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General Psychology Essay

Taking Psychology has taught me a lot more than I already knew about the human mind and human body. I have actually enjoyed taking Psychology this semester. what I have learned from Psychology class will be carried with me throughout my college and professional career. In Psychology I learned the science of behavior and processes. The “ABC’s” of Psychology which are, A- stands for affect, which are feelings, emotions or moods. B- stands for behaviors, which are the actions or reactions of an organism. Lastly is C, which stands for cognition, which are mental events such as perceptions, thoughts and ideas. Psychology originated in many disciplines and countries. It was, until the 1920’s, defined as the science of mental life. Some goals of psychology are to observe and describe the human mind and behavioral system. Also, to understand, explain and predict. More of the goals are influence and control. These are the four main goals of psychology. Sometimes the fifth goal of observing in order to understand a problem further is added, but the first four are usually those that are recognized as the main goals of psychology. To observe and describe sometimes are placed in the same goal. Some people still consider the goal of improving to be added to this as well. However, it is very possible to understand the basics of psychology by examining and understanding its four main goals. The first of the goals of psychology is to observe and describe behavior. Differentiating between normal, healthy and unhealthy behaviors is the cornerstone of psychology. This is why psychologist has to have a great sense of observation. Psychologist not only has to observe actions, but also someone’s attitudes, feelings, goals, motivations, reactions and thoughts to the best of their abilities. The second goal of psychology is basically explaining the same as the first. The attempt to explain behavior based on observations is actually rather difficult due to many factors. Both the first and second goals are simply examined. Predicting behavior is the third goal of psychology. By predicting behavior, psychologists try to determine if a person is likely to make healthy or unhealthy decisions when confronted with certain situations. Most psychologist use experiments to make predictions. Part of what I learned in psychology is about Psychological science and when it was “born”.

Also, some of psychology’s first graduate students studied the “atoms of the mind” by conducting experiments in Leipzig, Germany in 1879. American philosopher William James wrote an important 1890 psychology textbook. Mary Calkins, James’s student, became the APA’s first female president. Psychology has taught me other ways to look at science. It has taught me that science is a discipline that demonstrates an organized body of knowledge. The scientific method is observing phenomena, formulating hypothesis. A hypothesis is a tentative explanation that can be tested and then accepted or rejected. Psychology has taught me other ways to look at science and different ways to define the terms. What does a psychologist do? A psychologist is basically a scientist conducting research and testing hypotheses. Science practitioners are clinical or counseling psychologists. Psychology’s past and present include French philosopher Rene Decartes( 1596-1650). Also, john Locke(1632-1704), who was a British scientist who, with his followers, developed the doctrine of Empiricism. Charles Darwin(1809-1882) confirmed that humans were part of the animal kingdom. Gustav Frenchner(1801-1887), a physicist who applied physics method to psychological processes of sensation. Lastly, Hermann Van Helmholtz(1821-1984) was a physicist who tested effects of stimuli on the nervous system. Learning new terms based on the human body helped me understand psychology better. It gave me a completely different outlook about it. I learned many things that I was completely unaware of before and it brightened my horizons to the psychological world. The brainstem is the brains older and innermost region. The brainstem is located where the spinal cord swells slightly after entering the skull. The slight swelling is called the medulla. The thalamus sits at the top of the brain. This joined pair of egg shaped structures acts as the brain’s sensory switchboard. This reticular formation is located inside the brainstem, between your ears. It’s a finger shaped network of neurons that extends from the spinal cord. Right up through the thalamus.

The cerebellum extends from the rear of the brainstem and is baseball sized. This term also means “little brain”. It enables one type of nonverbal learning and memory. The limbic system is two halves of the brain. One limbic system component is the hippocampus: process memory. Amygdala is a lima bean sized neural clusters which influence aggression and fear. The hypothalamus is located just below the thalamus. It is an important link in the chain of command governing bodily maintenance. Cerebral cortex is a thin surface layer of interconnected neural cells. This is your brain’s thinking crown, your body’s ultimate control and information processing center. I learned from the Modules that we have read in class. Some of them talked about developmental issues and parental issues. As well as issues with these two involving a newborn. Any survey of developmental psychology must consider three pervasive issues. The first is how development is steered by the interaction of nature (our genes) and nurture (our experiences). Then consider the second issue, whether development is a gradual, continuous process or a series of discrete stages, and the third, whether development is characterized over time more by stability or by change. I also learned more about conception, with humans. The process starts when a woman’s ovaries release a mature egg. Two hundred million or more deposited sperm begin their race upstream, approaching a cell 85,000 times their own size. The few that actually reach the egg release digestive enzymes that eat away its protective coating. Piaget’s stages of cognitive development states that from birth to two years of age, there’s what is called sensor motor that takes effect. This is basically experiencing the world through senses and actions: object performance, stranger anxiety. From ages two to seven years old preoperational, which was the representation with words and images; using intuitive rather than logical reasoning: pretend play, egocentrism. Sensation and perception blend into one continuous process. Sensation is the process by which our sensory receptors and nervous system receive and represent stimulus energies from our environment. Perception is the process of organizing and interpreting sensory information, enabling us to recognize meaningful objects and events. Psychologist refers to sensory analysis that starts at the entry level as bottom up processing. Bottom up processing is an analysis that begins with the sensory receptors and works up to the brain’s integration of sensory information.

We construct perceptions drawing both on sensations coming bottom up to the brain and on our experience and expectations, which psychologist call top-down processing. Top-down processing is information processing guided by higher level mental processes, as when we construct perceptions drawing on our experiences and expectations. I also learned that psychophysics is the study of relationships between the physical characteristics of stimuli, such as their intensity and our psychological experience of them. Also, that absolute threshold is the minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus fifty percent of the time. Subliminal is defined as below one’s absolute threshold for conscious awareness. Priming is the activation, often unconsciously, of certain associations, thus predisposing one’s perception, memory, or response. Lastly, I learned that difference threshold is the minimum difference between two stimuli required for detection fifty percent of the time. We experience the difference threshold as just a noticeable difference. I have learned a lot in psychology this semester. It has been a pleasure having this class. I learned a lot about the human mind and body. I have learned how the mind works and its functions. Also about the different changes that we as human beings go through, stage by stage. My grade may not reflect it but I certainly did learn a lot in Psychology. I feel that I had to work harder this semester to earn the appropriate grade that I felt I deserved. I studied for hours for my exams. I am the type of person that can study all day and night for an exam but my work performance may not reflect the actual work I put into my studies. I do not believe that a test score can determine what a person knows about a subject. I do believe that it can be a reflection of some of what the person may know about the subject or topic, but it does not determine exactly what they know.

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