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AP Psychology's key studies


Cognition; Concepts: Cognitive map; Study Basics: Studied rats and discovered the cognitive map in rats and humans


Cognition and memory; Concepts: False memories, memory consolidation; Study Basics: Showed how easily memories could be changed and falsely created by techniques such as leading questions and illustrating the poverty of accuracy in eyewitness reports.

Gibson & Walk

Development; Concepts: Visual Cliff; Study Basics: Visual Cliff studies with infants


Development; Concepts: Love, attachment; Study Basics: Cloth monkey and wire monkey mothers: which would the child monkeys go to when scared?


Development; Concepts: Object permanence, perception of reality by children, development of cognition; Study Basics: "The development of object concept: The construction of reality in the child."

Zajonc & Markus

Development; Concepts: Birth order, first born, middle child, intelligence; Study Basics: Discovered that first born and only children tend to have higher IQs than latter born children


Development; Concepts: stages of moral development; Study Basics: Studied boys responses to and processes of reasoning in making moral decisions. Most famous moral dilemma is "Heinz" who has an ill wife and cannot afford the medication. Should he steal the medication and why?


Development; Concepts: gender in moral development; Study Basics: Did moral development studies to follow up Kohlberg. She studied girls and women and found that they did not score as high on his six stage scale because they focused more on relationships rather than laws and principles. Different reasoning, not better or worse

Ekman & Friesen

Emotion; Concepts: Universal Emotions (based upon facial expressions); Study Basics: Constants across culture in the face and emotion


Emotion, Social Cognition; Concepts: Cognitive dissonance; Study Basics: Studied and demonstrated cognitive dissonance


Emotions; Concepts: emotion and cognition; Study Basics: Worked with emotions and modified theory of emotions to include cognitions and their role in the formation of emotions


Ethology; Concepts: Imprinting, Critical periods; Study Basics: Did the ducks with imprinting and critical period work

Rosenthal & Jacobson

Intelligence and learning; Concepts: Self-fulfilling prophecy, Pygmalion Effect; Study Basics: Researchers misled teachers into believing that certain students had higher IQs. Teachers changed own behaviors and effectively raised the IQ of the randomly chosen students


IQ and development; Concepts: IQ, longitudinal study, Emotional quotient; Study Basics: Tested group of young geniuses and followed in a longitudinal study that lasted beyond his own lifetime to show that high IQ does not necessarily lead to wonderful things in life. Daniel Goleman followed with EQ or Emotional Quotient that learning how to handle people and your own emotions in social situations can be more helpful than IQ.


Learning; Concepts: Classical conditioning, unconditioned stimulus, conditioned stimulus, unconditioned response, conditioned response; Study Basics: Began by measuring the salivary reaction of dogs. Ended with a new understanding of associational learning and the conditioned reflex.

Watson & Raynor

Learning; Concepts: Classical conditioning terms, behavioral conditioning; Study Basics: Classical conditioning—conditioned fear into infants (including Little Albert) in order to examine how fears are learned and generalized


Learning; Concepts: Operant conditioning, chaining; Study Basics: Trained animals to do complex behaviors; e.g. making pigeons exhibit superstitious behavior


Social Psych; Concepts: prison study, expectations; Study Basics: simulated Prison Study that showed the power of roles in people's behaviors. When one takes on a role, they will often change their behavior in order to fit the perceived set of expectations for that role.


Social Psych; Concepts: Shock study, teacher/learner study or obedience study; Study Basics: "Behavioral study of obedience"—wanted to see if Germans were an aberration or if all people were capable of committing evil actions

Darley & Latane

Social Psych; Concepts: "Bystander Intervention in emergencies: Diffusion of responsibility"


Social Psych; Concepts: Opinions and social pressure;

Langer & Rodin

Social Psych; Concepts: Helping behavior, personal responsibility; Study Basics: The effects of enhanced personal responsibility and helping behavior

Gazzaniga or Sperry

Bio Psych; Concepts: Split brain; Study Basics: Key aspects of split brain and how people with this situation will be able to perceive reality and particular sensory stimuli


Learning/Therapy; Concepts: Systematic desensitization; Study Basics: Systematic desensitization work


Memory; Concepts: memory; Study Basics: Memory of meaningless words

Masters & Johnson

Motivation; Concepts: Virtually anything sexual was now being talked about publicly; Study Basics: The human sexual response—studied how both men and women respond to and in relation to sexual behavior

Holmes & Rahe

Motivation; Concepts: Stress and coping; Study Basics: Using a "social readjustment scale" to measure stress


Personality; Concepts: Learned helplessness; Study Basics: Learning to be depressed—the learned helplessness studies with dogs and electric shock


Personality; Concepts: Defense mechanisms, ego, displacement, sublimation, projection, repression, regression, etc.; Study Basics: "The ego and the mechanisms of defense."


Personality Testing; Concepts: Ink-blot, projective test; Study Basics: "Psychodiagnostics: A diagnostic test based on perception."


Psychopathology or Social Psych; Concepts: labeling; Study Basics: Rosenhan and colleagues checked selves into mental hospitals with symptoms of hearing voices say "empty, dull and thud." Diagnosed with schizophrenia. After entered, acted normally. Never "cleared" of diagnosis. Roles and labels in treating people differently.

Hobson & McCarley

Sleep or Consciousness; Concepts: Activation-Synthesis Theory; Study Basics: Sleep studies that indicate the brain creates dream states, not information processing or Freudian interpretations


Social Cognition; Concepts: Conformity, group influence, factors increasing conformity; Study Basics: Asch deceived subjects by telling them it was a study in perception. He was really testing their conformity levels. Also called "the line study."

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