Chapter 1: What is Psychology?
The discipline concerned with behavior and mental processes and how they are affected by an organism’s physical state, mental state, and external environment. It is NOT like sociology because it focuses on the individual.
Scientific psychology is based on research and empirical evidence, unlike pop psychology.
Empirical evidence is gathered by careful observation, experimentation, and measurement.
It is more complex, informative, and more helpful in its explanations than is popular psychology.
Psychology’s Nonscientific Competitors: Promoters of these systems try to explain people’s problems and predict their behaviors. Yet, whenever the claims of psychics and astrologers are put to the test, those claims end up being vague and meaningless.
Astrology (the most popular)
So Why Does Belief in Psychic abilities and other forms of Pseudoscience Persist? It provides people with a sense of control and predictability in a confusing world. It supports and confirms our existing beliefs and prejudices (Scientific psychology challenges them).
What do psychological researchers strive for?
Discover new phenomena and correct mistaken ideas
Deepen our understanding of an already familiar world.
E.g. Identifying the varieties of love, the origins of violence, or the
reasons that a great song can lift our hearts.
What is Critical Thinking?
You can distinguish scientific psychology from pseudoscience by thinking critically.
It is the ability and willingness to assess claims and make objective judgments on the basis of wellsupported reasons and evidence rather than emotion or anecdote. Being a critical thinker entails being able to look for flaws in arguments and to resist claims that have no support or evidence.
If you want to learn more check out criterion contamination psychology example
A critical thinker realizes that criticizing an argument is not the same as criticizing the person making it.
It is not negative thinking necessarilyit just includes the ability to be creative and constructivethe ability to come up with alternative explanations for events, think of implications of research findings, and apply new knowledge to social and personal problems.
Scientists have observed that it is good to be openminded but openmindedness does not mean that all opinions are created equal and that everybody’s beliefs are as good as anyone else’s.
E.g. If you prefer the look of a Chevy truck to the look of a honda
Accord, no one can argue with you. However, if you say, “The Chevy Truck is more reliable than a Honda and gets better mileage” you have given more than a mere opinion. So now, you must support your belief with evidence. Note: if your opinion ignores reality, it is not equal to any other.
Guidelines of Critical Thinking:
“Can I recall events from my childhood accurately?” If you want to learn more check out international relations study guide
Define your terms
“By ‘childhood,’ I mean ages 312; by ‘events,’ I mean things that
happened to me personally, like a trip to the zoo or a stay in the hospital; by ‘accurately,’ I mean the even basically happened the way I think it did.” Don't forget about the age old question of psy260
Examine the evidence
E.g. acknowledge bias’ you may have along the lines of cognition,
behavior, and emotion
“I feel I recall my fifth birthday party perfectly, but studies show
that people often reconstruct past events inaccurately.”
Analyze assumptions and bias
“I’ve always assumed that memory is like a tape recorder
perfectly accurate for every moment of my lifebut maybe this is just a bias because it’s so reassuring.”
Avoid emotional reasoning
“I really want to believe this memory is true, but that doesn’t mean We also discuss several other topics like cell a has half as much dna as cells b, c, and d in a mitotically active tissue. cell a is most likely in
If you want to learn more check out which of these describes a solution surrounding a cell that has the same solute concentration as the cell
Don’t let emotions override cold, hard, facts. If beliefs are too
strong acknowledge that.
Do not oversimplify
“Some of my childhood memories could be accurate, others
mistaken, and some partly right and partly wrong.”
Cannot use a sample size of one to make broad assumptions and
to support an argument
Consider other interpretations
“Some ‘memories’ could be based on what my parents told me
later, not on my own recall.”
Look at all potential explanations.
“I may never know for sure whether some of my childhood
memories are real or accurate.”
From Aristotle to Zoroaster, they raised questions that today would be called psychological. We also discuss several other topics like As a result, what should you do as a Social Worker?
They wanted to know how people take in information through their senses, use information to problem solve, and become motivated to act in brave or villainous ways. They wondered about the elusive nature of emotion, and whether it controls us or is something we can control.
Overall, like today’s psychologists, they wanted to describe, predict, understand, and modify behavior to add to human knowledge and increase human happiness. Phrenology is a theory that different brain areas account for specific character and personality traits which can be “read” from bumps on the skull
It was a classic pseudosciencenonsense.
The Birth of Modern Psychology:
Wilhelm Wundt established the first psych lab
He utilized “trained introspection”training volunteers to carefully observe, analyze, and describe their own sensations, mental images, and emotional reactions. He proposed that psychology was indeed in fact a science and not philosophical.
Three Early Psychologies:
Structuralism an early psychological approach that emphasized the analysis of immediate experience into basic elements.
Functionalism an early psychological approach that emphasized the function or purpose of behavior and consciousness.
Psychoanalysisa theory of personality and a method of psychotherapy, originally formulated by Sigmund Freud, that emphasizes unconscious motives and conflicts.
Psychology’s Present: The Four Perspectives of Psychological Science The Biological perspective:
An approach that emphasizes bodily events and changes associated with actions, feelings, and thoughts.
E.g. electrical impulses shoot along the intricate pathways of the
Low serotonin levels can be the cause of depression.
Evolutionary psychology follows in the footsteps of functionalism by focusing on how genetically influenced behavior that was functional or adaptive during our evolutionary past may be reflected in many of our present behaviors, mental processes, and traits.
The message of the biological approach is that we cannot really know ourselves if we do not know our bodies.
The Learning Perspective:
Concerned with how the environment and experience affect the behavior of
human beings (and other animals).
The main focus is on the environmental rewards and punishers that maintain or discourage specific behaviors: acts and events taking place in an environment are observed.
The Cognitive Perspective:
Emphasizes what goes on in people’s headshow they reason, remember,
understand language, solve problems, explain experiences, acquire moral standards, and form beliefs.
It is the strongest force in psychology and has inspired a lot of research on the intricate workings of the mind.
The Sociocultural Perspective
Focuses on social and cultural forces outside the individual, forces that have an impact and shape every aspect of behavior, from how we kiss to what we eat and where we eat.
The impact of other people, the social context, and cultural rules, are often
So which perspective is the right perspective???
All perspectives are equally important but oe can make more sense due to
certain circumstances or how strongly you tend to focus on a certain perspective’s aspects.
Major Topics of Study
Sample Finding on Violence
The nervous system, hormones, brain chemistry, hereditary, evolutionary influences
Brain damage caused by birth
complications or child abuse might incline some people toward violence.
Environment and experience
Environmental determinants of
Environmental influences, observation and imitation, beliefs and values
Violence increases when it pays off. Violent role models can influence some children to behave aggressively .
Thinking, memory, language, problem solving, perceptions
Violent people are often quick to perceive provocation and insult.
Social and cultural contexts
Social rules and roles, groups,
People are often more aggressive in a crowd than they would be on their own Cultures based on herding rather than
Cultural norms, values, and
agriculture tend to train boys to be aggressive.
The study of psychological issues for the sake of knowledge
rather than for its practical application
The study of psychological issues that have direct, practical
significance; also, the application of psychological findings.
Major Nonclinical specialties in psychology can include:
Experimental psychologists conduct laboratory studies of learning, motivation, emotion, sensation and perception, physiology, and cognition. No not be misled by the term experimental, though; other psychologists also do experiments.
Educational psychologists study psychological principles that explain learning and research for ways to improve educational systems. Their interests range from the application of findings on memory and thinking to the use of rewards to encourage achievement.
Developmental Psychologists study how people change and grow over time physically, mentally, and socially. Some specialize in childhood issues; others study adolescence, young adulthood, the middle years, or old age.
Industrial/organizational psychologists study workplace behavior. They are concerned with group decision making, employee morale. Work motivation, productivity , job stress, personnel selection, marketing strategies, equipment design, ect.
Psychometric psychologists design and evaluate tests of mental abilities, aptitudes, interests, and personality. Nearly all of us have had firsthand experience with one or more of these tests in school, work, or in the military.
Types of Psychotherapists: Just as not all psychologists are psychotherapists, not all psychotherapists are clinical psychologists. Here are the major terms used to refer to mental health professionals.
Licensed clinical social worker (LCSW); marriage, family, and child counselor (MFCC)
A person who does psychotherapy; may have anything from no degree to an advanced professional degree; the term is unregulated
Diagnoses, treats, and/or studies mental and emotional problems, both mild and severe; had PhD, and EdD, or a PsyD.
Practices psychoanalysis; has specific training in this approach after an advanced degree (usually, but not always, an MD or a PhD); may treat any kind of emotional disorder or pathology
Does work similar to that of a clinical psychologist, but is likely to take a more biological approach; has a medical degree (MD) with a specialty in psychiatry.
Typically treats common individual and family problems, but may also deal with more serious problems such as addiction or abuse. Licensing requirements vary, but generally has at least an MA in psychology or social work.
Chapter 2: How Psychologists Do Research
Be able to distinguish between a theory, hypothesis, and an operational definition Theories
When scientists come up with an investigation they are usually
curious about a certain kind of behavior. This is where they form their theory which is an organized system of assumptions and principles where the purpose is to explain certain phenomena and.
A scientific theory is not a person’s personal opinion. Some are
not certain, they need to still be proved and others, for example, theory of evolution are accepted.
Hypothesis’ derive from theories.
They are statements that attempt to explain or describe a
They start as a general idea, then they must be made more
A hypothesis must be then examined to eventually lead to
Certain terms in the hypothesis must be given an operational
definition which specify how the terms in the hypothesis must be portrayed. Theory>Hypothesis>Predictions w/ operational definitions>Evidence
*It is important to know that science does not accept ideas on faith or authority. It only accepts ideas based off of data.*
Empirical evidence and skepticism are important characteristics of scientists. Principle of falsifiability is important because it makes sure that predictions are specific enough to expose a theory in a way that can be refuted, or disproved by counter evidence. (must predict what will happen and what will not happen)
Confirmation bias can interfere with this because we tend to look for and accept evidence that supports our theories and assumptions rather than accept what goes against our beliefs.
Hypothesis>Falsifiable Predictions>Possible outcomes> Conclusion that supports and refutes hypothesis
*Must be willing to tell others how ideas were formed, tested, and the results.* *Peer Review is important, along with publishing, and replicating experiments and research*
This is what makes science reliable.
Be sure to know the Types of Psychological Studies:
The group of participants in a study are referred to as “n”
Representative samples match population on important
characteristics. (characteristics depend on the research question).
Convenience samples are not ideal, but they are often used
frequently and they’re normally undergraduate college students.
Case Studies (or casy history) detailed description of a
particular individual being studied or treated. Provides insight on individuals behavior. E.g experiences, dreams, childhood, relationships.
Observational study meant to observe behavior in natural
habitat. E.g. observing a day care through a class mirror where you can see the
kids on the other side but they cannot see you. This is so you are able to observe behavior not influenced by anything.
Psychological tests evaluate and measure aptitude, personality,
interests, abilities, ect. Could be standardized tests, where they’re all uniform e.g ACTs. Scoring is based on norms which are developed after giving a uniform test to a large group of people who resemble those for whom the test is intended to test.
Surveys Can be unrepresentative due to volunteer bias (in other
words, people lie)
Measuring Correlations *CORRELATION DOES NOT EQUAL CAUSATION*
Examines the extent to which two things are related. In other words the relationship between them. Determines the strength of the relationships between two things. E.g.
High values of one variable are associated with high values of the other variable and low values of one variable are associated with low values of the other.
High values of one variable are associated with low values of the other.
A measure of correlation ranges from 1.00 to 1.00
Perfect correlation is +1.00
Perfect negative correlation is 1.00
Independent variablemanipulated variable
Dependent variablevariable predicted will be impacted by the independent variable
Types of Experiments:
Cross sectionaldifferent groups of participants compared AT ONE TIME e.g. 20 year olds, 50 year olds, and 80 year olds
Longitudinalsame group at DIFFERENT TIMES *over a few years* E.g. GROUP A>GROUP B> GROUP C
*Be sure to know why singleblind and double blind procedures are crucial to establishing the soundness of an experiment*
Chapter 3: Genes, Evolution, and Environment
Nature vs. Nurture
John Watson→ Behaviorism→ Biology does not rule life.
The Human Genome
The full set of genes in each cell coupled with noncoding DNA
The Human Genome project’s goal was to map the human genome→ it was marked as the world’s biggest collaboration project
It allows us to study individual differences e.g. traits, diseases.
Allows us to pinpoint linkage studies such as genetic markers (known chromosome that holds genetic deformity) e.g. BRCA gene (Angelina Jolie got tested for it. It is a gene that carries breast cancer)
They study changes in phenotype trait variations that are caused by
environmental factors. E.g. toxic chemicals, financial status, drug abuse ect.
Potentially inherited through evolution or external factors.
When genes become more or less common throughout time. Characteristics of a gene can phase out along with activities that go along with them.
Natural Selection→ Charles Darwin
Evolutionary process where genetically influenced traits are better suitable to adapt to an environment and survive, reproduce, than individuals without the specific trait.
Innate Human Characteristics:
E.g. Infant reflexes like sucking (helps with survival because that is how food is consumed), Moro reflex→ if infants feel unbalanced they throw their hands out. (Back when women carried their kids on their backs, sometimes babies would fall or come close to falling off, so the innate reaction would be for them to put their hands and arms out to catch themselves)
Emphasizes evolutionary explanations of social behaviors.
We behave certain ways to maximize our chance of passing on our genes We help biological relatives (who share our genes) also pass on these genes.
Sociobiology and Sex
Sexual strategies differ between male and females because of the different kinds of survival and mating problems that each sex has faced.
Women like older men
Men like younger women
REALITY OR STEREOTYPE?
Stereotypes VS. Actual behavior
What people say vs. what they do. For example, when people say what is ideal but then do not engage in it. Culture plays a huge role in this.
Proportion of heritance in a trait that is attributable to genetic variation within a group. For example, hand clasping, dimples, and eye color are all heritable attributes. Applies to a population NOT a single person.
Traits are malleable
Adopted children→ Shared genes→ Biological Parents
Adopted children→ Shared environment→ Adoptive parents
Fraternal and Identical Twins
Identical twins→ single egg and sperm→ splits in two→ implants→ as a result, 100% shared genes
Fraternal twins→ separate eggs fertilized by separate sperm→ implants→ as a result about 50% shared genes.
IQ and Heritability→ IQ is not solely inherited
Genotype→ influences but not solely responsible for traits
Phenotype→ Visible, physical structure. You could have a curly hair gene but not have curly hair.
The ability to respond to stimuli
Physiological mechanisms underlying intellectual growth
Predisposition to learn quickly
Environmental Influences on Intelligence
The growing brain of a fetus is susceptible to changes in the intrauterine environment.
Fetus’s central nervous system can be disrupted by toxic chemicals, alcohol, drugs, smoking, poor eating habits, lack of nutrition in the womb.
Low birth weight or premature birth
Family Background/Home Environment
Type of discipline
Family risk factors (parental unemployment)
Chapter 4: Psychological Neuroscience
Study of brain and nervous system to better understand the functioning and possibilities of the brain.
Includes the study of biological foundations.
Nervous System CNS, PNS
Gathers and processes information and produces response to stimuli. Central Nervous System
Protected by the spine
Can produce behaviors on its own (reflexes, like
when you accidentally place your hand on a hot surface and your hand removes itself quickly before your brain can process that your hand was on a hot surface.)
Peripheral Nervous System
- nerves collect info→ send to the spine→ sends to the brain
-Somatic nervous system→ sensory receptors and muscles→ permit voluntary movement
Autonomic Nervous System
Sympathetic Increases output of energy from your body. It revs you up. Parasympathetic Relaxes you and conserves energy. It slows you down.
**BODY JUST DOES THIS* e.g. when something scares you and you jump/ heart is racing, that is sympathetic nervous system, parasympathetic is what calms you down afterwards/ slows the heart rate.
**BOTH GO TOGETHER IN OPPOSING WAYS**
Communication Within the Nervous System
Neurons transfer info to and from and within central nervous system
Greek for “glue”
Provide neurons with nutrients
When neurons die off, glia cells remove waste.
Strengthen connections between neuron networks
Structure of the Neuron
3 partsvary in size depending on shape and function
Dendritesreceive messages from other nerve cells then transmit
to cell body
Cell body contains the nucleus which has DNA. Also cell body
controls cell growth. It has neurochemicals that keep the cell alive
Axon transmits messages. Attached is the myelin sheath, helps
messages travel faster. Fatty for insulation on axon and protection.
Production of new neurons from immature stem cells.
Stem Cell Research
Stem cells don’t know what they’re supposed to be, they’re easily manipulated. Embryonic stem cellstaken from miscarried babies, embryos, fetuses, aborted fetuses
non embryonicafter baby’s born, placenta comes out and the umbilical cord has stem cells in the cord bloodthere are also stem cells in breast milk and bone marrow.
Reprogramming adult stem cells
Can make these cells act a different way
Comes from adult skin
The Purpose of Stem Cells/ Research
Stem cells can be used to cure diseases, to address spinal cord injuries, alzheimer's, parkinson’s
Can also harvest organs for people who need organ replacements
Axon terminal releases neurotransmitters→ binds to a receptor it fits to→ receptor fries when there a change in electrical voltage→ voltages need to reach a certain point to fire.
Neural chemical that send messages at the synapse
Located in peripheral nerves, brain, spinal cord, and certain glands
They basically control the brain
Some follow specific paths
Parkinson’s disease treatment *Eldopa* helps regulate dopamine to decrease jerkiness.
Increases elevated mood
Helps us overall feel good
Controls heart rate
Sleep cycle regulation
Chemical substances secreted by glands that affect functioning organs Produced in endocrine glands. *pancreas, ovaries, testes, adrenal glands.*
Hormones of interest
melatonin associated with sleep
Oxytocin promotes attachment, trust. E.g. after a woman gives birth the brain fills with oxytocin. It is stimulated through touch, so skin to skin contact immediately after birth helps with it.
Adrenal hormonesinvolved with stress
Sex hormonestestosterone, estrogen, they contribute to sex arousal
Modulate how neurotransmitters and neurons function
Endorphinselevate mood and are released after orgasm, eating, and exercise
MAPPING THE BRAIN
Transcranial magnetic stimulation(TMS)
Stimulates brain using magnetic fields.
Records electrical activity in the brain, not very precisely.
Can show stimulus happening but not where.
Method of analyzing biochemical changes in the brain as they are
It can measure the brain’s glucose consumption, oxygen, and
MRI Magnetic Resonance Imaging
uses magnetic fields and radio receivers
Structural MRItakes pictures at points in time
Functional MRI it’s like a vine video, it shows short snippets of brain activity.