History & Approaches to Psychology



  1. Studies human behavior, thoughts and emotions as well as the technical parts and chemical make up of the brain.
  2. Measuring how fast the brain sends messages to neurons to move arms and legs when a light flashes.
  3. A study was run on 949 people to see if there were visible differences between the male and female brain. Men had more activity in one half of the brain from front to back, but women had more activity across the hemispheres overall.
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  1. Studies how heredity influences the passing down of traits. Short term research shows how much effect the psychology of the parent has on the offspring, while long term research is more oriented towards how species evolve overall in terms of psychology.
  2. Domestic cats have evolved to purr in order to train their humans to please them.
  3. Evolutionary Psychology is hard to test due to the fact that it usually takes place over long periods of time, but an experiment could be done on language and how language has evolved to fit the needs of the user as humanity has become more social.
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Behavior Genetics

  1. Study of genetic and environmental effects on growth.
  2. "Nature vs. Nurture" commonly used.
  3. Robert Tyron had a rat maze. He let the smartest rats breed to create a breed of "bright" rats, while the dumb rats bred as well, creating a "dull" breed of rats. Tests eventually showed bright rats were quicker to solve the maze than the dull rats.


  1. The belief that our behaviors and personalities are results of our deep, dark, unconscious desires.
  2. Someone who fears authority figures could have had a traumatic experience with their parent that left an imprint on their mind.
  3. Freud did a case study on "Little Hans", a boy with a phobia of horses. Freud said that the phobia was displaced fear of his father instead, and that the boy was only scared of horses because of unconscious links Hans had made to the horses.


  1. The study of why certain behaviors occur and how conditioning changes them.
  2. An example is studying why dogs react to some other dogs with friendliness and why they bark at other dogs.
  3. Ivan Pavlov trained his dog to salivate when he brought it food. In order to condition the dog, he rang a bell when he presented the food. Eventually, the dog began to salivate at the ring of the bell, which proved that the dog had been conditioned to produce a hunger response when an otherwise unrelated event occurred.
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Ivan Pavlov

((VIDEO)) Ivan Pavlov

This video shows how Pavlov's conditioning eventually changed the dog's behavior, which is the ultimate example of how behavioral psychology works. The dog doesn't salivate at the first ring of the bell because it doesn't associate it with being fed. However, after it eats the steak, the dog has unconsciously become conditioned to associate the ringing of a bell with food. By salivating when the bell rings, the dog has changed its behavior towards this stimuli.


  1. The study of functions of the brain such as critical thinking, problem solving, memory, and creativity.
  2. An example of cognitive psychology is studying the brain to find out how efficient multi-tasking really is, if it is actually efficient at all.
  3. Margaret and Lloyd Peterson did a case study on short term memory with gibberish 3-letter strings, such as FLE, and found that most of the subjects could only remember 15-30 seconds worth of information.
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Psychology- Short and Long Term Memory

((VIDEO)) Memory

This video demonstrates how memory, one of the core subjects of Cognitive Psychology, works in everyday life. Sensory information is taken in, and held in the sensory memory. If it is important, it is moved to short-term memory. From there, after a small amount of time, the information is either discarded or sent to long-term memory. Once information is stored in long-term memory, theoretically, it is stored there forever.

Social Cultural

  1. Studies how communities and social aspects influence behavior of individuals and affect how they grow.
  2. If you're raised in an urban environment, you're generally less likely to speak to strangers than if you live in a tight-knit town.
  3. In the Stanford Prison Experiment, Phillip Zimbardo enlisted 24 guards out of a population of 75, the others designated to be prisoners. The "guards" eventually began torturing prisoners who didn't obey them. Humans lost all sense of morals and appropriate social conduct when put in isolation along with a position of power.