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Key Terms and Definitions for Psychology

By nessiemonstah Oct 17, 2013 895 Words
Keywords and definitions
1. The application of psychology to everyday life. (Its usefulness) Psychology can be used to get you motivated towards a certain goal you made, applying yourself to learn new things, knowing when to reward ourselves when accomplish those certain aims and other things such as communicating effectively and explaining ourselves verbally and non-verbally. It tells us to use eye contact, tone of voice and body language to get a point across, helps us learn to understand others and assess our emotions and feelings; overall, it helps us to live healthier and happier. We can see this in Zimbardo’s study as he found the Pathological Prisoner Syndrome and it can help make the environment inside prisons better.

2. Ecological Validity
Ecological validity is the term used to define if a study can be compared to certain situations in real life. For example field experiments such as Pillavin’s study are more easily adapted to real life situations than for example a laboratory experiment such as Tajfel’s.

3. Ethics
When we talk about ethics is when analyse the certain conditions of each study and see if they are ethical. For example, one of the most criticised studies is Milgram’s, due to various factors such as deception to the participants which made them under extreme amounts of stress.

4. Ethnocentric Bias
Ethnocentric bias is the tendency for a person or a group to favour themselves in different situations. For example in Tajfel’s study, the results from the boys showed that.

5. Reliability and Validity
Reliability is when we have the same results consistently. Validity is until which degree a test measures what it claims to measure. So these two are linked as a test needs to be valid to be reliable, and the results must reliable to prove that the measures are valid. If we don’t have these, they might influence the ecological validity and ethics of the study.

6. Individual and Situational Explanations
Both of these are used when we look at the causes for certain behaviours. Some of the studies look for the explanation of behaviour being within the individual. For example, if behaviour could be the result from the individual's personality or character. Other studies look for the explanation of behaviour as a result of the situation a person is in. For example, behaviour could be described as the result peer pressure, group membership, the environment, etc…

7. Nature and Nurture
This is a debate that often occurs in the cognitive studies in psychology which “splits” psychologists in different cases. Nature is when we talk that certain behaviour comes from the inheritance of genes from the parents or even past relatives such as grandparents. Nurture defends that certain behaviours occur from the experience we had throughout our life. For example a study which supports nature is Langlouis’ study and a study that supports nurture is Bandura’s .

8. Psychometrics
Is a series of tests which are used to measure “mental characteristics”. These are used in the case study of Eve White, Eve Black and Jane.

9. Quantitative and Qualitative Data
These are two types of data that can be obtained in a study. Quantitative is all the statistics and numbers, means and measurements, while qualitative can be descriptions of what the experimenters hear or see, the subjects actions, etc.. For example: in Pillavin’s study it was recorded the time people spent in the critical area (as quantitative data) and comments that people said when the ill or drunk victim fell (as qualitative data).

10. Generalisations
When one says that a study can be generalised is when we are sure that the results and all the variable in the study can be applied to every person in any gender, culture, race or religion in the world. This means we must be sure that we have a large sample of subjects with a proper gender ratio, and also that they have mixed races and cultures. This way, we can assure a higher probability of the applying this concept of generalisation. For example, in extreme cases such as a case study of Freud, where he wanted to prove the Oedipus complex, he used the case of Little Hans, but as it only focused on one boy, it can’t be generalised.

11. Snapshot and longitudinal data
A snap shot study is a study carried out over a very short period of time such as hours and days. A longitudinal is a study which is carried throughout a long period time such as a whole life time. Snapshots are for example Bandura’s study.

12. The use of children in psychological research
In the psychology AS syllabus we are presented with various studies where the subjects are children. They are most of the times used when experiments want to see if certain behaviours or aspects come with us from genetics or if they come with age and experience (again, nature and nurture debate). We can see this for example in Langlouis’ study. Another example in Bandura, where he wanted to see by modelling aggressive behaviour could be learnt just by the children watching. This is a huge factor as it could improve teaching at schools, especially in primary schools.

13. Reductionism
Reductionism is when a study tries to analyse a concept which is far more complex which test as. For example reductionism occurred in the Langlouis’ Facial diversity study and Tajfels discrimination study.

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