AP Psych History and Approaches

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Terms and People for the AP Psychology Exam from the History and Approaches sections.

Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920)

Set up the first psychological laboratory in an apartment near the university at Leipzig, Germany. Trained subjects in introspection, subjects were asked to accurately record their cognitive reactions to simple stimuli.

Introspection

Technique used by Wilhelm Wundt who asked subjects to accurately record their cognitie reactions to simple stimuli. Through the process, Wundt hoped to examine basic mental processes.

William James (1842-1910)

Published The Principles of Psychology, the science's first textbook.

Functionalism

Theory described by William James. Examines how the mental processes described by Wilhelm Wundt function in our lives.

Max Wertheimer (1880-1943)

Gestalt psychologist. Argued against dividing human thought and behavior into discrete structures. Gestalt psychology tried to examine a person's total experience because the way we experience the world is more than just an accumulation of various perceptual experiences. Demonstrated that the whole experience is often more than just the sum of the parts of the experience.

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)

Believed he discovered the unconscious mind- a part of our mind over which we do not have consciou control that determines, in part, how we think and behave. Proposed that we must examine the unconscious mind through dream analysis, word association, and other psychoanalytic therapy techniques if we are to understand human thought and behavior truly. Has been criticized for being unscientific and creating unverifiable theories.

Psychoanalytic Theory

Described Sigmund Freud. Based on unconscious mind: a part of our mind over which we do not have conscious control that determines, in part, how we think and behave.

John Watson (1878-1958)

Declared that psychology must limit itself to observable phenomena, not unobservable concepts like the unconscious mind, if it is to be considered a science. Wanted to establish behaviorism as the dominant paradigm of psychology. Behaviorists maintain that psychologists should look at only behavior and causes of behavior- stimuli (environmental events) and responses (physical reactions)- and not concern themselves with describing elements of consciousness.

Ivan Pavlov (1849-1836)

Performed pioneering conditioning experiments on dogs. These experiments led to the development of the classical conditioning model of learning.

B. F. Skinner (1904-1990)

Expanded the basic ideas of behaviorism to include the idea of reinforcement- environmental stimuli that either encourage or discourage certain responses. Helped establish and popularize the operant conditioning model of learning.

Behaviorism

Maintains that psychologists should look at only behavior and causes of behavior- stimuli (environmental events) and responses (physical reactions)- and not concern themselves with describing elements of consciousness. Dominant school of thought in psychology from the 1920s through the 1960s.

Humanist Perspective

Included theorists Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers, stressed individual choice and free will. This contrasts with the deterministic behaviorists who theorized that all behaviors are caused by past conditioning. Believe that we choose most of our behaviors and that these choices are guided by physiological, emotional, or spiritual needs.

Psychoanalytic Perspective

Believe that the unconscious mind- a part of our mind that we do not have conscious control over or access to- controls much of our thoughts and actions. Look for impulses or memories pushed into the unconscious mind through repression. Think we must examine our unconscious mind through dream analysis, word association, and other psychoanalytic therapy techniques in order to understand human thought and behavior.

Biopsychology (or Neuroscience) Perspective

Explain human thought and behavior strictly in terms of biological processes. Believe that human cognition and reactions might be caused by effects of our genes, hormones, and neurotransmitters in the brain or by a combination of all three.

Evolutionary (or Darwinian) Perspective

Examine human thoughts and actions in terms of natural selection. Stress that some psychological traits might be advantageous for survival and that these traits would be passed down from the parents to the next generation.

Behavioral Perspective

Explain human thought and behavior in terms of conditioning. Look strictly at observable behaviors and what reaction organisms get in response to specific behaviors.

Cognitive Perspective

Examine human thought and behavior in terms of how we interpret, process, and remember environmental events. Believe the rules that we use to view the world are important to understanding why we think and behave the way we do.

Social-Cultural Perspective

Look at how our thoughts and behaviors vary from people living in other cultures. Emphasize the influence culture has on the way we think and act.

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