PSYC 1010 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1-4: Postsynaptic Potential, American Psychological Association, Thematic Apperception Test

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9 Oct 2013

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Chapter 1: The Evolution of Psychology
Psychology: science that studies behaviour and the physiological and cognitive processes that
underlie it, and it is the profession that applies the accumulated knowledge of this science to
practical problems
Mind: motives and other subjective experiences
Science: An objective way to answer questions
-Based on observable facts/ data and well described methods
-psyche: Greek for soul, spirit or mind
logos: study of the subject
Aristotle (384-322): naturalist and placed humans at top of Natural Scale of intelligence
Theory of memory: memories are result of three principles of association: similarity. Contrast and
St Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274) - tried to reconcile Christianity with Aristotelian philosophy
-returned to the idea that humans were separate from other creatures
-humans alone possess a thinking rational soul
Rene Decartes- monism (separate mind and body), soul being “province of God”
-memory, perception dreaming- “properties” of the body, thus open to being understood in
naturalistic terms.
-restate this dichotomy between humans and animals
Descartes’ View of the body
-objects must also apply to the body
-Human and nimal bodies are machines
-inspired by mechanical garden figures
-Was familiar with brain physiology
-sensations go to the brain
-motor actions originate from the brain
-fire moves skin on leg
-skin pulls thread
-thread open pore in the brain
-fluid flows to muscles
-leg muscles retract.
(fire is reflected in the leg withdrawal= reflex)
Cartesian Dualism
-body and mind are separate
-The mind reasons about the world and is separate from the mechanical or reflexive body
-Laws governing the mind are different from the natural laws of physics governing the mechanical
functions of the body
William Harvey’s empirical demonstration: blood circulation was a function of the operation of the
-important insights could be gained into the workings of the body and brain through the application
of systematic. Empirical methods
-Muller’s student Herman von Helmholtz: began first experimental examinations of human reaction
time. He argued for separation of sensation and perception as topic of study.
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Wilhelm Wundt: German professor mounted a campaign for psychology to be an independent
discipline rather than a stepchild of philosophy or physiology.
-scientific approach was favoured. (physics and chemistry) of conscious experience.
-first formal laboratory
G. Stanley Hall: studied briefly with Wundt
-established America’s first research laboratory in psychology.
-America’s first psychology journal.
-Driving force behind American Psychological Association (first president)
-Originated in Germany, blossomed to adolescence in America
Edward Titchener: Englishmen who immigrated to US
-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
-to examine the contents of consciousness depended on introspection: the careful, systematic self-
observation of one’s own conscious experience.
-required training to make more objective and aware. Subjects were exposed to auditory tones,
optical illusions and visual stimuli under carefully control and systematically varied conditions and
were asked to analyze what they have experienced
limits of introspection: demise of structuralism: depending solely on an individual’s reflection to
document a phenomenon there is no independent objective evaluation of that claim.
-focus on perception, sensation
William James: American scholar trained in medicine
-functionalism: based on the belief that psychology should investigate the function or purpose of
consciousness rather than its structure
-James became famous created the most influential text in history of psychology “Principles of
Psychology (1890)”
-impressed with natural selection
Charles Darwin (1809-1882)
Natural selection: survival of the fittest- individuals who are best suited for their environment pass
their genes along to the next generation
-behaviour traits can be selected
-nothing special about humans= can be studied scientifically
natural selection: heritable characteristics that provide a survival or reproductive advantage are more
likely than alternative characteristics to be passed on to subsequent generations and thus come to be
selected over time.
-James realized consciousness is important characteristic of our species= functions rather than
-Also argued that structuralists’ dismisses the real nature of conscious experience- that it consists of
a continuous flow of thoughts. In analyzing consciousness and its elements, structuralists were
looking at static points in that flow. = wanted to understand the stream of consciousness
-more focused on how people adapt their behaviour to suit the demands of the world
- patterns of development, effectiveness of educational practices and behavioural differences
between the sexes.
First Women: Margaret Floy Washburn “The Animal Mind”= behaviourism precursor
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Leta Hollingworth: children’s intelligence, debunked theories that women were inferior
Mary Whiton Calkins: first women president of American Psychological Association
Others in Canada:
-Mary Salter Ainsworth: developmental psychology, attachment, Canadian Women’s army corps
-Mary Wright- developmental psychology, served in WW2
-Doreen Kimura- brain, neuro-motor mechanisms in human communication
John B Watson- behaviourism: theoretical approach based on the premise that scientific psychology
should study only observable behaviour.
-proposed abandon consciousness and focus of observable behaviour
-redefining psychology, scientific research rested on verifiability. Mental processes were private.
Behaviour: any overt (observable) response or activity by an organism
-extreme position of nature vs nurture: whether behaviour is determined mainly by genetic
inheritance or environment and experience.
-Responses to a stimulus: any detectable input from the environment (S-R psychology= biological
-Watson became a advertising executive
Gestalt psychology: perception- psychology should continue to study conscious experience rather
than overt behaviour.
Sigmund Freud: Austrian physician who focused on mental illness
- unconscious: contains thoughts, memories and desires that are well below th surface of conscious
awareness but that nonetheless exert great influence on behaviour
-idea of unconscious was not entirely new, people are not fully aware of forces affecting behaviour
-personality, motivation and abnormal behaviour and therapy.
-psychoanalytic theory of mental disorders: treated phobias, obsessions and anxieties. Attempts to
explain personality motivation and mental disorders by focusing on unconscious determinants of
-Carl Jung and Alfred Adler
B.F Skinner(1904-1990)- behaviourism, influenced by Watson and Pavlov’s conditioned reflexes
Radical behaviourism
-no denying the existence of internal, mental events= “private events”
-environmental factors mould behaviour
-Organisms tend to repeat responses that lead to positive outcomes, and do not repeat responses
leading to neutral or negative outcomes
-Behaviour is governed by external stimuli, behaviour can be predicted by lawful principles like
arrows governed by the laws of physics.= NO free will
-trained pigeons to play ping-pong
-Behavioural principles widely used in schools, factories, prisons, mental hospitals and other
Humanists revolt (1950s)- psychology (psychoanalytic= sexual urges, primitive and
behaviourism=criticized for preoccupation with simple animal behaviour) is dehumanizing
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