Eric Chapdelaine
Student at Northeastern University Studying Computer Science.


PSYC1101 Foundations of Psychology

The Class

What will we cover during this semester?

This class is hard in quantity not quality

The textbook has great time management advice in the preface

Office Hours


Media Assignments

Bigger Assignments

Most people don’t finish PhDs

A doctorate is required to be a clinical psychologist

Psychometric psychologists

How to Get into Graduate Study in Psychology

You must complete 3 credits of research participation in order to pass the course.


Username: First and last name

Password: nine-digit student id


The exam will be 100 minutes

Average is approx 45 minutes

Go through the learning objectives

Go through the vocabulary words in the textbook.

Do the multi-media assignments

Midterm 1

Introduction and Overview

What is psychology? A science

Humanist Psychology

Psychology’s Biggest Question:

Levels of Analysis

Apple is a human factors company

The Scientific Method

There are three types of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Ex. You need to run trials before you can put your drug out there. And it needs to be statistically better than what’s already out there.


On the air you can say a extreme lies (ex. “mile high pie”), but you can’t say a lie that sounds reasonable (ex. “8-inch-high-pie)–unless it’s true.

How things are presented make a huge difference.

Every time you simplify a finding, you sacrifice completeness



Bias in data means that a result will tend to be reported as either too high or too low.

The bell curve or normal distribution curve represents a population.

The mean and median can often not tell the same story: for example, if all of us have 5 dollars and one person walks in with 500 dollars and steals our money, the median went down and the mean went up.


Variability is great is sports, but bad everywhere else. Averages derived from scores with low variability are more reliable than averages based on scores with high variability.

Standard Deviations

Means and Standard Deviations are descriptives. They tell us about data.

When we calculate test statistics to decide if a difference is meaningful, we want to be sure that it is

The central limit theorem states that the distribution of the estimates of the mean drawn from any population – even one that is not normally distributed – will be approximately normally distributed if the sample is sufficiently large.

Saying that an effect is significant doesn’t mean that the effect is large, only that we are certain that it exists.

The SD of the means that we would get if we kept sampling the population is called the standard error of of the mean (SEM).

The SEM decreases with the square root of sample size ($n$):

$SEM = \frac{SD}{\sqrt{n}}$

Thus, we get diminishing returns with increasing sample size.

The population of your sample is very important


Correlations are defined by a coefficient called Pearson’s Product Moment and abbreviated “r”.

The square of $r$ is often taken as a measure of the proportion of the variability of one parameter.

Correlation is the only thing to imply causation.

If an off correlation holds up over repeated studies, however, it is probably causal somehow.

Correlations are really sensitive to outliers

Hindsight Bias

Hindsight bias is the phenomenon of seeing an event that already occurred as being easily predictable when, in fact, before it happened, it was not.

We also have a tendency to be overconfident. We must be:

Case Studies

Studying an individual or group to study a population of a whole.

For example, if a blind person is missing a part of their brain, then we can hypothesize that that part of the brain is responsible for seeing.

The plural of anecdotes is not results–but it is data.


In an experiment we typically have

Independent Variables - The factor that is manipulated Dependent Variables - The factor that in (possibly) influenced by the Independent Variable

There are always bias; the best of us cannot help but insert our values into the interpretation.


We prioritize human health and happiness over that of animals. But what is the right balance?

The APA recommends that scientists:


There is a biological reason for everything psychological.

In order to understand a system, you need a more complicated system. Therefore, it’s hard to understand the brain with the brain.

“I think therefore I am”

The fundamental unit is the nervous system with the cell the fundamental unit of that.


Neuron: A nerve cell. A cell with a synapse.

We say a cell is hyper polarized if it is more negative than usual

We say a cell is depolarized if it is less negative than usual*

The language of neurons is both electric and biological.


The neurotransmitter acts like a “key” with special chemical “locks” called receptors.


Acetylcholine (ACh)


Synthetic Neurotransmitter

Nervous System

Central Nervous System (CNS)

Nerves are bundles of axons


PNS: Somatic Nervous System

The somatic nervous system in the concious part – you have concious control (ex. Limbs).

ANS: Automatic Nervous System

Unconscious functions (ex. Heart rate). However, this is a fuzzy line.

CNS: Central Nervous System

“You” are your brain

“Ascending” signals are signals to the brain “Descending” signals are from the brain

The Endocrine System

It “sets the tone”

Signals set by the endocrine system linger in the blood explains why feelings linger.

The Brain

The Old Brain

Instinctual impulses. We call it the old brain because it is present in (most) other animals.

The Limbic System

The New Brain

Handles conciousness

The Cerebellum (“The Little Brain”)

Handles motor functions

The Cerebral Cortex

Frontal Lobe: Planning and thinking through actions

We know what certain parts of the brain by case studying of people who are missing that part of the brain.

For example, the frontal lobe is connected with planning and emotions.

Motor cortex, sensory cortex

Association Areas:

More than $\frac{3}{4}$th of the cortex is not one of those regions that receives direct sensory input or sends motor output. These areas are called association areas.

Visual and Auditory Cortex: Handles audio and visuals in a very organized manner

Brain-Computer Interfaces

By using EEG, fMRI, or implanted electrodes, we can “eavesdrop” into what’s going on inside a living person’s brain.

The first writing assignment is due next Wednesday (February 3rd)

  1. Explain the problem to be addressed
  2. Operationalize the variables under study, and
  3. Outline the statistical approach that will be used to test the hypothesis.


Describes the ability of the CNS to change as a result of insult or experience

Plasticity underpins the observation that the blind may appear to have keener hearing than the sighted.

Similarly, if a blind person reads braille with one finger, the part of the brain used for vision is not used for that finger.


The Divided Brain

The Right Brain: is more so the animal brain – not very good at logic. Ex. Artistic creativity.

The Left Brain: More logic focused

Our brain is split and information is processed through the corpus callosum.

People with severed corpus callosum’s are given a screen to look at that says “HE*ART”.


Reading, writing, speaking, singing. All are language skills.

Broca’s Area

Wernicke’s Area In the temporal lobe, is essential for generation cohererent speech

The Angular Gyrus:

The Nervous System II

People with isolated damage to the brain can ‘see’ without being aware of the sight.

Parallel processing: What your brain handles on its own (ex. Going for a walk.)

Serial Processing: Your concious thought (ex. 5+12)

Attention – serial processing – is selective. You can only focus on one thing at once.

Cognitive Blindness

The gorilla basketball experiment and distracted driving are cases of inattentional blindness.

Change bias: The idea that the brain can miss seemingly obvious, big changes.

Circadian Rhythm and Sleep

The SCN is our ‘biological clock’ that regulates your alertness and sleep

Before the age of 20, we are night owls

After 20, we are early birds

Falling asleep is actually an instantaneous process – there is no ‘half asleep’.

Here are the stages of sleep:

Here are the stages throughout the night:

The light bulb messes up our circadian rhythm.

Throughout our lives, our sleep changes:

REM rebound:

After sleep depravation, people have more REM sleep once they get sleep, indicating that it is the most important stage.

Sleep Loss

20% of high school students say that they fall asleep in class at least once a week

~60% of high school and college students are sleep deprived

Risks of lack of sleep:

You also perform better driving.

Insomnia: Is the persistent difficulty with falling or staying asleep. Drugs and alcohol is bad to self-medicate. Instead try:

Apnea: A period, up to a minute, where sleepers fail to breathe. They are then “jerked” awake by snoring.

Narcolepsy: The sufferer is overcome by overwhelming sleepiness. They often occur at very inopportune times, such as after exerting oneself by

Night Terrors: Disease of children. Young children will awaken, talk incoherently and experience rapid heart and breathing rates. Typically, they do not remember anything in the morning. They are not in REM sleep which means that they are not dreams.

Sleepwalking/talking: Sleepwalkers are also usually children. It is genetic. They are also not typically acting out their dreams.


We now know when someone is dreaming (during REM sleep).

We are not concious when we dream, our unconscious minds are still running.

People are still aware of things that are going on:

Dreams do not act as metaphors for our life’s problems.

We often rehearse the things that we did throughout the day in our dreams.

The amygdala determines and holds what is emotionally important.

Dreams are the result of our brain’s ‘housekeeping’ at night.

Psychoactive Drugs

People who drink more, can drink more. This is because people develop tolerance.

As tolerance increase, people increase their dose (to get the same result). As you increase your tolerance, you experience withdraws.


There are two different dependencies: physical and psychological. As the name implies, physical dependencies cause physical discomfort.

We may be dependent on many things:

But these aren’t addictions. We shouldn’t overstate or understate the dangers of drugs. Addictive substances aren’t necessarily going to ruin you. People also overcome addiction very frequently. There are more ex-smokers than smoking.

But addiction is still the leading cause of accidental death in the US.

There are three different types of drugs:


Most common depressant is alcohol. The first thing to go is your frontal lobe – effects of reasoning. Slows down your body – slows down the fight-or-flight.

You forget what happens when you are drunk. When you are drunk, you can’t have REM sleep and therefore you can’t store things into your long-term memories. Drinking itself isn’t bad, but drinking can be dangerous if done unsafely.


Ex: opium, herion, and morphine

If you build a dependence, your body stops making its own.


Caffeine ranks as an #1 in the stimulant category. Withdraw includes headaches.


Stopping using meth, you get strong withdrawl symptoms.


Kills a lot of people per year – a holocaust worth of people at its peak.

More addictive than heroin or cocaine.


“Quick high”

It blocks the reuptake of dopamine so it stays in the synapse.


Very deadly



Distorts perceptions and evokes sensory images in the absence of sensory input.


People often don’t get high on the first hit.

The Mind

What is the mind?

What is consciousness?

The most important question in psychology and biology is why?

We have two minds:

Our conciousness does not make decisions. Our ideas are merely rationalized post hoc.

D.F. Lost her concious sight, but could still see – she moved out of the way of objects.

Nature vs. Nurture

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Are Our Genes Our Fate?

People are mostly the same across the world

20,000 coding genes in our DNA

Most of our DNA is dark.

But to what extent to these differences change who we are?

A single nucleotide (A, C, T, or G) can be lost, added, or replaced which is called mutation.

We haven’t identified most of what individuals genes do.

The function of genes can change.

Epigenetic phenomena can alter which genes are or are not expressed.

We can’t experiment differing genes on humans so we study twins and adoption.

We study identical twins who grow up in different environments. And fraternal twins in the same household. We then can get all four of the possibilities to study nature vs. nurture.

We don’t have random grouping in these studies! Identical twins most of the time don’t have exactly the same genes.

Identical twins are, however, very alike. Are our genes our fate? Yes – well sort-of.

Siblings are only slightly more alike than two kids from the same neighborhood.

Adopted children have more personality traits from their biological parents then their adopted parents.

If this is true, what traits are most heritable?

What aren’t environment:

Nurture acts on what nature endows. “Nature via nurture”.

What things are nurture:

<5% of all differences among humans arise from population group differences.

95% of genetic variation exists within populations.

Because we are similar genes, we therefore have similar personalities. These have been evolutionary conserved. We haven’t changed all that much from the first humans. Modern humans are the same:

Gender and Sex Differences

For women, passing on their genes is a literal “labor of love”.

Men have this option, but also have the option to have a lot of children and don’t have to care about them.

These lead to fundamental differences in the thought of sex between men and women.

Women prefer potential “dads”.

Men prefer peak fertility (around the age of 20).

Men want sex more than women; is this biology or social norms?

Men tend to be more

Women tend to be more

These differences start in the playground

Men enjoy working on tasks together

Women tend to enjoy exploring relationships and use conversation to do this

Women do most of the housework, shopping, childcare

Women are the emotional strength in the family

There are differences in the brain, too.

Males have two X chromosome (one from mother and father).

Females have an X chromosome from their mother and a Y chromosome from their father.

The brains of both genders differ in utero.

Parenting and Personality

The principle of the brain: “use it or lose it”.

Parents control what their kids, in large part, do with their daily lives.

Enriched environments makes rats more adventurous and vice versa.

Parents do matter. By reinforcing positive and negative behaviors, they can exploit the brain’s plasticity to “widen” some paths and “narrow” some others.

Your peer group determine your personality more than your parents.

Parents, however, determine your value system.

Things that aren’t in the parents’ control:

Bad parenting has been blamed for a lot of mental diseases, however, this isn’t true.

Culture obviously impacts parenting

Parents in individualist cultures teach:

Parents in collectivist cultures teach:

Culture and Personality

Language has helped us our preform other animals.

A feature of culture is how rapidly they are able to change.

Cultures differ in how they value the individual vs how they value the group.

The United States is primarily individualist.

We value:


Asian and African countries are primarily collectivists.

Members of these cultures tend to:


Exam Review: What is my definition of a neuron?

Split brain patient is shown a dog on the left and a boy on the right.

What will they say?

What will they point to?

NUpath Assignment II

The advent of social media and the rise of women as economic and political forces have led to increased scrutiny of power dynamics in professional, interpersonal relationships.

Relationships between employees and students is not forbidden unless there is a power dynamic.

Do you agree with this policy? (150 words)

Parental Development

What is a fertilized egg called?


Gestation begins about 10 days after conception and lasts for ~37 weeks.

Where does the placenta from from?


Alcohol and pregnancy

What do new-borns know?

Right after birth

First few months of life

Babies go through the same developmental stages of motor development

First memories appear at about 3.5

In contrast, memories from age 4+ can be sharp and vivid.

Tied a string to a mobile and it took the baby 10 minutes to learn that kicking makes it move. And they keep that knowledge.

Some part of you still remembers people that you don’t consciously remember

Jean Piaget is the most famous child developmental psychologist.

He proposed that during development our brain builds mental frameworks (schemas) into which we place objects and ideas as we encounter them.

Accommodation - not all furry things are dogs

Assimilation - dogs range from big to small

We can’t ask babies question so we use:

Preferential looking

Object permanence

Principles of Objects

To a pre operational Mind:

Three-year-olds can look at a diagram of a room and see where a toy is and find it in a real room

2.5-year-old cannot find it in the real room

Preoperational minds cannot comprehend the existence of other minds.

Theory of mind - understanding that other people have different minds


High IQ highly functional persons with Autism are said to have a special syndrome, called Asperger.

Usually diagnosed during the preoperational stage when they fail to:

Concrete Operational Stage

Formal Operational

These stages are fuzzy and are more continuous

Children are not just little grown ups. They don’t have the mental capacity to intentionally upset you.

Language is critical to progression through these stages.

Eight months is when infants cry when held by strangers

Physical contact with humans is important and without, we develop life-long attachment issues

Dr. Mary Ainu worth - strange situation experiments

Is it the parenting style the difference or the child?

100 six-to-nine-month-old difficult were randomly assigned to either

At 1 year

What’s important, the milk or the contact?

Securely attached children

The reverse is also true

If you are neglected as a child, you have a higher likelihood of neglecting their old children.


Divided into styles into three group

Which is the best? For adolescence, probably authoritative.o

The frontal lobe is one of the last part of the brain that reaches maturity.

The limbic system is fully developed in adolescence


They aren’t stupid. They just lack the planning and foresight that comes with a fully developed frontal lobe.

NUpath Assignment II due Thursday

Kohlberg’s latter of moral development?

(Don’t seem to be consistent with more collectivist cultures)

Engagement of adolescents with empathy activity is very important

In collectivist societies, they have a better self-image and know what they want to do “when they grow up”.

Positive parent relationships indicate friend relationships which is really important.

Birth Order

One of the strongest predictors on who you are going to be

Emerging Adulthood

1950: Average age of marriage (20 for guys, 22 for girls)

2020: Average age of marriage (about 25 for both)

Probably why birth rates are so low right now

Categorizing adults is difficult and the stages aren’t that clear.

Sensory acuity drops with aging

Older people don’t get sick as often

The brain slows down

The frontal lobe declines faster than old brain areas

The best thing you can do for your brain health is help your physical health

Young people are adept at memorizing novel details

Older people can do better with context

The cognitive abilities are predicted by how far away you are from dying rather than how old you are.

The stereotypical mid-life crisis does not exist

We derive satisfaction from “love” and “work”

Opposites so not attract

Education and age-at-marriage are negatively correlated with divorce (in temporal cross-sections).

Yet, divorce rates are rising

Cohabiting with a partner before marriage is a predictor of divorce

Parents with children in the house report less-satisfying marriage than those without.

Empty-nest syndrome does not happen, rather “post-launch honeymoon”

Most people die happy

An unexpected death may lead to chronic depression

After the death of a loved one:

Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development (and their virtues)

Infancy - hope

Toddlerhood - will

Preschool - purpose

Elementary school - competence

Adolescence - fidelity

Young adults - love

Middle adulthood - care

Late adulthood - wisdom

Sensory Systems

Our eyes follows the same principles as cameras and ears and microphones

Sensation $\neq$ Perception

Two critical concepts in the study of S&P are absolute and increment thresholds

The branch of psychology that handles this is psychophysics

The gold standard is to detects it correctly 75% of the time

(The book says 0% to 100%)

Once you get passed absolute threshold, it becomes linear (with respect to background light).

Subliminal Message

But there are things that our brain processed that we aren’t aware of

We are great at differences, but really bad at absolute values.

How different do you think that light is in this classroom vs the light outside on a bright day?

Vision has to be 8% brighter to notice

Weight, 2% Tone, 0.6%


By definition, we see light

The cones (color detectors) are packed in the center of the eye. There are a lot more rods (light) and they are mostly in the sides.

Our brains are great at object recognition. We don’t work like a camera because our brain handles it more.

Specialized areas:

We handle:

Color does make that much of a difference

All vertebrate animals have color vision. So it must be important.

We are trichromatic (Red, green, and blue).

An object’s color is actually what colors it reflects back

They are not independent value receptors. It’s the ratio between red vs green and yellow vs blue.


Many of the same rules as vision

However, hearing has an interesting problem to tackle:

Vision is in one direction, whereas sound is everywhere.

Sound is a wave

Sensory Systems II

NUpath Assignment III

Historical and cultural contingency

Different places have different cultural norms

Major cultural topics:

Uniforms are used to address these problems

What cultural value is contingent upon school dress?

The assignment:


Due Thursday, the 25th


The outer ear catches the waves

Which travel through the ear cancel and reach the eardrum which vibrate the three bones which increase the sound to the

Cochlea which looks like a snail where the fluids are moved which moves hair bundles move via the waves in the cochlea

Ions rush from the top of the hair cells

Which sends neurotransmitters to the auditory nerves

So neither position nor firing rate can signal volume. What does then?

Loud noise are ripping the membrane (which is very measurable)

Nearly all hearing loss is structural, as opposed to neural atrophy

Auditory localization


Sense of touch

Touch is highly susceptible to top-down influences

While not strictly part of touch, nearly identical nerve ending are founds in joints, tendons, and bones

Kinesthesis (or Proprioception): the sense of how your body is moving and where your body parts are


Very important sense is the vestibular sense

When we move, the otoliths move which activate hair cells


The most studied subject in science is pain

Those who don’t experience pain typically die in their 20s

Chronic pain is a serious problem

The sensation of pain is conducted in the spine, to the brain, by so-called small fibers

Pain is conducted via two classes of neurons dubbed

Gate-control theory tries to explain why actions such as rubbing an injury make it feel better.

Highly subject to top-down processing

Very common in the phantom limbs of amputees

We remember pain’s severity more than the duration

We also remember the last part of the pain as the whole thing

Pain is also social-cultrual influences just like yawing is contagious so is pain

Thus, pain is both a biological an psychological phenomenon

What is hypnosis?

Hypnosis typically begins with hypnotic induction

After induction, the hypnotists may be able to make the subject unaware of an object in plain sight

There is a Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale includes several test

It is an active thing, not a passive thing

Authority figures in the right context can get people to do crazy things (it’s not the hypnosis)

Weight loss and pain management can be helped from hypnosis

Addictions do not seem to respond

Hypno-osurgey: one can go under surgery only being hypnotised


Social Influence Theory

We may just be “playing the part”

Cognitive Dissociation Theory

We have a divided consciousness so can we move the line of conciousness?

Pain Management


The more elaborate the placebo, the better the results

Simple distraction can even be enough

Gustation (Taste)

The four tastes:

And we recently discovered:

Taste receptors are chemoreceptors

Taste is handled (mostly) by the tongue

People taste differently

Others are “super tasters”

The more taste buds, the more of a “taster” you are and the more you are sensitive

Lots of things that you eat (hot, spicy, etc) are toxic to taste buds

Taste and smell work together

Texture also plays a role in taste

Olfaction (Smell)

The oldest sense

5% of the genome is responsible for smell

The one sense that doesn’t pass through the thalamus

Most of us don’t use our sense of smell so we ‘lose it’

We have 350 distinct oderants (compared to our 3 for sight)

The olfactory bulb is old brain and cortex

There is something called “smell memory” which seems to be very strong and deep


There are also auditory illusions

Perceptual Organization

Meaningful object recognition

You can only be attending to one thing at a time


Knowing the answer doesn’t help


3d impression of the world

Asked a baby to crawl across a glass floor, and they wouldn’t. They know that there is depth

Stereopsis: The detection of the disparity between images on our retinae due to the fact that we have slightly different images between our eyes.

After 25 feet, we reply on monocular cues

Things that are higher in our field we perceive as farther away.

Relative Size

We know just about how big something is so we can figure out how far away it is from that.


If something blocks another object, that first object is closer

Linear Perspective

We know that parallel close to a vanishing point at a distance.

Relative Motion

Things that are moving at a fixed speed will seem to move quicker closer to you

(Ex driving a car, the mountains won’t seem to move while the trees close to you will be moving quickly)

Perception Principals

Shape constancy. Objects stay the same shape, so we can understand that when a door opens, it doesn’t change shape.

Lightness and color constancy use context to interpret changes to patterns to provide meaning.

There’s a lot of processing that goes into perception before it reaches your conciousness.

There seem to be “critical periods” for developing some of these sensory skills.

Those who fix their cataracts after childhood don’t restore their vision (but their sight is still restored)

The Perceptual Set: The state of your top-down processors that impact what you perceive

Human factors psychologists work at the “man-machine interface”

In order for ESP to be proven, it only has to be proven once.

Learning and Memory

You don’t need to know what a penny looks like, you just need to know how to tell it apart from other coins.

Types of Learning

There is no formal distinction between learning and memory

Memory: learning that persists over time

Classical Conditioning

Means the same thing as Pavlovian conditioning

Associated a ticking metronome with food appearing. Then the dogs learned that the ticking meant the arrival of meat

Classical conditioning paradigm:

TIP: the UR and the CR are always the same thing. And the NS and CS are always the same thing

So what are the rules to this? What combinations will work and what won’t work?

John Watson and his “Little Albert” experiment

Key features

A second-level predictor that doesn’t always work will never be used if there is a predictor that works all the time

Your mind has to figure out what is the CS is. Not all NS can become CS. There is always cognition.

An environment or person can also be a CS.

You can even control your immune system with this

Operant Conditioning

Popularized by B.F. Skinner

Animals can learn that their behaviors have consequences

Edward Thorndike’s law of effect: Rewarded behavior is likely to recur

Rewards are called reinforcers

Generalization and discrimination

The most ubiquitous reinforcer in modern life: money.

The schedule of reinforcement has a profound effect on behavior

Basic rules of reinforcement can be either


Peer Reviewing is due Monday

You must complete the rubric


Things that decrease the likelihood of a behavior recurring are punishment

Negative reinforcer: Stopping something bad (ex car alarm for seatbelts)

Positive punishment: doing something bad to you (ex spanking)

Negative punishment: taking something good away (ex grounding)

Drawbacks for punishment:

However, when you combine punishment and reward, it works.

B. F. Skinner

Cognitive Science refute to B. F. Skinner

We require cognitive science to explain this.

Sometimes rewards can actually decrease responding

If someone is intrinsic motivated, reward will actually decrease their likelihood of doing the thing.

Animals come biologically predisposed to pairing certain reinforcers with certain actions

In sports, several techniques are applied to enhance competence

In the workplace, merit pay is commonplace

Ranking people by their sales can motivate everyone

If a child whines and you give in and then yell at the child, it reinforces the child’s whining and your yelling.

How to Implement Classical Conditioning

Observational Learning

This is learning by the modeling of the behaviors of others.

Classic experiment by Albert Bandura in 1960

MLK modeled nonviolent action as a force for social change

Prosocial modeling can be use therapeutically in

In your own life

Video games

Current consensus is that violence does lead to aggressive behavior by children but how much is still up for debate.

Instructional Learning:


Memory is learning that has persisted over time

How much does active recall shape who we are?

What would happen if you lost your memory?

Thee memory “banks”

Working memory

Some memories don’t pass through the conciousness and go right to long term memory

When memorizing information, your brain may be recording all kinds of superfluous information automatically. For instance

Well rehearsed material can become effortless

The simplest strategy for memorization is rehearsal

Ebbinghause found that more rehearsing something difficult on day one means less time to relearn it on day two

Spacing is important to learning

Serial position effects are quite interesting because they consist both of

Putting things in context is very important

Mnemonic system: the “pegword” system


If the information can be place into familiar chunks, it will be easier to memorize


Putting things into bins is helpful

Short term memory is surprisingly limited

We have no evidence that new information displaces (or removes) other information.

Long-term memory is governed by

Long-term potentiation (LTP): increase in the strength of synapses as they are used

There are drugs that reduce the LTP process and there are also drugs that are soon to be out that enhance LTP

Sleep also increases the LTP process

The amygdala and other components of the limbic system affect memory formation in an intensity graded fashion.

There is a drug called propranolol that lowers the stress response in the amygdala and thus mitigates formation of memoires of stressful events.

Memories of emotionally charged events that are crystallized are referred to a flashbulb memories

Explicit: food reward Implicit: just explores the maze

Explicit memory is of of those facts and experiences that one can declare (“This is Beethoven’s 5th”)

Implicit memory is retention outside of the conciousness (“I know I’ve heard this tune before”)

You don’t know how to ride a bike. You can, but you don’t know exactly.

The most famous research subject in psychology’s history is H.M. (Henry Molaison)

Learning and Memory II

Recall that H.M. can’t remember anything consciously but can still remember.

Retrograde amnesia

Anterograde amnesia

Hippocampus is active during sleep

Cerebellum is responsible for implicit memories Hippocampus is responsible for explicit memories

Infantile amnesia



We need to show that we can retrieve information and memories

Retrieval cues


Deja Vu

Mood also taints the retrieval of previous memories

Forgetting/Memory Failure

Storage Decay

Ebbinghous’ “forgetting curve”

In retrieval failure, you haven’t forgotten


“Sleeping on it” works

Freud said that we repress bad memories

Sensory memory/working memory



Flashbulb Memory

The frailest part of a memory is the source.

Children can create memories so vivid that they and researchers can’t tell true from false

When asked about our views 10 years ago, we often say things that are closer to present day’s views.

Loftus’ work shows that ‘recovering’ memories is dangerous.

Use neutral language to to try to recover information.



We place things into bins (or concepts)

Prototype - the exemplar for a given type


This is why we think things are funny

By studying how thinking fails, we can understand how it works

Some heuristics

Availability and belief perseverance is what causes “-isms” (racism, sexism, etc.)

A good way to overcome this:


These issues all impact our intuition (which is why it’s hard to overcome this).

For example, chess masters can make their best move within a few seconds (without actually thinking through every move).

“sleeping on it” really does work.

Although intuition doesn’t work all the time, it does more good than harm.


Fear is one of the best ways for someone to manipulate you.


Language: a mechanism by which we can transfer meaning, learning and ideas from one mind to another.

The basic building block of the spoken word is the phoneme.

There are 869 phonemes in use throughout all the languages of the world

Sign languages also have phonemes

We carry an accent if we learn another language as adults

Morpheme: the smallest unit of meaning (any one syllable thing that has meaning)

Or like

We build morphemes and words into phrases and phrases into sentences, etc.

Grammar: the rules that govern our language

Consider: “Getting yourself to the gym often is a challenge.”

Babies go through an explosive language development process

Month Stage
4 Babbling, variety of sounds
10 Babbling, household language
12 One-word stage.
24 Two-word telegraphic speech
24+ Rapid development, complex sentences

Even when babies say just two words, they are syntactically correct: they say “want milk” and not “milk want”.

Noam Chomsky said that it doesn’t have to be reinforced for the child to say things.

We have a language acquisition device built in and therefore we see a lot of similarities across languages.

Recall that if one eye is occluded or misaligned in childhood, you can’t fully develop it in adulthood. Same with language.

Occasionally, cases of neglect or abuse can leave children with underdeveloped (or, in extreme cases no) language at all.

Deaf children can’t develop language. Deaf children who were born into non-signing families and latter learned sign, don’t remember their time without language.

If we have a name for a color, it actually makes it easier to remember it and pick it out of a pallet again.

Could it be that personality is a result of language?

If you are an expert in something, just thinking about it can help you improve.

If you visualize the journey and not the destination.

Is language the thing that separates us from other animals?

Other animals can think

Chimps even seem to have culture.

Nonhuman primates have

Skeptics counter that

Chimps often pass on sign language to their children.

Thomas Sebeok, linguist

Birds, however, can speak language and ‘communicate’ through it.

If animals are shown to have rich cognitive lives, there would be ethical questions.


One of the most controversial parts of psychology.

What is intelligence?

Spearman is a intelligence researcher who stated that if you are good at one type of problem, you are probably also good at another type of problem (called this g).

Thurstone said that it is possible to have separable intelligences.

g is measured by every task on a standard intelligence inventory (test).

Savants: people who excel in one aspect but have a low g.

Midterm 2

What does the constant movement of our eyes do?

How many phonemes and morphemes are in the word “rethinks”?

The claim that hypnotic phenomena are regulated by normal conscious processes is associated with the theory that hypnosis reflects the power of what?

Who were the group of psychologists who first identified principals for organized stimuli into coherent groups and which of their principals makes you see a lightbulb?

What were the “psychic secretions” that lead to Pavlov’s experiments on associative learning, and what did he eventually come to call them?

If people quit the stock market after taking big losses in the 2008 crash, and then missed out on all the gains since then, what principal would that be illustrating?

What do Chomsky and other linguists argue we must come endowed with in order to acquire language?

Gardner famously argued for multiple intelligences identifying a total of 7(+1), and advocating for customized education for each.

Gardner said that we can’t be good at all of these different things (only so much brain)

Th correlation between IQ and financial success is about 0.3 (so less than 10% correlation).

Now intelligence is seen to have three major subcategories:

It does seem like some degree of high analytical intelligence is necessary for geniuses (like scientists) but that isn’t the case. They need creativity.

Fermat’s Last Theorem (1637); it was proven in 1995 (using a new idea in mathematics: the modularity conjecture).

Newton’s laws of Physics and Einsteins theory of relativity

Four axis’s of Intelligence:

But there is another one (that is debatable):

The typical brain weighs about 3 lbs.

Do big brains make geniuses?

Brain size is not as correlated as much as brain speed


IQ: What is the Q? Quotient.

In France, they said that all students should be educated and noticed that some people fell behind and others excelled. They wanted to figure it out.

They hire Alfred Binet to develop a test that compared “typical” skills in children at each grade year. He then divided an individual’s age with their mental age (at what age would this seem normal?). Examples: 8 year old performing as a 10 year old: 10/8 = 1.25

Lewis Terman took Binet’s tests and modified them for not just school children. But this doesn’t work with adults. So now there isn’t any ratio and therefore no quotient.

IQ tests must meet three criteria to be worthwhile:

The most common tests are by David Wechsler

Wechsler Adult Intelligence Score (WAIS)

There are different kinds of intelligence tests. For example, midterm exams.

IQ tests are designed to be qptitude tests.

IQ tests have an average of 100 and a standard deviation of 15.

SAT has an average of 1000 and a standard deviation of 150.

James “Flynn effect” notes that normalized IQs are rising! So what are we actually measuring?

Just because a test is reliable does not mean that it is valid. Validity for IQ tests can be difficult to assure. We need to see that these tests predict some achievement (academic, professional, etc.).

Good news:

Bad news:

We don’t have good tools to predict adult intelligence before age 4.

IQ at age 11 is a predictor of IQ 60 years later

Extreme Intelligence

Overall, children with high IQs typically end up with professions with doctors, lawyers, etc.

How should we treat gifted minds and ungifted minds?

How heritable is intelligence?

Lewis Terman was a racist and wanted to prove that some races are more intelligent (but the tests weren’t appropriate for other races).


Identical twins who are raised together have near-identical IQs

Identical twins who are raised separately drop slightly

Correlation in between children and biological parents

Above 50% heritable. (Mostly genetic.)

NOTE: How heritable something is depends upon how strong the environment effect is.

Poverty is an environment factor that can push a lot of people to the margins.

Does Head Start (helping impoverished children) work?

Gender Differences

IQ is what the SAT tests. Boys and girls do almost exactly as well

Boys have a broader distribution of IQ than girls.

Race Difference

In the US, white IQ is about 100 whereas other races have different averages.

There are no differences in brains between races.

If you say that their ‘kind’ does really well on a test, their scores go up and vice versa.

The vast majority of scientists think that genetics play a small role in intelligence.

Is Binet’s fear being realized? That is, is our reliance on IQ testing discriminatory?


Where does motivation come from? Levels of analysis:

Recall the different types of intelligence.

Darwin’s book makes us realize that instincts are endowed upon us (food, water, etc.).


This should not discount the role of evolution, however.

Two ways to motivations:

These needs and wants express themselves as drives. When a psychological need increases, a psychological motivation increases.

Homeostasis: our body wants to get back to baseline state

If you smell something good and then want to eat it, is this really homeostasis? You are pulled by the smell.

Our drives are both “pushed” by our needs and “pulled” by our instincts.

When all those basic needs are met, we often get “cabin fever” and feel the need to head out and explore.

We need stimulation

Smartphones fill this need

Chronic stimulation (like smartphones) can make you:

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:

There are some needs that are physical needs (foot, water, shelter, etc.) and then you go up the pyramid which is self-fulfillment and belonging.

Happiness increases when you give food and shelter to poor countries. That increase isn’t as apparent in rich countries.


When people are starving, they become “like animals” literally fighting over scrapes of food.

Other wants and needs drop when you lack food.

If you don’t consume food, food consumes you.

What is hunger?

The pancreas, which is a gland located right next to the stomach, secretes insulin.

Hypothalamus: responds to the key apatite hormones in the body

Grehlin is secreted by the empty stomach

The anti-grehlin is obestatin

These hormones are homeostatic. They work in concert to try to return the body to its baseline weight.

If you lose weight, your basal metabolic rate will drop, whereas if you gain weight, it will increase.

There seems to be a purely cognitive aspect to hunger as well.

Why do we stay the same weight?

There are two competing ideas:

We don’t need to taught to like salty or sweet. All other tastes are apparently conditioned.

Eating novel foods makes us like them more, and also makes us more willing to try other novel foods in the future.

Eating is also a social phenomenon

Eating also depends upon presentation

Obesity is both a literally and figuratively growing problem

Eating disorders

Overwhelmingly affect women, typically in the adolescent years or early 20s

Mothers of girls with eating disorders tend to focus on both their own and their daughters’ weight and appearance.

Families of anorexics tend to be high-achieving and competitive.

Families of bulimics have higher-than-usual incidences of obesity and low self-esteem

Identical twins are somewhat more likely to share an eating disorder than fraternal twins, but surprising, eating disorders don’t seem to be all that heritable

In western cultures, where eating disorders are on the rise, a corresponding decrease in body image is found in women.

People who are alone and told to take a math test in a swim suit perform worse.

Once upon a time, when food was scarce, a little “heft” was a signal of social status

In 2016,

Among the many health risks accompanying obesity is diabetes

Being “pear” shaped is better than being “apple” shape

Social Impacts

Gaining 30 lbs, people were rejected from jobs more frequently

This also has a halo effect. It affects those who hang out with overweight people.

Why is it so hard to lose weight?

Every pound of fat contains about 3,500 calories.

Unfortunately, fat cells don’t just multiply as you become obese, they also enlarge.

You wind up with more and now “starving” fat cells after you gain weight and then diet.

Two things are fight against you trying to lose weight:

There is no diet that scientifically works. Weight Watchers (the best one) just stops you from gaining more weight. It does nothing.

Adopted children’s body weight is uncorrelated with their siblings’ or their (adoptive) parents

Identical twins are usually very close in weight.

The hight rates of obesity is fairly new

What causes obesity

Global warming and obesity are the same problem

People do have a spike in body weight in college (change in environment)

The WHO has drafted an anti-obesity charter

We can also put a tax (the “Twinkie Tax”) on junk food

Bloomberg banned supersized soda was ruled unconstitutional by a court in NY

Asked if they would rather “be five years younger or weight 15 lbs less”

Once you reach a state of obesity, it is nearly impossible to get all the way back to a healthy weight and stay there.

Some tips to lose weight:

What about those people who eat and eat but don’t seem to gain any weight?

Sexual Motivation

Where should sex be in Maslow’s hierarchy?

The individual don’t need it, but the society does.

It can provide

If sex is fundamental to the survival of the species, then the process of natural selection will have made sure that our behaviors around it are very, very sophisticated.

Alfred Kinsey’ founded “Kinsey’s Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction”

The actual act of sex remained very poorly understood until the middle of the 1960s (Masters and Johnson)

Masters and Johnson managed to talk hundreds of people into performing sex acts in the 1950s.

Four phases in the sexual response cycle:

Men have a refectory period. That is, men have to go through resolution before they can repeat the cycle.

It was originally believed that orgasm is to reward people for having sex (and passing on genes).

But for women, it helps with fertilisation

Freud proposed that there were two kinds of orgasm:

But it turns out that this isn’t true. There is only one kind (for both men and women).

Many men physically unable to have sex (ED) or may suffer from premature ejaculation. Women can always have sex, however, they may not desire it (it can also be painful or uncomfortable).

Sexual dysfunction in men and women often responds well to therapy. Viagra is the most successful drug in the last 50ish years.

There hasn’t been such a product for women, however.


Sex hormones: estrogen, and testosterone

In lower mammals:

The link between hormones and sexual motivation:

It is testosterone for women that the most arousal.

In both women and (especially) men, sex hormones “change with the wind”.

Yet both women and (especially) men’s sexual motivations remain fairly flat.

Both sexes’

We need some sex hormones. But more is not always better.

It is common knowledge that men often like to see, hear, read, sexually stimulating material. This is equally arousing to women. The more sexually stimulating material one sees, the less arousal it instills (increase tolerance).

There are documented adverse effects to the viewing of sexual stimuli.

95% of both men and women say they have sexual fantasies.

This generation is the first that grew up with instant pornographic sex anytime.

Young people are having a lot more sex today then they were a century ago. A lot.

Teen pregnancy is on the rise overall (although it waxes and wanes). Teens are also less likely to have smart (protected) sex:

We are the first generation that sex has significantly decreased than the generation that came before you.

The modern libido is way down today.

With the arrival of DSL (broadband internet), there is a 7-13% decline in teen pregnancy therein.

There is less incentive to seek these things out in the real world.

Sex facts:

More than 15% of women and 6% of men do not say that they are completely straight.

Who is gay?

Homosexuals are certainly in the minority

The APA dropped homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses in 1973.

It is not associated with any mental disorder or social problem

Very, very few regularly go both ways (both sexes). But women are more often bisexual.

Eye-tracking experiments reveal that when shown pictures of couples:

Meredith Chivers had groups of people watch different kinds of pornographic. And asked them what they wanted to see. After viewing, when asked them what turned them on, they were consistent with what they said. However, the arousal was interesting:

Homosexuality is associated with increased risk of suicide, primarily in adolescence.

Male homosexuality is associated with dramatically increased sexual activity. This is true.

Female homosexuality is associated more with long-term relationships.

Where does homosexuality come from? The leading theory is that it is mostly genetic but also hormones (in the womb).

Homosexual stereotypes:

We cannot turn people ‘gay’, we can just have them to go for something that’s not their first choice.

Homosexuality does

Homosexuality is not influenced by adopted parents (hints that it’s genetic).

Is it a choice?

For women, the answer is a somewhat equivocal “Yes, maybe some of the time.”

For men, it is a stronger “No, usually not”

The things that determine sexual orientation may be only in utero.

One fairly reliable difference between gay men and heterosexual men and women is a cell cluster in the hypothalamus.

Homosexual men tend to have more homosexual on their mother’s side of the family.

How can it be that we have gay genes? Wouldn’t evolution filter this out?

The data suggests that these genes allow women to be more desirable to men.

In the rats that were given hormones “prenatal” resulted in “gay” rats.

Male brains tend to be better at spatial tasks

Lesbian women aren’t as sensitive to crying babies than in straight women.

Homosexuality is largely biologically based, but maybe not particularly genetically so.

Sexual intimacy is an expression of a profoundly social nature. It adds to our sense of belonging.

We have a profound need to belong.


When we form groups that then disperse, we vow to “keep in touch”

When relationships break down, we are unhappy.

“Chain migration” makes life a lot easier for the subsequent families upon arrival in our string land

Failure to belong can be devastating

What happens to people who never really belong?

People derives satisfaction from working

When we are working, we can get “in the zone” and the work itself becomes the reward (this is called flow).

Personnel psychologists work with organizations to devise methods to

Interviews aren’t very good at seeing how people will perform


What is an emotion?

Addressing two questions:

Emotions can’t exist just to give us interesting experiences. They must be beneficial for the survival of our species.

They can arousing psychological states that lead to expressive behavior

Are emotions caused by the actions/reactions or do the emotions cause them?

William James said “We feel sorry because we cry, angry because we strike, and afraid because we tremble”

Fear, anger, and passion have the same reaction so how do we know the difference?

James-Lange theory would suggest that those who are paralyzed don’t feel as strong of emotions and the data supports this.

There is clear support for the Cannon-Bard theory (which states that you look down at your reactions to cause emotions) as well. If you are expected wind, you are less likely to interpret it as an animal.

Negative emotions are linked to the right hemisphere

Positive emotions are linked to the left hemisphere

Depending on your state of arousal, you respond to things differently.

Recall psychoactive drugs. Choosing to use was a key ingredient of enjoying using.

Scientists have used drugs to alter our states of psychological arousal. It’s not sufficient for a true emotion, however. You need the cognitive thoughts.

Physiological states are an important part of emotion, still.

People often “catch” the emotions of other people – they are contagious.

There is a powerful connection between our control/power over ourselves and our emotions. We can not enjoy seemingly pleasurable things if they aren’t controlled by us – if we are primed in a certain way.

Priming works with emotions as well.

Jospeph LeDoux’s “low road”

Even if we aren’t intellectually afraid of spiders, if one fell on your lap right now, you would jump.

Often, our unconscious mind can override our cognitive, thinking, emotive mind despite ourselves.

Expressing and Detecting Emotion

We all wear our emotions on our sleeves:

We can tell the tone of a speech in another language.

People who are acting inappropriately “pop out” to us.

We can often see a bad actor when we see one.

Can we tell when people are lying?

We are readily biased in our perception of emotion by our past experiences

Prof. Judy Hall’s “thin slices”

Women display great ability to detect emotions.

Women’s nonverbal sensitivity (likely) underpins their greater emotional fluency

Women identify as more empathetic than men.

The expression of emotion is also gendered. We emote differently.

Smell research

There is also a role of olfaction in emotion.

Emotion and Culture

How universal are these emotions?

Why is this:

We carry then in our genes. Even the most isolated people on earth show their emotions the exact same way.

They, however, are still influenced by culture.

Facial expressions do contain “accents” that can provide clues to their culture.

We can detect our own culture’s emotions better, but we are very good with everyone.

The blind also have the same facial expressions.

We are good at seeing the emotions of other animals as well.

Emotional expression is inherently social. There is no point in doing it by yourself.

It also makes the emotion more powerful. The act of emoting increases the feeling of the emotion.

Even if you don’t do it yourself, if your eyes are pinched together, you will feel more angry.

How many emotions are there? There is no agreement; maybe 10.

But what about the other emotions such as love and jealousy?

Piaget: Just as we develop cognitively and morally, in stages, so too might we develop emotional in stages.



Anger is, by some accounts, the easiest to detect emotion.

Chronic anger can be debilitating

What is good advice for anger?

There is mixed evidence?

What’s the ideal way to deal with anger?


We make better decisions when we are happy.

Women who looked happier in their yearbook photos in 1950 have happier lives in their midlife.

The “feel-good, do-good” principal. It is contagious

The day after a “bad day” is most often a good day.

Major disabilities do leave people a little less happy on average, but not as much as you might think.

73% of Americans responded that they thought they would be happier if they had more money.

People’s income has been increasing over the past 50 years, and people’s happiness has stayed about the same.

People who describe themselves as being “hard-driven” tend to me less happy.

People who are happy strive for personal relationships.

Would utopia ever be possible? Not really, because we see the changes in emotions more than the objective reality.

We also comparison

“if you desire glory, you may envy Napoleon, but Napoleon envied Caesar, Caesar envied Alexander, and Alexander, I daresay, envied Hercules, who never existed.” - Bertrand Russel

Comparing yourself to those who are less fortunate, we feel better about ourselves.

Being attractive does make you happier. So does exercise, work, relationships, etc. The rest of it is people’s genes.

What can you do to be happy?


Stress is the opposite of happiness

Stress can be good – it can help people perform.

However, too much stress can negatively impact us

The reaction of acute stress is typically elevation in adrenalin and noradrenaline.

Men tend to favor more aggressive means to coping as opposed to women.

The General Adaption Syndrome (GAS) describes the pattern of responses that the body goes through after being prompted by a stressor.

The death of a loved one, a divorce, or the loss of the job can lead to a prolonged sense of insecurity.

People die soon after the death of the loved one.

Market depressions don’t end for the people who are effected by them.

Stress also affects our heart.

Type A people are competitive, motivated, and quick to anger

Pessimism also seems to be detrimental to heart-health.

Depression, too, is bad for your physical health.

The immune system is a delicately balance instrument.

Does stress cause one to progress from HIV to AIDS more quickly? Yes.

This, however, is not (as much) the case with cancer.

Stress also promotes unhealthy behaviors (such as smoking, drinking, etc.).

Alternative medicine seek to improve health in part part by relieving stress.

Promoting Health

Give people control over their environment.

Being an optimist improves well being.

Among those 65-85, those at the lowest quartile for optimism are twice as likely to die as those at the highest.

Among those 64-79, answering “yes” to being asked if they were hopeful for the future was correlated with how long they lived.

Providing social support is critical to maintaining people’s health.

Group Dynamics

We are social creatures.

Our social connections are literally lifesaving.

Recall how the text says that there are three levels of analysis: bio/psycho/social.

In order to predict someone’s behavior, you need to know

How do we decide how to change our behavior in a given environment?

However, we fall prey to fundamental attribution error where we fail to recognize the importance of situation.

Considering running into your teaching on the street. They would act differently (because of the changing environment).

To mitigate this error, you have to see from the other person’s point of view (literally – have the subject view a screen where the camera is pointed to them).

We also fall prey to the fundamental attribution error when looking at our past selves.

Conservatives tend to see social problems as a result to personality believing that people get what they deserve

Liberals are more likely to blame situations.

Our attitudes affect our behavior and our attitudes towards another person can sometimes become self-fulfilling prophesies.

Attitudes can likewise affect populations and lead to large-scale shifts in behaviors.

Large-scale attitudinal changes come about through of two not-mutually-exclusive mechanisms:

Central route to persuasion:

Peripheral route to persuasion:

Once you develop a particular attitude, it is not surprising that you will adjust your behavior according.

More surprising, your attitudes to accord with your behaviors.

Foot-in-the-door phenomenon

This was very apparent in the Korean war

This can be positive, however.

Our situations – including our social situations – also affect our attitudes.

The Stanford Prison Experiment

Note that

This reveals:

What causes this? Leon Festinger “cognitive dissidence theory”. This means we reduce the conflict created by behaving in a manner inconsistent with our attitudes by bringing those attitudes into agreement with our actions.

Why did we go (back) to Iraq?

When we realized that there were no WMDs, we decided that we entered the war to liberate people from Saddam Hussein. We changed our beliefs because of our actions. This is an example of cognitive dissidence theory.

By what mechanisms do social influences lead to attitudinal changes?

This empathetic suggestibility can have negative consequences.

How can we shape people’s behaviors?

Features that strengthens the drive to conform:

Milgram’s “Teacher-Learner” experiments

63% of teachers went “all the way” even when the learning stopped responding (they thought they were dead)

What this tells us:

Being in a group/trying to conform can:

Individuals tend to slack off when you are working with a group (ex tug of war). This is called “social loafing”. We feel less accountable – it’s ‘not our fault’.

People will often act in ways that aren’t parallel to their individual selves when they are in groups – people are sometimes deindividualized by a crowd.

Although conformity within a group is common

Polarization increases the prejudices

Extreme group polarization is the driving force behind radicalization.

Groups can also fall prey to so-called “groupthink”

Groupthink is not the fate of all groups

Social control: groups are exercising some control over us even when they aren’t making commands.

Sometimes individuals, however, will act out contrary to what is expected (for example, whistle-blowers fighting for freedom)

When they are against the grain, an individual or minority can stay the majority (example of a peripheral route of persuasion).


Individuals who adopt an unjustified (and usually negative) attitude toward a group are said to be prejudiced. Prejudice typically involves

The most common prejudices are racial.

White students gave better grades to papers with a Black name on it.

Even black people have these prejudices – against themselves!

Everywhere in the world, women earn less than men

As we become more affluent, we justify our attitudes to match out behaviors – we feel like we’ve earned it.

Prejudice can also arise if one’s attitude is that the world is essentially just.

We’ve taught our children that merit alone will carry you to success – this is not true.

We like people that are like us. This is called an “ingroup bias”. The flip side is called “outgroup bias”

This is just the way that humans think.

We are able to tell differences (in appearance) in our own group easier than those in another group.

Once we categorized people into groups, we can fall prey to overgeneralizing.


When social relations break down, aggression steps in.

Aggression has a firm biological basis

Increased testosterone is associated with

Aggression prone people are

3/4 of incidents of domestic violence is caused by intoxication

In a study of every battery hit by a ball, it was noted that most occurred when either

Contrary to the popular idea that poverty breeds aggression, terrorists (for example) tend not to be particularly poor or uneducated

Terrorists do

Violence pays sometimes – it can be learned

Rejection, too, often brings about aggression

However, ordinary discomfort is enough to bring out aggression

Key factor that leads to high rates of violence is cultures wherein paternal care for children is minimal

Even after controlling for education, race, income, and teenage motherhood

Aggression is something that can clearly be modeled (recall Bobo the doll).

Lenient parents (unconsciously) allow their children to continue being violent. And parents of delinquent children are often those who discipline with physical aggression.

More positive parenting can help you avoid aggressive outcomes:

Studies have found that viewing pornographic material makes one’s partner seems less sexually desirable.

Some people state that pornography can serve as a ‘release’ or ‘outlet’ – this is NOT supported by the evidence. The opposite is, in fact, true; it makes people more aggressive in the real world.


Before love can blossom, often we go through a stage of

Proximity. Just being near someone is the most powerful predictor of friendship. We like those in close, regular contact.

Repeated exposure to novel stimuli (including people) tends to breed liking to them.

Appearance is the most important component of a first impression – to the extent that it is almost the only important component.

Being with someone physically attractive is intrinsically rewarding.

John M. Hull (blind) noted that he found women he was told were beautiful to be much more desirable dates.

Recall from obesity that there are disadvantages of being unattractive.

One myth of attraction is that we are like magnets: opposites attract. This, however, is not true. We like people like ourselves.

Passionate love consists of

Over time, passionate love between two people fades

What makes love last?

(Disclosure is also pretty important)

Psychological research confirms that these are important (especially #1), and adds

Self-disclosure breed liking, which in turn breeds self-disclosing, forming a virtuous cycle.

Altruism and Conflict

Altruism is the unselfish regard for the welfare of others. It is difficult to understand why we would do nice things to strangers.

Carl Wilkens stayed in Rwanda and risked his life to help the Tutsi when every other American fled. Why did he do that? To study things, we need to see when they break down.

Bystanders will help a stranger if

Helping is intrinsically rewarding. Social factors also play a role.

Conflict can occur on many scales, from the interpersonal to all out war.

Recall ingroup vs. outgroup bias and how our perceptions of others may actually impact their behaviors

Sometimes, forcing contact between the two groups can alleviate conflict.

Providing groups with “superordinate goals” works better.


Self-worth is a big deal with respect to personal happiness and wellbeing

you must learn to love yourself before you can love another

This may be true that we can’t do it well.

NUPath V

Is this a good maxim? 150 words or fewer

This is due Thursday

Personality’s Perspectives:

We will discuss the prominent general theories that have been put forth to explain and define our personalities are discussed.

This is the area of psychology where the field gets it’s ‘hollow’ reputation.

We want to figure out what it is and what it does.

This is important because when we treat something with medication, we treat the biology. For example

Personality gives the framework for the rest of psychology (disorders and therapy). The theories are:

Sigmund Freud: Most recognizable psychologist. Most people have heard of

He was influential as he brought psychotherapy into the mainstream, but he wasn’t right on that much.

People would come to Freud with pain that Freud couldn’t find any biological reason for. There could be something wrong with someone’s mind when they aren’t even aware of it. There must be much of the mind that is below the conciousness. The common metaphor is an iceberg.

Freud thought that the subconscious would show itself through:

According to Freud, the parts of the conciousness (id, ego, superego) are in conflict with each other.

The id operates on the “pleasure principle”.

The ego operates on the “reality principle”

The superego is the moral compass

Freud thought that our personality comes from our childhood.

Stage Focus
Oral (0-18 months) Pleasure centers on the mouth
Anal (18-36 months) Pleasure focuses on bowel and bladder elimination
Phallic (3-6 years) Pleasure zone is the genitals
Latency (6 to puberty) Dormant sexual feelings
Genital (puberty on) Maturation of sexual interests

Each one of these stages is associated with a distinct psychological conflict.

Boys act like their fathers to get a women like their mothers. If you can’t beat ‘em (if the boy can’t get their mother), join ‘em (be like their father).

Alfred Adler: “inferiority complex”

Karen Horney: women have psychology too

Carl Jung: our personality comes from our “collective unconscious”

The role of the unconscious mind is very important. But it is very hard to verify these things.

But projective tests are made to give us access to the unconscious mind

Rorschach Inkblot Test

The mind has its own defense mechanisms. Freud said that our brain represses our ‘bad’ thoughts.

Three big tenants to Freud’s thinking

Manifestations of this duel-track mind

These are all demonstrable and testable.

How can we confirm Freud’s hypothesis? We can’t really.

Humanism was largely a response to Skinner’s behaviorism.

Abraham Maslow is considered the “father” of humanism

The identified traits of high-functioning people:

Carl Rogers built upon these traits:

One trick is to ask people how they actually are versus how they would like to be. How close are they? If the gaps are small, people are happier. If the gaps are large, they often suffer from anxiety.

Self-concept is important.

Humanism does, however, has its critics.

What about:

Are these people good? The definition of good is subjective. Having people love themselves too much isn’t a good quality.

Those who are the most happy:

(Not the hard-driving type)

The evidence suggests that people are basically evil. Humanistic psychology has ‘won’ the pop-psyc battle, it isn’t all right.


A trait is a pattern of behavior, or at a minimum, a disposition towards certain feelings and actions. Relatively stable attributes of our person that persists across different environments.

There are about 18,000 adjectives in English you could reasonably use to describe a person.Could there really be 18,000 dimensions in which people differ? We can, however, find the commonality of answers across a survey. If one question can determine the answer to another, then one underlying thing influences both.

For example,

There aren’t that many fundamental ways that we differ – we only have so many genes.

If we know that someone is an extravert, how can that predict how they are going to act across changes in environment?

We use a personality inventory to do this. The most common is minnesota multiphasic personality inventory. These tests are scored by computers and therefore are objective.

They ask you almost the same question many different ways to enhance reliability (That is, they make it so that the test taker can’t lie on it).

There are five factors in personality. We call these the “Big Five Factors”

(Some people also like to throw in g)

These do seem to work across the world. These also stay somewhat stable across one’s lifetime. Genes are about 50% responsible for it.

Are there “better” personality traits?

How telling are these personality traits?

These are actually predictors of

But for individual observations, they aren’t very good. For example, if a student arrives late, it could be for many different reasons.

In any given circumstance, these are weak predictors.

On average however, the extravert will tend to be more sociable than the introvert.

These broader traits are collections of smaller traits that tend to change together.

Our personality is everywhere. We are more “ourselves” in our personal, relaxed time than we are in our formal times.

In these relaxed times, “thin slices” as brief as 2 sections are telling. Although they often fail.

Behaviour depends on the interaction of persons with situations.

Social-Cognitive Perspective

Reciprocal determinism is the bedrock of the social-cognitive perspective.

We chose, in a large part, our environment.

Our personalities shape our expectations and interpretations of, and thus reactions to, our environment.

Our responses to our environment change to it.

“No man, deep down in the privacy of his heart, has any considerable respect for himself” - Mark Twain

We need to recognize that we are both the ‘cause of’ and ‘consequence’ of our personalities.

Control vs. Helplessness

Your perception of your control over your destiny can have profound implications for our well-being.

External locus of control: you tend to agree with “the world is run by a few powerful people” and “getting a good job depends on being in the right place at the right time”

Internal locus of control: you are control over your own environment

Self-control takes effort – physical effort.

The brain is a energy-intensive organ. It burns a lot of calories.

You can train self-control with exercise. Exercise also results in:

Helplessness can also be induced. Learned helplessness was discovered by Martin Seligman who, found that it violated basic principles of Skinnerian behaviorism. He puts dogs in a cage where half of them had the ability to turn off the shocks. He then moves all of the dogs to another cage where one side gets shocked and the other is fine. Those who has control in the previous setting learned to jump to the other side. The dogs who didn’t have control in the previous setting did not learn to jump to the other side.

Learned helplessness increases stress. There can, however, can be too much freedom. This may be why in modern Western cultures which is leading to more anxiety.

The dogs who did not have control and still jumped to the safe-side showed signs of optimism.

Pessimists readily adopt a stance that

Pessimistic students are

Optimists think that things will get better, either

We call this distinction the “attributional style”

However, realism is also valuable. Anxiety over future failures can be motivating to prevent them.

Excessive optimism can blind us to real risks

Optimism may lead to overconfidence

“Pride goeth before destruction, and haughty spirit before the fall” - Proverbs 16:18

People, on average, think they are smarter than average.

Final Exam

10:30am to 12:30 on April 26th, 2021

The best way to see how someone will react in a situation, you need to put them in that situation (or a simulation).

Social-Cognitive Perspective: how people both affect and are affected by their environment.

We generally feel like ourselves, so does social-cognitive perspective explain everything?


Self-concept: how we view ourselves

We can also imagine alternative versions of ourselves.

People are told to “dream big”. This means think of and aspire to your idealized self.

However, a lot of people consider their selves “self-conscious”.

We often feel like we have a “spotlight” on us

Gilovich et al. asked a student to wear a dorky “Barry Manilow Fan Club” shirt and walk around a party. The subjects thought that half of the people noticed the shirt, and barely anyone actually did.

When the spotlight is on us, the people looking at us actually just feel relieved that the spotlight isn’t on them. People don’t pay attention to you.

High self-esteem is a feeling of worth.

Most parenting magazines push heavily the idea that a high self-esteem.

Generalized self-seem may not be all that great

If you have an inaccurate opinion of yourself, you won’t do well.

On the other hand, low self-esteem does seem to induce poor outcomes.


“No man, deep down in the privacy of his heart, has any considerable respect for himself” - Mark Twain

Is he right?

Self loathing absolutely does occur. This may not be the norm, however.

“How did I deserve this?” Almost always comes after a bad thing.

If everyone think that they are better than average, what is going on?

Every generation does this worse.

Such high self-esteem does have a downside: a damaged ego is a quick road to nastiness.

Why do we take responsibility? One theory is that it is still selfish:

We also will accept responsibility for things that happened a long time ago

If we also say that our competition is great, then we protect ourselves

Comparing ourselves to people better off than us makes us feel bad

There are two types of self-esteem:

Mental Illness

“To study the abnormal is the best way of understanding the normal” - William James

Mental illnesses can do great harm to those they afflict.

When the system breaks down, we can tell how it works.

Therefore, mental illness holds great fascination for a lot of people.

Society thinks that we should view mental illness just as any other physical illness

How should we think about disorders of the psyche?

How can we label particular disorders without stigmatizing the afflicted individuals?

Three D’s that define if a behavior is disordered:

Our standards also change

Often deviance is positive. We reward abnormal behavior often. It also needs to be distressful. It doesn’t have to be distressful to the person, it would just be distressful to others (a serial killer could enjoy it).

Where do we draw the line between free speech and mental illness?

In medieval times, “crazy people” were said to have had the Devil or demons inside them.

At the turn of the 19th century, we realized that people with mental illness should be treated morally.

There are lots of different things that can cause a mental illness

These are things that a medical doctor can fix. The medical model can only take us so far.

It is possible that Anorexia and Bulimia is genetic to people in the West, but that is not the case.

The central tool in the classification of the psychological disorders is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorders.

A concern is that the DSM-5 is increasingly pathologizing everyday behavior

After 2 weeks of being depressed (say, your child has just died), you are labeled mentally ill. But if you want help for it, you have to get the diagnosis.

The DSM defines a diagnostic process that is based on symptoms. There is no causal basis for the diagnosis.

The DSM seems to be fairly reliable – the same person will get the same diagnosis if they take it again.

But is the DSM valid? They are increasingly capturing normal behavior as illness.

There are benefits of a diagnoses (beyond getting therapy covered by an insurance company):

There are, however, many downsides:

1970 Rosenhan study “On Being Sane in Insane Places” where normal people tried to get into psoriatic hospitals and then immediately acted normal again and tried to get out. They couldn’t and the people there still said that they acted as if they had a disorder.

Another institution saw this, they said that the same thing could never happen to them. So Rosenhan told them that he’ll send graduate students (but didn’t) and the institution ‘caught’ 41 and 42 possible pseudo patients.

There is a danger associated with diagnosing someone with mental illness.

Anxiety Disorders

One of the major categories of mental illness is anxiety disorders

In generalized anxiety disorder, the patient is continuously tense and aroused.

Panic disorders are described as episodes of intense dread called a panic attack.

Phobias are persistent, irrational fear and avoidance of a specific object, activity or situation.

OCD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, is characterized by unwanted thoughts and actions.

OCD is most common in teens and young adults.

The Vietnam war left one in five soldiers with some degree of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

By 2020, the military’s ongoing health obligations to its veterans will exceed it’s cost associated with active personnel.

What do we do with these soldiers? Will we be able to get them the treatment they deserve?

PTSD symptoms are also found after

Final NUPath

(Just submit something and get full points)

What has worked well with virtual learning? What should change?

Peer review: Just respond to people’s thoughts

Our dual-track mind underpins the problem of trauma disorders

Bringing those who suffer from PTSD back to their stressful environment (and saying that it’s okay now) does not work – it makes it worse.

Women are roughly twice as likely as men to develop PTSD

Most New Yorkers after 9/11, most combat soldiers, and most rape victims do not seem to be traumatized.

Post-traumatic growth is a well documented phenomenon.

Psychological: three learning process can contribute to the development of anxiety.

Constant terror can shrink the hippocampus

Somatoform Disorders

Somatoform diseases: Psychical ailments with no physical cause

These disorders are what got Freud so interested.

Hypochondriasis is the common one.

Dissociative Disorders

Dissociative disorders: Ailments of consciousness

These are rare, frequently appearing in movies and literature.

We all experience dissociation from time to time (where our conciousness slipped away from us).

Dissociative identity disorder (DID): Multiple personality disorder

The reality of DID is equivocal.

Right after a movie about it, cases skyrocketed.

So who or what would be manufacturing it?

Patients might do it to themselves.

Therapists might also do it to their patients.

This is real, but we are making it happen.

Mood Disorders

These are the “common cold” of mental illness.

Two categories:

90,000 US college students, 44% states that on one occasion, they found they were “so depressed it was difficult to function”

Depression is the leading reason people seek the services of a mental health professional.

Depression may be the single leading cause of disability.

How can this be? What would Darwin say?

There seem to be links between depressive disorders and creativity.

The ultimate expression of despair is suicide. Suicide is universal, but there are marked differences between groups:

Going between a widely optimistic, hyperactive state called mania is the defining characteristic of bipolar disorder.

For those under 19, in 1994, Bi polar disorder cases rose from 20,000 to 800,000.

Mania should not be confused with happiness. Characteristics include:

BPD is more disabling than MDD


MDD is among the most researched of all mental illnesses. Thus the biological basis is well understood.

Biological basis:

Learned helplessness may also contribute to mood disorders

Negative explanatory styles hurt and lead one to become depressed.

You may be in a vicious cycle, but cycles have a lot of places to break out of.


Psychosis: Any mental disorder with symptoms characterized by impaired contact with reality, such as delusions, hallucinations, and irrational ideas

Schizophrenia is not a unified syndrome, but rather a cluster of disorders.

Delusion: Holding a belief that is not true

Hallucination: Sensory experience without sensory stimulation

Inappropriate affect

Young-late adolescence to the early twenties is the most common time of onset. Causes include:


People are at a greater risk for schizophrenia if their mom gets a virus in the second trimester. So get your flu shot when you are pregnant.

What should we do when someone suffering

What do we do with people who commit horrendous acts while in a depressed and psychotic state?

The modern DSM diagnosis for “Psychopaths” and “sociopaths” these people is antisocial personality disorders (APD).

There is a strong genetic component to APD. How can this be?

What do we do when the illness makes it difficult to stay on the medication?

What about people who aren’t dangerous to others or themselves? Should we still force them into treatment?

We got better at treating the mentally ill. Turned around in the 19th century. There are a lot less people in mental hospitals now.

We have an understanding of the basis of the illness (not mutually exclusive)


Three major schools of psychotherapy (not mutually exclusive)

Psychoanalysis still lingers on, but it’s adherents are few and far between.

Freud deserves a lot of credit for establishing the value of working through mental problems with a mental health professional.

We have a modern (false) idea of therapy of resistance and repression.

Transference means that patients will find themselves having very strong emotions towards their therapist.

Transference (though risky) is the bedrock of psychoanalysis.

Psychodynamic therapy is known as insight-oriented therapy


Humanistic Therapy

Helps people with their potential. Focuses on the future (not the past). Doesn’t focus on the Id, Ego, and Superego. Encourages people to take responsibility and control over their life.

Called their patients “clients”.


We don’t have people calling themselves humanists, but this is now the style of therapy. The most influential.

Behavioral Therapy

Only interested in measurable behaviors. Deals with the negative behaviors – not the states of mind.

The domain of the behaviorist is learning.

Recall extinction. Behaviors not reinforced will “decay”.

Recall habituation. If you are presented with a stimuli over and over again, you become desensitized.

When the behavior may be destructive, exposure therapy is not good (ex drugs).

In these cases, aversive conditioning may be employed (ex making yourself sick after drinking).

One example is a token economy. Such coins can give you TV time, snacks, etc.

Cognitive Therapy

Behavior therapies work very well when a behavior is the problem. But what about things like generalized anxiety? What behavior is this?

Recall the power of positive thinking.

The goal of the cognitive is to teach people how think about themselves and the world.

They aim to change the inner monologue.

But most therapists are eclectic; cognitive and behavioral therapies are not mutually exclusive – they can be combined. Combination therapy has proven quite successful.

Group Therapy

Costs less per patient

Socialization is also beneficial.

One commonly adopted group is a very natural one: family. Family therapy.

Labels can become self-fulfilling prophesies.

Does Therapy Work?

Is it worth it?

What is the most effective method?

Outcome measure can

The first measure of success of psychotherapy would therefore be patients’ testimonials.

People will use cognitive-dissonance to convince their selves that therapy works.

There is a good chance that you will get better anyway.

If asking people isn’t a good idea, what can we use?

The costs associated with some forms of mental illness (crime, accidents, loss of productivity) is very high.

And it works for everyone (from those with just day-to-day anxiety to disorders).

Therapy is most likely to be successful if the problem is well-defined.

Should we be doing therapy if there isn’t strong data to support them?

The scientific evidence for EMDR indicates that it does work.

Light exposure also seems to work. Shining lights can help treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

What makes a therapist’s relationship successful?

The Biomedical Approach

The arrival of antipsychotic and antidepressive psychoactive drugs was in the 1950s.

Includes any prescribed medication or medical procedures that act on a patient’s central nervous system.

Drugs work. Rapid decline in mental hospital patients since the introduction of antipsychotic drugs.

Antipsychotic drugs (like Thorazine) typically act on the dopamine and its receptors (particularly the D2 receptor).

Antianxiety drugs (e.g. Xanax, Buspar) work to reduce sympathetic nervous system activity

These are potentially habit-forming

Antidepressants are now often commonly prescribed along with anitanxiety drugs

Most antidepressant drugs are SSRIs.

Every SSRI works in every animal.

Drugs are helpful, but they don’t cure everything.

At least 75% of the effect of antidepressants is the placebo.

Don’t motivate a depressed person.

For bipolar disorder, an antidepressant may not be the answer. Instead, a mood stabilizer (like lithium) may be the answer.

ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) was first used in the early 1940s. While it has a barbaric image, it has been greatly improved and is now a very accepted form of treatment.

There are newer, more targeted approaches to brain stimulation that work like ECT but in a more localized fashion.

Surgery to remove or destroy brain tissue is irreversible, and is therefore only used as a last-ditch effort to treat uncontrollably emotional (and usually violent) mental patients. It is called “psychosurgery”.

Everything psychological is also biological.

Consider the diagnosis of ADHD. People used to call it “just being an 8-year-old boy”.

We should change how we educate

Geel has a legendary mental health system.

Final Exam

Monday April 26th, at 10:30AM to 12:30PM

~65 questions in each part