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Midterm Definitions

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Steve Joordens

Psychology Definitions-Midterm Chapter 1: What is Psychology Psychology: the scientific study of the causes of behaviour; also the application of the findings of psychological research to the solution of problems Casual event: an event that causes another event to occur Physiological psychology: the branch of psychology that studies the physiological basis of behaviour Comparative psychology: the branch of psychology that studies the behaviours of a variety of organisms in an attempt to understand the adaptive and functional significance of the behaviours and their relation to evolution Behaviour analysis: the branch of psychology that studies the effect of the environment on behaviour-primarily, the effects of the consequences of behaviours on the behaviours themselves Behaviour genetics: the branch of psychology that studies the role of genetics in behaviour Cognitive psychology: the branch of psychology that studies complex behaviours and mental processes such as perception, attention, learning and memory, verbal behaviour, concept formation and problem solving Cognitive neuroscience: the branch of psychology that attempts to understand cognitive psychological functions by studying the brain mechanisms that are responsible for them Developmental psychology: the branch of psychology that studies the changes in behavioural, perceptual and cognitive capacities of organisms as a function of age and experience Social psychology: the branch of psychology devoted to the study of the effects people have on each others behaviour Personality psychology: the branch of psyc8hology that attempts to categorize and understand the causes of individual differences in patterns of behaviour Evolutionary psychology: the branch of psychology that explains behaviour in terms of adaptive advantages that specific behaviours provided during the evolution of a species. Evolutionary psychologists use natural selection as a guiding principle. Cross-cultural psychology: the branch of psychology that studies the effects of culture on behaviour Clinical psychology: the branch of psychology devoted to the investigation and treatment of abnormal behaviour and psychological disorders The growth of Psychology as a Science Animism: the belief that all animals and all moving objects possess spirits providing their motive force Reflex: an automatic response to a stimulus, such as the blink reflex to the sudden unexpected approach of an object toward the eyes Dualism: the philosophical belief that reality consists of mind and matter Model: a relatively simple system that works on known principles and is able to do at least some of the things that a more complex system can do Empiricism: the philosophical view that all knowledge is obtained through the senses Materialism: the philosophical belief that reality can be known only through an understanding of the physical world of which the mind is part of Doctrine of specific nerve energies: Johannes Mullers observation that different nerve fibres convey specific information from 1 part of the body to the brain to 1 part of the body Experimental ablation: the removal or destruction of a portion of the brain of an experimental animal for the purpose of studying the functions of that region Psychophysics: the branch of psychology that measures the quantitative relation between physical stimuli and perceptual experience Determinism: the doctrine that behaviour is the result of prior events Law of effect: Thorndikes observation that stimuli that occur as a consequence of a response can increase or decrease the likelihood of making that response again Major Trends in the Development of Psychology Structuralism: the system of experimental psychology that began with Wundt; it emphasized introspective analysis of sensation and perception Introspection: literally looking within in an attempt to describe ones own memories, perceptions, cognitive processes or motivations Functionalism: the strategy of understanding a species structural or behavioural features by attempting to establish their usefulness with respect to survival and reproductive success Behaviourism: a movement in psychology that asserts that the only proper subject matter for scientific study is psychology is observable behaviour Humanistic psychology: an approach to the study of human behaviour that emphasizes human experience, choice and creativity, self-realization and positive growth Gestalt psychology: a movement in psychology that emphasized that cognitive processes could be understood by studying their organization, not their elements Information processing: an approach used by cognitive psychologists to explain the workings of the brain; information received through the senses is processed by systems of neurons in the brain Chapter 2 The Scientific Method in Psychology Scientific method: a set of rules that governs the collection and analysis of data gained through observational studies or experiments Naturalistic observation: the observation of the behaviour of people or other animals in their natural environments Clinical observation: the observation of the behaviour of people who are undergoing diagnosis or treatment Correlation study: the examination of relations between 2 or more measurements of behaviour or other characteristics of people or other animals Experiments: a study in which the researcher changes the value of an independent variable and observes whether this manipulation affects the value of a dependent variable. Only experiments can confirm the existence of cause-and-effect relations among variables Hypothesis: a statement, usually designed to be tested by an experiment, that tentatively expresses a cause-and-effect relationship between 2 or more events Theory: a set of statements designed to explain a set of phenomena; more encompassing than a hypothesis Case study: a detailed description of an individuals behaviour during the course of clinical treatment or diagnosisSurvey study: a study of peoples responses to standardized questions Variable: anything capable of assuming any of several values Manipulation: setting the values of an independent variable in an experiment to see whether the value of another variable is affected Experimental group: a group of participants in an experiment, the members of which are exposed to a particular value of the independent variable which has been manipulated by the researcher Control group: a comparison group used in an experiment, the members of which are exposed to the naturally occurring or zero value of the independent variable Independent variable: the variable that is manipulated in an experiment as a means of determining cause-and-effect relations Dependent variable: the variable that is measured in an experiment Nominal fallacy: the false belief that one has explained the causes of a phenomenon by identifying and naming it; ex: believing that one has explained lazy behaviour by attributing it to laziness Operational definition: the definition of a variable in terms of the operations the researcher performs to measure or manipulate it Validity: the degree to which the operational definition of a variable accurately reflects the variable it is designed to measure or manipulate Confounding of variables: inadvertent simultaneous manipulation of more than one variable. There results of an experiment involving confounded variable permit no valid conclusions about cause and effect Counterbalancing: a systematic variation of conditions in an experiment such as the order of presentation of stimuli,
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