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Psychology 1000
Biggs- Universityof Western Ontario

Chapter One: Introduction to Psychology Psychology- the scientific study of behaviour and the factors that influence it Behaviour- referring to the actions we observe directly and to inner processes (mental events); thoughts, feelings, motives Basic research- quest for knowledge purely for its own sake Applied research- designed to solve specific, practical problems Ex. 1 Robber’s Cave (Sherif et al., 1961)  Competition breeds hostility  Make competitive groups work for a common goal Goals of Psychology: 1. Describe behaviour 2. Explain/understand behaviour 3. Predict behaviour 4. Influence/control behaviour If we understand the causes of behaviour and know when the causal factors are present or absent, then we should be able to successfully predict when the behaviour will occur. Perspectives  Definition- vantage points for analyzing behaviour and its causes  Lenses through which the world of behaviour is viewed  Determine which aspects of behaviour are important, worthy of study- the direction in which psychology develops a) The Biological Perspective  Mind-body problem (is the mind a separate entity?)  Pythagoras, Plato and Hippocrates believed that the brain is the seat of the mind and intellect  Aristotle believed that the mind is in the heart Mind-body dualism- the mind is a spiritual entity not subject to the physical laws that govern the body  No research can unravel the mysteries of the mind Monism- the mind is not a separate spiritual entity, mind and body are one  The physical side of human nature Discovering Brain-Behaviour Relations:  Scientific and technological developments  Luigi Galvani (1700’s)- influenced nerve research - Led to mapping of the brain - Connections made between brain and behaviour  Karl Lashley: most important figure in biological psychology in America - Brain mechanisms in learning - Creating lesions in brain regions and studying effects on animals trained to run mazes - Lead to other discoveries  James Olds and Peter Milner (1954)- some areas of the brain were specialized for providing pleasurable sensations  W.B. Scoville and Brenda Milner (1957)- damage to some areas of the brain are associated with sever memory loss  1929: EEG (electroencephalogram) – measure electrical activity of large areas of the brain through electrodes attached to the scalp - Brain wave correlations without invading the brain - Evolved into electron microscope, computer based imaging techniques (electrochemical activities) - Neurotransmitters Evolution of Behaviour: Darwin and Evolutionary Psychology  Charles Darwin, 1859, “On the Origin of Species” - Evolution: stimulated by observations during a five year voyage on a British research vessel- viewing the adaptation of species - Survival of the fittest/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 Modern Evolutionary Psychology:  The role of evolution in the development of behaviour and mental mechanisms  Organism’s biology determines behavioural capabilities  Behaviour determines survival Sociobiology (Wilson, 1980)- complex social behaviours are built into the human species as products of evolution.  Natural selection favours genes which can pass on  Ex. In males- aggression, competition, dominance and in females- cooperative and nurturing  Martin Daly and Margo Wilson- females are greater invested in reproduction  Genetic survival>physical survival  Critics: overemphasizes innate biological factors Behaviour Genetics:  The study of how behavioural tendencies are influenced by genetic factors  Ex. Twins, brain dysfunctions and disturbed behaviour b) The Cognitive Perspective  Homo sapiens= wise men  Views humans as information processors and problem solvers whose actions are governed by thought and planning  Concerned with how information is perceived/organized, how it combines to create memories  How mental processes influence our motives, emotions and behaviour Origins: 1. Structuralism- Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920)  The analysis of the mind in terms of its basic elements  Sensations are the basic elements of consciousness  Studied through introspection; looking within, sensory stimuli, describe inner experiences  Established a scientific tradition for the study of cognition 2. Functionalism- William Jones  Psychology should study the functions (why’s) of consciousness, rather than its structure (the what’s)  Influenced partly by Darwin’s evolutionary theory  Included biology, mentality and behaviour in psychology  Emphasis on how the mind processes information/directs behaviour 3. Gestalt Psychology: 1920’s, Wolfgang Kohler (1887-1967)  Gestalt= “where” or “organization”  Concerned with how elements of experience are organized into wholes  Opposite of structuralist  Instead of breaking down consciousness, our perceptions and other mental processes are organized so that the whole is not only greater than, but quite different from, the sum of its parts Insight- the sudden perception of a useful relationship/solution  “Aha!” moment Piaget: cognitive development in children (1896-1980)  Concerned with how the mind and its development contribute to our ability to adapt to our environment  Observation of child problem solving  Concluded that new and specific stages of cognitive development unfold naturally as children mature Cognitive approaches to psychological disorders  Albert Ellis (1962) and
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