CHAPTER 1: PSYCHOLOGY: THE EVOLUTION OF A SCIENCE
- The scientific study of mind and behavior.
- Our private inner experience of perceptions, thoughts, memories, and feelings.
- Observation actions of human beings and nonhuman animals.
- psychological processes are said to be adaptive, which means that they promote the welfare and reproduction of organisms that engage in
- emotions are adaptive because they function as signals that tell us when we are putting ourselves in harm's way
Psychology's Roots: The Path to a Science of Mind
- structuralists: tried to analyze the mind by breaking it down into its basic components
- functionalists: focused on how mental abilities allow people to adapt to their environments
Psychology's Ancestors: The Great Philosophers
- The philosophical view that certain kinds of knowledge are innate or inborn.
- Aristotle believed that the child's mind was a tabula rasa (a blank state) on which experiences were written
- philosophical empiricism
- The philosophical view that all knowledge is acquired through experience.
From the Brain to the Mind: The French Connection
- the French philosopher Rene Descartes argued that body and mind are fundamentally different things—that the body is made of a material
substance, whereas the mind (or soul) is made of an immaterial or spiritual substance
- dualism: how mental activity can be reconciled and coordinated with physical behavior
- Descartes suggested that the mind influences the body through a tiny structure near the bottom of the brain known as the pineal gland
- the British philosopher Thomas Hobbes argued that the mind and body aren't different things at all; rather, the mind is what the brain does
- the French physician Franz Joseph Gall also thought that brains and minds were linked, but by size rather than by glands
- he observed that mental ability often increases with larger brain size and decreases with damage to the brain
- A now defund theory that specific mental abilities and characteristics, ranging from memory to the capacity for happiness, are
localized in specific regions of the brain.
- Gall asserted that the size of bumps or indentations on the skull reflected the size of the brain regions beneath them and that by feeling those
bumps, one could tell whether a person was friendly, cautious, assertive, idealistic, and so on
- what Gall didn't realize was that bumps on the skull do not necessarily reveal anything about the shape of the brain underneath
- the biologist Pierre Flourens conducted experiments in which he surgically removed specific parts of the brain from dogs, birds, and other
animals and found that their actions and movements differed from those of animals with intact brains
- the surgeon Paul Broca worked with a patient who had suffered damage to a small part of the left side of the brain (now known as Broca's
area), who could comprehend but not produce spoken language
- Broca had the crucial insight that damage to a specific part of the brain impaired a specific mental function, clearly demonstrating that the
brain and the mind are closely linked
Structuralism: Applying Methods from Physiology to Psychology
- The study of biological processes, especially in the human body.
Helmholtz Measures the Speed of Responses
- Helmholtz had developed a method for measuring the speed of nerve impulses in a frog's leg, which he then adapted to the study of human
- Helmholtz trained participants to respond when he applied a stimulus to different parts of the leg
- Sensory input from the environment.
- he recorded his participants' reaction time after applying the stimulus
- reaction time
- The amount of time taken to respond to a specific stimulus.
- Helmholtz found that people generally took longer to respond when their toe was stimulated than when their thighs 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
- Wundt believed that scientific psychology should focus on analyzing consciousness
- A person's subjective experience of the world and the mind.
- The analysis of the basic elements that constitute the mind.
- this approach involved breaking consciousness down into elemental sensations and feelings
- The subjective observation of one's own experience. - Wundt also attempted to carefully describe the feelings associated with elementary perceptions
- Wundt used reaction times to examine a distinction between the perception and interpretation of a stimulus
Titchener Brings Structuralism to the United States
- Titchener focused on identifying the basic elements of consciousness
James and the Functional Approach
- James believed that trying to isolate and analyze a particular moment of consciousness distorted the essential nature of consciousness
- The study of the purpose mental processes serve in enabling people to adapt to their environment.
- natural selection
- Charles Darwin's theory that the features of an organism that help it survive and reproduce are more likely than other features to be
passed on to subsequent generations.
- applying Darwin's principle of natural selection, James reasoned that consciousness must serve an important biological function and the task
for psychologists was to understand what those functions are
- G. Stanley Hall believed that, as children develop, they pass through stages that repeat the evolutionary history of the human race
The Development of Clinical Psychology
The Path to Freud and Psychoanalytic Theory
- A temporary loss of cognitive or motor functions, usually as a result of emotionally upsetting experiences.
- when hysterical patients were put into a trancelike state through hypnosis (an altered state of consciousness characterized by suggestibility),
their symptoms disappeared
- Freud 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 unconscious mind
- The part of the mind that operates outside of conscious awareness but influences conscious thoughts, feeling