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Introduction to Psychology History & Research Methods Caroline M. Clements, Ph.D. The University of North Carolina at Wilmington Department of Psychology. Index Card Information. Name Student Number Code for posting exam scores Local Phone Contact Email address. What is Psychology?.

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Introduction to Psychology History & Research MethodsCaroline M. Clements, Ph.D.The University of North Carolina at WilmingtonDepartment of Psychology


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Index Card Information

  • Name

  • Student Number

  • Code for posting exam scores

  • Local Phone Contact

  • Email address


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What is Psychology?

  • Psychology is the science of brain processes and behavior


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The Goals of Psychologists

  • Psychologists engage in the study of psychology in order to understand, explain and predict and control behavior.


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Lecture Overview

  • History of Psychology

  • Modern Perspectives in Psychology

  • Psychology as a Career

  • Doing Research in Psychology


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Historical Background

  • Nativist (nature) vs Empiricist (nuture)

    • Are a person’s characteristics mostly inborn or learned?


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Historical Background

  • Plato – (427-347)

    • Plato was interested in moral philosophy and despised natural philosophy (that is, science) as an inferior and unworthy sort of knowledge.

    • Believed we are born with complete knowledge within our soul.

    • Learning – a process of inner reflection to discover the knowledge within us.


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Democritus of Abdera 460-370 BC

  • Democritus explained all changes in the world as changes in motion of the atoms, or the way that they were packed together.

  • This brought mathematics into a fundamental physical role since the whole of the structure proposed by Democritus was quantitative and subject to mathematical laws.

  • Another fundamental idea in Democritus's theory is that nature behaves like a machine, it is nothing more than a highly complex mechanism.


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History

  • Aristole – (384-322)

    • Knowledge acquired through experience.

  • Four Laws of Association

    • Law of similarity

    • Law of Contrast

    • Law of Contiguity

    • Law of Frequency


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History

  • Descartes- (1596-1650)

    • Mind body dualism

    • Reflexes

    • Behavior controlled by the mind or will.

  • Dualistic notion of human behavior suggested at least some components of behavior could be scientifically investigated.



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Early History of Psychological Thought

  • Greeks

    • how does the “soul/mind” give rise to memory, sensation, movement, etc.

    • where is the “soul/mind” located

  • Descartes (1600s)

    • dualism (mind/body problem)

      • how does physical matter give rise to thought, sensation, etc.

    • mechanistic view (e.g., reflexes)

    • pineal gland as the interface between soul and body



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First Psychologists (late 1800s-early 1900s)

  • Wilhelm Wundt

    • father of experimental psychology

    • first psychology laboratory in Leipzig, Germany, 1879

    • studied reaction time to simple and two-choice stimuli


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The First Psychologists

  • E. Bradford Titchener

    • popularized Wundt’s psychology and brought it to U.S.

    • used introspection to uncover components of thought


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The First Psychologists

  • William James

    • first important textbook: The Principles of Psychology

    • the mind is a stream of consciousness


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William JamesPrinciples of Psychology

“We know of nothing … which can be in the remotest degree compared with the stream of thought that accompanies the brain’s material

secretions.”

http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/index.htm


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The Early Era and Roots of Psychology

  • Psychophysics

    • Early psychologists, doing research on sensation and sensory experience, noticed interesting aspects of the functioning of the senses.

    • For example, the perception of a stimulus’ intensity is not directly proportional to the actual physical intensity of the stimulus.


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The Early Era and Roots of Psychology

  • Psychophysics

    • A sound that is half as loud (in physical terms, in decibels) as another sound may not sound that way to the listener.

    • Psychophysics attempts to provide a mathematical description of the relationship between the actual physical properties of the stimulus and its perceived properties.


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The Early Era and Roots of Psychology

  • The enormous impact of Darwin: The origin of species (1859); The descent of man (1871)

    • In his presentation of compelling evidence that humans and other animal species were related, Charles Darwin forced scientists and thoughtful people working in many disciplines to consider the basic features held in common by many or all animals, such as thinking and intelligence.

    • Comparative psychologists, who use this perspective, are specialists who compare different animal species.


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The Early Era and Roots of Psychology

Women in Psychology

In the early days of psychology, opportunities for women were limited.

Mary Calkins was one of the pioneering women in the field.

She never received the Ph.D. that she earned from Harvard

She went on to do research, study the function of memory, and serve as the president of the American Psychological Association 1905.


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The Early Era and Roots of Psychology

  • Women in Psychology

    • Other early contributing women in the field of psychology were:

      • Christine Ladd-Franklin –color vision

      • Margaret Washburn -first woman to receive Ph.D.

      • Karen Horney

      • Anna Freud

    • The latter two were followers of Sigmund Freud and the Psychoanalytic school of psychology.


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Ethnic Minorities in Psychology

  • Gilbert Jones - 1901, First black male Ph.D.

  • Inez Possner - 1933, First black female Ph.D.

  • Kenneth Clark – 1971, First Black president APA

  • Norman Anderson – 2002, First Black CEO APA


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The Early Era and Roots of Psychology

  • Behaviorism – John B. Watson and B.F. Skinner

    • structuralism was abandoned because it was difficult to study the subjective perception of experience.

    • Behaviorism concentrates on observable, measurable behaviors and not mental processes.

    • Behaviorists primarily seek to study the observable behaviors associated with learning.


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The Early Era and Roots of Psychology

  • Behaviorism – John B. Watson and B.F. Skinner

    “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


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The Early Era and Roots of Psychology

  • Behaviorism and Studies of Learning

    • The early question posed by behaviorists in the mid-20th century, such as Clark Hull’s work with rats in the area of maze learning, have given way to complex questions about how humans learn to be aggressive and violent.

    • This is just one of many interesting questions with complex answers that have yet to be fully revealed.

    • Even modern behaviorists have left behind the hope of discovering “simple universal principles of behavior.” But their principles are nonetheless interesting and useful, as you will soon see.


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Study of Psychology Today

  • Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes.

  • Psychology values:

    • empirical evidence

    • critical thinking

    • systematic research methods

  • Goals of psychology include:

    • description of behavior using careful observations

    • explanation identifying the cause(s) of behavior

    • prediction allows for specification of the conditions under which a behavior will or will not occur

    • facilitating changes in behavior (e.g., therapy)


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Modern Psychology Views

  • Psychoanalytic view emphasizes the unconscious mind

  • Behaviorism focuses on objective and measurable behaviors

  • Humanistic psychology emphasizes the inner-self and the importance of subjective feelings

  • Cognitive psychology focuses on mental function and reasoning


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Modern Psychology Views

  • Psychobiology views behavior as reflecting brain processes

  • Evolutionary psychology asserts that certain behavioral characteristics are subject to natural selection

  • Cultural psychology examines the influence of culture and ethnic practice on people’s behavior


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Positive Psychology

  • A recent addition to the field

  • Focuses on the characteristics that make people happy and successful

  • Asserts that psychology has, in the past, focused too much on the negative


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Clinical – psychotherapy, assessment, diagnosis

Developmental – how do we develop across life?

Social – how do people behave in groups?

Biopsychology – what is the brain basis of behavior?

Cognitive – how do we think and perceive?

Personality – what basic traits make up a person’s personality?

Areas of Psychology



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Careers in Psychology

  • Clinical work – e.g., psychotherapist*^

  • Academic – e.g., professor/researcher*

  • Business – e.g., industrial psychologist*^

  • Journalism – e.g., science writer*

  • Technology – e.g., software developer

    *requires graduate degree

    ^requires license


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Psychology as a Science

  • Attempts to describe, predict, control and explain thought and behavior.

  • Uses scientific method


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Science vs. Common Sense

Objective data collection

Subjective data collection

Systematic observation

Hit or miss observation

Reliance on evidence

Ignores counterevidence


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Science versus Pseudo-Science

  • Systematic

  • Testable

  • Reliable

  • Unbiased

  • Self-Correcting


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Extending Evidence

  • Specific truths are deduced from general truths

  • General truths are induced from specific truths


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Science & Proof

  • A deduction is proven if the general premise is true and the logic is valid.

  • An induction goes beyond the known data, and thus can never be proven.

Science, then does not prove things, because all information about the outside observable world is inductive.


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Science

  • Terminology:

  • Hypothesis - a possible way things could be

  • Theory - an explanation for the way things are, usually supported by a lot of data.

  • Advantages of science:

    • Scientific methods are deductive

    • Science is more systematic, and less subject to human bias


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Judging Theories

  • Fit to the data

  • Quality of the data

  • Ability to predict

  • Ability to explain

  • Ability to control


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Pseudo-science

  • Why people believe:

    • People like excitement

    • People are prone to wishful thinking

    • People are naïve and trusting

    • People remember hits, ignore misses


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Psychological Research

  • Two forms of psychological research:

    • Basic research seeks answers for the purpose of increasing knowledge.

      • e.g. What role do the frontal lobes play in memory?

    • Applied research seeks answers for specific problems.

      • e.g. What types of memory strategies and rehabilitation strategies are most effective for people with frontal lobe injuries?



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Basic Cognitive Psychology Research

LEFT

Baldo et al. (1998)




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The Experiment

  • An experiment involves a set of controlled conditions that aim to confirm a hypothesis.

  • Hypothesis refers to a statement of cause and effect:

    • “Higher environmental temperatures lead to more aggression.”

    • “Exposure to marijuana increases appetite.”


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Experimental Variables

  • To test a hypothesis, an experimenter defines the variables of the hypothesis:

    • Cause: Independent variable (IV)

      • marijuana: plain cigarette versus cigarette containing 5 mg of THC (the active ingredient in marijuana)

    • Effect: Dependent variable (DV)

      • appetite: grams of ice cream consumed in 1 hour

  • The experimenter “manipulates” the IV and measures the DV to test the hypothesis.


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Experimental Issues

  • Controls are important for determining causality

    • the only difference between the experimental and control groups is the presence or absence of the IV.

  • Placebo effects represent changes in behavior that are related to expectations of a treatment.

    • placebo effects are controlled by a “blind” control group

  • Experimenter bias refers to expectations that influence a participant’s behavior.

    • example: Clever Hans, the horse who could do math

    • can be controlled using double blind procedures


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Non-Experimental Research

  • Naturalistic observation refers to systematic recording of behavior in a natural state or habitat.

    • e.g. observing apes in the wild

  • Surveys are instruments designed to sample attitudes or behaviors.

    • e.g., asking students at a rally how they feel about animal rights issues

  • A case study is an in-depth study of a single person.

    • e.g., Freud used the case study method to study anxiety

  • Correlations refer to looking at the relationship between two variables without manipulating them.


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Correlation Techniques

  • The correlation technique assesses the degree of association between 2 variables.

  • Correlations vary in direction:

    • Positive association: increases in the value of variable 1 are associated with increases in variable 2 (e.g., smoking and risk of cancer)

    • Negative association: increases in variable 1 are associated with decreases in the variable 2 (e.g., years of education and risk of Alzheimer’s disease)

    • No relation: values of variable 1 are not related to variable 2 (e.g., years of education and height)

  • Correlations also vary in strength of the relationship.



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Correlation Take Home Line:

Correlation does NOT imply causation!


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Stanley Milgram’s Obedience Study

  • 1963 social psychology experiment, subjects thought they were shocking another person to promote “learning”

  • Many subjects delivered high level shocks and were upset when they later learned the true nature of the experiment

  • This study, and other factors, led to much more stringent APA resarch guidlines


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APA Ethical Guidelines (humans)

  • informed consent

  • awareness of risks

  • confidentiality

  • deception can be used ONLY if benefits justify it and there is no other way to do the study


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APA Ethical Guidelines (animals)

  • Researchers must ensure “appropriate consideration of [the animal’s] comfort, health, and humane treatment.”

  • Animals may not be subjected to “pain or stress” when an alternative procedure is available.


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Ethical Issues in Research

  • Respecting the rights of human research participants involves:

    • Informed consent is an explanation of a study and the responsibilities of experimenter and participant.

    • Confidentiality of study information must be maintained.

    • Debriefing refers to explaining the research process to the participants at the end of the study.

  • Deception involving participants must be justified.

  • Animal research must be justified and must minimize discomfort and pain.


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Issues of Gender and Cultural Diversity

  • Traditionally not studied in psychology

    • Why?

    • Is it important to study—why?

  • How can diversity be studied?

  • Are there any potential risks to studying diversity?


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Modern Psychology Views

  • Psychoanalytic view emphasizes the unconscious mind

  • Behaviorism focuses on objective and measurable behaviors

  • Humanistic psychology emphasizes the inner-self and the importance of subjective feelings

  • Cognitive psychology focuses on mental function and reasoning


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Modern Psychology Views

  • Psychobiology views behavior as reflecting brain processes

  • Evolutionary psychology asserts that certain behavioral characteristics are subject to natural selection

  • Cultural psychology examines the influence of culture and ethnic practice on people’s behavior


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Take Home Concepts

  • Hypothesis

  • What type of study?

    • experimental, correlational, naturalistic

      observation, case study

  • Independent variable(s) (IV)

  • Dependent variable(s) (DV)

  • Control group

  • Were participants randomly sampled

    and assigned?

  • Ethical concerns

  • Gender and cross-cultural issues

  • Potential experimenter and participant bias


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