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Chapter 1

Chapter 1 Notes

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Western University
Psychology 1000

Chapter 1 Notes: Psychology: The science of Behaviour Global warming: • What are the issues here? • What do we need to know? • Where can you find the information necesarry to answer the questions? The Nature of Psychology Psychology is the scientific study of behaviour and the factors that influence it. Behaviour is very broadly defined to refer to actions which are visible and inner processes such as thoughts, feelings, images and psychological reactions (How do we operationalize what we view as behaviour? I.e. for alertness are your eyes open, slouched, enjoyment, etc.) Three factors are commonly taken into account when interpreting behaviour (these are not independant categories, they intereact): • Biological • Individual (psychological: cognitive, psychodynamic/ humanistoc • Environmental – physical (i.e. heat) but primarily social (relationships/ society/ culture) Three things to keep in mind when reading about theories: • “what exactly are you asking me to believe?” • “How do you know? What is the evidence?” • “Are there other possible explanations?” Basic Research is the quest for knowledge for its own sake Applied Research is the quests for knowledge for the purpose of solving an problem Robbers Cave Study Competition breeds hostility Cooperation creates harmony Spawned the jigsaw techniques, children of different ethnic groups working on projects each having only a fraction of the knowledge the whole group needs to complete the project, encouraging results from testing in hundreds of classrooms Psychologists have 4 basic goals as Scientists 1. To describe how people and other animals behave 2. To explain and understand the causes of these behavious 3. To predict how people and animals will behave under certain conditions 4. To influence or control behaviou through knowledge and control of its causes to enhance human welfare Functional acronym DEPIC (describe, explain, predict, influence and control) to enhance human welfare Perspective on Behaviour: Guides to Understanding and Discovery The importance of Perspectives They influence the direction in which psychological study and research is conducted and interpreted. There are six major perspectives to characterize contemporary psychological thought (e.g. why did the chicken cross the road?): 1. Biological: the neurons in her motor strip fired 2. Cognitive: she wanted to cross the road 3. Psychodynamic: she has a death eish (inferring an unconscious process) 4. Behavioural: she has been reinforced in the past for the crossing the road 5. Humanistic: doesn’t matter, chickens aren’t humans 6. Socio-cultural: it all depends; is it an Asian, European or South American chicken? B ig C arnivores P rey B ehind H igh S hrubs Controversy amongst these perspectives is what truly breeds to greatest knowledge Biological Perspective: Brains, Genes, and Behaviour: Is the mind a spiritual entity seperate form the body or is it an integral part to our body and its functions? Monism states that mind and body are one and mental events are the product of physical ones, electrical and chemical processes occuring in the brain. Thus Biologicasl perspectives place heavy consideration on the physiology of thought, studying the chemicals which affect our brain as it relates to the mind. Discovery of Brain Behavious Relations: Galvani’s experiments with severed frog legs disproved Dualist perspectives by getting a motion without any spiritual energy from the frog to consent to it. This was supported by other scientists using electricity to stimulate certain regions of the brain to get certain reactions, this, coupled with damaging certain regions fo the brain and viewing the effects on the animals essentially led to mapping of the brain. 1929 Electroencephalogram (EEG) allowed electrical signals to be monitored in the brain from placing electrodes on the scalp. This allows for studies of brain waves New inventions of this type include tiny microelectrodes which can monitor the electrical activities of individual brain cells. The electron microscope has made it possible to study formerly invisible brain structures. Computer programs let us view electrical activities in real time as the correlate to emotion, thought and behaviour.There are neurotransmitters which control the actions of the brain which are chemical subsatances. Evolution and Behavious: From Darwin to Evolutionary Psychology Structuralism the analysis of the mind in terms of its basic elements. Structuralists believed that sensations are the basic elements of consciousness. They studied by having people describe their inners thoughts based on reactions to chosen external stimuli. This practice has died out for the most part however. Functionalism: psychology sahould study the functions –the whys- of consciousness in lieu of the structures. It stressed adaptive behaviour. This practice no longer exists truly today but it lives on in its messages of studying the biological processesa as they relate to the mind. Gestalt Psychology: hoe elements of experience are organized into wholes. Oppossite to structuralism they argued that our perceptions and other mental processes are organized so that the whole is not only greater than but different from the sum of its parts. Piaget: Cognitive development in children Carefully observed children as they tried to solve problems and imagined how they must have experienced to the situation to respond as they did. He concluded that specific stages of cognitive development occur naturally as children mature and these abilities cannot be explained as a product of past experiences. They naturally unfold and present different ways of learning about and understanding the world. Beck and Ellis: people evolve to think in a less self-harming way Artificial Intelligence: studies computer models which can mirror complex human thought, reasoning and emotions and learn. They hope that by developing models and programs which can mirror the processes of humans that we can better understand how they occur within humans. Psychodynamic Perspective searches for causes of behaviour within our personality, emphasizing the roles of unconscious processes and unresolved conflicts from the past. Psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud’s Great Challenge: Freud worked with pers
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