What is Psychology?

psychology
– the scientific study of behavior and mental processes
– finds its origins in philosophy
– emerged from the disciplines of philosophy, biology and physiology
– p. 4

philosophy
– an organized system of thought, from the Greek for “love of wisdom”
– a basic viewpoint of the system of values of an individual or society
– the origins of psychology (Rene Descartes, “I think, therefore I am.”)
– the rational investigation of the underlying principles of being and knowledge (p. 7)

purpose of psychology
– describe: stating what occurs (example: home many times something occurs during a given time period)
– predict: what are people going to do
– explain: why people do what they do
– (p. 4)

describe
– one of purposes of psychology
– tell the facts, details
– describe
– APPLICATION: stating scores earned on a standardized test
– APPLICATION: recording what actually occurs (does not state anything about what will happen or why it happens)

predict
– one of purposes of psychology
– give an expected result
– APPLICATION: using standardized tests scores to predict how well they will do in college, at their job, etc.

explain
– one of purposes of psychology
– provide the reasons behind
– APPLICATION: explaining why students scored as they did on a standardized test and why in can be used to predict future performance

4 things you need in psychology
– critical thinking, skepticism, objecticity, curiosity (p.4)

psychological perspectives (7)
– biological, behavioral, cognitive, evolutionary, humanistic, psychodynamic, sociocultural (p. 4)

science
– the use of systematic methods to observe the natural world, including human behavior and mental processes (p. 4)

behavior
– everything we do that can be directly observed (actually seen)
– thinking about doing a behavior is not a behavior
– characteristics are NOT behavior, but can be observed (hair color, eye color, etc.)
– p. 4

mental processes
– the thoughts, feelings, and motives that each of us experiences privately but that cannot be observed directly
– behaviorists, such as Watson and Skinner, DO NOT care about metal processes (p. 4)

critical thinking
– the process of reflcecting deeply and actively, asking questions, and evaluating the evidence
– APPLICATION: after data/information is provided, questioning the validity of it
– p. 4

skepticism
– a philosophy which suggests that nothing can ever be known for certain
– a questioning attitude toward all knowledge
– p. 4

pseudoscience
– information that is crouched in scientific terminology but is not supported by scientific research
– p. 5

objective
– (adj) factual, related to reality or physical objects; not influenced by emotions, unbiased
– p. 5

subjective
– (adj) existing in the mind or relating to one’s own thoughts, opinions, emotions, etc.; personal, individual, based on feelings
– not in textbook

narcissism
– excessive self-love and self-absorption
– p. 7

positive psychology
– a branch of psychology that focuses on human strengths
– focusing on topics such as hope, happiness and optimism
-WHY: human behavior encompasses all feelings and emotions, both positive and negative (shouldn’t just focus on the negative)–to focus on mental illness is ignoring a great deal of human behavior
– if it talks about free will / choice and/or positive growth, it will be the HUMANISTIC APPROACH (p. 7)

Rene Descartes
– “Father” of modern psychology- (p. 7)

empirical method
– learning through observation, data, and logic
– can be used by people of pseudoscience to distort information

structuralism
– Wundt’s approach to discovering the basic elements, or structures, of mental processes; so called because of its focus on identifying (p. 9)
– structuralism came before functionalism, which added “purpose”
– introspection: documenting descriptions of an experience

Wilhelm Wundt
– structuralist (structuralism)
– identified structures of the mind
– introspection
– conducted the first psychological experiment in 1879
– he first person to introduce the idea of measuring mental processes
– p. 9

1st psychological experiment (1789)
– conducted by Wilhelm Wundt

introspection
– part of structuralism (primary research method)
– documenting descriptions of an experience (mental processes)
– APPLICATION: Eat something and reporting flavor and texture of it
– p. 9

E.B. Titchener
– Edward Bradford Titchener
– student of Wilhelm Wundt
– structuralism + introspeciton
– performed an experiment to measure the time lag between the instant a person heard a sound and the moment he or she pressed a telegraph to key to signal having head it (measuring the time tit took the human brain and nervous system to translate information into action)

William James
– functionalist (functionalism)
– not what the mind IS, but what it is FOR
– natural flow of thought = “stream of consciousness”
– Why is human thought adaptive?
– put the AMERICAN stamp on psychology (p. 9)

functionalism
– James’ appoach to mental processes, emphasizing the functions and purposes of the mind and behavior in the individual’s adaption to the environment (p. 9)
– it expanded upon structuralism
– human thought is adaptive
– about the PURPOSE of behavior

John Watson
– noted behaviorist
– believed that how you were raised shapes who you are
– anyone can become anything
– main person associated with behaviors in the 1920s
– disagreed with the emphasis on mental events ad argued that we should focus on observable behavior
– said he could take an infant ant train it to become anything (doctor, lawyer, thief, et.c)
– p. 9

B.F Skinner
– noted modern behaviorist
– acknowledged the occurrence of mental events but did not think they were the causes of behavior
– didn’t believe in free will-only reactions
– you become the people with whom you surround yourself
– what we DO is what matters (not interested in the why)
– leading proponent of behaviorism in the United States until his death in 1990
– p. 9

Charles Darwin
– argued that natural selection determines the physical traits of survival (characteristics favored by by the environment are more likely to continue
– highlighted the reproductive advances of environmentally adaptive traits
– wrote “On The Origin of Species”
– SUMMARY: natural selection assumes that animals with genes that convey a survival advantage (attract more mates, easier to eat, more able to avoid predators) are more likely to survive, reproduce, and pass sense to the next generation
(p. 9)

natural selection
– Darwinian explanation of evolution, survival of the fittest leads to gradual genetic change (adaptation) (p. 9)
– Darwin’s principle of an evolutionary process in which organisms that are best adapted to their environment will survive and produce offspring

genes
– DNA segments that serve as the key functional units in hereditary transmission
– p. 10

biological approach
– focus on body, brain, and the nervous system
– interested in hormones and other biological things that influence behavior (p. 11)
– WARNING: on occasion, can be confused with evolutionary perspective–Don’t! If it is discussion BIOLOGICAL things like hormone levels, brain chemistry, neurotransmitters–it is the biological approach

neuroscience
– scientific study of the structure, function, development, genetics and biochemistry of the NERVOUS SYSTEM, emphasis on understanding behavior, thought, and emotion
– emphasizes that the brain and nervous system are central to understanding behavior, thought and emotion
– interested in the the role of the brain in psychological processes
– sub-category of the biological approach
– APPLICATION: research on neurons and their function
– APPLICATION: uses tests like EEGs and PET Scans
– APPLICATION: research that focuses on what areas of the brain are activated
– APPLICATION: if fits into neuroscience category, but it is not present and the biological approach is present, the biological approach is the answer since this is a SUB-category
– contains the sub-category of behavior neuroscience
– p. 11

Sigmund Freud
– founding father of psychodynamic approach
– bitter and creepy
– placed high emphasis on sex and traumatic childhood experience
– therapist; started the couch thing
– responsible for the narrow view of psychology known by the majority of people (overcompensating, Freudian slip, repression, hidden desires, id, ego, superego, Oedipus Complex, tell me what you’re feeling, etc.)
– p. 12

neuro-
– nerve (nervous system)

nervous system
– the body’s speedy, electrochemical communication network, consisting of all the nerve cells of the peripheral and central nervous systems.

behavioral approach
– psychology should focus on interactions with the environment that can be seen and measured
– founded by John B. Watson and B.F. Skinner, focus on observable behavior responses and their environmental causes (p. 12)
– care about behavior; NOT NOT CARE about mental processes (cares about what you do, does not care about what you feel or think)
– behavior = observable
– mental processess = private (DO NOT CARE ABOUT)
– noted behaviorists: John B. Watson and B. F. Skinner

psychodynamic/analytic approach
– founded by Freud, focus on unconscious thought, the conflict between basic drives and societal norms, and childhood trauma (p. 12)
– more concerned with life (and childhood trauma) than sexual drives
– concerned with unconscious processes
– issues unknown to individuals influence behavior
– a posteriori
– concerned with internal personality processes (like the humanistic approach and unlike the behavior approach)
– APPLICATION: talking about childhood, analyzing dreams, looking at ink blots, etc.

humanistic approach
– emphasis on positive qualities of people, positive growth, and free will
– everyone has the capacity for growth (people can make choices that lead to positive growth)
– founded by Maslow and Rogers (p. 12)
– contains the sub-category of positive psychology
– APPLICATION: human beings in control (therefore, humans have the potential for growth) — not interested in things outside of human control
– APPLICATION: doesn’t always have to be super-cheery, it can be he/she did something wrong because they WANTED to do it

Abraham Maslow
– humanistic
– coined hierarchy of needs: self actualization, esteem, love, safety, and physiological
– p. 12

Carl Rogers
– humanistic
– “The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change.” (p. 12)

altruism
– unselfish concern for others (p. 12)

cognitive approach
– studies the mental processes involved in knowing (i.e. how we direct our attention, perceive, remember, think, and solve problems)
– sees the mind as an active and aware problem solving system (may make comparison to a computer and computer programs
– application: interested in intelligence/intellectual abilities, problem solving, testing intelligence, decision making, processing and remembering information, higher mental processes, how someone learns to read and write
– p. 12

evolutionary approach
– an approach to psychology centered on evolutionary ideas such as adaptation, reproduction, and natural selection as the basis for explaining specific human behaviors
– difficult to explain sex differences
– APPLICATION: explains attractiveness of tall and healthy significant others, etc. (based on characteristics which have allowed humans to survive and reproduce)
– APPLICATION: concerned with survival (so you can pass on your genes), traits that allow you to attract the opposite gender (so you can pass on your genes) and having offspring (passing on your genes).
– p. 13

sociocultural approach
– an approach to psychology that examines how social and cultural environments influence behavior
– APPLICATION: look for words that reference a specific location, group of people, etc. (dialect) and how that influences behavior (p. 13)
– APPLICATION: research concerned a cultural, social, ethnic group and their behavior, actions, emotions, etc.

careers in psychology
– human resources, business consulting, casework, therapists/counselors, researchers, teachers (p. 14)
– most psychologists work at colleges and universities
– academic (34%)
– clinical (24%)
– private practice (22%)
– industrial (12%)
– schools (4%)
– other (4%)

practitioners
– a person engaged in the practice of a certain occupation or profession – (p. 14)

evidenced-based practice
– the integration of clinical expertise, patient values, and the best research evidence into the decision making process for patient care- (p. 14)

What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?
– a psychiatrist spends 4 years at medical school and they have the ability to prescribe medication (they are an M.D.)
– psychologists do not go to medical school and they cannot prescribe medication (p. 14)

physiological psychology
– subdivision of behavioral neuroscience
– studies perception and behavior by direct manipulation of the brain- (p. 15)

behavioral neuroscience
– the application of biology in the study of psychological, genetic, and developmental mechanisms of behavior in humans – (p. 15)

sensation and perception
– specialty in psychology
– sensation (sensing)
– perception (processing)
– interested in optical illusions to determine how they “trick” the brain (p. 15)

experimental psychology
– the branch of psychology dealing with the study of emotional and mental activity by means of experimental methods.- (p. 15)

learning
– the modification of behavior through practice, training, or experience.- (p. 15)

developmental psychology
– a branch of psychology that studies changes in human behavior from early life to death (over the course of the lifespan)
– specialize in the study of human growth and change over time
– p. 15

motivation and emotion
– motivation – deals with how individuals persist to attain a goal and how do rewards affect motivation
– emotion – deals with physiological and brain processes that creates the emotion and how it affects health and if emotions are universal
– APPLICATION: very important to sports and athletic performance and diet (as in what you eat)
– p. 15

psychology of women and gender
– studies the psychological, social,and cultural influences on womens development and behavior. (p. 16)

gender
– in psychology, the biologically and socially influenced characteristics by which people define male and female

biological sex
– the biological difference between male and female (male, female, and intersexed)

personality psychology
– a branch of psychology that studies personality and its variation between individuals
– the study of an individual’s characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting
– APPLICATION: may be used to design dating Web sites
– p. 16

social psychology
– the psychological study of social behavior, especially the influence of the individual and the group with which the individual interacts
– the ways groups influence the decisions that people make
– APPLICATION: how do crowds respond (such as people in restaurant, stadium, etc.)
– APPLICATION: gestures are NOT universal, but based on culture
– APPLICATION: the influence of organized religion/political affiliation/membership in any group on community interaction
– p. 16

industrial and organizational psychology
– the scientific study of human behavior in the workplace and applies psychological theories and principles to organizations
– a.k.a. personnel psychology
– APPLICATION: used to determine the best working arrangement, color, and lighting for a work place, hospital, research laboratory, casino, etc.
– (p. 16)

clinical and counseling psychology
– counseling
– solves practical problems
– clinical
– deal with psychopathology which is the study of psychological disorders and develops treatments
– APPLICATION: these people actually see PATIENTS
– may favor different and/or multiple approaches/perspectives to psychology (p. 16)

psychopathology
– the scietific study of psychological disorders and the development of diagnostic categories and treatments for those disorder (p. 16)

health psychology
– multidimensional approach to human health that emphasizes psychological factors, lifestyle, and the nature of the healthcare delivery system
– APPLICATION: can be positive own negative
– APPLICATION: research focusing on lifestyle habits, such as drinking, smoking, and engaging in high-risk sexual behavior
– p. 17

community psychology
– concentrates on improving the quality of relationships among individuals, their community, and society at large
– a branch of psychology that studies how people interact with their social environments and how social institutions affect individuals and groups
– APPLICATION: may be interested in a school or nursing home (easy to confuse with I/O psychology)
– p. 17

school and educational psychology
– studies children’s learning and adjustment in school
– test children, make recommendations about educational placement, collocate on educational learning teams
– APPLICATION: may assess a student’s intelligence level, ability to focus, etc.
– p. 19

environmental psychology
– study of the interactions between people and their physical environment
– APPLICATION: how different building and room arrangements influence behavior
– APPLICATION: how the classroom influences student behavior; how a neighborhood park influences children playing
– p. 19

forensic psychology
– applies psychological concepts to the legal system
– APPLICATION: used in jury selection, testify as experts (evaluated if a person is a danger to society)
– p. 19

sport psychology
– applies psychological theories and ideas in helping elite-level, professional, recreational and other athletes achieve peak performance and develop personal wellbeing and life adjustment skills
– p. 19

cross-cultural psychology
– study of culture’s role in understanding behavior, thought and emotion
– APPLICATION: is a psychological phenomena universal or culture-specific
– p. 19

individualist culture
– individuals seen as separate and unique
– independence
– focus on self success; leads to low motivation and desire to do easiest tasks possible
– less likely than people form collectivist cultures to challenge self (like to complete tasks that they know they can complete)
– Western cultures
– p. 20

collectivist culture
– individuals play a role in the larger group
– interdependence
– self critical; more likely (than individualist cultures) to challenge self in order to contribute to society
– Asian cultures, Japan being a common go-to example
– p. 20

Mary Calkins
– first woman to become president of the American Psychological association – (not in book)

Gestalt
– a school of thought interested in how people naturally organize their perceptions according to certain patterns

empiricism
– theory that all knowledge is derived from sense-experience