Chapter 1 Notes-History and Perspective
Chapter 1 Notes-History and Perspective
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Date Created: 04/13/14
September 25 2013 PSYCH 101 Tori Timmons Chapter 1 Notes 39 Psychology The Evolution of a Science o William James travelled around Europe where people were developing a new science called psychology o Psychologists today are exploring perception memory creativity consciousness love anxiety addictions and more o They use technology to examine what happens in the brain when people feel anger recall a past experience undergo hypnosis or take an intelligence test o 3 key questions in Psychology What are the bases of perceptions thoughts memories and feelings or our subjective sense of self All of our subjective experiences arise from the electrical and chemical activities of our brains How does the mind usually allow us to function effectively in the world The function of the mind is to help us do what we have to do in order to prosper such as acquiring food shelter and mates Why does the mind occasionally function so ineffectively 39 The mind is a machine that can do many things quickly but the mind often trades accuracy for speed and versatility which may produce an occasional malfunction 39 We are all prone to a variety of errors and illusions o Psychology s Roots The Path to a Science of Mind September 25 2013 PSYCH 101 Tori Timmons William James was the first to ever give a psychology lecture but this does not mean no one had ever thought about human nature before Psychology s Ancestors The Great Philosophers 39 Greek thinkers such as Plato were among the first to struggle with fundamental questions about how the mind works 39 Plato argued in favor of nativism the philosophical view that certain kinds of knowledge are innate or inborn Aristotle believed that a child s mind is a blank slate on which experiences are written and he argued for philosophical empiricism the philosophical view that all knowledge is acquired through experience From the Brain to the Mind The French Connection The French philosopher Rene Descartes argued that body and mind are fundamentally different things The body is made of a material substance whereas the mind or soul is made of an immaterial or spiritual substance 39 Descartes suggests the mind and body are connect by the pineal gland and that is how the mind influences the body 39 The French physician Franz Joseph Gall also though that the brain and the mind were linked and observed that mental ability often increases with larger brain size and decreases with damage to the brain Gall developed the idea of phrenology a theory which stated that specific mental abilities and characteristics are localized in September 25 2013 PSYCH 101 Tori Timmons specific regions of the brain But phrenology was soon discredited because it was amounted to be a series of strong claims based on weak evidence Surgeon Paul Broca worked with a patient who suffered damage to a small part of his brain and Broca gained crucial insight that damage to a specific part of the brain impaired a specific mental function demonstrating that the mind and the brain are closely Hnked Structuralism Applying Methods from Physiology to Psychology Hermann von Helmholtz experimented with participants responses to stimuli He demonstrated that reaction time could be a useful way to study the mind and brain Wilhelm Wundt opened the first laboratory ever to be exclusively devoted to psychological studies which marked the official birth of psychology as an independent field of study Wundt believed that scientific psychology should focus on analyzing consciousness We may be conscious of sights sounds tastes smells bodily sensations thoughts or feelings By analyzing the relation between feelings and perceptual sensations Wundt hoped to uncover the basic structure of conscious experience James and the Functional Approach September 25 2013 PSYCH 101 Tori Timmons William James agreed on the importance of focusing on immediate experience and the usefulness of introspection as a technique but disagreed that consciousness could be broken down into separate elements Functionalism is the study of the purpose mental processes serve in enabling people to adapt to their environment William James s thinking was inspired by Charles Darwin39s recently published book James reasoned that mental abilities must have evolved because they were adaptive o The Development of Clinical Psychology The Path to Freud and Psychoanalytic Theory Psychologists began to realize that one can often understand how something works by examining how it breaks and thus began to study patients with psychological disorders French physician Jean Martin Charcot worked with hysterical patients William James believed that it was important to capitalize on these mental disruptions as a way of understanding the normal operation of the mind These observations fueled the imagination of Austrian physician Sigmund Freud who also worked with hysteric patients He theorized that patients problems could be traced to painful experiences that the person could not remember He suggested September 25 2013 PSYCH 101 Tori Timmons that the powerful influence of these seemingly lost memories revealed the presence of an unconscious mind Freud developed psychoanalytic theory to look at the importance of uncovering a person s early experiences and to illuminate the person s unconscious anxieties conflicts and desires This led to a form of therapy called psychoanalysis Psychoanalytic theory became quite controversial because it suggested that understanding a person s thoughts feelings and behavior required a thorough exploration of the person39s early sexual experiences and unconscious sexual desires Both Sigmund Freud and William James believed that mental aberrations peculiarities provide important clues into the nature of mind The Influence of Psychoanalysis and the Humanistic Response Within psychology psychoanalysis had its great impact on clinical practice but that influence has considerably diminished over the past 40 years because Freud s ideas were incredibly difficult to test After World War II psychologists Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers pioneered a movement called humanistic psychology an approach to understanding human nature that emphasizes the positive potential of human beings Humanistic psychologists focused on the highest aspirations that people had for themselves viewing them as free agents who September 25 2013 PSYCH 101 Tori Timmons have an inherent need to develop grow and attain their full potential Humanistic therapists sought to help people realize their full potential The development of the humanistic perspective was another reason why Freud39s ideas became less influential o The Search for Objective Measurement Behaviorism Takes Center Stage By the early 20 century the 3 main schools of psychological thought that had been developed structuralism functionalism and psychoanalysis differed substantially from each other but shared an important similarity each tried to understand the inner workings of the mind by examining conscious perceptions thoughts memories and feelings or by trying to elicit previously unconscious details A new approach called behaviorism developed as psychologists challenged the idea that psychology should focus on mental life Watson and the Emergence of Behaviorism John Broadus Watson believed that private experience was too idiosyncratic and vague to be an object of scientific inquiry He proposed that psychologists focus entirely on the study of behavior because behavior can be observed by anyone and can be measured objectively 39 Margaret Floy Washburn an animal behavior specialist argued the non human animals also have conscious mental experiences John Broadus Watson reacted to this claim with venom and September 25 2013 PSYCH 101 Tori Timmons decided that the only way to understand how animals learn and adapt was to focus solely on their behavior and suggested that the study of human beings should proceed on the same basis Watson was influenced by the work of Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov Pavlov noticed something interesting about the dogs he studied Not only did the dogs salivate at the sight of good but also at the sight of the person who fed them He discovered that the dogs could be trained to associate a stimulus with food Watson and other behaviorists made these two notions the building blocks of their theories BF Skinner and the Development of Behaviorism Burrhus Frederic Skinner completed his PhD studies in psychology and began to develop a new king od behaviorism Animals are not passive they act on their environments to find shelter food and mates Skinner wondered if he could develop behaviorist principles that would explain how they learned to act in those situations He saw evidence for what he called the principle of reinforcement which states that the consequences of a behavior determine whether it will be more of less likely to occur again and this concept became the foundation for Skinner39s new approach to behaviorism September 25 2013 PSYCH 101 Tori Timmons Skinner thought that this could be applied to the students in his daughter39s fourth grade class He though that the satisfaction of knowing they were correct in solving a problem would be reinforcing and would help the students learn We do things in the present that have been rewarding in the past and our sense of choosing to do them is nothing more than an illusion Skinner argued that an understanding of the principles by which behavior is generated could be used to increase the social welfare o The Return of the Mind Psychology Expands Psychologist Ulric Neisser played an important role in developing an alternative perspective to behaviorism The Emergence of Cognitive Psychology German psychologist Max Wertheimer studied illusions He reasoned that the perceived motion could not be explained in terms of the separate elements that cause the illusion but instead that it is perceived as a whole rather than as the sum of its two parts Wertheimer s interpretation or the illusion led to the development of Gestalt psychology German psychologist Kurt Lewin argued that one could best predict a person s behavior in the world by understanding the person s subjective experience of the world September 25 2013 PSYCH 101 Tori Timmons Lewin realized it was not the stimulus but rather the person s construal interpretation of the stimulus that determined the person s subsequent behavior Aside from a handful of pioneers psychologists ignored mental processes until the computer was invented This had enormous practical impact and also enormous conceptual impact The emergence of the computer led to a reemergence of interest in mental processes across all of psychology and spawned a new approach called cognitive psychology Technology and the Development of Cognitive Psychology Cognitive psychologists studied what happens when people try to pay attention to several things at once and discovered that humans have a limited capacity to handle incoming information This limit is a fundamental feature of human cognition and can explain many of the errors that people make We can pay attention to and briefly hold in memory about 7 give or take 2 pieces of information Noam Chomsky argued that similarly to how a computer program contains sets of step by step rules language relies on mental rules that allow people to understand and produce novel words and sentences Chomsky provided a clever detailed and thoroughly cognitive account of language that could explain many of the phenomena that the behaviorist account could not September 25 2013 PSYCH 101 Tori Timmons The Brain Meets the Mind The Rise of Cognitive Neuroscience 39 We fail to appreciate the fact that mental activities depend on intricate operations carried out by the brain This dependence is revealed by dramatic cases in which damage to a particular part of the brain causes a person to lose a specific cognitive ability Karl Lashley was a psychologist who worked with John Broadus Watson He hoped to find the precise spot in the brain where learning occurred 39 To learn about the relationship between brain and behavior behavioral neuroscientists observe animals responses as they perform specific tasks The neuroscientists can record electrical or chemical responses in the brain as the task is performed or later remove specific parts of the brain to see how performance is affected In the 1980s technological breakthroughs led to non invasive brain scanning techniques This made it possible for psychologists to watch what happens inside the human brain as a person performs a certain task 39 Psychologists can also use scanning techniques to observe healthy people performing various cognitive tasks in order to determine which brain areas are particularly active The Adaptive Mind The Emergence of Evolutionary Psychology September 25 2013 PSYCH 101 Tori Timmons Psychology s renewed interest in mental processes and its growing interest in the brain were two developments that led psychologists away from behaviorism Studies on rats showed that nativism the idea that certain kinds of knowledge are innate may actually be more accurate Rats learned some things more easily than others and it was deduced that it was the rat s ancestors learning histories that determined the rat s ability to learn Evolutionary psychologists think of the mind as a collection of specialized modules that are designed to solve human problems that our ancestors faced eating mating and reproducing The brain is not an all purpose computer instead it is a computer that was built to do a few things well and everything else not at all However it is questioned how evolutionary hypotheses can ever be tested We don t have a record of our ancestors thoughts feelings and actions and fossils won t provide much information about the evolution of mind and behavior o Beyond The Individual Social and Cultural Perspectives Human beings are fundamentally social animals who are a part of a vast network of family friend teachers and coworkers Psychologists recognize that they cannot understand people without looking at this The Development of Social Psychology September 25 2013 PSYCH 101 Tori Timmons The rise of Nazism led many of Germany39s most talented scientists to immigrate to America These German psychologists were strongly influenced by Gestalt psychology and while the study looked at the visual perception of objects psychologists thought it could also encapsulate a basic truth about the relationship between social groups and the individuals that constitute them These psychologists were the first to generate theories that resembled theories in natural science and they were the first to conduct experiments to test their social theories Psychologists examine the conditions under which people can influence one another to think and act in inhuman or irrational ways This field of psychology remains dedicated to understanding the brain as a social organ the mind as a social adaptation and the individual as a social creature The Emergence of Cultural Psychology Cultural psychologists study a wide range of phenomena ranging from visual perception to social interaction as they seek to understand which of these phenomena are universal and which vary from place to place and time to time Today most psychologies agree that most psychological phenomena can be influenced by culture some are completely determined by it and others seem to be entirely unaffected September 25 2013 PSYCH 101 Tori Timmons It seems likely that the most universal phenomena are those that are closely associated with the basic biology that all human beings share and conversely the least universal phenomena are those rooted in the varied socialization practices that different cultures evolve o The Profession of Psychology Past and Present William James and 6 other psychologists came together and formed an organization that represented psychology as a profession the American Psychological Association APA The Growing Role of Women and Minorities The proportion of students receiving PhDs in psychology who are female has significantly increased since 1950 In 1905 Mary Calkins became the first woman to serve as president of the APA Today women play leading roles in all areas of psychology The first member of a minority group to become president of the APA was Kenneth Clark who was elected in 1970 Clark studied the self image of African American children and argued that segregation of the races creates great psychological harm What Psychologists Do Research Careers Psychologists work in counseling to assist people in dealing with work or career issues or common crises such as divorce the loss of a job or the death of a loved one Psychologists are also quite active in educational settings September 25 2013 PSYCH 101 Tori Timmons KEY WORDS Psychology The scientific study of mind and behavior Mind Our private inner experience of perceptions thoughts memories and feelings Behavior Observable actions of human beings and nonhuman animals Nativism The philosophical view that certain kinds of knowledge are innate or inborn Philosophical The philosophical view that all knowledge is acquired through Reaction time Empiricism experience Phrenology A now defunct theory that specific mental abilities and characteristics ranging from memory to the capacity for happiness are localized in specific regions of the brain Physiology The study of biological processes especially in the human body Stimulus Sensory input from the environment The amount of time taken to respond to a specific stimulus Consciousness A person39s subjective experience of the world and the mind Structuralism The analysis of the basic elements that constitute the mind Introspection The subjective observation of one s own experience Functionalism The study of the purpose mental processes serve in enabling people to adapt to their environment Natural Charles Darwin39s theory that the features of an organism that selection help it survive and reproduce are more likely than other features to be passed onto subsequent generations Hysteria A temporary loss of cognitive of motor functions usually as a result of emotionally upsetting experiences September 25 2013 PSYCH 101 Tori Timmons Unconscious The part of the mind that operates outside of conscious awareness but influences conscious thoughts feelings and Reinforcemen actions Psychoanalyti Sigmund Freud39s approach to understanding human behavior c theory that emphasizes the importance of unconscious mental processes in shaping feelings thoughts and behaviors Psychoanalysis A therapeutic approach that focuses on bringing unconscious material into conscious awareness to better understand psychological disorders Humanistic An approach to understanding human nature that emphasizes psychology the positive potential of human beings Behaviorism An approach that advocates that psychologists restrict themselves to the scientific study of objectively observable behavior Response An action of physiological change elicited by a stimulus The consequences of a behavior that determine whether it neuroscience t will be more likely that the behavior will occur again Illusions Errors of perception memory or judgment in which subjective experience differs from objective reality Gestalt A psychological approach that emphasizes that we often psychology perceive the whole rather than the sum of the parts Cognitive The scientific study of mental processes including psychology perception thought memory and reasoning Behavioral An approach to psychology that links psychological processes to activities in the nervous system and other bodily processes Cognitive neuroscience A field that attempts to understand the links between cognitive processes and brain activity September 25 2013 PSYCH 101 Tori Timmons Evolutionary psychology A psychological approach that explains mind and behavior in terms of the adaptive value of abilities that are preserved over time by natural selection Social psychology The subfield of psychology that studies the causes and consequences of interpersonal behavior Cultural psychology The study of how cultures reflect and shape the psychological processes of their members
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