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Chapter 1 and 2 Book Notes

by: Sophomore Notetaker

Chapter 1 and 2 Book Notes 100

Marketplace > Washington University in St. Louis > Psychology > 100 > Chapter 1 and 2 Book Notes
Sophomore Notetaker
Wash U
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Research Methods
Intro to Psychology
Rice, Duchek, Carpenter
Class Notes
Intro to Psychology




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This 14 page Class Notes was uploaded by Sophomore Notetaker on Saturday October 1, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 100 at Washington University in St. Louis taught by Rice, Duchek, Carpenter in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 5 views. For similar materials see Intro to Psychology in Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis.


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Date Created: 10/01/16
Chapter 1 The Science of Psychology 1.1 What is Psychological Science?  Psychology – the study of mental activity and behavior  Psychologist – someone whose career involves understanding mental life or predicting behavior  Psychological Science – the study, through research, of mind, brain and behavior  Mind: mental activity; perceptual experiences; memories, thoughts and feelings  Behavior: observable human/animal actions  Amiable skepticism – being open to new ideas, and being wary of new “scientific findings” when good evidence and sound reasoning do not sum to support them  Develops the habit of carefully weighing the facts when deciding what to believe  Critical thinking – the ability to systematically question and evaluate information using well-supported evidence  Reasoning – to use evidence to draw conclusions  Psychological reasoning – using psychological research to examine how people typically think; to understand when and why they are likely to draw erroneous conclusions  Confirmation bias – people will seek out information or examples that conform this belief 1.2 What Are the Scientific Foundations of Psychology?  Nature/nurture debate – the arguments concerning whether psychological characteristics are biologically innate or acquired through education, experience, and culture o It is recognized that both nature and nurture interact in human psychological development  Mind/body problem – a fundamental psychological issue: Are mind and body separate and distinct, or is the mind simply the physical brain’s subjective experience? o Descartes – (1600s) philosopher that promoted dualism – the idea that the mind and body are separate yet intertwined  Believed that the mind was nothing more than an organic machine governed by a “reflex”  Concluded that the rational mind was divine and separate from the body o Now believe that mind arise from brain activity; doesn’t exist separately  Experimental Psych o Wilhelm Wundt (1879) – established first psychology lab; founded modern experimental psychology  Reaction time – to see how long a mental event took to occur  Introspection – a systematic examination of subjective mental experiences that requires people to inspect and report on the content of their thoughts (he ended up rejecting it)  Problems with introspection: experience is subjective; not reliable  Structuralism – an approach to psychology based on the idea that conscious experience can be broken down into its basic underlying components o Titchener (student of Wundt) – believed that an understanding of the basic elements of conscious experience would provide the scientific basis for understanding the mind  Argued that one could take a stimulus and through introspection analyze it  Ex: stimulus = musical tone; analyze its quality, intensity, duration, clarity  Functionalism – An approach to psychology concerned with the adaptive purpose, or function, of mind and behavior o The mind came into existence over the course of human evolution. It works as it does because it is useful for preserving life and passing along genes to future generations. It helps humans adapt to environmental demands o William James (1870s) – criticized structuralism; Principles of Psychology o Stream of consciousness – describes each person’s continuous series of ever-changing thoughts  Evolutionary Theory – views the history of a species in terms of the inherited, adaptive values of physical characteristics, of mental activity, and of behavior o Charles Darwin – (1859) naturalist, survival of the fittest o Adaptations – the physical characteristics, skills, or abilities that increase the chances of reproduction or survival and are therefore likely to be passed on to future generations o Natural selection – the idea that those who inherit characteristics that help them adapt to their particular environments have a selective advantage over those who do not  Gestalt Theory – a theory based on the idea that the whole of personal experience is different from the sum of its constituent elements o Founded by Wertheimer (1912); later expanded by Kohler o Gestalt psychologists opposed structuralism; thought the perception of objects is subjective and dependent on context o Sought out ordinary people’s observations th Sigmund Freud (20 century) o Unconsciousness – the place where mental processes operate below the level of conscious awareness  Believed that unconscious mental forces, often sexual and in conflict, produce psychological discomfort and in some cases even psychological disorders  Many unconscious conflicts arise form troubling childhood experiences that the person is blocking from memory o Psychoanalysis – a method that attempts to bring the contents of the unconscious into the conscious awareness so that conflicts can be revealed  Free association – patient could talk about whatever they wanted to  Through free association, he believed that a person eventually revealed the unconscious conflicts that caused the psychological problems Behaviorism – a psychological approach that emphasizes the role of environmental forces in producing observable behavior o Developed by Watson (1913) – scorned introspection and free association o To behaviorists, nurture was all o Influenced by Pavlov, Watson believed that animals/humans learn all behaviors through environmental experience o Though we need to study mental stimuli/triggers in particular situations. By understanding the stimuli, we can predict the animals’ behavioral responses o B.F. Skinner (1971) – most influential and famous behaviorist; denied the importance of mental states  Argued that concepts about mental processes were of no scientific value in explaining behavior  Believed that mental states were simply another form of behavior, subject to the same behaviorist principles as publicly observable behavior  Wanted to understand how behaviors are shaped or influenced by the events or consequences that follow them Cognitive Psychology - the study of mental functions such as intelligence, thinking, language, memory, and decision making o Miller (1857) – cognitive revolution o Neisser o Studied the thought processes but had little interest in the specific brain mechanisms involved o Cognitive neuroscience – the study of neural mechanisms underlying thought, learning, perception, language, and memory Social psychology – the study of how people influence other people’s thoughts, feelings, and actions o Allport, Solomon Asch, Kurt Lewin  Personality psychology – the study of characteristic thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in people and how they vary across social situations 2.1 How Is the Scientific Method Used in Psychology Research? Data – the measurable outcomes of research studies Science Has Four Primary Goals  Description – what a phenomenon is  Prediction – when it will occur  Control – what causes it to occur  Explanation – why it occurs Critical Thinking  Critical thinking – determining whether a claim is supported by evidenst o 1 – question information; ask for definition of each part of claim o 2 nd – evaluation of information (source of claim)  evidence offered by source to support claim “well supported”  “peer review” The Scientific Method Aids Critical Thinking  Research – the careful collection of data  Scientific method – a systematic and dynamic procedure of observing and measuring phenomena, used to achieve the goals of description, prediction, control, and explanation o It involves an interaction among research, theories and hypotheses  Theory – an explanation or model of how a phenomenon works o Consisting of interconnected ideas/concepts, it is used to explain prior observations and to make predictions about future events o Good features of theories  Falsifiable – should be possible to test hypotheses generated by the theory that prove the that proves the theory correct  Testable hypotheses – Jean Piaget (1924) – proposed theory of infant and child development; cognitive development occurs in a fixed series of stages from birth to adolescence; many hypotheses = good theory  Sigmund Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams was a bad theory, very few testable hypotheses  Simplicity – William of Occam – when 2 competing theories exist to explain the same phenomenon, the simpler of the 2 theories is generally preferred  Hypotheses need to be tested 1. Form a hypothesis 2. Conduct a literature review 3. Design a Study  Deciding which research method you want to use to test your hypothesis  Survey, naturalistic observation, experiment 4. Conduct the study 5. Analyze the data  Describe the data  What conclusions can you draw from the data  Determine usefulness of data, analyze data inferentially 6. Report the results  Replication – repeating a study and getting the same (or similar) results o good research reflects the cyclical process  unexpected discoveries sometimes occur, but only researchers who can recognize their importance will benefit 2.2 What Types of Studies Are Used in Psychological Research? Variable – something in the world that can vary and that the researcher can manipulate, measure or both Independent variable – the variable that gets manipulated Dependent variable – the variable that gets measured Operational definition – they qualify (describe) and quantify (measure) variables so the variables can be understood objectively  Enables researchers to know precisely what variables were used, how they were manipulated, and how they were measured Descriptive Research Consists of Case Studies, Observation, and Self-Report Methods  Descriptive Research – research methods that involve observing behavior to describe that behavior objectively and systematically o Helps scientists achieve the goals of describing what phenomena are and predicting when or with what other phenomena they may occur o Cannot achieve the goals of control and explanation o Used to assess many types of behavior  Case Studies – the intensive examination (observation, recording and description) of an unusual person or organization o Individual might be selected if it has a special or unique aspect o Organization might be selected b/c it is doing something very well/bad o Goal is to describe the events or experiences that lead up to or result from the exceptional aspect o Downfall - don’t generalize for the population  Observational Studies o Participant observation – the researcher is involved in the situation o Naturalistic observation – the observer is passive, separated from the situation and making no attempt to change/alter ongoing behavior  Coding – code the forms of behavior you observe, put into categories  Reactivity – the phenomenon that occurs when knowledge that one is being observed alters the behavior being observed o Is a concern when conducting observational research o Hawthorne Effect – refers to changes in behavior that occur when people know that others are observing them  Ex: new reading program in schools: teacher might pay more attention to each child’s progress since the students’ progress will be reported  Observer bias – systematic errors in observation that occur because of an observer’s expectations o Cultural norms can affect both the participant’s actions and the way observers perceive those actions o Ex: women are less assertive than men, so if they exhibit those behaviors, they might rate them as more assertive  Experimenter Expectancy Effect – actual change in the behavior of the people or nonhuman animals being observed that is due to the expectations of the observer o To prevent this, it is best of the person running the study is blind to the study’s hypotheses  Self-Report Methods – such as surveys, questionnaires, can be used to gather data from a larger number of people in a short amount of time; easy and cost efficient o Interviews – used with groups that can’t be studied with self- report methods, such as young children  Helpful in gaining a more in-depth view of respondent’s opinions, experiences and attitudes o Problem with these methods are that the people often introduce bias in their answers; people may not reveal personal info that casts them in a negative light  Researchers have to consider the extent to which their questions produce socially desirable responding or faking good, in which the person responds in a way that is most socially acceptable Correlational Studies Describe and Predict How Variables Are Related  Correlational Studies – examine how variable are naturally relate in the real world, without any attempt by the researcher to alter them or assign causation between them  Direction of Correlation o Positive correlation – a relationship between 2 variables in which both variables either increase or decrease together; “does not mean good” o Negative correlation – a relationship between 2 variables in which 2 variable increases when the other decreases; “not always bad” o Zero correlation – a relationship between 2 variables in which 1 variable is not predictably related to the other  Directionality problem – the researchers find a relationship between 2 variables, but they cannot determine which variable may have caused changes in the other variable o Ex: Stress (A) and Sleep (B) are correlated Does more stress cause less sleep? (A  B) OR Does less sleep cause more stress? (B  A)  Third Variable Problem – a problem that occurs when the researcher cannot directly manipulate variables; as a result, the researcher cannot be confident that another, unmeasured variable is not the actual cause of differences in the variables of interest o Ex: texting while driving (A) is correlated w/ driving dangerously (B) Risk taking (C) causes some people to text while driving (C  A) Risk taking (C) causes some people to drive dangerously (C  B)  Ethical reasons for correlational studies o Can’t send someone to text and drive; unethical o Can’t make soldiers go through trauma to study them  By establishing connections, researchers are able to make predictions The Experimental Method Controls and Explains  Experiment – the researcher manipulates 1 variable to measure the effect on a second variable o Allows them to test multiple hypotheses to examine and refine their theory o Researchers can study causal relationships between variables  Independent variable must have at least 2 levels: a “treatment” and “comparison”  Experimental group – a group of study participants who receive the treatment  Control group – receive everything the experimental group does except for the treatment o To minimize the possibility that anything other than the independent variable could be a cause of difference between experimental and control groups  Confound – anything that affects a dependent variable and that may unintentionally vary between the study’s different experimental conditions o Ex: changes in sensitivity of measuring instruments, time, day Participants Need to Be Carefully Selected and Randomly Assigned to Conditions  Population – everyone in the group the experimenter is interested in o Study a sample – a subset of the population  Should represent the population  Best method is random sampling: gives each member of population an equal chance of being chosen to participate  Larger samples yield more accurate results  Convenience sample – (used most of the time) consists of people who are conveniently available for the study  Doesn’t use random sampling; most likely to be biased  Random assignment – to assign participants to the experimental and control groups o Gives each potential research participant an equal chance of being assigned to any level of the independent variable o Tends to balance out known and unknown factors  Selection bias – unintended difference between the participants in different groups; could be caused by nonrandom assignment to groups  Culturally sensitive research – takes into account the significant role that culture plays in how people think, feel, and act o Use culturally sensitive practices so that their research respects the “shared system of meaning” 2.3 What Are the Ethics Governing Psychological Research?  Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) – groups of people responsible for reviewing proposed research to ensure that it meets accepted standards of science and provides for the physical and emotional well-being of research participants o At least 1 member is not a scientist o Scientific journals need IRB approval before publishing  Approval Process: o Privacy – confidentiality; all personal, identifying information about participants cannot be shared with others  Anonymity – researchers don’t collect personal identifying info; helps participants be comfortable enough to respond honestly  Participants knowledge that they are being studied/observed o Relative Risks of Participation – relative risk pf patient’s mental or physical health  Researchers must be aware of what they are asking participants  Cannot ask people to endure unreasonable amounts of pain/discomfort  IRB evaluates risk/benefit ratio – an analysis of whether the research is important enough to warrant placing participants at risk o Informed Consent – if a study has any risk associated with it, then participants must be notified before they agree to participate  Ethical standards require giving people all relevant information that might affect their willingness to become participants  Means participants make a knowledgeable decision to participate  May need to use deception if participant knowing study’s specific goals may alter their behavior; only used if other methods not appropriate and if it will not strongly affect their willingness to participate  If used, debriefing must take place after study; inform the participants of the study’s goals, explain need for deception, to eliminate any negative effects produced by deception o Access to data – researchers must consider who will have access to data they collect  Quality and accuracy of data depend on the participant’s certainty that responses will be confidential  Ethical Concerns When Researching Animals o Health and Well Being – federal mandates govern the care and use of animals in research  Must have institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) – evaluates animal research proposals o Fairness – unethical to do some studies on humans, so they use animals that make them good “models” for particular human behaviors  Transgenic mouse – produced by manipulating genes in developing mouse embryos; allows scientists to discover role genes plays in behavior and disease  Must balance their concern for animals with humanity’s future 2.4 How Are Data Analyzed and Evaluated? Good Research Qualities  Validity o Construct validity – the extent to which variables measure what they are supposed to measure  Ex: hypothesize (A) studies more than (B), but if (B) is sleeping/on Facebook while they claimed to be studying, lack of construct validity o External Validity – the degree to which the findings of a study can be generalized to other people, settings or situations  Externally valid if:  The participants accurately represent the intended population  The variables were manipulated and measured in ways similar to how they occur in the “real world” o Internal validity – the degree to which the effects observed in an experiment are due to the independent variable and not to confounds  must be well designed and controlled  Ex: an experimental lacking internal validity – if study whether or not students receiving special tutoring do better on exams; if only have 1 experimental group that gets the special tutoring and no control group, then there is nothing to compare those test scores to  Reliability – the stability and consistency of a measure over time o If measurement is reliable, the data will not vary substantially over time  Accuracy – the degree to which the measure is error free o A measure may be reliable but not accurate o Things that affect data accuracy:  Random/unsystematic error – human error, variability in error each time  Systematic error/bias – amount of error introduced into each measurement is constant; due to the system; more problems than random error Descriptive Statistics Provide a Summary of the Data Descriptive Statistics – provided an overall summary of the study’s results; how 2 variables relate to each other  Central tendency – a measure that represents the typical response of the behavior of a group as a whole o Mean – average o Median – value that falls exactly halfway between the lowest and highest number’s  Sometimes use this instead of mean because of a few numbers are dramatically larger/smaller than all the others  Ex: not counting billionaires in average incomes because it would raise the average and be inaccurate o Mode – most frequent number in a set  Variability – how widely dispersed the values are from each other and the mean o Standard deviation – how far away each value is, on average, from the mean o Range – distance between the largest and smallest value (not very useful) Correlations Between the Relationships Between the Variables  Scatterplot – graphs that illustrate the relationship between 2 variables  Correlation coefficient – a numerical value (between -1 to 1) that indicates the strength of the relationship between the 2 variables o Only linear relationships Inferential Statistics – to determine whether the effects actually exist in the populations from which samples were drawn  Statistically significant – there is a significant effect only if the obtained results would occur by chance less than 5% of the time  Meta-analysis – a type of study that combines the findings of multiple studies to arrive at a conclusion o Study of studies that have already been conducted o Would weigh more heavily that studies that had larger samples o Also consider size of each effect, if found large/small/no difference o Provides stronger evidence than the results of any single standing


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