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Chapter 1

1. Sept 18-Chapter One-Intro.docx

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Western University
Psychology 1000
Lynn Jackson

Chapter One: Introduction September 18, 2012  Psychological Science –the study of the mind, brain and behaviour  Mind –the perceptual experiences a person has through their senses,  Mental activity refers to the mind, which results from a biological process within the brain  The mind is what the brain does.  Behaviour describes a wide variety of actions, from subtle to complex, on all organisms  Basic research –how/why people think, feel, and act how they do o The goal of research is to generate knowledge which leads to…..  Applied research –the goal of accomplishing something/fixing problems; branches off basic  Cognition –refers to thought  Affect –emotion/feelings SEVEN THEMES OF PSYCHOLOGY:  Psychology Is An Empirical Science. o The scientific method involves objective, systematic procedures used to understand what is being studied (vs. other knowledge systems) o Begin to learn how psychologists work and how you can become an intelligent consumer of research o Empirical  practical, experimental, observational  Nature and Nurture are Inextricably Entwined. o Are psychological characteristics a product of nature or nurture?  Scientists no longer believe it’s an either or, but instead how they work together  Psychological scientists now study the ways that both nature and nurture influence the shaping of the brain, mind, and behaviour. o Life experiences can influence whether the genetic predisposition is activated and how strongly. They can onset personality traits. o Epigenetics –things that happen in life can lead to changes in the genes but not the DNA.  Can be passed onto future children o Culture –beliefs/values that exist within a group of people who share a common language/environment and are transmitted through generations o Psychology depends on understanding human nature’s genetic basis and how environment shapes a particular human’s nature  The Brain and Mind are Inseparable. o Mind/body problem –are the mind and body separate and distinct or is the mind simply the physical brain’s subjective experience? o Descartes theory of DUALISM: the idea that the mind and body are separate yet intertwined. He argued that the mind is located in the brain physically (wrong). Thought it was located in the penal gland  Dualism is now typically rejected as the mind is what the brain does.  Belief that the brain comes first  A New Biological Revolution is Energizing Research o Brain chemistry  the brain works through the actions of neurotransmitters (chemicals that communicate messages between the nerve cells)  Hundreds of substances play critical roles in mental activity and behaviour o The Human Genome –the basic genetic code for the human body  New techniques can link genes to behaviour  No one gene is individually responsible for a specific behaviour o The 90s are labelled the decade of the brain due to advances in neural research o Biology is a part
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