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Chapter 2

Psych Chapter Summaries 1 - 4 Chapter 1 (nature of psychology, perspectives on behaviour, three levels of analysis, fields within psychology) Chapter 2 (scientific principles, methods of research, correlations research, experiments, threat of validity of

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Western University
Psychology 1000
Terry Biggs

Psychology Text Book Summaries Chapter 1: The Nature of Psychology Psychology is the scientific study of behaviour. The term behaviour refers to actions and responses that can be observed and measured directly as well as mental processes such as thoughts and feelings that must be inferred from directly observable responses Basic research is the quest for knowledge for its own sake, whereas applied research involves the application of knowledge derived from basic research to solve practical problems The primary goals of psychological science are to describe, explain, predict and influence behaviour and to apply the psychological knowledge to enhance human welfare Perspectives on Behaviour: Guides to Understanding and Discovery Several perspectives have shaped psychologys scientific growth. Each perspective views human nature differently and focuses on different causes of behaviour With roots in physiology, medicine and Darwins theory of evolution, the biological perspective examines how bodily functions regulate behaviour. Physiological psychologists study brain processes and other physiological functions that underlie our behaviour, sensory experiences, emotions and thoughts. Behaviour geneticists study how behaviour is influenced by our genetic inheritance. Evolutionary psychologists examine behaviour in terms of its adaptive functions and seek to explain how evolution has biologically predisposed modern humans toward certain ways of behaving Psychologys intellectual roots lie in philosophy, biology and medicine. In the late 1800, Wundt and James helped found psychology. Structuralism , which examined the basic components of consciousness, and functionalism which focused on the purposes of consciousness, were psychologys two earliest schools of thought The cognitive perspective view humans as information processors, who think, judge and solve problems. Its roots lie in the early schools of structuralism, functionalism and Gestalt psychology. Piagets work on cognitive development, the study of linguistics, and the advent of computers sparked a new interest in mental processes. Research in artificial intelligence develops computer models of human thought, whereas cognitive neuroscience studies brain processes that underlie mental activity. Social constructivism maintains that much of what we call reality is a creation of our own mental processes. Psychodynamic perspective calls attention to unconscious motives, conflicts and defence mechanisms that influence our personality and behaviour. Freuds psychoanalytic theory emphasizes unconscious sexual and aggressive impulses and early childhood experiences that shape personality With roots in 18 century British empiricism, the behaviour perspective emphasizes how the external environment and learning shape behaviour. Behaviourists such as Watson and Skinner believed that psychology should only study observable stimuli and responses, not unobservable mental processes. They argued that to change behaviour, the key is to modify the environment. Behaviourists discovered basic laws of learning through controlled research with laboratory animals and successfully applied these principles to enhance human welfare. Humanists reject the notion that people are controlled by unconscious forces or merely react to environmental stimuli. Instead, the humanistic perspective emphasizes personal freedom and choice, psychological growth and self-actualization The sociocultural perspective examines how the social environment and cultural learning influence our behaviour and thoughts. Cultural psychologists study how culture is transmitted to its member and examine similarities and differences among people from various cultures. An orientation toward individualism versus collectivism represents one of many ways in which cultures vary. Integrating the Perspectives: Three Levels of Analysis Factors that influence behaviour can be organized into three broad levels of analysis. The biological level of analysis focuses on brain processes, hormonal and genetic influences and evolutionary adaptation that underlie behaviour. The psychological level of analysis examines mental processes and psychological motives, and how they influence behaviour. The environmental level of analysis calls attention to physical and social stimuli, including cultural factors that shape our behaviour and thoughts. To understand behaviour, we often move back and forth between these levels of analysis. For example when as children we are first exposed to cultural norms, those norms reflect a characteristic of our environment. However, once we adopt norm as our own, they become part of our worldview and now represent the psychological level of analysis. Biological, psychological, and environmental factors contribute to the development of depression. These factors can also interact to influence a given behaviour. It may take only a mild setback to trigger depression in a person who has a strong biological predisposition toward depression, whereas a person who doesnt have such a biological predisposition may become depressed only after suffering a severe setback. Fields within Psychology Psychologist specializes in numerous subfields and work in many settings. Their professional activities include teaching, research, clinical work and application of psychological principles to solve personal and social problems Psychologists today conduct research and provide services around the globe. You can use principles derived from psychological science to enhance your learning and increase your likelihood of performing well on tests. These include time management principles, strategies for studying more effectively, test preparation strategies, and techniques for taking tests.Chapter 2: Scientific Principles in Psychology Curiosity, skepticism, open-mindedness are key scientific attitudes. The scientific process proceeds through several steps (1) asking questions based on some type of observation, (2) formulating a tentative explanation and a testable hypothesis, (3) conducting research to test the hypothesis, (4) analyzing the data and drawing a tentative conclusion, (5) building a theory, (6) using the theory to generate new hypotheses, which are tested by more research In everyday life we typically use hindsight (after the fact understanding) to explain behaviour. This approach is flowed because there may be countless possible explanation and no way to ascertain which is correct. Psychologists prefer to test their understanding through predictions, control and building theories about the causes of behaviour A good theory organizes know facts, gives rise to additional hypotheses that are testable, is supported by the findings of new research and is parsimonious(incomplete) An operational definition defines a concept or variable in terms of the specific procedures used to produce or measure it Psychologists assess behaviour by obtaining participants self reports, gathering reports from other who know the participants, directly observing behaviour and measuring physiological responses Methods of Research The goal of descriptive research is to identify how organisms behave, particularly in natural settings. Cases studies involve detailed study of a person, group or event. Case studies often suggest important ideas for further research, but they are poor method for establishing cause effect relations Naturalistic observation gathers information about behaviour in real life settings. It often yields rich descriptions of behaviour and allows the examination of relations between variables. Researchers must be careful to avoid influencing the participants being observed and to interpret their observations objectively Surveys involve administering questionnaire or interview to many people. Most surveys study a subset of people (a sample) that is randomly drawn from the larger population of people the researcher is interes
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