Psychologists are interested in questions about human nature, along with the distinction between truth and fiction.
According to PSYCH (5th Edition): Introductory Psychology, “Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes” (Rathus 4). Psychologists take such scientific study to engage in pure research, applied research, psychological practice, and/or teaching. There are different psychological concentrations in which to do so: clinical, counseling, school, educational, developmental, personality, social, environmental, experimental, industrial, organizational, human factors, consumer, health, forensic, and sport.
Psychology has its origins in the desire of Mankind to know itself. Some people who have made significant contributions to psychology are as follows: Socrates (470-399) who proposed knowing thyself; Democritus (400 BCE), who suggested that behavior is the body and the mind interacting; Aristotle (384-322 BCE), who argued that human behavior is subject to its own natural laws; Gustav Theodor Fechner (1801-1887), who wrote Elements of Psychophysics; Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920), who founded structuralism; William James (1842-1910), who founded functionalism; Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) who developed psychoanalysis; John Broadus Watson (1878-1958); Max Wertheimer (1880-1943), Kurt Koffka (1886-1941), and Wolfgang Köhler (1887-1967), who founded Gestalt psychology; and B. F. Skinner (1904-1990), who contributed to behaviorism.
A Source of Contemporary Perspectives
|The Biological Perspective:||TBD|
|The Cognitive Perspective:||TBD|
|The Humanistic-Existential Perspective:||TBD|
|The Psychodynamic Perspective:||TBD|
|The Learning Perspectives:||TBD|
|The Sociocultural Perspective:||TBD|
TBD = To Be Described
Others who have made contributions to psychology are: Carl Rogers (1951), Abraham Maslow (1970), Karen Horney (1885-1952), Erik Erikson (1902-1994), Kenneth Bancroft Clark (1914-2005), Mamie Phipps Clark (1917-1983), *Jorge Sanchez (1906-1972), Lillian Comas-Diaz ()2013, Richard M. Suinn (2001), Mary Whiton Calkins (1863-1930), Mary Salter Ainsworth (1913-1999), and E. Loftus (2015).
The scientific method is “an organized way of using experience and testing ideas to expand and refine knowledge” (Rathus 15).
Question/Hypothesis ↔️ Examine/Test ↔️ Observe ↔️ Conclude ↔️ Theory ↔️ Question/Hypothesis
Samples and populations are two different things: a sample is a piece of a population pie, but not just any piece — however small, it must show what the pie population is made of. It cannot just be the crust or just filling; it’s a slice that must accurately represent the whole.
A population is a whole pie, or a whole group of people, that researchers are interested in and are willing to take a sample from. The sample drawn can be taken randomly (where every member has an equal probability of being represented) or it can be stratified (so that all subgroups are proportionately represented). An issue with some samples is when people volunteer — rather than be selected randomly or for stratification purposes — to participate. They can be a source of volunteer bias because the very act of volunteering means that they are different from those who do not.
A Variety of Methods
Methods of Observation: (1) the Case Study; (2) the Survey; and (3) Naturalistic Observation.
Correlation: (1) Correlational Method; and (2) Correlation Coefficient.
The Experimental Method: (1) Independent Variables; (2) Dependent Variables; (3) Experimental Groups; (4) Control Groups; (5) Blinds; (6) Double Blinds.
A Subject of Ethical Standards
Research – People: Needs informed consent and a debriefing after.
Research – Animals: Takes place if there is no alternative to harming an animal and the benefits of the research are believed to justify such harm (Rathus 24).
A Form of Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is the idea of “taking nothing for granted” — analyze and probe “questions, statements, and arguments” thoughtfully. Psychologists use it to self-evaluate the validity of their work.
10 Critical Thinking Principles:
- Consider Evidence
- Analyze Definitions
- Examine Assumptions
- Anecdotal Skepticism
- Open-minded Interpretation
- Against Oversimplification
- Against Overgeneralization
- Universal Application