Introduction to Psychology (Chapter 1-4)

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the scientific study of behavior and mental processes

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Psychologists try to:

describe, predict, and explain human behavior and mental processes using scientific methods to find answers

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Behavioral neuroscience

focuses on how the brain and the nervous system, as well as other biological aspects of the body, determine behavior

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Experimental psychology

studies the processes of sensing, perceiving, learning, and thinking about the world

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Cognitive psychology

is a sub-specialty of experimental psychology focusing on higher mental processes, such as
thinking, memory, reasoning, problem-solving, judging, decision making, and language

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Developmental psychology

studies how people grow and change from the moment of conception through death

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Personality psychology

focuses on consistency in people’s behavior across their lives as well as traits that differentiate one person from another.

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Health psychology

explores the relationship between psychological factors and physical ailments or disease

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Clinical psychology

deals with the study, diagnosis, and treatment of psychological disorders

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Counseling psychology

focuses primarily on educational, social, and career adjustment problems

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Social psychology

studies how people’s thoughts, feelings, and actions are affected by others

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Cross-cultural psychology

investigates the similarities and differences in psychological functioning in and across various cultures and ethnic groups

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Evolutionary psychology

considers how behavior is influenced by our genetic inheritance from our ancestors

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Behavioral genetics

seeks to understand how we might inherit certain behavioral traits and how the environment influences whether we actually display such traits.

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Clinical neuropsychology

unites the areas of neuroscience and clinical psychology and focuses on the origin of psychological disorders in biological factors

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Where do most Psychologists work:

in an academic setting

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women, 14%, minority group

Even though ____ out number men in this field. Only ___ of active psychologists are members of racial ____.

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There are consequences to the underrepresentation of racial and ethnic minorities among psychologists:

-The field is diminished by a lack of diverse perspectives and talents.
-Underrepresentation deters minorities from entering the field.
-Because people tend to prefer to receive therapy from their own ethnic group, minorities are underserved.

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A PhD (doctor of philosophy)

s a research degree that requires a dissertation based on an original investigation

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A PsyD (doctor of psychology)

is obtained by psychologists who want to focus on the treatment of psychological

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doctors who have a medical degree to specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders

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According to the American Psychological Association, undergraduate psychology programs should instruct students in:

• Critical thinking and an understanding of the scientific method;
• Ethical and social responsibility;
• Strong communication skills; and
• Opportunities for professional development.

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The most common area of employment are in the social services:

As administrators, counselors, and providing direct care.

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a focus on uncovering the fundamental mental
components of consciousness, thinking, and other kinds of mental states and activities (developed by Wilhelm Wundt)

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Gestalt psychology

uses a series of principles to describe how we organize bits and pieces of information into meaningful wholes.

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a procedure used to study the structure of the
mind in which subjects are asked to describe in detail what they are experiencing when they are exposed to a stimulus

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Over time, structuralism and the procedure of introspection were _____


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an approach that concentrates on what the
mind does and the role of behavior in allowing people to adapt to their environments (developed by William James)

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What did German scientists Hermann Ebbinghaus and Max Wertheimer propose?

Gestalt psychologists propose that “The whole is different from the sum of its parts,” meaning our perception, or understanding, of objects is greater and more meaningful than the individual elements that make up our perceptions.

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worked on animal behavior and first woman to receive a doctorate in psychology

Margaret Floy Washburn

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was one of the first psychologists to focus on child development and on women’s issues (menstrual cycles)

Leta Stetter Hollingworth

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studied memory and was the first female president of the American Psychological Association

Mary Calkins

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focused on the social and cultural factors behind personality, Founded the American Journal of Psychoanalysis

Karen Horney

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was the first woman to head a psychology department at a state university, spearheading the study of personality traits.

June Etta Downey

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Sigmund Freud’s daughter, made notable
contributions to the treatment of abnormal behavior

Anna Freud

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pioneered work on how children of color
grew to recognize racial differences

Mamie Phipps Clark

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Neuroscience, cognitive, behavioral, humanistic, psychodynamic

The 5 major perspectives of psychology

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Neuroscience perspective

the approach that views behavior from the perspective of the brain, the nervous system, and other biological functions

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Psychodynamic perspective

the approach based on the view that behavior is motivated by inner forces and conflicts about which we have little awareness or control (origins are linked to Sigmund Freud)

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Behavioral perspective

the approach that suggests that the focus should be on external behavior that can be objectively measured and observed (John B. Watson was the first to use this approach but it was championed by B. F. Skinner)

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Cognitive perspective

the approach that focuses on how people think, understand, and know about the world

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Humanistic perspective

suggests individuals naturally strive to grow, develop, and be in control of their lives and
behavior, free will ( developed by Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow)

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1- Nature(heredity) versus nurture (environment)

2- Conscious versus unconscious causes of behavior.

3-Observable behavior versus internal mental processes.

4- Free will versus determinism

5- Individual differences versus universal principles

Psychology’s Key Issues and Controversies

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Free will versus determinism

Free will: the idea that behavior is caused primarily by choices that are made freely by the individual.

Determinism: the idea that people’s behavior is produced primarily by factors outside their willful control.

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Scientific method

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

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broad explanations and predictions concerning
observations of interest

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a prediction, stemming from a theory, stated
in a way that allows it to be tested

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Psychologists rely on formal theories and hypotheses formany reasons:

-To make sense of unorganized, separate observations and bits of data.
-To place observations and data within a coherent
-To move beyond known facts and make deductions about unexplained phenomena.
-To develop ideas for future investigation

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Research is

systematic inquiry aimed at the discovery of new
knowledge and is a central ingredient of the scientific method in psychology

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Archival research:

existing data are examined to test a hypothesis

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Archival research advantages and disadvantages:

Advantage: inexpensive.
Disadvantage: the data may not be in a form that allows the researcher to test a hypothesis fully.

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Naturalistic observation:

an investigator observes some naturally occurring behavior and does not make a change in the situation

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Naturalistic observation advantages and disadvantages:

Advantage: obtains a sample of what people do in their natural habitat.
Disadvantage: the inability to control any factors of interest

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Survey research

people chosen to represent a larger population are asked a series of questions about their behavior, thoughts, or attitudes

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Survey research advantages and disadvantages

Advantage: if the sample is representative, makes it possible to infer how a larger group would respond.
Disadvantages: results will be largely inconsequential if the sample is not representative.

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Case study

an in-depth, intensive investigation of an
individual or a small group of people

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Case study advantages and disadvantages

Advantage: insights can improve our understanding of people in general.
Disadvantage: small samples or unique individuals make it impossible to make valid generalizations about a larger population

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behaviors, events, or other characteristics that
can change, or vary, in some way

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Correlational research

the relationship between two sets of variables is examined to determine whether they are associated or correlated

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Correlational research advantages and disadvantages

Disadvantage: correlational research cannot demonstrate cause-and-effect relationships.

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Experimental manipulation

the change that an experimenter deliberately produces in a situation.

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Experimental manipulation advantage and disadvantage

Advantage: the only way psychologists can establish
cause-and-effect relationships.
Disadvantage: to be valid, requires careful controls.

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experimental group vs. control group

Experimental group: any group participating in an
experiment that receives a treatment.
Control group: a group participating in an experiment that receives no treatment.

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Independent vs Dependent variable

Independent variable: the variable that is manipulated by an experimenter.
Dependent variable: the variable that is measured in an experiment.

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Random assignment to condition:

a procedure in which participants are assigned to different experimental groups or “conditions” on the basis of chance alone.

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Significant outcome

indicates that the findings of a research study are statistically meaningful.

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Replicated research

repetition of research, sometimes using other procedures, settings, and groups of participants, to increase confidence in prior findings

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a procedure that permits psychologists to combine the results of many separate studies into one overall conclusion

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Informed consent:

a document signed by participants affirming that they have been told about the basic outlines of the study and are aware of what their participation will involve

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after a participation in a study, participants
receive an explanation of the study and the procedures that were involved.

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Animal research allows for:

-Posing different questions in different way.

-Greater experimental control.

-Procedures that might ethically not be possible with people.

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Experimental bias

factors that distort the way the independent variable affects the dependent variable in an experiment

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experimenter vs participant expectations

-An experimenter’s expectations can produce the expected result when the researcher unintentionally transmits cues to participants.
Participant expectations about appropriate behavior can also affect results.

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a false treatment, such as a pill, drug, or other
substance, without any significant chemical properties or active ingredient

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Double-blind procedure

both the experimenter and the participant are “blind” to the nature of the substance being administered.

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Behavioral neuroscientists, or biopsychologists

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

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What are Neurons

-nerve cells, the basic components of the nervous

-have a cell body that contains a nucleus
- are physically held in place by glial cells

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a cluster of fibers at one end of a neuron that receive
messages from other neurons

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carries messages received by the dendrites to other

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Terminal buttons:

the part of the axon, like a small bulge at the
end, that sends messages to other neurons.

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Myelin sheath

a protective coating of fat and protein that
wraps around the axon. Also serves to increase the velocity with which electrical impulses travel through axons.

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Neurons follow an all-or-none law:

they are either on or off

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Resting state

state before a neuron is triggered, in which
there is a negative electrical charge of about −70 millivolts within the neuron.

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Action potential

an electric nerve impulse that travels through a neuron’s axon when it is set off by a “trigger,”
changing the neuron’s charge from negative to positive

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The speed at which an action potential travels along an axon is determined by the:

Axon’s size and Thickness of the myelin sheath

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Neurons differ in terms of:

Quickness of an impulse moving along the axon and the Potential rate of firing.

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Mirror neurons:

specialized neurons that fire not only when a person enacts a particular behavior but also when a person
simply observes another individual carrying out the same behavior

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It also helps explain how and why humans have the capacity to understand others’ intentions. (ex: Feelings of empathy and Development of language in humans)

What mirror neurons do?

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

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chemicals that carry messages across the synapse to the dendrite (and sometimes the cell body) of a receiving neuron.

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Types of chemical message delivered by neurotransmitters:

Excitatory message and Inhibitory message

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Excitatory message:

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

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Inhibitory message:

a chemical message that prevents or decreases the likelihood that a receiving neuron will fire.

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SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors:

permit certain neurotransmitters to remain active for a longer period at certain synapses, reducing the symptoms of depression

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The human nervous system uses two basic structures:

Central nervous system and Peripheral nervous system

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Central nervous system (CNS):

the part of the nervous system that includes the brain and spinal cord

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What does the spinal cord do

-Main means for transmitting messages between the brain and the body.
- Controls simple behaviors on its own, without any help from the brain

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Kinds of neurons involved in reflexes:

Sensory (afferent) neurons and Motor (efferent) neurons

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Sensory (afferent) neurons

transmit information from the perimeter of the body to the nervous system and brain

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Motor (efferent) neurons:

communicate information from the brain and nervous system to the muscles and glands.

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