Psychology 1000 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Terror Management Theory, Gestalt Psychology, Evolutionary Psychology

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Chapter 1: The Science of Behaviour
Applied research: research involving the application of scientific knowledge to solve practical problems
involves the application of knowledge derived from basic research
Artificial intelligence: the field within cognitive science that attempts to develop computer simulations
of human mental processes
Basic research: research designed to obtain knowledge for its own sake
Behaviour genetics: the scientific study of the role of genetic inheritance in behaviour
Behaviour modification: therapeutic procedures based on operant conditioning principles, such as
positive reinforcement, operant extinction, and punishment
Biological perspective: perspective that focuses on the role of biological factors in behaviour, including
biochemical and brain processes as well as genetic and evolutionary factors
Behaviourism: school of psychology that emphasizes the role of learning and environmental control
over behaviour, and maintains that the proper subject matter of psychology is observable behaviour;
John Watson and B.F. Skinner were major figures in behaviourism
British empiricism: 17th century school of philosophy championed by John Locke, according to which all
the contents of the mind are gained experientially through the senses; this notion was later a
cornerstone for the behaviourists’ position that we are shaped through our experiences
Cognitive behaviourism: behavioural approach that incorporates cognitive concepts, suggesting that the
environment influences our behaviour by affecting our thoughts and giving us information; these
cognitive processes allow us to control our behaviour and the environment
Cognitive perspective: psychological perspective that views humans as rational information processors
and problem solvers, and focuses on the mental processes that influence behaviour
Collectivism: a cultural factor that emphasizes the achievement of the group rather than individual goals
and in which personal identity is largely defined by ties to the larger social groups
Culture: the enduring values, beliefs, behaviours, and traditions that are shared by a large group of
people and passed from one generation to the next
Evolutionary psychology: a field of study that focuses on the role of evolutionary processes (especially
natural selection) in the development of adaptive psychological mechanisms and social behaviour in
Functionalism: an early school of American psychology that focused on the functions of consciousness
and behaviour in helping organisms adapt to their environment and satisfy their needs
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Gestalt psychology: a German school of psychology that emphasized the natural organization of
perceptual elements into wholes, or patterns, as well as the role of insight in problem solving
Humanistic perspective: a psychological perspective that emphasizes personal freedom, choice, and
Hysteria: a psychological disorder studied and treated by Freud in which physical symptoms appear
without any apparent underlying organic cause
Individualism: a cultural characteristic that favours the achievement of the individual over group goals
and which is characteristic of many Western nations; self-identity is based primarily on one’s own
attributes and achievements
Insight: in Gestalt psychology, the sudden perception of a useful relationship or solution to a problem; in
psychoanalysis, the conscious awareness of unconscious dynamics that underlie psychological problems
Interaction: in analyzing causal factors, the influence that the presence or strength of one factor can
have on other causal factors
Introspection: the method of “looking within” and verbally reporting on immediate experience; used by
the structuralists to study the contents of the mind
Jigsaw program: an applied research program in which knowledge gained from basic research on factors
that increase and decrease intergroup hostility was translated into a cooperative learning program
designed to reduce interracial hostility in racially integrated schools
Levels of analysis: an approach to analyzing behavioural phenomena and their causal factors in terms of
biological, psychological and environmental factors
Mind-body dualism: the philosophical position that the mind is a non-physical entity that is not subject
to physical laws and cannot be reduced to physical processes; body and mind are separate entities
Monism: the philosophical position that mental events are reducible to physical events in the brain, so
that “mind” and body are one and the same
Natural selection: the evolutionary process through which characteristics that increase the likelihood of
survival are preserved in the gene pool and thereby become more common in a species over time
Norms: test scores derived from a relevant sample used to evaluate individuals’ scores; behavioural
Perspectives: a theoretical vantage point from which to analyze behaviour and its causes
Psychodynamic perspective: a psychological perspective that focuses on inner personality dynamics,
including the role of unconscious impulses and defences, in understanding behaviour
Psychology: the scientific study of behaviour and the factors that influence it
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Repression: the basic defence mechanism that actively keeps anxiety-arousing material in the
Self-actualization: in humanistic theories, an inborn tendency to strive toward the realization of one’s
full potential
Social constructivism: the position that people construct their reality and beliefs through their
Socio-biology: an evolutionary theory of social behaviour that emphasizes the role of adaptive
behaviour in maintaining one’s genes in the species’ gene pool
Sociocultural perspective: a perspective that emphasizes the role of culture and the social environment
in understanding commonalties and differences in human behaviour
Structuralism: an early German school of psychology established by Wilhelm Wundt that attempted to
study the structure of the mind by breaking it down into basic components, thought to be sensations
Terror management theory: a theory that focuses on the way people defend against the fear of death
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