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Chapter 1-3

PSY100 Chapter 1-3 Summary Study Guide

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Dan Dolderman

PSY100 Chapter 1 – Introduction What are the Seven Themes of Psychological Science? 1. Psychology is an empirical science  Psychological scientists use the scientific method to understand how people think, feel and act (the use of objective, systematic procedures that lead to an accurate understanding of what is being studied) 2. Nature and nurture are inextricably entwined  Psychological characteristics are acquired through education, experience, and culture (the beliefs, values, rules, norms and customs existing within a group of people who share a common language and environment) 3. The brain and mind are inseparable  Dualism – the idea that mind and body are separate yet intertwined (René Descartes 1600s) 4. A new biological revolution is energizing research  Brain chemistry – the first major development in the biological revolution o The brain works through the actions of neurotransmitters (chemicals that communicate messages between nerve cells) o By understanding the chemical processes of the brain, we can get a better insight into mental activity and behavior  The human genome o Understanding genetic processes’ influence on life o The human genome = the basic genetic code for the human body. Using this, scientists are able to discover the link between genes and behavior, genes and memories etc. o Links genes and behavior  Watching the working brain o Localization of function – some areas in the brain are important for specific feelings, thoughts and actions o Studying how cells operate in the brain and how this influences behavior o Not watching where in the brain things occur, but looking at consistent patterns of brain activity associated with specific mental tasks 5. The mind is adaptive  The human mind has been shaped by evolution  Natural selection o The process whereby organisms better adapted to their environment tend to survive and produce more offspring (Charles Darwin) o Survival of the fittest 6. Psychological science crosses levels of analysis  Interdisciplinary efforts share the goal of understanding how biological, individual, social and cultural factors influence our specific behaviors See table below. LEVEL FOCUS WHAT IS STUDIED? Biological Brain Systems Neuroanatomy, animal research, brain imaging Neurochemistry Neurotransmitters and hormones, animal studies, drug studies Genetics Gene mechanisms, heritability, twin and adoption studies Individual Individual differences Personality, gender, developmental age groups, self-concept Perception and cognition Thinking, decision making, language, memory, seeing, hearing Behavior Observable actions, responses, physical movements Social Interpersonal behavior Groups, relationships, persuasion, influence, workplace Social cognition Attitudes, stereotypes, perceptions Cultural Thoughts, actions, behaviors Norms, beliefs, values, – in different societies & symbols, ethnicity cultural groups 7. We often are unaware of the multiple influences on how we think, feel, and act  Events can prime (activate) our minds so that we feel, think and behave in ways suggested by the priming stimuli even though we may not be aware of or remember those influences How did the scientific foundations of psychology develop?  Origins in philosophical questions  Shift from philosophy to experimentation  Increase knowledge about physiology STRUCTURALISM  Wilhelm Wundt – founder of experimental psychology  Introspection = systematic examination of subjective mental experiences that requires people to inspect and report on the content of their thoughts (i.e. describing the blueness of the sky)  Structuralism developed from introspection  Structuralism = the idea that a conscious experience can be studied and examined when it is broken down into its basic components (Titchener)  Main problem: - Experiences are subjective and each person perceives their experiences different  difficult to examine experiences on a criteria scale such as introspection - System was abandoned but it is regarded as important because these people introduced a vocab for psych and a science or set of rules for psych  STRUCTURALISM FOCUSES ON THE STRUCTURE OF THE MIND FUNCTIONALISM  The mind cannot be broken down into its elements because the mind itself is much more complicated than its elements  The mind always consists of a stream of thoughts - stream of consciousness - that cannot be frozen in time in order to be studied  stream of consciousness = continuous series of thoughts that are ever-changing (William James)  The mind works in a way that is adaptive to our survival and passing along our genes  Functionalism is concerned with how the mind operates as opposed to what the mind contains  According to functionalism, the mind came into existence over the course of human evolution and is useful for helping organisms to adapt to environmental demands  FUNCTIONALISM FOCUSES ON THE FUNCTION OF THE MIND GESALT THEORY  Max Wertheimer, 1912  The whole (experience) is different from the sum of its parts  The perception of objects is subjective and dependent on context  The mind perceives the world in an organized way that cannot be broken down into its constituent parts  Phenomenological approach – unstructured reporting of subjective experience FOCUSING ON THE UNCONSCIOUS EXPERIENCE  Sigmund Freud made a point of focusing on the fact that most human behavior is determined by mental processes that operate below the level of conscious awareness (level of unconsciousness)  Thought that unconscious mental forces could lead to psychological disorders  Psychoanalysis = bringing the contents of a patients’ unconscious into consciousness (making patient realize their unconscious beliefs/thoughts) to deal with their conflicts constructively  Dream analysis  Free association (patients talking about whatever they want for as long as they want) BEHAVIORISM  John Watson, 1913  Behaviorism = approach that emphasizes environmental effects on behavior  Environmental stimuli can predict behavioral responses  Skinner: repeated behavior influenced by consequences (reward/punishment) COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY  Mental functions are important for understanding behavior  Concerned with intelligence, thinking, language, memory and decision making  Shows the way people think about things affects their behavior  Computer analogy a. brain takes in information as a code b. brain processes it c. stores relevant sections d. retrieves stored information as required  Cognitive neuroscience = cognitive psychology x neuroscience  branch of neuroscience that studies the biological foundations of mental phenomena SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY  The power of a situation and how people are shaped through their interactions with others  Kurt Lewin – founder of modern social psychology and field theory, Gesalt psychologist  Field theory = emphasizes the interplay between people (biology, habitat, beliefs) and their environments (social situations, group dynamics)  allows people to examine human mental activity - i.e. how peoples attitudes shape behavior, why they are prejudiced against other groups THERAPY  Understanding that every individual’s needs are different and there is not a universal approach or method to solving a specific psychological disorder  Freud – impact of psychological factors on human functioning  Carl Rogers – humanistic approach (emphasizes how people can come to know and accept themselves in order to reach their unique potential)  Behaviorism – modifying behavior  Cognitive approach – correcting faulty cognition  Drugs – alter brain chemistry Chapter 2 – Research Methodology What are the types of studies in psychological research? THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD THEORY Explanation based on observations HYPOTHESIS Prediction based on the theory RESEARCH Test the hypothesis; yields data, which either… or Support the Refute or fail to support theory, the theory, which you will which you either discard or then refine with revise (and test your revised new hypothesis theory) and research  Scientific inquiry = our subjective beliefs (e.g. intuitions) can be useful in suggesting research questions  often biased  To explain behavior, scientists must use objective, systematic procedures to measure it  Four goals of psychological science are to i. describe (what) ii. predict (when) iii. control (what causes) iv. explain (why) behavior and mental activity  Empirical process is based on the use of theories to generate hypotheses that can be tested by collecting objective data through research  Theory = model of interconnected ideas and concepts that explain how the world works and makes predictions about possible outcomes or events  Hypothesis = a specific prediction of what should be observed if the theory is correct; it is a direct test of the theory  Research = the systematic collection of data to test the given hypothesis to show that the corresponding theory is in fact able to be maintained  Differences between theories, hypotheses and research: THEORY HYPOTHESES RESEARCH Asks questions about Provides the empirical Used to prove that possible causes of answers theories are correct thoughts, emotions and behaviors Broad conceptual Derived from theories and A test of the hypotheses frameworks are used to design research that will support or fail to support a theory Assumed to be true Needs to be tested with Final step appropriate experiments Do not require data for Depend on experimental Uses human participants their verification because findings to test theories and they are abstract hypotheses  Serendipity = there will always be unexpected findings that lead to something important TYPES OF STUDIES IN PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH  3 main types of designs: a. Correlational/Longitudinal – involve observing and classifying the developmental changes that occur in the same people over time, either with or without intervention by the observer o Advantages: Provide information about the effect son age on the same people, allowing researchers to see developmental changes o Disadvantages: Expensive, takes a long time, may lose participants over time b. Experimental/Cross sectional – involve observing and classifying developmental changes that occur in different groups of people at the same time o Advantages: faster and less expensive than longitudinal studies o Disadvantages: Unidentified variables may be involved, e.g. third person variable problem (discussed below) c. Descriptive – involves observing and classifying behavior, either with no intervention by the observer (naturalistic observation) or with intervention by the observer (participant observation) o Advantages: especially valuable in the early stages of research, when trying to determine whether a phenomenon exists. Takes place in a real-world setting o Disadvantages: Errors in observation can occur because of an observer’s expectations (observer bias). Observer’s presence can change the behavior being witnessed (reactivity)  these designs differ in the extent to which the researcher has control over the variables in the study  the amount of control dictates the extent to which the researcher can draw conclusions about the theory  Variable = something in the world that can be measured and that can vary - Independent variable – the condition (in an experiment) that is manipulated that is manipulated by the researcher to examine the affect on the dependent variable - Dependent variable – the condition (in an experiment) that changes according to the manipulation of the independent variable  Researchers use operational definitions to measure variables by quantifying them  e.g. putting things on a scale from 1-10  Experiment = a study that tests casual hypotheses by measuring and manipulating variables nd  idea is that one variable is manipulated in order to examine how it afvariable  Conditions = experimental group to which the participant is assigned (e.g. if we are studying the relationship between coordination and if it is affected by alcohol, the conditions would be different depending on the group of the participant – i.e. if the participant is part of the group that stays sober or if the participant is part of the group that is given alcohol)  The conditions of an experiment refers to the different levels of the independent variable (sober or intoxicated which in turn affects the coordination of the participant)  Benefit of an experiment: allows the researcher to study the casual relationship between the independent and dependent variable  if the independent variable proves to influence the dependent variable in a systematic way, then the independent variable is assumed to be the cause of the change in the dependent variable  Confound = a factor other than the independent variable that can explain the differences in participants’ performance on the dependent variable  Random assignment = placing participants into conditions of an experiment in which each participant has an equal chance of being assigned to any level of the independent variable  Correlational study/design = examines how variables are naturally related in the real world, without any attempt to alter them  Problems with correlation studies: 1. Directionality Problem – knowing the direction of the cause-effect relation between variables e.g. Sleep (A) and stress (B) are correlated.  Does less sleep cause more stress? (A  B) or  Does high stress cause less sleep? (B  A) 2. Third Variable Problem – possibility of an external factor that is responsible for the relation between the independent and dependent variable e.g. Working long hours (a) is correlated with wanting to have fun after work (b).  Having high energy (c) causes working long hours. (c  a) and  Having high energy (c) causes wanting to have fun after work (c  b) rd  Sometimes the 3 variable is obvious; sometimes they are not so noticeable and may not even be identifiable  Correlational studies provide important information about how variables are naturally related  Typically, researchers who use the correlational method use other statistical procedures to rule out potential third variables and problems with the direction of the effect What are the data collection methods of psychological science? DESCRIPTIVE/OBERSERVATIONAL STUDIES  Descriptive studies = method that involves observing and noting behavior to provide a systematic and objective analysis of behavior  Two basic types of descriptive studies: i. Naturalistic observation – passive descriptive study; observers do not change or alter ongoing behavior ii. Participant observation – researcher is actively involved in the situation  Valuable in the early stages of research when trying to see if a phenomenon exists or not  Useful for predicting behavior, but does not allow researcher to assess causality  Hawthorne effect = refers to changes in behavior that occur when people know that others are observing them  Case studies – research method that involves the intensive examination of one person  questionable because the researcher has no control over the person’s life and is forced to make assumptions about the effect of life events  Self-report methods – used to gather data from a large number of people e.g. surveys and questionnaires  Response performance – research method in which researchers quantify perceptual or cognitive processes in response to a certain stimulus  Response performance quantified in: 1. Reaction time; the speed of a response - to do with co
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