PSY 2012 Chapter 1 Outline
PSY 2012 Chapter 1 Outline PSY 2012
Popular in General Psychology
Popular in Psychlogy
This 18 page Bundle was uploaded by Amanda Martinez on Tuesday February 2, 2016. The Bundle belongs to PSY 2012 at University of Florida taught by Dulce Minaya Caba in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 30 views. For similar materials see General Psychology in Psychlogy at University of Florida.
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Date Created: 02/02/16
Chapter 1: Psychology and Scientific Thinking What is Psychology? Science vs. Intuition William James (1842-1910)- founder of American psychology Difficult to study, simple explanations of behavior are few and far between Hows/whys of human behavior Psychology and Levels of Analysis Not easy to define Psychology- scientific study of the mind, brain and behavior Spans multiple levels of analysis o Levels of analysis- rungs on a ladder of analysis, with lower levels tied mostly closely to biological influences and higher levels tied most closely to social influences o Low Rungs Molecules and brain structures The brain o High Rungs Thoughts, feelings and emotions/social and cultural influences The mind The mind is the brain in action Some believe biological factors are critical for understanding behavior o Actions of the brain and it’s billion nerve cells Others believe social factors are critical for understanding behavior o Parenting, peer influences and culture Both are essential for a complete understanding of psychology What Makes Psychology Distinctive- and Fascinating Psychology is unique from other sciences Challenges make the study of the mind, brain and behavior complex o Contributes to mysteries that are yet to be solved 5 challenges of Psych: o Human behavior is hard to predict Multiply determined- caused by many factors Behaviors are difficult to predict Skeptical of single-variable explanations of behavior Widespread in popular psychology o Ex. Violence Tempting to say it’s caused by a single factor like poverty, bad upbringing or genes Behaviors are almost surely due to many factors o Psychological influences are rarely independent of each other Difficult to find the real cause Ex. Anorexia nervosa If a woman is a perfectionist she’s likely to also be anxious, exercise a lot, be overly concerned with her body image, watch tv programs that feature thin models, etc. o People differ from each other in thinking, emotion, personality and behavior Individual differences- variations among people in their thinking, emotions, personality and behavior Make psych hard because they make it hard to come up with explanations of behaviors that apply to everyone Make psych exciting because people we think we understand surprise us with their reactions o People often influence each other Make it difficult to pin down what causes what Ex. Extroverted people make those around them more outgoing Reciprocal determinism- mutually influence each other’s behaviors o Behaviors are shaped by cultures Place limits on the generalizations that psychologists can draw on human nature Ex. European-American and Chinese looking at lion picture o European-Americans looked at the tiger o Chinese looked at surroundings Why We Can’t Always Trust Our Common Sense Intuitive understanding is frequently wrong o Safety in numbers o More people present in a fire, LESS likely one will help Naïve realism- belief that we see the world precisely as it is o Seeing is believing See a truck coming at 85 mph, we move out of the way o We should trust our perceptions Appearances can sometimes be deceiving o Earth appears flat Trip us when we evaluate ourselves and others o Common sense- people who don’t share our political views are biased and we’re objective o Psych research- all of us evaluate political issues in a biased fashion Sometimes believing is seeing o Beliefs shape the perception of the world Common sense isn’t always wrong o Judgment on a person when we meet them are right more often than not Common sense is also helpful for generating hypothesis for experiments Learning when and when not to trust common sense helps us make better decisions Psychology as a Science Science- a systematic approach to evidence o Set of attitudes and skills designed to prevent us from fooling ourselves Empiricism- premise that knowledge should initially be acquired through observation o Observation is a rough starting point for obtaining psychological knowledge o Science refines observations through experiments to determine their accuracy Majority of general public doubts that psych is a true science Many think its just asking why they do what they do to understand behaviors Scientific psychologists rely on systematic research methods o Talking to people is only one component Many think its familiar to all of us o Memory, learning, love, sleep and dreams, and personality o We assume its easy Psych can be harder than biology, chemistry and physics Scientific theory- explanation for a large number of findings in the natural world o Offers an account that ties multiple findings together in one pretty package o General explanations Hypothesis- testable prediction derived from a scientific theory o Specific predictions derived from those explanations Scientists can accept, reject or revise the theory that generated the hypothesis Misconception 1: a theory explains one specific event Misconception 2: a theory is just an educated guess All general scientific explanations of how the world works are theories o Big Bang Theory Galaxies are rushing away from each other Universe has background radiation from an explotion Oldest galaxies originate around time of big bang Theories can’t be proved o A better explanation might come along Scientists are biased; we’re human Confirmation bias- tendency to seek out evidence that supports our hypothesis and deny, dismiss or distort evidence that contradicts them o Scientists adopt procedural safeguards against errors to protect from bias o Seek and ye shall find o Extends to daily life Friends, romance and politics o Our side almost always seems right and the other side wrong Belief perseverance- tendency to stick to our initial beliefs even when evidence contradicts them o Don’t confuse me with the facts Metaphysical Claims: The Boundaries of Science Metaphysical Claims- assertion about the world that isn’t testable o Existence of God, the soul and the afterlife Testable claims fall within the province of science Untestable claims don’t No conflict between science and the vast majority of religious views Recognizing That We Might Be Wrong Science is a continually and revising process o Strength as a method of inquiry o Acquire knowledge slowly and in small bits of pieces o Always open to revision Prescription for humility o Scientists never try to “prove” their theory o Use terms such as suggests, appears, and raises the possibility that to allow scientists room for revision The Amazing Growth of Popular Psychology Popular psychology industry is growing o Positive- public has access to psychological knowledge o Negative- misinformation explosion What is Pseudoscience? Pseudoscience- set of claims that seems scientific but isn’t o Lacks the safeguards against confirmation bias and belief perseverance that characterize science Must be careful to distinguish pseudoscientific claims from metaphysical claims o Metaphysical- cannot be tested; lie outside the realm of science o Pseudoscientific- can be tested Pseudoscientific and other questionable beliefs are widespread o 41% believe in ESP o 30% in ghosts/telepathy o 25% in astrology Warning signs of pseudoscience o Overuse of ad hoc immunizing hypotheses- escape hatch or loophole that defenders of a theory use to protect their theory from falsification Psychics saying the “vibes” of the experimenters are interfering with their psychic powers o Lack of self correction- Astrology remains the same as it did 4,000 years ago despite discovery of outer planets in the solar system o Overreliance on anecdotes- “The plural of anecdote isn’t fact” I know a person who… Pseudoscience relies heavily on anecdotal evidence Extremely difficult to interpret as evidence We’re drawn to pseudoscience because our brains are predisposed to make order out of disorder and find sense in nonsense o Helps us simplify the complex world we live in o Without it we’d be overwhelmed by endless streams of info that we don’t have the time or ability to process Can sometimes cause us to perceive meaningful patterns when they’re not there Why do we Perceive Patterns Even When They Don’t Exist? Patternicity- the tendency to detect meaningful patterns in random stimuli Stems from adaptive tendency o Eating a food that makes us sick we avoid that food for a while o “Better safe than sorry” Tend to attribute paranormal significance to coincidences that are due to chance o Lincoln-Kennedy conspiracy Leads us to embrace conspiracy theories Tendency to see meaningful images in meaningless visual stimuli o Face of a “man” on the moon Pseudoscience is motivational o We believe because we want to believe o “Hope strings eternal” o Give us comfort Offer a sense of control over an unpredictable world o Drawn when we’re going to lose control of our world Terror management theory- theory proposing that our awareness of our death leaves us with an underlying sense of terror with which we cope by adopting reassuring cultural worldviews o Reassure us that our lives possess a broader meaning and purpose o Comforting to many of us o Imply the existence of a dimension beyond our own Logical fallacies- traps in thinking that can lead to mistaken conclusions o Scientific thinking requires us to cast aside our intuitions Emotional reasoning fallacy- error of using our emotions as guides for evaluating the validity of a claim o Findings that challenge our beliefs make us angry o Findings that support our beliefs make us happy o Can’t assume that because a claim makes us uncomfortable that it’s wrong o Must keep an open mind to the data Bandwagon fallacy- error of assuming that a claim is correct because many people believe it o Popular opinion isn’t a popular guide to the accuracy of an assertion Sun revolving around earth Not me fallacy- error of believing that we’re immune from errors in thinking that afflict other people o Can make us believe we don’t require the safeguards of the scientific method o Many pseudoscientists are certain their claims are right and uncontaminated by mistakes in their thinking Don’t bother to conduct scientific studies to test these claims Other fallacies: o Either or fallacy- error of framing a question as though we can only answer it in one of two extreme ways o Appeal to authority fallacy- error of accepting a claim merely because an authority figure endorses it o Genetic fallacy- error of confusing the correctness of a belief with its origins or genesis o Argument from antiquity fallacy- error of assuming a belief must be valid because it’s been around for a long time o Argument from adverse consequences fallacy- error of confusing the validity of an idea with its potential real-world consequences o Appeal to ignorance fallacy- error of assuming that a claim must be true because no one has shown it to be false o Naturalistic fallacy- error of interfering a moral judgment from a scientific fact o Hasty generalization fallacy- error of drawing a conclusion on the basis of insufficient evidence o Circular reasoning fallacy-error of basing a claim on the same claim reworded in slightly different terms Bias blind spot- most people are unaware of their biases but keenly aware of them in others o Watching a debate o Highly intelligent people The Dangers of Pseudoscience: Why Should We Care? Opportunity Cost: What We Give Up o Pseudoscientific treatments for mental disorders can lead people to forgo opportunities to seek effective treatments o Cause people to forfeit a treatment that actually works Ex. Depression and anxiety Some treatments include acupuncture, laugh treatment and energy therapy Instead of cognitive-behavioral therapy Direct harm o Pseudoscientific treatments sometimes do dreadful harm Cause psychological or physical damage, or even death Inability to thing scientifically as citizens o We can apply scientific thinking skills to all aspects of our lives Scientific Thinking: Distinguishing Fact From Fiction Scientific Skepticism Scientific skepticism- approach of evaluating all claims with an open mind but insisting on persuasive evidence before accepting them Adopt 2 attitudes o A willingness to keep an open mind to all claims o A willingness to accept claims only after researchers have subjected them to careful scientific tests Skeptics are willing to change their mind when faced with evidence that challenges their preconception o Only when the evidence is persuasive Motto: “show me” Unwilling to accept claims based off authority alone o Evaluate claims on their own and refuse to accept them until they meet a high standard of evidence A Basic Framework for Scientific Thinking Critical thinking- set of skills for evaluating all claims in an open minded and careful fashion o Scientific thinking 6 Principles of Scientific Thinking: o Ruling out Rival Hypothesis- We usually only hear about 1 explanation when there are more than one The media only reports one explanation Must rule out other explanations before deciding on the one given o Correlation Isn’t Causation- When 2 things are associated with each other, one thing must cause the other Correlational designs don’t permit casual inferences Correlation isn’t causation Correlation-causation fallacy- error of assuming because one thing is associated with another, it must cause the other Variable- anything that can vary Because 2 things are correlated doesn’t mean one causes the other A B; possible that A causes B B A; possible that B causes A A C ; C causes both A and B B o Known as third variable problem o Can lead us to conclude that A and B are casually related to each other when they’re not o Falsifiability- Falsifiable- capable of being disproved If a theory isn’t falsifiable, it can’t be tested Theory can be proven false if there was evidence against it Proponent must state clearly in advance which findings would count as evidence for and against the claim Key implication is that a theory that explains everything, explains nothing o Replicability- when a study’s findings are able to be duplicated, ideally by independent investigators If the findings can’t be replicated, the original findings were by chance Shouldn’ t place too much stock in findings until it’s been replicated Awareness of replicating comes from not being able to repeat well-established findings in psychology Decline effect- fact that size of certain psychological findings appears to be shrinking over time Replications aren’t duplications of the original researchers’ method Introduce minor variations to the original design The more we can replicate our findings using different participants in different settings, the more confidence we can place in those findings The media is more likely to promote positive findings than failures Investigators must replicate the results to increase our confidence in them Whenever we evaluate a psychological claim, we should ask ourselves whether independent investigators have replicated the findings that support this claim, otherwise the findings might be a one time only fluke o Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence The more a claim contradicts what we already know, the more persuasive the evidence for this claim must be before we accept it Alien abductions Whenever we evaluate psychological claim, we should ask ourselves whether this claim runs counter to many things we know already and whether the evidence is as extraordinary as the claim o Occam’s Razor Principle of Parsimony Logical simplicity If there are two explanations for a phenomenon, we should select the simpler one Use Occam’s razor to “shave off” needlessly complicated evidence KISS- keep it simple stupid Psychology’s Past and Present: What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been Psychology’s Early History Difficult to distinguish from philosophy Didn’t conduct experimental research o Sat and contemplated the human mind from an armchair o Relied on common sense Wilhelm Wundt- o Developed the first full-fledged psychological lab o Investigations focused on simple questions o Used a combination of experimental methods o Introspection- method by which trained observers carefully reflect and report on their mental experiences Psychology needed to bread free from spiritualism o Did so by creating psychology of human error and self-deception o Began asking how people can fool themselves into believing things that aren’t supported by evidence The Great Theoretical Frameworks of Psychology Structuralism- elements of the mind o Edward Bradford Titchener o Structuralism- school of psychology aimed to identify the basic elements of psychological experience o Creating a comprehensive map of the elements of consciousness Believed consisted of sensations, images and feelings o Problems Introspectionists often disagreed on their subjective reports Participants engaged in imageless thought- thinking unaccompanied by conscious experience Couldn’t describe what came to mind when asked to add 10 + 5 o Emphasized the importance of systematic observation Functionalism- Psychology Meets Darwin o Functionalism- school of psychology that aimed to understand the adaptive purposes of psychological characteristics Thoughts, feelings and behaviors o Asked “why?” questions o William James Wrote Principles of Psychology Coined term “stream of consciousness” o Influenced by Darwin’s theory of natural selection Natural selection- principle that organisms that possess adaptations survive and reproduce at a higher rate than do other organisms Physical and behavioral characteristics evolved because they increased the chances of their survival and reproduction Behaviorism- The Laws of Learning o Psychological science must be objective, not subjective o John B. Watson Founder of behaviorism- school of psychology that focuses on uncovering the general laws of learning by looking at observable behavior o Psychology should aspire to uncover the general laws of learning that explain all behaviors o All behaviors are the products of a handful of basic learning principles o We don’t need to look inside the individual, we can learn by looking on the outside Rewards and punishments delivered by the environment o Human mind is a black box- we know what goes in it and what comes out, but we don’t need to worry about what happens between the inputs and the outputs Behaviorism = black box psychology Cognitivism- Opening the Black Box o Cognition- mental processes involved in different aspects of thinking o Cognitive psychology- school of psychology that proposes that thinking is central to understanding behavior o Must understand how people evaluate information to grasp the causes of their behavior o We learn by insight- grasping the underlying nature of problems o Cognitive neuroscience- relatively new field of psychology that examines the relation between brain functioning and thinking Psychoanalysis- The Depth of the Unconscious o Sigmund Freud o Psychoanalysis- school of psychology, founded by Sigmund Freud, that focuses on internal psychological processes of which we’re unaware Impulses, thoughts and memories o Primary influences on behavior aren’t forces outside the organism, but unconscious drives o Goal of psychoanalyst is to decode the symbolic meaning of our slips of the tongue (Freudian slips), dreams and psychological symptoms o Psychoanalysts contend they can get to the bottom of our deep- seated psychological conflicts o Place emphasis on the role of childhood experience o Core of our personality is formed in the first few years of life o Some critics say psychoanalysis has slowed the progress of scientific psychology because it focuses heavily on unconscious processes that are difficult to falsify o Great deal has held up well in research Much important mental processing happens outside conscious awareness The Multifaceted World of Modern Psychology Psychology has grown since its beginnings o 500,000 psychologists world wide 100,000 in US alone o American Psychological Association is the world’s largest association of psychologists 150,000+ members 150 in 1900 o Association for Psychological Science has over 23,000 members Types of Psychologists o Clinical psychologist- Perform assessments, diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders Conduct research on people with mental disorders Work in colleges and universities, mental health centers and private practices o Counseling psychologist- Work with people experiencing temporary or relatively self- contained life problems Marital conflict, sexual difficulties, occupational stressors or career uncertainty Work in counseling centers, hospitals and private practice o School psychologist- Work with teachers, parents and children to remedy students’ behavioral, emotional and learning difficulties o Developmental psychologist- Study how and why people change overtime Conduct research on infants’, children’s and sometimes adults’ and elderly people’s emotional, physiological and cognitive processes and how these change with age o Experimental psychologist- Use research methods to study memory, language, thinking and social behaviors of humans Work primarily in research settings o Biological psychologist- Examine the physiological bases of behavior in animals and humans Work in research settings o Forensic psychologist- Work in prisons, jails and other settings to assess and diagnose inmates and assist with their rehabilitation and treatment Others conduct research on eyewitness testimony or jury decision making Typically hold degrees in clinical or counseling psychology o Industrial-Organizational Psychologists- Work in companies and businesses to help select productive employees, evaluate performance, examine the effects of different working and living conditions on people’s behavior (environmental psychologist) Design equipment to maximize employee performance and minimize accidents (called human factors or engineering psychologists) The Great Debates of Psychology The Nature-Nurture Debate o Are our behaviors attributable mostly to our genes (nature) or our rearing environments (nurture)? o Controversial in intelligence, personality and psychopathology (mental illness) o Intelligence, personality, interests and many mental illnesses are influenced by genes o Both genes and environment play a role in human behavior o Evolutionary psychology- discipline that applies Darwin’s theory of natural selection to human and animal behavior Memory, emotion and personality serve key adaptive functions Help organisms survive and reproduce Natural selection favored certain kinds of mental traits Fitness- extent to which a trait increases the chances that organisms that possess it will survive and reproduce at a higher rate than competitors who lack it More fit organisms pass their traits to later generations Many of its predictions are difficult to falsify Challenging to determine the evolutionary functions of behavior because it doesn’t leave behind fossils The Free Will-Determinism Debate o To what extent are our behaviors freely selected rather than caused by factors outside our control? o Some psychologists agree that we all possess free will o Others maintain that free will is an illusion Our sense of free will stems from the fact that we aren’t consciously aware of the thousands of subtle environmental influences impinging on our behavior at any given moment We conclude that we’re free because we don’t realize all of the influences acting on our behavior o Some argue that our behaviors are generated automatically- without conscious awareness How Psychology Affects Our Lives Psychological science and scientific thinking offer important applications for a variety of aspects of everyday life Basic research- research examining how the mind works Applied research- research examining how we can use basic research to solve real-world problems Few people are aware of the impact of psychology on their everyday lives o It’s found its way into many aspects of society than we realize Insist on evidence
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