C180 – Psychology Study Guide

Unit 2

  • The history of psychology includes philosophy, physiology, and behavioral components.
  • Psychology is the study of human behavior and mental processes, analyzed at 3 levels: brain, person, and group.
  • Science -solidify facts by using objective evidence. Uses logic to reason about possible causes of a phenomenon and then tests the resulting ideas by collecting additional facts that will either support the ideas or refute them.
  • Mind-what the brain does—the mental events it produces
  • Behavior-physical movements—voluntary or involuntary—of the limbs, facial muscles, or other parts of the body.

Levels of analysis

The level of the brain involves both the brain and its structure.

The level of the person encompasses mental contents and processes.

mental contents-knowledge; beliefs; desires; and feelings.

mental processes-sets of operations that work together to complete a function, such as attention, perception, or memory.

The level of the group involves understanding behavior in context of relationships with people; behavior of a group or people as a whole.

2 types of investigation

-how other people affect an individual’s mind and behavior

-groups in their own right

  • Eight Schools of Thought

The foundation of psychology is grounded in eight main schools of thought: structuralism, functionalism, Gesalt, behaviorism, psychodynamic, humanistic, cognitive, feminist/multicultural, evolutionary.

  • Structuralism: Wilhelm Wundt’s investigation of the structure of the mind.

First school of thought.

Focus: consciousness– Level of person


Goal: describe rules to determine how sensations/feelings occur at the same time.

Method of introspection: daydreaming, planning visualizing mental images; cognitive biases, self-deception

  • Functionalism is interested in why something is important, while structuralism focuses on what is important.
  • Functionalism: William James’ explanation of mental operations and methods used to promote adaptation

Focus: Why/How.  What building blocks of the mind are, how they operate—Level of person

  • Gestalt: Max Wertheimer’s focus on whole-person concepts

Focus: consciousness—Levels of brain and person

Perception/organizing/interpreting sensory information

  • Behaviorism: The results of John B. Watson and B. F. Skinner’s views on human behavioral, observational measures, and environmental factors

Focus: How a specific stimulus evokes a specific response—Level of mind

Pavlov-dog salivating study

  • Psychodynamic: Sigmund Freud’s study of unconscious drives, motives, and impulses

Defense mechanisms; psychosexual stages of development; psychodynamic theory

Focus: unconscious—Level of person; influences of whole group

  • Psychodynamic Theory-exerts a great influence of unconscious cognition on people’s moods and behaviors.

IMPACT: discover underlying causes and treating psychological problems

  • Freud mapped out these unconscious structures against his stages of psychosexual development.
    • Id; ego; super ego
  • Humanistic: Abraham Maslow’s views on the positive nature of humans and their decision-making capabilities (hierarchy of needs) and Carl Rogers’ client-center therapy

Focus: All individuals and their experiences should be respected. Level of person

  • Humanistic Psychology Assumes people have positive values, free will deep inner creativity.
    • Allows people to choose life-fulfilling paths, contribute to their personal growth.
    • Active agents can formulate plans and make decisions.
  • Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs-hierarchy of physical and emotional needs.
  • Carl Rogers– client-centered therapy-client wants to develop to the fullest potential, and the therapist’s job is to help the client do so.
  • Cognitive: Using the computer as a metaphor to describe how information is received, stored, and processed. thought influences mood and behavior

Treating depression, cognitive neuroscience (know brain functioning)

Albert Ellis, Aaron Beck-negative thoughts caused depression.

  • Cognitive Psychology-characterize mental events that allow information to be stored and processed.
  • Feminist and Multicultural Psychology: Naomi Weisstein. Civil rights/women’s rights—took into account racial, sexual identity/orientation, age, disability, religion.
  • Evolutionary Psychology: Evolution has given or reinforced certain goals and cognitive strategies.

Focus: Levels of analysis thought, feeling, behavior

  • Evolutionists step back into human roots to understand the connections between inherited adaptive traits and modern behavior.
  • Psychology is an expanding discipline with multiple areas of interest.
  • Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists are the most prevalent areas of employment for psychologists.
  • Psychologists employ descriptive, correlational, and experimental research methods.


Clinical psychologist


Administers and interprets psychological tests; provides psychotherapy; helps people function more effectively.
Clinical neuropsychologist


Clinical neuropsychologist    Administers tests to diagnose the effects of brain damage on thoughts, feelings, and behavior and to diagnose what parts of the brain are damaged.
Counseling psychologist Helps people manage issues that arise during everyday life (career, marriage, family, work).
Developmental psychologist Researches and teaches the development of mental contents and processes, as well as behavior, with age and experience.
Cognitive psychologist Researches and teaches the nature of thinking, memory, and related aspects of mental contents and processes.
Social psychologist Researches and teaches how people think and feel about themselves and other people and how groups function.
Personality psychologist Researches and teaches individual differences in preferences and inclinations.
Physiological psychologist Researches and teaches the nature of the brain and brain–body interactions.
Human factors psychologist Applies psychology to improve products.
Industrial/organizational psychologist Applies psychology in the workplace.
Sport psychologist Applies psychology to improve athletic performance.
Educational or school psychologist Applies psychology to improve cognitive, emotional, and social development of schoolchildren.
  • Descriptive research methods include naturalistic observations, case studies, and surveys.
  • Correlation research shows the strength of a relationship between two variables.
  • positive/negative correlation: positive-both variables go up or down; negative-1 variable goes up the other goes down.
  • Experimental research design allows the psychologist to alter the independent variables and observe the direct effect.
  • independent/dependent variables: independent-variable can be changed; dependent: variable depends on in independent variable.
  • experimental/control groups: experimental-receives complete procedure; control-constant control of all variables in group
  • The scientific method is a systematic order of steps in the research process.

The scientific method contains six steps:

  1.   Observe and question.
  2.   Research.
  3.   Formulate a hypothesis.
  4.   Test your hypothesis.
  5.   Analyze and conclude.
  6.   Share the results.
  • The scientific method assists researchers and scientists in identifying answers to questions in the study of psychology.
  • Research involving human participants must be designed so the risks are outweighed by the benefits.
  • Informed consent is required from human participants to ensure they understand the purpose, procedures, risks, and benefits of participation in a research study, as well as how to withdraw from the study at any time.
  • Clinical and counseling psychologists have ethical responsibilities in treating their patients, which include privacy and safety concerns.
  • The American Psychological Association is a scientific, professional organization in the United States and provides ethical guidelines for psychologists in areas such as beneficence and nonmaleficence, fidelity and responsibility, integrity, justice, and respect for people’s rights and dignity
  • The field of neuroethics considers new ethical issues of brain research as technology continues to aid people in understanding of the human brain.


Unit 3

  • The neuron is the key building block of the brain; they send signals.
  • The cell body receives inputs from the dendrites (or sometimes, directly from axons of other neurons) and sends its output via the axon (which is connected to the dendrites of other neurons or, in some cases, their cell bodies).
  • When a neuron fires as a result of receiving input, chemical reactions work their way down the axon, and neurotransmitter substances are released at the terminal buttons.
Neurotransmitter Substance Distinguishing Features Related Symptoms and Disorders Drugs that Alter
Acetylcholine Causes muscles to contract, memory, arousal Alzheimer’s disease, delusions (shortage), convulsions, spasms, tremors (excess) Physostigmine (increases, used to treat Alzheimer’s disease); scopolamine (blocks)
Dopamine Motivation, reward, movement, thought, learning Parkinson’s disease, depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (shortage), aggression, schizophrenia Amphetamine, cocaine (causes release); chlorpromazine (blocks at receptors); methylphenidate (Ritalin, blocks reabsorption)
Noradrenaline (norephinepherine) Dreaming, attention


Depression, fatigue, distractibility (shortage), anxiety, headache, schizophrenia Tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline (keeps more available at the synapse)
Glutamate Primary excitatory neurotransmitter, involved in learning and memory Schizophrenia, possibly mood disorders PCP and ketamine (both block)
Endorphins Involved in modulation pain perception Anxiety disorders, substance use disorder (excess) Opium, morphine, heroin, prescription pain medications (all mimic); naloxone (blocks)
Serotonin Primary inhibitory neurotransmitter regulation mood, sleep Obsessive-compulsive disorder, insomnia, depression (shortage), sleepiness, lack of motivation (excess) Fluoxetine (Prozac), tricyclic antidepressants (keeps more present at the synapse)
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) Inhibits sending neuron Anxiety, possibly panic, epilepsy, Huntington’s disease (shortage), sluggishness, lack of motivation (excess) Sedatives (such as phenobarbital), alcohol, benzodiazepines (such as Valium, Halcion), which mimics effects
Endogenous cannabinoids Memory, attention, emotion, movement, control, appetite Chronic pain (shortage), memory and attention problems, eating disorders, schizophrenia (excess) R141716A (blocks effects of); Tetrahydro-cannabinol (THC), which mimics effects of


  • Peripheral Nervous System:

-affect the organs of the body

-links organs to body

-receives information (SNS)

  • Autonomic Nervous System

-controls the smooth muscles in the body and some glandular/self-regulatory functions,

-controls body’s self-regulating activities such as digestion and circulation.

two parts: autonomic nervous system and somatic nervous system

  • Somatic Nervous System

-message-mediating center of internal systems (communication network)

– receives information and act on such information (PNS)

– neurons in the sensory organs (such as the eyes and ears)

– neurons that trigger muscles and glands.

– somatic motor system (clenching fists)

two branches—sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems

  • Sympathetic Branch of the ANS

-allows mammals to cope with an emergency

-more oxygen flows into the muscles, improves vision; body is ready to support physical exertion

  • Parasympathetic Branch of the ANS

-calms down the muscles

-direct oxygen back to slower processes like digestion

  • Central Nervous System

-brain and spinal cord=the largest conduit for information going to and from the brain is the spinal cord

– PNS enables CNS to receive and respond to stimuli

– regulates the endocrine system and receives information from it

The brain


two hemispheres span all four lobes, specialized

cerebral cortex-largest part of the brain

-a folded mass of gray matter, divided lengthwise into two hemispheres and laterally into four lobes.

occipital lobe-processes vision

temporal lobe-processes sound, interprets language, and stores memories.

parietal lobe-controls spatial awareness and the sense of touch.

frontal lobe-Across the central sulcus

-provides motor control

-processes related to reason, attention, executive control, and emotion.

Phineas Gage-frontal lobe damage.

Split-Brain-when corpus callosum (band between 2 hemispheres) severed, to prevent spasms of neural firing from 1 hemisphere to the other

left hemisphere-speech and reasoning

right hemisphere-spatial perception and processing nonverbal cues

Below the cortex lie inner brain structures

Thalamus-crucial to everyday life. “switching center” of the brain

-receives and redirects messages

-sensory systems: vision and hearing

-motor systems that control muscles

-controlling sleep and attention.

hypothalamus-controls many automatic bodily functions

-controlling bodily functions: eating and drinking

-maintaining body temperature, BP, and HR

-governing sexual behavior

-regulates hormones (fight or flight)

-If visual recognition is impaired, the hypothalamus will not receive the information it needs to function properly.


-allows new information into your brain’s memory banks.

-triggers processes that store new information elsewhere in the brain, does not permanently store memories.

Amygdala-Inner Feelings

-plays strong role in emotions such as fear and anger.

-affects ability to correctly interpret emotions in facial expressions.

limbic system-play a role in emotions and memory

-hippocampus, amygdala, and hypothalamus

-involved in critical aspects of emotion and motivation, namely, those that underlie fighting, fleeing, feeding, and sex.

cerebellum-manages balance and coordination

brainstem-relays information from the spinal cord.

  • The closer an injury to the spinal cord is to the brain itself, the more serious it is.
  • The endocrine system produces hormones, which affect many parts of the body, specifically the brain itself (for example, by altering moods).
  • hormones released during puberty typically trigger an interest in sexual activity.
  • Major glands: the pituitary gland, pineal gland, parathyroid, thyroid, thymus, adrenal glands, pancreas, and uterus and ovaries for females or testes for males.
  • The pituitary gland is called the “master gland” because it controls the other glands in the endocrine system.
  • Hormones are chemicals that can act as neurotransmitters, which not only affect specific organs but also thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
  • The gonads secrete sexual hormones, which are important in reproduction and mediate both sexual motivation and behavior.
  • Stress triggers the release of the hormone cortisol produced by the outer layer of the adrenal glands.
  • Cortisol helps the body cope with the extra energy demands of stress.
  • The visual sensory function is the dominant sense.

bottom-up: processing; domino effect-light waves strike retina, light reaches eye, other neural signals are trippedàbrain understands what you’re seeing.

top-down: processing is guided by knowledge, expectation, or belief.

  • The inner ear not only enables auditory perception, it is also critical for maintaining a sense of balance.
  • The sense of smell is the longest lasting, in terms of memory. (Lock and Key)

Two aspects of the neural bases of olfaction reveal that the sense of smell is tightly bound to emotions and memories:

  • One major neural pathway sends signals about odor into the brain. This pathway is connected to the limbic system, which is particularly involved in emotions.
  • Another major neural pathway passes through the thalamus, which is also involved in memory.
  • Visual perception relies on organization into coherent units and identifying what something is and where it is.

            Dimensions of color:

    • Hue—Different sensations of different colors. Aspect of color, whether it looks red, blue, etc.
    • Saturation—The deepness of the color, which corresponds to how little white is mixed in with it. The more saturated the color, the less white is in it.
    • Lightness—The light waves that produce the perception of lightness (if the light is reflected from an object) or brightness (if the object, such as a TV or computer screen, produces light).
  • Patterns of chemical recognition come together and run through interpretive centers of the brain to enable the perception of smell and taste.
  • Sound is a psychological event enabled by the interpretive function of the brain.
  • cocktail party phenomenon-not being aware of other’s conversation until your name is mentioned.
  • dichotic listening-hearing different stimuli in each ear and listening to 1 set of stimuli


Unit 4

  • Classical conditioning (Pavlovian conditioning)-learning through association; 2 stimuli are paired to produce a learned response (conditioned).
  • focuses on automatic reactions
  • permeates daily life-impacts everything from emotional responses/phobias to advertising food preferences and animal training.
  • Used in advertising and to treat phobias.
  • A mechanism underlying food or taste aversions and some placebo responses.
  • Pavlov discovered classical conditioning while conducting studies of dogs’ salivation.

The Experiment: {NS-Neutral Stimulus; US/UR-Unconditioned Stimulus/Response; CR/CS-Conditioned Response/Stimulus}

Before conditioning: NS(clicker)=NO response; US (food)=UR (salivation)

During conditioning: NSàCS (clicker)+US (food)

After conditioning: CS (clicker)=UR (salivation)

  • Unconditioned stimulus=automatic unconditioned response w/o prior learning
  • Unconditioned response=reflexive/automatic response w/o prior training
  • Conditioned stimulus=originally the neutral stimulus now produces an unconditioned stimulus after being paired so many times
  • Conditioned response=response that happens when a conditioned and unconditioned stimulus are paired, now happens even w/o the conditioned stimulus
  • Extinction is achieved by repeatedly presenting the conditioned stimulus without the unconditioned stimulus.
  • Acquisition-initial learning of the conditioned response.
  • Avoidance learning– learning that occurs when a conditioned stimulus is paired with an unpleasant unconditioned stimulus that leads the animal to try to avoid the conditioned stimulus.
  • necessary for survival
  • Conditioned emotional response-emotionally charged conditioned response elicited by a previously neutral stimulus.
  • Phobias– irrational fear of a specific object or situation.
  • Stimulus generalization– a similar but nonidentical stimulus elicits the conditioned response
  • Stimulus discrimination-ability to distinguish among stimuli that are relatively similar to the conditioned stimulus and to respond only to the actual stimulus.

Classical Conditioning Applied

  • how placebo effect works
  • how people feel about the advertising of products
  • how food aversions develop
  • Operant conditioning (instrumental conditioning) method of learning through rewards and punishments to assist in making associations between particular behaviors and consequences.
  • Reinforcements increase behaviors or responses.
  • Punishments decrease behaviors or responses.
  • Law of effect-actions subsequently lead to satisfying state of affairs are more likely to be repeated

Principles of Operant Conditioning

  • Positive reinforcement increase likelihood of repeat behavior.
  • Negative reinforcement unwanted/unpleasant object/event removed
  • Positive punishment (punishment by application)-undesired consequence when undesired behavior occurs, decreasing repetition of behavior.
  • Negative punishment (punishment by removal)-removal or discontinuation of desired event when undesired behavior occurs.
  • Immediate reinforcement-reinforcement given immediately after desired response exhibited.
  • Delayed reinforcement-reinforcement given after desired response exhibited.
  • Shaping-gradual process of reinforcing to get desired response
  • Continuous reinforcement-reinforcement given for each response
  • Partial reinforcement-reinforcement given sometimes after desired response
  • Interval schedules-partial reinforcement given on a schedule
  • Complex behaviors can be learned through operant conditioning by applying a set of shaping responses together, which is referred to as successive approximation.
  • Semantic memories-memories of the meaning of words, concepts, and general facts about the world.
  • Episodic memories are personal memories of past events.
  • Explicit memories (declarative memory)- from long-term memory to short-term memory; consist of factual memories and previous experiences/concepts.
  • Consciously recalled
  • Stored in either semantic or episodic memory
  • Can occur in any mode (visual, mental, audio, etc.)
  • Stored after cognitive learning occurs
  • Once activated, can be operated on in working memory; they can be thought of differently and built on
  • Implicit memories are unconscious and cannot be voluntarily accessed; they’re learned predispositions to act or think in a certain way.
  • They are unconscious and cannot be voluntarily recalled.
  • They are not stored as semantic or episodic memories—they do not specify concepts, facts about the world, or information about specific events. Instead, they predispose you to process information or behave in specific ways (when in the presence of particular stimuli).
  • They can occur in any mode (visual, mental, audio, etc.).
  • They are not stored after cognitive learning occurs, but rather arise from other types of learning.
  • They cannot be reinterpreted or otherwise operated on.
  • Habits and skills are examples of implicit memory.
  • Habit-well-learned response carried out automatically. Habits become skills. Skills learned in 2 steps.
  • Skill-coordinated set of habits
  • controlled processing-requires attention and using working memory and explicit memories.
  • automatic processing-becomes automatic and implicit memories can be used. (ex: reading written words aloud; driving, understanding speech)
  • Priming-predisposes you to perform the same or an associated task more easily in the future
  • Encoding is the process of organizing and transforming incoming information so it can be entered into memory.
  • Encoding failure-don’t process information well enough to ensure it’s stored into long-term memory
  • Decay/fade away-memories fade over time
  • Memories are captured by interest level and retained in the memory store (set of neurons to retain information over time).
  • Memory stores: sensory memory, short-term memory; long-term memory.
    • Sensory-without effort; retains lots of info briefly
    • Short-term-immediate; briefly retains small amount of info.
    • Long-term-lots of info for long periods. Everything you’ve done/learned.
  • Reconstructing buried memories involves recall and recognition.
  • Human memory involves intentional and unintentional recall and inaccurate or false information.
  • Memory decline is associated with age and neuron disconnections.
  • Organic and functional amnesias are memory decay disorders that impact age.
  • Organic-brain damage by loss of blood/oxygen/nutrients; injury or disease (stroke; cell death; surgery)
  • Functional-after psychological; trauma or extreme stress
  • Retrograde amnesia (infantile/childhood amnesia)-memories that occurred younger than 2 years old ex: birth of sibling.
  • Anterograde amnesia-ALL explicit memories affected. Live as if frozen in the present moment of time.


Unit 5

  • Freud-structure/theory of personality=psychoanalytic theory- mind can be analyzed to understand the causes of mental events and behaviors.
  • Freud introduced three levels of consciousness—conscious (topmost, normal awareness), preconscious (info that can easily brought into conscious awareness ex: telephone #), and unconscious (thoughts, feelings, motivations not voluntarily brought into consciousness but influences conscious thoughts, feelings and behaviors).
  • Id-pleasure principle- exists from birth-houses sexual and aggressive drives-physical needs: eat, sleep-psychological needs: comfort
  • Ego-reality principle-develops in childhood and tries to balance the competing demands if id, super ego, and reality-cognitive functions: problem solving, reasoning-developed out of id
  • Super ego-formed during early childhood-houses sense of right/wrong-based on internalization of parental/cultural morality
  • Freud’s psychosexual theory proceeds through five stages—oral, anal, phallic, latency, and genital.
Stages Years of Life Locus of Pleasure Developmental Task
Oral stage 0-1 Mouth (sucking, biting) Successful weaning from mother’s breast/bottle
Anal stage 1-3 Anus (retaining and expelling feces) Successful toilet training
Phallic stage 3-6 Clitoris or penis Successful identification with same-sex parent
Latency period 6-puberty No particular locus of pleasure; sexual impulses are repressed Successful transformation of repressed sexual urges into socially acceptable activities
Genital stage puberty onward Vagina or penis ·   Successful transformation of mature sexual love relationship

·   Successful development of interest and related to productive work

  • Rogers-theory of personality and client-centered therapy
  • self-concept- sense of selves and how others see them
    • basic need for unconditional positive regard-people are accepted despite their issues.
  • The Good Life-fully functioning people have these in common:
  1. A growing openness to experience—moving away from defensiveness
  2. An increasingly existential lifestyle—living each moment fully rather than distorting the moment to fit personality or self-concept
  3. Increasing organismic trust—trusting their own judgment and their ability to choose behavior that is appropriate for each moment
  4. Freedom of choice—not being restricted by incongruence and being able to make a wide range of choices more fluently. They believe that they play a role in determining their own behavior, and so they feel responsible for their own behavior.
  5. Higher levels of creativity—being more creative in the way they adapt to their own circumstances without feeling a need to conform
  6. Reliability and constructiveness—being trusted to act constructively. Even aggressive needs will be matched and balanced by intrinsic goodness in congruent individuals.
  7. A rich full life—experiencing joy and pain, love and heartbreak, fear, and courage more intensely
  • Maslow’s humanistic theory emphasized self-actualization as the highest level of self-achievement.
  • Personality consists of a set of enduring traits that leads people to behave in specific ways.
  • According to Mischel there are no enduring personality traits; rather, behavior depends on the situation.
  • The Big Five superfactors are described by the Five Factor Model of personality, which was derived through the statistical technique of factor analyzing the results of personality inventories.
  • The five superfactors are openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism (represented as the acronym OCEAN).





Superfactor Traits
Extraversion (sociability) Warmth, gregariousness, assertiveness, activity, excitement-seeking, positive emotions
Neuroticism (emotionality) Anxiety, hostility, depression, self-consciousness, impulsiveness, vulnerability
Agreeableness Trust, straightforwardness, altruism, compliance, modesty, tender-mindedness
Conscientiousness (dependability) Competence, order, dutifulness, achievement-striving, deliberation, self-discipline
Openness Fantasy, aesthetics, feelings, actions, ideas, values
  • Eysenck proposed three rather than five personality dimensions (his term for superfactors): extraversion (not easily aroused-seek out stimulating activities), neuroticism (emotional response), and psychoticism (less control over emotions-prone to psychotic symptoms/social deviance).
    • Behavior biologically determined
  • Genetics has a large influence on temperament, the inclination to engage in certain styles of thinking, feeling, and behaving.

Sociability: A preference for being in the company of others rather than alone, similar to extraversion in the big five

Emotionality: An inclination to become aroused in emotional situations, but only when the emotions of distress, fear, or anger are involved, similar to neuroticism

Activity: A preference for a particular activity level, which has two components: vigor, ⁠which is the intensity of activity, and tempo, which is the speed of activity

Impulsivity: A tendency to respond to stimuli immediately without reflection or concern for consequences

  • Studies of twins have shown that a wide range of behaviors are heritable. This is because differences in behavior are caused by differences in core personality traits, which are linked to genetics.
  • Social role theory, the theory that boys and girls develop different skills and beliefs based on the roles given to them by society, may explain the personality differences between the sexes
  • Cultural change causes mass personality changes over time. As American culture has changed over the past 50 years, Americans’ average level of neuroticism and anxiousness has increased.
  • Members of collectivist cultures show marked personality differences from members of individualist cultures.
  • Learning influences personality by creating
  • Classically conditioned behaviors, such as those that underlie a phobia (which leads the individual persistently to avoid a stimulus).
  • Operantly conditioned behaviors, such as taking part in highly stimulating activities because of past reinforcement (or avoiding parties because of past punishment for attending).
  • People learn by observing models of behavior. Adaptive models lead people to adopt adaptive behaviors; maladaptive models lead people to adopt maladaptive behaviors.
  • Sociocognitive view– social interactions shape people’s thoughts and expectancies causing them to either ignore or pay special attention to certain stimuli. These tendencies, if consistent, become personality traits.
    • Sociocognitive view of personality emphasizes that social interactions affect thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Consistent thoughts, feelings, and behaviors (consistent in a given situation) create personality. This approach often focuses on the effects of expectancies: What people expect to happen will influence the ways their personalities develop.
  • Locus of Control-perception of the source of control over life’s events when the cause of events is ambiguous.
  • Internals-They feel personally responsible for what happens to them.
  • Externals-more likely to see control coming from outside forces and feel less personal responsibility
  • Personality differences related to expectancies are exhibited in people’s locus of control (the source people perceive as exerting control over life events) and their self-efficacy (the sense that people have the ability to follow through and produce the behaviors they would like to perform). Self-efficacy-sense of being able to follow through and produce specific desired behaviors.
  • An attitude is an overall evaluation of some aspect of the world—people, issues, or objects.
  • Attitudes have three components: affective, behavioral, and cognitive, which are summarized by the acronym ABC.

Affective refers to your feelings about people, issues, or objects.

  • Strong
  • Relatively stable
  • Directly relevant to the behavior
  • Important
  • Consistent with social norm
  • Easily accessed from memory

Behavioral refers to your predisposition to act in a particular way toward people, an issue, or an object.

Cognitive refers to what you believe or know about people, issues, or objects. Your attitude about abortion, for instance, will include a set of beliefs (which may or may not be true) about the topic, such as knowing what it entails and why women choose to get an abortion.

  • Cognitive dissonance contradiction about attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors causing one to alter/change their attitude, belief, or behavior
  • Persuasion is when one person tries to change another person’s attitude.
  • A stereotype is a belief or a set of beliefs about people from a particular category; the category can be defined by race, sex, social class, religion, ethnic background, hair color, sport, hobby, or many other characteristics. A stereotype may be positive, negative, or neutral.
    • Stereotype threat creates a fear in people that they are being evaluated negatively because of existing stereotypes about their group. This can lead to underperformance.
    • A self-fulfilling prophecy is a stereotype, as it makes one behave in ways that elicit behavior from an outgroup member that is consistent with the stereotype.
  • Prejudice is an attitude that is generally negative toward members of a group.


-emotional-negative feelings towards group

  • Implicit prejudices can lead to unconscious biased behaviors and reactions.
  • Discrimination is a negative behavior toward individuals from a specific group that arises from unjustified negative attitudes about that group.
  • Realistic conflict theory-theory that explains the conflict, negative prejudices and discrimination that occur between groups of people who are in competition for the same resources.
  • Social categorization is an example of prejudice because people create ingroups and outgroups.
  • A jigsaw classroom strategy is a three-step process that can be used to increase interdependence between ingroups and outgroups.
  • Attributions-explanation for the cause of an event or behavior
    • Internal attribution-behavior focuses on beliefs, goals, traits, characteristics
    • External attribution-behavior focuses on the situation
  • Attribution biases are systematic errors made when trying to evaluate/find reasons for own/others behaviors.
  • Fundamental-most important-strong tendency to interpret other people’s behavior as arising from internal causes as opposed to external ones-helps perpetuated discrimination
  • Self-serving bias-inclination to attribute own failures to external causes and success to internal ones, but attribute other’s failures to internal causes and successes to external causes.
  • Belief-assumption people get what they deserve.
  • Liking people is the result of a combination of physical attraction, repeated contact, and similarity.
  • Social exchange theory-humans form relationships and maintain them as long as they are personally rewarding.

Types of love: 

Compasionate-alturistic; expending time, attention, resources. What parents feel for their children.

Passionate-intense-being in love. Sexual attraction, desire for mutual love, physical closeness, arousal, and fear relationship will end.

  • Love has three dimensions: passion (sexual desire), intimacy (emotional closeness/sharing), and commitment (conscious decision to be in relationship).

Sternberg’s Triangle

  • Different proportions and combinations of the dimensions of love describe the relationship and can change over time.
  • Attachment style-manner of behaving with and thinking about a partner. Style stems from interaction had with a parent or primary caregiver as a child.
  • Secure attachment style, seek closeness and interdependence, not worried about possibly losing the relationship-feel secure in it. About 59% of an American sample are said to have this attachment style.
  • Avoidant attachment style, uncomfortable with intimacy and closeness. About 25% of an American sample have this style and structure their daily lives to avoid closeness.
  • Anxious-ambivalent attachment style, want but simultaneously fear a relationship. About 11% of an American sample have this style.
  • Norms-rules that implicitly or explicitly govern members of group
  • Roles-behaviors expected of a group member in a given position
  • Conformity-change in behavior in order to follow group’s norms.
  • Informational social influence-change in behavior based on how others think and act in social situations.
  • Normative social influence-change based in a desire to be liked or thought of in a positive manner.
  • Asch’s studies showed that people are more likely to conform to the majority view when they are part of a cohesive group. In contrast, people are less likely to conform to the majority view if at least one other person dissents or if they have a strong desire to retain a sense of individuality.
  • Obedience to an order to harm someone is more likely when the person issuing the order is authoritative and nearby. However, not everyone obeys such orders, and the specifics of the situation help determine the level of obedience.
    • Milgram study-study of obedience. Whether or not someone would obey orders to inflict pain on innocent people (shock).
  • The style of a group’s decision-making depends on the group’s goals and composition and on the ways in which members articulate their views to the group.
    • Majority-win rule-larger the majority, the more likely their choice wins.
    • Truth-win rule-inherent correctness of a minority position is eventually recognized by group.
    • Group polarization-groups members’ opinions to become more extreme (same direction as initial opinions) after group discussion.
    • Groupthink-problem solve together, accept each other’s information and ideas w/o subjecting them to critical analysis.
    • Social loafing-when some members do not contribute as much.
    • Social facilitation-increase in performance that can occur simply as a result of being part of a group or in the presence of others.
    • Altruism-motivation to increase another’s welfare.
    • Bystander effect-someone doesn’t offer help in an emergency because there are others around and they think they will help.


Unit 6

  • Psychological Disorder-mental condition characterized by cognitive, emotional, and behavioral symptoms that create significant distress; impair a person’s work, school, family, relationships, or daily living; or lead to significant risk of harm.
  • Distress-repeatedly bursting into tears, expressing hopelessness of future, chronic worrying, feeling sad for long periods of time
  • Impairment-severe anxiety-cannot perform job; emotional outbursts drive others away.
  • Risk of harm-put a life at risk intentionally/accidentally; yours or others
  • Depressive and bipolar disorders are mood disorders. They include major depressive disorder (MDD) and bipolar disorder, both of which may have psychotic features.
  • MDD is characterized by a depressed mood, loss of pleasure, fatigue, weight loss, poor sleep, a sense of worthlessness or guilt, and poor attention and concentration.
  • Affects ABS: Affect (mood); Behavior (actions); Cognition (thoughts)
  • Diagnosis: depressed majority of day and have at least 5 sx x 2+ wks.
    • Significantly lower levels of pleasure or interest in activities
    • Difficulty getting a full night’s sleep or sleeping too much
    • Unintentional changes in weight or appetite
    • A feeling of not caring about one’s life
    • Restlessness or sluggishness
    • Persistent fatigue
    • An inappropriate sense of worthlessness and guilt
    • Difficulty focusing, thinking clearly, or deciding among choices
    • Thoughts of “ending it all,” but no specific plan
  • Bipolar disorder is characterized either by one or more episodes of mania or by alternating episodes of hypomania and depression. These disorders can arise in part because of genes and brain abnormalities, but events at the levels of the person and group play a role in onset or relapse
  • Anxiety-sense of dread of apprehension
  • The anxiety disorders include panic disorder, agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder (social phobia), and specific phobia
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)-excessive anxiety and worry not consistently related to a specific object/situation. 3% of Americans have.
  • Panic disorder-recurrent panic attacks; episodes of intense fear, anxiety; or discomfort accompanied by physical and psychological symptoms: palpitations, breathing difficulties, chest pain, nausea, sweating, dizziness, fear of impending doom, fear of doing something crazy or uncontrollable.
    • Typically triggered by specific situation/object
    • Symptoms peak w/in a few mins after attack begins and can last mins-hours
  • Phobias-exaggerated fear of specific object/activity/situation.
    • Extreme lengths to avoid feared object or situation that would cause significant anxiety or panic if encountered.
  • Agoraphobia (fear/avoid places that may be difficult to leave plane, mall), social anxiety disorder (fear of public embarrassment/humiliation: avoid public speaking/performing), specific phobia (animals/bugs/situations (bus/elevator/flying))
  • Schizophrenia-symptoms of psychosis profoundly alter one’s affect, behavior, and thoughts.
    • Schizophrenia is characterized by two types of symptoms: positive and negative.
  • Positive symptoms-excess/distortion of normal functions: hallucinations, delusions, and disorders of speech or behavior.
  • Negative symptoms-lessening/loss of normal functions: diminished emotional expression and avolition.

Diagnosis: 2+ symptoms (positive/negative); at least 1 symptoms is among first 3 positive symptoms; symptoms present for significant amount of time in 1mo period; other signs of impaired functioning x6+mos

Average onset: 20s

symptoms emerge gradually

Prodromal phase: Slow deteriorating functioning; outburst of anger; withdrawal; diminished pleasure; poor hygiene

Active phase (psychotic episode): full positive/negative symptoms arise

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by obsessions and compulsions.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) occurs in response to traumatic events. It involves intrusive symptoms of reliving the trauma as well as avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma, changes in mood and cognition, and heightened arousal.

Symptoms last longer than a month.

Symptoms: persistent intrusive symptoms: involuntary, distressing, r/t event, extreme bodily reaction when exposed to cues r/t event; persistent avoidance of anything associated w/trauma; persistent negative changes in thoughts/mood associated with event: difficulty remembering important aspects of events/distorted thinking about it; heightened arousal/reactivity: startling easy, difficulty sleeping, being constantly hypervigilant

Diagnosis: 3 conditions met: experiences/witnesses’ serious injury, sexual violence, death.

  • Anorexia nervosa– significantly low weight, behaviors that interfere with weight gain or a fear of weight gain, and distorted body image
  • Bulimia nervosa-recurrent binge eating followed by attempts to prevent weight gain.
  • Personality disorders are characterized by relatively stable personality traits (such as being impulsive) that are inflexible and maladaptive, causing distress or difficulty with daily functioning.
  • Antisocial personality disorder-long standing pattern of disregard for other people to the point of violating their rights. Typically commit illegal acts, lie, impulsive, irresponsible, physically aggressive, reckless disregard safety of others, seem indifferent to others suffering.
  • Psychological disorders can be explained by factors at the levels of the brain (genes and neurotransmitters), person (maladaptive learning and thought patterns), and group (social stress).
    • Depression-neurotransmitters-abnormal serotonin levels
    • phobias-brain structure/function-overactive amygdala
  • The diathesis-stress model regards psychological disorders as arising from neurological and other factors that make some people more vulnerable to developing disorders, which are then triggered by stress.
  • The biopsychosocial model regards psychological disorders as arising from interactions among biological, psychological, and social factors, with some researchers arguing for a digital factor to also be included.


  • Insight-oriented therapy aims to remove distressing symptoms by helping patients understand psychological causes of their symptoms.
  • The humanistic approach to insight-oriented therapy is client-centered therapy, in which therapists offer acceptance, encouragement, and advice to help clients achieve their potential.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) helps reduce problematic behaviors and irrational thoughts and develop new, more adaptive behaviors and beliefs. seeks to treat the symptoms of mental illness rather than find the underlying causes. It is composed of cognitive and behavioral therapies.
  • Behavioral therapies focus on modifying observable, measurable behaviors. use classical and operant conditioning to create new patterns of behavior.
    • Classical conditioning-neutral stimulus becomes associated with unconditioned stimulus and causes reflexive behavior.
    • Operant conditioning-stimulus and response become associated with consequences of making a response.

Behavioral therapy techniques:

  • Exposure-treat anxiety disorders. Repeated encounters with a stimulus makes a person less responsive to that stimulus.
  • Stimulus control-client controls how often stimulus encountered that elicits conditioned response-goal: decreasing/increasing frequency of response.
  • Systematic desensitization-taught to be relaxed in presence of feared object/situation. Treats phobias. 2 steps: relaxation; contact w/feared stimulus.
  • Behavior modification-uses operant conditioning principles to change a specific behavior. Uses reinforcement, self-monitoring, or punishment.
  • reinforcement/punishment-positive reinforcement: something desirable presented after behavior; negative reinforcement: something undesirable removed after behavior.
  • Extinction-eliminates behavior by not reinforcing it
  • Self-monitoring-helps identify problematic behavior, causes of and consequences; and how behavior modification can be achieved.
  • Cognitive therapies teach patients to use self-reflection and evidence-gathering to challenge distorted thinking and develop more rational thought patterns
  • Dialectical behavior therapy uses both insight-oriented and cognitive-behavioral approaches to improve the quality of life of people with borderline personality disorder.
  • Interpersonal therapy (IPT)-mutual-based treatment that helps understand how aspects of current relationships can affect their mood and behavior. Can be used to treat depression and bulimia nervosa. Goal: help relationships function better and become more satisfying.
  • EMDR-having client visualize disturbing images that led to trauma. Can be used to treat anxiety and PTSD. Goal: decrease intense negative emotions associated w/traumatic events. It desensitizes to traumatic images and extinguishes the symptoms.
  • Motivational interviewing-client responsible for their own change. Used to treat substance abuse and addictions. Goal: increase client’s own motivation for commitment/change. How: expresses empathy that change can be difficult and highlight discrepancies between client’s current behaviors and how they’d like to be.
  • Therapists can provide eclectic therapy by using a variety of different approaches.
  • Individual therapy is a type of therapy in which only one client is treated by a therapist at a time.
  • Group therapy is a type of therapy wherein clients with similar needs or goals meet with a therapist.
  • Self-help groups are available as support groups where members focus on solving problems.
  • Antipsychotic drugs (neuroleptics) can be used in the treatment of psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia; they reduce psychotic symptoms. Thorazine, Haldol, Risperdal
  • SSRIs developed in the 1980s and are used in the treatment of various mood disorders. They work on selective serotonin receptors and generally have fewer side effects than other antidepressants. Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil
  • SNRIs do not fall into the existing categories of antidepressants. These drugs affect both the serotonin and norepinephrine systems. Serzone, Effexor, Remeron
  • The placebo effect occurs when a medically inactive substance has a medicinal effect.
  • Benzodiazepines can reduce panic symptoms for up to 36 hours. Can cause drowsiness, can be lethal w/alcohol; can develop tolerance/dependance, have w/d sx. RX’d short term use. Xanax, Klonopin
  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is the use of electrical current to induce a seizure. It can be used to treat disabling depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. The mechanism of action is not fully understood.
    • ECT can cause memory loss. It also requires general anesthesia and, therefore, hospitalization. Due to these complications, it is typically used only after other treatments have failed.
      • ECT side effects: memory loss for events right before, during, after each treatment.
    • Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is the use of magnetic pulses to induce an electric current in the brain. This current can be used to either stimulate or inhibit brain activity.
      • TMS can reduce symptoms of psychological disorders, mainly depression. Also only given when no improvement with medication.
      • Low frequency pulses inhibit neural activity; it has been shown to reduce hyperactivity of brain areas associated with GAD/PTSD. Currents that pulse 5x/second stimulate greater activity. High frequency pulses reduce depression sx by stimulating the cerebral cortex.
      • Advantages of TMS vs ECT: easier to administer, does not require anesthesia/hospitalization; minimal side effects (5-20% have HA).


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