Unit 1: Approaches to Psychology Introduction: The Science of Psychology
Unit Overview • Pretest • What is Psychology? • Divisions of Psychology • Fields of Psychology • Psychology as Science • Other Social Sciences • The Growth of Psychology • History • Growth • Research Methods in Psychology • Ethics and Psychology
Pretest • On your own sheet of paper please answer the following questions. • What are the major areas or subdivisions of psychology? • What is psychology? • What is the scientific method, and how does it apply to psychology? • How has psychology addressed human diversity, especially issues relating to gender, racial and ethnic, and cultural differences? • What methods are used by psychologists to conduct their research? • Is it ethical for psychologists to use people in psychological experiments without telling them? What about experiments on humans? • What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?
What is Psychology? • Psychology: • The scientific study of the mind and behavior (APA)
Fields of Psychology • Within the field of psychology there are several major subdivisions: • Developmental Psychology • Physiological Psychology • Experimental Psychology • Personality Psychology • Clinical and Counseling Psychology • Social Psychology • Industrial and Organizational (I/O) Psychology
Developmental Psych • Study of human mental and physical growth from prenatal period through childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age. • Three Divisions of Developmental Psych • - Child Psychologists • - Adolescent Psychologists • - Life Span Psychologists
Developmental Psych Cont. • Child Psychologists:Focus on infants and children • - Are babies born with distinct personalities and temperaments? • - How do infants become attached to parents and caretakers? • - At what age do sex differences in behavior emerge? • - Changes in meaning and importance of friendship during childhood
Developmental Psych Cont. • Adolescent Psychologists: Specialize in the teenage years • - How do puberty, changes in relationships with parents and peers, and the search for identity make this a difficult period for young people?
Developmental Psych Cont. • Life Span Psychologists: Focus on the adult years • - What are the different ways that individuals adjust to partnership and parenting, middle age, retirement, and death?
Physiological Psych • Investigate the biological basis of human behavior, thoughts, and emotions. • Three Divisions of Physiological Psych • - Neuropsychologists • - Psychobiologists • - Behavioral Geneticists
Physiological Psych Cont. • Neuropsychologists: Focus on the brain and nervous system • - Investigate questions like: • - Why can’t you taste food with a stuffy nose? • - What happens when a person has a stroke?
Physiological Psych Cont. • Psychobiologists: Specialize in the body’s biochemistry • - Investigate questions like: • - How hormones, psychoactive medicines, and “social” drugs affect people • - Do changes in hormone levels – at puberty, before menstruation, at menopause- cause mood-swings? • - Exactly how does alcohol act on the brain?
Physiological Psych Cont. • Behavioral Geneticists: Study the impact of heredity on both normal and abnormal traits and behavior • - Investigate questions like: • - To what degree is intelligence hereditary? What about shyness? • - Do illnesses such as alcoholism and depression run in families? • - To what extent are differences in the way men and women think, act, and respond to situations rooted in biology?
Experimental Psych • Conduct research on basic psychological processes, including learning, memory, sensation, perception, cognition, motivation, and emotion • Focus on: • - How do people remember and what makes them forget? • - How do people make decisions and solve problems? • - Do men and women go about solving complex problems in different ways? • - Why are some people more motivated than others?
Personality Psych • Study differences among individuals in such traits as anxiety, sociability, self-esteem, the need for achievement, and aggressiveness • Focus on: • - What causes some people to be optimists and others pessimists? • - Why are some people more outgoing and sociable whereas others are more reserved? • - Are there consistent differences between men and women on such characteristics as amiability, anxiety, and conscientiousness?
Clinical and Counseling Psych • About half of all psychologists specialize in these fields • Clinical Psychologists:Interested primarily in the diagnosis, cause and treatment of psychological disorders • Counseling Psychologists: Concerned primarily with “normal” problems of adjustment that most of us face at some point. • - Choosing a career • - Marital problems
Clinical and Counseling Psych Cont. • Both clinical and counseling psychologists divide time between treating patients and researching the causes of psychological disorders and the effectiveness of different types of psychotherapy and counseling • Controversies • - Drug Therapy vs. Psycho Therapy • - Development of new medications reflects our knowledge advances in the genetic and/or biochemical basis of many psychological disorders • Types of Medications • - Antipsychotic = Thorazine • - Antianxiety = Valium • - Antidepressive = Prozac
Drug Therapy vs. Psycho Therapy Cont. • Advocates • - Drugs are highly effective in relieving symptoms • - Especially schizophrenia and depression • - Foresee a day when psychotherapy will be obsolete • Opponents • - Drugs target symptoms not causes • - Psychotherapy is needed to help individuals understand events surrounding the onset of disorder • - Need help in dealing with outside problems- relationship, marital, friendship- caused by the disorder • - Side effects of medication • - The severely disturbed may stop taking medication • - Doctors overprescribe medications
Social Psych • Study how people influence one another • Focus on: • - First impressions • - Interpersonal attraction • - How attitudes are formed, maintained, or changed • - Prejudice • - Conformity • - How people behave differently in a group than when on their own
Industrial & Organizational (I/O) Psych • Concerned with practical issues such as selecting and training personnel, improving productivity and working conditions, and the impact of computerization and automation on workers. • Ask questions like: • - Is it possible to determine in advance who would be good in a certain job? • - Do organizations operate differently under male and female leadership? • - Research shows workers with high morale are more productive than those with low- are there specific strategies managers can use to improve morale?
Divisions of Psychology • Psychologists are drawn together by their common interest in a number of fundamental questions about behavior that cut across their areas of specialization • The APA has 54 divisions or interest groups organized by members. Some represent subdisciplines of psychology (e.g., experimental, social or clinical) while others focus on topical areas such as aging, ethnic minorities or trauma. • Divisions of Psychology
Five Enduring Issues • Person-Situated • Heredity-Environment • Stability-Change • Diversity • Mind-Body
Person-Situated • To what extent is behavior caused by internal processes? • - Thoughts, emotions, motives, attitudes, values, personality, genes • To what extent is behavior controlled, caused, or triggered by external factors? • - Incentives, environmental cues, presence of other people • Seen mostly in: Behavior genetics, learning, emotion and motivation, personality, social psychology
Heredity-Environment • “Nature vs. Nurture” • - To what extent do genetics (nature) and environment or experience (nurture)influence behavior? • Seen mostly in: Behavior genetics, intelligence, development, personality, abnormal psychology
Stability-Change • To what extent do people stay relatively unchanged throughout their lives? • - How much do we change? • - Can you teach an old dog new tricks? • - Is each day a new beginning with the possibility for significant change? • Seen mostly in: Developmental psychology, personality, adjustment, abnormal psychology, therapy
Diversity • The extent to which every person is, in certain respects, a) like all other people b) like some other people c) like no other person • Questions asked: • - Does our understanding apply equally well to every human being? • - Does it apply only to men or women, or only to particular racial, or ethnic groups, or particular societies? • - Do we need different psychologies to account for the wide diversity of human behavior?
Mind-Body • The relationship between what we experience (thoughts and feelings) and biological processes (activity in the nervous system) • Seen mostly in: Psychobiology, sensation and perception, altered states of consciousness, emotion and motivation, adjustment/health psychology, and disorders and therapy
What does it mean? • Despite their apparent differences, psychologists are drawn together in part because of their common interest in enduring questions such as these. • In addition, psychologists share a common belief that the scientific method is the most promising way to gain insight into the causes of behavior.
Psychology as science • Psychology: The scientific study of the mind and behavior • - Behavior and mental processes • Scientific Method: An approach to knowledge that relies on collecting data, generating a theory to explain the data, producing testable hypotheses based on the theory, and testing those hypotheses empirically • - Used to describe, understand, and predict • - Eventually achieve a degree of control • Theory: systematic explanation of a phenomenon; it organizes known facts, allows us to predict new facts, and permits us to exercise a degree of control over the phenomenon • Hypothesis: Specific, testable predictions derived from a theory
EXAMPLE: Male/Female Aggression • 1. Find out whether men and women actually differ in aggressive behavior - Evidence seems conclusive: - Women and girls may yell but boys and men are far more likely to fight • 2. Explain Differences - Each explanation stands as a theory about sexual differences in aggression - Each theory allows us to make a number of new hypotheses
EXAMPLE: Male/Female Aggression • 3. Make Predictions/Hypotheses • - Speculating about the phenomenon in question (gender aggression) • 4. Test Predictions/Hypotheses through Research • - Results indicate whether one theory is better than another at accounting for new facts and predicting new facts • 5. Analyze and Control • - If one or more theories is supported by research evidence it should be possible to control (aggressive behavior)
Rules of Psychological Investigation • Define the problem or question being investigated • Suggest a theory or reasonable explanation for the problem • Collect and examine all the available evidence • Analyze assumptions • Avoid oversimplifying • Draw conclusions carefully • Consider every alternative interpretation • Recognize the relevance of research to events and situations
Science vs. Non-science • Psychology differs from various nonscientific explanations of human behavior • Example of Non-science • - Common sense • - Philosophy and Religion • - Pseudoscience
Common Sense • A collection of untested cultural assumptions and sayings that cover almost any situation • - Opposites attract • - Extremely intelligent people are social misfits and eccentrics • Research and psychology often contradict common sense
Philosophy and Religion • Deal with important issues such as ethics, human values, aesthetics, and the nature of life- issues that cannot be resolved through research, but are matters of faith or logic • - Psychology does not seek to compete with, or replace philosophy and religion • - Psychologists strive to describe and explain human thought and behavior • - Questions of right and wrong, good and evil, and value judgments are beyond the scope of science
Pseudoscience • A theory or body of knowledge that portrays itself as science but is not based on empirical observation or is inconsistent with broader scientific theory • - Astrology • - Palm-reading • - Fortune telling • Psychologists would be interested in how a horoscope affects a person’s attitude and behavior • - Goal would be to investigate the power of persuasion
Other Social Sciences • Psychology is not alone in applying the scientific method to the study of behavior. The behavioral sciences are so closely related that it is often hard to tell where one ends and another begins • Behavioral Sciences • Sociology • Anthropology • Political Science • History • Psychology • Economics
Sociology: • The study of society. • Goal is to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity • Anthropology: • The academic study of humanity. • Anthropologists study topics including Homo sapiens origin and evolution, the organization of human social and cultural relations, human physical traits, how humans behave, the variations among different groups of humans, how the evolutionary past of Homo sapiens has influenced its social organization and culture, and so forth. • Political Science • The study of the state, government, and politics • Deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior
History • The discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. • Uses a narrative to examine and analyze the sequence of events • Often attempts to investigate objectively the patterns of cause and effect that determine events. • Psychology • The scientific study of behavior and mental processes • Economics • Analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.
How do different Social Scientists View A similar Event? • EVENT: A campus protest in response to a racial incident • Describe how each type of behavioral scientist would view this event.
Human Diversity • Why does human diversity matter? • - Knowing the scientific bases of human diversity will allow you to separate fact from fiction in your daily interactions with people • - Once you understand how and why groups differ in their values, haviors, approaches to the world, thought processes, and responses to situations, you will savor the diversity around you. • - The more you comprehend the extent of human diversity, the more you will appreciate the many universal features of humanity.
Gender • Refers to one’s biological makeup • The physical and genetic facts of being one sex or the other • Sex vs. Gender • Some use sex to refer exclusively to biological differences in anatomy, genetics, or physical functioning and gender to refer to the psychological and social meanings attached to being biologically male or female
Gender Stereotypes • Masculine • preferences, attributes, and interests that are typically associated with being a male in our society. • Feminine • preferences, attributes, and interests that are typically associated with being a female in our society. • Gender Stereotypes • characteristics that are assumed to be typical of each sex • Gender Roles • behaviors that we expect males and females to engage in
Culture • Refers to two different aspects of a society: • - Tangible goods produced in a society • - art, inventions, literature, and consumer goods • - Intangible processes • - shared beliefs, values, attitudes, traditions, and behaviors • - are communicated from one generation to the next within a society
Race and Ethnicity • Race • - an individuals biological heritage • Ethnicity • - A common cultural heritage, including religion, language, and/or ancestry, and is shared by a group of individuals • Ethnic Identity • - The aspect of an individual’s self-concept that is based on his or her awareness of being s member of a particular ethnic group
Why is diversity important? • The gender, race, or ethnicity of the experimenter may introduce a subtle, unintended biases. • Though research methods and the scientific process strive for objectivity, subjective values- whether they derive from race, gender, or cultural background- influence human behavior, whether the human in question is the designer of or the participant in the research.
Homework: Thesis Statement • Answer the following prompt in the form of a thesis statement: • Psychological research is better now than it was in the 1950's. What changes in research have occurred since the 1950's that would lead one to agree with this statement? (Operationally define "better" in your answer.) • Due: Wed 9/26
Research methods in psychology • The Experiment: • The only research method capable of showing cause and effect • -Includes a hypothesis • - A statement about the relation between two or more variables • - Must be testable, verifiable and refutable
Independent variable: • Variable manipulated by the experimenter • Dependent variable: • Measured variable influenced by the independent variable • Experimental group: • Group that receives the treatment • Control group: • Group that does not receive treatment (or receives a treatment presumed to be ineffective, e.g., placebo) • - Serves as the basis for comparison of results from the experimental group • - Also serves to eliminate alternative explanations of the results
Confounding variable: • - Any variable besides the independent variable that could influence the results of an experiment • - Influence is unwanted • Population: • - The larger group of people or animals from which samples are drawn • Sample: • - Set of subjects drawn from particular population