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Psychology (9,545)
PSYA01H3 (1,192)
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Chapter 1

Notes from textbook for chapter 1 (exam)

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Steve Joordens

CHAPTER 1 PHILOSOPHICAL ROOTS We are aware of our consciousness and tend to relate it to our behaviour. It gets our body moving and makes plans. We also assume that other people experience similar consciousness to us. We believed that movement etc was controlled by our mind or by spirits. We also inferred that the sun, moon, wind, and tides also were similarly animated. This is the notion of animism, which was given to gravity as well (rocks wanted to be reunited to the ground so they fell to the ground). Psychology as a science must be based on the assumption that behaviours are strictly subject to physical laws, just as any other natural phenomenon. RENE DESCARTE He was a seventeenth century French philosopher and mathematician. His biological tradition led to modern physiological psychology. He assumed the world was a mechanical entity that, after being set in motion by God, ran its course with no divine interference. Animals were part of the natural world, so Descarte viewed the human body was also part of the natural world. He believed that when an hot object is touched, the quick withdrawal is called reflexes. It happens because the energy of the fire is reflected through the nervous system to contract the muscle. According to Descarte, what made humans different is the possession of the MIND , that was not part of the natural world therefore it obeyed different laws. He believed in dualism where all reality can be divided between mind (thinking things) and matter(extended things). He suggested a causal link existed between the mind and its physical housing. He thought the mind controlled the physical body, but through sensory organs, the body transmitted information about what was happening outside. The interaction between mind and body occurred in the pineal body (small organ at the top of the brain stem. JOHN LOCKE Rationalism: Pursuit to truth through reason Empiricism: Pursuit to truth through observation and experience/ all knowledge is obtained through senses Believed in blank slate and was an empiricist Philosopher. He noted that the mind is also part of the material world. He believed that simple idea combined into more complex ones. GEORGE BERKELEY Irish bishop, philosopher and mathematician Our knowledge is from the accumulation of past experience. An example would be visual depth which is an accumulation of simple sensations that become the complexity of looking at how far or close an object is. LOCKE and BERKELEY both worked with the knowledge and the concept of learning. JAMES MILL He was a Scottish philosopher Completed the switch from animism (animated by spirits) to materialism (mind composed entirely of matter) Materialism: The belief that reality can be known through an understanding of the physical world Worked with the assumption that humans and animals were practically the same Both were physical and subject to physical laws of the universe The mind responded to the world the same way as the body to Mills, it was like a machine. BIOLOGICAL ROOTS TO PSYCHOLOGY RENE DESCARTE He did not have scientific proof, but he relied on simple similarities he used the moving statues as an example to how humans also functioned LUIGI GALVANI Was a physiologist He discovered that muscles can contract by applying an electrical current through it Mucles had the energy to contract, they did not need to be inflated (A British physician showed that through demonstrating that his muscles did not increase in volume when he flexed in a barrel of water) JOHANNES MULLER Shows how biological knowledge shapes the evolution of psychology. He stated that they should remove or isolate animal organs, test their responses to chemicals, and manipulate other conditions to see how the organism works. Important contribution: Doctrine of specific nerve energies (message sent through all nerves were the same electrical impulse. But have different responses to the impulse because it`s sent through different channels to the brain) Implied that the different parts of the brain have different functions. PIERRE FLOURENS French physiologist Gave evidence to Muller`s doctrine of specific nerve energies Removed various parts of the nervous system and found the resulting effect depends on what part was removed He did experimental ablation Claimed to have found regions of the brain that control heart rate, breathing, purposeful movement, and visual and auditory reflexes PAUL BROCA Applied Muller`s logic to humans. He did an experiment on a person who had a stroke. The stroke caused the man to lose the ability to speak. Broca discovered the stroke caused damage to the cerebral cortex on the left side of the brain. (Broca`s area) He suggested it had the function of speech. Though it`s been discovered that the single region doesn`t attribute solely to speech, it is a part of speech production. GUSTAV FRITSCH AND EDUARD HITZIG Used electrical stimulation to map the functions of the brain provided some answers that experimental ablation could not. Wilder Penfield showed that highly specific sensory experiences and even memory can be mapped in a similar way. HERMAN VON HELMHOLTZ German physicist and physiologist Demonstrated that mental phenomena can be explained by physiological means He disassociated himself from natural philosophy where assumptions about the mind were made Muller believed that there was a force that conducted behaviour that could not be investigated. Helmholtz did not believe that assumption and advocated a scientific approach with conclusions based on observation and precise measurement. He successfully measured the speed at which nerve impulses travel (27 m/s). He suggested that nerve impulses are more complicated than electricity travelling along a wire. He tried to measure a person’s reaction time to a stimulus, but there was too much variability between people to make a clear scientific distinction. Scientists started to speculate that mental events could be subject to scientific investigation. Which set up the stage for the science of psychology. ERNEST WEBER Led to the development of a method for measuring the magnitude of human sensations Weber was an anatomist and physiologist Weber noticed that people’s ability to distinguish between two stimuli (brightness of two lights) followed orderly law. It showed that perception can be studied as scientifically as physics or biology. Psychophysics: Measures quantitative relation between physical stimuli and perceptual experience APPLICATION TO EDUCATION AND THERAPY A commitment to empiricism and materialism might imply a commitment to determinism DETERMINISM: Behaviour is a result of prior events Most psychologists assume some sort of determinism, due to the political efforts of the nineteenth century to reform society and improve individual well being JEAN-MARC GASPARD ITARD He took care of the boy that was raised in the forest. Itard sought to discover what `Victor` could learn. He devised many procedures to teach the kid words and recorded his progress. Victor only slightly improved in language. It was discussed if all children should be taught in terms of their individual needs Though most states adopted the “American Common School”, which sought the best curriculum for a given age. Brooker T Washington and John Dewey advocated reform on the bases of needs and faculties of children Dewey argued that education should be in the terms of how children’s abilities develop. Dewey believed that one aim of education is to establish habits to integrate children into the community. (Progressive Education) EDWARD THORNDIKE Noticed that if a pleasant event occurs, the animal is more likely to recreate the behaviour to get that pleasant event. While bad consequences makes an animal less likely to recreate that behaviour. (Reinforcement and punishment)law of effect Thorndike believed that learning was automatic and inevitable MARIA MONTESSORI First woman in Italy to get a medical degree She applied Itard’s approach to children with developmental disabilities, and it was successful. She wondered if the approach can be also used for normal children. Her method outlined that children matured through stages and were sensitive to different kinds of instruction to specific ages. Montessori felt that rewards interfered with a child’s ability to learn. The school system we have is shaped more from Thorndike than Montesorri PHILLIPE PINEAL Father of psychiatry. Studied “victor” before Itard He proposed that an asylum could with the proper care, become a therapeutic institute He tried different approaches to restore cognitive ability, he believed mental illness had a social cause and could be cured with similar factors. Women were admitted in Salpetriere with a collec
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