An Introduction to Psychology Essay

Submitted By PriyaPatel13
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Pages: 6

An Introduction to Psychology
Definition: Study of the feelings, behaviour, and thought processes of an individual, and the way in which the individual acts & reacts to other humans and society
The brain is what is physically in the skull, while the mind refers to the mental processes that take place within the brain.
Questions Asked:
What is the mind?
What is the mind’s relation to the brain?
How do we study the mind if we cannot see it?
What role does biology (nature) & environment (nurture) play in human behaviour?
How does the mind develop & change over time?
Fathers of Psychology
In The Beginning
Hippocrates (460-377 BCE)
A famous physician & teacher of medicine
Noticed people with head injuries acted differently
Until this time, it was assumed that thinking took place in your heart
Wilhelm Wundt + Structuralism
1870s
Tried to observe the inner working (structures) of the mind by setting up experiments on sensation, perception, and attention
Asked people to practice introspection – to examine their thoughts - & describe everything going through their mind
Used the scientific method in his research & did all his work in a lab
William James + Functionalism
1870s
First professor of Psychology
Realized that people adapt their behaviour to the needs of their surroundings
Mental characteristics develop to allow people to survive by solving problems
Highly influenced by Charles Darwin
Worked outside a lab – watched people in their everyday lives (observation)
Tried to improve education, mental development of children, & looked at gender roles
Modern Schools of Thought in Psychology
Are they systematic & structured ways of approaching the study of the mind
1. Psychodynamic Theory
Unlocking the unconscious mind is the key to understanding human behaviour & relationships
Based on the work of Sigmund Freud
E.g. Have you ever called your significant other by your ex’s name?
Sigmund Freud + Psychoanalysis
Recognized unconscious mental forces & conflicts
Psychoanalysis differed in 2 ways
Focused on abnormal behaviour stemming from childhood
It relied on personal observation & reflection instead of controlled laboratory experimentation
Key Freudian Concepts
Conscious Mind – Thoughts of which we are aware; our conscious mind processes new info & files it away
Unconscious Mind – information processing of which we are not aware (Freud says unpleasant thoughts)
Preconscious Mind – refers to thoughts that lie between consciousness & unconsciousness, these thoughts are not immediately conscious but, as they have not been repressed, they are available for recall
Freud used a number of methods to explore the unconscious minds of his patients including: analyzing dreams & free association
Freud & Consciousness
ID – Basic instinct; it seeks pleasure & immediate gratification, is also unresponsive to the demands of reality
Superego – The conscience (morality... controls our sense of right & wrong, guilt, etc.) aims for perfection, strives to act in a socially appropriate manner; opposite of the ID
Ego – Sees the reality of the world & tries to balance the needs of the ID & Superego, our personal ideas of how we should behave & what we want long term
Defence Mechanisms
Rationalization – excuse to explain failure, loss or bad behaviour
Did poorly on the test because the teacher hates me
Displacement – releasing our withheld anger for someone/thing onto someone/thing else
I am mad at myself but I take my anger out on my little brother
Repression – pushing unpleasant ideas away but they still exist in our subconscious & come out in other ways (physical problems, sarcasm, unkind behaviour)
Woman represses memories of abuse experienced as a child, but has a hard time getting close to people as an adult
Projection – putting own negative characteristics or moods on others
People talking about other peoples’ terrible habit of gossiping, but are doing it themselves
Regression – Recovering back to an earlier stage in our development
Reaction Formation –…