Psych Exam 1

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Study of behavior and mental processes/soul


Describe, predict, and explain behavior

Father of psychology

Wilhelm Wundt

Beginning of psychology

1879, when Wundt began studying the building blocks of the mind


Approach associated with Wundt that used introspection: describing what you’re experiencing


Idea that mental processes were useful as functional activities to living creatures in their attempt to maintain and adapt themselves to the world of nature, founded by William James

Father of American psychology

William James Laboratory: 1879

Gestalt psychology

Approach to psychology that focuses on the organization of perception and thinking in a whole sense rather than elements of perception, founded by Herman Ebbinghaus and Max Wertheimer

5 perspectives of psychology today

-Neuroscience -Psychodynamic -Behavioral -Cognitive -Humanistic


views behavior from perspective of biological functioning


believes behavior is motivated by inner unconscious forces over which a person has little control


focuses on observable behavior based on environment


examines how people understand and think about the world


contends that people can control their behavior and that they naturally try to reach their full potential

Scientific method

approach through which psychologists systematically acquire knowledge and understanding about behavior and other phenomena of interest

4 parts of Scientific Method

-Identify questions of interest -Formulate an explanation -Carry out research -Communicate the findings

5 types of descriptive research

-Archival research -Naturalistic observation -Survey research -Case study -Correlational research

Experimental research

Investigation of the relationship between two or more variables by producing a change in one variable in a situation and observing the effects on the second variable

Control group

Group participating in an experiment that receives no treatment

Importance of experiments to be replicated

So that confidence can be increased in prior findings

Behavioral neuroscientist/bio-psychologist

Psychologists who specialize in considering the ways in which biological structures and functions of the body affect behavior


Nerve cells that are basic elements of the nervous system and control behavior

Mirror neurons

Type of brain cell that responds equally when we perform an action and when we witness someone else perform the same action. Important for reading actions, intentions and emotions of other people


Space between two neurons where the axon of a sending neuron communicates with the dendrites of a receiving neuron by using chemical messages


Chemicals that carry messages across the synapse to the dendrite (and sometimes the cell body) of a receiver neuron

2 types of chemicals delivered by neurotransmitters

Excitatory and Inhibitory messages

Excitatory message

makes it more likely that a receiving neuron will fire and an action potential will travel down its axon

Inhibitory message

prevents or decreases the likelihood that a receiving neuron will fire

5 major neurotransmitters

-Acetylcholine -Glutamate -GABA -Dopamine -Serotonin

Acetylcholine function

muscle movement, cognitive functioning

Glutamate function


GABA function

eating, aggression, sleeping

Dopamine function

movement control, pleasure and reward, attention

Serotonin function

sleeping, eating, mood, pain, depression

Number of connections in the brain

10 quadrillion

Endocrine system

Sends messages throughout the body via bloodstream

Brain and spinal cord

Makes up central nervous system

Peripheral nervous system

Made up of neurons with long axons and dendrites, it branches out from the spinal cord and reaches extremities of the body

2 major divisions of peripheral nervous system

Somatic and autonomic


specializes in the control of voluntary movements and the communication of info to and from the sense organs


controls involuntary movement of the heart, glands, lungs, and other organs

Autonomic division of the peripheral nervous system consists of

Sympathetic division and Parasympathetic division

Sympathetic division

acts to prepare the body for action in stressful situations, engaging all the organism’s resources to respond to a threat

Parasympathetic division

acts to calm the body after an emergency has ended

Master gland of the endocrine system

Pituitary gland

Pituitary gland

secretes hormones that control growth and other parts of the endocrine system

Prefrontal cortex

responsible for cognitive control functions and changes most during adolescence

Education through adolescence

Growing environment shapes brain and promotes learning and creativity


A steady internal environment maintained by the hypothalamus