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Chapter 1

Chapter 1 Notes for Midterm

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Steve Joordens

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PYSA01Fall2011 Chapter 1 The Science of Psychology What is psychology o Psychology the scientific study of the causes of behaviour also the application of the findings of psychological research to the solution of problems Why behaviour is studied o Causal events events that cause other events including behaviourpsychologists must discover the events which caused a certain behaviour in order to explain it o Psychologists can look for physiological aspects inside the organism describe behaviour in terms of hypothetical mental states or just look for events in the environment including things that other people do for one particular subjectin the end we have different levels of explanations which makes psychology so diverse o One reason for studying behaviour as opposed to the mind is that the behaviour of humans is the root of many world problems such as poverty crime drug addiction etc Fields of Psychology o Research psychologists differ from one another in the types of behaviour they investigate and in the causal events they analyzeexplain different type of behaviour in terms of different causal events o Physiological psychology the branch of psychology that studies the physiological basis of behaviourlearning memory sensory processes emotional behaviour motivationsexual behaviour and sleep o Comparative psychology the branch of psychology that studies the behaviours of a variety of organisms in an attempt to understand the adaptive and functional significance of their behaviours and their relation to evolutionstudy inherited behavioural patterns such as courting and mating predation and aggression defensive behaviours and parental behaviours o Behaviour analysis the branch of psychology that studies the effect of the environment on behaviourprimarily the effects of the consequences of behaviours and the behaviours themselvesbehaviours with pleasant outcome tend to be repeated while other are less likely to be repeated o Behaviour genetics the branch of psychology that studies the role of genetics in behaviourstudy role of genetics by examining similarities in physical and behavioural characteristics of blood relativesperform breeding experiments to see what aspects of the animal is transmitted to the offspringcan alter parts of a gene to see how differences in the genetic code is related to behavioural differences in animals o Cognitive psychology the branch of psychology that studies complex behaviours and mental processes such as perception attention learning and memory verbal behaviour concept formation and problem solving o Cognitive neuroscience the branch of psychology that attempts to understand cognitive physiological functions by studying the brain mechanisms that are responsible for themprincipal research technique is to study the brain of humans that has been damaged due to illness strokes or tumours 1 o Developmental psychology the branch of psychology that studies the changes in behavioural perceptual and cognitive capacities of organisms as a function of age and experiencesome study the phenomena of adolescence or adulthood and the effects of aging o Social psychology the branch of psychology that is devoted to the study of the effects people have on each others behaviourperception of oneself and other cause and effect relations in human interactionattitudes and opinions interpersonal relationships group dynamic emotion behaviours o Personality psychology the branch of psychology that attempts to categorize and understand the causes of individual differences in patterns of behaviour o Evolutionary psychology the branch of psychology that studies the effects of culture on behaviour o Cross cultural psychology the branch of psychology that studies the effects of culture on behaviourdifferent cultures have developed different strategies for adapting to their environments which influence behaviour now o Clinical psychology the branch of psychology that investigates and treats abnormal behaviour and psychological disorderstry to help people solve their problems or reaserch to evaluate and improve methods of psychotherapy The Growth of Psychology as a Science Philosophical Roots of Psychology o Much earlier in the history of our species it was common to attribute a life giving spirit to anything that seemed to move or grow independentlypeople believed that movements of their bodies were controlled by the mind or the spirit so they thought taht the sun moon wind the tides were similarly animated o Animism the belief that all animals and all moving objects possess spirits providing their motive forceex rock fell to the ground because the spirits in the rock wanted to be reunited with the Earth o Psychology must be based on the assumption that behaviour is strictly subject to physical laws just like everything else o Rene Descartes 15961650 he assumed that the world was a purely mechanical entity that having once been set in motion by God it ran with no divine interferenceto understand the world therefore one only had to understand how it was constructed o He thought animals were creature of the natural world and that their behaviours were controlled by natural cuases and could be understood by the methods of science o He thought the human body was a machine affected by natural causes and producing natural effectswhen touching a hot object immediately the person withdraws their hand without thinking about it therefore it is mechanical it automatically occurscalled these actions reflexes an automatic response to a stimulus o He proposed dualism o Dualism the philosophical belief that reality consists of mind and matterhe distinguished between physical bodies and mindsphysical bodies do not think and minds are not made of physical matter 2
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