NCERT Class 11 Psychology Chapter 1: What is Psychology? YouTube Lecture Handouts

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Why Psychology?

  • Knowing oneself

  • Knowing others

  • Knowing why people dream

  • Why people behave in certain fashion

Major HPS Ahluwalia, paralyzed waist down because of an injury he suffered in a war with Pakistan, who climbed the Mt. Everest. – What motivated him to climb? This is what psychology addresses

Defining Discipline

Evolves continuously

Range of phenomena cannot be captured by one definition

Psyche (soul) + logos (study) – study of soul or mind

Now it is study of human experience or behavior across individual, dyadic (two person) and organizational – also has biological and social basis

Psychology is defined formally as a science which studies

  • Mental Processes (consciousness or awareness),

  • Experiences (subjective – conscious – positive or negative) – yogi mediating or a drug addict

  • Behavior – Response or reaction to the activities- overt (external) or covert (internal), simple or complex – see a tiger and decide to flee – Stimuli & Response (S-R)

Brain Versus Mind

  • Brain activities are observed by brain imaging

  • Unlike the brain, the mind does not have a physical structure or has a location. Mind emerges and evolves as our interactions and experiences

  • What we study? It is remembering, learning, knowing, perceiving, feeling

  • We try to make subject scientific and objective – self-reflection and self-knowledge

  • 1st Laboratory by Leipzig in 1879 by Wilhelm Wundt (conscious experience) – introspection & structuralists

  • fMRI and EEG make it possible to study brain processes in real time

  • Psychology is required for human computer interaction and artificial intelligence.

Two Streams

  • Use of method in physical and biological sciences

  • Use of method of social and cultural sciences

  • Know cause and effect relationship so that prediction of behavioral phenomena can be made

Psychology as Natural Science

  • Consensus on definition of concept & measure it

  • Psychology was influenced by Descartes and later on by the developments in physics has grown by following what is called a hypothetico-deductive model – scientific advancement can take place if you have theory to explain phenomena

  • Theory – set of statements about certain complex phenomena can be explained with the help of propositions which are interrelated

  • Based on theory – hypothesis is proposed or deduced to offer tentative solution to a phenomena – it is tested and proved based on data

  • Theory is revised if data gathered is different from hypothesis

  • Also evolutionary approach mainly for biological sciences

Psychology as Social Science

  • It studies the behavior of human beings in their socio-cultural contexts - there are variations in their behaviors and experiences which would be difficult to predict using the known psychological principles

  • People become antisocial in terms of crisis and indulge in looting

  • Sperry & Penrose – given respect for psychology as a subject

  • Mind cannot exist without brain, but mind is a separate entity

  • Person who lost his arm in an accident – has phantom arm (felt movement – tried to reach the coffee cup)

  • Recent studies in affective neuroscience have clearly shown that there is a relationship between mind and behavior. It has been shown that using positive visualization techniques and feeling positive emotions

  • Psychoneuroimmunology: Emphasize role played by the mind in strengthening the immune system

  • Your friend is away – reactions – out of sight is out of mind or distance makes heart grow fonder

  • Psychology as a science looks for patterns of behavior which can be predicted and not explained after the behavior occurs

  • Dweck – worked on children who gave up too early when given a problem – explained that failure was because they had not tried hard (not because problems were difficult) – after training - Those who had always succeeded because they were given easy problems, gave up much faster when they faced failure than those who had experience of both success and failure and were taught to attribute failure to their lack of effort.

Evolution of Psychology

Image of Evolution of Psychology

Image of Evolution of Psychology

Image of Evolution of Psychology

Introspection – procedure in which individuals or subjects describe in detail their own experiences – less scientific and cannot be verified by outside observers (Wilhelm Wundt)

Functionalist (William James) – psychological laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts – not focus on structure of mind but what mind does and how behavior functions – consciousness as ongoing stream of mental processes

John Dewey – seeks to function effectively by adapting their environment

Structuralism – 20th century – Gestalt psychology in Germany – focused on perceptual experiences - our perceptual experience is more than the sum of the components of the perception – movie has series of rapidly moving images – experience is holistic

Behaviorism – around 1910 – John Watson – rejected ideas of mind and consciousness – focus on what is observable and verifiable – study of response to stimuli that could be measured objectively

Later applied by Skinner

Psychoanalysis – Freud – human behavior as dynamic manifestation of unconscious desires and conflicts - human beings as motivated by unconscious desire for gratification of pleasure seeking desires

Humanistic Perspective – positive view of human nature by Rogers & Maslow – free will of human being and natural striving to grow and unfold human potential

Cognitive Approach – focus on how we know the world – thinking, understanding, memorizing, problem solving – human mind as information processing system like computers - receives, processes, transforms, stores and retrieves information

Constructivism – human beings as actively constructing their minds through their exploration into the physical and the social world –Piaget & Vygotsky – human mind develops through social and cultural process

  • Piaget – child actively construct their own mind

  • Vygotsky – mind is joint cultural construction due to interaction between children and adults

Development in India

  • Reflections on human consciousness, self, mind-body relations, and a variety of mental functions such as cognition, perception, illusion, attention and reasoning

  • 1915- began in the Department of Philosophy at Calcutta University where the first syllabus of experimental psychology was introduced and the first psychology laboratory was established

  • 1916 - Calcutta University started the first Department of Psychology & later in 1938 started Applied Psychology

    • NN Sengupta – trained under Wundt in experimental traditions

    • G.Bose trained in Freudian psychoanalysis – established Indian Psychoanalytical Association in 1922

  • After Calcutta departments came in Mysore and Patna

  • Two centers of excellence in psychology supported by UGC at Utkal University, Bhubaneswar and at University of Allahabad

  • Durganand Sinha in his book “Psychology in a Third World Country: The Indian Experience” published in 1986 traces the history of modern psychology as a social science in India in four phases

    • Till 1947 - experimental, psychoanalytic and psychological testing

    • Till 1960s – expansion into different branches – link western psychology to Indian context

    • Post 1960s – Problem oriented research

    • 1970s – phase of Indigenization –rejected western framework that came from ancient text and sculptures

  • Now applied to various fields in India

Branches of Psychology

  • Cognitive Psychology investigates mental processes involved in acquisition, storage, manipulation, and transformation of information – decision making and problem solving

  • Biological Psychology focuses on the relationship between behavior and the physical system – new branch is neuropsychology

  • Developmental Psychology studies the physical, social and psychological changes that occur at different ages and stages over a life-span, from conception to old age - intelligence, cognition, emotion, temperament, morality, and social relationship

  • Social Psychology explores how people are affected by their social environments & how people think

  • Cross-cultural and Cultural Psychology examines the role of culture in understanding behavior, thought, and emotion

  • Environmental Psychology studies interaction of physical factors such as temperature, humidity, pollution, and natural disasters on human behavior – waste disposal, population explosion, community resources

  • Health Psychology focuses on the role of psychological factors (for example, stress, anxiety) in the development, prevention and treatment of illness

  • Clinical and Counselling Psychology deals with causes, treatment and prevention of different types of psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders and chronic substance abuse

  • Industrial/Organizational Psychology deals with workplace behavior – workers and organizations

  • Educational Psychology studies how people of all ages learn – school psychology

  • Sports Psychology applies psychological principles to improve sports performance by enhancing their motivation

Themes in Psychology

  • Theme 1: Psychology like other sciences attempts to develop principles of behavior and mental processes - draw conclusions which are supported by data. Experimental, comparative, physiological, developmental, social, and differential and abnormal psychology are generally regarded as domains representing “basic psychology”.

  • Theme 2: Human behavior is a function of the attributes of persons and environment. Kurt Lewin first proposed B = f(P,E) – which suggests that behavior is the product of a person and her/ his environment. Differential psychology, which focused on individual differences

  • Theme 3: Human behavior is caused - all human behavior can be explained in terms of causes which are internal (to the organism) or external having location in the outside environment

  • Theme 4: Understanding of human behavior is culturally constructed - dialectical approach which will accommodate both male and female perspectives in understanding human behavior

  • Theme 5: Human behavior can be controlled and modified through the application of psychological principles – make interventions into lives of needy people

Basic vs. Applied Psychology

  • Basic psychology - theories and principles that form the basis of application of psychology – research oriented

  • Applied psychology - different contexts in which the theories and principles derived from research can be meaningfully applied – application oriented

Interdisciplinary Nature

  • Philosophy – nature of mind and how human come to know their motivations

  • Medicine – psychological counselling post operation, in ICU

  • Economics – economic behavior, saving and decision making – predict growth (Simon, Schelling and Kahneman won Nobel Prize in economics)

  • Political science – voting behavior, pattern

  • Sociology – intergroup conflict, socialization

  • Computer Science - organized, sequential and simultaneous (read parallel) processing of information

  • Law & Criminology – remember accident, decision by jury

  • Mass communication – attitude of people, journalist report, impact of story on common man

  • Music and Fine Arts – emotions, ragas and music therapy

  • Architecture & Engineering – provide mental and physical space by design – intersection of knowledge to human functioning

Psychologists at Work

  • Clinical psychologists – help client with behavioral problems – anxiety, stress at home and work

  • Counselling psychologists – suffer from motivational and emotional problems – rehabilitation, hospitals, schools

  • Community psychologists – rehabilitation

  • School psychologists – administer test, interpret results

  • Organizational psychologists – deal with problems that executives and employees face – specialize in HRD

Application in Everyday Life

  • Personal (Daughter having to face an alcoholic father or a mother dealing with a problem child)

  • Family (Lack of communication and interaction among family members)

  • Community setting (Terrorist groups or socially isolated communities)

  • National level (environment, social justice, women development, intergroup relations)