Third International Conference on the Teaching of Psychology
Kornienko A.F.,
Tatar State University of Humanities and Education,
Kazan, Russia

Presentation (ppt)


Teaching "General Psychology" usually begins with a statement of a subject of Psychology as a special branch of science. However, it is known that any science has also an object of studying. According to the general theory of knowledge, it is a set of specific phenomena of the validity. As for Psychology, the "psychical" phenomena are these specific phenomena. Therefore, the essence of these phenomena, as well as the essence of "psychics" ("psyche", "mind") is an object of psychology, but not a subject. The subject of Psychology is the properties of "psychics" and the "psychical" phenomena.

But what is the essence of "psychics"? In fact, there is no satisfactory answer to this question in modern Psychology. And if the object of psychology is not clear, it is impossible to explain correctly the subject of psychology. This is the greatest problem in teaching the basics of General Psychology. Certainly, another problem is how to teach.

At our faculty, we begin to solve the first problem with consideration the evolutionary mechanisms of appearance and development of psychics as the special property of a brain. Here we use the following methodological approaches in the teaching: formulating the problems and involving the students into their solution through critical thinking, visual illustration and common system of psychological concepts. We discuss the problem of biological value of "psychics" and its neurophysiological mechanisms. We consider the phenomena of irritability, sensitivity and formation of skills as nonpsychical forms of behavior of organisms based on the physiological forms of reflection of the validity.

We link the appearance of psychics and psychical forms of behaviour regulation with the appearance of brain and its ability to obtaining the knowledge not about what is going on at "present" or was going on in the "past ", but about what has never happened, but will happen at the next moment. Using the visual scheme we show that there is no another way for an organism to achieve the adequacy of his behaviour.

Then we explain the essence of cognitive, emotional and conative psychical processes as being dependent on the kind of the properties of objects and phenomena of the nearest future of the objective validity. We include the consciousness which is usually considered as the highest level of the development of psychics into the number of cognitive psychical processes, and we determine it as the process in psychics which provides a human being with the receiving of knowledge about him-self as a carrier of psychics.

At the end, we show that the development of psychical processes in accordance with the level of complexity looks as the following evolutionary chains:

  • in cognitive processes: sensation → perception → thinking → consciousness;
  • in emotional processes: emotion → feeling → experience;
  • in conative processes: simple (that occur directly during realization of one of the forms of behavior) → complex (connected with choice of forms of behavior and the analysis of their consequences before the realization) → awareness (that are being regulated by consciousness).

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