Chapter 1: Psychology and Scientific Thinking
♦ What is psychology? Science versus intuition
• William James founder of American psychology
• Psychology and Levels of Analysis
° Psychology: the scientific study of the mind, brain, and behavior.
° Levels of analysis: lower rungs tied to most closely to biological influences
and the higher rungs tied mostly to social influences. The lower rungs are the
brain and the higher rungs as the mind (although the mind is just the brain in
• What makes psychology distinctive- and fascinating
• Challenges of psychology
° 1. Actions are multiply determined: produced by many factors.
(1)need to be skeptical of single-variable explanations
(2)Levels of Analysis in Depression
° 2. influences are rarely independent of each other, making it difficult to pin
down which cause or causes are operating.
° 3.People differ in thinking, emotion, personality, and behavior. The Individual
Differences help to explain why each person responds differently to the
same objective situation.
° 4. People influence each other. Albert Bandura called it reciprocal
determinism-the fact that we mutually influence each other’s behavior.
° 5. People’s behavior is often influenced by culture.
• Common sense
° Naïve realism: the belief that we see the world precisely as it is. “seeing is
believing.” Can lead us to draw incorrect conclusions about human nature.
Our beliefs shape our perceptions of the world, often in ways we don’t realize.
° Common sense isn’t always wrong. Our intuition comes in handy. Our snap
(five-second) judgments about people tend to be right • Psychology as a science
° Science is a systematic approach to evidence. Sciences begins with
empiricism, the premise that knowledge should initially be acquired through
observation. Science subjects our observations to stringent tests to refine
them and determine whether they are accurate.
° Scientific theory: an explanation for a large number of findings in the natural
world. A scientific theory offers an account that ties multiple findings together.
(1) Misconception 1: a theory explains one specific event.
(2) Misconception 2: a theory is just an educated guess.
° Good scientific theories generate predictions regarding new data we haven’t
° Hypothesis: testable prediction derived from a scientific theory.
° Scientific theories can never be proven because it’s always conceivable that a
better explanation mi