Topics and Questions The origins and growth of psychology, from questions to a science The big question: do our human traits develop through experience (nurture), or are we born with them (nature)? Psychology’s biopsychosocial levels of analysis Psychology’s subfields Applying psychology to learning the text: SQ3R Psychology is about understanding mind, self, and others. Bring your curiosity to class, with questions like: How do I explain dreams? Anxiety? The abilities and funny behavior of babies? How can I learn to use my mind to be more successful in my life? To be more effective in helping others?
From speculation to science: The Birth of Modern Psychology Aristotle (4 th century BCE) had ideas about how the body and mind work. His method: making guesses. Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920) added two key elements to help make psychology a science: 1.carefully measured observations 2.experiments
Push a button when a ball dropped (based on when they heard the ball hit a platform): 1/10th of a second. Push a button when consciously aware of hearing the ball hit the platform: 2/10ths of a second. Wilhelm Wundt’s 1879 experiment measured the time it took for people to: Why were the times different?
Structuralism Edward Titchener, like his teacher Wundt, used data from introspection, reporting on sensations and other elements of experience. Structuralism: Using these introspective reports to build a view of the mind’s structure
Functionalism: The school of thought that Psychological processes have a function: helping us survive as individuals, adapt as a species The developer of functionalism, William James (1842-1910), asked: How did the human style of thinking and behavior enable our ancestors to live long enough to reproduce? James mentored another pioneer William James
Mary Whiton Calkins (1863-1930) became a memory researcher and the first female president of the APA. She studied with William James but was denied a Harvard PhD. Why? Because of her gender. Psychology Pioneers Mary Whiton Calkins
Psychology Pioneers Margaret Floy Washburn, PhD Margaret Floy Washburn (1871-1939): The first female to earn a Psychology PhD The second female APA president Author of The Animal Mind.
Shifting definitions of “psychology” Wilhelm Wundt and Edward Titchener, around 1900: “The science of mental life.” John B. Watson and B.F. Skinner, behaviorists, 1920’s: “The scientific study of observable behavior.” Cognitive psychologists, 1960’s, studied internal mental processes, helped by neuroscience. Now we combine these definitions: “The science of behavior and mental processes.”
Behaviorists study and experiment with observable behavior. Watson experimented with conditioned responses. Skinner studied the way consequences shape behavior. Like other behaviorists, he saw little value in introspection. Trends in Psychological Science: Behaviorism John B. Watson B. F. Skinner
Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis: He studied and helped people with a variety of mental disorders. More about Freud when we study personality and therapy Sigmund Freud Trends in Psychology: Freudian/Psychoanalytic Psychology
Humanists: Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers (1960s): studied people who were thriving rather than those who had psychological problems. developed theories and treatments to help people to feel accepted and to reach their full potential. Carl Rogers Abraham Maslow Trends in Psychology: Humanism
The Growth of Psychology Psychology’s pioneers have come from many fields: physiology, philosophy, medicine, and biology. Advances in psychology also have been made in many countries Psychology has spread rapidly; there are 71 member nations in the IUPS. The subjects studied in psychology have multiplied too… as we shall see in this course.
The Big Issue in Psychology: N-N To what extent are our traits already set in place at birth (our “Nature”)? And to what extent do our traits develop in response to our environment/ experience (our “Nurture”)? The Nature- Nurture Question:
vs. NatureNurture Plato: Ideas such as “the good” and “beauty” are inborn. Descartes: Some ideas are innate. Charles Darwin: Some traits become part of our nature through natural selection: they help us survive long enough to pass the traits to the next generation. Aristotle: All knowledge comes through the senses. John Locke: The mind is a blank slate (blank chalkboard or screen) “written on” by experience.
NatureNurture We have differences that are shaped by our environment. We share a common origin that gives us an inborn human nature in common. +
“Nurture works on what Nature endows.” The Roles of Nature and Nurture:
Biology Plus Environment.. are part of psychology’s three “biopsychosocial” levels of analysis. The deep level, Biology: genes, brain, neuro- transmitters, survival, reflexes, sensation The outer level, Environment: social Influences, culture, education, relationships In the middle, Psychology: thoughts, emotions, moods, choices, behaviors, traits, motivations, knowledge, perceptions
The three levels as influences on some psychological phenomenon Example: DepressionExample: IntelligenceExample: Enjoying Soccer Example: Shyness
Cognitive perspective Social-cultural Behavioral genetics Neuroscience Psychodynamic Behaviorist Evolutionary There are many perspectives for describing psychological phenomena: From different angles, you ask different questions: How reliable is memory? How can we improve our thinking? Could our behavior, skills, and attitudes be “downloads” from our culture? Could our behavior, skills, and attitudes be genetically programmed instincts? What role do our bodies and brains play in emotions? How is pain inhibited? Can we trust our senses? Do inner childhood conflicts still plague me and affect my behavior? How are our problematic behaviors reinforced? How do our fears become conditioned? What can we do to change these fears and behaviors? Why are humans prone to panic, anger, and making irrational judgments?
Different perspectives on a single issue: Six Blind Men and an Elephant
Let’s play: “What’s my perspective?” “Obsessive- compulsive disorder is a problem in the orbital cortex.” “No, it’s a sign of unresolved childhood issues.” “No, OCD is an inherited condition.” “Compulsions start as habits and are rewarded by the anxiety relief they bring.” “OCD comes from our natural instinct to control our environment.” “OCD thinking and behavior is a reaction to our fast-paced, out- of-control lifestyles.” “No, OCD is a matter of mental habits and errors that can be corrected.”
Psychology’s Subfields Applied Clinical Psychology Counseling Psychology Educational Psychology Industrial-Organizational Community Psychology Clinical Psychology Basic research Biological Developmental Cognitive Personality Social Positive Psychology
Psychology’s Subfields Research Examples Type of research Biological Developmental Cognitive Personality Social Positive Psychology Study how the stages of cognitive and emotional development vary in autism Explore the structural problems in the brain that may be part of autism Clarify the difficulties autistic children have with understanding sarcasm Decide whether traits like neuroticism need to be measured differently in autism Find how autistic children can learn social skills as procedures if not by intuition Explore what motivates people and contributes to life satisfaction
Applied Clinical Psychology Counseling Psychology Educational Psychology Industrial-Organizational Community Psychology Clinical Psychology Psychology’s Subfields Applied Help someone achieve career goals despite family conflict and self-doubt Use exposure therapy to decrease phobic reactions in a traumatized client Evaluate aptitudes and achievement to plan for a student with learning problems Figure out how a factory can improve coordination of tasks, roles, and personalities Help coordinate a city’s efforts to understand and prevent elder abuse Use exposure therapy to decrease phobic reactions in a traumatized client
Psychology in context with other professions Psychiatrists are physicians, M.D.s or D.O.s. They can prescribe medication. In addition to psychologists, professionals in social work, counseling, and marriage and family therapy may be trained to do psychotherapy.
An Application of Psychology: Improving your test performance Scientific studies show us that: The retrieval practice effect/testing effect Testing yourself boosts retention of material. Put it in your own words, make connections Actively processing material helps master it. Spread studying over multiple days Spaced rehearsal, interspaced with other subjects, is more efficient than cramming. If the concept looks familiar… not good enough People tend to overestimate their mastery.
Applying this knowledge: Use SQ3R to master a textbook Survey Scan/Skim what you are about to read, especially chapter outlines and section heads. Question Ask questions that the text might answer; write guesses. Read Look for the answer to your questions, reading a manageable amount at a time. Rehearse Recall what you’ve read in your own words. Test yourself with quizzes. Review Look over text and notes and quickly review the main ideas of the whole chapter.