psychology’s roots

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Psychologys Roots. Unit One. Psychology. What is it? The definition has changed over time. Today it is: The scientific study of behavior and mental processes. Behavior- outward or avert actions and reactions Mental Processes- internal covert activity of our minds. Ancient Greeks. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


Psychologys Roots

Unit OnePsychologys RootsPsychologyWhat is it?The definition has changed over time. Today it is:The scientific study of behavior and mental processes.Behavior- outward or avert actions and reactions

Mental Processes- internal covert activity of our mindsAncient GreeksSocrates and PlatoDualism - the mind is separate from the body and continues after the body diessome ideas innate (nature) Aristotle monism mind and body are connected knowledge results from memories of past experiences (nurture)

Nature vs. Nurture- Nurture works on what nature endows.

StructuralismWilhelm Wundt and psychologys first graduate students studied the atoms of the mind by conducting experiments at Leipzig, Germany, in 1879. This work is considered the birth of psychology as we know it today.

Introspection- process of objectively examining and measuring ones own thoughts and mental activities

Structuralism (cont)Edward Titchener:Structuralism - early school of psychology that used introspection to explore the structural elements of the human mind.Introspection to study inner sensations and mental images

Died out in the 1900s because introspection is unreliable!!!Explain your feelings????

FunctionalismWilliam James- Father of modern psychology

Focused on the adaptive value of conscious thoughts and emotions (how they enable us to survive and reproduce - added the importance of the environment )

Interested in how and why something happens- predecessor to behaviorism

Functionalists broadened field of psychology to include the study of children, animals, religious experiences, and stream of consciousness

Gestalt PsychologyMax Wertheimer- psychological events could not be broken down into different events

the whole is greater than the sum of its partFocus on how people perceive the worldPsychoanalysisSigmund Freud, an Austrian physician, and his followers emphasized the importance of the unconscious mind and its effects on human behavior.Emphasizes unconscious motives and conflictsPsychoanalysis- helps a person gain insight into their early life experiences to change behaviorBehavior is driven by unconscious drives and conflicts and childhood experiencesWe protect ourselves from our real feeling by using defense mechanisms.

BehaviorismIvan Pavlov- Classical Conditioning John Watson and later B.F. Skinner emphasized the study of overt- observable- behavior as the subject matter of scientific psychology

Biopsychosocial ApproachWe define psychology today as the scientific study of behavior (what we do) and mental processes (inner thoughts and feelings).

The best of psychology takes a combined approach to looking at any given phenomenon- The biopsychosocial approach

Evaluates nature and nurture!!!!

Biopsychosocial Approach (cont.)

Psychodynamic PerspectivePsychodynamic Perspective- Focus on the unconscious mind and its influence over conscious behavior and on early childhood experiences with more emphasis on the development of a sense of self and the discovery of other motivations behind a persons behaviorFreudian ideas are enduring because they lack anyway to test themIn order to get better, we must bring forward the true feelings we have in our unconscious.

Behavioral PerspectiveBehavioral Perspective- Focus on observable behavior and ignore consciousness issueB.F. Skinner- developed a theory of how voluntary behavior is learned called operant conditioningWe behave in ways because we have been conditioned by rewards and punishments to act a certain way.To change behaviors, we have to recondition the client.

Humanistic Perspective-Humanistic Perspective- Focus on the aspects of human nature that makes us human. People have free will, the freedom to choose their own destiny.Abraham Maslow and Carl Rodgers both emphasized the human potential, the ability of each person to become the best person he or she could be (self actualization)

Cognitive PerspectiveCognitive Perspective- focus on how people think, remember, store, and use informationFocus on memory, intelligence, perception, thought processes, problem solving, language and learningCognitive Neuroscience- study of the physical changes in the brain and nervous system during thinking

How do we react to getting dumped?Try again or never again???

Socio-cultural PerspectiveSocio-cultural Perspective- focuses on the relationship between social behavior and culture. How our groups social roles along with cultural norms and values affect our behavior Cross-cultural research- contrasts and comparisons of a behavior or issue are studied in at least two or more cultures

Biopsychological PerspectiveBiopsychological Perspective- human and animal behavior are linked to biological events occurring in the body.Hormones, heredity, brain chemicals, tumors, and diseasesTo change behavior the biological problem must be addressed, usually through medication or surgery

Evolutionary PerspectiveEvolutionary Perspective- focuses on the biological bases for universal mental characteristics that all humans share, based upon Darwin and Natural SelectionExample: why attractiveness influences mate selectionClinical Psychology vs. PsychiatryA clinical psychologist (Ph.D.) studies, assesses, and treats troubled people with psychotherapy.

Psychiatrists on the other hand are medical professionals (M.D.) who use treatments like drugs and psychotherapy to treat psychologically diseased patients.

Four Big Ideas in Psychology 1. Critical Thinking is Smart Thinking2.Behavior is a Biopsychosocial Event3. We Operate with a Two-Track Mind (Dual Processing)4. Psychology Explores Human Strengths as Well as Challenges

Why do Psychology?How can we differentiate between uniformed opinions and examined conclusions?The science of psychology helps make these examined conclusions, which leads to our understanding of how people feel, think, and act as they do!

What About Intuition & Common Sense?Many people believe that intuition and common sense are enough to bring forth answers regarding human nature.

Intuition and common sense may aid queries, but they are not free of error.

Example: Personal interviewers may rely too much on their gut feelings when meeting with job applicants.

Hindsight BiasHindsight Bias is the I-knew-it-all-along phenomenon.

After learning the outcome of an event, many people believe they could have predicted that very outcome.

Example: We only knew the stocks (housing market) would plummet after they actually did plummet.

OverconfidenceSometimes we think we know more than we actually know.

How long do you think it would take to unscramble these anagrams?

People said it would take about 10 seconds, yet on average they took about 3 minutes (Goranson, 1978)AnagramWREATWATERETYRNENTRYTry it!



Critical ThinkingCritical thinking does not accept arguments and conclusions blindly.

It examines assumptions, discerns hidden values, evaluates evidence and assesses conclusions

There are very few truths that do not need to be subjected to testing.All evidence is not equal in quality.Just because someone is considered to be an authority or to have a lot of expertise does not make everything that person claims automatically true.Critical thinking requires an open mind.

The Amazing RandiCritical Thinking GuidelinesAsk questionsDefine your termsExamine the evidenceAnalyze assumptions and biasesAvoid emotional reasoningDont oversimplifyConsider other interpretationsTolerate uncertainty

How Do Psychologists Ask & Answer Questions?Psychologists, like all scientists, use the scientific method to construct theories that organize, summarize and simplify observations.

TheoryA theory is an explanation that integrates principles and organizes and predicts behavior or events.

For example, low self-esteem contributes to depression.

HypothesisA hypothesis is a testable prediction, often prompted by a theory, to enable us to accept, reject or revise the theory.

People with low self-esteem are apt to feel more depressed.

Research ObservationsResearch would require us to administer tests of self-esteem and depression. Individuals who score low on a self-esteem test and high on a depression test would confirm our hypothesis.

Descriptive MethodsMethods that yield descriptions of behavior, but not necessarily causal explanations

Include: Case studies Observational studies Psychological tests Surveys

They are difficult to replicate therefore cannot be used as evidence to prove a psychological theory

Case StudyA detailed description of a particular individual being studied or treated, which may be used to formulate broader research hypotheses

May not apply or generalize others

Vulnerable to bias from participant or observer

Observational StudiesResearchers carefully and systematically observe and record behavior without interfering with behavior

Naturalistic observationPurpose is to observe how people or animals behave in their natural environments.Laboratory observationPurpose is to observe how people or animals behave in a more controlled setting.

Observation Bias- see what they expect to seeSurveys Questionnaires and interviews that ask people about experiences, attitudes, or opinions

Requires a representative sampleGroup of subjects, selected from the population for study, which matches the population on important characteristics such as age and sex

Popular polls and surveys rely on volunteers

SurveyWording EffectWording can change the result


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