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Psychology Ch1-5 Notes

Psychology Ch1-5 Notes - Ch 1 What is Psychology Psychology...

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Ch 1- What is Psychology? Psychology : the scientific study of behavior and mental processes Science - systematic methods o Goal: describe, predict, explain behavior and mental processes (sometimes to control or change them) o Scientist’s tool kit: Critical thinking - think deeply, ask questions, evaluate evidence Skepticism - question what people “know to be true” Objectivity - strive to be moved by the evidence, not desires Curiosity - the drive to ask questions Behavior - everything we do that can be directly observed o Relatively easy to observe and measure (it can be counted or described qualitatively) Mental processes - thoughts, feelings, motives; cannot be observed directly o Psychologists have to be clever- make inferences about mental process from observable behavior Pseudoscience - pseudo= fake; info that is couched in scientific terminology but is not supported by sound scientific research (ex: astrology) Personality psychology - examines traits that differentiate you from somebody else Objectivity - waiting to see what the evidence tells us rather than going w/our hunches o Best way to be objective is to apply the empirical method Empirical method - gaining knowledge through observation of events, collection of data, and logical reasoning Positive psychology - emphasizes human strengths (topics on hope, optimism, happiness, and gratitude) o Goal: to bring a greater balance to the field by moving beyond focusing on how and why things go wrong in life to understanding how and why things go right Ancient History When thinking of psych, people think of Sigmund Freud : o Believed human behavior caused by dark, unpleasant, unconscious impulses pressing for expression Socrates , Plato , Aristotle debated nature of thought & behavior, including the possible link btwn mind & body o Used reason and personal observations Rene Descartes “I think, therefore I am” o The only certainty is that one has a mind, therefore it must be separate from the body o Descartes- emotion; Aristotle- happiness Recent History Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920)- founding father of modern psych William James (1842-1910): Philosopher/physician Combined philosophizing about the mind with empirical study First reaction time experiment in 1879 Meas. reaction time inferred speed of brain and nerve activity (meas time lag btwn the instant a person heard a sound and the moment he/she pressed a telegraph key to signal he/she heard it) Philosopher/Psychologist Less interested in what the mind is but interested in why the mind works the way it does; not looking inside the mind but the outside world Didn’t believe in structures; mind characterized by constant change in response to a continuous flow of info from the world- “stream of consciousness
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Wundt’s Structuralism : geared towards understanding the “structures” of the mind o Structures= basic elements or processes not physical structures o Method = introspection; present stimulus subjects document the
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