Chapter 1 notes

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Oct/4/2003 CHANAPS
Notes From Reading
I. From Speculation to Science: How Psychology Developed
A. A New Science is Born: The Contributions of Wundt & Hall
1. “psyche” – soul “logos” – study of (Greek roots)
2. Defined in 16th Century, yet not popular till early 18th century.
3. Born out of philosophy and physiology – movement led by Wilhelm Wundt
a. 1879 – 1st Formal Lab for Psych research, Univ of Leipzig
b. 1881 – Wundt starts 1st psych journal
c. Wundt known as father of psych
d. According to Wundt, psych should be a science. Focus on consciousness.
Psych became the scientific study of conscious experience.
4. Hall, G Stanley – studied briefly with Wundt, contributor to American Psych.
a. Established first American research lab – John Hopkins (1883)
b. Launched American’s 1st Journal (1887)
c. 1892 – Became 1st president of APA.
B. The Battle of the Schools Begins – Structuralism vs. Functionalism.
1. Structuralism – led by English Edward Tichener (studied in the States though)
a. Based on the notion that the task of psychology is to analyze
consciousness into it’s basic elements and investigate how these elements
i. Wanted to identify and examine fundamentals of consciousness, like
sensations, feelings, and images.
b. Most work centered around sensation and perception in vision, hearing
and touch.
c. Relied on “introspection” – careful, systematic, self observation of one’s
own conscious experience.
i. Required training to make subject m ore aware and objective
ii. One trained, exposed to auditory tones, optical illusions, and visual
stimuli under carefully controlled and systematically varied conditions.
Then asked to analyze what they experienced.
2. Functionalism – based on the belief that psychology should investigate the
function/purpose of consciousness, not the structure. Led by American William
a. Author of “Principles of Psych” (1890) – most influential work
b. Believed psych is embedded in network of culture and intellectual
c. Influenced by Darwin, 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 become selected over time (i.e. typical characteristics of a species
must serve a purpose.)
d. Argued that consciousness was “flow” of thoughts and structuralists
examined only static points.
e. Less focused on lab, more on “practical” i.e. mental testing, development
in children, effectiveness of education practices, differences between the
f. Has now faded, but led to today’s “applied psych” and “behaviorism”
Oct/4/2003 CHANAPS
Notes From Reading
C. Watson Alters Psych’s Course as Behaviourism Makes Its Debut
1. Behaviorism – theoretical orientation based on premise that scientific psych
should only include observable behavior founded by John B. Watson.
a. Abandon study of consciousness altogether. Why? Scientific Method
2. Behavior refers to any observable (overt) response or activity by an organism.
a. Watson believed one could study what people do or say, but not their
thoughts and wishes.
3. Nature vs. Nurture. Genetic inheritance vs. Environment and Experience.
a. Watson says Nurture – downplayed heredity.
4. Psych’s Mission: relate behavior (responses) to observable events in
environment (stimulus)
a. Stimulus is any detectable input from the environment
b. Behavioral Approach often called S-R (stimulus-response) psych
5. Pavlov, Russian Psych, proved dogs an be trained to salivate by an auditory
tone. 2 decades before Watson.
6. Moved towards animal subjects – exercise more control
7. Opposing “schools” in Germany – “Gestalt” Psych – focus on perception
(consciousness) and Freudian Psych
D. Freud Brings the unconsciousness into the Picture
1. Sigmund Freud – Austrian Physician – approach to psych grew out of treatment
of mental disorders.
a. Treated people with psych problems like irrational fears, obsessions,
anxieties through psychoanalysis. Looked for basis of theory in patients
and his own life.
2. Focused on unconscious – thoughts, memories, and desires well below surface
of conscious awareness, but that still exert great influence on behavior.
a. Believed slip in words and dreams were people’s true feelings
b. Psych Disturbances largely caused by conflict existing at unconscious
3. Psychoanalytic Theory – attempt to explain personality, motivation, and mental
disorders by focusing on unconscious determinants of behavior.
a. Major departure from prevailing belief that people fully aware of forces
on their behavior
b. Also believed behavior is greatly influenced by how people cope with
their sexual urges.
E. Skinner Questions Free Will as Behaviorism Flourishes
1. Skinner – American psych. Believed in strict focus of observable behavior.
a. Did not deny internal mental events, but argued they could not be studied
b. Also agreed with “nurture” idea.
c. “Organisms tend to repeat responses that lend to positive outcomes, and
tend not to repeat responses that lead to negative or neutral outcomes.
i. Behavioral principles are now widely used in factories, schools,
prisons, mental hospitals, etc.
Oct/4/2003 CHANAPS
Notes From Reading
d. Wrote Beyond Freedom and Dignity (1971) – all behavior is governed by
external stimuli.
i. People are governed by their enviro.
ii. Free will is an illusion
F. The Humanists Revolt
1. Humanism – 1950’s. Theoretical Orientation that emphasizes the unique
qualities of humans, esp. freedom and potential for personal growth.
2. Optimistic view of human nature – people are not pawns of animal heritage or
their enviro.
3. Research on animals is not relevant to humans.
4. Carl Rogers (1951) – behavior governed by sense of self or “Self concept
a. Not found in animals
b. Maslow (1954) and Rogers believed in fundamental human drive to
personal growth.
5. Humanism has faded. Greatest Contribution is treatment of psych problems and
G. Psych Comes of Age as a Profession
1. Applied Psych – branch concerned with everyday practical problems
a. Initially found in WWI, recruitment for positions
2. Clinical Psych – Branch concerned with diagnosis and treatment of psych
problems and disorders.
a. Rose after WWII, with need to treat veterans suffering from post war
H. Psych Returns to it’s Roots – Renewed Interest in Cognition and Physiology
1. Cognition – mental processes involved in acquiring knowledge (i.e.
a. Argue psych must study internal mental events to fully understand
b. People manipulate their mental images to influence how they behave.
2. Relationship of Mind, Body and Behavior
a. Olds – electric stimulation of the brain can evoke emotions like rage,
pleasure, etc.
b. Sperry – specialization of different halves of the brain for different types
of mental tasks.
3. Biological Perspective – human and animal behavior can be explained in terms
of Bodily structure and biochem processes.
I. Psych Broadens it’s Horizons – Increased Interest in Cultural Diversity
1. Research was focused on white, western, upper/middle class males
2. Reasons?
a. Cross cultural research – costly, difficult, time consuming
b. Individual vs. Group
c. Cultural Comparison may lead to stereotypes
d. Ethnocentrism – mine better than yours, use your own as standard
J. Psych Adapts: The Emergence of Evolutionary Psych
1. Evolutionary Psych – examines behavioral processes in terms of their adaptive
value for members of a species over the course of many generations