Chapter 1 - Introduction 10/3/2012 7:48:00 PM
- Prejudice not only influences the beliefs and behaviours of the
prejudiced person but also has strong negative psychological effects on
the targets of prejudice, whose behaviours are shaped in part by others‟
belief about them.
Amygdala: it activates when detects threats/negative emotional response.
Psychological science: The study of mind, brain, and behaviour.
Mind: mental activity.
o The perceptual experiences a person has whole interacting
with the world (sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch)
o Mental activity results from biological processes – the
actions of nerve cells, or neurons, and their associated
chemical reactions – within the brain.
Behaviour – describe a wide variety of actions, from the subtle to
the complex, that occur in all organisms.
*7 Themes of Psychological Science?
1) Psychology is an empirical science
o Uses research methods as way of knowing how we think,
feel, and behave.
o Scientific method: the use of objective, systematic
procedures that lead to an accurate understanding of what
is being studies.
2) Nature and nurture are inextricably entwined.
o We cannot consider either influence separately, because
they work together.
o Culture: the beliefs, values, rules, and customs that exist
within a group of people who share a common language
and environment and that are transmitted through learning
form one generation to the next.
o Nature/nurture debate: the arguments concerning whether
psychological characteristics are biologically innate or
acquired through education, experience, and culture.
o Influence by gene and culture
o Psychological scientists now believe that many mental
disorders result from the brain‟s “wiring” (nurture).
3) The brain and mind are inseparable
o Mind/body problem: a fundamental psychological issue
that consider whether mind and body are separate and
distinct or whether the mind is simply the subjective
experience of the physical brain.
o Rene Descarte theory of dualism, the mind and the body
are separate yet intertwined. 4) A new biological revolution is energizing research (3 major
o How the brain enables the mind; the revolutionary
developments are 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
o Brain chemistry: the brain works through the actions of
neurotransmitter, chemicals that communicate messages
between nerve cells.
Chemicals involved in responding to the world
influence the neural mechanism involved in memory.
o The human genome: the basic genetic code, or blueprint,
for the human body. (understanding genetic processes‟
influence on life)
o Watching the working brain: fueling the biological
revolution in psychology.
5) The mind is adaptive
i. The brain has evolved to solve adaptive problems
**Evolutionary theory: emphasizes the inherited, adaptive value
of behaviour and mental activity throughout the history of a
species. (whether they affect survival and reproduction)
o Adaptations: the physical characteristics, skills, or abilities
that increase the chances of reproduction or survival and
are therefore likely to be passed along to future
o Natural selection (Charles Darwin): those who inherit
characteristics that help them adapt to their particular
environments have a selective advantage over those who
o Solving adaptive problems: adaptive behaviours and
specialized mechanisms have been built into our bodies
and brains through evolution.
- Ex. adaptive mechanism: despite the plastic covering
over the visual cliff, infants will not crawl over the cliff
even if their mothers call to them form the other side.
o Modern minds in stone age skulls: we need to ne aware of
the challenges our early ancestors faced if we want to
understand much of our current behaviour, whether
adaptive or maladaptive.
o Culture provides adaptive solutions
Western: focus the forefront, tend to miss the fores
for the trees; more analytic,, break complex ideas
into simpler components, categorize information, and
use logic and rule to explain behaviour; individuality Eastern: tend to overlook single trees, focusing on
the entire forest in the background; more holistic in
their thinking, seeing everything in front of them as
an inherently complicated whole, with all elements
affecting all other elements; collective
6) Psychological science crosses levels of analysis
o Interdisciplinary efforts share the goal of understanding
how biological, individual, social, and cultural factors
influence our specific behaviours.
o Biological: how the physical body contributes to mind and
behaviour, as in the neurochemical and genetic processes
occurring in the body and brain.
o Individual: individual differences in personality and in the
mental processes that affect how people perceive and
know the world.
o Social: how group contexts affect people‟s ways of
interacting and influencing each other.
o Cultural: how people‟s thoughts, feelings, and actions are
similar or different across culture.
Level Focus What is Studied?
Biological Brain system Neuroanatomy, animal research,
Neurochemical Neurotransmitters and hormones,
animal, drug studies
Genetic processes 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
Behaviour Observable actions, responses,
Social Interpersonal behaviour Groups, relationships, persuasion
Social cognition Attitudes, stereotypes, perceptions
Cultural Thoughts, actions, Norms, beliefs, values, symbols,
behaviours –in diff