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The science of behavior and mental processes
Out of what 2 disciplines did psychology develop?
Philosophy and biology/physiology
What were Rene Descartes 4 major influences on scientific psychology?
- 1) Skepticism
- -Descartes doubted what he did not know was for sure and set out to prove what he thought was right
- -He had to prove whatever he believed to be true
- -He had to test his knowledge and new knowledge
- 2) Humans are defined by thinking and consciousness
- -I think, therefore I am.
- 3) The body is a machine
- -Psychology made progress when using this theory.
- 4) Mind body experience
- -The mind and the body both exist and they both interact.
What is the mind body problem?
- How can two separate realms of existence, mental and physical, interact?
- The body existed in time, past, present, and future. It existed in space and is visible.
- The mind existed in time, past, present, and future.
What is materialism?
- The belief that everything is physical
- The brain controls thoughts
What is empiricism?
- The belief that knowledge comes through experiences and through the senses
- God, religion, infinity are all labels
- We have to experience the world and our mind relates this into knowledge
What is physiology?
How parts of the body function
Where and when did scientific psychology begin?
Late 1880s in Germany
Who is Wilhelm Wundt? What did he study?
- Wilhelm Wundt is known as the founder of modern psychology
- He studied the time it took for a subject to press a telegraph button as a ball hit the floor
- He was seeking to measure the “atoms of the mind” – the fastest and simplest mental processes
- This is considered psychology’s first experiment
- It launched the first psychology lab, staffed by Wundt and his graduate students
What is introspection?
- A research method in which observers record, examine, and describe their own mental processes
- It was generally unreliable and varied from person to person and the experiences each person had faced
What is functionalism?
- Functionalism is the view in psychology that focused on the mental and behavioral functions
- People adapt to their environment
What were the 2 influences on functionalism’s development in the US?
- 1) Darwinism
- Darwinism was popular in the United States
- There are no intrinsically superior ideas
- Darwinism depends on the environment
- Survival of the fittest
- 2) America’s practical attitude
- How can we make money off of psychology?
What is behaviorism?
Behaviorism is the view that psychology should be an objective science without reference to the mind
What did behaviorists think psychology should and should not study?
- Behaviorists believes we should study behavior and not the mind
- They believe that science is publicly observable
What did behaviorists think psychology should and should not study?
- Behaviorists believed that we should study behavior, not the mind.
- They believe science is publicly observable
- Introspection is not publicly observable
- They think we should study responses to environment, stimuli, etc
What machine influenced the development of cognitive psychology in the 1960s?
- The computer
- We could now diagram the mind
How did World War II influence the growth of clinical psychology in the US?
- World War II gave rise to clinical psychology because soldiers would return from war with shell shock, or now as its known, post traumatic stress disorder
- Most physicians were trained to treat the physical problems of soldiers
- Psychologists called in to treat the mental aspect
- Hospitals and programs started to help the development of children
What is basic research?
Research that increases psychology’s knowledge base
What is applied research?
Research dedicated to tackling practical problems
What is natural selection?
From among chance variations, nature selects the trains that best enable an organism to survive and reproduce in a particular environment
What are the three main levels of analysis?
- Together these three levels of analysis form an integrated biopsychosocial approach
- 1) Biological influences:
- Natural selection of adaptive traits
- Genetic predispositions responding to environments
- Brain mechanisms
- Hormonal influences
- 2) Psychological influences
- Learned fear and other learned expectations
- Emotional responses
- Cognitive processing and perceptual interpretations
- 3) Social-culture influences
- Presence of others
- Cultural, societal, and family expectations
- Peer and other group influences
- Compelling models (such as in the media)
What is the focus of neuroscience?
- How the brain and body are related to thinking, emotions, and behavior
- How the body and brain enable emotions, memories, and sensory experiences
What is the focus of evolutionary psychology?
- How certain traits allow us to adapt to the environment and pass on our genes
- How the natural selection of traits promoted the survival of genes
What is the focus of cognitive psychology?
- How we encode, process, store and retrieve information
- Memory is a main component
What is the focus of behavioral genetics?
- How the change in genetics and environment influence individual differences
- How much our genes and our environment influence our individual differences
What is the focus of social-cultural psychology?
How behavior and thinking varies across situations and cultures
What is the focus of psychodynamic psychology?
- How unconscious drives and conflicts influences in thinking and behavior
- How behavior springs from unconscious drives and conflicts
What are the differences among clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychoanalysts?
- Clinical psychologists assess, and treat mental, emotional, and behavior disorders. They administer and interpret tests, provide counseling and therapy, and sometimes conduct basic and applied research. Practitioners usually have a master’s or PhD in clinical psychology.
- Psychiatrists are medical doctors licensed to prescribe drugs and otherwise treat physical causes of psychological disorders. Psychiatry is a branch of medicine dealing with psychological disorders. Psychiatrists can use medical treatments in addition to psychotherapy.
- Psychoanalysts are typically psychiatrists who focus on unconscious conflicts, developmental problems, and depression. Psychoanalysis is a therapeutic technique based on Freudian or other psychoanalytical perspectives.
What are the most efficient ways to study?
- Survey the chapter briefly looking for key ideas; note the organization of the chapter
- Question yourself, forming questions based on the survey
- Read the chapter, actively searching for the answer to the question(s) asked. Make notes, consider implications.
- Rehearse what you read in your own words what you can recall, glance over what you can’t recall.
- Review any notes you have taken, paying attention to organization, and then scan the chapter quickly.
- Distribute your study time to be broken up over large intervals of time
- Think critically
- Overlearn to solidify information
- Be a smart test taker. If the exam has essay questions, skip to the essay portion, bullet down some main focus points, and then go back to the multiple choice questions. Return to the essay section to fill it out.
What is hindsight bias?
The tendency to believe, after learning an outcome, that one would have foreseen it
What is overconfidence?
- People are overconfident in what they believe
- This generally causes them to be incorrect
- People then form a variety of excuses to void any doubts of them being incorrect
What is the scientific attitude?
- Curiosity is the first part. It is a passion to expose and understand without misleading or being misled. Does it work? When put to the test, can its predictions be confirmed?
- Skepticism is the second part. What do you mean? How do you know?
- The third is humility. An awareness of our own vulnerability to error and openness to our surprises and new perspectives.
- These traits help make science possible.
- The scientific attitude can be summed up by saying the ideal that unifies psychologists with all scientists is the curious, skeptical, humble scrutiny of competing ideas. As a community, scientists check and recheck one another’s findings and conclusions.
What is the notion of critical thinking?
- Critical thinking is smart thinking.
- Examine assumptions
- Discern hidden values
- Evaluates evidence
- Assess conclusions
- How do they know what? What is this person’s agenda? In the conclusion based on anecdote and gut feelings or evidence? Does the evidence justify a cause-effect conclusion? What alternative explanations are possible?
What are variables?
Any measurable conditions, events, characteristics or behaviors that are controlled or observed in a study
What are operational definitions?
- A concept for variable is defined by the methods used to measure it.
- Different results from different tests
- A strict following of operational definitions will allow other researchers to replicate the studies done by previous experimenters
What are the 5 steps in the scientific study?
- Formulate a hypothesis
- Design an experiment or study
- Collect data
- Analyze and interpret data. Draw conclusions
- Report any significant findings
What is a theory?
A theory is an explanation using an integrated set of principles that organizes observations and predicts behaviors or events.
What are theories based on?
Theories are based on observations
How are theories tested?
Theories are tested by formulating a hypothesis and then performing an experiment to either confirm or deny the hypothesis.
What is a hypothesis?
A testable prediction
What is a case study?
Observational technique in which one person is studied in depth
What are advantages of a case study?
- Gives the full picture of a subject
- Can be used for unusual cases
- Can use to disprove general statements
What are disadvantages of the case study?
- The subject may not be representative of the population
- They are highly subjective
- The subject may have poor memory
- Records become very important
What is naturalistic observation?
Observing and recording behavior in naturally occurring situations without trying to manipulate and control the situation
What are advantages of naturalistic observation?
- Good for coming up with new ideas
- Good for descriptive data
- Allows us to see if the laboratory data really applies in natural settings
Disadvantages of naturalistic observation
- Difficult to determine which variables are important
- Difficult to control the situation without intervention
What is a survey?
A technique for asserting self reported attitudes or behaviors of people by questioning a representative random sample of the population
What are advantages of a survey?
- Able to get a lot of information fast
- Can track the changes of people’s responses over time
- Can make predictions that are valid within certain limits
What are disadvantages of the survey?
- Self reports may be unreliable due to memory lapses, unsure of how you would actually act, wishful thinking, and intentional deceptions
- Cannot validly draw cause and effect solutions
- Wording in surveys is crucial. This can cause unfair bias.
- Getting a truly random sample can be very difficult.
- The subjects cannot seek the researcher. The researcher must seek the subjects.
What is a population?
- All the cases in a group
- The whole group being studied and described
What is a random sample?
A random sample is a sample that fairly represents a population because every member of the population has an equal chance of inclusion
What is correlation?
- A statistical measurement of relationships
- It is the extent at which two variables move together
What do positive and negative correlations represent?
- 0-1 is positive. Both of the variables rise and fall together.
- -1-0 is negative. The value of one variable rises as the other falls.
- 0 has no predicted value.
- The further from 0, stronger the correlation.
How are correlation strengths determined?
The absolute value of the coefficient tells its strength.
What can be concluded from correlations?
- Correlations DO NOT imply causation
- It helps us judge how one thing predicts the other
What are scatterplots?
- A graphical representation of possible correlations from a perfect negative to a perfect positive
- Each dot represents the scattered value of two variables
What is an experiment?
When a researcher manipulates one or more variables under carefully controlled conditions and observes changes in behavior or mental processes
What are advantages to an experiment?
- We can manipulate the factors of interest
- We can control all the other factors
- We can validly draw cause and effect soutions
What are disadvantages to an experiment?
- Selection bias
- Results may not be generizable
- Experimental and control groups may have different types of subjects
- The experiment is not always reduced to one variable
- Expensive and time consuming
- Can be artificial via lab conditions
What is an independent variable?
- A factor that is manipulated to see its effects
- The experimental factor being manipulated
- The variable whose effect is being studied
- Only depends on itself
What is the dependent variable?
- A factor thought to be affected by the independent variable
- The outcome factor
- The variable that may change in response to changes in the independent variable
- Depends on the independent variable
What is the experimental group?
The group that is exposed to the treatment
What is a control group?
- The group that serves as a comparison for evaluating the effects of the treatments
- Nothing is done to the control groups.
What is an illusory correlation?
- A perceived but nonexistent correlation
- Sometimes we may perceive two random events are correlated. This is incorrect
Describe perceiving order in random events
- We look for order everywhere, even in random data
- Random sequences often do not look random
- Flipping a coin does not have to be HTHTHTHT, HHHHHHHH is just as likely
- Being dealt 10-ace of hearts in poker has the same chance as 4,6,Q,A,2
- With a large enough sample, anything is bound to happen
- An event that happens to one in a billion people every day occurs about 6 times a day, 2000 times a year
What is the placebo effect?
- Experimental results that occur by expectation alone
- Any effect on behavior is caused by the administration of an inert substance or condition which the recipients presume is the active agent
What is a placebo?
An inert substance or condition that is given to subjects in order to be a control for the actual drug
What is experimenter bias?
Researcher’s expectations about the outcome
What is a double blind study?
- A study in which both the subjects and administrators do not know which group is the control group (placebo) and which is the experimental group
- Both researcher subjects and research stag are ignorant about which research subjects have received the treatment or the placebo
What does statistical significance mean and not mean?
- They help us determine whether or not differences are meaningful
- When the average samples are reliable and when the differences in them is relatively large, the difference is statistically significant
- This means that the observed difference is probably not due to chance variation between the samples
- Statistical significance indicates the likelihood that a result will happen by chance. BUT, this does not say anything about the importance of the result.
What is selection bias?
Selection bias is a statistical bias in which there is an error in choosing the individuals or groups to take part in a scientific study. It is sometimes referred to as the selection effect. The term "selection bias" most often refers to the distortion of a statistical analysis, resulting from the method of collecting samples. If the selection bias is not taken into account then any conclusions drawn may be wrong.
What is a peer-reviewed journal?
A periodical that uses researchers to judge whether other researcher’s work is worth publishing
What are the 4 basic 1992 APA guidelines for research ethics?
- 1) Subjects must give informed consent
- 2) Investigators must protect the subject from harm or discomfort
- 3) Information must be kept confidential
- 4) Research must be explained to the participant after the study
What percentage of psychological research uses animals as subjects?
- About 7% of research uses animals
- 93% humans
FAQ: Can laboratory experiments illuminate every day life?
- Can people’s behavior in laboratories predict their behavior in real life?
- An experiment’s purpose is not to re-create the exact behaviors of everyday life, but to test theoretical principles.
- It is the resulting principles, not the specific findings, which help explain everyday behaviors
- Psychologist’s concerns lie less with particular behaviors than with the general principles that help explain the behaviors
FAQ: Does behavior depend on one’s culture and gender?
- Culture does shape behavior
- It influences our standards of promptness and frankness our attitudes toward premarital sex and carrying tact, our conversational distance and much, much more.
- But, people with dyslexia exhibit the same brain malfunction no matter of creed
- Variation in languages may impede communication, but all languages share deep principles of grammar
- People in different culture vary in feelings of loneliness, but the loneliness is magnified by shyness, low self-esteem, and being married
- Genders do differentiate as well. Researchers report gender differences in what we dream, in how we express and detect emotions, our risk for alcohol dependence, depression, and eating disorders.
- Even when specific attitudes and behaviors vary by gender or across cultures, as often as they do; the underlying processes are much the same
FAQ: Why do researchers do animal studies? Is it ethical?
- The animals used for research are but a fraction used for the animals killed for food
- Animals may have more simple complexes to study and can provide baseline knowledge before we delve into the unknown
- Some scientists say that if you have eaten an animal, gone on a fishing or hunting trip, etc that it is sometimes permissible to sacrifice animals for the same of human well-being
- All the animal subjects are housed in reasonable environments with good living conditions such as food and water
- At its best, a psychology concerned for humans and sensitive to animals serves the welfare of both
FAQ: Is it ethical to experiment on people?
- Most research proposals are screened through a committee to ensure fair treatment of participants
- Researchers do temporarily stress or shock subjects but only when they believe it is essential to a justifiable end
- Psychology can certainly help us reach our goals, but it cannot decide what those goals should be
- The ideal is for a researcher to be sufficiently informative and considerate that participants will leave feeling at least as good about themselves as when they came in