Chapter 1: Introduction and Research Methods
What is Psychology?
- The scientific study of behavior and mental processes.
values empirical evidence - information acquired by direct observation and measurement using
systematic scientific methods.
Studying psychology offers practical solutions to everyday
problems and develops an appreciation for scientific methods of research, as opposed to
pseudopsychologies (“false psychologies”) that pretend to discover psychological information
through nonscientific methods.
- The four goals of psychology are: (1) Description - to describe particular
behaviors by careful scientific observation, (2) Explanation – to explain behaviors by
conducting experiments to determine their causes, (3) Prediction – to predict when a behavior
being studied will occur in the future, and (4) Change – to change inappropriate behavior or
circumstance psychologists investigate behavior with basic research or applied research.
Applying Psychology to Work: Careers in the Field
- Psychologists can
specialize in several areas, including clinical and counseling psychology,
biopsychology/neuroscience, experimental, cognitive, developmental,
industrial/organizational, industrial/organizational, educational psychology, school
A description of the different areas/specialties of psychology is shown
in Table 1.1.The number of psychologists working in the different fields is
highlighted in Figure 1.1.
ORIGINS OF PSYCHOLOGY
Early Psychological Science: A Brief History
- Historically psychologists have taken various
approaches regarding the study of behavior.
They eventually emerged to form various schools
of psychology with distinct approaches to the study of behavior.
The following nine major
schools are discussed: (1) structuralism, (2) functionalism, (3) psychoanalytic/psychodynamic,
(4) behavioral, (5) humanistic, (6) cognitive, (7) neuroscience/biopsychology, (8) evolutionary,
and (9) sociocultural.
The contributions of women and minorities are highlighted.
- Titchener brought Wundt's ideas to America and coined the term
structuralism, which is now used to refer to the school of thought that focused on the
investigation of thought processes and the structure of the mind.
- Feeling the need for practical applications of psychology, some
psychologists turned to functionalism.
Functionalism focused on the function of mental
processes in adapting the individual to the environment
Darwin’s theory of evolution
had an impact on this school and William James was the leading force in the functionalist