Introduction to Psychology Worksheet Essay Sample

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Part I: Origins of Psychology

Within the discipline of psychology, there are several perspectives used to describe, predict, and explain human behavior. The major perspectives in modern psychology identified in the text are neuroscience, cognitive, behavioral, humanistic, and psychodynamic. Describe these major psychological perspectives using two to three sentences each. Type your response in the space below.

Neuroscience: Views behavior from the perspective of biological functioning. How individual nerve cells are joined together, how the inheritance of certain characteristics from parents and other ancestors influences behavior, how the functioning of the body affects hopes and fears, which behaviors are instinctual, and so forth. This perspective includes the study of heredity and evolution, which considers how heredity may influence behavior; and behavioral neuroscience, which examines how the brain and the nervous system affect behavior.

Cognitive: Examines how people understand and think about the world. The emphasis is on learning how people comprehend and represent the outside world within themselves and how our ways of thinking about the world influence our behavior.

Behavioral: Focuses on observable behavior. Is the study of the behavior and how is affected by our surroundings, by observing the individual.

Humanistic: Is the approach of free will, voluntary chosen behavior. Self actualization or self fulfillment is part of this approach as well. Contends that people can control their behavior and that they naturally try to reach their full potential.

Psychodynamic: Is the study of the unconscious mind. The unconscious that is linked to our past. Unconscious process hidden beneath the surface of a person. Believes behavior is motivated by inner, unconscious forces over which a person has little control.

Part II: Research Methods

Provide a brief overview of research methods used by psychologists. Include strengths and weaknesses of each method. Type your response in the space below.

Descriptive and correlation research: Researcher observes a previously existing situation but does not make a change i the situation. Strengths: Offers insight into relationships between variables. Weaknesses: Cannot determine causality. Archival Research: Examines existing data to confirm hypothesis. Strengths: Ease of data collection because data already exist. Weaknesses: Dependent on availability of data.

Naturalistic Observation: Observation of naturally occurring behavior, without making a change in the situation. Strengths: Provides a sample of people in their natural environment. Weaknesses: Cannot control the natural habitat being observed.

Survey Research: A sample is chosen to represent a larger population and asked a series of questions. Strengths: A small sample can be used to infer attitudes and behavior of a larger population. Weaknesses: Sample may not be representative of the larger population: participants may not provide accurate responses to survey questions.

Case study: Intensive investigation of an individual or small group. Strengths: Provides a thorough, in depth understanding of participants. Weaknesses: Results may not be generalizable beyond the sample.

Experimental Research: Investigators produces a change in one variable to observe the effects of that change on other variables. Strengths: Experiments offer the only way to determine cause and effect relationship. Weaknesses: To be valid experiments require random assignments to conditions, well conceptualized independent and dependent variables and other careful controls.

Part III: Ethics in Research

Describe one ethical issue related to research. Why is informed consent necessary for ethical research?

Informed consent is necessary for ethical research because the potential participant must be given the opportunity to give full consideration regarding the decision whether or not to participate in the research study without undue influence from his or her physician, family, or the scientific investigator.

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