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JMU / Psychology / PSYC 101 / What is the branch of psych that studies physical, cognitive, and soci

What is the branch of psych that studies physical, cognitive, and soci

What is the branch of psych that studies physical, cognitive, and soci


School: James Madison University
Department: Psychology
Course: General Psychology
Professor: Bukowski
Term: Spring 2018
Tags: lifespan development and perception
Cost: 50
Name: Psych 101 Exam 2 Study Guide
Description: Exam 2 Study guide
Uploaded: 02/19/2018
14 Pages 213 Views 6 Unlocks

Psych 101

What is the branch of psych that studies physical, cognitive, and social change throughout the lifespan?

Study Guide 2

Lifespan development

Developmental psychology- branch of psych that studies physical, cognitive, and social change throughout lifespan

∙ Nature and nurture

∙ Continuity and stages

∙ Stability and change

Prenatal development and the newborn

Zygote- conception- >2 weeks

Embryo- 2 weeks - >8 weeks

Fetus- 8 weeks - >birth

Teratogens- agents (such as chemical or virus) that can reach the embryo or fetus  during prenatal development and cause harm

Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)- physical and cognitive abnormalities in children  caused by a pregnant woman’s heavy drinking, alcohol has an epigenetic effect as  does smoking

Fetal alcohol syndrome (fas) refers to what?

Newborn arrives with automatic reflex responses that support survival

∙ Sucking If you want to learn more check out How are the four financial statements linked?

∙ Tonguing

∙ Swallowing

∙ Breathing

Cries to elicit help/comfort

Prefers sights and smells that facilitate social responsiveness

Sees close objects (faces) and smells well, uses sensory equipment to learn Preference for faces

Brain development

Critical period- optimal period in the life of an organism when exposure to certain  stimuli or experiences produces normal development

∙ Lacking exposure/experience results in abnormal development ∙ Brain’s plasticity reorganizes brain tissues in response to new experiences

What are the automatic reflex responses that support the survival of a newborn?

Motor development

Developing brain enables physical coordination, as nervous system and muscles  mature, skills emerge

Largely universal in sequence, but not in timing

Guided by genes and influenced by environment

Cognitive development

Jean Piaget- pioneering developmental psychologist, studied children’s  cognitive development If you want to learn more check out Why are carbs such a large component of a diet?

∙ Children’s maturing brains build schemas- concepts or frameworks that  organize and interpret information

∙ Schemas are used and adjusted through

o Assimilation- interpreting new experiences in terms of existing  understandings  

o Accommodation- adapting current understandings to incorpoerate new information

1. Sensorimotor stage- birth – 2 years

o Know the world mostly in terms of their sensory impressions and  motor activities

o Lack object permanence- awareness that things continue to exist even when not perceived, mastered around 8 months, when infants  begin exhibiting memory for things no longer seen

2. Preoperational stage- 2-6/7 years

o Use language but cannot yet perform the mental operations of  concrete logic

o Not mastered conservation- principle that properties such as  mass, volume, and number remain the same despite changes in the form of objects

o Egocentrism- difficulty perceiving things from another’s point of  view

3. Concrete Operational Stage We also discuss several other topics like Which critique did capitalists like albert augustus pope make of competition?
If you want to learn more check out When were viruses first seen under a microscope?

∙ 7-11 years

o Children gain ability to think logically about concrete events

4. Formal Operational Stage

∙ 12- adulthood

o Children are no longer limited to concrete reasoning based on actual  experience

o Abstract thinking

Theory of mind Don't forget about the age old question of Where are diatoms found?

∙ Involves ability to read mental state of others

∙ Between ages 3-4 ½, children worldwide use theory of mind to realize others  may hold false beliefs

∙ By age 4-5, children anticipate false beliefs of friends Don't forget about the age old question of What is the meaning of modus tollens?

Piaget- emphasized that children’s minds grow through interaction with physical  environment

Vygotsky- focused on how child’s mind grows through interaction with the social  environment

Parents provide a temporary scaffold to facilitate a child’s higher level of thinking

Reflecting on Piaget’s Theory

∙ Piaget identified significant cognitive milestones and stimulated global  interest in cognitive development

∙ Research findings suggest that the sequence of cognitive milestones unfold  basically as Piaget proposed

∙ Development is more continuous than Piaget theorized

∙ Children may be more competent than Piaget’s theory revealed

Infancy and Childhood

Autism spectrum disorder- disorder that appears in childhood and is marked by  significant deficiencies in communication and social interactions, rigidity fixated  interests and repetitive behaviors

∙ Impaired theory of mind- reading faces and social signals is challenging ∙ Poor communication among brain regions that normally work together to let  us take another’s viewpoint

∙ Biological factors

o Genetic influences

o Abnormal brain development

o Prenatal maternal infection, inflammation, psychiatric drug use, stress  hormones

o Vaccines do NOT lead to autism

∙ Prevalence

o Four boys for every girl

o Greater risk when there are higher levels of prenatal testosterone  “extreme male brain”

o Higher when identical co-twin has ASD, higher risks for younger  siblings of those with ASD

o Random genetic mutations in sperm-producing cells may also play a  role, higher risk when the father is over 40 than if the father is under  30

Social Development

Attachment- emotional tie with another person, shown by children by their seeking closeness to the caregiver, showing distress on separation

∙ Persist across time and space

Children display stranger anxiety when separated from caregiver at 8 months old, soon after object permanence develops

Body contact- infants want to be attached to parents who are soft/warm- parent infant communication occurs through touch


∙ Critical period- optimal period in the life of an organism when exposure to  certain stimuli or experiences produces normal development

∙ Imprinting- process by which certain animals form strong attachments  during early life

Empirical attachment studies

∙ Mary Ainsworth- designed strange situation experiments which showed  that some children are securely attaches and others are insecurely attached ∙ Infants differing attachment styles reflect both their individual temperament  and the responsiveness of their parents and caregivers

Temperament- a person’s characteristic emotional reactivity and intensity

∙ Difficult- irritable, intense, unpredictable

∙ Easy- cheerful, relaxed, feeding and sleeping on predictable schedules

Early attachments has impact on later adult relationships and comfort with affection and intimacy

Highly significant correlation between parent-child attachment styles

Attachment styles and later relationships

∙ Secure attachment (60%)- people are able to tolerate and mediate  between closeness and separation, lowest risk

∙ Insecure styles (30%)

o Anxious-ambivalent attachment- people constantly crave acceptance  but remain alert to signs of rejection, low to medium risk

o Anxious-avoidant attachment- people experience discomfort getting  too close to others and use avoidant strategies to maintain distance  from others

∙ Disorganized attachment (10%)- people with highly inconsistent  caregiving have no clear strategy for getting their needs met. Highest risk

Most children growing up in adversity or experiencing abuse are resilient,  withstanding trauma and becoming well-adjusted adults

Those who are severely neglected by their parents, or otherwise prevented from  forming attachments at an early age, may be at risk for attachment problems

Parenting Styles

Authoritative- parents are warmly concerned and confrontive and tend to have  children with the highest self-esteem, self-reliance, and social competence

Permissive- parents are un-restraining, tend to have children who are more  aggressive and immature

Authoritarian- parents are coercive, tend to have children with less social skills  and self-esteem

Adolescence- transition from childhood to adulthood

∙ Extends from puberty to independence

∙ Tension between biological maturity and social independence, creates a  period of “storm and stress”

Kohlberg’s levels of moral thinking

Preconventional morality- self-interest, obey rules to avoid punishment or gain  concrete rewards

Conventional morality- uphold laws and rules to gain social approval or maintain  social order

Postconventional morality- actions reflect belief in basic rights and self-defined  ethical principles

Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development

Infancy- to 1 year, trust v. mistrust

Toddlerhood- 1-3 years, autonomy v. shame and doubt

Preschool- 3-6 years, initiative v. guilt

Elementary School- 6- puberty, competence v. inferiority

Adolescence- teen years into 20’s, identity v. role confusion

Young adulthood- 20’s into early 40’s, intimacy v. isolation

Middle adulthood- 40’s to 60’s, generativity v. stagnation

Late adulthood- late 60’s +, integrity v. despair  


Parents- more important for education discipline, charitableness, responsibility,  orderliness, ways of interacting with authority figures

Peers- more important for learning cooperation, finding road to popularity,  inventing styles of interaction among people of the same age

Emerging adulthood- includes the time from `18 to mid twenties, when in many  western cultures young people are no longer adolescents but have not yet achieved full independence as adults, a not-yet-settled phase of life

∙ Characterized by not yet assuming adult responsibilities and independences  and by feelings of being “in-between”

∙ May involve living with and being emotionally dependent upon parents Adulthood

Stages of adulthood

∙ Early- roughly 20s and 30s

∙ Middle- to age 65

∙ Late- years after 65

People vary widely in physical, psychological, and social development  within each of these stages

Aging and memory

Early adulthood- peak time for some types of learning and remembering

Middle adulthood- shows greater decline in ability to recall rather than recognize  memory

Late adulthood- better retention of meaningful information, rich web of existing  knowledge will help retain, longer word and information production time

Adulthood Commitments

Love- most enduring when sealed with commitment, satisfaction related to shared  interests and values, mutual emotional and material support, and self-disclosure

∙ Marriage is predictive of happiness, sexual satisfaction, income, and physical  and mental health

∙ More and more people are meeting their partners online

∙ People in Western countries are better educated and marrying later; divorce  rate has leveled off and slightly declined in some areas over the past 50  years

Work- provides a sense of competence, accomplishment, and self-definition for  many adults

∙ “who are you” depends on “what do you do”

∙ Few students in their first two years of college can predict their later careers ∙ Happiness is about having work that fits your interests and about which you  can be proud

How does well being change across the life span

∙ Positive feelings grow after midlife and negative feelings decline ∙ Older adults report less anger, stress, and worry and have fewer social  relationship problems

∙ Brain-wave reactions to negative images diminish with age

∙ At all ages, people are happiest when they are not alone

Death and dying

∙ Most will suffer and cope with deaths, loss of a spouse is suffered by four  times more women than men

∙ Grief is severe when a loved one’s death is sudden and before the expected  time

∙ Grief reactions vary by culture and individuals within cultures

Sex- biologically influenced characteristics by which people define males and  females

Gender- socially influenced characteristics by which people define men and  women, the product of the interplay among biological dispositions, developmental  experiences, and current situations

What are ways in which males and females tend to differ? Men are more likely to

∙ Die by suicide or develop alcohol use disorder

∙ Have childhood diagnosis of autism, color-deficient vision, or ADHD ∙ Have antisocial personality disorder

Women are more likely to

∙ Enter puberty sooner and live about 5 years longer

∙ Express emotions freely

∙ Develop depression and eating disorders


∙ Minor physical aggression in romantic relationships- men and women are  roughly equal

∙ Extreme violent acts- men commit far more than women

∙ Relational aggression- women commit slightly more often than men Social Power

∙ Group leadership- more likely assigned to males

∙ Salaries- higher salaries paid in traditionally male occupations ∙ Elections- women less successful than men

∙ World governing bodies- 78% of seats held by males in 2015 ∙ Interaction style- men more often offer opinions, women more often offer  support

∙ Everyday behavior- men tend to talk assertively, interrupt, initiate touches, and stare, women tend to smile and apologize more

Social connectedness

∙ Boys and men are often independent, girls and women are often  interdependent

∙ Men often prefer working with things, women often prefer working with  people

∙ Women more often support others “tend and befriend”  

Language Processing and Visual-Spatial Processing

∙ Women process speech with both hemispheres

∙ Men outperform women at visual spatial manipulation

Nature of gender

Biology does not dictate gender, but it can influence it

∙ Genetic- males and females have differing sex chromosomes ∙ Physiologically-males and females have differing concentrations of sex  hormones, which trigger other anatomical differences

Nurture of gender

Gender role- set expected behaviors, attitudes, and traits for males or females Gender identity- personal sense of being male, female, or some combination Gender roles shift over times in history

Gender roles vary from one place to another

∙ Agricultural societies assume the most distinct gender roles (women work in  fields and men roam while herding livestock

How do we learn gender

Social learning theory- proposes social behavior is learned by observing and  imitating others’ gender-linked behavior and by being rewarded or punished

Gender typing- the acquisition of a traditional masculine or feminine role, varies  from child to child, which indicates there’s more to gender typing than solely  observation and imitation

Learning to be male or female involves feeling and thinking

∙ Formation of schemas helps children make sense of our world ∙ Gender schemas from early in life and organize experiences of male-female  characteristics

∙ Gender expression can be seen as children drop hints in their language,  clothing, interests and possessions

Androgyny- displaying both traditional masculine and feminine psychological  characteristics

Transgender- umbrella term describing people whose gender identity differs from  their birth sex

Sexual Dysfunctions and Paraphilias

Paraphilias- sexual arousal from fantasies, behaviors, or urges involving nonhuman objects, the suffering of self or others, and/or non-consenting persons

∙ American Psychological Association classifies people as disordered who  experience sexual desire in unusual ways if the person experiences distress  from unusual sexual interest or it entails harm or risk to others

Sexual orientation

Sexual orientation- enduring sexual attraction toward different sexes

∙ Homosexual- attracted to members of the same sex

∙ Heterosexual- attracted to members of the opposite sex

∙ Bisexual- attracted to both sexes

In all cultures, heterosexuality has prevailed but homosexuality has existed. Where  same sex relationships are illegal, the prevalence of people who are lesbian, gay, or  bisexual is no different

Origins of sexual orientation

Gay-straight trait differences- spatial abilities, fingerprint ridge counts, auditory  system development, handedness, occupational preferences, relative finger lengths, gender nonconformity, age of onset puberty in males, birth size and weight, sleep  length, physical aggression, walking style, size of anterior commissure

Same-sex attraction in other species- has been observed in several hundred  species

Gay-straight brain differences- one hypothalamic cell cluster is smaller in  women and gay men than in straight men

∙ Anterior commissure is larger in gay men than straight men

∙ Gay men’s hypothalamus reacts as do straight women’s to the smell of sex  related hormones

Consistency of the brain, genetic, and prenatal findings clearly leads to a  biological explanation of sexual orientation

Fraternal birth-order effect- the possibility of homosexuality increases for right  handed men if they are born later in birth order and have more older male siblings

Sensation and Perception

Sensation- the process by which our sensory receptors and nervous system  receive and represent stimulus energies from our environment

Perception- process of organizing and interpreting sensory information, enabling  us to recognize meaningful objects and events

Bottom up processing- sensory analysis that begins at the entry level

Top down processing- information processing guided by high level mental  processes

All five external physical senses:

∙ Receive sensory stimulation, often using specialized receptor cells ∙ Transform that stimulation into neural impulses

∙ Deliver the neural information to our brain

Transduction- conversion of one form of energy into another; in sensation, it is the  transforming of stimulus energies, such as sights, sounds, and smells, into neural  impulses our brain can interpret

Absolute Threshold- minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus  50% of the time

∙ Far away light in the dark, feel the slightest touch

Subliminal- input below the absolute threshold for conscious awareness

Priming- activating, often unconsciously, associations in our mind, thus setting us  up to perceive, remember, or respond to objects or events in certain ways

Difference threshold- minimum difference a person can detect between any two  stimuli half the time; increases with stimulus size

∙ Experienced as a just noticeable difference (jnd)

Weber’s law- the average person’s ability to distinguish a change in stimulus id  best recorded as a proportion of the original stimulus; the exact proportion varies,  depending on the stimulus

Sensory adaptation

∙ Diminished sensitivity as a consequence of constant stimulation ∙ Aids focus by reducing background chatter

∙ Our sensory receptors are sensitive to novelty; sensory adaptation even  influences how we perceive emotions

∙ We perceive the world not exactly as it is, but as it is useful for us to perceive  it

Perceptual Set- mental tendencies and assumptions that affect (top-down) what  we hear, taste, feel, and see

∙ Schemas organize and interpret unfamiliar information through experience ∙ Preexisting schemas influence top-down processing of ambiguous sensation  interpretation, including gender stereotypes

Context Effects- a given stimulus may trigger different perceptions because of the immediate context

Motivation and emotion

∙ Perceptions are influenced by motivation and emotions

o Walking destinations look farther away when fatigued

o Slopes look steeper when wearing a heavy backpack

o Water bottles look closer when thirsty

∙ Emotions and motives also influence our social perceptions

Electromagnetic spectrum- all energy, wavelengths, frequencies

Physical properties of waves

Wavelength- the distance between successive peaks

∙ Determines the perceived color of light

Frequency- the number of complete wavelengths that can pass a point in a given  time

∙ Depends on length od wave

Amplitude- height from peak to trough

∙ Influences brightness of colors, loudness of sounds

Blue colors- short wavelengths, high frequency

Red colors- long wavelength, low frequency

Bright colors- high amplitude

Dull colors- low amplitude

Vision- The Eye

Light- energy particles trigger chemical reactions in receptor cells, rods, and cones,  an outer layer of cells of the retina at the back of the eye

Rods- retinal receptors that detects black, white, and gray; sensitive to movement;  necessary for peripheral and twilight vision

Cones- concentrated near the center of the retina; function in daylight or well-lit  conditions; detect fine detail and color

Cones and rods each provide a special sensitivity

∙ Cones are sensitive to detail and color

∙ Rods are sensitive to faint light

∙ Light energy- bipolar cells- ganglion cells- optic nerve

Information Processing in the Eye and Brain Feature Detectors Hubel and Wiesel

∙ Showed brain’s computing system deconstructs and then reassembles visual  images

∙ Found specialized occipital lobe neuron cells (feature detectors) receive  information from ganglion cells and pass it to supercell clusters- detect  specific patterns

Parallel processing- the brain delegates the work of processing motion, form,  depth, and color to different areas; re-integrates these sub-dimensions into the  perceived image

People tend to organize pieces of information into an organized whole or gestalt Human minds use these grouping strategies to see patterns and objects

Sound waves

∙ Short wavelength- high frequency

∙ Long wavelength- low frequency

∙ Great amplitude- loud

∙ Small amplitude- soft

Sensorineural hearing loss (nerve deafness)- damage to cell receptors or  associated nerves

Conduction hearing loss- damage to mechanical system that conducts sound  waves to cochlea

∙ Cochlear implant- device for converting sound waves into electrical signals  and stimulating the auditory nerve through electrodes threaded into the  cochlea

Touch- mix of distinct skin senses

∙ Pressure

∙ Warmth

∙ Cold

∙ Pain

Other skin sensations are variations of the basic four

Women are more sensitive to pain than men

∙ Does not mean they cannot tolerate more

Pain sensitivity depends on genes, physiology, experience, attention, surrounding  culture

Gate-control theory- spinal cord contains a neurological gate that blocks pain  signals or allows them to pass to the brain

∙ Gate is opened by the activity of pain signals travelling up nerve fibers and  closed by activity in larger fibers or by information coming from the brain

Controlling pain

∙ Placebo- reduces CNS attention and responses to pain

∙ Distraction- draws attention away from painful stimulation

∙ Hypnosis

o Social influence theory

o Dissociation- duel processing; sensory information does not reach  areas where pain-related information is processed

o Selective attention

o Posthypnotic suggestion


Involves several basic sensations

Shaped by learning, expectations, perceptual bias

Survival function

∙ Sweet- energy source

∙ Salty- sodium essential to physiological pro

∙ Sour- potentially toxic acid

∙ Bitter- potential poisons

∙ Umami- proteins to grow and repair tissues

Smell (olfaction)

Chemical sense

Humans have 20 million olfactory receptors, bloodhounds have 220 million Brains circuitry for smell connects with areas involved with memory

Body position and movement

Kinesthesia- system for sensing the position and movement of individual body  parts; interacts with vision

Vestibular sense- sense of body movement and position, including the sense of  balance

Sensory interaction- senses influence each other

ESP- perception without sensation

Most relevant ESP claims- telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition ∙ Studied by parapsychologists

Bem- nine experiments that seemed to suggest participants could anticipate future  events

Critics- methods or analysis viewed as flawed

∙ Most research psychologists and scientists are skeptical

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