Chapter 1 What is Psychology?. What is Psychology?. Psychology is a word deriving from Greek roots: Psyche – “soul” or “mind” Logos – “word” Psychology is the systematic study of behavior and experience. . Module 1.1. The Goals of Psychologists. The Goals of Psychologists.
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Psychology is the systematic study of behavior and experience.
More than one third of psychologists work in academic institutions; the remainder find positions in a variety of settings. (Based on data of Chamberlin, 2000)
Sample Question: How do drug abuse, brain damage, and exposures to environmental toxins change nervous system functioning (and by extension, behavior)?
Sample Question: Do frequent or consistent rewards for desired behaviors produce better learning than less frequent or less predictable rewards?
Sample Question: What do “experts” in a field know or do that sets them apart from other people?
Sample Question: What do people do or know as adults that they do not know as children? Why did this change occur? Was the change due to biological changes, increased experience, or a combination of these?
Sample Question: To what degree to the demands and expectations of authority figures influence our behavior? How strong is the human tendency to conform?
Which psychologist would ask if punishment is an effective means of eliminating undesirable behaviors?
Learning And Motivation
Clinical Psychologists and Other Psychotherapists
Which psychotherapist would help a middle-aged woman trying to transition from work as a homemaker to resuming her college education?
Clinical Social Worker
Sample Question: Workers in two separate departments at an aerospace engineering firm have started to withhold information from each other and this has been detrimental to morale and productivity. How can this behavior be stopped without terminating or reassigning any employees?
Sample Question: How can the design of a clerical workstation in an office be improved to minimize the possibility of repetitive stress related injuries occurring to the employee who occupies it?
Sample Question: Does a fourth grade student whose grades have been declining over the past two years have an identifiable learning disability, or is there an issue related to the student’s emotional well-being affecting his performance?
Which psychologist would consult in the design of an airplane cockpit to maximize crew efficiency and safety?
Dates of some important events in psychology and elsewhere. (Based partly on Dewsbury (2000a).
One of the tasks used by early comparative psychologists to assess animal intelligence tested the delayed-response problem. A stimulus was presented and a delay ensued; then the animal was expected to respond to the remembered stimulus. Variations on this delayed-response task are still used today.
Another task popular among early comparative psychologists was the detour problem. An animal needed to first go away from the food in order to move toward it.
Zebras learn rapidly when they have to compare stripe patterns (Giebel, 1958). How “smart” a species is perceived to be depends in part on what ability or skill is being tested.
“Psychology as the behaviorist views it is a purely objective experimental branch of natural science. Its theoretical goal is the prediction and control of behavior.” -- John B. Watson, 1913