L1 - Intro + History and Paradigm I Flashcards Preview

PSYC1020 - Introduction to Psychology - Minds, Brains and Behaviour > L1 - Intro + History and Paradigm I > Flashcards

Flashcards in L1 - Intro + History and Paradigm I Deck (11):

What is Psychology?

“Psychology is the science that studies behaviour and the physiological and cognitive processes that underlie it, and it is the profession that applies the accumulated knowledge of this science to practical problems” (Weiten, 1992)



  • Vision is amazing and it takes a large amount of brain power
  • It builds machines
  • It creates arts and literature – we are a creative species
  • It builds cities
  • Climbing stairs is incredible!


Cognitive Neuroscience definition:

(also physiological psychology or biological psychology)

= study of the neural basis (or brain basis) of behaviour and thought.


Bottom-up and Top-down processing:

Top-down processing is based on information you have in long-term memory that helps you to quickly organise perceptual experience

  • What you already know (particularly in the present) has a large effect upon how and how well you take in, process, recall and act on new information.

  • We have some degree of voluntary control over these top-down processes... (eg. The chalice or the two faces)
  • This can increase perceptual clarity and accuracy but may also distort perception (e.g. the wrong lyrics getting stuck in our head)
  • Some kinds of processing are at work in auditory perception including speech (e.g. able to hear previously incomprehensible words after learning the lyrics)


The Brain:

  • ~2% of body weight;
  • receives ~20% of blood pumped from the heart
  • consumes ~20% of body’s energy

Multi Layered structure

  • Youngest (Exterior) – ‘Cortex’

  • Oldest (Interior)


The Scientific Process:

Science is the analysis of stuff that already exists in our world

A circular process, but doesn’t matter where you start

  • What’s important is that you just go round and round

If you run this over and over you will either

  • Validate your theory further
  • Find out what’s wrong with your theory

Cannot be run on events that only happen once/that cant be controlled


Observations should be:

  • Unbiased
  • Repeatable
    • Other people should be able to go by the same methodology and arrive at the same data
  • Controlled
    • May sometimes seem artificial
    • To test a specific hypothesis, you need to control the situation to a more specific level
  • Quantitative
    • Where most theory testing occurs
    • Often beings with retrieving Qualitative data, but it eventually moves towards Quantitative data


Theories should be:

  • Testable
    • Falsifiable: could be tested and found to be incorrect
  • General
  • Parsimonious
    • Combining things
    • Explains two events


‘formal science’:

  • Founded by Karl Popper
  • Includes falsifiability


‘Conventional Science’:

  • Founded by Thomas Kuhn
  • Includes scientific paradigms and revolutions


Paradigms =

“A paradigm is a perspective, approach or frame of reference, as well as the group of researchers whose work adheres to this shared framework.”


This is with respect to:

  • Subject Matter
    • General definition of the field
    • Specific focal topics
  • Methods
  • Language and Concepts
  • Root metaphor
  • Intellectual Influences
    • Prior
    • Contemporary
  • Paradigms are never in a vacuum


An example of a root metaphor is the ‘computer metaphor’:

"the way the human mind works is like the way a computer works... we can track transformations in information"