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Chapter 1

Psychology 1000 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Brenda Milner, Margo Wilson, Luigi Galvani

Course Code
PSYCH 1000
Biggs- Universityof Western Ontario

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Chapter One: Introduction to Psychology
Psychology- the scientific study of behaviour and the factors that influence it
Behaviour- referring to the actions we observe directly and to inner processes (mental events);
thoughts, feelings, motives
Basic research- quest for knowledge purely for its own sake
Applied research- designed to solve specific, practical problems
Ex. 1 Robber’s Cave (Sherif et al., 1961)
Competition breeds hostility
Make competitive groups work for a common goal
Goals of Psychology:
1. Describe behaviour
2. Explain/understand behaviour
3. Predict behaviour
4. Influence/control behaviour
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.
Definition- vantage points for analyzing behaviour and its causes
Lenses through which the world of behaviour is viewed
Determine which aspects of behaviour are important, worthy of study- the direction in which
psychology develops
a) The Biological Perspective
Mind-body problem (is the mind a separate entity?)
Pythagoras, Plato and Hippocrates believed that the brain is the seat of the mind and intellect
Aristotle believed that the mind is in the heart
Mind-body dualism- the mind is a spiritual entity not subject to the physical laws that govern the body
No research can unravel the mysteries of the mind
Monism- the mind is not a separate spiritual entity, mind and body are one

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The physical side of human nature
Discovering Brain-Behaviour Relations:
Scientific and technological developments
Luigi Galvani (1700’s)- influenced nerve research
- Led to mapping of the brain
- Connections made between brain and behaviour
Karl Lashley: most important figure in biological psychology in America
- Brain mechanisms in learning
- Creating lesions in brain regions and studying effects on animals trained to run mazes
- Lead to other discoveries
James Olds and Peter Milner (1954)- some areas of the brain were specialized for providing
pleasurable sensations
W.B. Scoville and Brenda Milner (1957)- damage to some areas of the brain are associated with
sever memory loss
1929: EEG (electroencephalogram) measure electrical activity of large areas of the brain
through electrodes attached to the scalp
- Brain wave correlations without invading the brain
- Evolved into electron microscope, computer based imaging techniques (electrochemical
- Neurotransmitters
Evolution of Behaviour: Darwin and Evolutionary Psychology
Charles Darwin, 1859, “On the Origin of Species”
- Evolution: stimulated by observations during a five year voyage on a British research vessel-
viewing the adaptation of species
- Survival of the fittest/natural selection
natural selection- any inheritable characteristic that increases the likelihood of survival will be
maintained in the species because individuals having the characteristic will be more likely to survive and
Modern Evolutionary Psychology:
The role of evolution in the development of behaviour and mental mechanisms
Organism’s biology determines behavioural capabilities
Behaviour determines survival
Sociobiology (Wilson, 1980)- complex social behaviours are built into the human species as products of
Natural selection favours genes which can pass on
Ex. In males- aggression, competition, dominance and in females- cooperative and nurturing
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