Psychology Exam #1

define psychology

the scientific study of behavior and mental processes

Psychology is a SCIENCE because its conclusions arebased on

observable evidence

What is the "empirical" method for acquiring knowledge?

method for acquiring knowledge based on observation, including experimentation, rather than a method based only on forms of logical argument or previous authorities

Why do we need scientific research in psychology?

research answers the questions about the behavior and mental processes

Hindsight bias

tend to believe, after learning about an outcome that we could have foreseen

Confirmation bias

tendency to seek out and remember evidence that confirms existing belief while ignoring evidence that contradicts it

The availability heuristic

mental shortcut in which we estimate how likely or common a particular event or outcome based on how easily examples of it come to mind

Self-serving bias

a readiness to perceive oneself favorably

What is the "Mozart Effect"?

if children and babies listen to music by Mozart they will become smarter

What are the three main components of the "scientific attitude"?

skepticism, curiosity, humility

applied research

solve problems, use knowledge

basic research

masking discoveries, build knowledge

mental health

false all psychologists don't diagnose and treat mental illness

How do psychiatrists differ from clinical psychologists?

treat psychical psychological disorders/ counseling & therapy, teach or conduct research

Counseling psychology

work with relatively healthy people, clients problems are less severe than those who seek help from clinical psychologists

School psychology

assist with curriculum design, teacher training, or health psychologies

Health psychology

factors that influence health & illness

Sport psychology

benefits involving sports participation

Forensic psychology

determine competence, jury selection, expert testimony


Design of machines and/or work settings("human factors"), Selection and appraisal of employees, Improvement of satisfaction, productivity, and/or leadership

What are the three "goals" of scientific research in psychology?

description, prediction, explanation

There are two important "functions" of a scientific theory—what are they?

explains past observations, predicts future observations

What do we mean by the term "falsifiable"? Why must theories be falsifiable?

possible to conceive observable evidence that would contradict theory

A good theory generates testable predictions that we call


What is an operational definition? Why are operational definitions important?

carefully describe how to measure or manipulate variables in a study, able to replicate study

What is naturalistic observation?

researchers observe and record how people/animals behave in naturally occurring environments and situations

What is "reactivity," and why is it a problem for researchers?

study of variables affecting productivity, Hawthorne effect (alteration of a behavior study due to being aware)


overall group of individuals that the researchers are interested in


subset of individuals selected from the larger population

What is "random sampling"?Why is it so important in survey research?

subset of a larger population in which every member of the population has an equal chance of being selected

case study

observational research study focusing on one or a few people

What are the strengths and weaknesses of case studies?

unusual, only way to study particular phenomenon/ may not generalize, can't identify cause effect relationships

Correlational research helps psychologists accomplish the goal of

having relationships between two variables

What is a"correlation coefficient"?

numerical expression of strength & type of relationships between variables

correlation positive


correlation negative


correlation zero

no relationship exsists

What are the "bidirectionality" and "third variable"problems?

correlation doesn't imply causation

Experimentationhelps psychologists accomplish the goal of

revealing evidence of cause and effect

Why are experiments able to tell us about cause-and-effect relationships?

rules out alternative explanations

Researchers use "______________ ______________" to minimize preexisting differences between the control and experimental groups.

initial equivalence

What is an "independent variable"?

variable that is influenced or controlled by the experimenter

experimental group

group designed to answer the research question

control group

serves as a basis for comparison and controls for chance factors that might influence the results of the study

What is a "dependent variable"?

variable that the researcher measures to see how much effect the independent variable had

What is a "confounding variable"?

unanticipated outside factor that affects both variables of interest

What is the "double-blind procedure," and how does it help researchers control forthe effects of participants' and experimenters' expectations?

experiment in which both the researchers and participants are blind to group assignments

placebo effect

people's expectations or beliefs influencing or determining their experience in a given situation

What ethical issues must be considered when conducting research on human participants?

protection from harm, voluntary participation, informed consent

What is "informed consent"? What is "debriefing"?

process of informing a research participant about what to expect during an assignment, experiment involving deception

What is an "institutional review board

committee of administrators, scientists, veterinarians, and community members that reviews proposals for research involving non-human animals

What is the difference between "monism" and "dualism"?

inseparable, mind & body are separate

What happens if the motor cortex is stimulated? What about the somatosensory cortex?

movement of body parts, sensation of touch in body parts

Stimulation of the motor cortex in your right hemisphere would produce movement on which side of your body?

left side

Together, your brain and spinal cord make up your __________ nervous system.


What is a "neuron"?

cells responsible for receiving sensory input from the outside world

Neurons that carry information from the body to the brain are ________ neurons.


Neurons that carry commands from the brain to the body are ________ neurons.


Neurons that process information within the central nervous system are _______.


Cell body ("soma")

integrates information received from other neurons


receives messages from other neurons


sends messages to other neurons

Terminal button

tip" of axon that forms connections with dendrites.

Myelin sheath

insulating material that facilitates neural communication

What is a neuron's "membrane potential"?

difference in charge inside vs outside membrane

What is the relationship between membrane potential and resting potential?

neurons membrane when it's not receiving input from other neurons

An action potential is generated whenever a neuron's membrane potential reaches a specific value that is known as its "__________ of excitation.


At any moment, any given neuron is receiving many incoming "signals" from other neurons. How do "excitatory" signals differ from "inhibitory" signals?

membrane potential becomes less negative, membrane potential becomes more negative

What is an action potential?

spike in membrane potential traveling down an axon

The action potential is "propagated" down the length of a neuron's axon, until it reaches points of nearcontact—called "___________"—with other neurons.


When the action potential reaches this point of near contact, the neuron releases chemical molecules called ___________.


These molecules bind to locations on the receiving neuron called ___________.


After being released, these molecules are taken back by the sending neuron through a process known as ___________.


If a behavior causes the release of dopamine in (or near) an animal's hypothalamus, then what is likely to happen to the frequency with which the animal performs this behavior?

decrease in movement, learning, attention, and emotion

What do we mean when we say a drug is an "agonist" versus an "antagonist"?

drugs that increase effects, drugs that decrease effects

If a drug inhibits the reuptake of a certain neurotransmitter, then that drug would be classified as an ___________.


If a drug blocks the receptors for a certain neurotransmitter, then that drug would be classified as an ___________.


What is the endocrine system?

a chemical communication system that controls many body functions

What two structures in the endocrine system are most responsible for the release of hormones?What is the relationship between these two structures?

nervous/immune system, helps body cope with different events and stresses

Lesion studies

examine behavior after they cause damage to the brain


record electrical changes that occur as neurons generate action potentials

Positron emission tomography (PET)

which region is more active and using the most glucose

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

produces high quality images of brains structure

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)

mri with most brain activity involving oxygen

How do fraternal (or "dizygotic") twins differ from identical (or "monozygotic") twins?

fraternal- 2 fertilized eggsidentical- 1 fertilized egg

What is meant by the phrase "localization of function" when it comes to the brain?

different tasks more/less use of brain parts

How did "phrenology" contributeto this idea?

involved measuring personality based on bumps and dents in the skull


heartbeat; breathing


balance; inhibition of motor neurons during REM sleep


sensory switchboard"(directs sensory information to other regions)

Reticular formation

attention; arousal


coordinated movement; nonverbal forms of learning and memory


formation of long-term memories


expression and detection of emotion, especially angerand fear


controls pituitary gland; involved in reward, feeding, fight/flight

What is the "cerebral cortex"?

outermost layer that covers 2 hemispheres

What are the four "lobes" of the cerebral cortex, and where are they located?

frontal, parietal, occipital, temporal

Which lobe contains the "motor cortex"?

frontal lobe

Which lobe contains the "somatosensory cortex"?

parietal lobe

Which lobe contains the "visual cortex"?

occipital lobe

Which lobe contains the "auditory cortex"?

temporal lobe

Where is Broca's area, and what is disrupted when this area is damaged?

impaired speech production, comprehension is intact

Where is Wernicke's area, and what is disrupted when this area is damaged?

production of meaningless speech

What is "aphasia"?

inability to produce speech

What is the "corpus callosum"?

enables communication between hemispheres

What is a "split-brain" patient?

sever the hemispheres no longer share info.

How have split-brain patients helped us understand"lateralization

left- verbal info., calculationright- visual, spatial