Introduction to Psychology Video Lectures From Yale

Are your thoughts, feelings, memories and cognitive skills the way your brain works? How do neurotransmitters affect neurons? How reliable is human memory and can false memories be implanted in people through psychological suggestion? How does evolution work in the context of the brain, psychology and rationality? Why do emotions exist and how do they work?

Why are people afraid of spiders and snakes? What causes individual differences? Why do humans like sex so much but only spend so little time on it? What is the connection between average faces and sexual attraction? These video lectures provide considerable insight into the complicated way that the brain works and its connection to psychology.

What are the evolutionary and psychological roots of empathy and morality? What is the spotlight effect? What is cognitive dissonance and how does it interact with rewards? What can psychology tell us about stereotypes and xenophobia? What are twin studies? How are genes involved in bipolar disorder? What impact did new generations of antidepressants have? Why are there more people with schizophrenia born in the winter? What is dissociate identity disorder and why is it controversial? What are personality disorders? What can psychology tell us about human flourishing and happiness?

Paul Bloom is a Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science at Yale University. He held a course in introductory psychology at Yale University in 2007 and the university uploaded all 20 lectures to their YouTube channel. The entire playlist is available here. Topics include historical introductions to Freud, Skinner and Piaget, language, consciousness, evolution of emotion and reason, individual differences, sex, morality, perception, religion, social psychology, psychopathology and happiness. It does not to require any background knowledge.

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Lecture 01: Introduction

Bloom explains why psychology has scientific insights to real-world problems and how the course will provide a modern introduction to human psychology and its different areas. How does the mind and brain works, how we think and what makes us what we are.


Lecture 02: Foundations: This Is Your Brain

This second lecture gives a detailed overview of the brain, its structure and how it works. What is the evidence that the mind is how the brain works?


Lecture 03: Foundations: Freud

With the evidence available to modern scientists, Bloom critically examines Freudian psychoanalysis and explains why Freud was wrong about many things.


Lecture 04: Foundations: Skinner

The next historical perspective is behaviorism, where the video covers its main principles and modern scientific objections.


Lecture 05: What is it Like to be a Baby: The Development of Thought

This video lecture covers developmental psychology and cognitive development from Piaget to autism.


Lecture 06: How Do We Communicate?: Language in the Brain, Mouth

What is language? How does language develop and how does language work in non-human primates? These and many other questions are addressed in this video.


Lecture 07: Conscious of the Present; Conscious of the Past: Language

Bloom finishes the segment on language and moves on to discussing perception, attention and memory.


Lecture 08: Conscious of the Present; Conscious of the Past

This lecture examines change blindness, different kinds of memories, how they are stored and retrieved, retrograde and anterograde memory loss, the influence of suggestion on memory, eyewitness testimony, and the pseudoscience of hypnotic regression and false memories.


Lecture 09: Evolution, Emotion, and Reason: Love

This guest lecture by Peter Salovey, Professor of Psychology and Dean of Yale College, that covers many exciting questions: what is love? What is the connection between social psychology and love and can arousal be misattributed.


Lecture 10: Evolution, Emotion, and Reason: Evolution and Rationality

Bloom turns towards evolution, evolutionary accidents, framing effects, endowment effect and other irrational biases.


Lecture 11: Evolution, Emotion, and Reason: Emotions (Part I)

This video lecture jumps into the topic of emotions, differences in emotional triggers and baselines in different geographical regions, communication of emotions with facial expressions, the emotion of fear and social emotions towards kin.


Lecture 12: Evolution, Emotion, and Reason: Emotions (Part II)

How do we explain the complicated relationships that human and animals have towards non-kin? This lecture talks about reciprocal altruism in grooming, warning cries, shared care for offspring, and why vampire bats vomit blood into the mouth of other bats after a successful hunt.


Lecture 13: Why Are People Different? Differences

So far, this course has discussed human universals, but how and why do people differ from each other? This talk investigates the big five personality factors, intelligence, as well as twin studies, heritability, the Flynn effect and the difference between correlation and causation.


Lecture 14: What Motivates Us? Sex

This sex lecture delves into juicy topics such as sex differences of gametes and secondary sexual characteristics, parental investment, sexual attractiveness, gender expectations and sexual orientation, but also warns against the naturalistic fallacy and conflating genetic influence with inevitability.


Lecture 15: A Person in the World of People: Morality

Bloom transitions into the psychological and biological roots of moral thinking, feelings and behavior. How do animals react to pain in other members of the same species? What about other species? What did Milgram experiment reveal about human moral behavior and how does diffusion of responsibility impact the probability of helping?


Lecture 16: A Person in the World of People: Self and Other (Part I)

This video looks into more detail about social psychology and the psychology of deception, the spotlight effect and various kinds of psychological biases such as self-serving bias, cognitive dissonance and fundamental attribution error.


Lecture 17: A Person in the World of People: Self and Other (Part II)

This second part of the lecture of social psychology looks at the benefits and drawbacks of stereotypes, overt versus implicit racism, and the psychology of sleep.


Lecture 18: What Happens When Things Go Wrong: Mental Illness (Part I)

Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, another guest speaker, delivered a talk on diagnosing and treating mental illness, in particular, mood disorders.


Lecture 19: What Happens When Things Go Wrong: Mental Illness (Part II)

Bloom returns for this penultimate lecture on clinical psychology, such as schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, dissociative identity disorders, personality disorders and the history of psychotherapy.


Lecture 20: The Good Life: Happiness

This final lecture concludes the discussion on the efficacy of therapy, and then deals with the psychology of human flourishing and happiness.


This series of video lectures on introductory psychology by Paul Bloom spans over 18 hours. Because of its combination of psychology and critical thinking, it provides a perfect glance at the subject for those who want to get into psychology. It is also suitable just to listen to while traveling, gaming or just relaxing, as it does not show any slides or content of a whiteboard. The course website is available here.

Emil Karlsson

Debunker of pseudoscience.

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