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THINKING CRITICALLY

WITH PSYCHOLOGY
Module 1

What is Scientific
Psychology
Psychology is the science of
behavior. (Professors Definition)

Psychologists use the methods of


science to uncover laws of human
behavior; just as other scientist
uncover laws of nature.

Laws and Rules of


Behavior
Some behavior is universal, some behavior
conforms to social rules
Facial display of anger universal
Acceptance of teenage romantic relationships
rule conforming
America OK
China Interferes with academics and
inappropriate

Are all people


psychologists?
Jean Piaget zoologist and psychologist
suggested that the human develops from an
irrational being to a rational, logical being.
All are impelled to address the WHY
questions.
Why
Why
Why
Why

did this happen?


did the person treat me this way?
does thunder follow lightning?
did the chicken cross the road?

Ancient and Old Ideas in


Psychology

387 BC Plato argued that the


brain is source of mental
processes.
355 BC Aristotle argued that
the heart is the source of
mental processes.

Affect - Cognition Debate


Do people think first and then
feel emotion?
or
Do people feel emotion first and
then think about it?
Both processes occur

Descartes 1637
Descartes proposed the idea of
mind- body interaction. Concept
of innate ideas at birth people
are born with an inborn
tendency to think about oneself
and ones existence.

Locke 1690
Locke rejected the idea of an inborn
tendency to think of self and argued that
at birth the mind is a tabula rasa or a
blank slate upon which experience
writes.
Argued for empiricism what we know
about the world comes through experience
and observation, not through intuition.
Empiricism is at the philosophical base of
modern science.

Mesmer 1774
Mesmer performs experiments on
animal magnetism to cure
mental illness. This was the
earliest work on hypnosis.

Darwinian Theory of Natural


Selection
1859 Charles Darwin publishes
the Origin of Species.
Evolutionary Theory has impacted
thinking in all science, including
psychology

Wilhelm Wundt
1879 Wilhelm Wundt establishes the
first
experimental psychology
laboratory at
the University of
Leipzig to study psychophysics.
Wundts emphasis was on
consciousness (awareness of an
external stimulus and mental
processes)

Wundts Method
Used a method called
Introspectionism subjects
described their sensations or
feelings after being exposed to a
stimulus

Wundt is considered the founder


of experimental psychology. All
Ph.D. psychologists can trace

All Psychologist can Trace their


Lineage
http://simonton.faculty.ucdavis.edu/wp-con
tent/uploads/sites/243/2015/08/PhDlineage.
pdf

My major advisor at UConn (David


A. Kenny) appears near the end of
the list

Some Notable American


Psychologists
1892 G. Stanley Hall becomes the
first
president of the American
Psychological Association.
1894 Mary Washburn is the first
woman to receive the Ph.D. in
psychology (Cornell).
1894 Mary Whiton Calkins is refused
admission to doctoral candidacy at
Harvard because she was a woman.

Broad Approaches in
Psychology

Introspectionism
Gestalt Psychology
Structuralism
Functionalism

Introsepctionism
Subject reports conscious
experience of events or stimuli
Method developed by Wundt

Structuralism
Wundts student Edward Titchner
started an approach at Cornell called
Structuralism.

As chemists and physicists study the


structure of matter, these
psychologists attempted to study the
structure of the mind.

Gestalt Psychology
Conscious experience is more than the
sum of its parts.
For example a neon sign or the phi
phenomenon - we perceive movement
of light when it is only lights going on
and off

http://images-mediawiki-sites.thefullwiki.o
rg/02/3/4/4/8116362531090483.gif

Functionalism
William James proposed the
Functionalist approach.
Affected by the evolutionary theory of
Charles Darwin, James was concerned
with the function of behavior (e.g.
smell, thinking, emotion and vision.)
In essence, their function is to adapt to
the environment.

Contemporary Psychology
An international scientific enterprise with
500,000 psychologists around the world.
Growing Discipline that has become
global with increased communication via
internet, international meetings, and
international journals.
http://icps.psychologicalscience.org /
Example of an International Conference

Approaches in Modern Psychology


Neuroscience -- how the brain and
other biological systems affect
behavior
Evolutionary --- How human behavior
has evolved in order to promote
adaptation and reproduction.
Behavior Genetics -- Determines the
relative effects of genes and the
environment in the determination of

Approaches in Modern
Psychology
Psychodynamic -- How behavior is
determined by early childhood experiences.
Behavioral -- How behavior is learned
Cognitive -- How information is taken in,
organized, and retrieved from the brain.
Social-Cultural How people affect the
behavior of other people and how culture
shapes the behavior of people.

Approaches in Modern
Psychology
Humanistic Approach Behavior is due
to the choices that people make in
their lives based on how the world is
perceived.
Each person has a unique perception
of the world based on their unique set
of experiences.
If people are treated with
unconditional positive regard, they will

Specialties in Psychology
A student typically specializes in an
area while a graduate student and
does the Ph.D. thesis in that area.
There are two general categories:
basic research and applied psychology.

Basic Research Examples


- Experimental Psychology
- Developmental Psychology
- Social Psychology
- Personality Psychology
- Cognitive Psychology
- Biological
Psychology/Neuroscience

Applied Research
Examples
- Clinical Psychology
- Health Psychology
- Industrial/Organizational
Psychology

Is psychology nothing more than


common sense?

Why is a scientific approach to


understanding behavior necessary?
Is common sense enough?
Is intuition adequate?
Do we need all these theories and studies?
Research shows that human thinking can be
very biased and filled with error.

Cognitive Bias
- illusory correlation: rare,
improbable events are perceived
by people as being more common
than they are.
- a case of bubonic plague in
America
-terrorist attack by radical
Jihadists

Cognitive Expectations
If you order fish in a
restaurant who do you
expect to get?

Does this image match you


expectation?

Typical fish in
Spain

What is typical breakfast food?

Typical Breakfast
In Morocco

Expectancy Violation
We tend to react negatively
when expectations are
violated - we consider things
weird or gross
Other people would feel the
exact opposite about the
same stimulus or event

Scientific Attitude How does a


scientist think?

1. Curiosity
2. Skepticism
3. Critical Thinking

Think Like a Scientist


- consider assumptions that most accept as
true (e.g., the erroneous belief that the earth
is at the center of the solar system)
- think about the value implications of
assumptions (women will be unable to work
effectively a few days a month)
- evaluate the evidence (data) and be guided
by it
- critically evaluate one's conclusions

Scientific Method
Deductive Science

- Theory: an organized set of ideas that


explain a phenomenon
- Hypothesis: a testable prediction derived
from a theory
- Operational Definition: an explicit
statement of the exact operations to be used
to measure variables
- Replication: demonstration that an
experimental result will occur repeatedly in
different labs, in different places, with
different scientists, at different points in
time.

Scientific Method - Inductive


Science
Collecting a large body of data
and then developing theories to
explain the observations
http://www.intropsych.com/ch08
_animals/phylogenetic_scale.ht
ml
For example - biologists
discover animals and categorize
them on the phylogenetic scale

Types of Research Studies


Conducted by Psychologists

1. Case Study
2. Survey
3. Naturalistic Observation
4. Correlational Study
5. Experimental Study

Basic Ideas in Psychological


Research Methods
Experiment manipulate causal variables
(independent variables) to assess the impact on the
dependent variable (behavior of interest).
Placebo an inert substance that is used to control for
expectancy effects when an active agent is used in an
experiment.
Double Blind Procedure - Neither the experimenter or
the subject know if a placebo or an active agent is
being administered.
Placebo effect the effect of a placebo on behavior or
health (a fairly powerful effect).

Independent and Dependent


Variables
Independent Variable the
variable the experimenter
manipulates (e.g. getting an
experimental drug or a placebo)
Dependent Variable the variable
that is affected by the
manipulation of the independent
variable
(e.g. a health outcome such as

Key Features of an Experiment


Experimental Condition in an experiment this is
the condition that exposes the subject to a
specific level of the IV (e.g. wood shop accident)
Control Condition in an experiment this is the
condition that serves as a baseline for comparison
for the experimental condition (e.g., the mountain
scene).
Random Assignment each subject must have an
equal probability of being in either the
experimental or control condition of the
experiment.

Study Tips Guide to Success in


this Course
1. Keep up with weekly assignments (dont put them off)
2. read the material in the book
3. Study the power-point slides
4. Carefully listen to and take notes on online lectures
5. ask questions while studying material - it will help you
remember the material
6. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR LEARNING
7. IT IS COOL TO BE A SERIOUS STUDENT
8. THIS IS YOUR JOB WORK HARD AT YOUR JOB AS A
STUDENT