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Chapters 1-3


The science of processes and behaviors

What are the values of Psychology?

1. empirical evidence
2. critical thinking
3. systematic research methods

What are the goals of Psychology?

1. description
2. explanation
3. prediction
4. facilitating changes (therapy)


Lived from 384 to 322. Believed that knowledge was acquired through experience

Nature Vs. Nurture

Are a persons characteristics mostly inborn or learned?

Four Laws of Association

1. Law of Similarity
2. Law of Contrast
3. Law of Contiguity
4. Law of Frequency


French Philosopher (1596-1650)
Believed that behavior was controlled by the mind or will; we freely choose our actions

Ernst Heinrich Weber

- Psychologist at Leipzig.
- Introduced Just Noticeable Differences as the unit of measure (ratio of weight)

Gustav Fechner

(1801-1887) Formalized and developed Weber's Law; showed that it implied a relationship between stimulus intensity and the intensity of sensation.

Herman Ebbinghaus

(1850- 1909)
- Inspired by Fechner to discover quantitative order in higher mental processes.
- Great innovator
- Influence has lasted over 100 years
- Developer of the Learning Curve (as time passes we remember less)

William James

- Wrote "The Principles of Psychology" published in 1890
- Believed the mind was a stream of consciousness
- Studied various groups, not just individuals
- Trained as an MD
- Taught Psychology and Philosophy at Howard
- Established a teaching lab in 1875


Psychology becomes a science, first psychology lab in Leipzig, Germany.

Wilhelm Wundt

- First true Psychologist
- Research assistant for Hermann Helmholtz
- Wrote "Contributions Towards a Theory of Science Perception" in 1862
- Saw Psychology as falling between the physical sciences and social sciences


Looking inside oneself

Edward Bradford Titchener

- Popularized Wundt's Psychology and brought it to the United States
- Used introspection to uncover components of thought

Charles Darwin

- Evolution
- Offered an account for transmutation: Natural Selection to explain the adaptivity of traits

Mary Calkins

- One of the first women in the field of Psychology
- Never received the PhD she earned from Harvard


Focuses on the relationship between sensory stimuli and perceptual experience


Focuses on objective and measurable behaviors

Humanistic Psychology

Emphasizes the inner-self and the importance of subjective feelings

Cognitive Psychology

Focuses on mental functioning and reasoning


Views behavior as reflecting brain processes

Evolutionary Psychology

Certain behavioral characteristics are subject to natural selection

Cultural Psychology

Examines the influence of culture and ethnic practices on people's behavior

Counseling Psychology

Assess and evaluates individuals problems through the use of case history, interview, and observation, and provide individual or group counseling services.

Developmental Psychology

Study and research the emotional, mental, physical, and social growth and development of individuals from birth to death, to increase understanding of human behavior and processes of human growth and development

Scientific Method

All propositions be subjects to an empirical test.


Practice based on experiment and observation

Goals of Behavioral Science

1. Description of behavior
2. Prediction of behavior
3. Finding causes of behavior
4. Explanation of behavior

Basic Research

Addresses the fundamental questions about the nature of behavior. Often tests theories

Applied Research

Addresses the issue in which there are practical problems and potential solutions. Often guided by basic theory and research psychology as a science


A statement that makes an assertion about what is true in a particular situation; often a statement asserting that two or more variables are related to one another


A statement that makes an assertion concerning what will occur in a particular research investigation.


A set of explanatory statements about behavior that can be tested through empirical research

Parts of a Research Article: Introduction

- General overview of literature
- Specific research questions and expectations

Parts of a Research Article: Method

- Participants
- Research Design
- Procedure

Parts of a Research Article: Results

-Findings of the study describe in:
o Narrative
o Tables and figures
o Statistical analysis

Parts of a Research Article: Discussion

- Summary of findings
- Relate results to past research and theory
- Future research

Levels of Ethical Research

- No Risk Research
- Minimal Risk Research
- Full Review Research

No Risk Research

- Exempt from review by an IRB (Institutional Review Board)
- Research studying normal educational practices
- Use of educational tests- cognitive tests such as aptitude and achievement measures
- Surveys and observation of public behavior, except in cases in which subjects might be identified and or/sensitive behavior is being studied
- Archival research using existing data

Minimal Risk Research

- Standard psychological measures and voice recordings that do not involve any danger to subjects
- Studies of cognition and perception that do not involve stress
- Full informed consent is generally not necessary, but debriefing and other ethical concerns are important.

Full Review Research

- Research that may involve:
o Physical stress
o Psychological stress
o Invasion of privacy
o Measures of sensitive information in which subjects might be identified
- Requires full review by an IRB; special ethical procedures may be imposed.

Positive Relationships

- Increases in the values of one variable are associated with increases in the second variable
- Increasing study time is associates with higher grades

Negative Relationships

- Increases in the values of one variable are associated with decreases in the second variable
- Increasing hours of work are associated with lower grades.

Curvilinear Relationships

- Increases in the values of one variable are associated with both increases and decreases of the second variable
- Anxiety can help increase performance until it gets to high- then it decreases performance.

Two ways of studying relationships

1. Non-Experimental Method
2. Experimental Method

Non-experimental Method

- Behavior is observed as it naturally occurs
- Variables are measured from a distance without the participants knowledge
- Example: Study how gangs organize and function as families

Experimental Method

- Addresses the problems of inferring cause and effect relationships
- Manipulate the first variable and observe the effect on the second variable
- Control for all other variables

Independent Variable

- "Cause" variable
- Manipulated first

Dependent Variable

- "Effect" variable
- Measures as a response to the IV

Face Validity

The degree to which a measurement device appears to accurately measure a variable

Convergent Validity

- Do scores o the measure relate to other measures in expected ways?
- Example: do people with high self-efficacy predict that they will perform better on a task?

Discriminate Validity

When the measure of the variable is NOT related

Criterion Validity

- The degree to which a measurement device accurately predicts behavior on a criterion measure
- A paper and pencil measure of leadership ability predicts actual leadership behavior in a group.

Scales of measurement

- Nominal
- Ordinal
- Interval
- Ratio


- Variables have two or more categories
- No numeric scales
- Groups such as:
o Male female
o Study in quiet room- loud room


- Rank order points on a scale
- Numeric values are limited
- Examples:
o 2, 3, or 4 star restaurants
o Ranking TV shows by popularity
- Intervals between items are not known, and are not equal.


- Numeric properties are taken seriously
- Values such as 1,2,3... are use in calculations
- Example: a score on a personality test
- Assume equal amounts between the numbers on the scale- equal intervals
- No true "zero" amount


- True zero point- absence of the variable
- Zero on weight means no weight
- Can form ratios: 10 pounds is twice as heavy as 5 pounds
- Use more sophisticated statistical tests for ratio and interval scales


simplest indicator, the most frequent score


arithmetic average dividing the sum by the number of scores


the middle score in a distribution, very useful if scores are skewed in one direction


Refers to relationship between two variables

Parasympathetic Nervous System

Slows activities down

Sympathetic Nervous System

Speeds activities in the body up. Accelerates body reactions

Four Parts of the Spinal Cord

- Top Portion: Cervical Nerves; 8 Pairs (C1, C2, ect)
- Center Portion: Thoracic Nerves; 12 Pairs (T1, T2, ect)
- Lower Portion: Lumbar Nerves; 5 Pairs (L1, L2 ect.)
- Bottom Portion: Sacral Nerves; 5 Pairs (S1, S2, ect.)

Left Hemisphere

- Specializes in such verbal functions as reading, writing, comprehension, speech and verbal thinking.
- Considered dominant in analytical, sequential processing of verbal information.
o Doesn't develop fully until age 20 or 21

Right Hemisphere

- Dominant in spatial and nonverbal perception
- Efficient in tasks that require spatial orientation and perception of shape, death, and texture.
- Dominant in the expression and identification of emotions

Corpus Callosum

- A cluster of axons, mostly myelinated, that connects the two brain hemispheres.
- As the largest inter-hemispheric connection, or commissure, in the brain, the corpus callosum allows the two hemispheres to exchange neural information

Split-Brain Operation

- A surgical procedure used to treat severe cases of epilepsy, the surgeon cuts the corpus callosum, separating the two hemispheres


three membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord, consisting of the dura mater, pia mater, and arachnoid mater

Dura Matter

(Hard Mother) forms a leathery, inelastic bag around the brain and spinal cord.

Arachnoid Matter

Forms a web of fibrous connective tissue

Pia Mater

(Pious Mother) is a gentle, or thin membrane that adheres to the surface of the brain.


A series of interconnected chambers, filled with CSF (cerebral spinal fluid). 4 in total

Choroid Plexus

- A special tissue within each Ventricle that produces CSF
- It is produced from blood and is similar in composition to blood plasma

Blood Brain Barrier

- A Series of neuro-networks that tries to catch things that are harmful to the brain
o Drugs are fat soluble and enter the system very easily

Three Divisions of the Brain

1. Forebrain
2. Midbrain
3. Hindbrain


Responsible for motor coordination and non-thoughtful body movement and smooth movement

Brain Stem

Responsible for maintenance functions, e.g., heart beat, breathing

Reticular Activating System

Located in the brain stem; regulates paying attention to new stimuli, walking, sleeping, and daydreaming

Limbic System

- (emotional brain) Controls emotions
- The largest single division of the brain. It is divided into two hemispheres, each of which is divided into four different lobes


• Intimately involved in out motives and emotions
• Instructs the pituitary gland (master gland) to release hormones, hunger, stress, sex, temp., biotransformation, thirst, hunger, body osmolarity, fight/flight pathways and other functions as well.
• Anger and Fear
• Circadian Rhythms
• Coordinate with endocrine system


- Primarily a switching station for incoming and outgoing neural messages
- Comprises two lobes, one in each hemisphere, connected by a bridge of gray matter (the massa intermedia)
- The lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) receives visual information from the eye and projects it to the primary visual cortex
- The medial geniculate nucleus (MGN) receives auditory information from the inner ear and projects it to the primary auditory cortex.
- The ventrolateral nuculeus (VN) receives info. From the cerebellum and projects it to prim motor cortex.


- Is involved in memory formation
- Located on both sides of the lower part of the third ventricle, below the thalamus
- Regulates the hormonal system
- A short "stalk" (the infundibulum) connects to the pituitary gland, allowing this to control the release of hormones from the pituitary gland


Controls cognition, motivation, and action

Cerebral Cortex

- The outermost layer of gray matter making up the superficial aspect of the cerebrum.
- Controls sensory, cognitive, and motor functions
- Much of neural activity of the cerebrum occurs here
- Contains 10% of all neurons in brain
• Activities fall into three categories: motor, sensory, and associative

Hemispheres of the Cerebral Cortex

• Right and left hemispheres
• Hemisphere connects by corpus callosum
• Some hemispheric functions are shared

Basal Ganglia

- A group of large subcortical nuclei that surround the thalamus (with connections to cortex and midbrain)
- Parkinson's disease is caused by degeneration of certain dopaminergic neurons that originate in the midbrain and extend to the basal ganglia
- Control skeletal muscle movement and eye movements


Elevated ridges "winding" around the brain


Small grooves dividing the gyri

Central Sulcus

Divides the front lobes from the parietal lobes


Deep grooves, generally dividing large regions/lobes of the brain

Longitudinal Fissures

Divide the two cerebral Hemispheres

Transverse Fissure

Separates the Cerebrum from the Cerebellum

Sylvian/Lateral Fissure

Divides the temporal lobe from the frontal and parietal lobe

Four Lobes of the Brain

1. Frontal
2. Parietal
3. Occipital
4. Temporal

Frontal Lobe

- Located deep to the Frontal Bone of the skull.
- Plays and integral role in the following functions/actions
o Memory Formation
o Emotions
o Decision making and reasoning
o Planning and organization
o Personality

Primary Motor Cortex

Cortical site involved with controlling movements of the body

Broca's Area

Controls facial neurons, speech, and language comprehensions. Located on Left Frontal Lobe

Broca's Aphasia

Results in the ability to comprehend speech, but the decreased motor ability (or inability) to speak and form words

Olfactory Bulb

Cranial Never 1, Responsible for sensation of Smell

Parietal Lobe

- Located deep to the Parietal Bone of the skull
- It plays a major role in the following functions/actions:
o Senses and integrates sensation(s)
o Spatial awareness and perception- (Proprioception- Awareness of body/body parts in space and in relation to each other)

Primary Somatosensory Cortex

(Postcentral Gyrus)- Site involved with processing of tactile and proprioceptive information

Somtosensory Association Cortex

Assists with the integration and interpretation of sensations relative to body position and orientation in space. May assist with visuo- motor coordination

Primary Gustatory Cortex

Primary site involved with the interpretation of the sensation taste.

Occipital Lobe

- Located deep to the Occipital Bone of the Skull
- Its primary function is the processing, integration, interpretation, etc. of VISION and visual stimuli.

Primary Visual Cortex

This is the primary area of the brain responsible for sight- recognition for size, color, light, motion, dimension, etc.

Visual Association Area

Interprets information acquired through the primary visual cortex

Temporal Lobe

- Located on the sides of the brain, deep to the Temporal Bones of the Skull
- They play an integral role in the following functions
o Hearing
o Organization /Comprehension of language
o Information retrieval (memory and memory formation)

Primary Auditory Cortex

Responsible for hearing

Primary Olfactory Cortex

Interprets the sense of smell once it reaches the cortex via the olfactory bulbs.

Wernicke's Area

Language comprehension located on the Left Temporal Lobe

Wernicke's Aphasia

Language comprehension is inhibited. Words and sentences are not clearly understood, and the sentence formation may be inhibited or nonsensical.

Arcuate Fasciculus

A white matter tract that connects Broca's area and Wernicke's area through the Temporal, Parietal, and Frontal Lobes. Allows for coordinated comprehensible speech.

Conduction Aphasia

Where auditory comprehension and speech articulation are preserved, but people find it very difficult to repeat something that have heard.


- Are the basic units of the human nervous system
- Four Main Parts:
• Dendrite
• Cell Body or "soma"
• Axon
• Axon terminal


One axon attached to soma. The axon divides with one branch receiving sensory information


- One axon and one dendrite
o Found in visual and hearing sensory neurons


One axon and many dendrites


Metabolic center


o Found mostly around dendrites and boutons
o Intense metabolic activity
o Production of ATP
o Gene transcription
o Chemical synthesis and transport

Axon Hillock

Rich in sodium

Two main forces influence ion movement across the membrane

o Electrical Force (determined by the voltage difference across the membrane) and
o Diffusion Force (determined by the concentration difference of ions across the membrane)

Neuron Integration

- If at a given moment the depolarization at the axon hillock exceeds the excitation threshold (i.e., EPSP) an action potential is generated and travels along the axon to the terminal boutons of the target cell
- A rapid barrage of impulses produces a larger excitatory post-synaptic potential than a single impulse does.

Synaptic Integration

Small EPSP's add together to bring the membrane potential closer to threshold, while IPSPs subtract from the depolarizing effect, keeping the membrane potential below the threshold.


Are intercellular junctions.

Synaptic cleft

Narrow space separating two cells.

Sensory Neurons

Carry impulses from sensory receptors to the central nervous system (CNS)

Motor Neurons

Carry impulses from the CNS to effectors


Help provide more complex reflexes an higher associative learning.

Somatic Motor Neurons

Stimulate skeletal muscles' contraction

Autonomic Motor Neurons

Regulate activity of smooth muscles, cardiac muscles, and gland

Resting Membrane Potential

- Potential difference exists across every cell's plasma membrane
o Cytoplasm side (inside) is negative pole, and extracellular fluid side (outside) is positive pole

Action Potential

Once a particular level of depolarization is reached, a nerve impulse is produced

Dale-Philberg Law

There are hundreds of neurotransmitters; a single neuron may secrete several neurotransmitters, which makes human behavior more interesting

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