Empiricism: the view that knowledge originates in experience and that science should rely on observation and experimentation.
Structuralism: an early school of psychology that used introspection to explore the structural elements of the human mind. Introduced by Edward Titchener.
Introspection: looking inward
Overt: in the open, something that can be seen.
Covert: hidden, something that cannot be seen.
Subjective: existing in the mind: personal emotions, beliefs, feelings, etc.
Objective: intending to complete a goal, the same applies to everyone.
Functionalism: a school of psychology that focused on how our mental and behavioral processes function and how they enable us to adapt, survive, and flourish. Introduced by William James.
Experimental psychology: the study of behavior and thinking using the experimental method.
Behaviorism: the view that psychology (1) should be an objective science that (2) studies behavior without reference to mental processes. Most research psychologists today agree with (1) but not with (2).
Humanistic psychology: historically significant perspective that emphasized the growth potential of healthy people and the individual’s potential for personal growth.
Cognitive neuroscience: the interdisciplinary study of the brain activity linked with cognition (including perception, thinking, memory, and language).
Psychology: the science of behavior and mental processes of people and organisms. Wilhelm Wundt established the first psychology lab in Leipzig, Germany.
Nature-Nurture issue: the longstanding controversy over the relative contributions that genes (nature) and experience (nurture) make to the development of psychological traits and behaviors.
Natural Selection: the principle that among the range of inherited trait variations, those contributing to reproduction and survival will most likely be passed on to succeeding generations. Charles Darwin proposed this theory.
Psychometrics: the scientific study of the measurement of human abilities, attitudes, and traits.
Applied research: scientific study that aims to solve practical problems.
Basic research: pure science that aims to increase the scientific knowledge base.
Developmental psychology: the scientific study of physical, cognitive, and social change throughout the life span.
Educational psychology: the study of how psychological processes affect and can enhance teaching and learning.
Personality psychology: the study of an individual’s characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting.
Social psychology: the scientific study of how we think about, influence, and relate to one another.
Industrial-Organizational psychology: the application of psychological concepts and methods to optimizing human behavior in workplaces.
Human factors psychology: the study of how people and machines interact and the design of safe and easily used machines and environments.
Counseling psychology: a branch of psychology that assists people with problems in living (often related to school, work, or marriage) and in achieving greater well-being.
Clinical psychology: a branch of psychology that studies, assesses, and treats people with psychological disorders.
Psychiatry: a branch of medicine dealing with psychological disorders; practiced by physicians who often provide medical (for example, drug) treatments as well as psychological therapy.
Levels of Analysis: the differing complementary, from biological to psychological to social-cultural, for analyzing any given phenomenon.
Biopsychosocial approach: an integrated approach that incorporates biological, psychological, and social-cultural levels of analysis.
Research and History Key People:
Socrates and Plato: the mind is separable from the body and continues after the body dies. Knowledge is innate.
Aristotle: derived principles from careful observations. Knowledge is not preexisting. It grows from the experiences stored in our memories.
Rene Descartes: agreed with Socrates and Plato about the existence of innate ideas and mind’s being “entirely distinct from body” and able to survive its death. Surmised that people’s brains have “animal spirits” (we now call them nerves).
William Wundt: established the first psych lab in Germany.
Edward Titchener: Cornell professor who introduced the school of structuralism by using introspection to search for the mind’s structural elements.
William James: Harvard philosopher-psychologist who introduced the school of functionalism by considering the functions of our thoughts and feelings. Wrote the textbook Principles of Psychology and tutored Mary Calkins.
Mary Calkins: student of William James who became the first female president of the American Psychological Association. She also became a pioneering memory researcher.
Margaret Floy Washburn: became the first woman to receive a Ph. D. in Psychology. She also studied animal behavior.
Max Wertheimer: developed the Gestalt perspective.
School of Thought
How we learn observable responses and experiences.
John Watson (founder of Behaviorism), B.F. Skinner
How behavior springs from unconscious drives and conflicts.
How we strive for personal growth.
Carl Rogers, Abraham Maslow
How we encode, process, store, and retrieve information.
How the body and brain enable emotions, memories, and sensory experiences
How evolution influences behavior
How behavior and thinking vary across situations and cultures
The organized whole
Hindsight bias: the tendency to believe, after learning an outcome, that one would have foreseen it. Also known as the I-knew-it-all-along-phenomenon.
Overconfidence: the tendency to be more confident than correct.
Critical thinking: thinking that does not blindly accept arguments and conclusions. Rather, it examines assumptions, discerns hidden values, and evaluates evidence, and assesses conclusions.
The Scientific Method: a self-correcting process for asking question sand observing nature’s answers.
Theory: an explanation using an integrated set of principles that organizes observations and predicts behaviors or events.
Hypothesis: a testable prediction, often implied by a theory. Usually an “if-then” statement.
Case study: an observation technique in which one person is studied in depth in the hope of revealing universal principles.
Survey: a technique for ascertaining the self-reported attitudes or behaviors of a particular group, usually by questioning a representative, random sample of the group.
1. Population: all the cases in a group being studied from which samples may be drawn.
2. Random sample: a sample that fairly represents a population because each member has an equal chance of inclusion.
3. Representative sample: A subset of the population carefully chosen to represent the proportionate diversity of the population as a whole
4. False consensus effect: A tendency to overestimate the extent to which others share our beliefs and behaviors.
Naturalistic observation: observing and recording behavior in naturally occurring situations without trying to manipulate and control the situation. *Naturalistic observation doesn’t explain, it only describes.
1. Observer effect: making sure the observer does not have an effect on the person/animal being observed.
2. Participation observation: observing a group by blending in. However, the group does not know they are being observed.
3. Observer bias: only recording observations that support your views.
Longitudinal study: studying a person or event over a long period of time. Ex. the effects of medications on kids.
Cross sectional study: A study in which people of different ages are compared w/one another. Ex. looking at different age groups and what political topics are more important to them.
Ex-post facto study: studying something after it happened naturally. Look at the effect, seek the cause. Ex. birth defects.
Experiment: a research method in which an investigator manipulates one or more factors (independent variables) to observe the effect on some behavior or mental process (the dependent variable); makes it possible to study cause and effect relationships.
Operational definition: specifically names the operations (steps or procedures) that the experimenter must use to control or measure the variables in the experiment. This allows the experiment to be replicated.
Replication: repeating the essence of a research study, usually with different participants in different situations, to see whether the basic finding extends to other participants and circumstances.
Random assignment: assigning participants to experimental and control groups by chance, thus minimizing preexisting differences between those assigned to the different groups.
Double-blind procedure: an experimental procedure in which both the research participants and the research staff are ignorant (blind) about whether the research participants have received the treatment or placebo. This is commonly used in drug studies.
Placebo: a pseudo treatment, in drug studies, a pill with no drug in it.
Placebo effect: experimental results caused by expectations alone; any effect on behavior caused by administration of a placebo, which the recipient assumes is an active agent.
Experimental group: in an experiment, the group that is exposed to the treatment, to one version of the independent variable.
Control group: in an experiment, the group that is not exposed to the treatment; contrasts with the experimental group and serves as a comparison for evaluating the effect of the treatment.
Independent variable (IV): the experimental factor that is manipulated and tested. Ex. studying the effects of a drug on memory, the drug is the IV.
Dependent variable (DV): the experimental factor that is being measured. Ex. studying the effects of a drug on memory, memory is the DV.
Confounding variable: a factor other than the IV that might produce an effect in an experiment. Ex. the temperature of the room, external noises, etc.
Mode: the measure of central tendency that is the most frequently occurring score(s) in a distribution.
Mean: the measure of central tendency that is the arithmetic average of a distribution. It is obtained by adding the scores and then dividing by the number of scores.
Median: the measure of central tendency that is the middle score in a distribution (falls at the 50th percentile); half the scores are above it and have are below it.
Range: the measure of variation that is the difference between the highest and lowest scores in a distribution.
Standard deviation: a computed measure of how much scores vary around the mean score.
Normal curve (normal distribution): a symmetrical, bell-shaped curve that describes the distribution of many types of data; most scores fall near the mean (68% fall with in one standard deviation of it) and fewer and fewer near the extremes.
Statistical significance: a statistical statement of how likely it is that an obtained result occurred by chance.
Correlation: a measure of the extent to which two factors vary together, and thus of how well either factor predicts the other. *Correlation does not show causation.
Correlation coefficient: a statistical index of the relationship between two things (from -1 to +1).
Illusory correlation: the perception of a relationship where none exists. Ex. thinking you play better when you wear your lucky socks.
Scatterplot: a graphed cluster of dots each of which represents the values of two variables. The slope of the points suggests the direction of the relationship between the two variables. The amount of scatter suggests the strength of the correlation (little scatter indicates high correlation).
Example for a positive correlation: the more time you spend in the sun, the more likely you are to get sunburned. *Remember with positive correlations, the two variables go in the same direction. They can be either up or down. Ex. The more time you spend in the sun, the more likely you are to get burned. OR The less time you spend in the sun, the less likely you are to get sunburned.
Example for a negative correlation: the more sunscreen you put on, the less sunburned you will get.