ap psych unit 1 part 1 - key terms

critical thinking

rather than blindly accepting arguments and conclusions, one examines assumptions, sources, biases, and evidence to reach a conclusion


idea: knowledge comes from experience; observation and experimentation lead to scientific knowledge


early school of thought promoted by Wundt and Titchener; used introspection to reveal the structure of the human mind


process of looking inward in an attempt to directly observe one's own psychological processes


early school of thought promoted by James and influenced by Darwin; explored how mental and behavioral processes function—how they enable the organism to adapt, survive, and flourish


view that psychology (1) should be an objective science that (2) studies behavior without reference to mental processes. Most research psychologists today agree with (1) but not with (2).

humanistic psychology

historically significant perspective that emphasized the growth potential of healthy people and the individual's potential for personal growth; studies how behaviors are chosen based on needs; emphasis on self-insert word here

cognitive psychology

study of mental processes; how we interpret (perceive), process, and remember. emphasis on the mind as an information processor: taking info from the environment, and making sense of it. (learn, remember, think, communicate, and solve problems)

cognitive neuroscience

interdisciplinary study of the brain activity linked with cognition (ie: perception, thinking, memory, and language)


scientific study of behavior and mental processes

nature-nurture issue

longstanding controversy over the relative contributions that genes and experience make to the development of psychological traits and behaviors. Today's science sees traits and behaviors arising from the interaction of nature and nurture

natural selection

idea that inherited traits that better enable an organism to survive and reproduce in a particular environment will--in competition with other trait variations--most likely be passed on to succeeding generations (bc organisms w/ such traits have a higher probability of survival and therefore reproduction)

evolutionary psychology

study of behavior and mind in terms of genetic factors that have evolved over time as a result of natural selection; emphasizes the survival and advantageous traits

behavior genetics

study of the relative power and limits of genetic and environmental influences on behavior


enduring behaviors, ideas, attitudes, values, and traditions shared by a group of people and transmitted from one generation to the next

positive psychology

scientific study of human flourishing, with the goals of discovering and promoting strengths and virtues that help individuals and communities to thriv

biopsychosocial approach

integrated approach that incorporates biological, psychological, and social-cultural analysis of behaviors and cognitions

behavioral psychology

scientific study of observable behavior, and its explanation by principles of learning (reward, punishment, conditioning)

biological psychology

scientific study of the links between biological (genetic, neural, hormonal) and psychological processes. (Some biological psychologists call themselves behavioral neuroscientists, neuropsychologists, behavior geneticists, physiological psychologists, or biopsychologists)

psychodynamic/psychoanalytic psychology

branch of psychology that studies how unconscious drives and conflicts (such as repressed memories from childhood trauma) influence behavior. uses that information to treat people with psychological disorders.

socio-cultural psychology

study of how situations and cultures affect our behavior and thinking; emphasis on cultural norms

testing effect

enhanced memory after retrieving, rather than simply rereading, information. Also sometimes referred to as a retrieval practice effect or test-enhanced learning


study method incorporating five steps: Survey, Question, Read, Retrieve, Review


scientific study of the measurement of human abilities, attitudes, and traits

basic research

pure science that aims to increase the scientific knowledge base

developmental psychology

branch of psychology that studies physical, cognitive, and social change throughout the life span

educational psychology

study of how psychological processes affect and can enhance teaching and learning

personality psychology

study of individuals' characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting

social psychology

scientific study of how we think about, influence, and relate to one another

applied research

scientific study that aims to solve practical problems

industrial-organization (I/O) psychology

the application of psychological concepts and methods to optimizing human behavior in workplaces

human factors psychology

allied with I/O psychology that explores how people and machines interact and how machines and physical environments can be made safe and easy to use

counseling psychology

branch of psychology that assists people with problems in living (often related to school, work, or marriage) and in achieving greater well-being

clinical psychology

branch of psychology that studies, assesses, and treats people with psychological disorders


branch of medicine dealing with psychological disorders; practiced by physicians who are licensed to provide medical (for example, drug) treatments as well as psychological therapy

community psychology

branch of psychology that studies how people interact with their social environments and how social institutions affect individuals and groups