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These are the vocabulary words for Chapter 1.

Hindsight bias

the tendency to believe, after learning an outcome, that one would have foreseen it. (Also known as the I-knew-it-all along phenomenon.)

Critical thinking

thinking that does not blindly accept arguments and conclusions. Rather, it examines assumptions, discerns hidden values, evaluates evidence, and assesses conclusions.


an explanation using an integrated set of principles that organizes and predicts observations.


a testable prediction

Operational definitions

precise statements of the procedures (operations) used to define independent and dependent variables.


repeating the essence of a research study, usually with different participants in different situations, to see whether the basic finding extends to other participants and circumstances

Case study

a descriptive research strategy in which one person is studied in great depth


a technique for ascertaining the self-reported attitudes or behaviors of people, usually by questioning a representative, random sample of them.

False consensus effect

is the tendency to overestimate the extent to which others share our beliefs and behaviors.


all the cases in a group, from which samples may be drawn for a study.

Random sample

a sample that fairly represents a population because each member has an equal chance of inclusion.

Naturalistic observation

involves observing and recording behavior in naturally occurring situations without trying to manipulate or control the situation.


a statistical measure that indicates the extent to which two factors vary together and thus how well one factor can be predicted from the other. Correlations can be positive or negative.


a depiction of the relationship between two variables by means of a graphed cluster of dots.

Illusory correlation

the false perception of a relationship between two events when none exists.


a research strategy in which a researcher directly manipulates one or more factors (independent variables) in order to observe their effect on some behavior or mental process (the dependent variables; experiments therefore make it possible to establish cause-and-effect relationships.


an inert substance or condition that is administered as a test of whether an experimental subjects who mistakenly thinks a treatment

Double-blind procedure

a control procedure in which neither the experimenter nor the research subjects are aware of which condition is in effect. It is used to prevent experimenters' and subjects' expectations from influencing the results of an experiment.

Placebo effect

experimental results caused by expectations alone; any effect on behavior caused by the administration of an inert substance or condition, which is assumed to be an active agent.

Experimental condition

the condition of an experiment that exposes participants to the treatment, that is, to one version of the independent variable.

Control condition

the condition of an experiment that contrasts with the experimental condition and serves as a comparison for evaluating the effect of the treatment.

Random assignment

the procedure of assigning subjects to the experimental and control conditions by chance in order to minimize preexisting differences between the groups.

Independent variable

the factor being manipulated and tested by the investigator.

Dependent variable

the factor being measured by the investigator.


the most frequently occurring score in a distribution; it is the simplest measure of central tendency to determine.


the arithmetic average of a distribution, obtained by adding the scores and then dividing by the number of scores.


the middle score in a distribution; half the scores are above it and half are below it.


a measure of variation computed as the difference between the highest and lowest scores in a distribution.

Standard deviation

the average amount by which the scores in a distribution deviate around the mean. Because it is based on every score in the distribution

Statistical significance

a statistical statement of how likely it is that an obtained result occurred by chance.


the enduring behaviors, ideas, attitudes, and traditions shared by a large group of people and transmitted from one generation to the next.

Correlation Coefficient

a statistical index of the relationship between two things (from -1 to +1)

Control Group

in an experiment, the group that is not exposed to the treatment, contrasts with the experimental group and serves as a comparison for evaluating the effect of the treatment.

Normal Curve

(normal distribution) a symmetrical, bell-shaped curve that describes the distribution of many types of data, most scores fall near the mean (68 percent fall within on standard deviation of it) and fewer and fewer near the extremes.

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