Log in to StudySoup
Get Full Access to LSU - PSYC 2000 - Class Notes - Week 18
Join StudySoup for FREE
Get Full Access to LSU - PSYC 2000 - Class Notes - Week 18

Already have an account? Login here
Reset your password

LSU / Engineering / PSYC 2000 / What is the definition of behavior in psychology?

What is the definition of behavior in psychology?

What is the definition of behavior in psychology?



What is the definition of behavior in psychology?

Week 1 – Thursday

Psychology and Its History

• What is Psychology?

o Psychology – the scientific study of behavior and mental processes.

▪ 1. Behavior – any action

▪ 2. Mental processes – perceptions, thoughts, feelings

• Latent constructs

▪ 3. Scientific

• Wilhelm Wundt

o “Father of Psychology” for two reasons:

▪ 1. First attempt to bring objectivity/ measurement in psychology

o Some work involved objective introspection

• Edward Titchener

What is the definition of mental processes in psychology?

o Student of Wundt

o Translated many of Wundt’s works into English

o Structuralism

▪ Study consciousness by trying to understand its smallest, most basic  elements

o Introspection of thoughts as well as physical objects

• William James

o Functionalism We also discuss several other topics like What is the definition of metabolism in the cell?

▪ Study the function of consciousness – how the mind allows people to  work, play, adapt to new circumstances

• Max Wertheimer Don't forget about the age old question of What are the main principles that the structure and function of government is based on?

o Gestalt Psychology – How we experience the world

▪ “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Gestalt psychology means what?

• Sigmund Freud

o Worked with patients whose complaints had no identifiable physical cause o Focused on the role of the unconscious  

▪ Where unwanted urges and desires are pushed towards

o Psychoanalysis – therapy based on Freud’s ideas

▪ Focus on early childhood development: psychosexual stages

▪ Dream interpretation: “The interpretation of dreams is he royal road to a  knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind.”

• Pavlov

o Interested in reflexes

o Discovered that reflexes could be conditioned (learned)

▪ Food-saliva (natural response)

▪ After pairing buzzer-food, get buzzer-saliva

• John Watson If you want to learn more check out How do you find the integrating factor by inspection method?

o Behaviorism – study of observable behavior

o Little Albert Study

▪ Freud: phobias are the result of unconscious conflicts

▪ Watson tried to create a phobia using the conditioning technique  

discovered by Pavlov

• Classical conditioning If you want to learn more check out What is the basic research concept?

Week 2 – Tuesday

Modern Perspectives and Psychological Methods

• Psychodynamic Perspective

o Modern version of psychoanalysis

▪ More focused on the development of a sense of self and the discovery of  other motivations behind a person’s behavior

▪ Psychodynamic psychotherapy

▪ Attachment theory – type of bond formed between caregiver and an infant • Behavioral Perspective

o After a scandal, Watson left his academic job and went into advertising o Famous behaviorist who continued and expanded upon his work – BF Skinner o How to manipulate voluntary behavior by changing the consequences of behavior ▪ Operant conditioning

• Humanistic Perspective If you want to learn more check out What is the prohibition in congress?

o Emphasis on conscious and immediate experiences and the empowerment of the  individual to become the best he/she can be (to self-actualize) We also discuss several other topics like Who is the primal mother earth goddess in greek mythology?

o Humanists held the view that people have free will – the freedom to choose/shape  their own destiny

o Client-centered therapy

• Cognitive Perspective

o Grew in part out of gestalt psychology

o How people think, remember, and store information

▪ Language, problem solving, intelligence, decision making

o Cognitive neuroscience – brain and cognitive processing

• Sociocultural Perspective

o Combines social and cultural psychology

▪ Social psychology – study of groups, relationships, social influences on  behavior

▪ Cultural psychology – study of cultural values and norms, or standards of  behavior

o Cross-cultural studies

• Biopsychological Perspective

o Mental processes can be explained by the interaction with biological factors like  genes or hormones

• Evolutionary Perspective

o Grew in part out of functionalism

o Argues that human behavior is a result of psychological adaptations that help  people successfully function and survive

Types of Psychological Professionals

• Psychologist

o Doctoral degree and specialized training in one or more subfield of psychology

▪ Clinical, counseling, developmental, cognitive, social, biological,  


o Some psychologists do basic research; others do applied research; some do both ▪ Basic research example: How do patients with Alzheimer’s disease  

experience emotion?

▪ Applied research example: How can we use the intact emotional responses  of some Alzheimer’s patients to improve their quality of life?

• Therapy

o Some psychologists (e.g., school, counseling, clinical) are trained in  

psychological interventions/therapy

▪ Some other professionals also do psychotherapy, sometimes from specific  perspectives

• E.g. social workers, marriage and family therapists

▪ Some of these professions require a master’s degree (vs. a doctoral degree) o With a few exceptions, psychologists are not allowed to prescribe medication  (“pharmacotherapy”)

• Psychiatry

o Medical specialty

▪ Psychiatrists go to medical school then specializes in the diagnosis and  treatment of mental disorders

▪ Often uses medication as treatment

The Scientific Method and Psychology

• Confirmation bias 

o Tendency to notice, seek out, and interpret information in a way consistent with  your own prior beliefs

• Introduction to the Scientific Method

o Scientific Method – a system for reducing bias and error in the measurement of  data

▪ Used in psychology to accomplish the goals of description, explanation,  prediction, and control

o The steps to using the scientific method:

▪ Perceiving the question

▪ Forming a hypothesis

▪ Testing the hypothesis

▪ Drawing conclusions

▪ Reporting results

Week 2 – Thursday

Psychology Research Methods

• Methods of Psychology

o Descriptive Methods

▪ Naturalistic observation

▪ Laboratory observation

▪ Case Study

o Correlations

o The Experiment

• Naturalistic Observation

o Watching animals or humans behave in their normal environment

o Advantage

▪ Realistic picture of behavior

o Limitations and ways of minimizing them

▪ Observer effect – tendency of people or animals to behave differently  from normal when they know they are being observed

• Participant observation – a naturalistic observation in which the

observer becomes a participant in the group being observed (to  

reduce observer effect)

▪ Observer bias – tendency of observers to see what they expect to see • Blind observers – people who do not know what the research  

question is (to reduce observer bias)

▪ Each naturalistic setting is unique, and observations may not hold

• Laboratory Observation

o Watching animals or humans behave in a laboratory setting

o Advantages

▪ Control over environment

▪ Allows use of specialized equipment

o Limitations

▪ Artificial situation that may result in artificial behavior

▪ Can be difficult to generalize findings to “real world” situations

• Case Studies

o Study of one individual in great detail

o Advantage

▪ Tremendous amount of detail

• Rich source for hypothesis generation

o Limitation

▪ Findings may not generalize to others

• Surveys

o A technique for ascertaining the self-reported attitudes, opinions, or behaviors of  people

o Advantages

▪ Data from large numbers of people

▪ Study covert behaviors (get private information)

o Limitations

▪ People are not always accurate

▪ Small variations in wording used or order of questions can affect  


▪ Researchers have to ensure representative sample if interested in  

generalizing findings to a certain population

• Sampling

o Population – entire group of people or animals the researcher is interested in ▪ Representative sample – randomly selected sample of subjects for a larger  population

• Examining Relationships: Correlations

o A measure of the relationship between two variables

o Variable – anything that can change or vary

o Measures of two variables go into a mathematical formula and produce a  correlation coefficient (r), which represents two things:

▪ The direction of the relationship (sign)

▪ The strength of the relationship (number)

▪ Range: -1 to +1

▪ The closer to 1 or -1, the stronger the relationship, the closer to 0 the  

weaker the relationship

o Knowing the value of one variable allows researchers to predict the value of the  other variable

• Correlations: Direction

o Positive correlation – variables are related in the same direction

▪ As one increases, the other increases; as one decreases, the other decreases o Negative correlation – variables are related in the opposite direction

▪ As one increases, the other decreases

• Correlations and Causation

o Correlation does not approve causation!

▪ E.g., ice cream sales and drowning

o If variables are casually related, a correlation won’t tell you which variable is the  cause and which is the effect

▪ E.g., self-esteem and school performance

The Experiment: Does the use of cell phones impair social-emotional functioning in kids? • Experiments

o By conducting an experiment – A researcher manipulates one variable  (independent variable) and measures the effect of the manipulation on another  (dependent variable)

▪ Aimed at determining causality

o Independent Variable (IV) 

▪ The variable in an experiment that is manipulated by the experimenter o Dependent Variable (DV) 

▪ The variable in an experiment that represents the measurable response or  behavior of the subjects in the experiment

• Operational Definition

o Definition of a variable of interest that allows it to be directly measured ▪ Intelligence >

▪ Depression >

▪ Aggression >

• Experimental and Control Groups

o Experimental group

• Subjects in an experiment who are subjected to the independent  


• E.g., cell phone goes off

o Control group

▪ Subjects in an experiment who are not subjected to the independent  

variable and who may receive a placebo treatment (controls for some  

confounding variables)

• E.g., no cell phone rings

• Random Assignment  

o Random assignment – assigning participants to experimental (cell phone group)  and control (non-cell phone group) conditions by random assignment minimizes  pre-existing differences between the two groups

o Random assignment gives each study participant an equal chance of being in the  treatment or the control group

• Potential Issues with Experiments

o Confounds – extraneous variable that affects the variables you are interested in  studying

▪ Experimental and control groups

▪ Random assignment

o Demand characteristics – participants change their behavior based on what they  perceive the experiment to be about

▪ Deception

o Placebo effect – expectations of participants can influence their behavior ▪ Experimental and control groups

▪ Single blind study

o Experimenter effects – experimenter’s expectations an unintentionally influence  the results of a study

▪ Double blind studies

Week 3 – Tuesday

The Biological Perspective – Part 1

• Gray Matter and White Matter

o Neurons 

▪ Gray matter (mostly)

▪ Receives and sends messages

o Gila 

▪ White matter

▪ 90% of the cells in our nervous system are glial cells

▪ Supportive role: provide nutrients, repair damage, form myelin, get rid of  waste

• Action Potential

o All or nothing

o How does the strength of the message get coded (e.g., loud sounds vs. soft  sounds)?

o Fast versus Slow: Myelination 

▪ Oligodendrocytes – CNS

▪ Schwann cells – PNS

• Synapse

o Synapse (or synaptic gap) is the tiny gap between the axon tip of the sending  neuron and the dendrite or cell body of the receiving neuron

• Neurotransmitters

o Neurotransmitters (chemicals) released from the sending neuron, travel across the  synapse and bind to receptor sites on the receiving neuron, thereby influencing it ▪ They can have an excitatory or inhibitory effect

• Glutamate 


• Serotonin 

o Mood, hunger, sleep, and arousal…

• Acetylcholine 

o Responsible for muscle movement

o Plays a role in learning and memory

• Dopamine 

o Control of movements, sensations of pleasure

• Neuropeptides, example, endorphins

• Cleaning up the Synapse

o Neurotransmitters in the synapse are either

▪ (a) reabsorbed into the sending neurons through the process of reuptake ▪ (b) diffuse

▪ (c) are broken down by enzymes

o this process applies brakes on neurotransmitter action

• Drugs

o Agonists – increases original message that NT was supposed to send

o Antagonists – blocks original message that NT was supposed to send

o Some drugs act by affecting the amount of NT available at the synapse • Somatic Nervous System

o Sensation

o Voluntary muscle movement

• Autonomic Nervous System

o Part of the PNS that controls the involuntary muscles, organs, and glands – our  automatic functions

▪ Sympathetic NS – “arouses” (fight or flight)

▪ Parasympathetic NS – “calms” (rest and digest)

• The Endocrine System

o The Endocrine System is the body’s “slow” chemical communication system ▪ Communication is carried out by hormones

• Basic Functions of Endocrine Glands

o Pituitary gland – master gland, responsible for growth and control of other glands o Thyroid gland – metabolism

o Parathyroid gland – calcium regulation

o Adrenal glands – triggers fight or flight, engaged under stress or danger o Pancreas – regulates blood sugar

o Testes and Ovaries – secrete sex hormones for males and females respectively  

Week 3 – Thursday

The Biological Perspective – Part 2

• Neuroanatomy

o Note: only highlighting some specific functions for some brain regions o Note: the different parts of the brain work together to accomplish tasks • Cortex

o Outermost covering of the brain consisting of densely packed neurons;  responsible for higher thought processes and interpretation of sensory input o Corticalization – wrinkling of the cortex

▪ Allows a much larger area of cortical cells to exist in the small space  inside the skull

• Frontal Lobes

o Responsible for higher (complex) mental processes and decision making ▪ Also contains the motor cortex

• Parietal Lobes

o Contain the somatosensory cortex – area of neurons running down the front of the  parietal lobes

o Responsible for processing information from the skin and internal body receptors  for touch, temperature, body position

• Temporal Lobe

o Contains primary auditory cortex – processes auditory information from the ears o Contains auditory association cortex – interprets or makes sense of auditory  information

▪ Some parts also responsible for aspects of language

• Occipital Lobes

o Contains primary visual cortex – processes visual information from the eyes o Contains visual association cortex – interprets or makes sense of visual  information

• Association Cortices

o Areas within different lobes that integrate different types of information • Cerebral Hemispheres

o Cerebral hemispheres – the two sections of the cortex on the left and right sides of  the brain

o Corpus callosum – think band of neurons that connects the right and left cerebral  hemispheres

• Limbic System

o Homeostasis (keeps things functioning in normal range; e.g., temperature) o Olfaction (smell)

o Memory

o Emotion

• Thalamus

o Thalamus – a round structure in the center of the brain that acts as the brains  sensory switchboard, relaying incoming sensory information to the appropriate  sensory areas in the cortex (except smell)

• Hypothalamus

o Lies below (hypo) the thalamus

o Helps direct several maintenance activities like thirst, hunger, body temperature,  sleeping and waking, sexual behavior and emotions

o Controls the pituitary gland

• Hippocampus

o Plays a vital role in learning and memory (for facts/knowledge)

▪ Acetylcholine

• Amygdala

o Amygdala – two almond-shaped neural clusters linked to emotion, especially fear • Midbrain

o Midbrain – the segment of the brainstem that lies between the hindbrain and the  forebrain

▪ Integrates sensory processes, such as vision and hearing

▪ One area is also involved in dopamine synthesis

• Brainstem

o Medulla – heartbeat, breathing, swallowing

o Pons – messages between the cerebellum and cortex

▪ Sleep, dreaming

o Reticular formation – arousal, attention, alertness

• Cerebellum

o Controls and coordinate all involuntary, rapid, fine motor movement, as well as  voluntary movements that happen in rapid succession

Week 4 – Tuesday

Sensation and Perception – Part 1

• Sensation and Perception

o To represent the world, we must detect physical energy (stimuli) from the  environment and convert it into neural signals, a process called sensation

o Sensation – occurs when special receptors in the sense organs are activated,  allowing various forms of outside stimuli to become neural signals in the brain o This process of converting outside stimuli into neural activity is called  transduction

▪ When we select, organize, and interpret out sensations, the process is  

called perception 

▪ Perception occurs when we give meaning to our sensations

• Thresholds

o Absolute Threshold – minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus  50% of the time

o Difference Threshold – minimum difference between two stimuli required for  detection 50% of the time

▪ Also called just noticeable difference (JND) 

• Weber’s Law

o In humans, difference thresholds (experienced as a just noticeable difference)  increase in proportion to the size of the stimulus

o Two stimuli must differ by a constant minimum percentage (rather than a constant  amount), to be perceived as different

▪ Weber Fraction – k = ΔI/I

o Example:

▪ If the brightness needed to yield the just noticeable difference was 108  units then the observer’s difference threshold would be 8 units (i.e., ΔI/I =  8/100 = .08)

▪ The Weber fraction equivalent for this difference threshold would be .08 • Subliminal Threshold

o Subliminal stimuli – those strong enough for our sensory receptors to pick them  up, but not strong enough for us to be able to detect them

o Priming occurs when:

▪ The priming effect and other experiments reveal that we can process some  information from stimuli too weak to recognize/detect (below the absolute  threshold)

▪ FYI: this effect is too subtle to have a powerful enduring effect on  


• Habituation

o The tendency of the brain to stop attending to constant, unchanging information ▪ The brain ignores stimuli that are being sensed, but do not change

o Microsaccades – constant movement of the eyes; tiny little vibrations that people  do not notice consciously

▪ Prevents sensory adaptation to visual stimuli

• Sensory Adaptation

o The tendency of sensory receptors to become less responsive to a stimulus that is  unchanging

▪ Receptors less responsive to the stimulus, and therefore no longer send  signals to the brain

• Light

o Transduction – the transformation of stimulus energy into neural impulses o Phototransduction – conversion of light energy into neural impulses that the brain  can understand

o Light Characteristics:

▪ Color (hue)

• Wavelength – determined by the length of the wave, distance  

between wave peaks

▪ Brightness

• Amplitude – determined by the height of the wave

o How high or low the wave actually is

▪ Saturation (purity)

• Determined by whether or how much there is a mixture of  


o Intensity (brightness)

▪ Intensity – amount of energy in a wave, determined by amplitude

• Related to perceived brightness

• Parts of the Eye

o Cornea  

▪ Transparent tissue where light enters the eye

o Iris

▪ Muscle that expands and contracts to change the size of opening (pupil)  for light

o Lens  

▪ Focuses the light rays on the retina (through visual accommodation,  

process by which the eye’s lens changes shape to help focus near or far  

objects on the retina)

o Retina  

▪ Retina – the sensitive inner surface of the eye, containing photoreceptor  rods and cones plus layers of other neurons (bipolar and ganglion cells)  

that process visual information

• Bipolar cells receive messages from photoreceptors ad transmit  

them to ganglion cells, which form the optic nerve 

▪ Contains sensory receptors that process visual information and send it to  the brain

• Optic Nerve, Blind Spot, and Fovea

o Optic nerve – carries neural impulses from the eye to the brain

o Blind spot – point where optic nerve leaves the eye, because there are no receptor  cells located here, it creates a blind spot

o Fovea – central point in the retina, around which the eye’s cones cluster • Visual Imaging Processing

o Optic nerves connect to the thalamus in the middle of the brain, and the thalamus  to the visual cortex

• Color Vision

o Trichromatic theory – the theory of color vision that proposes three types of  cones: red, blue, and green

▪ Light of any color can be matched by the additive mixture of these 3  

primary colors

▪ Most known facts about color blindness are explained well

o Opponent process theory – based on the idea that there are four primary colors:  red, green, blue, yellow

▪ The colors are arranged in pairs (red with green and blue with yellow) a d  if one member of a pair is stimulated, the other member is inhibited

o The receptors that do the first stage of processing seem to follow principles  outlined in Trichromatic Theory 

o In later stages of processing, cells in the retina and the brain seem to follow the  principles outline in the Opponent Process Theory 

Sensation and Perception – Part 2

• Hearing

o The Stimulus Input: Sound Waves

▪ Sound waves are the vibrations of the molecules of air that surround us o Acoustical Transduction – conversion of sound waves into neural impulses in the  hairs cells of the inner ear

o Part of the Ear

o Hearing Impairment

• Sound Characteristics

o Pitch

▪ Determined by the wavelength or frequency (low, medium, high)

▪ Wavelength – the distance from the peak of one wave to the peak of the  next

• Frequency or Pitch is measured in hertz (Hz), the cycles of waves  

per second

o Volume (loudness)

▪ Determined by the amplitude (softer versus louder)

▪ Volume – amount of energy in a wave determined by amplitude, relates to  perceived loudness

• Amplitude is measured in decibels (dB)

o Timbre

▪ Determined by the purity, or the complexity (richness) of the tone of the  sound

• Parts of the Ear

o Outer Ear – consists of pinna that collects and funnels sound

▪ Eardrum – vibrates when sound waves hit

o Middle Ear – chamber between eardrum and cochlea containing three tiny bones  (hammer, anvil, stirrup) that send vibrations to the cochlea’s oval window o Inner Ear – innermost part of the ear consists largely of the cochlea, a fluid filled,  coiled shaped tunnel that contains receptors for hearing

• Theories of Hearing: Pitch Perception

o Place theory – suggests that different sound waves stimulate the basilar membrane  at different, specific places resulting in perceived pitch

▪ Best explains how we perceive high-pitched sounds (> 1000 Hz)

o Frequency theory – states that the rate of nerve impulses traveling up the auditory  nerve matches the frequency of a tone, thus enabling us to sense its pitch ▪ Best explains how we perceive low-pitched sounds (< 1000 Hz)

o Volley principle – theory of pitch that states that different frequencies cause the  hair cells (auditory neurons) to fire in a volley pattern, or take turns in firing ▪ Best explains how we perceive moderate to high pitches, between 40 Hz  to about 4000 Hz

• Localization of Sounds

o Because we have two ears, sounds that reach one ear faster than the other helps us  to localize the sound

• Hearing Impairment

o Conduction hearing impairment – sound vibrations cannot be passed from the  eardrum to the cochlea

▪ Caused by the mechanical system that conducts sound waves to the  cochlea (e.g., ear drum punctured or tiny bones in middle ear can’t  


• Hearing aids

o Nerve hearing impairment – problem lies in inner ear or in the auditory pathways  and cortical areas of the brain

▪ Caused by damage to the cochlea’s hair cells or to the auditory nerve, also  called nerve deafness or sensorineural hearing loss (e.g., disease, aging,  

over-exposure to loud sounds)

• Cochlear implant

o Older people tend to hear low frequencies well but suffer hearing loss for higher  frequencies

• The Stimulus Input: Chemicals

o The gustatory (taste) receptors are clusters of cells, which are responsible for the  sense of taste

▪ They are mostly located on the tongue

o Gustatory Transduction – conversion of food molecules into neural impulses • Five Basic Tastes

o Sweet

o Sour

o Salty

o Bitter

o “Brothy” or “Savory” or Umami

• Smell

o The Stimulus Input: Chemicals

▪ Olfactory cilia – hair-like structures located in the upper portion of the  nasal passages and are responsible for smell

▪ Olfactory transduction – conversion of chemical molecules in the air into  neural impulses by the olfactory cilia

• The olfactory receptors send neural signals related to smell directly  

up to the olfactory bulbs

o Olfactory bulbs have projections to the limbic system 

o Olfactory Cilia

• Somesthetic Senses  

o The body senses consisting of the skin senses, the kinesthetic sense, and the  vestibular senses

▪ “Soma” – body

▪ “Esthetic” – feeling

o Skin Stimulus Input (skin senses) – touch, pressure, temperature, pain ▪ Sensory receptors in the skin

▪ Nerve fibers that carry information about tactile stimulation are routed  through the thalamus and onward to the somatosensory cortex

• Kinesthetic Sense

o Sense of the location of body parts in relation to the ground and each other ▪ Processed by proprioceptors in the skin, joints, muscles, and tendons

• Vestibular Sense

o Sense of movement, balance, and body position

▪ Processed by vestibular organs in the inner ear

▪ Otolith organs for sensing translations

▪ Semicircular canals for sensing rotations  


Week 5 – Tuesday

Consciousness – Part 1

• Consciousness

o Awareness of everything around you and inside of your own head at any given  moment

▪ Used to organize your behavior, thoughts, sensations, and feelings

▪ Generated from a set of action potentials

• Types of Consciousness

o 2 different kinds

▪ 1. Waking consciousness – thoughts, feelings, sensations clear and  


▪ 2. Altered states of consciousness – shifts in the quality or pattern of  

mental activity

• Daydreaming

• Hypnotic state

• Meditative state

• Increased alertness

• Divided attention

• Sleep

• Sleep and the Circadian Rhythm

o “Circa” “diem” – about a day

o Key players – suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus, pineal gland,  and melatonin

▪ When it gets dark, the SCN triggers the secretion of melatonin from the  pineal gland, making us feel sleepy

▪ When it gets light, the SCN stops the secretion of melatonin, allowing the  body to waken

• Other Factors Related to Sleep

o Serotonin

▪ Sleep regulation

o Body temperature

▪ The higher the body temperature, the more alert we are

▪ The lower the body temperature, the sleepier we are

o Adenosine

▪ As builds up become more sleepy

▪ Caffeine – adenosine antagonist

• Sleep Deprivation

o Microsleeps – brief periods of sleep that last only a few seconds

o Missing a single night of sleep

▪ Problems with concentration and simple task performance

o Sleep deprivation symptoms

▪ Trembling hands, inattention, staring off to space, droopy eye lids, general  discomfort psychological symptoms (i.e., irritability, depression, mania,  


o Extended sleep deprivation

▪ Missing multiple days of sleep (no sleep or reduced levels)

• Significant impairment in functioning

▪ Long term sleep deprivation and health

• Obesity

• Impaired immune system functioning and increased inflammatory  response

▪ Fatal familial insomnia

• Why do we sleep?

o Adaptive Theory of Sleep – sleep is a product of evolution

▪ We want to stay safe from predators

▪ Explains why we sleep when we sleep

▪ Evidence: relationship between the amount of time particular animals  sleep and status on the food chain

o Restorative Theory of Sleep – sleep is necessary for physical health ▪ Explains why we sleep in general

▪ Evidence: most bodily growth and cellular repair occur at night in deepest  stages of sleep

• 2 Kinds of Sleep

o REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep 

▪ Active sleep

▪ Dream during this stage

▪ Voluntary muscles are paralyzed

o Non-REM sleep 

▪ Restful sleep

▪ Voluntary muscles are not paralyzed

• EEG and Sleep Stages

o Use an EEG to record brain wave activity and determine what stage people are in ▪ When people are awake and alert – beta waves (very small and fast) ▪ When people are relaxed and drowsy – alpha waves (slightly larger and  slower)

• Non-REM Stage 1 Sleep (N1)

o Theta waves replace alpha waves (even slower)

o Light sleep – people will deny they were sleeping

o Hypnotic jerk is common

o Some people hallucinate falling into this stage, called hypnogogic images or  hallucinations

• Non-REM Stage 2 Sleep (N2)

o Body temperature drops, heart rate slows, and breathing becomes more shallow ▪ Characterized by sleep spindles

o Theta waves continue during this stage

o If awakened, people are aware that they were asleep

• Non-REM Stages 3 and 4 Sleep (N3)

o Stage 3 – delta waves start (slowest and largest)

o Stage 4 – deepest sleep

▪ During this stage that body growth occurs

o If you wake a person up during this stage, they will be disoriented

• REM Sleep

o Body temperature rises to almost waking temperature, eye lids move, heart rate  increases

o Brain waves resemble beta waves

o 90% of dreams take place in REM sleep

o REM paralysis – voluntary muscles are paralyzed

• Importance of REM Sleep

o Experience more REM sleep after a stressful day

o Experience more non-REM sleep after physically demanding day

▪ If deprived of REM sleep, experience REM rebound the following night o Infants engage in more REM sleep than adults

▪ Period of brain growth and development

Week 5 – Thursday

Consciousness – Part 2

• Hypnosis

o State of consciousness in which a person is especially susceptible to suggestion o Four elements of hypnosis:

▪ Person told to focus on what is being said

▪ Person told to relax and feel tired

▪ Person told to accept suggestions

▪ Person told to use vivid imagination

o Possible uses for hypnosis

▪ Relaxation

▪ Pain control, reduce food cravings, or quit smoking (difficult)

▪ NOT appropriate for recovering “repressed memories”

o Who responds to hypnosis

▪ 80% of people have some good response  

▪ 40% of people are “good” subjects

▪ Some predictors:

• Hypnotic susceptibility scales

• Absorption scales

• Theories of Hypnosis

o Hypnosis as dissociation – the subject has a split awareness: one stream  communicates with the hypnotist and external world, while the other is the  “hidden observer”

o Evidence:

▪ Like what can happen when you drive someplace familiar

▪ Ice water experiment, press a button if feel pain

o Social-cognitive theory of hypnosis – theory assumes that people who are  hypnotized are not in an altered state, but are merely playing the role expected of  them in the situation

▪ Does not mean people are “faking it”

o Evidence:

▪ Playing an unexpected role, social role. Participants ‘unaware’ of role  playing

▪ “An authoritative person in a legitimate context can induce people hypnotized or not-to perform some unlikely acts.” (Milgram, 1974)

• Drugs

o Out in nature vs. created in a lab

o Effects on the brain and the rest of the body

o Many drugs currently illegal used to be legal

o Many drugs make people feel really good

▪ Neural basis

o Many drugs make people feel so good their life revolves around the drug o Quitting drugs can make people feel really bad

▪ Neural basis

• Drug Dependence

o Physical dependence – condition where a person’s body becomes unable to  function normally without a particular drug

▪ Drug tolerance – a person finds they need larger and larger doses of the  drug to feel the same effect they received the first time they used

▪ Withdrawal – symptoms begin to occur when lack of the drug is present.  Body is adjusting to the absence of the drug

o Psychological dependence – belief that a drug is needed to continue a feeling of  emotional or psychological well-being

• Stimulants

o Drugs that increase the activity in the central nervous system and/or sympathetic  nervous system, suppress appetite, cause people to feel more awake/alert and  energetic

o Amphetamines

▪ Drugs include:

• Methylphenidate (Ritalin)

o ADHD treatment

o Use by students/“cognitive enhancement”

• Methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA, Ecstasy)

o Stimulatory hallucinogenic

o Chronic use: memory problems

• Methamphetamine (“Crystal Meth”)

o Euphoric rush

o Also insomnia, mood disturbances, delusions, physical  


o Cocaine

▪ Euphoria and increased energy

▪ Also, paranoia and vascular problems (including risk of heart attack and  stroke)

o Nicotine

▪ Easy to get addicted to, very hard to quit

• Treatment can help

▪ More smoking-related deaths in the US than from car accidents, alcohol,  illicit drug use, AIDS, suicide, and homicide combined

o Caffeine

▪ Mild stimulant

• 90% of Americans use caffeine

▪ if used regularly and quit, can get withdrawal symptoms

• Depressants

o Drugs that decrease activity in the central nervous system, slow down bodily  functions, reduce sensitivity to outside stimulation

o Tranquilizers

▪ Major tranquilizers – barbiturates

▪ Minor tranquilizers – benzodiazepines (Xanax, Ativan, Valium)

o Alcohol

▪ Most commonly used (and abused) depressant

• 23% of Americans report binge drinking in the past month

• 42.2% of college students report binge drinking in the past month ▪ Nearly ¼ of all fatal car crashes for those above 21 years of age involve  alcohol

▪ Sleep

• Fall asleep faster, but disrupted sleep later in the sleep cycle

o REM sleep

▪ Long-term abuse associated with:

• Alcohol-related dementia

• Korsakoff’s Syndrome

• Physical issues – liver disease, heart disease, osteoporosis

▪ Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

• Facial deformity

• Affects cognitive functioning, speech, movement, social skills

• Heart problems

o Narcotics (Opioids)  

▪ A class of depressant drugs derived from the opium poppy that produce  pain-relieving and calming effects. They mimic endorphins

▪ Include:

• Opium

• Morphine

• Heroin

• Methadone

• Oxycodone (OxyContin)

▪ Immediate effects – dreamlike euphoria

• Duplicate the action of endorphins

▪ Long term changes in mood and sleep

• Body stops producing natural endorphins

▪ Decrease in body’s ability to naturally regulate pain

▪ High dose can lead to comatose state, convulsions, respiratory arrest • Hallucinogens

o Drugs that can alter and distort perceptions of time and space, alter mood,  produce feelings of unreality, and cause hallucinations

▪ Alter the perception of reality and can cause false sensory messages

o Vary in how addictive they are

o For some people, use can result in hallucinogen persisting perception disorder • Creator of LSD – Albert Hofman

o “an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense,  kaleidoscopic play of colors”

o “a miraculous, powerful, unfathomable reality”

Week 6 – Tuesday

Learning – Part 1

• Today’s Objectives

o Define classical conditioning

o Distinguish between unconditioned stimulus,  

• Learning Defined

o Learning is any relatively permanent change in behavior brought about by  experience or practice

o (Pavlov Video)

• Associative Learning

o Through life, we can learn to associate things with each other

o Our minds naturally connect events that occur in sequence

▪ Gestalt contiguity idea – things that occur close in time to one another are  grouped together

▪ Example: rule of language syntax

o In other words, when one event precedes another we learn to associate one event  with the other

▪ Thunder and lightning

▪ Lucky shirt and doing well on an exam

o Learning things go together is very adaptive

• Classical Conditioning

o UCS and UCR 

▪ Unconditioned stimulus (UCS) – unlearned, innate

▪ Unconditioned response (UCR) – automatic and involuntary

▪ Pavlov Example: food (UCS) and drooling (UCR)

• No learning needs to occur for a dog to drool when it sees food

• Thus, this response is unconditioned

o CS and CR 

▪ Conditioned stimulus – learned

▪ Conditioned response – learned (not as strong as UCR)

• Basic Principles of Acquisition in Classical Conditioning

o 1. Neutral stimulus needs to come before the US

o 2. The time between the two stimuli should be close (about half a second to five  seconds apart is ideal)

o 3. Pairing needs to occur several times, often many

o 4. The conditioned stimulus usually needs to be distinctive or stands out from  other competing stimuli

• Extinction and Spontaneous Recovery

o Extinction

▪ What happens if you stop pairing? Can you unlearn?

▪ Respondent extinction – when a US does not follow a conditioned  

stimulus, a CR starts to decrease and at some point completely diminishes o Spontaneous Recovery 

▪ After a rest period an extinguished CR spontaneously recovers. If CS  

persists alone becomes extinct again.

• Stimulus Generalization

o Tendency to respond to stimuli similar to CS is generalization 

o What we learn in one specific situation or with one specific stimulus carries over,  or transfers, to a different situation

o The more similar the new stimulus is to the original CS, the greater the likelihood  of generalization

o Examples: Little Albert

• Stimulus Discrimination

o Occurs when an organism that has learned a response to a specific stimulus does  not respond in the same way to the new stimuli that are similar to the original  stimulus

• Higher Order Conditioning

o Second phase of Classical Conditioning


• Learning Phobias

o Conditioned Emotional Response (CER) – an example of classical conditioning in  which the unconditioned response is an emotional response, like fear

o The CS, like a neutral bell, becomes associated with a fearful CR

▪ Fear conditioning

o CERs may lead to phobias – irrational fear responses

• Vicarious Conditioning

o Vicarious conditioning – becoming classically conditioned by simply watching  someone else respond to a stimulus

Stimulus and Response Volunteer In-Class Demonstration

• Person reads screen, as they see a specific word spray subject with water bottle. As the  demonstration continues, the subject starts to expect being sprayed when they hear a  certain word.

• Conditioned stimulus – the sound of the stimulus word (CAN)

• Unconditioned stimulus – spray of water

• Unconditioned response – flinching, leaning away

• Conditioned response – subtle flinching

• Stimulus generalization – flinching for words that start similarly to the stimulus word  • Stimulus discrimination – flinching very specifically for the stimulus word only • Extinction – possible

• Spontaneous recovery – possible  

Week 6 – Thursday

Guest Lecture

Week 7 – Tuesday  

Learning – Part 2

• Operant Conditioning

o Operant conditioning – the learning of a voluntary behavior through the effects of  pleasant and unpleasant consequences to responses

o Operant Conditioning and Animal Survival Learning: 

▪ Thorndike’s law of effect states that “responses that produce a satisfying  effect in a particular situation become more likely to occur again in that  

situation, and responses that produce a discomforting effect become less  

likely to occur again in that situation

• Reinforcement and Punishment

o Whether or not something is reinforcing or punishing is determined by the effect that thing or event has on future behavior

▪ E.g. time out, praise for participation

o 1. Is something added or taken away?

▪ Positive vs. negative

▪ (By application vs. by removal)

o 2. After adding or taking away something, does the behavior increase or decrease? ▪ Reinforcement vs. punishment

• Types of Reinforcers

o Reinforcement – any event or stimulus, that when following a response, increases  the probability that the response will occur again

▪ Primary reinforcer – any reinforcer that is naturally reinforcing by meeting  a basic biological need, such as hunger, thirst, or touch

▪ Secondary reinforcer – any reinforcer that becomes reinforcing after being  paired with a primary reinforcer, such as praise, tokens, or gold stars

o Immediate vs. delayed reinforcers

• Positive and Negative Reinforcement

o Positive reinforcement – the reinforcement of a response by addition or  experience or a pleasurable stimulus

▪ Stickers for engaging in boring psychological testing, clickers for  


o Negative reinforcement – the reinforcement of a response by the removal, escape  from, or avoidance of an unpleasant stimulus

▪ Example: taking aspirin for a headache is negatively reinforced: removal  of headache

▪ Using drugs when experiencing withdrawal symptoms, cleaning house to  get rid of mess

• Positive and Negative Punishment

o Punishment – any event or object that, when following a response, makes that  response less likely to happen again

o Punishment by application (positive punishment) – the punishment of a response  by the addition or experiencing of an unpleasant stimulus

▪ Spanking a misbehaving child, getting a speeding ticket

o Punishment by removal (negative punishment) – the punishment of a response by  the removal of a pleasurable stimulus

▪ Putting a child in time out, having to pay a financial penalty for turning in  a bill late

• Punishment

o Best when applied immediately so that the relationship between unwanted  behavior and punishment is clear

o Should be consistent (always follow through and similar intensity each time) o Immediate effect of suppressing behavior (explains negative reinforcement for  parent)

▪ Does not teach appropriate behavior

▪ Can lead to negative emotions (e.g., anxiety)

▪ Some types of punishment model aggression

• Operant Learning Demo

o Get test subject to do an unknown task based on positive and negative  reinforcement

o Use clapping as positive reinforcement

o Task to complete: Draw a circle on the board

o Result: It worked

• Schedules of Reinforcement (Rubric or Rule)

o Continuous vs. partial 

▪ Is the availability of reinforcement predictable?

• Fixed vs. variable 

▪ Is the availability of reinforcement related to the number of responses or  the passage of time?

• Ratio vs. interval 

o Fixed Ratio 

▪ Fixed ratio schedule of reinforcement – number of responses required for  reinforcement is always the same

o Fixed Interval 

▪ Fixed interval schedule of reinforcement – interval of time that must pass  before reinforcement becomes possible is always the same

o Variable Ratio 

▪ Variable ratio schedule of reinforcement – schedule of reinforcement in  which the number of responses required for reinforcement is different for  each trial or event

o Variable Interval 

▪ Variable interval schedule of reinforcement – the interval of time that  must pass before reinforcement becomes possible is different for each trial  or event

• Using Operant Conditioning to Shape Complex Behavior: Shaping o Shaping 

▪ Shaping – the reinforcement of simple steps in behavior through  

successive approximations that lead to a desired, more complex behavior o Successive approximation 

▪ Successive approximation – positively reinforcing numerous small steps  of a more complex behavior in sequence in order to teach said complex  behavior

• Cognitive Learning Theory

o In the early days of learning, researchers’ focus was on behavior

o In the 1950s – and more intensely in the 1960s – many psychologists were  becoming aware that cognition, the central events that take place inside a person’s  mind while behaving, could no longer be ignored

o Edward Tolman’s experiments demonstrated latent learning, learning that is not  immediately acted upon or expressed

• Learned Helplessness

o What happens when the learner has no control over when punishment is given? ▪ Learned helplessness – a breakdown in learning ability caused by repeated  exposure to uncontrollable aversive event.

▪ In other words, the tendency to fail to try or act in a situation because of a  history of repeated failures in the past

Week 8 – Tuesday

Memory – Part 1

• What is Memory?

o Memory – an active system that receives information from the senses, organizes  and alters that information as it stores it away, and then retrieves the information  from storage

o An active system

▪ Receives information

▪ Organizes and alters that information

▪ Retrieves the information

o There are multiple types of memory – it is not one thing in one place in the brain • 3 Memory Processes

o Encoding (putting it in) – process of transforming information into a form that  can be stored in memory

o Storage (keeping it in) – holding onto information for some period of time o Retrieval (getting it out) – getting information that is in storage into a form that  can be used

• Models of Memory  

o Information-Processing Model 

▪ Mechanics of how different information is processed through different  stages (or systems) of memory – how memory works. Three stages

o Parallel Distributed Processing Model 

▪ Connections and timing of memory processes – simultaneous processing  of information across multiple neural networks

o Levels-of-Processing Model 

▪ Depth that information is processed and how impacts strength of parallel  connections within memory systems

▪ Strength and duration of memory increases as the level of processing  


• Sensory Memory

o Holds information from the senses for a very brief duration

o Each sense has a sensory memory associated with it

o Visual – iconic memory (about 1 sec.)

▪ Visual sensory memory, lasting only a fraction of a second

o Auditory – echoic memory (about 4 secs.)

▪ Echoic memory: the brief memory of something a person has just heard • Sperling’s Procedure – Iconic Memory

o Showed people an array of letters very fast

o Cued to remember a certain row AFTER seeing the letters (partial report) ▪ People could remember almost the whole row

o This showed that people could remember more than they could report • Information-Processing Model: Short Term Memory (STM)

o The memory system in which information is held for brief periods of time while  being used

o Selective attention – ability to focus on only one stimulus (or a narrowed range of  stimuli) from among all sensory input present – information gets into STM  through selective attention

o Working memory – an active system that processes the information present in  short-term memory

• Information-Processing Model: Short Term Memory vs. Working Memory o Short-term memory 

▪ The thing or place into which information is put

o Working memory 

▪ The active system that processes or manipulates the information in STM ▪ Comprised of three interconnected systems:

• Central executive

• Visual “sketchpad”

• Auditory “recorder”

• Maintenance Rehearsal

o With maintenance rehearsal content can be held (or stored) in STM ▪ Information loss occurs when rehearsal stops, or the amount of  

information to be held exceeds capacity of STM

▪ (STMs tend to be encoded in auditory form)

▪ Interaction between working-memory and STM

• Using it so you don’t lose it

• Brown-Peterson Task

o Brown and Peterson (1958/1959) measured the duration of short-term memory  by manipulating rehearsal

▪ Duration of short-term memory is about 20 sec.

• STM Storage

o STM lasts from twelve to thirty seconds without rehearsal

o STM is susceptible to interference

• Information Processing Theory: Long-Term Memory

o Long-term memory (LTM) – the memory system into which all the information  is placed to be kept more or less permanently

▪ Capacity – seems to be unlimited

▪ Duration – can be relatively permanent

▪ Long-term does not mean…

• Memories can always be retrieved

• All memories are stored forever

o Elaborative rehearsal – a method of transferring information from STM into  LTM by making that information meaningful in some way

• Types of Long-Term Memory

o Non-declarative (implicit) memory – type of long-term memory including  memory for skills, procedures, habits, and conditioned responses

▪ Procedural memory (often called implicit memory) – memory that is not  easily brought into conscious awareness

o Declarative (explicit) memory – type of long-term memory containing  information that is conscious and known

▪ Semantic memory – declarative memory containing general knowledge ▪ Episodic memory – declarative memory containing personal information  not readily available to others

• Recall vs. Recognition

o Semantic memory:

▪ Name all of the seven dwarves (recall)

• Recall – memory retrieval in which the information to be retrieved  

must be “pulled” from memory with very few external cues

▪ Which of the following is one of the seven dwarves (recognition)?

• Recognition – the ability to match a piece of information or a  

stimulus to a stored image or fact

• Encoding and Retrieval Cues

o Encoding specificity (context clues)

▪ Tendency for memory of information to be improved if the physical  

surroundings at the time of encoding are also available when the memory  is being retrieved

▪ Elaborative encoding?

Week 8 – Thursday

Memory – Part 2

• Long-Term Memory Organization

o LTM is organized in terms of related meanings and concepts

o Sematic Network Model – assumes information is stored in a connected fashion,  with concepts that are related stored physically closer to each other

• Elaborative Rehearsal

o A method of transferring information from STM into LTM by making that  information meaningful in some way

▪ Goes beyond just repeating information

▪ Involves making connections

• Mnemonics

o “The art or practice of improving or of aiding the memory”

o Characteristics:

▪ Effortful

▪ Elaboration

▪ Provides multiple routes to retrieval

• Using Mnemonics

o MOVA your memory

▪ Meaningfulness (e.g., schema-building)

• Making connections to your life

o E.g., personal examples of flashbulb memories

▪ Organization (e.g., chunking, hierarchy)

▪ Visualization (e.g., imagery)

▪ Attention (i.e., effort)

• Distributed vs. Massed Practice

o Distributed practice – spacing one’s study sessions

▪ Procedures better retrieval

o Massed practice – studying a complete body of information all at once • Encoding Failure

o We cannot remember what we did not encode

▪ (would only last 20s – STM duration)

• Storage Decay: Memory Trace Theory

o Memory trace – physical change in the brain that occurs when a memory is  formed

▪ Decay – loss of memory due to the passage of time, during which the  memory trace is not used

▪ Disuse – another name for decay, assuming that memories that are not  used will eventually decay and disappear

▪ Memories recalled after many years are not explained by memory trace  theory

• Storage Decay: Ebbinghaus and the Curve of Forgetting

o Curve of forgetting – a graph showing a distinct pattern in which forgetting is  very fast within the first hour after learning a list and then tapers off gradually • Inference Theory

o Proactive – old interferes with new

o Retroactive – new interferes with old

• Amnesia

o Retrograde amnesia – loss of memory from the point of some injury or trauma  backwards, or loss of memory for the past

o Anterograde amnesia – loss of memory from the point of injury or trauma  forward, or the ability to form new long-term memories

• Brain and Long-Term Memory

o Consolidation – changes that take place in the structure and functioning of  neurons when a memory is formed

▪ Long-term potentiation – changes in number and sensitivity of receptor  sites/synapses through repeated stimulation

o Hippocampus – area of the brain responsible for the formation of LTMs ▪ Declarative LTMs

• Henry Molaison

o Hippocampus is not important for implicit memories

• The Cerebellum and Procedural (implicit memories)

o After being processed in the motor cortex, procedural memories appear to be  stored in the cerebellum 

• Alzheimer’s Disease

o Primary memory difficulty in Alzheimer’s is anterograde amnesia

▪ Retrograde amnesia can also occur and the disease progresses

▪ Procedural memory generally intact

• Infantile Amnesia

o The inability to retrieve memories from much before age three

▪ Autobiographical memory – the memory for events and facts related to  one’s personal life story (usually after age three)

• Eyewitness Memory

o Elizabeth Loftus

▪ Showed that what people see and hear about an event after the fact can  easily affect the accuracy of their memories of that event

▪ Demonstrated that eyewitness testimony is not always reliable

▪ Memory is not like a tape recorder

• Long-Term Memory is a Constructive Process

o Constructive processing – memory retrieval process in which memories are  “built,” or reconstructed, from information stored during encoding

▪ With each retrieval, memories may be altered, revised, or influenced by  newer information

• Hindsight Bias

o The tendency to falsely believe, through revision of older memories to include  newer information, that one could have correctly predicted the outcome of an  event

▪ “Monday morning quarterbacking”

▪ Reading about research studies in the news

• Misinformation Effect

o Tendency of misleading information presented after an event to alter the  memories of the event itself

▪ Source monitoring error – when a memory derived from one source is  misattributed to another – might be a contributor to misinformation effect • False Memory Syndrome

o Creation of inaccurate or false memories through the suggestion of others, often  while the person is under hypnosis

o Evidence suggests that false memories cannot be created for just any kind of  memory

▪ Memories must at least be plausible

Week 9 – Tuesday

Cognition – Part 1

• What is thinking?

o Cognition (aka thinking) – mental activity that goes on in the brain when a person  is organizing and attempting to understand and/or communicate information to  others

▪ Involves acquiring, storing, retrieving, and using information

• Making decisions, comparing things, solving problems

▪ The mental manipulation of representations of information we encounter  in our environments

• Studying Cognition

o How people think

▪ The nature of thought or the processes involved in thinking

o How well people think

▪ Variations among people in thinking ability

• Mental Imagery

o Mental images – mental representations that stand for objects or events and have a  picture-like quality

▪ Mental images are interacted with in similar ways as physical objects o Mental images are very helpful for memory, and for learning or maintaining  motor skills

• Concepts

o Concept – ideas that represent a class or group of objects, events, or activities that  share common characteristics or attributes

▪ Contain the important features of the objects and events that may fit the  concept

▪ Allow for the identification of new objects and events that may fit the  concept (e.g., seeing a new type of dog for the first time)

o Formal concepts – concepts formed by learning the specific rules or features that  define it

▪ Many acquired in school. Each member of the concept meets all the rules  (or defining properties), and no nonmember does.

▪ Example: a square

o Natural concepts – concepts formed as a result of people’s experience in the real  world

▪ Most concepts we form. Defined by a general set of features, not all of  which must be present for an object to be considered a member of the  


▪ Example: birds, fruits

o Prototype – an example that closely matches the defining characteristics (or  common features) of a concept

▪ Prototypes develop according to:

• The exposure a person has to objects in a category

• The knowledge a person has about objects in a category

• The culture of a person

• Problem Solving vs. Decision Making

o Decision making – process of evaluating alternatives and choosing among them o Problem solving – the thoughts and actions required to achieve a certain goal o Approaches to problem solving:

▪ Trial and Error (mechanical solutions) – trying one possible solution after  another until finding one that works

• Algorithms – a systematic step-by-step procedure, such as a  

mathematical formula, that guarantees a solution to a problem of a  

certain type

▪ Insight – solution seems to suddenly come to mind

▪ Heuristics (“rule of thumb”) – an educated guess based on prior  

experiences that helps narrow down the possible solutions for a problem • Examples of Heuristics: Representativeness

o An assumption that any object (or person) sharing characteristics with members  of a particular category is also a member of that category

• Examples of Heuristics: Availability

o Basing the estimated probability of an event on the ease with which relevant  instances come to mind

• Examples of Heuristics: Working Backwards and Subgoals

o Can be used together but don’t have to be

o Working backward from the goal is a useful heuristic, it involves working  backwards…

o Subgoals – formulating intermediate steps towards a solution – e.g., breaking  down steps of a term paper or planning out the classes needed to graduate • Barriers to Effective Problem Solving

o Irrelevant information – focusing on irrelevant information

o Functional fixedness – thinking about objects only in terms of their typical (or  most common) uses

▪ Mental sets – tendency for people to persist in using problem solving  strategies that have worked in the past

o Confirmation bias – tendency to search for evidence that supports our  preconceptions while ignoring evidence to the contrary

• Creativity

o Creativity is the ability to produce ideas that are both novel and valuable o Convergent thinking

▪ Type of thinking in which a problem is seen as having only one answer,  and all lines of thinking will eventually lead to that single answer by using  previous knowledge and logic

o Divergent thinking

▪ Type of thinking in which a person starts from one point and comes up  with many different ideas or possibilities based on that point

• Tips for Divergent Thinking

o Brainstorming – generate as many ideas as possible in a short period of time,  without judging each idea’s merits until all ideas are recorded

o Keeping a journal – carry a journal to write down ideas as they occur or a recorder  to capture those same ideas and thoughts

o Freewriting – write down or record everything that comes to mind about a topic  without revising or proofreading until all of the information is written or recorded  in some way. Organize it later

o Mind or subject mapping – start with a central idea and draw a “map” with lines  from the center to other related ideas, forming a visual representation of the  concepts and their connections

• Language

o Language – an open symbolic communication system that has rules of grammar  and allows its users to express abstract and distant ideas

▪ Open – free to change

▪ Symbolic – no connection between a sound and the meaning or idea  

associated with it

• Language Structure

o Phonemes – the smallest distinctive sound unit in a spoken language

▪ English has about 40 different phenomes

▪ There are 869 different phonemes through all languages

▪ All of us are born with the ability to recognize all phonemes, but this  diminishes as we get older

o Morpheme – the smallest unit that carries meaning may be a word or a part of a  word

• Grammar

o A system of rules that governs the structure and use of language

▪ Enables us to communicate and understand others

• Semantics

o Rules for determining the meaning of words and sentences

o Semantic rule tells us that adding –ed (a morpheme) to the word laugh means that  it happened in the past

• Syntax

o The rules for ordering words into grammatically correct (sensible) sentences o In English syntactical rule is that adjectives come before nouns

• Pragmatics

o The practical aspects of communicating with others, or social “niceties” of  language

o Part of pragmatics is knowing what rhythm and emphasis to use when  communicating with others, called intonation

• Language and Thinking

o Thinking and language are intricately intertwined

o Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis (Vygotsky) – the theory that the language a  person speaks largely determines the nature of that person’s thoughts

o Cognitive Universalism (Piaget) – the theory that concepts are universal and  influence the development of language

Week 10 – Thursday

Cognition – Part 2

• Intelligence

o Intelligence – the ability to learn from experience, acquire knowledge, and use  resources in adapting to new situations or solving problems

• Conceptual Difficulties

o Psychologists believe that intelligence is a concept and not a “thing”

▪ When we think of intelligence as a trait (height or hair color) we commit  an error called reification – viewing an abstract material concept as if it  

were a concrete thing

• Intelligence (as measured by IQ tests) is associated with…

o Positive

▪ Academic performance

▪ Years of education

▪ Occupation and occupational performance

o Negative

▪ Criminal behavior

o Despite general agreement among psychologists about the nature of intelligence,  there is one large controversy:

▪ Is intelligence a  

• Single overall ability?

• Several specific abilities?

• Spearman’s g

▪ Spearman proposed that intelligence is best characterized as a general capacity – underlying all branches of intellectual ability is one underlying  fundamental function, the amount of general mental ability (or mental  intelligence)

• He believed intelligence tests tap general intelligence (g) and  

specific intellectual abilities (s)

• Considerable research support for g  

o Also Gc and Gf (Cattell’s theory)

• Theory of Multiple Intelligences

o Howard Garner proposed the existence of different kinds of intelligence ▪ Verbal/Linguistic

• Ability to use language

o E.g., writers, speakers

▪ Musical

• Ability to compose and/or perform music

o Musicians, even those who do not read musical notes but  

can perform and compose

▪ Logical/Mathematical

• Ability to think logically and to solve mathematical problems

o Scientists, engineers

▪ Visual/Spatial

• Ability to understand how objects are oriented in space

o Pilots, astronauts, artists, navigators

▪ Movement

• Ability to control one’s body motions

o Dancers, athletes

▪ Interpersonal

• Sensitivity to others and understanding motivation of others

o Psychologists, managers

▪ Intrapersonal

• Understanding of one’s emotions and how they guide actions

o Various people-oriented careers

▪ Naturalist

• Ability to recognize the patterns found in nature

o Farmers, landscapers, biologists, botanists

▪ Existentialist (a candidate intelligence)

• Ability to see the “big picture” of the human world by asking  

questions about life, death, and the ultimate reality of human  


o Various careers, philosophical thinkers

o As support for this theory, Gardner notes that people with savant syndrome  typically show a combination of intellectual disability and unusual talent or ability • Critics of Multiple Intelligences

o Does being clumsy or tone deaf mean you have a lack of intelligence? o Should all our abilities be considered intelligences?

• Robert Sternberg: Triarchic Theory

o Sternberg agreed with Gardner, but suggested 3 kinds of intelligence rather than 9 ▪ 1. Analytical intelligence – assessed by intelligence tests (“book smarts”)  ability to break problems down into component parts for problem solving ▪ 2. Creative intelligence – intelligence that generates novel ideas/new ways  of solving problems, or find creative ways to perform tasks (divergent  thinking)

▪ 3. Practical intelligence – intelligence required to use information to get  along in life; person adapts to environment, changes it, or selects a new  one so can succeed (“street smarts”)

• Emotional Intelligence

o Emotional intelligence – the ability to perceive, understand, and use emotions o Perceive emotion

▪ Recognize emotion in faces, music, and stories

o Understand emotion

▪ Predict emotions, how they change and blend

o Manage emotion

▪ Express emotions in different situations

o Use emotion

▪ Utilize emotions to adapt or be creative

• Assessing Intelligence

o Psychologists define intelligence testing as a method for assessing an individual’s  mental aptitudes and comparing them with others using numerical scores o Most intelligence tests report a global measure of mental ability, while also  assessing individuals’ unique strengths and weaknesses in task-specific abilities  and processing domains

• Aptitude and Achievement Tests

o Aptitude (IQ) tests are intended to predict your ability to learn a new skill and  achievement tests are intended to reflect what you have already learned • Alfred Binet

o Alfred Binet and his colleague Theodore Simon started modern intelligence  testing by developing questions that would predict children’s future progress in  the Paris school system

o Work commissioned by the French Ministry of Education to identify students in  need of remedial education

▪ The Binet-Simon scale expressed a child’s score in terms of “mental age” • Lewis Terman

o Lewis Terman, in the US, adapted Binet’s test for American school children and  named the test the Stanford-Binet Test. The formula of Intelligence Quotient (IQ)  introduced by William Stern is �� = $%&'() (+% 

,-./&/)/+0,() (+%� 100

• David Wechsler

o Wechsler developed the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) and later the  Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) and the Wechsler Preschool and  Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI)

o Two major innovations to testing:

▪ Test was less dependent on subjects’ verbal ability

▪ Disregarded the intelligence quotient in favor of a new scoring scheme  based on the normal distribution

• Principles of Test Construction

o For a psychological test to be acceptable it must fulfill three criteria: ▪ 1. Standardization

▪ 2. Reliability

▪ 3. Validity

• Standardization

o Standardizing a test involves administering the test to a representative sample of  future test takers in order to establish a basis for meaningful comparison ▪ If you are tested, your score says where you stand in comparison to those  in standardization sample

• An important aspect of standardization is the establishment of  

consistent and standard methods of test administration

• Normal Curve

o Standardized tests often establish a normal distribution of scores on a tested  population – a bell shaped pattern called the normal curve 

• Flynn Effect: Why Our IQ Levels Are Higher than Our Grandparents o In the past 60 years’ intelligence scored have steadily risen by an average of 27  points – a phenomenon known as the Flynn Effect 

▪ The effect is 1/3-point increase per year (about 3 points per decade) • Reliability

o Reliability is about consistency

▪ A test is reliable when it yields consistent results each time it is given to  the same individual or group of people

• Validity

o Validity is about accuracy

▪ Reliability of a test does not ensure validity. Validity of a test refers to the  degree a test measures what it’s supposed to measure or predict

• Content validity – extent a test measures a particular behavior or  

trait that it claims to

• Predictive validity – the function of a test in predicting a particular  

behavior or trait

• Long-Term Stability of IQ

o Intelligence scores become stable after about seven years of age

• Extremes of Intelligence

o A valid intelligence test divides two groups of people into two extremes. Those  with intellectual disability – formerly referred to as having MR (IQ 70) and  individuals with high intelligence (IQ 135) are significantly different

• Individuals with Intellectual Ability

o Intellectual disability is generally defined as:

▪ 1. An IQ below 70

▪ 2. Adaptive behavior skills severely low below a level appropriate for age ▪ 3. Presentation of these limitations during development

• High Intelligence

o High-scoring people on intelligence tests – contrary to popular beliefs – tend to be  healthy, socially well adjusted, and have high academic and vocational success ▪ High intelligence does not guarantee these things

• Terman’s termites and William Shockley  

Week 10 – Tuesday

Development – Part 1

• Human Development

o The sequence of age-related changes that occur in people as they progress from  conception until death

• Influences on Development

o Biological influences 

▪ Shared human genome

▪ Individual genetic variations

▪ Prenatal environment

▪ Sex-related genes, hormones, and psychology

o Psychological influences 

o Socio-cultural influences 

• 3 Major Issues in Developmental Psychology

o Nature/Nurture 

▪ How do genetic inheritance and experience influence our development? o Continuity/Stages 

▪ Is development a gradual, continuous process or a sequence of separate  stages?

o Stability/Change 

▪ Do our early personality traits persist through life, or do we become  

different persons as we age?

• Developmental Research Designs

o Cross-sectional – different participants of various ages studied at one point in time o Longitudinal – same participants studied at multiple time points

o Cross-sequential – combination of both of the above designs

▪ Start cross-sectional with at least two groups and have longitudinal follow up

• Nature vs. Nurture

o Nature – the influence of our inherited characteristics

o Nurture – the influence of the environment on personality, physical growth,  intellectual growth, and social interactions

• Behavioral Genetics

o Behavioral genetics – focuses on nature vs. nurture

o Twin studies

o Other designs

• Nature: Genetics

o DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) – special molecule that contains the genetic  material of the organism

o Gene – section of DNA having a certain sequence (or ordering) of chemical  elements

o Chromosome – tightly wound strand of genetic material or DNA

• Genes: Our Codes for Life

o In the nucleus of each cell are 46 chromosomes (23 pairs) containing DNA ▪ 22 of the pairs, called autosomes, look the same in both males and females ▪ 23rd pair, the sex chromosomes, differ between males and females

• Females have two copies of the X chromosome, while males have  

one X and one Y chromosome

o Segments (or sections) within DNA having the same arrangement constitute genes  making proteins to determine our development

• Dominant and Recessive Genes

o Dominant – referring to a gene that actively controls the expression of a trait o Recessive – referring to a gene that only influences the expression of a trait when  paired with an identical gene

• Genetic Disorders

• Chromosomal Disorders

o Examples include:

▪ Down syndrome (extra chromosome 21)

▪ Klinefelter’s syndrome (23rd pair is XXY)

▪ Turner’s syndrome (23rd pair is missing an X)

• Prenatal Development Fertilization

o Conception – a single sperm cell (male) penetrates the outer coating of the egg  (female) and fuse to form one fertilized cell, a zygote 

o Germinal stage – first two weeks after fertilization, during which the zygote  becomes a mass of cells, moves down to the uterus, and implants the lining ▪ In the first week: the zygote is rapidly dividing

o Embryonic Stage – the period from 2 to 8 weeks after fertilization, during which  major systems, organs and structures of the body develop

▪ End of 8 weeks: embryo is about 1-inch long, weighs about 1/7 of an  ounce and has primitive eyes, nose, ears, lips, teeth, little arms and legs,  hands, feet, fingers, toes, as well as a beating heart

o Fetal Stage – the time from about 8 weeks after conception until birth of the baby

▪ Period of tremendous growth

▪ Organs accomplish differentiation and continue to become functional ▪ Muscles and bones form, enabling the fetus to make physical movements  including kicking. During last several weeks, fetus can respond to stimuli  in the outside world

• Exploring the World: Babies Physical Development

o Newborn senses

▪ Senses well developed at birth include taste, touch, smell

▪ Hearing functional but not fully developed

▪ Vision is least functional sense at birth

o Motor development

o Reflexes – a set of innate involuntary behavior patterns

▪ Provide information about health of NS

▪ Grasp, startle, rooting, stepping, sucking

• Language Development: Learning to Communicate

o Language acquisition is rapid and starts early

o The ability to understand words develops before the ability to produce words • Stages of Language Development

o Cooing stage – at about 2 months the infant begins to make vowel-like sounds o Babbling stage – at 4-6 months the infant spontaneously utters various sounds,  adding consonant sounds to the vowel-like sounds to form phonemes

o One-word stage – beginning at or around the first birthday, a child starts to speak  one word and makes family adults understand him/her

▪ Holophrases – whole phrases will be communicated in one word

o Two-word stage – before the 2nd year, a child starts to speak in two word  sentences

o Called telegraphic speech in which the child speaks like a telegram (only nouns  and verbs)

▪ Contains only essential content to carry meaning

o There is no three-word stage

▪ Once out of the two-word phase children move to longer phrases

Week 10 – Thursday  

Development – Part 2

• Infancy and Childhood

o Infancy and childhood span from birth to teenage years

o During these years the individual has rapid growth physically, cognitively, and  socially

• Cognitive Development

o Jean Piaget – children are not like adults but instead think much differently about  the world

▪ Piaget believed that cognitive development results from individual  

discovery and a child’s interaction with objects

• Schemas – Assimilation and Accommodation

o We make sense of our experience by forming schemas – concepts or frameworks  in which we organize and interpret information

o The process of assimilation involves incorporating new experiences into our  current understanding (schema)

o The process of adjusting a schema and modifying it is called accommodation • Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development: Four Stages

o 1. Sensorimotor Stage (Birth to 2 years)

▪ babies take in the world through their senses and motor abilities

▪ object permanence – (knowledge object exists even if it is not in sight) is a  major accomplishment

• children younger than 6 months do not display object permanence  


o 2. Preoperational Stage (2-7 years)

▪ Piaget suggested that from 2 to about 6-7 years, children are in  

preoperational stage – too young to perform mental operations

• Display egocentricism and conservation issues (centration and  


• Egocentric – see world only from their point of view

• Have not yet mastered conservation – the ability to understand that  simply changing the appearance of an object does not change the  

object’s nature

o Fail at conservation due to…

▪ Irreversibility – unable to “mentally reverse”  


▪ Centration – tendency to focus on only one feature  

of some object rather than taking all of the features  

into consideration

o 3. Concrete Operational Stage (7-12 years)

▪ Becomes capable of concrete logical thought processes but is not yet  capable of abstract thinking

• Conservation possible

o Capable of decentration and reversibility

• Can classify/categorize

o 4. Formal Operational Stage (12 years to adulthood)

▪ Around age 12, our reasoning ability expands from concrete thinking to  abstract thinking

▪ We can now use analogies, critical thinking skills, and think about and test  hypotheses

• Piaget did not believe that everyone would reach formal  

operational thinking

• Studies have shown that only half of all adults in the United States  reach this thinking

• Reflecting on Piaget’s Theory

o Piaget’s stage theory has been influential globally and decades of research suggest that cognitive development follows the sequence Piaget describes

o However, today’s researchers believe:

▪ Development is a continuous process

▪ Children express their mental abilities and operations at earlier ages than  Piaget proposed

▪ Stressed the importance of the child’s interaction with objects, while  underestimated the role of others in child’s acquisition of knowledge and  skills

• Vygotsky’s Theory of Cognitive Development

o Vygotsky’s theory stressed the importance of social interactions with other people  (typically having more skill) for cognitive development

▪ Critical to this theory are:

• Scaffolding – the process in which a more skilled learner gives  

help to a less skilled learner, reducing the amount of help as the  

less skilled learner becomes more capable

• Zone of proximal development – the difference between what a  

child can do alone and what a child can do with the help of a  


• Adolescence

o Adolescence spans from the beginnings of sexual maturity to independent  adulthood

o During these years the individual…

▪ Physically matures

▪ Places high value on membership in the peer group

▪ Develops a more fully formed identity and morality structure

▪ Starts having romantic and sexual relationships

▪ Begins making decisions regarding a career choice

• Adolescents and Thinking

o Personal fable – believe they are especially unique and protected

o Imaginary audience – convinced that everyone is paying attention to them • Adulthood

o Adulthood begins in the early twenties and ends with death in old age o Women experience a physical decline in the reproductive system call the  climacteric, ending at about age 50 with menopause – the cessation of ovulation  and menstrual cycles and the end of a woman’s reproductive capability o Men experience andropause – gradual changes in the sexual hormones and  reproductive system

• Theories of Aging

o Aging is pre-programmed

▪ Cellular clock theory – based on the idea that cells only have so many  times that they can divide (telomeres)

• Division necessary for repair/replacement of tissue

o Aging is a result of cell damage

▪ Wear and tear theory – as time goes by, repeated use and abuse of the  body’s tissues can cause it to be unable to repair all the damage

▪ Free radical theory – molecules with unpaired electron, created as a by product of various biological processes, damage cell structures

• Infant Temperament Studies  

o Temperament refers to a person’s stable emotional reactivity and intensity

o Identical twins express similar temperaments, suggesting heredity predisposes  temperament

• Temperament

o 3 types of temperament

▪ 1. Easy – happy and regular in their schedules of waking, sleeping, and  eating are adaptable to change

▪ 2. Difficult – irregular in their schedules and are very unhappy about  change of any kind

▪ 3. Slow to warm up – less grumpy, quieter, and more regular than difficult  babies, but are slow to adapt to change

• Origins of Attachment

o Harlow showed that infants bond with surrogate mothers because of bodily  contact and not nourishment

• Attachment Differences

o Strange Situation: Mary Ainsworth

▪ Placed in a strange situation, 60% of children express secure attachment – they explore their environment happily in the presence of their mothers • When their mothers leave they show distress

▪ The other 40% show insecure attachment – these children cling to their  mothers or caregivers, and are less likely to explore the environment

• Attachment Styles

o Secure – willing to play and explore comfortably with their mother present,  become visibly upset when she leaves, and are quickly calmed by her return o Avoidant – somewhat willing to explore, seek little contact with their mothers,  and may react little to her absence and return

o Ambivalent – clinging and unwilling to explore, protest mightily when mother  leaves, and are hard to soothe when she returns

o Disorganized-disoriented – seem unable to decide how they should react to  mother’s return

▪ In one study, 72% of the infants received the same secure versus insecure  attachment classification 20 years later

• Erikson

o How do we “discover ourselves?” What are the pivotal points in our lives that  shape who we become?

o Erikson offered 8 major “crises” we all must pass through

• Psychological Development: Erikson’s 8 Stages of Human Development o 8 – integrity vs despair

▪ Have I lived a full life?

• Acceptance of one’s life, both successes and failures. Life review  

and retrospective evaluation of one’s past, leading to enjoyment  

and no fear of death or feeling empty and fearing death

o 7 – generativity vs stagnation

▪ Will I produce something of real value? Have I contributed to the world in  some meaningful way?

• Challenge to transmit something positive to the next generation

o 6 – intimacy vs isolation

▪ Shall I share my life with another or live alone? Can I form a committed  relationship with another individual?

• Determine who they are with another person, leading to satisfying  

intimate relationships or isolation and loneliness

o 5 – identity vs identity confusion

▪ Who am I and where am I going? Do I have a unified sense of self?

• Make decisions about occupation, beliefs, attitudes, and behavior  

patterns, leading to strong sense of identity or confusion

o 4 – industry vs inferiority

▪ Am I competent or am I inferior? Do I have unique abilities and skills? • Make social comparisons as faced with new social and academic  


o 3 – initiative vs guilt

▪ Am I good or am I bad? Should I make decisions on my own, or listen to  others?

• Challenged to control/regulate behavior; feel capable and develop  

initiative or feel irresponsible and be anxious and guilty

o 2 – autonomy vs shame and doubt

▪ can I do things myself or must I rely on others? Do I have self-control; am  I in charge of my life?

• Attempts at independence fostered and successful or blocked and  

unsuccessful leading to self-doubt and shame

o 1 – trust vs mistrust

▪ Is my world predictable and supportive? Will others fulfill my needs or am  I on my own?

• Learn to trust based on whether needs are met

Week 11 – Tuesday

Motivation and Emotion – Part 1

• Motivation

o Motivation – the process by which activities are started, directed, and continued  so that physical or psychological needs and wants are met

▪ Extrinsic motivation – a person performs an action because it leads to an  outcome that is separate from or external to the person

▪ Intrinsic motivation – a person performs an action because the act is fun,  challenging, or satisfying in an internal manner

• Instinct Approaches to Motivation

o Instincts – the biologically determined and innate patterns of behavior that exist in  both people and animals

▪ In animals: migrating, nest building, mating

▪ McDougal, 18 instincts: flight (running away), pugnacity (aggressiveness) o Instinct approach – approach to motivation that assumes people are governed by instincts similar to those of animals

• Pros and Cons to Instinct Approaches

o Describes human behavior, but does not explain WHY such behaviors exist

o Forced psychologists (Behaviorists) to acknowledge the importance of heredity  factors

• Drive-Reduction Theory of Motivation

o Drive-reduction theory – assumes behavior arises from physiological needs that  cause internal drives to push the organism to satisfy the need and reduce tension  and arousal

▪ Need – a requirement of some material (such as food or water) that is  essential for survival of the organism

▪ Drive – a psychological tension and physical arousal arising when there is  a need that motivates the organism to act in order to fulfill the need and  reduce the tension

o Primary drives – involve needs of the body such as hunger and thirst o Acquired (secondary) drives – learned through experience or conditioning, such  as the need for money or social approval

o Homeostasis – the tendency of the body to maintain a steady state

• Hunger: Bodily Causes

o Insulin and glucagon – hormones secreted by the pancreas to control levels of  fats, proteins, and carbohydrates in the bloodstream

▪ Insulin reduces levels of glucose in the bloodstream

▪ Glucagon increases the level of glucose in the bloodstream

o Leptin – hormone that signals the hypothalamus that the body has had enough  food and reduces appetite while increasing the feeling of being full

o Weight set point – the particular level of weight that the body tries to maintain o Basal metabolic rate (BMR) – the rate at which the body burns energy when the  organism is resting

• Hunger: Social Causes

o Social cues for when meals are to be eaten

▪ Cultural customs

▪ Food preferences

▪ Use of food as a comfort device or escape from unpleasantness

• Some people may respond to the anticipation of eating by  

producing an insulin response

• Hypothalamus Plays Role in Hunger

o Responds to levels of glucose and insulin in the body

o Ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) – stops eating when glucose levels high.  Without it, overeating

o Lateral hypothalamus (LH) – starts eating when insulin levels high. Without it, no  eating to starvation

• The Orbital Frontal Cortex (OFC), Food, Taste, and Satiety

o OFC activity for taste and smell of food

o More pleasant – more activity

o Satiety – less activity

• McClelland’s Need Theory: Three Types of Needs

o Need for achievement (nAch) – involves a strong desire to succeed in attaining  goals – not only realistic ones, but also challenging ones

o Need for affiliation (nAff) – the need for friendly social interactions and  relationships with others

o Need for power (nPow) – the need to have control or influence over others • Needs Assessment Questionnaire (Modernized)

o Heckert and colleagues developed a modern Needs Assessment Questionnaire ▪ Need for achievement

▪ Need for affiliation

▪ Need for autonomy

▪ Need for dominance

• Arousal Approach to Motivation

o Stimulus motive – a motive that appears to be unlearned but causes an increase in  stimulation, such as curiosity, play, and exploration

o Arousal theory – theory of motivation in which people are said to have an optimal  (best or ideal) level of tension that they seek to maintain by increasing or  decreasing stimulation

o Yerkes-Dodson Law – law stating performance is related to arousal; moderate  levels of arousal lead to better performance than do levels of arousal that are too  low or too high

▪ This effect varies with the difficulty of the task

• Easy tasks require a high-moderate level

• More difficult tasks require a low-moderate level

▪ Examples: choking under pressure or flow-states

o Sensation seeker – one who needs more arousal than the average person • Arousal and Performance

o The optimal level of arousal for task performance depends on the difficulty of the  task

▪ We generally perform easy tasks well if we are at a high-moderate level of  arousal and accomplish difficult tasks well if we are at a low-moderate  


Week 11 – Thursday

Motivation and Emotion – Part 2

• Elements of Emotion

o Emotion – the “feeling” aspect of consciousness characterized by…

▪ Certain physical arousal

▪ Certain behavior that reveals the emotion to the outside world

▪ Inner awareness of feelings

o Facial expressions can vary across different cultures

▪ Seem to be universal

▪ Display rules

o Labeling emotion

▪ Interpreting the subjective feeling by giving it a label

• Facial Expressions of Emotion

o Facial expressions appear to be universal

• Elements of Emotion: Emotions in the Brain

o Which parts of the brain are involved in various aspects of emotion?

▪ The amygdala 

• The amygdala is a complex structure with many different nuclei  

and subdivisions, whose roles have been investigated primarily  

through studies of fear conditioning

• Emotional stimuli travel to the amygdala by both a fast, crude,  

“low road” (subcortical) and a slower but more involved cortical  

“high road”

▪ What if you don’t have an amygdala?

• Patient SM

o Bilateral, specific, amygdala lesions

o Impaired fear recognition

o Impaired fear conditioning (classical conditioning of fear)

o Which parts of the brain are involved in various aspects of emotion? ▪ Other subcortical and cortical areas (core affect network)

• Frontal lobes

• Anterior cingulate cortex

• Lateral orbitofrontal cortex

• Theories of Emotion  

o Common Sense Theory – a stimulus leads to an emotion, which then leads to  bodily arousal

o James-Lange Theory – a physiological reaction leads to the labeling of an  emotion

o Cannon-Bard Theory – the physical reaction and the emotion are assumed to  occur at the same time

o Cognitive Arousal Theory – both the physical arousal and the labeling of that  arousal based on cues from the environment must occur before the emotion is  experienced (Schachter and Singer)

o Facial Feedback Hypothesis – facial expressions provide feedback to the brain  concerning the emotion being expressed, which in turn causes and intensifies the  emotion

▪ Preventing facial expressions blocks emotional responsivity

▪ Facial expressions and Botox to corrugator supercilii

▪ Botox Depression and Treatment

• Depression severity decreased the BOTOX group (verum group)

• BOTOX increases remission rates

o Cognitive Mediational Theory – a stimulus that must be interpreted (appraised) by  a person in order to result in a physical response and an emotional reaction • Regulating our Emotional Response

o Emotion regulation – the modulation of one’s emotional response when it is  inappropriate, unwanted or excessive, so as to ensure goal relevant behavior o We can regulate our emotional responses using cognitive effort (James Gross) o Some strategies don’t work as well as others

▪ Reappraisal (or Distraction) works well

▪ Suppressing emotions does not work as well

• Emotion Regulation in the Brain

o Cognitive reappraisal and distraction both effective at suppressing emotions

o Both suppress amygdala and activity

o Recruit similar and different brain regions

• What happens when emotion regulation fails?

o Deficits in behavioral and brain markers of emotion regulation in Major  Depression, despite preserved cognitive control

Week 12 – Tuesday

Social Psychology – Part 1

• What is social psychology?

o Social psychology – branch of psychology concerned with how a person’s  behavior, thoughts, and feelings are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied  presence of others

• 3 Main Areas of Social Psychology

o 1. Social influence – how we are influenced by others

o 2. Social cognition – how we think about others

o 3. Social interaction – how we interact with others

• Social Influence: Conformity

o Changing one’s own behavior to more closely match the actions of others o Asch’s Classic Study on Conformity

• Asch’s Conformity Studies (1950s)

o Subjects were asked to judge line lengths while working in a group

▪ 7 subjects; the 6th was real, rest were confederates

o Confederates consistently gave obviously wrong answers

o The subject often conformed (about 1/3rd of the time) and gave the same wrong  answer

• Conditions that Increase Conformity

o Group size – increases as group size increases up to 4%

o Group is unanimous (lack of dissention) – even one dissenter significantly  reduces conformity

o Group observes one’s behavior – when behavior is not private, but publicly  known

o Culture – collectivist cultures tend to show more conformity than individualistic  cultures

▪ Other research has shown feeling of incompetence, insecurity, and low  self-esteem all increase conformity

• Reasons for Conformity

o Normal social influence

▪ A person’s desire to gain approval or avoid rejection

▪ Respecting normative behavior, because price may be severe if not  


o Informational social influence

▪ Group may provide valuable information

▪ When the task is difficult or you are unsure, it makes sense to listen to  others

o Groupthink – occurs when people place more importance on maintaining group  cohesiveness than on assessing the facts of the problem with which the group is  concerned

• Social Influence: Compliance

o Occurs when people change their behavior as a result of another person or group  asking or directing them to change

o Foot-in-the-Door

▪ Foot-in-the-door technique – asking for a small commitment and, after  gaining compliance, asking for a bigger commitment

o Door-in-the-Face

▪ Door-in-the-face technique – asking for a large commitment and then,  after being refused, asking for a smaller commitment

o Lowball

▪ Lowball technique – getting a commitment from a person and then raising  the cost of that commitment

• Social Influence: Obedience

o People comply to social pressures. But how would they respond to outright  command?

o Stanley Milgram designed a set of studies and investigated the effects of authority  on obedience

o Obedience – occurs when one changes his/her behavior at the command of an  authority

• Milgram Experiment

o Learner “feedback”

▪ Shocks are becoming painful – 120 volts

▪ Groans from pain – 135v

▪ ‘get me out of here, I refuse to go on!’ – 150v

▪ ‘I can’t stand the pain!’ – 180v

▪ Screaming – 270v

▪ Will no longer answer questions – 300v

▪ No longer heard from, provides no answers – 330v

o Experimenter Comments

▪ Beginning

• “Although the shocks can be extremely painful, they cause no  

permanent tissue damage”

▪ Learner Begins to Protest

• “teacher, please continue”

▪ With Later Protests

• “I will take full responsibility. Please continue, you have no  


o Results

▪ 62% (26 of 40) delivered all shocks

• even after the “learner” stopped responding

▪ 75% (30 of 40) delivered at least one shock after the learner said “get me  out of here! I refuse to go on!” a 150v

• Milgram’s Studies

o Degree of obedience influenced by:

▪ Physical proximity

▪ Status of authority figure

▪ Depersonalization of victim

▪ Lack of defiant role models

Week 12 – Thursday

Social Psychology – Part 2

• 3 Main Areas of Social Psychology

o Social influence – how we are influenced by others

o Social cognition – the mental processes people use to make sense of the world  around them

▪ attitudes

▪ impression formation

• Attitudes

o Attitude – a tendency to respond positively or negatively toward a certain person,  object, idea, or situation

o Three components of an attitude:

▪ The affective component (affect)

▪ The behavioral component (actions)

▪ The cognitive component (thoughts)

• Attitudes and Behavior

o Attitudes are often poor predictors of behavior unless the attitude is very specific  or very strong

• How do we form attitudes?

o Direct contact – with the person, situation, object, or idea

▪ E.g., eating vegetables

o Direct instruction – from parents or others

▪ E.g., being told smoking is bad, or that you will like a certain movie

o Interacting with other people who hold a certain attitude

▪ E.g., if your peer group likes playing a certain sport

o Vicarious conditioning – watching the actions and reactions of others to ideas,  people, objects, and situations

▪ E.g., you see that your mother is afraid of dogs

• Attitude Change: Persuasion

o Persuasion – the process t which one person tries to change the belief, opinion,  position, or course of action of another person through argument, pleading, or  explanation

▪ Key elements in persuasion are the source of the message, the message  itself, the target audience, and the medium

o Elaboration Likelihood Model

▪ People will either elaborate on the persuasive message or fail to elaborate  on it

▪ The future actions of those who do not elaborate are more predictable than  those who do not

• Attitude Change: Cognitive Dissonance

o Cognitive dissonance – sense of discomfort or distress that occurs when a  person’s behavior does not correspond to that person’s attitudes

▪ Lessened by changing the conflicting behavior, changing the conflicting  attitude, or forming a new attitude to justify the behavior

• Cognitive Dissonance in the Brain

o Cognitive dissonance of food choices

o Larger difference between belief and behavior led to greater brain activity in  prefrontal cortex

o Same areas that are involved in difficult cognitive tasks

• Attributions

o Attributions – process of inferring the causes of mental states, behaviors, and  events which occur to ourselves and others

▪ External (situational or environmental) attributions

• E.g. behavior is due to the situation

▪ Internal (dispositional or personal) attributions

• E.g. behavior reflects the person

• Attribution Theory

o Internal/Dispositional

▪ “he probably missed work because he’s lazy”

▪ “he is not a friendly person”

o External/Situational

▪ “he probably missed work because he’s sick”

▪ “he must be having a rough day”

• Fundamental Attribution Error

o Tendency to attribute someone else’s behavior to their personal disposition and  underestimate the effect of the situation

• Impression Formation

o Impression formation – forming of the first knowledge a person has about another  person has about another person

▪ Primacy effect – the very first impression one has about a person tends to  persist even in the face of evidence to the contrary

o Ambady and Rosenthal, 1993

• Social Categorization

o Social categorization – the assignment of a new person one has just met to a  category based on characteristics the new person has in common with other  people with whom one has had experience in the past

▪ Stereotype – a set of characteristics that people believe is shared by all  members of a particular social category

• 3 Main Areas of Social Psychology

o 1. Social Influence – how we are influenced by others

o 2. Social Cognition – how we think about others

o 3. Social Interaction – How we interact with others

▪ Social Interaction – social interactions with others, or the positive or  negative relationships between people

• Aggression

o Aggression – behavior intended to hurt or destroy another person

o Frustration-aggression hypothesis – aggression is a reaction to frustration o Konrad Lorenz saw aggression as an instinct for fighting to promote the survival  of our species

o Biological influences on aggression may include genetics, the amygdala and  limbic system, and testosterone and serotonin levels

o Social role – the pattern of behavior that is expected of a person who is in a  particular social positon

▪ Violent TV, movies, and videos related to aggression

• Altruism

o Prosocial behavior – socially desirable behavior that benefits others

o Altruism – prosocial behavior that is done with no expectation of reward and may  involve the risk of harm to oneself

▪ The temporoparietal junction (TPJ) is larger in individuals who make  altruistic choices

• Bystander Effect: Kitty Genovese

o Bystander effect – the effect that the presence of other people has on the decision  to help or not help

▪ Help becomes less likely as the number of by-standers increases

o Diffusion of responsibility – a person fails to take responsibility for action or for  inaction because of the presence of other people who are seen to share the  responsibility

• Diffusion of Responsibility

o Researchers Latane and Darley found that people who were alone were more  likely to help in an emergency than people who were with others

▪ one bystander cannot diffuse responsibility

o Five steps in making a decision to help

▪ Noticing

▪ Defining an emergency

▪ Taking responsibility

▪ Planning a course of action

▪ Taking action

Week 13 – Thursday

Psychological Disorders – Part 1

• Definitions of Abnormality

o Psychopathology – the study of abnormal behavior

o Psychological disorders – any pattern of behavior that causes people significant  distress, causes them to harm others, or harms their ability to function in daily life ▪ Statistically rare

▪ Deviant from social norms

o Situational context – the social or environmental setting of a person’s behavior o Subjective discomfort – emotional distress or discomfort

o Maladaptive thinking or behavior – anything that does not allow a person to  function within or adapt to the stresses and everyday demands of life

• Diagnostic System: DSM-5

o The DSM-5 describes about 250 different psychological disorders

o In a given year, about 26.2% of American adults over age 18 suffer from a mental  disorder

▪ Only about 5.8% suffer from a severe mental disorder

▪ Common to suffer from more than one disorder at a time (45%)

• Anxiety Disorders

o Defined by excessive or unrealistic worry and fearfulness

o Phobias, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder

• Anxiety Disorders: Phobias and Social Anxiety

o Phobia – an irrational, persistent fear of an object, situation, or social activity ▪ Specific phobia – fear of objects or specific situations or events

▪ Agoraphobia – fear of being in a place or situation from which escape is  difficult or impossible

o Social Anxiety Disorder – fear of interacting with others or being in social  situations that might lead to a negative evaluation

• Anxiety Disorders: Panic Attacks

o Panic attack – sudden fear response in absence of immediate threat ▪ False alarm or “misfire” of fear system

▪ Un-cued (out of the blue) vs. cued (situation, object)

• Anxiety Disorders: Panic Attack vs. Panic Disorder

o Having a panic attack (or even a few) does not mean you have a disorder o Panic Disorder involves persistent worry about having additional attacks, worry about the implications of an attack, and/or a significant change in behavior related  to the attacks

• Anxiety Disorders: Generalized Anxiety Disorder

o Excessive anxieties and worries about a number or events/activities that occurs  more days than not for at least 6 months

o Can also have physical symptoms (e.g. tension, restlessness, fatigue, sleep  problems)

• Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders

o Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – can include both intruding, recurring thoughts  (obsessions) that create discomfort relieved by performing a repetitive, ritualistic  behavior (compulsion)

▪ Some people just have obsessions or just have compulsions

• E.g. checking, contamination…

o Trichotillomania (skin picking)

• Trauma and Stressor-Related Disorders

o Acute stress disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

o Other (relatively rare) disorders

• Trauma and Stressor-Related Disorders: ASD and PTSD

o Acute stress disorder (ASD) – a disorder resulting from exposure to a major,  traumatic stressor that lasts up to a month

o Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – the symptoms associated with ASD last  for more than one month

▪ Symptoms: intrusions, avoidance, negative changes in cognition or  emotion, changes in arousal/activity

• Causes of Anxiety Disorders

o Psychodynamic explanations point to repressed urges and desires that are trying  to surface, creating anxiety that is controlled by the abnormal behavior

o Behaviorists believe that disordered behavior is learned through both positive and  negative reinforcement

o Cognitive psychologists believe that excessive anxiety comes from illogical,  irrational thought processes

o Irrational Thinking (Cognitive)

▪ Magnification – the tendency to interpret situations as far more dangerous,  harmful, or important than they actually are

▪ All-or-nothing thinking – the belief that one’s performance must be  

perfect or the result will be a total failure

▪ Overgeneralization – the interpretation of a single negative event as a  never-ending pattern of defeat and failure

▪ Minimization – the tendency to give little or no importance to one’s  

successes or positive events and traits

• Depressive Disorders: Major Depressive Disorder

o Major depressive disorder – severely depressed mood that comes on suddenly and  seems to have no external cause

▪ May include thoughts of death or suicide

▪ Most common of diagnosed disorders of mood

o Episodic in nature

▪ Cognitive symptoms: feeling worthless, guilty, problems concentrating on  making decisions, thoughts of death or suicide

▪ Affective (Emotional) symptoms: depressed mood, diminished pleasure ▪ Somatic symptoms: fatigue, sleep problems

o Normal sadness vs. depression?

• Bipolar and Related Disorders: Mania

o Bipolar disorder – periods of mood that may range from normal to manic, with or  without episodes of depression (bipolar I disorder), or spans of normal mood interspersed with episodes of major depression and episodes of hypomania  (bipolar II disorder)

o Manic episodes – inflated self-esteem or grandiosity, decreased need for sleep,  more talkative than usual, racing thoughts, distractible, increase in goal-directed  activity, excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential  for negative consequences

• Causes of Depression and Bipolar Disorder

o Behavioral theories link depression as the result of distorted, illogical thinking o Biological explanations of mood disorders look at the function of serotonin,  norepinephrine, and dopamine systems in the brain

▪ Genetic origins

Week 14 – Tuesday

Psychological Disorders – Part 2

• Other Categories in the DSM

o Substance related and addictive disorders (consciousness ch)

o Sleep-wake disorders (consciousness ch)

o Neurodevelopmental disorders (development ch)

o Neurocognitive disorders

o Somatic symptom and related disorders

o Gender dysphoria

o Paraphilic disorders

• DSM-5 Feeding and Eating Disorders

o Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, (childhood disorders) • Anorexia Nervosa

o Anorexia nervosa – a condition in which a person reduces eating to the point that  their body weight is significantly low, or less than minimally expected

▪ In adults, this is likely associated with a BMI <18.5

o Intense fear of gaining weight/being fat or behavior that interferes with weight  gain

o Distorted body image

o Treatment and long-term consequences

• Bulimia Nervosa and Binge-Eating Disorder

o Bulimia nervosa – a condition in which a person develops a cycle of “binging,” or  overeating enormous amounts of food at one sitting, and then using unhealthy  methods to avoid weight gain

▪ Physical consequences

o Binge-eating disorder also involves uncontrolled binge eating but differs from  bulimia primarily in that individuals with binge-eating disorder do not purge o Both: sense lack of control

• Causes of Eating Disorders

o Causes of eating disorders

▪ Greatest risk factors appear to be someone being an adolescent or young  female

▪ Genetic components appear to be significant

o Culture and eating disorders

▪ Less common in non-Western cultures

▪ Different values placed on eating and on starvation for socially-recognized  reasons

• DSM-5 Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders o Schizophrenia – severe disorder in which the person suffers from disordered  thinking, bizarre behavior, and hallucinations, and is unable to distinguish  between fantasy and reality

o Psychotic – the break away from an ability to perceive what is real and what I  fantasy

o Characterized by  

▪ Delusions – false beliefs held by a person who refuses to accept evidence  of their falseness

• Delusions of persecution

• Delusions of reference

• Delusions of influence

• Delusions of grandeur (or grandiose delusions)

▪ Hallucinations – perceptions without sensation

• Disturbed perceptions – may perceive things that are not there

• Most common hallucinations are auditory

▪ Disorganized thinking/speech

• Form, not content

o Clanging – string words together on basis of sound

o Word salad – jumbled speech

o Loose associations

▪ Disorganized/abnormal motor behavior

• Grimaces, odd facial expressions

• Repeated/eccentric gestures

• Rigidity

▪ Positive symptoms – “excess”

• Hallucinations and delusions

▪ Negative symptoms – “deficits”

• Apathy, alogia (poverty of speech), anhedonia (loss of interest or  

pleasure), flat affect

• Schizophrenia: Causes

o Most modern theories focus on biological explanations

o Biological explanations of schizophrenia focus on dopamine, structural defects in  the brain, prenatal influences, and genetic influences

• Stress-Vulnerability Model

o Stress-vulnerability model – assumes a biological sensitivity, or vulnerability, to a  certain disorder that will develop under the right conditions of emotional stress ▪ Book focuses on this model in terms of schizophrenia, but studied as part  of many disorders

• DSM-5 Dissociative Disorders

o Characterized by disruption and/or discontinuity in the normal integration of: ▪ Consciousness

▪ Memory

▪ Identity

▪ Emotion

▪ Perception

▪ Body representation

▪ Motor control

▪ Behavior

o Dissociative Amnesia (including Dissociative Fugue), Dissociative Identity  Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder), Depersonalization-Derealization  Disorder

• Dissociative Disorders

o Dissociative Amnesia – inability to recall autobiographical information ▪ Selective or generalized

▪ Not attributable to effects of a drug or neurological/medical condition • (note, this criterion is common to many disorders)

o Dissociative Fugue – forgets identity and moves to new location

o Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) – disruption of identity, characterized by  two or more distinct personality states

▪ Recurrent gaps in recall of everyday events, personal information, or  traumas

o Depersonalization-Derealization Disorder

▪ Dissociative disorder in which individuals feel detached and disconnected  from themselves, their bodies, and their surroundings

▪ Individuals experiencing these symptoms may think they are “going  


o Causes

▪ Role of abuse/trauma

▪ Psychodynamic theories

▪ Behavioral theories

▪ Biological

• People with a mild form of dissociative disorder have lower brain  

activity in areas responsible for sense of body awareness than do  

those without

• DSM-5 Personality Disorders

o Disorders in which a person adopts a persistent, rigid, and maladaptive pattern of  behavior that interferes with normal social interactions

o Paranoid, Schizoid, Schizotypal, Antisocial, Borderline, Histrionic, Narcissistic,  Avoidant, Obsessive-Compulsive, Other Specified Personality Disorder

• Personality Disorders

o Antisocial personality disorder – a person has no morals or conscience and often  behaves in an impulsive manner without regard for the consequences of that  behavior

o Borderline personality disorder – maladaptive personality pattern in which the  person is moody and unstable, lacks a clear sense of identity, and often clings to  others

• Cultural Syndromes

o Taijin kyofusho (TKS)

▪ Social anxiety – fear of offending others

o Ataque de nervios (“attack of nerves”)

▪ Similar to panic disorder, but many include symptoms like  

aggression/screaming and suicidal impulses

Week 15 – Tuesday

Psychological Therapies

• Biomedical Therapies

o Biomedical therapies – therapies that directly affect the biological functioning of  the body and brain

o Psychopharmacology – the use of drugs to control or relieve the symptoms of  psychological disorders

• Drug Treatments

o Antipsychotic drugs – used to treat psychotic symptoms such as delusions,  hallucinations, and other bizarre behavior

o Antianxiety drugs – used to treat and calm anxiety reactions (also called  anxiolytics)

▪ Typically minor tranquilizers

o Mood-stabilizing drugs – used to treat bipolar disorder (also called anti-manic  drugs)

▪ Include lithium and certain anticonvulsant drugs

o Antidepressant drugs – used to treat depression and anxiety

• Electroconvulsive Therapy

o Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) – biomedical treatment in which electrodes are  places on either one or both sides of a person’s head and an electric current strong  enough to cause a seizure or convulsion is passed through the electrodes

▪ Still used to treat severe depression

• Psychosurgery

o Psychosurgery – surgery performed on brain tissue to relieve or control severe  psychological disorders

▪ Prefrontal lobotomy – the connections of the prefrontal lobes of the brain  to the rear portions are severed

▪ Bilateral anterior cingulotomy – an electrode wire is inserted into the  

anterior cingulated gyrus area of the brain for the purpose of destroying  

that area of the brain tissue with an electric current

• Electrode is inserted with the guidance of a magnetic resonance  

imaging (MRI) machine

o Emerging Techniques

▪ Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) – magnetic pulses are  applied to the cortex

▪ Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) – uses scalp to pass very  low amplitude direct currents to the brain

▪ Deep brain stimulation (DBS) – an electrode is inserted into the brain to  directly stimulate parts of the prefrontal cortex

Week 15 – Thursday


• Dark Ages

o Demonology and Pre-Modern Medicine

o Inhumane, Ineffective Treatments

▪ Trephination

▪ Bloodletting

▪ Cages, shackles, chains

▪ Bedlam

• Renaissance

o Reformers, Advocates

▪ Philippe Pinel

▪ Dorothea Dix

o Humane, Ineffective Treatments

▪ Kirkbride Plan

• Psychoanalysis

o Unconscious conflicts stemming from childhood

o Dream interpretation and free association

o Resistance, transference, and countertransference

Page Expired
It looks like your free minutes have expired! Lucky for you we have all the content you need, just sign up here