Chapter 1

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13 Dec 2010

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Psychology 100
Prejudice brain imaging, metabolic activity in brain such as blood flow which represent
changes in brain activity that indicate which parts of the brain are involved in certain
behaviors and mental activities.
E.G. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) on racism (white and black faces) 
some participants had activated a structure in the brain called the amygdala (which is
involved in detecting threats, fear response) in reaction to some unfamiliar black faces.
(Implicit Attitudes Test, IAT)
A second study, new group ppl shown pictures of familiar black and white faces and
activation of amygdale did not occur. Encouraging news suggesting that increasing
familiarity reduces the fear response, which may indicate a reduction in the
likelihood of prejudice and discrimination.
PSYCH for little over 100 yrs basic mental processes like learning, memory, emotion,
Psychological Science
Study of Mind, Brain, and Behavior.
oMind mental activity (thoughts and feelings), perceptual experiences while
interacting with world (sight, smell, taste, hearing, touch), memory..
oBrain biological processes actions of nerve cells and associated chemical
oBehavior describes wide variety of actions, subtle to complex.
*** mind is what the brain does (Kosslyn &Koenig,1994, p-4)
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Themes of Psychological science
1.The Principles of Psychological Science Are Cumulative
2.A New Biological Revolution Is Energizing Research (3 developments have set
stage for new biological revolution)
oBrain Chemistry
Brain works through actions of chemicals known as
neurotransmitters, which communicate msgs between nerve cells.
oThe Human Genome
Understanding influence of genetic processes.
The basic genetic code or blueprint for the human body.
Also developed various techniques that allow us to discover link
between genes and behavior
Foundational knowledge to study how specific genes affect thoughts,
actions, feelings, and various disorders.
oWatching the Working Brain
Brain regions interacting to produce perceptual experience
How cells operate in brain to influence behavior
Types of memory
How conscious experience involves changes in brain activity
Localization of function
3.The Mind Is Adaptive
oThe mind has been shaped by evolution. Humans are products of both
biological and cultural evolution
oEvolutionary theory the brain is an organ thats evolved over time to
solve problems related to survival and reproduction. Ppl who survived in pass
likely to reproduce and pass along genes. Those who inherited characteristics
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that help them survive in their particular environments had a selective
advantage over those who did not. natural selection.
oAdaptations the physical characteristics, skills, abilities that increase the
chances of reproduction or survival and are therefore likely to be passed along
to future generations.
i.Solving Adaptive Problems the idea that the body that the body
contains specialized mechanisms that have evolved to solve problems
that required adaptation.
ii.Modern Minds In Stone Age Skulls according to evolutionary
theory, we must seek to understand the challenges that faced our early
ancestors to understand much of our current behavior, whether
adaptive or maladaptive. [ppl like sweet foods, especially those that
are high in fat highly caloric therefore eating them would have
provided substantial survival values in prehistoric times. Today may
be maladaptive because may lead to obesity]. Many current behaviors
do not reflect our evolutionary heritage reading, driving, computers,
cell phones, TV. Rather than being adaptations, considered BY-
PRODUCTS of adaptive solutions to adaptive problems.
iii.Culture Provides Adaptive Solutions many of most demanding
adaptive challenges involve dealing with other humans selecting
mates, cooperating in hunting and gathering, forming alliances,
competing for scarce resources, warring with neighboring groups.
Unlike many animal species, humans not able to care for themselves
at birth. Require substantial effort and resources from caregivers, who
themselves are reliant on other group members for survival. The
complexity of living in groups give rise to CULTURE (beliefs, values,
rules, norms, customs). The assumption being that the various aspects
of culture are transmitted from one generation to the next through
learning preferences for music, food, expression, smells strongly
affected by culture. Many of cultural rules reflect adaptive solutions
that have been worked out by previous generations. Although humans
have changed only modestly in physical terms (Bio) in last 2000/3000
yrs, they have changed profoundly in terms of how they live together.
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