Chapter 1. Introduction to Psychology

Chapter 1. Key Terms

action research
a research method in which researchers and participants collaborate to identify and address practical problems in a particular setting or community

American Psychological Association (APA)

professional organization representing psychologists in the United States


focus on observing and controlling behavior


study of how biology influences behavior

biopsychosocial model

perspective that asserts that biology, psychology, and social factors interact to determine an individual’s health, actions, thoughts and feelings

Cognitive Revolution
period in the 1950s and 1960s where psychologists shifted their focus from behaviorism to the study of mental processes, such as perception, memory, and problem-solving.

cultural psychology
A subfield of psychology that studies how culture shapes and influences human behavior and mental processes, including perception, cognition, and emotion.


long research paper about research that was conducted as a part of the candidate’s doctoral training

empirical method

method for acquiring knowledge based on observation, including experimentation, rather than a method based only on forms of logical argument or previous authorities

refers to the tendency of people to view and judge other cultures based on the standards and values of their own culture, often resulting in a biased or narrow perspective.

The pseudoscientific belief in improving the human race by selectively breeding people with desirable traits, condemned today as unethical and discriminatory.

feminist psychology
focuses on the ways in which gender and gender-related issues impact behavior and mental processes, and aims to promote gender equality and challenge gender-based biases and stereotypes.


focused on how mental activities helped an organism adapt to its environment

Gestalt Psychology
Perspective in psychology that emphasizes the holistic nature of perception, where individuals perceive objects as whole entities rather than a collection of parts. It emphasizes the role of context and organization in shaping perception and understanding.

graduate-level degree
An advanced academic degree beyond the undergraduate level, usually requiring 2+ years of coursework and research at the Masters level, and 5+ years at the Doctoral level

graduate school
A school or department within a university that offers advanced academic programs leading to graduate-level degrees, such as master’s and doctoral degrees.

health service psychology
A branch of psychology that focuses on the integration of psychological principles and practices in the provision of healthcare services, includes Clinical Psychology, Counseling Psychology, and School Psychology.

perspective within psychology that emphasizes the potential for good that is innate to all humans

process by which someone examines their own conscious experience in an attempt to break it into its component parts

liberal arts education
emphasizes a broad education, including humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and mathematics, to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Liberatory psychology
emphasizes social justice and the liberation of marginalized and oppressed individuals and groups from systemic forms of oppression and discrimination, through the use of critical consciousness and collective action.

personality psychology
study of patterns of thoughts and behaviors that make each individual unique

personality trait
consistent pattern of thought and behavior

(doctor of philosophy) doctoral degree conferred in many disciplinary perspectives housed in a traditional college of liberal arts and sciences

postdoctoral training program
allows young scientists to further develop their research programs and broaden their research skills under the supervision of other professionals in the field

psychoanalytic theory
focus on the role of the unconscious in affecting conscious behavior

study of the mind and behavior

(doctor of psychology) doctoral degree that places less emphasis on research-oriented skills and focuses more on application of psychological principles in the clinical context

reductionist approach
breaks complex phenomena into simpler components, often oversimplifying complex phenomena, leading to an incomplete understanding of human behavior and experience. Typically neglects the role of contextual factors.

replication crisis
difficulty in repeating and confirming previously published research, particularly in psychology and social sciences. This has raised concerns about biased or weak research methods, leading to calls for more rigorous and transparent scientific practices.

scientific method
A systematic approach to investigating phenomena based on empirical evidence and logical reasoning.

sociocultural framework
An approach to understanding human behavior and experience that emphasizes the influence of social and cultural factors, such as language, values, and cultural norms.

understanding the conscious experience through introspection

traditional canon of knowledge
refers to a set of standard works or concepts that are considered to be important and essential to a particular field of study or culture.

WEIRD participants
People from Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic societies used in social science research that may not generalize to other cultures.


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Introduction to Psychology (A critical approach) Copyright © 2021 by Jill Grose-Fifer; Rose M. Spielman; Kathryn Dumper; William Jenkins; Arlene Lacombe; Marilyn Lovett; and Marion Perlmutter is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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