- PSYCH101: Introduction to Psychology
- An Introduction to Psychology (I) - Courses - Douglas College
Photo: Everything you do, think, and feel involves your brain, shown here as a 3D-printed model. Understanding how the brain works, how it gives rise to the mind, and why it makes us do the things we do is the prime goal of psychology. We can divide psychology into two big areas called experimental psychology and social psychology.
Of course, we can study social psychology in a lab using rigorous experiments, just as we can carry out meticulous experiments in the real world; the division I've drawn between experimental and social psychology is arbitrary and artificial, but it reflects the way psychology is often taught in schools and colleges, and how it's written up in textbooks and scientific papers. The reason for that is largely historical: in the late 19th-century, when psychology was still a very new field, psychologists were keen to be taken seriously as scientists, so they tried to adopt scientific methods to cloak the things they studied in respectability.
To this day, there's a certain stigma attached to social psychology and sociology the study of how individuals and groups behave in society ; whether fairly or not, some people see them as soft sciences lacking academic rigor. At Cambridge University in England, for example, the psychology department still calls itself the "Department of Experimental Psychology" and its curriculum includes relatively little social psychology. Humans are the most complex of all the animals, which explains why psychology is such a vast subject. Within the psychology department of a typical university, you'll find people working in a huge range of different areas.
There are people who study perception such as how our eyes and ears work , learning how we develop as children and how we make sense of the world as adults , memory why we remember and how we forget , language, thinking, and reasoning. While some psychologists study "normal" human behavior, others specialize in "abnormal" psychology, which includes how people behave when their brains are damaged or degenerate over time and what causes psychiatric disorders.
Social psychologists study everything from the best way to design a computer mouse to whether we can really trust the evidence we get from people who witness crimes. Let's look at the various branches of psychology in turn, in a bit more detail.
You can think of people as living machines who receive information from the world, process it in various ways, and then act on it. In the mid century, it was fashionable to talk about animals including people receiving a stimulus through their senses maybe seeing a chocolate-chip cookie appearing in front of you , which then led to some kind of response salivating and reaching out ; according to a school of thought known as behaviorism , human behavior was all about the way a certain stimulus produced an appropriate response and exactly what went on inside the brain to make the connection wasn't thought to be especially important: behaviorism was literally "mindless".
Since the s and s, psychologists have tended to view the human brain as a kind of computer , taking in information as "input," processing and storing it in various ways, and then producing "output" some kind of visible behavior ; this approach is known as cognitive psychology and we'll consider it again a little later. However you react to the world, your behavior usually starts with sensory perception: the way your five main senses vision, hearing, smell, touch, and taste , plus other, lesser-known sensory abilities such as proprioception your sense of where your limbs are and how your body is moving , feed information into your brain.
Photo: A huge part of your brain is devoted to processing information gathered by your eyes. For most people, vision is easily the most important sense, closely followed by hearing; that also explains why perceptual psychologists have traditionally devoted most effort to studying vision, closely followed by hearing comparatively speaking, the other senses have barely been explored at all. Most of us assume that we see with our eyes, but it's far more accurate to say that we see with our eyes and our brains.
While we can't see without our eyes, it's also true that our brains carry out a huge amount of processing on the sensory impressions they receive—and in all kinds of interesting ways. One very obvious example is that we see things in three dimensions using separate, two-dimensional images that our brain fuses together from our two eyes. But we also see things based on what we expect to see, which is what causes most of the things we call optical illusions ; for example, we see faces in clouds because our brains try to make sense of the world very quickly based on the things we've seen in the past an awful lot of faces , the things we expect to see in the future an awful lot more faces , and the things that matter most to us the faces of people we love, work with, and have to interact with.
We can get some idea of just how complex the human visual system is by considering how little progress computer scientists and robot engineers have made designing machines that can "see" in anything like the same way. Why are our own brains so good at seeing? It's estimated that something like 30 percent of the cortex the outer and, in evolutionary terms, "newest" part of the human brain is devoted to vision. That's a very impressive illustration of the sheer complexity of making sense of the world entirely by studying light rays that enter two big holes in your head.
One of the things that marks out humans from "lesser" creatures is our ability to make sense of our environment and learn from it. It's obviously untrue to suggest that humans are the only creatures that learn things: you can teach a chimpanzee to use a symbolic language, you can train a dog not to defecate on your carpet, a rat will quickly learn to run through a maze to reach a food reward, and even a simple sea-slug can learn a couple of basic tricks.
Learning goes hand-in-hand with survival, but it's a surprisingly large and complex subject. At one end of the spectrum, psychologists study the process of conditioning , which is how animals come to associate a particular stimulus with a certain response. One of the first people to look into this was Russian scientist Ivan Pavlov — , who famously rang a bell when he delivered food to his dogs; eventually, he found the dogs would salivate simply when he rang the bell, even when there was no food around, because they'd been conditioned to associate salivating with the sound of the bell.
When behaviorism was fashionable, some psychologists thought all kinds of complex human behavior might be broken down into patterns of stimulus and response. That's why, for example, you often see attempts to blame violence on TV and in the movies for wider violence in society. Now we know complex human behavior is much more than a simple knee-jerk reflex from stimulus to response. One of the great things about psychology, which differentiates it from older sciences such as physics and chemistry, is that its relevance to everyday life is often more immediate and apparent. One branch of the psychology of learning is called developmental psychology and it concerns how babies develop into children and adults: for example, how they learn language, how they turn specific, concrete examples of things they see around them into much more general, abstract principles the rules by which we have to live to survive , and the relative importance of "nature" genetic factors—things we're born with and "nurture" environmental factors—things we're taught and learn.
Developmental psychology has played a huge role in pedagogy and the scientific, theoretical approach to education; it's also a fascinating subject to study if you're a parent. Photo: Mirror neurons? Sometimes we mimic one another's behavioral unconsciously, such as when two friends stand next to one another and, quite unawares, adopt exactly the same posture.
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Psychologists think our brains contain "mirror neurons," which are activated both when we do things and when we see other people doing those things. That encourages us to copy other people's behavior, and possibly explains how we feel empathy with others. Thousands of years ago, before humans started to create fixed settlements and developed agriculture, we lived much like other animals and day-to-day survival was our only preoccupation.
How different things are now. Although the world's poorest people still experience life as a horrible daily battle to survive, most of us, thankfully, get to lead lives that alternate between reasonably tolerable work and extremely tolerable pleasure. Both of these things involve using our brains as much as or more than our bodies; both see us functioning as living computers—"human information processors"—that take in information, process or store it in our brains, and then output results. The way we process and store information is what cognitive psychologists study.
How do we understand a simple sentence whispered into our ears? How can we remember everything from how to ride a bicycle to the names, in order, of all the American presidents? And is there any fundamental difference between these two types of memory knowing how to do something, which is called procedural memory , and knowing facts about the world, which is declarative memory? Where behaviorists liked to pretend that "internal mental processes" didn't matter, didn't exist, or probably both, cognitive psychologists spend their time teasing out the precise nature of those processes, typically coming up with flowchart models that break such things as memory and language processing a field of its known, often known as psycholinguistics into sequences of discrete components.
Applying this to the study of memory, for example, has given us models of mind that suggest memory breaks into separate long-term and short-term stores, with the short-term or "working" memory itself divided into distinct areas that process visual impressions, snippets of spoken language, and so on. Artwork: Ulric Neisser's famous caricature of cognitive psychology from his book Cognition and Reality.
Cognitive psychology is not limited to how we process the structure of information, but also what information means. The word cognition is a synonym for thinking and reasoning, two areas that cognitive psychologists have also studied using computational models. How do we make informed judgements about things, such as whether one car is a better buy than another? Why do we live in absolute fear of things like terrorist attacks but happily cross roads, drive cars, ride bicycles, drink alcohol, or smoke cigarettes all of which pose far greater risk to our safety and health?
Why do we play lotteries when the chances of winning are so much less than the odds of being struck by lightning? These are the sorts of questions cognitive psychologists consider under the broad umbrella of thinking and reasoning. Photo: The psychology of typography: Thanks to things you've read and seen previously, you read words printed in different fonts typefaces with a slightly different meaning and emotion: elegant, relaxed, friendly, imperative, hostile, or whatever it might be.
You can emphasize a message you want to get across by choosing the most appropriate font. That's one of the key principles of graphic design—and it happens in your mind, not on the page. Though related to cognition, intelligence, which we might define as a general ability to solve problems, is a separate area of study, and it's much less fashionable than it used to be several decades ago.
There are several reasons for this. From Sir Cyril Burt a prominent British psychologist who allegedly faked research data about his studies of intelligence to William Shockley the co-inventor of the transistor who, predictably, became embroiled in controversy when he dared to suggest that there was a link between race and intelligence that made white people intellectually superior to blacks , the study of intelligence has often proved intensely controversial.
The controversies, though important, distract from a much more fundamental difficulty: how should we define intelligence and is it even a meaningful concept? Some cynics have defined intelligence as the mere ability to pass intelligence tests, but although psychometric testing is as popular as ever in recruitment for jobs, intelligence tests are not, and never have been, a predictor of people's ability to live happy, worthwhile, successful lives. When you study psychology, it's remarkably easy to forget that most of the cool and fascinating things you discover happen inside the brain—an apparently unremarkable organ often compared to "two fistfuls of porridge.
One extreme, early example of neuropsychology, known as phrenology , famously involved quack doctors claiming they could tell interesting things about someone's personality by feeling their skull for bumps. Traditionally, research on aging described only the lives of people over age 65 and the very old. Contemporary theories and research recognizes that biogenetic and psychological processes of aging are complex and lifelong. Functioning in each…. This module will focus on how attention allows us to select certain parts of our environment and ignore other parts, and what happens….
But as frequently as we use it, have you ever stopped to ask yourself: What reall…. Consciousness is the ultimate mystery. What is it and why do we have it? These questions are difficult to answer, even though consciousness is so fundamental to our existence. Perhaps the natural world could exist largely as it is without hum…. Unconscious psychological processes have fascinated people for a very long time.
The idea that people must have an unconscious is based on the idea that a there is so much going on in our brains, and the capacity of consciousness is so smal…. People form mental concepts of categories of objects, which permit them to respond appropriately to new objects they encounter. Intelligence is among the oldest and longest studied topics in all of psychology.
The development of assessments to measure this concept is at the core of the development of psychological science itself. This module introduces key historical …. Humans are not perfect decision makers.
Not only are we not perfect, but we depart from perfection or rationality in systematic and predictable ways. The understanding of these systematic and predictable departures is core to the field of jud….
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- 1. Introducing Psychology?
- Introduction to Psychology?
- Introduction to Psychology!
- Intro to Psychology;
Humans have the capacity to use complex language, far more than any other species on Earth. We cooperate with each other to use language for communication; language is often used to communicate about and even construct and maintain our social…. One of the most remarkable human capacities is to perceive and understand mental states. We review …. Learning is a complex process that defies easy definition and description. This module reviews some of the philosophical issues involved with defining learning and describes in some detail the characteristics of learners and of encoding activ….
Basic principles of learning are always operating and always influencing human behavior. Through them, we …. This module explores the causes of everyday forgetting and considers pathological forgetting in the context of amnesia. Forgetting is viewed as an adaptive process that allows us to be efficient in terms of the information we retain.
The science of social psychology investigates the ways other people affect our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It is an exciting field of study because it is so familiar and relevant to our day-to-day lives. Social psychologists study a wi…. Social psychologists are interested in the ways that other people affect thought, emotion, and behavior. To explore these concepts requires special research methods. Following a brief overview of traditional research designs, this module intr….
This module provides an overview of the new field of social neuroscience, which combines the use of neuroscience methods and theories to understand how other people influence our thoughts, feelings, and behavior. The module reviews research m…. Social cognition is the area of social psychology that examines how people perceive and think about their social world.
This module provides an overview of key topics within social cognition and attitudes, including judgmental heuristics, soc…. Each and every one of us has a family. However, these families exist in many variations around the world. In this module, we discuss definitions of family, family forms, the developmental trajectory of families, and commonly used theories to ….
Although the most visible elements of culture are dress, cuisine and architecture, culture is a highly psychological phenomenon. Culture is a pattern of meaning for understanding how the world works. This knowledge is shared among a group of …. When athletes compete in a race, they are able to observe and compare their performance against those of their competitors.
In the same way, all people naturally engage in mental comparisons with the people around them during the course of da…. This module introduces several major principles in the process of persuasion. It offers an overview of the different paths to persuasion. It then describes how mindless processing makes us vulnerable to undesirable persuasion and some of the …. We often change our attitudes and behaviors to match the attitudes and behaviors of the people around us. One reason for this conformity is a concern about what other people think of us. This process was demonstrated in a classic study in whi….
Humans are social animals. This means we work together in groups to achieve goals that benefit everyone. From building skyscrapers to delivering packages to remote island nations, modern life requires that people cooperate with one another. Friendship and love, and more broadly, the relationships that people cultivate in their lives, are some of the most valuable treasures a person can own. This module explores ways in which we try to understand how friendships form, what attrac….
This module assumes that a thorough understanding of people requires a thorough understanding of groups. Each of us is an autonomous individual seeking our own objectives, yet we are also members of groups—groups that constrain us, gui…. People are often biased against others outside of their own social group, showing prejudice emotional bias , stereotypes cognitive bias , and discrimination behavioral bias. In the past, people used to be more explicit with their biases, ….
This module discusses the causes and consequences of human aggression and violence. Both internal and external causes are considered. Effective and ineffective techniques for reducing aggression are also discussed. People often act to benefit other people, and these acts are examples of prosocial behavior. Such behaviors may come in many guises: helping an individual in need; sharing personal resources; volunteering time, effort, and expertise; cooperat….
The relationships we cultivate in our lives are essential to our well-being—namely, happiness and health. Why is that so? We begin to answer this question by exploring the types of relationships—family, friends, colleagues, and lo…. Most research in the realm of relationships has examined that which can go wrong in relationships e. I summarize much of what has been examined about what goes right in a relationship and ….
More attractive people elicit more positive first impressions. This effect is called the attractiveness halo, and it is shown when judging those with more attractive faces, bodies, or voices. Moreover, it yields significant social outcomes, i…. Personality traits imply consistency and stability—someone who scores high on a specific trait like Extraversion is expected to be sociabl…. Over the past years, psychologists have appr…. This module discusses gender and its related concepts, including sex, gender roles, gender identity, sexual orientation, and sexism.
In addition, this module includes a discussion of differences that exist between males and females and how th…. This module describes different ways to address questions about personality stability across the lifespan. Definitions of the major types of personality stability are provided, and evidence concerning the different kinds of stability and chan….derivid.route1.com/los-amantes-de-estocolmo.php
PSYCH101: Introduction to Psychology
This module provides a basic overview to the assessment of personality. It describ…. Self-regulation means changing oneself based on standards, that is, ideas of how one should or should not be. It is a centrally important capacity that contributes to socially desirable behavior, including moral behavior. Effective self-regul….
An Introduction to Psychology (I) - Courses - Douglas College
An idea or solution is considered creative if it is original, useful, and surprising. Self-efficacy does not refer to your abilities but to how strongly you believe you can use your abilities to w…. Psychologists interested in the study of human individuality have found that accomplishments in education, the world of work, and creativity are a joint function of talent, passion, and commitment — or how much effort and time one is wi….
This module provides a brief overview of the neuroscience of emotion. It integrates findings from human and animal research to describe the brain networks and associated neurotransmitters involved in basic affective systems. Emotions play a crucial role in our lives because they have important functions. This module describes those functions, dividing the discussion into three areas: the intrapersonal, the interpersonal, and the social and cultural functions of e….
In general, experiencing positive emotions is good for us, whereas experiencing negative emotions is bad for us. However, recent research …. In this module, we review the construct of emotional intelligence by examining its underlying theoretical model, measurement tools, validity, and applications in real-world settings. We use empirical research from the past few decades to supp….
When people think of emotions they usually think of the obvious ones, such as happiness, fear, anger, and sadness. This module looks at the knowledge emotions, a family of emotional states that foster learning, exploring, and reflecting. Your decisions and behaviors are often the result of a goal or motive you possess. This module provides an overview of the main theories and findings on goals and motivation. We address the origins, manifestations, and types of goals, and the…. Our thoughts and behaviors are strongly influenced by affective experiences known as drive states. These drive states motivate us to fulfill goals that are beneficial to our survival and reproduction.
This module provides an overview of key d…. This module is divided into three parts. The first is a brief introduction to various criteria we use to define or distinguish between normality and abnormality. The second, largest part is a history of mental illness from the Stone Age to ….