PSYCH 100: Introduction to Psychology
Study Guide for Exam 1
Lecture 2 and Chapter 1 (pgs 2-18)
1. What are the goals of Psychology?
The goals of psychology are: description, prediction, explanation, and application/control.
2. Understand the distinction between nativism/empiricism (nature/nurture).
Nativism is the idea that thoughts, ideas and characteristics are inborn while empiricism is the idea
that thoughts, ideas and characteristics are influenced by one’s environment.
3. Know the difference between structuralism/functionalism.
Structuralism (Wilhelm Wundt) is the study of the structure or basic elements of the mind, such as
sensations and perceptions that make up our conscious mental experiences. Functionalism (William
James) is the study of how the mind allows people to adapt, live, work and play (study of function
4. What is psychoanalysis? Who was the first psychoanalyst?
Psychoanalysis is Sigmund Freud’s theory and belief that childhood experiences influence
development of later personality traits and psychological problems.
5. Know what behaviorism is.
Behaviorism (John Watson) is the science of behavior that focuses on observable behavior only;
mental events are triggered by external stimuli which lead to certain behaviors (rewards &
6. What is Gestalt psychology?
Gestalt psychology focuses on perception and sensation, particularly the perception of patterns and
whole figures. It emphasizes that perception is more than the sum of its parts. Gestalt studied how
sensations are assembled into meaningful perceptual experiences.
7. Know the seven modern perspectives of psychology.
The seven modern perspectives are:
1. Psychodynamic: focus on the development of a sense of self and the discovery of motivations
behind a person’s behavior other than sexual motivations
2. Behavioral (B.F. Skinner): focus on operant condition (punishment & reinforcement)
3. Humanistic: focus on self-understanding and self-improvement
4. Biopsychological: attributes human and animal behavior to biological events occurring in the
body, such as genetic influences, hormones and the nervous system.
5. Cognitive: focuses on memory, intelligence, perception, problem solving and learning.
6. Sociocultural: focuses on the relationship between social behavior and culture
7. Evolutionary: focus on the biological bases of universal mental characteristics that all humans
share 8. Know some effective study techniques.
Some effective studying tips include:
• Give yourself enough time
• Study in blocks; don’t cram everything in
• Read the textbook and take notes on what you read
• Know what type of test it is and what will be on it
Lecture 3 and Chapter 1 (pgs 18-42)
1. What is the scientific method? Know the steps involved.
The scientific method is a system of gathering data so that bias and error in measurement is
reduced. The steps include:
1. perceive: draw a question from what you saw
2. hypothesize: form an educated guess about the explanation for your observations
3. test the hypothesis: design ways to make systematic observations
4. draw conclusions: whether your hypothesis was supported or refuted, make predictions as to
why it happened
5. report, revise, replicate
2. What are the three types of research designs?
Three types of research designs include:
1. Descriptive research:
a. Naturalistic observation
i. Advantage: allows researchers to get a realistic picture of how behavior
occurs in one’s natural setting
ii. Disadvantage: those being observed may experience the observer effect,
which is the tendency of people or animals to behave differently when they
know they are being observed. Another disadvantage is observer bias, which
is the tendency of the observer to see only what they expect to see.
b. Laboratory observation
i. Advantage: gives the observer control over the situation and allows them to
use equipment that might otherwise be difficult to use in a natural setting
ii. Disadvantage: the artificial setting of lab might result in the artificial
behavior of those being observed since people and animals react differently
in a lab than they would in the real world
c. Case studies
i. Advantage: tremendous amount of detail provided and sometimes could be
the only way to get certain kinds of information
ii. Disadvantage: a case study for one person is not applicable to other similar
people because everybody is unique
i. Advantage: researchers can get private information as well as a tremendous
amount of date on a very large group of people
ii. Disadvantage: people don’t always give accurate examples
iii. Problems with suveys:
1. Researchers must be selective about who they interview therefore
random sampling is used because it gives each member of a population and equal chance of being selected so that the sample is
representative of the entire population
2. Wording: wording of statements/questions can affect the outcome
3. Knowledge: participants must understand all words used in questions
2. Correlational research: measure of the relationship between two variables
a. Correlation coefficient will always be between +1 and -1
b. For example, -.89 is a very strong correlation coefficient
c. Positive correlation: variables related in same direction
d. Negative correlation: variables related in opposite direction
e. Illusory correlation: finding a correlation that isn’t actually real (penis & shoe size);
brought on by stereotypes, superstitions and prejudice
f. Scatterplot: a graph comprised of points generated by values of two variables. The
slope of points depicts the direction, and the amount of scatter indicates the strength
g. Correlation does NOT equal causation!
3. Experimental research: deliberate manipulation of a variable to see if corresponding changes
in behavior result, allowing the determination of cause-and-effect relationships
a. Independent variable: variable that is manipulated; has an effect on the dependent
b. Dependent variable: variable that represents the measurable response or behavior of
the objects in the experiment
c. Random assignment: process of assigning subjects to the experimental or control
groups randomly, so that each subject has an equal chance of being in either group;
best way to ensure control over other interfering variables
3. Know the 3 measures of central tendency and why one may be better than another (skewed
distribution). Understand the measures of variation (range, standard deviation).
The three measures of central tendency include:
1. mode: most frequently occurring score in a distribution
2. mean: average of scores obtained by adding the scores and then dividing by their number
3. median: middle score in a rank-ordered distribution (best method in a skewed distribution)
The measures of variation include:
1. range: difference between highest and lowest scores
2. standard deviation: computed measure of how much scores vary around the mean
From the book – Chapter 1
1. What is an operational definition?
An operational definition is the definition of a variable of interest that allows it to be directly
measured. (i.e. “aggressive behavior” must be defined exactly, possibly by a list of very specific
actions, so that it can be measured)
2. What are experimental and control groups?
Experimental groups are groups made up of individuals who will be exposed to the independent
variable while control groups are comprised of those who are not subjected to the independent
variable and who may receive a placebo treatment instead.
3. What is critical thinking?
Critical thinking is the act of making reasoned judgments about claims. Lecture 4 and Chapter 2 (pgs 44-65)
1. Know the basic anatomy of a neuron: dendrite, soma, axon, myelin sheath. What does each part do?
1. dendrite: structures that receive messages from other neurons
2. soma: cell body responsible for maintaining life of the cell life
3. axon: tube-like structure that carries m