Chapter 1 Notes
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1 The Science of Psychology
Psychology:The scientific study of the causes of behaviour; also, the application of the
findings of psychological research to the solution of problems.
Causal event: An event that causes another even to occur (including behaviour).
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
Behaviour genetics:The branch of psychology that studies the role of genetics in
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
Social psychology:The branch of psychology devoted to the study of the effects people
have on each other’s behaviour.
Personality psychology:The branch of psychology 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.
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