Psychological Science � Notes

Psychological Science � Notes - Chapter 1...

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Chapter 1: Introduction to Psychological Science Prejudice: - Influences people’s beliefs/expectations of others, leads to racism - Amygdala: part of the brain used to detect threat (fear response) - Increasing familiarity reduces fear/threat response - Psychology has been a science for approx. 100 years - Learned basic processes of learning, memory, emotion, perception - Goal is to understand people by considering individual factors and contextual factors o Explain most important human behaviours in real life context Psychological science: study of mind, brain and behaviour - Mind: mental activity (thoughts, feelings) o Perpetual experiences (smell, touch, taste) are the mind in action - Physical brain enables the mind - Behaviour: wide variety of actions Themes of Psychological Science: Principles are cumulative: - Knowledge accumulates with systematic studies of questions raised by what is already known o Ex. “recollection is greater than recall” - At times makes things seem simpler than they are New Biological revolution is energizing research: - Three major developments o Brain chemistry Brain works through the actions of chemicals (neurotransmitters), which communicate messages to nerve cells Hundreds of different substances o Human genome Understanding of genetic processes Human genome: basic genetic code for the human body Links between genes and behaviour o Watching the working brain Neuroscience (brain science) allows for examination of interactions in the brain The mind is adaptive: - The mind has been shaped by evolution - The brain has evolved over millions of years - Adaptation to environment, problem of survival and reproduction Adaptations: physical characteristics, skills, abilities that increase the chances of survival (more likely to be passed onto future generations) o Solving Adaptive problems o Modern mind in stone age skulls Must understand our ancestors behaviour to understand ours Humans began evolving 5 million years ago, modern humans 100, 000 years ago
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o Culture provides adaptive solutions Biggest challenges are dealing with other humans Westerners: analytic, break complex ideas into simple components – independent Easterners: holistic, complicated whole – interdependent Culture: the beliefs, values, rules and customs that exist within a group of people who share a common language and environment and that are transmitted trough learning from one generation to the next Crosses levels of analysis: - Mind and body can be studied on many levels - Three main levels: o Social (cultural and interpersonal) o Individual (personality, perception and cognition) o Biological (brain systems, neurochemistry and genetics) Intellectual Origins: Nature-nurture debate (biology vs. environment): o The arguments concerning whether psychological characteristics are biologically innate or acquired through education Mind-body problem: o A fundamental psychological issue that considers whether mind and body
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This note was uploaded on 04/21/2008 for the course PSYC 100 taught by Professor Richard during the Fall '08 term at McGill.

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Psychological Science � Notes - Chapter 1...

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