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the scientific study of behavior that is tested through scientific research


having to do with an organism's physical process


having to do with an organism's thinking and understanding

describe, explain, predict, influence

goals of psychology


an assumption or prediction about behavior that is tested through scientific research


a set of assumptions used to explain phenomena and offered for scientific study

basic science

the pursuit of knowledge about natural phenomena for its own sake

applied science

discovering ways to use scientific finding to accomplish practical goals

scientific method

a general approach to gathering information and answering questions so that errors and biases are minimized

Socrates, Plato, Aristotle

Origins of Psychology: Ancient Greeks


learn about ourselves by examining our thoughts and feelings


"Know Thyself"


human behavior is subject to certain rules and laws; Peri Psyche- "about the mind"

Origins of Psychology: Middle Ages

common thought that people were possessed by demons; subjected people to water-float tests


the mind and body are separate and distinct

Rene Descartes

believe the mind and body influenced each other; the mind controlled the body's movements, sensations,and perceptions


a psychologist who studied the basic elements that make up conscious mental experiences

Wilhelm Wundt



a method of self-observation in which participants report their thoughts and feelings


a psychologist who studied the function (rather than the structure) of consciousness; concerned with how mental processes help organisms adapt to their environment

William James


Sir Francis Galton

wanted to understand how heredity influences a person's abilities, character, and behavior; concluded that genius or eminence is a heredity trait; Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development- raised questions as to whether or not behavior is determined by heredity or environment

Gestalt Psychology

idea that the context in which something occurs affects the way we perceive it; perception is more than the sum of its parts; "whole pattern"

Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Kohler, Kurt Koffka

Gestalt psychologists

structuralism, functionalism, inheritable traits, gestalt psychology

historical approaches to psychology

psychoanalytic, behavioral, humanistic, cognitive, biological, sociocultural

contemporary approaches to psychology


a psychologist who studies how unconscious motives and conflicts determine human behavior, feelings, and thoughts

Sigmund Freud

psychoanalyst; believed that our conscious experiences are only the tip of the iceberg, that beneath the surface are primitive biological urges that are in conflict with the requirements of society and morality

Free Association

a method for indirectly studying unconscious behavior; a patient said everything that came to mind without attempting to produce logical or meaningful statements; technique used by Freud


a psychologist who analyzes how organisms learn or modify their behavior based on their response to events in the environment

Ivan Pavlov, John Watson, B.F. Skinner


Ivan Pavlov

behavior is a product of prior experience

John Watson

behavior is the result of conditioning and occurs because of the appropriate stimulus is present in the environment; believed that psychology should concern itself only with the observable facts of behavior

B.F. Skinner

introduced reinforcement (a response to a behavior that increases the likelihood the behavior will be repeated); Walden Two


a psychologist who believes that each person has freedom in directing his or her future and achieving personal growth

Abram Maslow, Carl Rogers



a psychologist who studies how we process, store, retrieve, and use information and how thought processes influence our behavior

Jean Piaget, Noam Chomsky, Leon Festinger


Jean Piaget

believes that behavior is more than a simple response to a stimulus; behavior is influenced by a variety of mental processes, including perceptions, memories, and expectations


a psychologist who studies how physical and chemical changes in our bodies influence our behavior


study the influence of cultural and ethnic similarities and differences on behavior and social functioning


the small group of participants, out of the total number available, that a researcher studies

naturalistic observation

research method in which the psychologist observes the subject in a natural setting without interfering

case study

research method that involves an intensive investigation of one or more participants


research method in which information is obtained by asking many individuals a fixed set of questions

longitudinal study

research method in which data are collected about a group of participants over a number of years to assess how certain characteristics change or remain the same during development

cross-sectional study

research method in which data are collected from groups of participants of different ages and compared so that conclusions can be drawn about differences due to age


the measure of a relationship between two variables or sets of data


an educated guess about the relationship between two variables


any factor that is capable of change

experimental group

the group to which an independent variable is applied

control group

the group that is treated in the same way as the experimental group except that the experimental treatment (the independent variable) is not applied

self-fulfilling prophecy

a situation in which a researcher's expectations influence that person's own behavior, and thereby influence the participant's behavior

single-blind experiment

an experiment in which the participants are unaware of which participants received the treatment

double-blind experiment

an experiment in which neither the experimenter nor the participants known which participants received which treatment

placebo effect

a change in a participant's illness or behavior that results from a belief that the treatment will have an effect rather than from the actual treatment

stratified sample

look at the specific make up of the population being studied

positive correlation

both variables increase and/or decrease together

negative correlation

as one variable increases, the other decreases and vice versa

no correlation

no relationship between variables

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