Psych Unit 1

Mind-Body Problem

The body can be studied scientifically, the mind/soul is spiritual/divine and can't be studied

Nature vs Nurture

name for a controversy in which it is debated whether genetics or environment is responsible for driving behavior


A school of psychology that focused on how our mental and behavioral processes were shaped by evolution. Mind can't be broken down, it flows. Idea of "Stream of conciousness


an early school of psychology that used introspection, mental reaction time, to explore the elemental structure of the human mind. "Mental periodic table

Gestalt Psychology

a psychological approach that emphasizes that we often perceive the whole rather than the sum of the parts. Focus on perception


the science of behavior that focuses on observable behavior only (stimulus and response), mental process is irrelevant

Cognative Revolution

Can study the mind and its processes

Goals of Psychological Science

Describe, predict, control, explain behavior

confirmation bias

a tendency to search for information that supports our preconceptions and to ignore or distort contradictory evidence

Good evidence for a claim

Is peer-reviewed, isolates cause and effect, rules out potential alternative explanations, can show what would have happened

Independent Variable

Gets changed, what you want to see cause a change

Dependent Variable

The outcome, what you're looking for an effect in

Special Features of Experiments

Random assignment condition, comparison group, control variables, blind to condition

Within-groups design

Every participant does every condition, random assignment to order

Experimental Research

Isolates cause and effect by manipulating 1 or more variables. Weaknesses include ethical constraints.

Descriptive Research

Observes and drescribes behaviors through methods such as case studies and surveys. Weaknesses include trust issues, lack of control of variables, no causal inference.

Correlational Research

Describe and predict how variables are related in the real world. Weaknesses include the inability to specify cause and effect.

Correlation Coefficient (r)

Numerical value of the strength of a relationship between two variables. Ranges from -1 to 1.

Correlation does not equal...


Directionality problem

Researchers find a relationship between two variables but cannot determine which variable may have caused changes in the other variable

Third variable problem

A problem that occurs when the researcher cannot directly manipulate variables; as a result, the researcher cannot be confident that another, unmeasured variable is not the actual cause of differences in the variables of interest.

If the p-value of a test is less than ____ the result is considered to be statistically significant



Sends electrical messages throughout the brain and body


Branch out of neuron, collect info from the neurons they interface with

Cell body

The main structure of the neuron, gathers info


Transmits electrical signals to other neurons

Myelin Sheath

Fatty tissue that covers the axon of and helps speed electrical impulses

Terminal buttons

End of axon, translates the electrical signal into a chemical signal (neurotransmitters) that is dumped into the synapse


the empty space between the terminal button of the sending neuron and the dendrite or cell body of the receiving neuron

How a neuron fires

Depolarizes, fires, repoolarizes

Neurons are polarized slightly negative at ___ microvolts



the process by which axons become coated with myelin

Neuronal communicatoin is...

Unidirectional, all or none, consistent in magnitude

Neuronal communication varies in...

Rate of firing, number of neurons firing, location of neurons firing

Parkingson's Disease

Caused by a loss of dopamine. Causes progressive degradation in motor control


Caused by overproduction of dopamine. A severe psychological disorder characterized by delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, and/or diminished, inappropriate emotional expression.


Caused by a lack of serotonin. Causes prolonged sensation of saddness and hopelessness.


A type of antidepressant that blocks the reuptake of serotonin.


A neurotransmitter's reabsorption by the sending neuron

Agonist Drugs

Increase the effects of neurotransmitters by blocking reuptake or by mimicing the NT

Antagonist Drugs

Inhibit NT action by binding to receptors without activating them.


A cap placed on the head that can measure electrical activity in the brain through event related potentials.

Positron Emission Tomography (PET)

A method of brain imaging that assesses metabolic activity by using a radioactive substance injected into the bloodstream

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic waves produce images of the brain using bloodflow


A groove or valley in the brain


The raised portion of the brain

Brain Stem

Attached to the spine. Responsible for basic bodily survival functions.


A large structure of the hindbrain that controls fine motor skills, posture, movement, coordination

Cerebral cortex

The largest part of the brain. Responsible for thought, planning, high order thought

Corpus Callosum

the large band of neural fibers connecting the two brain hemispheres and carrying messages between them

4 Lobes of the brain (FPOT)

Frontal, parietal, occipital, temporal

Frontal lobe

Responsible for thought, planning, and high order movement

Parietal lobe

Responsible for touch and spatial relations

Occipital lobe

Responsible for vision

Temporal lobe

Responsible for hearing and memory

Brain plasticity

the ability of other parts of the brain to take over functions of damaged regions, particularly in young children


The process of converting outside stimuli, such as light, into neural activity


The process of organizing, interpreting, and making sense of a sensation

Mechanisms of sensation

vision, hearing, smell, touch, taste


Controls the amount of light entering the eye


Colored part that controls the pupil


Outer covering of the eye that helps focus light, imobile


Behind pupil, focuses light, can move


Captures and transmits light


Dense concentration of photoreceptors at the center of the eye, where you can best see

Optic nerve

Transmits info to brain

Action potential

A nerve impulse


Most numerous photoreceptor. Can't see color, works best in dim light


Responsible for color vision, densest in fovea. Works best in bright light

Ventral pathway

Recognizes form and identity. The Perception stream

Dorsal pathway

Recognizes spatial configuration, movement, and actions. The Action stream


inability to recognize faces. Damage to perception (ventral) stream


Difficulty recognizing landmarks. Damage to perception (ventral) stream


Inability to see objects in motion. Damage to action (dorsal) stream

Hemispatial neglect

Unable to make sense of the world on one side of space. Damage to action (dorsal) stream.

Binocular depth cues

Each eye recieves a slightly different image which allows the brain to estimate distance

Monocular depth cues

cues of depth perception that are available to each eye alone such as relative size

Trichromatic theory

theory of color vision that proposes three types of cones: red, blue, and green

Opponent-process theory

the theory that opposing retinal processes (red-green, yellow-blue, white-black) enable color vision. For example, some cells are stimulated by green and inhibited by red; others are stimulated by red and inhibited by green

The brain sees a face as...

A whole, not a sum of parts

bottom-up processing

analysis that begins with the sensory receptors and works up to the brain's integration of sensory information

top-down processing

information processing guided by higher-level mental processes, as when we construct perceptions drawing on our experience and expectations

Gestalt Principles of Perception

The brain groups things into meaningful groups. Figure ground, what stands out to us is the figure, everything else is the background

Hearing process

Auditory canal -> ear drum -> bones of mid ear -> chochlea -> auditory nerve -> thalamus -> auditory cortex

Auditory canal

the area that sound waves pass through to reach the eardrum. The hole thing when you look at your ear

Ear drum

a tightly stretched membrane at the end of the ear canal that vibrates when hit by sound waves

bones of the middle ear

Vibrated by the eardrum


a coiled, bony, fluid-filled tube in the inner ear through which sound waves trigger nerve impulses through liquid

Auditory nerve

the nerve that carries impulses from the inner ear to the brain, resulting in the perception of sound

Taste process

Chemical dissoved by saliva on tongue, transmitted by taste buds to thalamus

Smell process

Chemicals bind to receptors via mucous which is sent to the olfactory, does not go through thalamus


the brain's sensory switchboard, located on top of the brainstem; it directs messages to the sensory receiving areas in the cortex

Touch receptors

Pressure, tempreture, pain

Infants are born with these reflexes

Rooting and sucking

Infants show...


Infants have...

All five senses

Infants are studied by

Pereferential sucking, looking or habituation

Sensory motor stage

Birth - 2 years. Build senses and motor skills. Gain object permanence

Pre-operational stage

2 - 7 years. Building a representation of the world and others. Gain the ability to think symbolically and recognize conservation and other's perspective

Concrete operational stage

7 - 12 years. Gain ability to think logically when relating to physical objects

Formal operational stage

12+ years, gain ability to think logically about abstract things, metacognition, deductive reasoning

Problems with Cognative Theory of Development

Small sample size, understates social contribution, kids thinking is inconsistant