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INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGY. Qurat-ul-aain Lecturer BZU Lahore campus. Objectives. To understand: psychology various felids of Psychology Perspectives in Psychology History of Psychology Modern perspectives Application of Psychology in the real world. What is PSYCHOLOGY?.

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introduction to psychology




BZU Lahore campus


To understand:

  • psychology
  • various felids of Psychology
  • Perspectives in Psychology
  • History of Psychology
  • Modern perspectives
  • Application of Psychology in the real world
old definitions
Old Definitions
  • Psychology comes from two Greek word, “Psyche”, meaning “Soul” and “Logos” meaning “Study of”
  • 16th century definition.. Psyche was used to refer to the soul, spirit, or mind.
  • 18th century.. The study of mind
  • 130 years ago.. It became the scientific study
most recent definition of psychology
Most Recent Definition of Psychology
  • Psychology is the Scientific study of Behavior and Mental processes ( Feldman, 2011)


Anything that you do, think and feel

  • Overt behavior
  • Covert behavior

Mental Processes:

  • Perception
  • Thinking
  • Memory
  • Emotions
  • Creativity
  • Intelligence etc..
is psychology a science
Is Psychology a Science?

Yes Psychology is a Science.

Because of its empirical methods, structured approaches, observations and experimentations.

Should psychologists limit themselves to the study of outward, observable behavior?
  • Is it possible to study thinking scientifically?
  • Should the field encompass the study of such diverse topics as physical and mental health, perception, dreaming, and motivation?
  • Is it appropriate to focus solely on human behavior, or should the behavior of other species be included?
  • Behavioral genetics.
  • Behavioral neuroscience
  • Clinical psychology
  • Clinical neuropsychology.
  • Cognitive psychology.
  • Counseling psychology


  • Behavioral genetics studies the inheritance of traits related to behavior
  • Behavioral neuroscience examines the biological basis of behavior.
  • Clinical psychology deals with the study, diagnosis, and treatment of psychological disorders.
  • Clinical neuropsychology unites the areas of biopsychology and clinical psychology, focusing on the relationship between biological factors and psychological disorders
  • Cognitive psychology focuses on the study of higher mental processes
  • Counseling psychology focuses primarily on educational, social, and career adjustment problems.
Educational psychology
  • Forensic psychology
  • Health psychology
  • Industrial/organizational psychology
  • Psychology of women
  • School psychology
  • Social psychology
  • Educational psychology is concerned with teaching and learning processes, such as the relationship between motivation and school performance.
  • Forensic psychology focuses on legal issues, such as determining the accuracy of witness memories.
  • Health psychology explores the relationship between psychological factors and physical ailments or disease.
  • Industrial/organizational psychology is concerned with the psychology of the workplace.
  • Psychology of women focuses on issues such as discrimination against women and the causes of violence against women.
  • School psychology is devoted to counseling children in elementary and secondary schools who have academic or emotional problems.
  • Social psychology is the study of how people’s thoughts, feelings, and actions are affected by others.

Search for the various modern fields of psychology and note down two of them that interest you.. Report the reason.

Seven thousand years ago, people assumed that psychological problems were caused by evil spirits. To allow those spirits to escape from a person’s body, ancient healers chipped a hole in a patient’s skull with crude instruments—a procedure called “Trephining .”
  • According to the 17th-century philosopher Descartes, nerves were hollow tubes through which “animal spirits” conducted impulses in the same way that water is transmitted through a pipe. When a person put a finger too close to a fire, heat was transmitted to the brain through the tubes.
  • Franz Josef Gall, an 18th-century physician, argued that a trained observer could discern intelligence, moral character, and other basic personality characteristics from the shape and number of bumps on a person’s skull. His theory gave rise to the field of phrenology, employed by hundreds of practitioners in the 19th century.
Although these explanations might sound far-fetched, in their own times the represented the most advanced thinking about what might be called the psychology of the era.
  • Our understanding of behavior has progressed tremendously since the 18th century, but most of the advances have been recent.
  • Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920)
  • Germany 1880
  • First Psychology laboratory, 1879 Leipzig, Germany
  • “Father of Psychology”
  • First to try to scientifically study mind
  • Introspection

- Record your thought

-Map out the thought processes

-Did not work out well but inspired others

  • A procedure used to study the structure of the mind in which subjects are asked to describe in detail what they are experiencing when they are exposed to a stimulus.

“Breaking down mental processes into the most basic components”

  • Wundt’s approach, which focuses on uncovering the fundamental mental components of consciousness, thinking, and other kinds of mental states and activities
  • Formal name given by Edward B. Titchner– one of Wundt’s students.
procedure used by wundt
Procedure used by Wundt
  • Presented people with a stimulus—such as a bright green object or a sentence printed on a card—and asked them to describe, in their own words and in as much detail as they could, what they were experiencing.
  • Wundt argued that by analyzing people’s reports, psychologists could come to a better understanding of the structure of the mind.
  • William James (1842-1910)
  • First American psychologist
  • All activities of mind (thinking, feeling, learning) serve to help humans survive
  • Functionalism

“Concerned with what the mind does-the functions of mental activity-and the role of behavior in allowing people to adapt to their environment.”

Sought to explain the mental processes in a more systematic and accurate manner.
  • Rather than focusing on the elements of consciousness, functionalists focused on the purpose of consciousness and behavior.
  • Functionalism also emphasized individual differences, which had a profound impact on education.
gestalt psychology
Gestalt Psychology
  • Herman Ebbinghaus and Max Werthimer
  • German scientist (early 1900s)
  • Reaction to “Structuralism” and construction of “Gestalt psychology”

“Gestalt psychology is a school of thought that looks at the human mind and behavior as a whole”

  • The development of this area of psychology was influenced by a number of thinkers:

-Immanuel Kant,

-Kurt Koffka and

-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Like the structuralists, Gestalt psychologists were interested in consciousness, particularly as it arises during perception
  • This school emphasized overall patterns of thoughts or experience. This makes sense given its name: The name “Gestalt” is derived from the German word Gestalt, which means whole.
  • Gestalt psychologists noted that much of the content of thoughts comes from perceptions and from inborn tendencies to structure things in certain ways. Gestalt psychologists developed over a hundred perceptual laws, or principles, that describe how people’s eyes and brains organize the world.
  • Most of the perceptual laws illustrate the idea that “the whole is more than the sum of its parts.
  • Sigmund Freud (late 1800s-1930s)
  • Austrian
  • Psychoanalysis
    • Transference & Counter Transference
    • Free association- Hypnosis & catharsis
    • Resistance Analysis
  • Dream interpretation
  • Conscious mind is only the tip of the ice-berg
Psychodynamic Model

behavior is motivated by unconscious inner forces over which the individual has little control.

  • Key features
    • Our behavior and feelings as adults are rooted in our childhood experiences.
    • Relationships (particularly parenting) are of primary importance in determining how we feel and behave.
    • Our behavior and feelings are powerfully affected by the meaning of events to the unconscious mind.
Information can be obtained from dreams, irrational behavior and what patients in therapy say.
  • The personality is made up of three distinct structures: id, ego and super ego.
  • Defense mechanisms are used to protect the ego, e.g. repression.
  • Children develop through a series of fixed stages: oral, anal and phallic.
  • Biological perspective is the scientific study of the biological bases of behavior and mental processes
  • very closely related to neuroscience.

2. The psychoanalytic perspective

The psychoanalytic perspective originated with the work of Sigmund Freud. This perspective emphasizes the role of the unconscious mind, early childhood experiences, and interpersonal relationships to explain human behavior and to treat people suffering from mental illnesses.

3. Behavioral Perspective

Behavioral psychology is a perspective that focuses on learned behaviors. Today, the behavioral perspective is still concerned with how behaviors are learned and reinforced.

  • John Watsonfounded behaviorism in the early 1900's. Watson emphasized the scientific study of observable behaviors rather then the study of subjective mental process.
The approach that suggests that observable behavior should be the focus.
  • This perspective views behavior (except for genetically determined behavior) as the result of environmental experience! Environmental experience (also called learning) is the sum total of all life experiences that the individual has been subjected to in the past and to the new experiences that will influence on his or her behavior.
important contributors
Important Contributors
  • Ivan Pavlov– Classical Conditioning
  • John B. Watson– Impact of conditioning on Children
  • B.F Skinner– Operant Conditioning
4. Humanistic Perspective:

During the 1950s, a school of thought known as humanistic psychologyemerged.

Influenced greatly by the work of prominent humanists such as Carl Rogersand Abraham Maslow, this perspective emphasizes the role of motivation on thought and behavior.

Developed by Rogers and Maslow in the 1950s


  • A healthy mental attitude is dependent on taking personal responsibility, recognizing the existence of free will, and striving towards personal growth and fulfillment.
  • Individuals have a need for self actualization.
  • People are naturally good, with the potential for personal growth if they are provided with the appropriate circumstances.
  • Rogers (1959): if in early life children receive unconditional positive regardthey will develop satisfactorily. However, if they experience conditions of worth, they are prevented from realizing their potential and becoming self-actualized.
  • People use distorted thinking to defend themselves, e.g., by rationalization, that is distorting their real motives to fit in with their self-concept
5. Cognitive Perspective
  • During the 1960s, a new perspective known as cognitive psychology began to take hold. This area of psychology focuses on mental processes such as memory, thinking, problem solving, language and decision-making.
  • Studies mental processes including how people think, perceive, remember and learn. As part of the larger field of cognitive science, this branch of psychology is related to other disciplines including neuroscience, philosophy, and linguistics.
6. Socio-cultural Perspective

The sociocultural perspective maintains that behavior and mental processes are shaped not only by prior learning experiences (the behavioral perspective) or intra-psychic forces (for instance, the unconscious) but also by the social or cultural context.