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Chapter One Psychology Vocabulary

Scientific study of behavior and mental processes.
Scientific method
Orderly systematic procedures that researchers follow as they identify a research problem, design a study to investigate the problem, collect and analyze data, draw conclusions, and communicate their findings.
General principle or set of principles proposed to explain how a number of separate facts are related.
Prediction about a relationship between two or more variables.
Process of repeating a study with different participants and preferably a different investigator to verify research findings.
Basic research
Research conducted to seek new knowledge and to explore and advance general scientific understanding.
Applied research
Research conducted specifically to solve practical problems and improve the quality of life.
First formal school of thought in psychology, which endeavored to analyze the basic elements, or structure, of conscious mental experience.
The school of psychology founded by John B. Watson that views observable, measurable behavior as the appropriate subject matter for psychology and emphasizes the key role of environment as a determinant of behavior.
Term Freud used for both his theory of personality and his therapy for the treatment of psychological disorders; the unconscious is the primary focus of psychoanalytic theory.
Humanistic psychology
The school of psychology that focuses on the uniqueness of human beings and their capacity for choice, growth, and psychological health.
Cognitive psychology
The school of psychology that views humans as active participants in their environment; studies mental processes such as memory, problem solving, reasoning, decision making, perception, language, and other forms of cognition.
Gestalt psychology
The school of psychology that emphasizes that individuals perceive objects and patterns as whole units and that the perceived whole is more than the sum of its parts.
Information-processing theory
Approach to the study of mental structures and processes that uses the computer as a model for human thinking.
Evolutionary psychology
The school of psychology that studies how humans have adapted the behaviors required for survival in the face of environmental pressures over the long course of evolution.
Biological psychology
The school of psychology that looks for links between specific behaviors and equally specific biological processes that often help explain individual differences.
An interdisciplinary field that combines the work of psychologists, biologists, biochemists, medical researchers, and others in the study of the structure and function of the nervous system.
Sociocultural approach
View that social and cultural factors may be just as powerful as evolutionary and physiological factors in affecting behavior and mental processing and that these factors must be understood when interpreting the behavior of others.
Psychological perspectives
General pints of view used for explaining people's behavior and thinking, whether normal or abnormal.
Critical thinking
Process of objectively evaluating claims, propositions, and conclusions to determine whether they follow logically from the evidence presented.
Distortion of theories and/or research for the purpose of supporting some kind of claim.
Descriptive research methods
Research methods that yield descriptions of behavior.
Naturalistic obsercation
Descriptive research method in which researchers observe and record behavior in its natural setting, without attempting to influence or control it.
Laboratory observation
Descriptive research method in which behavior is studied in a laboratory setting, where researchers can exert more control and use more precise equipment to measure responses.
Case study
Descriptive research method in which a single person or a small number of individuals are studied in great depth, usually over and extended period of time.
Descriptive research method in which researchers use interviews and/or questionnaires to gather information about the attitudes, beliefs, experiences, or behaviors of a group of people.
Entire group of interest to researchers, to which they wish to generalize their findings; the group from which a sample is selected.
Part of a population that is studied in order to reach conclusions about the entire population.
Representative sample
Sample that mirrors the population of interest; it includes important subgroups in the same proportions as they are found in that population.
Correlational method
Research method used to establish the degree of relationship (correlation) between two characteristics, events, or behaviors.
Correlation coefficient
Numerical value that indicates the strength and direction of the relationship between two variables; ranges from +1.00 to - 1.00.
Experimental method
Only research method that can be used to identify cause-effect relationships between two or more conditions or variables.
Causal hypothesis
Prediction about a cause-effect relationship between two or more variables.
Independent variable
In an experiment, a factor or condition that is deliberately manipulated in order to determine whether it causes any change in another behavior or condition.
Dependent vaiable
Factor or condition that is measured at the end of an experiment and is presumed to vary as a result of the manipulations of the independent variable(s),
Experimental group
the group that is exposed to an independent variable.
Control group
Group similar to the experimental group that is exposed to the same experimental environment but is not given the treatment; used for purposes of comparison.
Confounding variables
Factors or conditions other than the independent variable that are not equivalent across groups and could cause difference among the groups with respect to the dependent variable.
Selection bias
Assignment of participants to experimental of control groups, in such a way that systematic difference among the groups are present at the beginning of the experiment.
Random assignment
Process of selecting participants for experimental and control groups by using a chance procedure to guarantee that each participant has an equal probability of being assigned to any of the groups; a control for selection bias.
Placebo effect
Phenomenon that occurs in an experiment when a participant's response to a treatment is due to his or her expectations about the treatment rather than to the treatment itself.
An inert of harmless substance given to the control group in an experiment as a control for the placebo effect.
Experimenter bias
Phenomenon that occurs when a researcher's preconceived notions or exceptions in some way influence participants' behavior and/or the researcher's interpretation of experimental results.
Double-blind technique
Procedure in which neither the participants nor the experimenter knows who is in the experimental and control groups until after the data have been gathered; a control for experimenter bias.