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Psy1 chapter1


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Intro to General Psychology

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Psy1 chapter1

  1. 1. Chapter 1 Psych 1 – Spring Professor Fischer
  2. 2. What is Psychology? • Definition of Psychology: – The science of behavior and mental processes – The scientific study of the human mind and it’s functions, especially those affecting particular behaviors – How the APA defines it: – “Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. The discipline embraces all aspects of the human experience – from the functions of the brain to the actions of nations, from child development to care for the aged. In every conceivable setting from scientific research centers to mental healthcare services , ‘the understanding of behavior’ is the enterprise of psychologists.” (taken from
  3. 3. Becoming A Psychological Detective • Psychology not only explains behavior (outward), but it offers us the tools to explain our inner life experiences (daydreams, thoughts, etc.) • Part of being a psychologist, is evaluating information and challenging outcomes • How? Ask questions!
  4. 4. Fairies? • Are there such things as fairies? • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s belief in spiritualism a thing of the times or a need? • Two young girls reported seeing and photographing fairies in a field • He published findings in a book entitled The Coming of the Fairies in 1921
  5. 5. What can we learn from this? Be aware of… • Bias – beliefs that interfere with objectivity • Law of parsimony – simple explanations of phenomena are preferred to complex ones – Go with the simplest explanation, the one that requires the fewest assumption • Question: What were the two assumptions Sir Arthur Conan Doyle could have made?
  6. 6. Bias • What is the statement or claim and WHO is making it? – Personal bias of the person making the claim (i.e. salesperson working on commission) – Authority of person making the claim – Personal bias of person receiving the information (YOU)
  7. 7. Questions to consider… 1. Are there more daylight hours in December or in June? 2. How many stars are there on the flag? 3. Who hit the most career home runs playing professional baseball? The questions above make us consider the many other variables and possibilities
  8. 8. Is this claim based on Scientific Observation? • How do you support the claims you make? – Some people do by citing personal experience or anecdotes (is this truly confirmation?) • “word of mouth”, “comes highly recommended”, “my friend had the best results with… • Is this claim justified? – Is it based upon scientific research? – Use your critical thinking skills!
  9. 9. What do statistics reveal? • Claims are often presented in an average of some form that allows us to see the distribution of scores • Three types of averages, need to understand what you are looking at when interpreting it • Are results by chance or statistically significant?
  10. 10. Are there plausible alternative explanations for the claim? • In research we often consider how 2 variables relate to each other, creating a correlation • MUST consider  3rd variable • Example: Full moon, police reports, and emergency rooms (pg. 8) • Perhaps some things are less of a scientific relationship and MORE of a coincidence? Thoughts?
  11. 11. Cause and Effect Does one of the factors in each statement CAUSE the other? What other factors may be involved? 1. The phone always rings when I’m in the shower. 2. I lose my keys only when I’m in a hurry. 3. People always call me at the wrong time. 4. It always rains just after I wash my car. 5. An item goes on sale the day after I buy it.
  12. 12. Placebo Effect • In drug research, positive effects associated with a person’s beliefs and attitudes about the drug, even when it contains no active ingredients.
  13. 13. Reviewing: Guidelines in evaluating a claim… 1. What is the statement or claim, and who is making it? 2. Is the statement or claim based on scientific observations? 3. What do statistics reveal? 4. Are there plausible alternative explanations for the statement or claim?
  14. 14. Research Methods • What is the scientific method? – System of investigation in which a person makes careful observations of a phenomenon, proposes theories to explain the phenomenon, makes hypotheses about future behaviors, and then tests these hypotheses through more research and observation
  15. 15. Why does this matter? What’s our goal? • The goal of psychology is to describe events, make predictions about the conditions that give rise to them, and use that knowledge to predict and control future events • So… is psychology a science? • YES! We use the scientific method
  16. 16. How does this work? Make observations Develop a theory Test the hypothesis Develop hypothesis Draw a conclusion
  17. 17. How do we collect the data we need? • • • • • Case studies Naturalistic observations Experiments Survey research Qualitative research The choice of the method used is usually determined by the presented problem we are trying to solve
  18. 18. The Case Study • aka The Clinical Study • In depth analysis of 1 person • Method used by Sigmund Freud through his development of psychoanalytic theory • Advantage? Lots of details! • Disadvantage? Only studying 1 person • Goal – using info gathered about one person to understand the behavior of others
  19. 19. Naturalistic Observation • Goal – to describe the settings, frequency and characteristics of certain behaviors in the real world • Observe behaviors as they occur naturally without any intervention, just recordation
  20. 20. Correlational Research • A correlation coefficient is a number ranging from -1.00 to +1.00 that tells you the strength and direction of any given correlation • Positive correlation implies that both variables tend to increase • Negative correlation implies that values of one variable increase while the other decreases • Question: Why would you think SAT and GPA scores are related?
  21. 21. Survey Research • Attempts to gather data from a sample that represents a larger population • Advantage? Great way to collect a large amount of data efficiently • Several ways (phone, in-person, written, web) • Disadvantage? People are not always honest • Must have a representative sample that reflects characteristics of the population • Questions must be carefully worded to avoid bias and not be misleading
  22. 22. Qualitative Research • Holistic approach conducted in natural setting with a goal of providing a description of an entire phenomenon or culture • Typically use logic to reach conclusions • Goal – to develop a complete description of the behavior of interest
  23. 23. The Experimental Method • Research method that involves manipulating independent variables to determine how they affect dependent variables • Can provide us (finally!) with cause and effect • Considered the most powerful research method • Begins with a ___________ (or testable prediction)
  24. 24. What does an experiment entail? • Independent variables – the variables that might cause an effect – This is what we manipulate to determine effect on the dependent variable – The group exposed to this the experimental group • Dependent variables – a variable that shows the outcome of an experiment by revealing the effects of the independent variable – The group exposed to the dependent variable is the control group
  25. 25. Follow-Up Questions: • • • • • • What was the control group? What was the experimental group? What was the independent variable? What was the dependent variable? What can we conclude from these findings? Were there any other factors that could have played a role and had an affect on the outcome?
  26. 26. • Want to be able to conclude that the ONLY difference between groups is the independent variable • Try to control all other extraneous variables, or variables other than the independent variable that can influence the outcome of the experiment • Also need to select groups by random assignment, filtered into two or more groups solely by chance
  27. 27. STATISTICS!!! • What to do with all that data??? Try to make sense of it! • Statistics is a kind of math that involves the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data – Descriptive statistics – procedures used to summarize any set of data – Inferential statistics – procedures used to analyze data after experiment is over, to determine if the independent variable was significant
  28. 28. Descriptive statistics • Measure of central tendency – descriptive measures of a set of data that tells us about a typical score • Measures of variability – descriptive measures that tell us about the amount of variability or spread in a set of data Example: How you score on an exam and where it relates to the rest of the class
  29. 29. Inferential Statistics • This test allows researchers to mathematically evaluate the difference between the groups in an experiment and decide whether the observed difference occurred frequently or by chance (rarely) and this determine if the results are significant
  30. 30. • American Psychological Association (2002) developed standards of conduct: (pg.21) – – – – – Protection from harm Confidentiality Voluntary participation Deception and intimidation Ethics of research with animal • Requires that all research proposals must be approved by an institutional review board (IRB)
  31. 31. Origins of MODERN Psychology • Psychology has a long past but a short history • First scientific lab devoted to psych was opened in Leipzig, Germany in 1879 by Wilheim Wundt • Wundt, trained as a physician originally, served as a mentor to many of the psychologists that we study today • One of his students, Edward B. Titchenerbrought Psychology to the U.S. and his approach became known as Structuralism
  32. 32. Structuralism • With structuralism, Titchener focused on the basic elements of the conscious experience (feelings, sensations, and images) • Depended on introspection, in which patients reported the contents of their conscious experience • However, are there common elements of conscious experience? Makes it difficult to infer conclusions… • The area that was once structuralism is now known as cognitive psychology, which focuses on the higher processes of consciousness (thinking, knowing, deciding, etc.)
  33. 33. Functionalism • This approach focused on the purposes of consciousness (what the mind DOES and why) • William James, one of the first applied psychologists, coined the term “stream of consciousness” • Interested in practical aspects • Reached its peak in 1906
  34. 34. Gestalt Psychology • Gestalt psychology is known the emphasis that perception of a whole differs from that of the individual parts that make up the whole • Apparent motion gave rise to this area • Greatest contributions of these guys have been made to the area of perception
  35. 35. The Behavioral Perspective • Focuses on observable behaviors and emphasizes learned nature of behavior • Does not deal with mental processing (thinking, thoughts, feelings) • Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936)  Pavlov’s dogs – Noticed that right before being fed the dogs began salivating at the sound of keys or sight of food • John B. Watson (1878-1958) also believed that psychology should focus solely on behavior
  36. 36. B.F. Skinner (1904-1990) • “Greatest contemporary psychologist” • Behavior changes as a result of its consequences • Consequences, not free will, shape human behavior • Goal – to identify and change the environmental conditions that control behavior
  37. 37. The Psychodynamic Perspective • Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) • Trained as a neurologist • The psychodynamic perspective suggests that normal and abnormal behaviors are determined primarily by unconscious forces • Freud believed the unconscious mind exerts control over behavior, shown to him by “slips of tongue” and analysis of dreams
  38. 38. Freud and Personality • Focused on early childhood experiences • Freud was known for his suggestions that people are driven by sexual motives • First approached treatment with hypnosis • Moved onto psychoanalytic therapy to treat maladaptive behaviors, by attempting to bring unconscious causes of distress to the conscious level, in order to be changed
  39. 39. The Humanistic Perspective • The idea that environment controls all of our behavior (behavioral) was rather cold… • Some believed that human behaviors such as love and creativity were being overlooked • Psychodynamic approach wasn’t much better as it viewed behavior as being controlled by the unconscious mind • The humanistic perspective was developed, emphasizing free will and control over ones’ own behavior (also positive view of human nature)
  40. 40. • Created by Carl Rogers (19021987) and Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) • Focused on the freedom we humans have and our ability to make choices • Goal was to understand each person as a unique individual, as each one experiences the world differently (similar to structural) • Principle  all humans have a basic need to grow to their fullest potential
  41. 41. The Physiological Perspective • Special interest in the functioning of the brain and nervous system • Believe that behaviors and mental processes can be understood and explained by studying physiology • Study how neurons communicate with each other via neurotransmitters
  42. 42. The Evolutionary Perspective • The interest in the role a physiological trait or behavior plays in helping an organism adapt to its environment • Each species that has survived has adapted traits that aid in its success • Examples?
  43. 43. The Cognitive Perspective • Cognitive perspective focuses on how thought occurs, memory processes, and information storage and utilization • George Miller and Jerome Bruner established the Center for Cognitive Studies at Harvard in 1960 • UlricNeisser published Cognitive Psychology in 1967
  44. 44. The Cultural and Diversity Perspective • Psychology is widely becoming a very diverse field • Mary Whiton Calkins (1863-1930) – student of William James • Women now outnumber men in psychology bachelor degrees (78% in 2008-2009) • Now a move toward cultural psychology where topics including gender issues, ethnic groups, natural cultures, and sexual orientation are the rule rather than the exception
  45. 45. • The Environmental, Population, and Conservation Perspective should This view suggests that psychologists be concerned with the interactions among human behavior, the population, and the environment • Environmental psychologists agree that human behavior is the cause of environmental degradation
  46. 46. Present-Day Psychology • Most psychologists today choose an eclectic approach, combining several of the earlier discussed perspectives • Not all psychologists conduct research • Many are direct service providers, focusing on the application of psychology
  47. 47. Psychological Subfields Current Major Field of APA Members by Membership Status 2009 Health Service Provider Research Not Specified Other Outside Fields
  48. 48. • • • • • Psychological Specialties Clinical and Counseling psychology Psychiatrists Research psychologist (Table 1-4, pg. 34) School psychologist Industrial/Organizational Psychologists – Human Factors Psychologists (Ergonomics) • • • • • Consumer Psychology Health Psychology Forensic Psychology Sport Psychologists Neuropsychologists
  49. 49. Pathways to Psychology Gerontology Aide Case Worker Veteran’s Advisor Security Officer Counselor Community Organizer Loan Officer Professor Academic Advisor Human Relations Office Manager Parole Officer Rehabilitation Advisor Life Skill Counselor