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Chapter 1

Chapter 1.docx

Course Code
PSYCH 1000
Alvin Segal

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Psychology Chapter 1
1. Define psychology and indicate what kinds of behaviours it studies
Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and the mind. The term
behavior refers to actions and responses that we can directly observe,
whereas the term mind refers to internal states and processes, such as
thoughts and feelings, that cannot be seen directly and that must be
inferred from observable, measurable responses. For example, we cannot
directly see a persons feeling of love or admiration for someone else, but
can infer how the person feels based on observable verbal statements
Clinical Psychology is the study and treatment of mental disorders
Cognitive Psychology specializes in the study of mental processes, especially from a
model that views the mind as an information processor (consciousness, attention,
memory, decision making, problem solving)
Biopsychology focuses on the biological underpinnings of behavior (how brain
processes, genes, and hormones influence our actions, thoughts, and feelings)
Developmental psychology examines human physical, psychological and social
development across the lifespan
Experimental psychology focuses on such basic processes as learning, sensory systems
(e.g., vision, hearing), perception, and motivational states (e.g., sexual motivation,
hunger, thirst)
Personality psychology focuses on the study of human personality. Personality
psychologists seek to identify core personality traits and how different traits relate to one
another and influence behaviour
Social psychology examines people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviour pertaining to the
social world: the world of other people. Social psychologists study how people influence
one another, behave in groups, and form impressions and attitudes, they study social
relationships involving attraction and love, prejudice and discrimination, helping and
Thinking Critically About Behaviour
What, exactly, is the claim or assertion?
Who is making the claim? Is the source credible and trustworthy?
What’s the evidence, and how good is it?
Are other explanations possible? Can I evaluate them?
What is the most appropriate conclusion?
2. What are the four goals of psychology? How are they linked to one another?

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To describe how people and other animals behave
To explain and understand the causes of these behaviours
To predict how people and animals will behave under certain conditions
To influence or control behaviour through knowledge and control of its
causes to enhance human welfare
The scientific goals of understanding, prediction, and control are linked in the following
manner: if we understand the causes of behaviour and know when the causal factors are
present or absent, then we should be able to successfully predict when the behaviour will
occur. (control the causes = control the behaviour)
Basic research is the quest for knowledge purely for its own sake.
Applied research is designed to solve specific practical problems
3. How do the goals of basic research and applied research differ?
The goals of basic research are to describe how people behave and to
identify the factors that influence or cause a particular type of behaviour.
Applied research uses principles discovered through basic research to
solve practical problems.
Levels of analysis: behaviour and its causes can be examined at the biological level (e.g.,
brain processes, genetic influences), the psychological level (e.g., our thoughts, feelings
and motives), and at the environmental level (e.g., past and current physical and social
environments to which we are exposed).
4. What are the perspectives on behaviour? Cite four ways in which they can
influence psychological science.
Perspectives serve as lenses through which psychologists examine and
interpret behaviour. In science, new perspectives are engines of process.
Advances occur as existing beliefs are challenged, a debate ensues, and
scientists seek new evidence to resolve the debate. The best-supported
elements of contrasting perspectives are merged into a new framework,
which in turn will be challenged by still newer viewpoints.
Mind-body dualism is the belief that the mind is a spiritual entity not subject to physical
laws that govern the body
Monism holds that mind and body are one and that the mind is not a separate spiritual
5. Contrast the positions of dualism and monism as they apply to the mind-body

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To monists, mental events correspond to physical events in the brain.
Monism helped set the stage for psychology because it implied that the
mind could be studied by measuring physical processes within the brain.
Dualism implies that no amount of research on the physical body could
ever hope to unravel the mysteries of the nonphysical mind
British empiricism held that all ideas and knowledge are gained empirically – that is,
through the senses.
Structuralism is the analysis of the mind in terms of its basic elements
Functionalism held that psychology should study the functions of consciousness rather
than its structure.
6. Compare the goals of structuralism and functionalism.
Structuralists study sensations, which they considered the basic elements
of consciousness. They exposed participants to all sorts of sensory stimuli
– lights, sounds, and tastes – and trained them to describe their inner
experiences leaving an important mark by establishing a scientific
tradition for studying cognitive processes. Functionalists focus on the
importance of adaptation in helping organisms survive and reproduce in
their environment through mental processes.
Psychodynamic perspective searches for the causes of behaviour within the inner
workings of our personality, emphasizing the role of unconscious processes.
7. What casual factors are the focus of the psychodynamic perspective?
Our unique pattern of traits, emotions, and motives.
Psychoanalysis is the analysis of internal and primarily unconscious psychological
8. What observations convinced Freud of the importance of unconscious and
childhood determinants of adult behaviour?
Patients described painful and long forgotten childhood experiences, often
sexual in nature and after remembering and mentally reliving these
traumatic experiences, their symptoms often improved.
9. In what sense, according to Freud, is the human in continuous internal conflict?
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