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Chapter 1

PS101 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Psy, Applied Psychology, Psychometrics

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Kris Gerhardt

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The Evolution of Psychology- Chapter One.
How Psychology Developed
- one of the reasons that students and researchers are drawn to psychology is that it has much to offer in
the analysis and possible prevention of social problems.
- By scientific methods, psychologists can offer possible explanations for behavior.
- Psychology demands that researchers ask precise questions about issues and that they test their ideas
through systematic observation. it provides a way of building knowledge that is relatively accurate and
- Psychology means “the study of the mind
- It is a scientific discipline.
- Socrates, Aristotle and Plato considered and debated issues such as separation of the mind and whether
knowledge is nativism (inborn) or empiricism (gained through experience)
- Aristotle’s through of memory is foundational to many contemporary theories of memory.
- His conception of memory suggested that memories are the result of three principles of association:
1. similarity
2. contrast
3. contiguity
- Rene Descortes is known for the study of dualism of mind and body—that the mind and body were
separate and fundamentally different, with the mind (soul) being immaterial and the “province of God”
- He believed that the process and functions such as memory, perception, dreaming and emotions were
“properties” of the body.
A New Science is Born
- Psychology’s intellectual parents were the disciplines of philosophy. It wasn’t until Wilhelm Wundt, a
German professor, changed the view of psychology starting a campaign and making it an independent
discipline rather than a stepchild of philosophy.
- According to Wundt, psychology primary focus was consciousness—the awareness of immediate
experience. Therefore the scientific study of the conscious mind is psychology.
- Psychology focuses on the mind and mental process.
The Battle of the “Schools” Begins: Structuralism vs. Functionalism
- Competing schools of thought exist in most scientific disciplines.
- In psychology there are two major schools:
1. Structuralism
2. Functionalism
- structuralism was based on the notion that the task of psychology is to analyze the consciousness into
basic elements and investigate how these elements are related. (Edward Titchener)
- Structuralists want to identify and examine the fundamental components of conscious experiences, such
as sensation, feelings and images.
- Structuralists depend on the method of introspection—the careful, systematic self observation of ones
own conscious experience.
- Functionalism was based on the belief that psychology should investigate the function of purpose of
consciousness, rather than its structure. (William James)
- Natural selection—heritable characteristics that provide a survival or reproduce advantage are more
likely than alternative characteristics to be passed on to subsequent generations, thus come to be
“selected” over time.
- Darwins evolution theory suggested that the typical characteristics species must serve some purpose.
- James noted that consciousness is an important characteristic of our species, hence psychology should
investigate the functions rather than the structure of consciousness.
Watson Alters Psychology’s Course as Behaviorism makes its Debut
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- a major school of thought which dramatically altered the course of psychology is behaviorism.. founded
by John. B Watson.
- Behaviorism is a theoretical orientation based on the premise that scientific psychology should study
only observational behavior.
- Watson wanted to abandon the study of consciousness altogether and focus exclusively on behaviors that
they could observe (he tried to redefine psychology).
- He also staked out a fundamental question nature versus nurture.
- Watson believes a person is made not born.
- Stimulus- any detectable input from the environment.
Freud Brings the Unconscious into the Picture
- his approach to psychology grew out of his efforts to treat mental disorders
- he treated people troubled by psychology problems such as irrational fears, obsessions, and anxieties
with innovative procedure he called psychoanalysis.
- He studied the unconscious mind—which contains thoughts, memories and desires that are well below
the surface of conscious awareness but that nonetheless exert great influence on behavior,
- Psychoanalytic theory attempts to explain personality, motivation, and mental disorders by focusing on
the unconscious determinates of behavior.
Skinner Questions Free Will as Behaviorism Flourishes
- skinner was influenced by Watsons methodological behaviourism
- like Watson, skinner emphasized how environmental factors mould behavior.
- The fundamental principle of behavior documented by Skinner is deceptively simple: Organisms tend to
repeat responses that lead to positive outcomes, and not to repeat responses that have negative outcomes.
- Free will is an illusion.
The Humanists Revolt (12) study table 1.2
- behaviourism and psychoanalytic theory had become the most influential schools of thought in
- however, psychoanalytic theory was attacked for its belief that behaviourism dominated by primitive,
sexual urges.
- Then these two school came together and became humanism—the theoretical orientation that
emphasizes the unique qualities of humans, especially their freedom and the potential for personal
Psychology in Canada
- the first experienmental laboratory in Canada was established at the university of Toronto in 1891 by
James Mark Baldwin. There was a rapid growth in psychology in the last century.
Psychology Comes of Age as a Profession
-applied psychology; the branch of psychology concerned with everyday, practical problems
-clinical psychology; is the branch of psychology concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of
psychological problems and disorders.
Psychology Returns to its Roots: Renewed Interests in Cognition and Physiology
- psychologists today are showing renewed interests in consciousness (now called cognition and the
physiological bases of behavior rather than being interested in consciousness and physiology
- cognition refers to the mental processes involved in acquiring knowledge
- cognition involved thinking or conscious experience
- psychologist used to show little interest in cognition until Jean Piaget focused attention on the study of
childrens cognitive development while the work of Noam Chomsky provoked new interest in
psychological underpinnings of language.
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