PSY1101 - Experimental Psychology PSY1101 Jan 10 2012...

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Experimental Psychology PSY1101 Jan. 10, 2012 Psychology : scientific study of behavior and mental process. Psychology emerged around the late 1800s from philosophy and biology. It became a science when it became systematic in its methods. Wilhem Wundt: the first person to formally propose the idea of psychology while studying at the University of Leipzig in Germany around December 1897. He was doing reaction time experiments and suggests that from the reaction time, we can infer the speed of cognition and mental awareness. For example, to see how long it takes the brain to process information, he timed the test subject by having the subject press a button when a picture is shown, then he timed them again by having them press the button when they recognize what object is shown in the picture. The time difference between the two trials is the time it takes for the brain to process the information. Some perspectives in psychology Structuralism: this focuses on the structural elements of the mind. This approach wanted to break down cognition into its fundamental pieces. (So when you recognize a rose, do you see the colour first, then the shape of the flower second? It focuses on what the steps the brain goes through when recognizing, thinking, and feeling) This approach is brought to North America by E.B. Titchener, a student of Wundt. Titchener proposed the method of introspection : The method of looking at things and describing it. (How would you describe a rose? Do you describe it using its colour, shape, smell, feel? What words would you use?) Popularity of structuralism did not last very long because it is too subjective and changes with people. Also, when teaching people to perform introspection, they are given a vocabulary list which can create bias in the test subjects. Another problem is the introspection did not tell about behavior and consciousness. Functionalism: this focuses on the function of our thoughts, feelings, and ideas. It is influenced by Charles Darwin’s theory on Natural Selection/ 1
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Functionalism asks the purpose/function of consciousness that benefits human survival. William James, lead American functionalist, wrote the first book on psychology which is still very influencial. Example between Structuralism and Functionalism Anger Structuralism Functionalism What are the aspects of anger? (you feel hot, and agitated etc.) i.e. How do you feel? What does anger mean to a person? (anger might mean that you are being taken advantage of etc) What behaviours does anger cause? (you get red which can make you seem intimidating, this can be good for survival) Behaviourism: John Watson: lead behaviourist, felt that to make psychology a science, it must be observable. This approach asks what causes behaviours and what are the consequences of behaviours.
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PSY1101 - Experimental Psychology PSY1101 Jan 10 2012...

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