This will be a brief overview of the basics of Psychology 101. If you have any further or more detailed questions please feel free to ask me. If I don't know the answer I have no problem researching it as I love to learn as much as I can about this subject. All information was pulled from my notes/text book from Psychology 101 that I took a few years ago in my 1st year of college but will be reworded in my own words for an easier explanation of it all.. This is intended for the most basic introduction of psychology. If you've ever taken a psychology course before then this will most likely not be new information to you. I have left it without thorough explanations for a reason, for someone trying to test the waters in psychology it can be overwhelming and I was trying to prepare an intro guide that would be an easy read yet cover, in my opinion, the most important aspects.
The proper definition is the following: the scientific study of the human mind and its functions, esp. those affecting behavior in a given context.
Basically what that means is psychology is focused on the thought process and how it applies to our daily lives and behavior.
The Founding Fathers:
There are many different aspects of Psychology with many different theories in each one. Each theory is usually known on the person(s) that first discovered or researched their area of interest. Some names you may know and some you may not but it's a good idea to always know which theory goes with which name.
Structuralism: Wilhelm Wundt, a German physician, is given credit for his advances in structuralism. He is known as the "father of experimental psychology". His main focus was breaking down the thought process to it's most simplistic ways.
Functionalism: Functionalism was a reaction to structuralism and was made popular by an American philosopher, William James. Functionalism focused on the practical value of psychology and how it could be used to benefit one's self.
Psychoanalysis: Perhaps the most famous ways of thinking in Psychology is psychoanalysis. This could be based off one of the leading psychologists for this theory, Sigmund Freud. Freud developed a method to investigate one's mind and the one one would think. He also developed psychotherapy to help treat psychological or emotional stress.
Behaviorism: John B. Watson established the behaviorism theory. It includes the two ways of conditioning, classical and operant.
Classical conditioning was when behavior was influenced by the association of environmental stimuli and the degree of pain/pleasure. One of the most well known example of classical conditioning is the case of Pavlov's dog.
Operant conditioning is a form of learning where an individual alters the circumstances to form new behaviors. One of the most famous experiments with operant conditioning would be John Watson's experiment with Little Albert causing him to fear all things fluffy and cute.
Brain Function and Anatomy:
The brain is seperated into 5 different regions, each designed to do specific tasks that correspond with other parts of the brain. The brain is also divided into two hemispheres that give two sides of the brain, the right and left hemisphere. They are joined together by the cerebral cortex, which is basically a bunch of transmitters that send information from one side to another.
The frontal lobe extends from right around your eye sockets to about half way up your head. It is where your thought processes happen. Your ability to concentrate, learn, and think is handled in this rather large portion of the brain. The frontal lobe also controls emotional responses and word associations.
Your parietal lobe lies directly behind your frontal lobe. This part of the brain controls your visual attention, touch perception, voluntary movements, and integrating several senses to understand a single concept.
The temporal lobe is directly underneath the frontal and parietal lobe. This is where your memories are processed and stored. Long term memory, some visual perceptions, visual memory, and sense of identity are just a few of the things handled in the temporal lobe.
The occipital lobe is located in the very back of the brain. Funny enough though, the occipital lobe is the lobe responsible for vision.
Considered one of the oldest parts of the brain. This part of the brain is located right above your neck and right under the the brain itself. It it two seperate parts but are usually classified as a unit. The brain stem controls involuntary movements such as breathing, heart rate, swallowing, and reflexes. The cerebellum is responsible for motor control and some cognitive functions such as language and association.
That's it for now! Please let me know if you have any questions and I hope that you enjoy this guide!
Last edited by Avmo; 02-20-2012 at 04:15 PM.
Quite surprised that I didn't see B.F. Skinner up there (the guy that continued watsons work; except in a more "devilish" way).
Either way, some nice info on here.
Ah, I misread something, now i see why you don't have him up there.
Very condensed, But accurate none the less.
This is very basic even for intro students, you can add a lot more anatomy to it because even basic anatomy needs to be more than saying the 4 lobes.
Few pointers though:
Little Albert was a case of classical conditioning not operant conditioning. It is an association to stimuli he was not actually acting on the environment to alter his behavior hence it is not operant conditioning.One of the most famous experiments with operant conditioning would be John Watson's experiment with Little Albert causing him to fear all things fluffy and cute.
Also you could mention that though Watson is known for Behaviorism and following classical conditioning it is Pavlov who made classical conditioning famous with his dog studies.
The hemispheres are joined by the corpus callosum, a thick bundle of nerve fibers that creates the connections between the two hemispheres. The cerebral cortex is the most recent evolved portion of the brain consisting of the outer layers of the brain which makes up the folded appearance you see when you view the brain.The brain is also divided into two hemispheres that give two sides of the brain, the right and left hemisphere. They are joined together by the cerebral cortex, which is basically a bunch of transmitters that send information from one side to another.
- Frontal lobe is most distinctly known for the role in movement, planning of movements, and performing movements. It is also known well for a role in memory and recognition of consequences.
-Parietal lobe integrates sense modalities, it does not control them. Connections from visual centers for example go to the parietal lobe for further processing.
-Temporal lobes are most widely known for auditory processing including speech. You can mention Wernicke's areas as intro students will be taught this. Also mention that it is the hippocampus that plays the major role in memory formation and retrieval not simply the temporal lobe.
-Occipital lobe mention Broadmann area 17. It is very basic and a very important part of the visual system.
-Brain stem, mention it controls motor and sensory innervation not just involuntary behaviors. Also incorporates the cranial nerves which are extremely important and part of basic anatomical understanding.
-Cerebellum you can mention it can play a role in fear and that movement is not controlled by the cerebellum but coordinated by it through balance.
Last edited by Sci_Girl; 02-20-2012 at 10:45 PM. Reason: added the words "add" and "to"
This is very brief but still a good introduction.
I wish this was up two weeks ago when I had my psychology midterm. Good read, though; thanks!
I plan to elaborate in the near future on it. I had the urge to write it today but didn't have much time I'll also be fixing any errors pointed out to me or notice after reading it a few times. Thanks though for the comments
If you want to make it more interesting add images. Brain anatomy is very interesting to see, a lot of information can be packed into it. Any psych beginner must understand the basics of neuroanatomy. You can also add pictures of Pavlov and his dog, add in Skinner and his Skinner box, Little Albert, Rene Descartes and his wacky dualism approach if you want to actually get into historical accounts. Tolman, Ebbinghaus, Darwin can all be added as well. You can make this a very basic intro but still have a ton of information.
That's a really good idea. Good thing I have a ton of time on my hand so I can work on and perfect this. Thanks again for the tips.