What Is Psychology?

Topics: Psychology, Scientific method, Empiricism Pages: 4 (977 words) Published: December 2, 2006
What is psychology?
= it is the scientific study of the ‘mental processes' and behavior

What is the mind?
= the mind is the means by which people perceive, think, and feel = mental processes. Behavior is simply what people do. Psychologists study the mind and behavior and anything that influences them, including childhood experiences, brain activity, genetics, friends and family, cultural norms, etc. Psy brings together many other disciplines eg. biology, philosophy, anthropology, computer science, art, and many other fields all with a goal of better understanding human behavior.

Why study psychology?
= First, because an understanding of psychology is essential to everyday functioning. We base all of our actions and decisions on an understanding of ourselves - we choose friends, roommates, spouses, majors, and careers based on our beliefs about our own talents, traits, and preferences. Why do you feel sad about some things while your friends don't and vice versa? = Second, we have a curiosity of others' behaviors, what makes other people behave the way they do? eg. what makes someone blow up the federal building in Oklahoma City?.

Always be skeptical - Be a critical thinker – think about the story of Clever Hans. Look out for fallacies, untruths, etc. when you read or indeed whenever you encounter new information. Just because something is written in a book does not mean it's accurate – sometimes eg. b/c psych is a vital field – and changing faster than books can keep up Be on the look out for confirmation bias = tendency to seek info that supports our beliefs and ignoring anything that disconfirms

Historical roots/schools of thought
Well known pioneers

In Germany, Wilhelm Wundt = world's first psychologist – establish the first institute for research in experimental psy- method for studying the mind was introspection = report contents of immediate states of consciousness – This psy is called structuralism = reporting on...
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