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Unit I. Psychology as a science


Task 1. Choose the best answer to the questions:

1) What science does psychology go back to?

a) philosophy

b) religion

c) mathematics


2) What is the translation of the word “psychology” from Greek?

a) science about numbers

b) science about environment

c) science about soul


3) What applications does psychology have?

a) usual and everyday

b) scientific

c) scientific and everyday

d) mystical


4) What does psychology study?

a) people and animals

b) men and devices

c) women and nature


5) What subdivisions are there in psychology?

a) pedagogic and clinical

b) medical and social

c) fundamental and applied, general and special


Task 2. Read and translate the text:

Psychology as a science

Psychology studies the most complicated field of science known to mankind, since the psyche is the phenomenon of a highly integral matter.

When a child is born he does not remember himself. But his development is fast and soon his physical and mental abilities are formed. He studies to walk, watch, understand and speak. These abilities help a child to study the surrounding world. Soon a person asks himself: “Who am I? What am I? What am I for?” First a child examines the external world and later itself.

The same process can be seen in the scale of the whole mankind. In ancient times people struggled for existence, found fire, hunted, fought, investigated the nature. Opportunities of mankind grew gradually. People formed material and spiritual culture. There appeared literature, art, science. And another question was raised: “What enables a person to create and study? In what way is the intellect arranged?” This moment was a birth of people’s self-consciousness. This point was a birth of psychological knowledge. Before this time human thoughts were preoccupied with the cognition of the universe but at this point they went to the human being’s inner world.

Psychology is the study of human behaviour, thoughts and feelings. It deals with people’s actions and reactions. Behaviour is difficult to study as a whole, that is why psychologists look at it at different parts. Psychology intersects with other fields of knowledge including Medicine, Biology, Computer Science, Linguistics and many others.

The word “psychology” means “science about soul”. Nowadays, the concept “soul” is changed into the concept “mentality”. There are a lot of forms to represent mentality. There are notions of behaviour, realized and non-realized mental processes, the psychosomatic phenomena. They result in material and spiritual culture. Mentality is reflected in these notions and as such can be studied through them.

Scientific psychology uses several methods. Among them are observation, reflection and experiment. The main difference between observation, reflection and experimental method is that in the latter the researcher does not wait for the phenomenon he is interested in to happen. Instead he creates special conditions for the phenomenon in question. After experimental stage the scientist defines a law. When experimental method was introduced into psychology, it became an independent discipline.

Material in scientific psychology is very extensive and varies greatly. This material is accumulated and investigated in special branches of psychological science. These branches include general, age, pedagogical, pathological, labour and engineering, social and zoo psychology, neuropsychology and many others.

These areas of study deal with various stages and levels of people’s and animals’ mental development. They tackle the problems of defects and illnesses of mentality, working conditions, terms of stress, information overload, etc. (from http://en.wikipedia.org).


Task 3. Translate the words from English into Russian:

1) complicated; 2) psyche; 3) mental abilities; 4) ancient times; 5) to be arranged; 6) cognition; 7) behaviour; 8) to intersect; 9) psychosomatic; 10) researcher; 11) independent discipline; 12) neuropsychology.


Task 4. In the text “Psychology as a science” find English equivalents to the following Russian words:

1) человечество; 2) развитие; 3) окружающий мир; 4) духовная культура; 5) самосознание; 6) внутренний мир человека; 7) действия; 8) концепт, понятие; 9) наблюдение; 10) фаза эксперимента; 11) патопсихология; 12) условия труда.


Task 5. In the text “Psychology as a science” find synonyms to the words:

1) surrounding world; 2) to study; 3) progress; 4) to talk; 5) level; 6) Information Science; 7) Philology; 8) scientist; 9) to tackle; 10) concept.


Task 6. In the text “Psychology as a science” find antonyms to the following words:

1) simple; 2) to die; 3) to disturb; 4) adult, grown up; 5) to answer; 6) part; 7) ancient times; 8) dependent.


Task 7. Answer the questions:

1) What does psychology study?

2) What are the main physical abilities which a child should acquire?

3) Is the child’s development similar to the development of the whole mankind?

4) What question did a person ask himself when his opportunities grew?

5) When was psychological knowledge born?

6) How can you define psychology?

7) What sciences does psychology interconnect with?

8) Where is the mentality represented?

9) What are the psychological methods of investigation?

10) When did psychology become an independent science?

11) What are the branches of psychology?


Task 8. Say whether the statements are true or false. Correct the false statements:

1) Human psyche is a very simple phenomenon.

2) The first question a child asks is “Where am I”?

3) Ancient people’s main preoccupation was the study of the outer space.

4) From the ancient time people knew in what way the intellect was arranged and worked.

5) People investigated the universe but never human beings’ inner world.

6) Behaviour is studied in different branches of psychology.

7) The translation of the word “psychology” from Greek is “science about planets”.

8) We can study mentality through behaviour.

9) Experimental method in psychology is based on hunting and spying for people.

10) Branches of psychology deal with general notions of human and animal nature.


Task 9. Match the words, denoting branches of psychology, and their definitions:

1. age psychology a) studies rationalisation of work and rest, dynamics of working capacity, development of professional motivation and relationship in working groups
2. pedagogical psychology b) studies features of mental activity at mental and psychosomatic diseases
3. labour psychology c) studies how people think, use language, remember, forget and solve problems
4. social psychology d) studies interaction of a person and technical devices
5. pathopsychology e) studies the typical behaviour and activities at various age stages, principles of transition from one age to another
6. engineering psychology f) studies laws of evolution of psyche of animals and preconditions of appearance of human consciousness
7. zoo psychology g) finds best way to help people to recover from mental illnesses
8. cognitive psychology h) studies application of social experience of an individual which occurs in school
9. clinical psychology i) studies laws of behaviour and activity of people who belong to various social groups and psychological characteristics of these social groups


Task 10. In the text “Psychology as a science” find a sentence with Latin abbreviation, translate it into Russian. Look through the list of other Latin abbreviations used in English. Memorize them:

1) etc. (etcetera) – и так далее

2) NB (nota bene) – нотабене, обрати особое внимание

3) AD (Anno Domini) – нашей эры

4) a.m. (ante meridiem) – до полудня, в утренние часы

5) p.m. (post meridiem) – (во столько-то часов) пополудни

6) e.g. (exempli gratia) – например

7) c. (circa) – около, приблизительно

8) BID (bis in die) – два раза в день (о приеме лекарств)

9) et al. (et alii) – и другие

10) h.a. (hoc anno) – в этом году

11) i.e. (id est) – то есть

12) P.S. (post scriptum) – постскриптум, приписка.


Task 11. Translate the sentences into Russian. Pay special attention to Latin abbreviations:

1) Branches of psychology include general, social, criminal, labour and engineering, clinical, age psychology, etc.

2) NB. Switch off the light and water when you go out.

3) London was founded in the first century AD by the Romans.

4) Sherlock Holmes was an outstanding detective and as all gifted people he was unusual in his everyday life. So, he woke up at 5 a.m., had breakfast at 5.15, smoked his pipe at 5.30 and played his violin from 6 a.m. till 7 a.m.

5) He was to return from the railway station at 8 p.m. It is 9 p.m. now. Maybe something went wrong with him.

6) Human beings appeared on the Earth one million years ago c.

7) Many scientists opened research laboratories, e.g. in 1879 W. Wundt founded the first laboratory of experimental psychology in Leipzig.

8) Take a pill of Asperin BID.

9) There were seven volcanic eruptions h.a.

10) I’ll come home soon. P.S. Don’t forget to buy milk.


Task 12. Translate the sentences from Russian into English using Latin abbreviations:

1) Обратите особое внимание. Курение перед нашим учебным корпусом строго запрещено.

2) Собрание общества по защите окружающей среды начнется в 6 часов вечера. Не опаздывайте!

3) Палеонтологический музей работает с девяти утра и до семи вечера, без перерыва на обед.

4) Доктор прописал полоскать горло два раза в день.

5) В этом году институт иностранных языков празднует свое семидесятилетие.

6) Мы изучаем социальную, возрастную, общую психологию и т.д.

7) В английском языке некоторые существительные образуют множественное число не по правилам, например, a man – men, a goose – geese, a mouse – mice.

8) В этом году появился новый вирус гриппа H1N1, т.е. свиной грипп. Российские ученые уже тестируют новую вакцину и обещают справиться с этой болезнью.


Task 13. Put proper words in the blanks to make the sentences complete:

1) Children’s psychology is a branch of … (psychology, psychological, psyche). … (She, they, he, it) studies laws of children’s mental development. Scientists separate … (difficult, different, differentiate) age periods: infantile age, early age, preschool age, younger school age, teenage age, early youthful age. In child’s mental progress there are … (same, different, other) stages as in the historical experience of mankind. This historical … (experiment, experience, expert) is gradually acquired due to child’s maturing nervous … (systems, systematic, system). Each age period … (have, has, have got) specific tasks of development.

2) The comparative psychology is a … (brunch, bunch, branch) of psychology. It … (analyses, analyze, analyzes) evolution of mentality. It integrates the data received in zoo, historical and ethnic psychology. It … (results, result, realize) in conclusions about similar properties of mental processes of animals and people. It … (teaches, study, studies) qualitative differences which lead to growth of labour activity, public life, speech and consciousness of a … (people, human beings, person).

3) Law psychology examines psychological … (answers, questions, thoughts) connected to realization of law system. It … (is, am, are) subdivided into court and criminal psychology. The first … (thing, another, one) deals with psychological features of people’s behaviour at court, the second tackles the problems of specific … (features, future, factor) of criminal’s behaviour, his personality and motivation.

4) Military psychology investigates human … (behavior, behaviour, behave) at war time, interrelations of commanders and subordinates, methods of … (psychology, psychologic, psychological) propaganda and counter propaganda, problems of armament usage.

5) Sport psychology is connected … (to, in, on) sportsmen’s features of character, conditions of training, psychological development and rules of organisation of … (competitors, competitions, compete).


Task 14. Translate the Russian words in the text into English:

General (представления) on psychology

In the science (системе) psychology occupies a special place. First, it is a discipline of the most (сложном) phenomenon, psyche. Aristotle (считал) “the study of soul” to be the most important among other spheres of knowledge. Second, (объект и субъект) of cognition intersect in psychology. Human thought was directed outwards, on the surrounding world, now it reversed to (изучать) itself. Third, psychology has a great field of (применение на практике). Investigating the laws of psychological processes, (функций и способностей) is a great task compared with navigation in space. It should be said that studying oneself, a person will (изменять себя). So, psychology is not only cognitioning science but also (формирующая человека).


Task 15. Translate the abstracts from Russian into English:

1) Психология труда изучает психологические особенности трудовой деятельности человека, психологические аспекты научной организации труда. В ее задачу входит исследование профессиональных особенностей человека, закономерностей развития трудовых навыков, выяснение влияния на трудящегося производственной обстановки, конструкции и расположения приборов и станков, средств сигнализации и т.д.

2) Педагогическая психология имеет своим предметом изучения психологические закономерности обучения и воспитания человека. Она исследует формирование у учащихся мышления, изучает проблемы управления процессом усвоения приемов и навыков интеллектуальной деятельности, выясняет психологические факторы, влияющие на успешность процесса обучения. Она также изучает взаимоотношения между педагогом и учеником и отношения в ученическом коллективе, особенности учебно-воспитательной работы с детьми, обнаруживающими отклонения в психическом развитии, специфику работы со взрослыми в процессе их обучения. К разделам педагогической психологии относятся психология обучения, воспитания, учителя, учебно-воспитательной работы с аномальными детьми.

3) Медицинская психология изучает психологические аспекты деятельности врача и поведение больного. Она подразделяется на:

1. Нейропсихологию, изучающую соотношение психических явлений с физиологическими мозговыми структурами;

2. Психофармакологию, изучающую влияние лекарственных препаратов на психическую деятельность человека;

3. Психотерапию, изучающую и использующую средства психического воздействия для лечения больного;

4. Психопрофилактику и психогигиену, разрабатывающих систему мероприятий для обеспечения психического здоровья людей.

4) В задачи общей психологии входит разработка проблем методологии и истории психологии, теории и методов исследования наиболее общих законов возникновения, развития и бытия психических явлений. Она изучает познавательную и практическую деятельность. Результаты исследований в области общей психологии – фундаментальная основа развития всех отраслей и разделов психологической науки.


Task 16. Read the text “Virtual Psychology” and write your own true or false sentences:

Example: This text is about clinical psychology. F

The founder of virtual psychology is N.A. Nosov. T

Virtual psychology is a relatively new movement in psychology. It studies interrelations of psychological phenomena and activity area at which interconnection of objects is made through electronic devices. Virtual psychology is based on methodology and theory of general psychology. It is connected to virtual philosophy but has specific theoretical models (ideal objects) and sphere of application, which are based on experimental schemes. Virtual psychology deals with human virtual feelings at periods of emotional rise: on the height of inspiration, creative impulse. The object of virtual psychology is the system “human – virtual reality”.

This scientific movement goes back to 1980s. Its founder is N.A. Nosov. There is the Centre of Virtualistics in the Institute of Humanities in Moscow region. There was also the Centre of Virtualistics at the Institute of Human Beings. In 2000 there was the first conference of virtual psychologists in Russia.

Nowadays, the role and importance of virtual teams is growing rapidly. Virtual team is a group of workers who work through Internet. They meet very rarely or not at all. Psychological aspects of activity in such teams are considered to be the object of psychology of virtual labour.


Task 17. Read the text and answer the questions:

Children psychology is a branch of psychology, which studies laws of children’s psychological development. It is closely connected to pedagogical psychology, pedagogics, age morphology and physiology. Research in children psychology is very important for pedagogical practice. The knowledge of laws of children’s psychological progress is crucial for effective management of learning process. It should coincide with aims of learning.

The objects of research in children psychology are conditions and motives of ontogenesis of human psyche, development of definite psychological processes (learning, emotional, volitional), formation of different kinds of activities (games, work, studying), features of character and age specific features.

Its methods include methods of general psychology which are adapted according to specific goals and age levels. Children psychology works out diagnostic standard methods which can show development level of psychological processes and properties typical of each age stage.

Children psychology became an independent discipline in the middle of the 19th century under the influence of pedagogical practice. At the end of the 19th – beginning of the 20th centuries there was a transition from collection of empirical material to creation of general works on children psychological growth.

It turned out that essential part in children’s progress is given to learning historical forms of human activity. Children acquire them but they do not define special knowledge and skills, e.g. speech and music hearing, logic, etc. These forms are studied through an active process of intercourse, work and play. There is a transition from external, material acts to inner, thought actions which enable a child to get to know much about reality.

Growing, a child becomes an independent person who could act himself according to his aims and goals. Going from one age level to another is connected to maturation and is influenced by child’s social role in the society.

Children psychology also deals with age level division. Psychological features of children’s development are changing during historical and cultural progress of mankind.



1) What does children psychology study?

2) What disciplines is it connected to?

3) Why did pedagogical practice depend on children psychology?

4) What are the objects of children psychology?

5) What are the methods of children psychology?

6) When and why did children psychology become an independent discipline?

7) In what way do the children acquire historical and cultural activities of mankind?

8) Does child’s social role influence his going through one age level to another?


Unit II. Psychophysics


Task 1. Choose the best answers to the questions:

1) What is psychophysics?

a) science

b) art

c) hobby


2) What disciplines intersect in psychophysics?

a) sociology and physics

b) philosophy and math

c) psychology and physics


3) Who was the founder of psychophysics?

a) Vladimir Lenin

b) Barrack Obama

c) Gustav Fechner


Task 2. Read and translate the text “Psychophysics”:

Many of the classical techniques and theory of psychophysics were formulated in 1860 when Gustav Theodor Fechner published Elements of Psychophysics. He coined the term “psychophysics”, and described research relating physical stimuli with how they are perceived and set out the philosophical foundations of the field. Fechner wanted to develop a theory that could relate matter to the mind, by describing the relationship between the world and the way it is perceived. Fechner’s work formed the basis of psychology as a science.

Psychophysicists usually employ experimental stimuli that can be objectively measured, such as pure tones varying in intensity, or lights varying in luminance. All the senses have been studied: vision, hearing, touch (including skin and enteric perception), taste, smell, and the sense of time. Regardless of the sensory domain, there are three main topics in the psychophysical classification scheme: absolute thresholds, discrimination thresholds, and scaling.

The most common use of psychophysics is in producing scales of human experience of various aspects of physical stimuli. Take, for example, the physical stimulus of sound frequency. A sound frequency is measured in hertz, cycles per second. But human experience of this phenomenon is not the same as the frequencies. For one thing, there is a frequency below which no sound can be heard, no matter how intense it is (around 20 Hz depending on the individual) and there is a frequency above which no sound can be heard (around 20,000 Hz, again depending on the individual). For another, doubling the sound frequency (e.g., from 100 Hz to 200 Hz) does not lead to a doubling of experience. The perceptual experience of the sound frequency is called pitch, and it is measured in mels.

More analytical approaches allow the use of psychophysical methods to study neurophysiological properties and sensory processing mechanisms. This is of particular importance in human research, where other, more invasive, methods are not used due to ethical reasons.

Areas of investigation include sensory thresholds, methods of sensitivity measurement, and signal detection theory.

A threshold (or limen), is the point of intensity at which the participant can just detect the presence of, or difference in, a stimulus. Stimuli with intensities below the threshold are considered not detectable, however stimuli at values close to threshold will often be detectable of some proportion of the time. There are two kinds of thresholds: absolute and discrimination.

An absolute threshold is the level of intensity of a stimulus at which the subject is able to detect the presence of the stimulus. An example of an absolute threshold is the number of hair on the back of one’s hand that must be touched before it can be felt – a participant may be unable to feel a single hair being touched, but can feel two or three as this exceeds the threshold.

A discrimination threshold is the magnitude of the difference between two stimuli of different intensities which the participant is able to detect. To test this threshold, several methods are used. The subject may be asked to adjust one stimulus until it is perceived the same as the other, may be asked to describe the magnitude of the difference between two stimuli, or to detect a stimulus against a background.

Absolute and discrimination thresholds are sometimes considered similar because there is always background noise interfering with our ability to detect stimuli, however study of discrimination thresholds still occurs, for example, in pitch discrimination tasks.

In discrimination experiments, the experimenter seeks to determine at what point the difference between two stimuli, such as two weights or sounds, is detectable. The subject is presented with one stimulus, for example, a weight, and is asked to say whether another weight is heavier or lighter. At the point of subjective equality, the subject perceives the two weights to be the same. The just noticeable difference is the difference in stimuli that the subject notices.

In psychophysics, experiments seek to determine whether the subject can detect a stimulus, identify it, differentiate between it and another stimulus, and to describe the magnitude or nature of this difference (from http://en.wikipedia.org).


Task 3. Translate the words from English into Russian:

1) technique; 2) to relate; 3) touch; 4) discrimination threshold; 5) intense; 6) approach; 7) to detect; 8) to exceed; 9) to adjust; 10) to determine; 11) subjective equality.


Task 4. In the text “Psychophysics” find English equivalents to the following Russian words and word combinations:

1) стимул; 2) измерять; 3) абсолютная пороговая величина; 4) частота звука; 5) увеличение в два раза; 6) сенсорный; 7) участник; 8) величина; 9) вмешиваться, мешать; 10) узнать, распознать, идентифицировать.


Task 5. In the text find synonyms to the following words:

1) disturbing; 2) to describe; 3) to use; 4) field; 5) on the one hand … on the other hand; 6) definite; 7) to give.


Task 6. In the table match synonyms:

1. to coin a. aggressive
2. to perceive b. basis
3. foundation c. difference
4. invasive d. to create
5. discrimination e. several
6. some f. to feel


Task 7. In the text “Psychophysics” find antonyms to the following words:

1) subjectively; 2) unusual; 3) different; 4) above; 5) lighter; 6) few; 7) secondary; 8) absence; 9) after; 10) to be unable; 11) similar.


Task 8. Match the words and their definitions:

1. stimulus a. the lowest level at which something begins to operate, happen, produce an effect, etc.
2. tone b. the degree of highness or lowness of a musical sound or speaking voice
3. pitch c. a person who takes part or has a share in an activity or event
4. threshold d. something that causes activity
5. participant e. the quality or character of a sound produced by a particular instrument or singing voice


Task 9. Form words of different parts of speech from the following verbs:

1) to formulate; 2) to publish; 3) to describe; 4) to perceive; 5) to employ; 6) to detect; 7) to discriminate; 8) to participate; 9) to experiment; 10) to produce; 11) to depend; 12) to investigate; 13) to measure; 14) to consider; 15) to differ; 16) to interfere; 17) to determine; 18) to notice; 19) to adjust.


Task 10. Translate the words in brackets into English to make the sentences complete. Pay attention to words from task nine:

1) Stop (вмешиваться) into my business. I’m an independent person. I’m not helpless. I can do everything myself.

2) Try (определить) the species of this butterfly.

3) Can you (отличить) a square and a rectangle?

4) A.I. Solzhenitsyn (считается) an outstanding writer, tribune and a man of freedom.

5) An ambiguous shadow (была замечена) in the window. A shot was heard and after that our director, Mr. Smith, fell dead. The (следователь) (уже сформулировал) a hypothesis. He thinks it was assassination.

6) Mr. White was lucky enough (участвовать) in the Queen’s interview and was the first among his competitors (опубликовать) it.

7) His grandmother wanted to insure her car through the Internet but she was afraid to do something wrong. Fortunately, the site had a very detailed (описание) how to do it properly.

8) This motorcycle, working on solar energy, exceeds the speed of 200 km/h. But it is not widely (производится) yet, it is only an (экспериментальная) model.

9) Eskimos can (различать) up to twenty types of snow and ice. And they have up to thirty words to denote them.

10) You should (приспособить, привести в соответствие) your personal working methods to your (работодателя) claims.


Task 11. Answer the questions:

1) When were the main methods of psychophysics described?

2) What is “The Elements of Psychophysics” about?

3) What are the stimuli used by psychophysicists?

4) What are three main domains of psychophysical classification?

5) What are the thresholds of human experience of the sound frequencies?

6) Are the invasive methods used on people?

7) What are the types of thresholds?

8) Can you give an example of an absolute threshold?

9) What are the methods to measure the discrimination threshold?

10) What does a discrimination experiment consist of?


Task 12. Say whether the statements are true or false. Correct false statements:

1) It was Gustav Fechner who first defined principles of psychophysics.

2) G. Fechner wished to show that there was some connection between love, music and poetry.

3) Psychophysicists study practically all senses: vision, hearing, touch, taste and behaviour.

4) A sound frequency is measured in mels.

5) Doubling of the sound frequency leads to doubling of human experience.

6) A threshold is a point of intensity at which the subject can say about presence or absence of a phenomenon.

7) A discrimination threshold is the magnitude of the difference between two stimuli of different intensities which a participant can detect.

8) The example of discrimination threshold is comparing two weights.

9) In psychophysical experiments, participant’s role is to detect a single stimulus.


Task 13. In the text find nouns which are Greek and Latin borrowings. Study the following words and put them into plural:

1) a stimulus; 2) a basis; 3) a formula; 4) a crisis; 5) a criterion; 6) an index; 7) a bacterium; 8) a phenomenon; 9) a datum; 10) an antenna; 11) a nucleus; 12) an apparatus; 13) an analysis; 14) a hypothesis.


Task 14. Translate the sentences into English. Pay attention to the Greek and Latin borrowings:

1) Относительно недавно ученые-физики смогли расщепить ядро молекулы. Теперь ядерная энергия широко используется в мирных целях.

2) Феномен детей-индиго занимает умы исследователей. Если раньше необычные способности проявлялись у взрослых людей, то теперь ими обладают маленькие дети.

3) Проведенный анализ рынков показал, что все большее количество людей отдает предпочтение экологически чистым продуктам. Хотя цена на них и превышает цену обычных продуктов в несколько раз, спрос на продукты, произведенные без использования химикатов, возрастает. Не повлияет ли мировой экономический кризис на эту тенденцию?

4) Несмотря на то, что человек считает себя властелином планеты Земля, на самом деле этот мир принадлежит бактериям, ведь они выживают как вне, так и внутри человеческих особей.

5) Критерии отбора претендентов на должность главного бухгалтера были очень строгими.

6) Великая теорема Ферма до сих пор остается загадкой. На первый взгляд формула проста, но доказать ее правильность, как впрочем, и неправильность, не смог еще ни один ученый.

7) Основы стиля мудехар восходят к арабской традиции.

8) Гипотеза о том, что снежный человек существует, подтверждается многочисленными свидетельствами очевидцев, однако представители фундаментальной науки не спешат делать однозначные выводы.

9) Первые лепетные слова ребенка, независимо от его национальной и языковой принадлежности, одинаковы. Артикуляционный аппарат ребенка адаптируется к артикуляционным особенностям аппарата окружающих его взрослых.


Task 15. Choose the best suitable word from the brackets:

Classic methods of experimentation

Psychophysical … (experiments, exponent, extreme) have traditionally used three methods for testing … (objects, subscriber’s, subjects’) perception in stimulus detection and difference detection experiments: method of limits, method of constant stimuli, and method of adjustment.

Wilhelm Wundt … (closed, invented, interfered) the method of limits. The subject reports whether he detects the … (stimulus, simultaneous, stamina). In ascending method of limits, some property of stimulus starts out at a level so low that the stimulus could not be … (defected, broken, detected), then this level is gradually increased until the … (participant, part, party) reports that he is aware of it. For example, if the experiment is testing the minimum amplitude of sound that can be detected, the sound begins too quietly to be … (looked at, perceived, touched), and is gradually made louder. In the descending method of limits, this is reversed. In each case, the threshold is considered to be the level of the stimulus property at which the stimulus is just detected.

In experiments, the ascending and … (descend, descending, descent) methods are used alternatively and the thresholds are averaged. A possible … (disadvantage, advantage, adventure) of these methods is that the subject may … (became, came, become) accustomed to reporting that he perceives a stimulus and may continue reporting the same way even beyond the threshold – the error of habitation. Conversely, the subject may also … (ants, activate, anticipate) that the stimulus is about to become detectable or undetectable and may make a premature judgement – the error of expectation.

To avoid these … (unpotential, potential, potentive) pitfalls, Georg von Bekesy introduced the staircase method in 1960 in his study of auditory perception. In this method, the sound starts out audible and gets quieter after each of the subject’s responses, until the subject does not report … (hearing, seeing, tasting) it. At that point, the sound is made louder at each step, until the subject reports hearing it, at this point the sound is made quieter in steps again. This way the … (exam, exercise, experimenter) is able to “zero in” on the threshold.

Instead of being presented in ascending or descending order, in the …(methodics, method, methodology) of constant stimuli the levels of a certain property of the stimulus are not related from one … (judge, court, trial) to the next, but presented randomly. This prevents the subject from being able to predict the level of the … (next, last, late) stimulus, and therefore reduces errors of … (habitable, habit, habituation) and expectation. The subject again reports whether he is … (can, must, able) to detect the stimulus.

The method of … (adjust, adjoin, adjustment) asks the subject to control the … (law, level, lawyer) of the stimulus, instructs him to alter it until it is just barely detectable against the background … (nose, noise, noisy) or is the same as the level of … (one, another, two) stimulus. This is also called the method of average error.


Task 16. Put proper words into the blanks in the texts:

a) Method of propellers. The method of propellers … (1) simultaneous comparisons of three stimuli, of which one at a time is taken as a target and the observer … (2) the size of the difference between the target and each of the other two stimuli. For example, an observer might be asked to compare chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry … (3). Beginning with chocolate as the … (4), he would judge the size of the difference between chocolate and vanilla, then the size of the difference between chocolate and strawberry, and report which difference was larger. Carrying out this procedure with a number of stimuli permits a rank-ordering of complex stimuli by an … (5) who would have said the task was impossible if asked to create a simple order. This … (6) is most effective for complex stimuli rather than simple size or brightness judgements.


Necessary words: observer, ice cream, involves, target, technique, judges.


b) Staircase procedure. Often the classic methods of experimentation are argued to be … (1). This is because, in advance of testing, the psychometric threshold is usually unknown and a lot of data has to be … (2) at points on the psychometric function that provides little information about its shape. Adaptive staircase procedures can be used in such a way that the points sampled … (3) around the psychometric threshold. However the cost of this efficiency, is that you do not get the same amount of information regarding the shape of the psychometric function as you can through … (4) methods. Despite of this, it is still possible to estimate the threshold and slope by fitting psychometric functions to the obtained data, although estimates of psychometric slope are likely to be more … (5) than those from the method of constant stimuli.

Staircases usually begin with a high intensity … (6), that is easy to detect. The intensity is then reduced until the observer makes a mistake, at this point the staircase reverses and intensity is increased until the observer … (7) correctly, triggering another reversal. The values for these reversals are then averaged. There are many different types of staircase, utilising many different decision and termination rules. Step-size, up/down rules and spread of the underlying psychometric function dictate where they converge on the psychometric function. Threshold values obtained from … (8) can fluctuate widely, so care must be taken in their design. Many different staircase algorithms have been modelled and some practical recommendations suggested by … (9).


Necessary words: staircases, inefficient, classical, are clustered, Garcia-Perez, collected, responds, variable, stimulus.


Task 17. Read the text “Gustav Fechner” and answer the questions:

Gustav Fechner

Gustav Fechner was born April 1, 1801. His father, a village pastor, died early in Gustav’s childhood, so he, with his mother and brother, went to live with their uncle. In 1817, at the age of 16, he went off to study medicine at the University of Leipzig. He received his MD degree in 1822.

But his interests moved to physics and math, so he made his living tutoring, translating and occasionally lecturing. After writing a significant paper on electricity in 1831, he was invited to become a professor of physics at Leipzig. There he became friends with a number of people, including Wilhelm Wundt, and his interests moved again, this time to psychology, especially vision.

In 1840 he had a nervous breakdown and had to resign his position due to severe depression. His interests switched again, now to philosophy.

Using the pseudonym Dr. Mises, he wrote a number of satires about the medicine and philosophy of his day. But he also used it to communicate, often in an amusing way, his spiritual perspective. As a panpsychist, he believed that all of the nature was alive and capable of awareness of one degree or another. Even the planet itself, he believed, had a soul.

He named the discipline psychophysics, which he defined as the study of the systematic relationships between physical events and mental events. In 1860 he topped his career by publishing the Elements of Psychophysics (from Коваленко 2000: 143-144).



1) When was Gustav Fechner born?

2) Where and what did he study?

3) How old was Gustav when he received his MD degree?

4) How did he earn his living?

5) What were his interests in life?

6) What were his philosophical views?

7) What discipline did he give the name to?

8) What is psychophysics according to Gustav Fechner?

9) What is the title of his fundamental book?


Task 18. Rearrange the dates of G. Fechner’s biography in proper chronological order, starting with the earliest:

1) he published the Elements of Psychophysics; 2) G. Fechner was born; 3) he made friends with W. Wundt; 4) he named the science psychophysics; 5) he went to study medicine at the University of Leipzig; 6) he earned his living tutoring; 7) started to be interested in philosophy; 8) his father died; 9) his interests moved to physics and math; 10) severe depression; 11) Gustav’s family went to live at his uncle’s; 12) he used the pen-name Dr. Mises; 13) he received Doctor of Medicine degree; 14) he wrote an important work on electricity.

Unit III. Psychophysiology

Task 1. Read and translate the text “Psychophysiology”:

Psychophysiology is the branch of psychology that is concerned with the physiological bases of psychological processes. It used to be known as cognitive psychophysiology until mid 1990s and is currently called Cognitive neuroscience.

Psychologists are interested in the fact why we may fear spiders and physiologists may be interested in the input/output system of the amygdala. A psychophysiologist will attempt to link the two. He might try to explain arachnophobia in terms of impulses coming in and out of the amygdala. However, psychophysiologists almost always study the psychological/physiological link in intact human subjects. While early psychophysiologists examined the impact of psychological states on physiological system responses, since 1970s they also study the impact of physiological states and systems on psychological states. It is this perspective of examining the interface of mind and body that makes psychophysiologists more distinct.

Historically most part of psychophysiologists tended to examine the physiological responses and organ systems innervated by the autonomic nervous system. More recently they have been equally, or potentially more, interested in the central nervous system, exploring cortical brain potentials such as many types of event-related potentials (ERPs), brain waves, functional neuro-imaging (fMRI), etc.

A psychophysiologist may look at how exposure to a stressful situation will produce a result in the cardiovascular system such as a change in the heart rate (HR), vasodilatation/vasoconstriction, myocardial contractility or stroke volume. A physiological psychologist may look at how one cardiovascular event may influence another cardiovascular or endocrine event, or how activation of one neural brain structure exerts excitatory activity in another neural structure which then induces an inhibitory effect in some other systems. Often physiological psychologists examine the effects that they study in infrahuman subjects using surgical or invasive techniques and processes.

Psychophysiology is closely related to the field of Neuroscience and Social neuroscience, which primarily concerns the relationships between psychological events and brain responses. It is also related to the medical discipline known as psychosomatics.

While psychophysiology was off the mainstream of psychological and medical science prior to 1960s and 1970s, more recently it has found itself positioned at the intersection of these sciences. Its popularity and importance have expanded commensurately with the realization of the inter-relatedness of mind and body.

Psychophysiological measures are often used to study emotion and attention events in response to stimuli. Loud startle tones, emotionally charged pictures, videos, and other tasks are presented to the subjects during experiments (from http://en.wikipedia.org).


Task 2. Match the words and their definitions:

1. physiology a. an area where different things meet and have an effect on each other
2. response b. the part of the nervous system which consists of brain and spinal cord
3. interface c. a science concerned with the study of how the bodies of living things, and their various parts, work
4. autonomic nervous system d. a branch of medicine and psychology which studies impact of psychological states on beginning and development of somatic illnesses
5. central nervous system e. action done in answer
6. stress f. a state of worry resulting from pressure caused by the problems of living, too much work, etc.
7. psychosomatics g. the part of the nervous system which controls those parts of the body which do not require conscious effort, such as digestion, circulation and production of hormones


Task 3. Translate the words and word combinations from the text “Psychophysiology” into Russian:

1) to be concerned with; 2) to be interested in; 3) arachnophobia; 4) almost always; 5) to tend; 6) central nervous system; 7) cortical; 8) myocardial contractility; 9) surgical techniques; 10) brain responses.


Task 4. In the text “Psychophysiology” find English equivalents to the following Russian words and word combinations. Use English words in your own sentences:

1) теперешний, современный; 2) попытаться; 3) неповрежденный; 4) влияние; 5) иннервированный; 6) подверженность; 7) сердечно-сосудистая система; 8) эндокринный; 9) взаимоотношения; 10) соразмерно.


Task 5. Translate the sentences into Russian. Pay attention to the words and word combinations from tasks three and four:

1) Your myocardial contractility is going better and better from one exercise to another.

2) Your life tends to be so stressful. You work too much and take your work problems too close. As the proverb goes: Much work and no play make Jack a dull boy.

3) Current medicine achieved very good results in surgical and non-invasive techniques. But a lot of people attempt to use non-traditional methods to cure their illnesses.

4) A.P. Chehov was a doctor by profession but he was interested in writing all through his life. Today he is best known not for his profession but for his hobby.

5) The problem we are going to discuss is concerned with the translation technique. The translation may be aimed either at original text or at the recipient.

6) Almost always he made an entry in his diary showing all the events of the previous day.

7) Their relationships were far from friendly and could be described as a strong opposition.

8) Nowadays people are exposed to overweight as most of them lead a sitting way of life.


Task 6. In the text “Psychophysiology” find synonyms to the words:

1) to be afraid; 2) might; 3) to attempt; 4) connection; 5) to influence; 6) to stimulate; 7) mainly; 8) earlier.


Task 7. In the text “Psychophysiology” find antonyms to the following English words:

1) output; 2) vasoconstriction; 3) expansion; 4) inhibitory; 5) seldom.


Task 8. Answer the questions:

1) What is psychophysiology?

2) In what way do the psychophysiologists treat arachnophobia?

3) Does psychophysiology study only the impact of physiological events on psychological states?

4) Is the emphasis made on the studying of autonomic nervous system or central nervous system?

5) What does cortical brain potential include?

6) Are cardiovascular events connected to brain processes?

7) What sciences is psychophysiology related to?

8) Why did psychophysiology find its place between psychology and medicine?

9) What are the psychophysiological measures to examine responses?


Task 9. Say whether the statements are true or false. Correct false statements:

1) Now cognitive psychophysiology is known as cognitive psychology.

2) Arachnophobia is the fear of confined spaces.

3) Psychophysiology does not study the interface of mind and body.

4) Psychophysiologists pay much attention to exploring cortical brain potential.

5) The study of cardiovascular system is off the subject of the psychophysiology.

6) In psychophysiology invasive methods are not used on human beings due to ethic principles.

7) During 1960s and 1970s psychophysiology became connected to psychology and physiology.

8) Psychophysiological methods are concerned with vision and hearing experiments.


Task 10. Read and translate the abstract of the text. Answer the question: What methods are there in modern psychophysiology?

Commonly used measures

Many methods are part of modern psychophysiology including measures of brain activity such as ERPs, brain waves (electroencephalography, EEG), fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging), measures of skin conductance (skin conductance response, SCR; galvanic skin response, GSR), cardiovascular measures (heart rate, HR; beats per minute, BPM; heart rate variability, HRV; vasomotor activity), muscle activity (electromyography, EMG), changes in pupil diameter with thought and emotion (pupillometry) and eye movements, recorded via electro-oculogram (EOG) and direction-of-gaze methods.


Task 11. Explain what the following abbreviations mean:

1) ERPs; 2) HR; 3) EEG; 4) HRV; 5) EOG; 6) SCR; 7) fMRI; 8) GSR; 9) BPM; 10) EMG.


Task 12. Connect the beginning and end of the words:

a) cardio, para, psycho, neuro, arachno, inter, vaso, electro, pupillo.

b) encephalography, sympathetic, science, face, dilatation, vascular, metry, somatic, phobia.


Task 13. Translate the Russian words in brackets into English:

The autonomic nervous system is (вовлечена) in the regulation of the (внутренних органов) and their secretions and in the control of smooth muscles. It consists of two main (подразделений): sympathetic and parasympathetic. Within each of these divisions there are both (центростремительные) – sensory, and efferent – motor, (компоненты). The (симпатическая) branch of the autonomic system arises from the thoracic and lumbar portions of the (спинного мозга). The parasympathetic division (берет начало) in the sacral division of the cord and in the (стволе мозга). Thus, the term “parasympathetic” literary means next to or (окружающий) the sympathetic (нервную) system.


Task 14. Read an abstract of the text “Autonomic nervous system” and answer the questions:

Generally the two divisions of the autonomic nervous system, sympathetic and parasympathetic, act in opposition to one another. The sympathetic division is primarily active during periods of stress and emergency. The parasympathetic system predominates during quiet, restful periods. The latter is involved in homeostatic mechanisms – that is, the normal regulation of organ systems.

Both sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions of the autonomic nervous system are presented in hypothalamus. The anterior portion (передняя часть) of the hypothalamus is primarily parasympathetic, whereas the posterior portion (задняя часть) of the hypothalamus is primarily sympathetic. Stimulation of the posterior portions of the hypothalamus often results in increased metabolism, pupillary dilation (расширение зрачков), rage, and other sympathetic activities. Stimulation of the anterior portion of the hypothalamus may induce sleep, increase digestion (пищеварение), and lower metabolic rate (from Коваленко 2002: 147-148).



1) What are the main divisions of autonomic nervous system?

2) Do they work at one and the same direction?

3) When does the sympathetic nervous system work?

4) When is the parasympathetic nervous system active?

5) Which system is concerned with normal regulation of different visceral organs?

6) Are the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems presented in thalamus?

7) What part of the hypothalamus is mainly parasympathetic?

8) Is the posterior part of the hypothalamus mainly sympathetic or parasympathetic?

9) What does the stimulation of the posterior part of the hypothalamus lead to?

10) What can stimulate sleep, increase digestion and lower metabolic rate?


Task 15. Choose the best words from the brackets to make the sentences complete:

The brain is the organ of the … (central, autonomic, parasympathetic) nervous system responsible for the processing and coding of … (sensitive, sense, sensory) and motor information, for the control of regulatory … (problem, processes, task) in the body, and for the mediation of complex processes, such as motivation, … (emotion, emotive, emotional), learning, and memory.

For anatomical convenience, the brain may be … (subway, subdivided, touched) into three major divisions: hindbrain, midbrain, and forebrain. The hindbrain … (contract, construct, contains) the cerebellum, the pons, and the medulla oblongata. The midbrain stands as a separate … (court, port, portion) of the brain responsible for the … (intersection, integration, induction) of eye movements and vestibular … (things, funds, functions). The forebrain … (consists, concludes, consist) of the telencephalon, which is … (farther, further, far) subdivided into the neocortex, the basal ganglia, and the … (lumpic, lymbic, limbic) system. The forebrain also … (contain, curtains, contains) the diencephalon, which is further subdivided into the … (talamus, telemus, thalamus) and hypothalamus.


Processing – обработка данных

Coding – кодирование, шифрование

Hindbrain – задний мозг

Midbrain – средний мозг

Forebrain – передний мозг, прозенцефалон

Cerebellum – мозжечок

The pons – варолиев мост

Medulla oblongata – продолговатый мозг.


Task 16. Read and translate the text “Brain”. Choose the best variant of answers to the questions:


Various hindbrain structures are quite similar in all vertebrates. Considerable changes occur in the relative size and development of forebrain structures as one ascends the phylogenetic scale. Higher animals, such as carnivores and primates, have tremendous development of the neocortex relative to other brain systems.

One of the most important aspects of brain development is that as ascending the phylogenetic scale a scientist finds out that less of the cortex is concerned with purely sensory and motor functions and more is concerned with complex integrative functions that seem to be the basis for complex learning. Rats have most of the cortex relegated to sensory and motor aspects of behaviour. Human beings’ cortex is relegated to associative and integrative functions, with only a small percentage involved directly in sensory and motor processes (from Коваленко 2002: 149-150).



1) Which structures of brain are similar in all vertebrates?

a) hindbrain

b) forebrain

c) midbrain


2) What phenomenon could be noticed when ascending the phylogenetic scale?

a) similarity in the relative size and development in the forebrain structures

b) difference in the structure of the forebrain

c) difference in the relative size and development of forebrain structures


3) What species of animals can be called higher animals?

a) human beings

b) giraffes

c) carnivores and primates

d) whales


4) What part of brain is more developed in higher animals?

a) neocortex

b) cerebellum

c) hindbrain


5) What does the development of brain mean as one ascends the phylogenetic scale?

a) more of cortex is concerned with sensory and motor functions

b) integrative functions of the cortex disturb the complex learning

c) more of cortex is concerned with complex integrative functions


6) What is the difference between cortex structure of rats and human beings?

a) the most part of the rats’ cortex is given to associative and integrative aspects, human beings’ cortex mostly deals with sensory and motor functions

b) rats’ cortex is responsible for sensory and motor aspects, human beings’ is concerned with associative and integrative functions

c) rats have a smaller cortex and human beings have a larger one.


Task 17. Put proper words in the blanks:

Brain research techniques

a) The brain … (1) primarily through … (2) basic methods: ablation, stimulation, and recording. All three methods are used in … (3) with one another by brain … (4) in order to obtain a picture of how … (5) systems in the brain function dynamically in the … (6) of specific behaviours.


Words: researchers, three, various, is studied, mediation, conjunction.


b) Ablation, an experimental … (1) used for animals, involves selectively … (2) portions of the brain and trying to determine what the sum total of … (3) parts can or cannot do. This way it is possible, for example, to … (4) regions of the cortex responsible for auditory and visual … (5) or to determine which … (6) of the thalamus are involved in sensory or motor functions.


Words: functions, technique, portions, remaining, map out, removing.


c) The stimulation technique essentially involves placing small … (1) in specific portions of the brain and electrically activating them … (2) the effect on some behaviour or performed task. An … (3) method of stimulation is through the implantation of small tubes that can carry … (4) to specific … (5) of the brain. As in the case of ablation, stimulation also … (6) an alteration in the normal functioning of the brain.


Words: regions, produces, to observe, electrodes, chemicals, alternative.


d) A third method, recording, is … (1) and produces the least change in ongoing cerebral activity. … (2) involves placing recording electrodes in specific brain … (3) and observing the electrical activity of these regions as a function of … (4) activities. It has been found that the electrical … (5) of the brain is markedly different during various stages of … (6) and certain aspects of learning and that it is related to attention state.


Words: sleep, different, passive, structures, activity, recording.


Task 18. Render the text “Psychosomatics” into English:

Еще в греческой философии и медицине была распространенной мысль о влиянии души на тело. Одним из первых термин «психосоматический» в 1818 году использовал врач-психиатр Иоганн-Христиан Гейрот (Heinroth). А в 1822 году Якоби (Jacobi) дополнил эту область понятием «соматопсихический». В наше время этот подход получил широкое распространение в 20-50-х годах 20 века.

В рамках психосоматики исследуются связи между характеристиками личности (конституциональные особенности, черты характера и личности, стили поведения, типы эмоциональных конфликтов) и тем или иным соматическим заболеванием.

Альтернативная медицина считает, что все болезни человека возникают по причине психологических несоответствий и расстройств, возникающих в душе, в подсознании, в мыслях человека.

Психосоматические заболевания – это такие заболевания, причинами которых в большей мере являются мыслительные процессы больного, чем непосредственно какие-либо физиологические причины. Если медицинское обследование не может обнаружить физическую или органическую причину заболевания, или если заболевание является результатом таких эмоциональных состояний как гнев, тревога, депрессия, чувство вины, тогда болезнь может быть классифицирована как психосоматическая.

Лечение в основном проводится успокоительными средствами или антидепрессантами в сочетании с лечением другого рода.


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