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the scientific study of behavior and mental processes

objective introspection

the process of examining and measuring one's own thoughts and mental activities


early prospective in psychology associated with Wilhelm Wundt and Edward Titchener, in which the focus of study is the structure or basic elements of the mind


early perspective in psychology associated with William James, in which the focus of study is how the mind allows people to adapt, live, work, and play

gestalt psychology

early perspective in psychology focusing on perception and sensation, particularly the perception of patterns and whole figures


the theory and therapy based on the work of Sigmund Freud


an approach to psychology that emphasizes observable measurable behavior

psychodynamic perspective

modern version of psychoanalysis that is more focused on the development of a sense of self and the discovery of other motivations behind a person's behavior than sexual motivations

cognitive perspectie

modern perspective that focuses on memory, intelligence, perception, problem solving, and learning

cognitive neuroscience

study of the physical changes in the brain and nervous system during thinking

sociocultural perspective

perspective that focuses on the relationship between social behavior and culture

biopsychological perspective

perspective that attributes human and animal behavior to biological vents occurring in the body, such as genetic influences, hormones, and the activity of the nervous system

evolutionary perspective

perspective that focuses on the biological bases of universal mental characteristics that all humans share


a medical doctor who has specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders


either a psychiatrist or a psychologist who has special training in the theories of Sigmund Freud and his method of psychoanalysis

psychiatric social worker

a social worker with some training in therapy methods who focuses on the environmental conditions that can have an impact on mental disorders, such as poverty, overcrowding, stress, and drug abuse


a professional with an academic degree and specialized training in one or more areas of psychology

scientific method

system of gathering data so that bias and error in measurement are reduced


tentative explanation of a phenomenon based on observations


in research, repeating a study or experiment to see if the same results will be obtained in an effort to demonstrate reliability of results

observer effect

tendency of people or animals to behave differently from normal when they know they are being observed

case study

study of one individual in great detail

participant observation

a naturalistic observation in which the observer becomes a participant in the group being observed

observer bias

tendency of observers to see what they expect to see

representative sample

randomly selected sample of subjects from a larger population of subjects


the entire group of people or animals in which the researcher is interested


a measure of the relationship between two variables

correlation coefficient

a number derived from the formula for measuring a correlation and indicating the strength and direction of a correlation


a deliberate manipulation of a variable to see if corresponding changes in behavior result, allowing the determination of cause and effect relationships

operational definition

definition of a variable of interest that allows it to be directly measured

critical thinking

making reasoned judgements about claims

independent variable

variable in an experiment that is manipulated by the experimenter

dependent variable

variable in an experiment that represents the measurable response or behavior of the subjects in the experiment

experimental group

subjects in an experiment who are subjected to the independent variable

control group

subjects in an experiment who are not subjected to the independent variable and who may receive a placebo treatment

random assignment

process of assigning subjects to the experimental or control groups randomly, so that each subject has an equal chance of being in either group

placebo effect

the phenomenon in which the expectations of the participants in a study can influence their behavior

experimentor effect

tendency of the experimenter's expectations for a study to unintentionally influence the results of the study

single-blind study

study in which the subjects do not know if they are in the experimental or the conotrol group

double-blind study

study in which neither the experimenter nor the subjects know if the subjects are in the experimental or control group


systems of explaining human behavior that are not based on or consistent with scientific evidence

human development

the scientific study of the changes that occur in people as they age from conception until death

longitudinal design

research design in which one participant or group of participants is studied over a long period of time

cross-sectional design

research desing in which several different age groups of participants are studied at one particular point in time

cross-sequential design

research design in which participants are first studied by means of a cross-sectional design but are also followed and assessed for a period of no more than six years


the influence of our inherited characteristics on our personallity, physical growth, intelluctual growth, and social interactions


the influence of the environment on personality, physical growth, intellcutal growth, and social interactions


the science of inherited traits


section of DNA having the same arrangement of chemical elements

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid)

special molecule that contains the genetic material of the organism


tightly wound strand of genetic material or DNA


referring to a gene that actively controls the expression of a trait


referring to a gene that only influences the expression of a trait when paired with an identical gene


the moment at which a female becomes pregnant


the female sex cell, or egg


the union of the ovum and sperm


cell resulting from the uniting of the ovum and sperm

momozygotic twins

identical twins formed when one zygote splits into two seperate masses of cells, each of which develops into a seperate embryo


name for the developing organism from two weeks to eight weeks after fertilization

dizygotic twins

often called fraternal twins, ocurring when two eggs each get fertilized by two different sperm, resulting in two zygotes in the uterus at the same time

germinal period

first two weeks after fertilization, during which the zygote moves down to the uterus and begins to impact in the lining

embryonic period

the period from two to eight weeks after fertilization, during which the major organs and structures of the organism develop

critical periods

times during which certain environmental influences can have an impact on the development of the infant


any factor that can cause a birth defect

fetal period

the time from about eight weeks after conception until the birth of the child


name for the developing organism from eight weeks after fertilization to the birth of the baby

cognitive development

the development of thinking, problem solving, and memory


in this case, a mental concept formed through experiences with objects and event

sensorimotor stage

Piaget's first stage of cognitive development in which the infant uses its senses and motor abilitis to interact with ofjects in the environment

ovject permanence

the knowledge that an ofject exists even when it is not in sight

peroperational stage

Piaget's second stage of cognitive development in which the preschool child learns to use language as a means of exploring the world


the inability to see the world through anyone else's eyes


in Piaget's throry, the tendency of a young child to focus only on one feature of an object while ignoring other relevant features


Piaget's theory, the inablilty of the young child to mentally reverse an action


in Piaget's theory, the ability to understand that simply changing the appearance of an object does not change the object's nature

concrete operations stage

third stage of congitive development in which the school age child becomes capable of logical thought processes but is not yet capable of abstract thinking

formal operations stage

Piaget's last stage of cognitive development, in which the adolescent becomes capable of abstract thinking


process in which a more skilled learner gives help to a less skilled learner, reducing the amount of help as the less skilled learner becomes more capable

zone of proximal development (ZPD)

Vygotsky's concept of the difference between what a child can do alone and what that child can do with the help of a teacher


the behavioral characteristics that are fairly well established at birth, such as easy, difficult, and slow to warm up


the emotional bond between and infant and the primary caregiver


the behavior associated with being male or female

gender identity

perception of one's gender and the behavior that is associated with that gender


the period of life from about age 13 to the early twenties, during which a young person is no longer physically a child but is not yet an independent, self-supporting adult


the physical chages that occur in the body as sexual development reaches its peak

personal fable

type of thought common to adolescents in which young people believe themselves to be unique and protected from harm

imaginary audience

type of thought common to adolescents in which young people belive that other people are just as concerned about the adolescents thoughts and characteristics as they themselves are

preconventionial morality

first level of Kohlberg's stages of moral development in which the child's behavior is governed by the consequences of the behavior

conventional morality

second level of Kohlberg's stages of moral development in which the child's behavior is governed by conforming to the society's norms of behavior

post conventional morality

third level of Kohlberg's stages of maoral development in which the person's behavior is governed by more principles that have been decided on by the individual and that may be in disagreement with accepted social norms

identity versus role confusion

fifth stage of personality development in which the adolescent must find a consistent scene of self


the cessation of ovulation and menstrual cycles and the end of a woman's reproductive capability


gradual changes in the sexual hormones and reproductive system of middle aged males


an emotional and psychological closeness that is based on the ability to trust, share, and care, while still maintaining a sense of self


providing guidance to one's children or the next generation, or contributing to the well-being of the next generation through career or volunteer work

authoritarian parenting

style of parenting in which parent is rigid and overly strice, showing little warmth to the child

permissive parenting

style of parenting in which parent makes few, if any, demands on a child's behavior

permissive neglectful

permissive parenting in which parents are uninvolved with child or child's behavior

permissive indulgent

permissive parenting in which parents are so involved that children are allowed to behave without set limits

authoritaritative parenting

style of parenting in which parents combine warmth and affection with firm limits on a child's behavior

ego integrity

sense of wholeness that comes from having lived a full life and the ability to let go of regrets, the final completion of the ego

activity theory

theory of adjustment to aging that assumes older people are happier if they remain active in some way, such as volunteering or developing a hobby

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