Psychology 1000-Chapter One (Psychology: The Science of Behaviour)
Psychology refers to the scientific study of behaviour; the responses that an individual had that can be
observed and of the mind; internal processes that cannot be observed through normal means, and must be
inferred from measurable responses.
There are many subtypes of Psychology, the most common one that people associate psychology with is
Clinical Psychology (the study and treatment of mental disorders) However, there are many subtypes,
o Cognitive Psychology (study of mental processes)
o Biopsychology (study of biological effects on behaviour)
o Developmental Psychology (study of development over an individual’s lifetime)
o Experimental Psychology (study of basic processes of humans [e.g. learning] )
o Industrial-organization [I/O] Psychology (study of workplace behaviour)
o Personality Psychology ( study of human personality)
o Social Psychology (study of behaviour from a social perspective)
Psychology has four main goals:
o Describe (behaviour)
o Explain and understand (causes of behaviour)
o Predict (how organisms react under certain conditions)
o Influence or control (behaviour)
Psychology has 3 main levels of analysis (factors):
o All factors influence each other/interplay:
Biological (brain, nerves, hormones, etc.)
Individual & Psychological (learning, cognitive processes, thoughts, motives, feelings,
Environmental (culture, social and personal environments we were exposed to, value
History of Psychology
Psychology started with the debate of mind-body duality vs. monism (the belief of the mind was separate
from the body vs. not)
Wundt developed first ‘real’ psychology lab in Germany in 1879. He and his students believed that you
could break down the mind like a physicist can break down the sub-atomic world; called structuralism.
Structuralism was replaced by functionalism, meaning that psychologist should study the functions of
consciousness instead of the structure (how behaviour helps us to adapt). Functionalism is very biological.
Functionalism is no longer considered a school of thought; however its work is still contained within two
schools of current thought; cognitive psychology, evolutionary psychology, psychobiology, ethology and
Perspectives of Human Behaviour
Psychodynamic perspective attempts to find reasons behind our behaviour within our personality, mainly
focusing on the unconscious aspect of our lives; looking for unresolved conflict.
Late 19 century Vienna; Sigmund Freud formed a type of psycho-therapy called psychoanalysis (the
analysis of internal and unconscious forces) o Freud claimed that children had a lot of sexual and intense (mainly anger) emotions during
childhood and since they are repressed we fear them, causing people to create defense mechanisms
to protect themselves; repression being one of the main defenses we employ.
o Freud’s work broadened psychology to include the study and treatment of mental disorders.
Modern examples of psychodynamic perspective are brief psychodynamic therapy and unconscious
Behaviourism started in 1913 when Watson argued that psychology was about the observable, instead of
the hidden mental crap that Freud said (unobservable inner consciousness). Behaviourism is mainly
environmental, focusing on behaviour change in organisms.
Behaviourism inspired techniques that are known as behaviour modification.
In the mid-20 century, psychologist proved that cognitive processes could be studied, leading to the
development of cognitive behaviourism, meaning that environmental factors affect thoughts instead of
directly affecting behaviour.
Later, humanism arose to challenge both theories, stating that each person has a desire for self-
actualization, meaning that one’s existence is in your own hands.
o Humanism focuses on values and choice.
o Humanism is both biological and environmental.
o Carl Roger’s therapy is humanistic in its approach
Modern examples of behaviourism include learning theories and behaviour modification.
Structuralism and functionalism were in essence ‘forefathers’ of cognitive perspective.
o One focused on the perspectives of consciousness, while the other focused on the basic elements
In the 1920s, German’s psychologists formed a school of thought known as Gestalt psychology (tradition);
examining how the mind organizes experiences (the whole is greater than the sum of its parts).
o It showed interest in perception