Sunday, 29 April 2012

Taking a break from studying psychology....

So I'll make a change from writing on a paper and write all about what I've studied so far on this blog. Pretty boring stuff but the exam is on Friday...
The red bits are things that i had to look at my notes.

Biological psychology
It assumes human behavior is caused by genetics and the brain. Abnormal behavior is caused by the imbalance of chemicals in the brain or mutated genes. The human brain is basically an information processor. The application is the development of medical drugs. It uses lab experiments and therefore has low ecological validity. It is time consuming and expensive. It uses scientific methods and is fairly reliable. Deterministic. Nature. Nomothetic. Reductionist.

It is defined as:
statistical infrequency,
deviation from social norms,
deviation from ideal mental health,
unable to function adequately.
Abnormality is not a synonym for undesirability and should not be used as a reason for discrimination. Being statistically infrequent does not necessarily mean it is a problem (i.e. heroism). Cultural differences for what "norm" is should also be taken into consideration. Norm differs according to the time frame as well.

Bartlett suggests that memory is not a photographic copy of the external world but our interpretation of it and is an active process.
The first theory of how memorization works was devised by Atkinson and Shifferin and it is called the Multi Store Model. External stimuli enter into the sensory memory as visual or auditory information. There is numerous information coming into the sensory memory and if it isn't a useful or relevant info, it will instantly be forgotten. If that info is paid attention to, it will then be stored in the short term memory. This storage has a limited capacity of 7 pieces of info at a time. After rehearsal, it will be stored in the long term memory. If the info in the STM is not rehearsed, it will be forgotten. The LTM on the other hand has unlimited capacity and can be retrieved to the consciousness by going through the STM.
This theory is criticized for having low ecological validity because we do not usually rehearse information to remember it in long term.
Considering this criticism, Craik and Lockhart came up with the Level of Processing theory. It suggests that how deeply the info was processed is more important than the storage capacity. The shallowest processing is physical processing, which is visual (whether the word is written in black or red), followed by Phonemic processing (auditory) and semantic processing (thinking about the meaning of the info).
The cocktail party effect corresponds with the sensory memory storage. When someone mentions your name in a noisy place when you were engaging in a conversation with a different group of people, you will be able to pick up on it, The theory suggests this is because the info (your name) passed the sensory storage and your mind picked it up.

Perception is how we make sense of the world. When external information enters, it is perceived. This can be done by top-down processing or bottom up processing.
Top-down processing is to make sense of info using past experience because the external world does not provide information of how to perceive it. (ok i don't have a clue what i'm writing here)
Bottom-up processing means the environment gives all the information you need in order to know how to perceive it?????????? WTF????????
I remember writing "perceptual set" in my notes without knowing what the hell it is.

Cognitive psychology
It deals with abstract concepts which no one cares about like memory and perception and thinks about how the mind works. Research is based on self report so is less reliable. It derived from Gestult psychology which says that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. It deals with things that behavioral psychology (only looks at observable behavior) does not focus on.   Applications in real life are cognitive therapy which tries to accept the negative thinking and replaces it with positive ones.

Determinism/Free will
Deterministic psychology thinks that our behaviour is pre-determined by genes and the environment so we are not responsible for our actions. Free will, on the other hand, thinks that every action we take is due to our own choice to act that way.

It is a debate whether we are "born this way" (nature) or the environment/external factors have "made us this way."

A nomothtic way to research is basically to do case study. You study an individual, and generalize. Ideographic way is to research a lot of people (eg by questionnaire) and generalize.

Reductionism is to simplify a behaviour into managable parts. This may have the tendency to make it oversimplified but makes it more easy to understand. A holistic approach on the other hand is to see the action as a whole, Whatever that means.

Autism is a developmental disability where a person may show a lower than average IQ, delay in language, communication difficulty, sometimes difficulty in movement. They may show limited interests/actions and this disability is mostly detected before the age of 3. Asperger's syndrome is a kind of autism but does not have a delay in language and has an above average IQ. Some people with autism show extreme talent in a specific subject.
Autistic people are thought to not have a theory of mind which is the appreciation that other people have independent minds of their own. This idea is supported by the "Sally and Anne" experiment conducted by someone really intelligent enough to some up with it. ;P

Behavioral Psychology
This focuses only on behavior. It tries to be scientific by thinking that the mind is irrelevant and psychological problems can be over come by conditioning. It thinks that our behavior is the response for a particular stimulus.
Classical conditioning was done by Ivan Pavlov. He made a dog drool by ringing a bell. How nice. It is a conditioning where a stimulus is associated to a  response by doing it over and over again.
Operant conditioning is when the subject learns a response by reinforcement.

It is another thing that has yet to have an agreed definition. It may be the ability to adapt to an environment. Or the speed to process information. There are numerous intelligence tests based on these definitions. All the tests should:
not be culture specific
be universal
test one skill at a time
test what it's supposed to test
not be biased.
The first intelligence testing was done in the US in order to know who was qualified to a certain position in the army. It ended up causing scientific racism because the result was that new immigrants did not know the answer to culture specific questions and there were an unexpected number of illiterate people (mostly black people).

Psychodynamic psychology
It was devised by Sigmund Freud. It started with structuralism which looks at the self with introspection which evolved into functionalism and this became psychodynamic psy. This was significant because it made psychology popular and gave some key insights into what goes on in people's minds. Our mind is made up of id (primary animal desires that wants to be fulfilled with whatever means possible), ego (moral) and superego (conscience). Id and superego is always in conflict and ego negotiates between the two. Id is constantly in the unconscious. Our personality develops in  sexual stages which I don't even want to memorize because its ridiculous and its probably not going to be in the test.
One criticism is that the theory is impossible to prove wrong. Freudian psychologists will always have a clever way of saying it's correct.
Psychological problems are caused mainly by childhood experiences because that is what influences our behavior when we are adults. Childhood problems are suppressed into the unconscious which causes problems later in life. We use defense mechanisms to get through tough times. Like emotional eating, which I should stop doing!

OK I'm done.

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