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Chapter 1 Summary

• Psychology- The systematic study of the mind.

• Ontology- (Being) What it means to be something.
• Epistemology- (Knowing) How we know things.
• Animism- The belief that natural phenomena are alive.
• Nativism- Knowledge is innate (Plato 427-347 B.C.)
• Environmentalism- Knowledge is not innate, but acquired through interaction
with the environment such as observation (Aristotle 384-322 B.C.)
• Reciprocal Interactionism- Body influences the mind, and the mind influences
the body (St. Augustine of Hippo 354-430 A.D.)
• Dualism/Rationalism- The body does not move and operate as a result of brain
activity but rather by the arrangements of its organs (Descartes 1596-1650)
• Monism/British Empiricism- Mind as a result of brain activity (John Locke
• British Empiricism:
 John Locke (1704): Knowledge derives from experience.
 Bishop George Berkeley (1753): Objects only exist because they are
 David Hume (1776): Reason alone is insufficient to prove facts.
• Phrenology- An early attempt to link physical (i.e. biological phenomenon) with
personality types.
 Francis Gall (1758-1828) Thought a person’s personality could be
predicted by the shape of their head. He showed that white brain matter
consisted of nerve fibres, and pioneered brain localisation studies.
• Physiology- Early psychology was characterised by physiological studies (i.e.
those based on biological processes)
 Flourens (1774-1867): Experimented ablation
 Broca (1824-1880): Localization of language area
 Helmholtz (1821-1894): Speed of nerve responses
• Helmholtz (1821-1894) was a physiologist by training.
 He experimented on the speed of nerve impulses by measuring reaction
 Showed that neural impulses were not instantaneous.
 Proposed hat mind was located in the brain.
• Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920):
 First psych lab at Leipzig in 1879, had students go on to Yale, Harvard,
 Focused on the conscious, being subjective, and experience
 Thought mind should be studied objectively and scientifically
 Atomistic- The mind, like in physics, could be broken into elemental
psychological units.
 Wundt’s methods centered on “neutral stimuli, introspection, reaction
times, introduced measurement into psychology.
• Edward Titchener (1867-1927) was a student of Wundt who founded the first
lab at Cornell University.
 Studied the relationship of basic psych elements and created three groups:
sensations, feelings/emotions, and memories.
• Functionalism- Consciousness should be studied as a whole, not in parts.
 “Elements” mean nothing without their associations
 Consciousness is in constant flow
 Sensations and emotions cannot be separated
 Focused on psychological adaptation (Darwinism)
 Argued for natural selection of psychological functions, introducing
evolutionary ideas into psychology
• William James (1842-1910) first taught psych at Harvard in 1875
 His students disagreed with the idea of psychological “elements”
 James agreed that consciousness was central to psychology, but argued
that the focus of study should be the purpose of consciousness.
• Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection- Occurs when heritable traits make it
more likely an organism will survive and reproduce.
 Functionally advantageous traits will become more common in a
population over generations
 Natural selection acts on the phenotype
• Phenotype- Observable characteristic of an organism
• Gestalt psychology- The belief that mental events cannot be broken down.

 Focus on organisation
 Top-down structure imposed on bottom-up information. If vision
was bottom-up there would be no optical illusions
• Max Wertheimer (1880-1943)
 Holistic approach
 “Sum is greater than it’s part”
 Focus on optical illusions
• Psychodynamics: Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)
 Medical training, clinical approach
 Conscious/unconscious distinction, sexuality, dreams, repression
 Ideas based on client observation
 Main aim is to bring the unconscious into consciousness and then to
encourage the growth of a healthy ego by: free association, dream
analysis, interpretation, analysis of resistance, transference
• Cognitively impenetrable- Vision works whether you want it to or not.
• Behaviourism- Stimulus response and learned behaviour
• Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936) experimented with dogs and trained them to salivate at
the ring of a bell.
• Edward Thorndike (1874-1949)
 Studies of animal behaviour
 Rejection of structuralism
• Thomas Watson and B.F. Skinner
 Rejection of mind
 Behaviour is determined
• Zombie argument- We respond to stimuli and all other thoughts are by products.
• John Watson (1878-1958) was the first person to earn a Ph.D. in psychology
from Chicago
 His department required students to consider rat “consciousness” and their
 He thought this was ridiculous and claimed “you cannot define
consciousness any more than you can define a “soul”
 Argued that consciousness cannot be seen, measured, or located making
the study of consciousness unscientific.
 Proposed a psychology that studied only behaviour.
• B.F. Skinner: realised that people are active participants in their environment
 Stimuli could be reinforcers to learn new behaviours
 Skinner box- Button or bar press (response) would result in food
• Behaviourism became the only acceptable form of psychology in North America.
• Non-behaviourists were denied faculty positions and struggled to have their works
published. Europe maintained a pluralistic view.
• During the cognitive revolution behaviourism was criticized because of its
refutation of mind and over reliance on animal behaviour.
• Wolfgang Kohler (1920’s) worked with chimps (Sultan) and showed insight and
un-reinforced behaviour.
• Edward Tolman (1935, 1938) is writing about “intervening variables” and
“mental maps” in mice and men.
• Clark Hull (1937) asks, “But what of consciousness”
• Cognitive revolution arises from independent perspectives:
 Dissatisfaction with behaviourism
 Behaviourism ignored the evolution of function
 Reliance on animals instead of humans
• Events surrounding WWII:
 Vast number of head wounds
 The development of the digital computer
 Rise in cybernetics
 A meeting of like minded people in 1948
• WWII also encouraged emergent topics such as:
 Gibson: Visual perception and “optic flow”
 Broadbent: Attention and information overflow.
• Post war research introduced cognitive topics:
 Miller: Cognitive capacity and limitations
 Milgram: Social conformity and violence.
• Rise in neurophysiology, robotics, and computers:
 Karl Lashley: Memory and brain damage in rats
 Norbert Wiener: Applied math, robotic guns
 Claude Shannon: Information as binary decisions
 Warren McCulloch: Neurons as binary mechanisms
 Alan Turing: Code Breaking Computers

• Biological psychology:
 Physiological psychology- Neural mechanisms behind behaviour.
 Cognitive neuroscience- Neural mechanisms behind psychological
phenomena, such as thoughts, emotions
 Comparative- Behaviour of animals/animal-human distinction
 Behavioural genetics- Role of genes on human and animal behaviour
• Clinical psychology:
 Behavioural analysis- Behavioural modification.
 Personality- Social and genetic components
 Neuropsychology- Neural/physiological abnormality
• Social psychology:
 Beliefs and attitudes
 Social influence: Genes and culture
 Persuasion and conformity
 Aggression and attraction
• Developmental psychology:
 Language acquisition
 Personality change and development
 Logical thinking and reasoning skills
 Making friends and forming relationships
 Intelligence and special educational needs.