Chapter One - Stanovich (How to Think Straight About Psychology)

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3 Apr 2012
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How to Think Straight About Psychology (Ninth Edition) – Final Exam Notes
Chapter One: Psychology is Alive and Well (and Doing Fine Among the Sciences)
The Freud Problem
- Freud along with pop psychology presented in the media, largely defines
psychology in the public mind
- Modern psychology is not obsessed with the ideas Sigmund Fredu, nor largely
defined by them
- Freud’s method of investigation are completely unrepresentative of how modern
psychologists conduct their research
- Freud built an elaborate theory on a database (case studies and introspection) that
was not enough to support it
- Familiarity with Freud’s style of work can be a significant impediment to the
understanding of modern psychology
- We shall deal with the Freud problem in two ways: 1) When we illustrate the
diversity of modern psychology, the rather minor position occupied by Freud will
become clear, 2) We shall discuss what features are common to psychological
investigation across a wide variety of domains
The Diversity of Modern Psychology
- There’s a great diversity of content and perspective in modern psychology, which
reduces the coherence of psychology as a discipline
- Understanding that psychology is composed of an incredibly wide and diverse set
of investigations is critical to an appreciation of the nature of the discipline
-
Implications of Diversity
- Psychology does not contain one grand theory, but many different theories, each
covering a limited aspect of behaviour
- Some researchers have tried to bring unification to our conceptualization of human
psychological processes by viewing them as mechanisms serving critical
evolutionary functions such as kinship recognition, mate selection, cooperation,
social exchange and child rearing
- Cacioppo views psychology as a so-called hub discipline – a science whose
findings have unusually wide implications for other fields
- Once we acknowledge the implications of the social and historical factors that
determine the structure of disciplines, we can recognize that it is illogical to
demand that all fields be unified
- One way tofind more unity in the field of psychology is to look at the methods that
psychologists use to advance knowledge
Unity in Science
- Psychology being concerned with human behaviour doesn’t distinguish it from
other disciplines
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