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Text 1.2 - PSYCH.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Bianca Dahl

Textbook 1.2 Kalpana Kumarasalam PSYA01 – S. Joordens Sept 17 , 2013 How Psychology Became a Science - Do humans’ behavior act based on external events or if on free will? Psychology’s Philosophical and Scientific Origins: - Science is a philosophy of knowledge that stems from two fundamental beliefs 1. Empiricism is a philosophical tenet that knowledge comes through experience  Knowledge about the world is based on careful observation, not common sense or speculation  Scientific theories must be rational explanations of how the observations fit together  “Seeing is believing” & thinking and reasoning about observations are both important 2. Determinism is the belief that all events are governed by lawful, cause-and-effect relationships  Free will vs. determinism: does it mean that we do not have control over our own actions?  Psychologists believe that behavior is determined by both internal (genes, brain chemistry) and external influences - Psychological science is both empirical and deterministic  The understanding of behavior comes from observing what we can see and measure, and behavior is caused by many factors - Why did it take psychology until the late 1800s to become scientific?  Zeitgeist aka “spirit of the times” refers to a general set of beliefs of a particular culture at a specific time in history  Several reasons why it prevented psychological science from emerging earlier 1. People were not ready to accept a science that could be applied to human behavior and thought  it was troubling to an average person and would imply materialism: the belief that humans and other living beings are composed entirely of physical matter  Accepting this idea would mean humans are nothing more than complex machines that lack a self-conscious, self- controlling soul  Dualism is that there are properties of humans that are not material (a mind or soul separate from the body) Textbook 1.2 Kalpana Kumarasalam PSYA01 – S. Joordens Sept 17 , 2013 Influences From Physics: Experimenting with the Mind: - Gustav Fechner worked on sensation and perception - As a physicist he was interested in the natural world of moving objects and energy - Coined the term psychophysics which is the study of the relationship between the physical and the mental representation of that world - The study of psychophysics: tested how people detect changes in physical stimuli using weights  Developed an equation to precisely calculate the perceived change in weight, and then extended the formula to apply to changes in brightness, loudness and other perceptual experiences Influences From Evolutionary Theory: The Adaptive Functions of Behavior - Charles Darwin studied the variety of plants and animals around the world - Theory of evolution: natural selection was based on his observations that the genetically inherited traits that contribute to survival and reproductive success are more likely to flourish within the breeding population - Survival and reproduction are related to an individual’s ability to recognize expressions as threats or as submissions - Before Darwin, humans had selectively bred animals to behave in certain ways  artificial selection of traits Influences From Medicine: Diagnoses and Treatments - Medicine contributed to clinical psychology the field of psychology that concentrates on the diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders - Brain localization  the idea that certain parts of the brain control specific mental abilities and personality characteristics. But had competing views: 1. Phrenology  believed that the brain consisted of 27 organs; mental traits and dispositions can be detected by examining the surface of the skull 2. Brain Injuries  in which ways did they affect behavior. It had a scientific grounding that phrenology lacked  Broca’s Area – speech production of the brain affected language of patient  Wernicke’s Area – patients spoke normal but with messed up words Textbook 1.2 Kalpana Kumarasalam PSYA01 – S. Joordens Sept 17 , 2013 - Franz Mesmer put people into ‘trances’  moving their metallic fluid around the body and curing them of diseases; psychosomatic medicine - This changed to hypnosis because it helped and worked on people  Sigmund Freud started to use this too  Wanted to know how it cured people of hysterical paralysis – an individual loses feeling or control in a body part  Led Freud to develop his famous theory: psychoanalysis - Psychoanalysis is a psychological approach that attempts to explain how behavior and personality are influenced by unconscious processes  Unconscious mind = contains forgotten childhood memories + urges to fulfill sexual and aggressive impulses  When people are hypnotized he could have a direct access into the individual’s unconscious mind  When entered, he believed he can correct any desires/emotions that were causing the unconscious to create psychosomatic conditions Freud’s Successes: 1. Inferences on unconscious mental activity 2. Use of medical ideas to treat disorders of emotions, thought, and behavior – known as medical model 3. Incorporated evolutionary thinking into his work; emphasized
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