PSYCH 101 - Introductory Psychology

PSYCH 101 - Introductory Psychology
Instructor: Dr. John Campbell
Location: AL 116
Time: Mondays 6:30pm - 9:20pm
Term: Spring 2016

May 2, 2016 - Lecture 1

Psychology = Study of the behaviour and the mind
Behaviour = actions and responses Mind = internal states and processes, such as thoughts and feelings

Psychology is a science. It is a systematic gathering and evaluating of empirical evidence.

Subfields: Biopsychology, developmental, experimental, industrial-organizational, personality, social etc.

4 Central Goals of Psychology

  1. Describe how people and animals behave
  2. Explain and understand causes of these behaviours
  3. Predict behaviours under certain conditions
  4. Influence/Control behaviours through knowledge and control of its causes to enhance human welfare

Psychology can be made up of different perspectives.

The Structuralism Perspective

Wilhelm Wundt -> First psychology lab with Titchener -> Founded the Structuralism approach

  • Mind -> studied by breaking it into basic components
  • Used “introspection” to study sensations
  • Gave way to functionalism (functions of consciousness)
  • “Describe inner experiences”

The Functionalism Perspective

  • Our hands -> “Why do we have hands”
  • Ask similar questions about mental processes and behaviours

The Psychodynamic Perspective

  • Searches for causes of behaviours within the inner workings of our personality
  • Emphasizes the role of consciousness
  • Psychoanalysis is the analysis of internal and primarily unconscious psychological forces

The Behavioural Perspective

  • Focuses on the role of the external environment in governing our actions
  • John Locke -> Tabula Rasa -> Human nature is shaped by our environment
  • Notable figures: Pavlov, Thorndike, Watson (Little Albert experiment), Skinner

The Humanistic Perspective

  • Emphasizes free will, personal growth, self-actualization, and the attempt to find meaning in one’s existence
  • Rejects psychodynamics
  • The Postive Psychology Movement -> focusing on strengths and fulfillments
  • Notable figures: Maslow (Hierarchy of Needs), Rogers

The Cognitive Perspective

  • Examines nature of mind
  • Perceptions are organized so that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”
  • How mental processes influence behaviours
  • Notable figures: Ebbinghaus -> Gestalt Psychology (1920s)
  • Gestalt = perception and problem solving
    • figure-ground
    • closure
    • proximity
    • similarity

Modern Cognitive Psychology

  • Notable figure: Elizabeth Loftus
  • The Misinformation Effect -> Impacts eyewitness memory and testimony
  • Factors can distort memory

May 9, 2016 - Lecture 2

The Socialcultural Perspective

  • Examines how the social environment and culturla learning influence our behaviour, thoughts, and feelings
  • Social Psychology Component - how the presence of other people influence our behaviour, thoughts, and feelings
  • Cultural Component - Enduring values, beliefs, behavious, and traditions that are shared by a large group of people and passed from one generation to the next Ex. Individualism vs. Collectivism
  • Asch Experiment - influence the presence of others will have on our decision-making (conformity)

The Biological Perspective

  • Examines how brain processes and other bodily functions regulate behaviour
  • Behavioural Neuroscience - examines brain processes and other physiological functions that underlie our behaviours, sensory experiences, emotions, and thoughts
  • Notable figures: Lashley, Scoville, Milner, Hebb
  • Most famous person: patient H.M. (memory loss)
    • to alleviate seizures related to epilepsy, had brain surgery
    • no more seizures, but caused him to have amnesia (wasn’t able to create new memories)
  • Another example: Capgras Syndrome

Chapter 2 - Studying Behaviour Scientifically

  • Scientific attitudes
  • Scientific process
  • Types of variables
  • Correlational research
  • Experimental research
  • Statistics

Scientific Attitudes

  • Kitty Genovese Murder (1964) - Bystander Apathy
  • Darley & Latane: Why would nobody call the police? Was there something more going on here?
  • Darley & Latane:
    • Rather than apaty, perhaps it was “diffusion of responsibility”
    • Created an if-then question
    • In an emergency, IF multiple bystanders are present, THEN the likelihood that any one bystander will intervene is reduced
    • They designed an experiment to test their hypothesis

The Correlational Method

  • Study relationships between variables
  • Variable: anything that can be measured
  • E.g. more smokes, more cancer; higher IQ, more money
  • Relationship between variables is shown by a statistic, the correlation coefficient (r)
  • r can be anything between -1.0 and +1.0 (STAT 231 amirite)
  • Examples: marijuana and GPA; marijuana and junk food consumption; GPA and height

Methods of Research

  • Correlational Research
  • Experimental

Case Studies

  • An in-depth analysis of an individual a group, or an event
  • Data may be gathered through observation, interviews, psychological tests, task performances, physiological recordings, or archival records
  • Examples of key case studies: H.M., Phineas Gage
  • Advantages:
    • Allows for the study of rare phenomenon
    • A case study may challenge the validity of a theory or a widely held scientific belief
    • Can be a source of new ideas and hypotheses that can be further investigated through controlled experiments
  • Not just people, events as well
  • Examples: Flashbulb memories (Assassination of JFK, the Challenger Explosion, Death of Diana, 9/11)
  • Monumental events that impact a large group of people
  • Limitations:
    • Poor method for determining “cause-effect”
    • Case studies may not generalize to other people’s situations
    • Observers may not be objective in gathering and interpreting the data
  • We should be skeptical about case studies

Hemispheric lateralization

  • Our brains have left and right cerebral hemispheres
  • Left brain vs. Right brain
  • Lateralization - refers to the relatively greater location of a function in one hemisphere or the other

May 16, 2016 - Lecture 3

Neural Bases of Behaviour

  • Brain: 3 lbs, mass of tissue made of neurons
  • Neurons = building blocks of the nervous system
  • 100 Billion neurons at birth

Neuron Structures etc. - Soma, Dendrites, axons, myelin sheath, node of Ranvier
Synaptic Transmission - synaptic vesicles, axon terminal, postsynaptic membrane

The Human Brain

  • Cerebral Cortex: outermost layer
    • Many connections
    • frontal (motor cortex, complex cognition), temporal (auditory, language), occipital (visual), parietal (sensory)
  • Broca’s and Wernicke’s Area
  • Aphasia (Broca’s, Wernicke’s) - Partial/Total loss of the ability to communicate
  • Neural Plasticity - the ability for neurons to change in structure and function; brain alterations begin in the uterus and continues throughout life; impacted by genetic factors and environment
  • Synesthesia - one type of stimulation evokes the sensation of another

May 27, 2016 - Term Test 1 Review

Chapter 1

Psychology = scientific study of behaviour (actions/responses that we can directly observe) and the mind (internal states and processes; must be inferred)

Structuralism: 1879, Wundt & Titchener: the analysis of the mind in terms of its basic elements; introspection (looking within); sensations = basic elements of consciousness

Functionalism: psychology should study the functions of consciousness; influenced by evolutionary theory; William James; gave rise to cognitive and evolutionary psychology

Psychodynamic: searches for causes of behaviour within the inner workings of our personality (our unique pattern of traits, emotions and motives); emphasizes the role of unconscious processes; Sigmund Freud; Psychoanalysis: analysis of internal and primarily unconscious psychological forces; Defense mechanisms: techniques that help us cope with anxiety and pain of traumatic experiences, e.g. repression; dominated early 1900s, continue to exist

Modern Psychodynamic: object relations theories focus on how early experiences with caregivers shape the views that people form of themselves

Behaviourism: role of the external environment in governing our actions; emphasizes environmental control of behaviour through learning; rooted in British empiricism; Ivan Pavlov: dog salivation experiment; Edward Thorndike: organisms learn through the consequences of their actions; 1913, John B. Watson: observable behaviour, “human beings are products of their learning experiences”, “give me a dozen infants” quote; B.F. Skinner: “a person does not act upon the world, the world acts upon him”, how behaviour is shaped by rewarding and punishing

Cognitive Behaviourism: learning experiences and the environment influence our expectations and other thoughts, and in turn our thoughts influence behaviour; influential

Humanism: free will, personal growth, attempt to find meaning in one’s existence; rejected psychodynamic concepts; rejects unconsciousness; denied behaviourism (humans = reactors molded by environment); Abraham Maslow: inborn force toward self-actualization, reaching of one’s individual potential; importance of personal choice and responsibility, self-worth; meaning of existence resides in our own hands; must take personal responsibility to turn things around; Carl Rogers: humanist, pioneer of psychotherapy; positive psychology movement: human strengths, fulfillment and optimal living

Cognitive Perspective: nature of the mind and how mental processes influence behaviour; humans = information processors whose actions are governed by thought; structuralism + functionalism; Hermann Ebbinghaus: studied memory; Gestalt (whole/organization) psychology -> examines how elements of experience are organized into wholes (greater than the sum of its parts); Jean Piaget: children’s thinking processes become more sophisticated with age

Modern Cognitive Perspective: study of mental processes; processes by which people reason and make decisions, devise solutions to problems, form perceptions and mental images; Elizabeth Loftus: memory and how we distort it; Cognitive neuroscience: electrical recording and brain-imaging to examine brain activity during cognitive tasks; Social constructivism: reality is our own mental creation, the product of a shared way of thinking among members of social groups

Sociocultural Perspective: exami nes how the social environment and cultural learning influence our behaviour, thoughts, and feelings; culture = enduring values, beliefs, behaviours, and traditions that are shared by a large group of people and passed down generationally; norms = rules that specify what behaviour is acceptable and expected for members; cultural psychology: how culture is transmitted to its members and examines psychological similarities and differences; individualism: emphasis on personal goals and self-identity based on one’s own attributes and achievements; collectivism: individual goals are subordinated to those of the group; Asch Experiement: conformity

Biological Perspective: how brain processes and other bodily functions regulate behaviour; Behavioural neuroscience: brain processes and other physiological functions that underlie our behaviour, sensory experiences, emotions, and thoughts; Karl Lashley, Donald Hebb: brain’s role in leraning, trained rats to run mazes, mapped brain regions involved in specific psychological functions

Chapter 2

Correlational Method: Study relationships among variables; behaviours, events, characteristics; e.g. more smokes, more cancer; correlation coefficienct (r)

Case Studies: in-depth analysis of an individual, group, or event; data may be gathered through observation, interviews, psychological tests, task performances, physiologicla recordings, or archival records; e.g. H.M., David from the Capgras Delusion video (Capgras = irrational belief that a familiar person or place has been replaced with an exact duplicate), Phineas Gage

Experimental: experimental group and control group

Naturalistic Observation

Survey Research

Chapter 3

Phineas Gage: Damaged ventromedial frontal lobe -> change in personality

The Brain:

  • Cerebral Cortex: outermost layer of brain, many connections to other areas
    • Frontal: complex cognition, motor cortex
    • Temporal: auditory, language
    • Occipital: visual
    • Parietal: sensory
  • Neurons:
    • Cell body (Soma): contains biochemical structure that keep the neuron alive
    • Dendrites: antennae that collect messages from other neurons
    • Axon: covered by myelin sheath, conducts electrical impulses away from the cell body to other neurons, muscles, or glands
    • Synaptic Transmission: synthesis of neurotransmitter -> storage in synaptic vesicles -> release into synaptic space -> binding to receptor sites -> deactivation through reuptake or breakdown
    • Broca’s and Wernicke’s Area: Broca’s (expressive) aphasia: trouble speaking fluently but comprehension is preserved; Wernicke’s (fluent) aphasia: unable to understand language in its written or spoken form
    • Neural plasticity: ability of neurons to change in structure and function; impacted by genetic factors and environment; greater number of synapses results in quicker and more complete recovery
  • Synesthesia: one type of stimulation evokes the sensation of another; possible explanations: cross connections of the senses at the neural level, OR we are all born with it, as brain develops it fades and changes


  • Olds and Miller (1953) - mistakenly placed an electrode into a rat’s hypothalamus
  • Started repeating the previous activity in hopes of receiving the stimulation again
  • Found the pleasure centre of the brain = Nucleus Accumbens

Human Aggression, Criminal Behaviour, and the Frontal Cortex:

  • Psychopathy: emotional dysfunction and antisocial behaviour; extreme form of antisocial personality disorder
  • PCL-R (Psychopathy checklist): shallow affect (superficial emotional responsiveness), callousness and lack of empathy, parasitic lifestyle, poor behavioural controls, and sexual promiscuity
  • Train Dilemma
  • Face recognition: some believe face recognition is based on dedicated brain mechanisms
  • Face-inversion effect: inversion harms the ability to recognize faces much more than it does other objects
  • Prosopagnasia = “face blindness” -> gives us first hand knowledge, demonstration that there is a specialized area of the brain that handles these types of processes

Chapter 4

  • The Jim Twins
  • Chrmosomes and Genes:
    • Hippocrates - suggested that semem contains some sort of design for the formation of offspring
    • Gregor Mendel - garden peas -> modern genetic theory
    • Dominant and recessive genes
    • Genetic Influences: genotype = the specific genetic makeup of an individual, phenotype = observable characteristics

June 6, 2016 - Lecture 4

Chapter 5 - Sensation and Perception

  • Information comes in through our senses
  • Our brains interpret this information
  • E.g. You look with your eyes, you see with your brain
  • Sensation
    • Stimulus-detection process
    • Sense organs respond to and translate stimuli into nerve impulses sent to brain
  • Perception
    • Organizing and giving meaning to input
    • Making “sense” of what our senses tell us
    • Active process of organizing stimuli input and giving it meaning
  • 13 or B? Perception takes s a step beyond sensation (context and perception); also “name these colors” - the Stroop Effect (interference in the reaction time of a task; most cited paper in experimental psychology)

Sensory Processes

  • 6 stages in the sensory processing and perception of information: How sensation becomes perception:
    1. Sensation: stimulus is received by sensory receptors
    2. Receptors translate stimulus properties into nerve impulses (transduction)
    3. Feature detectors analyze stimulus features
    4. Stimulus features are reconstructed into neural representation
    5. Neural representation is compared with previously stored information in brain
    6. Matching process results in recognition and interpretation of stimulus; Perception
  • Psychophysics = studies relations between the physical characteristics of stimuli and sensory capabilities; Focuses on two kinds of sensitivity:
    • absolute limits of sensitivity (dimmest light perceivable etc.)
    • differences between stimuli (smallest difference between two tones that we can detect)

Absolute Threshold

  • Intensity at which a stimulus can be detected 50% of the time
    • Lower the absolute threshold - higher the sensitivity
    • (Board definition: smallest level of energy required by an external stimulus to be detectable by human senses)
  • A key distinction here is that absolute threshold measures the level that we can actually report sensing a stimuli
  • Absolute thresholds for various senses:
    • Vision: candle flame seen at 30 mi/50 km on a clear, dark night
    • Hearing: tick of a watch under quiet conditions at 20 ft/6 m
    • Taste: 1 teaspoon of sugar in 2 gal / 7.5 L of water
    • Smell: 1 drop of perfume diffused into the entire volume of a large apartment
    • Touch: wing of a fly or bee falling on a person’s cheek from a distance of 1 cm
  • We therefore have to consciously be aware of the stimuli to successfully report it
  • Decision criterion: a standard of how certain people must be that a stimulus is present before they will say they detect it; can change from time to time, also depends on fatigue, expectation and potential significance of the stimulus
  • Signal Detection Theory: concerned with factors that influence sensory judgments; perception is in part a decision
    • Ask participants to indicate if they perceived a stimulus
      • 2 Conditions: Stimulus present/absent
      • 4 Possible outcomes: hit (“Yes”/Present), miss (“No”/Present), false alarm (“Yes”/Absent), correct rejection (“No”/Absent)
  • What about stimuli that is just below our conscious awareness or our absolute threshold?

Subliminal Perception

  • Definition: A stimulus that is so weak or brief that, although it is received by the senses, it cannot be perceived consciously
  • Subliminal stimuli can be registered in the nervous system, and can affect attitudes and behaviour without our knowing it (to a limited extent)
  • Late 1950’s: James Vicary (PR Exec) arranged to have subliminal messages flashed on a theatre screen during a movie
    • Messages said: “Drink Coca-Cola”, “Eat Popcorn”
    • Popcorn sales went up by 50%, Coke 18%
    • Public were outraged, fear of brainwashing
    • National Association of Broadcasters outlawed subliminal messages on American TV
    • PROBLEM: Results under controlled experiments could not be replicated; Hoax to revive his ad agency
  • Studies were finding that subliminal messages didn’t really change consumer behaviour
  • Persuasive stimuli above the perceptual threshold are far more influential than subliminal attempts to sneak into our subconscious mind
  • But research started to focus on more subtle processes, like our attitudes: Can subliminal messages impact our attitudes?
  • Krosnick (1992):
    • Showed participants 9 slides showing pictures of people
    • Half of participants received negative subliminal messages just prior
    • Half received positive subliminal messages just prior
    • FINDING: Participants expressed somewhat negative attitudes towards negatively “primed” individuals, compared with their positively primed participants
    • Stimuli above absolute threshold is better than subliminal messages

Subliminal Messages

  • What advertisers have discovered is that stimuli above absolute threshold is more powerful than subliminal messages

Visual Attention

  • Inattentional blindness
    • Failure to notice obvious changes in visual scene; or failure of unattended stimuli to register in consciousness
    • We can look right at something without “seeing” it if we are attending to something else
    • Sometimes termed change blindness
    • Simons and Chabris (1999): Moonwalking bear or gorilla suit
      • Subjects watched and attached to a video
      • Over 1/2 failed to notice bizarre event
  • Environmental and Personal Factors
    • Attention is influenced by:
      • Nature of stimulus (intensity, novelty, movement, contrast, repetition)
      • Personal factors (motives and interests), e.g. when we are hungry, we are sensitive to food-related cues
    • People are attentive to stimuli that represent a threat -> biological survival value
      • E.g. recognizing angry faces: people are much faster at detecting a single angry face in a happy crowd -> attentional processes are based on innate biological factors and on past experiences that make certain stimuli important (Hansen, Hansen, 1988)
  • The Role of Attention
    • Involves 2 processes of selection:
      1. Focusing on a certain stimulus
      2. Filtering out other incoming information
    • Shadowing: participants wear earphones and listen simultaneously to 2 messages. Asked to repeat or “shadlow” one of the messages
      • They can repeat one message successfully, but have a hard time remembering the other one
      • We cannot attend completely to more than one thing at a time
      • We can shift our attention rapidly back and forth between messages
  • Divided Attention
    • Automatic processing assists us in our ability to have divided attention
    • Defn: The ability to perform more than one activity at a time
    • We can do it, but not great at it

Difference Threshold

  • Definition: The smallest difference between two stimuli that people can perceive 50 percent of the time
  • aka Just Noticeable Difference (JND)
  • Weber’s Law: JND is directly proportional to the magnitude of the stimulus with which the comparison is being made

Gestalt Principles of Perceptual Organization

  • Figure-Ground: our tendency to organize stimuli into a central or foreground figure and a background
    • The central figure is usually in front of or on top of what we perceive to be the background
    • The central figure tends to more striking and more memorable than the background
  • Similarity: when parts of a configuration are perceived as similar, they will be perceived as belonging together
  • Proximity: elements that are near each other are likely to be perceived as part of the same configuration
  • Good Continuation (Continuity): people link individual elements together so they form a continuous pattern that makes sense
  • Closure: people tend to close the open edges of a figure or fill in gaps in an incomplete figure, so that their identification of the form is more complete that what is actually present
  • Common Region

Perceptual Hypotheses

  • Perceptual Schema: a mental representation or image containing the critical features of a person, object, event, or other perceptual phenomenon; mental templates
  • The perceptual system actively searches its library of internal schemas for the interpretation that best fits the sensory data
  • Ponzo Illusion: train track yellow line
  • Muller-Lyer Illusion: stylized arrow

Perceptual Sets

  • Readiness to perceive stimuli in a particular way
  • Like being primed to expect something and therefore perceiving it
  • Study by Kelley (1950) - guest lecturer “warm” vs. “cold” descriptor
  • Bugelski & Alampay (1961)
    • Primed participants with either human faces or animal pictures
    • Then showed them amibuguous images, like “rat-man”
    • Those who were primed with the faces saw a man, those who were primed with animals saw a rat

Cultural Differences and Perception

  • Our cultural experiences and the type of perceptions we are used to experiencing can influence how we perceive stimuli
  • People from different cultures could look at the same stimuli but perceive it differently

June 13, 2016 - Lecture 5

Test 2 on June 27, 2016 -> 60 MC, ~15 questions from each chapter (5, 6, 7, 8)


  • Stimulus for hearing = sounds waves (described by 2 characteristics: frequency (pitch) and amplitude (loudness/intensity))
  • The McGurk Effect: interaction between hearing and vision in speech perception; auditory component of one sound is paired with the visual component of another sound, leadning to the perception of a third sound
  • Echolocation

Chapter 6: Consciousness


  • Definition: Moment-to-moment awareness of ourselves and the environment
  • Major characteristics:
    1. subject and private: other people cannot directly know what the reality is for you, nor can you enter directly into their experience
    2. dynamic (ever changing): we drift in and out of various states. Although stimuli constantly change, we experience consciousness as a continuously flowing stream of mental activity
    3. self-reflective and central to our sense of self: the mind is aware of its own consciousness. Thus, no matter what your awareness is focused on, you can reflect on the fact that you are the one who is conscious of it
  • Consciousness is connected with the process of selective attention (process that focuses awareness on some stimuli to the exclusion of others)
  • Levels of consciousness: Psychodynamic Perspective
    1. The conscious mind - contains our thoughts, perceptions, and other mental events we are aware of
    2. Preconscious - mental events that are out of our current awareness but that can be easily retrieved under certain conditions
    3. Unconscious - events cannot be brought into conscious awareness under ordinary circumstances
  • Levels of consciousness: Cognitive Perspective -> Views the conscious and unconscious as working together, not as in constant conflict with each other like the psychodynamic approach
    • Controlled vs. Automatic Processing
    • Controlled processing - requires voluntary use of attention and conscious effort (e.g. learning to type, use utensils etc.)
      • More practice -> increased performance -> brain regions involved in conscious thought become less active
    • Automatic processing - activities can be performed with little or no conscious effort

Stages of Sleep

  • EEG
    • Beta waves - when you are awake and alert; high frequency (15 to 30 cycles per second), low amplitude
    • Alpha waves - relaxed and drowsy, brain waves slow down; low frequency (8 to 12 cps)
  • As sleep begins, brain-wave pattern becomes irregular
    • Theta waves - (3.5 to 7.5 cps)
    • Delta waves - (0.5 to 2 cps), very large amplitude
  • Stage 1
    • Light Sleep, easily awakened
    • Theta waves increase
    • May experience “body jerks”
  • Stage 2
    • Sleep deepens - muscles more relaxed - harder to awaken, dreams may occur
    • Sleep spindles (periodic 1 to 2 second bursts of rapid brain-wave activity (12 to 15 cps))
  • Stage 3
    • Sleep deepens
    • Delta waves start occurring; as time passes they occur more often
  • Stage 4
    • Delta waves dominate pattern
  • Stage 3 and 4: Slow-wave sleep; body is relaxed, activity in various parts of brain has decreased, hard to awaken, may have dreams
  • REM Sleep
    • Rapid eye movement
    • High arousal (heart rate, breathing, brain wave activity)
    • REM sleep paralysis: difficult for voluntary muscles to contract
    • Frequent dreaming

Sleep Deprivation

  • Pilcher & Bradley (1996) studied sleep deprivation
  • Short-term sleep deprived (up to 45 hours without sleep)
  • Long-term sleep deprived (more than 45 hours without sleep)
  • Partial deprivation (sleep no more than 5 hours per night for one or more consecutive nights)
  • Responses on: Mood, mental tasks, physical tasks

  • University students who pull all-nighters perform more poorly on critical thinking tasks than students allowed to sleep
  • But sleep deprived students actually report that they performed better and concentrated harder
  • People seem to underestimate the negative impact sleep deprivation has on their abilities

Sleep Disorders

  • Insomnia
    • Chronic difficulty in falling asleepm staying asleep, or experienceing restful sleep
    • Most common sleep disorder, affects 10-40% of the population
    • Has biological, psychological, and environmental causes
  • Narcolepsy
    • Extreme daytime sleepiness and sudden, uncontrollable sleep attacks
    • Can last from less for a minute to an hour
    • May also experience cataplexy (sudden loss of muscle tone triggered by laughter, excitement, and other strong emotions)
  • Sleepwalking
    • Typically occurs during stage 3 or 4 sleep
    • Often have a blank stare and are unresponsive to other people
    • About 10-30% of children sleepwalk but only 5% adults
  • REM-Sleep Behaviour Disorder (RBD)
    • Loss of muscle tone that causes normal REM sleep paralysis is absent
    • RBD sleepers may kick violently, throw punches, or get out of bed and move about wildly
    • Often injure themselves while sleeping and sometimes injure their sleeping partners as well
  • Nightmares and Night Terrors
    • Nightmares are frightening dreams
    • Night terrors (sleep terrors) are more intense than nightmares; occur during stage 3 or 4 sleep
      • Sleeper sits up and starts screamingl; terrified and near panic
      • 6% of children
      • Only 1-2% of adults


  • When do we dream?
    • Not just during REM sleep, but the majority of dreaming does take place during REM sleep
    • The final hours of sleep contains more dreaming compared to the beginning of sleep
  • What do we dreama about?
    • Actually dreams are generally quite “ordinary” with familiar settings
    • Large proportion contains negative emotions and/or contained aggressive acts
  • Why?
    • Freud Analytic Theory - Main purpose of dreaming is wish fulfillment - the gratification of our unconscious desires
    • Activation-Synthesis Theory - duing REM sleep the brain stem is bombarding our higher brain centres with random neural activity; this activity does not match our external sensory events, but our cerebral cortex continues its job of interpretation
    • Cognitive Approach - Porblem-solving dream models. Dreams can help us find creative solutions to our problems and conflicts
      • Integation? Antrobus (1991) combined aspects from each (cognitive, biological, and modern psychoanalytic) perspective to try and explain the dreaming process

Psychoactive Drugs

  • Drugs that influence subjective experience and behaviour by activing on the nervous system
  • Tolerance: users become less affected by the drug, so requires larger doses to achieve the same effect
  • Compensatory Responses: physiological reactions opposite to drug effect; body adjusting to drug
  • Withdrawal: compensatory responses after drug is discontinued

  • Influence activity on neurotransmitters
    • Agonists: increase activity
    • Antagonists: decrease activity
    • e.g. Prozac (an antidepressant) works by increasing serotonin levels

Drug Categories

  • Stimulants
    • increase blood pressure, respiration, heart rate, alertness
    • improve mood, produce euphoria
    • may improve concentration, attention
  • Depressants
    • decrease nervous system activity
    • small doses: reduce tension and anxiety, produce relaxation
    • Very high doses: slow down vital life processes to the point of death


  • Behavioural Effects of Alcohol
    • 0.03 1 Decreased alertness, impaired reaction time
    • 0.05 2 Decreased alertness, impaired judgment and reaction time, feeling of relaxation, release of inhibitions
    • 0.10 4 Severely impaired reaction time, motor function, and judgment, less caution
    • 0.15 10 Gross intoxication, impairemnts worsen
    • 0.25 ? Extreme sensory and motor impairment, staggering
    • 0.30 ? Stuporous but conscious, cannot comprehend immediate environment
    • 0.40 ? Lethal in over 50% of cases
  • Withdrawal Symptoms
    • “Hangover” (mild withdrawal): headache, nausea, vomiting, termors
    • Full-blown withdrawal
      • Phase 1 (5-6 hours after cessation)
        • severe tremors, agitation, headache, abdominal cramps, profuse sweating
      • Phase 2 (begins 24-48 hours after cessation)
        • Convulsions
      • Phase 3 (begins 2 or 3 days after)
        • Delirium tremes (“DTs”)
        • Hallucinations, delusions, agitation, confusion, hyperthermia
        • Can be lethal
  • Chronic consumption
    • Brain Damage
    • Korsakoff’s Syndrome (severe memory loss, dementia, sensory/motor dysfunction)
    • Causes scarring of the liver
    • Erodes muscles of heart (heart attack)
    • Higher risk of many cancers
  • Alcohol and Time Perception
    • Temporal Myopia: increased attention to immediate events and decreased attention to more distant events; e.g. more likely to engage in risky behaviour, ignoring long-term consequences


  • Usually ingested, injected
  • Increases dopamine and norepinephrine activity
  • Heavy use can lead to “amphetamine psychosis”, schizophrenia-like hallucinations and delusions
  • Withdrawl symptoms
    • Sleep for 1 or 2 days
    • Wake up depressed, exhausted, irritable
  • Ecstasy(MDMA): derivative of amphetamine
    • Synthesized in 1914, emerged in 1960s
    • Originally thought to be the safe drug
    • Adverse effects: MDMA is a neurotoxin, kills neurons that produce serotonin
    • Linked to cognitive impairment, depression, suicide, sudden death


  • Coca bush, was widely used as an anesthetic
  • Eaten, smoked, snorted, or injected
  • Free-based form (Crack) -> smoked or injected
  • Effects:
    • Well-being, self-confidence, alertness, energy, strength, socially outgoing, fidgety, talkativeness


  • Opium is a product of the opium poppy
  • Drugs derived from opium - called opiates
  • For example: morphine, codeine, and heroin
  • Two major effects:
    • Pain relief
    • Mood changes (intense euphoria)
  • Oxycodone (aka Ocycontin and Percocet)
    • Powerful painkillers that have intense mood-altering effects
    • Increase dopamine activity
    • Bayer used to market heroin as a cough suppressant


  • Powerful mind-altering drugs that produce hallucinations
  • Some are natural sources - Mescaline (peyote)
  • Some are synthetic - LSD and phencyclidine (angel dust)
  • Classifying Hallucinogens: The first three relate to the chemical similarity between the particular drug and one of three major neurotransmitters: acetylcholine, serotonin, or norepinephrine; The fourth, miscellaneous group includes synthetic hallucinogens, such as phencyclidine(PCP) and ketamine, which bear little resemblance to any known neurotransmitter

Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)

  • LSD experience is often unpredictable, but certain features are commonly observed:
    • Colorful hallucinations
    • Synesthesia in which sounds often appear as visions
    • Emotional swings
    • A feeling of timelessness
  • Affects a subtype of brain receptors sensitive to serotonin, referred to as serotonin-2A receptors
  • IN the early 1990s, a resurgence in LSD abuse among young people
  • Hollow mask test


  • From the hemp plant - Cannabis Sativa
  • Hard to classify
  • Most widely used illicit drug in Canada
  • Approximately one third of all Canadians have used marijuana at least once
  • Acute Effects of Marijuana
    • Because marijuana is often consumed through smoking, the acute effects are rapid, but because it is absorbed into fatty tissue, its elimination is slow
    • It may require days or weeks for THC to leave the body completely
    • Acute physiological effects: cardiac acceleration and a reddening of the eyes
    • Acute psychological effects: euphoria, giddiness, a perception of time elongation, and increased hunger
    • There are impairments in attention and memory, which interfere with complex visual-motor skills such as driving an automobile
    • The acute effects of marijuana are now known to be due to the binding of THC at special receptors in the brain
  • Misconceptions about marijuana:
    • Leads to amotivational syndrome (unmotivated and apathetic towards everything)
    • Causes people to use more dangerous drugs (gateway drug)
    • Has no significant dangers
      • Cancer-causing substances
      • Impairs memory and learning

June 20, 2016 - Lecture 6


  • Hypnotic Induction: a process that creates a context for hypnosis
  • The goal is to relax the subject and increase his or her concentration
  • People cannot be hypnotized against their will. Even when people want to be hypnotized, they differ in how “susceptible” they are to hypnotic suggestion
  • Dissociation Theory: Hypnosis is an altered state involving a division of consciousness
    • Hypnosis creates a division of consciousness in which the person simultaneously experiences two streams of consciousness that are cut off from each other
  • Social Cognitive Theories: hypnotic experiences result from expectations of people who are motivated to take on the role of being “hypnotized”
    • Most people believe that hypnosis involves a trancelike appearance, responsiveness to suggestion, and loss of self-consciousness
    • Develop a perceptual set
    • Orne, 1959
      • Importance of expectations about hypnosis
      • Classroom demonstration. University students were told that hypnotized people usually experience spontanoues stiffening of muscles in dominant hand (not actually the case)
      • When students were later hypnotized, 55% of them exhibited stiffening of the hand without suggestion from the hypnotist

Chapter 7 - Learning

Classical Conditioning

  • Associating one stimulus with another
  • Basic form of learning
  • Learn to associate two stimuli
    • One stimulus elicits a response that was originally elicited only by the other stimulus
  • Applications:
    • Fear
    • Overcoming Fear
      • Exposure Therapy: Extinction of CR through exposure to CS without presence of UCS
      • Systematic Desensitization: Muscular relaxation paired with gradual exposure to fear-inducing stimulus
      • Flooding: Exposure to fearful stimulus


4 important elements:

  • Unconditioned Stimulus(UCS)
    • Stimulus that elicits a reflexive or innate unconditioned response (UCR) without prior learning
  • Unconditioned Response(UCR)
    • Reflexive or innate response elicited by the UCS without prior learning
  • Conditioned Stimulus(CS)
    • stimulus that through association with the UCS, comes to elicit a conditioned response similar to the original UCR
  • Conditioned Response(CR)
    • Response elicited by a conditioned stimulus

Note: UCR and CR are the same thing, what elicits them is different!

E.g. Before conditioning, tone leads to no salivation response, unconditioned stimulus (UCS) -> food powder leads to unconditioned response (UCR) -> salivation

During conditioning, conditioned stimulus (CS) -> tone + unconditioned stimulus (UCS) -> food powder lead to unconditioned response (UCR) -> salivation

After conditioning, conditioned stimulus (CS) -> tone leads to conditioned response (CR) -> salivation

Common Conditioning Procedures

  • Short-delayed conditioning
    • Conditioned stimuli (CS) still present when unconditioned stimulus (UCS) present
    • Optimal learning
  • Trace conditioning
    • Gap in time separates end of CS and start of UCS
  • Simultaneous conditioning
    • CS and UCS presented at the same time
    • Slow learning

Factors Influencing Classical Conditioning

  1. Number of pairings for the conditioned and the unconditioned stimulus
  2. The intensity of the unconditioned stimulus
  3. How reliably the conditioned stimulus predicts the unconditioned stimulus
  4. The timing (temporal relationship) between the conditioned stimulus and the unconditioned stimulus

Higher Order Conditioning

  • Chain of events which has 2 CS stimuli
  • Expands influence of classical conditioning on behaviour

Classical Conditioning: Aversion Therapy

  • Attempts to condition an aversion or repulsion to a stimulus that triggers unwanted behaviour by pairing it with a noxious UCS
  • Example: giving alcoholic patients a drug that induces vomiting any time alcohol is consumed
  • Aversion therapy has shown mixed results that are often extinguished over time

Overcoming fears

  • First - Phobias
    • E.g. Acrophobia (fear of heights), Arachnephobia (fear of spiders), Ophodiophobia (fear of snakes), Aulophobia (fear of flutes), Consecotaleophobia (fearof chopsticks), Coulrophobia (fear of clowns)

Thorndike’s Law of Effect

  • Placed a hungry cat in a box and put food outside the box
  • Eventually the cat would accidentally step on the pedal that opened the door
  • Slwoly they learned to step on the pedal to get out of the box
  • Law of Effect: A response followed by a “satisfying “ outcome that will become more likely to occur
  • Operant conditioning - B.F. Skinner

Operant Conditioning

  • Learning in which behaviour is influenced by its consequences
  • Responses that produce favourable consequences tend to be repeated, whereas responses that produce unfavourable consequences become less likely to occur
  • Changing the probability that a behaviour occurs
  • Learning a new behaviour
  • Operant conditioning has 3 types of events.
    • A: Antecedents (stimuli present before the behaviour)
    • B: Behaviours
    • C: Consequences that follow the behaviour
  • Behaviour has consequences:
    • If the consequence is positive, the behaviour is more likely to occur again
    • If the outcome is negative, the behaviour is less likely to occur again
  • Reinforcement: used to increase the likelihood that a behaviour occurs again
    • Positive Reinforcement: deliver something good
    • Negative Reinforcement: remove something aversive
  • Punishment: used to decrease the likelihood that a behaviour occurs again
    • Positive Punishment: deliver something aversive
    • Negative Punishment: remove something positive

Operant Conditioning Techniques

  • B.F. Skinner
    • Used reinforcement to get an individual to produce a new behaviour
  • Shaping
    • Mold a particular behaviour by reinforcing responses that get closer to it
    • Demonstration:
      1. Sit in a chair
      2. Kick instructor in the shin
      3. Shake instructor’s hand
  • Reinforcers
    • Primary reinforcers
      • Fulfill basic physical needs
      • Value is not learned
      • E.g. food
    • Secondary reinforcers
      • Gains value because it has been paired with other reinforcers
      • Value is learned
      • E.g. money

Schedules of Reinforcement

  • Fixed-Ratio(FR) Schedule
    • Subject is given a reinforcement after every __ responses
    • E.g. FR-5 schedule: reinforcement after the 5th response
    • E.g. piece-work
    • Make 100 widgets, earn $1
    • Officer gains promotion after catching specific # of criminals
  • Variable-Ratio(VR) Schedule
    • Subject is given a reinforcement after an average of __ responses
    • E.g. VR-5 schedule: reinforcement after the 2nd, 5th, and 8th responses (average is 5)
    • Another example: slow machines pays off on a VR schedule
  • Immediate vs Delayed Consequences
    • Training animals typically requires immediate or very quick reinforcements
    • For humans it can be a little different. We often weight immediate consequences against future consequences
  • Delay of Gratification
    • The ability to forego an immediate smaller reward for a delayed but more satisfying outcome

Bandura - Observational Learning

  • Bandura’s Social Learning Theory: people learn through observing, imitating, and modeling
  • Bobo Doll Experiment -> people not only learn by being rewarded or punished (behaviourism), but they can also learn from watching somebody else being rewarded or punished (observational learning)

Chapter 8 - Memory

  • Refers to the processes that allow us to record and later retrieve experiences and information
  • E.g. Daniel and Kim, “The Human Camera”
    • Daniel Tammet and Kim Peek have amazing abilities to store and retrieve particular types of information. Steven Whiltshire displays a different type of skill

Memory as Information Processing

  • The advent of computers gave rise to the metaphorical comparison that the mind is a processing system that encodes, stores, and retrieves information
    • Encoding: getting information into the system by translating it into a neural code that your brain processes
      • Like what happens when you type on a computer keyboard
      • Your keystrokes are translated into an electrical code that the computer can understand
    • Storage: retaining information over time
      • Once information is in the system it must be filed away and saved for future access
    • Retrieval: the ability to pull information out of storage when we want to use it
      • With a computer we would give a command like “open file” to retrieve specific information


  • Involves all 3 of these processes (Encoding, Storage, Retrieval)
  • Failure in any one of these processes can result in memory failure

A Three-Component Model

  • 3 levels of memory:
    • Sensory memory: holds information coming through the sense for a period of about a fraction of a second to several seconds; holds the incoming information just long enough for it to the recognized
    • Short-term/Working memory: holds information we are conscious of at any given time; aka “working memory” as it consiously processes, codes, and “works on” information we are focusing on; in order to transfer the information from sensory to short-term memory it must be represented in a code; memory codes are mental representations of information
      • Rehearsal: purposely repeating information to maintain it in short-term memory or to transfer it to long-term memory
      • Short term memory requires some amount of rehearsal
      • 2 Types of Rehearsal:
        1. Maintenance Rehearsal
        2. Elaborative Rehearsal
      • STM holds about 7 items for less than 30 seconds with rehearsal
      • Miller (1956): memory studies found that the capacity for short-term memory is 7 +- 2 (between 5 and 9 items)
      • Chunking: organizing or grouping bits of information into larger units; Easier to deal with the information
    • Long-term memory:
      • The vast library of durable stored memories
      • Barring brain damage, we remain capable of forming new long-term memories until we die
      • The storage capacity of long-term memory is essentially unlimited

Serial Position Effect

Recall of an item is influenced by the position in a series of items

  • 2 components:
    • Primary Effect - superior recall of early words
      • Causes: First few words are rehearsed and transferred to long term memory. But as the list grows the short-term memory fills up and there are too many words and they can’t be rehearsed and transferred
    • Recency Effect - superior recall of the most recent words
      • Causes: The last few words aren’t bumped out of short term memory by new information, therefore the last few words can remain short term memory long enough to be included in the recal

Mnemonic Devices

  • Any type of memory aid
  • Any strategy used to help in your ability to remember information
  • Example: chunking, Method of Loci, Acronyms, Acrostics
  • Method of Loci: Memory improvement technique to help visualize items
    • Imagine a physical environment with a sequence of distinct landmarks, for example rooms in your house etc.
    • To remember a list of items, you then take a “stroll” through that familiar environment and link an item with the location

Long-Term Memory

  • Two main subtypes:
    1. Declarative Memory: Facts, information, and personal life events that can be brought to mind verbally or in the form of images
      • Two subtypes:
      1. Episodic memory: contains the memory of events we have experienced personally; the people we have known, the places we have seen, and the personal experiences we have had
      2. Semantic memory: our memory of general knowledge, made of facts and general information; the capital of Canada, what 3*7 is etc.
    2. Procedural Memory: Motor skills, habits, and simple classically conditioned responses; example: eating with a fork, driving a car, riding a bicycle

Visual Imagery

  • Dual Coding Theory:
    • Pavlov proposes that information is stored in long-term memory in two forms: verbal and non-verbal
    • Using both codes enhances memory because the odds improve that at least one of the codes will be available to support recall

Superior Autobiographical Memory (Hyperthymesia)

  • Condition of possessing an extremely detailed autobiographical memory

Carmichael, Hogan & Walters (1932)

  • The Researchers presented participants with a set of images
  • The images were labelled with one of two different set of words
  • The participants were later asked to recreate the images for each label
  • Encoding Specificity Principle: memory enhanced when conditions present during retrieval match these present during encoding (e.g. exams written in the same room)
  • Context-dependent memory: easier to remember something in same environment where encoded
  • State-dependent memory: ability to retrieve better when internal state at retrieval matches that at encoding (e.g. arousal, drugs)
  • Mood-congruent recall: tend to recall information or events congruent with current mood

July 4, 2016 - Lecture 7

Final Exam:

  • Chapter 9 - Language & Thinking
  • Chapter 13 - Social Psychology
  • Chapter 16 - Psychological Disorders

Chapter 9 - Language and Thinking


  • Most common, universal feature of human society
  • Pervades every facet of our lives, public and private
  • Every culture, no matter how isolated or primitive has Language
  • Every person, except under extreme deprivation/accidents, develops skills in use of language
  • The use of language evolved as people gathered to form larger social units
    • As the social environment became more complex, new survival problems emerged: the need to create divisions of labor and copperative social systems and communicate thoughts, and to pass on knowledge
    • The development of language made it easier for humans to adapt to environmental demands
  • Thus, human brain has an inborn capacity to acquire languages
  • 5000 - 6000 languages spoken across the globe

Language = A shared symbolic system for communication

  • consists of a system of symbols and rules for combining these symbols in ways that can generate an infinite number of possible messages and meanings
  • Letters, written, and spoken symbols that stand for the referent of the word
  • Shared by all speakers of a language culture
  • System enables communication

Psycholinguistics = scientific study of the psychological aspects of language

  • how people understand, produce, and acquire language

Basic Principles

  • Language = Words + Rules
  • Words of language comprise the mental lexicon
  • Grammar = rules that dictate the legal combination of the units of language

Non-modular view

  • Language perception, production, and comprehension are the joint product of garden-variety cognitive processes

Modular view

  • Language is comprised of a unique set of capacities that cannot be reduced to other cognitive processes
  • Linguistic capabilities are “special”

Properities of Laguage

  • Language is a system of symbols and rules
  • 3 Properties:
    1. Symbolic: use of sounds, signs, gestures
      • Allows for forming and transferring mental representations
    2. Structure: rule-governed structures
      • Symbols combined to create meaningful units
    3. Generativity:
      • Symbols can be combined to generate an infinite number of messages that can have novel meaning
  • Displacement: past, future, imaginary events, objects can be symbolically represented and communicated
    • the fact that language allows us to communicate about events and objects that are not physically present

Structure of Language

  • Surface Structure: consists of the symbols that are used and their order. Related to the concept of syntax (the rules that govern the order of words)
  • Deep Structure: refers to the underlying meaning of the combined symbols. Related to the concept of semantics (the meaning of words and sentences)

Surface vs. Deep Structure

  • Surface Structure
    • consists of the symbols that are used and their order
    • related to the concept of syntax (the rules that govern the order of words)
  • Deep Structure
    • refers to the underlying meaning of the combined symbols
    • related to the concept of semantics (the meaning of words and sentences)
  • Different surface structure (different syntax) but same deep structure (same semantics):
    • Sam ate the cake
    • The cake was eaten by Sam
    • Eaten by Sam the cake was (syntax is incorrect)

Critical and Sensitive Period

  • Critical Period - timeframe in which a particular skill or ability must be learned or developed. If missed, it will never be developed
  • Sensitive Period - timeframe during which development of a particular skill is likely to occur

Language Acquisition

  • “Feral Children”
    • Victor of Aveyron - Learned to read and write some words but never learned to speak
    • Genie - speaking ability stalled at around 2-3 year-old level

Ambiguous Sentences

  • Mary had a little lamb. (But I was quite hungry, so I had a little lamb plus a bowl of soup)
  • Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana.
  • Put the box on the table in the kitchen.

Garden Path Sentences

  • Demonstrates that there is risk to interpreting a sentence as it arrives
  • The information necessary for interpretation can often come at the end
  • Examples:
    • The old man the ships.
    • The secretary applauded for his efforts was soon promoted.
    • Fat people eat accummulates.
    • Because he ran the second mile went quickly.
    • The girl told the story cried.


  • Knowledge of the practical aspects of using language
  • Rules surrounding the social context of language
  • Example:
    • Passerby - “Do you have the time?” You - “3:52”; Generally speaking, you don’t just say “Yes” and keep walking
    • Student - “I need you to explain this material to me. Do you have the time?” Professor - “3:52” ???
      • The context is different. The additional information changes the question being asked despite the surface structure of the sentence remaining the same

Language in Non-Human Species

  • Speculation and research have centered on whether non-human specirs are capable of language
    • Communication systems: are they equivalent to language?
    • Most would say no, as these systems lack key design features of language
    • Example: Kanzi, Alex
  • Others have investigated whether animals can follow simple commands presented in some type of “language”
    • Although successful, these efforts fall short of demonstrating language
      • Communications doesn’t occur spontaneously
      • Done only to achieve some reward
  • The most successful language training projects have involved cross-fostering studies with Bonobo chimps
    • Kanzi was trained informally during everyday interactions after he spontaneously picked up on signs from mother; “lexigrams”
    • Kanzi generated a corpus of thousands of utterances, many of which demonstrated evidence of systematic understanding
  • Most believe animal language falls short of true language
  • What is the key feature of language that makes it “special”, unique to humans?
    • Some believe it’s recursion, the ability of language to embed sentences and phrases within sentences and phrases, theoretically without limit


= Learning a second language

  • Learned best and spoken most fluently when acquired in sensitive period
  • Associated with greater thinking flexibility, higher performance on intelligence tests

Possessing Language

  • Possessing language is the quintessential human trait
    • All normal humans speak
    • Children learn a language without formal lessons
    • Main vehicle by which we know about other people’s thoughts
    • Does how we “think” come from our language?
    • Language acquisition = learning to think


  • Propositional Thought
    • Expresses statement
    • E.g. “Mount Fuji is breathtaking”
  • Imaginal Thought
    • Consists of images we see in our mind
  • Motoric Thought
    • Mental representations of motor movements


  • Trial and error
  • Means-end analysis
    • Identify differences between current state and goal state
    • E.g. Tower of Hanoi

July 11, 2016 - Lecture 8

Chapter 13 - Social Psychology

  • Outline (Videos watched):
    • Milgram’s Obedience Study
    • Zimbardo Stanford Prison Experiment

Social Psychology

  • Studies
    • How we think about and perceive our social world (social thinking and social perception)
    • How we behave toward other people (social relations)
    • How other people influence our behaviours (social influence)


  • Asch’s Line Judgement Task
    • When alone, people answered incorrectly on fewer than 1% of trials
    • When in a group, people answered incorrectly on an average of 33% of trials


  • Milgram’s experiment on obedience to authority figures
    • Instruct people to perform acts conflicting with their personal conscience
    • Deliver a shock when a mistake was made
    • How far would they go?
    • Milgram asked psychologists, students etc. to predict level of obedience
      • ~1%
    • In fact 65% obeyed to highest level of shock value
    • Found that a very high proportion of people were prepared to obey, albeit unwillingly, even if apparently causing serious injury and distress

Milgram’s Agency Theory

  • Milgram (1974) explained the behaviour of his participants by suggesting that people actually have two states of behaviour when hey are in a social situation
    • Autonomous State = people direct their own actions, and they take responsibility for the results of those actions
    • Agentic State = people allow others to direct their actions, and then pass off the responsibility for the consequences to the person giving the orders. In other words, they act as agents for another person’s will
  • Says that people will obey an authority when they believe that the authority will take responsibility for the consequences of their actions
    • Supported by some aspects of Milgram’s evidence
    • For example, when participants were reminded that they had responsibility for their own actions, almost none of them were prepared to obey
    • In contrast, many participants who were refusing to go on did so if the experimenter said that he would take responsibility

Factors and Variations

  • Uniform
    • In the original study, the experiemnter wore a grey lab coat as a symbol of his authority (a kind of uniform)
    • Milgram carried out a variation in which the experimenter was called away right at the start of the procedure, and the role of the experimenter was then taken over by an ordinary member of the public (a confederate) in everyday clothes rather than a lab coat
    • The obedience level dropped to 20%
  • Two Teacher Condition
    • When participants could instruct an assistant (confederate) to press the switches, 92.5% shocked to the maximum 450 volts
    • When there is less personal responsibility obedience increases This relates to Milgram’s Agency Theory

How to Enter the Agentic State

  • The person giving the orders is perceived as being qialified to direct other people’s behaviour. That is, they are seen as legitimate
  • The person being ordered about is able to believe that the authority will accept responsiblity for what happens

Social Norms: Rules of the Game

  • Social Norms: shared expectations about how people should think, feel, and behaves; The cement that binds social systems together
  • Social Role: a set of norms that characterizes how people in a given social position ought to behave
    • The role of a university student
    • Role conflict can occur

Stanford Prison Experiment

  • Zimbardo (1973)
    • Conducted an experiment to simulate prison life
    • Advertised for participants to be part of a 2 week experiment looking at the prison experience
    • Half of the participants would be randomly assigned as prisoners and half would be guards
    • They would then spend 2 weeks in a mock prison setting
    • Question: Would they readily take on the norms of those social roles?
  • They adapted to their roles well beyond expectations, as the guards enforced authoritarian measures and ultimately subjected some of the prisoners to psychological torture
    • Many prisoners passively accepted psychological abuse and readily harassed other prisoners who attempted to prevent it
  • Factors
    • Deindividuation: loss of individuality that leads to disinhibited behaviour
    • Bystander Effect: diffusion of responsibility

Detecting and Resisting Compliance Strategies

  • Many of these strategies are used by telemarketers and salespeople
  • Norm of Reciprocity: expectation that when others treat us well, we should respond in kind
    • E.g. Hari Krishna’s “Flower Power” technique
  • Door-in-the-Face Technique: persuader makes a large request, expecting you to reject it and then presents a smaller request
  • Foot-in-the-Door Technique: persuader gets you to comply with a small request first, and later presents a larger request
    • E.g. Gueguin, 2002. Email asking you to complete a 20-min survey about dietary habits, 44% said yes
    • But if asked for a simple piece of advice, takes 1 min, and then asked to do the survey, 76% agreed
  • Lowballing: persuader gets you to commit to some action and then, before you actually perform the behaviour, they increase the cost of that same behaviour
    • E.g. used car costs only $8000. You agree. Salesperson just has to go check with their manager. Oops! It’s too low. But only $400 more.


  • The process by which individuals explain the causes of behaviour and events
  • Attributional Factors:
    • Consistency
    • Distinctiveness
    • Consensus
  • Attribution
    • Personal Attribution (internal)
    • Situation Attribution (external)
  • Attribution Bias: cognitive bias that refers to the systematic errors made when people evaluate behaviours
    • E.g. when a driver cuts us off, we are more likely to attribute blame to the reckless driver, rather than situational circumstances
  • Fundamental Attribution Error: Bias in explaining others’ behaviours; Place an undue emphasis on internal characteristics of the agent, rather than external factors
    • When we make attributions about another person’s actions, we are likely to overemphasize the role of dispositional factors
    • E.g. If we see a coworker bump into someone on his way to a meeting, we explain this behaviour in terms of our coworker’s carelessness, rather than him running late to a meeting
  • Ultimate Attribution Error: group-level attribution error that offers an explanation for how one person views different causes of negative and positive ingroup and outgroup behaviours
    • Out: negative->flaws in personality, positive->chance or circumstance
    • In: negative->chance or circumstance, positive->personality
  • Actor-Observer Bias: extension of the FAE
    • E.g. a student who studies may explain her behaviour by referencing situational factors (“I have an exam coming up”), whereas others will explain her studying by referencing dispositional factors (“Ambitious and hard-working”)
  • Hostile Attribution Bias: interpret others’ ambiguous behaviours as hostile, rather than benign
    • E.g. if a child witnesses two other children whispering and assumes they are talking about him/her, that child makes an attribution of hostile intent

Cognitive Dissonance

  • The state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioural decisions and attitude change
  • Contraditory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time

July 18, 2016 - Lecture 9

Roots of Prejudice

  1. Cognitive Roots - our automatic tendency to categorize people may also help lay the foundation for prejudice
  2. Motivational Roots
    • Realistic Conflict Theory - competition for limited resources fosters prejudice
    • Social Identity Theory - prejudice stems from a need to enhance our self-esteem. Self-esteem based on two components: a personal identity and a “group” identity

Original Clark Doll Test

Who’s Lead Researcher?

  • Porter & Geis, 1981
  • Which person contributes most strongly to this research team?
    • All-male, all-female, mixed gender -> same answer (Seat 3)
    • Unless, there is a female seated in that chair in a mixed gender photo. Then it’s one of the males seated elsewhere


  • Allport & Postman, 1947
  • Which person is holding the razor knife? Describe.
  • Innate prejudice

Chapter 16: Psychological Disorders

  • Abnormality
    • Is a “social construction” - function of cultural values
    • 3 D’s
      • Distressing to the individual - is disproportionate, too long-lasting
      • Dysfunctional - for individual or society
      • Deviant - especially if violate unstated norms

Historical Perspectives

  • Demonlogical View
    • Abnormal behaviour = result of supernatural forces
    • Possessed by a spirit
  • Treatment
    • Trephination = hole in the skull

The Medical Model

  • The medical model proposes that it is useful to think of abnormal behaviour as a disease” and has become the main way of thinking about mental illness today
  • This view is in stack contrast to how mental illness used to be perceived
  • Thus, the medical model has brought much needed improvement in patient care
  • Diagnosis - involves distinguishing one illness from another
  • Etiology = apparent causation and developmental history of an illness
  • Prognosis = a forecast about the probable course of an illness

The Classification of Disorders

  • The American Psychological Association (APA) uses the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSA)
    • Provides detailed information about various mental illnesses that allows clinicians to make more consistent diagnoses
    • DSM-1 sfirst published in 1952; 106 disorders
    • currently on the 5th edition of the DSM (published 2013, referred to as DSM-5); 300 disorders

Psychological Perspectives

  • Psychoanalytic
    • Inappropriate use of defense mechanisms = neuroses (a mild mental illness that is not caused by organic disease, involving symptoms of stress but not a radical loss of touch with reality; distress but neither delusions nor hallucinations)
    • Withdrawal from reality = psychoses (a severe mental disorder in which thought and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with external reality; loss of contact with reality; hallucinations, delusions, catatonia, thought disorder)
  • Behavioural
    • Learned responses
  • Cognitive
    • Thought processes
  • Humanistic
    • Frustrations of achieving self-actualization
    • Negative self-concept

Anxiety Disorders

  • A class of disorders marked by feelings of excessive apprehension and anxiety
  • Phobic Disorders
    • Strong, irrational fears of objects or situations
    • Most develop during childhood, adolescence, young adulthood
    • Seldom go away on their own
      • Can intensify over time
    • Degree of impairment
      • Depends on how often condition is encountered
    • Most common Western society fears
      • Social phobias = fear of certain situations that might involve evaluation/embarrassment
      • Specific phobias = fear of specific objects such as animals or situations
        • E.g. alektorophobia (fear of chickens), amathophobia (fear of dust)
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
    • Persistent, uncontrollable intrusions of unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and urges to engage in senseless rituals (compulsions)
    • Obsessions = cognitive component
      • repetitive and unwelcome thoughts
    • Compulsions = behavioural component
      • repetitive behavioural responses
    • Affects 2.5% of population
  • Emotional symptoms:
    • Feelings of tension
    • Apprehension
  • Cognitive symptoms:
    • Worry
    • Thoughts about inability to cope
  • Physiological symptoms:
    • Increased heart rate
    • Muscle tension
    • Other autonomic arousal symptoms
  • Behavioural symptoms:
    • Avoidance of feared situations
    • Decreased task performance
    • Increased startle response

Psychological Factors

  • Psychodynamic Explanations
    • Neurotic anxiety = unacceptable impulses threaten to overwhelm ego’s defenses
  • Cognitive Explanations
    • Maladaptive thoughts and beliefs
    • Things appraised “catastrophically”
    • Eliciting stimuli (internal or external) -> Physiological responses (e.g. increased heart rate, diziiness, breathlessness, muscle tension) -> catastrophic appraisals (e.g. “I’m losing it!” “I’m having a heart attack!”) -> Panic Attack

Mood (Affective) Disorders

  • Depression
    • Is not a “case of the blues” or “having a bad day”
    • Clinical depression = frequency, intensity, duration of symptoms is out of proportion to situation
  • Major Depression
    • Unable to function effectively
  • Dysthymia
    • Chronic disruption of mood
    • Persistent mild depression


  • Emotional
    • Negative mood state
  • Cognitive
    • Difficulty concentrating; feelings of inferiority & failure, pessimism
  • Motivational
    • Loss of interest & drive
  • Somatic (Physiological)
    • Loss of appetite or compulsive eating, sleep disturbances
  • Bipolar Disorder
    • Depression alternates with mania (periods of great excitement, euphoria, delusions, and overactivity)
    • Manic state:
      • Euphoric mood, grandiose cognitions
      • Rapid speech

Comparison of Depressive and Manic Symptoms

  • Emotional
    • Depressive: Dysphoric, gloomy mood; Diminished ability to experience pleasure; Sense of hopelessness
    • Manic: Euphoric, enthusiastic mood; Excessive pursuit of pleasureable activities; Unwanted optimism
  • Behavioural
    • Depressive: Fatigue, loss of energy; Insomnia; Slowed speech and movement; Social withdrawal
    • Manic: Energetic, tireless, hyperactive; Decreased need for sleep; Rapid speech and agitation; Increased sociability
  • Cognitive
    • Depressive: Impaired ability to think and make decisions; Slowed thought process; Excessive worry, rumination (compulsively focused attention on the symptom of one’s distress); Guilt, self-blame, unrealistic negative evaluations of one’s worth
    • Manic: Grandiose planning, indiscriminate decision making; Racing thoughts, easily distracted; Impulsive behaviour; Inflated self-esteem and self-confidence

Mood Disorders: Population

  • Prevalence of mood disorders
    • 1 in 5 will have a depressive episode of clinical proportions during lifetime
  • Gender differences
    • Women are twice as likely to suffer from unipolar depression (depression without mania because the mood remains at one emotional state or “pole”)

Mood Disorders: Patterns

  • Among people who suffer major depression:
    • 50%: depression will recur after recovery
      • Majority of cases
      • Symptom free about 3 years
    • 40%: depression will never recur after recovery
    • 10%: no recovery; chronic depression
      • Minority of cases
    • 90% recurrence of manic episodes

Mood Disorders: Causal Factors

  • Biological Explanations
  • Depression
    • Genetic factors: higher concordance for MZ (monozygotic) twins
    • Biochemical differences:
      • Underactivity of norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin
  • Bipolar disorder
    • stronger genetic component than unipolar depression
      • 50% have relative with disorder
    • Concordance rate is 5 times higher among identical (MZ) twins compared to fraternal twins
    • Manic disorders - overactivity of neurotransmitters

Dissociative Disorders

  • Usually personality has a unity and coherence, so that the many facets of the self integrate with our behaviour, our feelings, and how we think
  • Our memory also plays a key role in this integration because it connects the past and the present
  • Dissociative disorders involve a breakdown of this normal integration. Resulting in significant alterations in memory and/or identity

  • Examples:
    • Psychogenic amnesia (aka dissociative amnesia)
      • Sudden retrograde autobiographical memory loss; from hours to years
      • Restrospectively reported memory gaps
      • Extensive but selective memory loss following trauma
    • Psychogenic fugue (aka dissociative fugue or fugue)
      • Rare; short-lived state
      • Loss of all personal identity
      • Reversible amnesia for personal identity (including memories, personality etc)
    • Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)
      • Previously known as Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD)
      • 2 or more separate personalities that alternately show in a person’s behaviour, accompanied by memory impairment
      • Each identity is unique
        • Own sets of memories, ideas, thoughts
        • One identity may be the protector, another a child
      • Trauma-dissociation Theory
        • DID generally results from severe traumatic experience during early childhood
      • Example: Helen (7 personality or “alters”)
      • Debate: Is DID real?
        • Not universally accepted
        • Differences in brain waves demonstrated DID but
          • Unknown in some cultures
          • Role-playing?

Schizophrenia = split-mind

  • Abnormal social behaviour and failure to understand what is real
  • Severe disturbances in thinking, speech, perception, emotion and behaviour
  • Thinking
    • Delusions = false beliefs
    • Unclear or confused thinking (thought disorder)
  • Speech
    • Disorganized; strange words
  • Perception
    • Hallucinations = false perceptions
    • Hearing voices
  • Emotion
    • Blunted affect (lack of affect more sever than restricted or constricted affect; severe reduction in the intensity of affect; emotional numbness)
    • Inappropriate affect (an emotional expression disharmonious in quality or intensity with the person, event, or idea that provoked it; an individual’s display of emotions that do not properly fit a circumstance, such as smiling in reaction to a tragedy, or failing to show emotion at a time when an emotional reaction would be normal)
    • Lack of motivation
  • Behavioural
    • Disorganized behaviour
      • A decline in overall daily functioning
      • Lack of inhibition and impulse control
      • Behaviours that appear bizarre and have no purpose

Subtypes of Schizophrenia

  • Paranoid
    • False beliefs (delusions) that some individuals are plotting against them
    • Delusions of persection; Grandeur
  • Disorganized (aka Hebephrenic Schizophrenia)
    • Confusion; Incoherence
    • Disorganized behaviour and speech, as well as disturbances in emotional expression
  • Catatonic
    • Severe motor disturbances (Catatonia)
    • Behavioural abnormality manifested by stupor (near-unconsciousness)
  • Undifferentiated
    • Not easlity classified as one of above

Two Main Categories

  • Type I
    • Predominance of positive symptoms
      • Positive symptoms: hallucinations, delusions, racing thoughts
    • Pathological extremes
    • Delusions, hallucinations, disordered speech & thought
  • Type II
    • Predominance of negative symptoms
      • Negative symptoms: apathy, lack of emotion, poor or nonexistant social functioning
    • Absence of normal reactions
    • Lack of emotion, expression, motivation

Schizophrenia: Population

  • Affects 1% of population (over-represented in psychiatric hospitals)
    • Equal number of males and females (males generally earlier)
    • 10% permanently impaired
    • 65% intermittent periods of functioning
    • 25% recover
  • Positive Symptoms (Type I)
    • History of good functioning
    • Better prognosis
  • Negative Symptoms (Type II)
    • Long history of poor functioning
    • Poor recovery

Schizophrenia: Causal Factors

  • Biological factors
    • Genetics
    • Neurodegenerative Hypothesis
      • Destruction of neural tissue
      • 20-35% show brain atrophy in regions that influence cognitive processing and emotion
      • Thalamus
        • Shows abnormal MRI activity
        • Routes sensory information
    • Dopamine Hypothesis
      • Overactivity of dopamine system
      • Regulate emotion, motivation, cognitive functioning
      • Associated with positive symptoms
      • Antipsychotic drugs used for schizophrenia reduce dopamine activity
  • Psychological factors
    • Freud: Extreme use of defence mechanism regression (retreat to an earlier, more secure stage in life); Not generally accepted but life stress is a factor
    • Cognitive: Defect in ability to filter out irrelevant information

Personality Disorders

  • Stable, ingrained, inflexible and maladaptive ways of thinking, feeling, behaving
  • 3 clusters of disorders:
    • Dramatic and impulsive behaviours
    • Anxiety and fearfulness
    • Odd and eccentric behaviours
  • Examples:
    • Anti-Social Personality Disorder
      • Previously known as Psychopaths or Sociopaths
      • 3:1 Male to Female ratio
      • Lack of conscience
      • Failure to respond to punishment
      • Incapable of true emotions
      • Charming and manipulative
      • Diagnosis: at least 18 years old with anti-social behaviour before age 15
      • Example: Karla Homolka
    • Borderline Personality Disorder
      • Has become an intense interest among clinical researchers in recent years due to the chaotic effects it can have on those suffer from it, their families, and therapists
      • Approx. 3-5% of the general population
      • About 2/3 of those diagnosed with BPD are women
      • A collection of symptoms characterized primarily by serious instability in behaviour, emotion, identity, and interpersonal relationships
      • Central issue in BPD is emotional dysregulation
        • Emotional Dysregulation: an inability to control negative emotions in response to stressful life events
        • Many of the stressful life events are actually caused by the individuals themselves
      • Individuals with BPD have:
        • Intense and unstable personal relationships
        • Chronic feelings of extreme anger, loneliness, and emptiness
        • Momentary loss of personal identity
      • Individuals with BPD are inclined to engage in:
        • Impulsive behaviour
        • Running away
        • Promiscuity
        • Binge eating
        • Drug abuse
      • Individuals with BPD lives are often marked with:
        • Repetitive self-destructive behaviours such as self-mutilation and suicide attempts that seem designed to elicit “saving” responses from other people in their lives
      • Chaos extend to their relationships with their psychotherapists
      • BPD patients are considered among the most difficult to treat because of their clinging dependency, irrational anger, and tendency to engage in “manipulative” suicide threats
      • 6-10% BPD individuals eventually do commit suicide, either through miscalculation or design

Personality Disorders: Causal Factors

  • Biological factors
    • Genetic predisposition
    • Dysfunction in brain structures that govern self-control and emotional arousal
      • MRI findings of subtle differences in prefrontal lobes
      • Weaker limbic input to frontal cortex
  • Psychodynamic View
    • Lack of superego (ethical component of the personality that provides the moral standards by which the ego operates)
  • Borderline
    • Comparison between Borderline and normal individuals
      • Borderline respondents reported 6x more events in which someone treated them badly or injured them emotionally or physically
      • They also viewed potential helpers as far less helpful to them
      • Parents of borderine individuals are described as abusive, rejecting, and non-affirming
    • Some theorists suggest that an early lack of acceptance by parents may cripple self-esteem and lead to the clinging behaviours of borderline
    • Otto Kernberg - Splitting (sudden shifts in relationships from extreme love and clinging to intense hatred and feelings of abandonment could reflect this cognitive process)
      • The failure to integrate positive and negative aspects of another’s behaviour into a coherent whole
    • Biological Factors
      • Close relatives of those with BPD are 5 times more likely to have the disorder
      • Emotional explosiveness and impulsivity may also reflect an abnormality in neurotransmitter systems or the areas of the brain that contribute to emotional regulation
      • BPD probably reflects an interaction between biological and social/environmental factors

Rosenhan (1973)

  • What would happen if someone simply walked into a treatment facility complaining that they heard voices?
    • Rosenhan + 7 pseudopatients did that
    • Message from the voices unclear (hollow, empty, and thud)
    • If admitted, nothing was ever said again about the symptoms and if asked they would say they don’t hear them anymore
  • Results:
    • All 8 were admitted with diagnosis of schiophrenia (and upon discharge a diagnosis of schizophrenia in remission)
    • Not a single member of the staff at any hospital realized that they were faking it
    • Other patients did often say they were not “real patients”
    • Average stay was 19 days, ranging from 7-52 days

Vulnerability-Stress Model

  • Incorporates biological, environmental, and psychological views
  • Vulnerability = predisposition to disorders
    • Biological basis: personality or environmental factors
  • Stressor = event that requires person to cope
  • Predisposition = creates disorder only when person is subject to a stressor