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Introduction to Psychology: 

Introduction to Psychology Instructor: Ray Hawkins, Ph.D. Office: SEA 2.208, MWF(11AM-Noon & by appt.) Phone: 232-3354 TA: Anushka Pai Syllabus Web page: http://homepage.psy.utexas.edu/homepage/class/Psy301/Hawkins


Myers’ EXPLORING PSYCHOLOGY (7th Ed) Chapter 1 Thinking Critically with Psychological Science James A. McCubbin, PhD Aneeq Ahmad, Ph.D. (Modified by Ray Hawkins, Ph.D) Worth Publishers

Thinking Critically With Psychological Science: 

Thinking Critically With Psychological Science What is Psychology? Psychology’s Roots Contemporary Psychology

Thinking Critically …: 

Thinking Critically … Why Do Psychology? What About Intuition and Common Sense? The Scientific Attitude Critical Thinking

Thinking Critically …: 

Thinking Critically … How Do Psychologists Ask and Answer Questions? The Scientific Method Description Correlation Experimentation

Thinking Critically …: 

Thinking Critically … FAQs About Psychology Tips for Studying Psychology

Psychology’s Roots: 

Psychology’s Roots Prescientific Psychology Is the mind connected to the body or distinct? Are ideas inborn or is the mind a blank slate filled by experience? Film

Psychology’s Roots: 

Psychology’s Roots Prescientific Psychology Philosophy Greek - Roman conceptualization of human experience as contemporary history-making, a philosophy of the moral life a “reason to excel” (David McCullough, C-SPAN interview, 8-7-05) Empiricism knowledge comes from experience via the senses science flourishes through observation and experiment psychological science refutes three theories of human nature (Pinker, 2005): Locke’s “blank slate,” Rousseau’s “noble savage,” and Descarte’s “ghost in the machine”

Psychology’s Roots: 

Psychology’s Roots Wilhelm Wundt opened the first psychology laboratory at the University of Leipzig (c. 1879)

Structure vs. Function: 

Structure vs. Function Structuralism Analyze consciousness into basic elements Introspection Systematic, self-observation in response to tones, optical illusions, fruit… Sensation & Perception Functionalism Investigate purpose of consciousness, not structure Stream of consciousness Consciousness is a continuous flow of thoughts, not static Mental testing, development, education, individual differences

Psychology’s Roots: 

Psychology’s Roots Structuralism used introspection (looking in) to explore the elemental structure of the human mind

Psychology’s Roots: 

Psychology’s Roots Functionalism focused on how behavioral processes function - how they enable organism to adapt, survive, and flourish Academic vs. Popular Psychology; Historical overview of Psychology & the teaching of Introductory Psychology (some guiding anecdotes)

Psychology’s Roots: 

Psychology’s Roots Myers’ Definition of Psychology The science of behavior (what we do) and mental processes (sensations, perceptions, dreams, thoughts, beliefs, and feelings)

Psychology’s Big Question: 

Psychology’s Big Question Nature versus Nurture The controversy over the relative contributions of biology and experience. Nurture works on what nature endows.

Psychology’s Three Main Levels of Analysis: 

Psychology’s Three Main Levels of Analysis

Contemporary Psychology: 

Contemporary Psychology

Psychology’s Subfields: Research: 

Psychology’s Subfields: Research

Psychology’s Subfields: Research: 

Psychology’s Subfields: Research Data: APA 1997

Psychology’s Subfields: Applied: 

Psychology’s Subfields: Applied

Psychology’s Subfields: Applied: 

Psychology’s Subfields: Applied Data: APA 1997

Clinical Psychology vs. Psychiatry: 

A clinical psychologist (Ph.D.) studies, assesses, and treats troubled people with psychotherapy. Psychiatrists on the other hand are medical professionals (M.D.) who use treatments like drugs and psychotherapy to treat psychologically diseased patients. Clinical Psychology vs. Psychiatry

Why Do Psychology?: 

Why Do Psychology? How can we differentiate between uniformed opinions and examined conclusions? The science of psychology helps make these examined conclusions, which leads to our understanding of how people feel, think, and act as they do!

What About Intuition & Common Sense?: 

What About Intuition & Common Sense? Many people believe that intuition and common sense are enough to bring forth answers regarding human nature. Intuition and common sense may aid queries, but they are not free of error.

Limits of Intuition: 

Limits of Intuition Personal interviewers may rely too much on their “gut feelings” when meeting with job applicants. Taxi/ Getty Images

Hindsight Bias: 

Hindsight Bias is the “I-knew-it-all-along” phenomenon. After learning the outcome of an event, many people believe they could have predicted that very outcome. We only knew the dot.com stocks would plummet after they actually did plummet. Hindsight Bias


Overconfidence Sometimes we think we know more than we actually know. Anagram BARGE GRABE ENTRY ETYRN WATER WREAT How long do you think it would take to unscramble these anagrams? People said it would take about 10 seconds, yet on average they took about 3 minutes (Goranson, 1978).

The Scientific Attitude: 

The Scientific Attitude The scientific attitude is composed of curiosity (passion for exploration), skepticism (doubting and questioning) and humility (ability to accept responsibility when wrong).

The Scientific Attitude: 

The Scientific Attitude Critical Thinking thinking that does not blindly accept arguments and conclusions examines assumptions discerns hidden values evaluates evidence assesses conclusions The Amazing Randi--Skeptic

Science or Pseudo-science?: 

Science or Pseudo-science?

How Do Psychologists Ask & Answer Questions?: 

How Do Psychologists Ask & Answer Questions? Psychologists, like all scientists, use the scientific method to construct theories that organize, summarize and simplify observations.

The Scientific Method: 

The Scientific Method Theory an explanation using an integrated set of principles that organizes and predicts observations Hypothesis a testable prediction often implied by a theory

Research Process: 

Research Process

The Scientific Method: 

The Scientific Method Operational Definition a statement of procedures (operations) used to define research variables example- intelligence may be operationally defined as what an intelligence test measures

The Scientific Method: 

The Scientific Method Replication repeating the essence of a research study to see whether the basic finding extends to other participants and circumstances usually with different participants in different situations


Description Psychologists describe behavior using case studies, surveys, and naturalistic observation


Description Case Study observation technique in which one person is studied in depth in the hope of revealing universal principals Is language uniquely human?


Description Survey technique for ascertaining the self-reported attitudes or behaviors of people usually by questioning a representative, random sample of people


Survey Wording can change the results of a survey. Q: Should cigarette ads and pornography be allowed on television? (not allowed vs. forbid) Wording Effects




Survey Random Sampling If each member of a population has an equal chance of inclusion into a sample, it is called a random sample (unbiased). If the survey sample is biased, its results are not valid. The fastest way to know about the marble color ratio is to blindly transfer a few into a smaller jar and count them.


Description Naturalistic Observation observing and recording behavior in naturally occurring situations without trying to manipulate and control the situation

Descriptive Methods: 

Descriptive Methods Case studies, surveys, and naturalistic observation describe behaviors. Summary


Correlation Correlation Coefficient a statistical measure of the extent to which two factors vary together, and thus how well either factor predicts the other Correlation coefficient Indicates direction of relationship (positive or negative) Indicates strength of relationship (0.00 to 1.00) r = +.37

Correlation and Causation: 

or Correlation and Causation Correlation does not mean causation!

Illusory Correlation: 

Illusory Correlation Illusory Correlation the perception of a relationship where none exists (Gilovich, 1991, Myers’ text p. 20)


Idea Generation (adapted from Niederhoffer, 1-28-04, “Research Methods”) Personal Living Spaces (PLS) are rich with information about personality, values, abilities, and lifestyle H1: People’s dispositions are revealed in their behavioral residues H2: Observers use information in PLS to form impressions about people


Personality** I see myself as someone who is…


Uncluttered Well-organized Neat Organized clothing Relatively empty Organized CDs Organized books Organized stationary Clean Inviting Comfortable Good condition Cheerful Colorful r = .81


r = Correlation Can observers accurately judge conscientiousness from living spaces? +1 = the more conscientious people said they were, the more their rooms were rated as conscientious. -1 = the more conscientious people said they were, the less their rooms were rated as conscientious. 0 = no relation at all .81 --- yes, observers can accurately judge conscientiousness from living spaces

Order in Random Events: 

Given random data, we look for order and meaningful patterns. Order in Random Events Your chances of being dealt either of these hands is precisely the same: 1 in 2,598,960.

Order in Random Events: 

Order in Random Events Given large numbers of random outcomes, a few are likely to express order. Angelo and Maria Gallina won two California lottery games on the same day. Jerry Telfer/ San Francisco Chronicle


Experimentation Experiment an investigator manipulates one or more factors (independent variables) to observe their effect on some behavior or mental process (the dependent variable) by random assignment of participants the experiment controls other relevant factors


Experimentation Double-Blind Procedure both the research participants and the research staff are ignorant (blind) about whether the research participants have received the treatment or a placebo commonly used in drug-evaluation studies “Water, water everywhere” Placebo an inert substance or condition that may be administered instead of a presumed active agent, to see if it triggers the effects believed to characterize the active agent Film


Experimentation Experimental Condition the condition of an experiment that exposes participants to the treatment, that is, to one version of the independent variable Control Condition the condition of an experiment that contrasts with the experimental treatment serves as a comparison for evaluating the effect of the treatment


Experimentation Random Assignment assigning participants to experimental and control conditions by chance minimizes pre-existing differences between those assigned to the different groups


Experimentation Like other sciences, experimentation is the backbone of psychological research. Experiments isolate causes and their effects. Exploring Cause and Effect

Exploring Cause & Effect: 

Many factors influence our behavior. Experiments (1) manipulate factors that interest us, while other factors are kept under (2) control. Effects generated by manipulated factors isolate cause and effect relationships. Exploring Cause & Effect

Evaluating Therapies: 

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. Evaluating Therapies Double-blind Procedure

Evaluating Therapies: 

Assigning participants to experimental (breast-fed) and control (formula-fed) conditions by random assignment minimizes pre-existing differences between the two groups. Evaluating Therapies Random Assignment

Independent Variable: 

An independent variable is a factor manipulated by the experimenter. The effect of the independent variable is the focus of the study. For example, when examining the effects of breast feeding upon intelligence, breast feeding is the independent variable. Independent Variable

Dependent Variable: 

A dependent variable is a factor that may change in response to an independent variable. In psychology, it is usually a behavior or a mental process. For example, in our study on the effect of breast feeding upon intelligence, intelligence is the dependent variable. Dependent Variable


Experimentation A summary of steps during experimentation.


Comparison Below is a comparison of different research methods.


FAQ Q1. Can laboratory experiments illuminate everyday life? Ans: Artificial laboratory conditions are created to study behavior in simplistic terms. The goal is to find underlying principles that govern behavior.


FAQ Q2. Does behavior depend on one’s culture and gender? Ans: Even when specific attitudes and behaviors vary across cultures, as they often do, the underlying processes are much the same. Biology determines our sex, and culture further bends the genders. However, in many ways woman and man are similarly human. Ami Vitale/ Getty Images


FAQ Q3. Why do psychologists study animals, and is it ethical to experiment on animals? Ans: Studying animals gives us the understanding of many behaviors that may have common biology across animals and humans. From animal studies, we have gained insights to devastating and fatal diseases. All researchers who deal with animal research are required to follow ethical guidelines in caring for these animals. D. Shapiro, © Wildlife Conservation Society


FAQ Q4. Is it ethical to experiment on people? Ans: Yes. Experiments that do not involve any kind of physical or psychological harm beyond normal levels encountered in daily life may be carried out.


FAQ Q5. Is psychology free of value judgments? Ans: No. Psychology emerges from people who subscribe to a set of values and judgments. © Roger Shepard

Tips for Studying Psychology: 

Survey: What you are about to read, including chapter outlines and section heads. Question: Ask questions. Make notes. Read: Look for the answer to your questions by reading a manageable amount at a time. Rehearse: Recall what you’ve read in your own words. Test yourself with quizzes. Review: What you learn. Read over notes and quickly review the whole chapter. Tips for Studying Psychology Psychology can teach you how to ask and answer important questions. Survey, Question, Read, Rehearse and Review (SQ3R)

Tips for Studying Psychology: 

Distribute your time. Learn to think critically. Listen actively in class. Overlearn. Be a smart test-taker. Tips for Studying Psychology Additional Study Hints

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