Psychology 1000 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Belongingness, Personality Psychology, Natural Selection

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Published on 19 Apr 2013
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Psychology
Chapter 1: Psychology: the Science of Behavior
THE NATURE OF PSYCHOLOGY
Psychology: the scientific study of behavior and the mind
Behavior
refers to actions and responses that we can directly observe
Mind
refers to internal states and processes that cannot be seen directly and that must
be inferred from observable, measureable responses
Subfields of Psychology
i. Clinical psychology: the study and treatment of mental disorders
ii. Cognitive psychology: the study of mental processes, especially from a model
that views the mind as an information processor. Examine consciousness,
attention, memory, decision making and problem solving
iii. Biopsychology: focuses on the biological underpinnings of behavior. Examine
how the brain processes, genes and hormones influence our actions, thoughts
and feelings.
iv. Developmental psychology: examines human physical, psychological, and social
development across the lifespan. Some explore the emotional world of infants
while others study how different parenting styles affect children
v. Experimental psychology: focuses on such basic processes as learning, sensory
systems, perception, and motivational states. Most of this subfield involves
laboratory experiments, often with nonhuman animals
vi. Industrial-organizational (I/O) psychology: examines people’s behavior in the
workplace. They study leadership, work motivation, and performance
vii. Personality psychology: focuses on the study of human personality
viii. Social psychology: examines people’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior pertaining
to the social world: the world of other people
Science
is a process that involves systematically gathering and evaluating empirical
evidence to answer questions and test beliefs about the natural world
Empirical evidence
is evidence gained through experience and observation, and this
involves manipulating and playing around with things and then observing what happens
Understanding Behavior: Some Pitfalls of Everyday Approaches
We often take
mental shortcuts
(example: judging a person based on
stereotypes)
We may
fail to consider alternative explanations
for why a behavior has
occurred and assume one factor caused it, when really it was another
We tend to display
a confirmation bias
by only paying attention to information
that is consistent with our beliefs and ignoring information that is inconsistent
with them
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Psychology
By adopting a scientific approach, psychologists can take concrete steps to
avoid, or at least minimize, biases and problems that can lead to inaccurate
conclusions
To avoid seeing correlations that don’t exists, psychologists use statistics to
analyze their data
They also examine behavior under highly controlled experimental conditions
where they intentionally manipulate one factor, try to keep other factors
constant, and see how the manipulated factor influences behavior
They also publish their findings so they may be scrutinized and retested by
others
In principle, science ultimately is a self-correcting process
Critical Thinking
Involves taking an active role in understanding the world around you rather than
merely receiving information
Ask these questions when trying to see if something is “fact”:
o What, exactly, is the claim or assertion
o Who is making the claim? Is the source credible or trustworthy?
o What’s the evidence and how good is it?
o Are other explanations possible? Can I evaluate them?
o What is the most appropriate conclusion?
Pseudoscience
is a field that is dressed up to look like science and it attracts
many believers despite its lack of credible scientific evidence
Psychology’s Goals
1. to
describe
how people and other animals behave
2. to
explain
and
understand
the causes of these behaviors
3. to
predict
how people and animals will behave under certain conditions
4. to
influence
or
control
behavior through knowledge and control of its causes to
enhance human welfare
If we understand the causes of behavior and know when the causal factors are
present or absent, then we should be able to successfully predict when the behavior
will occur. Moreover, if we can control the causes, then we should be able to control
the behavior
Psychology as a Basic and Applied Science
Basic research
The quest for knowledge purely for its own sake
Goals: to describe how people behave and to identify the factors that influence
or cause a particular type of behavior
Applied research
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Psychology
Designed to solve specific practical problems
Uses principles discovered through basic research to solve practical problems
Psychology’s Broad Scope: A Simple Framework
Levels of analysis
Behavior and its causes can be examined at the
biological level
,
the
psychological
level
, and
the
environmental level
Addresses an issue that has been debated since antiquity:
o Is our behavior shaped by nature (our biological endowment) or nurture
(our environment and learning history)?
o Both nature AND nurture AND psychological factors must be taken into
account to gain the fullest understanding of behavior
Mind-body interactions
the relations between mental processes in the brain and the
functioning of other bodily systems; focuses our attention on the fascinating interplay
between psychological and biological analysis
PERSPECTIVES ON BEHAVIOUR
Mind-body dualism: the belief that the mind is a spiritual entity not subject to physical
laws that govern the body
René Descartes (1596-1650)
French philosopher and scientist
Proposed that the mind and body interact through the brain’s tiny pineal gland
Placed the mind within the brain but maintained that the mind was a spiritual,
nonmaterial entity
Dualism
implies that no amount of research on the physical body (including the brain)
could ever hope to unravel the mysteries of the nonphysical mind
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)
English philosopher
Monist
Advocated that mental events correspond to physical events in the brain
Monism
holds that mind and body are one and that the mind is not a separate spiritual
entity
Monism helped set the stage for psychology because it implied that the mind could be
studied by measuring physical processes in the brain
John Locke (1632-1704)
Empiricist
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Document Summary

Psychology: the scientific study of behavior and the mind. Behavior refers to actions and responses that we can directly observe. Mind refers to internal states and processes that cannot be seen directly and that must be inferred from observable, measureable responses. Clinical psychology: the study and treatment of mental disorders. Cognitive psychology: the study of mental processes, especially from a model that views the mind as an information processor. Examine consciousness, attention, memory, decision making and problem solving. Biopsychology: focuses on the biological underpinnings of behavior. Examine how the brain processes, genes and hormones influence our actions, thoughts and feelings: developmental psychology: examines human physical, psychological, and social development across the lifespan. Some explore the emotional world of infants while others study how different parenting styles affect children. Experimental psychology: focuses on such basic processes as learning, sensory systems, perception, and motivational states. Most of this subfield involves laboratory experiments, often with nonhuman animals.

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