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Chapter Defiinitions

Course Code
Michael Inzlicht

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Psychology Definitions:
Psychological Science: The study of mind, brain, and behavior.
Evolutionary Theory: In psychological science, a theory that emphasizes the
inherited, adaptive value of behavior, and mental activity throughout the
entire history of a species.
Natural Selection: Darwins theory that those who inherit characteristics that
help them adapt to their particular environment have a selective advantage
over those who do not.
Adaptations: In evolutionary theory, the physical characteristics, skills, or
abilities that increase the chances of reproduction or survival and are
therefore likely to be passed along to future generations.
Culture: The beliefs, values, rules, and customs that exist within a group of
people who share a common language and environment, and that are
transmitted through learning from one generation to the next.
Nature-nurture debate: The arguments concerning whether psychological
characteristics are biologically innate or acquired through education,
experience, and culture.
Mind-body Problem: A fundamental psychological issue that considers
whether mind and body are separate and distinct or whether the mind is
simply the subjective experience of the physical brain.
Dualism: The philosophical idea that the mind exists separately from the
physical body.
Introspection: A systematic examination of subjective mental experiences
that requires people to inspect and report on the content of their thoughts.
Structuralism: An approach to psychology based on the idea that conscious
experience can be broken down in its basic underlying components or
Stream of consciousness: A phrase coined by William James to describe ones
continuous series of ever-changing thoughts.
Functionalism: An approach to psychology concerned with the adaptive
purpose, or function, of mind and behavior.
Gestalt Theory: A theory based on the idea that the whole of personal
experience is different from simply the sum of its constituent elements.
Unconscious: A term that identifies mental processes that operate below the
level of conscious awareness.
Psychoanalysis: A method developed by Sigmund Freud that attempts to
bring the contents of the unconscious into conscious awareness so that
conflicts can be revealed.
Behaviorism: A psychological approach that emphasizes the role of
environmental forces in producing behavior.
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