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the study of behavior and mental processes across the lifespan using a scientific approach



defined by empiricism and appropriate skepticism; produces facts



an abstract concept that refers to ways in which questions are asked and the logic and methods used to gain answers; used by psychologists with empiricism and skepticism

scientific method / approach


claims based on evidence and evidence derived from observation and experimentation / emphasizes direct observation and experimentation as a way of answering questions; the most important characteristic of the scientific method; using this, psychologists focused on behaviors and experiences that could be observed directly

empiricism / empirical approach


skeptical of all types of claims, especially personal anecdotes, experiences, and/or gut intuitions (but not to the point of ignoring when evidence converges)

"appropriate" skepticism


the spirit of the times; the trend of the time; reflects how people are thinking; attitude toward different things



Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic countries; where most of the participants in psychological research come from; this skews research findings, and therefore, we need to be cautious about our interpretations of findings



can occur when researchers fail to recognize when experiences and values of their own culture affect their interpretations of behavior observed in other cultures (eg: research involving Americans applied to other cultures leads to potential of this)

ethnocentric bias


our natural tendency to seek evidence that's consistent with our intuitions and ignore or deny contradictory evidence; selectively accepting evidence that confirms an already held belief and dismissing evidence that counters that belief; must try to disprove "facts," which is where the null hypothesis comes in; influences the choices people make and motivates them to avoid info that challenges them, even when doing so causes them to be wrong

confirmation bias


a tendency to perceive relationships between events when none exists (eg: remembering things that are consistent w/ expectation in a memory test -- gender stereotype test)

illusory correlation


a claim, belief, or practice presented as scientific, but which does not adhere to the scientific method; a field, practice, or body of knowledge can reasonably be called pseudoscientific when it is presented as consistent with the norms of scientific research, but it demonstrably fails to meet these norms



1) description
2) prediction
3) explanation
4) application

goals of the scientific method


when two different variables measuring the same people, events, or things vary together



when scores on one variable tend to be associated with scores on another variable; when two events vary together; when one changes, the other must also change; when particular scores on one variable tend to be associated with particular scores on another variable; first condition of a causal inference



aka contingency; the presumed cause must occur before the presumed effect; 2nd condition of a causal interference

time-order relationship


occurs when two potentially effective IVs are allowed to covary simultaneously; when this happens, it's impossible to determine what variable is responsible for any obtained difference in performance

confounding variable


psychologists primarily seek to understand behavior and mental processes; seeking knowledge for its own sake, typically carried out in a lab setting with the goal of testing a theory about a phenomenon

basic research


psychologists conduct research in order to change people's lives for the better; done in a variety of settings

applied research


searching for an answer using various research methodologies and measures of behavior; any one method or measure of behavior may be flawed or incomplete in its ability to answer research questions fully, and when researchers use multiple methods, the flaws associated with any particular method are surmounted by other methods that "fill in the gaps"; enables researchers to obtain a more complete understanding of behavior and mental processes

multimethod approach


a concept or idea (intelligence, memory, depression, aggression, etc.); given meaning through an OD



explains a concept solely in terms of the observable procedures used to produce and measure it; facilitates communication

operational definition


tentative explanation for a phenomenon; often stated in form of a prediction for some outcome along with an explanation for the prediction
(starts with a grasp of the existing research; offers a relationship between variables; must be testable/constructs adequately defined; is not circular; is falsifiable / ideas are recognized by science)

hypothesis (and what makes a good hypothesis)


indicated by consistency (works consistently, results show high level of agreement, etc.); just bc something is this doesn't mean it's the other



truthfulness of a measure; measures what it claims to measure; supported when people so as well on it as on other tasks presumed to measure the same construct



connection to the real-world; the extent to which the results of a study can be generalized to other situations and to other people

external validity


produces verbal summaries of research findings with few statistical summaries or analysis; focuses on events and their context

qualitative research


studies in which the findings are described using statistical summary and analysis; used more frequently than the other; research that is translated into and analyzed as numerical

quantitative research


scientists manipulate one or more factors and observe the effects of this manipulation on behavior



element investigated in studies that is manipulated, compared, or controlled; a factor that changes



factors researcher controls or manipulates in order to determine their effect on behavior; there are at least 2 levels in the simplest of studies (which often represent the presence and absence of some treatment, respectively)

independent variable