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Chapter 1-13

PSY100H1 Chapter 1-13: Readings Chapters 1-13

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Michael Inzlicht

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Readings Summary Chapters 1-13
Week 2- Jan 18th
Chapter 1: Introduction to Psychological Science
1.1 The Science of Psychology
Psychology: the scientific study of behaviour, thought and experience, and how they can be affected
by physical, mental, social and environmental factors
o Examines the individual as a product of multiple influences, including biological, psychological
and social factors
Psychological Science involves two unifying qualities:
o Involves the study of behaviour that can include perceptions, thoughts and emotions
o Psychologists employ the scientific method
Scientific method: a way of learning about the world through collecting observations, developing
theories to explain them, and using the theories to make predictions. It involves:
o Hypotheses: a testable prediction about processes that can be observed and measured,
supported or rejected, and is not proved
Hypothesis are specific predictions that can test theories
o Theories: an explanation for a broad range of observations that also generates new
hypotheses and integrates numerous findings into a coherent whole
General principles or explanations of some aspect of the world
Can be proven false with new evidence: any scientific theory must be falsifiable-
researches can discover evidence that both supports and challenges a theory.
Ensures that science is self-correcting
Theories are not the same thing as opinions or beliefs
All theories are not equally plausible
A measure of a good theory is not the number of people who believe it to be true
**Pseudoscience: an idea that is presented as science but does not actually utilize basic principles of
scientific thinking or procedure
The Biopsychosocial model: Is a means of explaining behaviour as a product of three factors which
influence each other:
o Biological influences: involve brain structures and chemicals, hormones and external
substances such as drugs
o Psychological influences: involve our memories, emotions, and personalities, and how these
factors shape the way we think about and respond to different people and situations
o Socio-cultural influences: social factors such as our family, peers, ethnicity, and culture
impacting our behaviour
Scientific literacy: the ability to understand, analyze and apply scientific information
o Allows us to separate the information that we should find convincing from the information
that we should view with caution
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o Allows you to better analyze the information presented to you by politicians, corporations, and
the media: this will make it more difficult for these groups to influence you
o To be able to apply the results of scientific studies to different situations: to generalize the
o Has components:
Critical thinking: involves exercising curiosity and skepticism when evaluating the
claims of other and with our own assumptions and beliefs
Can be learned by developing certain habits:
o Curiosity
o Examining the nature and source of the evidence
o Examining assumptions and biases
o Avoiding overly emotional thinking
o Tolerate ambiguity (uncertainty)
o Consider alternative viewpoints and interpretations of the evidence
Involves cautious skepticism: considering other viewpoints as well as accepting
that some ideas can be incorrect without being negative or arbitrarily critical
Involves the use of the principle of parsimony: the simplest of all competing
explanations (the most parsimonious) of a phenomenon should be the one we accept.
1.2 How Psychology Became a Science
Psholog’s Philosophial ad “ietifi Oigis
Science stems from two fundamental beliefs:
o Empiricism: a philosophical tenet that knowledge comes through experience
o Determinism: the belief that all events are governed by lawful, cause-and-effect relationships
Free will vs. determinism: are we in control of our own behaviours or is it predetermined for us?
o Psychological science is both empirical and deterministic
o Psychologists certainly do recognize that behaviour is determined by both internal (e.g. genes,
brain chemistry) and external influences
Influences from the ancients:
o Hippoates BCE deeloped the old’s fist pesoalit lassifiatio shee i the aient
Belief that four humours or fluids flowed throughout the body and influenced both
health and personality.
Blood, yellow bile, black bile, phlegm
Galen of Pergamum refined Hippocrates more general work and suggested that the
four humours combined to create temperaments, or emotional and personality
The four temperaments (each related to a humour) included:
Sanguine (blood): a tendency to be impulsive, pleasure-seeking, and charismatic
Choleric (yellow bile): a tendency to be ambitious, energetic, and a bit
Melancholic (black bile): a tendency to be independent, perfectionistic, and a
bit introverted
Phlegmatic (phlegm): a tendency to be quiet, relaxed, and content with life
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o Roman, and later Persian, physicians also attempted to link different foods with different
if a peso’s huous ee out of alae leadig to a phsial o eotioal
problem), a dietary adjustment was sometimes advised to help him or her return to a
balanced state
o Psholog did’t eege i the 1600s due to the advancements in science and medicine
Due to Zeitgeist: refers to a general set of beliefs of a particular culture at a specific
time in history
o The early influences on psychology came from the natural and physical sciences
Influences from physics: Gustav Fechner (1801-1887):
o Psychophysics: the study of the relationship between the physical world and the mental
representation of that world and how they interact
Influences from Evolutionary Theory: Charles Darwin (1809-1882):
o Studying the many varieties of plants and animals found around the world
o Theory of evolution by natural selection 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
o Helps explain human and animal behaviour and their physical traits, and how they are shaped
by natural selection and are subject to hereditary influences
Influences from medicine
o Clinical psychology: the field of psychology that concentrates the diagnosis and treatment of
psychological disorders
o Brain localization: the idea that certain parts of the brain control specific mental abilities and
personal characteristics
A research topic that impacted both fields of psychology and clinical psychology
Studied in two different ways:
Phrenology: belief that the brain was consistent of 27 organs corresponding to
mental traits and dispositions that could be detected by examining the surface
of the skull
o B easuig the ups o a peso’s head, it would be possible to
identify the different traits that an individual possessed
The study of brain injuries and the ways in which they affect behaviour
Franz Mesmer (18th century)
Believed that prolonged exposure to magnets could redirect the flow of metallic
fluids in the body, curing disease and insanity
Mode phsiias ad sietists attiute these ues to the patiets elief
in the treatment psychosomatic medicine/ hypnosis
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)
Interested in how hypnosis seemed to have cured several patients of hysterical
paralysis: a condition in which and individual loses feeling and control in a
specific body part, despite the lack of any known neurological damage or
Psychoanalysis: a psychological approach that attempts to explain how
behaviour and personality are influenced by unconscious process
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