Unit 1: History and Scope of Psychology

           Pre-scientific Psychology
Socrates, Plato, & Descartes:
Believed the mind and body were separate entities (dualism) and that most ideas, thoughts, traits, etc., were inborn. (Nature over Nurture).
Aristotle and Locke: Believed that the mind and body were connected (monism) and that the mind was a "blank slate" upon which experience writes (Nurture over Nature).

          Psychology as a Science
Psychology's roots are in medicine and philosophy.  Psychology grew out of a field called psychophysics.
A. Structuralism:
an early school of psychology that used objective introspection to explore the structural elements of the mind.
     Wilhelm Wundt (first psychological laboratory)
      Edward Titchner: Introspection
B. Functionalism: a school of psychology that focused on how mental and behavioral processes function--how they enable the organism to flourish, adapt, and survive.
     William James: Wrote Principles of Psychology (the first textbook)
C. Gestalt Psychology: School of psychology that studies how people perceive and experience objects as whole patterns.  Their motto: "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts".  Their focus is perception.
     Wertheimer, Kohler, and Koffka

Psychology's 3 Big Issues
1. Nature-nurture:
the controversy over the relative contributions that genes (nature) and experience (nurture) make to the development of psychological traits and behaviors.
2. Stability versus Change: Do our individual traits change as we age or do they remain fairly stable?  Also, do our traits change in different situations?
3. Rationality versus Irrationality: Are we in control of our own behavior?  Do we have free will or are we at the mercy of unconscious desires or our environment?  Do we really deserve to be called homo sapiens?

          Psychology's Perspectives
Studies how the brain (and other body systems) create emotions, memories, and sensory experiences.
Evolutionary: Studies how natural selection of behavioral traits promotes the perpetuation of one's genes.
Behavior Genetics: Studies how much our genes and our environment influence our individual differences.
Psychodynamic: Focuses on how behavior springs from unconscious drives and conflicts (based on Freud's psychoanalytic theory).
Behavioral: How contingencies in the environment cause us to LEARN observable responses. (Skinner &Watson)
Cognitive: Studies how we encode, process, store, and retrieve information.
Humanistic: Focuses on free will and reaching one's full human potential. (Maslow & Rogers)
Social-cultural: Looks at how behavior and thinking vary across situations and cultures.

              Psychology's Subfields
Biological Ψ:
Concerned with the links between the brain and nervous system and behavior.
Developmental Ψ: Study of physical, cognitive, and social changes throughout the lifespan.
Social Ψ: The scientific study of how we think about, influence, and relate to one another.
Cognitive Ψ: The scientific study of how we think, perceive, and solve problems.
Personality Ψ: Investigation of personality traits.
Industrial/Organizational Ψ: The application of psychological concepts and methods to optimizing human behavior in the workplace.
Clinical Ψ: The study, assessment, and treatment of people with mental illnesses. Clinical psychologists hold Ph.D.'s.
Basic Research: pure experimental research that aims to increase the scientific knowledge base.
Applied Research: Scientific research that aims to solve practical problems.
Psychiatry: A branch of medicine dealing with psychological disorders.  Psychiatrists are physicians (MD's).

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