Video-psychology-past, present

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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Past, Present, and Promise "Past, Present, and Promise" is the first volume in the twenty-six volume set. The video begins by introducing the series and going over basic definitions such as the definition of psychology. The video continues on by giving an example of a disorder that psychologists may work with- multiple personality disorder. A woman who has an extreme case of this disorder is introduced. At times she believes she is a scared seven year old girl named Carol, and at other times she has a coarse personality of a man named Devan. After describing the characteristics the host explains how this disorder is usually caused by childhood traumatic/sadistic experiences and is used to mask emotions.

In introducing behavior, the video shows several clips from Candid Camera back in the 50s. Junior High boys and girls have conferences with their new teacher who is either a handsome man or an attractive woman, pairing the boys with the woman and the girls with the man.

Once the teacher walks away both the girls and boys either break out into laughter or smile embarrassingly. Why did they act this way? The video states that two factors affect personality: dispositional and situational. Dispositional factors are those that are a part of us and internal such as genetics, attitude, and personality. Situational factors are those that come from the environment such as sensory stimulation, rewards, and punishments.

Emanuel Donchin studies the effects of situational factors on the brain's activity. Donchin showed a list of names to various individuals and recorded their brain signals. The list consisted of all men's names, but ocassionally a woman's name was inserted. Different brain patterns were generated when females' names showed up than males' names. He noticed that p300 waves were generated by the brain when an unexpected situation occurred.

Body language can say a lot about your dispositional factors, especially attitude. Robert Rosenthal studies the relationships between facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language to attitudes. He had found that most body language can give off a false attitude, but tone of voice usually accurately represents the person's feelings. This is why when one plays poker, one should listen to the person's voice rather than look at their face to determine whether they are bluffing.

Behavior depends a lot on how one thinks they should act, according to Christine Halt. Halt has studied different cultures to see how they act in comparison to their societal norms. She found that most people conform to society, rather than behave how they normally would. This is not surprising.

Finally the video goes over a small amount of the history of Psychology including William James' publishing of "Principles of Psychology" in 1890. It also briefly tells of other significant psychologists of the time such as Freud.