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Lawrence Murphy

MODULE 2Why people think feel and act as they doScientific approach more reliable than those based on intuition and common senseHuman intuition Prince Charles George W Bush Bob WoodwardOur thinking memory and attitudes operate on two levels conscious and unconsciousHindsight bias and judgmental overconfidence illustrate why we cannot rely solely on intuition and common sense Hindsight bias the tendency to believe after learning an outcome that one would have foreseen itCommon sense more easily describes what has happened than what will happenHindsight bias and overconfidence often lead us to overestimate our intuition but scientific inquiry can help us sift reality from illusionThree main components of scientific attitude curiosity skepticism humilityCuriosity a passion to explore and understand without misleading or being misledSkeptic one who is willing to question any truth claim asking for clarity in definition consistency in logic and adequacy sufficiency of evidenceHumility an awareness of our own vulnerability to error and openness to surprises and new perspectivesCritical Thinking thinking that does not blindly accept arguments and conclusions Examines Assumptions discerns hidden values evaluates evidence and assesses conclusionsAn experiments purpose is to test theoretical principlesIt is the resulting principles not the specific findings that help explain everyday behaviorsPsychologists concerns lie less with particular behaviors than with the general principles that help explain many behaviorsCulture the enduring behaviors ideas attitudes and traditions shared by a group of people and transmitted from one generation to nextCulture shapes our behaviorEven when specific attitudes and behaviors vary by gender or across cultures as they often do the underlying processes are much the samePeople diagnosed with dyslexia exhibit same brain malfunction whether they are Italian French or BritishAll languages share deep principles of grammar people from opposite hemispheres can communicate with a smile or frownPsychologists want to understand how different species learn think and behaveAnimal experiments have led to treatments for human diseasesinsulin vaccines and transplantsExperiment on people for understanding and controlling violent behavior and studying mood swingsPsychology is not valuefreeValues can color the factsOur preconceptions can bias our observations and interpretations sometimes we see what we want or expect to seePage 45Everything psychological is simultaneously biologicalPlato correctly located the mind in the spherical headAristotle believed the mind was in the heart which pumps warmth and vitality to the bodyPhysician Franz Gall invented phrenologythe idea that various brain regions have particular functionsDifferent parts of the brain do control different aspects of behaviorMODULE 4 123We are biopsychosocial systemshow these biological psychological and sociocultural systems work and interactNeuron a nerve cell the basic building block of the nervous system built from billions of interconnected cellsOur bodys neural information system is built from neuronsSensory neurons carry incoming information from the sensory receptors bodys tissues and organs to the brain and spinal cord Motor neurons carry outgoing information from the brain and spinal cord to the muscles and glands bodys tissuesInterneurons neurons within the brain and spinal cord that communicate internally and intervene between the sensory inputs and motor outputs Each neuron consists of a cell body and its branching fibersDendrite Bushy branching extensions of a neuron that receive messages and conduct impulses toward the cell body Axon Extension ending in branching terminal fibers through which messages pass to other neurons or to muscle or glandsAxons speak Dendrites listenMyelin Sheath a layer of fatty tissue insulates axons and helps speed their impulses as impulses hops from one node to the nextIf myelin sheath degenerates communication to muscle slows with eventual loss of muscle controlBrain activity measured in milliseconds 1000s of a secondAction potential A brief electrical charge that travels down an axon a neural impulse when neurons are stimulated by signals from our senses or triggered by chemical signals from neighboring neuronsNeurons generate electricity from chemical eventsResting potential Fluid interior of a resting axon has an excess of negatively charged ions Fluid outside the axon membrane has more positively charged ionsAxons surface is selectively permeableWhen a neuron fires first bit of axon opens its gates and the positively charged sodium ions flood through the membrane This depolarizes that section of the axon causing the axons next channel to open and then the nextDuring the refractory period resting pause neuron pumps the positively charged sodium ions back outsideExcitatory signalspushing a neurons accelerator Inhibitory signalpushing its brakeIf excitatory signals minus inhibitory signals exceed a minimum intensity or threshold the combined signal trigger an action potentialIncreasing level of stimulation above the threshold will not increase the neural impulses intensity
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