PSYC1001 - Psychology 1A


Psychology is the scientific study of behaviour (overt/observable actions) and mental processes (thoughts, emotions, interactions between the two - e.g. decision making).

Psychology Feature Lectures

Aims of Psychology

  • What: Descriptions of carefully observed of behaviour
  • When: Specific conditions that it is predicted the behaviour will occur under
  • Why: Explanation identifying the causes of the behaviour
  • Change: Facilitate positive changes in behaviour

Psych and the Brain

So, could we sidestep the study of behaviour and mental events, and focus instead on neurons and neurotransmitters? No, and one big reason is levels of analysis:

  • Political and Economic Patterns
  • Group Behaviours
  • Behaviour of Individuals
  • Neural Events
  • Molecular Analysis
  • Subatomic Analysis

If we have a better functional understanding we can better look for and understand neural mechanisms responsible for the steps in the process

Relationship between Psychology and other disciplines


  • Psychiatrists
    • Psychiatry is a specialisation taken after a medical degree
    • Medical degrees focus on normal and abnormal functioning of the body
      • e.g. anatomy, physiology, biochemistry
    • They treat psychological disorders that involve brain dysfunction
      • e.g. neurological conditions
    • Psychiatrists are also authorised to prescribe drug treatments
  • Psychologists
    • Many psychological disorders appear to involve dysfunction at the “software” level
      • e.g. incorrect beliefs
  • Some disorders are both hardware and software (chemical imbalance and beliefs) and hence need to work together