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
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
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