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History of Psychology. Lecture Overview. What is Psychology? History of Psychology Early views of Mental Disorder Origins of Psychological Science Psychological Science Today Levels of analysis. What is Psychology?. Psychology is the study of the

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History of Psychology

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History of Psychology


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Lecture Overview

  • What is Psychology?

  • History of Psychology

  • Early views of Mental Disorder

  • Origins of Psychological Science

  • Psychological Science Today

    • Levels of analysis


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What is Psychology?

  • Psychology is the study of the

    • Mind -- mental activity such as thoughts, feelings, and subjective experiences

    • Brain – an organ in the skull that produces mental activity and behavior

    • Behavior – any observable action or response


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History of Psychology

  • Interest in understanding human behavior and mental processes has existed for centuries

    • Written documents date back 25 Centuries to Greek Philosophers Socrates, Aristotle, & Plato

    • In Asia, evidence of interest in exploring consciousness and in controlling it with meditation and yoga

    • In Africa, personality and mental disorder explained based on traditional spiritual beliefs


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History of Psychology

  • Over time, our understanding of behavior and mental processes has evolved

  • Current understanding of behavior and mental processes is derived from the science of psychology

    • What were the earliest conceptions of disordered mental processes (i.e., mental illness)?

    • How did psychology as a science evolve?


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Early Views of Mental Disorder

  • Earliest conceptions of mental disorder – displeasure of the gods or demonic possession

    • E.g., Ancient Babylonians – insanity resulted from possession by the demon Idta


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Early Views of Mental Disorder

  • Treatment developed out of conception of mental disorders

    • Flogging

    • Starvation

    • Drinking “unpalatable brews”

    • Trephining


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Trephining


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Trephining


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Early Views of Mental Disorder

  • Other forms of treatment

    • Sleeping in the temple of the deity of healing

    • Artistic endeavors

    • Bathing in hot springs

    • Exercise

    • Those who were not cured, however, were chased from the temples and/or stoned


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Early Views of Mental Disorder

  • Hippocrates (460-377 B.C.)

    • Earliest proponent of somatogensis

      • Mental disorder resulted from disturbances of the body NOT demonic possession

      • Stress can also damage the mind and body


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Early Views of Mental Disorder

  • Hippocrates

    • Normal Functioning depended on delicate balance of four “humors” or body fluids

    • Mental Disorder resulted from an imbalance of these “humors”

      • Blood – changeable mood

      • Black Bile -- melancholia

      • Yellow Bile (choler) – irritable; anxious

      • Phlegm – sluggish or dull


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Early Views of Mental Disorder

  • Treatment

    • Looked for natural remedies

    • E.G., For melancholia

      • Tranquility

      • Sobriety

      • Care in choosing food and drink

      • Abstinence from sexual activity


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History of Psychology

  • Galen (1st Century AD) – autopsy of apes  lead to his belief in the role of the brain in mental function

  • 3rd Century AD -- Return to demonology; mentally ill as witches (?); Church had responsibility for care of mentally ill

  • 1700’s -- move toward Psychogenesis – mental disorders attributed to psychic malfunctions

  • 1850’s -- Return to Somatogenesis with publication of Kraeplin’s classification system


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Origins of Psychological Science

  • Three major historical debates/theories influenced development of psychology as a science

    • Nature vs Nurture

    • Mind vs Body

    • Theory of Evolution


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Origins of Psychological Science

  • Nature vs Nurture Debate

    • Ongoing debate since the time of the Greeks about causes of psychological characteristics

      • Psychological characteristics  thinking feeling, experiencing and behavior


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Origins of Psychological Science

  • Nurture  psychological characteristics are acquired through learning, experience, or culture

    • John Locke 

      • Tabula Rasa – the mind is a blank slate which is written upon through experience –

      • View that psychological characteristics are entirely determined by experience

      • i.e., ENVIRONMENT IS KEY!


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Origins of Psychological Science

  • Nature  psychological characteristics are biologically determined or innate; that is, we are born with it

  • i.e., IT’S ALL ABOUT OUR GENES


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Origins of Psychological Science

  • Schizophrenia as an example

    • Higher rates of concordance for schizophrenia between identical than between fraternal twins  nature

    • Schizoprehnogenic mother  nurture

    • Rates higher when identical twins share a placenta than when they each have their own placenta  nurture


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Origins of Psychological Science

  • Intelligence

    • Highly heritable but also influenced by

      • Education, nutrition, enrichment of environment

      • Nature  may limit potential to a certain range BUT Nurture can influence where individual can fall within that range

  • Current thinking  all behavior is some combination of Nature and Nurture


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Origins of Psychological Science


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Implications of the Nature/Nurture Debate

  • Thinking, feeling, experiencing, behavior have multiple causes

  • Biology is NOT destiny


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Origins of Psychological Science

  • The Mind vs Body Debate

    • Earliest conceptions were driven by religious doctrine

    • The divine and immortal soul is what separated humans from animals

      • It controlled the mind and behavior

    • Thus, the mind was seen as distinct from the body


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Origins of Psychological Science

  • DaVinci (1500 AD) –

    • Believed that all sensory experience (i.e., vision, touch, smell) was located in a single area of the brain which he believed to be the home of thought and judgment

    • He based his beliefs on autopsies he conducted on people

    • His method and views were seen as offensive to the church because they violated the presumed sanctity of the human body


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Origins of Psychological Science

  • DesCartes(1600 AD) –

    • The first to promote the concept of dualism  the mind and the body were separate BUT related entities

      • The mind influenced the body

      • The body also influences the mind (considered his most radical view)

    • Some mental functions, such as memory and imagination, were the result of bodily functions

    • Volitional behavior, which was divine, was controlled by the rational mind, and therefore was independent of the body


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Origins of Psychological Science

  • Current advances in biological and medical research now suggest that the mind is a function of the brain

    • Examples

      • Terry Schiavo

      • Specific brain regions have specific functions

      • Impact of imbalance of one neurotransmitter on ability to think and reason

  • Current conception – the mind is what the brain does!


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Origins of Psychological Science

  • The relation between the mind, brain, and behavior is bidirectional

Brain

Behavior

Mind


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Origins of Psychological Science

  • The Theory of Natural Selection

    • Species evolve through a process known as natural selection

    • Characteristics that were adaptive in specific environments had a selective advantage

    • In Darwin’s words “ … favourable variations would tend to be preserved and unfavourable ones to be destroyed. The result of this would be the formation of a new species.”


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Origins of Psychological Science

  • Genetic variation produces variations in traits or characteristics.

  • Traits that increased the likelihood of survival of the species were preserved and passed along to the next generation

    • These are known as adaptations

  • Maladaptive traits (i.e., decreased the likelihood of survival) become extinct, because the animal did not survive or did not procreate.


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Origins of Psychological Science

  • Sir Francis Galton (Darwin’s cousin)– some of the traits that evolved were psychological in nature


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Origins of Psychological Science

  • SO

    • The brain has evolved over millions of years to solve adaptive problems – such as “how does one survive during periods of famine or deprivation”

  • Then

    • “How does this survival mechanism, that evolved millions of years ago, affect us in modern society?”


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Survival Mechanisms: Famine

  • Taste-specific satiety – become satiated more quickly when exposed to a single flavor than to a variety of flavors

  • Adaptive because  we see out a variety of foods to ensure we meet our nutritional needs

    • E.g., We eat more at buffets that at regular restaurants

  • Current Implications – high rate of obesity


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Survival Mechanisms: Learning

  • Specific area of the brain that recognizes reward

  • This area of the brain “lights up” when a behavior is followed by a biologically relevant consequence

    • i.e., consequence that increases our likelihood of survival

  • Leads to repetition of the behavior

  • Current Implications  brain mechanisms that set us up for addiction or obesity


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Survival Mechanisms: Sex

  • Gender differences in tendency toward promiscuity develops from need to ensure survival of offspring

    • Males  more sexual partners means greater number of offspring survive

    • Females  better sexual partners means greater likelihood of offspring survival

  • Remember: Biology is NOT destiny


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Implications of Evolutionary Theory

  • Pioneering research in animals could be used to explain human behavior

    • Pavlov’s dogs – implications for human learning

    • Helmholtz’ research on nerve impulses in frogs could be used to understand nerve impulses in humans

    • Animal models of addiction, ADHD and other mental disorders allow us to determine brain areas involved in these disorders and novel compounds for treatment


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Origins of Psychological Science

  • Wundt and Structuralism

    • Structuralism – conscious experience can be broken down into its most basic components or elements

    • Introspection – the process of reporting on one’s own mental experiences of a stimulus

    • Identified major areas of interest to psychologists


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Origins of Psychological Science

  • James and Functionalism

    • Argued that structuralism was too narrow

    • Functionalism – Influenced by Darwinian Theory; i.e., that the mind evolved to serve adaptive functions

    • These adaptive functions should be evident in behavior and in daily life; thus interested in studying the functions of the mind


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Origins of Psychological Science

  • Freud and Psychoanalysis

    • Freud was a physician

    • Had patients with neurological symptoms that had no physical explanation

    • Freud believed that much of mental activity occurred outside of the individual’s conscious awareness  first to be interested in the Unconscious mind

    • Mental disorder – unconscious mental forces in conflict


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Origins of Psychological Science

  • Gestalt Theory

    • We perceive information as uniform and whole not as separate elements

    • The whole is greater than the sum of its elements


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Origins of Psychology as a Science


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Origins of Psychological Science

  • Watson, Skinner, & Behaviorism – Studying the mind is unscientific

    • Observable behavior, not the mind, should be the focus of scientific inquiry

    • All behavior is a function of environmental influences


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7 Levels of Analysis

Genetic

Neurochemical

Brain Systems

Behavioral

Perceptual/Cognitive

Individual

Social/Cultural

7 Disciplines

Biological

Developmental

Behavioral

Cognitive

Trait

Clinical

Sociocultural

How do we Understand Behavior?


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Depression

Genetics

Neurochemistry

Developmental

Perceptual/Cognitive

Academic Performance

Genetics

Behavioral

Developmental

Perceptual/cognitive

Social/Cultural

Understanding Behavior using a Levels of Analysis Approach


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