5 Scientific Foundations of Psychology
STEP 4 Review the Knowledge You Need to Score High
Psychology—the science of behavior and mental processes.
Monism—seeing mind and body as different aspects of the same thing.
Dualism—seeing mind and body as two different things that interact.
Nature-Nurture Controversy—the extent to which behavior results from heredity or experience.
Plato and Descartes believed that behavior is inborn (nature).
Aristotle, Locke, Watson, and Skinner believed that behavior results from experience (nurture).
Schools of psychology:
• School of Structuralism—early psychological perspective that emphasized units of consciousness and identification of elements of thought using introspection.
Wilhelm Wundt—founder of scientific psychology in Leipzig, Germany; studied consciousness using introspection.
G. Stanley Hall—brought introspection to his lab at Johns Hopkins University in the United States; first president of the American Psychological Association.
Edward Titchener—studied elements of consciousness at his Cornell University lab.
Margaret Floy Washburn—first woman to complete her PhD in psychology.
• School of Functionalism—early psychological perspective concerned with how an organism uses its perceptual abilities to adapt to its environment.
William James—wrote Principles of Psychology.
Mary Whiton Calkins—first woman president of the American Psychological Association.
Principal approaches to psychology:
• Behavioral approach—psychological perspective concerned with behavioral reactions to stimuli; learning as a result of experience.
Ivan Pavlov—known for classical conditioning of dogs.
John Watson—known for experiments in classical aversive conditioning.
B. F. Skinner—known for experiments in operant conditioning.
• Psychoanalytic/Psychodynamic approach—psychological perspective concerned with how unconscious instincts, conflicts, motives, and defenses influence behavior.
Sigmund Freud—“Father of psychoanalysis.”
Jung, Adler, Horney, Kohut—psychodynamic psychologists.
• Humanistic approach—psychological perspective concerned with individual potential for growth and the role of unique perceptions in growth toward one’s potential.
Carl Rogers, Abraham Maslow—humanistic psychologists.
• Biological approach—psychological perspective concerned with physiological and biochemical factors that determine behavior and mental processes.
• Cognitive approach—psychological perspective concerned with how we receive, store, and process information; think/reason; and use language.
Jean Piaget—studied cognitive development in children.
• Evolutionary approach—psychological perspective concerned with how natural selection favored behaviors that contributed to survival and spread of our ancestors’ genes; evolutionary psychologists take a Darwinian approach to the study of human behavior.
• Sociocultural approach—psychological perspective concerned with how cultural differences affect behavior.
• Biopsychosocial model—overarching psychological perspective that integrates biological processes, psychological factors, and social forces to provide a more complete picture of behavior and mental processes than a single approach.
• Eclectic—use of techniques and ideas from a variety of approaches.
Psychologists specialize in different domains:
• Clinical psychologists evaluate and treat mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders.
• Counseling psychologists help people adapt to change or make changes in their lifestyle.
• Developmental psychologists study psychological development throughout the life span.
• Educational psychologists focus on how effective teaching and learning take place.
• Experimental psychologists do research to add new knowledge to the field.
• Forensic psychologists apply psychological principles to legal issues.
• Health psychologists concentrate on biological, psychological, and social factors involved in health and illness.
• Industrial/Organizational psychologists aim to improve productivity and the quality of work life by applying psychological principles and methods to the workplace.
• Neuropsychologists explore the relationships between brain/nervous systems and behavior. Neuropsychologists are also called biological psychologists or biopsychologists, behavioral geneticists, physiological psychologists, and behavioral neuroscientists.
• Personality psychologists focus on traits, attitudes, and goals of the individual.
• Psychometricians (also known as psychometric or measurement psychologists) focus on methods for acquiring and analyzing psychological data.
• Social psychologists focus on how a person’s mental life and behavior are shaped by interactions with other people.
Theories—organized sets of concepts that explain phenomena.
Hypothesis—prediction of how two or more factors are likely to be related.
Replication—repetition of the methods used in a previous experiment to see whether the same methods will yield the same results.
Independent variable (IV)—the factor the researcher manipulates in a controlled experiment (the cause).
Dependent variable (DV)—the behavior or mental process that is measured in an experiment or quasi-experiment (the effect).
Population—all the individuals in the group to which the study applies.
Sample—the subgroup of the population that participates in the study.
Random selection—choosing of members of a population so that every individual has an equal chance of being chosen to participate in a study.
Experimental group—the subgroup of the sample that receives the treatment or independent variable.
Control group—the comparison group; the subgroup of the sample that is similar to the experimental group in every way except for the presence of the independent variable.
Random assignment—division of the sample into groups so that every individual has an equal chance of being put in any group or condition.
Confounding variables—factors that cause differences between the experimental group and the control group other than the independent variable.
Operational definition—a description of the specific procedure used to determine the presence of a variable.
Experimenter bias—a phenomenon that occurs when a researcher’s expectations or preferences about the outcome of a study influence the results obtained.
Demand characteristics—clues participants discover about the purpose of the study that suggest how they should respond.
Single-blind procedure—research design in which participants don’t know whether they are in the experimental or control group.
Double-blind procedure—research design in which neither the experimenter nor the participants know who is in the experimental group and who is in the control group.
Placebo—a physical or psychological treatment given to the control group that resembles the treatment given to the experimental group, but that contains no active ingredient.
Placebo effect—a response to the belief that the independent variable will have an effect, rather than the actual effect of the independent variable, which can be a confounding variable.
Reliability—consistency or repeatability of results.
Validity—the extent to which an instrument measures or predicts what it is supposed to measure or predict.
Statistics—a field that involves the analysis of numerical data about representative samples of populations.
Descriptive statistics—numbers that summarize a set of research data obtained from a sample. Key concepts of descriptive statistics include the following:
• Frequency distribution—an orderly arrangement of scores indicating the frequency of each score or group of scores.
• Central tendency—average or most typical scores of a set of research data or distribution.
mode—most frequently occurring score in a set of research data (“quick and dirty”).
median—the middle score when a set of data is ordered by size.
mean—the arithmetic average of a set of scores.
• Variability—the spread or dispersion of a set of research data or distribution.
• Range—the difference between the largest score and the smallest score (“quick and dirty”).
• Standard deviation (SD)—measures the average difference between each score and the mean of the data set.
• Normal distribution—bell-shaped curve that represents data about how lots of human characteristics are dispersed in the population.
• Percentile score—the percentage of scores at or below a particular score (from 1 to 99).
• Correlation coefficient (r)—a statistical measure of the degree of relatedness or association between two sets of data that ranges from −1 to +1.
Inferential statistics—statistics that are used to interpret data and draw conclusions.
Statistical significance (p)—the condition that exists when the probability that the observed findings are due to chance is less than 1 in 20 (p < .05) according to some psychologists, or less than 1 in 100 (p < .01) according to those with more stringent standards.
Ethical guidelines—suggested rules for acting responsibly and morally when conducting research or in clinical practice.