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Virginia Tech PSYC 2004 - Lecture notes

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Psyc Notes• Everything we do is related to areas in psyco Certain activities area dictated by natural associations – eating because of stress or because of the time of day• Psychology – the study of behavior and mental processeso Behavior – overt action and reaction (objectively observable) o We want to be able to predict behavior, emotions, cognitions…o If we can predict behavior we might be able to control it or alter it• Psychologistso Content – learn about all kinds of interesting things you can relate to, understand people bettero Practicality – compliments other fields of study and is good for graduate schoolo Most provides services to people in institutional settingso Rule of thirds : clinicians, academics, and administrators in organizationso Industrial/organizational – optimize the productivity of people in a business settingo Basic psyc – using the scientific method to gain knowledge about topics in psyc (to satisfy curiosity) o Applied psyc – using knowledge to solve and prevent human problemso Not fair to say basic = research and applied does noto Psychologists can be both basic and applied• There are numerous areas of study and schools of thought• Aristotle – unlike Plato, he placed emphasis on observing and experiencing the world• Descartes – human and animal behavior is reflexive – automatic, and subject to natural, external causeso Humans also have a mind that is not controlled by natural laws (mind-body dualism); tickling or pricking your finger causes a natural reaction• First Psychologistso Wilhelm Wundt – first lab in Germany Emphasized structuralism – study of immediate conscious experience Used introspection – self-examination of mental processeso William James – Amurican! Emphasized functionalism – study of how the mind works, and why we behave/think the way we do Increased emphasis on behavior, and on practical applications of psychology• 5 perspectiveso Psychodynamic: (Freud) focus on the unconscious; clinical problems due to unconscious conflictso Behaviorists: (Skinner) focus on observable behavior; behavior changes through learning; not concerned with the mindo Humanistic: focus on self-concept, realizing our full potential, and the challenges in doing soo Cognitive: unlike behaviorism, focuses on what is happening in the mind: thoughts, information processing, memory…o Neuroscience: understanding of the brain and sections of the brain and what they do; influence of the nervous system (brain, spinal cord) on behavior• Cant stay in a relationship for more than 6 weeks, Has commitment issueso Psychodynamics – Trusting people unconsciously; look for unresolved conflicts with parent or close familyo Behaviorist – See what happened in past relationships; teach the rewards of being in a relationship; encourage smaller commitments o Humanistic – teach that giving/trust leads to self-actualizationo Cognitive – focus on thoughts and fears; also when/whyo Neuroscience – look at the brain physiology of fear, stress…• Psychology is a scienceo It can defy common sense, expand on it, and/or give fuller explanations for things that make common senseo Like people do attracto Small Increments are better for studying• If you need help, is it better to be around a small or big group?o Small group is better – more focused responseo In a larger group – diffusion of responsibility (everyone assumes someone else will take action) – bystander effect• Scientific Method – OHDACo Observation – can be anythingo Hypothesis – a tentative statement expressing a relationship between variables Theory – collection of interrelated ideas and observations that explain and predicto Design a study – identify important variableso Analyze and collect data Empiricism – the observation and recording of data; requires statso Conclusions – was your hypothesis correct?• Neuroscienceo The nervous system gather info, decides on a course of action, and respondso 3 neural pathways Sensory neurons – afferent (ascending) pathways to brain; hearing something or seeing something or other senses Motor neurons – efferent (descending) pathways from the brain; responding to the senses Interneurons – link between sensory and motor neurons, found in the brain and spinal cordo Neuron Messages go from dendrites through the axon Axon – the spine of the neuron; transmits electrical impulse from cell body down the length of the neuron Dendrites – the tips of the neuron; receive messages from other neurons Soma – the body of the neuron Synaptic terminals – store neuron transmitters and release them to activate other neurons Myelin sheath – lipid deposit that insulates the axon; makes transmission faster and more efficient When the neuron “fires” it creates a electrical current that starts at the axon and travels to the terminals • Current is called an Action Potential All or none law – either neuron fires or it doesn’t; AP is always same strength  An axon when not fired it is negatively charged – moves from high concentration to low concentration (sodium and potassium); when not fired the membrane is impermeable When fired – 1) a change in membrane permeability allows charged sodium ions to rush in 2) a change in permeability allows charged potassium ions to rush out – called depolarization  No neuron exists on its own Synapse – gap between neurons; chemicals travel across this gap to pass along the transmission  Neurotransmitters – can either be excitatory or inhibitory • Asito choline; dopamine (happiness); serotonin (sleep regulation); norepinephrine (emotional arousal); see the rest on slide show At rest – axons are negative and when firing they are positive o Peripheral nervous system Sympathetic – increased heart rate; increased breathing rate; increased blood glucose (energy); activates flight or fight Parasympathetic – decreased heart rate and breathing rate; glucose to fat; stimulate digestion; contract pupils; contract bladdero Central Nervous system Spinal cord – reflex responses; relay to/from brain Brain – ‘lower’ structures (toward spinal cord) carry out basic life processes; ‘higher’ structures carry out complex cognitive functions (mostly forebrain) Hindbrain/Midbrain• Medulla – heart rate and breathing • Cerebellum – balance and coordination• Pons – sleep


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