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Chapter 1

Chapter 1 - The Evolution of Psychology.docx

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PSYC 1010
Jennifer Steeves

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The Evolution of Psychology What is Psychology? • The science of behaviour and the mind  Behaviour  Observable actions of a person or animal  Mind  Thoughts, feelings, sensations, perceptions, memories, dreams, motives, and other subjective experiences  Science  An objective way to answer questions  Based on observable facts/data and well described methods How Psychology Developed Psychology’s Intellectual Parents: Philosophy and Physiology 1. Classical Greek philosophers, such as Socrates and Aristotle, considered issues such as mind-body and the nature of memory • Humans and Gods were quite Separate from other living things  Humans and Gods reasoned about the world  Animals behaved instinctively – i.e. without reason • Aristotle was a naturalist and placed humans at the top of the Natural Scale of Intelligence  Right above the elephant 2. Later philosophers, such as Descartes, Aquinas, Hobbes, Hume, and Mill, speculated on the mind and emotions • St. Thomas Aquinas  Tried to reconcile Christianity with Aristotelian philosophy  Returned to the idea that humans were separate from other creatures  Humans possess a thinking, rational, soul • Rene Descartes  Restated the dichotomy between humans and animals  Laws of physics and mechanics must also apply to the body  Human and animal bodies are machines – inspired by mechanical garden figured  Was familiar with brain physiology  Sensations go to the brain & motor actions originate from the brain  Humans have a soul – distinguishes us from animals  Body vs. Mind Problem – Mechanistic human behaviour (reflexes) vs. behaviour based on reason (mind)  Cartesian Dualism – The body and mind are separate (laws governing the mind are diff.)  The body and mind interact through the Pineal Gland (there is only one in the brain)  Reflexes – Input & output through the Pineal Gland  Willful Movement – the mind/soul acts on the Pineal gland to affect the body • Thomas Hobbes  Rejected the dualism theory of Descartes  Applied new mathematical and mechanical principles of physics to mind as well as matter  Materialism – All behaviour results from a physical process (especially in the brain)  All knowledge is the direct result of things in the world impacting our sense organs • British Empiricism - Nurture  The mind is nothing more than the material world of sensation – ideas are based on sensations  Ideas are based entirely on our experience of the world – Tabula Rasa • Nativism - Nature  Knowledge is innate 3. Physiologists such as Gall, Broca, and Muller, demonstrated the value of an empirical approach • Ivan Sechenov – Father of Russian Physiology  All complex behaviour could be explained by reflexes  A stimulus in the external world could trigger both an action and a thought  Then the individual would come to believe that that thought caused the action  Led to work of Ivan Pavlov and the idea of conditioning Origins of Modern Psychology • Fechner, Donders and others studied the relationship between the physical properties of the stimulus and the sensory experience William Wundt • He’s ‘founder’ of psychology according to most psychologists. • Established the first experimental laboratory (Leipzig, Germany) and the first journal devoted to psychology • His subject matter was consciousness • He insisted that psychology can, and MUST use the scientific method. G. Stanley Hall • Student of William Wundt • Established the first laboratory (John Hopkins) and the first journal in America. • Later established (along with 22 colleagues) the American Psychology Association (APA), and became the first President. Structuralism • Founded by Edward Titchener (student of Wundt) • Psychology should study the structure of consciousness by breaking it down into its basic components or elements  Thought to be the sensations (images or feelings) people reported when observing an object • After careful introspection, subjects would report their conscious experience • Subject Matter: Consciousness  Method: introspection Functionalism • Origins associated with William James  Influenced by Darwin’s concept of Natural Selection • Emphasized determining the function or purpose of consciousness • Focus of functionalism may have attracted women into the field and not too long afterward, the first female president of the APA was announced. NOTE: • Neither ideology survived as viable theories of psychology • Functionalism, however, had a more lasting impact.  Led to the development of Behaviourism and applied psychology Watson - Behaviourism • The subject matter of psychology, according to him, was behaviour. • Psychology could not be a science, like other sciences, unless it focused on observable events • Largely discounted idea of genetic inheritance; behaviour was governed by the environment  Tabula Rasa (blank slate) • Shifted away from human introspection by experimenting with animals  Animal behaviour is observable (introspection is not)  The environment of animals (lab rats, etc.) is subject to much more control Sigmund Freud • Major subject of study was the ‘unconscious’  Human beings are unaware of most of the factors that influence their thoughts & behaviour Eg: the word ‘Shit’ means the same thing as feces, yet the former word would be more likely to cause laughter, embarrassment, or anger compared to saying feces… • Freud would say that this reaction would be cause by the unconscious • Although generally not accessible to us, the unconscious is sometimes revealed  Slip of the tongue  Night time dreaming • Freud’s ideas were (and still are) quite controversial.  General Public: unacceptable because of his emphasis on sex (sexuality)  Scientists: Idea that we are controlled by our unconscious force was unacceptable (The were focusing on observable behaviour) • It is now an influential theoretical perspective Skinner - Behaviourism • Skinner said that mental events are not observable and cannot be studied scientifically • Organisms will tend to repeat behaviours that lead to positive outcomes  And tend not to repeat ones with negative outcomes • Because our behaviour is under the lawful control of the environment, our feeling of ‘free will´ is an illusion • To adequately account for and predict behaviour, psychologists must understand ‘the way environmental factors affect behaviour’ Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow - Humanism • Like other ‘humanistic’ psychologists they emphasized the differences between humans and animals. • Opposite to Freud and Skinner, th
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