Psychology 1a Notes

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PSYC1001 – Notes

Introduction & Psych Perspectives
What is Psychology? Psychology is the scientific investigation of mental (thinking, remembering and feeling) and behaviour. Understanding a person requires attention to the individual’s biology, psychological experience and cultural context. Behaviour – Overt (observable) actions; Physiological correlates of actions Mental Processes – Thoughts (memories, imagery, concepts); Emotions (fear, happiness, anger, arousal); interactions between the two (e.g. decision making) Graduate Attributes:

* Knowledge and understanding of psychology, including major concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings and historical trends * Appreciation, application and evaluation of basic research methods in psychology. * Critical thinking skills in psychology, including use of the scientific approach to solve problems. * Values in psychology, including; the ethical use of information, appreciation of cultural diversity; and the value of empirical evidence. * Effective communication skills in psychology across a variety of contexts and formats * Appreciation of the application of psychological principles to personal, social and organizational issues.

Psychological Perspectives
Aims:
* The Scientific approach in Psychology
* A brief history of scientific Psychology
* How Psychology is taught
* Relationship between Psychology and other disciplines
* Provide a framework for you to think about psychology
* Preview some of the topics and theme you will study in the course.

Goals of Scientific Psychology
What?
Description of behaviour using careful observations
When?
Prediction allows for specification of the conditions under which a behaviour will or will not occur Why?
Explanation, identifying the causes of behaviour
Change?
Facilitating changes in behaviour

Clichés
1. Birds of a feather flock together OR opposite attract
2. Absence makes the heart grow fonder OR out of sight out of mind. These clichés can be used post hoc to explain most behaviour therefore out commonsense is unfalsifiable (not capable of being proved false).

Science| Common Sense|
Objective data collection| Subjective data collection|
Systematic observation| Hit or miss observation|
Reliance on evidence| Ignores counterevidence|
(Science vs. Common Sense)

Brief History of Psychology
* Psychology emerged in part from philosophy. Many issues at the heart of contemporary psychological research and controversy are classic philosophical questions. * Psychology is defined as an empirical science. (Based on or concerned with observations and experience rather than theory and pure logic.) * Early assumptions were that the goal of Psychology was to understand the structure and contents of the mind.

Wilhelm Wundt – Father of Psychology
* He hoped to use scientific methods to uncover the elementary units of human consciousness that combine to form more complex ideas, * Introspection – the process of looking inward and reporting on ones conscious experience. * He trained observers to report on their experiences under different experimental conditions e.g. when presented with a stimulus or task. * However this failed because peoples self reports were unreliable.

Structuralism & Functionalism
* Edward Titchener (1867 – 1927) advocated the use of introspection in experiments with the hope of devising a periodic table of elements of human consciousness. Due to his interest in studying the structure of consciousness, the school of thought initiated was knows an as structuralism. * Functionalism focuses on the function of psychological processes in helping individuals adapt to their environment – by William James. * E.g. attention serves to highlight and focus analysis on certain stimuli * Consistent with evolutionary framework

* Functionalism focuses on identifying the rules or...
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