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Chapter 1

Psych 1000 - Chapter 1.docx

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Western University
Psychology 1000

Psychology – Chapter 1: The Science of Behaviour Psychology: The scientific study of behaviour and the factors that influence it Behaviour: Both actions we directly observe and inner mental processes  Takes into account biological, individual, and environmental factors History of Psychology: Early Greeks: - Humans and Gods were very different from other living things - Humans reasoned while animals behaved instinctively without reason Aristotle (384-322 BC): - Humans were similar to animals, but smarter. - Placed humans at the top of a scale of intelligence Rene Descartes: - French Philosopher: “I Think, therefore I am” - Found a distinction between mind and body and they intersected at pineal gland - Some human behaviour is instinctive, other based on reason Nature vs. Nurture: Empiricists (Nurture): behaviour is shaped by experience; deny the influence of genetic factors Nativists (Nature): behavious is inborn; all due to genetics Basic Research vs. Applied Research: Basic Research: The quest for knowledge purely for its own sake o Goal is to describe how people behave and to identify the factors that influence behaviour o Research is carried out in a lab or in real-world settings Applied Research: Designed to solve specific practical problems o Often uses principles discovered through basic research to solve practical problems Jigsaw Program: Conditions of mutual dependence and cooperation among hostile groups can reduce inter-group hostility - Derived from The Robbers Cave study where it was found that conflict between groups could be reduced by making them dependent on each other Goals of Psychology:  To describe how people and other animals behave  To explain and understand the causes of these behaviors  To predict how people and animals will behave under certain conditions  To influence or control behaviour through knowledge and control of its causes to enhance human welfare Perspectives on Behaviour: Perspectives: Vantage points for analyzing behaviour and its biological, psychological, and environmental causes Mind-Body Dualism: The mind is a spiritual entity not subject to the physical laws that govern the body. A belied held by the Greeks and other philosophers. Monism: The mind is not a separate spiritual entity. Mind and body are one; mental events are a product of physical events. Biological Perspective: Focuses on the physical side of human nature, emphasizes the role of the brain, biochemical processes behind our thoughts, emotion, and action. Also focuses on the way genetic factors influence behaviour.  Focuses on processes invisible to the naked eye, based on scientific and technological developments  Luigi Galvani: Frog Leg Experiment: - Discovered that the severed leg of a frog would move if an electrical current were applied to it - Led to discovery of nervous energy  Karl Lashley: Brain Mechanisms in Learning - Rats - Created lesions to specific regions in the brain and studied the effects on learning and memory - Began the mapping of the areas of the brain involved in specific psychological functions Darwin’s Evolutionary Theory: Species evolve over time in response to environmental conditions through natural selection  Natural Selection: Any inheritable characteristic that increases the likelihood of survival will be maintained in the species because individuals having the characteristic will be more likely to survive and reproduce. - Based on observations made during a 5 year voyage to South America, Australia, South Africa, and many South Atlantic and South Pacific islands - Was surprised by such vast differences in the same species - Viewed differences as how the species had adapted to their environment - Darwin did not yet understand how characteristics were passed on, genetics  Evolutionary Psychology: an emerging discipline that focuses on the role of evolution in the development of behaviour and mental mechanisms.  Sociobiology: Complex social behaviors are also built into the human species as products of evolution. Argues that natural selection favours behaviours that increase the ability to pass genes on to the next generation Behaviour Genetics: The study of how behavioural tendencies are influenced by genetic factors Cognitive Perspective: Views humans as information processors and problem solvers whose actions are governed by thought and planning - Concerned with how information is perceived and then organized in our minds - Also how that information is combined with other contents of the mind to create memories, problem-solving strategies, and creative thoughts. - How mental processed influence our motives Wilhelm Wundt: German scientist who wanted to model the study of the mind after the physical and biological sciences. - Analyzing materials with scientific tools such as microscopes and chemical analysis - Wundt founded the first experimental psychology laboratory - Studied the mind by breaking it down into its basic components and structures - Developed structuralism Structuralism: The analysis of the mind in terms of its basic elements - Structuralists believed that sensations are the basic elements of consciousness - Set out to study sensations through (looking within) - Exposed experiment participants to sensory stimuli and asked them to describe their inner experiences Functionalism: Psych should study the functions of consciousness (why) rather than its structure (what) - Partially influenced by Darwin’s evolutionary th
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