Intro To General Psychology

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psychology the scientific study of behavior and mental processes.
structuralism Titchener early school of psychology that emphasized studying the most basic components, or structures, of conscious experiences.
functionalism William James early school of psychology that emphasized studying the purpose, or function, of behavior and mental experiences.
psychoanalysis Freud personality theory and form of psychotherapy that emphasize the role of unconscious factors in personality and behavior.
behaviorism James B. Watson school of psychology and theoretical viewpoint that emphasizes the study of observable behaviors, especially as they pertain to the process of learning.
humanistic psychology school of psychology and theoretical viewpoint that emphasizes each person's unique potential for psychological growth and self-direction.
cross-cultural psychology branch of psychology that studies the effects of culture on behavior and mental processes.
evolutionary psychology the application of principles of evolution, including natural selection, to explain psychological processes and phenomena.
scientific method a set of assumptions, attitudes and procedures that guide researchers in creating questions to investigate, in generating evidence, and in drawing conclusions.
hypothesis a tentative statement about the relationship between two or more variables.
variable a factor that can vary, or change, in ways that can be observed, measured and verified.
operational definition a precise description of how the variable in a study will be manipulated or measured.
statistics a branch of mathematics used by researchers to organize, summarize, and interpret data.
statistically significant a mathematical indication that research results are not very likely to have occurred by chance.
theory a tentative explanation that tries to integrate and account for the relationship of various findings and observations.
descriptive research methods scientific procedures that involve systematically observing behavior in order to describe the relationship among behaviors and events. naturalistic observation: the systematic observation and recording of behaviors as they occur in their natural setting. case study: an intensive study of a single individual or small group of individuals. survey: a questionnaire or interview designed to investigate the opinions, behaviors, or characteristics of a particular group. correlational study: a research strategy that allows the precise calculation of how strongly related two factors are to each other.
sample a selected segment of the population used to represent the group that is being studied.
representative sample a selected segment that very closely parallels the larger population being studied on relevant characteristics.
random selection process in which subjects are selected randomly from a larger group such that every group member has an equal chance of being included in the study.
correlation coefficient a numerical indication of the magnitude and direction of the relationship (the correlation) between two variables.
positive correlation a finding that two factors vary systematically in the same direction, increasing or decreasing together.
negative correlation a finding that two factors vary systemtically in opposite directions, one increasing as the other decreases.
experimental method a method of investigation used to demonstrate cause-and-effect relationships by purposely manipulating one factor thought to produce change in another factor.
independent variable the purposely manipulated factor thought to produce change in an experiment; also referred to as the treatment of interest.
dependent variable the factor that is observed and measured for change in an experiment; thought to be influenced by the independent variable.
random assignment the process of assigning participants to experimental conditions so that all participants have an equal chance of being assigned to any of the conditions or groups in the study.
experimental group (experimental condition) in an experiment, the group of participants who are exposed to all experimental conditions, including the independent variable or treatment of interest.
control group (control condition) in an experiment, the group of participants who are exposed to all experimental conditions, except the independent variable; the group against which changes in the experimental group are compared.
placebo control group in an experiment, a control group in which the participants are exposed to a fake independent variable, or placebo. the effects of the placebo are compared to the effects of the actual independent variable, on the experimental group.
double-blind study experimental technique in which neither the participants nor the researcher interacting with the participants is aware of the group or condition in which the participants have been assigned.