Introduction to Psychology • Psychology as a Science • The Evolution of Psychology: History, Approaches, and Questions • Psychology – the scientific study of mind and behavior
Psychology as a Science • Learning Objectives • Explain why using our intuition about everyday events is insufficient for a complete understanding of the causes of behavior. • Describe the difference between values and facts and explain how the scientific method is used to differentiate between the two.
Psychology as a Science • Psychologists all rely on scientific methods. • Research psychologists – use scientific methods to create new knowledge • Psychologist-practitioners – use existing research to enhance the lives of others • include counseling, clinical, and school psychologists
Psychology as a Science:The Problem of Intuition • The “everyday” explanations we develop for behavior may not be accurate. • People are prone to cognitive and motivational biases the influence perceptions and lead to erroneous conclusions. • Hindsight bias – the tendency to think we could have predicted something that we probably could not have foreseen
Psychology as a Science:Why Psychologists Rely On Empirical Methods • All scientists use empirical methods. These involve collecting, organizing, and drawing conclusions from data. • Scientific method – the set of assumptions, rules, and procedures that scientists use to conduct empirical research
Psychology as a Science:Why Psychologists Rely On Empirical Methods • Scientists draw a distinction between facts and values. • Values – personal statements • E.g., “Abortion should be illegal.” • Facts – objective statements verified through empirical study • E.g., “There were 16,000 homicides in the U.S in 2009.”
Psychology as a Science:Why Psychologists Rely On Empirical Methods Facts Values • In 2010, 30,000 U.S. deaths were caused by handguns. • Smoking increases the incidence of cancer. • Handguns should be outlawed. • Quitting smoking is important.
Psychology as a Science:Levels of Explanation in Psychology • Psychologists understand behavior at different levels, from lower-level biological factors to higher-level cultural factors.
Psychology as a Science:The challenges of Studying Psychology • Predicting behavior is challenging because: • People display individual differences on psychological dimensions. • Behavior is multiply determined – it is produced by many factors. • The causes of behavior are often outside conscious awareness.
Psychology as a Science • Key Takeaways • Psychologyis the scientific study of mind and behavior • Though it is easy to think that everyday situations have commonsense answers, scientific studies have found that people are not always as good at predicting outcomes as they often think they are. • The hindsight bias leads us to think that we could have predicted events that we could not actually have predicted. • People are frequently unaware of the causes of their own behaviors.
Psychology as a Science • Key Takeaways, continued • Psychologists use the scientific method to collect, analyze, and interpret evidence. • Employing the scientific method allows the scientist to collect empirical data objectively, which adds to the accumulation of scientific knowledge. • Psychological phenomena are complex and making predictions about them is difficult because they are multiply determined at different levels of explanation.
The Evolution of Psychology • Learning Objectives: • Explain how psychology changed from a philosophical to a scientific discipline. • List the most important questions that concern psychologists. • Outline the basic schools of psychology and describe how each school has contributed to psychology.
The Evolution of Psychology • Psychology has changed dramatically over its history. • The field has moved from speculation about behavior to a more objective, scientific approach. • There has been an increasing influx of women into the field. • Most psychologists are now women. • However, the basic questions of psychology have remained constant.
The Evolution of Psychology:Cognitive Psychology • The cognitive approach remains highly influential in many areas of psychology. • Cognitive psychology has benefited from advances in neuroimaging. • neuroimaging – the use of techniques to provide pictures of the structure and function of the living brain
The Evolution of Psychology:The Many Disciplines of Psychology • Psychology is not a single discipline, but a collection of many subdisciplines. • The subdisciplines share common approaches and exchange knowledge
The Evolution of Psychology • Key Takeaways • The first psychologists were philosophers, but the field became more objective as more sophisticated scientific approaches were developed and employed. • Some basic questions asked by psychologists include those of nature versus nurture, free-will versus determinism, accuracy versus inaccuracy, and conscious versus unconscious processing. • The Structuralists attempted to analyze the nature of consciousness using introspection. • The Functionalists based their ideas on the work of Darwin and their approaches led to the field of evolutionary psychology.
The Evolution of Psychology • Key Takeaways, continued • The Behaviorists explained behavior in terms of stimulus, response and reinforcement, while denying the presence of free will. • Cognitive psychologists study how people perceive, process, and remember information. • Psychodynamic psychology focuses on unconscious drives and the potential to improve lives through psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. • The social-cultural approach focuses on the social situation, including how cultures and social norms influence our behavior.