Lectures 2&3, April 1 & 6

1. Organizing psychology


biology(micro)--neurons, hormones, versus culture/environment (macro).

Biopsychology at one end; social psychology at the other (environmental psychology, cross-cultural)

ABC triad: Affect, behavior, cognition

or FAT [feel, act, think].

NOTE: Much of psychology is concerned with understanding the processes involved in ABC and how the different processes are related. Connecting the processes to biology at the micro-level and environment/situation/culture at the macro-level delimit the boundaries of psychology, which can be defined as the scientific study of the mind and behavior.

Perspectives: 4 perspectives can be distinguished in part by whether they emphasize internal processes or the individuals interaction with the external environment.

Internal focus: Psychodynamic, Cognitive
External focus: Behaviorist, Evolutionary

Psychodynamic--more focus on affect & behavior

Cognitive--more focus on cognition

More rational/logical approach lends itself well to experiments: Cognitive, Behaviorist

Better at explaining emotional, irrational aspects of human behavior: Psychodynamic, Evolutionary

Strongest emphasis on observables: Behaviorist

Strongest emphasis on unobservables: Psychodynamic

2. Variables & Hypotheses

Variables: Categorical (Nominal) or Continuous

Variables vary in Value or Level:


Sex has two main values: Male and Female
Sexual orientation has three main values: Homosexual, heterosexual, and bisexual

Hypothesis is a statement about the expected relationship between two or more variables.

"Homosexuality is more common among men than among women"

Variables in a study may be independent, dependent, or interdependent

Independent and dependent variables in experiments:

Values of independent variables are manipulated by the experimenter
Values of dependent variables are thought to DEPEND, in part, on the values of the independent variable. They are measured.

Exercise (identify variables from the following--see handout):

Figure 10.2 (Kin recognition in crickets), p. 370
Table 10.1 (Race, sex, weight), p. 383
p. 382. People present and eating.
P. 393, sexual orientation & cross-gender behavior
Figure 10.13 (ability and achievement related goals)

3. Motivation.

Movement toward, movement away

Response to internal states (conscious & unconscious)
Response to external cues and consequences

Four Perspectives on Motivation:


[Selection by External demands result in Internal mechanisms]
Instincts, survival & reproductive success, inclusive fitness
Inclusive fitness: Reproductive success of self and of others who share genes. Helps explain altruism and caring for children

Question: How does adoption fit in?

Cross-cultural evidence: Love & Power motives seem to be universal (370)

Psychodynamic: [Internal]

Drives: sex, self-preservation, & aggression (Freud) [Note how this connects to evolutionary perspective]

Modern view: Wishes (pull) and fears (push)
Distinguish between unconscious (implicit) and conscious (explicit) motivation.

Challenges in studying motivation from this perspective: Unconscious is difficult to measure! Also, wishes and fears may be highly idiosyncratic.

Behaviorist: [External]

Motivated by rewards and punishments--the expected consequences of behavior.

These consequences can be experienced personally; however, people can also learn about behavior-reward contingencies by observing what happens to others [for example, how a professor responds to a student's question.]

However, what is rewarding depends on one's internal state: Drive-reduction theory
Drives are primary (innate, biological) or secondary (learned through conditioning or modeling)


[Internal processing, expected external rewards]
Expectancy-value theory, Goal-setting

Expectency-value: Motivation depends on our calculations about possible outcomes and the probability of those outcomes (which will depend in part on what we believe we can do to ensure that one outcome versus another will occur).

Effective goal-setting for performance (p. 375)

1. Discrepancy between current & desired state
2. Feedback about progress
3. Self-efficacy(belief in own ability)
4. Challenging but achievable goal
5. Commitment to goal

Commitment stems from perception that authority values goal, peer influence, public goal, contingent rewards and punishments.

Note: Cognitive theory isn't very good at explaining WHAT people want; it is better at explaining why people may behave in certain ways or make decisions GIVEN they want to satisfy some needs or desires.