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130 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back

Eight Psychological Perspectives

Neural, Genetic, Evolutionary, Learning, Cognitive, Social, Cultural, Developmental

Basic Research

Pure science aimed at expanding scientific knowledge base

Applied Research
Scientific study aimed at solving practical problem

Professions within Psychology

Psychiatry: Branch of medicine dealing with psychological disorders

Clinical Psychology: Branch of psychology that studies, assesses, and treats people with psychological disorders

Counseling Psychology: Branch of psychology that assists people with problems in day-to-day living


Idea or conceptual model that is designed to explain existing facts and make predictions about new facts that might be discovered


Testable prediction that shows the bias the researcher starts with

Importance of replication in experimental design

Repeat w/ different participants in different situations to see if findings extend to people with different circumstances

Different Research Methods

Case Studies


Naturalistic Observation

Correlation Studies


Case Studies

one person studied in hopes of revealing universal principles


ascertain self reported attitudes/behaviors

...assumes individuals tell the truth

...issues with biased samples

Naturalistic Observation

watching/recording behavior of organism in natural environment

Correlation studies

Measure how much two factors vary together

...how well one they predict each other

...find a correlation coefficient between -1 and 1


Researchers manipulate independent variables to observe effect on dependent variable

...establishes cause/effect relationship

Biological Psychologists

Study link between biological activity and psychological events

Franz Gall

Founder of phrenology

Claimed bumps in skull indicated different mental abilities/characteristics


Brain is the organ of the mind

Brain areas have specific functions

4 Parts of Neurons

Cell Body

Dendrites (receivers)


Axon Terminals (transmitters)

How neurons communicate

When chemical gets to end of an axon, it triggers a neurotransmitter, which carries the chemical across the synaptic cleft and binds it to the receptors on another neuron's dendrites

Synaptic Cleft

Space between neurons


Junction between two neurons

Myelin Sheath

Insulation around axons that helps propagate action potential and speed up communication

Multiple Sclerosis

When myelin sheath disintegrates and slows down communication to muscles, which leads to total loss of muscle control


If excess neurotransmitters in synapse, taken back into presynaptic axon terminal which stops neurotransmitter's activity

Five neurotransmitters







Neurotransmitter related to learning/memory and muscle contractions


Neurotransmitter related to emotion and movement


Neurotransmitter related to mood, hunger, sleep, and arousal


Neurotransmitter related to alertness/arousal


Natural opiates released due to pain/strenuous activity (runners' high)

How neuropsychologists study the brain

Clinical Observation

Manipulate Brain

Recording Brain Activity

Brain Imaging Techniques

Clinical Observation of the brain

look at effects of injury/disease on the brain

Manipulation of the brain

Destroy tissue or stimulate parts of brain to see what happens

Recording Brain Activity

Use EEG to amplify reading electrical waves due to brain activity

Brain Imaging Techniques

PET Scan: observe glucose consumption in brain

MRI: use strong magnetic fields to attract electrical activity to trace pathways of the brain

fMRI: MRI used to observe the brain in action

Brain Stem

Innermost region of the brain responsible for automatic survival functions

Consists of: Thalamus, Pons, Medulla, Spinal Cord, Reticular Formation, Cerebellum


Top of the brain stem that is a sensory switchboard between the brain stem and cortex


Controls movement

Directs signals from cortex to cerebellum


Base of brain stem responsible for breathing and heart rate

Spinal Cord

Connects brain to rest of the body, forms central nervous system

Reticular formation

Cluster of neurons projecting up into cerebral cortex, connected to alterness/arousal


Rear of the brainstem, coordinates movement/balance

Limbic system

Between brain stem and cerebral hemisphere

Involved in controlling appetitive/motive behaviors/emotions such as fear and anger

Includes: hypothalamus, hippocampus, amygdala


Directs activites like eating/drinking/regulating body temperature

Linked to emotions

If damaged, left without basic drive states


Involved in formation of new memories


Influences fear/aggresion

If damaged, one can become aggressive and fearless

Cerebral Cortex

Newest part of the brain that enables capacity for reason

Control and information processing center

Bumps and grooves increase surface area and allow it to fit in our skull

Has folds that separate brain into four parts

Glial cells

Support and nourish neurons

More glial cells means more complex brain

Frontal Lobe

Speaking, muscle movement, planning, judgement, impulse control

Last part of brain to fully mature

If damaged --> Phinneaus Gage

Parietal Lobe

Behind frontal lobe

Handles sensory input for touch/body position

If damaged, can't feel touch

Occipital lobe

Back of the head used for visual processing

If damaged, can lose eye sight even if eyes are ok

Temporal lobe

Located at side of head above the ears

Auditory areas

Important for object/facial recognition

Prefrontal cortex

Important for attention, working memory, decision making, appropriate social behavior, and personality

Phineas Gage

Pole went through his frontal cortex

First person to show link between frontal lobe and personality

Went from being soft-spoken to irritable

Corpus Callosum

Massive bundle of axons that connect left and right hemispheres of brain

Philip Bogel and Joseph Bogen

Cut corpus callosum in Epilepsy patients

Two hemispheres couldn't communicate, acted like two separate brains

Left hemisphere of brain

Specializes in language and spoken response

Right hemisphere of brain

Specializes in non-verbal, visuospatial analysis

Facial recognition and drawing shapes

Left Handedness

Humans process language on left side of brain, so should express it on the right side

Neural Plasticity

Cortical remapping can occur through altering connections between existing neurons or neurogenesis (birth of new cells)


Neural pathways are rewired to be more sensitive to cues that connect with particular harmful situations soldiers endured


Translation of stimuli into neurosignals that requires to interpretation


Process of selecting, organizing, and interpreting sensory information

Enables us to recognize meaningful objects/events

Results in our conscious experience of the world

Bottom up processing

Perception that is based on physical properties of the stimulus

Top down processing

Our knowledge, expectations, and experiences influence what is heard/tasted/smelled

Context affects perception


Inability to recognize faces

Absolute threshold

Minimum intensity of a stimulation that must occur before you detect stimulus 50% of time

Signal detection theory

Personal experience defines each persons' threshold

Weber's Law

There is a smallest noticeable difference between two stimuli

Ex: if holding 400 pounds, won't be able to detect a change less than 10 pounds

Sensory Adaptation

Diminishing sensitivity to unchanging stimulus

Lets us focus on important changes

We perceive the world not as it is, but as it is useful

Subliminal Stimulation

Insert brief message into society that can't be picked up in an effort to influence behavior

Priming Effect

Image is shown so briefly that you don't process it but are left with a feeling

Selective Attention

At any moment, our awareness focuses on limited aspect of what we experience

Inattentional Blindness

Failure to see visible objects when our attention is directed elsewhere

Change Blindness

Failure to notice difference between what was there and what is there now

Pop-out phenomenon

Some stimuli are so important that they pop out at us

Perceptual Illusions

Based on size and distance and light and shadow

Gestalt Psychology

Human like to organize pieces of information into meaningful wholes

Figure/Ground Distinction

Different cultures give different importance to background

Figure/Ground Grouping

Proximity: physically close

Similarity: look alike

Continuity: follow along a smooth curve

Closure: fill in gaps

Depth Perception

Ability to see 2D images in 3D

Motion Perception

As things get smaller, they move away, as they enlarge, they approach

Perceptual Constancy

Enables us to perceive an object as unchanging despite changing stimulus

Shape Constancy

Door doesn't change shape when closed

Light Constancy

Constant lightness despite lighting

Perceptual Interpretation (Perception Set)

Our experiences/assumptions/expectations give us mental disposition that greatly influences what we perceive


How we organize and interpret unfamiliar information

Contextual Effects

Same stimulus can evoke different perceptions in different contexts

Observational Learning

Watching other people and learning behaviors from their experiences

Associative Learning

Classical Conditioning and Operative Conditioning

Classical Conditioning (Pavlov)

Organism comes to associate stimuli

Unconditioned Response

Unlearned response (dog salivating at food)

Unconditioned Stimulus

Naturally causes unconditioned response (food causes dog to salivate)

Conditioned Stimulus

New stimulus that after being associated with an unconditioned stimulus is a conditioned stimulus that triggers a conditioned response (bell causes dog to salivate)

Conditioned Response

Learned response (dog salivates in response to bell)

Five stages of classical conditioning

Acquisition: associative process

Extinction: diminishing of conditioned response

Spontaneous recovery: weaker conditioned response after pause

Generalization: tendency for similar stimuli to elicit same response

Discrimination: ability to distinguish between controlled stimulus and irrelevant stimuli

Effect of drugs

Direct effect

Compensatory reaction (drug tolerance)

Operant Conditioning

organisms associate own actions with consequences

Edward Lee Thorndike and Thorndike's Law of Effect

Rewarded behavior is likely to occur

B.F. Skinner and Skinner Box

Shaping: procedure in which reinforcers gradually guide an animal's actions toward desired behavior

Extinction in Operant Conditioning

Conditioned response declines in rate and eventually disappears if reinforcer is no longer used

Spontaneous recovery


Positive Reinforcement

Stimulus that when presented strengthens a response

Negative Reinforcement

Withdrawal of negative stimulus that strengthens a response


Undesirable consequence or withdrawal of a desirable one that decreases frequency of a behavior

Partial Reinforcement

Fixed-ratio: reinforce behavior after set number of responses

Variable-ratio: reinforce behavior after unpredictable number of responses

Fixed-interval: reinforce behavior after fixed time period

Variable-interval: reinforce behavior after varying time intervals

Learned Helplessness and Seligman's Experiments

Acquired sense that one has lost control over one's environment which leads to giving up

Battered Woman Syndrome


Information in person's mind and capacity to store/retrieve it

Flashbulb Memory

Remember things due to unique/emotional experience (9/11)

Memory Process

Acquisition: encoding information

Retention: Period of time between event and retrieval

Retrieval: recalling information

Automatic Processing

Unconscious encoding of information (time, space, frequency)

Effortful Processing

Encoding requires attention/conscious effort


Connecting what is learned to already known concepts in brain


Grouping adjacent items increases memory efficiency

Hierarchical Organization

Cluster related items in categories, cluster related categories to form higher order categories


Encoding pictures of visual scenes into long term memory

Next in line effect

Tend to focus on our own performance and pay less attention to those before and after us who speak

Spacing Effect

Rehearsal over time is better than cramming

Clive Wearing

No short term memory, feels like he is "always waking up"

Working Memory

Short term memory

Three stages of memory in eyewitness testimonies

Acquisition: eyewitness chooses what they pay attention to

Retention: people are less accurate as more time passes, and post-event info changes/introduces new memory

Retrieval: time the person is asked to recall info

Event Factors in Acquisition Stage

Exposure Time: more time we have to look at something, the better we'll remember it

Frequency: more opportunities to see something, the better we remember it

Detail Salience: more accurate with pop-out details

Type of Fact: much less accurate with certain kinds of facts (time, speed, distance)...we overestimate speed and time, and underestimate distance

Violence of Event: less accurate in violent/stressful situations

Yerkes-Dodson Law

Stress helps focus/attention to a certain point, and then it narrows our attention (which is unhelpful)

Witness Factors in Acquisition Stage

Stress (Yerkes-Dodson Law)

Expectations: what we see is what we expect to see

Perceptual Activity: what witness was doing while event occurs

Elizabeth Loftus' Work

Investigated whether how information is received subsequent to crime may cause predictable changes in witness' recollection

Questioned accuracy of techniques used to resurface memories

Retention Stage in Eye Witness Testimonies

Memory Enhancement: mentioning of (accurate/false) details makes them likely to be remembered

Compromise Memories: meshing of what witness saw and what witness heard later

Introducing of Non-Existent Objects: mentioning non-existent object increases likelihood that witness thinks they saw it (Loftus Study)

Timing of Post-Event Info: misleading info has more effect if delayed

Changing Subjective Recollections: post event information can influence witness' feelings

Non-verbal Influences: post-event info can be tone/gestures/posture

Police/lawyers: multiple questionings gives witnesses info

Witness' Intervening Thoughts: wants to help

Labeling: labeling affects memory

Guessing: fill gaps and then mistake guesses for memory

Freezing effect: vivid details stick out (even if not accurate...Hamburger Murderer)

Retrieval Stage in Eye Witness Testimony

Environment: better at recalling info in place where memory was encoded

Type of retrieval: narrative vs controlled questioning

Questioning: leading questions affect answers

Questioner: interrogators w/ authority are persuasive

Confidence: confidence does not indicate accuracy

Narrative vs Controlled Questoning

Narrative reports: more accurate but incomplete

Questioning: less accurate more more complete

Better to ask for witness' account then question

Jury Criteria for Eye Witness Reliability

Opportunity for witness to have seen offender

Witness' degree of attention

Accuracy of prior description of defender

Level of witness' certainty/confidence

Length of time between ID and crime

Safeguards for Defendants Against Eye Witness

Right to counsel during lineup

Judge can throw out ID if they feel it's faulty

Defense can cross-examine witness to expose inaccuracies

Defense can bring in experts

Relative Judgement

Eyewitness identifies someone in a lineup who looks most like culprit...this is bad

Should tell witness that culprit might not be present

All fillers in lineup should meet description