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Chapter 1

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Steve Joordens

CHAPTER 1- THE SCIENCE OF PHYCHOLOGY? Phychologists  study a variety of phenomena including physiological processes within the nervous system, genetics, environmental events, personality characteristics, mental abilities and social interactions What is psychology?  a science with a special focus on behaviour  it emphasis on its discovering and explaining the causes of behaviour  “ the science of mind”  Since brain contains mind and controls behaviour  psychology can be “Study of brain”  It is the scientific study of causes of behaviour + application of the findings of psychological research to the solution of problems Why behaviour is studied  First, we must be familiar with the things that people (animals) do  Second, Learn how to categorize and measure behaviour so that we can be sure that different psychologists in different places are observing the same phenomena  Third, Discover the causes of behaviour we observe – events responsible for behaviour’s occurrence  CASUAL EVENTS  events that cause other events (including behaviour) to occur  LEVELS OF EXPLANATION  psychologists who are interested in same behaviour but study different categories of casual events  Psychology is a diverse discipline because there is a use of different levels of explanation  Reasons to study behaviour o Human behaviour is the root of many of the world’s problems: poverty, crime, over population, drug addiction, bigotry, pollution, oppression o If global warming affects our planet, it will be because of our behaviour o Stress related illness causes by individual’s behaviour o Inappropriate agricultural practices, inefficient distribution of food, and wars and tribal conflicts – products of human behaviour Fields of psychology * words bolded + capitalized = branches of psychology  Research psychologists differ from1 another in two principle ways: o Types of behaviour they investigate o Casual events they analyze – explain different types of behaviours + they explain them in terms of different types of causes  PHYSIOLOGICAL PSYCHOLOGY- studies the role of brain in behaviour o Nervous system of an organism- correct level of explanation o Study almost all behavioural phenomena that can be observed in non-human animals (learning, memory, sensory processes, emotional behaviour) o Drug abuse can be explained by human physiology o The habits of addicts are broken by understanding the affects of these drugs on brain  COMPARATIVE PSYCHOLOGY- study the evolution of behaviour by comparing the behavioural capacities of various species of animals o Study behavioural phenomena o Study inherited behavioural patterns (courting, mating, predation, aggression, defensive behaviours and parental behaviours)  BEHAVIOUR ANAYLYSIS – studies the effect of the environment on behaviour – effects of consequences of behaviours on the behaviour themselves o Analysts have developed methods for studying the way that pleasurable events (effects of drugs) lead people to repeat certain behaviours o Developed methods that cab indicate the abuse potential of newly developed drugs before they are tried on people  BEHAVIOUR GENETICS - studies the role of genetics in behaviour o Genes we inherit from our parents include a blueprint for the construction of a human brain o Study the role of genetics in behaviour like examining similarities in physical and behavioural characteristics of blood relatives whos genes are more similar than those of unrelated individuals o Perform breeding experiments o Determine how differences in genetic rode relate to behavioural differences among animals (using 2 techniques of molecular genetics) o Major contribution to study of drug abuse: development of strains of laboratory animals that are especially susceptible to effects of drugs  COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY - studies complex behaviours and mental processes such as perception, attention, learning and memory, verbal behaviour, concept formation and problem solving o Inferred mental processes: imagery, attention, and mechanisms of language o Development of harmless brains- scanning methods used to measure the activity o Contribution to the study of drug abuse: development of therapeutic methods useful in treatment of additive behaviours o Discovered importance of teaching people coping strategies that enable them to resist the temptations of addictive drugs better  COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE- study the brain mechanisms responsible for cognitive processes o Related with both cognitive psychology and physiological psychology o Study the behaviour of people whose brains have been damaged by natural causes, such as diseases, strokes or tumours o They have developed many tests useful in assessing behavioural and cognitive deficits caused by abnormal brain functions  DEVELOPMENT PSYCHOLOGY- studies the development of behavioural, perceptual, and cognitive capacities of organisms as a function of age and experience o Study phenomena of adolescence or adulthood- effects of aging o Helps understand how drug taking behaviour can change over the course of an effects individual’s life  SOCIAL PYSCHOLOGY- study of effects people have on each other’s behaviour o Explore phenomena (perception, cause-and-effect relations in human interactions, attitudes, and opinions, interpersonal relationships o Social influences are involved in addiction to drugs and alcohol  PERSONALITY PSYCHOLOGY- attempts to categorize and understand the causes of individual differences in patterns of behaviour o Look for causal events in a person’s history (both genetic + environmental) o Some are closely allied with social psychologists o Others work on problems related to adjustment to society o Personality differences play a role in drug addiction o Contribution to drug addiction: development of test of a personality that can be used to study the factors involved in susceptibility to drug abuse  EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY –study the influence of natural selection on behaviour o Use natural selection as a guiding principle o Their task is to trace the development of such differences and to explore how their adaptive advantages might explain the behaviours of modern humans  CROSS CULTURAL PSYCHOLOGY- studies the effects of culture on behaviour o drug addiction: some cultures have traditions of drug use that generally do not lead to drug abuse o drug addiction: others have more problems when their members encounter these drugs  CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY- study the causes and treatment of psychological disorders and problems of adjustment o Try to help people solve their problems (some) o Rest look for casual events, genetic and physiological factors and environmental factors – parental upbringing, interactions with siblings, and other social stimuli o Contribution to drug addiction: development of therapeutic methods used to prevent and treat drug abuse  Psychology can also be known as a profession The growth of psychology as a science  2 concepts that would lead to the objective investigation of the human mind 1) Principles of materialism : mind was made of matter  Thus natural phenomena (human behaviour) could be explained in terms of physical entities : interaction of matter and energy  Implies the doctrine of determinism (opposed to concept of free will)  Determinism: makes prediction that an outcome will follow come cause 2) Principles of empiricism : all knowledge was acquired by means of sensory experience  Physogical roots of psychology  Our conscious mind controls our behaviour  ANIMISM- the belief that animals and all moving objects possess spirits providing their motive force o “ rocks fell to the ground because the spirits within them wanted to be reunited with the earth”  Psychology as a science must be based on the assumption that behaviour is strictly subject to physical laws, just as any other natural phenomenon is o Helps us to discover laws objectivity using scientific method  DESCARTES  father of modern philosophy + a biological tradition that led to modern physiological psychology o Promoted impersonal investigation of natural phenomena using sensory, impersonal investigation of natural phenomena using sensory experience and human reasoning o Animals were creatures of natural world only and their behaviours were controlled by natural causes and could be understood by the methods of science o View on human body: it was a machine affected by natural cases and producing natural effects o REFLEXES  an automatic response to a stimulus, such as the blink reflex to the sudden unexpected approach of an object toward the eyes o Proponent of DUALISM  philosophical belief that really cosists of mind and matter o He distinguished between “Extended things” or physical bodies and “thinking things” or minds o He believed physical bodies to not think and minds are not made of ordinary matter o He suggested that a causal link existed between the mind and its physical housing o Interaction between mind and body took place in the pineal body (small organ located on top of the brain stem) buried beneath the large cerebral hemispheres of the brain st o His explanation was one of the 1 to use a technological device as a model of the nervous system o MODEL  a system that works on known principles and is able to do at least some of the things that a more complex system can do o His model of human body was mechanical and was controlled by a non-mechanical mind o RATIOANALISM  pursuit of truth through reasons o His concept was bsed on an actual working model (the moving statue) whos movements were similar to those of human beings o He just wanted a proof of his theory but didn’t have the means to offer “scientific proof” o His hydraulic model of muscular movement was shown to be incorrect by LUIGI GALVANI  JOHN LOCKE  Descartes’s rationalism was replaced by EMPIRICISM  philosophical view that all knowledge is obtained through the senses o All knowledge must come through experience o Model of mind was “cleaned slate” – ancient method of writing on waxed tablets that were scraped clean before use o He implied that our minds were empty at birth + ready to accept the writings of experience o Believed that knowledge developed through linkages of simple, primary sensations: simple ideas combined to form complex ones  GEROGE BERKELY our knowledge of events in the world also requires inferences based on the accumulation of past experiences. o We must learn how to perceive  LOCKE + BERKELY  considered the origins of knowledge and dealth with the concept of learning o Rejected Descartes’s version of mind  JAMES MILL  speculation about the mind completed an intellectual swing from ANIMISM (physical matter animated by spirits) to MATERIALISM (mind composed entirely of matter) o MATERIALISM philosophical belief that reality can be known only through an understanding of the physical world, of which the mind is a part o Did not invent materialism but he developed in into a complete system for looking at human nature o He made assumptions that animals and humans were same o He agreed with Descartes’s approach to understanding the human body but rejected the concept of an immaterial mind o He believed that mind (no less than the body) was a machine Biological roots of psychology  LUIGI GALVANI discovered that muscles could be made to contract by applying an electrical current directly to them or to the nerves attached to them o Muscles contained energy needed to contract  JOHANNES MULLER biological knowledge shaped the evolution of psychology o He applied experimental procedures to the study of physiology o He recommended that biologists should do more than observe and classify o They should remove/isolate animals’ organs, test their responses to chemicals and manipulate other conditions to see how the organism worked o DOCTRINE OF SPECIFIC NERVE ENERGIES  different nerve fibres convey specific information from 1 part of the body to the brain or from the brain to 1 part of the body - message sent along the nerves as an electrical impulse - optic nerve + auditory nerves send same kind of message to the brain - messages were sent over different channels o Humans organs were gifted with a vital immaterial force that coordinated physiological behaviour (a force that was not subject to experimental investigation)  PIERRE FLOURENS provided experimental evidence for implications of Muller’s doctrin of specific nerve energies o Operated on animals (removed various parts of nervous system + found that resulting effects depended on which parts were removed) - observed what animal cannot do - ex if the animal could not move his leg than the region that control leg movements was removed o EXPERIMENTAL ABLATION  removal/destruction of a portion of the brain of an experimental animals for the purpose of studying the functions of that region o He claimed to discover the regions of brain that control
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