Definition of Psychology
Scientific study of the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behavior in a given context.
Subfields of Psychology
Studies, assesses, and treats people with psychological disorders.
Studies physical, cognitive, and social change throughout life span.
Concerned with intersections between psychological practice and research and the judicial system.
Application of psychological concepts and methods to optimizing human behavior in workplaces.
Study of an individual’s characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling and acting.
Studies the causes and consequences of interpersonal behavior.
Counseling children in elementary and secondary schools who have academic or emotional problems.
4 Parts of the Brain
Cerebrum: Area of the brain responsible for all voluntary activities of the body.
Cerebellum: A large structure of the hindbrain that controls fine motor skills.
Limbic System: A group of neural structures at the base of the cerebral hemispheres that is associated with emotion and motivation.
Brain Stem: Connection to spinal cord. Filters information flow between peripheral nervous system and the rest of the brain.
Goals of Psychology
Bottom Up vs Top Down Processing
Top-Down: Processing of stimulus in which information from the general context is used to help organize the stimulus. We use knowledge and memory to “fill in the details.”
Bottom-Up: Processing of a stimulus in which information forms a physical stimulus rather than from a general context. Stimulus information arrives from the sensory receptors. The combination of these simple features allow us to recognize more complex patterns.
Model of learning based on the simple principle that behavior is shaped and maintained by its consequences. Enables therapists to use behavior modification, in which desired behaviors are rewarded and undesired behaviors are either unrewarded or punished.
Perspectives of Psychology
Objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgment.
Sympathetic vs. Parasympathetic Nervous System
Sympathetic: Involved in the stimulation of activities that prepare the body for action, such as increasing the heart rate, increasing the release of sugar from the liver into the blood, and other generally considered as fight-or-flight responses.
Parasympathetic: Activates tranquil functions, such as stimulating the secretion of saliva or digestive enzymes into the stomach.
Problem with sleeping, including trouble falling or staying asleep, falling asleep at the wrong times, too much sleep, or abnormal behaviors during sleep.
Sleep disorder characterized by difficulty falling or staying asleep, waking too early, or by sleep that is light, restless, or of poor quality.
A type of learning in which one learns to link two or more stimuli and anticipate events.
Learning to act by seeing it done.
Stages of Memory
Encoding: As information comes into our memory it needs to be changed into a form that can be understood and stored.
Storage: Where the information is stored, how long the memory lasts, how much can be stored at any time, and what kind of information is held. The way we store information affects the way we retrieve it.
Retrieval: Getting information out of storage. If we can’t remember something, it may be because we are unable to retrieve it.
Mental quality consisting of the ability to learn from experience, solve problems, and use knowledge to adapt to new situations.
Reliability and Validity
Reliability: Measurement accuracy.
Validity: Quality of being logically or factually sound.
Characteristics of Motivation
Three Styles of Parenting
Authoritarian Parenting: Children follow strict rules established by parents. Failure to follow rules results in punishment. No explanation for these rules other than “because I said so.” Parents have high demands, but are not responsive to their children.
Authoritative Parenting: Parents democratically establish rules and guidelines that their children are expected to follow. Parents are responsive and willing to listen to questions. When children fail to meet expectations, parents are nurturing and forgiving rather than punishing.
Permissive Parenting: Parents have few demands to make. Rarely discipline their children because of low expectations of maturity and self-control. Sometimes referred to as indulgent parents.
Biologically and socially influenced characteristics by which people define male and female.
Oversimplified, preconceived beliefs about the gender roles of men and women.
Mental predisposition to perceive one thing and not another.
Action Potential in a Neuron
Neural membrane opens to allow positively charged ions inside the cell and negatively charged ions out. This causes rapid increase in the positive charge of the nerve fiber. When the charge reaches +40 mv, the impulse is spread down the nerve fiber. This electrical impulse is carried down the nerve through a series of action potentials.
Ways of Retrieving Information from Long-Term Memory
Recall: Being able to access the information without being cued. Example: Answering a question on a fill-in-the-blank test.
Recollection: Reconstructing memory, utilizing logical structures, partial memories, narratives or clues. Example: Writing an answer on an essay exam often involves remembering bits on information and restructuring the remaining information based on these partial memories.
Recognition: Identifying information after experiencing it again. Example: Taking a multiple-choice quiz requires that you recognize the correct answer out of a group of available answers.
Relearning: Relearning information that has been previously learned. Often makes it easier to remember and retrieve information in the future and can improve the strength of memories.
Types of Attachment
Agent or factor that causes malformation of an embryo.
Chemical substances that affect the brain functioning, causing changes in behavior, mood and consciousness. Includes depressants, Stimulants, and Psychedelics.
Crystalline compound found in tea and coffee plants that acts as a stimulant of the central nervous system.
Types of Conflict
Approach-Approach: People attracted about equally to goals but carrying out one goal results in abandoning the other. Example: Buying a house means giving up your apartment.
Avoidance-Avoidance: Person is simultaneously repelled by two goals, objects, or actions but still obliged to select one. Example: Young boy must choose to either clean his room or do dishes.
Single Approach-Avoidance: When a person is attracted to and repelled by one goal, we have a single approach. These conflicts are difficult to resolve and generate much anxiety. Example: You want to go to college but know it’s very expensive.
Double Approach-Avoidance: Two goals, each with good and bad points. Like single approach-avoidance conflicts, these are anxiety-provoking and hard to resolve. Example: I want to date both Amy and Beth but don’t know which one to pursue.
Positive Incentive Value
Anticipated pleasure involved in the performance of a particular behavior, such as eating a particular food or drinking a particular beverage.
Behavior in accordance with socially accepted conventions or standards.
Shocking obedience experiments.
Basic Components of Emotion
Physiological Arousal (heart pounding)
Expressive Behaviors (quickened pace)
Consciously Experienced Thoughts and Feelings (sense of fear and joy)
Widely held but oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.
General Adaptation Syndrome
Three staged response to stress.
Alarm: First stage. Divided into two phases.
-Shock Phase results in Hypoglycemia—The Stressor Effect.
-Antishock Phase: Stressor identified and body starts to respond while in a state of alarm. Fight-or-flight response.
Resistance: Increases secretion of glucocorticoids to intensify the systemic response.
Recovery or Exhaustion:
-Recovery: Body’s compensation mechanisms have successfully overcome the stressor effect.
-Exhaustion: Resources are depleted and the body is unable to maintain normal function.
Socioeconomic Status (SES) and Stress
Lower Socioeconomic Status = More Stress
Higher Socioeconomic Status = Less Stress
Beta blockers: Works by blocking stimulating effects of adrenaline on your body, such as increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, pounding heart, and shaking voice and limbs that are caused by anxiety.
Antidepressants: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) act on the chemical serotonin, a neurotransmitter in your brain to influence mood.
Sedatives: Benzodiazepines help you relax by reducing the amount of anxiety you feel.
Desensitization or Exposure Therapy: Focuses on changing your response to the object or situation that you fear. Gradual, repeated exposure to the cause of the phobia may help learn to conquer the anxiety.
Psychological disorders characterized by inflexible and enduring behavior patterns that impair social functioning.
Class of disorders marked by emotional disturbances of varied kinds that may spill over to disrupt physical, perceptual, social, and thought processes.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Anxiety disorder characterized by unwanted repetitive thoughts (obsession) and actions (compulsions).
Mental disorder characterized by sadness, hopelessness, pessimism, loss of interest in life, reduced emotional wellbeing, and abnormalities in sleep, appetite, and energy level.
What Decreases Depression?
Removing cause of stress.
Not making life decisions.
Talking to a neutral party.
Doing things you enjoy.
Exercising and being active.
Trait Theorist Viewpoint
Small number of source traits that represent a universal way of describing individual personality differences.
Purpose of Personality Inventories
Identify particular characteristics and explain individual differences in behavior.
Neo-Freudian Personality Perspective vs. Freud’s Perspective on Personality Development
Neo-Freudian Personality Perspective: Accept Freud’s basic ideas of unconscious, id, ego, superego, shaping of personality in childhood, defense mechanisms. Does not include anything with psychosexual stages.
Freud’s Perspective on Personality Development: Personality develops in stages that are related to specific erogenous zones. Failure to successfully complete these stages would lead to personality problems in adulthood.
Pattern of relatively permanent traits, dispositions, or characteristics that give some consistency to people’s behavior.
Perspectives of Personality
Psychoanalytic Perspective: Importance of early childhood experiences and the unconscious mind.
Humanistic Perspective: Psychological growth, free will, and personal awareness. Positive outlook on human nature and how people achieve their individual potential.
Trait Perspective: Identifying, describing, and measuring specific traits that make up human personality.
Social Cognitive: Observational learning, self-efficacy, situational influences and cognitive processes.
Levels of Awareness (Freud)
id: Present at birth. Unconscious and includes instinctive and primitive behaviors. Source of all psychic energy, making it the primary component of personality.
Ego: Responsible for dealing with reality. Develops from the id and ensures that its impulses can be expressed in a manner acceptable in the real world. Functions in the conscious, preconscious, and unconscious mind.
Superego: Holds all of our internalized moral standards and ideals that we acquire from both parents and society; our sense of right and wrong. Provides guidelines for making judgments. Begins to emerge around age five.
Method of exploring the unconscious in which the person relaxes and says whatever comes to mind.
Regression (Defense Mechanism)
When confronted by stressful events, people abandon coping strategies and revert to patterns of behavior used earlier in development.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Preoccupation with non-existent physical flaws that interfere with one’s functioning.
Projective Personality Tests
Test where people offer responses to ambiguous scenes, words, or images to help uncover unconscious desires that are hidden from conscious awareness. From psychoanalytic school of thought.
State of mental or emotional strain or suspense.
Fundamental Attribution Error
Tendency for observers, when analyzing another’s behavior, to underestimate the impact of the situation and to overestimate the impact of personal disposition.
Diffusion of Responsibility
Bystander’s sense of responsibility to help decreases as the number of witnesses increases.
Decrease in effort and productivity that occurs when an individual works in a group instead of alone.
Provides psychology’s contribution to behavioral medicine.
Incorporates biological, psychological, and social-cultural levels of analysis.
Small, stressful events that happen each day.
Type A vs. Type B Personality
Type A: Competitive.
Type B: Enjoys achievement but don’t become stressed when they fail.
Specific training in psychoanalysis that treats any kind of emotional disorder or pathology.
Client-Centered Therapy (Rogers)
Therapeutic environment that is conformable, non-judgmental and empathetic. Clients lead discussion and no one tries to steer the client in a particular direction. Unconditional positive regard, shows complete acceptance and support for their clients.
External Locus of Control
Perception that chance or outside forces beyond one’s personal control determine one’s fate.
Goal of Psychoanalysis
Make patient aware of repressed, unconscious conflict that are actually causing a persons problems.
Goal of Cognitive Therapy
Change how people think and their faulty perception by replacing them with adaptable and useful alternatives.
Psychiatrists can prescribe medicine, but psychologists cannot.