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Chapter 1

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Todd Ferretti

What is Psychology? Chapter Outline  Psych, Pseudo Science and popular opinion  thinking critically and creatively about psychology  psychologies past  psychologies present  what psychologists do Psychology  the discipline concerned with behaviour and mental processes and how they are affected by an organisms physical state, mental state, and external environment  behaviour changes due to place (i.e. civil in church  symbolized by a menorah symbol?  empirical -evidence gathered by careful observation, experimentation, or measurement Psych, Pseudo science and popular opinion  can you distinguish between psychobabble and empirical psychology? -psychobabble: confirms unsupported popular opinion -empirical approach makes use of research evidence and challenges opinion -external environment can affect many results, must conduct effective research with varying factors to determine correct results and to destroy fabrications -many generally accepted psychological theories are not true Thinking Critically and Creatively  Critical Thinking -the ability and willingness to asses claims and make objective judgements on the basis of well- supported reasons and evidence, rather than emotion or anecdote (one story or theory does not always apply to everyone, must asses claims as they're heard and consider hard evidence done across a broad group of subjects) Critical Thinking Guidelines 1. Ask questions. Be willing to wonder -trigger mechanism for creative thinking is disposition to be serious 2. Define your terms -vague or poorly defined terms can lead to misleading or incomplete answers 3. Examine the evidence -must consider if evidence or statement comes from a valid and trusted source 4. Analyze assumptions and biases -assumption or belief prevents us from considering something fairly is bias 5. Avoid emotional reasoning -emotional conviction cannot settle arguments, can't let emotion cloud your decisions 6. Don't oversimplify -cannot argue from anecdote, cannot generalize theory from one isolated incident must consider more samples and factors 7. Consider other interpretations (consider other opinions, expand your knowledge and reasoning, listen to feedback) -must consider all other options and critically analyze it for assumptions and proof 8. Tolerate uncertainty (if you don't know it's ok) -more important question less likely to have a single simple answer, must accept it Pyschs Past  Did not rely on empirical methods and evidence  Phrenology -discredited theory that different brain areas account for specific personality traits -can be read from bumps on the skull -prime example of psychobabble -was proved false due to examination of data and consideration of data from a variety of subjects Birth of Psychology  Wilhelm Wundt -Established first psychological laboratory -goal to make psych a science Structuralism  early approach that emphasized the analysis of immediate experiences into basic elements (Wundt and Tictchener)  Interested in what happened  Introspection observe, analyze and describe your own sensations, mental images, and emotional reactions -problem is that since each own experience discrepancies in which experience describes human experience Functionalism  early approach that emphasized the function or purpose of behaviour and consciousness(James and Darwin)  Interested in how and why something happens  Functionalists broadened the field of psychology to include the study of children, animals, religious experiences and stream of consciousness  we are not unique, many animals experience some of the same thought processes as humans tracing through evolution led to huge advances and understanding of psychology Psychoanalysis  A theory of personality and a method of psychotherapy (Freud)  Physical symptoms due to emotional trauma or conflicts from early childhood  childhood and how we are treated and grow up influence us greatly as adults  emphasized unconscious motives and desires (i.e. sexual and aggressive) that go on constantly underneath that influence who we are and what we believe Psychologies Present: Major psychological perspectives Biological  approach that emphasizes how bodily events affect behaviour, feelings and thoughts  this perspective involves -hormones -brain chemistry -heredity -evolutionary psychology -how past adaptive behaviours can affect present Learning Perspective  approach that is concerned with how the environment and experience affects a persons or animals actions  this perspective involves -behaviourism: how environmental rewards and punishment affects behaviour -social cognitive learning theories: Cognitive Perspective  approach that emphasizes mental processes in perception, memory, language, problem solving, and reasoning  this perspective involves: -computer models of cognition -in fact thinking -intelligence testing Socio-cultural perspective  approach that emphasizes social and cultural influences on behaviour (when analyzing problem, take into account
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