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What is the meaning of confirmation bias in psychology?

What is the meaning of confirmation bias in psychology?


School: University of Colorado Denver
Department: Psychology
Course: Introduction to Psychology
Professor: Alex northcutt
Term: Fall 2016
Tags: Intro to Psychology
Cost: 50
Name: PSYCH 1000 Final Exam Study Guide
Description: This is it, everyone! We're at the home stretch! Time to finish off this semester with a bang! This is the study guide for the Final Exam. It covers everything that will be covered in the final, as well as including the new material from this week and last week! Good luck studying everyone!
Uploaded: 12/08/2016
15 Pages 47 Views 2 Unlocks

Davis­Jay Harris

What is the meaning of confirmation bias in psychology?


PSYCH 1000

Introduction to Psychology I: PSYCH 1000 Final Exam Study Guide

Highlight = Key Terms Highlight = Key Concepts


Chapter 1: Introduction to Psychology

∙ Psychology (what is it?): The scientific study of the brain, mind,  and behavior.

∙ Scientific theory vs hypothesis 

o Theory: an explanation based on lots of evidence.

o Hypothesis: an educated guess, prediction.

∙ Confirmation Bias: looking for reasons to confirm whatever belief  you want to be true.

What is the meaning of belief perseverance in psychology?

∙ Belief Perseverance: when someone disproves your beliefs, yet  you still believe in it anyways.

∙ Pseudoscience: things that claim to be scientific, but has no  evidence to back it up.

∙ Patternicity: the tendency to perceive patterns in the world,  where there is not.

o Logical Fallacies: reasons people believe or disbelieve  claims.

 Emotional reasoning Fallacy: disbelieving claims due  

to emotions.

 Bandwagon Fallacy: believing something is true,  

because everyone else believes it is.

 “Not me” Fallacy: when you believe you are an  

What is the meaning of pseudoscience in psychology?

Don't forget about the age old question of What is the meaning of the louisiana purchase?

exception to a claim.

∙ Dangers of Pseudoscience 

o Causes direct harm

o Spreads false information

o Causes people to not think logically/scientifically

∙ Scientific skepticism: when a belief is willing to be accepted, but  there needs to be evidence to help support it.

∙ Critical Thinking

o 6 elements of critical thinking:

 1. Ruling out a rival hypothesis

 2. Correlation =/= Causation: just because two things are related (correlation), doesn’t mean one of them  

or the other causes them.

 3. Falsifiability: being able to prove things wrong, and

rule things out.

 4. Replicability: what your testing should have a  

certain level of consistency

 5. Extraordinary Claims: claims that have an  

increased burden of evidence.

 6. Occam’s Razor: being able to find a simpler  

explanation that is true, and explains a certain  


∙ Perspectives on Psychology 

 1. Structuralism: to understand the human mind, we need to break 

it into pieces.

 2. Functionalism: how to survive/adapt in the world by natural  If you want to learn more check out How do you trade futures spreads?
We also discuss several other topics like What does pruritic mean?


 3. Behaviorism: examining how people act, and why they are 

acting a certain way.

 4. Cognitivism: thinking/thought process, and how it relates to 


 5. Psychoanalysis: how the subconscious can influence behavior,  Don't forget about the age old question of How did christianity affect the vampire legend?

based on past experiences.

 6. Introspection: a scientific tool used to break things down.

Chapter 2: Research methods in Psychology

Experimental Designs: always has an independent variable a  dependent variable.

o Independent variable: something based on change

o Dependent variable: something that is has a specific  


o Control group: a group for an independent variable. If you want to learn more check out Who is the father of humanistic psychology?

o Placebo effect: when you get an outcome that is based on  your belief that should happen.

 Pros & Cons:

∙ Pros

o Able to infer causation.

o High internal validity.

∙ Cons

o Difficult because of ethics.

o Low external validity.

∙ Correlational: how two things are related

o Positive: when both variables increase

o Negative: when one variable increases, and the other  decreases.

o Illusory correlation: when two things are not related, but  they seem to be.

 Pros & Cons:

∙ Pros

o Able to predict behavior.

o Starting point for research.

o Lots of information.

∙ Cons

o Cannot infer causation.

o Illusory correlations.

∙ Descriptive: observing natural occurrences.

o Case Study: doing research on a certain individual.  Pros & Cons:

∙ Pros

o Unusual phenomenon.

∙ Cons

o Subject to bias.

o Cannot infer causation.

∙ Validity: how true the claim is/how serious the general people  can take it. Don't forget about the age old question of What is the purpose of g8 and g20 in country development?

o External vs internal validity 

 External: how much of something reflects real life.

 Internal: the inability to control variables in the  


o Standard deviation: the bell curve that shows how close to  the average is to a certain score.

o Standard error: how much variability is in the experiment,  and how reliable the data is. The bigger the variation, the  less reliable it is.

Chapter 3: Biopsychology

∙ Central Nervous System 

o Neurons 

 Cell body: contains everything the cell needs to  


 Axon: where the nerve impulse travels.

 Myelin sheath: wraps around the axon, and insulates  it.

 Dendrites: receives signals from other cells.

o Glial cells: the non-neuronal cells of the brain

 Oligodendrocytes: myelinate axon that form the  

myelin sheath. If it is damaged, it could lead to  

Alzheimer’s/Parkinson’s disease.

 Astrocytes: supports neurons, and transfers proteins  from arteries to neurons.

 Microglia cells: immune cells of the brain. Main  function is to find invading pathogens, and kill them  off.

o Four Lobes of the brain 

o Frontal Lobe: responsible for making decisions,  paying attention, etc. Receives damage when the  individual takes drugs, or alcohol.

o Parietal Lobe: contains information about the senses  from the body (taste, touch, smell, sight, and sound). o Temporal Lobe: responsible for memory, and  

processing hearing.

o Occipital Lobe: processes visual information.

o Parts (& functions) of the brain:

 Wernicke’s Areas: processing speech comprehension.  Broca’s Area: the motor production of speech/the  physical aspect of speech.

 Prefrontal Cortex: emotional/mood regulation.

 Thalamus: all incoming sensory information goes  through here first (except for smell) before they go to their certain place.

 Hypothalamus: regulates food, fight and flight, and  sexual urges.

 Cerebellum: responsible for coordination, balance,  and muscle memory.

 Brain stem: responsible for autonomic functioning,  such as heartbeat, breathing, blood pressure, etc.  Motor Cortex: responsible for motor coordination.   Somatosensory Cortex: responsible for sensory  information about the body.

 Auditory Cortex: responsible for processing auditory  info (hearing).

 Limbic system: responsible for emotional, behavioral, and long-term memory functions.

o Neurotransmitters 

 Dopamine: deals with compulsion, motor functioning, and mood. Also regulates the feeling of pleasure and  reward.

∙ Mesolimbic Dopamine pathway: makes things  for the survival a species rewarding enough so  

that it influences them to continue doing it.  

Once we do certain things that are satisfying  

(eating, mating, etc.) dopamine is released.

∙ Serotonin: influences mood, memory, appetite,  thinking, and cognition.

o Agonist: endogenous that bind to receptors, and activates the  receptors they interact with.

o Antagonist: bonds to receptors in the same spot. They block  them, but they don’t activate them, so agonists cannot get to  the receptors to activate them.

o Meninges: main function is to protect the central nervous system, and is made up of four parts:

 Dura Matter: the thick outer layer of all the meninges. It is a thin,  transparent membrane, and is covered by flat cells. Fluid is unable to  pass through.

 Arachnoid Matter: meant to make space between the pia mater and the  dura mater.

 Subarachnoid space: the room in­between the arachnoid membrane  and pia mater.

 Cerebral spinal fluid: main function is to clean up everything inside  and out of the brain. It is constantly recycled, and goes through all the  ventricles and the spinal cord

 Pia Mater: A very thin membrane connecting around the brain. It is  also wrapped around the spinal cord.

Chapter 4: Sensation and Perception

o Sensation vs. Perception 

 Sensation: the process of sensing our environment through taste,  touch, smell, sight and hearing.

 Perception: the brain’s perception of sensational input.

o Transduction: converts information of physical energy to neural signals. o Absolute Threshold: the lowest stimulus needed to detect a difference. o Just noticeable difference: adding to an existing stimulus to notice a bigger difference.

 Weber’s Law: the bigger the stimulus is, the more you notice the  difference.

o Signal detection theory: the ability to detect and focus on a certain  stimulus.

 Signal­to­noise ratio: the more noise there is, the harder it is to pay  attention to a signal.

o Sensory adaptation: a change to a stimulus that effects the responsiveness  of the sensory system to a constant stimulus that changes over time. o Selective attention: the ability to detect what stimuli you want to pay  attention to

o Parts and functions of the eye 

 What external stimulus/ physical energy does the eye detect?

∙ Hue: what color something is.

∙ Saturation: how pure that color is

∙ Brightness: how light or dark the color is

 Iris: the colored part around the pupil, and is the muscle that 

controls how much light goes in

 Lens: focuses light into the retina, and adapts very quickly to how  much light we see.

 Pupil: the hole in the iris that decides how much light goes in  Cornea: the outer layer of the eye, and its job is to focus light into  the eye.

 Retina: the layer in the back of the eye, and have light sensitive  cells.

 Optic Nerve: transmits impulses to the brain from the retina.

 Rods and cones 

∙ Rods: responsible for black and white vision.

∙ Cones: responsible for color vision.

 Optic chiasm: the structure in the brain where the two optic nerves  from the back of the eyes cross over each other.

 Optic tract: transfers information from the optic chiasm to the  ipsilateral lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN).

o Parts and functions of the ear:

 What external stimulus/ physical energy does the ear detect?

∙ Amplitude: the greater the amplitude, the louder the sound, 

and vice versa.

∙ Frequency: the higher the frequency, the higher the pitch 

and vice versa.

∙ Timbre: the complexity of the sound.

 Pinna: designed to specifically funnel soundwaves that are in the  range of human speech.

 Tympanic Membrane: ear drum, vibrates in response to 


 Ossicles (hammer, anvil, stirrup): tiny bones in the middle ear,  move in response to pressure caused by the tympanic membrane,  push on the oval window.

 Oval Window: an opening that leads from the middle ear to the  inner ear.

 Choclea: a spiral tissue, filled with fluid, shakes after being pushed by the oval window.

∙ Basilar membrane 

o Hair cells: detects movement in the area.

o Tonotopic organization of basilar membrane &  

auditory cortex: the basilar membrane is organized 

to receive high to low frequency sounds, and each 

section responds to a specific pitch.

∙ Tectorial membrane: the celling of the cochlea.

∙ Somatosensation System: receives sensory information from the skin.

o Perception 

 Parallel Processing: the ability to interpret information from what we  see or hear.

 Top­Down Processing: our interpretation of stimuli that is influenced  by cognitive processes.

 Bottom­Up Processing: when you take the basic components of what  you are interpreting, to figure out what it is.

 Gestalt Principles 

∙ 1. Proximity: when things are grouped together as a whole  when they are close together.

∙ 2. Similarity: when things are grouped based on similarity. ∙ 3. Continuity: when something is continuous as one item.

∙ 4. Closure: when the brain fills in the blanks and we see 

something else.

∙ 5. Figure­Ground: when we group the background as one thing, and the foreground as another.

 Monocular Cues 

∙ 1. Relative size: then things are closer to us, they appear to be  bigger.

∙ 2. Texture­gradient: the more detail in a texture, the closer it is  to us.

∙ 3. Interposition: when something overlaps another thing to give us information on the distance. 

∙ 4. Linear perspective: when lines converse to a point in the  distance.

∙ 5. Height in a plane: when things are lower on the plane, they  are closer.

∙ 6. Light and shadow: the way that light fall onto an object, and  the resulting shadows give us information on what that object  is, and what the shape is.

∙ 7. Relative motion: if something is moving or not moving, the  size that changes rapidly in our vision tells us whether it is 

coming towards or farther away from us.

 Depth Perception: our ability to perceive depth, size, and distance.  Relies on our Binocular and Monocular cues. Develops in infancy.  Illusions 

∙ Moon Illusion: when the moon is on the horizon, it looks a lot  bigger than it is.

∙ Ames Room Illusion: when something in a room appears to be  bigger than it is, due to relative size. The object that looks huge is in front of a glass wall that is angled to push it closer, and the object behind the glass appears to be small.

∙ Muuler­Lyer Illusion: when something is closer to you, it looks bigger, but if it is moving away from you, it looks smaller.

∙ Ponzo Illusion: when an object is closer to the converging lines in linear perspective, it appears larger.

∙ Ebbinghaus­Titcher Illusion: when an object is surrounded by 

large objects, it appears small, and if an object is surrounded by

small things, it appears larger.

 Subliminal Perception: when there are very subtle messages you don’t  notice right away, but it manages to influence your thoughts.

Chapter 5: Sleep & States of Consciousness

o Sleep 

 Circadian Rhythm: when certain function in the body at certain times  throughout the day.

∙ Morning vs. night people 

o People with shorter circadian rhythms (23 hrs. and 40 

min. approximately) are morning people.

o People with longer circadian rhythms (24 hrs. and 15 

min. approximately) are night people.

 Effects of sleep deprivation:

∙ Decreased alertness

∙ Depression

∙ Low sex drive

∙ Heart problems

∙ Loss of appetite

∙ Memory and Cognitive Impairment

o Dreams 

 Theories of dreaming 

∙ Freud’s theory of wish fulfillment: the reason we dream could 

be because we want things we don’t have in life.

o Manifest content: the things that are in the dream.

o Latent content: the meaning of the object(s) in the 


∙ Activation­Synthesis Theory: when neurons in your brain are 

activated, your brain creates a story based on them, and they 

are dreams.

∙ Neurocognitive Theory: dreams are a part of our cognitive 

process (what our thoughts are made up of).

o 5 currently accepted conclusions on why we dream:

 1. Dreams help us process emotional memories.

 2. Dreams help us integrate new experiences.

 3. Dreams help us learn new ways and strategies

to do things in life. Problem solving.

 4. Dreams stimulate threatening events to help 

with coping and /or surviving.

 5. Dreams help store memories within our 


o Sleep Disorders 

 Narcolepsy: When someone is spontaneously falling asleep, but not at  will. They are cognitively tired.

 Sleep Apnea: When no oxygen goes in while the person is sleeping,  leading them to snore loudly. Because of that, the person will end up  more tired than they should be.

 Night Terrors: When people scream while they are asleep, but it’s not  because of a nightmare. It is hard to wake the person up, and they have no memory of screaming after they wake up.

 Insomnia: When people can’t fall asleep, or get good consistent sleep.

∙ Substance Use/Drugs of Abuse 

o Substance Use Disorder 

 Tolerance: when you need a higher amount of the drug to get the  same effect, or when no matter the amount, the effect is not as 


 Withdrawal: symptoms that the individual experiences when they  don’t take a certain drug. These are usually unpleasant.

 Dependence: changes that happen in the brain, and it relies on the  drug to compensate for physical dependence.

 Addiction: when someone continues to use a drug even in the face  of negative outcomes in life, and will go at extreme lengths to get  the drugs.

o Cycle of Drug Abuse 

 Drug euphoria (positive reinforcement) ­> Neuroadaptations  withdrawal and tolerance ­> Drug craving (negative reinforcement) ­> Drug administration, drug­seeking behavior (failed impulse 

suppression) ­> Repeat to drug euphoria.

o Mesolimbic Dopamine Pathway: Drives person for survival needs to  maintain good behavior

o Classes of Drugs 

 Opioids/Opiates: narcotics meant to reduce pain. However, opioids are inflammatory.

 Stimulants

∙ Nicotine: causes people to feel relaxed, yet focused at the 

same time. It is an addictive drug, and people get 

psychologically addicted to it. It indirectly increases 


∙ Caffeine: the most widely used stimulant. It can make 

people irritable or anxious after they have too much of it, 

therefore it is bad for people with or developing anxiety 

disorders. It blocks the action of adenosine (which is what 

helps tell you that you are tired).

 Depressants 

Alcohol: increases the strength of GABA signaling and 

activity in the brain. It blocks glutamate, and effects the 

prefrontal cortex of the brain. Withdrawal symptoms after 

being addicted to alcohol can kill you because it can cause 

seizures. Intoxication increases faster than it decreases over


Chapter 6: Learning

∙ Habituation (or adaptation): with repeated exposure, an initial response grows  weaker over time.

∙ Classical Conditioning (know all the components and their characteristics!): when you start with an unconditioned stimulus, it leads to an unconditioned response. o Little Albert studies 

 (stimulus) generalization: when an unconditioned stimulus is like  another, that brings the same unconditioned response.

 Extinction: when you show the conditioned stimulus over and 

over, but try to get the unconditioned response.

o Operant Conditioning: behavior that is controlled by consequences. You  are either rewarded or punished for a certain response to a stimulus.  Schedules of Reinforcement:

∙ Secondary vs Primary Reinforcers 

o Token Economy: helping reward behavior by 

making an exchange system.

∙ Two Process Theory: an initial classical conditioning 

experience lays down the learning experience. Classical 

conditioning always happens first.

 Latent Learning: learning that happens when you are not aware of  it. Unintentional/ coincidental learning.

∙ Context Dependent Learning: when the circumstances of 

where you are, which people you are with, or whatever the 

case may be is influencing your learning.

∙ State Dependent Learning: when your learning depends on 

if you are the same physical, psychological, or emotional 

state as you were when you first learned something.

 Insight Learning

 Observational Learning

∙ Observational Learning and Violence in Media:  

Bandura’s Bobo doll study

 Context Dependent Learning

 State Dependent Learning

Memory (Chapter 7)

∙ Memory: the process of maintaining information over time.

o Memory illusion: a false, but subjectively compelling memory that your  brain creates.

o Flashbulb memory: an emotionally charged memory of your experience in an important event. These kinds of memories can become less accurate  over time. People would still believe it is true, when it probably is not.

o Three Systems of Memory 

 Sensory Memory: memory that involves the five senses (taste  touch smell sound and sight) that comes in and we remember it. ∙ Duration: this kind of memory decays very quickly.

∙ Capacity: the brain is unlimited to store this kind of 


 Short Term memory: what you are thinking about right now, or  what is currently active in your brain.

∙ Duration: lasts about 20 seconds, then eventually decays. ∙ Capacity: has a limited capacity. Can only hold five to nine  things at a time.

o Chunking: when you group small but meaningful 

units so that it fits in your short­tern memory.

 Long­Term Memory: information that stays in your brain for a  long time.

∙ Duration: can last from minutes to years.

∙ Capacity: possibly unlimited.

∙ Explicit: things that we subconsciously remember.

o Semantic: memories about facts.

o Episodic: memories that happens in our lifetime.

∙ Implicit: more about procedures/habits that you do without  having to think about doing it.

 Encoding: taking in information into short­term memory, and  working with it to see if it is put into long­term memory.

∙ Mnemonic: ways of classifying pieces of information to  help memorize things better (e.g. spelling/acronym; rhyme; music etc.).

∙ Encoding Errors: when you either encode a certain memory wrong, or it does not go in correctly into short or long­term  memory.

o Injury/organic cause: injury to the brain, or an 

organic reason to not encode memory correctly.

∙ Storage 

o Long­Term Potentiation: results in either using less 

stimulation to get the same response, or using 

stronger stimulation to get a stronger response. 

o Synaptic Plasticity: the ability to change your 


∙ Retrieval: recalling information you have stored.

o Recall vs. Recognition 

 Recall: when you remember the components

of certain information

 Recognition: when you have all the 

information in front of you, but you must 

select the correct answer.

o Ebbhinghaus’ forgetting curve: forgetting a lot  initially, but eventually our forgetting levels off if  you don’t consistently remember something.

o Tip of the Tongue phenomenon: when you can’t  remember the thing you are trying to recall, but you  can describe features of it because you know what it is.

o Interference: when you know you learned  something, but something is interfering with you  recalling it.

 Proactive: when old information interferes  with learning new information.

 Retroactive: when new information is 

interfering with recalling old information.

o Context dependent memory: when the  circumstances of where you are, what people you  are with, or whatever the case may be is influencing your learning.

o State dependent memory: when your learning  depends on if you are the same physical, 

psychological, or emotional state as you were when  you first learned something.


Chapter 8: Thinking, Problem Solving, Decision making, and Language

∙ Thinking: mental activity, and is the processing of information. It includes  learning, perceiving, communicating, believing, deciding, and remembering. o Heuristics: mental shortcuts, and is usually based on previous experience. o Cognitive Bias: a systematic error in thinking.

 Representative Heuristic: judging the probability of an event based on superficial similarity to a prototype and disregarding base 


∙ Prototype: a typical example of a category

∙ Base rate: the real statistics of a common behavior in real 

life (events, population, and traits related to them).

 Availability Heuristic: estimating the likelihood of occurrence 

based on how easily it can come to mind.

 Hind­sight bias (“I knew it all along” phenomenon): our tendency  to overestimate the likelihood of the event that happened AFTER 

the event happened.

∙ Decision Making: the process of choosing or selecting possible alterations for  different outcomes.

o Influences on decision­making:

 Paralysis by analysis: when we are overwhelmed by a lot of 

information and thinking about so many possible outcomes, it 

makes decision making a lot harder, and you end up either shutting

down, or make the wrong choice.

∙ Problem Solving 

o Algorithm: a systematic approach with a step­by­step procedure to solve a  problem.

o Salience of surface similarities: when you pay attention to traits you think  are similar to another problem, but it really is not (jumping to conclusions  based on past experience).

o Mental Set: when you get stuck in a problem­solving rut, and you cannot  generate another possible outcome to solve it.

o Functional Fixedness: when you get stuck on problem solving because  you’re stuck on the function of an object that you know it should only do. ∙ Language: a system of communication that combines symbols in a rule­based way to create meaning.

o Four levels of analysis:

 Phoneme: a category of vocally produced sounds. This is the 

smallest unit of vocally produced sounds.

 Morpheme: smallest meaningful unit of language

 Syntax: grammar rules that specify how to arrange words to have  meaningful phrases/sentences.

 Extra­linguistic information: body language, tone of voice, and 

facial expressions.

 Babbling: when babies make sounds that have no meaning, but 

mimics aspects of speech.

 One word phase: when babies say one word, but it shows that they  can comprehend language, but unable to produce phrases.

 Critical Period for Language acquisition: a point which you must  be exposed to language, or else you will not learn it at all.

o Linguistic Relativity: characteristics of language, thought and culture can  effect and shape each other.

o Read pages 306­310:  

 Special cases of language learning

 Theories of Language acquisition and nonhuman/animal 


Chapter 9: Intelligence

Intelligence: the ability to acquire and apply info and skills.

o Theories of intelligence 

 Spearman’s “g” (Generalized intelligence): this accounts for all

differences with intellect among other people. This has to do 

with mental energy.

 S­factor (Specific intelligence): excelling in one area, while 

being average at everything else.

∙ Fluid vs Crystalized intelligence 

o Fluid: the capacity of ways to solve problems. It is 

not fixed, and declines with age.

o Crystalized: when you accumulate knowledge of the

world over time. It improves with age.

 Gardiner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences 

o 1. Logical­Mathematical: the ability to use math and 

logic to solve problems.

o 2. Verbal­Linguistic: the ability to translate ideas into 


o 3. Interpersonal: the ability to understand people and 

work with them (social skills).

o 4. Bodily­kinesthetic: the ability to manipulate your 

body in sports, dance, or some kind of physical 


o 5. Musical: the ability to perform, listen to, and enjoy 


o 6. Visual Spatial: the ability to think about or reason 

with things in a 3­Dinentional way.

o 7. Intrapersonal: the ability to understand your own self 

(personality traits, interests, etc.).

o 8. Naturalistic: the ability to understand living things in 

nature (plants, wildlife, etc.).

o 9. Existential: the ability to grasp philosophical ideas.

∙ Sternberg’s Theory of Intelligence 

o Practical: the ability to solve real world problems (street

smarts). Includes social skills.

o Analytical: the ability to reason logically (book smarts).

o Read pages 328­330: Biological Basis of Intelligence 

Intelligence testing 

∙ Aptitude test: testing the potential of something you could be good at, and is  not based on knowledge you have already acquired.

∙ Achievement test: testing the knowledge and skils you should have already  learned.

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