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What Is Psychology? Psychology Psyche: Mind Logos: Knowledge or study Definition: The scientific study of behavior and mental processes Behavior: Overt;

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Presentation on theme: "What Is Psychology? Psychology Psyche: Mind Logos: Knowledge or study Definition: The scientific study of behavior and mental processes Behavior: Overt;"— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 1: Introducing Psychology and Research Methods Instructor: Allen Thomas

2 What Is Psychology? Psychology Psyche: Mind Logos: Knowledge or study Definition: The scientific study of behavior and mental processes Behavior: Overt; i.e., can be directly observed (crying) Mental Processes: Covert; i.e., cannot be directly observed (remembering)

3 Empiricism: The Goals To measure and describe behaviors To gather empirical evidence: information gained from direct observation and measurement To gather data: Observed facts Scientific Observation: Empirical investigation that is structured so that it answers questions about the world

4 Figure 1. 1 Results of an empirical study
Figure 1.1 Results of an empirical study. The graph shows that horn honking by frustrated motorists becomes more likely as air temperature increases. This suggests that physical discomfort is associated with interpersonal hostility. Riots and assaults also increase during hot weather. Here we see a steady rise in aggression as temperatures go higher. However, research done by other psychologists has shown that hostile actions that require physical exertion, such as a fist fight, may become less likely at very high temperatures. (Data from Kenrick & MacFarlane, 1986.) Figure 1.1

5 What Might a Psychologist Research?
Development: Course of human growth and development Learning: How and why it occurs in humans and animals Personality: Traits, motivations, and individual differences

6 What Might Psychologists Research? (cont.)
Sensation and Perception: How we come to know the world through our five senses Social: Human social behavior Cultural: How culture affects human behavior

7 What Might Psychologists Research? (cont.)
Biopsychology: How behavior is related to biological processes, especially activities in the nervous system Gender: Study differences between males and females and how they develop

8 What Are the Goals of Psychology?
Description of Behaviors: Naming and classifying various observable, measurable behaviors Understanding: The causes of behavior Prediction: Forecasting behavior accurately

9 More Goals of Psychology
Control: Altering conditions that affect behaviors Positive Use: To control unwanted behaviors, (e.g., smoking, tantrums, etc.) Negative Use: To control people’s behaviors without their knowledge

10 History of Psychology: Beginnings
1879: Wundt set up first lab to study conscious experience Introspection: Looking inward (i.e., examining and reporting your thoughts, feelings, etc.) Experimental Self-Observation: Combines trained introspection with objective measurement; Wundt’s approach

11 History of Psychology: Structuralism
Wundt’s ideas brought to the U.S. by Tichener and renamed Structuralism Structuralism: School of thought concerned with analyzing sensations and personal experience into basic elements

12 History of Psychology: Functionalism
William James (American) and Functionalism How the mind functions to adapt us to our environment Functionalists admired Darwin and his theory of Natural Selection: Animals keep features through evolution that help them adapt to environments

13 Functionalism’s Effects on Modern Psychology
Educational Psychology: Study of learning, teaching, classroom dynamics, and related topics Industrial Psychology: Study of people at work

14 History of Psychology: Behaviorism and Cognitive Behaviorism
Psychology must study observable behavior objectively Watson studied Little Albert with Rosalie Raynor; Skinner studied animals almost exclusively

15 History of Psychology: Cognitive Behaviorism
Cognitive Behaviorism: Ellis and Bandura Our thoughts influence our behaviors; used often in treatment of depression Cognition (thinking) and conditioning are combined to explain behavior

16 History of Psychology: Gestalt
Gestalt Psychology: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” Studied thinking, learning, and perception in whole units, not by analyzing experiences into parts Key names: Wertheimer, Perls

17 Figure 1.2 The design you see here is entirely made up of broken circles. However, as the Gestalt psychologists discovered, our perceptions have a powerful tendency to form meaningful patterns. Because of this tendency, you will probably see a triangle in this design, even though it is only an illusion. Your whole perceptual experience exceeds the sum of its parts. Figure 1.2

18 Table 1.2 Table 1.2

19 History of Psychology: Freud
Psychoanalytic Perspective Our behavior is largely influenced by our unconscious wishes, thoughts, and desires, especially sex and aggression Freud performed dream analysis and was an interactionist (combination of our biology and environment makes us who we are)

20 Repression Repression: When memories, thoughts, or impulses are unconsciously held out of awareness Recent research has hypothesized that our unconscious mind is partially responsible for our behaviors

21 History of Psychology: Neo-Freudians
New or recent—some of Freud’s students who broke away to promote their own theories Key Names: Alfred Adler, Anna Freud (Freud’s daughter), Karen Horney, Carl Jung, Otto Rank, Erik Erikson

22 History of Psychology: Humanism
Key Names: Rogers and Maslow Goal of psychology is to study unique aspects of the person Focuses on human experience, problems, potentials, and ideals Each person has innate goodness and is able to make free choices (contrast with Skinner and Freud)

23 Terms Self-Image: Perception of our own body, personality, and capabilities Self-Evaluation: Positive or negative feelings held toward one’s self Frame of Reference: Mental perspective used to interpret events Self-Actualization: Ongoing process of fully developing one’s personal potential

24 Psychology Today Biopsychology: All of our behavior can be explained through physiological processes Uses brain scans to gather data (CT, MRI, PET) Positive Psychology: Study of human strengths, virtues, and optimal behavior Looks at positive side of human behavior

25 Cultural Awareness Many thoughts and behaviors are influenced by our culture Psychologists need to be aware of the impact cultural diversity may have on our behaviors What is acceptable in one culture might be unacceptable in another

26 Cultural Awareness (cont.)
Cultural Relativity: Behavior must be judged relative to the values of the culture in which it occurs Norms: Rules that define acceptable and expected behavior for members of a group

27 Many Flavors of Psychologists
Psychologists: Usually have masters or doctorate; trained in methods, knowledge, and theories of psychology Clinical Psychologist: Treats psychological problems or does research on therapies and mental disorders Counseling Psychologist: Treats milder emotional and behavioral disturbances

28 Table 1.3 Table 1.3

29 Figure 1.3a (a) Specialties in psychology. Percentages are approximate. (b) Where psychologists work. (c) This chart shows the main activities psychologists do at work. Any particular psychologist might do several of these activities during a work week (APA, 1998). As you can see, most psychologists specialize in applied areas and work in applied settings. Figure 1.3

30 Figure 1.3b (a) Specialties in psychology. Percentages are approximate. (b) Where psychologists work. (c) This chart shows the main activities psychologists do at work. Any particular psychologist might do several of these activities during a work week (APA, 1998). As you can see, most psychologists specialize in applied areas and work in applied settings. Figure 1.3b

31 Figure 1.3c (a) Specialties in psychology. Percentages are approximate. (b) Where psychologists work. (c) This chart shows the main activities psychologists do at work. Any particular psychologist might do several of these activities during a work week (APA, 1998). As you can see, most psychologists specialize in applied areas and work in applied settings. Figure 1.3c

32 More Helping Professionals
Psychiatrists: M.D.; usually use medications to treat problems; generally do not have extensive training in providing “talk” therapy Psychoanalysts: Receive additional training post-Ph.D. or M.D. at an institute for psychoanalysis

33 Some More Helping Professionals
Psychiatric Social Workers: Many have masters degrees and perform psychotherapy Presently a very popular profession Counselor: Advisor who helps solve problems with marriage, school, and so on Not all psychologists perform therapy!

34 The Scientific Method Six Basic Elements Making observations Defining a problem Proposing a hypothesis (an educated guess that can be tested)

35 The Scientific Method (cont.)
Gathering evidence/testing the hypothesis Publishing results Building a theory

36 Scientific Theory A system of ideas that interrelates facts and concepts, summarizes existing data, and predicts future observations A good theory must be falsifiable; i.e., operationally defined so that it can be disconfirmed

37 Figure 1.4 Operational definitions are used to link concepts with concrete observations. Do you think the examples given are reasonable operational definitions of frustration and aggression? Operational definitions vary in how well they represent concepts. For this reason, many different experiments may be necessary to draw clear conclusions about hypothesized relationships in psychology. Figure 1.4

38 Figure 1.5 Psychologists use the logic of science to answer questions about behavior. Specific hypotheses can be tested in a variety of ways, including naturalistic observation, correlational studies, controlled experiments, clinical studies, and the survey method. Psychologists revise their theories to reflect the evidence they gather. New or revised theories then lead to new observations, problems, and hypotheses. Figure 1.5

39 Naturalistic Observation
Observing a person or an animal in the environment in which they/it live(s)

40 Naturalistic Observation Problems
Observer Effect: Changes in behavior caused by an awareness of being observed Observer Bias: Occurs when observers see what they expect to see or record only selected details

41 Anthropomorphic Error
Attributing human thoughts, feelings, or motives to animals, especially as a way of explaining their behavior (e.g., “Anya, my cat, is acting like that because she’s feeling depressed today.”)

42 Correlations Existence of a consistent, systematic relationship between two events, measures, or variables Correlation Coefficient: Statistic ranging from –1.00 to +1.00; the sign indicates the direction of the relationship Closer the statistic is to –1.00 or to +1.00, the stronger the relationship Correlation of 0.00 demonstrates no relationship between the variables

43 Correlations (cont.) Positive Correlation: Increases in one variable are matched by increases in the other variable Negative Correlation: Increases in one variable are matched by decreases in the other variable Correlation does not demonstrate causation: Just because two variables are related does NOT mean that one variable causes the other to occur

44 Figure 1.7 The correlation coefficient tells how strongly two measures are related. These graphs show a range of relationships between two measures, A and B. If a correlation is negative, increases in one measure are associated with decreases in the other. (As B gets larger, A gets smaller.) In a positive correlation, increases in one measure are associated with increases in the other. (As B gets larger, A gets larger.) The center-left graph (“medium negative relationship”) might result from comparing anxiety level (B) with test scores (A): Higher anxiety is associated with lower scores. The center graph (“no relationship”) would result from plotting a person’s shoe size (B) and his or her IQ (A). The center-right graph (“medium positive relationship”) could be a plot of grades in high school (B) and grades in college (A) for a group of students: Higher grades in high school are associated with higher grades in college. Figure 1.7

45 Experiments To identify cause-and-effect relationships, we conduct experiments Directly vary a condition you might think affects behavior Create two or more groups of subjects, alike in all ways except the condition you are varying Record whether varying the condition has any effect on behavior

46 Figure 1.8 Elements of a simple psychological experiment to assess the effects of music during study on test scores. Figure 1.8

47 Variables Independent Variable: Condition(s) altered by the experimenter; experimenter sets their size, amount, or value; these are suspected causes for behavioral differences Dependent Variable: Demonstrates effects that independent variables have on behavior Extraneous Variables: Conditions that a researcher wants to prevent from affecting the outcomes of the experiment (e.g., number of hours slept before the experiment)

48 Figure 1.9 Experimental control is achieved by balancing extraneous variables for the experimental group and the control group. For example, the average age (A), education (B), and intelligence (C) of group members could be made the same for both groups. Then we could apply the independent variable to the experimental group. If their behavior (the dependent variable) changes (in comparison with the control group), the change must be caused by the independent variable. Figure 1.9

49 Groups Experimental Group: The group of subjects that gets the independent variable Control Group: The group of subjects that does NOT get the independent variable Random Assignment: Subject has an equal chance of being in either the experimental or control group

50 Placebo Placebo: A fake pill (sugar) or injection (saline) Placebos alter our expectations about our own emotional and physical reactions

51 Placebo Effect Changes in behavior that result from expectations that a drug or other treatment will have some effect These expectancies then influence bodily activities Relieve pain by getting pituitary to release endorphins Also gain some effect through learning Herbal remedies may be based on placebo effect

52 Experiment Types Single Blind: Only the subjects have no idea whether they get real treatment or placebo Double Blind: The subjects AND the experimenters have no idea whether the subjects get real treatment or placebo Best type of experiment if properly set up

53 Experimenter Effects Changes in behavior caused by the unintended influence of the experimenter Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: A prediction that leads people to act in ways to make the prediction come true

54 Does Marijuana Impair Memory?

55 The Clinical Method Case Study: In-depth focus of all aspects of a single person Natural Clinical Tests: Natural events, such as accidents, that provide psychological data Survey Method: Using public polling techniques to answer psychological questions

56 Samples, and Some Problems
Representative Sample: Small group that accurately reflects a larger population Population: Entire group of animals or people belonging to a particular category (e.g., all married women) Courtesy Bias: Problem in research; a tendency to give “polite” or socially desirable answers Internet Surveys: Web based research; low cost and can reach many people Samples are not representative

57 Table 1.5 Table 1.5

58 Figure 1.10 Some of the earliest information on the effects of damage to frontal areas of the brain came from a case study of the accidental injury of Phineas Gage. Figure 1.10

59 Figure 1.11 If you were conducting a survey in which a person’s height might be an important variable, the upper, non-random sample would be very unrepresentative. The lower sample, selected using a table of random numbers, better represents the group as a whole. Figure 1.11

60 Critical Thinking Ability to analyze, evaluate, and synthesize information What would you expect to see if the claim were true? Gather evidence relevant to the claim Evaluate the evidence Draw a conclusion Oftentimes used in research

61 Table 1.6 Table 1.6

62 Four Basic Principles of Critical Thinking
Few truths transcend the need for empirical testing Evidence varies in quality Authority or claimed expertise does not automatically make an idea true Critical thinking requires an open mind

63 Pseudo-Psychologies Pseudo means “false”; Any unfounded “system” that resembles psychology and is NOT based on scientific testing Palmistry: Lines on your hands (palms) predict future and reveal personality Phrenology: Personality traits revealed by shape of skull and bumps on your head

64 Pseudo-Psychologies (cont.)
Graphology: Personality revealed by your handwriting Astrology: The positions of the stars and planets at birth determine your personality and affect your behavior Quite popular (“What’s your sign?”)

65 More on Pseudo-Psychologies
Uncritical Acceptance: Tendency to believe positive or unflattering descriptions of yourself Fallacy of Positive Instances: When we remember or notice things that confirm our expectations and forget the rest

66 The Barnum Effect Barnum Effect: Tendency to consider personal descriptions accurate if stated in general terms Always have a little something for everyone; Make sure all palm readings, horoscopes, etc. are so general that something in them will always apply to any one person! (e.g., Miss Cleo)

67 Separating Fact from Fiction
Be skeptical Consider the source of information Ask yourself, “Was there a control group?” Look for errors in distinguishing between correlation and causation (are claims based on correlational results yet passed off as causations?)

68 Separating Fact from Fiction (cont.)
Be sure to distinguish between observation and inference (e.g., Robert is crying, but do we know why he is crying?) Beware of oversimplifications, especially those motivated by monetary gain Remember, “for example” is no proof!

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