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What is Psychology?

Chapter 1

Caleb Dixon

on 28 September 2013

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Transcript of What is Psychology?

Why Study Psychology?
Chapter 1 Section 1
Behavior and Mental Processes
Cognitive Activities
Psychological Constructs
Main Idea:
Psychology is a science. Like other scientists, psychologists seek to explain and control behavior and mental processes and test their ideas through research methods.
is... the scientific study of human behavior and mental processes.
is... any action that people can observe or measure.
cognitive activities
are... mental processes.
psychological constructs
are... theoretical concepts that enable one to discuss something that cannot be seen, touched, or measured directly
is... a statement that attempts to explain why something is the way it is and happens the way it does.
is... a basic truth or law.

The Goals of Psychology
1. observe
2. describe
3. explain
4. predict
5. control
Psychology as a Science

- history, anthropology, sociology, economics etc. deal with humans and their interactions with the world

- physics, chemistry, biology etc. are concerned with the physical world and nature

*Psychology is a social science, but it has foundations in the natural sciences
- the anatomy of the brain (biology)
1. Do we need psychology?
2. How would this field help?
- any action that others can measure or observe
- voluntary behaviors include walking, talking, eating etc.
- involuntary behaviors include heart rate, brain activity etc.
*Psychologists also study people's emotions
Psychological Research
*psychology tests ideas through various research methods
1. surveys
2. experimentation
*involving humans
*involving animals
Psychological Theories
*Theories are statements that attempt to explain why things are the way they are and why they happen the way they do
*Psychologists organize their research into theories.
*Theories attempt to set principles (basic truth or law)
What Psychologists Do
Chapter 1 Section 2
Basic Research
Main Idea:
Psychologists work in many different fields, but they all focus on studying and explaining behavior and mental processes.
is... a medical doctor who specializes in the treatment of psychological problems and who can prescribe medication for clients.
basic research
is... research that has no immediate application and is done for its own sake.

Major Fields in Psychology
1. Clinical Psychology
-This is the largest group of psychologists
-Typically use interviews and tests
-Helps clients understand issues, overcome problems, and adjust or change behavior,
-Can work in: prisons, hospitals, university clinics, and private practices etc.
****Not to be confused with psychiatrists
Applied Fields in Psychology
2. Counseling Psychologists
-Typically treats clients with adjustment problems rather than serious psychological disorders.
-Sometimes helps with career path choices
-College Counselor
3. School Psychology
-Help students with problems that interfere with learning.
-peer problems, family problems
-Gives IQ tests and achievement tests and observes students in the classroom.
4. Developmental Psychology
-Studies the changes that occur throughout a person's life span
-physical changes
-emotional changes
-cognitive changes
-social changes
****Nature vs. Nurture???
5. Social Psychology
-Focus on external influences that explain why people behave the way they do.
-the ways in which women and men typically behave in any given social setting
-why do some people tend to conform to group expectations
-the reasons for and the effects of prejudice and discrimination
6. Experimental Psychology
-Mainly perform experiments such as the functions of the nervous system.

*Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes.
*Psychology is related to the social sciences because it deals with how individuals react in society with one another.
*Psychology is related to the natural sciences because it deals with the nature of the physical world.
1. Industrial Psychology
-Works with corporations making work more efficient.
2. Community Psychology
-Promotes change in the community rather than with the individual
-Think big... Progam > Team > Individual
3. Forensic Psychology
-These psychologists work in the criminal justice system
-Helps police cope with stress
-Hostage crises
A History of Psychology
Chapter 1 Section 3
Main Idea:
Since ancient times, philosophers and scientists have studied behavior and mental processes. Psychologists throughout history have continued to refine and develop these studies.
Early Views and Beliefs
Modern Developments in Psychology
psychodynamic thinking
Gestalt psychology
Pioneers in Psychology
1. Ancient Greece
-Socrates taught Plato. Plato taught Aristotle.
-More than 2,000 years ago, Socrates suggested that we could learn much about ourselves by carefully examining our feelings and thoughts.
-this is called introspection
-Aristotle outlined the laws of associationism
-the image of a loved one makes us feel......

2. The Middle Ages
-Deep "introspection" was lost during The Middle Ages
-popular belief was those with mental issues were "possessed" by demons as a punishment for sins.
-Tests were given to determine if a person was possessed
*Water Float test
1. Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920) "
-Wundt established psychology as a field of study separate from philosophy and the natural sciences.
-considered one of the founders of modern psychology
-He viewed mental processes as activities
-classified feelings as:
1. pleasant v. unpleasant
2. tense v. relaxed
3. excited v. depressed
2. William James (1842-1910) "
-maintained that mental processes help organisms adapt to their environment
-adaptive behaviors are learned and maintained
-some become automatic
-EXAMPLE: driving a car to a destination and upon arrival, asking...... how did i get here???

Describe ice cream....
Describe your feelings while eating ice cream...
Tell me about an experience when you ate ice cream...
3. Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) "
-emphasized unconscious motives and internal conflicts in determining and understanding human behavior.
-study/analyze dreams, slips of the tongue, memories
-research did NOT come from experiments, rather from consultations.
1. John Watson (1878-1958) "
-defined psychology as the scientific study of observable behavior
-study the behaviors, not the thinking...
-"....regardless of who we think we really are on the inside, we can be totally conditioned by external events..."
2. B.F. Skinner (1904-1990) "
-when animals are presented with a reward for a behavior, they are more likely to perform that action again
-people learn in the same way >> how to act based on positive or negative reinforcement that guides their behavior.
3. The Gestalt School "

-idea that context influences peoples perception of information
Contemporary Perspectives
Chapter 1 Section 4
Main Idea:
Contemporary psychologists have been influenced by the work of earlier pioneers. They have expanded traditional research to develop new and different approaches.
The Role of Biology
The Role of Experience
biological perspective
evolutionary perspective
cognitive perspective
humanistic perspective
psychoanalytic perspective
learning perspective
social-learning theory
sociocultural perspective
The Role of the Mind
The Biopsychosocial Perspective
1. The Biological Perspective
-Emphasis is on the influence of biology on our behavior
-Biological Psychologists look for connections between events in the brain (activity of brain cells) and behaviors or mental processes.
-certain parts of the brain are highly active when we listen to music
-Focus is also on hormones and genes and their effects on behavior or mental processes.
2. The Evolutionary Perspective
-Emphasis on evolution and it's effect on behavior and mental processes
-Charles Darwin.... "survival of the fittest"
-Aggression >> adaptive behavior?? for survival
1. The Cognitive Perspective
-"The Study of the Mind"
-emphasizes the role that thoughts play
-focuses on how we process, store, and use information and this influences our thinking.
-influenced by computer science.
-Brain >> Computer
2. The Humanistic Perspective
-Stresses the human capacity for self-fulfillment and the importance of consciousness, self-awareness, and the capacity to make choices.
-Does NOT view humans as being controlled by environment
-Each person is unique and will grow
3. The Psychoanalytic Perspective
-Stresses the influence of unconscious forces on behavior
-Belief is that we are powered by sexual and instinctual biological urges
-Today, the focus is on more conscious choices and self-direction
1. The Learning Perspective
-Believe that learning is either from direct experience or by observing others.
2. The Sociocultural Perspective
-These psychologists study the influences of ethnicity, gender, culture, and socio-economic status on behavior and mental processes.
1. The Biopsychological Perspective
-Believe that social interactions from birth have a direct impact on our biological development.
-Example: John has heart disease. Dr. focuses on John's ethnicity, gender, socio-economic factors for the biological cause
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