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119 Cards in this Set

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scientific study of the behavior of individuals and their mental processes

scientific study

set of procedures used for gathering, interpreting, and making dependable observations


the observable actions of an organism (people) within a given environment

mental process

internal working of the human mind (measured indirectly) Ex: thinking, reasoning, planning

4 Aims of psychology

1. Description

2. Explanation

3. Prediction

4. Control of Behavior

behavioral data

reports of observations about organisms behavior and the conditions under which the behavior occurs


knowledge comes from divine insight


knowledge comes from observation and reasoning


knowledge comes from experience (Empiricism)


knowledge comes from innate ability (Nativism)


wrote the first psychological work, “Elements of Psychophysics”


founded the first formal laboratory devoted to experimental psychology (Structuralist)


focused on the functions of reflexes, his concern for the practical uses of mental processes led to important advances in education (learning by doing) (Functionalist)

Mary Calkins

established one of the first psychology laboratories in the U.S. and invented important techniques for studying memory

Margaret Washburn

first woman to receive a PhD in psychology

Helen Wooley

accomplished some of the earliest research that examined differences between the sexes


first to notice that human nature is not always rational and actions may be driven by motives that are not in conscious awareness


argued that psychological research should use observable behavior as the research method for all species (Behaviorist)


emphasized that individuals have a natural tendency toward psychological growth and health, a process that is aided by the positivity of those who around them (Humanist)


coined the term “self-actualization” to refer to each individual’s drive toward the fullest development of his/her potential (Humanist)

Types of Psychology

1. Structuralism

2. Gestaltism

3. Functionalism


founder of Structuralism


founder of Gestaltism

William James

founder of Functionalism


the study of the basic structural components of mind and behavior, the “what” of mental content, understanding experience by studying the components of that experience


the entirety of mental content (experiencing things as a whole)


the “why” of mental content, understanding experience by considering the purpose of the experience


examination by individuals of their own thoughts and feelings about specific sensory experiences

Psychological Perspectives Determine

1. What we study
2. Where we look for information
3. How we look for that information

Psychological perspectives

1. Biological

2. Behavioral

3. Humanistic

4. Cognitive

5. Evolutionary

6. Socio-culture

7. Psychodynamic

Biological perspective

all behavior can be explained by underlying physical structures and biological processes

Behavioral perspective

behavior can be explained by environmental conditions and the consequences of behavior

Humanistic perspective

behavior can be explained by people’s attempts to use their own abilities to satisfy natural needs

Cognitive perspective

behavior can be explained by the way in which people think

Evolutionary perspective

behavior can be explained by natural selection

Socio-culture perspective

behavior can be affected by cultural influences

Psychodynamic perspective

behavior is driven, or motivated, by powerful inner forces; focuses on instincts and the attempt to solve conflicts between personal needs and society’s demands

Ways Characteristics Are Inherited

1. Heredity

2. Natural Selection

3. Evolution


the human body is made up of trillions of cells (the functional basic units of life)


all cells (except red blood cells) have a nucleus which contains genetic material


long strands of genetic material, somatic cells have 46 (23 pairs), gametes have 23


small segments of chromosomes containing instructions for the production of proteins; these proteins regulate an organism’s appearance and behavior


the material of chromosomes, the sugar-phosphate backbones holding nitrogen bases, arranged in a double helix


the genetic structure that an organism inherits from its parents


the physical and behavioral characteristics of an organism

Polygenic Trait

characteristic that is influenced by more than one gene


the typical sequence of genes contained in the chromosomes of a species

Human behavior genetics

a research field that combines genetics and psychology to explore the link between inheritance and behavior


provides evolutionary explanations for the social behavior and social systems of humans and other animal species

Evolutionary psychology

extends the evolutionary explanations of sociobiology to include other aspects of human experience


the scientific study of the brain and of the links between brain activity and behavior

Phineas T. Gage

Railroad accident: Brain damage changed his behavior and character, linking brain and behavior


Identified a brain area that involved the production of speech


Identified a brain area involved in the comprehension of speech

Looking at the brain's structure

MRI, CAT scan

Looking at where events happen in the brain


Looking at when events happen in the brain


nervous system

the body’s fast electrochemical communication network consisting of highly specialized nerve cells (neurons)


cells in the nervous system specialized to receive, process, and/or transmit information to other cells


receives signals from sense receptors or other neurons


combines information received from the dendrites


transmits action potential

terminal button

releases neurotransmitters

myelin sheath

the insulating material that surrounds axons and increases the speed of neural transmissions

action potential

the nerve impulse activated in a neuron that travels down the axon and causes neurotransmitters to be released into a synapse

excitatory input

information entering a neuron that signals it to fire

inhibitory input

information entering a neuron that signals it to not fire


joins one neuron to another so the two neurons do not touch

synaptic transmission

the relaying information from one neuron to another across the synaptic gap


chemical messenger released from a neuron that crosses the synapse from one neuron to another, stimulating the postsynaptic neuron (the neuron on the other side)


most common inhibitory neurotransmitter


most common excitatory; processes emotion, learning, and memory


any substance that modifies the activities of the postsynaptic neuron

resting potential

restriction of vibration of cellular fluid within a neuron which provides the capability to produce an action potential

refractory period

the period of rest where a new action potential can’t be activated in a segment of an axon (absolute or relative)

Peripheral nervous system (PNS)

system connecting the body’s sensory receptors to the spinal cord and brain, and the spinal cord and brain to the muscles and glands

Central nervous system (CNS)

neurons in the brain and spinal cord which processes incoming signals and sends out commands to the body

sensory neurons

carries messages from sense receptors inwards, toward the central nervous system

motor neurons

carries messages outwards, away from the central nervous system towards the muscles and glands


brain neuron that relays messages from sensory neurons to other interneurons or to motor neurons

mirror neuron

neuron that responds when an individual observes another individual performing a motor action


cells that hold neuron together and facilitate neural transmission, remove damaged and dead neurons, and prevent poisonous substances in the blood from reaching the brain; make up the myelin sheath

3 Areas of the Brain

1. Brain Stem - the primitive brain

(shared by all primitive animals)

2. Limbic System - emotion, motivation, memory (shared by mammals)

3. Cerebrum - rational brain

Parts of the Brain Stem

1. Thalamus - send info to the right side of brain

2. Pons - info crosses to other side of brain

3. Medulla - basic life support

4. Reticular formation - aware of surroundings

5. Cerebellum - coordination of movement

Parts of the Limbic System

1. Amygdala - emotional control
2. Hypothalamus - motivated behavior (hunger/thirst)
3. Hippocampus - memory formation

Parts of the Cerebrum

1. Frontal Lobe - executive function (planning, decision making)

2. Parietal Lobe - somatosenses (processes body senses, such as touch, temperature, and pain)

3. Occipital Lobe - visual cortex

4. Temporal Lobes - auditory cortex

cerebral cortex

outer part of the cerebrum

Two Halves of the Brain

1. Left Hemisphere - logic, language
2. Right Hemisphere - intuition, creativity

corpus colossum

joins the two hemispheres of the brain

longitudinal fissue

divides the brain in half topwise

Types of Glands

1. Pituitary
2. Thyroid
3. Adrenal
4. Pancreas

Research Cycle/Process

1. Decide on an idea

2. Formulate a hypothesis

3. Define your variables

4. Select a research design

5. Recruit personnel (researchers and participants)

6. Collect data

7. Analyze data

8. Report findings


an organized set of concepts that explains a phenomenon


testable explanations for an observed phenomenon (specific experimental hypothesis usually take the form of predictions)


the assumption that all physical, behavioral, and mental events are determined by factors that can be known

Independent variable

experimental groupings

Dependent variable

the thing being measured

Extraneous variables

other factors that vary within the study

Confounding variables

extraneous variables that could account for the experimental results (factors that mess up the study)


any factor that varies in amount or kind

Experimental method

involves the manipulation of independent variables to determine their effects on the dependent variables

Descriptive research

records data for descriptive purposes only


1. Observation

2. Survey

3. Case studies - intense observation of an individual or a small group of individuals

Correlative research

researcher systematically records data to see if there is a relationship between variables (correlation does not always indicate causation)


1. Positive - as the number of one thing increases, so does the number of another thing

2. Negative - as the number of one thing increases, the number of another thing decreases

Experimental research

researcher attempts to show that a change in one variable causes a change in another variable, studies compare the performance of two or more groups given different experimental treatments


1. Within subjects - the same people in each experimental group

2. Between subjects - different people in each group


phenomenon that occurs when individuals alter their performance or behavior due to the awareness that they are being observed

expectancy effect

result that occurs when a researcher or observer subtly communicates to participants the kind of behavior he or she expects to find, thereby creating that expected reaction

observer bias

the distortion of evidence because of the personal motives and expectations of the viewer/researcher


a set of uniform procedures for treating each participant in a test or experiment

double blindness

when neither the researchers of the participants know the experimental groupings

Measuring data

1. Self-report

2. Physiological

3. Behavioral


the extent to which a test measures what it was intended to measure


the degree to which a test produces similar results each time

Operational definitions

standardize meanings in a study, a definition of a variable or condition in terms of the specific procedure used to determine its presence

Descriptive statistics

describes the data

Inferential statistics

to test their hypothesis

informed consent

participants must be notified about experimental procedures (including potential risks and benefits) before they sign up

intentional deception

withholding information about an experiment to avoid biasing the response of participants, telling people what they will do but not why they will be doing it

risk/gain assessment

weighing the potential physical or emotional harm that an experiment might cause against the benefits that it might produce


providing information at the end of study to ensure that participants are not confused upset, or embarrassed