GENERAL PSYCHOLOGY (BPC 001)
TUTOR MARKED ASSIGNMENT (TMA)
Course Code: BPC 001
Assignment Code: BPC 001/ASST/TMA/2022-23
NOTE: All questions are compulsory.
SECTION – A
Answer the following questions in 1000 words each. 3 x 15 = 45 marks
1. Define psychology. Discuss the branches or divisions of general and applied psychology.
Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behavior, according to the American Psychological Association. Psychology is a multifaceted discipline and includes many sub-fields of study such areas as human development, sports, health, clinical, social behavior and cognitive processes.
Psychology is really a very new science, with most advances happening over the past 150 years or so. However, its origins can be traced back to ancient Greece, 400 – 500 years BC.
Psychology too, like other sciences, started with basic branches, which were
classified as: experimental and non-experimental. The experimental branches
started with physiological, learning, and perception. Many psychologists attempt
to understand the fundamental causes of behaviour and their work may not be
directly applied to solve practical problems. They are primarily engaged in basic
research, and study such fundamental processes as learning, memory, thinking,
sensation and perception, motivation, and emotion, by using experimental method.
Thus, the experimental psychologist investigates how behaviour is modified and
how people retain these modifications, the processing of information thinking,
how human sensory systems work to allow people to experience what is going
on around them, and the factors that urge them on and give direction to behaviour.
The non-experimental branch included personality, social, and developmental.
However, many of these academic branches are having further sub branches,
i.e.; developmental psychology has sub-branches like child psychology,
adolescence psychology, and gerontology. Similarly, social psychology has an
‘applied social psychology’ branch and it has given rise to an applied field called
‘organisational psychology’. Applied fields have also led to many theories, e.g.;
application of theories of motivation to organisations has resulted in many work
motivation theories. Thus, today, there are many branches of psychology, which
are categorized under both basic and applied branches.
The basic fields in psychology are primarily concerned with identifying the causes
of behaviour. Psychologists who work in these fields try to understand and
describe the determinants of behaviour. The following are the basic fields:
Biopsychology: Studies the biological bases of behaviour. The intimate
relationship between psychology and the biological sciences is quite obvious.
All behaviour occurs through bodily processes. The brain plays a very important
role in coordinating and organising the functions of the different organs of the
body. In fact, it is the seat of all forms of complex behaviour. It is impossible to
understand and explain behaviour without an understanding of the structure and
functioning of the brain. Along with the brain, the entire nervous system plays a
crucial role in behaviour. Hence, there is an intimate relationship between
psychology and neurology, neurophysiology, neurochemistry and other branches
of knowledge which are directly involved with the study of the nervous system,
particularly the brain. Genetics, the branch of the biology which deals with the
nature of inheritance of different qualities is also an important discipline from
the point of view of psychology. Over the years, geneticists have carried out
important researches, bringing out the role of heredity in determining behaviour.
This has been particularly so in the case of abnormal behaviour like neurosis,
mental retardation, psychosis etc. Studies on the role of heredity have also
indicated the importance of the genes in determining the intelligence level.
In recent years, the role of chemical factors especially the hormones, secreted by
endocrine glands have been shown to play an important role in behaviour.
Emotional behaviour, temperament etc. are to a considerable extent, influenced
by the hormones of the endocrine glands.
Cognitive Psychology: Studies human information processing abilities.
Psychologists in this field study all aspects of cognition such as memory, thinking,
problem solving, decision making, language, reasoning and so on.
Comparative Psychology: Studies and compares the behaviour of different
species, especially animals. That is why some authors used to call this field as
animal psychology. By studying animal behaviour, these psychologists gather
important information which can be compared with and applied to human
behaviour. For example, investigating how does the queen bee direct, control,
and gets things done by the worker bees, may provide meaningful information
Cultural Psychology: Studies the ways in which culture, subculture, and ethnic
group membership affect behaviour. These psychologists do cross cultural
research and compare behaviour of people in different nations.
Experimental Psychology: Investigates all aspects of psychological processes
like perception, learning, and motivation. The major research method used by
these psychologists include controlled experiments. But, as Morgan et al. (1986)
put it, experimental method is also used by psychologists other than experimental
psychologists. For instance, social psychologists may do experiments to determine
the effects of various group pressures and influences on a person’s behaviour.
So, in spite of its name, it is not the method that distinguishes experimental
psychology from other sub-fields. Instead, experimental psychology is
distinguished by what it studies—the fundamental processes of learning, and
memory, thinking, sensation and perception, motivation, emotion, and the
physiological or biological bases of behaviour.
Gender Psychology: Does research on differences between males and females,
the acquisition of gender identity, and the role of gender throughout life.
Learning Psychology: Studies how and why learning occurs. These psychologists
develop theories of learning and apply the laws and principles of learning to
solve a variety of human problems.
Personality Psychology: Studies personality traits and dynamics. These
psychologists develop theories of personality and tests for assessing personality
traits. They also identify the causes of problems related to personality
Physiological Psychology: Physiological psychologists investigate the role of
biochemical changes within our nervous systems and bodies in everything we
do, sense, feel, or think. Mostly, they use experimental method and do basic
research on the brain, nervous system, and other physical origins of behaviour.
Physiological Psychology is not only a part of psychology, but also is considered
to be part of the broader field called neurobiology which studies the nervous
system and its functions.
As we know, Physiological Psychology is categorised under ‘experimental’
psychology. That is why some authors called this branch as ‘experimental and
Physiological Psychology’. On the other hand, some authors have categorized
‘experimental Psychology’ as a separate branch of psychology.
Sensation and Perception Psychology: Studies the sense organs and the process
of perception. Psychologists working in this field, investigate the mechanisms
of sensation and develop theories about how perception or misperception (illusion)
occurs. They also study how do we perceive depth, movement, and individual
differences in perception. Researches in this field has given rise to many laws
and principles that help us understanding the ways we adjust to the visual world
in a meaningful way.
Social Psychology: Investigates human social behaviour, including attitudes,
conformity, persuasion, prejudice, friendship, aggression, helping and so forth.
Emphasises on all aspects of social behaviour such as how we think about and
interact with others, how we influence and are influenced by others. For example,
social psychologists study how we perceive others and how those perceptions
affect our attitude and behaviour towards them.
This field has developed by the joint contribution of sociologies and social
psychologists and their research interest overlaps. However, their focus differs
in the sense that while the former are concerned primarily with social institutions,
the later focus typically up on the individual.
Clinical Psychology: Does psychotherapy; investigates clinical problems;
develops methods of treatment. This field emphasises on the diagnosis, causes,
and treatment of severe psychological disorders and emotional troubles.
Confusion between the fields of clinical psychology and psychiatry occurs because
both clinical psychologists and psychiatrists provide psychotherapy. And both
usually work together in many hospitals/clinics. That is why many people get
confused regarding the difference between the two. Well, they belong to two
different groups of professionals and differ in their educational background as
well as ways of diagnosis and treatment
Community Psychology: Promotes community-wide mental health through
research, prevention, education, and consultation. Community psychologists apply
psychological principles, ideas, and points of view to help solve social problems
and to help individuals in adapting to their work and living groups.
Some community psychologists are essentially clinical psychologists and they
specially organise programmes to reach those people in the community, who
have behavioural problems or who are likely to have such problems. These
psychologists not only deal with mental health problems of community members
but also attempt to promote their mental health.
Other community psychologists are more concerned with bringing ideas from
the behavioural sciences to bear on community problems. They may be called
the ‘social-problem community psychologists’. Hostility among groups in the
community, bad relations between the police and community members, or distress
due to lack of employment opportunities, for example, might be problems on
which a social-problem community psychologist would work. Such psychologists
also, often work to encourage certain groups to participate in community
decisions, to provide psychological information about effective and healthpromoting child-rearing practices, or to advise school systems about how to make
their curricula meet the needs of community members.
Consumer Psychology: Researches packaging, advertising, marketing methods,
and characteristics of consumers. This field is an offshoot of social psychology.
Counseling Psychology: Does psychotherapy and personal counseling; researches
emotional disturbances and counseling methods. This branch deals with helping
people/individuals with personal problems including interpersonal relations,
career choice, mild emotional troubles or behavioural problems such as over
eating, slow learning or lack of concentration. Counseling psychologists assist
individuals having specific problem like how to plan career, how to develop
more effective interpersonal skills(e.g. communication skills). Now a days, there
are many specialised fields within the counseling psychology and experts are
working as marriage counselors, family counselors, school counselors etc.
The work of the counseling psychologist is quite similar to that of the clinical
psychologist. The difference between them is that counseling psychologists
generally work with people who have milder emotional and personal problems.
They may use psychotherapy in an attempt to help with these problems.
Counseling psychologists are often consulted by people with specific questions,
such as a choice of career or educational program.
Educational Psychology: Investigates classroom dynamics, teaching styles, and
learning; develops educational tests, evaluates educational programs. Investigates
all aspects of educational process ranging from curriculum design to techniques
of instruction to learning disabilities. This branch deals with broader problem of
increasing the efficiency of learning in school by applying psychological
knowledge about/of learning and motivation to the curriculum. Another
specialised sub-field called School Psychology may be included in educational
Forensic Psychology: Investigates problems of crime and crime prevention,
rehabilitation programs, prisons, courtroom dynamics; selects candidates for
police work. Forensic psychologists mostly work within the judicial system in
such areas as assessing emotional and psychological state of under trials and
victims, evaluation of rehabilitation programmes; eyewitness testimony and
evidence; jury selection; and police training etc.
Industrial/Organisational Psychology: Investigates all aspects of behaviour in
work setting ranging from selection and recruitment of employees, performance
appraisal, work motivation to leadership. The first application of psychology to
the problems of industries and organisations was selection and recruitment of
employees by using intelligence, aptitude tests.
Now a days, a number of companies are using modern versions of such tests in
their programmes for hiring and selection of employees. Specialists in this field
also apply psychology to problems related to management and employee training,
leadership and supervision, communication, motivation, inter- and intra-group
conflict within the organisation. They organise on-the-job training programmes
for improving work environments and human relations in organisations and work
settings. These psychologists are sometimes called personnel psychologists.
Medical Psychology: Applies psychology to manage medical problems, such as
the emotional impact of illness, self-screening for cancer, compliance in taking
medicines. Job of these psychologists overlaps with part of health psychology.
School Psychology: These psychologists do psychological testing, referrals,
emotional and vocational counseling of students; detect and treat learning
disabilities, and help improve classroom learning. The job of school psychologists
include diagnosing learning difficulties and trying to remedy them.
Educational psychology may include school psychology, but educational
psychologists, as such, are usually involved with more general, less immediate
problems. Educational psychologists are especially concerned with increasing
the efficiency of learning in school by applying their psychological knowledge
about learning and motivation to the curriculum
2. Discuss the different theories of Intelligence.
SPEARMAN’S TWO FACTOR THEORY OF INTELLIGENCE
Charles Spearman (1863-1945), an English psychologist and the originator of factor
analysis was the first to claim that intelligence consists of general ‘g’ factor and specific
‘s’ factors. His theory is known as ‘Two Factor Theory’(1904).One of his major
contributions to the history of psychology is the development and use of ‘factor analysis’.
He used the techniques of factor analysis and corelational analysis to find out the ‘g’
and ‘s’ factor. Factor analysis involves finding out the correlation of related variables,
and then grouping the variables to form clusters and derive the underlying factors. Thus
a larger number of variables are reduced to a lesser number of factors.
In his book, ‘The Abilities of Man’ (1927), Spearman elaborated that all intellectual
activities share a single common factor that runs through all the activities a person
performs during his life. Spearman called this general factor as ‘mental energy’ which is
determined innately. A person cannot be trained to have a higher ‘g’factor. It is a part of
who they are. People possess general intelligence or ‘g’ in varying degrees. On the
basis of this general intelligence, we describe a person as either intelligent or dull. This
‘g’ is the major determinant of one’s score in any intelligence test. In addition to this
general or ‘g’ factor, he recognised the specific factors, each called ‘s’, which are
specific to different abilities. For example, test of arithmetic, spatial relationships, verbal
fluency, each of these specific intelligence measure a separate ‘s’. An individual’s
intelligence score reflects the amount of ‘g’ plus the magnitude of various ‘s’ factors
possessed by the individual. For example, one’s performance in spatial intelligence test
would be a function of a person’s general intelligence (g) and his spatial ability (s).
Spearman statistically analysed the interrelation among various scores obtained by
different individuals on various tests.A positive correlation between any two test or
mental function implies a factor common to both or ‘g’ and two specific factors ‘s’. Let
us assume that, the two tests are M (mechanical) and N (numerical), the common
factor in these tests is ‘g’ and the specific factors are sM and sN. Similarly, let V
(verbal) and S (spatial) be two other tests with ‘g’ as the common factor and sV and sS
are the specific factors as shown in Figure 4aF below (In the Figure 4aF, g refers to
‘general ability’ and s refers to ‘Specific abilities’). Spearman’s theory states that the
objective of psychological tests should be to measure individual’s ‘g’as it runs through
all the abilities and predicts individual’s performance. Individuals differ on the basis of
‘g’ they possess.
THURSTONE’S THEORY OF INTELLIGENCE
Louis Leon Thurstone (29 May 1887 – 30 September 1955) suggested that intelligence
is a composite of seven distinct primary mental abilities (PMA). His approach was
different from Spearman’s theory of general intelligence. Rather than focusing on a
single factor of general intelligence as suggested by Spearman, Thurstone (1935) pointed
out that intelligence consists of a number of primary mental abilities. He recognizes the
diversity of human abilities. Using improved statistical techniques he developed a new
factor model of intelligence. He analyzed the inter-correlation of the scores of 57 tests
on a large group subjects, and identified seven factors
GUILFORD’S STRUCTURE OF INTELLECT (SI) THEORY
Joy Paul Guilford, an American psychologist, was born in March 7, 1897 in Marquette,
Nebraska. He is best known for his psychometric studies of human intelligence, including
the distinction between convergent and divergent production. After completing his
graduation from University of Nebraska, he studied under Edward Titchner at Cornell
during 1919 to 1921 and conducted intelligence testing on children. He taught in different
universities, like University ofKansas, University of Nebraska and University ofSouthern
California till his retirement in 1967.
Unlike Spearman, Guilford believed that intelligence is a combination ofmultiple activities.
Traditional models prior to Guilford proposed intelligence as a monolithic and global
attribute. By the 1950’s, he tried to develop a system to classify the new mental abilities
being discovered and the first version of the Structure of Intellect (SI) model was
presented. This model was based on factor analysis. He argued that intelligence consists
of numerous intellectual abilities. He first proposed a model with 120, later on revised
to 180 independently operating factors in intelligence. In this Structure of Intellect Model,
all the mental abilities were organized along three dimensional framework: Content,
Operations, and Product. This model is represented as a ‘cube’ with each of the
three dimensions occupying one side (5×6×6 = 180 specific abilities). Thus, there are
three feature of intellectual task: the content dimension which includes broad areas of
information; the operations dimension which includes the operations or general cognitive
or mental activities, and the products dimension which contains results of applying
particular operations to specific contents. Thus this model is also called 3- dimensional
model represented in the form of a cube.
CATTELL’S THEORY OF INTELLIGENCE
Raymond Cattell (March 20, 1905 – February 2, 1998) is a British psychologist who
proposed that two types of intelligence constitute the g (Cattell, 1971). These are fluid
intelligence (gf) and crystalized intelligence (gc). Fluid intelligence refers to the ability
for abstract and logical thinking, and does not require any prior knowledge. Thus it
involves the ability to think and reason abstractly and solve any new task or problem
independent of any past knowledge or experience in it. It helps one to analyze a novel
problem, perceive the relationships and patterns that underlie the problem and solve it
using logic. Though grows rapidly during the early years of life, fluid intelligence tends
to decline during later years of life. It can be measured by tests of puzzle solving, block
designs and spatial visualization. The Cattell Culture Fair IQ tests, The Raven’s
Progressive Matrices are the measures of Gf.
In contrast to the fluid intelligence (gf), which is more hereditary, crystallized intelligence
(gc) depends on past learning and experience; it is acquired. Thus, gc increases with
age and experience and gf declines gradually.
Crystallized intelligence refers to knowledge that one gains through learning, past
experience, acculturation and the ability to use that acquired knowledge. It is one’s life
time intellectual achievement and improves with age. More the knowledge and
information you gain, more the stronger it becomes. It can be measured through tests of
general knowledge, use of language (vocabulary) and a wide variety of acquired skills
(Horn & Cattell,1967). Fluid intelligence grows rapidly during the early years of life but
crystallized intelligence grows throughout the life span.
GARDNER’S THEORY OF MULTIPLE
Howard Gardner (1983), an American Psychologist, proposed the theory of multiple
intelligences. In his book ‘Frames of Mind’, he pointed out that he did not believe
there was “one form of cognition which cut across all human thinking. There are multiple
intelligences with autonomous intelligence capacities.” So, intelligence cannot be viewed
as a single entity. There are different types of intelligenceswhich are independent of
each other. Further, people may have varied combinations of these intelligences.
According to Gardner (1999), intelligence is much more than IQ as high IQ in the
absence of productivity does not equate to intelligence.Gardner initially proposed eight
types of intelligence which later on he increased to nine. Thus Gardner views each
indivdual as a unique combination of various intelligenes, hence we cannot say that one
is more intelligent and another is less intelligent. Each one of us is talented in unique
ways. The utility and value of each type of intelligence is culturally determined in the
sense that individual’s intelligent performance is determined according to the high
desirability, usefulness and demands of society for particulat types of intelligence. For
instance, one type of intelligence highly valued in a particular society may be of little
significance in another.
STERNBERG’S TRIARCHIC THEORY OF INTELLIGENCE
Among other theories of intelligence is a theory proposed by Robert Jeffery Sternberg
(born in 8th December, 1949), an American psychologist from Yale university. He is a
new generation cognitive psychologist who attempts to understand the cognitive processes
involved in solving problems. Sternberg defined human intelligence as the cognitive
ability to learn from experience, to reason well, to remember important information,
and to cope with the demands of daily living. Thus, it involves reasoning, problemsolving ability, knowledge, memory and successful adaptation to one’s surroundings
(Sternberg, 2004). He viewed intelligence as how well an individual deals with
environmental changes throughout their life span
PASS THEORY OF INTELLIGENCE
The PASS theory of intelligence developed by J P Das et. al. (Das, Naglieri & Kirby,
1994) follows an information processing approach. The PASS stands for Planning,
Arousal-Attention, Simultaneous and Successive processing. The theory is based on
Luria’s (1973) conception of three functional units of brain. The first unit is concerned
with cortical arousal and attention, and is located in the brain stem and the reticular
activating system. The second unit involves coding of information, either simultaneous
or successive coding/processing. Thus it deals with how we receive, store and analyze
the information. Simultaneous processing of information is represented by a holistic or
comprehensive approach to processing of information. It is associated with the occipetal
and parietal lobe of the brain. Successive processing refers to processing of information
in a sequential way and is carried out by frontal-temporal part of the brain. The third
unit deals with planning which includes decision making, self monitoring, self regulation
and problem solving. It is broadly located in the prefrontal area of the brain.
As you see in the Figure 4eF below, the individual first receives the input from the
sensory organs, and the external environment; the central processing mechanisms (the
attention-arousal, simultaneous-successive processing, and planning) are activated then
and process the inputs; finally, after the information is processed, it results in output.
According to J P Das, all the four processing mechanisms operate in a knowledge base
which consists of the past experiences, learning, emotion, motivation of the individual
and the socio-cultural background of the individual.
CROSS CULTURAL CONCEPTION OF INTELLIGENCE
Intelligence has been viewed and theorized in various ways, starting from unitary notion
to multiple intelligences. Majorly, it has been viewed as a decontextualized entity involving
logical thinking, abstract reasoning and problem solving. Cross-cultural studies have
pointed out cultural differences in the way intellectual abilities are reflected. You must
have seen your local grocery shop owner doing mathematics calculation so easily even
if he has not gone to school. Similarly, the rural and tribal cultures may not be very
proficient in using paper and pencil as their urban counterparts, and may exhibit expertise
in oral or other medium of expression. Thus there are cultural differences in the
conceptualization and expression of intelligence. The western culture views intelligence
more in terms of abstraction and generalization; whereas the non-western cultures relate
intelligence more to the social context (e.g. Srivastava, 2013).
3. Discuss in details about confects of interest in social context.
A conflict of interest occurs when an entity or individual becomes unreliable because of a clash between personal (or self-serving) interests and professional duties or responsibilities. Such a conflict occurs when a company or person has a vested interest—such as money, status, knowledge, relationships, or reputation—which puts into question whether their actions, judgment, or decision-making can be unbiased.
Some examples of a conflict of interest could be:
- Representing a family member in court
- Starting a business that competes with your full-time employer
- Advising a client to invest in a company owned by your spouse
- Hiring an unqualified relative or friend
A conflict of interest in business normally refers to a situation in which an individual’s personal interests conflict with the professional interests owed to their employer or the company in which they are invested. A conflict of interest arises when a person chooses personal gain over the duties to an organization in which they are a stakeholder or exploits their position for personal gain in some way.
All corporate board members have fiduciary duties and a duty of loyalty to the corporations they oversee.12 If one of the directors chooses to take action that benefits them at the detriment of the firm, they are harming the company with a conflict of interest.
One example might be the board member of a property insurance company who votes on the induction of lower premiums for companies with fleet vehicles—when they, in fact, own a truck company. Even if the institution of lower premiums isn’t a bad business move for the insurer, it could still be considered a conflict of interest because the board member has a special interest in the outcome.
In legal circles, representation by a lawyer or party with a vested interest in the outcome of the trial would be considered a conflict of interest, and the representation would not be allowed.3 Additionally, judges who have a relationship with one of the parties involved in a case or lawsuit will recuse themselves from presiding over the case.
SECTION – B
Answer the following questions in 400 words each. 5 x 5 = 25 marks
4. Explain the concept of Pseudo-science/Pseudo-Psychology.
Psychology is the scientific study of the human mind and the effect it has on an individual’s behaviors. Psychologists analyze the thoughts of an individual to understand how they can reframe their cognitive pattern to cause an improvement in symptoms and maladaptive behaviors. This respected practice is used to treat a variety of mental illnesses.
This area of medicine is based on sound scientific research and particular diagnostic and treatment guidelines. The research is carefully vetted and meets the standards of the scientific community. It is peer-reviewed, it is data-based, and results can be replicated by others.
The professionals who work within this field specialize in understanding the complex theories of past psychologists. They work to apply these foundational theories to their clients who come to them with various mental ailments.
Medications that are being administered by a healthcare provider are based on sound scientific research. Cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy are two psychological treatment methods that are scientifically sound.
If this is psychology, then what is pseudo-psychology? The definition of pseudo-psychology is the study of the mind using biased or false data. This is an extraordinarily problematic practice that is at odds with true psychology, which is based on valid sources of information. Pseudo-psychology is an invalid form of this scientific field, research-based field.
Pseudo-psychology lends itself to being the causative factor to trendy health fads that come and go. This is attributed to the fact that pseudo-psychology is not research-based. It is unable to produce sustained results, so it fades into the background when people realize its irrelevance. This leaves a vacuum where another pseudo-psychology-based health trend can emerge in its place. The cycle will continue.
These types of trends can be successfully implemented in controlled environments, such as retreats, where the participants are isolated and variables are easily manipulated. Once people try to replicate the same results in real-world settings, they may find the same theories do not hold up. This is due in part to the lack of research standards for this type of data. Pseudo-psychology is often unable to be replicated outside of ideal circumstances.
5. Discuss about early schools of Psychology.
Humanistic psychology developed as a response to psychoanalysis and behaviorism. The development of this school of thought in psychology was heavily influenced by the work of humanist thinkers such as Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, and Clark Moustakas.
While early schools of thought were primarily centered on abnormal human behavior, humanistic psychology differed considerably in its emphasis on helping people achieve and fulfill their potential. Humanistic psychology instead focused on topics such as:
- Becoming a fully functioning person: A person who is in touch with their innermost desires and trusts their own instincts7
- Individual free will: The capacity that individuals have to make choices, select courses of action, and control their own lives
- Hierarchy of needs: A theory introduced by Maslow suggesting that people were motivated by a series of increasingly complex needs, starting with their basic physiological needs up to the need to achieve an individual’s full potential
- Peak experiences: Moments of pure, transcendent joy that play an important part in the reaching self-actualization8
- Self-actualization: A state of reaching one’s full potential
Humanistic psychology remains quite popular today and has significantly influenced other areas of psychology including positive psychology. This particular branch of psychology is centered on helping people live happier, more fulfilling lives.
6. Explain the stages of development of brain according to neuroscientist viewpoints.
Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to change and adapt due to experience. It is an umbrella term referring to the brain’s ability to change, reorganize, or grow neural networks. This can involve functional changes due to brain damage or structural changes due to learning.
Plasticity refers to the brain’s malleability or ability to change; it does not imply that the brain is plastic. Neuro refers to neurons, the nerve cells that are the building blocks of the brain and nervous system. Thus, neuroplasticity allows nerve cells to change or adjust.
There are two main types of neuroplasticity:
- Functional plasticity is the brain’s ability to move functions from a damaged area of the brain to other undamaged areas.
- Structural plasticity is the brain’s ability to actually change its physical structure as a result of learning.
How Neuroplasticity Works
The first few years of a child’s life are a time of rapid brain growth. At birth, every neuron in the cerebral cortex has an estimated 2,500 synapses, or small gaps between neurons where nerve impulses are relayed. By the age of three, this number has grown to a whopping 15,000 synapses per neuron.2
The average adult, however, only has about half that number of synapses. Why? Because as we gain new experiences, some connections are strengthened while others are eliminated. This process is known as synaptic pruning.
Neurons that are used frequently develop stronger connections. Those that are rarely or never used eventually die. By developing new connections and pruning away weak ones, the brain can adapt to the changing environment.
Benefits of Neuroplasticity
There are many benefits of brain neuroplasticity. Allowing your brain to adapt and change helps promote:3
- The ability to learn new things
- The ability to enhance existing cognitive capabilities
- Recovery from strokes and traumatic brain injuries
- Strengthening areas where function is lost or has declined
- Improvements that can boost brain fitness
Characteristics of Neuroplasticity
There are a few defining characteristics of neuroplasticity.
Age and Environment Play a Role
While plasticity occurs throughout the lifetime, certain types of changes are more predominant at specific ages. The brain tends to change a great deal during the early years of life, for example, as the immature brain grows and organizes itself.
Generally, young brains tend to be more sensitive and responsive to experiences than much older brains.4 But this does not mean that adult brains are not capable of adaptation.
Genetics can have an influence as well. The interaction between the environment and genetics also plays a role in shaping the brain’s plasticity.5
Neuroplasticity Is an Ongoing Process
Plasticity is ongoing throughout life and involves brain cells other than neurons, including glial and vascular cells. It can occur as a result of learning, experience, and memory formation, or as a result of damage to the brain.
While people used to believe that the brain became fixed after a certain age, newer research has revealed that the brain never stops changing in response to learning.6
In instances of damage to the brain, such as during a stroke, the areas of the brain associated with certain functions may be injured. Eventually, healthy parts of the brain may take over those functions and the abilities can be restored.7
Brain Plasticity Has Limitations
It is important to note, however, that the brain is not infinitely malleable. Certain areas of the brain are largely responsible for certain actions. For example, there are areas of the brain that play critical roles in movement, language, speech, and cognition.
Damage to key areas of the brain can result in deficits in those areas because, while some recovery may be possible, other areas of the brain simply cannot fully take over those functions that were affected by the damage.8
7. Define sensation and elucidate the processes of vision with the structure of eye.
Almost 80% of our sensory responses from the environment is said to be perceived through the eyes. This processing of visual perception holds one-quarter of one’s brain. The process of visual perception is a highly complicated process. It comprises three main sections –
- Optics of the eye
- Detection of photon and the first image processing in the retina
- Signal transmission and hence the processing of the visual cortex of the brain
Structure of the Eye
Although the eye is a small structure, it is the most complex organ of the human body. The eye is placed in a bony socket in the skull which extends only a small part outside that is visible. The eye wall comprises three layers – innermost, outermost and the middle layer.
Innermost layer –
Here is the retina, it can be seen located directly behind the eyeball. The capillary found in the middle choroid nourishes the retina when available. It is the light sensitive part of the eye because it has many photoreceptors that are of two kinds (cones and rods). Rods are accountable for white and black visions and functional to see at night. Cones, on the other hand, account for different colour visions.
Middle layer –
It is the choroid comprising black pigmented cells, richly supplied with blood capillaries. This layer forms the ciliary body and iris.
Outermost layer –
It is also referred to as the sclera. It is a whitish tough layer comprising tissues which are connected together. This sclera functions to primarily protect and maintain the shape of the eyeball.
8. Discuss the Milgram’s experiments on reaction to authority.
He conducted an experiment focusing on the conflict between obedience to authority and personal conscience.
Milgram (1963) examined justifications for acts of genocide offered by those accused at the World War II, Nuremberg War Criminal trials. Their defense often was based on “ obedience ” – that they were just following orders from their superiors.
The experiments began in July 1961, a year after the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem. Milgram devised the experiment to answer the question:
Milgram (1963) wanted to investigate whether Germans were particularly obedient to authority figures, as this was a common explanation for the Nazi killings in World War II.
Milgram selected participants for his experiment by newspaper advertising for male participants to take part in a study of learning at Yale University.
The procedure was that the participant was paired with another person and they drew lots to find out who would be the ‘learner’ and who would be the ‘teacher.’ The draw was fixed so that the participant was always the teacher, and the learner was one of Milgram’s confederates (pretending to be a real participant).
The learner (a confederate called Mr. Wallace) was taken into a room and had electrodes attached to his arms, and the teacher and researcher went into a room next door that contained an electric shock generator and a row of switches marked from 15 volts (Slight Shock) to 375 volts (Danger: Severe Shock) to 450 volts (XXX).
SECTION – C
Answer the following questions in 50 words each. 10 x 3 = 30 marks
9. Psychology and Economics
The way that people isolate separate instances of monetary gains and losses relates to a major problem in economics. Perhaps the most often used assumption in economics is that “risk aversion” derives from diminishing marginal utility of wealth within the expected-utility model: U′′(w) < 0. This assumption is not just made as a simplifying assumption. It is used: It complicates models relative to the assumption of risk neutrality, and is used because it changes the results. Over the years many economists have pointed out that the standard way of conceiving of risk aversion over money is not plausible in most instances in which it is applied, and, often misleading. Daniel Kahneman has called this “Bernoulli’s Error”: Two centuries ago, Daniel Bernoulli showed that you can explain risk aversion by assuming a concave utility-of-wealth function, and motivated this assumption with thecorrect argument that we have diminishing marginal utility for wealth: Money is lessvaluable to us if we are wealthy than if we are poor. Economists have used this argument ever since. Within the classical framework, the only reason to dislike financial risk is because of the change in marginal utility associated with fluctuations in lifetime wealth
10. Tasks of Psychology
Clinical psychology is a career field that focuses on the identification and treatment of various mental, emotional, social, and behavioral health issues. Many clinical psychologists work in private practice, hospitals, or clinics, providing direct services to clients.
Other clinical psychologists work in higher education or research, training future psychologists or investigating the causes or effective treatments for mental health issues, respectively.
Mental disorders are not uncommon in American society, which result in a wide array of pressures, trauma, psychological factors and hereditary circumstances that are minefields for mental health. Clinical psychology is becoming a popular choice of profession due to a growing knowledge and acceptance of mental disorders as a condition that requires treatment.
Clinical psychologists talk to clients in order to understand the conditions that might be affecting them – they cannot prescribe medication. Clinical psychologists diagnose and treat mental conditions, providing therapy as a means to improve the dysfunction. These professionals are more likely to practice the profession instead of being tied to research or teaching.
Clinical psychologists are able to administer psychological assessments, assess/diagnosis patients, develop treatment plans, and use psychological methods, approaches and techniques to treat patients/clients
- The psychodynamic theory is a psychological theory Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) and his followers applied to explain the origins of human behavior.
- The psychodynamic approach includes all the theories in psychology that see human functioning based upon the interaction of drives and forces within the person, particularly the unconscious, and between the different structures of the personality.
- The words psychodynamic and psychoanalytic are often confused. Remember that Freud’s theories were psychoanalytic, whereas the term ‘psychodynamic’ refers to his theories and those of his followers.
- Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis was the original psychodynamic theory. Psychoanalysis is also the name given to the therapy derived from the theory of Sigmund Freud.
- The psychodynamic approach includes all theories that were based on Freud and his followers, including Carl Jung (1912), Melanie Klein (1921), Alfred Adler (1927), Anna Freud (1936), and Erik Erikson (1950).
12. Perceptual Organization
Perception is all about viewing and experiencing and this is why even two people can’t see similar objects the same way. The information that we have access to governs our beliefs and mindset. It is ultimately the perception that leads to individual interpretation, and this is why everyone sees things in their way.
Perceptual selectivity is about external and internal variables, and the perceptual organisation is about organising inputs into whole objects that can be easily identified. It is the perceptual process of an individual that takes into account the incoming information and gives it a meaningful picture. It is also defined as an integrated approach where different psychological and physiological processes like mental state, clarity of sensations and accuracy of sense organs are involved so that the perception does not go haywire.
Several factors play a prominent role in the perceptual organisation theory. These principles or laws can explain the way perception acts independently from the features and characteristics of individual stimuli. It has been proved that human perception sometimes has little connection to the stimulus situation in hand. There is a reason for it as perception is an active and complicated process that is influenced by numerous other factors besides the stimulus characteristics.
13. Language Acquisition
Language is a cognition that truly makes us human. Whereas other species do communicate with an innate ability to produce a limited number of meaningful vocalizations (e.g., bonobos), or even with partially learned systems (e.g., bird songs), there is no other species known to date that can express infinite ideas (sentences) with a limited set of symbols (speech sounds and words).
This ability is remarkable in itself. What makes it even more remarkable is that researchers are finding evidence for mastery of this complex skill in increasingly younger children.
Infants as young as 12 months are reported to have sensitivity to the grammar needed to understand causative sentences (who did what to whom; e.g., the bunny pushed the frog (Rowland & Noble, 2010).
After more than 60 years of research into child language development, the mechanism that enables children to segment syllables and words out of the strings of sounds they hear, and to acquire grammar to understand and produce language is still quite an enigma
14. Steven’s Power Law
Stevens’ power law is an empirical relationship in psychophysics between an increased intensity or strength in a physical stimulus and the perceived magnitude increase in the sensation created by the stimulus. It is often considered to supersede the Weber–Fechner law, which is based on a logarithmic relationship between stimulus and sensation, because the power law describes a wider range of sensory comparisons, down to zero intensity.
The theory is named after psychophysicist Stanley Smith Stevens (1906–1973). Although the idea of a power law had been suggested by 19th-century researchers, Stevens is credited with reviving the law and publishing a body of psychophysical data to support it in 1957.
The general form of the law is
where I is the intensity or strength of the stimulus in physical units (energy, weight, pressure, mixture proportions, etc.), ψ(I) is the magnitude of the sensation evoked by the stimulus, a is an exponent that depends on the type of stimulation or sensory modality, and k is a proportionality constant that depends on the units used.
An illusion is a distortion of the senses, which can reveal how the mind normally organizes and interprets sensory stimulation. Although illusions distort the human perception of reality, they are generally shared by most people
Illusions may occur with any of the human senses, but visual illusions (optical illusions) are the best-known and understood. The emphasis on visual illusions occurs because vision often dominates the other senses. For example, individuals watching a ventriloquist will perceive the voice is coming from the dummy since they are able to see the dummy mouth the words.
Some illusions are based on general assumptions the brain makes during perception. These assumptions are made using organizational principles (e.g., Gestalt theory), an individual’s capacity for depth perception and motion perception, and perceptual constancy. Other illusions occur because of biological sensory structures within the human body or conditions outside the body within one’s physical environment.
The term illusion refers to a specific form of sensory distortion. Unlike a hallucination, which is a distortion in the absence of a stimulus, an illusion describes a misinterpretation of a true sensation. For example, hearing voices regardless of the environment would be a hallucination, whereas hearing voices in the sound of running water (or another auditory source) would be an illusion.
16. Higher order Conditioning
- Higher-order conditioning, also known as second order conditioning, occurs when a conditioned stimulus becomes associated with a new unconditioned stimulus.
- The corresponding phenomenon in operant conditioning is called secondary reinforcement.
- These higher order conditioned stimuli are able to elicit responses even when the original unconditioned stimulus is no longer present.
- This process can result in complex behavioral patterns, such as taste aversion and fears.
- Higher order conditioning is differentiated from evaluative conditioning in its more complex and – in theory – more likely to remain – a multistep conditioning process.
In classical conditioning, higher order conditioning, otherwise known as second-order conditioning, is a procedure in which the conditioned stimulus of one experiment acts as the unconditioned stimulus of another.
The conditioned stimulus (CS1) is first paired with the unconditioned stimulus in the usual way, until the conditioned stimulus elicits a the conditioned response, then a new conditioned stimulus (CS2) is paired with the CS1, until the CS2 elicits the original conditioned response.
For example, after pairing a bell with food, and establishing the bell as a conditioned stimulus that elicits salivation (first order conditioning), a light could be paired with the tone.
17. Heider’s balance theory of attitude organization
Heider’s Balance Theory, developed by the social psychologist Fritz Heider, is based on the balance that must exist between interpersonal relationships, or for something specific between two people or more so that a harmony exists between thoughts, emotions and social relationships so that the ideas shared by both subjects coexist without any tension and complication.
This is how this theory of psychology of motivation explains the balance of cognitive consistency as a scale that the human being develops. Heider explains that likes and dislikes are related to balance and imbalance.
The search for coherence between attitudes and relations with others makes the balance neutral, however, when the human being is in disagreement and perceives the imbalance he tends to seek modifications to reach an agreement and thus again to have cognitive harmony of the situation.
Heider’s Balance Theory looks at the relationships between elements that people may consider as belonging to the same group and these may offer the balance of unity that is needed so that these relationships are kept in a balance.
The reactions of each individual are framed within a triangle that Heider calls the P-O-X Model with which one can deduce the positive and negative from what each person perceives with another or with a certain object. You will be able to visualize it further on with its due examples.
18. Form and Content of Communication
Content of the Communication
The content of any communication is its message. A message in communication can be either in verbal or non-verbal form and the originator of the message is the sender. A sender is a person who begins the communication by sending a message to the receiver. The message can be in any form such as words, gestures, or voice notes.
Verbal and Nonverbal Message
Any message can be of two types i.e verbal and nonverbal. Verbal messages are in written or spoken words, email, sign language, phone calls, and sometimes skywriting. Whereas non-verbal messages do not include words, it has body language, gestures, clothing, etc.
Encoding and Decoding of Message
Communication refers to the process of sending and receiving messages which also referred the encoding and decoding of messages. Therefore the term encoding means creating any information and message that a sender wants to convert and decoding is the opposite of encoding as it refers to understanding the message in its own language. The encoding process is done from sender side and decoding is from the receiver.