Notes PSY 200

Notes PSY 200 - What is Psychology(Chapter 1 Psychology is...

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What is Psychology? ( Chapter 1 , 8/21/09 ) Psychology is: o from the Greek roots: Psyche = “soul”/ “mind” and Logos = “word” o the systematic study of behavior and experience Psychologists engage in the study of psychology in order to understand, explain, and predict behavior What are the major philosophical issues that are relevant to this study? General points about psychology o “it depends” - few things are true of all people all the time o Research progress depends on good measurement (qualify things, have concrete definitions of things, scales) o Correlation does not indicate causation (things can appear together without causing each other) o Variations among individuals reflect both heredity and environment (nature vs. nurture) o The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior in similar situations (people don’t change easily) o Some statements in psychology reflect stronger evidence than others (there is a lot of information about aggressive behavior vs. aggressive games/ tv and child development. Less evidence about left-handed vs. right-handed people) Major philosophical issues o Free will vs. determination- are there causes of behavior knowable, and is behavior predictable? Free will- the belief that behavior is caused by an individual’s independent decision making (deciding to right) Determination- the assumption that everything that happens has a cause or determinant in the observable world (knee-jerk reactions, puff of air in eye blink) A determinist assumes everything that happens has a cause that can be known A believer in free will assumes that even with complete information regarding causes and conditions, predictions regarding human behavior can never be fully accurate o Mind/body problem- how is experience related to the organ system called the brain Dualism- the belief that the mind is separate from the brain but somehow controls the brain and through it also the rest of the body Monism- the view that conscious experience is generated by and therefore is inseparable from the brain Data from brain imaging research such as PET (position emission tomography) suggest that brain activity and mental activity are two aspects of the same thing o Nature vs. nurture How do differences in behavior relate to differences in heredity and environment? Others assume that most differences are a result of aspects of the environment such as culture, expectations, and resources Present in virtually all psychology fields Developmental: intelligence Perception: vision (cats, need visual stimulation before 4 months otherwise they get poor eyesight/ blind) Health psychology: obesity (genetic predispositions and food availability History and systems o The early era and the roots of psychology General thoughts 1
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o Relationships between early researchers in psychology Wundt (1879) Titchener (1910) James (1890) Freud* (1900) Galton (1869)
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Notes PSY 200 - What is Psychology(Chapter 1 Psychology is...

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