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Ap Psych Prologue Outline

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Topics: Psychology
Prologue: The Story of Psychology
A. Overview and Highlights
The human brain has perplexed the minds of philosophers since the age of the ancient Greeks. In the late 1800s, the study of the brain-psychology-became its own discipline independent from philosophy when the scientific method was employed to study the underlying mechanisms of the psyche. Although the original research produced by the first psychologists was widely subjective and biased, it helped to pave the way for serious research conducted later in psychology's history.
B. Psychology's History
Psychology saw its first use of experimental methods when Wilhelm Wundt devised a machine that measured human reaction times (1879). Wundt believed that with his machine he was indirectly measuring the components of the mind. Wundt's student Edward Titchener pioneered Structuralism, a school of thought in psychology aimed at discovering the underlying structure of the mind. Titchener was famous for utilizing the introspective method to uncover certain psychological phenomena. Introspection called on people to examine their interior lives in order to describe how a certain stimulus made them act or feel.
Functionalism was pioneered by the acclaimed philosopher/psychologist William James, who felt that one should try to explain the evolved function of the mind when examining it, rather than describe its structure. James worked on a textbook that is still revered as one of the most eloquent and brilliant introductions of psychology ever written, Principles of Psychology.
In the last century, psychology has seen a number of schools of thought spring up, including Behaviorism, Positivism and the Cognitive Psychology movement. Today, psychology is comprised of a multitude of perspectives that one can use separately or in conjunction to uncover the workings of the mind. Psychology can be defined as the study of human behavior and mental processes.
C. Modern Psychology
One debate that has raged on between psychologists has been the question of whether our psychology is influenced more heavily by our genetic makeup or our environment. This is referred to as the debate of nature vs. nurture. We now understand that the development of our minds depends on both our genetics (nature) and our environment (nurture).
When reflecting on psychological research and ideas, it is helpful to take a three-part perspective, referred to as the biopsychosiocial approach. This means that it is important to take into account biological, psychological and socio-cultural factors when analyzing a person’s psyche.
Psychology has many subfields of study for prospective psychologists. Counseling psychology, clinical psychology, psychiatry, positive psychology and community psychology are all fields that psychology students can pursue after graduation. Researchers may conduct basic research to increase the field’s knowledge base or applied research to solve problems.
The testing effect shows that learning and memory are enhanced by actively retrieving information rather than rereading previous material. The SQ3R method- survey, question, read, retrieve, and review-applies principles derived from memory research. Extra tips to help study include: distributing study time, learning to think critically, processing class information actively, and overlearning.

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