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USC / Psychology / PSYC 100Lg / What are the key principles of the scientific method?

What are the key principles of the scientific method?

What are the key principles of the scientific method?


School: University of Southern California
Department: Psychology
Course: Introduction to Psychology
Professor: Ann renken
Term: Spring 2016
Tags: Psychology
Cost: 50
Name: Psychology 100: Midterm 1 Study Guide
Description: This is the comprehensive study guide for Psyc-100 Midterm 1 with Dr. Ann Renken Let me know if you have any questions! Happy Studying and Good Luck!
Uploaded: 02/14/2016
20 Pages 136 Views 13 Unlocks

Psychology 100:​​Midterm 1 Study Guide Dr. Ann Renken

What are the key principles of the scientific method?

Highlight = Important Concept

Highlight = Important People

Highlight = Important Term

Chapter 1​­ Page 1

Chapter 2​­ Page 5

Chapter 3​­ Page 9

Chapter 4​­ Page 15

Chapter 1:​The Science of Psychology 

Section 1.1 What is Psychological Science? 

1. Psychological science is the study, through research, of the mind, brain, and behavior. a. Mind: ​The mental activity of the person. Pertains to thought, memories, and feelings. We also discuss several other topics like What is social identity?

b. Brain: ​The mental activity that results from biological processes within the brain. c. Behavior:​Characteristic studied through observable actions

What are the scientific foundations of psychology?

2. Questions that psychologists often ask:

a. What do people do? (Interactions/ Actions)

b. What is it like to be us? (Mentality Getting into someone’s mind)

3. Therapies that did more harm than good:

​a. ​Crisis Debriefing: 

­ Talking about a traumatic event over and over again with a group of

people right after the occurrence of the event.

­ Later on, this actually led to more cases of post­traumatic stress disorder. b. Therapeutic Touch: 

­ Emphasis on fixing the “biofield” around the patient. Mostly placebo.

c. Rebirth: 

­ Forcing a child to be “reborn again” by artificially creating the environment of giving birth by wrapping the child in cloth to stimulate an actual delivery ­ This was lethal as often the child would be wrapped so tightly he/she would suffocate.

What are the six steps in the scientific method for conducting research?

Don't forget about the age old question of What did the knights of labor do?

Section 1.2 What are the Scientific Foundations of Psychology? 1. The roots of psychology stem from ancient philosophy and medicine. 2. Commonly debated questions at the root of psychology is… We also discuss several other topics like What is calyx?

Page 1

a. Nature vs Nurture Debate: 

“Are psychological characteristics innate (nature) or acquired through experience (nurture)? We also discuss several other topics like Who was not in the holy alliance?

­ Modern View: How much of a trait is genetic?

​b. Mind/ Body Problem: If you want to learn more check out Why are some people in the us uninsured?

“Are mind and body separate, or is the mind the physical brain’s subjective experience” We also discuss several other topics like How many centuries did the roman empire endure?

­ Modern view: Mind is viewed as a level of analysis of the nervous system ­ Mindfulness training

­ Placebo and Nocebo Effects

*Nocebo​­ Negative result from using a drug/ opposite effect of placebo

The Many Forms of Psychology: 


Wilhelm Wundt 

­ Based on the concept that conscious experience can be broken down into basic components.

­Laid the groundwork for how to understand mind and “breaking down the mind into parts” and developed the first experimental lab

­“Trying to dissect the world around us into its elements and parts” ­basic processing

­Performed experiments like seeing how long simple and complex mental tasks took.

Introspective Method “Self Reflection” 

Edward Titchener 

­ Studied elements of consciousness, a systematic examination of subjective mental experiences.

Wanted to develop a psychological periodic table

Didn’t work because of consistency issues with test subjects.


William Jones 

­ Evolutionary Theory: “How does the mind evolve and help us survive?” Addresses the purpose of behavior.

How the brain or mind helps humans function or adapt

Gestalt Psychology: 

Max Wertheimer 

­ Seeks to describe the whole experience, does not focus on the sum of its parts but rather a visual perception.

­ Contested against structuralism

­ Believed that in a split second, people can make a quick


Page 2

­ Holistic thought processing that emphasized patterns and context in learning


Sigmund Freud 

­ Used Free­Association to reveal things in order to access the


Major Themes:

Unconscious influences

Early Life as formative


Ivan Pavlov​­​First Founder

John Watson​­ ​Conducted the “Little Albert” test, used operant conditioning​to scare the shit out of a child whenever he saw something white

B.F. Skinner​­​Modeling/shaping behavior, but mostly conducted animal research.

­ Emphasizes environmental forces in producing behavior

Associative Learning 

Reinforcement and Punishment (Used in Operant Conditioning) 

Cognitive Revolution: “Return to the Mind” 

Focuses on how thoughts influence behavior and studies neutral mechanisms underlying thoughts, learning and memory.

How people think, remember things, and make decisions

What prompted?

­ Evidence of learning without environmental influence

­ analogy to computers

Cognitive areas include memory and language

Social Psychology: 

Focuses on situations and how interactions shape people.

Attitudes, relationships, influences

Conformation versus Obedience 

Psychological Science Now Crosses ​Four​Levels of Analysis:

1. ) ​Biological Level: 

a. Most basic level, which part of the brain is active

b. animal research, brain imaging

c. How the physical body (brain) contributes to mind and behavior Neurotransmitter­ hormones, animal, and drug studies

Genetics­ gene mechanisms, heritability

­ twin and adoption studies

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­ Nurture vs Nature

2. ) ​Individual Level: 

a. Personality, gender development, age groups, self­concept

b. Perception/Cognition: Thinking, decision making, language, memory, seeing, and hearing.

c. How differences in personality and in mental processes affect perception d. Behavior: Observable, action responses, physical movements

3.) Social Level: 

a. Interpersonal Behavior: Group relationships, persuasion, influence, workplace b. Social Cognition: Attitudes, stereotypes, perceptions

c. How group contexts affect both interactions and individual influences on one another.

​4.) Cultural Level: 

a. Thoughts, actions, behaviors in different societies and cultural groups b. norms, beliefs, values, symbols, ethnicity

c. How individuals’ thoughts, feelings, and actions differ across culture Page 4

Chapter 2​: Research Methods 

Section 2.1 How is the Scientific Method Used in Psychological Research? Ethics in Research: ​Balance Scientific Progress with Protecting People i. The Institutional Review Board: 

­ Application Process: 

Risk/Benefit Ratio 

Security of Data 

Informed Consent 

­ Research Ethics Training 

­ Follow­up 

ii. Two Required Steps to Inform Participants after experiment: 



Random Sampling:​​Each member of the sample pool has an equal chance of inclusion in the sample 

Selection Bias ​is the unintended difference between participants in different groups. 

Key Principles of the Scientific Method: 


­ Connecting to past studies 

­ Relevancy, what works/doesn’t 


­ To make sure data samples are same throughout 

Peer Review 

­ Reviews, References, Journal Publications 

Bias: ​To publish only significant differences won’t publish if nothing changed 

Page 5

“File­Drawer Problem” 

­ When someone is trying to replicate an experiment, but fails and then declares the experiment as inadequate after only a few trials. Sample Size​(#) and Statistical Fluke ​(Error in # Stats) 

Evaluating Research Tools: 

Reliability​­ Consistency 

Validity​­ Meaningfulness 

Consistent does not mean reliable 

Description​informs psychologists how, when, where, and how often a phenomenon occurs 

Three Types of Validity for Good Research Qualifications: 1. External­​Concerns cognitive psychology 

Do the results generalize… 

­To a broader group of people? 

­ Does it apply to everyday life? 

A study’s findings can be generalized 

ex: Improvements do not apply to all populations claimed 

ex: The gains in task performance don’t predict gains in real­world cognition 

2. ​Internal​­​​Is there experimental control? 

­ Only true experiments have internal validity 

­ A study’s results are due to the independent variable rather than to confounds 

ex: Surveys of users indicate that they feel mentally sharper 

3. Construct­​​Does the research gets at what it is supposed to do? ­ Variables measure what they claim to measure 

ex: The tasks do not train intelligence, as intended but train 

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performance on the tasks 

The six steps in the scientific method for conducting research: 1. Form a hypothesis

2. Conduct a Literature Review

3. Design a Study

4. Conduct the Study

5. Analyze the Data

6. Report the Results

2.2. What Types of Studies Are Used in Psychological Research? 

Naturalistic Observation: 

Discrete, better in external validity

­ Frequencies with a behavioral checklist

­ qualitative notes (Open, not constrained by a checklist, but downside is that there is too much detail and it isn’t focused on one particular subject. ­ Record time or measure

Participant Observation: 

Researcher joins the study group in secret

Covert/Overt Study 

Correlational Research: 

a. Illusory Correlation: 

Just because two things seem to go together, doesn’t mean that they really do b. ​Spurious Correlation: 

­ Random Statistical Correlation

­ Why correlation does not equal causation:

i. The Directionality Problem

(Self­esteem level and frequently exercising)

ii. Third Variable Problem/Confound

(Number of leaves on the ground and commute time)

Two Types of Stats: 

a. Descriptive Stats: ​What the data looks like

Mean­­­> Average

Median­­­>Middle Number

Mode­­­> Most Frequent NUmber

***Median and Mode are not affected by extreme statistics

b. Inferential Stats:

Analyzing results and comparing it to a larger population

Page 7

How statistically significant?

*0.05% T­Score = Statistically Value

Terms to know for Chapter 2: 

The Hawthorne effect ​is a phenomenon where people improve or change their behavior when they know they are under observation. 

Experimental group​​The people who receive some level of the independent variable

Control group ​the people who receive none of the independent variable, to serve as a comparison

Dependent variable ​the measured variable in the experiment

Operational definition ​the quantifiable description of a variable, a definition that qualifies (describes) and quantifies (measures) a variable so the variable can be understood objectively.

Independent variable ​the manipulated variable, or the variable that gets manipulated in a research study

hypothesis​​a testable prediction, derived from a theory 

scientific method ​the​systematic procedure of observing and measuring phenomena Occam’s Razor​Law of parsimony. Less Assumptions = More Accurate Theory​​a model of interconnected ideas that explain observations Research ​The​process of data collection 

Reliability​A study’s measurements are consistent over time. 

Accuracy ​Errors do not occur while measuring data. 

Mean: ​The average of a set of numbers 

Median:​The exact middle of a set of values 

Mode:​the most frequently occuring value 

Page 8

Standard Deviation​: ​Measure of how far each value is on average from the mean 

Chapter 3: Biology and Behavior

Chapter Objectives: 

Name, identify on diagram, and discuss the function of…. 

a. A gyrus ​(Bumps, foldings) versus sulcus ​(fissure, grooves)

b. The longitudinal, central and lateral fissure​s, and the corpus callosum ​(Divides and connects the two hemispheres)

The Four Lobes of the ​Cerebral Cortex​:

­ Frontal Lobe ​(Control of Motor Cortex, Prefrontal Cortex, Broca’s Area)

­ Parietal Lobe​​(Somatosensory cortex, Association Areas)

­ Occipital Lobe​​(Primary visual cortex, destination and function of the what and where pathways)

­ Temporal Lobe​​(superior, medial, and inferior temporal gyri, and auditory, memory and object recognition areas within

The​Cerebellum and Medulla 

Know the Names and functions of the Basal Ganglia​and Limbic System structures

Page 9

*Notes from Class*

Page 10

F­The Primary Visual Cortex​: ​(Inside the Occipital Lobe) ​Looking for basic stimuli

G­ Ventral Stream: ​Object recognition, takes place along the inferior temporal lobe. Dorsal Stream​: ​Recognition of objects in space and guidance of actions

H­ Fusiform ​(Part of the Ventral Stream) , recognition of faces

I­ Inferior Temporal Lobe 

J­ Medial Temporal Lobe: 

On the outside cortex level­ somantic knowledge/ memory (immediate memory) The Hippocampus​­ Storing memory

K­ Superior Temporal Lobe:​​Auditory Cortex, basic hearing analysis

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L­ Cerebellum ​(Balance/Coordination), Highly automated tasks

W­ Wernicke's Area​​(Speech Comprehension) , Also part of the Superior Temporal Lobe

The Limbic System: 

Thalamus​:​Sensory Relay

Amygdala​: Fear Related Center

Hypothalamus: ​Desire hormone, motivation

Hippocampus:​New Memory Formation (Long­term)

Basal Ganglia: ​Pleasure/ Reward Related Actions

Voluntary movement

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Communication Pathway: 

Presynaptic Neurons­Sending

Postsynaptic Neurons­Receiving

Two Types:

“Resting Potential”​­When not active neurons have a negative charge “Action Potential​” ­sending a chemical signal down axon.

Movement of charged Sodium and Potassium ions/molecules change the charge of the environment (Polarization) 

Resting­ 70 mV

Threshold­ 55 mV

“Ligand” ​­ Any molecule that can affect a receptor site

What triggers action potential?

­ Neuron research “threshold”

­ Voltage­gated sodium channels open

­ Propagation down axon

­ Neurotransmitter is released

Glial Cells: ​1​0x more than neurons, helps in support/cleanup/neural migration/forms myelin/facilitates neural communication.

Cycle of a Neurotransmitter 

1. Close up at the synapse

2. Synaptic Vesicles

3. Release into Synaptic Cleft

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4. Binding at the receptor sites

5. Reuptake

6. Breakdown of neurotransmitter by enzymes.

*Calcium helps move the neurotransmitter

Mechanism of Drug Potential: 

Agnostic­​​Creating an increase in the normal activity of a neurotransmitter, more neurotransmitter available.

­ Some drugs can adjust calcium levels to be more active

­ Reuptake levels are increased as well

­ Drug mimics the same shape as natural neurotransmitter so that it can bind to receptors, activating/increasing the neurotransmitter’s effect. Antagonist­​​Creating a decrease in the normal neurotransmitter activity. ­ Creates enzymes to destroy neurotransmitter

­ Can mimic the neurotransmitter and bind to the receptor and won’t allow the neurotransmitter to bind to it.

­ Since there is a decrease in the number of neurotransmitter, there is also less vesicles and less number of neurotransmitters in them.

Page 14

Chapter 4: Consciousness

Section 4.1: What is Consciousness? 

How much are we really aware of?

Inattentional Blindness: 

­ Failing to notice objects/processes when not

diverting direct attention to it

Priming: ​The situation influences our perceptions,

thoughts, or actions without our own awareness

­ Behavior Priming (“Walking old” when talking about

old people) / Perception Priming (Rat­man)

Sleep and Dreaming:

­Deep to shallow cycle (90 minutes)

“Slow Wave Sleep”­ Deep stages of sleep

REM​(Rapid eye movement) ­​Dreaming/usually later in the sleep cycle, but close to the awakeness stage

*Common for people to get less and less sleepy the older they get *During REM Stage of Sleep, the brain is very active/awake.

Characteristics of REM Sleep: 

Sleep­walking/talking ​is done in the deep stages of sleeping.

­ Low amplitude, high frequency wave lengths

­ Vivid internal sensations

­ Motor activity of extremities is non­existent

­ Frequent and rapid movement of the eyes (REM)

­ Repetitive and thoughts that don’t make sense

Dream Theories:

­ Freud: The Psychoanalytic View 

Dream are seen as wish fulfillment

Two levels of dream content

Page 15

­Manifest Content​(Part of dream that is remembered)

­ Latent Content​(Hidden, true meaning of the dream)

Opposing Theory:

­ Activation Synthesis Hypothesis:

The physiological processes of the brain cause dreams. 

Section 4.4: How do Drugs Affect Consciousness? 

Tolerance: ​Needing more of the drug to get the desired effect. Increased use is a theme of substantial abuse disorder. 

At the Physiology level: 

a. Down­regulation of receptors 

b. Less synthesis of natural neurotransmitters/receptors 

Withdraw: ​Symptoms will be of the opposite effect of the drug ­ The natural balance is broken, dysfunctional 

­ (i.e. For Caffeine/Cocaine that had the effect of concentration, someone going through withdrawal will have a feeling of poor concentration ) 

­Alcohol Withdrawal> Agitation/High Blood Pressure 

­ Heroin Withdrawal> Subjective Pain, sweating, GI Distress. 

Addiction:​​Risk factors and Environmental Influences 

­ Impulsivity, sensation­seeking, negative emotions 

­ Stress, exposure to use. 

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­What we think we are doing: Dividing Attention 

­ What we are really doing: Task Switching 

*(We can only focus on one thing at a time (i.e. having an intense conversation in the car can be very dangerous) 

Research: Multitasking causes a stress response which disrupts “flow”, the feeling of getting lost in the moment of a task. This is not good for retaining information. 

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­Involved in Learning and memory ­Too much glutamate can be toxic ­Forming long term memory

GABA (Gamma­Aminobutyric Acid) 


Important in…

­Preventing Seizures (GABA activity tends to curb seizures

­Emotion and behavioral regulation ­Selective Attention

­GABA Drug­ Can decrease anxiety *Too much will shut down body functions *Delicate balance between inhibitory and excitatory

GABA hyperpolarizes neurons, lets in Chloride, which leads to action potential

­GABA levels increased by

Benzodiazepines (Xanox), which is an Anti­depression drug.

Alcohol, anticonvulsants


Controls: ​Mood and Impulse , Feeling content, satiety (Feeling Full, feeling not empty), sleep.

*Target of a lot of drugs.


“Fight or Flight”

­Arousal and attention (Sympathetic Nervous System activity)

Increased by: ​Selective norepinephrine, reuptake, SSRIs (Selective serotonin Reuptake inhibitors)

Antidepressant Drugs


Motor Control Award Center

L­DOPA > Parkinson's Disease


“Antipsychotic” Breaks from reality,

Page 18



Stimulates cortex, memory areas Key factor in Alzheimer’s disease Also affected by nicotine increase

At Neuromuscular junction, Botox Blocks the neuroreceptor

Also in the Parasympathetic System. *Alzheimer’s patients have decay of hippocampus.


Inhibitory> Body’s natural painkiller

*Codeine, morphine, heroin

Some Effects…

­Reduce subjective experience of pain ­Euphoria

­Cough Suppression

­Reduced Suppression

­Slowed Respiration/Heartbeat

­Constricted Pupils


Inhibitory: ​Blocks Adenosine

*Adenosine ​accumulates over the day and makes people tired, sleeping gets rid of adenosine

MDMA (Ecstasy) 

Stimulant and Hallucinogen

Creates a dopamine burst >

Norepinephrine and dopamine share a relationship. When one is boosted, the other is boosted as well.

*People who used during adolescent years have higher risk of

impairments/brain damage at older ages.


THC ​acts on “cannabinoid” receptors ­Blocks memory/pain

­Slower reaction time

­Increase Hunger

Classified as a Hallucinogenic Drug.

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Please let me know if you have any questions! Good Luck! ­Michael

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