Psychology and Philosophy – Freud, Pavlov, Skinner, Maslow, or Piaget

6 x Questions on Psychology

Please do not use any sources other than your textbook.

1. Choose one person from the following list whom you feel played an important role  in the history of psychology:

Freud, Pavlov, Skinner, Maslow, or Piaget. Describe

what that person did, the approximate time that this person lived, what makes their contribution important, and criticisms of their work or theoretical position.

2. You are an experimental psychologist interested in finding out how effective a new medication might work for treating depression. Describe a study you might conduct to reach some conclusions on this matter. Be sure to define and provide examples of the following terms and concepts, demonstrating your understanding of each: hypothesis, independent variable, dependent variable, random assignment of participants, ethical guidelines.

3. When your best friend hears that you are taking a psychology course, she asserts that psychology is simply common sense. Explain why your awareness of both the limits of everyday reasoning and the methods of psychological research would lead

you to disagree with your friend’s assertion.

4. Imagine that you were involved in a legal case in which an eyewitness claimed the he has seen a person commit a crime. Based on your knowledge about memory and cognition, discuss some of the problems of eye-witness accounts.

5. David’s history teacher asked him why so many German people complied with Hitler’s orders to systematically slaughter millions of innocent Jews. David suggested that the atrocities were committed because the Germans had become unusually cruel, sadistic people with abnormal and twisted personalities. Use your knowledge of the fundamental attribution error and Milgram’s research on obedience to highlight the weaknesses of David’s explanation.

6. Choose a behavior that you would like to modify or change using the principles of operant conditioning. Be sure to use and explain the following terms: operant conditioning, positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, punishment, schedules of reinforcement, shaping and extinction.


1 x Question on Philisophy

This week, we look at two arguments in particular that examine further the relation between mind and body. In our discussion, let’s focus on functionalism and whether it advances our understanding of mind and body, or whether it advances us not at all, or maybe isn’t even right. Your views on this will be interesting, to be sure.

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