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General Psychology

by: Brandy Smitham DVM

General Psychology PSY 201

Brandy Smitham DVM
GPA 3.68


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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Brandy Smitham DVM on Thursday October 22, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to PSY 201 at Tri-County Technical College taught by Staff in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 12 views. For similar materials see /class/226535/psy-201-tri-county-technical-college in Psychlogy at Tri-County Technical College.


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Date Created: 10/22/15
FOCUS ON VOCABULARY AND LANGUAGE Chapter 1 Page 1 to remedy their own woes millions turn to quotpsychologyquot In order to alleviate or fix remedy their misery anxiety grief pain and suffering woes people seek help from quotpsychologyquot Psychology is in quotes because Myers wants to point out that not everything you think of as quotpsychologyquot is part of scientific psychology Page 1 Have you ever played peekaboo with a 6 month old Peekaboo is a game played in most cultures where a person hides or pretends to hide from a child and then reappears saying quotPEEKABOOquot The important questions for psychologists are why do infants all over the world react similarly to this game what are they actually feeling perceiving and thinking Page 1 Such questions provide grist for psychology39s mill The expression quotprovide grist for the millquot derives from an earlier practice where farmers brought their grain grist to the mill a building with machinery for grinding grain into flour Today the expression means that a greater volume of work grist does not present a problem in fact it is welcomed The amount of grain grist is analogous to the variety of questions asked and the research conducted to answer them is like the mill producing flour from the grist Thus psychology is a science that thrives on attempting to answer a variety of questions about how we think feel and act through scientific methodology research What Is Psychology Page 2 This list of pioneering psychologists quotMagellans of the mindquot Ferdinand Magellan 1489 1521 was a famous Portuguese navigator who made many discoveries and explored areas of the world previously unknown to his fellow Europeans Because early psychologists made exciting discoveries and explored unknown frontiers they were preparing the way they were pioneers for future psychologists and can thus be considered quotMagellans of the mindquot Page 4 Let39s unpack this definition Unpack here means to take apart or disassemble So psychology defined as the science of behavior and mental processes is broken down into overt behavior ie observable events and covert processes ie events hidden within such as thoughts feelings perceptions beliefs and so on and is studied using the scientific or empirical method Page 5 caption mushrooming Membership in psychological societies is growing at a rapid rate mushrooming and psychology is becoming more and more international globalizing Page 5 psychologists have wrestled with many issues Psychologists have struggled wrestled with a number of debates The biggest and most enduring is the controversy over the relative influence that genes biology and environment experience have on the development of psychological traits and behaviors the nature nurture issue Page 5 The nature nurture debate weaves a thread from the ancient Greek39s time to our own This simply means that the issue has concerned scholars and others from the time of the Greek philosophers right up to modern times The debate connects the past to the present weaves a thread between the two Page 5 Yet over and over again we will see that in contemporary science the nature nurture tension dissolves The main point is that both sides of the debate have something to offer Each contributes to the search for the truth Thus in modern science the strained relations tension over this issue diminish dissolve As Myers notes we are biologically predisposed genetic influences to adapt and learn from experiences environmental influences nurture works on what nature endows Page 6 quotRed in the facequot and quothot under the collarquot refer to the physical changes that often accompany emotional arousal eg anger A person39s face may become red due to blood rushing to it blushing and he or she may feel hot and perspire may be hot under the collar Different perspectives neuroscience evolutionary behavior genetics psychodynamic behavioral cognitive and social cultural examine the same event emotional change using different levels of analysis see Table 11 p 7 Myers points out that these different levels of analysis are not necessarily in opposition to each other but rather are complementary that is each level helps to complete the puzzle of why the event occurs by supplying answers from different points of view perspectives Page 7 The cluster of su bfields we call psychology is a meeting ground for different disciplines Myers points out that there is much diversity in the discipline of psychology ie it is a cluster of subfields but this is beneficial because it provides a setting that is comfortable to work in a perfect home for those who have broad or diverse wide ranging interests Thus it is the ideal gathering place meeting ground for the various related subfields of the discipline the tribe of psychology and is united by the shared goal of describing and explaining behavior and the mind underlying it Page 8 from womb to tomb Developmental psychologists conduct basic research on the changes that take place throughout the life span from conception to death from womb to tomb investigating how we mature physically psychologically and socially Another humorous expression describing the life span or life cycle is from quotsperm to wormquot Page 9 psychoceramics the study of crackpots This joke derives its humor from the fact that some English words or phrases have more than one meaning and it is this quotplay on wordsquot that makes the joke funny Ceramics is concerned with the work or art of making pottery porcelain and so on Some of the pots may develop small breaks or splits and consequently would be referred to as quotcracked potsquot The term crackpot on the other hand is a colloquial informal expression used to describe a useless impractical or even a crazy person Although psychologists engage in a variety of interdisciplinary studies such as psychohistory psycholinguistics and so on there is obviously no such thing as quotpsychoceramics the study of crackpotsquot Clinical psychologists of course assess and treat mental emotional and behavioral disorders mental illness or psychopathology Note that Myers confesses in a footnote that he wrote this sentence on April lst April Fools39 Day which traditionally involves people playing practical jokes on other people Did he fool you Why Do Psychology Page 9 Although in some ways we outsmart the smartest computers our intuition often goes awry To err is human Human beings are superior to computers in many ways we outsmart them but our beliefs emotions perceptions and our feelings of instinctively knowing something our intuitions can often lead us astray awry or away from the truth To be human means that we can and do make mistakes to err is human Psychological science with its procedures for gathering and systematically sorting through sifting evidence can help reduce or prevent mistakes it restrains error Page 10 Some people suppose that psychology merely documents and dresses in jargon what people already know Some people criticize psychology saying that it simply reports documents common sense or what39s obvious to everyone Critics suggest that instead of stating something plainly psychology translates information into the specialized and obscure vocabulary of the discipline dresses it in jargon Myers makes it very clear with some good examples that this criticism is not justified and points out that our intuitions about reality can often be very mistaken Page 10 How easy it is to seem astute when drawing the bull39s eye after the arrow has struck In the sport of archery the task is to shoot the arrow at the red circle in the center of the target the bull39s eye If we first shoot an arrow then draw the target so that the arrow is in the center in the bull39s eye we can appear to be very accurate Myers uses this analogy to illustrate how the hindsight bias or the I knew it all along phenomenon can lead us to believe that we are shrewd astute and would have been able to predict outcomes that we have learned after the fact Page 10 quotOut of sight out of mindquot and quotAbsence makes the heart grow fonderquot These two sayings or expressions about romantic love have opposite meanings The first one suggests that when couples are apart out of sight they are less likely to think about each other out of mind than when they are together The second saying makes the point that being separated absence increases the feelings of love the couple shares makes the heart grow fonder People who are told that the results of a study support the first expression out of sight out of mind see this as mere common sense People told that the results support the second expression absence makes the heart grow fonder also say this is obviously true There is clearly a problem here relying on common sense can lead to opposite conclusions Page 11 that familiarity breeds contempt This expression and others are based on many casual observations but are often wrong For example is it true that the better you know someone familiarity the more likely it is that you will dislike the person have contempt In fact research shows that the opposite is probably true Your text again and again will emphasize the fact that our common sense and intuition do not always provide us with reliable evidence Page 11 drop a course This means to stop going to class and to have your name removed from the class list Page 11 But scientific inquiry can help us sift reality from illusion Literally sift means to separate finer particles from coarser ones by passing material through a sieve Myers uses the word sift to explain how a scientific approach can separate sift what is true and factual reality from what is not real illusion or fantasy and how it can take us beyond the constraints limits of our beliefs experience intuition and common sense Be sure you understand what the word sift means because Myers uses it quite often Page 11 Underlying all science is first a hard headed curiosity Here hard headed means to be practical uncompromising realistic or unswayed by sentiment All science including psychology is guided by this realistic desire to know curiosity about nature and life Page 11 leap of faith This is a belief in something in the absence ofdemonstrated proof Some questions about the existence of God or life after death for example cannot be answered by science and cannot be scientifically proved or disproved if a person believes then it is on the basis of trust and confidence alone a leap of faith Page 11 the proof is in the pudding This comes from the expression quotthe proof of the pudding is in the eatingquot A pudding is a sweet dessert We can test or prove the quality of the dessert pudding by trying it eating it Likewise many questions even if they appear to make little sense crazy sounding ideas can be tested using the scientific method Page 12 auras An aura is a bright glow surrounding a figure or an object Some believe that humans have auras that only those with extrasensory abilities can see The magician James Randi proposed a simple test of this claim but nobody who is alleged to have this magical power aura seer has taken the test Page 12 More often science becomes society39s garbage disposal by sending crazy sounding ideas to the waste heap The use of scientific inquiry can get rid of or dispose of non sensible concepts crazy sounding ideas and add them to the long list of other ridiculous claims eg perpetual motion machines miracle cancer cures etc in much the same way that discarded materials junk and other rubbish are disposed of in a garbage dump waste heap As Myers notes we need a scientific attitude to separate sift truth reality from false assertions fallacies That means doubting and questioning being skeptical but not scornful or mocking cynical and to be accepting of novelty and change open without being naive gullible Page 12 then so much the worse for our ideas This means that we have to give up or get rid of our ideas if they are shown to be wrong so much the worse for them We have to be humble ie have humility Page 12 quotThe rat is always rightquot This early motto a phrase used as a maxim or guiding principle comes from the fact that for most of the first half of the twentieth century psychology used animals in its research especially in the study of learning The rat became a symbol of this research and its behavior or performance in experiments demonstrated the truth If the truth as shown by the rat is contrary to the prediction or hypothesis then one has to be humble and try another way Page 13 We all view nature through the spectacles of our preconceived ideas This means that what we already believe our preconceived ideas influences and to some extent determines what we look for and actually see or discover in nature It39s as though the type of eyeglasses spectacles we wear limits what we can see Page 13 gut feelings This refers to basic intuitive reactions or responses Critical thinking requires determining whether a conclusion is based simply on a subjective opinion a gut feeling or anecdote a story someone tells or on reliable scientific evidence Page 13 debunked This means to remove glamour or credibility from established ideas persons and traditions Myers points out that scientific evidence and critical inquiry have indeed discredited debunked many popular presumptions How Do Psychologists Ask and Answer Questions Page 15 Numbers can be numbing but the plural of anecdote is not evidence We are often ovenNhelmed and our senses deadened numbed by the sometimes inappropriate use of statistics and numbers Although stories by and about individuals anecdotes can generate productive lines of inquiry fruitful ideas they do not constitute reliable empirical facts no matter how numerous they are the plural of anecdote is not evidence Page 15 margin quote Psychologist Gordon Allport The Nature of Prejudice 1954 said quotGiven a thimbleful of dramatic facts we rush to make generalizations as large as a tubquot A thimble is a small metal container that fits over the top of the thumb or finger It is used while sewing to push the needle through the material A tub is a very large container eg a bathtub Allport is saying that given a small amount of information a thimbleful we tend to make very big assumptions generalizations as large as a tub Page 16 Using only 1500 randomly sampled people drawn from all areas of a country they can provide a remarkably accurate snapshot of the nation39s opinions A snapshot is a picture taken with a camera and it captures what people are doing at a given moment in time A good survey 1500 randomly selected representative people gives an accurate picture snapshot of the opinions of the whole population of interest Page 18 like people on the opposite ends of a teeter totter one set of scores goes down precisely as the other goes up A teeter totter is a playground toy also called a seesaw To use it two people sit at either end of bar or plank that is balanced in the middle and take turns going up and down Myers uses this example as a way to visualize a negative correlation of minus 1 100 As one set of scores goes up the other set goes down accordingly and vice versa There is an inverse relationship between the two as one increases the other decreases one set of scores goes down precisely as the other goes up Page 20 If someone flipped a coin six times which of the following sequences of heads H and tails T would be most likely HHH ITI39 or H I39I39HTH or HHHHHH Flipping a coin means throwing or tossing the coin into the air and observing which side is facing up when it lands The side of the coin that usually has the imprint of the face of a famous person on it eg the president or the queen is called heads H The other side is called tails T By the way all of the above sequences are equally likely but most people pick H I39I39HTH Likewise any series of five playing cards eg a bridge or poker hand in a game of cards is just as likely as any other hand Page 20 quotcold handquot quothot handquot In this context quothotquot and quotcoldquot do not refer to temperature Here being hot or having a quothot handquot means doing well and doing well consistently is having a hot streak Having a run of poor luck is a cold streak The crucial point however is that our intuition about sequences of events streaks or streaky patterns often deceives us True random sequences often are not what we think they should be and thus they do not appear to be really random When we think we39re doing well a quothot handquot we39re very often not we are merely noting or overinterpreting certain sequences streaks found in any random data Page 21 Did I snap out of my tails funk and get in a heads groove David Myers tossed flipped a coin 51 times The results showed several sequences streaks that did not appear to be random Le a series of tails followed by a series of heads He asks whether this was due to his paranormal control of the coin which ended the series of tails he snapped out of his tails funk and produced a new series of all heads he got into a heads groove This type of explanation is not necessary because these types of sequences streaks exist in any random sequence As Myers notes the outcome of any particular toss does not predict or influence the result of the next toss Page 23 Let39s Recap Recap is an abbreviation of recapitulate which means to repeat or go over briefly to summarize Myers summarizes recaps the important points in each section of the chapter Frequently Asked Questions About Psychology Page 25 plunge in In this context plunge in means to move ahead quickly with the discussion Similarly when you dive into a swimming pool plunge in you do so quickly Before going on with the discussion of psychology before plunging in Myers addresses some important issues and questions he entertains some frequently asked questions Page 27 most universities today screen research proposals through an ethics committee Ethics committees groups of people concerned with moral behavior and acceptable standards of conduct subject research proposals to rigorous tests screen them to ensure that they are fair and reasonable and that they do not harm the participants39 well being Page 28 Values can also color quotthe factsquot Our values what we believe is rig ht and true can influence color our observations interpretations and conclusions quotthe factsquot Tips for Studying Psychology Page 30 One of psychology39s oldest findings is that spaced practice promotes better retention than massed practice Spaced practice refers to studying over a longer period of time say 2 hours a day over 5 days rather than 10 hours on 1 day massed practice or cramming Distributing your study time is much better for learning and retention than an extended cramming session one long study blitz Be sure to follow the other tips such as the SQ3R method that Myers suggests in this section CHAPTER REVIEW Thinking Critically With Psychological Science Page 31 helps us winnow sense from nonsense Winnow means to separate out It was originally used to describe the separation of chaff dust etc from grains of wheat The scientific method helps sort out or separate winnow good ideas from bad ones


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