Text 1.

Read the text. Find the basic sentences in each of the complex sentences marked by the vertical lines. Translate the complex sentences.

Psychology is one of the most rapidly developing social sciences, touching almost every aspect of our lives. It has as its principal focus the individual human being, with special emphasis ['emfasis] on the inner () life, the personality, the patterns of thought,

consciousness and behaviour of the person. Society which has become more complex is turning more and more to psychology to answer some of the serious human problems of our day and age. The public is already convinced of the benefits of using psychological findings in solving such diverse () problems as mental illness, human factors in space exploration (), as well as in helping persons become more self-actualizing.

As a branch of science it has been defined in various ways, according to the particular method of approach adopted () or field of study proposed by the individual psychologist. But a comprehensive definition, which would include all varieties, that represent aspects of the original and historical meaning of the word, would run as follows. Psychology is the branch of biological science which studies the phenomena of conscious () life and behaviour, in their origin (), development, and manifestation (), and employing such methods as are available () and applicable to the particular field of study or particular problem with which the individual scientist is engaged.

The main task of psychology as it has developed in Russia is materialistic investigation of the highest forms of human psychic ['saikik] (mental) activity, of their evolution in the process of socio-historical development, and of the fundamental laws of their operation.

Because psychology affects so many aspects of our lives it is important, even for those who do not intend to specialise in the field, to know something about its basic facts and research methods.

Psychologists are concerned with a wide variety of problems. Some are of broad concern: what child-rearing ( ) methods produce happy and effective adults (); how can mental illnesses be prevented, and the like. Others are more specific: How can people be persuaded () to give up smoking? What is the most effective method for teaching children to read? What area of the brain () controls speech?

Basically, we are interested in finding out Why people act as they do? Any action a person takes can be explained from several different points of view.

Suppose, for example, you walk across the street. This act can be described in terms of the firing of the nerves that activate the muscles that move the legs that transport you across the street. It can also be described without reference to anything within the body; the green light is a stimulus to which you respond by crossing the street. Or your action might be explained in terms of its ultimate purpose; you plan to visit a friend, and crossing the street is one of many acts involved in carrying out the plan.

Just as there are different ways of describing any act of behaviour, there are also different approaches to psychology. The analysis of psychological phenomena can be approached from several viewpoints. One approach to the study of human beings attempts to relate their actions to events taking place inside the body, particularly within the brain and the nervous system. This approach specifies the neurobiological processes that underlie behaviour and mental events.

The view that behaviour should be the sole subject-matter of psychology was first advanced by the American psychologist John B.Watson in the early 1900s. He believed that, although man may be at times an active agent in his own development and behaviour, he is still basically what his environment makes him. Therefore, the basic problem is to find out how man behaves or responds as a result of changes or improvements in the environment or stimuli. This view focuses on the observable behaviours of man; that is, those factors that influence him in his environment and his reactions to these forces. This aporoach is often referred to as stimulus-response or S-R psychology. Perhaps the spirit of behaviourism is best seen in Watson's belief that he could take any healthy infant at random () and, given his own specified world to bring him up in, bring him up to be anything he wished - doctor, prince, lawyer, criminal and so forth.

Another approach to the study of man is psychoanalysis, founded by Sigmund Freud. Freud concluded that personality and our degrees of mental health depend on the actions of three major () forces: the id our unconscious instincts, the ego - our conscious self or intellect - and superego, the conditional reflexes [ri:fleksiz] of social rules and internalised values (). The ego, or self, is often under strain to withstand the pleasure forces from the id, pressured ( ) by the reality forces of the environment and the moral forces of our upbringing (superego). The ego and the superego are the mere tips of the id. It is what is underneath that really counts. For Freudists what is hidden is more important and real than what we feel and do.

The humanistic school view is that man becomes what he makes of himself by his own actions and thoughts. It is concerned with the topics having little place in existing theories and systems: e.g. love, creativity (), self-actualization, higher values, humour, affection (), courage and so on. These are exactly characteristics that describe our human nature. Humanists believe that man is born basically good, and that conscious forces are more important than unconscious forces.

Russian psychology was inseparably linked with the development of research into psycho-physiology in the works of I. Pavlov, V. Bekhterev, L. Orbeli and others. In refuting () the idealistic and mechanistic influences, Russian scientists asserted in psychology the marxist teaching on activity and its socio-historical foundation, the ideas of Lenin's theory of reflection. The theoretical and experimental study of the basic problems of psychology was carried out by A. Luria, A. Leontyev, B. Teplov, S. Rubinstein and others.

Present-day psychology is a complex and differentiated research system extending throughout general, social, developmental, pedagogical, child, medical, engineering psychology.


Text 2.


All parts of the nervous system are interrelated. However, for purposes of anatomical discussion, the nervous system can be separated into the following divisions and subdivisions:

The central nervous system includes all the nerves in the brain and spinal cord, and it contains the majority of the body's neurons. Some of the very simplest stimulus-response reflexes are carried out within the spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system consists of the nerves leading from the brain and spinal cord to the other parts of the body. The peripheral nervous system is further subdivided into the somatic system and the autonomic () system.

The nerves of the somatic system transmit information about external stimulation from the skin, muscles, and joints to the central nervous system; they make us aware of pain, pressure, and temperature variations. Nerves of the somatic system also carry impulses from the central nervous system back to the body parts, where they initiate action.

The nerves of the autonomic system run to and from the internal organs regulating such processes as respiration, heart rate, and digestion. It derives its name from the fact that many of the activities it controls are autonomous, or self-regulating such as digestion and circulation, which continue even when a person is asleep or unconscious.

The autonomic nervous system has two divisions the sympathetic and the parasympathetic which are often antagonistic in their actions.

The sympathetic division tends to act as a unit. During emotional excitement it simultaneously speeds up the heart, dilates the arteries of the skeletal muscles and heart, and constricts the arteries of the skin and digestive organs; its action also leads to perspiration and to secretion of certain hormones that increase emotional arousal.

Unlike the sympathetic system, the parasympathetic division tends to affect one organ at a time. If the sympathetic system is thought of as dominant during violent and excited activity, the parasympathetic system may be thought of as dominant during quiescence [kwai'esns]. It participates in digestion and, in general, it maintains the functions that conserve and protect bodily resources.

When both sympathetic and parasympathetic fibers are connected to the same muscle or gland, they usually act in opposite manners. Thus, one speeds the heart rate, the other slows it; one inhibits digestive processes, the other facilitates them, one dilates the pupils of the eyes, the other constricts them. Both systems are usually exerting some influence (that is, both are usually on), but one temporarily dominates the other. Their interaction is very complex though, and not fully understood.


Text 3.


It has long been known that the human brain consists of two so-called hemispheres that appear, superficially at least, to be identical. These two halves, which we will call LH (Left Hemisphere) and RH (Right Hemisphere) have, however, quite distinct functions. In righthanded people - and for simplicity, we can restrict our discussion to them - the LH may be said, at least roughly, to control the right half of the body, and the RH the left half (actually, the connectivities are somewhat more complex but we will not go into such details here). Most importantly, the two halves of the brain appear to have two quite distinct modalities of thought.

The distinct functions of the hemispheres of the brain began to be dramatically illustrated by patients who, after suffering from extremely severe forms of epilepsy, had their two brain halves surgically separated. In normal people the two hemispheres are connected by a part of the brain called the corpus callosum. When this is cut, no direct communication between the two halves remains possible.

Studies with so-called split-brain subjects have made clear the striking differences between the functions of the two hemispheres. The major, LH governs our ability to express ourselves in language. It can perform many complicated sequential (sequence-sequential) and analytic activities and is skilled in mathematical computation; (computer-computation). The minor, RH can comprehenc very simple language. It can respond to simple nouns by

selecting object such as a nut or comb, and it can even respond to associations of these objects. But it cannot comprehend more abstract linguistic forms. If the RH is presented with such simple commands as wink, nod, shake head, or smile, it seldom responds. The RH can add simple two-digit numbers, but can do little beyond this in the way of calculation.

Fig. 1. How the brain divides its work. Research with both split-brain and normal subjects indicates that different functions are specialized in either the left or right hemisphere. The cerebral locations for some of these abilities have not been firmly established by research though.

Although the RH may deserve the term minor, it is not without special abilities of its own. It appears to have a highly developed spatial and pattern sense. It is superior to the LH in constructing geometric and perspective drawings. It can assemble coloured blocks to match a complex design much more effectively than the left. And studies of the electrical impulses given off by the brain (EEG) suggest that during a verbal task activity increases in the LH, whereas'during a spatial task activity increases in the right (Ornstein, 1977).

Some researchers believe that the minor hemisphere plays a special role in musical and artistic abilities, emotions, and dreaming. They would separate the analytical scientist or mathematician from the creative artist on the basis of the relative dominance of their cerebral hemispheres. There is also considerable evidence that the RH is essentially the seat of intuition and that it thinks quite independently of the LH. Some hypothesize that the two hemispheres think in modes different from one another. The LH thinks, so to speak, in an orderly, sequential, and, we might call it, logical fashion. The RH, on the other hand, appears to think in terms of holistic images and metaphors. More evidence is needed, however, to substantiate (substance-substantial-substantiate) such claims.

The specialization of the two hemispheres appears to develop along with language development. If the left hemisphere of a young child is damaged, the right one can take over the language functions without too much difficulty. Left-hemisphere damage in an adult, however, almost invariably produces language disability. The fact that right-handedness is the norm for human beings is probably related to the fact that the left hemisphere controls speech.

There is some evidence that children who have a special reading problem called dyslexia (they tend to read words backwards or to confuse d's with b's and p's) may have spatial abilities that are represented, in both hemispheres father than primarily in the right, as is the usual case. Bilateral (lateral-unilateral-bilateral) representation of spatial functions might overload the linguistic hemispere (the left) and interfere with its functioning (Whitelson, 1977)



Text 4.


Learning may be defined as changes in behaviour as the result of past experience.

Psychologists have formulated a number of theories about how learning takes place and have performed a great deal of search with humans and animals in an attempt to gain a better understanding of the process.

One of the most important studies of learning, like many discoveries of science, was initiated almost by accident. At the beginning of this century a Russian physiologist named Ivan Pavlov was continuing his research on the reflex processes associated with digestion. While observing the behaviour of the dog on which he was working as a laboratory subject, he noticed that the flow of the saliva in the mouth occurred not only when food was placed in the dog's mouth, but even before, at the sight of the food. The dog's responses to the food in the mouth were considered automatic reflex responses that are inborn, but the response to the sight of food was a learned, or conditioned, response. Pavlov re-directed his efforts to explore this response. He found that the dogs could be taught to react in the same way (by salivating) not only to the sight of food but to the sound of a bell, the tickling of metronome, or even the rotating motion of a disk. Ringing the 'dinner bell' or using any other signal that the dog associated with the food, would cause the animal to respond in almost the same way as if the food was placed directly into his mouth. He accounted for the learning process according to the following sequence of events:

First: a stimulus applied, such as a bell being rung;

immediately after: meat placed in the dog's mouth;

reaction: the dog responded by salivating.

By repeating this sequence a number of times, the dog will now salivate when the bell alone was sounded. The sequence of signal food response became:

signal response.

The food was called the unconditioned stimulus, as it was a stimulus that caused an automatic reflexive unconditioned response. The signal, which was the sight of the food or a bell, was called the conditioned response. The distinction was made between the natural (unconditioned) and learned response, as they were not exactly the same. The learned response seemed to be more complicated, as the dogs also acted with an air of expectancy and uncertainty whenever the signal alone was made. The signal response sequence for learning is called 'classical conditioning'.

There is a widespread feeling that all learning is built up by the same process of association of such symbols or signs in close relationship with the things that they symbolize or signify. Added evidence for this viewpoint is supplied by studies on higher-order conditioning. Second-order conditioning, for example, is accomplished in approximately the following manner. The animal or person is first conditioned to respond to a signal like a bell in the way described above. The original signal is now paired with another signal like a light. The training sequence is:

light bell response

Again, after a suitable number of such combinations the subject will now respond to the light as he did to the bell. The habit of responding to the signal can be strengthened by only an occasional presentation of the food or unconditioned stimulus. Further higher-order associations can be made by pairing a word with the light, and so on. This is a gradual process of building up the learning of associations that link together many different signals or stimuli.

Just as in the original experiments the signals become associated with the food by their close association, that association can be extinguished by reversing the procedure. If the bell is sounded frequently and the food is never presented, the salivation response will gradually diminish and eventually stop.

After a while, however, the bell will be found still to cause the original conditioned response although it had seemed to be extinguished. Further 'bell without food' pairings are necessary before the response is completely eliminated. The organism generally takes longer to 'unlearn' the response than it did to learn it.

Many psychologists took up the study of this scheme of learning after 1904 when Pavlov was awarded a Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work on the digestive processes.

Many new facts have been found out since the time of Pavlov's discovery.

It is important to mention that we may learn to avoid certain signals, signs or symbols just as we can be conditioned to respond positively towards others. If a child is presented with a toy, but is suddenly startled al the same moment as the toy is offered, that child might very likely be frightened every time the toy is offered to him. Only after many trials when the toy is presented and the startling stimulus is absent will the child cease to be afraid.

A different type of learning, sometimes called operant conditioning was described most recently by B. F. Skinner of Harvard University. He examined the way learning takes place when the behaviour is spontaneous and not at the reflex level, as it is in classical conditioning. Skinner constructed a box which has inside it a lever that can be operated, a food tray, and a buzzer. When a typically hungry animal is placed inside this box it normally wanders around since its desire for food activates it. In this searching, random behaviour, the animal may accidentally depress the lever. The lever operates a machine that delivers food in the form of the pellets that drop into a tray. When the animal finds the pellet it is likely to try to depress the lever again and be rewarded with further food. After a short time, and a number of rewards or reinforcements like this, the animal learns to press away in order to obtain food. This learning scheme, where the animal operates the lever to satisfy the need, is essentially:

response reward

We should notice that the reward, or the reinforcement, comes after the response has been made. The first correct response occurs almost purely by chance. In classical conditioning, by contrast, the food reward came before and the automatic response followed on. Both operant conditioning and classical conditioning are association schemes: classical conditioning being an association between a signal and response; operant conditioning being an association between a response and a reward. The first method is connected with automatic, reflective type of response; the latter type seems to be connected with voluntary modes of action and behaviour.

We mentioned earlier that the Skinner box had a buzzer connected to it but it was not employed. If we change the situation now so that this buzzer is connected with the food machine so that it sounds each time the lever is depressed, and the animal receives a food reward, the buzzer will seem to take on the same rewarding qualities and associations that were also attached to the food. When the well-fed animal is later put back in the box it will push the lever a few times, as if it is a result of a pleasantly familiar past activity, and then it will ignore it. If, however, the buzzer sounds with each press of the lever the animal will press many times, as the buzzer seems to be its own reward. The behaviour which is elicited for the buzzer reward alone seems to be a secondary reinforcement. If we now want to teach this animal another kind of response, such as the pressing of a button, all that has to be done is to connect up the button with the buzzer. When the button is pressed for the first time accidentally, the buzzer will sound. Thereafter we can observe the development of this new response to the secondary reinforcement. Third-order associations, and even higher ones, can be developed in this way.

How do we develop many complex chains of habits that we make? They are probably learned by a combination of the two learned conditions, i.e.:

a) Signal response and

b) Response reward, thus

Signal response reward

Thorndike's Law of Effect summarizes this course of events. It states that satisfying experiences tend to be repeated when the organism can bring it about. Also, painful states are avoided whenever possible. The reward may be a pleasurable or need-satisfying experience, or it maybe some event that

is an avoidance of punishment. These signals, which were paired with, or associated with, rewards that originally satisfied our motives or needs later tend to take on their own reinforcing qualities.

It has been known for a long time that human memory is associative. One thing reminds us of another for various reasons either they occurred together, or they refer to the same subject-matter in some sense. Human learning is only partly a matter of associations of responses acquired through classical or operant conditioning experiences. Our acquired behaviour seems to be too complex to be exclusively accounted for by these two types of causes.

Trial-and-error method is an approach to the solving of problems and the search for ways to satisfy motives. Trial-and-error is the beginning of the process that soon becomes non-random. W.Koehler, a German psychologist who worked in America, demonstrated the important role of a non-random scheme of learning, called insight. We mean by insight the solution of a problem by combining previously learned experiences or solutions to problems in a new way. It is the formation of a new association for the organism trying to solve a problem or to reach a goal.

Kohler made the following experiment. He placed a chimpanzee in a room which had a banana suspended from the ceiling. Scattered around the room were a number of packing boxes. The chimp normally would try to get the banana by leaping up, but the food was too high for him. After many jumps and pauses the animal would suddenly act as if he realized the solution. He would put the boxes one on top of the other, until the pile was high enough for the chimpanzee to climb up and get the reward.

In this and many other problems the chimpanzees act as if they developed an understanding of the behaviour necessary for the solution of the problem. In later studies it was clear that this type of problem-solving would not take place if the animal had not had previous experiences with boxes. In effect, for this problem to be solved, an old response (experience) had to be applied in a new way, through insight. Learning to solve problems by remembering and using previous experiences in this way is very much a human method for achieving our goals and objectives. If the new problem is important to us, then our achievement of the solution ma} be rewarding indeed.

To sum up, all different forms of learning have some element of association in them, and some element of reinforcement. Thorndike's Law Effect accounts for this course of events, although learning may sometimes seem much more complicated than these conditioning scheme: would suggest.

(L.S.Skumik, F.George. Psychology for Everyman. Penguin Books 1972, pp. 33-36)


Text 5.


The process of growth and development is something that is taken for granted, since it happens to us all and seems to be a normal, natural series with little variation.

The two main influences which affect our development are inherited potential and environmental experience. Our inborn characteristics determine our constitution as members of human species: they determine skin colour, eye colour, bone structure and internal make-up. These inborn traits govern in a real sense the rate of growth and the limits of biological and physical development.

Some extremists have contended that heredity is the more important determinant of behaviour, implying the mechanistic view of human nature. Others have taken the opposite viewpoint that 'all men are created equal' and the effects of environmental pressures and opportunities cause the main distinction between one man and another. Environment, through learning and experience, certainly nurtures inherited potential so that normal, healthy growth progresses to maturity. The kind of adults we become, however, is the result of the cumulative and combined effects of these two influences.

To discover the ages and stages of growth, many children have carefully been studied and their behaviour recorded. The early years are essentially concerned with movement and physical development. Mental development also occurs, and this will be discussed later.

From the moment of birth, the child appears as a feeding, crying, sleeping, body-waste producer, not very different from any other infant creatures. None of the human characteristics such as speech, thought, sociability and so on, are apparent. Within a few weeks the child's muscles mature enough for him to be able to focus his eyes on things and people around him, and show an awareness of his environment. The reflex patterns of behaviour that are inborn include sucking, breathing, and the other body functions. The infant is so helpless that he cannot even perform such basic survival responses as escape from pain-causing stimuli, or obtaining food and drink, without adult assistance. By six months he can sit up, and at the end of the first year he is usually able to stand and crawl around. Within two or three months more he is on his feet and walking without assistance. Speech development takes place in a somewhat similar manner. In the early months the only sounds are crying or babbling noises. After six months, distinct learned speech sounds can be made, such as 'mamma' and 'dadada'. By the first year these have become 'Mama' and 'Daddy', and are associated with particular people. Although the spoken vocabulary is quite limited at this age, quite a few commands and demands can be clearly understood by the child, such as 'sit still' or 'open wide' or 'don't touch that'. By about fifteen months the child is able to issue one-word demands or comments such as 'out' or 'doll'. Soon the words are connected in crude but meaningful combinations of two or three words: 'we want sweet' and 'we play toys'. The child is now becoming a human being, to be influenced by the experiences which make people social.

The first years of human life are characterized by development of language, motor ability, and socialization. The child, however, is quite self-centred in his view of life and generally does not know how to cooperate with other children in play and other activities. Children at this age may play in the same location but there is no genuine understanding one for the other. School experiences, however, open up a whole new world for the child. He learns to become partly independent of his mother and home. He learns new facts of life. He learns how to behave in society.

As the child matures he develops more complex powers of reasoning. The child rapidly acquires many intellectual skills, including the ability to use symbols such as letters and numbers. The acquisition of knowledge is also integrated with the development of other skills, such as the ability to play certain games, the use of artistic materials, tools, etc., and the formation of attitudes. The schools are also charged with the task of moulding the children into useful members of their community and society.

During adolescence the child undergoes changes in his psychological make-up as important and significant as those in the first years of life. During this period between the dependency of childhood and freedom of adulthood, the physical, social, and emotional changes that occur sometimes cause dramatic open conflict between the adolescent, his parents, and society. This, of course, is not true of all teenagers, and many youngsters ripen into adulthood with little or no difficulty.

As the adolescent becomes older and stronger and gains more freedom he may abuse his independence or he may become shy and withdrawn. Many adjustments have to be made, many skills learned, and new styles of behaviour have to become a part of the normal life of the individual. Height and weight increase very rapidly, the sex organs mature, and the child now is biologically able to be a parent. Generally, girls enter adolescence two years earlier than boys, and between the ages of 11 and 15 many girls are taller than the boys. Age 11 is the typical beginning of the adolescent stage for girls and age 13 for boys. During adolescence the rate of growth is faster than at any other stage since early infancy.

Adolescence is often described as 'the awkward age', but in fact there is generally no loss in physical skill and coordination. Tests of physical skills, muscular coordination, and athletic ability show a steady increase in ability during the transitional years.

If a single word were needed to characterize adolescence it would be 'freedom'. They want to be treated like adults and also wish the parents to have tolerance for their efforts to be individualistic, regardless of the consequences. The transition is made most smoothly if the change is anticipated and provisions are made through which the child naturally assumes more and more independence.

To help themselves over the uncertainties and the feelings of insecurity that permeate this stage of life, teenagers have found that grouping together is an aid to self-protection and psychological self-preservation. There is strength and sympathy and comradeship among members with the same problems.

(L.S. Skurnik , F. George . Psychology for Everyman. Penguin Books, 1972, pp. 50-56)




Hosted by uCoz