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Chapter Final

PSYA01 Chapter 1 Exam Notes

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Steve Joordens

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Psychological ScienceChapter 1 Introducing Psychological Science11 The Science of PsychologyPsychology is the scientific study of behavior thought and experienceoPsychology is a vast discipline Better yet a collection of disciplines composed of many overlapping fields of studyoTwo unifying qualities allow us to group all these fields into the category of psychological scienceFirst psychology involves the study of behavior This can include perceptions thoughts and emotionsSecond psychologists employ the scientific method in their workThe scientific method is a way of learning about the world through collecting observations proposing explanations for the observations developing theories to explain them and using the theories to make predictionsoWhether a field of study is a science or a specific type of research is scientific is based not on the subject but on the use of the scientific methodoIt involves a dynamic interaction between hypothesis testing and the construction of theoriesoTheoryHypothesisTest hypothesisConfirm or reject hypothesisA hypothesis plural hypotheses is a testable prediction about processes that can be observed and measuredoA testable hypothesis is one that can be confirmed or rejected you do not prove a hypothesis and a scientific hypothesis must be testablePseudoscience refers to ideas that are present as science but do not actually utilize basic principles of scientific thinking or procedureoAstrology is a pseudoscience because unlike science there is no scientific basis around it Scientists are eager to test hypotheses whereas astrologists would rather you just take their word for itA theory is an explanation for a broad range of observations that also generates new hypotheses and integrates numerous findings into a coherent wholeoHypotheses are a major component of scientific theoriesoTheories are built from hypotheses that are repeatedly tested and confirmed in turn good theories eventually become accepted explanations of behavior or other natural phenomenaoSimilar to hypotheses an essential quality of scientific theories is that they can be proved false with new evidence In fact any scientific theory must be falsifiable The process helps to ensure that science is selfcorrectingbad ideas typically do not last long in the sciencesoTheories are not the same thing as opinions or beliefsoAll theories are not equally plausible There are good theories and there are notsogood theoriesoA measure of a good theory is not the number of people who believe it to be true For example 39 of Americans believe in the theory of evolution by natural selection despite the fact that it is the most plausible rigorously tested theory of biological change and diversityThe biopsychosocial model is a means of explaining behavior as a product of biological psychological and sociocultural factors oBiological influences on our behavior involve brain structures chemicals hormones and drug effects Your family peers and immediate social situation also determine how you think feel and behave Culture and gender can also influence human behavioroBehavior can be fully explained only if multiple perspectives are incorporatedScientific literacy is the ability to understand analyze and apply scientific informationoScientific literacy has several key components starting with the ability to learn new informationoBeing scientifically literate is to be able to read and interpret new terminology or know where to go to find out more Individuals should also be able to use their thinking skills to evaluate information and claimsCritical thinking involves exercising curiosity and skepticism when evaluating the claims of others and with our own assumptions and beliefsoFor psychologists critical thinking means that we apply scientific methods carefully examine our assumptions and biases and tolerate ambiguity when the evidence is inconclusiveoCuriosity is essential to psychology because many of us think about the causes of behavior only when it affects us negatively or when it strikes us as unusual As psychologists we are always curious and ask questions about all kinds of behaviorsnot just the unusual or problematic Because we are curious psychological theories should provide meaningful explanations for all behaviorsoSkepticism and curiosity is viewed as a means of raising important questions both lead us to search for and evaluate new evidence
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