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Introducing Psychology and its Methods. An Overview of a Developing Science. Introducing Psychology. What is Psychology? How did Modern Psychology Evolve Scientific Methods Psychology Today. Definition of Psychology. The scientific study of behavior and the mind.

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Introducing Psychology and its Methods

An Overview of a Developing Science


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Introducing Psychology

  • What is Psychology?

  • How did Modern Psychology Evolve

  • Scientific Methods

  • Psychology Today


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Definition of Psychology

  • The scientific study of behavior and the mind.

    • Scientific study - systematic, objective methods of investigation.

    • Behavior - any activity that can be observed, measured, and recorded.

    • Mind - all conscious and unconscious mental states.


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The Goals of Psychology

  • · Description

  • · Explanation

  • · Prediction

  • · Control


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Monism & Dualism

  • Monism - The belief that the body and mind are not separate.

  • Dualism

    • The assumption that the body and mind are separate, though perhaps interacting, entities

    • René Descartes (1596-1650) was a dualist, and believed that the mind could not be studied scientifically


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Early Schools of Psychology

  • Structuralism

    • Wundt

    • Titchener

  • Functionalism

    • James

  • Gestalt

    • Wertheimer


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Psychology’s Pioneers

  • Wilhelm Wundt

    • Established the first psychology laboratory, 1879

  • Hermann Ebbinghaus

    • Classic experiments on memory and forgetting, 1885

  • Lightner Witmer

    • Established first psychological clinic, 1886

  • William James

    • Published Principles of Psychology, 1890


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More of Psychology’s Pioneers

  • Ivan Pavlov

    • Discovered classical conditioning in dogs, 1906

  • Alfred Binet

    • Developed first modern intelligence test, 1905

  • Max Wertheimer

    • Discovered visual illusion of apparent motion, launched Gestalt psychology, 1912

  • John Broadus Watson

    • Defined psychology as study of behavior, 1913


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Other Pioneers in Psychology

  • G. Stanley Hall

    • Founded American Psychological Association, 1892

  • Edward L. Thorndike

    • First reported animal learning experiments, 1898

  • Sigmund Freud

    • Introduced psychoanalysis in The Interpretation of Dreams, 1900

  • Mary Whiton Calkins

    • First female president of the American Psychological Association, 1905


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Structuralism & Functionalism

  • Introspection

    • Wilhelm Wundt’s method of having trained observers report on their conscious, moment-to-moment reactions.

    • William James thought this was a futile method and saw behavior in terms of functions rather than mental structures.


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James on Consciousness

  • “…It is nothing jointed; it flows. A river or stream are metaphors by which it is most naturally described. In talking of it hereafter, let us call it the stream of thought, of consciousness, or of subjective life.”


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The Behaviorist Alternative

  • In 1913, John B. Watson offered an alternative to mentalistic approaches

  • Behaviorism

    • A school of thought that defines psychology as the scientific study of observable behavior

    • Focus on stimuli and responses

    • Dominated psychology from the 1920’s to the 1960’s

  • Later proponents included B. F. Skinner


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Gestaltists

  • Gestalt psychologists, led by Max Wertheimer viewed behavior as more than the sum of its parts.

  • Used evidence from human perception as evidence.


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Perspectives in Psychology

  • Biological:

  • Focus - How the body and brain create emotions, memories, and sensory experiences.

  • Emphases - How evolution and heredity influence behavior; how messages are transmitted within the body; how blood chemistry is linked with moods and motives.


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Psychoanalytic

  • Focus - How behavior springs from unconscious drives and conflicts.

  • Emphases - Analysis of personality traits and disorders in terms of sexual and aggressive drives or as the disguised effects of unfulfilled wishes and childhood traumas.


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Behavioral

  • Focus - How observable responses are acquired and changed.

  • Emphases - How we learn to fear particular objects or situations; how we can most effectively alter our behavior, say, to lose weight or stop smoking.


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Humanistic

  • Focus - Our capacity to choose our life patterns and not just be driven by unconscious forces or shaped by environment.

  • Emphases - How we seek maturity and fulfillment; how people experience and understand their own lives.


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Cognitive

  • Focus - How we process, store, and retrieve information.

  • Emphases - How we use information in remembering, reasoning, and solving problems.


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Social-Cultural

  • Focus - How behavior and thinking vary across situations and cultures.

  • Emphases - How as, say, Africans, Asians, Australians, or North Americans, we are alike as members one human family; how we are different, as products of different environments.


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Scientific Method

  • In Defense of Science, by Edward Horton Sanders, German Structuralist philospher over 200 years ago, asserted that of the many ways of gaining knowledge the scientific method was the best method.

  • Can use secondhand method from authorities, but usually not checked.

  • Scientific method is public and self-correcting and can be replicated.


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Scientific Method Quiz

  • 1. Who wrote in defense of science?

  • 2. When was this influential essay written?

  • 3. What school of philosophy did the author subscribe to?

  • 4. When we learn things from others, what is this way of gathering knowledge called?


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Scientific Method Quiz preferable as a way of gathering knowledge for psychologists?

  • 1. Who wrote in defense of science? Edward Horton Sanders

  • 2. When was this influential essay written? 200 years ago

  • 3. What school of philosophy did the author subscribe to? German Structuralism

  • 4. When we learn things from others, what is this way of gathering knowledge called? Secondhand knowlege


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Actually… preferable as a way of gathering knowledge for psychologists?

  • Charles Sanders Pierce, an American Pragmatist Philosopher wrote an essay called, “The Fixation of Belief” one hundred years ago, which made these points.

  • There is no such philosopher as Edward Horton Sanders, and German Structuralism didn’t exist 200 years ago!


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Types of Research preferable as a way of gathering knowledge for psychologists?

  • Basic Research

    • “Pure science” research that tests theories and builds a foundation of knowledge.

  • Applied Research

    • Research that aims to solve practical human problems.


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Laboratory and Field preferable as a way of gathering knowledge for psychologists?

  • Laboratory Research

    • Research conducted in an environment that can be regulated and in which subjects can be carefully observed.

  • Field Research

    • Research that is conducted in real-world locations.


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Theories and Hypotheses preferable as a way of gathering knowledge for psychologists?

  • Theory

    • An organized set of principles that describes, predicts, and explains some phenomenon.

  • Hypothesis

    • A specific testable prediction, often derived from a theory


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Descriptive Research preferable as a way of gathering knowledge for psychologists?

  • Case studies

    • A type of research that involves making in-depth observations of individual persons.

  • Surveys

    • A research method that involves interviewing or giving questionnaires to a large number of people.

  • Naturalistic observations

    • The observation of behavior as it occurs naturally in real-world settings


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Descriptive Research preferable as a way of gathering knowledge for psychologists?

  • Basic Purpose - To observe and record behavior.

  • How Conducted - Case studies, surveys, and naturalistic observations.

  • What is Manipulated - Nothing.

  • Where (mostly) Conducted - Field.


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Psychological Measurements preferable as a way of gathering knowledge for psychologists?

  • Self-Report

    • A method of observation that involves asking people to describe their own thoughts, feelings, or behavior.

  • Behavioral Observation

    • A form of research that is based on the firsthand observation of a subject’s behavior.

  • Archival Records

    • A form of research that relies on existing records of past behavior.


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Experiments preferable as a way of gathering knowledge for psychologists?

  • A type of research in which the investigator varies some factors, keeps others constant, and measures the effects on randomly assigned subjects.


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Experimentation preferable as a way of gathering knowledge for psychologists?

  • Basic Purpose - To explore cause and effect.

  • How Conducted - Manipulating a factor and using random assignment to eliminate preexisting differences among subjects.

  • What is Manipulated - The independent variable.

  • Where (mostly) Conducted - Lab (and field).


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Variables preferable as a way of gathering knowledge for psychologists?

  • Independent Variable

    • Any variable that the researcher manipulates in an experiment

    • The proposed cause of change in the dependent variable

  • Dependent Variable

    • A variable that is being measured in an experiment

    • Proposed to be affected by the independent variable


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The Irony of Experimental Methods preferable as a way of gathering knowledge for psychologists?

  • “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.”

    • Albert Einstein


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Correlational Research preferable as a way of gathering knowledge for psychologists?

  • Correlation and Prediction

  • Correlation Coefficient


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Correlational Studies preferable as a way of gathering knowledge for psychologists?

  • Basic Purpose - To detect naturally occurring relationships; to assess how well one variable predicts another.

  • How Conducted - Computing statistical association.

  • What is Manipulated - Nothing.

  • Where (mostly) Conducted - Field (and lab).


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Correlational Studies preferable as a way of gathering knowledge for psychologists?

  • Correlation

    • A statistical measure of how closely two variables are associated

  • Correlations can range from -1.0 to +1.0


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Explaining Correlations preferable as a way of gathering knowledge for psychologists?

  • Start with 3 variables, (X, Y, & Z) where X and Y are correlated:

    • X might cause Y

    • Y might cause X

    • X might be correlated with Y, which causes Z

  • Correlations show patterns, not causes


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Ethical Dilemmas preferable as a way of gathering knowledge for psychologists?

  • Ethics Considerations in Human Research

  • Ethics Considerations in Animal Research


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Protecting Human Research Participants preferable as a way of gathering knowledge for psychologists?

  • Informed Consent

    • Prospective participants should receive enough information to let them decide freely whether to participate

  • Freedom to withdraw at any time

  • Minimize discomfort

  • Keep data confidential

  • If deception is necessary, debriefing must occur


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Animal Research Ethics preferable as a way of gathering knowledge for psychologists?

  • Animal Welfare

    • Proper care, minimization of pain and stress, and humane treatment are universally supported

    • Allegations of mistreatment in laboratories are rarely supported by facts

      • Studies in which animals were mistreated cannot be published in reputable journals

  • Animal Rights

    • There is no consensus over whether animals have similar rights as humans


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Practical Applications preferable as a way of gathering knowledge for psychologists?

  • Health

  • Education

  • Psychology in the Workplace

  • Consumer Behavior

  • The Environment

  • The Human-Machine Interface


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Areas of Specialization preferable as a way of gathering knowledge for psychologists?

  • Biological Roots

  • Cognitive and Affective Processes

  • Human Development

  • Social Psychology

  • Clinical Psychology

  • Community Psychology


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Psychology as a Profession preferable as a way of gathering knowledge for psychologists?


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The Essential Tension preferable as a way of gathering knowledge for psychologists?

  • “At the heart of science is an essential tension between two seemingly contradictory attitudes – an openness to new ideas, no matter how bizarre or counterintuitive they may be, and the most ruthless skeptical scrutiny of all ideas, old and new.”

    • Carl Sagan


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