behaviourismA psychological approach that emphasizes the role of environmental forces in
scientistOne who uses the methods of science to study the interplay between brain, mind,
and behaviour and how the social environment affects these processes.
practitionersThose who apply findings from psychological science in order to assist people in
their daily lives.
thinking A systematic way of evaluating information in order to reach reasonable
Reviewing the Principles
What Are the Themes of psychological Science?
Psychological science is the study of mind, brain, and behaviour. Four themes
characterize psychological science. (1) It is cumulative, in that principles are established on
the basis of incremental advances in knowledge obtained through research. (2) A biological
revolution has been energizing psychological research. Increasing knowledge of the
neurochemistry of mental disorders, the mapping of the human genome, and the invention of
imaging technologies that allow researchers to observe the working brain in action have
provided psychological scientists with the methods to examine how the brain enables the
mind. (3) Psychological science has also been heavily influenced in recent years by
evolutionary psychology, which argues that the brain has evolved to solve adaptive problems.
(4) Finally, although psychological scientists share the common goal of understanding mind,
brain, and behaviour, they do so by focusing on the same problems at different levels of
•The principles of psychological science are cumulative:
oPsychological science relies on empirical evidence and builds on previous
discoveries in a dynamic way.
•The new biological revolution is energizing research:
oDiscoveries in brain activity have been enhanced by the discoveries of
neurotransmitters. Mapping of the human genome has furthered the role of
genetics in analyzing disease and behaviour. Tremendous advances in brain
imaging have revealed the working brain.
•The mind is adaptive:
oThe brain has evolved to solve survival problems and adapt to environments.
Many modern behaviours are by-products of adaptation.
•Psychological science crosses levels of analysis:
oPsychological scientists examine behaviour from a variety of levels of analysis:
social (culture and interpersonal behaviour), individual (personality, and
perception and cognition), and biological (brain systems, neurochemistry, and