My College Class Notes

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What is Psychology?

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What is psychology was and what it purports to do?

What is Psychology?

(Book) 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.)

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.

Know something about the varieties of psychology: both basic psychology and Applied Psychology in its different forms

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.


  1. Academic and Experimental Psychology: in terms of basic psyche

Such as counseling psychology, clinical psychology, school psychology largely concerned with the application of psychological principals

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.


  1. Early Schools of thought: various approaches: strengths and weaknesses of each who the founders were or important people part of those schools (look at handout)
  2. historical context
  3. Pavlov and reflexology classical condition
  4. Watson’s adoption of classical conditioning and the rise of behaviorism know something about Watson work and ideas
  5. Thorndike, the various laws he developed: primacy, recency, over learning, and most important the law of effect: why is said the he preceded Pavlov in that rather important discovery.
  6. Thorndike’s known as instrumental learning
  7. need to know about skinner, operant conditioning: a method developed by skinner derived from instrumental work by Thorndike for changing voluntary behavior, things we chose to do, the things we decide to do
  8. Classical conditioning: largely concern with changing automatic reflex behaviors the involuntary stuff that we do.
  9. Freud Sigmund: iceberg metaphor, personality

Methods of psychology

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.

  • Telephone Survey : 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.
  1. experimental method (3 )
    1. experimental groups: similar and different to
    2. control groups
      1. co-twin method of study: abandoned
      2. modern experimental method:
    3. The universe of potential subjects: all of those people we can draw upon to be apart of our experiment form which we select our population.
    4. Need to know how we select them
    5. stratified random sampling: representative group not just a random group
    6. independent variable
    7. dependent variable
    8. replication
    9. validity
    10. reliability how is it determined
    11. Clinical / case study method (hybrid method) :applied science
    12. Clinical evidence:
    13. Research data:
    14. Clinical interview and structure interview what are the differences?
    15. Chapter 4 Classical and Operant conditioning
    16. Shaping behavior
    17. Primary and secondary reinforcement
    18. Different types of reinforcement schedules
    19. Ratio
    20. Ethical standards

History of psychology like Wundt, James, Watson, Freud, Wertheimer (look at handout)

History of Psychology:

It is important that the history of psychology be reviewed, beginning with the founding of psychology as an independent “scientific discipline” (i.e. formal academic discipline).


1879: Wilhelm Wundt: the first Experimental Laboratory in Psychology (at Leipzig University in Leipzig Germany) and the first school of thought in psychology, Structuralism,

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

1889: William James established the first American school of psychology at Harvard University, call Functionalism.

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

Then psychology was influenced by the foundation of Psychoanalysis, by Sigmund Freud
(Psychoanalytic theory 1st force in Psychology).

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

Then Max Wertheimer established the Gestalt school of thought in psychology.

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

Followed by the “shift in focus” in American psychology to the study of observable behavior, resulting from John Watson’s establishment of Behaviorism, and subsequently drawing on the later work of B.F. Skinner.

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

Still later, Psychology was influenced by two of the most contemporary schools of thought in psychology with the emergence of the Humanistic (3rd force of Psychology) school resulting from the work of Abraham Maslow and Carl Rodgers
(with its focus on the uniqueness of human beings, and the development of human potentialities);

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

And the rise of the Cognitive school resulting from the original pioneering work of Jean Piaget

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

Written by Joseph Eulo

May 28, 2008 at 8:28 am

One Response

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  1. Wow…It’s same with my study in Faculty of Psychology, Padjadjaran University, Indonesia…If I don’t forget, this subject delivered in first semester…You are great…Keep giving for the other to get the something “stupid” in miracles of psychology science…


    July 13, 2008 at 1:46 pm

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