Psych 1000 Textbook Summary Notes.doc

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6 Feb 2013

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Chapter 1 – Psychology: The Science of Behaviour
Psychology - The scientific study of behaviour and the factors that influence it.
Taking into account Biological, Individual and Environmental factors.
Basic and Applied Science
Two types of research:
oBasic research: Knowledge gained purely for its own sake. The goals are to describe how people
behave and to identify factors that influence it. Research maybe carried out in lab or real world
e.g. Robert Cave – Jigsaw case study - showed how competition leads to hostility but
could be reduced by making them dependent on each other.
oApplied research: Knowledge gained to solve specific practical problems. Uses principles
discovered via basic research to solve practical problems.
Goals of Psychology
Four basic goals: DEuPIc
oDescribe how people and animals behave
oExplain and understand the causes of the behaviour
oPredict how people and animals behave under certain conditions
oInfluence or control the behaviour through knowledge and control of causes
Importance of Perspectives
Diverse viewpoints allows for enriched understanding of behaviour and its causes
Six different perspectives: biological, cognitive, psychodynamic, behavioural, humanistic, and sociocultural.
oPsychodynamic - unconscious forces motivating behaviour
oBehavioural - role of external environment on our action
oSociocultural - culture and behaviour relate
oHumanistic - self actualization and free will
oBiological - physical side of human nature, brain and genes
oCognitive - thought process
The Biological Perspective
Focuses on the physical side of human nature
oEmphasizes role of brain, including biochemical processes
Mind-body dualism: The belief that the mind is a spiritual entity not subject to the physical laws that govern
the body
oNo amount of research on the body could ever explain the mind
oAncient widely-held view, especially by Greeks
Monism: The belief that the mind and body are one, and mental events are a product of physical events
oModern view by most scientists
Discovery of Brain-Behaviour Relations
Late 1700s, Luigi Galvani discovered severed leg of frog moved with electrical current applied to it
oDefied prior belief that bodily movements were caused by soul
By 1870, researchers applied electrical stimulation directly to brains of animals
oStimulation of specific areas on brain resulted in movements of particular muscles
Karl Lashley damaged specific regions of brain and studied effects on learning and memory
abilities in animals trained to run through mazes
In 1929, invention of electroencephalogram (EEG) allowed researchers to measure electrical
activity of large areas of brain
Evolution and Behaviour
Darwin’s theory of natural selection demonstrated that inheritable characteristics that increase
likelihood of survival will be maintained. Proposed that humans and apes arose from the same
Evolutionary psychology focuses on role of evolution in development of human behaviour
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oPsychologists stress organism’s biology determine its behavioural capabilities and
Sociobiology holds that complex social behaviours are built into human species as products of
oNatural selection favors behaviours that increase ability to pass on genes (aggression,
competition, dominance in males, cooperation and nurturing in females, etc.)
oSociobiologists believe that one’s genetic survival is more important than one’s own
physical survival (altruism)
oCriticized for overemphasizing innate biological factors at expense of cultural and social
learning factors in explaining complex human social behaviour
Behaviour Genetics
Study of how behavioural tendencies are influenced by genetic factors
Animals can be bred not only for physical, but also behavioural traits (aggression, intelligence, etc.)
Identical twins, with identical genetic makeup, are very similar in behaviour compared to fraternal
oFound even when identical twins reared in different homes
The Cognitive Perspective
Views humans as information processors and problem solvers whose actions are governed by thought and
planning. What sets humans apart is that we have mental capabilities.
oStudies how mental processes influence our motives, emotions, and behaviour
Several schools and individuals contributed to modern cognitive perspective:
Analysis of mind in terms of its basic elements
Studied sensations through introspection (“looking within”)Patients were exposed to
stimuli and asked to explain their experiences.
Wilhelm Wundt wanted to model study of the mind after physical and biological
sciences. Believed mind could be studied via breaking it down to its basic parts, this was
called structuralism. Believed sensations were basic elements of consciousness.
Founded first laboratory of experimental psychology in 1879
Psychology should study the functions of consciousness (the “why’s) rather than its
structure- (the What’s)
Influenced partly by Darwin’s evolutionary theory (adaption to succeed)
William James broad functionalist approach helped widen the scope of psychology to
include biological/mental processes and behaviour
oGestalt Psychology
Concerned with how elements of experience are organized into wholes
Opposite of structuralism
Wolfgang Kohler concluded that ability to perceive relationships is the essence of
Defined “insight” as sudden perception of a useful relationship or solution to a
Demonstrated insight by observing chimpanzee use various items in a cage to
reach a banana at the top
oJean Piaget
Studied how children think, reason, and solve problems
Concerned with how the mind and its development contribute to our ability to adapt to
our environment
oAlbert Ellis and Aaron Beck
Attempted to understand how mental distortions and irrational thought patterns create
emotional problems
Emphasized that distress and maladaptive behaviour are caused by the ways situations are
thought about, not by external situations
Modern Cognitive Science
Artificial intelligence develops computer models of complex human thought, reasoning, and
problem solving
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Interested in how people produce and recognize speech and how creative solutions to problems are
Social constructivism: What we consider reality is in large part our own mental creation
oLittle shared reality exists apart from what groups of people socially construct through
subjective meaning they give to their experiences
oBelieve male and female sex roles created not by nature, but by shared world view that
exists within social groups
The Psychodynamic Perspective
Searches for causes of behaviour within workings of personality, emphasizing role of unconscious processes
and unresolved conflicts from past
Sigmund Freud emphasized role of complex psychological forces in controlling human behaviour
oFocused on hysteria, condition where physical symptoms develop without organic cause
oFound improvement in patients after they reported and relived painful childhood sexual experiences
oLed Freud to believe that most of human behaviour is influenced by unconscious forces
oBelieved repression was a defense mechanism to keep anxiety-arousing impulses, feelings, and
memories in unconscious depth of mind
oAll behaviour is a reflection of unconscious internal struggle between conflicting psychological
forces of impulse and defenses
Freud opposed laboratory research, and depended on clinical observations and personal self-analysis
The Behavioural Perspective
Focuses on the role of the external environment in shaping and governing our actions
oBehaviour influenced by learned habits and by stimuli in the environment
History rooted in school of philosophy known as British Empiricism
oAll ideas and knowledge are gained empirically
oJohn Locke: The human mind is initially a white paper, to be furnished by experience
oObservation overrules reasoning, since “seeing is believing” while reasoning has potential for error
oPavlov found involuntary learning in dogs from external stimulus
John Watson lead movement of behaviourism in 1920s
oProper subject matter of psychology is observable behaviour, not unobservable inner consciousness
oDevoted efforts to discovering laws that govern learning and performance
B. F. Skinner believed mental events, images, and feelings from within are behaviours and not causes
Behaviour modification techniques alter problem behaviours and increase positive behaviours through
alterations in environmental factors
Cognitive behaviourism is an attempt to bridge gap between behavioural and cognitive perspectives
oEnvironment exerts effects on behaviour by affecting thoughts
oMental abilities allow control of behaviour and influence of environment (control varies from
environment person and person environment)
The Humanistic Perspective
Emphasizes free will, innate tendencies towards growth, and attempt to find ultimate meaning in one’s
oRejected images of behaviour control from unconscious forces
Understand role of internal personality processes, but stress importance of conscious motives, freedom, and
Active force toward growth and self-actualization (reaching individual potential)
Terror management theory constructs reality, often involving afterlife and sense of order and stability, to
have sense of personal value
The Sociocultural Perspective
Focuses on the manner in which culture is transmitted to its members and on similarities/differences that
occur among people from diverse cultures
Culture: Enduring values, beliefs, behaviours, and traditions shared among a large group of people
Each culture develops social norms
oNorms: Rules that specify what is acceptable and expected behaviour
Humans have need to develop cultures
oIntroduce order and particular world view into social system, creating predictability, guidelines for
thought and behaviour, and a map for life
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