Roots of Psychology - 5 Scientific Foundations of Psychology - STEP 4 Review the Knowledge You Need to Score High

5 Steps to a 5: AP Psychology - McGraw Hill 2021

Roots of Psychology
5 Scientific Foundations of Psychology
STEP 4 Review the Knowledge You Need to Score High


Summary: Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes. Behavior is anything you do that can be observed. Mental processes are your internal experiences such as thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions. Scientific study involves systematic collection and examination of data (empirical evidence) to support or disprove hypotheses (predictions) rather than depending on common sense.

Psychology has a long past but a short history as a science. Although people have thought about their own behavior for thousands of years, the thinking was not done in an organized and scientific manner.

In their scientific study of behavior and mental processes, psychologists aim to describe, understand, predict, and explain psychological phenomena. Theories are organized sets of concepts that explain phenomena. Psychologists conduct research to answer behavioral questions. They systematically collect accurate data through a variety of carefully made observations and measurements. Scientific experiments, naturalistic observations, interviews, questionnaires, case studies, and psychological tests are some methods psychologists use to explore our personalities, values, intelligence, talents, and the effects of heredity and environment on our development. The scientific method is a set of general procedures psychologists use for gathering and interpreting data. Other researchers working independently must be able to obtain similar results using the same methods; this is called replication.

This chapter highlights the development of psychology as a science and the approaches, research methods, and statistics used to make sense of research data.


Key Ideas

Image Roots of psychology are in philosophy and physiology/biology

Image Structuralism and Functionalism—Schools of Psychology

Image Behavioral approach

Image Psychodynamic/psychoanalytic approach

Image Humanistic approach

Image Biological approach

Image Evolutionary approach

Image Cognitive approach

Image Sociocultural approach

Image Biopsychosocial model

Image Domains of psychology

Image Experimental method

Image The controlled experiment

Image Eliminating confounding variables

Image Quasi-experimental research

Image Correlational research

Image Naturalistic observation

Image Survey and test methods

Image Case study

Image Elementary statistics

Image Descriptive statistics

Image Measures of central tendency

Image Measures of variability

Image Correlation

Image Graphic representation of correlation

Image Inferential statistics

Image Ethical guidelines

Roots of Psychology

Roots of psychology can be traced to philosophy and physiology/biology over 2,000 years ago in ancient Greece. As a result of examining organisms, physician/philosopher/physiologist Hippocrates thought the mind or soul resided in the brain but was not composed of physical substance (mind-body dualism). Philosopher Plato (circa 350 BC), who also believed in dualism, used self-examination of inner ideas and experiences to conclude that who we are and what we know are innate (inborn). On the other hand, Plato’s student, Aristotle, believed that the mind/soul results from our anatomy and physiological processes (monism), that reality is best studied by observation, and that who we are and what we know are acquired from experience. About 2,000 years later (circa 1650), similar ideas persisted with René Descartes and John Locke. Descartes defended mind-body dualism (Cogito ergo sum—“I think, therefore I am”) and that what we know is innate. On the other hand, empirical philosopher Locke believed that mind and body interact symmetrically (monism), knowledge comes from observation, and what we know comes from experience since we are born without knowledge, “a blank slate” (tabula rasa). The debate about the extent to which our behavior is inborn or learned through experience is called the nature-nurture controversy.