Sunday, March 20, 2005

Jumping to Chapter 11 The Psychoanalytical Approach

Freud divided the mind into three levels. The conscious mind is merely, "the tip of the iceberg": representing only a tiny portion of the mind. Just below the conscious mind is the preconscious mind, which includes and assembles memories. The unconscious mind is the deepest and the bulk of the mind and contains memories that we cannot recall at will.
Repression is a defense mechanism that involves banishing threatening thoughts, feelings, and memories into the unconscious mind.
ID- in Freud's s theory, the part of the personality that contains inborn bioligical drives and that seeks immediate gratification. The Id obeys the pleasure prinicple most notably for sex and aggression.
EGO - in Freud's theory, the part of personality that helps an individual adapt to external reality by making compromises between the id, the superego, and the environment. The ego obeys the reality principle, directing us to express sexual and aggressive impulses in socially acceptable ways.
Superego - in Freud's theory, the part of the personality that acts as a moral guide, telling us what we should do and not do. To Freud, your personality is the outcome of the continual battle for dominance among the id, the ego, and the superego.
Defense mechanisms - in Freud's theory, a process that restorts reality to prevent the individual from being overwhelmed by anxiety. All defense mechanisms involve repression.
1. Regression: involves reverting to immature behaviors that have relieved anxiety in the past. Example: An adult temper tantrum
2. Rationalization: giving socially acceptable reasons for one's inappropriate behavior. Example: make bad grades but states the reason is having to work through college.
3. Displacement: the defense mechanism that involves expressing feelings toward a person who is less threatening than the person who is the true target of those feelings. Example: Hating your boss but taking it out on family members.
4. Projection: the defense mechanism that invovles attributing one's own undesirable feelings to other people. Example: a paranoid person uses projection to justify isolation and anger.
5. Reaction Formation: defense mechanism that involves a tendency to act in a manner opposite of one's true feelings. Example: a person who acts conservation but focuses on violence in their behavior.
6. Sublimation: defense mechanism that involves expressing sexual or aggressive behavior through indirect, socially acceptable outlets. Example: aggressive person who plays football.

Sunday, February 13, 2005


1) The word "Psyche" meaning soul, and "ology" meaning to study. To study the soul

2) Structuralism- Utilized analytic introspection “looking within” a procedure aimed at analyzing the mental experience into three basic mental elements: images, feelings, and sensations. Demise of structuralism owed more to its reliance on introspection, which limited it to the study of conscious mental experience in relatively intelligent, adult human beings with strong verbal skills
3) Functionalism- Functionalists broadened the range of subject to include animals, children, mentally ill. Applied research to everyday life.
4) Behavioral- John Watson. focused on observable behavior, overt behavior which can be recorded and subjected to verification. Stimulus – Response.
5) Psychoanalytical- Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) emphasized the importance of the unconscious/cause of behavior.
6) Gestalt- “form or shape” to underscore his belief that we perceive wholes rather than combinations of individual elements. The whole is different/more than the sum of its parts. Phi phenomenon – apparent motion caused by the presentation of different visual stimuli in raid succession.
7) Humanistic- Humans have free will. viewpoint that hold that the proper subject matter of psychology is the individuals subjective mental experience of the world.
8) Cognitive- favors the study of how the mind organizes perceptions “schemas”, processes information and interprets experience.
9) Biological- examines how brain process and other bodily functions regulate behavior
10) Social/Cultural- Examines how the social environment and cultural learning influence our behavior and feelings.

Columbine Massacre
Behavioral – received positive reinforcement for being cruel and violent – gain attention. Psychoanalytic – repressed hostility over the years that erupted from unconscious mind. Humanistic – blocked by parental domination from pursue self-actualization – identify with outcast anti-social means of express anger.
Cognitive – develop irrational patterns of beliefs about teachers and students – cause to lash out.
Biopsychologist – brain disorder- psych disorder. Social/Cultural – media/television promote violence resulting in acting out.

10) Scientific Method- a source of knowledge based on the assumption that knowledge comes from the objective, systematic observation and measurement of particular variables and event they affect.
Steps in the Scientific Method
1) Initial Observation or Questions
2. Gather Information and Form Hypothesis
3. Test Hypothesis (Conduct Research)
4. Analyze Data
5. Further Research and Theory BuildingNew Hypotheses Derived from Theory
6. New Hypotheses Derived from Theory

11) Goals of scientific research:
Description – overcome “common sense” concerns with development of operational definitions Prediction-predict the outcome
Control – control is an essential ingredient in the conduct of experiments
Modification – ultimate goal of psychology

12) Methods of scientific research- Descriptive research involves the recording of behaviors that have been observed systematically. case studies
Psychological Testing- procedure assuring that a test is administered and scored in a consistent manner
archival research-the systematic examination of collections of letters, manuscripts, tape recordings, or other records.
Correlational research refers to the degree of relationship between two or more variables.
A variable is an event, behavior, condition, or characteristic that has two or more values. A positive correlation between two variables indicates that they tend to change values in the same direction. A negative correlation between two variables indicates that they tend to change values in opposite directions, ex. ages and vision, obesity and exercise. Correlation does not imply causation.

13) Validity and Reliability- Internal validity is the extent to which the changes in a dependent variable can be attributed to one or more indep. variables. External validity is the extent to which the results of a research study can be generalized to other people, animals, or settings.

14) Experimental research involved the manipulation of one or more variables

15) Independent variable- is manipulated by experimenter to determine its effect on another, dependent , variable
Dependent variable- shows the effect of the indep. var.

16- Correlational research refers to the degree of relationship between two or more variables. A variable is an event, behavior, condition, or characteristic that has two or more values. A positive correlation between two variables indicates that they tend to change values in the same direction. A negative correlation between two variables indicates that they tend to change values in opposite directions, ex. ages and vision, obesity and exercise. Correlation does not imply causation.

17) Confounding variable- a variable whose unwanted effect on the dep. variable might be confused with that of the indep. variable

18) Heritability Coefficient- refers to the proportion of variability in a trait across a population attributable to genetic differences among members of the population. Heritability values range from 0.0 to 1.0. Family studies focus on twin studies, adoption studies, studies of identical twins reared apart.

19) The central nervous system comprises the brain and spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system conveys sensory information to the central nervous system and motor commands from the central nervous system to the skeletal muscles and internal organs.

20) Sensory neurons send messages from the sensory receptors to the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). Motor neurons send messages to the glands, the cardiac muscle, and the skeletal muscles, as well as the smooth muscles of the arteries, small intestine, and other internal organs. Interneurons which far outnumber sensory and motor neurons, perform connective or associative functions within the nervous system. Interneurons makes possible the complexity of our higher mental functions

21) Brain structures: Brain Stem
Medulla- regulates breathing, heart rate and other life functions
Pons- regulates sleep-wake cycle. A blow to the pons causes unconsciousness
Cerebellum- controls timing of well-learned activities
Thalamus- a sensory relay station for taste, body, visual, and auditory sensations
Limbic System:
Hypothalamus- helps regulate aspects of motivation and emotion including eating, drinking, sexual response, stress response and body temperature.
Amygdala- evaluates immediate environment for feelings of fear, anger and relief.
Hippocampus- contributes to the formation of memories.
Cerebral Cortex
Frontal lobe- motor control and higher mental processes
Parietal lobe- processes bodily sensations and perceiving spatial relations
Temporal lobe- processes hearing
Occipital lobe- processes vision
Corpus Collosum- neural bridge that acts as communication link between the right and left hemispheres.

22) Neurotransmitters-
Dopamine- elevated level of dopamine activity are found in the serious psychological disorder called schizophrenia.
Norepinephrine – a low level associated with depressed
Serotonin – low levels associated with increased depression. Drugs that boost the level of serotonin in the brain called SSRIs.

23) Sensation – the process that detects stimuli from the body or surroundings.
Perception – the process that organizes sensations into meaningful patterns.

24) Absolute Threshold- the lower the absolute threshold, the greater the sensitivity. The absolute threshold is also affected by factors other than the intensity of the stimulus. Single-detection theory states that the detection of a stimulus depend on both the intensity of the stimulus and the physical and psychological state of the individual. Subliminal perception is the unconscious perception of stimuli that are too weak to exceed the absolute threshold for detection. The minimum amount of stimulation that can be detected is called the difference threshold.

25) Weber’s law states that the amount of change in stimulation needed to produce a just noticeable difference is a constant proportion of the original stimulus.

26) Sensory adaptation is the tendnency of the senosry receptors to respond less and less to a constant stimulus. Ex: water cold.

27) Explanation of sleep-Circadian Rhythms are 24 hour cycles of physiological changes. They are governed by the hypothalamus suprachiasmatic nucleus which regulates the secretion of melatonin by the pineal gland.
REM sleep is the stage of sleep associated with rapid eye movements, an active brain-wave pattern, and vivid dreams. While you are in REM sleep, your heart rate, respiration rate, and brain-wave frequency increase, making you appear to be awake.
NREM sleep is the stages of sleep not associated with rapid eye movements and marked by relatively little dreaming.
The Functions of Sleep 1) restoration model – sleep recharges our run-down bodies and allows us to recover from physical and mental fatigue.
2) evolutionary/circadian sleep models – sleep’s main purpose is to increase a species’ chances of survival in relation to its environmental demands
3) memory consolidation – REM sleep strengthens neural circuits involved in remembering important information or experience that we encounter during the day.
Sleep Disorders:
Insomnia- chronic difficulty in falling or staying asleep.
Sleep Apnea- condition in which a person awakens repeatedly in order to breathe.
Narcolepsy is a condition in which an awake person suffers from repeated, sudden, and irresistible REM sleep attacks.
Purpose of Dreams :
Dreaming as Wish Fulfillment(Sigmond Freud). Freud claimed that dreams function as the “royal road to the unconscious” by serving as safe outlets for unconscious sexual or aggressive impulses that we cannot act on while we are awake because of cultural prohibitions against them
Dreaming as Problem Solving
Dreaming as an Aid to Memory

28) Hypnosis- is an induced state of consciousness in persons
responds to suggestions by another person for alterations in in perception, thinking, and behavior.

29) Psychoactive Drugs are chemicals that induce changes in mood, thinking, perception, and behavior by affecting neuronal activity in the brain.
DEPRESSANTS include: Alcohol and barbituates which remove social inhibitions, relieve anxiety and promote sleep, impairs judgement and causes disorientation.
Inhaled depressants cause disorientaion and create a detached environment
Opiates induce a feeling of euphoria, relieve pain and induce sleep
STIMULANTS include Caffiene which stimulates alertness; Nicotine which relieves anxiety; Amphetamines which can cause paranoia; and cocaine which can cause euphoria and give overblown confidence.
HALLUCINOGENS include LSD which creates a sense of timelessness; and Cannabis which induce relaxation, removes social inhibitions, and interferes with memory.
ENTACTOGENS include MDE and MDMA which induce relaxation, positive moods, give a feeling of enhance well-being, and alters perception of time.

30) Myopia or nearsightedness, the lens focuses images of near objects on the retina
In hyperopia, or farsightedness, the lens focuses images of far objects on the retina
Two types of photoreceptors, rods and cones. Each eye has about 120 million rods, especially important in night vision and peripheral vision. Each eye has about 6 million cones, cones are especially important in color vision and detailed vision.
The axons of the ganglion cells form the optic nerves, which convey visual information to the brain.


1) The origin of psychology is from:

Define the schools of psychology:
2) Structuralism-
3) Functionalism-
4) Behavioralism-
5) Gestalt-
6) Humanistic-
7) Cognitive-
8) Biological-
9) Social/Cultural

10) List the steps in the Scientific Method:

11) What are the goals of scientific research?

12) What are the methods of scientific research?

13) What is the difference in Validity and Reliability?

14) Define experimental research:

15) What is an independent and dependent variable?

16) What is correlational research? Positive and negative?

17) What is a confounding variable?

18) What is a heritability coefficient?

19) Explain the CNS and PNS:

20) What are sensory and motor neurons?

21) What are neurotransmitters and some examples?

22) Define some of the brain structures:

23) What is sensation and perception?

24) What is absolute threshold?

25) What is Weber's Law?

26) What is sensory adaptiation?

27) Explain sleep and some of the stage disorders:

28) What are the categories, drugs, and brain effects of Depressants, Stimulants, Hallucinagens, and Entactogens?

29) What is hypnosis?

30) What is the purpose and amount of rods and cones in the eyes?

Sunday, January 23, 2005


Psychology is the study of behavior and the mind.
Behavior= actions and responses we can directly observe
Mind= internal processes that cannot be see directly (thoughts, feelings)
The term was coined in the 16th Century from the term "psyche" meaning soul, and "logos" meaning study. "To study the soul"
The big questions- Nature vs. Nurture and Heredity vs. Environment

The goals of Psychology
1) Describe
2) Understand
3) Predict
4) Modify - hardest to attempt

Historical Roots of Psychology
PLATO (428-327 BC) Stated that our senses decieve us, and that humans are born with an inborn knowledge (nativism). Also believed reasoning gives access to inborn knowledge (rationalism).
ARISTOTLE (384- 323 BC) Pato's student. Accepted reasoning but also accepted sensory experience as a source of knowledge (empericism).
In the Middle Ages, Christian West was guided by a religious dogma- punishment for scientific investigation.
During the Renaissance, 14- 17th Century, modern rationalists were inspired.
JOHN LOCKE - "Tuablo Rasa" Belief that humans are a blank slate and the environment determines behavior, and life experiences are acquired through our senses.
IMMANUEL KANT (1724- 1804) Similar beliefs as those of John Locke.

Friday, January 21, 2005


1.) STRUCTURALISM (Wundt) Analytical introspection. Studies the mind by breaking it down into its basic components.
2.) FUNCTIONALISM (James) Studies the function of consciousness. Critisizes Structuralism. The mind is a stream that is not to be broken down into parts. Subjects were broadened to animals, children, the mentally ill, etc. Not just theories on adults.
3.) BEHAVIORISM (Watson) Observable behavior (Pavlov) injected optimism. Emphasis is on how the environment affects behavior.
4.) GESTALT (Wherheimer) "Form or shape" To underscore beliefe that we percieve wholes rather than a combination of individual elements.
Phi Phenomonon- Appears motion falls by presentation of different stumuli in rapid succession. (Christmas lights)
5.) PSYCHOANALYSIS (Freud, 1858- 1939) Studies unconscious causes of behavior. A majority of the mind is at an unconscious level. "Tip of the iceberg" theory, as most of an iceberg is underwater.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

First Things First: How to Study!

Before going into "class notes", I'd like to go over some certain ways that might help in the studying department. Here is an awesome website on how to study for tests, Studying for Tests
A few other things that I like to do is:
1) Before the test, sit in the seat where you'll be taking the test. If possible, doing this will prepare even the most extreme test-fearing person! It closely puts you in the atmosphere that you will face while taking the exam. Of course, classmates won't be sitting around you while you're studying, but you shouldn't worry about them anyway!
2) Flash cards/signs. These are important visual aids. At most radio stations, their call letters and phrase will be on a billboard sized sign in front of the dj. Another example is at the medical school in a nearby city, where the RNA/DNA structure and mechanisms are painted down the entire hallway in one of the buildings. Visual clues are valuable!
3) Go over your notes immediately after class. This helps you embed the information into your brain, and this should be the first part of your repitition for studying.
4) Learn from example. Go over the things that you missed on a test and review the right answers to make sure that you can correctly understand the material.
5) Round Table. This is a favorite of mine. I don't know who invented the name, but it's self-explanatory. It is a group study of about 3 or more students, where one acts as the moderator, and the others answer the questions. This is a great way to find out what you know and don't know (refer to #4). This way, everyone in the group can discuss their view on the question and defend a reasonable answer. Besides, 4 or 5 heads are better than 1. It's especially good for discussion questions, which are usually found on entrance exams(MCAT) and other tests.