AP Psychology Vocabulary Chapt. 1 and 2

the scientific study of behavior and mental processes

Empirical Approach
a study conducted via careful abservations and scientifically based research

phony, unscientific psychology masquerading as the real thing

Confirmation Bias
the tendency to attend to evidence that complements and confirms our beliefs or expectations, while ignoring evidence that does not

Experimental Psychologists
psychologists who do research on basic psychological processes — as contrasted with applied psychologists

Teachers of Psychology
psychologists whose primary job is teaching, typically in high schools, colleges, and universities

Applied Psychologists
psychologists who use the knowledge developed by experimental psychologists to solve human problems

a medical specialty dealing with the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders

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a historical school of psychology devoted to uncovering the basic structures that make up mind and thought. Structuralists sought the “elements” of conscious experience

the process of reporting on one’s own conscious mental experiences

a historical school of psychology that believed mental processes could best be understood in terms of their adaptive purpose and function

Gestalt Psychology
a historical school of psychology that sought to understand how the brain works by studying perception and perceptual learning. Gestalt psychologists believed that percepts consist of meaningful wholes

a historical school (as well as a modern perspective) that has sought to make psychology an objective science focused only on behavior – to the exclusion of mental processes

an approach to psychology based on Sigmund Freud’s assertions, which emphasize unconscious processes. The term is used to refer broadly both to Freud’s psychoanalysis theory and to his psychoanalytic treatment method

Biological View
the psychological perspective that searches for the causes of behavior in the functioning of genes, the brain and nervous system, and the endocrine system (hormones)

the field devoted to understanding how the brain creates thoughts, feelings, motives, consciousness, memories, and other mental processes

Evolutionary Psychology
a relatively new specialty in psychology that sees behavior and mental processes in terms of their genetic adaptations for survival and reproduction

Developmental View
the psychological perspective emphasizing changes that occur across the lifespan

Cognitive View
the psychological perspective emphasizing mental processes, such as learning, memory, perception, and thinking, as forms of information processing

mental processes, such as thinking, memory, sensation, and perception

Cognitive Neuroscience
an interdisciplinary field emphasizing brain activity as information processing; involves cognitive psychology, neurology, biology, computer science, linguistics, and specialists from other fields who are interested in the connection between mental processes and the brain

Clinical View
the psychological perspective emphasizing mental health and mental illness. psychodynamic and humanistic psychology are variations on the clinical view

Psychodynamic Psychology
a clinical viewpoint emphasizing the understanding of mental disorders in terms of unconscious needs, desires, memories, and conflicts

Humanistic Psychology
a clinical viewpoint emphasizing human ability, growth, potential, and free will

Scientific Method
a 5-step process for empirical investigation of a hypothesis under conditions designed to control biases and subjective judgments

Empirical Investigations
an approach to research that relies on sensory experience and observation as research data

a testable explanation for a set of facts or observations. in science, a theory is “not” just speculation or a guess

a statement predicting the outcome of a scientific study; a statement describing the relationship among variables in a study

Operational Definitions
specific descriptions of concepts involving the conditions of a scientific study. operational definitions are stated in terms of how the concepts are to be measured or what operations are being employed to produce them

Independent Variables
a stimulus condition so named because the experimenter changes it independently of all the other carefully controlled experimental conditions

Random Presentation (of the stimulus)
a process by which chance alone determines the order in which the stimulus is presented

pieces of information, especially information gathered by a researcher to be used in testing a hypothesis

Dependent Variable
the measured outcome of a study; the responses of the subjects in a study

in research, this refers to doing a study over to see whether the same results are obtained. as a control for bias, replication often done by somebody other than the original researcher

a kind of research in which the researcher controls all the conditions and directly manipulates the conditions, including the independent variable

Confounding/ Extraneous Variables
variables that have an unwanted influence on the outcome of an experiment

constraints that the experimenter places on the experiment to ensure that each subject has the exact same conditions

Random Assignment
each subject of the sample has an equal likelihood of being chosen for the experimental group of an experiment

Expost Facto Design
research in which we choose subjects based on a pre-existing condition

Correlation Study
a type of research that is mainly statistical in nature. correlational studies determine the relationship (or correlation) between 2 variables

a quasi-experimental method in which questions are asked to subjects.

Naturalistic Observation
a research method in which subjects are observed in their natural environment

Longitudinal Study
a type of study in which one group of subjects is followed and observed (or examined, surveyed, etc) for an extended period of time (years)

Cross-Sectional Study
a study in which a representative cross section of the population is tested or surveyed at one specific time

Cohort-Sequential Study
a research method in which a cross section of the population is chosen and then each cohort is followed for a short period of time

Institutional Review Board (IRB)
a committee at each institution where research is conducted to review every experiment for ethics and methodology

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)
a committee at each institution where research is conducted to review every experiment involving animals for ethics and methodology

Frequency Distributions
a summary chart, showing how frequently each of the various scores in a set of data occurs

a bar graph depicting a frequency distribution. the height of the bars indicates the frequency of a group of scores

Descriptive Statistics
statistical procedures used to describe characteristics and responses of groups of subjects

the measure of central tendency most often used to describe a set of data – calculated by adding all scores and dividing by the # of scores

a measure of central tendency for a distribution, represented by the score that separates the upper half of the scores in a distribution from the lower half

a measure of central tendency for a distribution, represented by the score that occurs most often than any other

the simplest measure of variability, represented by the difference between the highest and the lowest values in a frequency distribution

Standard Deviation
a measure of variability that indicates the average difference between the scores and their mean

Normal Distribution
a bell-shaped curve, describing the spread of a characteristic throughout a population

a relationship between variables, in which changes in one variable are reflected in changes in the other variable-as in the correlation between a child’s age and height

Correlation Coefficient
a number between -1 and +1 expressing the degree of relationship between 2 variables

Inferential Statistics
statistical techniques (based on probability theory) used to assess whether the results of a study are reliable or whether they might be simply the result of chance. inferential statistics are often used to determine whether 2 or more groups are essentially the same or different

Random Sample
a sample group of subjects selected by chance (without biased selection techniques)

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