Units and Topics
- Definition of Psychology; Nature – bio science, social science or pure science; schools of thought – Structuralism, Functionalism, Behaviourism, Psychoanalysis, Gestalt psychology.
- Definition of Psychology, subject matter / nature of Psychology as a bio science, social science or pure science. The eclectic approach of modern Psychology. Emergence of Psychology as an independent discipline - different views regarding the nature of this new subject. Approaches of James Watson and Freud. Main features of the schools of Structuralism, Functionalism and Behaviourism, Psychoanalysis, Gestalt psychology (two Psychologists of each approach and their relevant concepts).
- Fields of Psychology – clinical, counselling, developmental, educational, organizational and social
- The general importance and aims of studying Psychology and its special benefits. Applications - different branches and the kind of work done in special fields - clinical, counselling, developmental, educational, organizational and social (in brief).
- Heredity and Environment – meaning of the term ‘heredity’; basic principles and mechanism of heredity. Meaning of the term environment; importance of both heredity and environment in behaviour
- The role of chromosomes; the laws of heredity: uniformity and variability. Significance of environment: physical and social. How both heredity and environment interact to produce behaviour.
- Scientific Methods in Psychology - observation, case study, surveys, psychological tests, experimentation – steps. Psychological tests and their uses
- The application of scientific methods in the study of behaviour. What is meant by scientific observation? Field study; controlled and uncontrolled observation; longitudinal and cross-sectional studies; the case history method; the experimental method - variables and controls - steps in an experiment; surveys and use of questionnaires/self reports. Meaning of samples - random, biased, representative – population. Psychological tests - definition, uses.
- Interpretation of research results – use of statistics in interpretation of data - understanding of why statistics is used (descriptive & inferential). Basic statistical concepts – statistics, sample, population.
- Why statistics is used in Psychology - interpretation of findings: describing and summarizing data, comparing individuals/ groups, investigating relationships between variables, predicting. Descriptive statistics - for summarizing scores. Inferential statistics - to determine whether observed differences between groups are likely/unlikely to have occurred by chance
- How scores are grouped into frequency distributions; central tendency of a frequency distribution - mean, median, mode and when each measure is used; dispersion: the extent to which scores are spread out - range, variance, standard deviation; why both central tendency and variability are important in psychology.
Nature of attention - its inner and outer determinants.
- The importance of attention in perception - how both physical factors such as size, colour, movement, change, intensity, contrast and psychological factors such as need, interest and emotion determine attention and perception
Perceptual processes - difference between sensation and perception. Organizational principles of perception - laws, constancies, depth and colour perception
- Process involved in transforming sensation to perception. Important factors in perceptual process - figure and ground, laws of grouping: similarity, proximity, continuation, simplicity, good figure; constancy of size, shape and colour; factors involved in depth perception -monocular and binocular cues; how colour is perceived - biological and psychological factors attributes of colour - hue, brightness and saturation; laws of colour mixture; colour blindness, adaptation and after-images.
Errors in perception - illusions of size and shape; what is meant by extra-sensory perception (ESP)
- False interpretations - illusions: Muller-Lyer, Height -Width, Ponzo, Zoellner, Poggendorf (details of experiments are required); ESP - perceptions not based on any of the known senses (general understanding of ESP).
What is meant by emotion; the basic emotions.
- Subjective and cognitive experience, physiological reactions and overt expression. Primary emotions - fear, anger, joy, sorrow, affection
Theories of emotion dealing with physiological, subjective and cognitive aspects
- James Lange, Cannon Bard, Schachter - Singer theories
What is meant by motives, needs and instincts; unconscious motives
- Motivation as an internal force generating certain behaviour - biological needs and homeostasis; instincts as unlearned and physiological desires; evidence indicating the existence of unconscious motives. Intrinsic - the desire to perform activities for their own sake
Theories of Motivation.
- Pull and push theories, Optimum Arousal theory and Expectancy theory - Graphic representation of Maslow's Needs Hierarchy
- Three distinctively human motives: Achievement - accomplishing difficult tasks; Power - exerting influence over others; Aggression - learning and control of human aggression, causes and effects
Frustration - blocking of motives; conflict among motives
- Frustration as a result of motives not finding free or adequate expression. Different types of conflict among motives: approach-approach, avoidance-avoidance, multiple approach- avoidance (with examples).
What is meant by learning; how learning takes place - Classical and Operant Conditioning; Insight learning, Observational Learning and Learning Styles
- Definition of learning - Pavlov and Classical Conditioning; Thorndike and Trial and Error; Skinner and Operant Conditioning; experiments, findings and principles established. Insight and Observational Learning - Kohler and Bandura's studies. Learning Styles – Auditory, Visual and Kinesthetic
Learning disabilities: definition and types.
- Characteristics of the disabilities - Dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia. Adjustment problems and coping with academics (symptoms and management)
The memory system - how it works - different models
- Sensory memory, Short and Long term Memory - encoding, storage, retrieval. Semantic and Procedural Memory. Processing memory - the Atkinson Shiffrin Model and Parallel Distributed Processing
Why and how forgetting occurs
- Trace decay, retro and pro active interference, amnesia - retrograde and anterograde; Alzheimer's disease; Dementia
How memory can be improved.
- Attention, use of imagery, Mnemonic devices, application of principles of learning.
What is meant by thinking
- Nature and elements of thinking: images, concepts and language - interdependence of language and thought; different kinds of thinking: convergent, divergent, creative, goal-oriented and aimless thinking.
Concepts and how they are formed
- Definition - importance of concepts in thinking - artificial, natural, simple and complex concepts
Reasoning - how it is carried out; common errors in reasoning, how reasoning can be made more effective. Decision making and problem solving - heuristics and algorithms.
- Reaching specific conclusions from available information - deductive and inductive reasoning; common errors - faulty premises, biases, fallacy of single case, rationalization, hindsight. Improving reasoning - avoiding errors, examining premises and ambiguities, guarding against emotion. Decision Making and Problem Solving - steps involved, optimum expected utility, means-end-analysis, analogy.
Creative thinking - what is meant by convergent and divergent thinking; stages in creative thinking, how creativity can be fostered.
- Use of divergent thinking in creativity - stages in creative thinking, preparation, incubation, illumination, verification/validation. How creativity may be encouraged: enrich knowledge and experience, encourage independence, curiosity and promote positive mood