Introduction to Psychology

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Introduction to Psychology:

Introduction to Psychology Chapter: 1 Introduction to Psychology Ms. Rubab Afzal Lecturer, Psychology Department Preston University, Islamabad rubabafzal@hotmail.com

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Definition of Psychology: Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and cognitive processes.

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Explanation: Behavior involves something which is overt. Behavior is our action done to react to external stimuli or reaction to any situation. Some behaviors are normal and some behavior need to be changed.

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Cognitive processes are covert in nature that involves working of memory, perception, intelligence, dreaming, reasoning, decision-making and other thinking activities.

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Historical Background: In earlier years psychology was considered as part of philosophy and it is just a matter of common sense and our experiences. People who have wisdom of ages can give justification of any specific behavior which can be generalized.

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Due to this subjective nature that involves biases people make error in thinking and interpreting other’s behavior and in predicting behaviors. Later on scientific methods were introduced in social sciences due to the existence of psychological laboratory in 1879 in Leipzig, Germany.

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Now psychology is objective in nature because it involves scientific methods to study mental processes and behaviors. Experimentation and observation is the main tool which does not involve personal biases.

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Conclusion: Psychology studies, explain, predict and modify the behavior and thinking which enable people to lead better lives.

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The Branches of Psychology: Psychology is a broad and diverse field and a number of different branches have emerged in the study of the brain and behavior.

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1. Behavioral Neuroscience: Behavioral neuroscience analyzes how the brain and neurotransmitters influence our behaviors, thoughts, and feelings.

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2. Experimental Psychology: In experimental psychology we use scientific experimentation, research on causal relationship between variables.

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3. Cognitive Psychology: Cognitive Psychology focuses on the higher mental processes including thinking, memory, reasoning, problem solving, judging, decision-making and language.

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4. Developmental psychology: Developmental psychology is the study of changes in behavior during a lifetime.

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5. Personality Psychology: Personality is made up the characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behavior that make a person unique.

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6. Health Psychology: Health psychology is concerned with understanding how biology, behavior, and social context influence health and illness. Prevention and treatment.

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7. Clinical Psychology: Clinical psychology is concerned with the assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental disorders. Client assessment, diagnosis, therapeutic goals, and treatment notes.

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8. Counseling Psychology: Counseling Psychology is the branch of psychology that focuses on educational, social and career adjustment problems.

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9. Social psychology: Social psychology is the study of the psychological basis of people's relationships with one another.

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10. Cross-Cultural Psychology: Cross-Cultural Psychology is the scientific study of human behavior and mental process under diverse cultural conditions.

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11. Evolutionary Psychology: Evolutionary Psychology considers the influence of genetic inheritance on behavior from our ancestors.

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12. Educational psychology: Educational psychology is a field of psychology in which psychological knowledge and methods are used to study the processes of teaching and learning.

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13. Industrial-Organizational Psychology: Industrial organizational psychology applies psychological theories and principles to organizations. It focuses on increasing workplace productivity and related issues such as the physical and mental well being of employees.

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14. Abnormal Psychology: A segment of psychology that deals with psychopathology and abnormal behavior.

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15. Comparative Psychology: Comparative psychology is the branch of psychology concerned with the study of animal behavior. Modern research on animal behavior began with the work of Charles Darwin.

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16. Environmental Psychology: Environmental psychology examines the interrelationship between environments and human behavior. The field defines the term environment very broadly including all that is natural on the planet as well as social settings.

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17. Forensic psychology: Forensic psychology is the intersection between Psychology and the legal system.

A Science Evolves: The Past, The Present And The Future:

A Science Evolves: The Past, The Present And The Future Hippocrates thought that personality is made up of four temperaments: Sanguine Melancholic Choleric Phlegmatic

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Descartes indicated that nerves are hollow tubes through which animal spirits passes like water passes through pipes. Franz Joseph Gall indicated that we can study the brain through the shapes or bumps by moving fingers across the skull.

Roots of Psychology::

Roots of Psychology: John Locke: (1632-1704) British Philosopher . He argued that knowledge is derived through senses and that there is no inherited knowledge – known as empiricism. S – R

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Rene Descartes: (1596-1650) French Philosopher He gave the concept of Cartesian Dualism – the idea that mind and body are separate and independent of each other.

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Psychology as a separate discipline was recognized after the establishment of first psychological laboratory by Wilhelm Wundt in Leipzig Germany in the year 1879. At the same time William James also established a laboratory in Cambridge.

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Introspection was challenged that it is not a scientific technique that can reveal the structure of the mind. Functionalism concentrated on what the mind does and how behavior functions.

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Gestalt psychology emphasizes how perception is organized. German scientist Hermann Ebbinghaus and Max Werthimer proposed that the whole is different from sum of its parts.

Perspectives of Psychology::

Perspectives of Psychology: 1. Neuroscience Perspective: This perspective views behavior in terms of the biological functioning. Heredity influence physical attributes as well as psychological attributes.

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2. Psychodynamic Perspective: It is based on a belief that behavior is motivated by inner forces which are uncontrollable by human beings. Sigmund Freud emphasized on unconscious in which our unpleasant memories are stored which creates anxiety.

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3. Behavioral Perspective: It suggests that observable behavior should be the focus of study. J. B. Watson believed that the behavior by studying and modifying the environment, we can form any kind of behavior.

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4. Cognitive Perspective: It focuses on how people know, understand and think about the world.

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5. Humanistic Perspective: Carl Roger and Abraham Maslow suggested that people are in control of their lives. Free will in contrast with determinism.

Psychology Key Issues:

Psychology Key Issues Nature vs. Nurture Conscious vs. Unconscious causes Observable behavior vs. internal mental processes

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Free will vs. Determinism Individual differences vs. Universal principles