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Chapter 1

Psychology 1000 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Gestalt Psychology, Encephalization, Luigi Galvani


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYCH 1000
Professor
Dr.Mike
Chapter
1

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CHAPTER 1:
THE NATURE OF PSYCHOLOGY
-Psychology: the scientific study of behaviour and the factors that influence it.
- Psychologists use the term behaviour very broadly to refer both to actions that we
can observe directly and to inner processes
- Psychologists take into account biological, individual, and environmental factors
Psychology as a Basic and Applied Science
-Basic research: the quest for knowledge purely for its own sake. Used to describe
how people behave and to identify the factors that influence or cause a particular
type of behaviour.
-Applied research: designed to solve specific practical problems. Uses principles
discovered through basic research to solve practical problems.
- Goals of Psychology:
1. to describe how people and other animals live
2. to explain and understand the causes of these behaviours
3. to predict how people and animals will behave under certain conditions
4. to influence or control behaviour through knowledge and control of its causes
to enhance human welfare
- Successful prediction and control are the best ways for us to know whether we
truly understand the causes of behaviour
PERSPECTIVES ON BEHAVIOUR
- psychologists consider potential causes for behaviour at three different levels of
analysis: biological, psychological, and environmental
- these diverse viewpoints, or perspectives, serve as lenses through which the
world of behaviour is viewed, and they reflect and shape our conception of human
nature
- six major perspectives characterize modern psychological thought. They are the
biological, cognitive, psychodynamic, behavioral, humanistic, and sociocultural
perspectives
The Biological Perspective:
- Many ancient Greek philosophers believed in mind-body dualism, the belief that
the mind is a spiritual entity not subject to the physical laws that govern the body
-Monism: belief that the mind is not separate, and the mind and body are one, and
mental events are simply a product of physical events
- The biological perspective focuses on the physical side of human nature
- Emphasizes the role of our highly developed brain; the biochemical processes that
underlie our every thought, emotion, and action; and the manner in which genetic
factors influence the development and behaviour of human organisms
- Late 1700’s – Luigi Galvani made discovery of “nervous energy”
- Early 1900’s – Karl Lashley – created lesions (damage) in specific brain regions
and studied their effects on the learning and memory abilities
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- 1929, the invention of the electroencephalogram (EEG) allowed researchers to
measure the electricity activity of large areas of the brain through electrodes
attached to the scalp
- biochemical research has shown that the brains electrical activity is controlled by
chemical substances released by nerve cells. the role of these neurotransmitters
substances in both normal and abnormal behaviour is one of the most important
areas of current research
Evolution and Behaviour:
- Darwin was struck by many differences between seemingly similar species that
lived in different environments. He began to view these differences in ways in
which the species had adapted to these environments
- In his theory of evolution Darwin proposed that species evolve over time in
response to environmental conditions through a process called natural selection,
or “survival of the fittest”
-Natural selection: any inheritable characteristic that increases the likely hood of
survival will be maintained in a species, because individuals having the
characteristic will be more likely to survive and reproduce
-Evolutionary psychology: emerging discipline that focuses on the role of
evolution and the development and human behaviour. Psychologists int his field
stress that an organism biology determines its behavioral capabilities, and its
behaviour (including its mental abilities) determines whether or not it will survive
-Sociobiology: holds that complex social behaviours are also built into the human
species as products of evolution. These social behaviours include: aggression,
competition and dominance in males, and cooperative and nutritive qualities in
females
- The major point is that, in the eyes of sociobiologists, ones genetic survival, (ie
the transmission of ones genes) is more important than ones own physical
survival. This principal can explain certain humane behaviours including giving
up ones life to save children or relatives
Behaviour Genetics:
- our development and behaviour are effected by the genetic blueprint with which
we are born
-Behaviour genetics: the study of how behavioural tendencies are influenced by
genetic factors
- Animals can be bread selectively not only for physical traits, but also for
behavioural traits such as aggression or intelligence. This is done by allowing
highly aggressive or very bright males and females to mate with one another over
a number of generations
- Identical twins who result from the splitting of a fertilized egg and therefore have
exactly the same genetic makeup are far more similar to one another on many
behavioural traits than are fraternal twins
The Cognitive Perspective:
- Cognitive perspective: views humans as information processors and problem
solvers whose actions are governed by thought and planning
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- The cognitive perspective causes us to ask how mental processes influence our
motives, emotions and behaviour
Structuralism:
- Wilhelem Wundt – German scientist who wanted to model thte study of the mind
after the physical and biological sciences
- He believed that the mind could be studied by breaking it down into its basic
components or structures, therefore known as structuralism
-Structuralism: the analysis of the mind in terms of its basic elements
- The structuralist believe that sensations are the basic elements of consciousness
and study sensations through method of introspection: looking within
Functionalism:
- holds that psychology should study the functions, the whys, of conciousness,
rather than its structure, the whats
- functionalism was influenced by darwins evolutionary theory
- functionalism endures in modern day society as an emphasis on how the mind
processes information and directs our behaviour
- it is seen also in evolutionary psychology’s focus on the origins of adaptive
behaviour.
Gestalt Psychology:
- can be translated as “whole” or “organization”
- Gestalt psychology was concerned with how elements of experience are organized
into wholes
- This was the opposite of the view taken by structuralists
- Gestalt psychologists argued that our perceptions and other mental processes are
organized so that the whole is not greater than, but also quite different from, the
sum of its parts
- Believed that this tendency to perceive wholes is like other forms or perceptual
organization built into our own nervous system
- Woolfgang Kohler – one of the leaders of Gestalt psych, concluded that the ability
to perceive relationships is the essence of what we call “intelligence”
- Defined insight as the sudden perception of a useful relationship or solution to a
problem, a kind of “Aha!” experience
- Gestalt psychs demonstration of insight learning in both animals and humans
stimulated new interest in cognative topics such as perception, problem solving
and intelligence
Piaget: Cognitive development in children
- Piaget was concerned with how the mind and its development contribution to our
ability to adapt to our environment
- Piaget’s primary technique was to carefully observe children as they tried to solve
problems. He then tried to imagine how they must have experienced the situation,
in order to respond as they did
- Piaget concluded that new and specific stages of cognitive development unfolded
naturally as children mature
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