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Chapter 1

Psychology 2035A/B Chapter 1: Chapter 1 Reading Notes.docx


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYCH 2035A/B
Professor
Jane Dickson
Chapter
1

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Chapter 1 Reading Notes
Adjusting to Modern Life
The Paradox of Progress
Paradox = contradictory
3 examples of the Paradox of Progress
owe have time saving devices (i.e. cell phones) that save us tons of time but yet we now are complaining
that we have no time
owe have a range of life choices available to us, but research shows that an overabundance of choices has
unexpected costs – consumers are having choice overload. Average anxiety levels have gone up as choices
increase
omodern technology has given us more and more control over the world around us (surgical procedures,
farming technology advances have allowed us to produce more food, etc.). but modern technology has
caused global warming, deforestation, etc.
the paradox of progress: technological advances have not led to an improvement in our collective health and
happiness. The quality of life and our sense of personal fulfillment has declined rather than increased. This is the
paradox of progress
The Search for Direction
common problems with self help books and what to look for in quality self help books
othey are dominated by “pshychobabble”, meaningless statements like ‘you’ve got to get in touch with
yourself
obooks tend to place more emphasis on sales rather than on scientific soundness
othe books don’t usually provide instructions on how to change your behaviour
othe books encourage a narcissistic approach to life (being self centered) the common message in most is to
do whatever you feel like and don’t worry about other people’s feelings
The Psychology of Adjustment
the concept of adjustment – the efforts of a species to adjust to changes in its environment
othe psychological processes through which people manage or cope with the demands and challenges of
everyday life
two key facets of psychology: science and profession
oscience – focuses on the study of behaviour and mental processes (not just human behaviour)
oprofession – clinical psychology is concerned with the diagnostics and treatment of psychological
problems and disorders
The Scientific Approach to Behaviour
the nature of empiricism (advantages of the scientific approach to behaviour)
oempiricism is the premise that knowledge should be acquired through observation
opsychology is empirical because its conclusions are based on systematic observation (rather than
reasoning)
oconducting experiments to gather hypotheses is the scientific approach. Advantages include:
clarity and precision
if you didn’t use this approach, you could make your conclusions based on commonsense
notions (like spare the rod and spoil the child) but the problem is that the definition of a
spoiled child is different to different people. With the scientific approach, it is a requirement
that the scientist clearly define the parameters of what a spoiled child means.
relative intolerance to error
scientists require objective data and they criticize each other’s work. This ensures all errors
are minimized.
Naturalistic observation
oA researcher engages in careful observation of behaviour without intervening directly with the subjects –
the behaviour is allowed to unfold naturally
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