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Psychology - What is psychology

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									Chapter 1: What is psychology?
  Psychology as a natural science
       and a social science
• Psychology: the study of mental processes,
  behavior, and the relationship between
• Natural science: the law of nature (e.g., the
  brain functions)
• Social science: person-person (e.g.,
    Key themes in the evolution of
         psychological ideas
•   Hegel: dialectic, a continuing intellectual
1. Thesis: statement of opinion
2. Anti-thesis: an opinion that takes a different
3. Synthesis: the selective combining of the two
   opinions (e.g. Table 1.1)
4. Forming a new thesis, then arising an anti-
The early history of psychology
• Philosophy: exploring and understanding
  the general nature of many aspects of the
  world (e,g., introspection)

• Physiology: the scientific study of living
  organisms and of life-sustaining functions
  (e.g., observation)
•  Hippocrates: mind-body dualism, the
   mind being different from the body
1. Body: physical substances; mind:
2. The mind resides in the brain
3. The mind controls the body
• Plato: rationalist
1. Knowledge is most effectively acquired
   through logical methods, using
   philosophical analysis
2. The mind resides in the brain
3. Reality resides not in the concrete objects
4. Reality is in the ideal, abstract forms that
   these objects represent
•   Aristotle: empiricist
1. We acquire knowledge through empirical
   methods, obtaining evidence through
   experience, observation, and experiments
2. The mind is within the heart
3. The mind does not exist on its own. The study
   of the mind and the study of the body are the
4. Reality lies only in the concrete world of
•   Descartes: rationalist
1. the introspective is better for finding truth
2. Supporting mind-body dualism.
3. This is the difference between humans and

•   Locke: empiricist
1. Humans are born without knowledge
2. They must seek knowledge through empirical
3. Experience writes knowledge upon us
• Kant: dialectical synthesis
1. Understanding mental processes
   requires both opinions
2. Experiences-based knowledge (thesis) &
   innate concepts (anti-thesis)
    Early psychological approaches to
•    Structuralism
1. Understanding the mind by analyzing its
   elements (e.g., sensations)
2. Wundt, first psychological experiment
3. focusing on immediate and direct (not
   mediated/interpreted) conscious experience
4. Introspection (self-observation) to look inward
   at pieces of information
•   Functionalism
1. Focusing on active psychological processes
   rather than passive psychological elements
2. Why do they do it? vs. What are the structures?
3. Using diverse methodologies
4. William James: Principle of Psychology
5. From functionalism to pragmatism
•   Associationism: how events or ideas can
    become associated in the mind, resulting
    in a form of learning
1. Ebbinghaus: experimental introspective,
   rehearsal (repetition) aids in learning
2. Guthrie: two events (a stimulus and a response)
   become associated through their close
   temporal contiguity
3. Thorndike: the law of effects, actions are
   strengthened by rewards (satisfaction)
    Psychology in the 20th century
•    Behaviorism: stimulus-response
-    Pavlov: classically conditioned learning
1. An originally neutral stimulus comes to be
   associated with a stimulus that already
   produces a physiological response
2. Involuntary learning behavior
-   Watson
1. Psychology should be objective
2. Focusing on the relationship between
   observable behavior and environmental stimuli
3. Reject internal thoughts
4. Using animals studies
5. Voluntary learning behavior
- Skinner
1. Respondent behavior (involuntary), elicited by
   a definite stimulus (food)
2. Operant behavior (voluntary), which cannot be
3. A subsequent reinforcer (reward) can increase
   the probability of an operant behavior
4. Ignoring internal states
• Gestalt psychology
1. Psychological phenomena are best
   understood when viewed as holistically,
   not when they are analyzed into
   component elements.
2. The whole is different from the sum of its
•   Cognitivism
1. Thought as a basis for understanding much of
   human behavior
2. Neisser: Cognitive Psychology (1967)
3. How people learn, structure, store, and use
4. Serial vs. parallel processing
•   Biological psychology
1. Understanding behavior by studying anatomy
   and physiology, especially the brain
2. Mental processes and the body are interrelated
   and indistinguishable
3. Sperry- split-brain study, which regions for
   which functions
- Behavioral genetics: attributing behavior in
  part to the influences of combinations of
  genes, as expressed in an environment

- Biopsychosocial approach: understanding
  the individual in terms of psychological,
  social, and biological factors that
  contribute to behavior (e.g, health
•   Evolutionary psychology
1. Explaining behavior in terms of organism’s
   evolved adaptations to a constantly changing
   environmental landscape
2. Darwin: natural selection and evolution
3. Successful individuals surviving long enough to
   reproduce, pass their genes to later
•   Psychodynamic psychology
1. Emphasizing the importance of conflicting
   unconscious mental processes
2. Freud: psychoanalysis
3. Conscious: mental states of which we are
   aware (small)
4. Unconscious: mental states to which we do not
   normally have access (huge)
•   Humanistic psychology
1. Emphasizing free will and the importance of
   human potential
2. Maslow: self-actualization, making real through
3. Rogers: unconditional positive regard, between
   mother and child

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