics, and emotional
behaviours (aggressions, sexual behaviour)
x Personality psychology – attempts to categorize and understand causes of individual
differences in patterns of behaviour
o Look for causal events in person’s history – genetic and environmental
x Evolutionary psychology – explains behaviour in terms of adaptive advantages that specific
behaviours provided during evolution of a species (use natural selection as guiding principle)
o Interested in studies of behavioural genetics and comparative psychology
x Cross-cultural psychology – studies effects of culture on behaviour
x Clinical psychology – devoted to investigation and treatment of abnormal behaviour and
mental disorders
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Fields of applied psychology:
x Clinical neuropsychologists – specializes in the identification and treatment of behavioural
consequences of nervous system disorders and injuries
x Health psychologists – works to promote behaviours and lifestyles that improve and
maintain health and illness
x Engineering psychologists (ergonomists or human factors psychologists) – focus on the
ways that people and machines work together
o Use knowledge of behaviour and its causes to help designers and engineers design
better machines
x Forensic psychologists – advise members of legal and justice systems with respect to
psychological knowledge
Philosophical roots of psychology:
x Animism (animare – to quicken, enliven, endow with breath or soul) – belief that all animals
and all moving objects possess spirits providing their motive force
x Psychology as a science is based on assumption that behaviour is subject to physical laws
x Rene Descartes ( 17th century French philosopher and mathematician) - advocated sober,
impersonal investigation of natural phenomena using sensory experience and human
o World is mechanical entity set in motion by god but runs on its own
o To understand world one must understand how it was constructed – opposes church’s
belief that purpose of philosophy was to reconcile human experience with truth of god’s
o Living things were machines affected by natural causes and producing natural effects
o Reflexes - automatic response to stimulus not using mind
o Dualism – belief that reality consists of mind and matter with a causal link between
mind and physical housing (unique)
 Extended things – physical bodies
 Thinking things - minds
o Humans are set apart b/c they possess a mind which is not part of natural world and
therefore obeys different laws
o Mind controlled movements of body and body supplied mind with info about
environment (through organs)
 Took place in pineal body – small organ on top of brain stem buried beneath
large cerebral hemispheres
 Pineal body tilted causing flow of fluid to proper set of nerves and initiated
muscles to inflate and move
x Moving statues in Royal Garden served as inspiration
 First to use technological device as model of nervous system
x John Locke (17th century philosopher) – replaced Descarte’s rationalism (pursuit of truth
through reason) with empiricism (pursuit of truth through observation and experience)
o Rejected belief that idea were innately present in infant’s mind and proposed that all
knowledge must come through experience
o Model of mind was tabula rasa (clean slate)
o Knowledge developed through linkages of simple, primary sensations combined to form
complex ones
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