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Vocab from Baron's AP Psychology prep book and Psychology, AP Edition with Discovery Psychology


first began in laboratory set up by Wilhelm Wundt; process of reporting on one's own conscious mental experiences


idea proposed by Wundt that the mind operates by combining subjective emotions and objective sensations; aimed to uncover the basic structures that make up mind and thought


theory presented by William James; emphasizes adaptiveness of the mental or behavioral processes

Wilhelm Wundt

set up first psychological laboratory in Leipzig, Germany in 1879; known for training subjects in introspection and for his theory of structuralism

Margaret Floy Washburn

first woman to earn a Ph.D. in psychology

William James

published The Principles of Psychology, the science's first textbook; responsible for theory of functionalism

Mary Whiton Calkins

studied with William James and went on to become president of the American Psychological Association

G. Stanley Hall

student of William James who pioneered he study of child development and was the first president of the APA

Gestalt psychology

theory that states that the whole experience is often more than just the sum of the parts, because the way we experience the world is more than just an accumulation of various perceptual experiences; relatively little influence on current psychology

Max Wertheimer

Gestalt psychologist who argued against dividing human thought and behavior into discrete structures


theory that states a part of our mind over which we do not have conscious control determines, in part, how we think and behave

Sigmund Freud

revolutionized psychology with his psychoanalytic theory; believed the unconscious mind must be examined through dream analysis, word association, and other psychoanalytic therapy techniques; criticized for being unscientific and creating unverifiable theories


theory that states psychologists should look at only behavior and causes of behavior, and not concern themselves with describing elements of consciousness; dominant school of thought in psychology from the 1920s through the 1960s

John Watson

psychologist who believed the science must limit itself to observable phenomena; wanted to establish behaviorism as the dominant paradigm of psychology

B. F. Skinner

behaviorist who expanded the basic ideas of behaviorism to include the idea of reinforcement- environmental stimuli that either encourage or discourage certain responses


modern psychological viewpoint that stresses individual choice and free will; suggests that we choose most of our behaviors and these choices are guided by physiological, emotional or spiritual needs; not easily tested by the scientific method; includes theorists Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers


modern psychological perspective that explains human thought and behavior strictly in terms of biological processes (e.g. genes, hormones, and neurotransmitters)

evolutionary perspective

also known as Darwinian; modern psychological perspective that examines human thoughts and actions in terms of natural selection; similar to biopsychology

behavioral perspective

modern psychological perspective that explains human thought and behavior in terms of conditioning; looks strictly at observable behaviors and what reaction organisms get in response to specific behaviors

cognitive perspective

modern psychological perspective that examines human thought and behavior in terms of how we interpret, process, and remember environmental events

sociocultural perspective

modern psychological perspective that looks at how our thoughts and behaviors vary from people living in other cultures; emphasizes the influence of culture on the way we think and act

Jean Piaget

came up with a cognitive developmental theory, which focuses on how our cognitions develop in stages as we mature

developmental perspective

modern psychological perspective emphasizing that change occurs across a lifespan; focus has shifted over recent years to teens and adults

trait view

modern psychological perspective that views behavior and personality as the products of enduring psychological characteristics

basic research

explores questions that are of interest to psychologists but are not intended to have immediate, real-world applications; also referred to as experimental psychology

operational definitions

a researcher's explanation how the variable of an experiment will be measured


research that measures what the researcher set out to measure; accurate


research that can be replicated and is consistent


individuals on which research is conducted


the process by which participants for research are selected


includes anyone or anything that could possibly be selected to be in the sample for research

random selection

every member of the population has an equal chance of being selected as a participant in research

stratified sampling

process that allows a researcher to ensure that the sample represents the population on some criteria

laboratory experiments

experiments conducted in a lab, a highly controlled environment; advantage of being easily controlled

field experiments

experiments conducted in the world; advantage of being more realistic

confounding variables

any difference between the experimental and control conditions, except for the independent variable, that might affect the dependent variable


the process by which participants are put into a group, experimental control

random assignment

each participant has an equal chance of being placed into any group

participant-relevant confounding variables

when groups are not randomly assigned during an experiment; increases the chance of participants in the two groups differ in any meaningful way

group matching

used if one wants to ensure that the experimental and control groups are equivalent on some criterion (e.g. sex, IQ scores, or age)

situation-relevant confounding variables

when the situations into which the different groups of an experiment are put are not truly equivalent; can create invalid experiment results due to the situation rather than the independent variable

experimenter bias

the unconscious tendency for researchers to treat members of the experimental and control groups differently to increase the chance of confirming their hypothesis

double-blind procedure

when neither the participants nor the researcher are able to affect the outcome of the research

demand characteristics

cues about the purpose of the study; participants use such cues to try to respond appropriately, skewing the validity of the experiment

response bias

the tendency for subjects to behave in certain ways; can alter validity of experiment

social desirability

the tendency of participants to try to give answers that reflect well upon them


erroneous assertions or practices set forth as being scientific psychology

confirmation bias

the tendency to attend to evidence that complements and confirms our beliefs or expectations, while ignoring evidence that does not


ancient Greek philosopher who studied areas like cognition; was first philosopher credited with the study of gaining knowledge


ancient Greek philosopher who developed theories of sensation, perception, cognition, memory, problems olving, and ethics

René Descartes

17th century French philosopher who asserted that human sensations and behaviors are based on activity in the nervous system

Wolfgang Kohler

Gestalt psychologist who studied insight learning, an overlooked form of learning marked by sudden "Aha!" experiences


field devoted to understanding how the brain creates thoughts, feelings, motives, consciousness, memories and other mental processes


mental processes, such as thinking, memory, sensation, and perception

cognitive neuroscience

an interdisciplinary field emphasizing brain activity as information processing; involves cognitive psychology, neurology, biology, computer science, linguistics, and specialists from other fields who are interested in the connection between mental processes and the brain

psychodynamic psychology

modern clinical viewpoint emphasizing the understanding of mental disorders in terms of unconscious needs, desires, memories, and conflicts

clinical view

psychological perspective emphasizing mental health and mental illness; psychodynamic and humanistic psychology are variations of this

empirical investigation

an approach to research that relies on sensory experience and observation as research data

scientific method

developing a hypothesis, performing a controlled test, gathering objective data, analyzing results, and publishing, criticizing, and replicating the results

random presentation

process by which chance alone determines the order in which the stimulus is presented in an experiment

ex post facto

non-experimental method; research in which subjects are chosen based on a pre-existing condition

correlational studies

non-experimental method; a type of research that is mainly statistical in nature; determines the relationship between two variables


non-experimental method; a quasi-experimental method in which questions are asked to subjects; when being designed, the researcher hast o be careful that the questions are not skewed or biased towards a particular answer

naturalistic observation

non-experimental method; research in which subjects are observed in their natural environment

longitudinal study

non-experimental method; a type of study in which one group of subjects is followed and observed (or examined, surveyed, etc.) for an extended period of time (years.)

cross-sectional study

a study in which a representative cross section of the population is tested or surveyed at one specific time

cohort-sequential study

a research method in which a cross section of the population is chosen and then each cohort is followed for a short period of time

frequency distribution

a summary chart, showing how frequently each of the various scores in a set of data occurs


a bar graph depicting a frequency distribution; the height of the bars indicates the frequency of the group of scores

descriptive statistics

statistical procedures used to describe characteristics and responses of groups of subjects

measure of variability

how closely scores bunch up around the central point; a statistic that indicates the spread of distribution

measures of central tendency

averages; mean, median, and mode

hindsight bias

people's tendency upon hearing about research findings to think that they knew it all along

applied research

research conducted in order to solve practical problems

standard deviation

a measure of variability that indicates the average difference between the sources and their mean

normal distribution

a bell-shaped curve, describing the spread of a characteristic throughout a population

correlation coefficient

a number between -1 and +1 expressing the degree of relationship between two variables

inferential statistics

statistical techniques (based on probability theory) used to assess whether the results of a study are reliable or whether they might be simply the result of chance; often used to determine whether two or more groups are essentially the same or different

representative sample

a sample obtained in such a way that it reflects the distribution of important variables in the larger population in which the researchers are interested; variables such as age, income level, ethnicity, and geographic distribution

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