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Vocab and ppl


The scientific study of behavior and mental processes

Scientific Observation

An empirical investigation structured to answers questions about the world in a systematic and intersubjective fashion (observations can be reliably confirmed by multiple observers).

Research Method

a systematic approach to answering scientific questions

Animal Model

In research, an animal whose behavior is used to derive principles that may apply to human behavior


In scientific research, the process of naming and classifying


In psychology, understanding is achieved when the causes of a behavior can be stated.


An ability to accurately forecast behavior.


Altering conditions that influence behavior

Critical Thinking

An ability to reflect on, evaluate, compare, analyze, critique, and synthesize information


Any false and unscientific system of beliefs and practices that is offered as an explanation of behavior

The Uncritical Acceptance

The tendency to believe generally positive or flattering descriptions of onesself

Confirmation Bias

The tendency to remember or notice information that fits one's expectations, while forgetting discrepancies

Barnum Effect

The tendency to consider a personal description accurate if it is stated in very general terms

Scientific Method

a form of critical thinking based on careful measurement and controlled observation.
1. Making observations
2. defining a problem
3. proposing a hypothesis
4. gathering evidence/ testing the hypothesis
5. building a theory
6. publishing results


The Predicted outcome of an experiment or an educated guess about the relationship between variables

Operational Definition

Defining a scientific concept by stating the specific actions or procedures used to measure it. For example "hunger" might be defined as "the number of hours of food deprivation"


A system of ideas designed to interrelate concepts and facts in a way that summarizes existing data and predicts future observations


Any physical energy sensed by an organism


To look within; to examine one's own thoughts, feelings, or sensations.


The school of thought concerned with analyzing sensations and personal experience into basic elements


The school of psychology concerned with how behavior and mental abilities help people help people adapt to their environments

Natural Selection

Darwin's theory that evolution favors those plants and animals best suited to their living conditions


The school of psychology that emphasizes the study of overt, observable behavior


Any muscular action, glandular activity, or other identifiable aspect of behavior

Cognitive Behaviorism

An approach that combines behavioral principles with cognition (perception, thinking, anticipation) to explain behavior

Gesalt Psychology

A school of psychology emphasizing the study of thinking, learning, and perception, in whole units, not by analysis into parts


Contents of the mind that are beyond awareness, especially impulses and desires not directly known to the person


The unconscious process by which memories, thoughts, or impulses are held out of awareness


A freudian approach to psychotherapy emphasizing the exploration of unconcious conflicts


A psychologist who accepts the broad features of Freud's theory but has revised the theory to fit his or her own concepts

Psychodyanmic Theory

Any theory of behavior that emphasizes internal conflicts, motives, and unconscious forces


An approach to psychology that focuses on human experience, problems, potentials, and ideas
-free will
-spiritual needs/concerns
-self actualization


The idea that all behavior has prior causes that would completely explain one's choices, and actions if all such causes were known

Free Will

The idea that human beings are capable of freely making choices or decisions


the ongoing process of fully developing one's personal potential

Biological perspective

The attempt to explain behavior in terms of underlying biological principles

Psychological Perspective

The traditional view that behavior is shaped by psychological processes occuring at the level of the individual

Positive Psychology

The study of human strengths, virtues, and effective functioning

Sociocultural perspective

The focus on the importance of social and cultural contexts in influencing the behavior of individuals

Cultural Relativity

the idea that behavior must be judged relative to the values of the culture in which it occurs

Social Norms

Rules that define acceptable and expected behavior for members of a group


A person highly trained in the methods, factual knowledge, and theories of psychology

Clinical Psychologist

A psychologist who specializes in the treatment of psychological and behavioral disturbances or who does research on such disturbances

Counseling Psychologist

A psychologist who specializes in the treatment of milder emotional and behavioral disturbances


A medical doctor with additional training in the diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional disorders (can prescribe medication)


A mental health professional (usually a medical doctor) trained to practice psychoanalysis (hypnosis.. i think)


A mental health professional who specializes in helping people with problems not invovling serious mental disorder; for ex. marriage counselors, career counselors, or school counselors

Psychiactric social worker

A mental health professional trained to apply social science principles to help patients in clinics and hospitals


A formal trial undertaken to confirm or disconfirm a hypothesis about cause and effect.

Experimental Subjects



Any condition that changes or can be made to change; a measure, event, or state that may vary

Independent Variable

In an experiment, the condition being investigated as a possible cause of some change in behavior. The valuesthat this variable takes are chosen by the experiment. Suspected causes for differences in behavior

Dependent Variable

Measure the results of the experiment. that is, they reveal the effects that independent variables have on behavior. (test scores?)

Extraneous Variables

conditions researchers wish to prevent from affecting the outcome of the experiment.

Experimental Group

in a controlled experiment, the group of subjects exposed to the independent variable or experimental condition

Control Group

In a controlled experiment, the group of subjects exposed to all experimental conditions or variables except the independent variable

Random Assignment

the use of chance (for example, flipping a coin) to assign subjects to experimental and control groups

Statistical Significance

Experimental results that would rarely occur by chance alone

Research Participants Bias

Changes in behavior of research participants caused by the unintended influence of their own expectations

Placebo effect

changes in behavior due to participants' expectations that a drug (or other treatment) will have some effect


An inactive substance given in the place of a drug in psychological research or by physicians who wish to treat a complaint by suggestion

Single-blind experiment

An arrangement in which participants remain unaware of whether they are in the experimental group or the control group

Researchers bias

Changes in participants' behavior caused by unintended influence of researchers actions

Self-fufilling prophecy

a prediction that prompts people to act in ways that make the prediction come true

Double-blind experiment

An arrangement in which both participants and experimenters are unaware of whether participants are in the experimental group or the control group, uncluding who might have been administered a drug or a placebo

Experimental method

investigating causes of behavior through controlled experimentation

naturalistic method

observing behavior as it unfolds in natural settings

Observer effect

Changes in an organism's behavior brought about by awareness of being observed

Observer Bias

The tendency of an observer to distort observations or perceptions to match his/her expectations

Anthropomorphic Error

The error of attributing human thoughts, feelings, or motives to animals, especially as a way of explaining their behavior

Observation Record

A detailed summary of observed events or a video tape of observed behavior


The existence of a consistent, systematic realtionship between two events, measures, or variables

Correlational Study

A nonexperimental study designed to measure the degree of relationship (if any) between two or more events, measures, or variables

Coefficient of Correlation

A statistical index ranging from -1.00 to +1.00 that indicates the direction and degree of correlation.
C of C of 0 means no relationship!
C of C outside of -1.0 or +1.0 = ERROR!

Positive Correlation

A statistical relationship in which increases in one measure are matched by increases in the other (or decreases correspone with decreases

Negative Correlation

A statistical relationship in which increases in one measure are matched by decreases in the other


The act of causing some effect

Case study

an in-depth focus on all aspects of a single person (something happened to one person and there is no way to study it through many occurences.. rare)

Natural Clinical Test

An accident or other natural event that allows the gathering of data on a psychological phenomenon of interest

Survey method

the use of public polling techniques to answer psychological questions

Representative sample

a small, randomly selected part of a larger population that accurately reflects characteristics of the whole population


An entire group of animals or people belonging to a particular category (ex. all college students)

Basic Goals of Psych

1. Describe
2. Understand
3. Predict
4. Control

Wilhelm Wundt

Father of psych, from Germany, 1879, studied concious experience... eventually called "experimental self-observation", looking in.. introspective, stimulus

Edward Titchener

-broke thinking down into basic parts, called the structure of thinking
- structuralism

William James

-thought structuralism was too narrow in focus
-developed functionalism
-functionalists wanted to find out how the mind, perception, habits, and emotions help us adapt and survive

J.B. Watson

-watson said psychology is to be empirical
-believed we learn or develop our behavior through conditioning
*stimulus:physical energy, anything that causes a resoponse
*Respose:any reaction to stimuli
*Conditioning: process of learning by association/experience
*learning: relatively permanent change due to conditioning

Gesalt Phych

"The whole is greater than the sum of its parts"

Sigmund Freud

ideas: psychoanalytical/ psychodynamic
Freud Believed:
*nothing is by chance
*everything is connected somehow
*early impacts later
*unconcious mind is most significant

3 Part of Personality according to Freud

-Id: totally unconcious, instincts, PLEASURE PRINCIPLE
-Ego: assists in balanced choices, REALITY PRICIPLE
Superego: right+wrong, must do right, MORALITY PRINCIPLE

Development Psychology

child psych


conditioning, memory


Individual differences, motivation

Sensation and Perception

Processing sensory info


Brain and nervous system

Social Psych

attitudes, group, leadership

Comparative Psych

animal behavior

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