The Science of Psychology Essay

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The Science of Psychology Psychology is defined as “the scientific study of the behavior of individuals and their mental processes supported by research”. The word psychology itself is derived from two Latin roots- “psyche” meaning mind and “logos” meaning study. It emerged as a separate discipline around 1879. However, unlike the other sciences, it is far from straightforward as its main field of study is the mind, which is an intangible object. Due to this, there have been …show more content…
It has its roots in Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov’s famous experiment with dogs and is thus also known as ”Pavlovian conditioning”. He was successful in making the dogs salivate at the sound of a bell by pairing its ringing with their food. Four important concepts in classical conditioning are unconditioned and conditioned stimulus and unconditioned and conditioned response. Stimuli that animals react to without training are called primary or unconditioned stimuli (UCS). They include food, pain, and other "hardwired" or "instinctive" stimuli. For example, animals do not have to learn to react to an electric shock. Pavlov's dogs did not need to learn to salivate at the sight of food as this response was merely reflexive. Stimuli that animals react to only after learning about them are called secondary or conditioned stimuli (CS). These are stimuli that have been associated with a primary stimulus. In Pavlov's experiment, the sound of the bell meant nothing to the dogs at first. After its sound was associated with the presentation of food, it became a conditioned stimulus.

Higher order conditioning up to third and fourth order is also successful. In this, a strong CS (e.g. bell) is paired with a new stimulus (e.g. light) in place of the UCS and the new stimulus begins to elicit the CR. Stimulus generalization also occurs after conditioning, i.e., the CR is triggered by stimuli that