Lecture notes for the class will be posted below. Each will begin with the lecture number and date. This will be updated weekly. You can print directly off this page, or copy and paste selected lectures into a word program and print from there.
Lecture 1 August 23, 2000
Introduction to Psychology
Goals and ideas of psychology
Psychology in our lives
We cannot rely on common sense to make accurate predictions.
People of different cultures and backgrounds perceive the same items in many different ways.
Therefore behavior has to be studied objectively and scientifically.
Psychology: The scientific study of behavior and mental processes.
Behavior is defined as anything a person or animal does, feels or thinks.
Behavior can be overt (easily seen and identified) or covert (hidden and not directly observable).
Goals of psychology
Four basic goals: describe, explain, predict, and change behavior.
This is achieved through observation and or experimentation.
Basic research (often conducted in universities or research labs) is research conducted to study theoretical questions without trying to solve a specific problem.
This is simply research conducted for the joy of learning, however, it can have real world implications down the road.
Applied research uses the principles and discoveries of psychology for practical purposes, to solve real-world problems.
Examples: industrial/organizational psychology, environmental psychology, sports psychology, consumer psychology, heal psychology and clinical psychology.
Psychology: A field of diversity
Psychology is a great career choice because it offers numerous opportunities for work and research.
New fields are always being created, you could be at the forefront of a field in the next ten years.
Find what you love to do and make it your career.
Examples of psychological careers
Clinical and counseling psychologists: helping people with emotional problems.
Educational psychologists: study processes of education.
Social psychologists: interested in behavior of people in group situations.
American psychological association
Has 52 divisions of psychology.
Clinical/Personality = 37% Physiological = 2%
Cognitive = 2% Industrial/Personnel = 3
Social = 5% School = 3%
Experimental = 5% Educational = 7%
Developmental = 6% Counseling/Guidance = 14%
Other = 16%
Fact vs. fiction
Popular press is often wrong or misleading.
?se psychology??almistry, astrology.
These have no documented proof to their legitimacy.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22- Dec. 21)
You?a free wheeling, adventuresome spirit. When others try to bring the Archer down-to-earth with facts and responsibilities, you strongly resist. People who get in your way may suffer piercing insults or ?ks that can kill.??ile you may be quick to release those barbed arrows from your archer?uiver, your quick-witted responses and charming nature often come to your rescue.
Over time people can forget the sources of their memories, thus items like these can have subtle, but important, ramifications.
All research begins with a question or an idea.
Experiment: a carefully controlled scientific procedure conducted to determine whether certain variables manipulated by the experimenter have an effect on other variables.
Theory: an interrelated set of concepts that is developed in an attempt to explain a body of data and generate testable hypotheses.
Hypothesis: a possible explanation for behavior being studied that can be answered or affirmed by experiment or a series of observations.
In the early 1960s, Stanley Milgram set out to investigate what factors influence a person?bedience to authority. His idea was to tell people he was studying the effects of punishment on learning and memory. He had people work in pairs, one as learner and one as teacher. When a wrong answer was given, the ?cher??d to administer an electric shock. With each mistake, the teacher had to increase the voltage. If the teacher was hesitant, the experimenter told them to proceed. This allowed Milgram to measure how far people would go when ordered to by an authority figure.
Variables are factors that can vary or assume more than one value. Example: weight, time, distance, scores, etc.
Independent variable: a variable that is controlled by the experimenter and is applied to the participant to determine its effect. This is totally independent of anything the subject does. What is manipulated is the independent variable. (I.e. proximity of teacher to learner).
Dependent variable: a measurable behavior exhibited by the participant. It is the result of, or dependent on, the independent variable. (I.e. the highest level of shock administered by the participant).
Experimental designs must contain at least two groups of participants so that the performance of one group can be compared with the other?
Control condition: the independent variable is not applied to this group.
Experimental condition: the independent variable is applied to this group.
(with drug experiments, a PLACEBO is given in place of the drug). ?cebo effect??lt;br>Participants
Participants must be randomly assigned to their groups.
Participants must clearly understand what is expected of them.
Conditions must be kept constants (if you are observing athletes, it cannot rain on some and be extremely hot on others).
Experimenters have their own beliefs on how the experiment should be conducted. If they are not careful, they can bias the participant to respond in a certain manner, often not the manner they would have responded in if not influenced by the experimenter.
This is referred to as ?erimenter bias.??way to combat this is the ?ble blind??periment. The experimenter and the participant do not know the desired outcome of the study.
Sample and population
It is important to get a fair sample of a population. A sample is a subgroup (select group of participants) of a population.
A population is the total of all possible cases from which a sample is selected.
A problem arises with college research. Why is this popular sample not necessarily representative of a population?
This is the systematic recording of behavior in the participant?atural state or habitat. I.e. lemurs in the wild, your new roommate, etc.
It is important to be discreet. If a person or animal knows they are being watched, they tend to change their behavior patterns unnaturally.
These involve tests, questionnaires and interviews. They are defined as nonexperimental research techniques for sampling behaviors and attitudes of a population.
An example is the ?lop Poll??d other such polls for CNN or elections.
Sometimes a population is very, very small. With mental disorders, diseases, or isolated incidences, populations can be as small as one. This dictates case studies as a way to gain research and knowledge. A case study is an in-depth study of a single research subject.
Correlation is the relationship between variables. This can provide useful data under certain circumstances. Correlation is useful in studies concerning heredity.
Correlation does NOT imply causation.
There is a high correlation between eating ice cream and violent crimes. Does this mean ice cream causes violent crime?
Lecture 2 August 25, 2000
Introduction to Psychology II
Ethics in psychology
Schools of psychology
Correlation is the relationship between variables.
Correlation does NOT imply causation.
Two types of correlation: Positive and Negative
Types of correlation
Positive: two variables vary in the same direction (both go up OR down).
Negative: two variables vary in opposite directions (one goes up, one goes down).
Zero: the variables have no relation.
Example: The more you practice, the more games you will win.
The more classes you skip, the lower your grade will be.
The number of country music songs you have sung and your freshman year roommate assignment (hint: if it makes you go, ????t is probably a zero correlation).
All experiments must obtain ?ormed consent??om participants before each experiment.
All participants must be ?riefed?? the end. Debriefing is explaining the research process to participants.
Only 7-8% of psychological research is conducted on animals.
90% of animal research is done with rats and mice.
Animal care committees are established to ensure proper treatment and care of the animals and set guidelines for treatment and care.
Clinical (people) ethics
Clients must trust their therapists, this means maintaining high ethical standards.
All records are kept confidential.
They must report child abuse.
They must report life threats.
Schools of psychology
The first psychological laboratory was founded in 1879 (by Wilhelm Wundt).
Many different approaches and beliefs about psychology came into being.
This led to different schools of psychology.
Wilhelm Wundt is the founder of experimental psychology.
Developed introspection: a technique for reporting the contents of consciousness.
Structuralism (America?orm of introspection): an early psychological school focused on the sensations and feelings of perceptual experience.
The psychological school that investigates the function of mental processes in adapting the individual to the environment.
William James was a leader in this field.
Functionalism began the psychological testing movement, changed the course of modern education and took psychology into industry.
Developed in Europe while functionalism was popular in America.
Sigmund Freud (Austrian physician) was fascinated at the way the mind influences behavior.
Uses techniques like dream analysis and free association to uncover unconscious conflicts, motives and feelings.
Founded by German psychologists and led by Max Wertheimer.
Interested in conducting research on perception (interpretation of info from senses).
Believes that the whole experience is qualitatively different from the sum of the distinct elements of that experience.
School of psychology that focuses on objective or observable behaviors.
All behavior can be viewed as a response to a stimulus.
John Watson and B.F. Skinner
Certain behavior characteristics have evolved through the process of natural selection.
Example: fear of heights
Konrad Lorenz studied the influence of biology on the behavior of young birds. I.e. goslings are instinctively programmed to follow the first large moving object they see after hatching.
Lecture 3 August 28, 2000
Biological Basis of Behavior I
In class reaction time (RT) experiment
The human brain has about 100,000,000,000 (100 billion) neurons.
Unconsciousness will occur after 8-10 seconds after loss of blood supply to the brain.
The Guinness Book of World Records  has the record for awakeness belonging to Robert McDonald who spent 18 days, 21 hours, and 40 min in a rocking chair.
The brain is responsible for everything that we do, feel and think.
Those who study this are called phychobiologists. They study brain anatomy and the rest of the nervous system to determine how they affect our behavior.
The nervous system (including the brain), essentially consists of neurons.
Neurons are individual nerve cells responsible for transmitting information throughout the body.
All behavior is a result of neuronal activity.
Structure of a neuron
All neurons, while not exactly alike, share the same 3 basic features: dendrites, a soma and an axon.
Dendrites: receive neural impulses from other neurons and convey impulses toward the soma.
Soma: integrates incoming information from the dendrites.
Axon: long, tubelike structure attached to the neuron cell body that conveys impulses away from the soma and towards other neurons.
The nervous system consists of two main parts, the peripheral nervous system (PNS) and the central nervous system (CNS).
The PNS includes all nerves going to and from the brain and spinal cord.
The PNS has two division: the somatic nervous system and the autonomic nervous system.
PNS: Somatic nervous system
The somatic nervous system (SNS) consists of all nerves that carry incoming sensory information and outgoing motor information.
Incoming sensory information is called afferent.
Outgoing motor information is called efferent.
SNS responds to external stimuli and regulates voluntary actions.
PNS: Autonomic nervous system
The primary function of the autonomic nervous system is to maintain homeostasis, the body?tate of normal functioning.
It is divided into two branches: the parasympathetic and sympathetic.
These work in opposition to each other to regulate organs such as the heart, intestines, and lungs.
The parasympathetic nervous system normally dominates when a person is in a nonstressful, relaxed mental and physical state.
The main function is to slow heart rate, lower blood pressure and increase digestive and eliminative processes.
Basic housekeeping and bodily maintenance.
Sympathetic nervous system
You are now experiencing the effects of your sympathetic nervous system.
When someone is under some type of stress, mental of physical, the sympathetic nervous system takes over.
It stops the digestive and eliminative process (unless you just soiled yourself), increases respiration, heart rate and blood pressure, and releases hormones into the blood stream.
The sympathetic nervous system is referred to as the ?ht or flight??stem because it prepares the body to fight or flee from whatever is causing the stress.
Central nervous system (CNS)
The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord.
Brain: extremely complex mass of nerve tissue organized into structures that control all voluntary and much involuntary behavior.
Spinal Cord: found within the spinal column that is involved in reflexes and relaying neural information to and from the brain.
Reaction time experiment
Lecture 4, August 30, 2000
Biological Basis of Behavior II
Structures and functions of the brain
CAT, PET and MRI
Structures of the brain
Cerebral cortex: bumpy, convoluted area on the outside surface of the brain that contains primary sensory centers, motor control centers, and areas responsible for higher mental processes.
Contains a right and left hemisphere
The 2 hemispheres divide into for areas, or lobes.
Left brain / Right brain specialization
Frontal lobes: cortical lobes located at the top front portion of the brain hemispheres.
Their functions include motor and speech control, ability to plan ahead, initiative and self-awareness.
Frontal cortex damage can affect the emotionality of an individual, inducing personality changes.
The motor control area is located at the very back of the frontal lobes.
Brocas area controls the muscles that produce speech.
Parietal lobes: cortical lobes located at the top of the brain that are the seat of body sensations and memory of the environment.
Receives sensations such as touch, pain, and heat from nerves throughout our body.
Used in identifying objects and orientation in space.
Occipital lobes: cortical lobes located at the back of the brain that are dedicated entirely to vision and visual perception.
Different types of neurons are located here and each respond only to certain visual stimuli.
Temporal lobes: the cortical lobes whose functions include auditory perception, language, memory and some emotional control.
Temporal lobes are important for forming new concepts (and memories) and emotional behavior.
Cerebellum: the brain area responsible for maintaining smooth movement and coordinating motor activity.
Controls automatic adjustments of posture, perception and cognition.
Techniques for brain scanning
CAT (computerized axial tomography)
PET (positron emission tomography)
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
The CAT scan uses x-rays to take pictures of internal organs (such as the brain).
More useful than x-rays because they can pinpoint exact locations of tumors or other problem areas.
Do not provide functional information.
Give information about brain function.
Radioactive glucose (sugar) is injected (ouch) into the bloodstream.
These emit positrons that react with other particles to generate gamma rays, which are detected by the PET scanner.
Shows the structure of the brain clearly and without harmful radioactive effects.
Uses the magnetic properties of atoms to construct pictures of the brain.
Functional MRI: like the MRI, only it measures oxygenation levels in the brain (the more oxygen used, the more active that particular area of the brain).