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Chapter 1-4

Psychology 1000 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1-4: Cognitive Psychology, Psycholinguistics, Behavioral Neuroscience

Course Code
PSYCH 1000
Derek Quinlan

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Chapter 1: The Science of Behaviour
The Nature of Psychology
Psychology: is the scientific study of behaviour and the mind
The term, Behaviour, refers to actions and responses that we can directly observe
Whereas the term, Mind, refers to internal states and processes, such as thought and
feelings, that cannot be seen directly and that must be inferred from observable,
measurable responses
Clinical Psychology: the study and treatment of mental disorders (many diagnose and
treat people and some are scientists who research the field in and out)
Cognitive Psychology: specializes in the study of mental processes, especially from a
model that views the mind as an information processor. They also examine topics such as,
consciousness, attention, memory, decision making, and problem solving. An area within
cognitive psychology, called Psycholinguistics, focuses on the psychology of language
Biopsychology: focuses on the biological underpinnings of behaviour. Biopsychologists
examine how the brain processes, genes, and hormones, influence our actions, thoughts,
and feelings
Development Psychology: examines human physical, psychological, and social
development across the lifespan.
Experimental Psychology: focuses on such basic processes as learning, sensory systems
(vision, hearing, etc), perception, and motivational states (sexual motivation, hunger,
thirst, etc).
Industrial-Organizational (I/O) Psychology: examines people’s behaviour in the
workplace. They study leadership, teamwork, and factors that influence employees’ job
satisfaction, work motivation, and performance
Personality Psychology: focuses on the study of human personality
Social Psychology: examines people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviour pertaining to the
social world: the world of other people. They also study how people affect each other and
the behaviour of groups and topics (prejudice, love, relationships, etc)

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Fields can overlap each other
Many psychologists have interests that bridge different subfields
The Field of Psychology
Psychology’s Scientific Approach
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
includes evidence from manipulating or “tinkering around” with things and then
observing what happens

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Understanding Behaviour: Some pitfalls of Everyday Approaches:
We often take mental shortcuts when forming judgements, shortcuts that sometimes serve
us poorly
Judging someone’s personality based solely on stereotypes about their physical
appearance would be an example of a mental shortcut
Because factors may happen simultaneously we may fail to consider alternative
explanations for why a behaviour has occurred and assume that “ONE” factor caused it
Once our beliefs are established, we often fail to test them further
We form a confirmation bias – we only listen to info that is consistent without beliefs
(EX. Muslims/Christians/Catholics using their religion to admit that homosexuals should
be condemned and be banished)
Using Science to Minimize Everyday Pitfalls:
By adopting a scientific approach, psychologists can take concrete steps to avoid biases
Science has it’s limitations and it is ideally suited to examine testable questions about the
natural world
Science, ultimately, is a self-correcting process
Thinking Critically about Behaviour
Many widely held beliefs about behaviour are inaccurate
Critical thinking: involves taking an active role in understanding the world around you
People uncritically accept many misconceptions that do have harmful consequences
Pseudoscience: a field that incorporates astrology, graphology, rumpology, and so on-is
dressed up to look like science, but it lacks credible scientific evidence
Psychology’s Goals
Four central goals
First: To describe how people and other animals behave
Second: To explain and understand the causes of these behaviours
Third: To predict how people and animal will behave under certain conditions
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