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Psychology Notes sample essay

1) Four big ideas in psychology:
a. Critical thinking is smart thinking
b. Behavior is a bio psychosocial event
c. We operate with a two-track mind (Dual processing)
d. Psychology explores human strengths as well as challenges
2) Why do psychology?
e. The limits of intuition and common sense
i. Enough to bring forth answers regarding human nature. ii. May aid queries, but are not free of error. iii. Hindsight Bias: the “I-knew-it-all-along” phenomenon. 1. After learning the outcome of an event, many people believe they could have predicted that very outcome. iv. Overconfidence: thinking you know more than what you actually know. f. The scientific attitude

v. Composed of curiosity, skepticism, and humility.
vi. Curiosity: passion for exploration.
vii. Skepticism: doubting and questioning.
viii. Humility: ability to accept responsibility when wrong. g. The science of psychology helps make these examined conclusions, which leads to our understanding of how people feel, think, and act as they do. 3) How do psychologists ask and answer questions?

h. The scientific method

ix. Construct theories that organize, summarize and simplify observations. x. Theory: an explanation that integrates principles and organizes and predicts behavior or events. (Example: low self-esteem contributes to depression). xi. Hypothesis: a testable prediction, often promoted by a theory, to enable us to accept, reject or revise the theory. (Example: people with low self-esteem are apt to feel more depressed). xii. Research: to administer tests of self-esteem and depression. (Example: people who score low on a self-esteem test and high on a depression test would confirm the hypothesis). i. Description

xiii. Basic purpose: to observe and record behavior. xiv. How conducted: do case studies, surveys, or naturalistic observations. xv. Weaknesses: No control of variables; single cases may be misleading. xvi. Case Study: a technique in which one person is studied in depth to reveal underlying behavioral principles. xvii. Survey: a technique for ascertaining the self-reported attitudes, opinions or behaviors of people usually done by questioning a representative, random sample of people. xviii. Wording can change the results of a survey

xix. Random Sampling: when each member of a population has an equal chance of inclusions into a sample (unbiased). 2. If the survey sample is biased, its results are not valid. xx. Naturalistic Observation: observing and recording the behavior of animals in the wild and recording self-seating patterns in a multiracial school lunchroom constitute naturalistic observation. j. Correlation

xxi. Basic purpose: to detect naturally occurring relationships; to assess how well one variable predicts another. xxii. How conducted: compute statistical association, sometimes among survey responses. xxiii. Weaknesses: does not specify cause and effect. xxiv. When one trait or behavior accompanies another. xxv. Correlation Coefficient: a statistical measure of the relationship between two variables. 3. Example: R = + 0.37

a. R is the correlation coefficient
b. + is the direction of relationship (either + or – ) c. 0.37 indicates the strength of relationship xxvi.
Correlation DOES NOT mean causation.
4. Examples:
d. Low self-esteem could cause depression
e. Depression could cause low self-esteem
f. Distressing events or biological predisposition could cause low self-esteem and depression. xxvii. Illusory Correlation: the perception of a relationship where no relationship actually exists. (Example: parents conceive children after adoption). xxviii. Order in Random Events:

5. Given random data, we look for order and meaningful patterns. 6. Given large numbers of random outcomes, a few are likely to express order. k. Experimentation
xxix. Basic purpose: to explore cause and effect.
xxx. How conducted: manipulate one or more factors; use random assignment. xxxi. What is manipulated: the independent variable(s). xxxii. Weaknesses: sometimes not feasible; results may not generalize to other contexts; not ethical to manipulate certain variables. xxxiii. The backbone of psychological research

7. Effects generated by manipulated factors isolate cause and effect relationships. xxxiv. Double-blind Procedure: in evaluating drug therapies, patients and experimenter’s assistants should remain unaware of which patients had the real treatment and which patients had the placebo treatment. xxxv. Random Assignment: assigning participants to experimental and control conditions, by random assignment, minimizes pre-existing differences between the two groups. xxxvi. Independent Variable: a factor manipulated by the experimenter.

8. The effect of the independent variable is the focus of the study 9. Example: when examining the effects of breast-feeding upon intelligence, breast-feeding is the independent variable. xxxvii. Dependent Variable: a factor that may change in response to an independent variable. 10. Usually a behavior or a mental process.

11. Example: in the study of the effect of breast-feeding upon intelligence, intelligence is the dependent variable.
4) Aristotle
l. 384-322 B.C.
m. Naturalist and philosopher
n. Theorized about psychology’s concepts
o. Suggested that the soul and body are not separate and that knowledge grows from experience. p. “The soul is not separable from the body, and the same holds good of particular parts of the soul.” -Aristotle 5) Wundt

q. 1832-1920
r. Studied the “atoms of the mind”
s. Experiments at Leipzig, Germany, in 1879, which is considered the birth of psychology.
6) William James
t. 1842-1910
u. American philosopher
v. Wrote psychology textbook in 1890
w. James’s student, Mary Calkins, became the APA’s first female president xxxviii. She was not able to attain her PhD from Harvard.
7) Sigmund Freud
x. 1856-1939
y. Austrian physician
z. Emphasized the importance of the unconscious mind and its effects on human behavior.
8) Psychology
{. Originated in many disciplines and countries
|. Defined as the science of mental life until the 1920s. }. 1920-1960: psychology was heavily oriented towards behaviorism. ~. Psychology: the scientific study of behavior and mental processes. 9) Pavlov, Watson and Skinner

. Watson: 1878-1958
. Skinner: 1904-1990
. Emphasized the study of overt behavior as the subject matter of scientific psychology instead of mind or mental thoughts.
. “Anything seems commonplace, once explained.” -Watson 10) Maslow and Rogers

. Maslow: 1908-1970
. Rogers: 1902-1987
. Emphasized current environmental influences on our growth potential and our need for love and acceptance.
11) The American Psychological Association (APA)
. The largest organization of psychology
. 160,000 members world-wide
. Followed by the British Psychological Society with 34,000 members.
12) Current perspectives

. Neuroscience: how the body and brain enables emotions xxxix. How are messages transmitted in the body? How is blood chemistry linked with moods and motives? . Evolutionary: how the natural selection of traits promotes the perpetuation on one’s genes. xl. How does evolution influence behavior tendencies? . Behavior genetics: how much our genes and our environments influence our individual differences xli. To what extent are psychological traits such as intelligence, personality, sexual orientation, and vulnerability to depression attributable to our genes? To our environment? . Psychodynamic: how behavior springs from unconscious drives and conflicts. xlii. How can someone’s personality traits and disorders be explained in terms of sexual and aggressive drives or as disguised effects of unfulfilled wishes and childhood traumas? . Behavioral: how we learn observable responses.

xliii. How do we learn to fear particular objects or situations? What is the most effective way to alter our behavior, say to lose weight or quit smoking? . Cognitive: how we encode, process, store and retrieve information xliv. How do we use information in remembering? Reasoning? Problem solving? . Social-cultural: how behavior and thinking vary across situations and cultures. xlv. How are we- as Africans, Asians, Australians or north Americans- alike as members of human family? As products of different environmental contexts, how do we differ? 13) Psychology’s subfields

. Biological: explore the links between brain and mind. . Developmental: study-changing abilities from womb to tomb. . Cognitive: study how we perceive, think, and solve problems. . Personality: investigate our persistent traits.

. Social: explore how we view and affect one another . Clinical: studies, assesses, and treats people with psychological disorders. . Counseling: helps people cope with academic, vocational, and marital challenges. . Educational: studies and helps individuals in school and educational settings. . Industrial/Organizational: studies and advises on behavior in the workplace. 14) Clinical vs. Psychiatry

. Clinical Psychologist: (Ph.D.) studies, assesses, and treats troubled people with psychotherapy. . Psychiatrists: (M.D.) medical professionals who use treatments like drugs and psychotherapy to treat psychologically diseased patients. 15) Three main levels of analysis

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