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Chapter 1: Introduction to Psychology and Its Research Methods

What is Psychology?
Scientific study of behaviour and mental processes Psyche mind and logos word Emphasis on science -> value on empirical evidence and critical thinking Pseudopsychology gives appearance of science but is actually false - Psychics: individuals who are supposedly sensitive to nonphysical or supernatural forces - Mediums: individuals who serve as a channel of communication between the earthly world and a world of spirits - Palmistry: reading a persons future or character from the lines on the palms - Psychometry: determining facts about an object by merely handling it - Psychokinesis: moving objects by purely mental means - Astrology: the study of how the positions of the stars and planets supposedly influence peoples personalities and affairs Scientific is a key part of the definition of psychology. Psychological science collects and evaluates information using systematic observations and measurements. Behaviour is anything we do that can be directly observed and recorded talking, sleeping, text messaging, etc. Mental Processes are our private, internal experiences thoughts, perceptions, feelings, memories that cannot be observed directly

Psychologys Goals: Describe, Explain, Predict, and Change


1. Description - Tells what occurred - Describe, or name and classify, particular behaviours by making careful scientific observations - Usually the first step in understanding behaviour Ex: Boys are more aggressive than girls. What does that mean? Speakers definition of aggression may differ. Science requires specificity. 2. Explanation - Tells why a behaviour or mental process occurred - Depends on discovering and understanding its causes Ex: There are numerous interacting causes or explanations for aggression, including culture, learning, genes, brain damage, and high levels of testosterone. 3. Prediction - Move on to higher-level goal of predictions after answering what and why - Identifying the conditions under which a future behaviour or mental process is likely to occur Ex: Knowing that alcohol leads to increased aggression, we can predict that more fights will erupt in places where alcohol is consumed than in those where alcohol isnt consumed.

4. Change - Applying psychological knowledge to prevent unwanted outcomes or bring about desired goals (which in almost all cases are positive) Ex: Improving work environment, stopping addictive behaviours, helping treat depression, improving family relationships, etc.

Careers in Psychology
Biopsychology/ Neuroscience - investigates relationship between biology, behaviour, and metal processes including how physical and chemical processes affect the structure and function of the brain and nervous system Clinical Psychology - specializes in the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of mental and behavioural disorders Cognitive Psychology - examines higher mental processes, including thought, memory, intelligence, creativity, and language Counselling Psychology - overlaps with clinical psychology, but practitioners tend to work with less seriously disturbed individuals and conduct more career and vocational assessment Development Psychology - studies the course of human growth and development from conception until death Educational and School Psychology - studies the process of education and works to promote the intellectual, social, and emotional development of children in the school environment Experimental Psychology - examines processes such as learning, conditioning, motivation emotion, sensation, and perception in humans and other animals (Note: Term is misleading as psychologists working in almost all areas of specialization also conduct research) Forensic Psychology - Applies principles of psychology to the legal system, including jury selection, psychological profiling, and so on Gender and/or Cultural Psychology - Investigates how men and women and different cultures differ from one another and how they are similar Health Psychology - studies how biological, psychological, and social factors affect health and illness Industrial/ Organizational Psychology - Applies the principles of psychology to the workplace, including personnel selection and evaluation, leadership, job satisfaction, employee motivation, and group processes within the organization Social Psychology - investigates the role of social forces and interpersonal behaviour, including aggression, prejudice, love, helping, conformity, and attitudes

Origins of Psychology
Wihelm Wundt (father of psychology) established first psychological laboratory in Leipzig Germany, in 1879; helped train the first scientific psychologists; wrote one of psychology s most important books Principles of Physiological Psychology; interested in studying mental life and consciousness Introspection - examination of ones own conscious thoughts and feelings; could not be used to study nonhuman animals, children, or complex topics like mental disorders or personality

Structuralism - Started by Edward Titchener, a kind of mental chemist who sought to identify the basic building blocks (structure) of mental life [brought Wundts ideas] - Identifying the elements of thought through introspection and then determining how these elements combined to form the whole of experience - Different observers introspected -> disagreed on their experiences -> no scientific way existed to settle the dispute -> failure of structuralism - Short-lived, but established a model for studying mental processes scientifically Functionalism - Studied how the mind functions to adapt human and nonhuman animals to their environment - Ex: Structuralism - studying anger by introspection and individual experiences Functionalism - Why do we have the emotion of anger? What function does it serve? How does it help us adapt to our environment? - Strongly influenced by Darwins theory of evolution and natural selection - William James (leading force in the functionalism school) broadened psychology to include nonhuman animal behaviour, various biological processes, and behaviours - Eventually declined, but expanded the scope of psychology to include research on emotions and observable behaviours, initiated the psychological testing movement, and changed the course of modern education and industry

Psychologys Seven Modern Perspectives


1. Psychoanalytic/Psychodynamic Perspective - Austrian physicist Sigmund Freud believed that many psychological problems are caused by conflicts between acceptable behaviour and unacceptable unconscious sexual or aggressive motives -> developed psychoanalysis (talk therapy) - Primary method is the analysis of case studies - Primary goal is to interpret complex meanings hypothesized to underline peoples actions. 2. Behavioural Perspective - John B. Watson (acknowledged founder of behaviourism) rejected the practice of the practice of introspection and the influence of unconscious forces, believing that these practices and topics were unscientific and too obscure to be studied empirically - Adopted Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlovs concept of conditioning to explain how behaviour results from observable stimuli (in the environment) and observable responses (behavioural actions) - Nonhuman animals are ideal subjects for studying objective - Watson and B.F. Skinner focused on learning how behaviours are acquired - Skinner was convinced that we could (and should) use behaviour approaches to actually shape human behaviour. This shaping could thereby change the course of humankind.

3. Humanistic Perspective - In contrast to psychoanalysts and behaviourists who saw human behaviour as shaped and determined by external causes beyond physical control, humanists emphasized our unique ability to make voluntary choices about our own behaviour and life. - Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow (central figures in the development of humanism) believed that all humans naturally strive to grow, develop, and move toward self-actualization (a state of self-fulfillment in which we realize our highest potential) - Criticized for its lack of rigorous experimental methods - Considered more of a philosophy in life than a major perspective in scientific psychology - However, has had an important influence on personality theories and psychotherapy - Provides foundation for positive psychology (scientific study of optimal human functioning) - Positive Psychology had emphasis on positive emotions, traits, institutions 4. Cognitive Perspective - One of the most influential modern approaches that emphasizes thinking, perceiving, and information processing - modern-day cognitive psychologists study how we gather, encode, and store information from our environment using a vast array of mental processing. - these processes include thinking, perception, memory, language, and problem solving - use an information-processing approach, likening the mind to a computer that sequentially takes in information, processes it, and then produces a response 5. Neuroscience/ Biopsychology Perspective - During the last few decades, scientists have explored role of biological factors including sensation, perception, learning, memory, language, sexuality, and abnormal behaviour -> given trend to Neuroscience/ Biopsychology perspective - Increasingly important trend - Neuroscientists/biopsychologists developed sophisticated tools and technologies to conduct their research - they use theses tools to study the structure and function of individual nerve cells, the roles of various parts of the brain, and how genetics and other biological processes contribute to ou r behaviour and mental processes 6. Evolutionary Perspective - Develops from a focus on natural selection, adaptation, and evolution of behaviour and mental processes - Natural selection favours behaviours that enhance an organisms reproductive success; human and nonhuman animals exhibiting behaviours that contribute to survival will pass them on through their genes to the next generation Ex. Aggression evolved over many generations because it successfully met the adaptive pressures faced by our ancestors. 7. Sociocultural Perspective - ethnicity, religion, occupation, and socioeconomic class all have an enormous psychological impact - most of us are unaware of the social and cultural forces that shape our lives

Biopsychosocial Model
One of the most widely accepted, unifying themes of modern psychology Views biological processes (eg. Genetics, brain functions, neurotransmitters), psychological factors (eg. Learning, thinking, emotion, personality, and motivation), and social forces (eg. Family, culture, ethnicity, social class, and politics) as interrelated influences Proposes that all three forces affect and are affected by one another (inseparable) Ex: Feelings of depression are often influenced by genetics and neurotransmitters (biology). They are also affected by our learned responses and patterns of thinking (psychology) and by our socioeconomic status and cultural views of emotion (social) The common theme of modern psychology is an integrative bipsychosocial approach

Women and Minorities


Mary Calkins one of the first women to be recognized in psychology; research on memory; the first female president of the American Psychological Association (APA) Margaret Floy Washburn - wrote several influential books; first woman to receive a Ph.D. in psychology Francis Cecil Sumner - first African American to receive a Ph.D. in psychology

The Science of Psychology


Basic Research - typically conducted in universities or research laboratories; meets goals of description, explanation, and prediction Applied Research - generally conducted outside the laboratory; meets goal of change The Scientific Method (arranged in a circle/cycle) 1. Literature Review - Identifying questions of interest 2. Testable Hypothesis, operationally defined - Making a specific prediction about how one factor or variable is related to another. 3. Research Design - Choosing the best research method and collecting the data (Ex: naturalistic observation, case studies, surveys, experiments, etc) 4. Statistical Analysis - Analyzing data and accepting or rejecting the hypothesis 5. Peer-reviewed scientific journal - Publishing followed by replication and scientific review 6. Theory - Explanation to results. May lead to different hypotheses and new methods of inquiry

Ethical Guidelines
The two largest professional organization of psychologists, American Psychological Society (APS) and American Psychological Association (APA), both recognize the importance of maintaining high ethical standards in research, therapy, and all other areas of professional psychology Respecting Rights of Human Participants - Informed consent: participants should be aware of the nature of the study and significant factors that might influence their willingness to participate (all physical reisks, discomfort, or unpleasant emotional experiences) - Neuroscientists/biopsychologists developed sophisticated tools and technologies to conduct their research - they use theses tools to study the structure and function of individual nerve cells, the roles of various parts of the brain, and how genetics and other biological processes contribute to ou r behaviour and mental processes

Experimental Research
Most powerful research method, in which an experimenter manipulates and controls the chosen variable to determine cause and effect Experimental vs. control groups and independent vs. dependent variables Every experiment is designed to answer the same question: Does the IV cause predicted change in the DV? Must establish safeguards to answer this question: controls (operational definitions, control group, holding extraneous values constant), and must also protect aganst potential sources of error from both the researcher and the participant. Comparing the Four Major Research Methods Method Purpose Advantages Disadvantages Experimental Identify cause and Allows researchers Ethical concerns, practical (manipulation and effect (meets goal of precise control over limitations, artificiality of lab control of variables) explanation) variables and to identify conditions, uncontrolled cause and effect variables may confound results, researcher and participant bias Descriptive Observe, collect, and Minimizes artificiality, Little or no control over (naturalistic record date (meets easier to collect data, variables, researcher and observation, surveys, foal of description) allows description of participant biases, cannot case studies) behaviour and mental explain cause and effect. processes as they occur. Correlational Identify relationships Helps clarify relationships Researchers cannot identify (statistical analyses of and assess how well between variables that cause and effect relationships between one variable predicts cannot be examined by variables) another (meets goal of other methods and allows prediction) prediction Biological (studies of Identify contributing Shares many or all of the Shares many or all of the the brain and other biological factors advantages of disadvantages of parts of the nervous (meets one or more experimental, descriptive, experimental, description, system) goals) and correlational research and correlational research

Biological Research: Tools for Exploring the Nervous System


Biological research studies the brain and other parts of the nervous system Noninvasive techniques that provide visual images of intact, living brains are: Computed Tomography (CT), position emission tomography (PET), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans, and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) Method Description Sample Results Brain Careful cutting and study of a cadavers Brain dissections of Alzheimers disease Dissection brain to reveal structural details victims often show identifiable changes in various parts of the brain Ablation/ Surgically removing parts of the brain Lesioning specific parts of the rats Lesions (ablation), or destroying specific areas hypothalamus greatly affects its eating (lesioning), is followed by observation for behaviour. changes in behaviour or mental processes. Observations/ Observing and recording changes in Damage to one side of the brain often causes Case Studies personality, behaviour, or sensory capacity numbness or paralysis on the bodys opposite associated with brain disease or injuries side Electrical Using electrodes attached to the skin or salp, EEG reveals areas of the brain most active Recordings brain activity is detected and recorded on an during a particular task or changes in mental electroencephalogram (EEG) states, like sleeping and meditation; also traces abnormal brain waves caused by brain malfunctions like epilepsy or tumors Electrical Using an electrode, a weak electric current Penfield (1947) mapped the surface of the Stimulation of stimulates specific areas or structures of the brain and found that different areas have the Brain brain different functions CT Computer-created cross sectional X-rays of Reveals the effects of strokes, injuries, the brain; least expensive type of imaging tumors, and other brain disorders and widely used in research PET Radioactive form of glucose is injected into Orginally designed to detect abnormalities, the bloodstream; scanner records amount of but re also used to identify brain areas active glucose used in particularly active areas of during ordinary activities (reading, singing, the brain and produces computeretc.) constructed picture of the brain MRI A high-frequency magnetic field is passed Produces high-resolution three-dimensional through the brain by means of pictures of the brain useful for identifying electromagnets abnormalities and mapping brain structures and function fMRI Newer, faster version of the MRI that Measures blood flow which indicates areas of detects blood flow by picking up magnetic the brain that are active or inactive during signals from blood that has given up its ordinary activities or responses (like reading oxygen to activate brain cells or talking); also shows changes associated with disorders TMS Recent method of brain stimulation that Can be used to elicit a motor response or to delivers a large current through a wire coil temporarily inactivate an area and observe placed on the skull the effects; also used to treat depression

Cultural Universals
i Some cultural psychologists do believe certain aspects of human behaviour and mental processes are true and universal for all cultures They also suggest that emotions and facial recognition are prime examples Critics say that Western psychologists have no experience with culturally specific emotion, and that if cultural universals exist they are innate and biological. The answer appears to be that certain behaviours are both biological and culturally universal

Tools for Student Success


1. Use Active Reading to Study this Text a. Familiarize yourself with the general text b. Use SQ4R to read each chapter: Survey/Question/Read/Recite/Review/wRite 2. Use Time Management to Succeed in College a. Establish a baseline, set up a realistic activity schedule, reward yourself for good behaviour, maximize your time 3. Strategies for Grade Improvement a. Focus on note taking, distributed study time, complete learning, understanding your instructor, and general test-taking skills 4. Additional Resources a. Instructors, typing and speed-reading courses, friends and family, roommates, classmates, and study groups