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Prologue and Chapter 18


The scientific study of the human mind and its functions, esp. those affecting behavior in a given context


is a theory of knowledge that asserts that knowledge comes only or primarily from sensory experience.


A method of interpretation and analysis of aspects of human cognition, behavior, culture, and experience that focuses on relationships of contrast between elements in a conceptual system that reflect patterns underlying a superficial diversity. (William Wundt)


The theory that mental states can be sufficiently defined by their cause, their effect on other mental states, and their effect on behavior. (William James)

Humanistic Psychology

Every individual as unique and as possessing an inherent capacity for making rational choices, positive growth and ultimately, maximum potential.


A traditional and long-standing disagreement over whether heredity or environment is more important in the development of living things, especially human beings.

Natural Selection

The process whereby organisms better adapted to their environment tend to survive and produce more offspring. (Charles Darwin)

Biopsychosocial Approach

biological and psychological factors like thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, and other social factors, all contribute to human wellbeing and illness.

Basic Research

Acquire new knowledge of the underlying phenomena and observable facts, without any particular application or use in view.

Applied Research

Research that applies to the entire public-post secondary system and is targeted to build new knowledge about instructional technologies

Counseling Psychology

The practice of psychology with an emphasis on coping with everyday living and development.

Clinical Psychology

A clinical psychologist is a mental health professional with highly specialized training in the diagnosis and psychological treatment of mental illness.


A medical practitioner specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. (both medical and psychological therapy treatments.)

Wilhelm Wundt

Wilhelm Wundt established the first psychological lab (and experiment). He looked into the side of psychology called structuralism. Structuralism refers to the early psychology which explored the structure of the brain, not the "why."
Wundt was a philosopher and physiologist.

Edward B. Titchener

studied under Wilhelm Wundt for several years. Titchener is best known for creating his version of psychology that described the structure of the mind; structuralism.

William James

Writing the Principles of Psychology. James-Lange Theory of Emotion, which he formulated independently of Carl Lange. According to the theory, an emotion is simply the mind's interpretation of certain physiological processes that occur as a response to certain stimuli.

Mary Calkins

Becoming the first woman president of the American Psychological Association and being denied her doctorate from Harvard.

Margaret Floy Washburn

Leading American psychologist in the early 20th century, was best known for her experimental work in animal behavior and motor theory development. She was the first woman to be granted a PhD in psychology.

Sigmund Freud

Psychoanalysis, a method for treating psychological pathology by means of dialogue between the patient and the psychoanalyst.
Unconscious mind holds the key to understanding conscious thoughts and behavior, and the role that dreams play in unlocking what is hidden or repressed beneath conscious awareness.

John B Watson and Rosalie Rayner

The Little Albert experiment was a case study showing empirical evidence of classical conditioning in humans. He felt that following the principles of classical conditioning, he could condition a child to fear another distinctive stimulus which normally would not be feared by a child.

B.F. Skinner

Best known for developing the theory of Operant Conditioning, which uses reinforcers or consequences to change behavior. A positive reinforcer is one whose presence increases the likelihood of the response. A reward like food, money, or verbal praise are considered positive reinforcers. A negative reinforcer is one whose absence increases the likelihood of the response.

Charles Darwin

English natural scientist who formulated a theory of evolution by natural selection.

Actor-Observer Bias

In social psychology that refers to a tendency to attribute one's own actions to external causes, while attributing other people's behaviors to internal causes. Essentially, people tend to make different attributions depending upon whether they are the actor or the observer in a situation.


Deep and enduring emotional bond that connects one person to another across time and space (Ainsworth, 1973; Bowlby, 1969).


Expression of favor or disfavor toward a person, place, thing, or event. (Gordon Allport)


Process by which people use information to make inferences about the causes of behavior or events.

Bystander Effect

Social phenomenon in which a person (or persons) are less likely to offer help to another person (or persons) when there are more people around who can also provide assistance.

Cognitive Dissonance

Anxiety that results from simultaneously holding contradictory or otherwise incompatible attitudes, beliefs, or the like, as when one likes a person but disapproves strongly of one of his or her habits.


Adjusting one's behavior or thinking to match those of other people or a group standard.


Social psychological term that relates to the manner in which humans identify themselves and prioritize their goals; focuses on the priorities of the group and not the individual. Also, fitting into the group, behaving in ways that are line with social norms, group solidarity, and gaining a sense of identity from being part of the group.

Companionate Love

What evolves from this type of love can be nothing, or it can turn into "companionate love," a deep, mature, affectionate attachment between people who love each other, like each other, and respect each other.

Central Route Persuasion

The central route to persuasion involves being persuaded by the arguments or the content of the message. For example, after hearing a political debate you may decide to vote for a candidate because you found the candidates views and arguments very convincing.


People in groups tend to lose some of their own self-awareness and self-restraint when in groups. They become less of an individual and more anonymous. In a sense, people will do things in groups they otherwise would not because they feel less responsible for their actions and less like an individual.


Diminished emotional responsiveness to a negative or aversive stimulus after repeated exposure to it.

Defensive Attribution

social psychological term from the attributional approach referring to a set of beliefs held by an individual with the function of defending the individual from concern that they will be the cause or victim of a mishap. Commonly, defensive attributions are made when individuals witness or learn of a mishap happening to another person. In these situations, attributions of responsibility to the victim or harm-doer for the mishap will depend upon the severity of the outcomes of the mishap and the level of personal and situational similarity between the individual and victim.


Classical and operant conditioning. In classical conditioning, it refers to an ability to distinguish between a conditioned stimulus (CS) and other, similar stimuli that don't signal an unconditioned stimulus (US). In operant conditioning, the definition is essentially the same, but here the organism discriminates between a learned, voluntary response and an irrelevant, non-learned response.

Door-in-the-face Effect

A strategy for gaining a concession. After someone first turns down a large request (the door-in-the-face), the same requester counteroffers with a more reasonable request.

Empathetic Arousal

Empathy is an ability to understand and feel what another person is feeling, not in a physical sense, but in an emotional sense.

Elaboration Likelihood Model

dual process theory of how attitudes are formed and changed that was developed by Richard E. Petty and John Cacioppo in the early 1980s


Belief that your society, group, or culture is superior to all others. Very often this means that differences in groups (e.g., your group has more old people than ours) are seen as somehow bad.

Group Cohesiveness

A function of the forces which lead members to remain in a group, including emotional connectedness to the group and shared group goals. Example: Gymgoers who join an exercise class or group they enjoy are more likely to keep up with their fitness regime.


Compliance tactic that involves getting a person to agree to a large request by first setting them up by having that person agree to a modest request.

Evolutionary Psychology

The study of the psychological adaptations of humans to the changing physical and social environment, especially of changes in brain structure, cognitive mechanisms, and behavioral differences among individuals.

Group Productivity

Individuals performed better when working in groups than when working on their own.

Fundamental Attribution Error

Over-value dispositional or personality-based explanations for the observed behaviors of others while under-valuing situational explanations for those behaviors.

Group Polarization

Being in a group tends to influence the way people make decisions. Group polarization occurs when members in a crowd or group of people choose sides. Members on opposite sides take positions that are increasingly farther from the views of the other side. (Why people divide into groups)


Psychological phenomenon that can occur in groups of people. Rather than critically evaluating information, the group members begin to form quick opinions that match the group consensus. Groupthink seems to occur most often when a respected or persuasive leader is present, inspiring members to agree with his or her opinion.

Halo Effect

The tendency for an impression created in one area to influence opinion in another area.


Person's ability to form close, loving relationships, which he stated is the primary developmental task of early adulthood.

Illusory Correlation

Example: you may have had some experiences with lawyers, some good, some not so good. It is possible that you only recall the bad experiences (maybe where you felt as though you were lied to by the lawyers) which leads you to formulate the conclusion that all lawyers are liars.

In-Group Bias

Tendency to favor one's own group. This is not one group in particular, but whatever group you associate with at a particular time.

Interpersonal Attraction

Attraction between people which leads to friendships and romantic relationships. Interpersonal attraction, the process, is distinct from perceptions of physical attractiveness which involves views of what is and is not considered beautiful or attractive.


People identify themselves and focus their goals. Individualism, which is the opposite of collectivism, gives priority to personal goals.

Just-World Hypothesis

The idea that people need to believe one will get what one deserves so strongly that they will rationalize an inexplicable injustice by naming things the victim might have done to deserve it. Also known as blaming the victim, the just-world fallacy, and the just-world effect. Example:Outsiders might deride people whose houses were destroyed by a tornado, blaming them for choosing to live in a disaster-prone area or for not building a stronger house.

Internal Attributes

Blaming a factor, agent, or force within one's control for causing an event. Also known as a dispositional attribution.

Example: When a cashier is short with her at the grocery store, the woman decides he must be a rude and crabby person all the time.

Matching Hypothesis

In the field of social psychology, the idea that people are more likely to form successful relationships with and express liking for people whose level of physical attractiveness roughly equals their own.

Example: A man of average attractiveness goes on one date with an extremely attractive person, and then another with an average-looking person. He finds he likes the average-looking date more.

Need to Affiliate

A person's need to feel a sense of involvement and "belonging" within a social group.


Unwritten but understood rules of a society or culture for the behaviors that are considered acceptable and expected. For example, in some countries it is the norm to put large piercings through the face as decoration or indication of belonging to a particular group. This same behavior might be considered unacceptable in another place. Thus it would be a norm in one place and not in another.


You change your opinions, judgments, or actions because someone in a position of authority told you to.


The tendency to have negative views about people that are not part of one's own group. The groups can be any groups you associate with at a particular time. So, for example, when you play on an intramural softball team that meets once a week, you are part of that softball team's ingroup; people who are on the other teams are part of the outgroup.

Passionate Love

If you have intense feelings (positive feelings) toward the other person to the point of really being wrapped up in the other person, you have passionate love. This doesn't have to fade over time, but it often does.


Negative, usually unjustified attitude directed toward people simply because they are members of a specific social group. For example, if a person believes that people from Bali are less intelligent than people from Nepal, that person would be prejudice toward those from Bali. Often times prejudice involves broad, sweeping generalizations about others.

Physical Proximity

Most people tend to become attracted to someone who lives near them. According to the psychology of attraction, physical proximity increases the attractiveness of a person as a result of constant exposure that happens. A theory called the mere exposure effect states that people tend to become attracted to a novel stimuli if it is repeated over and over again.

Physical Attractiveness

Degree to which a person's physical traits are regarded as aesthetically pleasing or beautiful.

Peripheral Route Persuasion

The peripheral route to persuasion involves being persuaded in a manner that is not based on the arguments or the message content. For example, after reading a political debate you may decide to vote for a candidate because you like the sound of the person's voice, or the person went to the same university as you did.The peripheral route can involve using superficial cues such as the attractiveness of the speaker.

Person Perception

The mental processes we use to form judgments and draw conclusions about the characteristics and motives of other people.

Prosocial Behavior

Phenomenon of people helping each other with no thought of reward or compensation. Prosocial behaviors are actions or patterns of behavior rather than motivations. The motivation to do charitable acts is called altruism. Example: If a person gives an unmarked box of clothing to a shelter anonymously, the action of giving the box is the prosocial behavior.

Reciprocity Norm

How positive actions bring about more positive actions while negative actions bring about more negative actions. For example, if a person receives a gift for their birthday, they are more likely to give a gift back to that person on their birthday. In contrast, if someone throws eggs at his neighbor's house, the neighbor will likely respond by adding a mixture of dandelion seeds to some fertilizer and spreading it on their lawn in the middle of the night.

Role Conflict

Conflict among the roles corresponding to two or more statuses.Example: A husband and father who is also Chief of Police. If a tornado strikes the small town he is living in, the man has to decide if he should go home and be with his family and fulfill the role of being a good husband and father or remain and fulfill the duties of a "good" Chief of Police because the whole town needs his expertise.


Social psychological term that relates to prejudice. According to this theory, people may be prejudice toward a group in order to vent their anger. In essence, they use the group they dislike as their target for all of their a vent. Example: The holocaust. According to scapegoat theory, the Germans used the Jews as scapegoats for all of their countries' problem.

Self-Serving Bias

People's tendency to attribute positive outcomes to personal factors, but attribute negative outcomes to external factors. In other words, "If it's a success, it's because of me. If it's a failure, it's because of someone or something else." Example: if I met my sales target, it's because I'm a great salesperson. But if I did not meet my sales target, it's because the economy is bad.

Self Perception

People infer their own attitudes, opinions, and other internal states partly by observing their behavior and the circumstances in which that behavior occurs. Example: A man who is asked whether he likes brown bread and who replies, 'I must like it; I'm always eating it'. This would be the same response that his wife would give if she were asked to answer for him. According to the theory, introspection is a poor guide to one's internal states, because internal cues are weak and ambiguous, and a person is in the same position as an outside observer, who relies on outward behavior in interpreting another's internal states.

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Prediction that causes itself to come true due to the simple fact that the prediction was made. This happens because our beliefs influence our actions. Example: If a woman thinks that her husband will leave her for another woman, she will act in ways that will directly or indirectly cause her belief to come true.

Social Comparison

There is a drive within individuals to gain accurate self-evaluations. The theory explains how individuals evaluate their own opinions and abilities by comparing themselves to others in order to reduce uncertainty in these domains, and learn how to define the self.

Social Loafing

The tendency for people in a group to put less effort into the task when the effort is pooled compared to when they are all responsible for their own contributions. Example: Road crews...sometimes there are 10 on the crew, 3 are working hard, 2 are sort of working, and the other 5 are sitting around talking. Are they all putting in as much effort as they would if each worked alone? Probably not.

Social Facilitation

People perform certain tasks better when they are in the presence of other people. This is true for simple tasks, tasks people are good at already, or already learned tasks, but not for difficult or novel tasks.

Social Inhibition

The person fears that the activity, appearance or discussion will meet with social disapproval. For example, a person with a low level of social inhibition might focus their conversation on subjects that others feel uncomfortable about or which are not commonly discussed in that particular social group; while a person with a high level of social inhibition would avoid touching on such subjects.

Social Schemas

Organizing and perceiving new information. Schemata influence attention and the absorption of new knowledge: people are more likely to notice things that fit into their schema, while re-interpreting contradictions to the schema as exceptions or distorting them to fit. Schemata have a tendency to remain unchanged, even in the face of contradictory information.

Social Learning Theory

Social behavior (any type of behavior that we display socially) is learned primarily by observing and imitating the actions of others. The social behavior is also influenced, according to this theory, by being rewarded and/or punished for these actions. For example, if a child sees his older brother bring home a good report card and he gets a great reward for it, the child may observe this, see the older brother get rewarded, and then learn that having a good report card will get rewarded so he should do it too.

Social Roles

The part people play as members of a social group. With each social role you adopt, your behavior changes to fit the expectations both you and others have of that role.


"Fixed" way of thinking about people in which you classify others into specific categories without much room for individualism or variation.

Soloman Asch

American Gestalt psychologist and pioneer in social psychology.

David Buss

professor of psychology at The University of Texas at Austin, known for his evolutionary psychology research on human sex differences in mate selection.

Leon Festinger

American social psychologist, responsible for the development of the Theory of Cognitive Dissonance, Social Comparison Theory, and the discovery of the role of propinquity in the formation of social ties as well as other contributions to the study of social networks.

Fritz Heider

Austrian psychologist whose work was related to the Gestalt school. In 1958 he published The Psychology of Interpersonal Relations, which expanded upon his creation of balance theory and marked the starting point of attribution theory.

Harold Kelley

American social psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. His major contributions have been the development of interdependence theory (with John Thibaut), the early work of attribution theory, and a lifelong interest in understanding close relationships processes.

Stanley Milgram

The Milgram Experiment, conducted in the 1960s during his professorship at Yale. Milgram was influenced by the events of the Nazi Holocaust to carry out an experiment that would demonstrate the relationship between obedience and authority.

Phil Zambardo

Psychologist and a professor emeritus at Stanford University. He is president of the Heroic Imagination Project. He is known for his Stanford prison study and authorship of various introductory psychology books and textbooks for college students, including The Lucifer Effect and The Time Paradox. (Research on good and evil)

Bernard Weiner

Social psychologist who is known for developing a form of attribution theory that explains the emotional and motivational entailments of academic success and failure. Bernard Weiner got interested in the field of attribution after first studying achievement motivation. He used TAT to identify differences in people's achievement needs and then turned to the study of individual issues people face when they think of their own successes and failures.

Cindy Hazen & Philip Shaver

Attachment theory describes the dynamics of long-term relationships between humans. Its most important tenet is that an infant needs to develop a relationship with at least one primary caregiver for social and emotional development to occur normally. Relationships later in life are built on this primary foundation. Attachment theory is an interdisciplinary study encompassing the fields of psychological, evolutionary, and ethological theory.

Irving Janis

Research psychologist at Yale University and a professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley most famous for his theory of "groupthink" which described the systematic errors made by groups when making collective decisions.

Elaine Hatfield

Pprofessor of Psychology at the University of Hawai'i. She is well known as a scholar who pioneered the scientific study of passionate love and sexual desire.

Kurt Lewin

German-American psychologist, known as one of the modern pioneers of social, organizational, and applied psychology.

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