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Prof. Tharney’s PSY101 Unit I: Chapter One Notes

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Chapter 1: The Scope of Psychology: p3

Focus Questions

What is Psychology?

The scientific study of the overt and covert behavior of living organisms—with emphasis on animals and especially humans. (Along with the factors that influence each form of behavior.)

Scientific: Psychologist go about their studies in an orderly and systematic way, with careful attention to gathering objective evidence that others can evaluate for themselves.

Behavior: is anything an organism does.

Overt behavior: Observable or otherwise measurable behavior.

Covert behavior: Behavior that cannot be directly observed or measured and must be inferred.

Prof.Tharney’s Definition of Psychology: the scientific Study of mental processes, behaviors, and other unseen process that go in inside the organism. (Study Guide and review sheet Number 1)


What are the missions of Psychology?

The field of Psychology as two primary missions:

To understand behavior in all its forms;

To predict its (behavior) course;

And perhaps control behavior.

What disciplines are included in the Behavioral and Social Sciences?

Behavioral and Social Sciences: a family of sciences that all study behavior, from differing perspectives and with different methods.

Psychology: the scientific study of the human mind and mental states, and of human and animal behavior.

Physiology: the study of biological functions and activities of living organism.

Neuroscience: the study of the nervous system and relationships between brain activity and behavior.

Cognition: mental and intellectual processes, including memory.

Motivation: the why of behavior.

Genetics: the study of hereditary mechanisms and cellular functioning at the molecular level.

Biochemistry: the scientific study of the chemical substances, processes, and reactions that occur in living organisms

Anthropology: anthropology the study of humankind in all its aspects, especially human culture or human development

Physical Anthropology: the study of the evolution of humans with emphasis on physiology, and cultural anthropology

Cultural Anthropology: the study of different cultures and ethnicities.

Sociology: the study of large-scale social institutions and of social problems.

Linguistics: the systematic study of language.

Education: the imparting and acquiring of knowledge through teaching and learning, especially at a school or similar institution.

Economics: the study of the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.

Political science:

Chapter 1: The Varieties of Psychology and Psychologist: p6

Focus Questions

How many psychologists are there and what do they do?

The number of psychologist –especially health service providers—continues to increase.

What is the difference between basic and applied psychology?

Many psychologist are concerned with only basic science , or knowledge for the sake of knowledge. Others are chiefly interested in applied science, or the pursuit of knowledge that has practical uses.



Basic Science: the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake.
Focusing primarily on basic science are:

Cognitive Psychologist: are interested in the ways humans perceive and understand the world around them and in processes such as learning and memory.

Comparative Psychologist: concentrate on relating animal behavior patterns to those found in humans.

Physiological Psychologist: (psychobiologists and neuroscience) study the role of the body and especially brain functions in behavior.

Developmental Psychologist:
study how individuals grow and change throughout their lives

Personality Psychologist:
study how people differ in their enduring inner characteristics and traits.

Social Psychologist: study how people influence and are influenced by others.

Evolutionary Psychologist: focus on psychological tendencies inherent in being human.


Applied Science: the pursuit of knowledge that has specific practical uses.
Focusing primarily on applied science are:

School Psychologist: test and evaluate students, analyze learning problems, and counsel both teachers and parents.

Educational Psychologist: are concerned with all aspects of the educational process.

Industrial/organizational Psychologist: work on a wide variety of issues in work settings.

Environmental Psychologist:
deal with ecological problems such as pollution and overcrowding.

Community Psychologist: deal with aspects of the social environment and how social institutions could better serve human needs.

Forensic Psychologist: work on behavioral issues important in the legal, judicial, and correctional systems.

Health Psychologist: focus on ways to improve health by altering behavior.

What is the difference between clinical and counseling psychology?

A traditional distinction is between experimental Psychologist and clinical Psychologist, but this distinction has become somewhat blurred.

Clinical Psychology : the primary endeavor is the diagnosis and treatment of mental and behavioral disorders.

Clinical Psychologist help diagnose and treat psychological problems through a general approach known as psychotherapy.

Work sometimes with individuals and small groups, including families. Their approach is known as psychotherapy and it can take many forms.

Counseling Psychology : work with people who have less severe and more specific problems of social and emotional adjustment.

Chapter 1: The Methods Psychologist Use: p11

Focus Questions

What research methods do Psychologist use?

In studying behavior, Psychologist employ naturalistic observation, interviews, case histories, questionnaires, surveys, standardized tests, physiological measures, correlation, and experiments.

Observation Methods:

Naturalistic Observation: a method of study in that involves observing behavior in normal, everyday settings.

Participant observation: Psychologist that take an active part in a social situation, perhaps deliberate role playing to see how other people behave.

Controlled/ Structured Observation:

Survey Methods

Questionnaire: a highly structured pencil and paper interview

Structured Interview: An in-depth question and answer session in which an individual’s life or problems are probed.

Case Histories: a compilation of the history of an individual based on the interviews and other sources of information.

Survey (Telephone): The administration of a questionnaire to relatively large numbers of people.

Experimental Methods

Co-Twin Method:

Modern Experimental Method:

What is correlation and what does it tell us?

Correlation: a statistical technique for describing the extent and direction of the relationship between pairs of scores on some measure. , does not indiact what causes what

What can psychological experiments tell us?

Experiments, which is psychology’s most powerful tool, assesses cause and effect through strictly controlled procedures and manipulations.

Experiment: a careful and controlled study of cause and effect through manipulation of the conditions participants are exposed to.

Internal Validity: the extent to which an experiment permits statements about cause and effect.

External Validity: the extent to which an experiment applies to real-life behavior.


Methods Used in Psychological Research

Observation: a research method in which events are observed and recorded as they occur; with out intervention.

Naturalistic Observation: Observing behavior in everyday settings or in a laboratory; the observer attempts to be as inconspicuous as possible.

Participant observation: Taking an active part in a social situation and observing the behavior of others in that situation.

Interview: a research method in which clients or research participants are questioned about their life experiences and their ideas and feelings about them.

Case history: a compilation of significant experiences in a person’s life.

Questionnaire: a set of written questions that each participant answers in the same order.

Survey: a research method in which a questionnaire is administered to a large number of people in a short period of time.

Standardized test: a test that has been developed to assess human abilities, achievements, and traits. (such as personality characteristics)

Physiological measures: methods for measuring any form of physiological functioning that is related to behavior.

Correlation: a mathematical way of determining the relationship between two pairs of scores.

Experiment: a careful and controlled study of cause and effect in which participants or subjects are exposed to differing conditions (independent variable) and any corresponding differences in behavior (dependant variable) are assessed; experiments may be conducted in a laboratory (controlled observation) or naturalistic settings.

Chapter 1: Conducting Good Experiments: p18

Focus Questions

What differences are there between experiments with individuals and experiments with groups?

Experiments may focus on individuals or on the averaging and comparison of behavior of groups.

What factors must be considered in conducting meaningful, conclusive experiments?

Experiments begin with a prediction about conditions that will cause the participants’ behavior to differ.

Independent Variable: a potential “cause” in an experiment; the way in which participants are treated differently by an experimenter.

Dependent Variable: a potential “effect” in an experiment; a measure of the behavior of participants as a result of the independent variable.

Operational definition: the “translation” of an independent or dependant variable into what is actually done or measured. are crucial to the value of an experiment.

Systematic replication: reproducing experiments with variations designed to make conclusions about behavior more general. Is needed for results of an experiment to be generalized beyond the specifics experimental procedures employed.

Why is replication of experiments important?

Replication is needed for results of an experiment to be generalized beyond the specific experimental procedures employed.

Chapter 1: Psychology’s Rich History and Promising Future: p22

Focus Questions

How did scientific psychology begin?

Psychology was founded in 1879, when the first laboratory was established by WILHELM WUNDT at Leipzig University, in Leipzig Germany; some early psychologist who followed, including WILLIAM JAMES (the founder of modern psychology), were chiefly interested in studying human functioning via introspection.

SIGMUND FREUD had a profound impact on psychology as we know it today; although many of his ideas about human nature and behavior have not survived the test of time and research, psychoanalytic theory
force in Psychology)
has become known as the first force in psychology.

Strict Behaviorism: (2nd force in Psychology) a rebellion against introspection and other approaches, limited its study to overt behavior; it began with the work of THORNDIKE and PAVLOV and has become known as the second force in Psychology.

WATSON was a spokesperson for strict behaviorism; he proposed that all human and other animal behavior is a series of actions that can be explained in terms of specific stimuli and response.

BF SKINNER agreed that human beings are creatures of their environment, whose behavior depends on the contingencies they are subjected to.

Gestalt psychology: took the position that the whole is more than the sum of the parts; thus in studying any psychological phenomena –from perceptual to more general cognitive processes—Psychologist must consider the phenomena themselves and the context in which they occur as a whole.

Humanistic psychology: (3rd force in Psychology) started as a rebellion against psychoanalysis and strict behaviorism; because it stresses the unique qualities of being human, it has become the third force of psychology.

Positive psychology: is a more recent development; it stresses that theory and research should focus on adaptive and healthy behavior, not just maladaptive behavior.

Cognitive psychology: focuses on mental and intellectual processes, such as the ways people and other animals learn about their environments, organize and store the knowledge in memory, think about it, and use it to act.

Much if cognitive psychology is based on the informational-processing model adapted from computer science, although the study of cognition has diverse roots in the history of psychology

What are the major approaches taken by psychologist in the past?

Structuralism, Functionalism, Strict Behaviorism etc

What are the major approaches in psychology today?

A growing number of Psychologist today focus on psychobiology, the study of how various facets of behavior are associated with processes in the body; psychobiology includes cognitive and behavioral neuroscience.

Psychobiology: a general term for the study of how behavior is associated with bodily processes.

Cognitive and behavioral neurosciences: in psychology, the study of relationships between brain functioning and physical or psychological behavior.


Approaches and Schools of thought in Psychology

Functionalism: an approach that stressed how modern human thought might result from progressive adaptations our ancestors experienced.

Structuralism: (1st school of thought is psychology) an approach that emphasized breaking down consciousness and mental activity into structural components and analyzing them individually.

Psychoanalysis: Analysis of the unconscious motives and conflicts of patients in an attempt to develop insight into their present mental or behavioral problems.

Strict Behaviorism: (2nd force of Psychology) an approach that considers only overt behavior to be appropriate subject matter for psychology.

Gestalt psychology: an approach that examines patterns of thought and behavior, emphasizing the situation or context in which they occur.

Humanistic Psychology: (3rd force of Psychology) an approach that emphasizes human values, goals, and desire for growth, fulfillment, and peace and happiness.

Positive Psychology: an approach that calls attention to positive aspects of human behavior, such as happiness, satisfaction, and personal well-being.

Cognitive approach: a contemporary trend, based largely on the information-processing model that emphasizes mental and intellectual processes such as learning, memory, and thought.

Psychobiological approaches: the study of how various facets of behavior are associated with processes in the body especially the brain.

Chapter 1: Key Issues in Psychology—Yesterday and Today: p30

Focus Questions

What roles in heredity and environment play in behavior and development?

There is a continuing debate (historically called the nature-nurture controversy) over the relative importance of heredity and environment in development and behavior.

Is developmental change gradual or abrupt?

Human development is a mix of both continuities (gradual and cumulative changes) and discontinuities (dramatic, often sudden changes).

Why is it important to consider the context in which behavior occurs?

Human behavior may not be as consistent as was once believed; often a person’s actions depend on the context in which behavior occurs.

Why is it important to consider culture and ethnicity in understanding behavior?

Of the foremost importance in modern psychology is coming to grips with differences in human behavior attributed to culture, ethnicity, and other sources of diversity and thereby avoiding ethnocentrism; of particular interest is the impact of individualist versus collectivist cultures on behavior.


Culture: the composite of norms, practices, beliefs, attitudes, arts, and heritage.

Ethnocentrism: An outlook bound by one’s own culture and perhaps ignorant of or even disrespectful toward the cultures of others.

Individualist culture: a culture that is characterized by independence and typically values the good of the individual over the good of the group.

Collectivist culture: a culture that is characterized by interdependence and typically values the good of the group over the good of the individual.

Diversity: Group differences in culture, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, and other characteristics.


Chapter 1: Psychology’s Ethical Standards: p34

Focus Questions

How do psychological researchers protect the rights and safety of human participants?

The code of ethics developed by the APA and enforced by law requires that researchers who use human participants pay particular attention to such issues as informed consent and protection of participants from physical or psychological harm.


Informed Consent the ethical requirement that research participants be told in advance what will happen and participate voluntarily throughout.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) decide whether psychological research may be conducted.

How do psychological researchers protect the rights and safety of laboratory animals?

The APA and public law also require that researchers take special care in the use of animals in psychological research, avoiding needless harm and exploitation; the use of animals in scientific research remains controversial.


Focus Questions

What is classical conditioning and how did Pavlov study it?

Ivan Pavlov is the originator of what is now called classical conditioning, a form of learning base primarily on stimuli that causes reflexes, such as salvation in response to food.


Conditioning: the establishment of a relationship between stimuli and responses, or vice versa.

Learning: a relatively permanent change in behavior potential as a result of experience..

Reflexes: a built-in or otherwise automatic response to a specific stimulus.

What basic procedures are involved in classical conditioning?

In classical conditioning, the stimulus that naturally produces the reflex response is the unconditional stimulus (UCS), which is repeatedly paired with an initially neutral stimuli until the latter becomes the conditional stimulus (CS). What is learned in classical conditioning is a CS-UCS association; the original reflex response is the unconditional response (UCR), and the response produced by the CS is the conditional response (CR).


Classical Conditioning: The establishment of a relationship between two stimuli, typically one that evokes a reflex response and one that is initially neutral with regard to this response.


Unconditional stimulus (UCS):
Any stimulus that automatically and reliably produces a particular response, such as a reflex.

Conditional stimulus (CS): An initially neutral stimulus that comes to elicit a response similar to that elicited by a UCS.

Unconditional response (UCR): The automatic response to an unconditioned stimulus.

Conditional response (CR): the learned response to a conditioned stimulus (CS).


Chapter 4: Classical Conditioning Phenomena and Applications: p142

Focus Questions

Why is timing of the CS and UCS important in classical conditioning?

Delayed conditioning is the most effective form of classical conditioning. Less effective are simultaneous conditioning and trace conditioning

After conditioning, extinction of the CR occurs when the UCS is discontinued. Allowing time to pass and returning the subject to the apparatus is typically accompanied by spontaneous recovery.

Why is it important for the CS to “predict” the UCS?

The crucial factor in classical conditioning is the consistency with which the CS predicts the occurrence of the UCS.

How do generalization and discrimination work?

Stimulus generalization occurs when a stimulus similar to the original CS also produces CR. Stimulus discrimination, its complement, occurs when dissimilar stimuli produce lesser CR or none at all.

How does biological predisposition affect classical conditioning?

Biological predispositions are often apparent in classical conditioning. Because of pre-wiring, some CS-UCS associations can be established much more easily that others and some not at all.

Taste aversion experiments provide an example of how biological predispositions affect conditioning. The learning of taste aversion is easy for animals that naturally associate taste with food but difficult to impossible for animals that use other cues, such as visual ones for food.


In the modern view, conditioning can be best explained by the development of expectancies—that is, what animals and humans learn is the expectation that a particular conditioned stimulus (CS) will be followed by an unconditioned stimulus (UCS).

Classical conditioning by past events may account for many of the fears and preferences displayed by human adults—and also for physical symptoms such as unexplained headaches or nausea and the intense desire to return to drug use that is some times displayed by former drug addicts.

In Watson and Rayner’s “Little Albert” experiment, the loud sound was the unconditioned stimulus (UCS), the rat was the conditioned stimulus (CS), and a fear response was the (UCR), and the (CR).

In the experiment on conditioned illness in rats, the insulin was the unconditioned stimulus (UCS), the light and syringe were the conditioned stimulus (CS), and the coma was the unconditioned response (UCR), and conditioned response (CR).

In the experiment on conditioning the immune system in rats, the drug was the unconditioned stimulus (UCS), the novel taste was the conditioned stimulus (CS), and production of the antibodies was the unconditioned response (UCR), and conditioned response (CR).

In the experiments on conditioning sexual behavior in rats, normal female odors were the unconditioned stimulus (UCS), the lemon scent was the conditioned stimulus (CS), and sexual arousal was the unconditioned response (UCR), and conditioned response (CR).


Focus Questions

What is operant conditioning and how did Skinner study it?

Operant behavior “operates” on the environment in accord with contingencies. Operant conditioning
is base on contingencies that are arranged in the lab or occur in real life.

Contingency: the relationship between behavior and its consequences.

Operant conditioning: the imposition of contingences, either deliberate or natural.

The controlled environment of the Skinner box revolutionized the study of learning and conditioning.

Parallels between classical and operant conditioning occur in areas extinction and spontaneous recovery, as well as stimulus generalization and discrimination.

Shaping and successive approximations is an efficient procedure for training subjects to perform specific behaviors.

Shaping and successive approximations: a procedure for quickly establishing a contingency, such as bar pressing by rats or key pecking by pigeons, by rewarding successive approximations to the target behavior.

An operant is a class of behaviors—not a specific behavior.

What basic terms and procedures are involved in operant conditioning?

The first half of Thorndike’s law of effect corresponds to positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement: the second half corresponds to positive punishment and negative punishment.

Positive reinforcement: an operant conditioning contingency in which behavior is strengthened because it results in presentation of an appetitive stimulus; also known as reward training.

Negative reinforcement: an operant conditioning contingency in which behavior is strengthened because it results in removal of an aversive stimulus; also known as escape or active avoidance training.

In operant conditioning contingencies, positive means that a stimulus is presented or “added” and negative means that a stimulus is removed or subtracted. The effect on behavior is then determined by whether the stimulus is appetitive or aversive.

Positive punishment: an operant conditioning contingency in which behavior is weakened or suppressed because it results in presentation of an appetitive stimulus; also known as reward training

The Mind as an Iceberg

Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, compared the human mind to an iceberg. The tip above the water represents consciousness, and the vast region below the surface symbolizes the unconscious mind. Of Freud’s three basic personality structures—id, ego, and superego—only the id is totally unconscious.


Written by Joseph Eulo

May 28, 2008 at 8:20 am

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