The Evolution of Psychology

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Chapter one

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The Evolution of Psychology
1 How Psychology Developed
1.1 Philosophy, Physiology and Psycology
1.1.1 Refer to study of a subject. Aristotle's theory of memory: memories are result of 3 principles of association

Annotations:

  • similarity, contrast. and contiguity. Nativism (knowledge is inborn) and empiricism (knowledge gained through experience). 
1.2 The Contribution of Wundt and Hall
1.2.1 German professor Wundt mounted a campaign to make psychology an independant discipline

Annotations:

  • Wundt is characterized as a founder of psychology. Psychology's primary focus was consciousness (the awareness of immediate experience), according to Wundt. Psychology became the scientific study of conscious experience, focused on the mind and mental processes. It demanded psychologists to use scientific methods to investigate the mind. Hall established America's first research laboratory in psychology and he was driving force behind the establishment of the American Psychological Association (APA) and was elected its first president.
1.3 Structuralism vs Functualism
1.3.1 Structuralism emerged through E.Titchener. Functiolism emerged with the work of W.James.

Annotations:

  • Structuralism was based on the notion that the task of psychology is to analyze consciousness into its basic elements and investigate how these elements are related. Structuralists examined sensations, feelings, images, perception in vision, hearing and touch. They used the method of introspection: the careful, systematic self-observation of one's own conscious experience.  Subjects (people being studied) were exposed to auditory tones, optical illusions and visual stimuli under controlled conditions and were asked to analyze their experience. Functionalism was based on the belief that psychology should investigate the function or purpose of consciousness, rather than its structure. W.James was inspired by the concept of natural selection by Charles Darwin. James argued that consciousness consists of a continuous flow of thoughts. Functionalists were more interested in how people adapt their behavior to the demands of the real world around them. Functionalism fostered the development of behaviorism and applied psychology.
1.4 Watson and Behaviourism
1.4.1 Watson proposed that psychologists should focus on behaviours that they could observe directly. Stimulus-response (S-R) approach. Only observable events can be studied scientifically

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  • Behaviourism is the theoretical orientation based on the premise that scientific psychology should study only observable behaviour, Behaviour refers to any observable response or activity by an organism.  Mental processes are not a proper subject for study because they are private events, Watson thought.Watson argued about the issue of nature (genetic inheritance) vs. nurture (environment and experience). He argued that behaviour is governed by the environment. Stimulus-response approach was inspired by the work of Pavlov. A stimulus is any detectable input from the environment ( light, ads on TV, etc). This approach contributed to the rise of animal research (laboratory animals) in psychology. It is more productive because you have control over over your subjects.
1.5 Freud brings the Unconscious into the Picture
1.5.1 S.Freud's treated people with psychological problems with procedure called phychoanalysis. Unconscious motives and experiences in early choldhood govern personality and mental disorders.

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  • His approach grew out of his efforts to treat mental disorders. His work with patients and his own self-exploration persuaded Freud of the existence of what he called unconscious. Unconscious contains thoughts, memories and desires that are well below the surface of conscious awareness but that nonetheless exert great influence on beheviour.  His psychoanalytic theory attempts to explain personality, motivation and mental disorders by focusing on unconscious determinants of behaviour. Freud thought that people are not masters of their minds. He proposed that behaviour is greatly influenced by how people cope with their sexual urges.
1.6 Skinner Questions Free Will
1.6.1 Skinner is the central figure in beheviorism. He developed a system based on his own philosophy of radical beheviourism.

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  • Radical beheviourism represents a departure from earlier forms of beheviourism and neo-beheviorurism.  His own science is based on public observable events. Skinner, like Watson, also emphasized how environmental factors mould behaviour, His principle: organisms tend to repeat responses that lead to positive outcomes and they tend not to repeat  responses that lead to neutral or negative outcomes. He worked with laboratory rats and pigeons and trained them to perform unnatural behaviours. According to Skinner, if you believe that your actions are the result of conscious decisions, you are wrong, free will is an illusion, people are controlled by the environment.
1.7 The Humanists Revolt (Rogers, Maslow)
1.7.1 Humans are free, rational beings with the potential for personal growth and they are fundamentally different from animals

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  • Humanists take an optimistic view of human nature. A. Maslow and C.Rogers  asserted that people have a basic need to continue to evolve as human beings and to fulfill their potential. Rogers argued that human behaviour is governed by self-concept which animals lack. Rogers pioneered a new approach to psychotherapy known as person-centred therapy.
1.8 Cognition and Neuroscience in Psychology
1.8.1 An organism's functioning can be explained in terms of the bodily structures and biochemical processes that underlie behaviour (Olds, Sperry).

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  • Cognition refers to the mental process involved in acquiring knowledge. It involves thinking or conscious experience. People's manipulations of mental images  influence how they behave. Research on the brain and its connection to behaviour plays  a pre-eminent role. J,Olds demonstrated that electrical stimulation of the brain could evoke emotional responces such a pleasure and rage in animals. R.Sperry  showed that the right and the left halves of the brain are specialized to handle different types of mental tasks. D.Hebb introduced the concept of the cell assembly. He suggested that repeated stimulation leads to development of cell assemblies and they resemble cognitive units that together or in concert with other cell assemblies facilitate behaviour. His ideas suggested how neural networks might work and be organized. The key to understand this was activity at the neural level.
1.9 The Emergence of Evolutionary Psychology
1.9.1 Behaviour patterns have evolved to solve adaptive problems, natural selection favours behaviours that enhance reproductive success.

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  • The basic premise: natural selection favours behaviours that enhance organisms' reproductive success- that is passing on genes to the next genetation. I.Silverman maintain that the gender differences originated in human evolution as a result of the sex-based division of labour in ancient hunting and gathering societies.
2 Psychology Today: Vigorous and Diversified

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  • Psychology is the science that studies behaviour and the physiological and cognitive processes that underlie it and it is the profession that applies the accumulated knowledge of this science to practical problems.
2.1 Research areas in Psychology

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  • The 9 research areas in modern psychology are: developmental psychology ( looks at human development across the life span), social (focus on interpersonal behaviour), experimental, physiological (examines the influence of genetic factors on behaviour, role of the brain, nervous system, etc), cognitive ( focus on higher mental processes, such as memory, reasoning, language, etc), personality (understanding individual's consistency in behaviour, which represents their personality), psychometrics (measurements of behaviour and capacities through development of psychological tests), educational (studies how people learn and the best ways to teach them) and health psychology (focus on how psychological factors relate to maintenance of physical health and treatment of illness)
2.2 Professional Specialties in Psychology

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  • Applied psychology consist pf 4 areas of specialization: clinical psychology (testing, group and individual psychotherapy), counselling (family, marital, career counselling), educational and school (teacher training, counsel children with difficulties in school, aid parents in solving school related problems, improve curriculum design) and industrial and organizational psychology (running human resources departments, improve staff morale, increase job satisfaction).  Clinical psychology is the most prominent.
2.2.1 Clinical psychologists interview clients, do psychological testing and provide groups or individual psychotherapy. Clinical psychology takes a nonmedical approach. Psychiatry is a branch of medicine concerned with the diagnosis and treatment pf psychological problems and disorders.
3 Putting It in Perspective: Seven Key Themes
3.1 Themes related to Psychology as a Field of Study
3.1.1 Theme 1: Psychology is Empirical

Annotations:

  • Empirism is the premise than knowledge should be acquired through observation. Its conclusions are based on direct observations rather than on reasoning, beliefs or common sense. This approach requires research to test the ideas and skepticism. It demands data and documentation.
3.1.2 Theme 2:Psychology is Theoretically Diverse

Annotations:

  • A theory is a system of interrelated ideas used to explain a set of observations. No single theory can explain  everything that is known about behaviour. Different theories focus on different aspects of behaviour. Theoretical diversity is a strength rather than a weakness.
3.1.3 Theme 3: Psychology Evolves in a Sociohistorical Context

Annotations:

  • Trends, issues and values in society influence psychology's evolution. Progress in psychology affects trends, issues and values in society. Psychology develops in a sociohistorical context. Society and psychology influence each other in complex ways.
3.2 Themes related to Psychology's Subject Matter
3.2.1 Theme 4: Behaviour is Determined by Multiple Causes

Annotations:

  • Psychologists find that behaviour is governed by a complex network of interacting factors, an idea referred to as the multifactorial causation of behaviour.
3.2.2 Theme 5: Behaviour is shaped by Cultural Heritage

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  • Culture refers to the widely shaped customs, beliefs, values, norms, institutions, and other products of a community that are transmitted socially across generations.  It is important to realize that both differences and similarities in behaviour occur across cultures. Our cultural heritage has a pervasive impact on our thoughts, feelings and behaviour.
3.2.3 Theme 6:Heredity and Environment jointly influence Behaviour

Annotations:

  • Today, most psychologists agree that heredity and environment are both important. Genetics and experience jointly influence and individual's intelligence, temperament, personality and susceptibility to many psychological disorders.
3.2.4 Theme 7: People's Experience of the World is Highly Subjective

Annotations:

  • .Even elementary perception (sight ans sounds) is not a passive process. People actively process incoming stimulation, selectively focusing on some aspects of that stimulation while ignoring others. Perception is personalized and subjective.  People see what they want or expect to see.  Psychologists are committed to the scientific approach, they believe it is most reliable route to accurate knowledge.
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