PSYCH 100.6: Introduction to Psychology
Study Guide for Final Exam
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) - I do not expect you to know all of the
years that events happened.
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.
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
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. Know the different types of descriptive research.
1. Descriptive research:
a. Naturalistic observation
i. Advantage: allows researchers to get a realistic picture of how behavior occurs in one’s
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
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
1 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
3. Know what a correlation is. What is the difference between a negative and a positive correlation? What is a
scatterplot? What is the relationship between correlation and causation? What is an illusory correlation?
1. 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 of relationship
g. Correlation does NOT equal causation!
4. How do experiments help researchers isolate cause and effect? What are dependent and independent variables? What
is random assignment and why is it important?
1. 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
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
5. Know the 3 measures of central tendency and why one may be better than another (if the data is skewed).
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
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 messages to other cells
4. myelin sheath: fatty substance that coats the axons and help to insulate, protect and speed up the rate at which
messages are sent
2. What are the properties of an action potential?
An action potential is the release of the neural impulse consisting of a reversal of the electrical charge within the
axon; electrical charge travels down the axon and is generated by the movement of positively charged atoms in and
out of channels in the axon’s membrane. The properties include an “all or nothing” (either fires completely or not at
2 all) response which depends on threshold value and its intensity, which always stays the same.
3. Be able to describe a synapse: axon, dendrites, synaptic cleft, neurotransmitters, receptors.
A synapse is the junction between the end of a sending neuron and the dendrite of a receiving neuron. The synapse
contains synaptic vesicles, which contain neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters help to transmit the messages to
the next neuron. Receptor sites within the synapse allow only particular neurotransmitter molecules of a certain
shape to fit into it, just as only a particular key will fit into a lock hole. Neurotransmitters can either begin and action
potential in the next cell or inhibit it; i.e. excitatory neuros and inhibitory neuros
4. Know the distinction between the central/peripheral, autonomic/somatic and sympathetic/parasympathetic nervous
Automatic nervous system: responsible for self-regulation action of internal organs and glands
• i.e. hormone release, HR, breathing, etc
Somatic nervous system: responsible for voluntary movements of skeletal muscles
• i.e. walking, running, jumping, etc
Sympathetic nervous system: responsible for arousing the body and mobilizing energy in times of stress
• i.e. fight or flight, increased HR, etc
Parasympathetic nervous system: responsible for calming the vody and conserving its energy
i.e. decreasing HR, “rest & digest”
Lecture 5 and Chapter 2 (pgs 65-86)
1. What are the techniques used to study the brain? How do they work?
EEG: recording of electrical waves sweeping across the brain’s surface measure by electrodes
• recordings can be used to study how brain waves occur in different areas of the brain during different mental
• recordings can also be used to observe how electrical currents change through time
PET: brain-imaging method in which radioactive glucose is injected into the subject and a computer compiles a
color-coded image of the activity in the brain
• recordings can show energy consumption of changes in blood oxygen levels
MRI: brain-imaging method that allows for functional examination of brain areas through changes in brain
• similar to an X-Ray but can look at soft tissues
• color maps shows strongest responses can predict whether you’re looking at a house or a face or if you are
adding or subtracting two numbers
2. What are the 4 lobes of the cortex? Know what the brainstem, thalamus, cerebellum and limbic system do.
Cerebral cortex: the outermost covering of the brain consisting of densely packed neurons, responsible for higher
thought processes and interpretation of sensory input. The 4 lobes include:
• Occipital: responsible for visual information processing
• Parietal: responsible for touch, taste and temperature sensations
• Temporal: responsible for the sense of hearing and meaningful speech
• Frontal: responsible for higher mental tasks and decision making as well as the production of fluent speech
Brainstem: responsible for automatic survival functions
Thalamus: relays information from the lower part of the brain to the proper areas of the cortex and processes some
sensory info before sending it the proper area (brain’s sensory switchboard)
Cerebellum: helps coordinate involuntary, rapid, fine motor movement
Limbic system: system of neural structures at the border of the brainstem and cerebrum that is associated with
emotions such as fear, aggressions and drives for sex (learning, emotion, memory and motivation)
3 3. Where is the motor and sensory cortex? What types of information do they process? How are they organized?
The motor cortex is located in the frontal lobe while the sensory cortex is located in the parietal lobe. The motor
cortex controls the voluntary muscles of the body and the sensory cortex receives information about the sense of
touch and body position. The motor cortex controls muscles all the way down to your toes while the sensory
cortex only controls down to the genitals
4. What is the corpus callosum?
The corpus callosum is a mass of neural fibers that connects the left and right hemispheres of the brain. If it is cut,
the hemispheres have trouble communicating.
5. What is aphasia, and what brain areas are involved?
Aphasia is the loss of ability to understand or express speech, caused by brain damage to either the Broca’s area or
Wenicke’s area. The brain is plastic; it can modify itself after some type of injury or illness.
Lecture 6 and Chapter 3 (pgs 88-92)
1. What is the difference between sensation and perception?
Sensation is the detection of physical energy from the environment & conversion into neural signals while
perception is how we select, organize and interpret our sensations.
2. Know the distinction between bottom-up and top-down processing, and how they are related to perception and
Bottom-up processing: begins with sensory info and works up to brain’s integration of sensory info
Top-down processing: begins with knowledge and expectations and interprets sensory and physical data
3. Know what psychophysics is, and know absolute and difference thresholds.
Psychophysics: study of the relationship between physical characteristics of stimuli and our psychological
experience of them
Absolute threshold: minimum stimulation needed to detect particular stimulus 50% of the tine
Difference threshold: minimum difference between two stimuli required for detection 50% of the time aka Just
4. What is selective attention and what is inattentional blindness?
Selective attention is the ability to focus on only one stimulus from among all sensory input. Inattentional blindness
is the failure to notice an unexpected stimulus that is in one's eyesight when other attention demanding tasks are
Lecture 7 and Chapter 3 (pgs 93-100)
1. Know how wavelength and amplitude (intensity) are related to the psychological dimensions of color (hue) and
Wavelength (hue/color): distance from peak of 1 wave to peak of another/ hue is determined by wavelength i.e.
different wavelengths equals different colors
Amplitude/Intensity (brightness/loudness): amount of energy in a wave/related to perceived brightness
2. What are the differences between rods and cones? Know the parts of the eye we discussed in class.
Rods: visual sensory receptors found at the back of the retina that are responsible for non-color sensitivity to low
levels of light
Cones: visual sensory receptors found at the back of the retina that are responsible for color vision and sharpness of
Cornea: transparent tissue where lights enters the eye
Iris: muscle that expands/contracts to change the size of the opening
Pupil: adjustable opening that lets light into the eye
Lens: focuses light rays on retina
Retina: contains sensory receptors that process visual info and send it to the brain
3. Know the tri-chromatic and opponent-process theories of color vision.
Trichromatic theory: the theory of color vision that proposes three types of cones: red, blue & green. The three types
of cones combine to form as many different colors as they can from these three colors. When all three combine at
their highest level we see white.
4. What is an afterimage? Which theory can account for their appearance?
An afterimage is an image that occurs when a visual sensation persists for a brief time even after the original
stimulus is removed. The opponent-process theory accounts for their appearance; this theory claims that we
process four primary colors opposed in pars of red-green, blue-yellow and black-white. The competition between
colors explains afterimages
Lecture 8 and Chapter 3 (pgs 112-123)
1. Know the Gestalt grouping principles.
Proximity: the tendency to perceive objects that are close to each other as part of the same grouping
Similarity: the tendency to perceive things that look similar to each other as being part of the same group
Closure: the tendency to complete figures that are incomplete
Continuity: the tendency to perceive things as simply as possible with a continuous pattern rather than with a
complex, broken-up pattern
Connectedness: the tendency to perceive uniform or linked spots, lines, or areas as a single unit
Common fate: the tendency to perceive aspects of a perceptual field that move or function in a similar manner as a
2. What are the two binocular cues to depth perception and how do they work.
Convergence: when our eyes move together to focus on something close
Divergence: when our eyes move far apart for distant objects
3. Know the monocular cues for perceiving depth.
Relative size: if two objects are similar in size we perceive one that casts a smaller retinal image as farther away
Occlusion (interposition): one object blocks our view of another
Aerial perspective: light passes through atmosphere, i.e. more atmosphere equals haze and clear objects are closer
Linear perspective: parallel lines appear to converge with distance, the more they converge the greater the perceived
Texture gradient: we see fewer details the farther away an object is
Motion parallax: close objects appear to move more quickly
Lecture 9 and Chapter 8 (pgs 296-324)
1. Know what a teratogen is - in particular, know fetal alcohol syndrome and the symptoms associated with it.
A teratogen is any substance that can harm a fetus i.e. alcohol, dugs, etc. Some of the effects of Fetal Alcohol
Syndrome include a small head, brain abnormalities and retardation.
5 2. Know how brain develops prenatally and after birth.
Prenatally, the brain overproduces neurons (28 billion @ 7 mos. In womb) and after birth, the brain produces less (23
3. What is a schema? Know assimilation and accommodation.
Schema: a mental concept formed through experiences with objects and events
Assimilation: the interpretation of new information in terms of existing experiences
Accommodation: the adaptation/adjustment of our schemas to fit new experiences
4. Know Piaget’s stages of cognitive development.
1. Sensorimotor (birth -2)
a. Take in world through senses
b. Gain object permanence (things exist even when out of sight)
2. Preoperational (2-7)
a. Learn language but don’t understand logic
b. Children are egocentric (can’t take another’s viewpoint)
c. Start to form a theory of mind (ideas about own/other’s mental states and how feelings/thoughts
3. Concrete Operational (7-11)
a. Gain mental operations that enable them to think logically
b. Understand conservation
c. Gain an understanding of mathematical transformations
4. Formal Operational (11+)
a. Can think logically about abstract concepts
b. Probably begins earlier than Piaget believed
5. What is the Strange situation test? What do the results typically show?
The strange situation test (Ainsworth) is a test in which a child is put in a room with its caregiver and a stranger and
observed when the mother leaves the room and then returns. The child can either exhibit secure attachment (cry
when caregiver leaves but is comforted when she returns) or insecure attachment (child is unlikely to explore
surroundings and cries both when mom leaves and returns). Sixty percent of kids displays secure attachment.
6. Know the three parenting styles, and know which one seems to be the best?
Authoritarian: parents impose rules and expect obedience
Permissive: parents submit to kid’s demands
Authoritative: parents are demanding but responsive; listen to kids concerns
* This style is the best because kids show highest levels of self-esteem and competency
Lecture 10 and Chapter 8 (pgs 324-336)
1. How do people physically develop during adolescence?
2. What changes take place in the brain during adolescence?
During adolescence selective pruning of neurons begins i.e. unused neural connections are lost to make other
pathways more efficient. Neurons begin to mylinate in the frontal lobe and cause hormonal surges and limbic system
changes, which explains adolescent impulsiveness.
3. Know Kohlberg’s stages of moral development.
Kohlberg’s stages include:
1. Pre-conventional morality (<9): children show morality to avoid punishment or gain rewards
2. Conventional morality: social rules/laws upheld for own sake
6 3. Post-conventional morality: affirms people’s agreed upon rights or follows personally perceived ethical
Lecture 11 and Chapter 5 (pgs 1678-179)
1. Know what classical conditioning is and know what the conditioned stimulus (CS), unconditioned stimulus (US),
conditioned response (CR) and unconditioned response (UR) are.
Classical conditioning is a type of learning in which an organism learns to associate stimuli. Pavlov used dogs to test
classical conditioning. Before conditioning food produced salivation and bell did not. During conditioning the bell
and food were paired, resulting in salivation. After conditioning, the bell elicited salivation on its own.
CS: tone of bell
2. What are extinction and spontaneous recovery?
Extinction: the disappearance or weakening of a learned response following the removal or absence of the
unconditioned stimulus (in classical conditioning) or the removal of the reinforcer (in operant conditioning)
Spontaneous recovery: the reappearance of a learned response after extinction has occurred
3. Know what generalization and discrimination are, including the experiment with little Albert.
Generalization: the tendency to respond to a stimulus that is only similar to the original conditioned stimulus with the
Discrimination: the tendency to stop making a generalized response to a stimulus that is similar to the original
conditioned stimulus because the similar stimulus is never paired with the unconditioned stimulus
In the Little Albert experiment he was conditioned to hate rats and therefore hated all furry animals (generalization)
4. Know that we are more biologically disposed to form certain associations over others.
Lecture 12 and Chapter 5 (pgs 180-196)
1. What is operant conditioning? Know the difference between classical and operant conditioning.
Operant conditioning: the learning of voluntary behavior through the effects of pleasant and unpleasant consequences
2. What is shaping? Know what successive approximations are.
Shaping involves the initial steps needed to get the subject to engage in the behavior that is to be rewarded. If, for
example, a rat is to be rewarded for pressing a bar, it must first learn to go near the bar in an operant box, to touch the
bar and to press the bar. Successive approximations are increasingly accurate approximations of a response desired by
3. Know what reinforcers are (positive and negative).
Reinforcers: any event that strengthens the behavior it follows
Positive reinforcement: increasing behaviors by presenting positive stimuli
Negative reinforcement: increasing behaviors by removing negative stimuli
4. Know punishment (both positive and negative).
Punishment: an aversive event that decreases the behavior that it follows
Positive punishment: administer an aversive stimulus (i.e. spanking, parking tickets, etc)
Negative Punishment: withdraw a desirable stimulus (i.e. time-outs, revoked license, etc)
Punishment can lead to negative effects such as lying, fear & anxiety, aggression, or a child avoiding the punisher
7 rather than the behavior.
Lecture 13 and Chapter 5 (pgs 197-207)
1. What is cognitive learning theory? Know latent & insight learning, and learned helplessness.
Cognitive learning theory: an approach to the study of learning that focuses on the thought processes that underlie
Latent learning: learning that remains hidden until its application becomes useful
Insight learning: the sudden perception of relationships among various parts of a problem, allowing the solution to
the problem to come quickly.
Learned helplessness: the tendency to fail to act to escape from a situation because of a history of repeated failures in
2. What is observational learning? What are mirror neurons?
Observational learning: learning new behavior by watching a model perform that behavior
Mirror neurons: neurons that fire both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed
Lecture 14 and Chapter 6 (pgs 212-216)
1. What is memory?
Memory is the persistence of learning over tie, through storage and retrieval of information.
2. Know the basic memory processes – encoding, storage and retrieval.
Encoding: getting info into the memory system
Storage: retention of info
Retrieval: getting the info out of storage
3. Know the three-stage model of memory. Know that working memory contains visual and auditory elements.
The three-stage model consists of:
1) Sensory memory: immediate, brief recording of surroundings
2) Short-term memory: holds a few items briefly
3) Long-term memory: relatively permanent with limitless storage
Working memory is the realistic representation of short-term memory; the working model states that info will be
retained as long as it is rehearsed thus it contains auditory and visual elements.
4. Know that we automatically process things in time and space. Know that other things require effort to process.
Automatic processing is the act of effortlessly processing an enormous amount of info such as space, time and
frequency. Other things such as novel information requires effort to process, i.e. learning things from a textbook and
memorizing facts. These things require repetition and rehearsal
5. Know the types of rehearsal.
Maintenance rehearsal: repeating info to keep it in working memory; once you stop it goes away but if you continue
it could pass into LTM.
Elaborative rehearsal: transfer of information from STM to LTM by making it meaningful via semantic (meaning),
acoustic (sound, like putting facts to a tune), or visual (associating words with pictures). Most of the time visual
encoding works the best because mental pictures are a powerful aid to effortful processing especially when combined
with semantic encoding (Stephen Wiltshire).
6. Know the three ways to encode information. What typically leads to better performance?
8 Semantic: applying a larger, significant meaning in order to remember
Acoustic: pairing a sound with a memory
Visual: pairing a sight with a memory (associating words with pictures) works the bes