General Psychology Study Guide

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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 in the other variable (hotter air temperatures correlate to lower activity levels in animals) Correlation does not demonstrate causation: Just because two variables are related does NOT mean that one variable causes the other to occur Example: Relating test scores and GPAs from high school to test scores and GPA in college. Neurons (100 billion) – nerve cells – carry and process information from the senses to the brain where they process it– thoughts/feelings/actions (tiny cells) – messages sent at 200 miles per hour Have the capacity to learn and grow until the day you die.

myelin covers the axon – increases the speed of the response – if the myelin is not there they may have MS Lobes of the Cerebral Cortex
Occipital – visual – visual agnosia – inability to identify seen objects; facial agnosia – inability to perceive familiar faces (occipital lobe is probably the first area of the brain to myelinate because a child can see pretty well by a couple of months of age) Parietal – touch, pressure, temperature – get lost easily Temporal – auditory - Wernicke’s area – an association area -left temporal lobe damage – can’t get the meaning of words – is a fork a spoon or a knife? – struggles with memory and mood stability Frontal – higher mental abilities – control of movement – decision making – personality and emotional life, responsible for control of movement (primary motor area or cortex), mirror neurons – learn new skills by imitating other’s behaviors, psychologist Daniel Langleben conducting studies with fMRI and lying. If lying the fMRI will indicate this (probably the last area of the brain to myelinate because children don’t make proper decisions until later in life) Association Areas - combine and process information

Broca’s area – left frontal lobe – damaged – can’t speak or write Wernicke’s area – can’t process language but can speak Prefrontal area – complex behaviors – personality and emotional life Hemispheric Specialization

Right Brain – nonverbal...
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