PSY100H1 Study Guide - Psychological Trauma, Detection Theory, Learned Helplessness

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Psychological Science Key Terms
Psychological Science: The study of the mind, brain, and behavior.
Culture: The beliefs, values, rules, and customs that exist within a group of people who
share a common language and environment and that are transmitted through learning
from one generation to the next.
Nature/Nurture Debate: The arguments concerning whether psychological
characteristics are biologically innate or acquired through education, experience, and
Mind/Body Problem: A fundamental psychological issue that considers whether mind
and body are separate and distinct or whether the mind is simply the subjective
experience of the physical brain.
Evolutionary Theory: In psychological science, a theory that emphasizes the inherited,
adaptive value of behavior and mental activity throughout the history of a species.
Adaptations: In evolutionary theory, the physical characteristics, skills, or abilities that
increase the chances of reproduction or survival and are therefore likely to be passed
along to future generations.
Natural Selection: Darwin’s theory that those who inherit characteristics that help them
adapt to their particular environments have a selective advantage over those who do not.
Introspection: A systematic examination of subjective mental experiences that requires
people to inspect and report on the content of their thoughts.
Structuralism: An approach to psychology based on the idea that conscious experience
can be broken down into its basic underlying components or elements.
Stream Of Consciousness: A phrase coined by William James to describe one’s
continuous series of ever-changing thoughts.
Functionalism: An approach to psychology concerned with the adaptive purpose, or
function, of mind and behavior.
Gestalt Theory: A theory based on the idea that the whole of personal experience is
different from simply the sum of its constituent elements.
Unconscious: The mental processes that operate below the level of conscious awareness.
Psychoanalysis: A method developed by Sigmund Freud that attempts to bring the
contents of the unconscious into conscious awareness so that conflicts can be revealed.
Behaviourism: A psychological approach that emphasizes the role of environmental
forces in producing behaviour.
Cognitive Psychology: The study of how people think, learn, and remember.
Cognitive Neuroscience: The study of the neural mechanisms that underlie thought,
learning, and memory.
Social Psychology: The study of group dynamics in relation to psychological processes.
Critical Thinking: A systematic way of evaluating information to reach reasonable
Scientific Method: A systematic procedure of observing and measuring phenomena to
answer questions about what happens, when it happens, what causes it, and why.
Theory: A model of interconnected ideas and concepts that explains what is observed
and makes predictions about future events.
Hypothesis: A specific prediction of what should be observed in the world if a theory is
Research: Scientific process that involves the systematic and careful collection of data.
Data: Objective observations or measurements.
Replication: Repetition of an experiment to confirm the results.
Variable: Something in the world that can be measured and that can vary.
Naturalistic Observation: A passive descriptive study in which observers do not change
or alter ongoing behaviour.
Participant Observation: A type of descriptive study in which the researcher is actively
involved in the situation.
Observer Bias: Systematic errors in observation that occur because of an observer’s
Experimenter Expectancy Effect: Actual change in the behavior of the people or
animals being observed that is due to observer bias.
Correlational Study: A research method that examines how variables are naturally
related in the real world, without any attempt by the researcher to alter them.
Directionality Problem: When researchers find a relationship between two variables in a
correlational study, they cannot determine which variable may have caused changes in
the other variable.
Third Variable Problem: When the experimenter cannot directly manipulate the
independent variable and therefore cannot be confident that another, unmeasured variable
is not the actual cause of differences in the dependent variable.
Experiment: A study that tests causal hypotheses by measuring and manipulating
Control (Or Comparison) Group: The participants in a study that receive no
intervention or an intervention different from the one being studied.
Experimental (Or Treatment) Group: The participants in a study that receive the
Independent Variable: In an experiment, it is the condition that is manipulated by the
experimenter to examine its impact on the dependent variable.
Dependent Variable: In an experiment, it is the measure that is affected by manipulation
of the independent variable.
Confound: Anything that affects a dependent variable and may unintentionally vary
between the experimental conditions of a study.
Population: Everyone in the group the experimenter is interested in.
Sample: A subset of a population.
Selection Bias: When participants in different groups in an experiment differ
Random Assignment: The procedure for placing research participants into the
conditions of an experiment in which each participant has an equal chance of being
assigned to any level of the independent variable.
Meta-Analysis: A “study of studies” that combines the findings of multiple studies to
arrive at a conclusion.
Culturally Sensitive Research: Studies that take into account the ways culture affects
thoughts, feelings, and actions.
Observational Technique: A research method of careful and systematic assessment and
coding of overt behaviour.