Intro to Psychology Textbook Notes
Chapter 1 The Science of Psychology
September 19th, 2010
5What is Psychology?
−Psychology is considered a science - “a science with a special focus on behaviour.”
(Psychology The Science of Behaviour 4E, 5)
−Discovering and explaining causes of behaviour (why people do what they do) is the
primary focus. There is a lot of emphasis put to this when explaining psychology.
−The word psychology is derived from two Greek words: psukhe meaning “breath” or “soul”
and logos meaning “word” or “reason”. The modernized meaning of psyucho- is “mind” and
logy is “science”.
Why Behaviour is Studied:
−“If we can discover the events that caused the behaviour, we have explained it” (5)
−Casual events: Events that cause other events (including behaviour) to occur
−An important reason for studying human behaviour is that human behaviour is the
root to many of the world's problems (i.e. poverty, war, terrorism, crime, and etc.).
6Fields of Psychology:
−Physiological psychology examines the physiology of behaviour” (6).
−The organism's physiology especially its nervous system is taken to be the
appropriate level of reason/explanation.
−“Physiological psychologists study almost every behavioural phenomena that
can be observed in non-human animals, including learning, memory. Sensory
processes, emotional behaviour, motivation, sexual behaviour, and sleep” (6).
−Comparative Psychology studies the behaviour of different species in order to try and
explain the behaviour of species in terms of evolutionary adaptations to environments.
7−Behaviour Analysis studies how the behaviour is affected by the environment.
−Believe that an important cause of certain behaviour is the relationship
between a consequent event in the organism's past and the behaviour.
−They have played a role in the study of drug addiction because they created
methods that study how pleasurable events (including effects of drugs) lead many
individuals to repeating the certain behaviour
−The role that genetics play in the behaviour of an organism is a branch of psychology called
−The genes we get from our parents not only determine our physical characteristics, but
also make a blueprint of a human brain.
−No two brains are identical
−Behaviour genetics is studied by examining similarities and behavioural characteristics
of people who are blood-related because their genes are similar.
−Also they study what aspects of behaviour can be transmitted to an offspring (through
laboratory animals and experiments)\Behaviour geneticist also have a role in the study
of drug addiction: they compare drug-susceptible animals to ones that do not tend to
become addicted “may help understand the psychological mechanisms involved in drug