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Ch. 1


the science of behavior and mental processes


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)

biopsychosocial approach

an integrated approach that incorporates biological, psychological, and social-cultural perspectives


the enduring behaviors, ideas, attitudes, and traditions shared by a large group of people and transmitted from one generation to the next

nature-nurture issue

the longstanding controversy over the relative contributions that genes and experience make to the development of psychological traits and behaviors. Today's science sees traits and behaviors arising from the interaction of nature and nurture

dual processing

the principle that information is often simultaneously processed on separate conscious and unconscious tracks

positive psychology

The scientific study of optimal human functioning; with the goals of discovering and promoting conditions that enable individuals and communities to thrive

hindsight bias

the tendency to believe, after learning an outcome, that we could have predicted it (I-knew-it-all-along)


an explanation using an integrated set of principles that organizes observations and predicts behaviors or events


a testable prediction, often implied by a theory

operational definition

A statement of the procedures used to define research variables


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

case study

a descriptive technique in which one person is studied in depth in hope of revealing universal principles


a descriptive technique for obtaining the self-reported attitudes or behaviors of people, usually by questioning a representative, random sample of a population

random sample

a sample that fairly represents a population because each member has an equal chance of inclusion

naturalistic observation

a descriptive technique of observing and recording behavior in naturally occurring situations without trying to manipulate and control the situation


a measure of the extent to which two events vary together, and thus of how well either one predicts the other

illusory correlation

the perception of a relationship where none exists


a research method in which an investigator manipulates one or more factors to observe the effect on some behavior or mental process

random assignment

assigning participants to experimental and control conditions by chance, thus minimizing preexisting differences between groups

experimental group

in an experiment, the group that is exposed to the treatment, that is, 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.


inactive substance or condition that is sometimes given to control group members in place of the treatment given to experimental group

double-blind procedure

procedure in which both the research participant and the research staff are ignorant about whether the participants have received the treatment or the placebo

placebo effect

results caused by expectations alone

independent variable

the experimental factor that is manipulated; the variable whose effect is being studied

dependent variable

the outcome factor; the variable that may change in response to manipulations of the independent variable

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