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What is Psychology?. Overview of Psychology Psychology – scientific study of behavior and cognitive (mental) processes using systematic methods Why study.

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Presentation on theme: "What is Psychology?. Overview of Psychology Psychology – scientific study of behavior and cognitive (mental) processes using systematic methods Why study."— Presentation transcript:

1 What is Psychology?

2 Overview of Psychology Psychology – scientific study of behavior and cognitive (mental) processes using systematic methods Why study psychology? 1.To gain insight into behavior (yours and others) 2.To acquire practical information (how to train your dog, improve your memory, etc.)

3 Overview of Psychology Goals of Psychology 1.Description – gather information (data) about the behavior being studied and present what is known. 2.Explanation – analyze behavior and determine why it occurs; involves formulating and testing hypotheses and/or theories 3.Prediction – using theories and observations of past behaviors to predict future behaviors. 4.Influence – using psychological principles to solve problems/influence behavior in helpful ways.

4 Psychology as a Science Scientific Method – used to collect data, formulate and test hypotheses, and develop theories. Basic Science – conducting studies to understand more about a particular phenomenon; research Applied Science – using scientific findings to solve problems or accomplish immediate goals

5 Origins of Psychology Ancient Greeks – believed humans were rational 1500s – scientists developed ideas of observation and experimentation 1600s – Rene Descartes believed mind and body influence each other to create a person’s experiences. 1800s – natural sciences begin to study complex phenomena by reducing them to simpler parts (cells, elements, atoms)

6 Historical Perspectives Structuralism – concerned with the basic elements that make up conscious mental experiences –founded by Wilhelm Wundt –used a systematic procedure to study human behavior –Introspection – participants report their thoughts and feelings; researcher tries to map out basic structure of thought process.

7 Historical Perspectives Functionalism – focused on actions of the conscious mind and the purposes of behavior –Founded by William James –based on the idea that the primary function of cognitive activity is to ensure the survival of the species

8 Historical Perspectives Inheritable Traits – how does heredity affect human ability, character, and behavior? –Francis Galton – found that greatness runs in families; concluded that genius is a hereditary trait; encouraged “good” marriages to eliminate less capable people –He did not consider environment or socioeconomic advantages of prominent people –Galton’s work laid the foundation for modern personality and intelligence tests and  nature vs. nurture debate

9 Historical Perspectives Gestalt Psychology – believed that perception was more than the sum of its parts; it involves a “whole pattern” –Studied how sensations are assembled into perceptual experiences –Forerunner of cognitive approaches to psychology

10 Historical Perspectives

11 Contemporary Approaches Psychoanalytic Psychology – concerned with understanding the unconscious mind. –Sigmund Freud – believed primitive urges that conflict with moral and social requirements are responsible for most of human behavior. –Free Association – patients say anything that comes to mind; psychologist listens, records, and interprets statements. –Case Studies – Freud used extensive notes to develop a theory of patient’s personality.

12 Contemporary Approaches Behavioral Psychology – deals with how organisms learn/modify behavior in response to their environment; only concerned with observable behavior –Ivan Pavlov – conditioned dogs to associate sound of bell with food  salivate. –Conditioned Response – used to explore the development of behavior as a result of learning. –B.F. Skinner – introduced use of reinforcement to encourage desirable behaviors

13 Contemporary Approaches Humanistic Psychology – emphasizes how each person has freedom to direct his/her future and achieve personal growth; reaction to behavioral psych. Cognitive Psychology – focuses on how we process, store, and use information and how these processes influence our behavior; believe behavior is influenced by a variety of mental processes (perceptions, memories, and expectations)

14 Contemporary Approaches Sociocultural Psychology – studies the influence of culture, ethnicity, gender and socioeconomic status on behavior –What happens when you sneeze? –How would you be different if you had been born a different sex/race? –How would be different if you had been born extremely rich/poor?

15 Psychology as a Profession Psychologist – scientist who studies the mind and behavior of humans/animals Psychiatry – branch of medicine that deals with mental, emotional, or behavioral disorders. Clinical Psychologists – diagnose and treat people with emotional disturbances (50%) Counseling Psychologists – help people deal with problems of everyday life; many study personality, social psych, or developmental psych.

16 Psychology as a Profession Developmental Psychologists – study emotional, cognitive, biological, personal, and social changes that occur as an individual matures. Educational Psychologists – concerned with helping people learn; deal with intelligence, memory, problem solving, and motivation. Community Psychologists – work in gov’t run mental health or social welfare agencies.

17 Psychology as a Profession Industrial Psychologists – study and develop methods to boost production, improve working conditions, place applicants in suitable jobs, train employees, etc. Organizational Psychologists – study behavior of people in business/government organizations to make the workplace environment more satisfying.

18 Psychology as a Profession Environmental Psychologists – study the effects of the environment (natural disasters, overcrowding, pollution) on individuals, and groups. Psychobiologists - try to explain behaviors in terms of electrical and chemical activities in the nervous system. Forensic Psychologists – develop personality profiles of criminals Health Psychologists – study the interaction between physical and psychological health.

19 Psychology as a Profession Experimental Psychologists – perform research to understand how humans operate physically and psychologically in carefully controlled laboratory conditions –Study sensation, perception, learning, motivation, emotion. American Psychological Association – scientific and professional society of psychologists & educators; works to advance psychology as a science and profession.


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