The scientific method reflects a dynamic interaction among three essential
elements: theories, hypotheses, and research. A theory is an explanation or a model
of how something in the world works.
Create a theory
Theory generates a hypothesis, which is a prediction or outcome.
Hypothesis should be supported by research and data. Hypothesis needs to
Then you need to figure out if this can be supported or discarded.
Then inquire further
Good research needs to be tested again and again. REPLCATION.
What Is Scientific Inquiry? (sum up)
To explain behaviour, scientists must use objective, systematic procedures to
measure it. The four goals of psychological science are to describe (what), predict
(when), control (what causes), and explain (why) behaviour and mental activity.
The empirical process is based on the use of theories to generate hypotheses that
can be tested by collecting objective data through research. Theories in turn must be
adjusted and refined as new findings confirm or disconfirm the hypotheses. Good
theories will generate several testable hypotheses. Unexpected findings can suggest
All main three types of designs descriptive, correlational and experimental
require variables. Variable is anything that can be measure and they can vary.
Operational definitions identify and quantify which variables can be measured.
Descriptive: also called observational studies involve observation and collecting
Naturalistic observations: the observer makes no change and just
Participant observations: The researcher is involved.
Longitudinal studies can take a long period of time of study.
Cross sectional studies involve studying both groups with each other and learning
Experiment expectancy effect can change the observers’ bias in the experiment.
Correlational: examines how variables are connected in real life. Rely on naturally
Directionality problem is when the cause and effects of variables
between each other are confusing.
Another problem is the third variable problem.
Confound can affect the depending variable and alter the results. A sample is the subset of a population.
Meta-analysis is an analysis of multiple analyses. Large samples are MORE accurate
than small samples.
(sum up) What Are the Types of Studies in Psychological Research?
There are three main types of studies in psychological research: descriptive,
corre- lational, and experimental. In descriptive and correlational designs,
researchers exam- ine behaviour as it naturally occurs. These types of studies are
useful for describing and predicting behaviour, but they do not allow researchers
to assess causality. In an experiment, a researcher manipulates the independent
variable to study how it affects the dependent variable. An experiment allows a
researcher to establish a causal relationship between the independent and
dependent variables and to avoid the direc- tionality problem when trying to
understand how one variable might affect another. the goal is to conclude that
changes in one variable caused changes in another variable.
Culturally sensitive research takes into account how culture plays a role.
Observational techniques are unobtrusive.
Reactivity is when people react when they are being watched. This creates the
Case Study involves the examination of one person or groups that are unusual. It
can be very subjective and biased but also very helpful.
Interactive method involves actually interacting with the subjects like asking
question. Can also be biased.
Self reported method is where people provide info about themselves. Bias also in
Response performance methods measure information processing while
psychological tasks are being performed. Researchers measure reaction time,
measure response accuracy, and ask participants to make stimulus judgments.
Brain activity can be directly measured. Electrophysiology is a data collection
method that measures the electrical activity in brain. Done by EEG. Only shows
Validity refers to the data you collect if it addresses your question.
Reliability refers to the stability.
Accuracy refers to how much it is error free.
Two types of error, random and systematic.
Descriptive statistics can also be used to summarize how two variables relate to
each other. In analyzing the relationship, a correlation coefficient can be provided.
While researchers use descriptive statistics to summarize data sets, they use
inferential statistics to determine whether differences actually exist in the
populations from which samples were drawn. Week 3
Genome is the master blueprint that provides how everything works in our body. It
gives the options.
Chromosomes are made of genes. There are 23 of them in us.
Genes are components of DNA, which have two intertwined strands of molecules.
Genes are used to produce a protein, which does a specific task. The environment
determines which proteins are produced and when during its development.
Gene expression determines the body’s basic functions and its psychological
Genotype is the genetic constitution.
Phenotypes are the physical traits.
Polygenic means that the characteristic is varied.
Mutations produce an advantage or disadvantage in terms of survivability.
Recessive genes are not lethal usually.
Behavioral genetics: genes affect behavior.
Used two methods-> Twin studies and Adoption studies.
Twin studies uses monozygotic twins and Dizygotic twins.
Adoption studies compare between biological siblings and adoptive siblings.
Genetic influences are stronger than environmental influences in siblings.
Heredity: transmission of characteristics by parents to children by genes.
Heritability: statistical estimation of variation, caused by differences in heredity, in
a trait within a POPULATION.
For children, both the genes and environment INTERACT and will shape the
People inherit both physical characteristics and personality traits from their
parents. Only recently have scien- tists developed the tools to measure genetic
processes and the roles that various genes play in psychological activity.
Researchers increasingly are studying how and when genes are expressed, in addi-
tion to particular traits’ heritability. Among the genetic research tools are methods
that enhance or interrupt gene expression by selectively knocking out specific genes
to reveal which behaviours are affected.
Neurons are cells that communicate in the brain.
Sensory neurons (afferent) detect info from physical world and send it to brain via spinal cord.
Motor neurons (efferent) control muscle movement.
Interneurons communicate within local and shorter circuits in a single area.
Dendrites are short branches that detect chemical signals from
Cell Body collects info that has been received.
Electrical impulses are transmitted along the axon.
o Terminal buttons, small nodules at the axons’ ends, receive the
electrical impulses and release chemical signals from the neuron
to an area called the synapse, or synaptic cleft, the site for
chemical communication between neurons.
Membrane is the boundary.
Polarization causes the ions around the neuron to pass through the ion channels,
which creates the energy to fire the neutron.
An action potential is the electrical signal that passes along the axon and causes
the release of chemicals that transmit signals to other neutrons.
The change from negative charge to positive inside the neuron creates
Action Potential The electrical charge inside the neuron starts out
slightly negative (resting membrane potential). As the neuron fires, it
allows more positive ions inside the cell (depolarization). Through
natural restoration (repolarization), it then returns to its slightly
negative resting state.
Travel across synapse and are received by dendrites.
Neurons do not touch each other. They communicate by sending
Neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that carry signals across the cleft.
o All neurotransmitters trigger or inhibit action potentials.
o There are many types with different functions.
Epinephrine gives a rush to the brain.
Serotonin is for emotional states.
Dopamine is for motivation and motor
Endorphin is for pain reduction and reward.
Brain structures and Functions:
Central Nervous System (CNS): Spinal cord and brain. (Exterior)
Peripheral Nervous system (PNS): all other nervous cells. (Interior)
The PSN transmits info to the CNS, which organizes the info and sends it to PNS.
The spinal cord controls each reflex. It sends signals to the brain. Two tissue types:
Grey matter is made of neuron cell bodies White matter is axons and fatty sheaths.
Brain stem controls the most basic survival functions.
The Cerebellum: Extremely important to motor function and balance. It is large.
The Forebrain: above the cerebellum and forebrain, it is split into left and right
hemisphere. The most noticeable part is the central cortex.
The hippocampus is involved with storage of memories. Can get bigger.
The amygdala associates words with emotions. \
The cerebral cortex is the outer layer of the cerebral hemispheres
For all thoughts, perceptions, and consciousness. PERSONALITY.
Occipital lobes are for vision
Parietal lobes are for touch. Right and left and reversed.
The temporal lobes are for hearing, recognition.
The frontal lobs are for planning and movement. Contains the large
Interaction between CNS and PNS is the endocrine system. Central control is done
PSN has two parts:
Somatic nervous system transmits signals to CNS. The CNS sends signals
through the somatic system to control movement.
Autonomic nervous system (ANDS) regulates body’s internal environment.
The sympathetic division prepares the body for any actions. Like sexual
The parasympathetic division returns to resting state.
The endocrine and nervous system work together. For EX, nervous system receives
info about threats and the endocrine prepares to deal with it.
The main difference between two is that the endocrine system uses hormones,
whereas the nervous system uses electrochemical signals.
Hormones act quickly and are released by endocrine glands.
The brain interprets external and internal stimuli, then sends signals to the
endocrine system, which responds by initiating various effects on the body
and on behaviour.
Neural activation causes the hypothalamus to secrete aparticular releasing
factor.The releasing factor causes the pituitary to release a hor- mone specific to
that factor, and the hormone then travels through the blood- stream to endocrine
sites throughout the body. Once the hormone reaches the target sites, it touches off
the release of other hormones, which subsequently affect bodily reactions or
behaviour.The pituitary is often referred to as the “mas- ter gland” of the body: By releasing hormones into the bloodstream, it controls all other glands and governs
major processes such as development, ovulation, and lactation.
Health Psychology: integrates study on health and psychology.
Well Being: The positive state of life. Both physically and mentally.
Healthy lifestyle can promote good health.
Health psychology combines theories and research of health studies and
Biopsychosocial model: Integrates factors of biological, behavioral, and social
conditions. Research into this can prevent disease by making people have better
These 3 factors act in a loop.
Behaviour factors can cause deaths, like car accidents.
Placebo effect: Treatment by fake methods which will cure the person by making
them believe that it is real. It can decrease anxiety. It connects your thoughts to your
BIOPSYSOC: The belief that a medication will work (psycho- logical) affects
the body in ways similar to those of medications, or treatments, with known
biological effects (biological). These effects occur within a context that determines
when, if, and how much the body will respond to the placebo (social).
Stress is a pattern of behavioral and physiological responses to events are too
Eustress: stress from pos event
Distress: stress from neg event.
A stressor is an environmental event/stimulus that threatens an organism by
Major life stressors are for big events. More change->stress
Daily hassles are for smaller things. They add up stress.
It elicits a coping response, which causes organism to void the stimulus.
A stressor activates a hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis (HPA). The
hypothalamus sends chemicals to pituitary, which sends hormones in bloodstream.
Flight or fight response is an organisms preparation to deal with danger.
Tend and befriend response is when woman or men form social alliances to
General Adaption Syndrome is a pattern of responses to stress: Alarm: emergency reaction for body to flee or fight. Immune system kicks in.
Resistance: defense sustains for longer.
Exhaustion: the organs and immune systems start to fail.
Over long term, stress hormones can cause problem.
Type A behaviour are more likely to get heart attacks than Type B. Being angry and
stressed out takes a toll on your heart.
Allostatic load theory of illness in which the body is unable to return to
normal stress levels when they are always stressed.
Primary appraisals to decide whether something is stressful
Secondary appraisals to evaluate response behaviors.
Emotion focused coping is to deal with emotional pain with alcohol etc.
Problem focused coping is to deal with it using steps and alternatives.
Three factors: is it different from norm? Maladaptive? And distress? A disorder must
interfere with person’s life.
Etiology: factors contributing to development.
. Classified with multiaxial system. There are 5 axis in DSM IV.
Assessment is the examination of mental state. First goal is diagnosis.
Assessment Diagnosis Treatment more assessment.
Psychopathology is psychological testing.
Evidence based assessment is a clinical assessment.
The diathesis stress model proposes that a disorder may develop when an
underlying vulnerability is coupled with an event. It could be biological or
environment, although single reasons may is never sufficient.
Problems during fetus could affect central nervous system.
Psychological Factors: thoughts and emotions are shaped by environment
and can have influence.
o Family system model: relationship between person and family.
o Sociocultural model: relationship between individual and culture.
Can be biased against another class. Cognitive-behaviour model: abnormal behaviour is learned. Thoughts give
rise to maladaptive emotions and behaviors.
Sex differences: internalizing disorders(neg emotions like fear) are more for
woman. Externalizing disorders(drugs, anti-social, misconduct) are for men.
Culture and mental: disorders show culture specific symptoms
Anxiety disorder: when it is excessive and chronic.
Phobia disorder: fear of specific things.
Generalized anxiety disorder: always anxious for even little things.
Panic Disorder: attacks that come out of nowhere cued by internal stimuli.
OCD: frequent intrusive thought and compulsive actions. Can be part of
conditioning. Abnormal thalamus. The prefrontal becomes overactive to
compensate to try to reduce anxiety.
Components of Anxiety Disorder:
Cognitive factors: perceive neutral situations as threats. Exaggerate.
Situational factors: get anxious because others are anxious.
Biological factors: inhibited children will have more activation of amygdala (fear).
Mood Disorder: extreme emotions.
Depressive disorders: negative moods or lack of interest in pleasure. Can
Dysthymia: milder form.
Bipolar: fluctuating disorders and periods of mania (strange activity).
Components of mood disorder:
Biological: Can be genetical. Damage to left prefontal cortex.
Depressed people sleep a lot.
Situational: Loss of someone close. Increased stress.
Cognitive: people think badly of themselves or exaggerate events.
Learned helplessness model: people feeling lack of control of events happening.
Schizophrenia: split between thought and emotion. Psychotic disorder. Alterations
between thoughts, consciousness. Impaired functioning.
Positive symptoms are excess
Delusions and hallucinations.
Loosening of association and Disorganized behaviour.
Negative are deficits in learning.
Slow, monotone, withdrawn, emotionless.
Related to genetics. Abnormal brain development. Large ventricles, small brain
tissue. Problems with neurotransmitters. Starts young, and gets serious when older.
Personality Disorder: (not clinical) people interacting with the world
maladaptive and inflexible ways. Might be indecisive, self-absorbed, or emotionally
unstable. Axis 2.
Odd or eccentric
Dramatic, emotional, erratic. Anxious or fear.
Borderline personality disorder, characterized by disturbances in identity, in
affect, and in impulse control. Lack of self and not independent. Impulsivity.
Causes: genetics, low serotonin, not being taken care of when young.
Anti-social personality disorder (ADH): superficially charming, insecure,
shameless. Do not think about consequences. Psychopaths are extreme cases.
Causes: reduced psychophysiological(punishment, arousal) response.
Abnormal amygdala and frontal lobe functioning. Genetics and environment also.
Autism: problems with social, communications and interests. They are unaware of
others. They develop odd speech patterns. Focus on inconsequential details.
Asperger’s is milder high functioning.
Primarily biological disorder: genetics, brain dysfunction, overgrowth, and
undergrowth. Lack of oxytocin
Attention Deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD): restless, inattentive, and
impulsive. Rules need to be repeated. Can extend to adult life and cause social
Two distinct phases: Sensation and Perception.
Sensory coding: sensory organ’s translation of stimuli’s physical properties
into neural impulses (chem and electric signals). Starts with
Brain needs qualitative and quantitative information.
Sensory thresholds: how much energy is needed for organs to detect info.
o Absolute: min intensity of stimulation before experience of sensation.
o Difference: difference between two stimuli, the minimum amount of
change required for a person to detect a difference.
Signal detection theory: detecting stimulus requires making a judgment if it
there based ambiguous info.
o Response bias refers to a participant’s tendency to report detecting the
signal in an ambiguous trial. They may make false assumptions.
Taste: 5 taste qualities.
Gustation: sense of taste. Keeps poisons out.
Smell: bypasses the thalamus! Not very accurate in detection.
Olfaction: sense of smell. Occurs when receptors in nose respond to chemicals.
Olfactory epitheliumOlfactory bulb Pre-frontal cortex processes basic info. Amygdala processes the intensity
Touch: trigeminal nerve for above neck. Spinal nerve for below.
Haptic sense: sense of touch.
Temperature, Pressure: receptors are found in outer layer. Long axons.
Pain: thin nerve fibers receptors all throughout body. Warning system.
Myelinated axons: For temp and pressure.
Non-Myelinated axons: For damage. Helps recuperate.
Gate control theory:
Close gate will reduce pain. Ex. Soldiers, athletes.
Open gate will increase. Ex. Worrying about painful stimulus.
Pain is divided into 2 parts of brain: one for sensory input and the other for emotion
aspect. PAIN can be reduced if we think differently about it, state of mind and body.
Audition: sense of sound
Eardrum: thin membrane in the middle of ear, which creates sound vibrations.
Outer eareardrum(vibrations go to) ossiclesoval windowbrain
Oval window: a membrane of the cochlea, or inner ear, a fluid-filled tube that curls
into a snail-like shape. Through center of the cochlea is the thin basilar membrane.
Inside the COCHLEA hair cells which are the primary auditory receptors.
Vision: very important
Cornea, Retina, Iris. Pupil: small opening in the eye. Lets in light waves.
2 types of receptors: Rods and cones
Fovea: Centre of retina where cones are densely packed. Rods are in the edges.
Transmission to brain: ganglion cells generate action potentials.
Receptive field The region of visual space to which neurons in the primary visual
cortex are sensitive. Responds best to some stimuli.
Lateral inhibition: adjacent photoreceptors tend to inhibit one another. Helps
accentuate areas of changing stimulation, which correspond to the edges of objects.
Color: determined by wavelength. Additive and subtractive mixing.
Subtractive colour mixing: mixes to black. Physical process.
Simultaneous contrast: identical stimuli look different when against different
Other senses: (internal)
Kinesthetic sense: sensations from receptors in muscles, joints. MOVEMENT.
Vestibular sense: date from receptors from liquid in inter ear. BALANCE
Basic perceptual processes: What you perceive is different form what information
your senses pick up.
Simple cells: respond more to lines of particular orientations.
Object Perception needs construction: Illusions can help our visual system determine sizes and distances of objects. Shows
how we form accurate representations of 3D world.
Gestalt principles: our brains organize sensory information.
Patterning is hierarchical.
Binocular depth cues: perception from 2 slightly different views from eyes. Binocular
Monocular depth cues: perception of each eye alone.
Motion cues: motion parallax: movement of objects are various distances from
Motion perception: internal and external cues. Neurons for detecting motion.
Motion after-effects occur when you gaze at a moving image for a prolonged
period and then look at a stationary scene. Based on sensory adaption.
Stroboscopic movement: a perceptual illusion that occurs when two or
more slightly different images are presented in rapid succession.
Perceptual constancy: the brain correctly perceives objects as constant despite
MEMORY : acquire and retain usable skills and knowledge by nervous system.
Attention is limited, and when it is divided among too many tasks or the tasks are
difficult, performance suffers. It is important to function in life.
Visual Attention allows selective and serial:
Parallel processing: select one feature and block out rest.
Auditory attention allows selective: Hard to listen to 2 conversations at same time.
Selective attention can operate at multiple levels of processing. Attention is
adaptive and makes people focus on important objects in environment. We still
process some info that we may not attend to.
Change blindness: we are often “blind” to large changes in our
environments because we cannot attend to everything in the vast array of visual
Stages of Memory:
Information processing model: Encodingstorageretrieval.
Modal Memory Model: sensory memoryshort termlong term.
1. Sensory: Occurs when a sense leaves a vanishing trace on the nervous
system for a fraction of a second. Connects one image to next.
2. Short-term: holds information in awareness for a brief period.
Working: keeps different types of info for use. Fleeting thoughts, feelings.
4 components: Central executive, the phonological loop, the
visuospatial sketchpad, and the episodic buffer. The central executive presides
over the other 3. It is control system.
3. Long term: Long duration and capacity. Information that helps us adapt to our environment is typically transformed into a long-term memory. For survival.
Serial position effect: Better recall of early and late items in a list
relative to items in the middle of the list. Primacy is for middle and recency is late.
Long-term memory systems:
Explicit Memory: declarative, episodic and semantic. People are aware of it.
Declarative memory: being able to say what you remember.
Implicit Memory. Involved with repetition priming.
Procedural memory: motor memory.
Prospective memory: remembering to do something in the future. Cues.
Organization of Long-term memory:
Long-Term Storage Is Based on Meaning.
Our perceptual experiences are transformed into codes, which are then stored.
Can have mental representations for complex and abstract ideas, and for objects.
Levels of processing model, the more deeply an item is encoded, the more
meaning it has and the better it is remembered.
Maintenance rehearsal is simply repeating the item.
Elaborative rehearsal encodes info in meaningful ways.
Schemas: structures in long-term memory that help us perceive, organize, process,
and use info. We can fill in holes, interpret meaning. They sort and guide info. Can
lead to biased encoding.
Retrieval cue: helps a person recall info from vast data in long-term memory to
access right information. Ex. Posted notes, Ads.
Encoding specificity principle: a stimulus from past experience can trigger
memory from than experience.
Brain Processes: memory is stored in the brain and linked by memory circuits.
Different parts of brain with different types of memory.
The middle (medial) section of temporal lobes is important for declarative
memory. includes amygdala, hippo. Forms links between diff