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163 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back

John Stewart Mill

(1800's) Argued that psychology should be a science of observation and of experiment.

Wilhelm Wundt

Established the first psychology laboratory in 1879. Used introspection.


A systematic examination of subjective mental experiences that requires people to inspect and report on the content of their thoughts.

Edward Titchener

Founded Structuralism


States that conscious experience can be broken down into its basic underlying components.

William James

Argued that the mind consisted of a stream of consciousness that could not be frozen in time, broken down or analyzed. Founded Functionalism.


Psychologists ought to examine the functions served by the mind. The mind helps humans adapt to environmental demands.

Charles Darwin

Proposed Evolutionary Theory, the history of a species in terms of the inherited, adaptive value of physical characteristics, of mental activity and of behavior.

Max Wertheimer

Founded the Gestalt school of thought (1912).

Gestalt Theory

the whole of conscious experience is different from the sum of its parts, emphasized patterns and context in learning.

Sigmund Freud

Founded Psychoanalysis and the notion of the unconscious

John B. Watson

Founded Behaviorism


The idea that psychology should be less concerned with the conscious or unconscious, but rather an individual's behavior.

B. F. Skinner

Believed that behavior is shaped by the consequences that follow.

George A. Miller

Launched the Cognitive Revolution (1957)

Cognitive Psychology

The scientific study of mind and mental function

Cognitive Neuroscience

a field that studies the neural mechanisms that underlie thought, learning and memory

Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow

Pioneered a humanistic approach to the treatment of psychological disorders

Social Psychology

Uses an experimental approach to test the psychology of large groups of people

Psychological Therapy

Drugs and Effective treatments of psychological disorders

Brain Chemistry

Hundreds of chemicals that interact in the brain that play critical roles in mental activity and behavior.

The Human Genome

A basic genetic code or blueprint for the human body

Cultural Neuroscience

studies the ways that cultural variables affect the brain, mind, genes and behavior

The 4 Levels of Psychological Analysis

Biological: Brain systems, neurochemistry

Individual: One's differences in perception, cognition and behavior

Social: Interpersonal behavior, social cognition

Cultural: Thoughts, actions, behaviors in different societies and cultural groups


everyone in the group the experimenter is interested in


a subset of the population that you test, representative of the population

Observational Studies

Involve observing and classifying behavior.

Naturalistic Observation

Observation of people without their knowledge in their natural environment

Participant Observation

Observation of people who volunteer their time to be studied

Case Studies

Intensive examination of unusual people or organizations


The presence of the observer alters the behavior of those being observed

Hawthorne Effect

The boss being present while workers are working, makes the workers work harder.

Observer Bias

systematic error in observation that occur because of an observer's expectations

Experimenter expectancy effect

the way that you treat your subjects changes how they act because of your expectancy of the data

Socially Desirable responding/faking good

the participant responds in a way that is most socially acceptable

Better than average effect

People tend to describe themselves in positive ways that aren't necessarily true

Correlational Studies

Examine how variables are naturally related in the real world. Dependent and Independent variables, could have positive, negative or no correlation. Correlation does not imply causation.

Directionality problem

Researchers find a relationship between two variables but cannot determine which variable may have caused changes in another variable.

Third Variable Problem

Researchers cannot be confident in an unmeasured variable isn't the actual cause of the differences in the variables of interest.

Experimental Studies

Research manipulates one variable to examine its effect on a second variable.

Independent Variable

Variable that is manipulated by the experimenter

Dependent Variable

Variable that is affected by or related to the independent variable

Experimental Group

Treatment group that receive the intervention

Control Group

Treatment group that doesn't receive intervention


Anything other than the independent variable that affects the dependent variable.

Random Sampling

every person in the population has an equal chance of being selected

Selection Bias

When groups are not equivalent because participants in different groups differ in unexpected ways that affect the dependent variable.

Institutional Review Boards (IRB's)

Review all proposed research to ensure that it meets scientific and ethical standards

Informed Consent

Participants have the right to know what will happen to them and must be given all the relevant information about the study

Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment

(1934-1972) A study on the natural progression of untreated syphilis in rural African American men who thought they were receiving free healthcare. Failure of ethics.

Construct Validity, External Validity, Internal Validity

Do the variables measure what they're supposed to? Can the findings be generalized outside the lab? Are the effects due to the experimental manipulations?

Random Error

amount of error introduced to each measurement differs each time

Systematic error

amount of error introduced into each measurement is constant

Mean, Median, Mode

Arithmetic average of a set of numbers. The value in a set of numbers that falls halfway between the highest and lowest number. The most frequent value in a set of numbers.

Standard Deviation

How far away each value is on average from the mean


The width from the highest to the lowest value

Correlation coefficient

a statistical value between -1.0 and +1.0 that shows correlation

The nervous system

responsible for everything we think feel and do

Basic components of the nervous system

Neurons, Central Nervous system (CNS) and Peripheral Nervous system (PNS)

Sensory (afferent) Neuron

detect information from the physical world and pass that information along to the brain

Motor (efferent) Neurons

direct muscles to contract or relax


Communicate within local or short distance circuits; can do either job but do it locally


detects chemical signals from neighboring neurons (small branches)

cell body

collects and integrates information in the neuron


transmits electrical impulses in the neuron

Myelin Sheath

encases and insulates axons

Node of Ranvier

spaces between glial cells, allows for speedy transfer

Terminal Buttons

bulbous end of an axon


supports chemical communication between neurons

Synaptic cleft

narrow gap between the terminal buttons and the dendrite of a neighboring neuron

Reception (neurons)

The phase where chemical signals are received from neighboring neurons

Integration (neurons)

The phase where incoming signals are assessed

Transmission (neurons)

The phase where signals are passed on to other receiving neurons

Resting membrane potential

the ratio of negative to positive ions is greater inside the neuron than the outside

Polarized (neurons)

when a neuron has more negative ions inside it than outside. All neurons start this way


the condition of being polarized which creates the electrical energy necessary to power a neuron.

Inhibitory Signals

these hyperpolarize the cell, decreasing the likelihood that the neuron will fire

Chemical Communication

Action potentials cause precynaptic neurons to release chemicals called neurotransmitters from terminal buttons


Neurotransmitter is reabsorbed into the presynaptic terminal buttons

Enzyme Deactivation

Enzyme destroys the neurotransmitter


signal the presynaptic receptors to stop accepting the neurons


drugs that enhance the actions of neurostransmitters (i.e. cocaine/heroin)


drugs that inhibit the actions of the neurotransmitters (i.e. botox)

Acetylcholine (ACH)

neurotransmitter responsible for motor control at the junctions between nerves and muscles by binding with the receptors to contract or relax muscles

Epinephrine (adrenaline)

neurotransmitter that regulates arousal, the adrenaline rush that prepares the body of dealing with threats


regulates arousal and alertness, especially important for vigilance


Neurotransmitter that regulates feelings, important for emotional states, impulse control and dreaming


Neurotransmitter that motivates behavior, communicates which activities may be rewarding, involved in motor control and planning

GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid)

Primary inhibitory neurotransmitter of the nervous system.


Primary excitory neurotransmitter of the nervous system. Aids in learning and memory.


Neurotransmitter involved in natural pain reduction and reward.

The Spinal Cord

Part of the brain that regulates the coordination of reflexes. Carries sensory information from the brain and motor signals away from the brain (afferent and efferent neurons)

Brain Stem

Upper tip of the spinal cord. Houses the nerves that control the most basic functions of survivial (i.e. heart rate, breathing, swallowing, vomiting etc.)

Cerebellum (little brain)

Part of the brain responsible for proper motor function, learning, and motor memory.


part of the brain that consists of two cerebral hemispheres, right and left.

Subcortical structures

Parts of the brain that lie below the cerebral cortex: hypothalamus, hippocampus, amygdala, and basal ganglia


the brain's master regulatory structure: regulates body temperature, body rhythms, blood pressure, and blood glucose


Gateway to the cerebral cortex. Except smell, regulates all incoming sensory information, organizes it and relays it to the cortex.


part of the brain that plays an important role in the storage of new memories. Grows larger with increased use.


part of the brain that serves a vital role in our learning to associate things in the world with negative and positive emotional responses

Basal Ganglia

part of the brain crucial for planning and producing movement

Cerebral Cortex

the outer layer of the cerebral hemispheres. The site of all thoughts, detailed perceptions and complex behaviors.

Corpus Callosum

a bridge of axons connecting the hemispheres of your brain to each other.

Occipital lobe

lobe at the very back of the head and devoted almost exclusively to vision.

Parietal lobe

lobe located in front of the occipital and behind the frontal lobes. Devoted partially to touch. The left hemisphere gets touch information from the right side of the body and vice versa

Temporal lobe

lobe located below the parietal lobes and in front of the occipital lobe. important for processing auditory information

Frontal lobe

the front lobe. responsible largely for voluntary movement

Prefrontal Cortex

brain region particularly concerned with social phenomena.

Somatic nervous system (SNS)

transmits sensory signals to/from the central nervous system

Automatic nervous system (ANS)

regulated the body's internal environment

Sympathetic division (ANS)

prepares the body for action (fight or flight)

Parasympathetic division (ANS)

returns the body to its normal resting state

The endocrine system

communication network the influences thoughts, behaviors, and actions, using hormones instead of electrochemical signals


chemical substances released into the bloodstream by endocrine glands, such as the pancreas, thyroid and testes or ovaries


a property of the brain that allows it to change as a result of experience, drugs or injury.

Critical periods

time periods within which particular experiences must occur for development in the brain to proceed normally


New neurons are produced in some brain regions (i.e. the hippocampus to form new memories)

Radical Hemispherectomy

after the surgical removal of an entire cerebral hemisphere, the remaining hemisphere eventually takes on the roles of the missing one

Human Development Project

mapped the entire structure of the human DNA


made of deoxyribonunleic acid consisting of 2 intertwined strands of molecules in a double helix shape


An organism's genetic makeup: never changes


An organism's observable physical characteristics: always changing

Behavioral Genetics

the study of how genes and environment interact to influence psychological activity

Twin Studies

Study that compares similarities between monozygotic twins and dizygotic twins to determine the genetic basis of specific traits

Dizygotic (fraternal)

two sperm fertilize two eggs which becomes two zygotes

Monozygotic (identical)

one sperm fertilizes one egg and splits the zygote in two

Adoption studies

studies that compare biological relatives and adoptive relatives


Our sensory organs' detection and response to external stimulus energy and the transmission of those responses to the brain


the brain's processing of detected signals, resulting in internal representations of the stimuli that form a conscious experience of the world

Sensory Coding

sensory receptors translate the physical properties of stimuli into patterns of neural impulses


A process by which sensory receptors produce neural impulses for the brain


the sense of taste, main job is to keep poisons out of our system

Taste buds

sensory organs, mostly on the tongue, come in the form of tiny, mushroom shaped structures


the sense of smell

Process of Olfaction

-Odorants pass into the nose and nasal cavity

-Contact a thin layer of tissue embedded in receptors called the olfactory epithelium

-smell receptors transmit the information to the olfactory build

Haptic Sense

the sense of touch


the sense of sound

sound wave

change in pressure that travels through air


the outside protective layer of the eye


the colored portion of the eye


Black part of the eye


In the eye; consists of rods and cones. Rods respond at extremely low levels of illumination and are responsible for night vision. Cones are less sensitive, responsible primarily for vision under high illumination and for seeing color and detail.

Trichromatic theory

activity in three different types of cones that are sensitive to different wavelengths

Opponent process theory

different types of vision cells, working in opposing pairs, create the perception that red/green, black/blue

Bottom-Up processing

data are relayed in the brain from lower to higher levels of processing

Top-down processing

Information at higher levels of mental processing can influence lower, "earlier" levels in the processing hierarchy

Gestalt Principles of Perceptual Organization

a series of laws explaining how our brains group the perceived features of a visual scene into organized wholes

Principle of Proximity

the closer two objects are, the more we see them as grouped

Principle of similarity

we tend to group figures according to how closely they resemble each other

Good Continuation

being able to continue an object even when it is disconnected


the tendency to complete figures that have missing gaps

illusory contours

seeing negative space where we fill in those gaps because of a shape missing

Binocular Depth cues

available from both eyes and contribute to bottom up processing

Binocular disparity

this cue is based by the distance between a human's two eyes

Stereoscopic vision

the ability to determine an object's depth based on eyes


when eye muscles turn the eyes inward, the brain knows how much the eyes are converging and uses this information to perceive distance

Monocular depth cues

available from each eye alone and provide organization information

Occlusion (Pictorial depth cue)

a near object occludes or blocks an object further away

Relative size (pictorial depth cue)

Far off object projects a smaller retinal image than close objects do, if the far off and close objects are the same physical size

Familiar size (pictorial depth cue)

we know how large a familiar object is so we can tell how far away it is by the size of its retinal image

Linear Perspective (pictorial depth cue)

seemingly parallel lines appear to converge in the distance

Texture Gradient (pictorial depth cue)

as a uniformly textured surface recedes, its texture continuously becomes denser

Position relative to horizon (pictorial depth cue)

objects below the horizon that appear higher int he visual field are perceived as being farther away and vice versa