Chapter 1: (pgs. 2-37)
Psychology: The Evolution of a Science
1) Psychology’s Roots (pg 2-12)
Psychology’s Ancestors (pg 2 – 5)
What are the bases of perceptions, thoughts, memories, and feelings, or our subjective sense of self?
The technique known as functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, allows scientists to
“scan” a brain and see which parts are active when a person reads a word, sees a face, learns a
new skill, or remembers a personal experience.
Professional pianists have less activity than novices in those parts of the brain that guide these
finger movements (Krings et al., 2000).
How does the mind usually allow us to function effectively in the world?
If we want to understand how something works, we need to know what it is working for.
Psychological processes are said to be adaptive
Example: The case of Elliot; surgeons discovered a tumor in the middle of his brain and were able
to remove the tumor and save his life. At first, seemed more likely than usual to make bad
decisions (when he could make decisions at all), and soon his bad decisions became truly
dreadful ones. He couldn’t prioritize tasks. Problem was that Elliot was no longer able to
Why does the mind occasionally function so ineffectively in the world?
o I meant to get my car out, but as I passed the back porch on my way to the garage, I
stopped to put on my boots and gardening jacket as if to work in the yard.
o I put some money into a machine to get a stamp. When the stamp appeared, I took it
and said, “Thank you.”
o On leaving the room to go to the kitchen, I turned the light off, although several people
William James (1842-1910) thought that this was due to the influence of habit. The Path to a Science of Mind (pg 5 – 12)
Different “schools of thought”: structuralists, who tried to analyze the mind by breaking it down
into its basic components, and functionalists, who focused on how mental abilities allow people
to adapt to their environments.
Psychology’s Ancestors: The Great Philosophers (pg 5 – 6)
Are cognitive abilities and knowledge inborn, or are they acquired only through experience?
Plato (428BC– 347 BCargued in favour of nativism
Aristotle (384BC– 322 BCbelieved that the child’s mind was a tabula rasa (a blank slate) and he
argued for philosophical empiricism
From the Brain to the Mind: The French Connection (pgs 6 – 7)
René Descartes (1596-1650) argued for dualism; that body and mind are fundamentally
o Suggested that the mind influences the body though the pineal gland
Thomas Hobbes (1588 – 1979) argued that mind and body aren’t different things; mind is what
the brain does.
Franz Joseph Gall (1758 – 1828) also thought that brains and minds were linked.
o Observed that mental ability often increases with larger brain size and decreases
with damage to the brain
o Developed psychology theory of phrenology
o Said that the size of bumps or indentations on the skill reflected the size of the brain
regions beneath them and that by feeling those bumps, one could assess a person’s
psychological characteristic Pierre Flourens (1794 – 1867) didn’t agree with Gall’s methods; instead he surgically removed
specific parts of the brain from different animals and found that their actions and movements
differed from those of animals with intact brains.
How did work involving patients with brain damage help demonstrate the mind-brain connection?
Paul Broca (1824 – 80) worked with a patient who suffered damage to a small part of the left
side of the brain (Broca’s area). Patient virtually unable to speak yet understood everything that
was said to him and was able to communicate using gestures.
o Damage to a specific part of the brain impaired a specific mental function, clearly
demonstrating that the brain and mind are closely linked.
Structuralism: Applying Methods from Physiology to Psychology (pgs 7 – 9)
Hermann von Helmholtz (1821 – 94) and Wilhelm Wundt (1832 – 1920) were trained in the
field of physiology
o Scientists in this field had developed methods that allowed them to measure such things
as the speed of nerve impulses, and some had begun to use them to measure mental
Helmholtz Measures the Speed of Responses
Developed a method for measuring the speed of nerve impulses in a frog’s leg applied to
Applied a stimulus to different parts of the leg and recorded their reaction time
o Found that generally took longer to respond when their toe was stimulated than when
their thigh was stimulated, and the difference between these reaction times allowed
him to estimate how long it took a nerve impulse to travel to the brain.
Wundt and the Development of Structuralism
Was Helmholtz’s research assistant
Published Principles of Physiological Psychology (1874) as “an attempt to mark out *psychology+
as a new domain of science”
Believed that scientific psychology should focus on analyzing consciousness
o Can be conscious of sights, sounds, tastes, smells, bodily sensations, thoughts, or
Adopted an approach called structuralism which involved breaking consciousness down into
elemental sensations and feelings.
Used introspection as a method
Titchener Brings Structuralism to the United States (pgs 9 – 10)
Edward Titchener (1867 – 1927) focused on identifying the basic elements themselves.
o His textbook, An Outline of Psychology (1896) has a list of more than 44,000
elemental qualities of conscious experience; 32,820 visual and 11,600 auditory
Influence of Structuralism faded due to introspection method; science requires replicable
observation James and the Functional Approach (pg 10 – 12)
William James wrote The Principles of Psychology (1890) where he agreed with Wundt on the
importance of focusing on immediate experience and usefulness of introspection but, disagreed
with his claim that consciousness could be broken down into separate elements
o Developed functionalism
How does functionalism relate to Darwin’s Theory of natural selection?
Inspired by Charles Darwin (1809 – 82) and his theory of natural selection
o Reasoned that mental abilities must have evolved because they were adaptive
o Consciousness must serve an important biological function and the task for
psychologists was to understand what those functions are
G. Stanley Hall (1844 - 1942) focused on development and education and was strongly
influenced by evolutionary thinking
o Believed that as children develop, they pass through stages that repeat the evolutionary
history of the human race. Thus, the mental capacities of a young child resemble those
of our ancient ancestors.
Philosophers have pondered and debated ideas about human nature for millennia, but, given
the nature of their approach, they did not provide empirical evidence to support their claims.
Some of the earliest successful efforts to develop a science linking mind and behavior came
from the French scientists Pierre Flourens and Paul Broca, who showed that damage to the
brain can result in impairments of behavior and mental functions. Hermann von Helmholtz
furthered the science of the mind by developing methods for measuring reaction time.
Wilhelm Wundt, credited with the founding of psychology as a scientific discipline, created the
first psychological laboratory and taught the first course in physiological psychology. His
structuralist approach focused on analyzing the basic elements of consciousness. Wundt’s
student, Edward Titchener, brought structuralism to the United States.
William James emphasized the functions of consciousness and applied Darwin’s theory of
natural selection to the study of the mind, thus helping to establish functionalism and scientific
psychology in the United States. Scientific psychology in America got a further boost from G.
Stanley Hall, who established the first research laboratory, journal, and professional
organization devoted to psychology. 2) The Development of Clinical Psychology (pgs 12 – 15)
Psychologists began working in clinics to study patients with psychological disorders; realized
that one can often understand how something works by examining how it breaks, and their
observations of mental disorders
The Path to Freud and Psychoanalytic Theory (pgs 13 – 14)
Jean-Martin Charcot (1825 – 93) and Pierre Janet (1859 – 1947)
o Interviewed patients with hysteria and noticed that patients became blind, paralyzed, or
lost their memories, even though there was no known physical cause of their problems.
o When put into a trancelike state through the use of hypnosis, their symptoms
disappeared. After coming out of the hypnotic trance, however, the patients forgot
what had happened under hypnosis and again showed their symptoms.
During our ordinary conscious experience we are only aware of a single “me” or “self,” but the
aberrations suggested that the brain can create many conscious selves that are not aware of
each other’s existence.
How was Freud influenced by work with hysterics?
Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939)
o Worked with Joseph Breuer (1842 – 1925)
o Theorized that many of the patients’ problems could be traced to the effects of painful
childhood experiences that the person could not remember, and he suggested that the
powerful influence of these seemingly lost memories revealed the presence of an
o Led to develop the psychoanalytic theory and the use of psychoanalysis therapy; stated
that it is important to uncover a person’s early experiences and to illuminate a person’s
unconscious anxieties, conflicts, and desires.
Carl Gustav Jung (1875 – 1961) and Alfred Adler (1870 – 1937)
Became very controversial because it suggested that understanding a person’s thoughts,
feelings, and behavior required a thorough exploration of the person’s early sexual experiences
and unconscious sexual desires, which was considered to be very taboo.
Were trained as physicians and did not conduct psychological experiments in the laboratory
Influence of Psychoanalysis and the Humanistic Response (pg 14 – 15)
Why are Freud’s ideas less influential today?
Freud saw people as hostages to their forgotten childhood experiences and primitive sexual
impulses, and the inherent pessimism of his perspective frustrated those psychologists who had
a more optimistic view of human nature.
Freud’s ideas were also very difficult to test.
Abraham Maslow (1908 – 70) and Carl Rogers (1902 – 87) were involved in a new movement
called humanistic psychology.
o In this relationship, the therapist and the client (unlike psychoanalyst and the patient)
were on equal footing. Summary
Psychologists have often focused on patients with psychological disorders as a way of
understanding human behavior. Clinicians such as Jean-Martin Charcot and Pierre Janet studied
unusual cases in which patients acted like different people while under hypnosis, raising the
possibility that each of us has more than one self.
Through his work with hysteric patients, Sigmund Freud developed psychoanalysis, which
emphasized the importance of unconscious influences and childhood experiences in shaping
thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
Happily, humanistic psychologists offered a more optimistic view of the human condition,
suggesting that people are inherently disposed toward growth and can usually reach their full
potential with a little help from their friends. 3) The Search for Objective Measurement: Behaviorism Takes Center Stage (pgs 16 – 19)
How did behaviorism help psychology advance as a science?
Structuralism, functionalism, and psychoanalysis each tried to understand the inner workings of
the mind by examining conscious perceptions, thoughts, memories, and feelings or by trying to
elicit previously unconscious material, all of which were reported by participants in experiments
or patients in a clinical setting.
It was difficult to establish with much certainty and was an unreliable in the nature of the
As a result, behaviorism advanced.
Watson and the Emergence of Behaviorism (pgs 16 – 17)
John Broadus Watson (1878 – 1958) proposed that psychologists focus entirely on the study of
behavior—what people do, rather than what people experience—because behavior can be
observed by anyone and it can be measured objectively.
o Scientific psychology should be able to predict and control behavior in ways that benefit
Margaret Floy Washburn (1871 – 1939) published The Animal Mind arguing that nonhuman
animals, much like human animals, have conscious mental experiences.
o Watson did not agree because we cannot ask pigeons about their private, inner
experiences. The only way to understand how animals learn and adapt was to focus
solely on their behavior, and he suggested that the study of human beings should
proceed on the same basis.
Watson was influenced by Ivan Pavlov (1849 – 1936)
o Pavlov noticed that dogs not only salivate at the sight of food; they also salivated at the
sight of the person who fed them.
o He created an experiment where he sounded a tone every time he fed the dogs, and
after a while he observed that the dogs would salivate when they heard the tone alone.
Tone = stimulus
Salivation of the dogs = response
Watson believed that these were the two building blocks why behaviorism is referred to
“stimulus-response” or “S-R” psychology
Watson and his student, Rosalie Rayner applied these techniques to human infants in the “Little
o Taught an infant to have a strong fear of a harmless white rat that he had previously not
Believed that human behavior is powerfully influenced by the environment, and the
experiments with Little Albert provided a chance to demonstrate such influence at the earliest
stage of life.
o Environment wasn’t the only influence on behavior, but the most important one. B.F. Skinner and the Development of Behaviorism (pgs 17 – 18)
Burrhus Frederick Skinner (1904 – 90) began to develop a new kind of behaviourism.
o Recognized that in everyday life, animals don’t just stand there – they do something.
They act on their environments, and Skinner wanted to explain how they learned to act
in those situations.
Created “conditioning chamber” (better known as “Skinner box”): box had lever, which would
deliver food pellets to food tray.
o Discovered reinforcement: Rat would wander around and would accidently usually
press the bar by accident, at which point a food pellet would drop into the tray. After
that happened, the rate of bar pressing would increase dramatically and remain high
until the rat was no longer hungry.
Applied this to humans; his daughter’s fourth-grade class by building “teaching machines”. It
asked a series of increasingly difficult questions that built upon the simpler ones.
He believed that this type of approach could lead to a utopian society in which behavior was
controlled by the judicious application of reinforcement.
o Also reflected that currently, we are actually responding to present and past patterns of
o Example: Can be used to increase social welfare, like when the government launches
advertisements to encourage citizens to drink milk or quit smoking.
Behaviorism advocated the study of observable actions and responses and held that inner
mental processes were private events that could not be studied scientifically. Ivan Pavlov and
John B. Watson studied the association between a stimulus and a response and emphasized the
importance of the environment in shaping behavior.
Influenced by Watson’s behaviorism, B. F. Skinner developed the concept of reinforcement
using a “Skinner box.” He demonstrated that animals and humans repeat behaviors that