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Research in Abnormal Psychology

nomothetic understanding

a general understanding of the nature, causes, and treatments of abnormal psychological functioning in the form of laws or principles

scientific method

the process of systematically gathering and evaluating info through careful observations to gain an understanding of a phenomenon


a hunch or prediction that certain variables are related in certain ways

case study

a detailed account of a person's life and psychological problems

internal validity

the accuracy with which a study can pinpoint one of various possible factors as the cause of a phenomenon

external validity

the degree to which the results of a study can be generalized beyond that study


the degree to which events or characteristics vary along with each other

correlational method

a research procedure used to determine how much events or characteristics vary along with each other

epidemiological study

a study that measures the incidence and prevalence of a disorder in a given population


the number of new cases of a disorder occurring in a population over a specific period of time


the total number of cases of a disorder occurring in a population over a specific period of time

longitudinal study

a study that observes the same participants on many occasions over a long period of time


a research procedure in which a variable is manipulated and the effect of the manipulation is observed

independent variable

the variable in an experiment that is manipulated to determine whether it has an effect on another variable

dependent variable

the variable in an experiment that is expected to change as the independent variable is manipulated


in an experiment, a variable other than the independent variable that is also acting on the dependent variable

control group

in an experiment, a group of participants who are not exposed to the independent variable

experimental group

in an experiment, the participants who are exposed to the independent variable under investigation

random assignment

a selection procedure that ensures that participants are randomly placed either in the control group or in the experiment group

blind design

an experiment in which participants do not know whether they are in the experimental or the control group

placebo therapy

a sham treatment that the participant in an experiment believes to be genuine

double-blind design

experimental procedure in which neither the participant now the experimenter knows whether the participant has received the experimental treatment or the placebo


an experiment in which investigators make use of control and experimental groups that already exits in the world at large. Also called mixed design

natural experiment

an experiment in which nature, rather than an experimenter, manipulates an independent variable

analogue experiment

a research method in which the experimenter produces abnormal-like behavior in laboratory participants and then conducts experiments on the participants

single-subject experimental design

a research method in which a single participant is observed and measured both before and after the manipulation of an independent variable

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