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basic science

the pursuit of knowledge about natural phenomenon for its own sake

applied science

discovering ways to use scientific findings to accomplish practical goals


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

physiological needs

having to do with an organism's physical processes

cognitive needs

having to do with an organism's thinking and understanding


the scientific study of behavior that is tested through scientific research

4 goals of psychology

describe, predict, explain, influence

wilhelm wundt

set up the first psychology lab in germany and used introspection (scientific method)


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


a psychologist who studies the function (rather than the structure) of consciousness

sir francis galton

wanted to understand how heredity influences a person's abilities, character, and behavior; concluded that genius or eminence is a hereditary trait

gestalt principle

the experience that comes from organizing bits and pieces of information into meaningful wholes

sigmund freud

studied the unconscious minds and dreams; created free association (the patient says anything that comes to mind)

ivan pavlov

behaviorist; the dog experiment

john b. watson

behaviorist; "little albert" --believed that psychology should concern itself only with the observable facts of behavior

b.f. skinner

introduced the concept of "reinforcement"


a response to a behavior that increases the likelihood the behavior will be repeated


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


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

abraham maslow

described human nature as evolving and self-directed; humans are not controlled by events or by unconscious forces; each person is unique and has a self-concept to develop fully


the concept that the mind and body are separate and distinct

case study

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


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


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

longitudinal study

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


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

double-blind experiment

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

single-blind experiment

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

self-fulfilling prophecy

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

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 the actual treatment

central nervous system

the brain and the spinal cord

somatic nervous system

the part of the peripheral nervous system that controls voluntary movement of skeletal muscles

autonomic nervous system

the part of the peripheral nervous system that controls internal biological functions


the long, thin cells of nerve tissue along which messages travel to and from the brain


the chemicals released by the neurons, which determine the rate at which other neurons fire


a part of the brain located at the rear base of the skull that is involved in the basic processes of life


a small part of the brain above the pons that integrates sensory information and relays it upward


a part of the brain that covers the brain's central core

corpus callosum

carries messages back and forth between the two hemispheres of the brain to jointly control human functions


a machine used to record the electrical activity of large portions of the brain

regions of the cerebral cortex

parietal lobe, occipital lobe, temporal lobe, frontal lobe, primary motor cortex, primary somatosensory cortex

endocrine system

a chemical communication system, using hormones, by which messages are sent through the bloodstream

nature vs. nurture

inherited genes vs. environmental factors

REM sleep

a stage of sleep characterized by rapid eye movements, a high level of brain activity, a deep relaxation of the muscles, and dreaming


the process of learning to control bodily states with the help of machines monitoring the states to be controlled


the focusing of attention to clear one's mind and produce relaxation


a state of consciousness resulting from a narrowed focus of attention and characterized by heightened suggestibility

absolute threshold

the weakest amount of a stimulus that a person can detect half the time

difference threshold

the smallest change in a physical stimulus that can be detected between two stimuli

weber's law

the principle that for any change in a stimulus to be detected, a constant proportion of that stimulus must be added or subtracted


the opening in the iris that regulates the amount of light entering the eye


a flexible, elastic, transparent structure in the eye that changes its shape to focus light on the retina

optic nerve

the nerve that carries impulses from the retina to the brain

auditory nerve

the nerve that carries impulses from the inner ear to the brain, resulting in the perception of sound

vestibular system

three semicircular canals that provide the sense of balance, located in the inner ear and connected to the brain by a nerve

olfactory nerve

the nerve that carries small impulses from the nose to the brain


the sense of movement and body position


visual receptor cells in the retina that are sensitive to light but not color

classical conditioning

a learning procedure in which associations are made between a natural stimulus and a neutral stimulus


the ability to respond differently to to similar but distinct stimuli


responding similarly to a range of similar stimuli


the gradual disappearance of a conditioned response when the conditioned stimulus is repeatedly presented without the unconditioned stimulus

operant conditioning

learning in which a certain action is reinforced or punished, resulting in corresponding increases or decreases in occurrence

primary reinforcer

stimulus that is naturally rewarding, such as food or water

secondary reinforcer

stimulus such as money that becomes rewarding through its link with its primary reinforcer

negative reinforcement

increasing the strength of a given response by removing or preventing a painful stimulus when the response occurs

response chain

learned reactions that follow one another in sequence, each reaction producing the signal for the next

avoidance conditioning

training of an organism to withdraw from or prevent an unpleasant stimulus before it starts

latent learning

alteration of a behavioral tendency that is not demonstrated by an immediate, observable change in behavior


technique of operant conditioning in which the desired behavior is "molded" by first rewarding any act similar to that behavior and then requiring ever-closer approximations to the desired behavior before giving the reward

martin seligman

learned helplessness--stability, globality, and internality

edward tolman

establish latent learning (rat experiment); argued that learning involved more than mechanical responses to stimuli

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