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Chapter 1

Chapter 1 - Introduction.doc

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University of Toronto St. George
Dan Dolderman

Chapter 1: Introduction to Psychological Science • Goal: understand people by considering how a person’s brain processes information about others, and contextual factors; how societal beliefs shape how we behave to other individuals • Fundamental aspects to study psych. ; biological, individual, and social Psychological science: The study of mind and brain and behaviour • Mind- mental activity, experiences you have interacting with the world, thought, speech, smell , taste, hear, touch (sensory input), mental activity results from biological processes you have form the brain • Brain- action of nerves and associated chemical reactions o The physical brain enables what the mind does o Mind is what the brain does. • Behaviour- a term used to describe variety of actions from subtle to complex, that occur in organisms from ants to humans What are the themes of Psychological Science? • The themes guide and direct the way psychological scientists study the mind, brain, and behaviour • Psychological scientists – use methods to understand how people think, feel and act. • Scientific method refers to the use of objective, systematic procedures that lead to an accurate understanding of being studied. The principles of psychological science are cumulative • THEME # 1- research on mind, brain, behaviour has accumulated over time to produce the principles of psychological science o Science builds on the foundation of shared knowledge • PRINCIPLE # 1- harder to recall old info than it is to recognize old info A new biological revolution is energizing research • THEME # 2- A new biological revolution of profound significance is in progress at dawn of the twenty first century, bringing with it deeper understanding of the human mind and behaviour • Brain Chemistry: o 1 major development in the biological revolution o Brain works through actions of chemicals known as neurotransmitters, which communicate messages through nerve cells o 100s of different substances play critical role in mental activity and behaviour. • Human Genome o Mapped out human genome and various behaviours associated with that genome o Expression of genes helps give rise to mind and behaviour o Gave scientists a foundational knowledge to study how specific genes affect thoughts, actions, feelings, and various disorders • Watching the Working Brain o Some localization of function in the brain but many different brain regions participate to produce behaviour and mental activity. The mind is adaptive • THEME # 3- mind has been shaped by evolution o Humans are product of both biological and cultural evolution. • Evolutionary theory- emphasizes the inherited adaptive value of behaviour and mental activity throughout the entire history of a species • Natural selection- Darwin’s theory that those who inherit characteristics that help them adapt to their particular environment have a selective advantage over those who do not • Adaptations- the physical characteristics, skills, and abilities that increase the chances of reproduction or survival and are therefore likely to be passed along to future generations • The brain has adapted circuits and structures that solve problems by adapting • Also have built in mechanisms to assist in solving problems ex. infants have fear or heights • Culture- the beliefs, values, rules, norms, and customs that exists within a group of people who share a common language and environment, and that are transmitted through learning from one generation to the next Culture provides adaptive solutions • Westerners tend to be more “independent” and self-directed, stressing their individuality • Easterner’s tend to more “dependent” on each other stressing be collective as a group • Westerner’s more likely to emphasize their strengths • Easterner’s more likely to emphasize their need for self-improvement • Cultural rules are learned as norms Psychological Science crosses levels of analysis • THEME # 4- the mind and behaviour can be studied on many levels of analysis Catego Levels What is studied? Summary ry Social • Cultural • Norms, beliefs, values, Examination of • Interpers symbols, ethnicity how cultural and onal • Groups, relationships, social contexts affect the ways persuasion, influence, workplace people interact and influence each other. Indivi • Individual • Personality, gender, Individual dual differenc developmental age differences in personality and es groups, Self-concept • Perceptio • Thinking decision mental processes n and making, language, that concern and cognition memory, seeing, hearing perceive how we • Behaviou • Observable actions, know our worlds.
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