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First Week of PSY 2012

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by: Lindsay Everest

First Week of PSY 2012 Psy 2012

Lindsay Everest
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About this Document

These notes cover material from the first chapter and the accompanying two lectures given during the first week of class that concern the history and overview of the field of psychology.
Introduction to Psychology
Jennifer Bosson
Class Notes
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Lindsay Everest on Saturday December 26, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to Psy 2012 at University of South Florida taught by Jennifer Bosson in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 19 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Psychology in Psychlogy at University of South Florida.


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Date Created: 12/26/15
PSY 2012 Bosson Introduction to Psychology Chapter One Notes “Psychology: The Evolution of a Science” Section One: Evolution of Psychology I. PSYCHOLOGY is the scientific study of the MIND and BEHAVIOR A. MIND: private inner experience of perceptions, thoughts, memories, and feelings B. BEHAVIOR: observable actions of human beings and nonhuman animals C. Scientific study means it uses systematic, empirical (based on direct observation and measurement) methods II. What are the bases of perceptions, thoughts, memories, and feeling, or our subjective sense of self? A. Psychologists know that all of our subjective experiences arise from the electrical and chemical activities of our brains because… B. Technology like fMRIs can be used in studies to determine which parts of a brain are active when a person does certain activities or is induced to feel/think about certain things. III. How does the mind usually allow us to function effectively in the world? Psychological processes are said to be adaptive, which means that they promote the welfare and reproduction of organisms that engage in those processes (e.g., language enables us to form social groups and cooperate, memory allows us to avoid solving the same problems repeatedly). IV. Why does the mind occasionally function so ineffectively in the world? When we are not actively focused on what we are saying or doing, we may rely on well-learned habits that we execute automatically or without really thinking. Section Two: Historical Roots of Psychology I. What fundamental question has puzzled philosophers for millennia? THE NATURE V. NURTURE DEBATE A. NATIVISM: the philosophical view that certain kinds of knowledge are innate or inborn B. PHILOSOPHICAL EMPIRICISM: the view that all knowledge is acquired through experience II. Connecting the Brain to the Mind A. DUALISM: the problem of how mental activity can be reconciled and coordinated with physical behavior that arose when Descartes argued that the body and the mind are fundamentally different things B. Franz Joseph Gall suggested the mind influenced the body via the pineal gland. C. Gall also developed the theory of PHRENOLOGY: a now defunct theory that specific mental abilities and characteristics are localized in specific regions of the brain and that the size of bumps or indentations on the skull reflected the size of the brain regions beneath them III. STRUCTURALISM: the analysis of the basic elements that constitute the mind A. Helmholtz measured the speed of responses to stimulus of various parts of the body and found that they were different. This was significant because scientists at the time assumed all neurological processes must be instantaneous. Helmholtz demonstrated that reaction time could be a useful way to study the mind and brain. B. Analyzing CONSCIOUSNESS: a person’s subjective experience of the world and the mind 1. Wundt developed the method of INTROSPECTION: the subjective observation of one’s own experience without interpretation, which was used to study Structuralism; requires people to focus on a stimulus and list basic elements of the stimulus that are noticed (e.g., apple is crisp, cold, red) 2. Structuralism faded in popularity due to its introspective method as science require replicable observations IV. William James believed that trying to isolate and analyze a particular moment of consciousness (as Structuralism does) distorted its essential nature. He applied Darwin’s theory of natural selection to the study of the mind and developed FUNCTIONALISM: the study of the purpose mental processes serve in enabling people to adapt to their environment; James coined the term “stream of consciousness” as a result of this V. PSYCHOANALYTIC THEORY: an approach that emphasizes the importance of unconscious mental processes in shaping feelings, thoughts, and behaviors A. Developed by Freud who theorized that many of a patient’s problems could be traced to the effects of painful childhood experiences that the person could not remember and suggested that the powerful influence of these seemingly lost memories revealed the presence of an UNCONSCIOUS (the part of the mind that operates outside of conscious awareness but influences conscious thoughts, feelings, and actions) B. Became quite controversial because it suggested that understanding a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior required a thorough exploration of the person’s early sexual experiences and unconscious sexual desires/impulses C. Also became less influential because of Freud’s negative view of human nature (e.g., people as slaves to their forgotten childhood and primitive sexual impulses) VI. BEHAVIORISM: advocated that psychologists restrict themselves to the scientific study of objectively observable behavior A. Watson thought that a focus on behavior would encourage psychologists to develop practical applications in such areas as business, medicine, law, and education B. Pavlov’s and Skinner’s experiments became the building blocks of the theories of Watson and other behaviorists, which is why behaviorism is sometimes called Stimulus-Response Psychology VII. Maslow and Rogers pioneered HUMANISTIC PSYCHOLOGY: an approach to understanding human nature that emphasizes the positive potential of human beings; grew in influence during 1940s-1980s due to expansion of social/legal Civil Rights, women’s rights, sexual rights, etc. VIII. The Cognitive Revolution A. Dominating theory from 1960s until the present B. Computer provided the model for theorizing about unobservable mental activities like remembering, evaluating, assessing, thinking, believing, language, etc. C. COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY: the study of mental processes such as perception, thought, memory, and reasoning IX. The Rise of Cognitive Neuroscience A. BEHAVIORAL NEUROSCIENCE: an approach to psychology that links psychological processes to activities in the nervous system and other bodily processes; Methods of testing include: 1. Recording electrical/chemical responses in the brains of animals performing certain tasks 2. Observing the effects of brain damage in humans 3. Noninvasive brain scanning techniques developed in the 1980s B. Experiments like those that used brain scanning techniques to identify the brain hemispheres’ involvement in learning language inspired the development of COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE: field of study that attempts to understand the links between cognitive processes and brain activity Section Three: Subareas of Psychology and their Approaches I. CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY: study and/or treat psychological disorders and mental illnesses A. Developed from observations of HYSTERIA: a temporary loss of cognitive or motor functions, usually as a result of emotionally upsetting experiences B. Early psychologists Charcot, Janet, and others suggested that the brain can create many conscious selves that are not aware of each other’s existence II. COUNSELING: study and/or treat “problems of life” (e.g., stress, grief, shyness) III. BIOLOGICAL PSYCHOLOGY: brain and nervous system activity influence behavior and mental processes; includes all fields of neuroscience like Behavioral Neuroscience and Cognitive Neuroscience IV. SOCIAL-PERSONALITY PSYCHOLOGY: the study of the causes and consequences of sociality and personality traits A. Lewin developed “field theory” which explained that: Social Behavior = Internal forces (personality, goals, beliefs, etc.) + External forces (social pressure, culture, etc.) B. Asch examined the “mental chemistry” that allows people to combine small bits of information about another person into a full impression of that person’s personality V. INDUSTRIAL-ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY: behavior and functioning in business/industry settings VI. GESTALT PSYCHOLOGY: a psychological approach that emphasizes that we often perceive the whole rather than the sum of the parts A. Basically, the mind imposes organization on what it perceives B. Developed from Wertheimer’s study and interpretation of ILLUSIONS: errors of perception, memory, or judgment in which subjective experience differs from objective reality VII. EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY: explains mind and behavior in terms of the adaptive value of abilities that are preserved over time by natural selection (inspired by Darwin’s theory of natural selection) A. Evolutionary psychologists think of the mind as a collection of specialized “molecules” that are designed to solve the specific human problems our ancestor faced (e.g., jealousy led ancestors to guard their mates and aggress rivals, subsequently increasing the likelihood that they reproduce and pass on these “jealous genes”) B. Complication: All hypotheses cannot be tested VIII. CULTURAL PSYCHOLOGY: study of how much cultures reflect and shape the psychological processes of their members Section Four: The Profession of Psychology I. The American Psychological Association now includes over 150,000 members… a significant growth since its founding in 1892 II. Through the efforts of pioneers such as Mary Calkins, women have come to play an increasingly important role in the field and are not better represented than men. Minority involvement in psychology took longer, but the pioneering efforts of Francis Cecil Summer, Kenneth B. Clark, and others have led to increased participation of minorities in psychology. III. Psychologists prepare for research careers through graduate and postdoctoral training and work in a variety of applied settings, including schools, clinics, and industry.


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