Essay about Psychology Notes

Submitted By Arthurfamily1
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psChapter 1: An Introduction to Psychology Study of Psychology • What do psychologists study these days? – Normal behavior: causes and mechanisms – Abnormal behavior and mental illness • Goals of modern psychology – Study the “essentials of behavior and mind” -Why do people act, think, and feel the way they do? – Develop a knowledge base about human and animal behavior Can Psychology Be Truly Scientific? • Human behavior difficult to predict precisely – However: Governed by general principles – Similar to general principles in physics • Behavior multiply determined – Current environment – Culture – Genetics – Moment-to-moment experiences What’s it for? • Goal: Survive in your environment • Mental processes contribute to survival • Solving adaptive problems = Find a way to meet challenges to survival – Example: How do you recognize and avoid danger? • Understanding purpose of processes leads to better understanding of those processes Definition of Psychology • Root word: “Psyche” = Soul or breath (Greek) • Scientific study of behavior and the mind – Scientific: Based on observation – Behavior: Observable actions – Mind: Subjective experiences such as thoughts, emotions • Clinical psychologists • Applied psychologists • Research psychologists Clinical psychologists • Main focus: Diagnosing and treating psychological problems – Clinics, private practice • Counseling psychologists – Focus on specific adjustment issues, e.g., marriage problems • Psychiatrists – Medical doctors specializing in psychological problems

Applied Psychologists • Not involved with psychological disorders • Main focus: Applying psychology to practical problems in the real world • Examples: – School psychologists – Industrial/organizational psychologists – Human factors psychologists Research Psychologists • Main focus: Conducting experiments • Work in universities, colleges, research institutes • Specialties: – Biopsychologists – Personality psychologists – Cognitive psychologists – Developmental psychologists – Social psychologists Psychological thought: A brief History • The mind-body problem • The origins of knowledge • Early schools of thought – Structuralism – Functionalism – Behaviorism • Freud and the humanists • The contributions of women Mind and Body • Descartes: Two separate entities – Mind controls body through pineal gland – If so: Impossible to scientifically study the mind • Psychologists today: One and the same – Mind arises from brain activity – “The mind is what the brain does” - S. Pinker Nature v. Nurture, Where does thinking come from? • To what degree are we shaped by innate/inherited tendencies, environment? • Nativism: Babies are born with a set mental structure, knowing certain things – Kant: Inborn mental “structure” – Natural selection for certain adaptive traits (Darwin) – But: How to distinguish from effects of environment? The Modern View: Nature v. Nurture • Many characteristics do have a genetic (inherited) component – Examples: Intelligence, personality

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Experience shapes how these characteristics develop – Example: Educational experiences In other words: Both matter

First Psychology Laboratory • 1879, University of Lepzig • Wilhelm Wundt – Philosophy professor with background in physiology – Advocated scientific techniques for studying mental processes – Main focus: Immediate conscious experience Structuralism • Wundt, later Edward Titchener • Analyze elements of sensations and feelings – Example: Sensation of taste is made up of salty, bitter, sour, and sweet • Technique: Systematic introspection – Self-report by trained individuals Functionalism • William James, James Rowland Angell • Understand mental processes by understanding the goal or purpose of those processes – Example: What is the goal or purpose of memory? • Greatly influenced by work of Darwin – Adaptive value of mental processes Behaviorism • John B. Watson, B. F. Skinner • Problems with introspection: – Cannot directly observe mental events