CHAPTER 1
AP PSYCHOLOGY OUTLINE
An Introduction to Psychology
DEFINING AND DESCRIBING PSYCHOLOGY
DEFINITION OF PSYCHOLOGY –
The scientific study of behavior and mind
 “MIND” refers to the contents and processes of
subjective experience

B.HOW TO STUDY THE MIND
INVESTIGATING THE “BLACK BOX”
1. Insight Approach – “Tell me how your mind
works”
Problem – Self report error
2. Physical Structure – analyze and study the
structures of the brain and body
Problem – The whole may work differently from
the sum of the parts
3. Measurement – use tests and procedures to
describe the mind’s limits and abilities.
The current approach of most psychologists
C. WHAT PSYCHOLOGISTS DO
1.
2.
3.
4.
Clinical psychologists – diagnose and treat
psychological conditions/problems.
Applied psychologists – extend the principles of
scientific psychology to everyday problems in the
real world
Research psychologists – conduct experiments to
discover the basic principles of behavior and mind
Differences between a psychologist and a
psychiatrist
a. Psychologist – may do testing/counseling, but
usually cannot prescribe medication
b. Psychiatrist – a medical doctor who specializes
in psychological problems and prescribes medication
II. EVOLUTION OF PSYCHOLOGICAL
THOUGHT
A. NATURE OR NURTURE – WHERE DOES
KNOWLEDGE COME FROM?
Empiricists – (Nurture) knowledge is gained through
experiences and the senses. We are born “tabula rasa”
or “with a blank slate”.
Ex. The Greek philosopher Aristotle
2. Nativism – (Nature) people are born with innate or preexisting structures for knowledge. This includes Gestalt
Psychology
Ex. The German philosopher Immanuel Kant
3. Darwin and Evolution – (Nature) natural selection
creates creatures who adapt and survive through solving
problems better. Their offspring inherit these
characteristics
4. Current thinking – most psychological phenomena are
the product of genes and the environment
1.
B. PSYCHOLOGY EMERGES AS A SCIENCE
1. Structuralism – We can understand the structure of the
mind by breaking it down into its elementary components
(like chemistry). Used Systematic Introspection to break
down conscious experience. Wilhelm Wundt created the
first psychological test lab in 1879.
2. Functionalism – We can understand the mind by
studying the function and purpose of mental activity.
Emphasized survival and adaption. William James was an
American psychologist who represented the functionalist
view.
3. Behaviorism – We should focus only on observable and
measurable behavior in psychology. John Watson examined
how changes in the environment affect behavior.
4. Modern Psychologists – Observe behavior
systematically, develop theories or hypotheses, then test
them using the Scientific Method
* The roots of modern Psychology are in the studies of
Philosophy and Physiology
C. EARLY INFLUENCES OF WOMEN 1. Mary Calkins – The first female president of the
American Psychological Association (APA) in
1905
2. Margaret Washburn – The first female to receive
a Ph.D in Psychology. Wrote the book The
Animal Mind in 1908
D. Influence of the Clinic
1. Psychoanalysis – Analyzed the contents of the
mind to gain insight into psychological problems.
Emphasized the unconscious determinants of
behavior.
a. Sigmund Freud – The founder of
Psychoanalysis who used dream analysis and
free association to look for symbols or keys in the
unconscious mind to understand psychological
problems.
2.Humanistic Psychology – Emphasized the human
potential for self-awareness, growth, choice and
responsibility.
a. Carl Rogers- Developed client-centered therapy
in which the therapist acts as a friend and supporter to
the patient instead of a judge or analyst
b. Abraham Maslow – Humanist psychologist who
believed that humans are built for personal growth
and seek their fullest potential. Developed Maslow’s
Hierarchy of Needs.
III. UNDERSTANDING THE FOCUS OF MODERN
PSYCHOLOGY
A.
B.
The Eclectic Approach – The current
approach of most modern psychologists which
involves adopting methods and ideas from a
variety of psychological schools.
The Cognitive Revolution – The shift away
from Behaviorism in the 1950’s due to the
development of new research techniques and
computers. Cognitive Psychology examines the
internal mental processes and views the mind
as an information processing system.
C. Developments in Biology – Uses new
technology and physiological recording devices to
help us understand the biological underpinnings
of behavior (Ex. MRI, CAT, EEG). New
understandings in brain chemistry help us to
develop new medications to treat psychological
disorders.
D. Influences of Culture – We now recognize
that culture exerts strong influences over
behavior. Culture is defined as the shared values,
customs and beliefs of a group of people.
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CHAPTER 1 AP PSYCHOLOGY OUTLINE