General Psychology Study Guide

Reinforcement, Operant conditioning, Forgetting

Definition: psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes (thoughts, emotions, actions) Behavior: Overt; i.e., can be directly observed (crying, reading, snowboarding) Mental Processes: Covert; i.e., cannot be directly observed (remembering, thinking) – private and internal Pseudo-Psychologies

Pseudo means “false”; Any unfounded “system” that resembles psychology and is NOT based on scientific testing Experiments – formal trial undertaken to confirm or disconfirm a hypothesis To identify cause-and-effect relationships, we conduct experiments Directly vary a condition you might think affects behavior

Create two or more groups of subjects, alike in all ways except the condition you are varying (control and experimental groups) Record whether varying the condition has any effect on behavior

Variables – any condition that can change and might affect the outcome of the experiment Independent Variable: Condition(s) altered by the experimenter; experimenter sets their size, amount, or value; these are suspected causes for behavioral differences (one thing you want to change) Dependent Variable: Demonstrates effects that independent variables have on behavior (improvement in test scores) (change that happens) Extraneous Variables: Conditions that a researcher wants to prevent from affecting the outcomes of the experiment (e.g., number of hours slept before the experiment) (variables that could affect the outcome) Correlations

Existence of a consistent, systematic relationship between two events, measures, or variables Correlation Coefficient: Statistic ranging from –1.00 to +1.00; the sign indicates the direction of the relationship Closer the statistic is to –1.00 or to +1.00, the stronger the relationship Correlation of 0.00 demonstrates no relationship between the variables Positive Correlation: Increases in one variable are matched by increases in the other variable Negative Correlation: Increases in one variable are matched by decreases...
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