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Chapter 1

PSYC 1010 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Radical Behaviorism, Positive Psychology, Ethnocentrism

Course Code
PSYC 1010

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Chapter 1: Introduction
Why study Psychology?
It has so much to offer in the analysis and possible prevention of such social
Psychologist seek to describe, explain and predict occurrence of behaviours
Can offer possible explanations for behaviour + suggestions about what to do
about it immediately to cope with it and prevent occurrence in future
Must more than just abnormal psychology, e.g:
Perception of colour
Hunger regulated by the brain
What causes bullying and aggression
How Psychology Developed
Psychology – “psyche” meaning the soul & “logos” referring to the study of a subject.
16th century, “psyche” used to refer to soul, spirit, mind – distinguished from body
18th century, term “psychology” gained more usage: “the study of the mind”
Developments in philosophy and physiology as influencing early psychology
Nativism: knowledge is inborn -- Empiricism: knowledge gained through experience
Impact of philosophy on development of mind, body, behaviour, human nature
developed through periods of Renaissance– e.g John Locke, Rene Decartes, Thomas
Hobbes, David Hume
Descartes – developed most important legacy to psychology:
Humans are part of nature
Dualist of mind and body being separate and different
Mind(soul) immaterial “province of God”
Processes/functions like memory, perception, dreaming & emotions were
property of body – naturalistic terms
Physiology Impact: William Harvey
1682 demonstration that blood circulation was function of heart sparked
more insights
Robert Whyte, Franz Gall, Paul Broca, Johannes Muller: working with the
body and brain through application of systematic, empirical methods can
gain important insights with working with the body
Hermann von Helmholtz:
Began one of the first experimental examinations of human reaction time
argued the separation of sensation and perception
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A New Science Is Born: Contributions of Wundt and Hall
Wundt changed views and mounted campaign is make psychology independent
rather than just adopted from philosophy and physiology
During time of expansions and new ideas (Germain Uni’s)
1879 – psychology’s date of birth
new psychology should be a science modeled from physics and chemistry:
making psychology scientific study of conscious experience
G. Stanley Hall: established “firsts” for America’s psychology
The Battle of the “Schools” Begins: Structuralism vs. Functionalism
Brought about why Edward Titchener
Structuralism: based on the notion that the task of psychology is to analyze
consciousness into its basic elements and investigate how these elements are related
identify and examine fundamental components of conscious experience like
sensation, feelings and images
most work concerned sensation and perception in vision, hearing and touch
Introspection: the careful, systematic self observation of one’s own conscious
required training to make the subject-the person being studied-more
objective and more aware
Brought about by William James
noted that consciousness obviously is an important characteristic of our
structuralists missed the real nature
Functionalism: based on the belief that psychology should investigate the function or
purpose of consciousness, rather than its structure.
Natural Selection: heritable characteristics that provide a survival or reproductive
advantaged are more likely than alternative characteristics to be passed on to
subsequent generations and thus to come to be “selected” over time
interested in how people adapt their behaviour to demands around them
investigated mental testing, patterns in development in children, etc.
Margaret Flow Washburn: the first female in States to receive PHD in psych
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Watson Alter’s Psychology’s Course as Behaviourism Makes Its Debut
Behaviourism: theoretical orientation based on the premise that scientific psychology
should study only observable behaviour
abandon study of consciousness and focus on behaviours
he believed mental processes were private events, no one can see or touch
another’s thoughts
Behaviour: refers to any overt (observable) response or activity by an organism
nature (genetic inheritance) vs. nurture (environment & experience)
Stimulus: any detectable input from the environment
Freud Brings the Unconscious into the Picture
Approach to psychology was to treat mental disorders through psychoanalysis
Unconscious: contains thoughts, memories, and desires that are well below the surface
of conscious awareness but that nonetheless exert great influence on behaviour.
Psychoanalytic theory: explains personality, motivation, and mental disorders by
focusing on unconscious determinants of behaviour
behaviour is affected by unconscious thoughts, ergo people are not
completely in control of their minds
Skinner Questions Free Will as Behaviourism Flourishes
He developed a system based on his own philosophy of radical behaviourism
like Watson, explaining how environmental factors mould behaviour and
psychology should only study observable behaviour
behaviour is fully governed by external stimuli
organisms tend to repeat responses that lead to positive outcomes, rather
than responses that lead to neutral or negative ones
argued that freewill is an illusion
The Humanists Revolt
Humanism: a theoretical orientation that emphasizes the unique qualities of
humans, especially their freedom and their potential for personal growth
take an optimistic view of human nature, not pawns of either their
environment or animal heritage
emphasized unique qualities of human behaviour and human’s freedom and
potential for personal growth
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