Ch. 1 -_the_science_of_psychology


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Ch. 1 -_the_science_of_psychology

  1. 1. Psychology  What is psychology?  What kinds of questions do psychologists ask?  Where does psychological theory come from?  Why is psychology important?
  2. 2. Topics  Research/Science  Biology  Learning  Memory  Cognition  Development  Health & Stress  Social Interactions  Personality  Psychological Disorders  Treatments
  3. 3. Cautions  Things aren’t always as they seem.  Your world is not everyone’s reality.  We are interested in the big picture, overall, population.  Exceptions are not the rule.  People are complex.
  4. 4. The Science of Psychology
  5. 5. What is Psychology  The scientific study of behavior and mental processes  Scientific Study – Systematic methods to observe, describe, predict, and explain behaviors  Behavior – that which is readily observable (overt)  Mental Processes – thoughts, feelings, and motives that are not directly observable (covert)
  6. 6. Goals of Psychology  Description: What is happening?  Explanation: Why is it happening?  Prediction: When will it happen again?  Control: How can it be changed?
  7. 7. Historical Figures and Perspectives History of Psychology
  8. 8. Roots of Psychology - Philosophy  What is the nature of the soul/mind, and how does it relate to the physical body?  Plato – the mind, body, and soul are all one entity, but the brain is the source of mental processes  Considered emotions, reasoning, and morality  Aristotle – all living things have a soul, and the mind is the part that understands  Considered emotions and reasoning  Descartes – the mind/soul and body are separate but interact  Considered the function of the brain and perception
  9. 9. Roots of Psychology - Science  Medical doctors, physiologists  How are the brain and body related?  Late 1800’s: Structuralism, functionalism, gestalt psychology, psychoanalysis  Early 1900’s: behaviorism
  10. 10. Structuralism  Every experience can be broken down into more basic elements (e.g., thoughts, emotions)  Describe the structure of the mind  Wilhelm Wundt (physiologist)  First to apply scientific principles to the study of the mind (“father” of modern psychology)  Objective introspection – Objectively examining and measuring one’s own sensory experiences  Edward Titchner  Objective introspection can be applied to thoughts as well as sensations
  11. 11. Functionalism  William James (physiologist)  How does the mind allow people to function?  How does the mind allow people to work, play, and adapt to their surroundings?  Interaction of environment and behavior  Explain why behavior occurs  Heavily influenced by Darwin’s natural selection
  12. 12. Gestalt Psychology  Psychological events cannot be broken down into smaller elements (e.g., structuralism) and still be properly understood  Focus on the whole instead of the individual parts  Focused on sensation and perception  People naturally seek out patterns in sensory information
  13. 13. Psychoanalysis  Sigmund Freud  Neurologist  Nervous disorders with no identifiable physical cause  Proposed the unconscious mind  Repressed urges = nervous disorders  Adult nervous or personality problems rooted in childhood experiences  Psychoanalysis – therapy based on Freud’s ideas  Basis for much of modern psychotherapy
  14. 14. Behaviorism  Focus entirely on observable behavior, because consciousness is subjective (not objective science)  Ivan Pavlov  Behaviors can be conditioned  Reflexive responses to neutral stimuli can be learned through repetitive experiences  John Watson  All behavior is learned
  15. 15. Modern Psychological Perspectives
  16. 16. Modern Psychological Perspectives  Psychodynamic  Behavioral  Humanistic  Cognitive  Sociocultural  Biopsychological  Evolutionary
  17. 17. Psychodynamic Perspective  The unconscious mind and early childhood experiences influence conscious behavior  We don’t necessarily consciously know why we do what we do  Therapy focused on the development of a sense of self and understanding motivations underlying behavior  Freudian concepts cannot be empirically tested  No way to prove or disprove
  18. 18. Behavioral Perspective  Classical conditioning principles persist  Operant conditioning – behavioral responses can also be learned as a result of consequences  Environment does contribute to behavior
  19. 19. Humanistic Perspective  Abraham Maslow & Carl Rogers  Emphasis on human potential  People have free will – the ability to choose their own destiny  Each person has the ability to become the best person that s/he can be  Self-actualization – achieving one’s full potential or ideal self  Very influential in modern psychotherapy
  20. 20. Cognitive Perspective  Focuses on how people think, remember, store, and use information  Memory, intelligence, perception, thought processes, problem solving, language, and learning
  21. 21. Sociocultural Perspective  Focuses on the relationship among behavior, social environment, and culture  How people behave is influenced by their social environment and culture  Social Psychology – the study of groups, social roles, and rules of social actions and relationships  Cultural Psychology – the study of cultural norms, values, and expectations
  22. 22. Biopsychological Perspective  Human and animal behavior is the direct result of bodily events  What is the biological explanation for a behavior?  Hormones, heredity, brain chemicals, diseases
  23. 23. Evolutionary Perspective  Focuses on the biological bases for universal mental characteristics that all humans share  Universal behaviors are largely determined by survival needs/adaptation  The mind adheres to the same processes of natural selection as the body
  24. 24. Example: Exercise Perspective Type of Explanation Possible Questions Biological Physical process What effect does exercise have on the nervous system? Do the chemicals released during exercise affect behavior? Behavioral Learning – Observable behavior Can exercise behaviors be taught through reward or observation? Evolutionary Survival, adaptation, reproduction Does exercise have an effect on mate potential? Humanistic Growth, maximizing potential Is exercise important for overall well- being and a solid sense of self? Psychodynamic Unconscious conflict, childhood experiences Unconscious conflict creates anxiety – sublimating Sociocultural Social and cultural environment Does your social environment influence your exercise habits?
  25. 25. Professions and Specializations Careers in Psychology
  26. 26. Psychological Professionals  Psychiatrists – medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders  Private practice, hospitals  Psychoanalysts – psychiatrist or psychologist with specialized training in Freudian techniques/theory  Private practice, hospitals
  27. 27. Psychological Professionals  Psychiatric Social Workers – focus on effect of environmental conditions (e.g., poverty, stress, drug abuse) on mental disorders  Master’s or professional degree  Work in clinics, hospitals, social service org.  Psychologist – intense academic training in a psychological specialization area  Doctoral degree  Not necessarily focused on counseling individuals
  28. 28. Specialization Areas  Clinical Psychology  Assess, treat, and study emotional, mental, and behavioral disorders  Counseling Psychology  Assist individuals in dealing with life stressors, developing coping skills, etc  Not necessarily disorders  Cognitive Psychology  Study human perception, thinking, and memory  E.g., Problem solving, decision making, intelligence, information processing
  29. 29. Specialization Areas  Developmental Psychology  Studies human psychological development/change throughout the lifespan  Can specialize in a particular time period (e.g. childhood)  How do biological and environmental factors contribute to human development?  Educational Psychology  Explores effective teaching methods and how learning occurs  E.g., ability levels, learning environments, Motivation
  30. 30. Specialization Areas  Environmental Psychology  Focuses on how human behavior is influenced by the physical environment (e.g., office, school, hospital)  Focused on the particular setting of the behavior  Forensic Psychology  Explore how psychological principles apply to legal issues  E.g., Jury selection, jury decision making processes/behaviors, evaluation of eyewitness testimony, evaluations of fitness to stand trial
  31. 31. Specialization Areas  Health Psychology  Focuses on the relationship between human behaviors, stress, and physical health  Goal: to maintain good health, prevent/treat illness  Industrial-Organizational Psychology  Focuses on the relationship between people and their work environment  E.g., maximize efficiency/productivity, increase morale, good hiring decisions
  32. 32. Specialization Areas  Personality Psychology  Study differences in stable aspects of personality among individuals  Physiological Psychology  Focuses on the biological basis of human behavior  Quantitative Psychology  Focus on how to design psychological experiments and analyze psychological data  Develop and evaluate statistical models used in psychological research
  33. 33. Specialization Areas  School Psychology  Apply results of research in the school system  Work with children – assessment, diagnosis of educational problems  Consult with teachers, parents, administrators  Social Psychology  Focuses on how human behavior is affected by the presence of others  Sports Psychology  Focuses on helping athletes and others involved in sports activities to prepare mentally for events  Maximizing performance
  34. 34. The Science of Psychology Psychological Research
  35. 35. The Scientific Method  Perceiving the question  Observe phenomena and develop a question for which you would like an answer  Forming a hypothesis  Make an educated guess about the answer to your question, and put it into a statement that can be empirically tested  Testing the hypothesis  Design and execute a study to test your hypothesis  Drawing conclusions  Aggregate the data from your study and determine if your hypothesis was supported or not  Reporting your results  Write up exactly what you did and what you found so that others could replicate, and learn from, your project
  36. 36. Decisions in Research  Selecting people to take part in the study  Choosing a research design/type of research  Choosing appropriate statistical technique to analyze the data
  37. 37. Selecting Participants  Population: entire group of people of interest  Typically do not have access to all people in the group  Sample: individuals who are selected to take part in the study  Representative Sample – sample of people who accurately represent the population of interest  Random sampling – randomly selecting individuals from the greater population  Convenience sampling – using people who are readily available (not random)
  38. 38. Types of Research  Choice of method is based on research question  Descriptive  Correlational  Experimental  Meta-analysis
  39. 39. Descriptive Research  Purpose: to describe a phenomena, but not explain why it happens  Naturalistic Observation  Laboratory Observations  Case Studies  Surveys
  40. 40. Naturalistic Observation  Observe individuals/animals under naturally occurring circumstances  Benefit: get a realistic picture of how behavior actually occurs in that setting  Disadvantages:  Observer Effect – people will change their behavior when they know that they are being watched  Participant observation – observer becomes part of the setting  Observer bias – observer may only attend to information that confirms preexisting opinions/beliefs  Blind observers  Each setting is unique – not controlled conditions
  41. 41. Laboratory Observation  Observe behaviors in an artificially created setting  Advantage: researchers can control conditions  Disadvantage: artificial situation may result in artificial behavior – different behavior in a lab than in a natural setting
  42. 42. Case Studies  A single individual is studied in great detail  Learn everything possible about a given person  Advantages  Amount of details available  May be the only way to gather certain information (e.g., rare phenomena)  Disadvantages  Cannot be generalized to other individuals  Vulnerable to bias on the part of the researcher
  43. 43. Surveys  Ask participants a series of questions about the topic of interest  Interviews, questionnaires, in-person, internet, by mail  Advantages  Easy to collect a lot of information from many people  Allow researchers to access private information more easily  Disadvantages  Self-report measures may yield inaccurate results  Faulty memories, distorting the truth, outright lying, social desirability  Wording and order of the questions can affect results
  44. 44. Correlational Research  Purpose  To describe how variables change together  Variables are not manipulated  Cannot determine cause-and-effect relationships  Third variables  For example  Do people become more self-confident as they get older?
  45. 45. Correlation  Describes the relationship between two variables  Do scores for two variables simultaneously change in a systematic fashion?  Direction – in what way do the scores change together?  Magnitude – how strong is the relationship?
  46. 46. Direction of Relationship
  47. 47. Strength of Relationship
  48. 48. Experimental Design  Purpose: To determine cause and effect  Must use an experiment to control/manipulate situations  Hold everything but the potential cause constant, and manipulate the hypothesized causal variable  Thus, know that any changes in the outcome are due to the hypothesized causal variable
  49. 49. Experimental Design  Variable – any characteristic that takes on different values/changes  Independent variable – the variable that is manipulated  Hypothesized causal variable  Dependent variable – the outcome that is measured  Hypothesized affected variable  Confounding variable – variables that are not controlled and could possibly affect the variables of interest
  50. 50. Experimental Design  Experimental Manipulations  Experimental Group – participants who are exposed to the treatment  Control Group – individuals who do not receive the treatment  Random assignment – each participant has an equal chance of being in either group  Minimizes the chance of other systematic differences between groups
  51. 51. Experimental Design  Biases/Hazards  The placebo effect – expectations of the participant affects his/her behavior  I believe that a drug will help me, so my symptoms improve  Single-blind study – the participant doesn’t know which group s/he is in  Experimenter effects – expectations of the experimenter unintentionally affects the results of the experiment  E.g., clues about condition membership, treating people differently  Double-blind study – neither the participant nor the person measuring the outcome knows group membership
  52. 52. Experimental Design Example  A new anti-depressant drug – does it effectively reduce depression symptoms?  Randomly assign 30 depressed people to receiving 50 mg of the drug and 30 people to receiving placebo  Independent variable – drug  Dependent variable – depression symptoms  Experimental condition – the 50 mg of the drug  Control condition – placebo
  53. 53. Meta-Analysis  Purpose  Combine multiple studies to determine overall relationship/effect  Method  Gather information from all existing studies on a topic  Statistically combine results
  54. 54. Example Topic: Empathy Design Example Descriptive Measure levels of empathy, and get an estimate of how empathetic a group is Correlational Measure levels of empathy and relationship satisfaction, and then determine if the scores change together, systematically Experimental Randomly assign individuals to a high and low stress condition and compare their empathy levels after the stress induction Meta-analytic If we gather all relevant studies and combine the results, how much of a relationship is there between empathy and happiness, overall?
  55. 55. Ethics in Research  All psychological research must adhere to certain guidelines  Institutional review board (IRB)  Guidelines  Informed consent/decision  Deception must be justified  Participants may withdraw at any time  Must be protected from, or told explicitly of, risks  Must debrief participants  Confidentiality
  56. 56. Critical Thinking  The ability to make reasoned judgments  Four criteria  Everything needs to be tested  Evidence varies in quality  Claims by experts and authorities do not automatically make something true  Keeping an open mind
  57. 57. Conclusion  Psychology is a science  There are several branches of psychology  Psychologists consider a wide variety of behavior and mental processes from multiple perspectives  Well-designed research is the basis for solid scientific theory  Critical thinking is the basis for logical conclusions