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Introduction to Psychology: Goals, Methods, and Specialties

Defining Psychology and Describing its Goals

1. Define psychology and describe its main goals. Describe the history of psychology and identify the major schools of psychology, the names of the principal individuals associated with each school the subfields of psychology and interrelationships between them. Describe contemporary perspective in psychology and specialty areas of modern psychology.

2. Describe the basic concepts of research and the main research methods used by psychologist. Discuss how these methods would be applied to answer specific psychological questions. Discuss the basic ethical principles of psychological research.

3. Describe and discuss the biological bases for behavior by naming the parts of a neuron, the brain and spinal cord and explaining how neural messages are transmitted; describing the functional subdivisions of the nervous system, and their interrelationships, and their functions; listing the glands of the endocrine system and describing how they regulate body chemistry; and describing genetic inheritance.

4. Define and explain the difference between sensations and perceptions. Describe the basic processes of vision and hearing. Discuss visual illusions, and the role of motivation and emotion in one perception.

5. Describe these states of consciousness: waking consciousness, daydreaming, divided consciousness, sleep, and various altered states of consciousness. Discuss the stages of sleep and the meaning and importance of dreams. Discuss various psychotropic drugs and their effects on consciousness.

6. Define learning and differentiate between two type of learning classical conditioning and operant condition; describe and apply the processes in classical condition and operant conditioning; describe and discuss social learning theory and cognitive learning theory.

7. Describe and differentiate between two major theories of memory; describe how memory can be divided into three types sensory store, short term store,, and long term store and identify several techniques of improving memory through better study habits.

8. Discuss the evolution of and interrelationships between intelligence, language, and thought; define two major types of IQ testing and discuss the controversies in IQ testing.

9. Discuss these basic processes of development: nature vs. nurture, maturation, and critical periods. Describe the stages of cognitive development outlined by Jean Piaget. Describe the stages of personality development outlined by Eric Erikson. Discuss the stages of moral development outline by Lawrence Kohlberg and Carol Gilligan. Describe important milestones in physical, cognitive and social development across the lifespan.

10. Define the term motive and describe the difference between primary and social motives; compare and contrast the theories of motivation; differentiate social motives from biological motives and list examples of each; list and describe that factors may affect achievement motivation, and discuss Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Define the term emotion. Compare and contrast theories of emotions.

11. Identify, compare, and contrast the psychoanalytic, humanistic, and learning theories personality. Define personality assessment and discuss the requirements for good personality test; describe some of the test used to assess personality.

12. Identify some causes of stress and discuss our physiological and psychological reactions to stressful situations. Describe the mechanisms that people use to cope effectively with stress.

13. Define and discuss definitions of abnormal. Contrast and compare descriptions of healthy vs. unhealthy personalities and biogenic explanations vs. environmental explanations of personality functions. Broadly discuss and describe anxiety disorder, phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorders, somatoform disorders, conversion disorder, dissociative disorders, psychogenic amnesia and fugue, mood disorders, depression, sexual disorders, and schizophrenia.

14. Compare and contrast these major approaches to psychotherapy: psychanalysis, humanistic psychotherapy, cognitive –behavioral therapy, group and family therapy and medical therapy.

15. Define social psychology and discuss major theories and research findings in these areas of social psychology; groups and social influence, attitudes and persuasion, stereotypes and prejudice, interpersonal attraction.

16. Discuss how the finding of psychology can be applied in the fields of business, environment law, and education

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