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Prologue - Gina Balhorn PSY101 Prologue The Story of...

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Gina Balhorn PSY101 Prologue:  The Story of Psychology Psychology’s Roots Objective 1:  Define psychology. Psychology = the scientific study of behavior and mental processes Behavior = anything an organism  does —any action we can record Mental Processes = the internal, subjective experiences we infer from behavior —sensations,  perceptions, dreams, thoughts, beliefs and feelings Psychology as a science: psychology evaluates competing ideas with careful observation and rigorous  analysis. o Less a set of findings than a way of asking and answering questions o Theories Theory works—data supports predictions—(the more data and predictions) the better the  theory Predictions fail—theory is rejected or revised Objective 2:  Prescientific Psychology. India: Buddha pondered how sensations and perceptions combine to form ideas China: Confucius stressed power of ideas and an educated mind Israel: Hebrew scholars anticipated today’s psychology by linking mind and emotion to body Ancient Greece: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle o Socrates and Plato Derived principles by logic Theories - Mind is separable from body - Continues after body dies - Knowledge is innate—born within us o Aristotle Derived principles from careful observations Theory:  Knowledge is not  preexisting; Grows from experiences stored in memories France: Ren é  Descartes o Agreed with Socrates and Plato on mind being “entirely distinct from body” and able to survive  death o Conjectured how immaterial mind and physical body communicate o Dissected animals Concluded: Fluid in brain’s cavities contained “animal spirits” that flowed from brain  through nerves (which Descartes thought were hollow) to muscles, provoking movement. Memories formed as experiences opened pores in the brain, into which the animal spirits  also flowed Britain: Francis Bacon and John Locke o Francis Bacon Became one of the founders of modern science Fascinated by human mind and its failings About our mind’s hunger to perceive patterns in random events, Bacon said, “the human 
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Gina Balhorn PSY101 understanding, from its peculiar nature, easily supposes a greater degree of order and  equality in things than it really finds” Foresaw research findings on noticing/remembering events that confirm beliefs, “All  superstition is much the same…in all deluded believers observe events which are  fulfilled, but neglect and pass over their failure, though it be much more common.” o John Locke
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