Midterm 1 Notes
The notoriety of Freud undermines the scientific nature of psychology and how it
is perceived by the public
Psychology is diverse; there are many different fields
o Not the only science to lack a unifying conceptualization
Psychology is an independent discipline because:
o It studies the full range of human behavior with scientific techniques
o Applications derived from this knowledge are scientifically based
o Psychology is the data-based scientific study of human behavior
Often confused with pseudoscience
Often opposes “common sense”
The defining features of science are:
o The use of systematic empiricism
o The production of public knowledge
o The examination of solvable problems
Psychological research is often avoided because people fear the answers, not
because they do not think it is accurate
The falsifiability criterion states that, in order for a theory to be useful, the
predictions drawn form it must be specific: if it does not rule out any possible
observations, then the theory can never be changed.
The more events deemed impossible by a theory, the more impressive it is
o Freudian theory can explain everything: it is not falsifiable.
The quality of confirming instances is just as important as the quantity of the
Science seeks conceptual change, which makes it frequently incompatible with
folk wisdom/common sense.
A new theory must explain all of the facts that the old theory did plus new facts
that the old theory could not explain.
A solvable problem is synonymous with a testable theory.
Reliability refers to the consistency of a measuring instrument (whether you
would arrive at the same measurement after multiple assessments)
Construct validity refers to whether a measuring instrument (operational
definition) is measuring what is supposed to be measured.
Chapter 4 A case study is an investigation that looks intensely and in detail at a single
individual or very small number of individuals.
A testimonial is similar in that it is an isolated event, but there are testimonials to
support everything subject to the placebo effect
The placebo effect involves the tendency of people to report that a
medication/procedure has helped them, regardless of whether it has or not.
The vividness effect is when people are faced with a problem-solving or decision-
making situation, the retrieve from memory the information that seems relevant to