There are 7 themes:
1. Empirical: psychology is a empirical science that uses research methods as a way of knowing
about how we think, feel and behave.
2. Nature vs. nurture debate: they are intertwined and cannot be separated. They work
together in some cases one triggers the other. Ex. Post traumatic stress disorder PTSD;
recent research indicates that some people inherit a genetic predisposition to developing it -
in this case nature is triggered by nurture.
3. Brain and Mind are inseparable: throughout history the mind and brain were thought to be
separate, like the soul, the mind was divine. Leonardo da Vinci concluded that all sensory
messages ( sight, touch, smell etc.) arrived at a location in the brain called the "sensus
communis" and believed that it was the home of thought and judgment. The idea of
dualism ( rene descartes): the mind and body are separate yet intertwined; that the rational
mind which controlled volatile action was divine and separate from the body. His
view maintained the distinction b/w the mind and body but he assigned the body many of
the mental functions previously considered the minds sovereign domain.
4. Biological revolution: a biological revolution has been energizing psychological research into
how the brain enables the mind. Among the revolutionary developments are increasing
knowledge of the neurochemistry of mental disorders, the mapping of the human genome
and the working brain in action.
5. Adaptive mind: the human mind has been shaped by evolution: The evolution theory is a
theory hat emphasizes the inherited adaptive value of behavior and mental activity
throughout the history of species. Adaptations: the physical characteristics, skills or abilities
that increase the chances of reproduction or survival therefore likely to be passed on to
future generations. Natural selection: Darwins theory that those who inherit characteristics
that help them adapt to their particular environments have selective advantage over those
who do not.
6. Levels of analysis: fig 1.11 page13
7. We are often unaware of the multiple influences on how we think feel and act: events can
prime our minds so that we think, feel and behave in ways suggested by the priming stimuli,
even though we may not be aware of or remember those influences.
Schools of thought:
1. Rationalism: t his school of thought takes on various philosophical positions that rely on the
function of reason when searching for truth. It can be contrasted with empiricism, which
believes that experience is necessary to acquire knowledge. For rationalists, ideas are
innate. For empiricists, ideas are acquired. Renes descartes was a rationalist he focused on
his theory that the mind and body are separate substances, stating that thoughts and
emotion are to be studied apart from the bodily mechanisms. He felt each perform their
own tasks. Finally, Descartes paved the way for the psycho physiological approach we know
today by accepting that mind acts on body as well as body on mind. Descartes would
emphasize on the individual thinker, unlike Plato and Aristotle. Instead of wondering what
men as a whole knew, he wondered what a particular man may know. As a rationalist, he
defined knowledge as judgments or statements that can be said to be certain, and denied
that sensory experience can lead to knowledge.
2. Structuralism: an approach in psychology based on the idea that conscious experience can
be broken down into its basic underlying components or elements. Titchener studied under Wundt in Leipzig then took his teachings to America. In 1895 he became
a professor of psychology at Cornell University. He had great admiration for Wundt's work, but
brought his own version of Wundt's psychology to America. Titchener believed that an
understanding of the basic elements of the conscious would provide the scientific basis for
understanding the mind. He liked to emphasize the use of introspection to uncover the elements
of experience, such as sensations, images, and feelings. He also developed experimental
techniques that were more fully accepted than his atomistic approach.
Introspection: a systematic examination of subjective mental experiences that requires people to
inspect and report on the content of their thoughts.
Wilhelm Wundt : became the founder of experimental psychology* when he established the first
official psychological laboratory in Leipzig, in which introspective and psychophysical methods
were applied to a wide range of subjects. Wundt felt that psychology should be a science
modeled after fields such as physics and chemistry. What would be the subject matter of this new
science? Well, consciousness, of course, or the awareness of immediate experience. Wundt is
known for thinking that there are three main tasks of psychology; one, to analyze the conscious
processes into basic elements; two, to disco