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The Science of Psychology (part 1) notes

by: Lauren Thompson

The Science of Psychology (part 1) notes PSYC-11762-001

Marketplace > Kent State University > Psychlogy > PSYC-11762-001 > The Science of Psychology part 1 notes
Lauren Thompson
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About this Document

These notes cover the first week of General Psychology, these will help with information on the Online quizzes and the first exam
General Psychology
Robin L. Joynes
Class Notes




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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Lauren Thompson on Monday February 1, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSYC-11762-001 at Kent State University taught by Robin L. Joynes in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 61 views. For similar materials see General Psychology in Psychlogy at Kent State University.


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Date Created: 02/01/16
The Science of Psychology (Part 1) The Science of Psychology  Is everything you do or think o For example: people watching is a type of psychology  Observing human nature in an informal setting  What is psychology? o Scientific study of behavior and mental processes  Into the realm of Science: o Scientific observations need to be unbiased or objective  Stick with what is directly observable  What is publically verifiable  What the public can all agree on o Subjective opinion  Not everyone agrees  Shared by one person or a few others  What does it mean to be scientific? o 2 different approaches:  Empirical Approach  How to keep observations from being biased  Empiricism is gathering information by using 5 senses  Can answer questions using 5 senses as well  Critical Thinking  Idea that not only are we able to test our theories by using the empirical approach we can evaluate what happened  What are behaviors? o Overt, readily observed on the outside o Actions people do  What we can see them do, how they react to something  What are mental processes? o Covert, hidden  We cannot see what people are thinking  Problem: people lie  How do we tell what people are thinking? o We observe behaviors  Observing behaviors can help you infer indirectly what they are thinking by their actions  Goals of Psychology o To describe behavior  What is it that people do?  How many people do it? o Explain behavior  Why does this happen? The Science of Psychology (Part 1)  What cause this to occur?  Are there multiple reasons or one thing? o Predict behavior  Understanding why people behave this way  This is a powerful tool* o Control/Change behavior  How can we change this?  How can we change this person's bad habit?  History o Philosophers and psychologists really ask the same type of questions but, what makes psychology different?  It’s a young field  Started in 1879  Origins of Psychology o Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920)  Founding Father of modern psychology  From Germany  He was a philosopher that began experimenting to try and see the behavior of the mind  1879, developed the first known psychology laboratory  Used the scientific method to answer questions  Wundt's Psychological Approach o Structuralism Describing the "mind" by breaking thoughts down into their  most basic elements  There are different ways you can study the mind  Wundt believed we could break down thoughts into their individual components to better understand the mind  This is known as a "Structural Approach" o Wundt believed that the more complex a thought was, the longer the reaction time  This was a way to try and help understand what was going on during the thought process  Long reaction time: A complex thought  Short reaction time: A simple thought o Introspection  You show a group a particular stimulus and ask what sensations are felt  What is wrong with this method?  People interpret things differently, this method is subjective not objective, so in the end everyone is right according to how they feel about the stimuli  The origins of Psychology The Science of Psychology (Part 1) o Gestalt psychology  People did not agree with Wundt's approach  Believed mind is a whole unit, that we needed to look at the bigger picture so we do not miss anything  Remember the drawings we looked at in class, the man made of books  You see individual books when looking up close but, if you look at the bigger picture you see a man reading a book  Psychology in America o Functionalism was beginning to make an appearance in America  Understanding the purpose of thoughts and behavior in an individual adaptation to the environment o William James was a proponent of Functionalism  This was happening around the same time as Charles Darwin and the theory of Natural selection was coming into play as well  James took the idea of natural selection and used it to explain out mental processes  We adapt our thoughts to what we need to do to survive  James studied the purpose of our thoughts and behaviors  Adaptation in our environment o William James (1842-1910) developed functionalism as well  Differences between structuralism and functionalism are these:  What is the mind for vs. what is the mind  Both approaches are still around today  Now evolutionary psychology and functionalism are tied together now  Early 1900s o Behaviorism  Emphasizes the scientific study of observable behavioral responses and the environments that determine those responses  In 1915 John Watson decided that we needed to focus on things that are observable  Behaviors  We can trust behaviors because they are verifiable  Use the empirical approach  Only use questions that are testable The Science of Psychology (Part 1)  Watson used a form of classical conditioning taken from Ivan and the dogs experiment  Very American idea: If you give me infants I can turn them into whatever I want.  Nature vs. nurture: genetics pay a role in how you grow up, environment shapes you as well  Watson believed nurture is what shapes who you are  Watson's famous "Little Albert Experiment"  He trained Albert to acquire a new behavior  First shown a rat, he is interested  A loud noise is then sounded every time the rat appears, this trained Albert to now cry whenever he sees a rat because he associates it with the loud noise  Watson was going to reverse this behavior called: Counter Conditioning  Albert was taken away from him before he could perform this  Psychology Today o In 1960's things started to change: Time of a lot of revelations o There are seven contemporary approaches in Psychology  Biological, Behavioral, Psychodynamic, Humanistic, Cognitive, Evolutionary, and Sociocultural o Biological Approach  Human and animal behavior is seen as the direct result of events in the body  Looking at Physiology  Behavior and mental processes is a direct result of what is going on in the brain  Study brain  Measure what brain activity is controlling a particular behavior  Examples:  Measuring sweat on your skin when you tell a lie  Studying brain areas involved when we recall a memory o Behavioral Approach  Emphasizes the scientific study of observable behavioral responses and the environments that determine those responses  Started by B.F Skinner The Science of Psychology (Part 1)  Theory of operant learning:  Behaviors are more likely to occur when followed by pleasant things, less likely to occur when followed by unpleasant things  The idea that you can modify a persons behavior using carious rewards and punishments o Psychodynamic Approach  First clinical psychology: help people with mental issues  Sigmund Freud said we should delve into their feelings  There was a need to help patients with psychological issues  People have inner struggles that happen unconsciously  Freud said that mental and behavioral problems are caused by conflict between acceptable behavior and unacceptable, unconscious desires  Unconscious desires come out in dreams and manifest in psychological behaviors o Humanistic Approach  Started by Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow, late 1950's early '60's  Emphasizes free will, self actualization and human nature as growth seeking experiences and motivations for behavior  We become psychologically distressed when we are trying to fulfill our full potential  Everyone has this inner desire to be the best person that they can be  Type of client centered therapy to help reach our full potential o Cognitive Approach  Study how we think, remember, store and use information from our environment using a vast array of mental processes  In the 1950's and 1960's people began getting bored studying behaviors  "Cognitive Revolution"  We were thinking of new creative ways to study psychology  Examples:  How do we learn languages?  What is intelligence o Evolutionary Approach The Science of Psychology (Part 1)  Focus on natural selection, adaptation, and the evolution of behavior. Causes of behavior are attributed to those that lead to greater reproductive success  Type of modern day functionalism  Why do we behave the way we do?  Example:  Evolutionary theory of mate selection o Sociocultural Approach  Emphasizes social interactions and cultural determinants of behavior and mental processes- specifically, ethnicity, religion, occupation, and socioeconomic status as predictors of behavior  Deals with the environment we grow up in and how they affect the way we behave  Examples:  Do people who work the night shift have shorter life spans?


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