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Chapter 1

Psych 1000 - Chapter 1 Notes.docx

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Western University
Psychology 1000
Terry Biggs

Chapter 1 Notes - Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and if the mind. It seeks to determine how and why organisms (both humans and animals) do what they do. - Psychology looks at observable behavior and inner processes (eg. Thoughts, feelings, images, physiological reactions) and also the causes of behavior (eg. Biological factors, psychological factors) - Psychology covers an enormous range of phe gxnomena o Clinical psychology is the study and treatment of mental disorders but that is not all that psychology encompasses o Cognitive psychology specializes in the study of mental processes especially from a model that view the mind as an information processor. Cognitive psychologists examine such topics as consciousness, attention, memory, decision making, and problem solving o Biopsychology focuses on the biological underpinnings of behavior. These psychologists examine brain processes, genes and hormones that influence our actions, thoughts, and feelings. Some bio psychologists also look at how evolution has shaped our psychological capabilities o Developmental psychology examines physical, psychological, and social development across the lifespan (ex, studying the emotions of infants, or studying how different parenting styles affect children) o Experimental psychology focuses on basic processes such as learning, sensory systems, perception and motivational states (this often involves laboratory experiments but experimenting is not limited to just this form of psychology o Industrial-organization psychology examines people’s behavior in the workplace. These psychologists study leadership, teamwork, and factors affecting job satisfaction, work motivation, and performance. o Personality psychology focuses on the study of the human personality. These psychologists look at how core personality traits influence one a nether and influence behavior o Social psychology examines people’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior, pertaining to the social world. It also looks at how people influence one another, behave in groups, and form impressions and attitudes - Psychology has 4 central goals o To describe how people and other animals behave o To explain and understand the causes of these behaviors o To predict hoe people and animals will behave under controlled conditions o To influence or control behavior through knowledge and control of its causes to enhance human welfare - Basic research is the quest for knowledge purely for its own sake in order to describe how people behave and identify the factors that influence or cause a certain type of behavior - Applied research is designed for solving specific practical problems, often using principles discovered through basic research - Psychologists study an array of factors that cause and affect behavior that can be simplified into levels of analysis o Biological level – brain processes, genetic influences, etc. o Psychological level – thoughts, feelings, and motives o Environmental level – past and current physical and social environments to which we are exposed - Psychology’s roots: o One view is mind-body dualism: the belief that the mind is a spiritual entity not subject to physical laws that govern the body – but if the mind is not composed of physical matter how could it be aware of bodily sensations or how could its thoughts control bodily functions o Another is monism: the belief that the mind and body are one and mental events correspond to physical events in the brain. This developed the idea that the mind could be studied by measuring physical processes within the brain - Early schools of psychology o Structuralism: the analysis of the mind in terms of its basic elements. Structuralists used introspection to study sensations (which were considered to be the basic elements of consciousness) using stimuli. This method of studying was criticized and abandoned due to its subjectivity o Functionalism: the idea that psychology should study the functions of consciousness rather than its structure (look at the purpose and function rather than mechanics of how it works) - Perspectives are different ways to view and analyze people (and their behavior) o Psychodynamic Perspective  Searches for the causes of behavior within the inner workings of our personality (our unique traits, emotions, and motives) emphasizing the role of unconscious processes  Psychoanalysis (developed by Freud)– the analysis of internal and primarily unconscious psychological forces that cause us to develop defense mechanisms to deal with trauma (usually childhood trauma that was sexual and/or aggressive in nature).  All behavior reflects an unconscious and inevitable conflict between defenses and internal impulses  Modern psychodynamic theories continue to explore how unconscious and conscious aspects of personality influence behavior but with more focus on how early family relationships shape the view people form of themselves and others (which may unconsciously influence a persons relationships with others throughout their life) o Behavioral Perspective  Focuses on the role of the external environment in governing our actions (behavior is jointly determined by habits learning from previous experiences and by stimuli in our current environment)  Behaviorism emphasizes that environmental control of behavior through learning, arguing that the proper subject matter of psychology was observable behavior not the unobservable  Radical behaviorism: the idea that society could harness the power of the environment through social engineering to change behavior in beneficial ways  Led to the rise of behavior modification which aimed at decreasing problem behaviors and increasing positive behaviors by manipulating environmental factors  The discovery that cognitive processes such as attention and memory could be studied using experiments led some behaviorists away from radical behaviorism (where mental-life was off-limits in scientific studies) and towards cognitive behaviorism which says that learning experiences and the environment affect our behavior by giving us the info we need to behave effectively o Humanistic Perspective  Emphasizes free will, personal choice, responsibility, personal growth, and the attempt to find meaning in one’s existence  Humanists reject psychodynamic and behaviorist concepts, instead proposing that each person has an inborn force towards self- actualization (reaching one’s full potential)  When humans develop in a positive environment, the positive inner nature of a person emerges, but developing in a negative environment causes mi
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