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PS101 CH1, 2, Appendix.docx

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Kathy Foxall

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Chapter 1: What is Psychology? Psychology: the discipline concerned with behaviour and mental processes and how they are affected by and organism’s physical state, mental state, and external environment Psychobabble: pseudoscience and quackery covered by a veneer of psychological and scientific-sounding language  pseudoscience portrayed by the media (e.g. empty nest syndrome, midlife crisis) Critical thinking: the ability and willingness to assess claims and make objective judgments on the basis of well-supported reasons and evidence, rather than emotion or anecdote  Open-mindedness does not mean that all opinions are created equal and that everybody’s beliefs are as good as anyone else’s  On matter of personal preference, all opinions are created equal – but when you say “X is better than Y” you need to support your belief with evidence  If your opinion ignores reality, you forfeit the right to have it taken seriously Thinking critically an creatively about psychological issues: 1. Ask questions; be willing to wonder 2. Define your terms: (i.e. what exactly is intelligence?) 3. Examine the evidence 4. Analyze assumptions and biases: (i.e. assuming that drug effects are purely biological —Rastafarian church & “wisdom weed”)  Assumption: a belief that is taken for granted  Bias: when an assumption/belief keeps us from considering the evidence fairly, or causes us to ignore it completely 5. Don’t oversimplify: (i.e. “anger”)  Argument by anecdote: generalizing to everyone from a personal experience or a few examples 6. Avoid emotional reasoning: (i.e. intense feelings about controversial topics) 7. Tolerate uncertainty: there is often no single right answer  Critical thinkers know that the more important the question, the less likely it is to have a single simple answer 8. Consider other interpretations  Occam’s Razor: the principle of choosing the solution that accounts for the most evidence while making the fewest unverified assumptions History of Psychology Pre-Modern: Hippocrates: “brain must be the ultimate source of our pleasures, joys, laughter, pain, sorrows, griefs and tears” Stoic philosophers: observed that people do not become angry or sad or anxious because of actual events, but because of their explanations of those events John Locke argued that the mind works by associating ideas arising from experience Phenomenology (Franz Joseph Gall)  head bumps & physical appearance of the head depicts personality *pseudoscience* Modern: Structuralism (Wilhelm Wundt & his student E.B. Titchener—who gave it its name)  how conscious experience can be broken down into its basic elements  Was the first to announce that he intended to make psychology a science and his lab was the first to have results published in scholarly journal  Because chemistry was popular, the same idea was applied to psychology  Introspection was the methodology: people were trained to document their own experiences as he told  Criticism: too subjective to document, too static Functionalism (William James)  emphasized the function or purpose of behaviour and consciousness as opposed to analysis and description  Conscious experience is not static, but flows and changes with time and situations  Structuralism asks what happened, functionalism asks how and why  Inspired by work of Darwin who not just described animals’ traits, but looked into how its purpose and how it helped with survival  Criticism: no set methodology or theory Psychoanalysis (Sigmund Freud)  behaviour is a function of unconscious desires and conflicts  Consciousness is the tip of the iceberg and the not visible unconscious contains unrevealed wishes, passions, guilty secrets, unspeakable yearnings, and conflicts between desire and duty  Criticism: not falsifiable (cannot be disproved thus, it can always be true)  Still practiced, but much controversy Today’s Psychology [e.g. towards depression] Biological (Donald O. Hebb)  emphasizes bodily events and changes associated with actions, feelings, and thoughts; interested in how our bodies affect behaviour  How physical events interact with events in external environment to produce perceptions, memories and behaviour  Topics: nervous system, hormones, chemical substances, genes  Answer: too little serotonin causes depression  Evolutionary psychology: how genetically influenced behaviour that was functional or adaptive during our evolutionary past may be reflected in many of our present behaviours, mental processes and traits  “We cannot really know ourselves if we do not know our bodies” Learning  how the environment and experience affect a person’s actions; how learning causes behaviour (Skinner, Watson), learning through environment  Topics: environmental rewards and punishers that maintain or discourage specific behaviours  Behaviourism: emphasizes the study of observable behaviour and the role of the environment as the determinant of behaviour – The mind/mental states do not explain behaviour; behaviourists stick to what can be observed and measured directly  Answer: rewarding a crying baby/sadness  Socio-cognitive: combine behaviourism with learning through observation (e.g. Albert Vandura & BOBO the clown)  Topics: modeled behaviour  Answer: observed depressed parents/saw parents exhibit the behaviour Cognitive  how mental processes in perception, memory, language, problem solving (higher level thinking) affect behaviour  Topics: memory language, thought patterns  Answer: “depressive attributional style” leading to depression (e.g. negative events = “I’m stupid, I always will be and it will affect everything I do in life”) depressive thought patterns Sociocultural/social psychology  how social/cultural forces outside the individual; how groups or environment affect behaviour (not necessarily learned, but impacts you)  Social psychologists: focuses on social rules and roles, why people obey authority & how each person is affected by the other people in their lives  Cultural psychologists: how cultural rules and values (explicit and unspoken) effect people’s development, behaviour and feelings  Topics: culture, gender, religion, team, family relationships  Answer: experience in groups such as a minority group experiencing discrimination leads to depression Psychodynamic (more clinical type of Freudian thinking)  emphasizes how unconscious dynamics within the individual affect behaviour (inner forces, conflicts, movement of instinctual energy)  Topics: trauma, desires  Answer: child abuse caused depression, not wanting to admit that you hate your mom Other Influential Movements: Humanist  emphasizes personal growth and the achievement of human potential, rather than the scientific understanding and assessment of behaviour  More of a philosophy of life than psychology Feminist  analyzes the influence of social inequities on gender relations and on the behaviour of the two sexes Clinical psychologist: PhD trained as clinician Diagnoses, treats and/or studies mental & emotional Research problems (teaching and doing research in colleges/universities) Psychiatrist: MD + specialization (drugs & biological approach) What Psychologists Do Practice of Psychotherapy advanveddegree (MD or PhD) & training in this approach, may treat Industry emotional disorder (conducting research or applying its findings in nonacademic settings) Psychotherapist: Practice everywhere else - unregulated therapists with Masters of social work Basic psychology: the study of psychological issues in order to seek knowledge for its own sake rather than
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