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the science of behavior and mental processes

scientific method

an approach to knowledge that relies on collecting data, generating a theory to explain the data, generating a theory to explain the data, producing testable hypotheses based on the theory, and testing those hypotheses empirically.


systematic explanation of a phenomenon; it organizes known facts, allows us to predict new facts, and permits us to exercise a degree of control over the phenomenon.


specific, testable predictions derived from a theory


School of psychology that stressed the basic units of experience and the combination in which they occur [ Tichtner]

functionalist theory

theory of mental life and behavior that is concerned with how an organism uses its perceptual abilities to function in its environment

psychodynamic theories

personality theories contending that behavior results from psychological forces that interact within the individual, often outside conscious awareness


school of psychology that studies only observable and measurable behavior

gestalt psychology

school of psychology that studies how people perceive and experience objects as whole patterns

humanistic psychology

school of psychology that emphasizes nonverbal experience and altered states of consciousness as a means of realizing one's full human potential

cognitive psychology

school of psychology devoted to the study of mental processes in the broadest sense.

evolutionary psychology

an approach to, and subfield of, psychology that is concerned with the evolutionary origins of behaviors and mental processes, their adaptive value, and the purposes they continue to serve


theoretical perspective that emphasizes the study of observable behaviors, especially as they pertain to the process of learning.


person who believes that knowledge comes from experience with the environment.


looking inward in attempt to study feelings and sensations


person who believes that certain ideas or personal characteristics are innate or inborn


greek philosopher that proposed that some ideas are innate


greek philosopher that proposed theories to explain many aspects of human behavior; supported the empiricist view that all knowledge comes from sensory experiences

Rene Descartes

french nativist scholar; proponent of dualism; argued that "threads" within the body control movement, and that some behaviors occur without thought

John Locke

British empiricist philosopher who argued that the mind is a blank slate at birth

Hermann von Helmholtz

German physiologist who demonstrated that the movement of impulses in the nerves and in the brain was not instantaneous, but instead took a small but finite about of time.

Charles Darwin

british biologist who introduced the ideas of natural selection and evolution; argued that specific behaviors evolved because they led to advantages in survival or reproduction

Wilhelm Wundt

german physiologist who founded psychology as a formal science; opened first psychology research laboratory in 1879

G. Stanley Hall

american psychologist who established the first psychology research laboratory in the United States and founded the American Psychological Association

Edward Titchener

student of Wundt; popularized the method of introspection

William James

american philosopher and psychologist who wrote an influential psychology textbook

Hermann Ebbinghaus

german psychologist who conducted the first extensive experiments on memory

Mary Whiton Calkins

american psychologist who conducted research on memory, personality and dreams; first woman president of the APA

Sigmund Freud

austrian physician whose work focused on the unconscious causes of behavior and personality formation; founded psychoanalysis

Ivan Pavlov

Russian physiologist who discovered the principles of classical conditioning

Edwin Thorndike

american psychologist who conducted experiments on animal learning

Margaret Floy Washburn

american psychologist who studied animal behavior; first woman to receive a Ph.D in psychology

John B. Watson

american psychologist who championed behaviorism and studied operant conditioning

Jean Piaget

swiss psychologist who pioneered the cognitive development in children

Abraham Maslow

humanistic psychologist who developed a theory of motivation that emphasized psychological growth

Noam Chomsky

american linguist who influenced the growth of cognitive psychology

Carl Rogers

american psychotherapist who was a supporter of humanistic psychology

positive psychology

an emerging field of psychology that focuses on positive experiences, including subjective well-being, self-determination, the relationship between positive emotions and physical health, and the factors that allow i ndividuals, communities, and societies to flourish


the psychological or social meanings attatched to being biologically male or female. often used interchageably with one's biological makeup or sex

gender stereotypes

general beliefs about characteristics that are presumed to be typical of each sex

gender roles

behaviors that we expect each gender to engage in

feminist theory

feminist theories offer a wide variety of views on the social roles of women and men, the problems and rewards of those roles, and the prescriptions for changing them

sexual orientation

refers to the direction of one's sexual interest toward members of the same sex, the other sex, or both sexes


a subpopulation of species, defined according to an identifiable characteristic


a common cultural herritage-including religion, language or ancestry- that is shared by a group of individuals


the tangible goods and the values, attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs that are passed from one generation to another

emprical evidence

information derived from systematic, objective observation

naturalistic observation

research method involving the systematic study of animal or human behavior in natural settings rather htan in the laboratory

observer bias

expectations or biases of the observer that might distort or influence his or her interpretation of what was actually observed

case study

intensive description and analysis of a single individual or just a few individuals

survery research

research technique in wihch questionaries or interviews are administered to a selected group of people

correlational research

research technique based on the naturally occuring relationship between two or more variables

experimental method

a research technique in which an investigator deliberately manipulates selected events or circumstances and then measures the effects of those manipulations on subsequent behavior


individuals whose reactions or responses are observed in an experiment

independent variable

in an experiment, the variable that is manipulated to test its effects on the other dependent variables

dependent variable

in an experiment, the variable that is measured to see how it is changed by manipulations made in the independent variable

experimental group

in a controlled experiment, the group subjected to a change in the independent variable

control group

in a controlled experiment, the group not subjected to a change in the independent variable; used for comparison with the experimental group

experimental bias

expectations by the experimenter that might influence the results of an experiment or its interpretations


selection of cases from a larger population

random sample

sample in which reach potential participant has an equal chance of being selected

representative sample

sample carefull chosen so that the characteristics of the participants correspond closely to the characteristics of the larger population.

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