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Chapter 1

Psychology 120 – Chapter 1
– discipline concerned with behaviour and mental processes and how they are
affected by an organism’s physical state, mental state, and external
– It is based on empirical evidence. Rely heavily on it.
– The observable actions by which an organism adjusts to its environment.
– Outer sign of inner reality.
Great thinkers of the past relied on observations based on anecdote and
description of individual cases.
Three Early Psychologies
– Structuralism
– Functionalism
– Psychoanalysis
– emphasized the function or purpose of behaviour and consciousness as
oppose to its analysis and description.
– Emphasizes the “how” and “why” of mental behaviour.
– examined the basic elements of the mind.
Emphasizes the “what” of mental behaviour.
Basic elements of sensation reveal the underlying structure of the mind.
Involved the analysis of the basic elements or building blocks of the mind.
Analyze sensations, images, and feelings into basic elements.
Emphasized the analysis of immediate experience into basic elements.
Introspection – systematic examination of individual reports on their own
thought and feelings about sensory experiences.
Wilhelm Wundt
– established the first psychological laboratory in 1879.
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– First person to announce that he intended to make psychology as science.
John Dewey
– Brought functionalism to North America.
– Application of functionalism to “progressive education.”
William James – founder of functionalism.
Humanism – a movement that emerged in the 1960s and rejected
psychoanalysis and behaviorism.
Sigmund Freud
– founded the field of psychoanalysis.
– Argued that conscious awareness is merely the tip of a mental iceberg. Beneath the
visible tip lies the unconscious part of the mind, containing unrevealed wishes,
passions, guilty secrets, unspeakable yearnings, and conflicts between desire and
Psychoanalysis – a theory of personality and a method of psychotherapy that
emphasizes unconscious motives and conflicts.
E.B. Titchener – brought structuralism to North America (1892).
James Mark Baldwin – first Canadian psychology lab, U of T (1889).
Gestalt Psychology
– Max Wertheimer
– How elements of experience become what we understand as the whole
– The whole is greater than, and different from, the of its part.
Major Psychological Perspectives
Biological Perspective
– emphasizes bodily events and changes associated with actions, feelings,
and thoughts.
– Evolutionary Psychology
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– Behaviour explained in terms of underling physical structures and
biochemical processes.
– Focus on the functioning of the genes, nervous system, and endocrine system.
Cognitive Perspective – focuses on how people reason, remember,
understand language, and solve problems.
Learning Perspective
– concerned with how the environment and experience affect as person’s
– It includes behaviourism and social cognitive theories.
Sociocultural Perspective – focuses on social and cultural forces outside the individual,
forces that shape every aspect of behaviour, from how we kiss to what and where we
Psychodynamic Perspective – emphasizes unconscious dynamics within the individual,
such as inner forces, conflicts, or the movement of instinctual energy.
Evolutionary Psychology
– may help explain human commonalities in cognition, development,
emotion, social practices, and other areas of behaviour.
– Emphasizes both behavioural and mental adaptiveness.
– Focus on natural selection and the long process of evolution.
– the study of observable behaviour and the role of the environment and
experience as determinants of behaviour.
– John Watson and B.F. Skinner
– Behaviourists focus on the environmental rewards and punishers that maintain or
discourage specific behaviours.
Social-Cognitive Learning Theorists
– Combined elements of behaviourism with research on thoughts, values,
expectations, and intentions
– They believe that people learn not only by adapting their behaviour to the
environment, but also by imitating others and by thinking about the events
happening around them.
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Humanistic Perspective
– Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow
– Emphasizes individual’s inherent capacity for making rational choices and
developing to their full potential.
– Focus on self-actualization and a holistic approach.
Social Psychologists – focus on social rules and roles, how groups affect attitudes and
behaviour, why people obey authority, and how each of us is affected by other people.
Cultural Psychologists – examine how cultural rules and values – both explicit and
unspoken – affect people’s development, behaviour, and feelings.
Research – aspect of psychology least recognized and understood by the public.
Feminist Movement – emerged in the early 1970s.
– pseudoscience and quackery covered by a veneer of psychological and
scientific-sounding language.
– it promises easy fixes to life’s problems and challenges.
Critical Thinking – is the ability and willingness to assess claims and make objective
judgments on the basis of well-supported reasons and evidence, rather than emotion
of anecdote.
8 Critical Thinking Guidelines:
Ask Questions and Be Willing to Wonder
Define Your Terms
Examine the Evidence
Analyze Assumptions and Biases
Avoid Emotional Reasoning
Don’t Oversimplify
Consider other Interpretations
Tolerate Uncertainty
– Assumptions – are beliefs that are taken for granted.
– Bias – when an assumption or belief keeps us from considering the evidence
fairly, or causes us to ignore the evidence completely.
– Occam’s Razor – a critical thinker choose the one that accounts for the most
evidence while making the fewest unverified assumptions.
– Hippocrates – the Greek physician known as the founder of modern medicine, observed
patients with head injuries and inferred that the brain must be the ultimate source of
our pleasures, joys, laughter, and jests as well as our sorrows, pains, griefs, and tears.
– Stoic philosophers – observed that people do not become angry or sad or anxious
because of actual events, but because of their explanations of those events.
– John Locke – argued that the mind works by associating ideas arising from
experience, and this notion continues to influence many psychologists today.
– Franz Joseph Gall
– different brain areas are accounted for specific character and personality traits,
which can be “read” from bumps on the skull.
Three Categories of Professional Activities for Psychologists:
– Teaching and doing research in colleges and universities.
– Providing health or mental-health services (psychological practice).
– Conducting applied research for non-academic settings (business, sports,
government, law, and military).
Two Broad Areas of Research:
– Basic Psychology: pure research conducted to seek knowledge for its own
– Applied Psychology: finds practical uses for the knowledge gained form research. It
is the study of psychological issues that have directed practical significance.
Some Major Nonclinical Specialties in Psychology
– Experimental Psychologists – laboratory studies of learning, motivation, emotion,
sensation and perception, physiology, and cognition.
– Educational Psychologists – study psychological principles that explain
learning and search for ways to improve educational systems.
– Developmental Psychologists – study how people grow and change over
– Industrial / Organizational Psychologists – study behaviour in the
– Psychometric Psychologists – design and evaluate tests of mental abilities,
aptitudes, interests and personality.
Psychological Practice – Practitioners that work in mental hospitals, general hospitals,
clinics, schools, counseling centers, and private practice:
– Counseling – help with everyday problems.
– School – work with parents and teachers to enhance performance.
– Clinical – diagnose, treat, and study mental and emotional problems.
– Most Clinical Psychologists have a PhD, EdD, or a PsyD.
– 4 or 5 years graduate work in psychology
– 1 year of internship
Clinical Psychologists are NOT:
Psychotherapists: anyone who does any kind psychotherapy.
Psychoanalysts: individuals who have trained in and practice psychoanalysis.
Psychiatrists: medical doctors who diagnose and treat mental disorders.