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Chapter 1

Psychology 2035A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Tony Robbins, Stanley Schachter, Kaleidoscope


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYCH 2035A/B
Professor
Doug Hazlewood
Chapter
1

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CHAPTER 1: ADJUSTING TO MODERN LIFE
-The technological advances of the past century, impressive as they are, have not led to perceptible
improvement in our collective health and happiness. Many social critics argue that the quality of
our lives and sense of personal fulfillment have declined rather than increased- this is the paradox
of progress. Many reasons for this paradox exist but the agreement is that the basic challenge of
modern life has become the search for meaning, a sense of direction, and a personal philosophy.
Major points:
oAdvances provide us with time saving devices- nonetheless most people complain about not
having enough time
oRange of life choices have increased exponentially- having too many options means making
more frequent errors in decisions that could translate to important choices
oControl over the world- but has had a devastating effect on the world around us
The Search for Direction
-The kaleidoscope of change that we see is said to create feelings of anxiety and uncertainty, which
we try to alleviate by searching for a sense of direction. Examples are:
oThe enormous success of self-realization programs and self-help gurus (Dr. Phil, Tony
Robbins)
oCults- 2 million mostly normal young people are involved- join because cults provide simple
solutions to complex problems. Alienation, confusion, and weak community ties make
people vulnerable
oSelf-help books- simple recipes that guarantee readers happiness; clearly have not worked.
There are some that have been tested with favourable results. The rest of the garbage has 4
problems:
1. Psychobabble; the vague and obscure language used, e.g. “you have to be up front”
2. Place more emphasis on sales then scientific soundness- most don’t have scientifically valid
advice but author’s “intuitive analyses”. Even the proven advice is generally a lot less
effective than if it were done in a controlled environment supervised by a professional.
3. Don’t provide explicit directions as to how to change your behaviour
4. Promote a remarkably self-centered approach to life
The Psychology of Adjustment
-Psychology is the science that studies behaviour and the physiological and mental processes that
underlie it
- Since it is the science of relating biological processes to behaviour, research is often done on
animals because the researcher can have more control over the factors influencing the animals’
behaviour
-Clinical psychology only emerged during WWII when academic psychologists were pressed into
service as clinicians to screen military recruits and treat soldiers suffering from trauma.
- “Adjustment refers to the psychological processes through which people manage or cope with the
demands or challenges of everyday life”
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The Scientific Approach to Behaviour
-Empiricism is the premise that knowledge should be acquired through observation
oThus we say scientific psychology is empirical meaning studies are formal, systematic, and
objective
- The scientific approach has 2 major advantages:
oClarity and precision; common sense notions tend to be vague and ambiguous
oHad relative intolerance to error; they use objective data and try to rationalize contradictory
findings
Experimental Research: Looking for Causes
-Use of an experiments where the investigator manipulates one (independent) variable under
carefully controlled conditions and observes whether any changes occur in a second (dependant)
variable as a result
-Independent variable : the condition/event that is varied to see the impact on another variable
-Dependant variable : the variable that is thought to be affected by changes to the independent
variable
-E.g. Stanley Schachter was interested to see if misery does love company so he set up an
experiment. Brought in people who were told they were going to be shocked; he manipulated their
level of anxiety (independent variable) by having a high anxiety group (painful shocks) and a low
anxiety group (painless shocks) and asked the participants if they wanted to wait alone or on a
group (dependant variable) which tested their need for affiliation under different anxiety conditions
-Experimental group : receive special treatment
-Control group : don’t receive the same treatment given to the experimental group
- It’s important that the groups are in the same conditions EXCEPT for the one treatment given to the
control group that is the independent variable that you’re trying to measure
- Advantage: allows scientists to isolate the relationships between the in/dependant variables to be
able to draw conclusions about cause/effect relationships
- Disadvantage: there is often interest in the effects of variables that can’t be manipulated
Correlational Research: Looking for Links
- Used when there cannot be experimental control over variables thus experimenters make systemic
observations to look for correlation between the variables without manipulating them
-Correlation coefficient : numerical index of the degree of relationship that exists between two
variables- indicates the strength and direction of the relationship between 2 variables
-Positive correlation : 2 variables co-vary in the same direction e.g. High School grades and GPA
-Negative correlation : variables co-vary in opposite directions. E.g. the higher the absences the
lower the grade
- Kinds of correlational research:
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