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Chapter 1

Chapter 1 - PSY.docx

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Gregory Wagner

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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 development) 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 action. 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 generations. o Natural selection (Charles Darwin): those who inherit characteristics that help them adapt to their particular environments have a selective advantage over those who do not. 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, brain imaging 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, physical movements Social Interpersonal behaviour Groups, relationships, persuasion influence, workplace Social cognition Attitudes, stereotypes, perceptions Cultural Thoughts, actions, Norms, beliefs, values, symbols, behaviours –in diff
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