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Studying mind and behavior.

Studying mind and behavior.


Goals for the Exam: Study these 6 parts and you will Succeed 1st Part to Study before Exam:

Studying mind and behavior.

1. What psychology is and isn’t:

 Studying mind and behavior

 How this relates to, predicts, and causes brain function

o Behavior: measurable activities of an organism

o The Mind: mental processes- consciousness, emotions,  

motivations, cognition

o Roots of Psychology: union of biology, medicine, and philosophy:  54 divisions of American psychological association

o Psychology: MA, PhD, PsyD

 Clinical counseling

 Does not prescribe medications

 Usually performs psychotherapy

 Psychiatry: MD

 Knowledge restricted to causes and treatments of  

psychological disorders

 Pharmacotherapy

 Doesn’t perform psychotherapy

2. Introduction to Critical Thinking

 Curious, skeptical, humble, public

o Curiosity: Children are natural scientists: Buckminster Fuller

Who is William Wundt?

 Observation and experimentation (objective evidence vs.  


 Skeptical:

 Need a Question

 Is there evidence?

 Is Evidence Accurate?

 Do we have the whole picture?

 Humble

 Knowledge is tentative and can change

 Limitation section in papers- shows humility in research

 Public

 Try to make knowledge known to the public

 Scientists are pressured to come up with reliable conclusions  Results in faulty research or scientific misconduct

 Vs common sense, intuition, and authority

o Common Sense:

 Hindsight Bias: believed an event was predictable

 Knew it all along phenomenon: people perceive events that have already occurred as having been more predictable than that  

were prior to event happening

 Intuition:

 effortless, immediate, automatic, feeling or thoughts vs. explicit  conscious reasoning

Logical positivism and humanistic perspective.

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 presence of faulty assumptions: often think we know more than  we actually do

o Authority:

 Provides a mental short cut that can often be unreliable and  inaccurate

 Ex: Doctors, politicians, parents, news outlets

3. Mind is Adaptive: how are we able to adapt and change in new environments  We can adapt in positive and negative ways

 Biologically primed to be afraid of heights: can adapt and overcome o Example of positive adaptation

4. Approaching Understanding: many different levels of analysis  Biopsychosocial Approach: ever widening circle of knowledge o Biological: psychical body contributes neurochemical and psychological functions

o Psychological: personality differences that impact how people feel and  think

o Social- Cultural: how we interact and influence each other

 How different cultures shape thoughts, feelings, and actions of  people in them

 Guns don’t kill people, people kill people: We also discuss several other topics like Can be used to confirm whether test items fall into hypothesized groups.

 Biologically: bullet entered cerebellum and medulla

 Psychological: Ex-husband shot her boyfriend

 Social- cultural: Despair brought on by poverty and abusive  

father/ family

2nd Part to Study before Exam:

History of Psychology: Schools of Thought

Beginning of Psychology: 1879- philosophy, biology, medicine

 First lab

o William Wundt Don't forget about the age old question of What is the treatment of intestinal disorders?

o Structuralism: what do we feel

o Introspection (technique of structuralism)

 William James

o Functionalism: how and why we feel certain things

The Unconscious:

 Human behavior is determined by mental processes operating below the  level of awareness

 Important role of childhood Experiences

 Sigmund Freud


 Challenged the focus of psychology on conscious and unconscious mental  processes

 Emphasizes environmental effects on behavior

 Behavior can be modified (reward and punishment)

 John B. Watson, B.F. Skinner

Social Psychology: 1900-1940’s

 Focused on the power of the situation on the way people are shaped through  interactions with others

 How to understand atrocities in WW1

 Beyond the individual

Humanistic Psychology: 1960’s

 How people can come to know and accept themselves and be nurtured in  order to reach their unique potential

 Carl Rogers, Abraham Maslow Don't forget about the age old question of what are the involvement of active and passive transport in muscle function?

Cognitive Revolution:

 Focus on how we perceive, process, and remember information  Concerned with higher- order mental functions such as intelligence, thinking,  language, memory, and decision making We also discuss several other topics like what is the nationality of Eva Hesse?

 Cognition affects behavior

 Aaron Beck: cognitive behavioral therapies

Positive Psychologists:

 Focus on personal growth rather than on pathology

 Complements traditional psychological behaviors

 Martin Seligman: health is not the absence of an illness

Representation in Psychology:

 Mary Whiton Calkins: first to set up a lab

o First female president of APA 1905

 Margaret Flay Washburn

o First to receive PhD

 Francis Cecil Sumner (1920)

o First to receive PhD

o Furthered field of psychology

 Kenneth Bancroft Clark (1914-2005)

o Doll study: 200 black children who were given a choice of a white and a black doll

o Showed psychological damage resulting from segregation

Most research of psychology has come from:

 W=western

 E= educated

 I= industrialized

 R= rich

 D= democratic

Research Methods

The Scientific Method: Theory, Hypothesis, Research

Theory: organizes facts to simplify information, provide an explanation for behavior,  and provide a deeper understanding of a phenomenon

 E.g: Cognitive Dissonance- contradiction within myself, shouldn’t be eating  animals, but wears animal skin shoes- change behavior or change beliefs to  make them unified We also discuss several other topics like The largest single preventable cause of low birth weight in newborns is what?

 Describes behavior, makes predictions about future behavior

Hypothesis: Operational Definitions- describes the procedure used to test the theory so that it can be tested and replicated

Research: descriptive, correlational, experimental= replicate

Internal Validity: to what extent can the effects of one variable be attributed to  another

 Are we able to establish a cause and effect association?

 Threats: time, maturity, history, regression to the mean, demand  characteristics, experimenter expectancies

External Validity: The extent of the findings applies in other settings at other times,  with different participants, when different procedures are used

3rd Part to Study before Exam:

The Scientific Method

 Theory: organizes facts to simplify information- provides explanation for  behavior and understanding

o Theory of Cognitive Dissonance: people do something that violates  their view of themselves and causes uncomfortable state of dissonance that motivates change

 Hypothesis: testable prediction- operational definitions describe the  procedure used to test a theory and be replicated

 Research: goal is to repeat experiment

Internal and External Validity:

 Internal- to what extent can effects of one variable be attributed to another extent to which it is free from errors

o Time ( maturation history, regression to the mean)

o Demand characteristics

o Experimenter expectancies ( how participants should preform, affects  participants behavior)

 External- findings apply in other settings, times, and with different  participants when different procedures are used

o Measures accuracy of experiment

o Apply results of study to outside world

 Specific Research Methods: 


 Case Studies: examine individual or group, rarely occurring phenomenon,  can’t generalize population

 Naturalistic observation: study behavior in natural setting without  manipulation or controlling situation (cognitive biases, record keeping,  reactivity, influencing events, effects on observer)

 Surveys: examines many cases but not in depth


 What is relationship between 2 variables, direction and shape of relationship o Positive: variables increase and decrease with one another

o Negative: one increases, other decreases

 Not a form of cause and effect observation


 Independent and dependent variables, confounding variables  Defining Characteristics:

o Manipulation- instead of measurement of iv

o Holding all other variables constant

o Participants are equal

 Conditions of IV: control, comparison, experimental

o Equivalence in experience lets you rule out nonspecific treatment  effects or placebo effects

Validity and Reliability:

 Validity: does data address hypothesis

 Reliability: stability and consistency of measurements

Measures of central tendency:

 Central tendency- value around which scores cluster and typical data set  Designed to summarize data with single number- mean, median, mode o Mean- average

o Median- middle score

o Mode- most common score

Measures of variability:

 Provide and idea of how similar and diverse scores are

 Range and Standard Deviation

o Range: highest minus lowest

o Standard Deviation: small (don’t deviate much from mean) large  (deviates greatly from mean)

Inferential Statistics: whether effects are real or are due to chance

 If findings have a low possibility of just coming from chance, then it is seen as a significant study

 Results occur less than 5/100 because of chance factors alone Epistemology: logical positivism and humanistic perspective

 Logical: tightly controlled experiments

o Logical analysis of data

 Humanistic: logic made to serve people

o People best studied in natural environments

o Scientist is empathetic and intuitive

4th Part to Study before Exam:

Biology of the Mind:

Nervous System- biological system created for communication throughout body Neurons: dendrite, axon, axon terminal, synapsis, etc.

Glial Cell: removes dead neurons and protects living neurons

 Support brain structure by maintaining neuron structure

Micro level: communication through neurotransmitters

Nervous System-


o Brain and spinal cord


o Somatic ( voluntary control) and autonomic (involuntary control)  systems

o Autonomic: sympathetic (responds to threats) and parasympathetic  (returns body to resting state)

 Nerves

 Neurons: sensory (afferent), motor (efferent), interneurons

CNS: Spinal Cord

 Conveys information from the PNS to the brain- incoming sensory data and  outgoing movement commands to muscles

 Coordinates spinal reflexes- simple automatic actions not involving the brain Brain: old and new

 Old: basic functions, memory, emotions, basic drives

o Brainstem( heartbeat and breathing), medulla( heartbeat and  breathing), pons (movement and sleep), thalamus (sensory relay),  reticular formation (arousal and alertness), cerebellum (movement,  balance, learning movements unconsciously)

 Limbic System: emotional expression, memory, motivation

o Amygdala (emotion, fear, memory), hypothalamus (hunger, body  temp, body clock), hippocampus (memory, neural maps of places and  memory formation)

 New: perceiving, thinking, speaking

o Cerebrum- cerebral cortex- covers two hemispheres- mental activity billions of neurons

 Gray matter- surface

 White matter, inner brain structures

 Lobes: frontal (planning, movement, personality), parietal  

( touch and body awareness) , occipital (primary visual center),  temporal (reception and auditory stimulation)

 Central fissure and longitudinal fissure

 Prefrontal cortex (rational activity), motor association area,  

Primary motor cortex, primary somatosensory area, primary  

sensory cortex, sensory association area, visual association  

area, visual cortex

 Corpus Callosum: two hemispheres communicate, split brain if  severed

 Left Hemisphere: language, math, logic, analytical thinking

 Right Hemisphere: verbal associations, creativity, visual and  spatial reasoning, auditory processing

 Hemineglect: damage to right parietal lobe- fail to notice  

anything on left side

5th Part to Study before Exam:

Consciousness: awareness of ourselves and environment- different states of  consciousness

Automaticity: level of awareness of behaviors

Dual Processing: conscious and unconscious track

Novel Problems: uncertainties associated with performance and require you to  attend and to evaluate present information

Habitual Action: does not require continuous attention to behavior or circumstances, free up thoughts

Visual Attending:

 primitive features at same time, attend one feature- Parallel Processing  2 features take longer and requires more attention- sequential processing

Auditory Attending:

 Difficult to perform 2 tasks at same time- selective

Selective Inattention: limited capacity for sensory information so we screen  incoming information only letting in most important info

 Inattention blindness

 Change blindness- cannot attend everything- influences memory Circadian Rhythm: body clock

 Light, dark most powerful zeitgeber

 Regulated by suprachiasmatic nucleus

Diurnal vs nocturnal

Stages of Sleep: NREM (90 mins), REM sleep

 NREM 1: 5-15 mins

o Light sleep

o Sense of falling

o Non rapid eye movement

 NREM 2: 5-15 mins

o Light sleep

o Body temp drops

o Slow heart rate

o Non rapid eye movement

 NREM 3: 5-15 mins each

o Wave like sleep, deepest sleep

o Body repairs itself

o Non rapid eye movement

 REM- 10 mins first cycle

o Dreaming

o High brain activity

o Rapid eye movement

o Sleep cycle resets

Sleep Regulation:

 Homeostatic

 Circadian

Sleep Disorders:

 Insomnia: difficulty initiating sleep or staying asleep

o Predisposing-worry, hyperactivity, old age, female

o Precipitating- acute occurrences, medical illness

o Perpetuate- excessive time in bed

 Non sleep behaviors in bed

 Napping

 Narcolepsy: disorder of periodic excessive sleepiness

 Muscle paralysis

 Sleep disruption

 Hallucinations

 REM dysfunction

 Breathing-related sleep disorders

 Loss of oxygen during sleep

 Daytime fatigue

 Brief periods of not breathing

 REM Behavior Sleep Disorder

 Normal paralysis occurring during REM sleep is disabled

 Physically act out vivid dreams with vocal sounds and  


 Associated with neurological conditions, Lewy body dementia  and Parkinson’s

 Sleep Walking

 Repeated episodes of complex motor behavior during deep  


 Begins in slow-wave sleep

 Reduced alertness, blank stare, unresponsive

 Routine and lack of complexity- cases of opening things and  

operating machinery

 Novel: sleep texting, sleep shopping, sleep eating

 Sleep Terror

 Abrupt awakening from sleep accompanied by panic or  


 First 1/3 of sleep

 Autonomic arousal

 Dreams not recalled

NREM Dreams

 Dull, mundane

 Reviewing schoolwork, planning wardrobe

REM Dreams

 Bizarre

 Intense emotions

 Illogical, uncritical acceptance of events

Dream theories

 Unconscious Conflicts:

o Dreams consist of manifest content and latent content

o Hidden content represents unconscious conflicts

o Manifest content helps to protect you from unconscious thoughts o Lacks scientific support

 Activation-Synthesis Hypothesis

o Random neural stimulation during dreams activates mechanisms that  are typically involved in sensory input

o Mind makes sense of random visual activity by synthesizing it with  stored memories

 Threat-Rehearsal Strategies

o Dreams are adaptive in that they stimulate threatening events o Allows you to rehearse coping strategies

 Information Processing and Physiological function

o IP: dreams function to organize the days cognitive material and  consolidate memories

o PF: dreams provide periodic neural stimulation to develop and preserve neural pathways

6th Part to Study before Exam:

Sensation and Perception:

 Reality is dependent upon two basic procedures:

o Sensation: gathering information, the passive process of bringing  information from the outside world into the body and to the brain o Perception: interpreting information, the active process of selecting  and organizing incoming information

 Top-Down: perception

o Brains use of existing knowledge to interpret sensory stimuli  Bottom-Up: sensation

o Processing of sensory information as it enters the sensory structures  and travels to the brain

Psychophysics: psychological experience of physical stimuli- limits of human  sensory system

Absolute Threshold:

 Smallest amount of stimulus that can be detected

 The point at which the level of intensity of a stimulus lists the stimulus over  the threshold of conscious awareness

 Hearing can detect 50% of all signals

 Ex: mosquito ring tone, young people can perceive, older people cannot  perceive

Difference Threshold:

 “just noticeable difference”- minimum difference we can detect  What is the smallest difference in brightness between two lights that we can  see?

Weber’s Law:

 Noticeable difference between 2 stimuli based on a constant proportion of the original stimulus rather than on a fixed amount of difference

Sensory Adaptation:

 Disappearance of sensitivity to repetitive or unchanging stimuli  Adaptive- its more important to detect new stimuli than constant danger

Perceptual organization:

 Incoming sensory data must be organized into meaningful wholes  Gestalt psychologists: developed principles to explain how the brain  automatically organizes visual input into meaningful holistic objects

Gestalt principles:

 Figure and ground principle

o Brain organizes sensory input into figure and ground (background)  Law of proximity

o Visual elements are grouped together if they are close to eachother  Law of good continuation

o Elements requiring the fewest changes or interruptions will be grouped together

 Law of closure

o Tendency to complete incomplete figures to form meaningful objects Memory: capacity to acquire and retain skills and information

 Structure that accounts for this capacity

 Memory is selective and Reconstructive

o British psychologist Barlett

o Read stories about other cultures

o Eliminated/ changed unfamiliar details

o Added details to make story coherent

o Sometimes added a moral

 Information Processor:

o Typing on keyboard- encoding

o Stored on disk- storage

o Recover information for use- retrieval

Modal Memory model:

 Sensory memory, short term or working memory, long term memory  Short term: 20-30 second

o Analogous to RAM

o Information transfers into long-term memory or is lost forever o Place to rehearse information so it can be transferred to long-term  memory

o Place to bring information from long-term memory to work with it o Current thoughts

 Memory span: average # of items you can remember across a series of memory span trials

o Usually 5-9 chunks of info at once

 Chunking: meaningful unit of information (letters, numbers, etc)  Long term:

o Capacity is essentially unlimited

o Differs in capacity and duration from working memory

o Both long and short term work independently

Distinguishing between Long term and Working memory:

 Primacy effect: better memory people have for words presented at the  beginning of a list

 Regency effect: better memory people have for words presented at the end  of a list

Long term memory systems:

 Explicit memory- semantic and episodic

 Semantic- factual knowledge

 Episodic- personal life memories

 Memory for factual knowledge and personal experiences

 Requires conscious recall

 ‘declarative memory’

 Implicit memory- procedural

 Influences our behavior but does not require conscious  


 ‘nondeclarative memory’

 Prospective memory

 Future oriented- you are remembering to do something in the  future

 Involves both automatic and controlled processes

 Encoding specificity principle

 Cues present during encoding serve as the best cues for  


Retrieval Cues

 External cues- content dependent memory

o Ex: external environment, odors, music

 Internal cues- state dependent memory

o Ex: internal cognitive processes, mood, psychological states Amnesia: condition in which there is significant impairment to long-term memories  Resulting from disease, brain injury, or psychological trauma

Anterograde amnesia- the inability to form new long-term explicit memories for  events after a traumatic injury or brain surgery

Retrograde Amnesia- inability to remember events prior to, especially just before,  surgery or trauma

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