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Chapter 1

PSYA01 Chapter 1 Notes

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Steve Joordens

Chapter 1: Psychology: The Evolution of a Science Psychology is the scientific study of mind and behavior: ∙ Mind: Refers to our private inner experience, the stream of consciousness that is made of perception, thoughts, memories, and feelings. ∙ Behavior: Observable actions of human beings and nonhuman animals. ∙ Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI): “scans” a brain to see which parts are active when a person reads a word, sees a face, learns a new skill, or remembers a personal experience. William James was intrigued by psychology and wondered how the brain empowered people and their skills. Neurologist Antonio Damasio found that after a tumor was removed from Elliot's brain, he was unable to feel emotion and hence could not function properly. Plato and Aristotle were first to struggle to understand the mind. └ eg. Are cognitive skills and knowledge innate or acquired through experience. Plato believed in Nativism. ∙ Nativism: Certain kinds of knowledge are innate or in-born. Aristotle believed a child's mind was tabula rasa (blank slate). Believed in: ∙ Philosophical empiricism: all knowledge is acquired through experience. Rene Descartes argued that body and mind are fundamentally different things. Body is made of a material substance, but mind of an immaterial or spiritual substance. ∙ Dualism: mind, body problem. └ How body and mind connect and work together, believed they connected through the pineal gland (tiny structure near bottom of brain). Thomas Hobbes thought the mind is what the brain does. Franz Joseph Gall: ∙ Phrenology: Specific mental abilities and characteristics, ranging from memory to the capacity for happiness, are localized in specific regions of the brain. └ He exceeded to believe skull bumps reflected brain shape and hence personalities. Pierre Flourens found Gall's far-reaching and conducted experiments. └ Removed specific parts of the brain from animals and found that their behavior changed Paul Broca treated a patient who suffered damage to a small part of the left side of the brain, and was now unable to speak other than to say “tan”, yet he could communicate and understand perfectly using gestures. ∙ Structuralism: Applying Methods from Physiology to Psychology. ∙ Physiology: The study of biological processes, especially in the human body. Helmholtz Measures the Speed of Responses: └ Developed a method for measuring the speed of nerve impulses in a frog's leg, which he then adapted to the study of human beings. └ He trained participants to respond to a stimulus (sensory input from the environment) and recorded the reaction time (the amount of time taken to respond to a specific stimulus). Wundt and the Development of Structuralism: └ Wundt believed that scientific psychology should focus on analyzing consciousness. ∙ Consciousness: A person's subjective experience of the world and the mind. └ Structuralism: Analysis of the basic elements that constitute the mind. James and the Functional Approach: └ He argued consciousness was more like a flowing stream than a bundle of separate elements. └ He developed Functionalism ∙ Functionalism: The study of the purposes mental processes serve in enabling people to adapt to their environment. James and Hall set the stage for functionalism: When they died in the 1920s, functionalism was the dominant approach to psychology in North America. Path to Freud and Psychoanalytical Theory: └ Jean-Martin Charcot and Pierre Janet interviewed patients who developed hysteria. ∙ Hysteria: a temporary loss of cognitive or motor functions, usually as a result of emotionally upsetting experiences. └ Patients became blind, paralyzed, even lost memories, even though there was no physical cause. According to Freud: ∙ Unconscious: Part of the mind that operates outside of conscious awareness but influences conscious thoughts, feelings, and actions. └ This idea lead Freud to develop Psychoanalytical Theory:
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