Introduction to Psychology PSYC 1101

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Transcript Introduction to Psychology PSYC 1101

Introduction to Psychology
PSYC 1101
Instructor: Dr. Wendy Wolfe
• Psychology: the study of behavior and
mental processes and how they are
affected by an organism’s physical state,
mental state, and environment.
Have you ever wondered….?
• Why people (yourself included) tend to act differently in
• How habits develop and how to break them
• Why we forget some things and remember others
• Why drugs make us feel the way they do
• How to build a better
so that it’s more
• What dreams really mean
• The ways that human behavior differs from animal
behavior, and how it is similar
• Why your partner/child/roommate/parents act the way
they do (and how to get them to quit it)
What’s the difference?
• Psychology vs. Pop-psychology
• Psychology vs. Pseudoscience
• Psychology vs. Common Sense
Is This Psychology?
Is This Psychology?
What’s the difference?
• Psychology vs. Pop-psychology
• Psychology vs. Pseudoscience
• Psychology vs. Common Sense
Is This Psychology?
What’s the difference?
• Psychology vs. Pop-psychology
• Psychology vs. Pseudoscience
• Psychology vs. Common Sense
The Science of Psychology
• Empiricism
• The history of psychology
before and after use of
the scientific method
Descartes (dualism)
Joseph Gall (phrenology)
Wilhelm Wundt
– William James
Psychology’s Present
• Biological Perspective – emphasizes the role of biology
(physiology, genetics) on behavior and mental processes
– How damage to different parts of the brain affects personality,
behavior, learning ability, language
– How genetics predispose us to develop certain personality traits,
mental illness
• Learning Perspective – emphasizes the role of the
environment and our experiences on behavior and mental
– How children adopt certain behaviors by imitating their parents
(social-learning) or by parents directly rewarding those behaviors
• Cognitive Perspective – emphasizes the role of cognitive
processes on behavior and mental processes
– If we believe we will fail, we may not even try
– It is easier for us to remember/recall information that is consistent
with our beliefs than information that is inconsistent with our beliefs
Psychology’s Present (cont.)
• Sociocultural Perspective – emphasizes the role of
society/culture on behavior and mental processes
– Technological advances in our culture (internet, gaming, cell
phones) have affected our attention processes
– Societal pressure for thinness has contributed to increased
incidence rates of eating disorders
• Psychodynamic Perspective: emphasizes the role of
unconscious conflicts on behavior and mental processes
• Humanistic: emphasizes free will, personal growth, and
Psychological Perspectives:
Depression Example
• Biological: abnormalities in neurotransmitters in the brain
• Learning: depressive symptoms have been reinforced
(rewarded) by the environment (e.g., getting to stay
home from school because of feeling depressed)
• Cognitive: negative, pessimistic thinking style
• Socio-cultural: societal stress and role demands; modern
culture has made us increasingly isolated
• Psychodynamic: depression is due to unconsciously
displacing anger towards your parent onto yourself
• Humanistic: depression is due to being inauthentic or by
being otherwise blocked in fulfilling your potential
The profession of psychology: Two
• Basic Psychology
• Applied Psychology
Differences Among Applied
Psychologists in Field of Mental
• Psychologists
– Clinical
– Counseling
– School
• Psychotherapists
• Psychoanalysts
• Psychiatrists
Critical Thinking
How to be a critical thinker:
Ask Questions – be curious
Define Your Terms – frame your question in concrete, measurable
terms (operationalize)
Examine the Evidence – ask what evidence supports and refutes your
hypothesis, conduct research or read about others who have tested your
hypothesis, take into account the quality of the research
Analyze Assumptions and Biases – what assumptions might you be
making or what biases do you have that narrows your view: acknowledge
these and force yourself to expand your view
Avoid Emotional Reasoning – try to take your emotions out of your
thinking (i.e., if you feel passionately that your view is correct it may cloud
your judgment)
Don’t Oversimplify – don’t generalize from a single (or a few) cases or
Consider Other Interpretations – force yourself to consider and test
other explanations/hypotheses that are contrary to your own, but would
also explain your observations
Tolerate Uncertainty – avoid drawing firm conclusions unless others
have replicated your findings
Name that Violation
• Amelia has moved to a new city and, after a few weeks of settling in,
has started to date. Her first three dates, with Mort, Mike, and Merv,
are all disappointing. “This place has no interesting men,” she tells
herself glumly. “I’ll never meet anyone I like.”
• Bonnie believes creatures from outer space have been visiting Earth
for thousands of years. “Look at those ancient structures and
designs that scientists can’t explain,” she says. A friend calls her
belief nonsense. “You can’t prove that extraterrestrials don’t exist,”
replies Bonnie indignantly.
• Susan is opposed to a proposed law that would forbid discrimination
against homosexuals in housing and employment. “Every gay
person I’ve met is unhappy and disturbed,” she says, “and I wouldn’t
want to have to live near one.”
Scientific Method
• Careful Observation
– Define variables in operational terms
– Variable: anything that varies (weight, temperature,
ratings on a stress survey)
• Measurement
– Variables have to be measured so that statistical tests
can be used
• Hypothesis Formation
– Hypotheses are stated in such a way that they can be
disproven (principal of falsifiability)
• Experimentation
• Evaluation
Non-Experimental Versus
Experimental Research
What’s the Difference?
• Experimental and non-experimental research
are distinguished by the degree of control that
the researcher has over the subjects and
conditions in the study.
• In non-experimental research, there is often
careful observation and measurement, but in
experimental research there is also random
assignment and manipulation of a variable.
• The increased control in experimental research
allows you to infer causal relationships between
Non-Experimental Research:
Methods for Gathering Information
• Case Studies
• Observational Studies*
– Naturalistic
– Laboratory
• Psychological tests*
• Surveys*
* Can also be used in experiments
Non-Experimental Research:
Methods for Examining Information
• Descriptive Statistics
• Correlation = strength of a relationship
between two variables
– Positive vs. Negative Correlations = nature of
– Coefficient of Correlation = strength of
Correlation Scatterplots
Experimental Research
• In experimental research, you manipulate
one or more (independent) variables and
observe the effect of this manipulation on
one or more other (dependent) variables,
while controlling for the influence of other
(extraneous) variables. In this way, you
can conclude that it was the effect of your
independent variable that CAUSED the
observed change in your dependent
Experimental Research
• Independent and dependent variables
• Experimental and control conditions
– Random assignment
– Placebo conditions (single-blind)
– Control for experimenter effects (double-blind)
• “Quasi-Experimental” Research
Evaluating the findings: Statistics
• Descriptive Statistics
– Measures of central tendency (mean, median,
– Measures of variability (standard deviation,
• Inferential Statistics
• Meta-analysis
How do we become who we are?
Conflicts &
Drive for SelfActualization
• Personality: the distinctive pattern of
behavior, mannerisms, thoughts, and
emotions that characterizes an individual
over time
• Someone’s personality is comprised of
various traits
• Traits: habitual ways of behaving, thinking,
and feeling (e.g., confident, pessimistic)
Psychodynamic Theories
• Emphasis on unconscious intrapsychic
• Belief in the importance of early childhood
• Belief that development occurs in fixed stages
• Focus on fantasies and symbolic meanings of
• Reliance on subjective rather than objective
methods of assessment
Psychoanalytic Theory
(Sigmund Freud)
The Structure of Personality
• Id: Operates according to
the pleasure principle
– Primitive and unconscious
part of personality
• Ego: Operates according
to the reality principle
– Mediates between id and
• Superego: Moral ideals
and conscience
Defense Mechanisms
• Repression: Threatening idea is blocked from
• Projection: Unacceptable feelings are attributed to
someone else
• Displacement: Directing emotions toward objects or
people that aren’t the real target
• Reaction Formation: A feeling that produces anxiety is
transformed into its opposite.
• Sublimation: Channeling unacceptable feelings or
impulses in a socially acceptable way.
• Regression: A person reverts to a previous phase of
psychological development.
• Denial: A person refuses to admit that something is
Which defense mechanism?
George feels that his younger son, Gary, is unattractive and not very
smart. He accuses his wife of picking on Gary and favoring their other son.
Many people who were interred in concentration camps were unable to
recall events that happened in the camp during their internment.
Mark behaves like a stereotypical “he-man,” but he is actually anxious and
insecure about his gender identity. __________________
Trixie was homesick and anxious when she moved into the dormitory and
started her first year in college. She began to sleep with her old teddy bear
again because it made her feel better. __________________
Patricia has a lot of anger at the way her verbally and physically abusive
father treated her during her childhood. She has never confronted him about
this. However, she has written a best-selling novel in which parent-child conflict
is a major theme. ___________________
Most people who know Jonathan know that he is gay. However, his
mother stopped speaking to her best friend because the friend told her that
“parents should recognize and accept homosexuality in their children.”
Michael is probably the biggest gossip in the office, but he frequently
accuses others of talking too much and spreading rumors. _______________
Psychosexual Stages of
Oral: birth – 1 yr
Anal: 2-3
Phallic (oedipal): 3-5/6
Latency: 5/6-puberty
Genital: puberty-adulthood
Other Psychodynamic Theories
• Jungian: collective unconscious
• Object Relations: attachment
• Other Neo-Freudians:
– Emphasis on ego development
– Development throughout the lifespan
– Role of other relationships
Humanistic View
• Abraham Maslow: personality gradually
develops towards self-actualization
• Carl Rogers: our inner experience of ourselves
may differ from what we show others
• Rollo May (existentialist): in confronting issues
such as death and searching for the meaning of
life, we may discover inner resources of strength
or be overcome by fear/anxiety, which is
reflected in our personality as it evolves over our
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Trait Theory
Extroversion vs. Introversion (53%)
Neuroticism vs. Emotional Stability (41%)
Agreeableness vs. Antagonism (41%)
Conscientiousness vs. Impulsiveness
• Openness to experience vs. resistance to
new experience (61%)
Nature vs. Nurture
The role of genetics versus learning
experiences and cultural influences on
personality development
Nature vs. Nurture: Nature
• Infant Temperament
• Heritability Research
– Adoption studies
– Twin studies
– Personality = 50% heritability
Nature vs. Nurture: Nurture
• Learning Perspective (Behaviorism)
– Personality consists of habits that have been shaped
by the environment through classical and operant
• Social Learning
– Unlike behaviorism, social learning allows for
observational learning
– Social learning also involves the notion of reciprocal
• Parent and Peer Influences
• Cultural Influences
– Individualist cultures
– Collectivist cultures
John B. Watson - Behaviorist
Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and
my own specified world to bring them up in and
I'll guarantee to take any one at random and
train him to become any type of specialist I might
select – doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief
and, yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless
of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities,
vocations, and race of his ancestors. I am going
beyond my facts and I admit it, but so have the
advocates of the contrary and they have been
doing it for many thousands of years.(1930)
Culturally Informed Personality
Individualistic Cultures:
• “I” identity
• Uniqueness valued
• Dependency is negative
• Promotion of individual
• Valued traits:
assertiveness, strength,
Collectivistic Cultures:
• “We” identity
• Conformity valued
• Co-dependency positive
• Promotion of group needs
valued (promotion of
individual needs is
• Valued traits: honesty,
generosity, sensitivity
How do we become who we are?
Conflicts &
Drive for SelfActualization
Developmental Psychology
Human Development
Developmental psychology focuses on:
• physiological and cognitive changes
across the life span
• socialization (the process by which
children learn the attitudes and behaviors
expected of them by society)
Infant Development
• Reflexes
– Rooting
– Sucking
– Swallowing
– Moro “startle”
– Babinski
– Grasp
– Stepping
Infant Development
• Attachment (Harlow research)
– Contact comfort
• Attachment (Ainsworth research)
– Securely attached
– Insecurely attached/avoidant
– Insecurely attached/anxious or ambivalent
Childhood: Cognitive
• Language Development
“Baby Talk”: 6-12 mos.
Object Naming: 1 yr.
Telegraphic Speech: 18-24 mos.
Rapid Acquisition of Words: 1-6 yrs.
• Language Acquisition Device: an innate mental
module that allows young children to develop
language if they are exposed to an adequate
sampling of conversation during a critical
period in their development.
Cognitive Development:
Piaget’s Theory
• Cognitive development consists of mental
adaptations to new observations & experiences.
• Adaptation takes two forms:
– Assimilation: Absorbing new information into existing
cognitive structures.
– Accommodation: Modifying existing cognitive
structures in response to experience and new
Piaget’s Stages of Development
• Sensorimotor (birth-2 years)
– Object permanence
• Preoperational (ages 2-7)
– Symbolic thought
– Egocentric
• Concrete Operational (ages 7-12)
– Conservation
– Reversible operations
• Formal Operational (age 12-adulthood)
– Abstract reasoning
Developmental Influences
• Physiological changes
– Puberty & Timing of Puberty
– Brain Development
• Identity formation and individuation
Acquiring temporal perspective
Acquiring self-certainty
Role experimentation
Sexual polarization
Questions of authority
Ideological commitment
Erikson’s 8 Stages of Lifespan
• Trust vs. Mistrust
– Infancy (0-1 year)
• Autonomy vs. Shame and doubt
– Toddler (1-2 years)
• Initiative vs. Guilt
– Preschool (3-5 years)
• Industry vs. Inferiority
– Elementary School (6-12 years)
• Identity vs. Role confusion
– Adolescence (13-19 years)
• Intimacy vs. Isolation
– Young adulthood (20-40 years)
• Generativity vs. Stagnation
– Middle adulthood (40-65 years)
• Integrity vs. Despair
– Late adulthood (65 and older)
Cognitive Functioning Throughout
Physiological Psychology
Nervous System Organization
Autonomic NS: Sympathetic &
Parasympathetic Divisions
What part of the nervous system is
responsible when….?
1. You see someone with a mask come up to you
from behind, you feel a sharp object against
your side, and you hear “give me your money”.
2. You think about your options.
3. You try some of your karate moves and strike
with an elbow to the neck and a kick to the
4. You notice that your heart is racing and you’re
sweating profusely.
5. Later, once you’re safe at home, you notice
that you are salivating quite a bit and you are
starting to get hungry.
Communication in the NS
• Neurons
• Glia
The Structure of the Neuron
• Dendrite: Branches that
receive signals and
transmit to cell body
• Cell Body: Controls cell
metabolism and
determines firing
• Axon: Carries impulses
away from cell body
• Myelin Sheath: Fatty
How Neurons Communicate
• Synapse: Site where a nerve impulse is
transmitted from one neuron to another;
includes the axon terminal, synaptic cleft,
and receptor sites on receiving cell.
• Neurotransmitter: Chemical substance that
is released by transmitting neuron at the
synapse and alters the activity of the
receiving neuron.
• If action potential in the cell
body is reached, electrical
impulse is sent down axon
• When signal reaches axon
terminal, vesicles release
neurotransmitters into
synaptic cleft
• NT’s bind to receptor site on
receiving neuron
• Electrical state of receiving
neuron changes, becoming
more (or less) likely to fire,
depending on whether the
NT is excitatory or inhibitory
The Discovery of Neurotransmitters
Major Neurotransmitters
Acetylcholine (ACh)
Gamma amino butryic acid (GABA)
Other Chemical Messengers
• Hormones: Chemical substances, primarily produced in
the endocrine glands, which are released in the
bloodstream and carried to various organs and cells.
Important Hormones
• Endorphins: Chemical substances in the
nervous system that are similar in structure and
action to opiates; they are involved in pain
reduction, pleasure, and memory, and are
known technically as endogenous opioid
Important Hormones
• Melatonin > Sleep
• Adrenal Hormones
– Cortisol > Boosts energy, reduces inflammation
– Adrenaline (Epinephrine) & Noradrenaline
(Norepinephrine) > Increase arousal and improve
• Sex Hormones
– Androgens (e.g., testosterone) > Masculinizing
– Estrogens > Feminizing
Thalamus and Hypothalamus
• Thalamus: Relays sensory messages
to the cerebral cortex.
• Hypothalamus: Involved in emotions
and drives vital to survival (e.g., fear,
hunger, thirst, and reproduction); it
regulates the autonomic nervous
• Pituitary Gland: Small endocrine gland
at the base of the brain, which
releases many hormones and
regulates other endocrine glands.
The Limbic System
• Limbic System: A group of
brain areas involved in
emotional reactions and
motivated behavior.
– Amygdala: Involved in the
arousal and regulation of
emotion and the initial
emotional response to
sensory information.
– Hippocampus: Involved in
the storage of new
information in memory.
The Case of H.M.
• Suffered from
epilepsy, had most of
his hippocampus and
amygdala surgically
• Subsequently
suffered severe
anterograde amnesia.
• Died in 2008 at age
The Frontal Lobe
• Involved in motor function,
problem solving,
spontaneity, memory,
language, initiation,
judgment, impulse control,
and social and sexual
• The Case of Phineas Gage
• Pre-motor cortex &
Prefrontal cortex
• Consciousness – awareness of oneself
and one’s environment
• Changes in consciousness
– sleeping & dreaming
– daydreaming & mindlessness
– hypnosis & relaxation
– drug-induced
Biological Rhythms
• Regular physiological fluctuations
• Circadian rhythms: biological rhythms
occurring approximately every 24 hours
– Suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN)
– Melatonin
– Internal desynchronization
Typical circadian rhythms
The Importance of Sleep
• Most people need 7-8 hours of sleep per
24 hour period to function optimally
• Effects of short-term sleep deprivation:
difficulty maintaining attention, loss of
creativity/mental sharpness, irritability
• Effects of longer-term sleep deprivation:
serious impairment in cognitive and
physical functioning, hallucinations and
Improving Your Sleep
Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and other stimulants before bed
Don’t go to bed when you are full or hungry
Develop a nightly ritual, particularly one that is relaxing
Engage in regular aerobic exercise, but not late at night
Take a warm bath 90 minutes before bed
Avoid emotional stressors (e.g., balancing check book)
right before bed
Limit activities in your sleeping area
Avoid alcohol
Designate a regular bedtime and waking time
Minimize light and noises
Sleep Stages: nREM sleep
• Stage 1: drifting off to sleep
– Hypnic myoclonia
– Hypnagogic hallucinations
• Stage 2: heart rate slows,
body temp drops, muscles
tighten and relax
• Stage 3 & 4: slow (delta)
wave sleep
– Person is deeply asleep and
will be groggy if awoken
– Associated with restoring
energy, muscle/bone growth
and repair, and strengthening
of the immune system
Sleep Stages: REM sleep
• After moving through stages 1-4 (45 min), you
move back up from stages 4-2 (45 min) and
enter REM sleep
• REM = Rapid Eye Movement
– “paradoxical” sleep
– Brain waves similar to waking state (vivid dreaming)
– Body is “paralyzed”
• Function is unknown
– REM rebound
• Over the course of a period of sleep, REM sleep
time increases and slow wave sleep decreases
Sleep Disorders
• Dyssomnias: associated with sleep
deprivation or problematic sleep onset
– Insomnia
– Sleep apnea
– Narcolepsy
Sleep Disorders
• Parasomnias: behavioral or physiological
abnormalities during sleep
– Sleepwalking Disorder (Stage 4)
– Night terror Disorder (Stage 4)
– Nightmare Disorder (REM)
– REM Behavior Disorder (REM)
Why Do We Dream?
Psychoanalytic View
Problem-Focused Approach
Reverse Learning (“Mental Housekeeping”)
Activation-Synthesis Theory
Cognitive View
Freud on Dream Symbolism
“Rooms in dreams are usually women; if the various ways
in and out of them are represented, this interpretation is
scarcely open to doubt….We find an interesting link with
the sexual researches of childhood when a dreamer
dreams of two rooms which were originally one, or when
he sees a familiar room divided into two in the dream, or
vice versa. In childhood the female genitals and the anus
are regarded as a single area – the ‘bottom’….Steps,
ladders, or staircases, or, as the case may be, walking
up or down them, are representations of the sexual act.”
From The Interpretation of Dreams,
Sigmund Freud
Hypnosis: What We Know
• Responsiveness to hypnosis depends more on the
person being hypnotized than the skill of the hypnotist
• Hypnotized people cannot be forced to do things against
their will
• Tasks performed under hypnosis can also be performed
by properly motivated people not under hypnosis
• Hypnosis does not improve accuracy of memory or
produce re-experiences of past events
• Hypnosis can be used to improve pain tolerance, induce
relaxation, and help people change habitual behaviors
Theories of Hypnosis
• Dissociation Theories
– A split in consciousness in which one part of the mind
operates independently from the rest of the
– One part of the mind responds to the suggestions
while the other functions as a hidden observer,
watching but not participating
• Socio-Cognitive Theories
– Effect results from an interaction between the social
influence of the hypnotist and the abilities, beliefs,
and expectations of the subject.
– The person is basically playing a role in response of
the social demands of the hypnotist.
Psychoactive Drugs
• Substances that alter perception, mood,
thinking, memory, or behavior by changing the
body’s biochemistry (typically by acting on
• Use of psychoactive substances has occurred
throughout time and across species
• Drugs are classified according to their effects on
the CNS and how they impact behavior and
Drug Classifications
• Stimulants (e.g., cocaine, amphetamine,
nicotine, caffeine): speed up CNS activity
• Depressants (e.g., alcohol, barbiturates,
benzodiazepines): slow down CNS activity
• Opiates (e.g., opium, heroin, morphine): mimic
endogenous opioids
• Psychedelics (e.g., LSD, mescaline, psilocybin):
disrupt normal thought processes
• Other drugs (e.g., marijuana, Ecstasy): affect the
CNS in a variety of ways
Psychology of Drug Effects
• Physical factors: body weight, metabolism,
physical tolerance
• “Mental set” or expectations about the
drug’s effects
• Past experience with the drug
• Mood and Environmental setting
• Culture
Sensation and Perception
Sensation and Perception
• Sensation: The detection of physical
energy emitted or reflected by physical
objects; it occurs when energy in the
external environment or the body
stimulates receptors in the sense organs.
• Perception: The process by which the
brain organizes and interprets sensory
The Riddle of Separate
• Sense Receptors: Specialized neurons
that convert physical energy from the
environment or the body into electrical
energy that can be transmitted as nerve
impulses to the brain.
• Doctrine of Specific Nerve Energies:
Different sensory modalities exist
because signals received by the sense
organs stimulate different nerve
pathways leading to different areas of
the brain.
• "Colour is the
keyboard, the eyes
are the harmonies, the
soul is the piano with
many strings. The
artist is the hand that
plays, touching one
key or another, to
cause vibrations in the
soul."-W. Kandinsky
Measuring the Senses
• Absolute Threshold
– The smallest quantity of physical energy that can be
reliably detected by an observer
• Difference Threshold
– The smallest difference in stimulation that can be
reliably detected by an observer when two stimuli are
compared; also called Just Noticeable Difference
• Signal-Detection Theory
– Holds that responses in a detection task depend on a
sensory process and a decision process. Responses
may vary with a person’s motivation, alertness, and
Absolute Thresholds
A single candle flame from 30 miles on a clear night
The tick of a watch from 20 feet in total quiet
One drop of perfume in a 6-room apartment
The wing of a bee on the cheek, dropped from 1 cm
One teaspoon of sugar in 2 gallons of water
Sensory Adaptation
• The reduction or disappearance of
sensory responsiveness that occurs when
stimulation is unchanging or repetitious.
What We See
• Hue: The dimension of visual experience specified
by color names and related to the wavelength of
• Brightness: Lightness and luminance; the dimension
of visual experience related to the amount of light
emitted from or reflected by an object.
• Saturation: Vividness or purity of color; the
dimension of visual experience related to the
complexity of light waves.
Structures of the Human
Structures of the Retina
Did You Know?
• Diurnal animals (those active during the day), like birds
and fish, have mostly cones on their retinas. This lets
them see colors very well during daylight, but gives them
very poor vision at night.
• Nocturnal animals, like rats and bats, have mostly rods
on their retinas. They cannot see color, but can see well
at night.
• Herbivores and prey animals have their eyes set on the
side of their head for a fuller range of vision. Carnivores
have eyes closer together for better depth perception.
• Cats have a reflective surface on the back of their eye,
which gives them “eye shine” at night and also allows
them to see very well at night since light has two
chances to be picked up by their visual receptors (once
going into they eye, and once as it is reflected back out)
Trichromatic Theory
• T. Young (1802) & H. von Helmholtz (1852)
both proposed that the eye detects 3 primary
colors (red, blue, & green)
• All other colors can be derived by combining the
activity of these three types of cones
Opponent-Process Theory
• At the level of the ganglion cells in the
retina and in visual centers of the brain,
opponent process cells selectively fire to
either short or long wavelengths (and are
inhibited by the opposing wavelength).
• This inhibition is temporarily reversed with
a brief firing when the color is removed
(explaining negative afterimages)
Visual Perception
How we Perceive Form
• Gestalt principles describe the brain’s
organization of sensory building blocks
into meaningful units and patterns.
Which is more memorable?
Depth and Distance Perception
• Binocular Cues: Visual cues to depth or distance
that require the use of both eyes.
– Convergence: Turning inward of the eyes, which
occurs when they focus on a nearby object
– Retinal Disparity: The slight difference in lateral
separation between two objects as seen by the left
eye and the right eye.
• Monocular Cues: Visual cues to depth or
distance that can be used by one eye alone.
What We Hear
• Loudness: The dimension of auditory
experience related to the intensity of a
pressure wave.
• Pitch: The dimension of auditory
experience related to the frequency of a
pressure wave.
• Timbre: The distinguishing quality of
sound; the dimension of auditory
experience related to the complexity of the
pressure wave.
How we Hear
Auditory Perception
• Gestalt Principles Apply
• Distance Perception
• Location Perception
Other Senses
• Papillae: Knoblike elevations on the tongue,
containing the taste buds (Singular: papilla).
• Taste buds: Nests of taste-receptor cells.
Smell & Taste Perception
• Red bars = subjects
could smell
• Blue bars = subjects
could not smell
Smell: The Sense of Scents
• Airborne chemical molecules enter the nose and
circulate through the nasal cavity.
• Receptors on the roof of the nasal cavity detect
these molecules.
Senses of the Skin
• The skin senses include:
– Touch
– Warmth
– Cold
– Pain
– Various others (itch and tickle)
Gate-Control Theory of Pain
• Experience of pain
depends (in part) on
whether the pain
impulse gets past
neurological “gate” in
the spinal cord and
thus reaches the
Neuromatrix Theory of Pain
• Theory that the matrix
of neurons in the
brain is capable of
generating pain (and
other sensations) in
the absence of
signals from sensory
Internal Senses
• Kinesthesis: The sense of body position
and movement of body parts; also called
• Equilibrium: The sense of balance.
Thought Processes & Biases
The Elements of Cognition
• Concept: Mental category
that groups objects,
relations, activities,
abstractions, or qualities
having common properties.
– Formal concepts
– Natural concepts
– Prototypes
• Proposition: A unit of
meaning that is made up of
concepts and expresses a
single idea.
• Mental Image:
Representation that mirrors
or resembles the thing it
• Cognitive Schema: An
integrated mental
network of knowledge,
beliefs, and expectations
concerning a particular
topic or aspect of the
Prototype: Furniture
1 chair
1 sofa
3 couch
3 table
5 easy chair
6 dresser
6 rocking chair
8 coffee table
9 rocker
10 love seat
11 chest of drawers
12 desk
13 bed
22 bookcase
27 cabinet
29 bench
31 lamp
32 stool
35 piano
41 mirror
42 tv
44 shelf
45 rug
46 pillow
47 wastebasket
49 sewing machine
50 stove
54 refrigerator
60 telephone
I usually eat cereal for breakfast.
On Sundays, I like to make pancakes,
waffles, or eggs and biscuits.
Other people eat donuts, bagels, or
leftovers for breakfast.
Is derived from the notion of
“breaking fast”.
Means first meal of the day.
Is the most important meal
of the day.
I usually make breakfast
for myself and my kids.
Breakfast is not my favorite
Cognitive Schemas
• Framework that helps us organize and
interpret information
• Help us take shortcuts
• Also cause us to overlook relevant
How Conscious is Thought?
• Subconscious Processes: Mental
processes occurring outside of conscious
awareness but accessible to
consciousness when necessary.
• Nonconscious Processes: Mental
processes occurring outside of and not
available to conscious awareness.
Can you make a sentence from each?
01 him was worried she always
02 from are Florida oranges temperature
03 ball the throw toss silently
04 shoes give replace old the
05 he observes occasionally people watches
06 be will sweat lonely they
07 sky the seamless gray is
08 should now withdraw forgetful we
09 us bingo sing play let
10 sunlight makes temperature wrinkle raisins
From Malcolm Gladwell's Blink: The Power of Thinking
Without Thinking, pp 52 - 55
Now, Answer This Question:
How quickly would you walk down
the hall, if I excused you from
class right now?
Reasoning Rationally
• Formal Reasoning: Algorithms and Logic
• Informal Reasoning: Heuristics and
Dialectical Thinking (Reflective Judgment)
Formal Logic
• Algorithm
• Deductive Reasoning:
A tool of formal logic in which a conclusion
necessarily follows from a set of observations or
propositions (premises).
Deductive Reasoning Exercise
• If a person gets athlete’s foot, then the
person’s toes will fall off.
• What if the next statement is:
Bill has athlete’s foot.
Bill does not have athlete’s foot.
Bill’s toes fell off.
Bill’s toes did not fall off.
Formal Logic
• Inductive Reasoning:
A tool of formal logic in which a conclusion
probably follows from a set of observations or
propositions or premises, but could be false.
Inductive Reasoning Example
• Can you supply the missing number and
the rule for the examples below?
– 5 9 13 ? 21
– 1 3 4 7 11 ?
Deductive Reasoning: A top-down
Inductive Reasoning: A bottom-up
Inductive or Deductive Reasoning?
• Jack: I've noticed previously that every
time I kick a ball up, it comes back down,
so I guess this next time when I kick it up,
it will come back down, too.
• Jill: That's Newton's Law. Everything that
goes up must come down. And so, if you
kick the ball up, it must come down.
Informal Reasoning
• Heuristic:
– A rule of thumb that suggests a course of action or
guides problem solving but does not guarantee an
optimal solution.
• Dialectical Reasoning:
– A process in which opposing
facts or ideas are weighed and
compared, with a view to
determining the best solution
or resolving differences.
3 Stages of Dialectical Reasoning
• Thesis: statement of an idea, view, or
• Antithesis: statement of an alternative
(often contradictory) view
• Synthesis: integration of the best aspects
of previous ideas/views
Question: Why are human beings
• Thesis Statement and Arguments: Violent
behavior develops in people as they experience
and learn from the world around them.
• Antithesis Statement and Arguments:
Aggression and violence are not learned, they
are basic human instincts.
• Synthesis: People are born with the capacity for
violence (this tendency towards violence may
vary across individuals), but learning
experiences serve to either elicit or suppress this
innate drive
Reflective Judgment
• Pre-reflective Judgment
– “I was brought up to believe….”
– “I know what I’ve seen….”
• Quasi-reflective Judgment
– “Knowledge is purely subjective.”
– “You have your opinion and I have mine.”
• Reflective Judgment
– “Based on the evidence, I believe…”
– “Here are the reasons for my conclusions…”
Barriers to Reasoning
The Nine-Dot Problem: The
Difficulty in Using a Mental Set
• Connect all 9 dots
• Use only 4 lines
• Do not lift your pencil
from the page after
you begin drawing
Barriers to Reasoning Rationally
• Biases due to Mental Sets
• Exaggerating the Improbable (The Availability
• Representativeness Heuristic
• Anchoring Effect
• Avoiding Loss (Risk Aversion)
• The Confirmation Bias
• The Hindsight Bias
chapter 7
The confirmation bias
The tendency to pay attention only to information that
confirms one’s own beliefs
Test this rule: If a card has a
vowel on one side, it has an
even number on the other
Which 2 cards to turn over?
1. Cards 6 and 7
2. Cards J and 6
3. Cards E and 7
4. Cards E and 6
Cognitive Dissonance
When are we most motivated to
reduce dissonance?
• When justifying a choice or decision we
made freely
• When justifying the effort put into a
choice or decision
• When justifying a behavior that conflicts
with our self-view
Psychometric Approach
• g factor
• Binet-Simon Intelligence Test
– Mental age/chronological age x 100 = IQ
• Stanford-Binet
– Standardized scores
• Wechsler Intelligence Scales (WAIS,
• Problems/limitations
IQ: Standardized Scores
WAIS Verbal Subtests
Information: Similar to "Trivial Pursuit," this subtest measures fund of factual
information. It is strongly influenced by culture. An American education and
intact long-term memory will contribute to a higher score. Sample question
(not really on the tests): "What is the capital of France?"
Comprehension: This subtest measures understanding of social conventions
and common sense. It is also culturally loaded. Sample question: "What is the
thing to do if you find an injured person laying on the sidewalk?"
Digit Span: Requires the repetition of number strings forward and backwards.
Measures concentration, attention, and immediate memory. Lower scores are
obtained by persons with an attention deficit or anxiety.
Similarities: This subtest measures verbal abstract reasoning and
conceptualization abilities. The individual is asked how two things are alike.
Sample question: "How are a snake and an alligator alike?"
Vocabulary: This test measures receptive and expressive vocabulary. It is
the best overall measure of general intelligence (assuming the test-taker's
native language is English). Sample question: "What is the meaning of the
word 'articulate'?"
Arithmetic: Consists of mathematical word problems which are performed
mentally. Measures attention, concentration, and numeric reasoning. Sample
question: "John bought three books for five dollars each, and paid ten percent
sales tax. How much did he pay all together?"
Block Design Task
For legal/ethical reasons the actual
WAIS Block Design Task cannot
be shown, so this is a similar
Block Design task
All sides are unique of all the cubes
Story Completion Example
Story Completion Example Solved
Predictors of Intelligence
• Genes
• Environment
– Prenatal care
– Nutrition
– Exposure to toxins
– Stress
– Environmental enrichment
The War of the Ghosts.
• One night two young men from Egulac went down to the river to hunt
seals, and while they were it became foggy and calm. Then they heard
war cries and they thought; 'Maybe this is a war-party.' They escaped
to the shore, and hid behind a log. Now canoes came up, and they
heard the noise of paddles and saw one canoe coming up to them.
There were five men in the canoe and they said; 'What do you think?
We wish to take you along. We are going up the river to make war on
the people.‘ One of the young men said; 'I have no arrows.‘ 'Arrows
are in the canoe,' they said. 'I will not go along. I might be killed. My
relatives do not know where I have gone. But you,' he said, turning to
the other, 'May go with them.‘ So one of the young men went, but the
other returned home. And the warriors went on up the river to a town
on the other side of Kalama. The people came down to the water and
began to fight, and many were killed. But presently, one of the young
men heard one of the warriors say; 'Quick let us go home. That Indian
has been hit.‘ Now he thought; 'Oh, they are ghosts.' He did not feel
sick, but he had been shot. So the canoes went back to Egulac, and
the young man went back to his house and made a fire. And he told
everybody and said; 'Behold, I accompanied the ghosts, and we went
to fight. Many of our fellows were killed and many of those that
attacked us were killed. They said I was hit, but I did not feel sick.‘ He
told it all, and then he became quiet. When the sun rose, he fell down.
Something black came out of his mouth. His face became contorted.
The people jumped up and cried. He was dead.
Two Indians were out fishing for seals in the Bay of
Manapan, when along came five other Indians in a war
canoe. They were going fighting. “Come with us” said the
five to the two. “I cannot come” was the answer of the
one, “for I have an old mother at home who is dependent
on me.” The other said he could not come because he
had no arms. “That is no difficulty” the others replied, “for
we have plenty in the canoe with us”; so he got into the
canoe and went with them. In a fight soon afterwards this
Indian received a mortal wound. Finding that his hour
was coming, he cried out that he was about to die.
“Nonsense” said one of the others “you will not die.” But
he did.
The Conditions of Confabulation
• Source amnesia: We recall information, but not the
source of the information. This can lead to source
misattribution and confabulation.
• Confabulation: Confusion of an event that happened to
someone else with one that happened to you, or a belief
that you remember something when it never actually
• Confabulation is most likely when:
you have thought about the event many times;
the image of the event contains many details;
the event is easy to imagine;
you focus on emotional reactions to the event rather than what
actually happened.
Flashbulb Memories
• Even flashbulb memories, emotionally
powerful memories that seem particularly
vivid, are often embellished or distorted
and tend to become less accurate over
Memory and the Power of
Eyewitness Recall
• The reconstructive nature of memory makes
memory vulnerable to suggestion.
• Eyewitness testimony is especially vulnerable to
error when:
– the suspects ethnicity differs from that of the witness;
– when leading questions are put to witnesses;
– when the witnesses are given misleading information.
Children’s Testimony
Measuring Memory
• Explicit Memory: Conscious, intentional
recollection of an event or of an item of
• Implicit Memory: Unconscious retention in
memory, as evidenced by the effect of a
previous experience or previously
encountered information on current
thoughts or actions.
Three-Box Model of Memory
Limits of Short-term Memory
• 7 + or – 2
• Chunking
Serial-Position Effect
• The tendency for
recall of first and last
items on a list to
surpass recall of
items in the middle of
the list.
Long-term Memory
• Procedural memories:
– Memories for performance of
actions or skills.
– “Knowing how”
• Declarative memories:
– Memories of facts, rules,
concepts, and events; includes
semantic and episodic memory.
– “Knowing that”
• Semantic memories:
– General knowledge, including
facts, rules, concepts, and
• Episodic memories:
– Personally experienced events
and the contexts in which they
Connectionist Model
How We Remember
• Effective Encoding
• Rehearsal
• Mnemonics
Ebbinghaus’ Forgetting Curve
• In order to remember
material well, we must
encode it accurately
in the first place.
• Some kinds of
information, such as
material in a college
course, require
effortful, as opposed
to automatic,
• Maintenance Rehearsal: Rote repetition of
material in order to maintain its availability
in memory.
• Elaborative Rehearsal: Association of new
information with already stored knowledge
and analysis of the new information to
make it memorable.
• Mnemonics: memory aids or tricks (are
usually verbal, but can take other forms
• Enhance retention by promoting
elaborative encoding and making material
• However, for ordinary memory tasks,
complex memory tricks are often
ineffective or even counterproductive.
Why We Forget
Cue-dependent Forgetting
Psychogenic Amnesia
• Decay Theory: The theory that information
in memory eventually disappears if it is not
accessed; it applies more to short-term
than to long-term memory.
• Retroactive Interference:
Forgetting that occurs
when recently learned
material interferes with
the ability to remember
similar material stored
• Proactive Interference:
Forgetting that occurs
when previously stored
material interferes with
the ability to remember
similar, more recently
learned material.
Cue-dependent Forgetting
• Cue-Dependent Forgetting: The inability to
retrieve information stored in memory
because of insufficient cues for recall.
• State-Dependent Memory: The tendency
to remember something when the
rememberer is in the same physical or
mental state as during the original learning
or experience.
• Learning: A relatively durable change in
behavior due to experience.
• Behaviorism: An approach to psychology
that emphasizes the study of observable
behavior and the role of the environment
as a determinant of behavior.
Classical Conditioning
Classical conditioning involves Reflexes
• A reflex is an observed high correlation between a
stimulus and a response that exists without benefit
of experience.
• A reflex is neither the stimulus nor the response
alone. It is the relation between the two.
US = Unconditioned stimulus
UR = Unconditioned response
US (air puff)  UR (eye blink)
US (tap on knee)  UR (knee jerk)
US (meat)  UR (salivation)
Pavlov’s Apparatus
New Reflexes From Old
• Classical Conditioning: The process by which a
previously neutral stimulus acquires the capacity
to elicit a response through association with a
stimulus that already elicits a similar or related
Conditioning Terms
• Unconditioned Stimulus:
– A stimulus that elicits a reflexive response in
the absence of learning.
• Conditioned Stimulus:
– An initially neutral stimulus that comes to elicit
a conditioned response after being associated
with an unconditioned stimulus.
Conditioning Terms
• Unconditioned Response:
– A reflexive response elicited by a stimulus in
the absence of learning.
• Conditioned Response:
– A response that is elicited by a conditioned
stimulus; it occurs after the conditioned
stimulus is associated with an unconditioned
• John has always disciplined his cat Smokey by
hitting a newspaper near her to make a loud
noise. Now, Smokey has begun to run and hide
when John opens the morning paper.
• At age 12, Ben began masturbating while
wearing his mother’s silk slip. Eventually, he
found himself becoming aroused whenever he
saw women’s undergarments or clothes made of
similar material.
• A neutral stimulus
that is consistently
followed by an
stimulus will become
a conditioned
• The weakening and
disappearance of a
learned response; in
classical conditioning,
it occurs when the
conditioned stimulus
is no longer paired
with the
Higher Order Conditioning
• A procedure in which a neutral stimulus
becomes a conditioned stimulus through
association with an already established
conditioned stimulus.
Generalization and Discrimination
• Stimulus Generalization:
– After conditioning, the tendency to respond to
a stimulus that resembles one involved in the
original conditioning.
• Stimulus Discrimination:
– The tendency to respond differently to two or
more similar stimuli.
Learning to Fear
• An 11-month old boy – named “Albert” – was conditioned
to fear a white laboratory rat
– Each time he reached for the rat, Watson made a loud clanging
noise right behind Albert
• Albert’s fear generalized to anything white and furry
– Including rabbits and Santa Claus
• In classical conditioning, the process of
pairing a conditioned stimulus with a
stimulus that elicits a response that is
incompatible with an unwanted
conditioned response.
Operant Conditioning
• Operant behavior is behavior that is
modifiable by its consequences
• Operant conditioning is the process by
which operant behavior is acquired or
• Operant behavior concerns complex, nonreflexive behavior
Thorndike’s Law of Effect
• Responses that are closely followed by
satisfaction will become firmly attached to the
situation and therefore more likely to reoccur
when the situation is repeated.
• Conversely, if the situation is followed by
discomfort, the connections to the situation will
become weaker and the response will be less
likely to occur when the situation is repeated.
• A = Talking to someone you are attracted to at a party
• B = You use a clever pick-up line
• C = You get a date
• …….You are more likely to use that line again in the
same (or similar) situations
• A = Talking to someone you are attracted to at a party
• B = You use a clever pick-up line
• C = You get slapped
• …….You are less likely to use that line again in the
same (or similar) situations
Skinner’s “Radical Behaviorism”
Reinforcement & Punishment
• Reinforcement: a type of consequence of
behavior that increases the probability of
behavior that produces it
• Punishment: a type of consequence of
behavior that decreases the probability of
behavior that produces it
Positive vs. Negative
• Positive (+): an operation (consequence)
where a stimulus, condition or event is
presented (added)
• Negative (-): an operation (consequence)
where a stimulus, condition or event is
removed (subtracted)
Increase in
Decrease in
Increase in
Decrease in
To “de-code” operant conditioning,
ask yourself:
1. What is the operant behavior?
2. Is it increasing (reinforcement) or
decreasing (punishment)?
3. Was something added to the
environment/organism after the behavior
(positive) or was something taken away
Operant Conditioning: Other
• You start seeing a tutor regularly for help with a class and ace the
next exam, so you decide to utilize tutoring for all your classes.
• Every time Billy whines at the store, his parents buy him a toy, so
Billy keeps making a fuss at the store.
• Every time Billy’s parents give in to his toy request, Billy stops
complaining, so they continue giving in to his demands.
• Whenever you “borrow” your roommate’s clothes, she yells at you
(which you hate), so you stop borrowing her clothes.
• You get caught speeding and have to pay $250 you were saving to
go on Spring Break. Now you really try to watch your speed
(especially on Abercorn).
• When Susan is caught talking in class, she is sent to the principal’s
office. Her teacher can’t understand why Susan keeps getting more
and more chatty despite the “punishment”
• When Andrew is caught talking in class, he is sent to the principal’s
office. His teacher is pleased that Andrew has been an angel ever
• Reinforcing successive approximations to
a target behavior
– Complex behaviors
– Behaviors not already in the person’s
behavioral repertoire
• The discontinuation of reinforcement
results in a decrease and eventual
elimination of the response
• Side effects of extinction:
– Extinction burst
– Increased variability of behavior
– Aggression
– Spontaneous recovery
Schedules of Reinforcement
• Rules that determine which responses will be
reinforced and which won’t be reinforced
• Ratio Schedules: Reinforcement determined by
the number of responses emitted
– Fixed Ratio (FR): The number of responses per
reinforcement is fixed. For example, every 10th
response produces a reinforcer (FR 10)
– Variable Ratio (VR): The number of responses per
reinforcement varies. For example, on average every
10th response (range: 5-15) produces a reinforcer
(VR 10).
Schedules of Reinforcement
• Interval Schedules: Reinforcement is determined
by the amount of time since the last reinforcer.
– Fixed Interval (FI): The time between reinforcers is
fixed. For example, the first response after a one
minute time period has elapsed is reinforced (FI 1’)
– Variable Interval (VI): The time between reinforcers
varies. For example, the first response after an
average interval of one minute (range: 30s-90s) is
reinforced (VI 1’).
Why are Schedules Important?
• When a response is reinforced intermittently
(variably), it is much more resistant to extinction.
– If you want a behavior to persist, use a variable
schedule of reinforcement
– But, be careful of accidentally reinforcing an
undesired behavior on a variable schedule (because
it will also persist)!
• Common examples of intermittent (variable)
– Temper Tantrums
– Superstitious Behaviors
– Gambling
Applied Behavior Analysis
• Applied practice of operant conditioning
• Most frequently used with autism and
other developmental disabilities
• However, operant principles can be used
with any behavior change efforts
– Performance management
– Programmed System of Instruction (PSI)
Social-Cognitive Theory
Latent Learning
Rats: one maze trial/day
One group found food every time (green line)
Second group never found food (blue line)
Third group found food on Day 11 (red line)
– Sudden change, day 12
• Learning isn’t the same as performance
Social-Cognitive Concepts
• Social-learning theory
– Observational learning
Bandura’s Aggression Research
Social & Cultural Influences
on Behavior
What social forces shape our
• Roles and Rules
• Social Influences on Beliefs
• Group Dynamics
– Behavior in groups
– Group identity
– Group conflicts and prejudice
Social Rules & Roles
The Obedience Study
• Stanley Milgram and coworkers investigated
whether people would follow orders, even when
the order violated their ethical standards.
• Experiment consisted of participants being
asked by an authority figure (an experimenter) to
shock another “participant” for learning errors
• Most people were far more obedient than
anyone expected.
– Every single participant complied with at least some
orders to shock another person
• Results are controversial and have generated
much research on violence and obedience.
Obedience Study Conclusions
• Behavior (obedience) was more strongly
controlled by situational factors, than individual
• Situational factors associated with less
– When the experimenter left the room
– When the experimenter was not perceived to be an
authority figure
– When 2 experimenters gave conflicting orders
– When the victim was in the same room
– When another participant was in the same room and
refused to shock
Stanford Prison Study
• Zimbardo conducted research with college
students to determine the effect of role
assignment on participants’ behavior.
• Students were assigned to be prisoners or
• Participants readily adopted their assigned roles
• Study was ended after 6 days due to severe
stress reactions experienced by some of the
Factors related to obedience
Allocating responsibility to the authority
Routinizing the task
Wanting to be polite
Becoming entrapped
– Entrapment: A gradual process in which
individuals escalate their commitment to a
course of action to justify their investment of
time, money, or effort.
Social Influences on Beliefs
• Attribution Theory:
– The theory that people are motivated to explain their own and
other peoples’ behavior by attributing causes of that behavior to
a situation or a disposition.
• Fundamental Attribution Error:
– The tendency, in explaining other people’s behavior,
to overestimate dispositional (e.g., personality) factors and
underestimate the influence of the situation.
– Just-world Hypothesis + FAE = Blaming the Victim
• Self-serving Bias:
– The tendency to use
dispositional attributions to
explain our successes and
situational attributions to
explain our failures
• Attitude:
– A relatively stable opinion containing beliefs
and emotional feelings about a topic.
• Familiarity Effect:
– The tendency of people to feel more positive
toward something because they’ve seen it
• Validity Effect:
– The tendency of people to believe that a
statement is true or valid simply because it
has been repeated many times.
Influencing Attitudes
Does advertising attempt to
influence attitudes?
Product Placement
Individuals in Groups
• Research study by Ashe: Subjects in a group were
asked to match line lengths.
• Confederates in the group picked the wrong line.
• Subjects went along with the wrong answer on 37% of
No, it’s
not hard!
• In close-knit groups, the tendency for all
members to think alike and suppress
disagreement for the sake of harmony.
• Historical examples
– Bay of Pigs
– Challenger & Columbia space shuttle
– War in Iraq?
Diffusion & Deindividuation
• Diffusion of Responsibility:
– In organized or anonymous groups, the tendency of
members to avoid taking responsibility for actions or
decisions because they assume that others will do so.
– Bystander apathy
• Kitty Genovese case
– Social loafing
• Deindividuation:
– In groups or crowds, the loss of
awareness of one’s own individuality.
Us Versus Them: Group
Group Identity
• Social Identity:
– The part of a person’s self-concept that is based on
identification with a nation, culture, or group or with
gender or other roles in society.
• Ethnic Identity:
– A person’s identification with a racial, religious, or
ethnic group.
• Ethnocentrism:
– The belief that one’s own ethnic group, nation, or
religion is superior to all others.
• Stereotype:
– A cognitive schema or a summary impression
of a group, in which a person believes that all
members of the group share a common trait
or traits (positive, negative, or neutral).
• Prejudice:
– A negative stereotype about a group,
combined with a strong dislike or hatred for
members of that group.
Group Conflicts and Prejudice
Robbers’ Cave
• Boys were randomly
separated into two
– “Rattlers” and “Eagles”
• Competitions fostered
hostility between the
• Experimenters contrived
situations requiring
cooperation for success.
• Cross-group friendships
Reducing Prejudice and Conflict
• Groups must have equal legal status, economic
opportunities, and power.
• Authorities and community institutions must
endorse egalitarian norms and provide moral
support and legitimacy for both sides.
• Both sides must have opportunities to work and
socialize together, formally and informally.
• Both sides must cooperate, working together for
a common goal.
Psychological Disorders
What is Abnormal Behavior?
Statistical infrequency
Violation of social norms
Subjective distress
Disability or dysfunction
What is Mental Illness/Psychological
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders, 4th Edition, Revised (DSM-IV-TR):
– A syndrome or pattern
– Associated with distress or disability for the
– That is not an expectable (culturally
sanctioned) response to a particular event
– And that is not merely a conflict between the
individual and society
Evolution of the DSM
• Original DSM published in 1952, was
relatively brief, focused on psychoses and
neuroses, and was psychodynamicallydriven
• Over time, the DSM (now in 4th revision)
has become lengthier, more descriptive
and atheoretical, and empirically-driven
• Reliability
• Validity
Assessment: Sources of
• Diagnostic/Clinical Interview
– Structured
– Unstructured
• Behavioral Observations
• Information from Other Sources
– Records
– Reports from others
• Test Results
– Objective tests
– Projective tests
Objective vs. Projective
Sample Test Items
• MMPI-2:
– It would be better if almost all laws were
thrown away (T-F)
– I frequently find myself worrying about
something (T-F)
• Rorschach Inkblot:
Of Person
Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety Disorders
• Generalized Anxiety Disorder:
– A continuous state of anxiety marked by feelings of
worry and dread, apprehension, difficulties in
concentration, and signs of motor tension.
• Panic Disorder:
– An anxiety disorder in which a person experiences
recurring panic attacks (feelings of impending doom
or death, accompanied by physiological symptoms
such as rapid breathing and dizziness).
– Agoraphobia: “fear of the marketplace”, can result
from (and exacerbate) panic disorder.
Anxiety Disorders
• Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):
– An anxiety disorder in which a person who has
experienced a traumatic or life-threatening event has
symptoms such as re-experiencing the trauma,
increased physiological arousal, and emotional
• Specific Phobia
– An irrational fear of a particular object, activity, or
situation that provokes an immediate anxiety
response, results in avoidance behavior, and causes
significant disruption in functioning.
Some Common (and not so
common) Phobias
Heights- Acrophobia
Flying- Aviophobia or Aviatophobia
Spaces, confined- Claustrophobia
Spiders- Arachnophobia
Needles- Aichmophobia or Belonephobia
Politicians- Politicophobia
Tests, taking- Testophobia
Anxiety Disorders
• Social Phobia:
– Characterized by an irrational and intense
fear that one’s behavior in a public situation
will be mocked or criticized by others, along
with avoidance of feared social situations
– Common triggers: public speaking, eating in
public, performing in public, informal social
Anxiety Disorders
• Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD):
– Obsessions: persistent and intrusive ideas, thoughts,
impulses, or images.
– Compulsions: repetitive and seemingly purposeful
behavior performed in response to uncontrollable
urges or according to a ritualistic or stereotyped set of
• Obsession: Student has urge to shout obscenities in a
quiet classroom.
• Compulsion: She feels compelled to screw and unscrew
the cap of a ballpoint pen five times each time she thinks
of an obscene word.
• Obsession: A man believes he might inadvertently
contaminate food as he cooks dinner for his family.
• Compulsion: On a daily basis, he sterilizes all cooking
utensils, scours every pot and pan, and wears rubber
gloves when handling any food.
Etiology of Anxiety Disorders
• Biological perspective
Genetic predisposition
Hyperactive amygdala
Highly sensitive respiratory alarm system (panic disorder)
Abnormality in the orbital cortex of the basal ganglia and the
“worry circuit” in the brain (OCD)
• Learning perspective
– Classical conditioning
– Operant conditioning
– Social learning
• Cognitive perspective
– Catastrophic thinking
– Mind reading (social phobia)
– Perfectionistic thinking (OCD)
Mood Disorders
Symptoms of Major Depression
DSM IV Requires 5 of these
within the past 2 weeks
Depressed mood
Reduced interest in almost all activities
Significant weight gain or loss, without dieting
Sleep disturbance (insomnia or too much sleep)
Change in motor activity (increase or decrease)
Fatigue or loss of energy
Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
Reduced ability to think or concentrate
Recurrent thoughts of death
Theories of Depression
• Biological explanations emphasize genetics and
brain chemistry.
• Social explanations emphasize the stressful
circumstances of people’s lives.
• Attachment/interpersonal explanations
emphasize problems with close relationships.
• Cognitive explanations emphasize particular
habits of thinking and ways of interpreting
• “Vulnerability-Stress” explanations draw on all
four explanations described above.
• Persistently elevated, expansive, or
irritable mood
– Inflated self-esteem (grandiosity)
– Decreased need for sleep
– Talkativeness
– Racing thoughts
– Distractibility
– Increased activity or psychomotor agitation
– Behavioral impulsivity
Bipolar Disorder
• Bipolar Disorder:
– A mood disorder in
which episodes of
depression and mania
(excessive euphoria)
– Bipolar subtypes
(I and II)
Positive and Negative
• Positive Symptoms: Cognitive, emotional, and
behavioral excesses
Bizarre Delusions
Incoherent Speech
Inappropriate/Disorganized Behaviors
• Negative Symptoms: Cognitive, emotional, and
behavioral deficits
Loss of Motivation
Emotional Flatness
Social Withdrawal
Slowed speech or no speech
Theories of Schizophrenia
• Genetic predispositions
• Neurotransmitter abnormalities
• Structural brain abnormalities
Genetic Vulnerability to
• The risk of developing schizophrenia (i.e.,
prevalence) in one’s lifetime increases as the
genetic relatedness with a diagnosed
schizophrenic increases.
Structural Abnormalities in Sz
MRI scans show that a
person with
Schizophrenia (left) is
more likely than a
healthy person (right)
to have enlarged
Case Examples
1. Barry has been feeling overwhelmed with feelings of sadness and
hopelessness for the past couple of months. He cannot think of any reason
for feeling this way, which also leaves him feeling frustrated and more
despondent. He has little appetite and has been having problems sleeping
and concentrating. He has stopped hanging out with his friends and spends
much of his time alone in his apartment. Although he is against suicide for
religious reasons, Barry is even beginning to understand why someone
might make that choice, as he is finding it increasingly hard to get through
each day.
2. Six months ago, Candace was sitting at her desk at work when, all of a
sudden, she started feeling really strange. Her ears seemed to be stuffed
with cotton and her vision was very dim. She was cold, had broken out in a
sweat, and felt extremely afraid for no good reason. Her heart was racing
and she immediately became convinced that she was dying. Candace went
for almost a month before she experienced another similar episode. Then,
they began occurring more frequently, particularly when she traveled or
found herself in an unfamiliar place. In the past few months, she has started
to avoid places in which she fears she may have an episode and won’t be
able to escape or get help. She rarely leaves her house except to go to
work and may end up losing her job due to her unwillingness to travel on
business. She has consulted her family physician and a cardiologist, but
neither has found a medical cause for her episodes.
Case Examples
3. Matthew’s family has been getting concerned about his odd behavior. He
has stopped going to his classes, often is found mumbling to himself or
avoiding others altogether, and has expressed fear that his landlord and his
neighbor are out to get him. He has started wearing many layers of clothes,
despite the warm weather. When asked about this, he vaguely explained
that “they told me I need to be prepared.”
4. Mary was always coming up with grand plans for making money, pouring
her time and vast amounts of energy into each idea (often spending 18-20
hour days on the project of the moment, with little time for sleep), none of
which lasted very long before she abandoned them. The latest scheme is to
buy a huge tract of land and build an expensive “dude” ranch where people
can come to learn how to train their horses, eat at a four-star restaurant, and
stay in luxury accommodations – all this in spite of the fact that Mary doesn’t
have the money to buy the land, knowledge of how to run a hotel, or have a
four-star chef handy. Indeed, she has already filed for bankruptcy and has
alienated her family due to outstanding debts, in relation to previous, similar
grand ideas.
5. Joe’s relatives are concerned that he worries too much. He worries about
little things going wrong, he worries about big things going wrong, and
sometimes it seems he worries because there’s nothing to worry about. He
worries until his neck is stiff and has a hard time winding down to go to sleep
at night.
Treatment and Psychotherapy
Pharmacotherapy: Mechanism of
• Anti-depressants: increase serotonin,
norepinephrine, and dopamine
• Anti-anxiety medications: either act on the
above neurotransmitters or increase
• Anti-psychotics: decrease dopamine
Psychodynamic Therapy
• Origins in Freud’s psychodynamic theory of personality
• Assumptions
– Our behavior is influenced by unconscious motives, drives, and
– Our ego employs defense mechanisms to help us cope with
these unconscious conflicts
– Early childhood experiences are central to our personality
development and later adult functioning
• Treatment
– Techniques used to examine unconscious material (free
association, dream analysis, examination of slips of the tongue)
– Psychoanalysis vs. time-limited psychodynamic therapy
• Treatment goal
– Increased insight into unconscious dynamics
Behavioral Therapy
• Origins in principles of learning
• Assumptions
– Problematic behaviors and symptoms have
developed as a result of classical conditioning,
operant conditioning, or social learning
• Treatment
– Classical conditioning interventions: systematic
desensitization (counter-conditioning and graduated
exposure), aversion therapy
– Operant conditioning interventions: self-management,
token economy
– Social learning interventions: skills training
Fear Hierarchy
Cognitive Therapy
• Grew out of socio-cognitive theory
• Assumptions
– Our cognitions (thoughts, beliefs, appraisals) play an
important role in determining how the environment
impacts us
– Maladaptive schemas can lead to cognitive
distortions, which affect emotions and behaviors
• Treatment
– Thought monitoring
– Cognitive restructuring
– Often combined with Behavior Therapy interventions
How cognitions might be changed:
• Patient: “I’ve had an awful day! My car wouldn’t start this
morning, and everything has gone wrong since. I don’t
think my luck will ever change.”
• Clinician: “Is it the case that everything has gone wrong,
or more like a few pretty bad things? Is it making things
better or worse, this belief that things are awful and won’t
change?” (RET – change via logical examination)
• Clinician: “What’s the evidence that your luck won’t
change? Is there any evidence your luck will change?
For example, have you had bad days in the past, and
then things have gotten a bit better later? How could we
put this belief to the test?” (CT – change via empirical
Humanistic Therapy
• Originated as alternative view to psychodynamic and
CBT models (positive psychology)
• Assumptions
– People (clients) are experts on their own experiences
– People are intrinsically motivated towards growth
– Increased self-awareness and self-acceptance can promote
– Self-discovery and self-acceptance can be facilitated via the
client-therapist relationship
• Therapy
– Person-Centered (Carl Rogers): Emphasis on therapeutic
– Gestalt/Experiential (Fritz Perls): Emphasis on increasing
awareness in the here-and-now
– Existential (Victor Frankl): Emphasis on helping the client
explore the “ultimate concerns” of life (e.g., death, isolation,
Family Systems Therapy
• Key Assumption
– Problems and solutions reside within the family
system as a whole, not with individual members of the
• Therapy
– Therapy sessions usually involve multiple family
– Many different types of family systems therapy exist,
but focus is generally on improving communications
among family members and realigning relationships
(e.g., getting parents to work together as a team)
Psychotherapy Overview
• Review of 475 psychotherapy outcome studies showed
70-80% improvement for those receiving therapy (M.
Smith et al., 1980)
• Cognitive-behavioral treatment has the most empirical
• However, treatment comparison research has not found
overwhelming support for the efficacy of one therapy
approach over others (except for specific disorders)
• Common factors seem to account for much of the
treatment gains in therapy (being listened to by a
supportive helping professional, being provided with
feedback, being seen in a professional setting, paying for
• Most therapists in the US identify themselves as
integrative/eclectic or cognitive-behavioral