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PS 101 Psychology Textbook Notes

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Mindi Foster

Psychology Textbook Psychology: Defined generally as the discipline concerned with behavior and mental processes and how they are affected by an organism’s physical state, mental state, and external environment. Why does psychobabble persist? - Gives people a sense of control and predictability in a confusing world - Confirms our existing beliefs and prejudices (where as scientific psychologist challenges them) Page 12 Assumption: Assumptions are beliefs that are taken for granted. When an assumption or beliefs keeps us from considering the evidence fairly or causes us to ignore the evidence completely, it becomes a bias. Bias: When our decision is swayed a certain way or leans towards one side. Often a bias remains hidden until our beliefs are challenged and we get defensive and angry. It creates intellectual blinders Argument by anecdote: Generalizing to everyone fro a personal experience or a few examples. Anecdotes are often the source of stereotyping as well. Example: One friend who hates her school means that everybody hates it. One dishonest welfare mother means they’re all dishonest. A critical thinker thinks of several reasons and explaintaions of the topic at hand as possible before settling on just one. Example: If a magazine reports that depessed pople are most likely than other to develop cancer. A creative thinker would think of other thinks on why, lie how depressed people are more likely to drink and smoke excessively. Those unhealthy habits could increase their risk of cancer. A critical thinker would also prefer the second alternative because it requires fewer assumptions and has the most supporting evidence. Phrenology: The study of the mind. Phrenologists argue that different brain areas accounted for specific character and personality traits. For specific character and personality traits example, stinginess and religiosity. 3 Early Psychologies Structuralism: Wundt’s approach. Structuralists hoped to analyze sensations, images, and feelings into basic elements. Structuralism soon went to shits. Introspectors often produced conflicting reports. During a study, when a group of people were asking what came to mind when they heard the world “triangle”, most respondents said they imagined an image of a form with 3 sides and 3 corners. But another person imagined a visual image of a red flashing form with equal angles, whereas another reported person might report a revolving colourless form with one angle larger than the other two. Functionalism: Emphasized the function or purpose of behavior, as opposed to it’s analysis and description. Leading functionalist William James (1842-1910) noted that the brain and mind were constantly changing. The structuralist asks what happens when an organism does something the functionalist asks how and why. The functionalist wanted to know how specific behaviours and mental processes help a person or animal adapt to the environment. Used many different methods and broadened the field to children, animals, religious experiences. The stream of consciousness is a term used because it describes the way thoughts flow like a river, tumbling over eachother in waves, sometimes calm and peaceful, sometimes disturbed. Functionalism lacked the precise theory or program of research that wins recruits, and endorsed the study of consciousness . Psychoanalysis: Emphasized the influence of the unconscious mind on beahviour. Freud believed that the human mind was composed of 3 elements: the id, the ego, and the superego. Lasted about from 1830 to 1900. “Mind cures” were efforts to correct the false ideas that were said to make people anxious, depressed and unhappy. The mind cure movement was the forerunner of modern cognitive therapies. Freuds thoughts of how his patients feelings of depression, nervousness, and obsessive habits came from not physical causes but mental ones. Those mental conflicts came from emotional traumas that occurred in early childhood and that were too threatening to be remembered consciously (such as sexual feelings for a parent) Freud said that consciousness is the tip of a mental iceberg. Beneath the visible tip is the unconscious part of the mind containing unrevealed wishes, passions, guilty secrets, unspeakable yearnings, and conflicts between desire and duty. Many of these urges and thoughts are sexual or aggressive in nature. They make themselves known in dreams, slips of the tongue, apparent accidents, and even jokes. The major psychological perspectives The biological perspective: Focuses on how bodily events affect behavior, feelings, and thoughts. Donald O. Hebb argues that all behavioural and mental phenomena arise as the result of physical activity within the brain. Biological psychologists study how these physical events interact with events in the external environment to produce perceptions, memories, and behavior. Evolutionary psychology: Follows in the tradition of functionalism by focusing on how genetically influenced behavior Chapter 4: Neuropsychologists/Neuroscientists: Study the brain and nervous system to get a better understanding of behavior possibilities. The Functions of the Nervous System: - Gather and process information - Produce responses to stimuli - Coordinate the workings of different cells - Two main parts: The central nervous system and the peripheral (outlying) nervous system The Functions of the Central Nervous System: - Receives, processes, interprets, and stores incoming sensory information (information on tastes, sounds, smells, colour, pressure on skin, and state of internal organs, etc) - Sends out messages to the muscles, glands, and internal organs - Has 2 components: the brain and the spinal chord which is an extension of the brain - Spinal reflexes: automatic reflexes that require no conscious effort Spinal Chord: A collection of neurons and supportive tissue running from the base of the brain down to the centre of the back, protected by a column of bones (the spinal column) Peripheral Nervous System: All portions of the nervous system outside the brain and spinal chord; it includes sensory and motor nerves. Somatic Nervous System: The subdivision of the peripheral nervous system that connects to sensory receptors and to skeletal muscles; sometimes called the skeletal nervous system. These cells enable you to sense the world (like feeling a bug on your arm) Automatic Nervous System: The subdivision of the peripheral nervous system that regulates the internal organs and glands. Organs like your bladder, stomach and heart. When your heart pounds, hands get sweaty, and cheeks feel hot when you see your crush, it is because of the automatic nervous system. Automatic Nervous System has 2 parts. 1. Sympathetic Nervous System: Like a car accelerator. Mobilizes the body for action and an output of energy. Makes you blush, sweat, and breathe more deeply. 2. Parasympathetic System: Like a brake. Slows things down and keeps things running smoothly. Enables the body to conserve and store energy. Example of both: If you’re jumping out of a way of a speeding car, sympathetic nervous system increases your heart rate while parasympathetic system slows it down again and keeps rhythm regular. Check page 113 for quiz Neurons are nerve cells that are the brain’s communication specialists. Transmitting information to, from, and within the central nervous system. Neurons are held in place by glia or glial cells that make up 90% of the brain cells. Glial cells provide neurons nutrition, insulation, and protection from toxic agents. Dendrites: A neuron’s branches that receive information from other neurons and transmit it toward the cell body. Cell Body: The part of the neuron that keeps it alive and determines whether or not it will fire Axon: A neuron’s extending fibre that conducts impulses away from the cell body and transmits them to other neurons Structure of a neuron: A neuron has 3 main parts: dendrites, a cell body, and an axon. The dendrites look like branches of a tree. They act as antennas, receiving messages from as many as 10,000 nerve cells and transmitting these messages to the cell body. Also processes them. Cell bodies contains the biochemical machinery for keeping the neuron alive. Also tells the neuron to transmit a message to other neurons or not (to fire). The axle transmits messages away from the cell body to other neurons, muscles, or gland cells. They divide at the end into branches called axon terminals. Myelin Sheath: A fatty insulin that surrounds the axon of a neuron. Located in the central nervous system, made up of glial cells. Looks like sausage links. One purpose of the myelin sheath is to prevent signals in adjacent cells from interfering with each other. Nerve: A bundle of nerve fibres (axons and sometimes dendrites) in the peripheral nervous system. Neurogenesis: The production of new neurons from immature stem cells Stem Cells: Immature cells that renew themselves and have potential to develop into mature cells; given encouraging environments, stem cells from early embryos can develop into any cell type. Fertilized ovum > Cluster of cells > Stem cell > Nerve cell, pancreatic cells, or liver cells. Action potential: A brief change in electrical voltage that occurs between the inside and the outside of an axon when a neuron is stimulated Neurotransmitter: A chemical substance that is released by a transmitting neuron at the synapse and that alters the activity of a receiving neuron Excitatory: A voltage shift in a positive direction Inhibitory: A voltage shift in a negative direction Plasticity: When the brain retains flexibility in adapting to new experiences Serotonin: Affects neurons involved in sleep, appetite, sensory perception, temperature regulation, pain suppression, and mood. Dopamine: Affects neurons involved in voluntary movement, learning, memory, emotion, pleasure or reward. Acetylcholine: Affects neurons involved in muscle action, cognitive functioning, memory, and emotion. Norepinephrine: Affects neurons involved in increased heart rate and the slowing of intestinal activity during stress, neurons involved in learning, memory, dreaming, wake from sleeping, and emotion. GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid): The major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain Glutamate: The major excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain. Released by 90% of the brain’s neurons. Endorphins: Reduces pain and promotes pleasure. Plays a role in appetite, sexual activity, blood pressure, mood, learning, and memory. Endorphin levels shoot up when a person or animal is stressed or afraid. Endocrine Glands: Internal organs that produce hormones and release them into the bloodstream. Hormones: Chemical substances secreted by organs called glands that affect the functioning of other organs. Hormones promote bodily growth, aids digestion, and regulates metabolism. Melatonin: Secreted by the pineal gland deep within the brain. Helps regulate daily biological rhythms and promotes sleep. Oxytonin: Secreted by another small gland within the brain, the pituitary gland. Enhances uterine contractions during childbirth and also ejects the milk during nursing. Oxytonin and vasopressin contributes to relationships in both genders, promoting attachment and trust. Adrenal Hormones: Hormones that are produced by the adrenal glands that are involved in emotion and stress. Sex Hormones: Hormones that regulate the development and functioning of reproductive organs and that stimulate the development of mal
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