Introduction to Psychology

DEFINITION OF PSYCHOLOGY


Psychology comes from the two Greek words "psyche" which means "soul or mind" and "logos" which means "study". Therefore, psychology is the study of the mind. It is the science of behaviour and mental processes that seeks to describe and explain aspects of human thought feelings, perceptions and actions.


GOALS OF PSYCHOLOGY
To describe, explain, predict, and control behaviour and mental processes



Describe: tell what occurred 
Explain: tells the whyPredict: under what conditions is the behaviour/event likely to occurControl: how is the principle applied or what change in condition is necessary to prevent unwanted occurrence or to bring about a desired outcome


WHAT IS THEORY?
A theory is a systematic general principle or set of principles that explains how separate facts are related to one another



RESEARCH METHODS


  • Naturalistic Observation: researchers observe and record behaviour without trying to influence or control it-subjects are not aware of observation
  • Case Study Method: an in depth study of one or a few participants consisting of information gathered by observation, interview,or psychological testing to provide a description of behaviour or disorder
  • Experimental method: the method where researchers randomly assign participants to groups and control all conditions other than the one or more independent variables which are then manipulated to determine their effect on some behaviour measured--the dependent variable in the experiment
  • Survey Research: using interviews and/or questionnaires to gather information about aptitudes, beliefs, experiences or behaviours of a group (e.g. the incidence of drug use)
Population - the entire group of interest to researcher and to which they wish to generalize findings; a group from which a sample is chosen
Sample - The portion of any population selected for study and from which generalizations are made about the population


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