An introduction to psychology Essay

An introduction to psychology

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Psychology is the study of human animal behavior. It consists of procedures for finding out new information about why human beings and animals behave as they do. Psychology is concerned with human welfare, and that is the professional side of psychology. Psychology is the study of two relations: first is between brain function and behavior and second is between environment and behavior. Psychology consists of three components: (1) A body if knowledge; (2) The methods of research used to obtain such knowledge; and (3) The application of knowledge for the benefit of human beings.

            Researchers have done many researches even than there are many things which are controversial in psychology. One such feature could have been the nature of Maginn and Harris’s problems. It seems plausible that individuals will be most likely to censor their responses if they fear that certain answers might reveal socially undesirable or even embarrassing aspect of themselves (e.g., lack of knowledge, ideological biases). It can be argued that none of these reasons for self censure applied to the brain storming topics Maginn and Harris (1980) used. Theirs “thumbs” problem (“What would happen if  everyone  after a certain date had an extra thumb on each hand?”) was so obviously irrelevant that  subjects even competed in producing silly ideas. The ‘energy problem” (“How can we reduce gasoline consumption?”), though more involving, was a problem that was uncontroversial and one that had been discussed extensively in the new media. Our topic, on the other hand, was highly controversial.


            In an experiment, we examined these hypotheses by manipulating the nature of the brainstorming topics, the level of evaluating apprehension, and the source inducing this apprehension. Thus, subjects were to brainstorm individually on topics that were either rather uncontroversial or controversial and under low or high-evaluation apprehension. We induced high- evaluation apprehension by telling subjects either that their ideas would be evaluated by sum judges or by their fellow students. If our hypotheses outlined previously were valid, the evaluation apprehension manipulation should affect brainstorming productivity for controversial topics but not for uncontroversial topics. Further more on the controversial topics, we expected high-evaluation apprehension to lead to lower productivity if induced by a threat of peer rather than anonymous assessor evaluation.

            Subjects were 36 male psychology students of the University of Tubingen who participated in the study as part of their course requirement.

Evaluation apprehension:

            Two different procedures were used to induce high-evaluation apprehension. In one condition (judges) modeled after Maginn and Harris (1980), a room with a one-way mirror was used and subjects were told that there were judges sitting on the other side of the mirror who would be listening to their ideas and rating them for quality and originality. In a second condition (peers), a video camera was mounted in a corner and subjects were told that their performance would be videotaped and that these tapes would be used for demonstration purposes in social psychology classes. To induce low-evaluation apprehension, there was no one-way mirror or video camera and no instructions were given regarding experts or peers.

            A controversial topic was defined as one that subjects were forced to argue, not only against their own private opinion but also against a position widely shared by their fellow students. Subjects brainstormed on either the two controversial or the uncontroversial topics, with the order counterbalanced within each condition.

            Subjects, who were randomly assigned to one of the six experimental conditions, were seated individually in small rooms. They were given taped instructions establishing one of three experimental conditions of evaluation apprehension (low- evaluation apprehension, high-evaluation apprehension/ peers, high- evaluation apprehension/ judges). They were then given the brainstorming rules and either an uncontroversial or a controversial topic and were told that they should speak their suggestions into the microphone. They were informed that they had 15 minutes for the brainstorming. At the end of the session the experimenter retuned to gave the second topic to the subjects. After subjects worked for another 15 minutes the experimenter returned to handout the post experimental questionnaire.

            To investigate the controversialness of topics, subjects were asked the extent to which they perceived a need for an improvement in entertainment programs and life quality. They were also asked to indicate the opinions they would attribute to their fellow students on these issues. Finally, subjects had to rate how at ease they felt in the brainstorming situation and whether they had verbalized in all the ideas that had occurred to them.

Works cited

Hewstone, Miles. Manstead, R., S., Antony. Stroebe, Wolfgang. “The Blackwell Reader in Social Psychology” USA: Blackwell publishing, (1997).

Jr, Ekstrand, R, Bruce.  Bourne, E, Lyle. Psychology: Its Principles and Meanings. New York: CBS College Publishing, (1932).

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