Chapter 1: Introduction to psychological science
- Computers can do a lot of things better than humans
- Machines will always lack some essentially human elements: personality, wisdom, may
be sense of humor, or even a soul.
- Psychologist refer to the act of treating objects or animals like people as
- Two unifying qualities:
1. Psychology involves the study of behavior that broadly defined can include
perceptions, thoughts and emotions.
2. Psychologist employ the scientific method in their work.
- Psychology as the scientific study of behavior, thought and experience.
- A person who carefully follows a system of observing, predicting, and testing is
- The scientific method is a way of learning about the world through collecting
observations, pro-posing explanations for the observations, developing theories to explain
them, and using the theories to make predictions.
- Hypothesis is a testable prediction about processes that be observes and measured.
- A testable hypothesis is one that can be confirmed or rejected and a scientific hypothesis
must be testable.
- Pseudoscience, which refer to ideas that are presented as science but do not actually
utilize basic principles of scientific thinking or procedure.
- A theory is an explanation for a broad range of observations that also generates new
hypotheses and integrates numerous findings into a coherent whole.
- Common issues:
1. Theories are not the same thing as opinions or beliefs
2. All theories are not equally plausible
3. A measure of a good theory is not the number of people who believe it to be true.
- Bio psychosocial model is a means of explaining behavior as a product of biological,
psychological and sociocultural factors.
- Scientific literacy, the ability to understand, analyze and apply scientific information.
- Critical thinking involves exercising curiosity and skepticism when evaluating the claims
of others and with our own assumptions and beliefs.
- Curiosity is essential to psychology because many of us think about the causes of
behavior only whit affects us negatively or when it strikes us as unusual.
- We view skepticism, as well as curiosity, as means of raising important questions; both
attitudes lead us to search for and evaluate evidence.
1. Be curious. Simple answers are sometimes too simple, and common sense is not
2. Examine the evidence
3. Examine assumptions and biases
4. Avoid overly emotional thinking
5. Tolerate ambiguity
6. Consider alternative viewpoints
- Critical thinking meaning respecting other viewpoints but it also means that some ideas
can be incorrect.
- Science is a philosophy of knowledge that stems from two fundamental beliefs:
empiricism and determinism - Empiricism is a philosophical tenet that knowledge comes through experience.
- “Seeing is believing” , empiricism means that knowledge about the world is based on
careful observation, not common sense or speculations
- Determinism is the belief that all events are governed by lawful, cause and effect
- Free will versus determinism
- Our understanding of behavior comes from observing what we can see and measure, and
behavior is caused by multitude of factors.
- Zeitgeist refers to a general set of beliefs of a particular culture at a specific time in
- Materialism, the belief that humans and other living beings, are composed exclusively of
- The opposing belief, that there are properties of humans that are not material is called
- Psychophysics which is the study of the relationship between the physical world and the
mental representation of that world.
- Gustav Fechner, who worked on sensation and perception; was interested in the natural
world of moving objects and energy.
- Fechner demonstrated basic principles of how the physical and mental world interact.
- Charles Darwin was studying the variety of plants and animals around the world.
- “The expression of the emotions in man and animals” behavior is shaped by natural
selection, just as physical traits are.
- Darwin’s recognition that behaviors, like physical traits are subject to hereditary
influences and natural selection was a major contribution to psychology.
- Clinical psychology, the field of psychology that concentrates on the diagnosis and
treatment of psychological disorders.
- Franz Gall
- Johann Spurzheim
- The other approach to localization entailed the study if brain injuries and the ways in
which they affect behavior.
- Sigmund Freud who began to use hypnosis to treat his own patients.
- Hysterical paralysis is a condition in which an individual loses feelings and control in a
specific body part, despite the lack of any known neurological damage or disease
- Psychoanalysis is a psychological approach that attempts to explain how behavior and
personality are influenced by unconscious process.
- Sir Francis Galton believed that heredity (genetics) explained psychological differences
- Eminence is a combination of ability, morality and achievement.
- Nature and nurture relationships, the inquiry into how heredity (nature) and environment
(nurture) influences behavior and mental processes.
- Eugenics, which literally translates as “good genes” and promoted the belief that social
program should encourage intelligent, talented individuals to have children.
- The field of biological psychology seeks to explain the underlying genetic, physiological
and brain basis for behavior.
- Structuralism was an attempt to analyze conscious experience by breaking it down into
basic elements and to understand how these elements work together
- Functionalism is the study of the purpose and function of behavior and conscious
- Professor Edwin Twitmyer was interested in reflexes. - The study of conditioning would soon become a focus of behaviorism, an approach that
dominated the first half of the 20 century of American psychology and had a singular
focus on studying only observable behavior, with little to no reference to mental events or
instincts as possible influences on behavior.
- Ivan Pavlov : research on dog could learn to salivate to a tone
- The rise of behaviorism in the USA goes to John.B Watson
- Humanistic psychology focuses on the unique aspects of each individual human, each
person’s freedom to act, his or her rational thought, and the belief that humans are
fundamentally different from other animals.
- Carl Roger and Abraham Maslow focused on the positive aspects of humanity and the
factors that lead to a productive and fulfilling life.
- Herman Ebbinghaus produced reams of data on remembering and forgetting, “forgetting
- Fredrick Bartlett was able to illustrate that memory is an interpretive process that
involves cultural knowledge
Gestalt psychology, an approach emphasizing that psychologists need to focus on the
whole perception and experience , rather than its parts
- Cognitive psychology is a modern psychological perspective that focuses on processes
such as memory, thinking and language.
- Noram Triplett
- Cross cultural psychology is the field that draws comparisons about individual and group
behavior among cultures; it helps us understand the role of society in shaping behavior,
beliefs and values.
- Applied psychology uses psychological knowledge to address problems and issues across
various settings and professions, including law, education, clinical psychology and
business organization and management.
- Psychiatry is a branch of medicine concerned with the treatment of mental and behavioral
- Forensic psychology encompasses work in the criminal justice system, including
interactions with the legal system and its professionals.
- School psychology involves working with students who have special needs, such as those
with emotional, social or academic problems.
- Health psychology (or behavioral medicine), the study of how individual, biological, and
environmental factors affect physical health.
- Industrial and organizational (I/O) psychology, a bunch of applied psychology in which
psychologists work for a businesses and other organizations to improve employee
productivity and the organizational structure of the company or business.
- Human factor psychology, the study of how people interact with tools, physical spaces, or
Chapter 2: Reading and evaluating scientific research
- Objectivity assumes that certain facts about the world can be observed and tested
independently from the individual who describes them.
- Subjective meaning that their knowledge of the event is shaped by the prior beliefs,
expectations, experiences and even their mood.
- The five characteristics of quality scientific research:
1. It is based on measurements that are objective, valid, and reliable
2. It can be generalized
3. It uses techniques that reduce bias 4. It is made public
5. It can be replicated.
- Objective measurements, the measure of an entity r behavior that, within an allowed
margin of error is consistent across instruments and observers.
- Weight is something that can be measured objectively.
- Variable refers to the object, concept or event being measured.
- Magnetic Resonance imaging (MRI) allow researched to view the brain.
- Self-reporting , a method in which responses are provided directly by the people who are
being studied, typically through face-to-face interviews phone surveys, paper and pencil
tests, and web based questionnaires.
- Operational definitions are statements that describe the procedures and specific measures
that are used to record observations.
- Spatial reasoning, the ability to look at objects and mentally manipulate them.
- Reliability when it provides consistent and stable answers across multiple observation
and points in time.
- Validity, the degree to which an instrument or procedure actually measures what it claims
- Generalizability refers to the degree to which one set of results can be applied to other
situations, individuals or events.
- Population: the group that researchers want to generalize about.
- Sample: a select group of population numbers.
- Random sample: every individual of a population has an equal chance of being included.
- Convenience samples: which are samples of individuals who are the most readily
- Primary research settings:
1. Laboratory research includes any study conducted in an environment controlled by
2. Naturalistic research takes place where the behavior would typically occur.
- Ecological validity is the degree to which the results of a laboratory study can be applied
to or repeated in the natural environment.
- Hawthorne effect is a term used to describe situations in which behavior changes as a
result of being observed.
- Demand characteristics, inadvertent cues given off by the experimenter or the experiment
context that provide information about how participants are expected to behave.
- Social desirability which means that research participants respond in ways that increase
the chances that they will be viewed favorably.
- Anonymity means that each individual’s response are recorded without any name or other
personal information that could link a particular individual to specific results
- Confidentiality means that results will be seen only be the researcher.
- Single-blind study the participants do not know the true purpose of the study or else do
not know which type of treatment they are receiving.
- Double-blind study in which neither the participant nor the experimenter knows the exact
treatment for any participant
- Peer-review is a process in which papers submitted for publications in scholarly journals
are read and critiqued by experts in the specific field of study.
- Replication is the process of repeating a study and finding a similar outcome each time.
- Anecdotal evidence, an individual’s story or testimony about an observation or event that
is used to make a claim as evidence.
- Appeal to authority: the belief in an experts claim even when no supporting data or
scientific evidence is present. - Appeal to common sense is a claim that appears to be sound but lacks supporting
- Research designs guide investigators in (1) organizing the study, (2) making observations,
and (3) evaluating the results.
- Data is the information they record.
- Descriptive research is an opportunity to present observations about the characteristics of
- Case study is an in-depth report about the details of a specific case.
- Naturalistic observation, they unobtrusively observe and record behavior as it occurs in
the subject’s natural environment.
- Correlational research-involves measuring the degree of association between two or more
- Correlation research may involve any of the descriptive research design mentioned earlier,
but the data are evaluated in such a way that we can see relationships between variables.
- Correlation can be visualized when presented in a graph called a scatterplot, as shown in
Figure 2.5.In scatterplot (a) you can see the data for education and income.
- Correlation take a direction. They may be positive (a), meaning that both variable occur
together, or they may be negative, meaning that the more of one variable, the less of the
- Correlations have a magnitude or strength. This magnitude is described in term of a
mathematical measure called the correlation coefficient.
- One key point to remember is that the correlation coefficient is a measure of association
only-it is not a measure of causality.
- Correlation does not equal causation.
- Random assignment -a technique for dividing samples into two or more groups.
- Confounding Variables- variables outside of the researcher’s control that might affect the
- Dependent variable – which is the observation or measurement that is recorded during the
experiment and subsequently compared across all groups.
- Independent variable – the variable that the experimenter manipulates to distinguish
between the two groups.
- Experimental group – is the group in the experiment that is exposed to the independent
- Control group – does not receive the treatment and therefore, serves as a comparison.
- Quasi experimental research – is a research technique in which the two or more groups
that are compared are selected based on predetermined characteristics, rather than random
- Institutional review board (rib) – a committee of researchers and officials at an institution
charged with the protection of human research participants. The IRB is intended to
protect individuals in two main ways. (1)-the way committee weighs potential risks to the
volunteers against the possible benefits of the research and (2) it requires that volunteers
agree to participate in the research.
- Informed consent: a potential volunteer must be informed and give consent without
- Deceptions: misleading or only partially informing participants of the true topic or
hypothesis under investigation.
- Debriefing meaning that the researchers should explain the true nature of the study and
especially the nature of and reason for the deception.
1. Freedom to choose
2. Equal opportunities 3. The right to withdraw
4. The right to withhold responses
- Three main area of ethical treatment are:
1. The basic care of laboratory animals
2. Minimization of any pain or discomfort experienced by the animal
3. Rare for a study to require discomfort.
- A critical step is to statistically analyze the data to determine whether the data confirm or
refute a hypothesis
- Descriptive statistic, a set of techniques used to organize, summarize and interpret data.
- The first step in understanding data is to prepare a graph.
- Distribution, the location of where the scored cluster on a number line and to what degree
they are spread out.
- Frequency, the number of observations that fall within a certain category or range of
- Normal distribution is a symmetrical distribution with values clustered around a central,
- Negative skewed distribution occurs when the curve has an extended tail to the left of the
- Positively skewed distribution occurs when the long tail is on the right of the cluster.
- Central tendency is a measure of the central point of a distribution.
- Mean is the arithmetic average of a set of numbers
- Median, the point where a number is lower or higher than a fixed point.
- Mode which is the category with the highest frequency
- Standard deviation is a measure of variability around the mean.
- Statistical significance, which implies that the means of the groups are farther apart than
you would expect them to be by random chance alone
- Hypothesis test: a statistical method of evaluating whether difference among groups are
meaningful, or could have been arrived at by chance alone.
Chapter 3: Biological Psychology
- Genes are the basic units of heredity.
- Chromosomes, structure in the cellular nucleus that are lined with all of the genes an
- DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is a molecule formed in a double helix shape that contains
four amino acids; adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine (A,C,G and T)
- Genotype refers to the genetic makeup of an organism.
- Phenotype consists of the observable characteristics, including physical structures and
- Pair of chromosomes the same is homozygous
- Pair of chromosomes that are different is heterozygous
- Behavioral genetics is the study of how genes and environment influence behavior.
(comparison between parents and their children)
- Monozygotic twins come from a single ovum (egg), which makes them genetically
- Dizygotic twins come from two separate eggs fertilized by two different sperm cells that
share the same womb.
- Heritability is a statistic, expressed as a number between zero and one, that represents the
degree to which genetic differences between individuals contribute to individual
differences in a behavior or trait found on a population - Behavioral genomics is the study of DNA and the ways in which specific genes are
related to behavior.
- Evolution, the chance in the frequency of genes occurring in an interbreeding population
- Natural selection is the process by which favorable traits become increasingly common in
a population of interbreeding individuals, while traits that are unfavorable become less
- Neurons is one of the major types of cells found in the nervous system, which are
responsible for sending and receiving messages throughout the body.
- Cell body is the part of a neuron that contains the nucleus that protects the cells genetic
- Dendrites the small branches radiating from the cell body, receive messages from other
cells and transmit the message toward the cell body.
- The axon is the structure that transports information from the neuron to neighboring
- Neurotransmitters, the chemicals that function as a messenger allowing neurons to
communicate with others.
- Synapses the small spaces that separate individual nerve cells.
- Myelin is a fatty sheath that insulates axon from one another, increasing speed and
efficiency in communications
- Glial cells is a special cell used to glue immune responses in the brain, removing waste.
- Resting potential of a neuron , refers to its relatively stable during the cell is not
- Action potential, a wave of electrical activity that originates at the base of the axon and
rapidly travels down its length.
- Synaptic cleft, the minute space between the terminal button and the dendrite, and bind
- Refractory period is a brief period in which a neuron cannot fire
- All or-none principle: individual nerve cells fire at the same strength every time an action
- Reuptake, the released neurotransmitter molecules are reabsorbed into the axon.
- Dopamine, is a monoamine neurotransmitter involved in various functions, mood,
movement, experiences, etc.
- Serotonin is a monoamine involved in regulating mood, sleep and appetite.
- Norepinephrine is a monoamine synthesized from dopamine molecules that is involved in
regulating stress responses, including attention, heart rate.
- Acetylcholine is one of the most widespread neurotransmitters within the body, found at
the functions between nerve cells and skeletal muscles.
- GABA (Gamma-amino butyric acid) is a primary inhibitory neurotransmitter of the
nervous system, preventing neurons generating action potential
- Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter in the nervous system that is critical to the
process of learning and memory.
- Agonists are drugs that enhance the effects of a neurotransmitter’s action
- Antagonist inhibit neurotransmitter activity by blocking receptors or preventing synthesis
of a neurotransmitter.
- Hormones are chemicals secreted by the glands of the endocrine system.
- Hypothalamus is a brain structure that regulates basic biological needs and motivational
- Pituitary gland is the master gland of the endocrine system that produces hormones and
sends command to other glands of the system. - Adrenal glands, a pair of endocrine glands located adjacent to the kidneys that release
- Endorphin, a hormone produced by pituitary and hypothalamus that functions to reduce
pain and create the feeling to pleasure.
- Peripheral nervous system (PNS) transmit signals between the brain and the rest of the
body and is divided into two subcomponents:
1. Somatic nervous system consist of nerves that receive sensory input from the body
and control skeletal muscles , which are responsible for reflexive movement
2. Autonomic nervous system is responsible for regulating the activity of organs and
- Sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the fight-or-flight response of an increased
heart rate, dilate pupils and decrease salivary flow.
- Parasympathetic nervous system helps maintain homeostatic balance in the presence of
- The central nervous system (CNS) consist of the brain and the spinal cord.
- Brain stem , which consist of the medulla and the pons
- Cerebellum, is the lobe like structure at the base of the brain that is involved in the
movement, balance and learning new skills.
- Midbrain, resides just above the hindbrain and primarily function as a relay station
between sensory and motor areas.
- Forebrain, the most visibly obvious region of the brain, consist of multiple interconnected
- Basel ganglia, which are involved in facilitating planned movements, skill learning.
- Limbic system, an integrated network involved in emotion and memory
- Amygdala is which facilitates memory formation for emotional events.
- Hippocampus, which is critical for learning and memory.
- Thalamus is involved in relaying sensory information to different regions of the brain.
- Cerebral cortex is the convoluted, wrinkled outer layer of the brain that is involved in
multiple higher functions.
- Corpus callosum, a collection