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What is Psychology?
Dr. Linda S. Stone
The discipline concerned with behavior and mental processes and how they are affected by an organism’s (person’s) physical state, mental state, and external environment
Psychology, Pseudoscience, and Popular Opinion
Real psychology bears little relation to “pop psych” and “psychobabble.” It is more complex, informative, and helpful.
relying on evidence gathered by careful observation, experimentation, or measurement
Thinking critically and creatively about psychology
the ability and willingness to assess claims and make judgments on the basis of well-supported reasons and evidence rather than emotion or anecdote.
Example: Supporting your opinion with evidence of the car’s reliability, mileage, and safety record that the Chevy truck is more reliable than a Honda.
Critical thinking guidelines
Ask questions; be willing to wonder
Define your terms
Examine the evidence
Analyze assumptions and biases
Avoid emotional reasoning
Consider other interpretations
Psychology’s past: From the armchair to the laboratory
Phrenology – Greek for “study of the mind.”
The birth of modern psychology
In 1879, the first psychological laboratory was officially established in Leipzig, Germany, by Wilhelm Wundt.
method by which individuals carefully observe, analyze, and describe their own sensations, mental images, and emotional reactions.
Three early psychologies
Early psychological approach that emphasized the analysis of immediate experience (sensations, images, & feelings) into basic elements.
Interested in what happens when an organism does something
Early psychological approach that emphasized the function or purpose of behavior and consciousness.
Interested in how and why something happens
Functionalists broadened field of psychology to include the study of children, animals, religious experiences, and stream of consciousness
A theory of personality and a method of psychotherapy, originally formulated by Sigmund Freud, that emphasizes unconscious motives and conflicts.
Psychology’s present: The four perspectives of psychological science
Psychological approach that emphasizes bodily events and changes associated with actions, feelings, and thoughts.
This perspective involves:
2) Brain chemistry
4) Evolutionary influences
Psychological approach that emphasizes how the environment and experience affect a person’s or animal’s actions; it includes behaviorism and social-cognitive learning theories.
Social-cognitive learning theories
Psychological approach that emphasizes mental processes in perception, memory, language, problem solving, and other area of behaviors.
Showing how people’s thoughts &
explanations affect their actions,
feelings, & choices
Psychological approach that emphasizes social and cultural influences on behavior.
Social psychology/Cultural psychology: the study of rules, roles, groups, and relationships
and the study of cultural norms, values, and expectations
Psychological approach that analyzes the influence of social inequities on gender relations and on the behavior of the two sexes.
Recognized years of male bias in data collection and psychotherapy
Impacted all other perspectives
What do you think of when you hear the word “psychologist”?
Professional activities of Psychologists
Teaching & doing research in colleges/universities
Provide mental health services
Conduct research or apply findings in nonacademic settings
Where psychologists work
Basic psychology: Study of psychological issues in order to seek knowledge for its own sake rather than for its practical application
Applied psychology: Study of psychological issues that have direct practical significance; also, the application of psychological findings
Several major nonclinical specialties in psychology:
Experimental psychologists: conduct laboratory studies Educational psychologists: study psychological principles that explain learning Developmental psychologists: study how people change and grow over time Industrial/organizational psychologists: study behavior in the workplace Psychometric psychologists: design and evaluate tests
Diagnoses, treats, and/or studies mental and emotional problems
Has a Ph.D., an Ed.D., or a Psy.D.
Does work similar to that of a clinical psychologist, but is likely to take a more biological approach
Has a medical degree (M.D.) with a specialty in psychiatry
Education required for various Psychotherapists
Therapist: not a legally regulated term
Clinical psychologist: PhD, EdD, or PsyD
Psychoanalyst: PhD or MD
Licensed clinical social worker (LCSW)
Marriage, family, & child counselor (MFCC): minimum degree MA or MSW
Psychodynamic theories of personality
A theory of personality and a method of psychotherapy developed by Sigmund Freud; it emphasizes unconscious motives and conflicts.
Theories that explain behavior and personality in terms of unconscious energy dynamics within the individual.
Structure of Personality
Part of the personality containing inherited psychic energy, particularly sexual and aggressive instincts.
Part of the personality that represents reason, good sense, and rational self-control.
Part of the personality that represents conscience, morality, and social standards.
Methods used by the ego to prevent unconscious anxiety or threatening thoughts from entering consciousness
Fixation occurs when stages aren’t resolved successfully.
Criticism of Freud’s Stages
Failed to be supported
Ignored all evidence disconfirming his ideas
Evaluating Psychodynamic Theories
3 scientific failings:
Violating the principle of falsifiability
Drawing universal principles from the experiences of a few atypical patients
Basing theories of personality development on the retrospective accounts of adults
Innate Human Characteristics
Interest in novelty
Desire to explore and manipulate objects
Impulse to play and fool around
Basic cognitive abilities
Beyond Nature versus Nurture
Heredity and environment always interact to produce the unique mixture of qualities that make a human.
Psychological diversity is adaptive.
Taking psychology with you: The nine secrets of learning
Use the 3R technique: Read, Recite, Review
Use your imagination
Keep your head up and your pen down
Process your notes
Study for exams:
Once you learn it, don’t drop it
Forget about cramming!
Forget about your “learning style”groups, and relationships