a summary of the hypotheses, methods, results, and interpretations. imaging (fMRI) brain scanner while they presented them with a series of letters on a
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Saylor URL: http://www.saylor.org/books Saylor.org 1 This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution -NonCommercial -ShareAlike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work™s original creator or licensee .
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Saylor URL: http://www.saylor.org/books Saylor.org 2 Preface When I first started teaching Introduction to Psychology, I found it difficultŠmuch harder than teaching classes in statistics or research methods. I was able to give a lecture on the sympathetic nervous system, a lecture on Piaget, and a lecture on social cognition, but how could I link these topics together for the student? I felt a bit like I was presenting a laundry list of research findings rather than an in tegrated set of principles and knowledge. Of course, what was difficult for me was harder still for my students. How could they be expected to remember and understand all the many phenomena of psychology? How could they tell what was most important? And wh y, given the abundance of information that was freely available to them on the web, should they care about my approach? My pedagogy needed something to structure, integrate, and motivate their learning. Eventually, I found some techniques to help my students understand and appreciate what I found to be important. First, I realized that psychology actually did matter to my students, but that I needed to make it clear to them why it did. I therefore created a more consistent focus on the theme of behavior . On e of the most fundamental integrating principles of the discipline of psychology is its focus on behavior, and yet that is often not made clear to students. Affect, cognition, and motivation are critical and essential, and yet are frequently best understood and made relevant through their links with behavior. Once I figured this out, I began tying all the material to this concept: The sympathetic nervous system matters because it has specific and predictable influences on our behavior . Piaget™s findings mat ter because they help us understand the child™s behavior (not just his or her thinking). And social cognition matters because our social thinking helps us better relate to the other people in our everyday social lives . This integrating theme allows me to organize my lectures, my writing assignments, and my testing. Second was the issue of empiricism: I emphasized that what seems true might not be true, and we need to try to determine whether it is. The idea of empirical research testing falsifiable hypotheses and explaining much (but never all) behaviorŠ the idea of psychology as a science Šwas critical, and it helped me differentiate psychology from other disciplines. Another reason for emphasizing empiricism is that the Introduction to Psychology course rep resents many students™ best opportunity to learn about the fundamentals of scientific research.
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Saylor URL: http://www.saylor.org/books Saylor.org 3 The length of existing textbooks was creating a real and unnecessary impediment to student learning. I was condensing and abridging my coverage, but often witho ut a clear rationale for choosing to cover one topic and omit another. My focus on behavior, coupled with a consistent focus on empiricism, helped in this regardŠfocusing on these themes helped me identify the underlying principles of psychology and separa te more essential topics from less essential ones.
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Saylor URL: http://www.saylor.org/books Saylor.org 4 Approach and Pedagogy I wrote this book to help students organize their thinking about psychology at a conceptual level. Five or ten years from now, I do not expect my students to remember the details of most of what I teach them. However, I do hope that they will remember that psychology matters because it helps us understand behavior and that our knowledge of psychology is based on empirical study. This book is designed to facilitate these learning outc omes. I have used three techniques to help focus students on behavior: 1. Chapter openers. I begin my focus on behavior by opening each chapter with a chapter opener showcasing an interesting real -world example of people who are dealing with behavioral questions and who can use psychology to help them answer those questions. The opener is designed to draw the student into the chapter and create an interest in learning about the topic. 2. Psychology in everyday life. Each chapter contains one or two features designed to link the principles from the chapter to real-world applications in business, environment, health, law, learning, and other relevant domains. For instance, the application in Chapter 6 “Growing and Developing”Š ﬁWhat Makes a Good Parent?ﬂ Šapplies the concepts of parenting styles in a mini handbook about parenting, and the application in Chapter 3 “Brains, Bodies, and Behavior” is about the difficulties that left -handed people face performing everyday tasks in a right-handed world. 3. Research focus. I have also emphasized empiricism throughout, but without making it a distraction from the main story line. Each chapter presents two close -ups on researchŠ well -articulated and specific examples of research within the content area, each including a summar y of the hypotheses, methods, results, and interpretations. This feature provides a continuous thread that reminds students of the importance of empirical research. The research foci also emphasize the fact that findings are not always predictable ahead of time (dispelling the myth of hindsight bias) and help students understand how research really works.
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Saylor URL: http://www.saylor.org/books Saylor.org 5 My focus on behavior and empiricism has produced a text that is better organized, has fewer chapters, and is somewhat shorter than many of the leading books. `In short, I think that this book will provide a useful and productive synthesis between your goals and the goals of your students. I have tried to focus on the forest rather than the trees and to bring psychology to lifeŠ in ways that really matter Šfor the students. At the same time, the book maintains content an d conceptual rigor, with a strong focus on the fundamental principles of empiricism and the scientific method.
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Saylor URL: http://www.saylor.org/books Saylor.org 6 Chapter 1 Introducing Psychology Psychology is the scientific study of mind and behavior . The word ﬁpsychologyﬂ comes from the Greek words ﬁpsyche,ﬂ meaning life, and ﬁlogos,ﬂ meaning explanation . Psychology is a popular major for students, a popular topic in the public media, and a part of our everyday lives. Television shows such as Dr. Phil feature psychologists who provide personal advice to those with personal or family difficulties. Crime dramas such as CSI , Lie to Me , and others feature the work of forensic psychologists who use psychological principles to help solve crimes. And many people have direct knowledge about psychology because they have visited psychologists, for instance, school counselors, family therapists, and religious, marriage, or bereavement counselors. Because we are frequently exposed to the work of psychologists in our everyday lives, we all have an idea about what psychology is and what psychologists do. In many ways I am sure that your conceptions are correct. Psychologists do work in forensic fields, and they do provide counseling and therapy for people in distress. But there are hundreds of thousands of psychologists in the world, and most of them work in other places, doing work that you are probably not aware of. Most psychologists work in research laboratories, hospitals, and other field settings where they study the behavior of humans and animals. For instance, my colleagues in the Psychology Department at the University of Maryland study such diverse topics as anxiety in children, the interpretation of dreams, the effects of caffeine on thinking, how birds recognize each other, how praying mantises hear, how people from different cultures react differently in negotiation, and the factors that lead people to engage in terrorism. Other psychologists study such topics as alcohol and drug addiction, memory, emotion, hypnosis, love, what makes people aggressive or helpful, and the psychologies of politics, prejudice, culture, and religion. Psychologists also work in schools and businesses, and they use a variety of methods, including observation, questionnaires, interviews, and laboratory studies, to help them underst and behavior.
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Saylor URL: http://www.saylor.org/books Saylor.org 8 appeared to have a relationship made in heaven, we try to determine what happened. When we contemplate the rise of terrorist acts around the world, we try to investigate t he causes of this problem by looking at the terrorists themselves, the situation around them, and others™ responses to them. The Problem of Intuition The results of these ﬁeverydayﬂ research projects can teach us many principles of human behavior. We learn through experience that if we give someone bad news, he or she may blame us even though the news was not our fault. We learn that people may become depressed after they fail at an important task. We see that aggressive behavior occurs frequently in our so ciety, and we develop theories to explain why this is so. These insights are part of everyday social life. In fact, much research in psychology involves the scientific study of everyday behavior (Heider, 1958; Kelley, 1967).  The problem, however, with the way people collect and interpret data in their everyday lives is that they are not always particularly thorough. Often, when one explanation for an event seems ﬁright,ﬂ we adopt that explanation as the truth even when other explanations are possible and potentially more accurate. For example, eyewitnesses to violent crimes are often extremely confident in their identifications of the perpetrators of these crimes. But research finds that eyewitnesses are no less confident in their identifications when they are incorrect than when they are correct (Cutler & Wells, 2009; Wells & Hasel, 2008).  People may also become convinced of the existence of extrasensory perception (ESP), or the predictive value of astrology, when there is no evidence for either (Gil ovich, 1993).  Furthermore, psychologists have also found that there are a variety of cognitive and motivational biases that frequently influence our perceptions and lead us to draw erroneous conclusions (Fiske & Taylor, 2007; Hsee & Hastie, 2006).  In summary, accepting explanations for events without testing them thoroughly may lead us to think that we know the causes of things when we really do not.
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Saylor URL: http://www.saylor.org/books Saylor.org 9 Research Focus: Unconscious Preferences for the Letters of Our Own Name A study reported in the Journal of Consumer Research (Brendl, Chattopadhyay, Pelham, & Carvallo, 2005)  demonstrates the extent to which people can be unaware of the causes of their own behavior. The research demonstrated that, at least under certain conditions (and although t hey do not know it), people frequently prefer brand names that contain the letters of their own name to brand names that do not contain the letters of their own name. The research participants were recruited in pairs and were told that the research was a taste test of different types of tea. For each pair of participants, the experimenter created two teas and named them by adding the word stem ﬁokiﬂ to the first three letters of each participant™s first name. For example, for Jonathan and Elisabeth, the nam es of the teas would have been Jonoki and Elioki. The participants were then shown 20 packets of tea that were supposedly being tested. Eighteen packets were labeled with made -up Japanese names (e.g., ﬁMatakuﬂ or ﬁSomutaﬂ), and two were labeled with the brand names constructed from the participants™ names. The experimenter explained that each participant would taste only two teas and would be allowed to choose one packet of these two to take home. One of the two participants was asked to draw slips of pap er to select the two brands that would be tasted at this session. However, the drawing was rigged so that the two brands containing the participants™ name stems were always chosen for tasting. Then, while the teas were being brewed, the participants comple ted a task designed to heighten their needs for self -esteem, and that was expected to increase their desire to choose a brand that had the letters of their own name. Specifically, the participants all wrote about an aspect of themselves that they would lik e to change. After the teas were ready, the participants tasted them and then chose to take a packet of one of the teas home with them. After they made their choice, the participants were asked why they chose the tea they had chosen, and then the true purpose of the study was explained to them. The results of this study found that participants chose the tea that included the first three letters of their own name significantly more frequently (64% of the time) than they chose the tea that included the firs t
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Saylor URL: http://www.saylor.org/books Saylor.org 10 three letters of their partner™s name (only 36% of the time). Furthermore, the decisions were made unconsciously; the participants did not know why they chose the tea they chose. When they were asked, more than 90% of the participants thought that they h ad chosen on the basis of taste, whereas only 5% of them mentioned the real cause Šthat the brand name contained the letters of their name. Once we learn about the outcome of a given event (e.g., when we read about the results of a research project), we fre quently believe that we would have been able to predict the outcome ahead of time. For instance, if half of a class of students is told that research concerning attraction between people has demonstrated that ﬁopposites attractﬂ and the other half is told that research has demonstrated that ﬁbirds of a feather flock together,ﬂ most of the students will report believing that the outcome that they just read about is true, and that they would have predicted the outcome before they had read about it. Of course, both of these contradictory outcomes cannot be true. (In fact, psychological research finds that ﬁbirds of a feather flock togetherﬂ is generally the case.) The problem is that just reading a description of research findings leads us to think of the many cases we know that support the findings, and thus makes them seem believable. The tendency to think that we could have predicted something that has already occurred that we probably would not have been able to predict is called the hindsight bias . Why Psyc hologists Rely on Empirical Methods All scientists, whether they are physicists, chemists, biologists, sociologists, or psychologists, use empirical methods to study the topics that interest them. Empirical methods include the processes of collecting and o rganizing data and drawing conclusions about those data. The empirical methods used by scientists have developed over many years and provide a basis for collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data within a common framework in which information can be shar ed. We can label the scientific method as the set of assumptions, rules, and procedures that scientists use to conduct empirical research . Although scientific r esearch is an important method of studying human behavior, not all questions can be answered using scientific approaches. Statements that cannot be objectively measured or objectively determined to be true or false are not within the domain of scientific
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Saylor URL: http://www.saylor.org/books Saylor.org 11 inquiry. Scientists therefore draw a distinction between values and facts. Values are personal statements such as ﬁAbortion should not be permitted in this country,ﬂ ﬁI will go to heaven when I die,ﬂ or ﬁIt is important to study psychology.ﬂ Facts are objec tive statements determined to be accurate through empirical study. Examples are ﬁThere were more than 21,000 homicides in the United States in 2009,ﬂ or ﬁResearch demonstrates that individuals who are exposed to highly stressful situations over long periods of time develop more health problems than those who are not.ﬂ Because values cannot be considered to be either true or false, science cannot prove or disprove them. Nevertheless, as shown in Table 1.1 “Examples of Values and Facts in Scientific Research”, research can sometimes provide facts that can help people develop their values. For instance, science may be able to objectively measure the impact of unwanted children on a society or the psychological trauma suffered by women who have abortions. The ef fect of capital punishment on the crime rate in the United States may also be determinable. This factual information can and should be made available to help people formulate their values about abortion and capital punishment, as well as to enable governme nts to articulate appropriate policies. Values also frequently come into play in determining what research is appropriate or important to conduct. For instance, the U.S. government has recently supported and provided funding for research on HIV, AIDS, and terrorism, while denying funding for research using human stem cells.
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