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Chapter 1

chapter 1 - what is psych.docx

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Lawrence Murphy

What is psychology? o Behaviour and mental processes and how they are affected by organism’s physical/mental state and external environment o Symbolized with o Empirical (evidence from careful observation, experiments, measurement) ‒ Makes use of research evidence and challenges opinion o Psychobabble pseudoscience and quackery covered by a veneer of psychological and scientific-sounding language (confirms unsupported popular opinion) ‒ Ex. if you play classical music to an infant, do they actually become smarter? o Thinking critically: ‒ The ability and willingness to assess claims and make objective judgments on basis of well-supported reasons and evidence instead of emotion or anecdote (a story) ‒ “Way that we look at things influence the data” Eight thinking guidelines: 1. Ask questions- be willing to wonder ‒ Asking ‘why’ and ‘how’ leads to identification of problems and challenges 2. Define your terms ‒ frame question in clear, concrete terms; vague/poorly definied terms can lead to misleading or incomplete answers ‒ ie. “what makes people happy?”- define happy! 3. Examine the evidence ‒ never accept a conclusion without evidence; “what evidence supports/refutes this argument & opposition?, how reliable is the evidence?” 4. Analyze assumptions and biases ‒ Assumptions: beliefs taken for granted; ex “you need the product we are selling” ‒ If assumptions keeps us from considering evidence fairly/ignoring evidence, becomes bias 5. Avoid emotional reasoning ‒ Emotional conviction alone can’t settle arguments; “is evidence unpersuasive or because results make you feel anxious or annoyed?” 6. Don’t oversimplify ‒ have more evidence than one or two stories before drawing conclusions 7. Consider other interpretations ‒ Get as many reasonable explanations of topic before settling on the most likely one 8. Tolerate uncertainty the past… o Didn’t rely on empirical methods and evidence o Phrenology example of psychobabble ‒ Ex. discredited theory that different brain areas account for specific personality traits that can be “read” from bumps on skull o the birth o Willhelm Wundt  Established first psychological lab (1879 U of Leipzig)  Goal to make psych science- except he like to train volunteers to observe (too subjective) Structuralism (died out) o Early approach that emphasized analysis of intermediate experience into basic elements o Interested in what happens o Introspection observe, analyze, describe own sensations, mental images, emotional reactions Functionalism (short lived) o Early approach that emphasized function or purpose of behavior and consciousness (Darwin & James) o Interested in how and why something happens o Functionalists broadened field of psych to include study of children, animals, religious experiences, streams of consciousness Psychoanalysis o Theory of personality and method of psychotherapy (Freud) o Physical symptoms because of emotional trauma/ conflicts from early childhood o Childhood plays key role in how we are in adulthood o Psychoanalysis Emphasized unconscious motives and desires (sexual & aggressive) the present… Major psychological perspectives o Biological perspective ‒ Approach that emphasizes how bodily events affect behavior, feelings and thoughts ‒ Includes hormones, brain chemistry, heredity, evolutionary psych (how past adaptive behaviours are reflected in present behaviours) ‒ “we can’t really know ourselves if we do not know our bodies” o Learning perspective ‒ Is concerned with how environment and experience affect a person’s (animal’s) actions ‒ Involves behaviourism (how environmental rewards and punishments influence behavior) ‒ Social-cognitive learning theories combine elements of behaviourism with thoughts, values, expectations, intentions; not only adapting to environment, but also imitating others etc. o Cognitive Psych ‒ Emphasizes mental processes in perception, memory, language, problem solving, reasoning ‒ Involves computer models of cognition, infant thinking, intelligence testing o Socio-cultural perspective ‒ Emphasizes social and cultural influence on behavior ‒ Involves social psychology study of rules, r
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