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Chapter Three. The Psychological Approach: A Profusion of Theories. Psychology. The scientific study of mind and behavior. Uses the scientific method as a means of gaining knowledge. Investigates internal mental events such as reasoning, language, and memory.

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Chapter Three

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chapter three

Chapter Three

The Psychological Approach: A Profusion of Theories

  • The scientific study of mind and behavior.
  • Uses the scientific method as a means of gaining knowledge.
  • Investigates internal mental events such as reasoning, language, and memory.
  • Also investigates external behaviors such as talking, walking, and grasping.
the scientific method
The Scientific Method
  • A theory is a general understanding of the world that organizes a set of facts and aids us in understanding how the world works.
  • A hypothesis is a more specific statement about the world that is frequently derived from a hypothesis and can be tested.
  • Scientists use experiments to test hypotheses.
  • An experiment must have at least two variables.
  • The independent variable is manipulated by the researcher.
  • The dependent variable is measured by the researcher.
  • An experiment must also have at least two conditions or groups.
  • The experimental group receives the independent variable.
  • The control group does not.
experiments an example
Experiments – An Example
  • Theory: Practice facilitates problem solving.
  • Hypothesis: Doing logic problems before being tested will increase scores on a subsequent logic test.
experiments an example1
Experiments – An Example
  • Experimental group:
  • 20 participants.
  • Allowed to practice solving problems for 10 minutes.
  • Then given a test problem.
  • Independent variable is practice.
  • Control group:
  • 20 participants.
  • Not allowed to practice.
  • Given the same test problem.
  • Dependent variable is scores on the test.
experiments an example2
Experiments – An Example
  • Scores on the dependent variable for the two groups are compared.
  • If test scores in the experimental group are significantly higher, then the hypothesis is supported.
  • Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920) is founder.
  • View that the mind is made up of elements.
  • The elements are assembled into wholes through an act of will.
  • Influenced by atoms and molecules of chemistry.
  • Method used by the voluntarists and other early psychologists.
  • Means “inner looking.” Consists of subjective self-report of mental states.
  • Fraught with difficulties.
  • Edward Titchener (1867-1927) considered founder.
  • Shares the beliefs that mind is made of elements and use of introspection with voluntarism.
  • But viewed element combination occurring through passive mechanical laws.
  • Closely associated with William James (1842-1910).
  • Focus is on mental processes and functions rather than elements.
  • Idea of a stream of consciousness. Thought is flowing and changing, not static.
gestalt psychology
Gestalt Psychology
  • Contributors include Wertheimer (1880-1943), Kohler (1887-1967), and Koffka (1886-1941).
  • View that mind consists of wholes that are more than the sum of their parts, described as a gestalt.
  • Method was phenomenology, a subjective description of an external stimulus.
laws of perceptual organization
Laws of Perceptual Organization
  • Parts group together based on their relationships.
  • Parts that are (a) proximal, (b) similar, and form (c) closed or (d) good figures tend to go together.
insight learning
Insight Learning
  • Initial attempts to solve a problem fail.
  • Problem is put aside for some time.
  • Solution occurs rapidly, perhaps through unconscious processes, and is then verified.

Kohler’s chimp

incubates on a


psychoanalytic psychology
Psychoanalytic Psychology
  • Established by Sigmund Freud (1856-1939).
  • Mind is made up of “mini-minds” that compete for control.
  • Three states of consciousness:
    • Conscious
    • Preconscious
    • Unconscious
psychoanalytic psychology1
Psychoanalytic Psychology
  • In addition, three primary mental structures:
  • Id. Runs on the pleasure principle.
  • Superego. Runs on the idealistic principle.
  • Ego. Runs on the reality principle.
  • The mind of an organism (O) is a “Black Box.” It cannot be studied.
  • Focus is instead on behaviors or responses (R).
  • Responses can be controlled through stimuli (S).
types of learning
Types of Learning
  • Classical conditioning:
  • Unconditioned stimulus (US).
  • Unconditioned response (UR).
  • Conditioned stimulus (CS).
  • Conditioned response (CR).
  • Operant conditioning:
  • Reinforcement.
  • Punishment.
interdisciplinary crossroads studying grouping quantitatively
Interdisciplinary Crossroads: Studying Grouping Quantitatively
  • Kubovy and Wagemans (1995) showed six lattice types to observers.
  • They reported which way the dots grouped.
  • The likelihood of grouping was plotted as a function of the distances between dots.
  • The resulting attraction function showed an exponential increase.