Psychology multi-choice quiz 2

Table of Contents

Psychology multi-choice quiz
Psychology multi-choice quiz

1. In an instance of _______ recovery, a conditioned response that has been extinguished reappears when a person is exposed to a related stimulus. A. incomplete B. spontaneous C. generalized D. automatic 2. You want to condition a pet pig to come running for a food reward when you blow a whistle. In the process of this conditioning effort, the main idea is to A. teach the pig to pay attention to the sound of a whistle. B. teach the pig to expect food when it’s hungry. C. pair a conditioned stimulus with an unconditioned stimulus. D. pair a neutral stimulus with an unconditioned stimulus.

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Psychology multi-choice quiz

3. Which of the following statements regarding latent learning is most accurate? A. Latent learning occurs without reinforcement. B. Latent learning occurs in spite of negative reinforcement. C. Latent learning doesn’t require cognitive processes. D. Latent learning suggests that environmental knowledge is genetically predetermined. 4. According to information provided in your text, circadian rhythms are associated with A. attacks of sleep apnea. B. the occurrence of anxiety attacks. C. the time of month that pregnant women are likely to go into labor. D. cycles of waking and sleeping. 5. A casino slot machine has a random chance of paying out a prize each time a wager is made. This would be an example of A. variable-ratio schedule. B. fixed-ratio schedule . C. non-variable-ratio schedule. D. random-variable ratio schedule. 6. An important reason why people forget something is that they didn’t pay much attention to it in the first place. Psychologists refer to this kind of forgetting as A. encoding failure. B. cue-dependent. C. decay. D. interference related. 7. The most frequently abused nervous system depressant is A. cocaine. B. caffeine. C. alcohol. D. marijuana. 8. After taking the drug, Rupert reported vivid hallucinations, altered perception of sounds and colors, and distorted time perception. It’s most likely that the drug Rupert took was A. LSD. B. MDMA. C. cocaine. D. marijuana.

Psychology multi-choice quiz

9. Prescott is an old hand in the print shop. He insists that there’s only one dependable kind of process for printing a three-color brochure. By contrast, Baldwin recognizes several different approaches to three-color printing through the use of new digital technologies. Psychologists would say Prescott’s point of view is limited by his A. obsessive perfectionism. B. mental set. C. mental laziness. D. fundamental fixation. 10. A particular kind of neuron, called a _______ neuron, fires when we observe someone else’s behavior. A. cognitive B. mirror C. reflective D. modeling 11. During the _______ phase of problem solving, a means-ends analysis is a very common heuristic. A. preparation B. algorithm C. production D. judgment 12. While talking to Jim, Mary recalled that his birthday tomorrow. Mary wished him a happy birthday. What type of memory did Mary exhibit? A. Implicit B. Event C. Explicit D. Numerical 13. A common repetitive technique for moving new information from short-term memory to long-term memory is called A. reduction. B. selective reduction. C. elaboration. D. rehearsal. 14. A _______ reinforcement is one that satisfies a biological need. A. conditional B. positive C. primary D. neutral

Psychology multi-choice quiz

15. In a lab devoted to sleep disorders, Julio points to the brain wave monitor, turns to Laura and says, “Subject is going into non-REM stage 2.” Laura looking at the monitor, says, “Got it; I’m recording the time.” What would Laura and Julio see on the monitor to assure them that the subject has entered stage 2 sleep? A. Brain waves are irregular and episodic. B. Brain waves are getting slower and more regular. C. Sleep disturbance is indicated by sharp wave spikes. D. Sleep spindles appear. 16. Which of the following would be considered an unconditioned response? A. A monkey hits a red button when exposed to a bright light in order to receive a bit of food. B. A dog barking when asked if it wants to go for a walk. C. Pulling back your hand when touching a hot stove. D. Getting excited when hearing a ring that sounds similar to the ringing of a winning casino game. 17. Which of the following statements regarding REM sleep is true? A. REM sleep occurs during stage 3 sleep. B. Dreaming causes major muscle contractions and tossing and turning. C. REM sleep occurs only during stage 4 sleep. D. Roughly 20 percent of adult sleep time is accompanied by REM. 18. You deprive your six-year-old of dessert each time he fails to eat his spinach. In this sort of _______, you weaken a response through taking away something pleasant or desired. A. positive punishment B. negative punishment C. positive reinforcement D. negative reinforcement 19. Trying to make sense of an article in the world events section of the Daily Mirror, Matlock turns to Thomas and asks, “Where’s Khartoum?” Thomas, looking up from his coffee, says, “Africa. It’s the capital of Sudan.” If you hold with the idea that long-term memory includes distinct modules, what sort of memory does Thomas’s reply indicate? A. Declarative¡ªepisodic B. Declarative¡ªsemantic C. Procedural¡ªepisodic D. Procedural¡ªsemantic 20. Natasha has been living Philadelphia for several months and is rapidly mastering the English language. However, she often turns to her American friend, Emily, when she is uncertain about a concept. One day, Natasha turns to Emily and asks, “What are you meaning when you say this word ‘vehicle’?” If you were Emily, which of these prototypes would be most likely to point to feel fairly certain that Natasha “gets it”? A. An elevator B. An automobile C. A jet liner passing overhead. D. An escalator

Study Guide

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Essentials of Psychology By

Robert G. Turner Jr., Ph.D.

About the Author

Robert G. Turner Jr., Ph.D., has more than 20 years of teaching and education-related experience. He has taught seventh-grade sci- ence, worked as a curriculum developer for the Upward Bound Program, and taught sociology, social psychology, anthropology, and honors seminars at the university level. As a professional writer, he has written nonfiction books, journal and magazine arti- cles, novels, and stage plays.

Copyright © 2013 by Penn Foster, Inc.

All rights reserved. No part of the material protected by this copyright may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be mailed to Copyright Permissions, Penn Foster, 925 Oak Street, Scranton, Pennsylvania 18515.

Printed in the United States of America


All terms mentioned in this text that are known to be trademarks or service marks have been appropriately capitalized. Use of a term in this text should not be regarded as affecting the validity of any trademark or service mark.













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YOUR COURSE Welcome to Essentials of Psychology! You’re entering a course of study designed to help you better understand yourself and others. For that reason, you can think of this course as practical. It should be of use to you in living your life and reaching the goals you set for yourself.

You’ll use two main resources for your course work: this study guide and your textbook, Psychology and Your Life, 2nd Edition, by Robert S. Feldman.

OBJECTIVES When you complete this course, you’ll be able to

n Describe the science and methodologies of psychology in the context of its historical origins and major perspectives

n Outline the fundamental structure of the human nervous system and explain how it relates to the organization of human sensory perception

n Relate altered states of consciousness to sleep, hypnosis, meditation, sensory deprivation, and physiological responses to psychoactive drugs

n Discuss the basic concepts of behavioral psychology, including classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and cognitive learning theory

n Describe the nature of human memory in relationship to thinking processes, intelligence, creativity, and intuition

n Explain the basic concepts of human motivation in relationship to emotions

n Discuss concepts and models of personality, including psychodynamic, trait, learning, evolutionary, and humanistic approaches

n Explain concepts of intelligence and describe approaches to assessing and measuring intelligence


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n Differentiate a healthy personality from a disordered personality in the context of mental health and stress management

n Discuss basic influences of social life and how people respond to them

COURSE MATERIALS Your Essentials of Psychology course provides you with the materials listed below:

1. This study guide, which includes

n A lesson assignments page that lists the schedule of assigned readings in your textbook

n Self-checks and answers that allow you to measure your understanding of the course material

n Introductions to the lessons and assignments

2. Your course textbook, Psychology and Your Life, 2nd Edition, by Robert S. Feldman, which contains your assigned readings

YOUR TEXTBOOK Success in your course depends on your knowledge of the text. For that reason, you should take some time to look through it from front to back. Give yourself a sense of how the material is arranged. Here are some of the key features of your text:

n “About the Author” is found with the front matter of your text.

n A brief table of contents is found with the front matter of your text.

n An extended table of contents is found with the front matter of your text.

n A preface gives you an overview of chapter features.

Instructions to Students 3

n “To the Students” is a vital feature of your text. We strongly recommend that you become familiar with the author’s SQ3R method and take full advantage of tips for effective study and test-taking strategies.

n A modular format divides each chapter into related topic groups.

n “Learning Outcomes” are listed at the beginning of each module.

n “Study Alerts” are highlighted in text margins. They’ll help you stay focused on key ideas and concepts.

n “From the Perspective of…” shows you how psychology impacts different professions.

n “Becoming an Informed Consumer of Psychology” helps you think about practical applications of psychology in your everyday life.

n “Exploring Diversity” offers you opportunities for critical analysis of psychological issues across cultures and eth- nic groups.

n “Full Circle” end-of-chapter features give you a concept map for modules included in a chapter.

n A “Key Terms” summary helps you remember what you need to remember.

n “Looking Ahead/Looking Back” introduces key concepts of the next chapter and summarizes the chapter you’ve just completed to reinforce your learning.

n “Recap/Evaluate/Rethink” end-of-module activities are directly related to the module’s learning outcomes.

n “Case Studies” at the end of each chapter offer excellent opportunities to apply and analyze chapter content.

n Your text’s illustrations are captioned as figures. The information contained in these graphics should be seen as parts of your assigned text material. Assume their content will reappear in self-checks and lesson exams.

A STUDY PLAN This study guide is intended to help you achieve the maximum benefit from the time you spend on this course. It isn’t meant to replace your textbook. Instead, it serves as an introduction to material you’ll read in the text and as an aid to assist you in understanding this material.

This study guide provides your assignments in five lessons. Each lesson contains two to three chapter assignments, with Evaluate quizzes and a self-check for each assignment. A multiple-choice examination follows each lesson. Be sure to complete all work related to a lesson before moving on to the next lesson.

For each lesson, do the following:

1. Read the instructions to each assignment in this study guide. The instructions will provide you with the pages in the textbook that must be read.

2. Now read the assigned pages in this study guide.

3. Then read the assigned pages in the textbook.

4. When you’ve finished the assignment, complete the self- check, Evaluate quizzes, and discussion board posting. Note: The Evaluate quizzes and self-checks aren’t graded and are for your use only—don’t send your answers to the school.

â Self-Checks: The self-checks are designed to indi- cate how well you understand the material, so test yourself honestly. Make every effort to complete the questions before turning to the answers at the back of the study guide. If you find any weak areas, return to the text and review the relevant material until you understand it.

â Evaluate Quizzes: With the exception of Assignment 12, each assignment lists Evaluate quizzes for you to complete. Once you’ve taken the Evaluate quizzes, you’ll find the answers upside-down on the same page as the quiz. As with the self-checks, make every effort to complete the questions before turning

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to the answers. If you find any weak areas, return to the text and review the relevant material until you understand it.

â Discussion Board Posting: Each lesson has a required discussion board that’s located on your stu- dent portal. In order to receive credit for the discussion board, you must make an initial response to the question and respond to at least two other students.

5. Follow this procedure for all assignments until you’ve completed the lesson.

6. Once you’re confident that you understand all the material for the lesson, complete the multiple-choice lesson exam- ination. The examination is open-book and is based on both textbook and study guide material.

7. Repeat steps 1–6 for the remaining lessons in this study guide.

If you have any questions, email your instructor.

Now review the lesson assignments on the following pages of this study guide. Then begin your study of psychology with Lesson 1, Assignment 1.

Good luck, and enjoy your studies!

Instructions to Students 5


Instructions to Students6

Lesson 1: Psychology: The Science of the Mind For: Read in the Read in

study guide: the textbook:

Assignment 1 Pages 9–20 Chapter 1

Assignment 2 Pages 22–30 Chapter 2

Assignment 3 Pages 32–40 Chapter 3

Examination 250053 Material in Lesson 1 Discussion Board 250054

Lesson 2: The Mind at Work For: Read in the Read in

study guide: the textbook:

Assignment 4 Pages 43–51 Chapter 4

Assignment 5 Pages 52–60 Chapter 5

Assignment 6 Pages 61–73 Chapter 6

Examination 250055 Material in Lesson 2 Discussion Board 250056

Lesson 3: Motivation, Emotion, Development, and Personality For: Read in the Read in

study guide: the textbook:

Assignment 7 Pages 75–84 Chapter 7

Assignment 8 Pages 85–97 Chapter 8

Assignment 9 Pages 99–114 Chapter 9

Examination 250057 Material in Lesson 3 Discussion Board 250058

Essay 250059


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Lesson 4: Psychological Disorders For: Read in the Read in

study guide: the textbook:

Assignment 10 Pages 121–131 Chapter 10

Assignment 11 Pages 133–141 Chapter 11

Examination 250060 Material in Lesson 4 Discussion Board 250061

Lesson 5: Psychology for Two or More For: Read in the Read in

study guide: the textbook:

Assignment 12 Pages 143–149 Pages 484–501

Assignment 13 Pages 151–162 Pages 502–533

Examination 250062 Material in Lesson 5 Discussion Board 250063 Case Studies 250064

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Note: To access and complete any of the examinations for this study

guide, click on the appropriate Take Exam icon on your student portal.

You shouldn’t have to enter the examination numbers. These numbers

are for reference only if you have reason to contact Student Services.


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Psychology: The Science of the Mind

INTRODUCTION You’ll begin this lesson with an overview of psychology as a science. You’ll learn its goals and major perspectives. Next, you’ll get a critical discussion of the nature of science. This part of your assignment is essential for two reasons. First, getting the most out of this course requires you to take the scientific point of view. Second, you should get into the habit of critical thinking, always remembering that science isn’t about believing; it’s about investigating. The second assign- ment will introduce you to the relationship between the nervous system, the brain, and behavior. You’ll discover how hormones produced by the body’s endocrine system regulate body processes, including aspects of behavior. The final assignment introduces you to the fascinating perplexities of sensation and perception. You’ll discover how our senses, like vision, hearing, and touch, enter into psychological experi- ence. In this context, you’ll also get some insight into how sensory stimuli are organized precisely through the ways we perceive the world around us.

ASSIGNMENT 1—INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGY Read this assignment. Then read Chapter 1 in your textbook.

Psychologists at Work

What Is Psychology?

Psychologists try to describe, explain, and predict human behavior and mental processes. In this way, psychologists aim to help people live healthier, happier lives.

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What Are the Subfields of Psychology?

Because behavior and mental processes can be viewed in different ways, there are subfields of psychology. Neuroscientists attempt to understand the biological roots of behavior. Developmental psychology studies the ways in which psychological processes change throughout the human life cycle. Clinical psychologists attempt to diagnose and treat psychological problems, like depression.

By far, clinical psychologists make up the largest number of psychological specialists. Further, most are engaged in private practice, and more than half of all psychologists work in mental health services—typically helping people with their mental and emotional problems.

A Science Evolves

What Are the Roots of Psychology?

The first part of this section tells you about the main traditional schools of psychology. The term school here refers to a per- spective or point of view. The traditional schools of psychology developed as the science of psychology developed. You’ll be challenged to think about how the schools of psychology developed over time.

Structuralism developed in the late nineteenth century as one of the earliest views of human behavior. In 1879, a German researcher named Wilhelm Wundt became interested in how people respond to a stimulus. A stimulus is anything that causes a response or a reaction of some kind. (Stimuli is the plural of stimulus.) Heat, light, a pinprick, and loud noises are examples of stimuli. Wundt conducted his studies by introspection. Introspection involves paying attention to your own consciousness, thoughts, and feelings. Wundt thought that observing the effects of stimuli and then using self-observa- tion through introspection would help us understand human behavior. Basically, structuralists wanted to sort out the differ- ent parts that make up the human mind. However, because they depended so much on introspection, structuralists couldn’t agree on many things.

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Functionalism was developed mainly by William James. James broadened the concerns of psychology to include the nature of consciousness and the purposes of religion in human life, as well as the ways people respond to stimuli. Because his work was so broad and full of insight, it remains of interest today. The term functionalism refers to the attempt to understand how the human mind helps people adapt to their environments.

Gestalt psychology developed mainly in Europe (while behav- iorism was being developed in the United States). Its main contribution to psychology was to help us understand that we respond to the context of things we experience. Gestalt theorists liked to say, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” For example, when you listen to a song that you like, you don’t enjoy each individual note independently of the others. Instead, you enjoy the overall melody that’s cre- ated when all of the notes are combined in a particular way.

There were founding mothers in the science of psychology. A few of them, like Karen Horney (pronounced “HORN-eye”), extended the perspectives of the school with which they were associated. In the case of Dr. Horney, that meant extending the psychoanalytic theory of Sigmund Freud to pay more attention to social and cultural factors.

Today’s Perspectives

The neuroscience perspective focuses on the ways in which biological processes, in humans and animals, underlie behaviors and behavioral responses of all kinds. The perspective includes studies of evolutionary biology—how behaviors have evolved as species have evolved—and the role of genetics in behavioral processes.

The psychodynamic perspective holds that our behavior is largely shaped by the nature of our personality and by unconscious forces in the psyche. In the psychoanalytic view, the mind is a layered thing, and the depths of it remain largely mysterious and unknown to us. The term psyche usually refers to the entire mystery of mind, consciousness, experience, and memory. The word itself comes from the Greek word for soul. The psychodynamic view comes

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primarily from the psychoanalytic theory developed by Sigmund Freud. Today, while many aspects of Freudian theory have lost favor, the psychodynamic perspective continues to help us understand things like prejudice and aggression. We’ll cover this perspective in some detail in Chapter 11.

The behavioral perspective became a dominant point of view in psychology as issues like the nature of consciousness lost popularity. Many decided to concentrate on observable and measurable (overt) behaviors and ignore the study of con- sciousness itself. Behaviorism is the study of how organisms, including human beings, learn behaviors by responding to stimuli. The behaviorist view emphasizes the idea that our behavior is shaped by our environment. That is, human behavior—and that of all organisms—is shaped by adaptive responses that best manage environmental stimuli.

The cognitive perspective views behavior and human nature as related mainly to our cognitive processes. Cognitive processes include both our thoughts and our emotions, but researchers tend to focus mainly on thoughts. In this context, thought processes are compared to the ways in which computers work. Overall, this view seeks to understand how we perceive and interpret stimuli, solve problems, and make judgments.

The humanistic perspective objects to the determinism of other views of human behavior, particularly as represented by behaviorism. Determinism is the idea that human behavior is determined mainly by mechanical or biological forces over which people have little personal control. By way of contrast, a central tenet of the humanistic perspective is that humans have free will and can be enabled to be “the best that they can be.” In other words, we adapt to the world through inner motivations and through selected responses to sensory stimuli in our environment.

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Key Controversies in Psychology There are five major controversies in psychology. You may recognize that the opposed views represent deep philosophi- cal questions about human nature and our species’ place in the cosmic scheme—whatever that may be.

1. Is human development mainly a result of environmental factors or of genetic inheritance? This is the so-called nature-nurture debate. As it turns out, most researchers tend to suspect that both play a hand.

2. To what extent is behavior motivated by conscious as opposed to unconscious mental processes? The issue here can be thought of as one of free will. If we do things for unconscious reasons, we do what we do without knowing why we do it; hence, our behavior is determined.

3. What should be the focus of research in psychology? Should we focus on observable behaviors or on internal mental processes? In fact, clinical researchers in particu- lar tend to feel that both frames of reference need to be taken into account.

4. How much of our behavior results from free will as opposed to conditioned behavior? Once again, some would argue that behavior is a mixture of free choice and “automated,” or reflexive, responses.

5. To what extent is our behavior a result of individual dif- ferences as opposed to social and cultural influences? And, in that context, are there universal psychological principles that apply across cultures?

Research in Psychology

The Scientific Method

Although your textbook focuses on psychology, as you would expect, the methods of scientific research are identical from physics to biology to sociology. This section introduces you to the ways psychologists use the methods and principles of scientific research.

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There are four basic steps in scientific research:

1. Identify questions of interest. You pay attention to the world around you and ask questions about it. Scientific observation depends on empirical evidence—evidence that can be observed and measured. So, the first step in the scientific method is observation that’s both active and selective. In other words, we don’t try to observe and study everything, everywhere. We try to observe things that can provide empirical evidence. However, we do that selectively because we focus on phenomena that catch our attention and spark our interest.

2. Formulate an explanation. To define a problem, we must recognize that relationships can exist among different variables (things that can be measured) that produce measurable outcomes. For example, you may observe that children who are read to by their parents are better students than those who aren’t read to by their parents. Although you might assume that the parents are making a positive impact on their children’s academic abilities by reading to them, you’ll need to conduct research to verify your observations. That is, you can pose a hypothesis. A hypothesis is a scientific question that states a problem in a way that can be measured and tested. Put another way, every hypothesis is a statement that shows how we mean to study a problem in order to answer a question. Theory building results from testing many hypotheses to come to overall conclusions that best explain our find- ings. After conducting a lot of research, we might develop a theory. Or we might test a theory through research to see if it makes sense.

3. Carry out research. For example, a hypothesis relating school performance to being read to by parents might look like this:

Children who are read to by their parents are more likely to score above average on standard first-grade achievement tests than children who aren’t read to by their parents.

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What we must do now is use a research technique to support or disprove our hypothesis. We might use a correlational study. Or, better yet, if feasible, we can perform an experiment.

4. Communicate findings. Having gathered our evidence, for- mulated a hypothesis, and tested it through research, we can write a research report. If we can get it published in a scientific journal, other researchers can check our work and advance their own. Often, other researchers may do this through replication, doing the same research to see if it yields similar results.

Descriptive Research

All of the following are forms of descriptive research.

Archival research looks at existing data. It might be found in census data, court records, or the findings’ previous studies. That is, you examine what are normally called secondary sources. Archival research nearly always precedes any kind of primary (original) research, since one is well advised to discover what’s already known.

Naturalistic observation (observing behavior in natural environments) is a good way to gather descriptive informa- tion. If you want to see how children actually behave on a playground, you could spend some time eating your lunch each day at a playground. On the other hand, it’s possible that children being watched by an adult will behave differ- ently than they would with no adult around. This change in behavior is called the observer effect. To avoid it, you might set up hidden remote cameras around the playground. However, since many feel that the cameras would violate the children’s right to privacy, you may not get funding for that kind of research.

Another option would be to show up every day, sit in the same place, and never interfere with what the children are doing. This approach might overcome the observer effect since people tend to go back to their normal behaviors when they don’t perceive a threat from a silent observer. There’s no way to be sure of this. In any case, naturalistic observation is an important way to study the behavior of animals in the wild, as well as human beings at work and play.

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In survey research, we gather information from people using questionnaires or interview schedules. Surveys are often used to get a sense of people’s attitudes on different subjects. They’re often used to gauge a candidate’s support among voters. Among psychologists, surveys can be used to estimate the frequency with which people perform certain behaviors or experience intense emotion. As a rule, since it isn’t normally feasible to interview everyone in, say, the town of Mayberry, it’s necessary to draw a representative random sample. A random sample requires that everyone in a population to be studied has an equal chance of being selected. When a sam- ple is representative, we can generalize our finding to the larger study population.

A case study is a special kind of naturalistic study. It’s an intense, in-depth study of some individual or small group. A famous example involved a woman named Eve who seemed, in the opinion of her therapist, to have a large number of separate personalities. Even today, what’s called multiple personality disorder is a controversial subject. It’s controversial because the condition is very rare and because most of the evidence is derived from individual cases. That doesn’t mean that single case studies can’t provide valuable information. However, scientists do prefer other methods of study to support their hypotheses.

Correlational research examines the relationship between two or more variables. As noted, a variable is anything we can measure. Gender, age, education, IQ score, income, or even approval- disapproval of a social policy are examples of variables. For example, let’s say we want to understand the relationship of age to height among humans. We could gather height information from specific age groups to compare age and height. More than likely, we would discover that as age increases, so does height. In other words, as people get older (up to about age 20), they generally get taller.

If, in a correlational study, one variable increases as the other increases, we can say that age and height have a positive correlation. In some situations, however, the value of one variable increases as the value of a related variable decreases. For example, in an average population of people

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over 30, as individuals get older they tend to run a 400-meter race more slowly. In this case, age and running time repre- sent a negative correlation.

Correlational studies can be very useful. However, all they can do is show us that one variable is related to another to a greater or lesser extent. In studying different groups of people, for example, we may find that the correlation between age and creativity is either positive or negative. However, in neither case does our finding prove that people get more (or less) creative simply because they get older. In fact, we may find that the correlation is positive among artists and nega- tive among musicians. That wouldn’t tell us that there aren’t highly creative 50-year-old musicians. Nor would it confirm that there are few creative artists under the age of 50. A cor- relation shows only that a relationship exists among different variables. To prove that one variable causes another, we must turn to another method—the experiment.

Experimental Research

In science, the experiment is the king of research methods. Only through a carefully conducted experiment can we actually prove that one variable causes another. To under- stand the idea behind an experiment, let’s say we want to know if an experimental approach to studying sophomore- level history is better than the approach normally used at Jefferson High School (JHS). Here are the likely steps we’ll take to do our experiment:

1. Draw a representative sample of JHS sophomores. To make sure the sample is representative, we could get a list of all the sophomores. Let’s say there are 400 sopho- mores and we want a sample size of 40. We would use a randomizing technique that assures us that every student on the list has an equal chance of being selected, like drawing names out of a hat. (Each name we selected would then have to go back into the hat, so we could choose another name under the exact same conditions.)

2. Divide the sample of 40 into two groups of 20, using a randomizing technique like the one in step 1.

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3. Assign one group of 20 to a control group and the second group to an experimental group. The control group isn’t exposed to the independent variable, but the experimental group is.

4. Pick two classrooms that are identical. In one of these, stu- dents in the control group will receive a lesson on the Civil War. The standard lecture approach will be used. In the other classroom, the experimental group will get the same facts and ideas presented using a series of pictures and sound effects, along with the teacher’s instructions. That’s the experimental teaching approach. Again, we control for extraneous variables by making the conditions and environ- ment for the control and the experimental groups as similar as possible. In this case, for example, we would also want to run our experiment at the same time of day because performance typically varies, say, before lunch or after lunch.

5. After both groups of students have had their lesson on the Civil War, give them a test to see how well they’ve learned the material. The test for both groups will be identical. It will also be given to both groups under the same conditions and at the same time of day.

6. Compare the test scores to see if the students in the experimental group scored better or worse than those in the control group. If the scores in the experimental group are sufficiently higher than those in the control group, we’ll say we’ve shown that the experimental teaching method is superior to the standard method.

“Sufficiently higher” refers to statistical significance. That means that, under the laws of probability, the difference between scores in the control and experimental groups is great enough that it can’t be attributed to random fluctuation. In this experiment, the independent variables are the teaching methods. The dependent variable is the score each student gets on the evaluation test. If we conducted the experiment correctly, we can say that the independent variable caused the difference in the dependent variable.

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Research Challenges

Ethics of Research

Human behavior is derived from all kinds of motives. Ethical motivations, perhaps based on religious or philosophical perspectives, persuade us that subjects of research shouldn’t be harmed, physically or psychologically, by the research pro- cedure. A common principle of ethical research is called informed consent. People should be told what the research is for and what discomforts, if any, may be involved. A basic principle of informed consent is that prospective research subjects can “just say no.”

Should Animals Be Used in Research?

In fact, quite a lot of psychological research has been based on findings derived from observing animal behavior. Behaviorist B.F. Skinner based a lot of his theoretical concepts on the behavior of lab rats and pigeons. Two main questions are raised by reliance on animals in research: To what extent can we generalize animal behavior to human behavior? What constitutes cruelty to animals? There are no simple and easy answers to either question.

Experimental Validity

Research findings may or may not be valid. As an informed information “consumer,” you should understand this. Science can’t be based on opinion; it must be based on empirical (observable and measurable) data. The purpose of the research must be clear. If it’s meant to support or refute a theory, for example, that must be made explicit. The study must be properly conducted—as in the proper procedures for conducting an experiment. The results or findings must represent the actual data, not the researcher’s opinion or bias.

Experimental bias may weaken the validity of research findings. Basically, bias means seeing what we expect to see. In the case of experimenter expectations, findings may be biased when a researcher “telegraphs” what he or she expects to see from research subjects. Since research subjects are typically

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in a “peasant-to-lord” relationship, this sort of thing may lead to participant expectations bias. That is, the subjects will tend to produce behaviors and responses that the researcher seems to favor. And this sort of thing, which results from human impulses to conform to social expectations, may happen below the level of conscious awareness.

Sometimes circumstances that we don’t expect influence the outcome of experiments. The placebo effect is one these unexpected circumstances. The placebo effect occurs mostly in medical experiments, although it has also occurred in psychotherapy. In the placebo effect, people who take a placebo (a fake medicine) experience the same benefits from the drug as the people who are taking the real medicine. In other words, people who think they’re getting a remedy (though they’re not) may still show signs of improvement.

To overcome the confusion caused by the placebo effect, subjects may not be informed as to whether they’re taking the placebo or the actual drug. This is called a single-blind experiment. In a double-blind experiment, neither the patient nor the experimenter administering the pills knows who’s getting a drug or who’s getting a placebo.

Once you’ve finished studying Assignment 1, complete Self-Check 1 and the Evaluate quizzes on pages 11, 23, 34, and 41 in your textbook.

You’ll find the answers upside-down on the same page as the Evaluate


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Self-Check 1 At the end of each section of Essentials of Psychology, you’ll be asked to pause and check

your understanding of what you’ve just read by completing a “self-check” exercise.

Answering these questions will help you review what you’ve studied so far. Please

complete Self-Check 1 now.

1. I want to study the differences in fear responses to live, harmless snakes in a population

made of roughly equal numbers of girls and boys. My research hypothesis is that boys will be

less fearful of snakes than will girls. In my research, my _______ definition of “fear” will be

heart rate.

2. While _______ psychology studies how our behavior is influenced by genetic inheritance from

our ancestors, behavioral _______ focuses on how our genes and the environment, working

together, influence specific behaviors.

3. While I might very well use psychological _______ while conducting a case study, I’ll certainly

have to have a properly drawn _______ of my study population while conducting a survey


4. In an experiment, a/an _______ variable can be manipulated by the experimenter such that

the experimental group and the _______ group receive different kinds of training on how to

solve a puzzle.

5. Among today’s main psychological perspectives, only the _______ perspective proposes the

dynamic role of the unconscious in human behavior.

6. In the process of conducting scientific _______, I’ll gather data and then analyze the data.

7. In the research process called _______ observation, I might decide to observe the way

patients are treated in an actual nursing home.

8. The _______ perspective holds that each of us has the potential to seek and reach our

highest goals of fulfillment.

9. In conducting survey research, I find that the ability to solve a certain kind of problem

increases as the subjects of my study vary in age from 8 years old to 12 years old.

Taking a mathematical measure of this relationship will be the extent to which age

_______ to problem-solving ability.

10. Among major controversies in psychology, the idea that people have free will is opposed by

the assumption that behavior is caused by environmental factors. So, we could say that free

will is the opposite of _______.

Check your answers with those on page 167.

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ASSIGNMENT 2—NEUROSCIENCE AND BEHAVIOR Read this assignment. Then read Chapter 2 in your textbook.

Neurons: The Basic Elements of Behavior

The Structure of the Neuron

At this moment, there are billions of cells in your body. Nearly all of them are specialized as tissues. Tissues are groups of cells that are similar in appearance and perform special tasks. Specialized cells make up your voluntary mus- cles, your heart, and other organs of the body. Neurons are the specialized cells of the nervous system. They’re designed to transmit signals—called nerve impulses—along the “wiring system” of the body that connects the nervous system to all the other body tissues. Such “wires” are called nerves.

You should understand that a string of neurons is connected so that the axon fibers of one neuron are linked to the dendrites of another. This kind of linkage continues along the fiber until we find a network of axon terminals directly con- nected from the brain to some tissue, such as a muscle that moves your arm. Be sure to pay attention to terminal buttons at the ends of axons. They send messages to other neurons. Note the myelin sheath around the length of an axon. It serves as an insulator needed for the electrical properties of nerve impulses.

How Neurons Fire

Your textbook will help you understand the complexities of nerve impulses. Here, let’s simply say that the poet Walt Whitman was correct to write of the “body electric.” Neurons are like tiny batteries. They have a resting state, a negative resting potential of about 70 millivolts, which is their normal charge. When they’re stimulated electrically—by a flow of ions from other neurons—they reach a brief, positively charged

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action potential. That means they’re ready to allow a tiny jolt of electricity to flow through them. When a neuron does this, we say it’s firing. In every nerve, a string of neurons passes impulses along at about 200 miles per hour. As your textbook points out, a neuron either fires or doesn’t fire; it follows the all-or-none rule. There’s no such thing as a partial nerve impulse. When a neuron does fire, it becomes part of a string of neuron firings from one end of a nerve to its final destination.

Different kinds of neurons are specialized. For example, some specialize in outgoing messages, while others are adept at receiving messages from our environment. A fascinating type of neuron is the mirror neuron. Mirror neurons fire when a person enacts a particular behavior. However, they’ll also fire simply from observing that behavior in another person. Mirror neurons may help us understand the human capacity for understanding other people’s intentions or feelings.

Where Neurons Connect to One Another: Bridging the Gap

Keep in mind that nerve impulses function electrically and chemically. The electrical part is neuron firing. The chemical part occurs between neurons. It works like this: A neuron passes its signal to another neuron through a connection from one of its axon terminals to a dendrite (receiver) of the next neuron. The axon terminal and the end of a dendrite are close together, but they don’t actually merge. There’s a space between them called a synaptic gap. So, again, the impulse from neuron A to neuron B isn’t transmitted by an electrical charge, but rather by different kinds of chemical neurotrans- mitters. A neurotransmitter is a complex organic molecule that goes from axon to dendrite, carrying instructions to receptor sites. Receptor sites on a dendrite are like tiny docks for neurotransmitter molecules. When they dock, the dendrite will either fire or it won’t, depending on what kind of neuro- transmitters have docked there. The space between two neurons where the chemical transmission of information occurs is called a synapse.

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Neurotransmitters: Multitalented Chemical Couriers

There are many kinds of neurotransmitters. They include molecules with peculiar names like acetylcholine, dopamine, and serotonin. Some kinds of neurotransmitters excite neurons to fire; they deliver excitatory messages. Other kinds of neuro- transmitters inhibit firing; they deliver inhibitory messages. You can begin to see why certain drugs that can act like neurotransmitters may block pain impulses, make us excited, or calm us down.

The Nervous System and the Endocrine System

The Nervous System

The nervous system is divided into several parts. The central nervous system, or CNS, includes the brain and spinal cord. The spinal cord controls some of our more basic behaviors. These are referred to as reflexes. A reflex is a simple involun- tary response to a stimulus. Automatically pulling your hand back from a hot stove is an example. Three kinds of neurons are involved in reflexes. Sensory (afferent) neurons transmit messages from the perimeter of the body to the CNS. Motor (efferent) neurons send messages from the CNS to muscles and glands. Interneurons send messages between sensory and motor neurons.

The peripheral nervous system includes nerve “wiring” throughout the body. It’s made up of a somatic division and an autonomic division. The somatic system links the brain and spinal cord to all of the parts of our bodies and to our sensory organs, such as our eyes and ears. When we use the somatic nervous system, we’re generally doing so voluntarily. We move from the hot sun into the shade, we listen to music we like, and we look at the beauty of a sunset.

The autonomic nervous system, or ANS, has two parts that are easy to remember because they both regulate our invol- untary or automatic body processes, such as digesting food,

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running away from a threat, and relaxing to take a nap. The sympathetic division of the ANS activates us for action. The parasympathetic division of the ANS reduces our level of excitement or arousal.

All parts of the nervous system work together. We may weep over the loss of a friend as we write a letter of sympathy to his or her spouse. Weeping involves the ANS because it’s a reflex that arises from our feelings or emotions, while writing a letter involves the somatic nervous system as well as the information-processing areas of the brain.

Behavioral Genetics

In this section, you’ll get an introduction to the progress of research linking genetic inheritance to predispositions to all kinds of personality traits, including learning ability and sexual orientation, as well as different kinds of diseases.

The Endocrine System: Of Chemicals and Glands

The endocrine system consists of a number of glands that, when working together, act as a chemical-regulating system for all of the body’s processes. These chemical regulators are complex proteins called hormones. Hormones regulate digestion, sexual and reproductive functioning, sleep, hunger, sugar levels, and all kinds of other things that keep us going.

You can think of it in this way: The body needs to carry on a number of life functions, and the brain and the rest of the nervous system help us with these functions. However, many life processes need to be regulated chemically. The cells and tissues that make up your body need “instructions” provided by hormones. For example, when you’re trying to escape a grizzly bear, your nervous system will activate the adrenal glands that lie above your kidneys. The inner part of these glands—called the adrenal medulla—releases hormones called epinephrine and norepinephrine into the bloodstream. These hormones alert the cells, muscles, and organs for action. They make your heart beat faster and allow more blood and nutrients to flow to your muscles. The thyroid gland, located in the throat, regulates the rate at which your body uses energy by releasing a hormone called thyroxin in

Essentials of Psychology26

specific amounts at specific times. The pineal gland (on the underside of the brain) releases a hormone called melatonin. Melatonin responds to rhythms of light and darkness. In this way, it helps regulate our sleep cycle by preparing the body for the morning rush hour or that drowsy period right before we turn out the lights at night. In this age of rapid trans- portation, travel across time zones can disturb melatonin production, resulting in what’s known as jet lag.

The master gland that controls much of the activity of the other endocrine glands is called the pituitary gland. About the size of a pea, it’s located deep inside the forebrain. The pituitary has a partner, the hypothalamus, which is located near the pituitary gland. These two tiny glands work together in complicated ways to regulate hormone production throughout the body.

The Brain

Studying the Brain’s Functions: Spying on the Brain

This section introduces you to modern technologies used to explore the brain. They include the electroencephalogram (EEG), positron emission tomography (PET) scans, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans, and tran- scranial magnetic stimulation imaging (TMS).

The Central Core: Our “Old” Brain

The central core of the human brain is made up of pretty much the same elements found in the brains of vertebrates (animals with backbones). We call it “old” since related struc- tures are found way down the evolutionary scale in extinct species that lived millions of years before the arrival of the dinosaurs, much less our more immediate mammalian ancestors.

You can think of the central core as being divided into three sections: the hindbrain, the midbrain, and the forebrain. The spinal cord, protected by the vertebrae that run through our torso, leads to the hindbrain. Key features of the hindbrain

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include the brainstem, which includes the lowest portions of the brain and consists of the medulla and the cerebellum. The medulla is the thicker upper portion of the spinal cord. It contains centers for controlling important reflexes in your body, such as your heart and breathing rates. The cerebellum is like a mini brain that blossoms out just under the occipital lobes. It helps us with coordination, balance, and the complex movements mastered by athletes. (It’s better developed in cats than in humans.)

The pons—which comes from a Latin word meaning “bridge”—is actually a nerve bridge between the medulla and other areas of the brain. It looks like a little lump on the end of the brainstem.

The midbrain, at the end of the hindbrain, connects the spinal cord to the cerebrum. Think of the midbrain as a “switchboard” area for sorting nerve-impulse messages.

The reticular formation is an extension of the brain stem. It serves the important function of deciding which nerve impulses should go where and which should have priority. It’s a bit like a command and control center for incoming nerve messages. It extends through the midbrain into what’s called the forebrain. It includes groups of nerve cells that can prompt other parts of the brain into arousal. For example, a quick response to a loud noise is served by the reticular formation.

Within the forebrain, the thalamus is a “switchboard” for sensory messages on their way to the cerebral cortex. What you see, hear, taste, and smell is processed through the thalamus. The hypothalamus acts as a master control station for your emotions. When you laugh, cry, become sexually aroused, or just get thirsty, your hypothalamus is doing its job.

The Limbic System: Beyond the Central Core

The forebrain includes a group of structures referred to as the limbic system. The limbic system includes a group of structures related to self-preservation (as in fight or flight), learning, memory, the experience of pleasure, and fear.

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Within the forebrain and the limbic system, the amygdala is an almond-shaped body that produces our experience of fear. Fear should be a protective mechanism. However, many stim- uli that don’t pose real threats can send the amygdala into overtime, causing anxiety or phobias (discussed in detail later in this course). Damage to the amygdala can cause emotional blindness, and it may even lead to inappropriate emotional outbursts, such as laughing at a funeral.

Another major player in the limbic system is the hippocampus. It controls higher intellectual functions and helps us estab- lish long-term memories. A hippocampus structure is found in each of our temporal lobes. That may be why some of us scratch or rub that part of our head when we’re trying to remember something.

The Cerebral Cortex: Our “New Brain”

The outer layer of the cerebrum contains most (about 70%) of the neurons in the CNS and is called the cerebral cortex. You’ll notice in a picture of the cerebrum that it’s folded or wrinkled in various ways. These folds greatly increase the area of the cerebral cortex. The intelligence of humans com- pared with other animals is a result of both the size of the human cerebrum and all of those folds.

The cerebral cortex is divided into four different lobes. The occipital lobes—at the back of the skull—are vital to vision. The frontal lobes are associated with higher mental functioning, per- sonality, and complex motor behavior, like building a computer. (Damage to the frontal lobes can be quite devastating if you’re a theoretical physicist, a comedian, or a software programmer.) The parietal lobes—under the midportion of the skull—are asso- ciated mainly with sensation and sensory processing. Finally, the temporal lobes are associated with processing things we hear, called auditory stimuli. Because the left brain is associated with language, a person’s understanding of spo- ken words is usually impaired by left-temporal-lobe damage.

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Looked at in general terms, there are three general areas of the cerebral cortex:

1. The motor area is associated with voluntary movement. It has been very well mapped by brain researchers.

2. The sensory area includes three regions related to body sensations (like touch or pressure), sight, and sound.

3. The association areas are associated with higher mental functioning, memory, thinking, language, and speech.

The association areas (also called the association cortex) can be thought of as processing zones. They combine and sepa- rate sensory information and actions of the brain so that the specialized lobes can work together. In fact, the association cortex occupies all of the cerebral cortex that isn’t directly involved in processing sensory information or managing motor activities, like walking. For example, among associa- tion areas, Broca’s area is a speech-processing center of the left frontal lobe. Wernicke’s area is a speech-processing area of the left temporal lobe.

Neuroplasticity and the Brain

Not all that many years ago, it was assumed that people, having reached puberty, had a fixed number of neurons. As time passed, one would gradually run out of neurons and be reduced to inevitable senility. It now seems that was an overly dreary assessment.

In accounting for remarkable clinical cases requiring radical brain surgery, or recovery from severe head injuries, it now appears that the brain is engaged in continual reorganization. Not only are functions restored in interesting ways, but inter- connections among neurons become more complex over a lifetime. All of this is called neuroplasticity. Further, beyond the amazing facts of neuroplasticity, it’s now known that certain areas of the brain are capable of producing shiny new neurons in a process called neurogenesis. For the prospects of treating nervous system injuries and disorders—not to mention abating traditional stereotypes of older people—this is good news.

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The Specialization of the Hemispheres: Two Brains or One?

For better or worse, humans have very large brains. The largest part of the brain is called the cerebrum. An X-ray of the cerebrum reveals that it’s divided into two similar “loaves” called the cerebral hemispheres. (The two halves of the cere- brum are connected by a “bridge” of tough, fibrous tissue called the corpus callosum.) When you hear people talk about your right brain and your left brain, this is what they’re talk- ing about. The interesting thing about the two sides of the cerebrum is that they’re specialized. The right brain is nor- mally involved in applying overall patterns to objects and ideas. The left brain is more adept at linear thinking involving language. Interestingly, the main nerve pathways in the brain cross over. In other words, in most people, the left hand responds to right-brain signals, and the right hand responds to left-brain signals.

The capacity for certain cerebral activities to be “assigned” to either the left or right brain is called lateralization. The capacity for lateralization is thought to have evolved in humankind very recently in terms of the evolutionary time scale—a mere one million years ago. (The origins of Earth’s species through mutations and adaptive radiation, from simple to increasingly complex, date back about 500 million years.)

Your text properly gives you an overview of research indicat- ing typical differences in lateralization among males and females. The statistical evidence is sound. Women tend to distribute functions across hemisphere, and the female corpus callosum (connecting the two hemispheres) does contain more crossover connecting paths. However, recent research suggests that it isn’t safe to assume that females are inevitably more right-brained while males are inevitably more inclined to be left-brained. It turns out that variation in lateralization among individuals—male or female—is considerable.

Once you’ve finished studying Assignment 2, complete Self-Check 2 and the Evaluate quizzes on pages 55, 63, and 78 in your textbook.

Lesson 1 31

Self-Check 2 1. Looking at a string of neurons, we’ll see that axons are linked to dendrites across a junction

called a/an _______. This gap is bridged by biochemical nerve impulse transmitters called


2. The brain continually reorganizes itself in a process called _______.

3. The amygdala and the hippocampus are found in the _______ system of the brain.

4. The peripheral nervous system extends throughout the body. Its two major divisions include

the _______ division, which specializes in voluntary movement, and the autonomic division,

which handles involuntary functioning of organic processes like breathing.

5. An electroencephalograph (EEG) measures _______ activity in the brain, seen as wave

patterns, while positron emission tomography (PET) scans show us _______ activity within

the brain at a particular moment.

6. The _______ is referred to as the “new” part of our brain because it’s a relatively recent

development in the evolution of species.

7. In the neuron, looking a bit like linked sausages, the _______ sheath insulates and protects

the axon.

8. Sensations like touch and pressure, vision, and hearing are associated with the _______ area

of the cerebral cortex.

9. A large portion of the cerebral cortex is occupied by tissues that aren’t directly related to

motor functions (movement) or sensory processing. These parts of the brain are said to serve

an “executive function.” We call these parts of the cortex _______ areas.

10. A part of the brain that’s vital to allowing us to keep our balance is the _______.

Check your answers with those on page 167.

Essentials of Psychology32

ASSIGNMENT 3—SENSATION AND PERCEPTION Read this assignment. Then read Chapter 3 in your textbook.

Sensing the World Around Us We experience the world because of our senses, but sometimes the senses can be deceiving. There’s an adage taught to young newspaper reporters: “Believe nothing you hear and only half of what you see.” The point is that perception is, above all, interpretation. We don’t just see color—we see bright red or sky blue. We don’t just hear sounds that we call music—we hear music we like and music we don’t like. Because perception combines sense information with inter- pretation, what we see, hear, smell, or taste can fool us. Keep in mind that we tend to see and understand what we expect to see based on our perceptual habits. We learn to screen out the things that aren’t important to us, like certain commer- cials, and pay attention to sensory stimuli that are important to us, like the sound of a coin hitting the pavement.

We experience a sensation when our sense organs (eyes, ears, and so on) respond to a stimulus. A stimulus is conveyed to us by some form of energy, such as light, sound waves, heat, and so on. Perception is the way we “read” or interpret a stimulus. Stimuli vary by energy type, frequency, and inten- sity. The science of psychophysics studies the ways in which stimuli are converted to psychological experience.

Absolute Thresholds

In the study of sensory perception, an absolute threshold is the smallest intensity necessary for a stimulus to be regis- tered by the senses. With respect to sound, for example, the absolute threshold for detecting a high-pitched sound is much lower in dogs than it is in people. In the context of psychophysics, noise is defined as background stimuli that can interfere with or block out a typical absolute threshold for a given stimulus.

Lesson 1 33

Difference Thresholds

Psychologists are interested in how we compare stimuli. For example, at what point can we distinguish between two shades of red or notice a size difference between oranges in a produce display? In this context, a difference threshold is the minimal difference detectable in two or more related stimuli. A difference threshold is also called a just-noticeable difference.

Imagine that you want to estimate the weight difference between metal spheres—A, B, C, D, and E—each of which weighs somewhere around 100 grams. According to Weber’s law, the difference threshold ratio for weight is 1:50. That means that after you heft sphere A to get a sense of its weight, you won’t notice an increase or decrease in the next spheres you pick up unless the actual weight difference is 2 grams. (1:50 is proportional to 2:100.) Now imagine that you want to compare weights for a set of metal spheres—A, B, C, D, and E—each weighing around 800 grams. You heft sphere A first, then sphere B, and so on. How much heavier or lighter must B, C, D, or E be for you to register a weight difference? Answer: 16 grams. (1/50 = x/800; 50x = 800; x = 800/50; x = 16.) Given that 1:50 is the same proportion as 16:800, we see that the just-noticeable difference is pro- portional to the intensity of the original stimulus.

Sensory Adaptation

Sensory responses adapt to changes in environmental stim- uli. When you walk out of bright sunlight into the relatively dim light of a restaurant, your vision gradually adapts to the lower light level. In other instances, the senses adapt to persistent background noise. For example, moving from the relative quiet of the countryside to a city, we gradually learn to “screen out” the steady roar of traffic. We become less sensitive to it.


The visible spectrum refers to all of the light energy that we can see. The electromagnetic spectrum consists of all light frequencies—those we can see and those we can’t. And, in

Essentials of Psychology34

fact, the visible spectrum is a small part of the electromag- netic spectrum. The waves in the electromagnetic spectrum include radio and TV waves at the low-energy end of the spectrum and lethal gamma rays and X-rays at the high- energy end. Visible light—from red to violet—is roughly in the middle.

Your textbook explains the basic structure of the eye by comparing the eye to a camera. The iris (the colored part of your eye) acts like a shutter that widens or closes depending on light intensity. The cornea protects your eye and gathers light that goes through the opening in the iris (the pupillary opening). Light is then focused toward the back of the eye by the lens that’s just behind the iris. Layers of specialized cells on the inside of the eyeball act like film.

This “film” is actually a specialized layer of cells called the retina. There are two basic kinds of cells in the retina. Nearly one hundred million rods read light intensity. Rods can’t read color—only black and white. They’re primarily responsible for helping us see in the dark. Millions of cells called cones are responsible for interpreting color.

Color Vision and Color Blindness

According to the trichromatic theory of color vision, there are three kinds of color-reading cones in the retina. Call them A, B, and C. “A” reads blue-violet colors. “B” reads green. “C” reads yellow-red. By way of the interactive combinations possible from A + B + C, humans with normal vision can distinguish as many as 7 million different colors.

Color blindness—more common in men than in women—is a genetically related incapacity of one or more types of cones. In the most common kind of color blindness, all red and green objects appear as yellow.

There are aspects of color vision not explained by the trichro- matic model. In particular, the theory fails to explain afterimage phenomena. For example, stare at a rectangle of green for a moment, and then stare at a blank piece of paper. You’ll see a rather faint red rectangle. That’s an example of a retinal afterimage.

Lesson 1 35

The opponent-process theory of color vision can explain after- image phenomena. The basic idea is that cone receptors are linked in pairs, as in white-black or green-red. Thus, the afterimage for black will be white, while the afterimage for white will be black. The same goes for green-red.

Hearing and the Other Senses

Sensing Sound

Sound is made up of waves that are transmitted from an energy source to your ear through the air. Sound waves act like ripples in a pond. Without the water, there are no rip- ples. When you watch science-fiction movies that take place in outer space, the sounds the spaceships make wouldn’t really exist in our universe. Sound waves can’t travel through a vacuum. Outer space has no atmosphere, so an observer would actually hear nothing at all.

We hear because we have a way to detect, code, and interpret sounds that come to us through any medium made of mole- cules, such as air, water, steel, and so on. The speed of sound depends on the medium that carries the sound waves. (It’s about 500 miles per hour at sea level through air, and some aircraft travel faster than sound does.) Warm, humid air carries sound better than dry, cold air. Water carries sound faster than air because water molecules are closer together than air molecules. Sound-wave energy is trans- duced into nerve-impulse energy before we actually hear anything. The mechanism for this clever feat is the human ear.

The ear, like the eye, is part of a system that includes the brain, the structure of the ear, and the connecting auditory nerves. The exterior part of the ear is called the pinna. The external ear ends where the external auditory canal meets the tympanic membrane—also known as the eardrum. The inner ear has two major divisions, and both are encased in protective bone tissue. The ossicles consist of three tiny bones called the malleus (hammer), incus (anvil), and stapes (stirrup). When sound vibrates the eardrum, these little bones vibrate and transfer sound to the deepest part of the inner ear, called the cochlea. The cochlea is a complicated,

Essentials of Psychology36

fluid-filled device that looks like a snail shell. It transfers sound vibrations into nerve impulses that can be “read” by our busy brains.

The semicircular canals of the inner ear help us sort up from down and keep our balance. The fluid in these canals sloshes about when we turn our heads, basically allowing us to “read” centripetal and centrifugal gravitational forces.

Smell and Taste

How do we detect odors? In terms of the physiology of smelling, note that there are some 1,000 kinds of olfactory (smell) receptors located in the olfactory cells of the nasal cavity. As molecules related to a particular odor pass over these receptors, nerve signals go to the brain. The brain then tells us that we smell perfume, mildew, lasagna, or a mistake made by the family dog. You’ll note that women tend to have a better sense of smell than men and that one can distinguish another person’s sex by way of smell.

Four basic tastes have long been recognized: sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. Many researchers believe a fifth basic taste also exists—umami, a Japanese word that describes a brothy taste like that of chicken soup. As in the case of smell, we detect tastes by some 10,000 taste buds, most of which are found in the tongue. Taste receptors of different kinds work a little differently, but they all work together to differentiate foods like chocolate and fried potatoes.

Smell and taste are called chemical senses. They both depend on nerve receptors that can detect the presence of particular molecules. Those molecules may be in the air, or they may be released in fluids or gases as we taste or eat something. Both smell and taste are remarkably sensitive. Human olfactory receptors work together to allow us to detect up to 10,000 different odors. Further, just a few molecules from something like Swiss cheese can be easily detected. The fact that there are only five basic tastes doesn’t limit your palate. Foods we eat enable the different taste buds to work together and allow us to detect an enormous variety of tastes.

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The Skin Senses

Touch, pressure, temperature, and pain are detected by specialized nerve receptors in the largest organ in the human body—the integument, or skin.

Pain plays a special role in keeping us safe. Pain carried by large nerve fibers demands our attention. It’s sharp, hard, and dis- tinct. Warning pain is the body’s signal that there may be an acute organ malfunction or serious injury. Another kind of pain is carried by small nerve fibers and is called the reminding system. For example, a faint aching sensation around your sinuses may remind you that the prescribed antibiotic hasn’t taken full effect yet. Dull pain following an injury reminds you to take it easy and avoid reinjury.

According to the sensory gate theory of pain, some kinds of pain signals can block other pain signals from going to the brain. That’s because both signals will have to go through the same neural location in the spinal cord or brain stem. The process of sensory gating is well known to dentists. For example, before a dentist injects Novocain into your gums, he or she may gently pinch your cheek to reduce the pain of the needle. The pain caused by the pinching will block the pain from the needle because both pain signals must travel through the same neural gate. The pain signal that occurs first is the one that will be received.

Perceptual Organization

The Gestalt Laws of Organization

Basic principles by which we organize bits and pieces of information (stimuli) are known as the Gestalt laws of organization. (In German, Gestalt means, roughly, “a pattern perceived as a whole.” It’s often capitalized because that’s the rule for nouns in German.) They include closure, simplicity, proximity, and similarity. The closure principle applies when we assume we’re looking at an octagonal stop sign even if part of it is concealed by tree branches. The proximity principle kicks in when we see a group of people close together and assume they’re a group, even if they

Essentials of Psychology38

aren’t. When things we see are similar in appearance, like geese in flight, we tend to perceive them as grouped together. The simplicity principle is the most basic Gestalt principle. It holds, for example, that in a observing a complex design, we’ll tend to perceive the simplest form it could represent. If it could be a design for a circuit board or a “Y” shape, we’ll tend to see the “Y” shape.

Top-Down and Bottom-Up Processing

Top-down processing is guided by experience, expectations, and motivations that are part of higher-level processing. It’s typically guided by understanding or being aware of a con- text. For example, if we’re familiar with what goes on at a Jewish Passover Seder or a Polish wedding, we’ll pick up the clues as to what’s going on when we come across such a social scene because we’re familiar with the contexts. Bottom- up processing complements top-down processing. Even if we’ve been to a Passover Seder or a Polish wedding, we may not be sure what’s going on until we pick up clues and “con- nect the dots.” In the first instance, the first clues might be men wearing yarmulkes and people speaking what sounds like Hebrew. In the second instance, we may recognize that we’re observing a wedding before we pick up other clues and figure out that we’re at an Eastern Orthodox Church, people are speaking in a strange tongue, and polka music starts up. The main thing to remember here is that we use both top- down and bottom-up processing to determine the context of a situation and how we should behave.

Perceptual Constancy

Sensory stimuli are subject to the brain’s organization. Your brain tends to group visual information together into familiar shapes or objects. For example, when you see a car pass down the street, you don’t imagine the car itself is shrinking as it moves away from you. The ability to discern size at different distances is possible because your brain maintains size constancy. Your brain can also maintain shape constancy. For example, your brain knows that a globe is spherical although it looks like a circle, even when you’re looking at

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only one part of it. The same phenomenon applies to bright- ness. At the beach, you’ll notice that a yellow bathing suit is just as eye-catching in the sunlight as it is on a cloudy day. This experience is known as brightness constancy.

Size constancy, shape constancy, and brightness constancy are all examples of perceptual constancy. Perceptual constancy means that we tend to see what we expect to see. However, perceptual constancy requires that we be familiar with our environments. Here’s an interesting illustration of that fact: An anthropologist recorded a strange event when he led some African forest people out of their normal environment onto a broad, grassy plain. The people began to point and laugh at grazing African buffalo in the distance. To them, the crea- tures seemed tiny and strange. The forest people lived in an environment where it was unusual to see ahead more than a few feet. Since their brains couldn’t interpret large animals from a distance, the people couldn’t maintain a sense of size constancy.

Depth Perception: Translating 2-D to 3-D

There’s an “angle shift” between what we see with the right eye and what we see with the left eye. You’ve probably noticed this. If you haven’t, just hold a pencil in front of your face and look at it with first one eye than the other eye. We call this perspective shift binocular disparity. Monocular cues also help us see depth, even with just one eye. In paintings, for example, we can get a sense of depth perception by the relative size of objects or by receding and converging vertical lines like those of a railroad track. We can also detect texture gradients as “closer” objects are more detailed, while more apparently remote objects are less detailed. An interesting monocular cue is called motion parallax. For example, observing the countryside from a moving car, we see objects closest to us passing by quickly while more remote objects pass by more slowly.

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Motion Perception

Motion perception depends on a cooperative alliance between information we’ve internalized about the world to adapt to life as we know it, plus external motion cues. For example, when someone tosses you a basketball, the retina detects the sphere getting larger. In the context of motion perception, we won’t see the basketball in terms of size constancy, but in terms of an approaching object in motion. Even more fascinating, we actually catch the ball.

Perceptual Illusions

This final section is a fascinating discussion of visual (percep- tual) illusions. The best way to make sense of the discussion is by thinking creatively about the illustrations of these kinds of “perceptual tricks.”

Once you’ve finished studying Assignment 3, complete Self-Check 3; the Evaluate quizzes on pages 90, 99, 108, and 120 in your textbook; and the required discussion board posting.

Then review the material you’ve learned in this study guide and the assigned pages in your textbook for Assignments 1–3. When you’re sure that you completely understand the infor- mation, complete your examination for Lesson 1.

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Self-Check 3 1. The inner ear responsible for sending sound messages to the brain consists of a basilar

membrane and hair cells found within the _______.

2. Touch, pressure, temperature, and pain are all functions of our _______ senses.

3. The minimum intensity of a sensory stimulus that can be detected is what we call the

_______ threshold.

4. A bell rings. We hear it. Because the sound amounts to physical energy transmitted through

air, we can call it a/an _______. However, classifying, analyzing, and interpreting the sound of

the bell requires us to have a/an _______ of it.

5. In top-down _______, what we perceive is guided by higher-level knowledge, experience, and

motivations. We’re able to “fill in the gaps” of a puzzle or partial image by grasping their


6. The main reason we’re capable of _______ perception is because we have two eyes.

7. _______ are to light intensity as cones are to our perception of _______.

8. We see a car moving away from us on a street, but we don’t perceive the vehicle itself as

getting smaller as it gets farther away. The fact illustrates what’s called _______ constancy.

9. Moving from a house in the country to a big city, we’re exposed to constant background noise

of traffic. However, after a few days or weeks, we get used to those sounds and give them

less attention through a process called _______ adaptation.

10. Sour, sweet, salty, and _______ are to taste buds as _______ is to olfactory cells.

Check your answers with those on page 167.

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The Mind at Work

INTRODUCTION Lesson 2 begins with an exploration of the most mysterious aspect of human experience, consciousness. It then proceeds to a consideration of three major approaches to the psychol- ogy of learning. Two of these are schools of behaviorism— classical conditioning and operant (behavior) conditioning. The third approach, cognitive learning, takes account of men- tal processes in learning, such as observation and imitation. The final chapter in this lesson explores the nature of mem- ory, cognition (thinking and feeling), and the vital importance of language in human experience.

ASSIGNMENT 4—STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS Read this assignment. Then read Chapter 4 in your textbook.

In this assignment, you’ll be challenged to think about the nature of consciousness. Consciousness can be defined as the sensations, thoughts, and feelings you’re aware of at any given moment. Alertness, attention, and clarity are characteristics of waking consciousness. We also experience dream states and other altered states of consciousness. Our conscious experience when we’re in a hypnotic trance, for example, isn’t quite the same as what we experience in ordinary waking con- sciousness. It’s an altered state. Our conscious experience during meditation is also different from that of ordinary waking consciousness. Therefore, meditation also qualifies as an altered state. Altered states are also produced by both legal and illegal drugs.


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Sleep and Dreams

The Stages of Sleep

n Stage 1—The first stage of sleep is characterized by light sleep. It’s the stage when we may experience a hypnic jerk, like the sudden movement of one’s leg. This hap- pens as your muscles relax for rest and sleep. In stage 1 sleep, your heart rate slows, and your breathing becomes irregular.

n Stage 2—In the second stage of sleep, body temperature lowers. At this point, sleep spindles appear on an electroencephalograph (EEG), a device for measuring your brain waves. Sleep spindles are thought to mark the actual boundary of sleep.

n Stage 3—Longer, slower brain waves appear on the EEG in stage 3 sleep. These large, slow waves signal a deeper loss of ordinary consciousness and deeper sleep.

n Stage 4—The deepest stage of sleep is also the final stage. Nearly all of the brain waves are slow waves (called delta waves). After a period in stage 4, typical sleep ascends upward into stages 3, 2, and, finally— before being fully awake—stage 1 again.

REM Sleep: The Paradox of Sleep

The two main states of deep sleep have to do with whether a person is dreaming. Dreaming and rapid eye movements (REMs) characterize REM sleep. When a sleep researcher wakes a sleeping subject because the subject’s eyes are moving rapidly under his or her eyelids, the researcher can expect the subject to report a dream of some kind. If the researcher woke the subject from non-REM (NREM) sleep, the subject wouldn’t report having any dreams.

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Why Do We Sleep, and How Much Sleep Is Necessary?

Sleep is a common and necessary altered state. Both body and mind benefit from regular patterns of sleep and wakeful- ness. However, sleep patterns vary. Some of us are short sleepers, and some of us are long sleepers. The inventor Thomas Alva Edison was famous for taking 20-minute naps throughout the daytime and nighttime hours. (Perhaps that’s what it takes to invent light bulbs and phonographs!)

The Function and Meaning of Dreaming

REM sleep and dreaming are fascinating phenomena. Arguments over the purposes of dreaming and the effects of REM sleep deprivation continue. Dreaming remains a mystery to many researchers—much like consciousness itself. Your text intro- duces you to three theories that may explain the purposes of dreaming.

1. Unconscious wish-fulfillment theory—Sigmund Freud proposed that dreams reflect our deep forbidden desires. We dream what we’d really like to experience in waking life. However, the latent content of our dreams (forbidden desires) is disguised in some symbolic way behind the manifest content of dreams. A dream of a pig in clover might conceal our desire to live wild and fulfill our selfish desires.

2. Dreams-for-survival theory—Information necessary for day-to-day survival-related problem solving is processed and evaluated while we dream.

3. Activation-synthesis theory—According to Allan Hobson’s model, during sleep, the brain organizes random memories and impressions into a more or less coherent “story line.” Beyond this sort of housekeeping and filing function of dreaming, Hobson doesn’t entirely reject the wish- fulfillment notion.

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Sleep Disturbances

n Insomnia is a common problem. Most people experience this inability to sleep from time to time—usually during times of stress or inner conflict. Insomnia can be tempo- rary or chronic. President Dwight Eisenhower reportedly suffered from chronic insomnia. Apparently it wasn’t unusual to find him walking in the Rose Garden in a robe and slippers in the early morning hours.

n Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder related to impaired breathing. The medical causes of sleep apnea vary. The disorder may be related to an interruption of brain signals to the lungs or simply a blockage in the lungs. Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) appears to be related to some form of sleep apnea.

n Nightmares and night terrors are two different sleep disorders. A nightmare is simply a bad dream that takes place during REM sleep. A night terror occurs during NREM sleep. The sufferer—usually a young child—will often wake in a panicked state, hallucinating. Interestingly, children can usually recall having a nightmare, but they often have no memory of a night terror.

n Narcolepsy occurs as what can be thought of as micro- sleeps during waking. One goes directly from waking to REM sleep, skipping the other sleep stages. Narcoleptic events may occur during a long drive or other monotonous activities.

n Somnambulism, also known as sleepwalking, occurs during stage 4 NREM sleep. Sleepwalkers often have their eyes open and appear to be awake. They sometimes talk, too. While it may appear that sleepwalkers are acting out their dreams, sleepwalking and most sleep talking don’t occur during REM sleep and dreaming.

Circadian Rhythms: Life Cycles

Patterns of sleep and wakefulness typically follow 24-hour biological rhythms called circadian rhythms, which can be disrupted when we travel across time zones. This phenomenon is known as jet lag.

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Hypnosis and Meditation


The altered state of consciousness known as hypnosis reminds us that the mind holds many mysteries. The main issues surrounding hypnosis concern its (1) induction, (2) effects, and (3) relation to ordinary waking consciousness. With respect to the first issue, you can keep in mind that there’s a lot of variation in susceptibility. A fair percentage of people— as many as one in five—can’t be hypnotized at all. Some people are highly susceptible to hypnosis, while the rest of us are somewhere in between. Respecting the second issue, perhaps the most important point is that people in a hypnotic trance will not engage in antisocial behavior.

The final issue is controversial. Some researchers feel the hypnotic trance and ordinary waking consciousness are physiologically indistinguishable. Others are convinced the hypnosis induces an altered state of consciousness. The radi- cal implication of the first position is that people conditioned by media or political propaganda will buy into messages that are, in substance, no more than “hypnotic suggestions.”


Meditation is an exercise in which a person becomes extremely relaxed and lets go of the worries of everyday life. The body’s physical response during meditation is known as the relaxation response, and this response is considered essential to the meditating process. There are two types of meditation—concentrative meditation and receptive medita- tion. Concentrative meditation focuses on a single object or a repeated word, called a mantra. Receptive meditation involves an awareness of self and environment that’s often difficult to achieve. Both types of meditation are often used to help people reduce anxiety or lower blood pressure.

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Drug Use: The Highs and Lows of Consequences

You should begin this section concerning psychoactive drugs by understanding basic terms. What we refer to as dependence may involve psychological dependence, physical dependence, or a combination of the two. Clinically, psychological dependence is characterized by an emotional or psychological need for a drug. Physical dependence is often characterized by a reduction in drug tolerance. It also tends to be accompanied by severe withdrawal symptoms when the drug is no longer being taken. Physical illness and other forms of discomfort are examples of withdrawal symptoms.

Stimulants: Drug Highs

In street language, a drug that activates or arouses physical response is called an upper. Uppers tend to make people more alert, hyper, and jittery. They also cause a heightened sense of euphoria (well-being). They can temporarily make people feel more calm and confident, even when they’re excited. The most commonly abused uppers are amphetamines, cocaine, caffeine, and nicotine.

Amphetamines, like Dexedrine and Benzedrine, have caused a lot of trouble because they’re often associated with dieting. When abused they can be very dangerous, even leading to amphetamine psychosis, which is characterized by a loss of touch with reality. These days, methamphetamine (“meth”) is considered the most dangerous street drug.

Cocaine is dangerous mainly because it’s very easy to get too large a dose. As a powerful central nervous system stimulant, it can cause collapse and death. Several famous athletes have died in this manner. Also, while people vary in their responses to drugs, cocaine can be overwhelmingly addictive for some abusers. Ironically, as the tolerance for cocaine increases, the desired effects it once produced actually tend to decrease—even as the addiction intensifies.

Caffeine and nicotine have long been favored stimulants. Today, nicotine is less popular since tobacco is better under- stood to pose a severe health risk. Caffeine remains popular, as evidenced by the success of Starbucks. Although caffeine

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and nicotine are both frequently used psychoactive drugs, they can also become addicting and pose potential health risks.

Depressants: Drug Lows

Depressants—called “downers” in street language—are drugs that depress the nervous system. Widely abused downers include alcohol, barbiturates, and Rohypnol. Alcohol is the most popular and commonly used depressant. Among addictions that involve both physical and psychological dependency, alcoholism is a widespread and socially devastating problem. In the United States, one in 13 adults has an alcohol problem.

Barbiturates are often used safely as sleeping aids for people who are under stress or who suffer from insomnia. However, barbiturate effects are seductive, and addiction to these kinds of drugs often occurs. Overdoses, particularly in combination with alcohol, can cause permanent damage to the nervous system or even death. Nembutal, Seconal, and phenobarbital are examples of often-prescribed barbiturates.

Rohypnol (sometimes called the “rape drug”), when mixed with alcohol, can prevent victims from resisting unwanted sexual advances. Indeed, victims may not even remember the assault. Use of this drug can lead to felony rape charges and a long stretch in an orange jumpsuit.

Narcotics: Relieving Pain and Anxiety

This section is a brief introduction to heroin, morphine, and methadone. The first two are natural derivatives of the so-called opium poppy, a major cash crop of Afghanistan. Heroin use is illegal in the United States, while morphine is a highly controlled substance. Methadone is an addictive synthetic compound that mimics heroin effects to quell psy- chological addiction to heroin while sustaining a physiological addiction to methadone.

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Hallucinogens: Psychedelic Drugs

Marijuana is a mild hallucinogen. In general, hallucinogens are substances that alter sensory perception—sometimes radically. Colors, sounds, sensations, and thoughts can be radically altered under the influence of marijuana. Although the effects of marijuana aren’t as noticeable as the effects of other hallucinogens (like LSD or mescaline), they can still be dangerous. Driving or operating heavy machinery under the influence of marijuana can cause serious accidents.

In the past few decades, the unregulated demand for pot has led to the development of new strains of the cannabis (marijuana) plant that contain much higher concentrations of its psychoactive ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The newer strains of marijuana pose greater health risks than previous strains. Recently, the controversy concerning marijuana use has resurfaced, as the medical community began using the drug to treat people with glaucoma and to relieve the devastating effects of chemotherapy for cancer patients. Despite its medicinal benefits, marijuana remains a major target for law enforcement in the ongoing war on drugs.

MDMA (ecstasy) and LSD are presently classified as psychedelic drugs. MDMA causes reactions similar to those caused by amphetamines, but users also claim that it heightens sensation. It’s easily manufactured in small labs and has become widely available. Like amphetamines, MDMA can pose serious health risks, causing irregular heartbeats, liver damage, and some- times even death. Unfortunately, the use of MDMA has increased dramatically due to the popular notion that it’s a safe drug.

LSD is structurally similar to the neurotransmitter serotonin. Its effects tend to involve radical “reorganization” of perception. Time is distorted. Ordinary objects and vistas, including fellow humans, are transformed in unearthly ways. Colors become vibrant and “alive.” Hallucinations can happen. Interestingly, LSD (“acid”), which helped produce the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s, was introduced to the public by way of classified experiments managed by U.S. government agencies, including the CIA. You might say the experiments led to “unanticipated consequences.”

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Once you’ve finished studying Assignment 4, complete Self-Check 4 and the Evaluate quizzes on pages pages 140, 146 and 160 in your textbook.

Self-Check 4 1. If you rapidly become absorbed in a book or in listening to music, more or less screening out

what’s going on around you, it’s likely that you would be very susceptible to _______ trance


2. _______ include amphetamines and cocaine.

3. People are least likely to be susceptible to outside noises or other stimuli during stage

_______ sleep.

4. Morphine and heroin are to narcotics as LSD and MDMA are to _______ drugs.

5. SIDS may be associated with a disorder called sleep _______.

6. The most commonly abused depressant is _______.

7. When a child wakes suddenly during NREM sleep, experiencing fear and panic that he or

she won’t remember in the morning, we’re observing night _______. By contrast, sudden

uncontrollable, brief periods of sleep at any time of day are the symptoms of _______.

8. The major muscles of the body appear to be paralyzed during _______ sleep.

9. _______ to some substance, like nicotine, may be based on biological or _______

dependency or some mixture of both of these.

10. At noon, the level of hemoglobin in your blood is at its peak. If you have asthma, attacks

are most likely to occur around 4:00 A.M. Your pain threshold is likely to be lowest around

9:00 P.M. All of these facts describe typical, 24-hour _______ rhythms.

Check your answers with those on page 168.

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ASSIGNMENT 5—LEARNING Read this assignment. Then read Chapter 5 in your textbook.

This chapter is devoted to three fundamental approaches to learning. These include two major kinds of behavioral psychology: classical conditioning and operant conditioning. Both of these perspectives focus on behavior—not conscious- ness, thoughts, or feelings. Both perspectives aim at ways to change or modify a subject’s behavior. Finally, both perspectives attempt to predict future behaviors based on information from past and present behavior. By contrast, cognitive approaches to learning pay attention to states of mind and to experienced motivations. Thus, ideas can be offered about how people learn through observation and imitation as well as through internalizing what we can call cognitive maps.

Classical Conditioning

The Basics of Classical Conditioning

Classical conditioning is based largely on what happens before a response. Reflex responses are automatic responses to every- day stimuli. Salivation is an example of a reflex response. When we’re hungry and we see a pizza, we salivate. In classical conditioning, such reflex responses are referred to as unconditioned responses (URs). In classical conditioning, learning occurs when a new stimulus produces a certain response.

In famous experiments performed by Ivan Pavlov, dogs were taught to salivate when they heard a bell. The dogs learned to associate the sound of a bell with food because every time a bell rang, they would be given meat powder. In these experi- ments, the meat powder started out as an unconditioned stimulus (US). An unconditioned stimulus is innately capable of producing a response. Dogs salivate when they get food without being conditioned to do so (just as pizza often causes people to salivate). Therefore, when dogs salivate because of the presence of food, they’re displaying an unconditioned response. Because Pavlov rang a bell just before the dogs

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were given the meat powder, the dogs eventually began to salivate when they only heard the bell. The bell, which began as a neutral stimulus (NS), became a conditioned stimulus (CS). A conditioned stimulus is one that will produce a certain response through learning. After the bell became a conditioned stimulus, it produced a conditioned response (CR) in the dogs.

Applying Conditioning Principles to Human Behavior

Let’s say we want to use classical conditioning to help a child overcome a fear of snakes. We might pair a harmless snake (NS) with some kind of reward, like candy (a US that produces a UR). The child will associate the sight of the harmless snake with candy and become happier when in the presence of snakes. However, if the fear of snakes was a CR that was established originally through a strong US (like a poisonous snakebite), the appearance of the CS might bring about a spontaneous recovery of the old pattern—in this case the fear of snakes.


Conditioned responses are learned responses. They must be reinforced during the training or acquisition period. A behavior is reinforced if a CS is paired often enough with a US to create expectancy in the subject—just as Pavlov’s dogs began to expect the meat powder. Initially, the dogs expect nothing, but they eventually expect meat powder when they hear the bell. If we sound the bell repeatedly without providing meat powder, the conditioned response ends. No more salivation occurs when the bell sounds. This is called extinction of the CR.

Generalization and Discrimination

Stimulus generalization is observed when a conditioned response follows a stimulus that’s similar to the original conditioned stimulus. Among people who fear rats, mice—or even ham- sters—may evoke a similar response. By contrast, stimulus discrimination happens when, say, stimulus “A” produces a conditioned response while stimulus “B” doesn’t. The behavior

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of a snarling dog (“A”) will evoke a different response than what we would observe if a dog that’s wagging its tail (“B”) approaches. In general

n The greater the similarity between stimuli, the greater the likelihood of a conditioned response to the similar stimulus.

n Inversely, the greater the dissimilarity between stimuli, the greater the likelihood that the dissimilar stimulus will not evoke a conditioned response.

Operant Conditioning

The Basics of Operant Conditioning

B. F. Skinner began his development of operant conditioning theory based on a concept called the law of effect. Developed by Edward L. Thorndike, the law of effect states that we tend to repeat or cease behaviors depending on their effect. We repeat behaviors that produce favorable conditions; we cease behaviors that produce unfavorable conditions.

Skinner developed the law of effect into a basic model of behavior, called operant conditioning. Operant conditioning is different from classical conditioning because it involves active behaviors that produce desired responses, while in classical conditioning the subject is passive or acted on by an outside influence.

To give you an overall view of the operant conditioning model, let’s imagine an experiment.

You want to condition the behavior of a mouse. You want the mouse to learn to press a lever to get a food pellet. To make your experiment easier to observe and control, you put your mouse inside a box with at least one glass wall. The box is lit with a small bulb, and water is supplied through an outside opening. Other than the light bulb and the water dispenser, there’s nothing else in the box except a metal lever and a little receiving tray beneath the lever. Overall, the box, called a Skinner box, is boring. Mr. Mouse will explore, sniff, stand on its hind legs, and do other mousy things. Eventually, it

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will press the lever. When it does, a food pellet will fall into the tray. The mouse will soon learn to spend much of its day pressing the lever to get food pellets. Food pellets are an example of a positive reinforcement. They encourage the mouse to press the lever. Do you see how this follows from the law of effect?

Reinforcement works best when its response is contingent, meaning it occurs only after a specific response occurs. While the mouse is in the Skinner box, the food pellet reinforcement is contingent only on pressing the lever, not on any other behavior. If more than one behavior produced a positive reinforcement, it would be difficult to make a clear association between an operant and its effect.

The timing of reinforcement also matters. For example, if you want to encourage children to study, it’s best to provide a little reward—like a snack—immediately after a study period rather than hours later or even the next day. To condition an operant (like happy bathroom behavior), it’s best to provide a reinforcement soon enough so that the behavior and the reward are clearly associated.

Positive and Negative Reinforcers and Punishment

A conditioned operant behavior can be extinguished by removing the reinforcement. This process is called operant extinction. However, a nonexistent reinforcement isn’t the same thing as a negative reinforcement. A negative reinforcement, like a positive reinforcement, increases the frequency of an operant. However, a negative reinforcement is aimed at an emitted behavior that removes an unpleasant or undesired effect. Eating Tums to get rid of acid indigestion will increase your likelihood of taking Tums the next time you have acid indi- gestion—if it has the desired effect. That is, not having acid indigestion is the negative reinforcement.

Additionally, a negative reinforcement isn’t the same as a punishment. A punishment is an unpleasant and undesired outcome to a behavior. And an aversive (unpleasant) outcome can be used to get someone to extinguish an operant. For example, taking a drug that gives alcohol a bitter, nauseating

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taste might be an aversive outcome aimed at ending problem drinking. In this case, an undesired effect replaces the pleasant effect previously expected by the problem drinker. This effect may extinguish the operant—at least while the drug is being used.

Your text recognizes positive and negative punishments. A positive punishment weakens a response through application of an unpleasant outcome. Going to jail is (believe it or not) a positive punishment, just as is having to write “I will not pull Janie’s hair” 100 times on the blackboard. A negative punish- ment takes away something that the subject desires—such as freedom to play video games, perhaps when a child is getting failing grades.

The Pros and Cons of Punishment

The important thing to learn about punishment in operant conditioning—aside from the fact that it isn’t the same thing as a negative reinforcement—is that it should be used lightly and sparingly. Punishment simply suppresses an undesired behavior with an aversive stimulus, one that’s unpleasant or painful. Mild punishment usually suppresses behavior for only a short period of time. Severe punishment is more effective at permanently stopping behavior. Your textbook highlights methods for using punishment effectively. It also illustrates the side effects of punishment, which can range from escape learning to aggression.

Schedules of Reinforcement

A major application of operant conditioning is behavior modification. As you already know, modifying behavior is accomplished by associating an operant with a reward or reinforcement. However, it isn’t often feasible to provide continuous reinforcement. For example, it wouldn’t make sense to reward people every time they achieved a good grade or hit a home run. The novelty of the reward might wear off, and the people might discontinue that behavior. That’s why most rewards in everyday life are awarded on a partial reinforcement schedule. In partial reinforcement, only some behaviors are rewarded. Imagine that we want to

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encourage workers in a furniture factory to produce a desired quota of 30 rocking chairs per day, where all or nearly all of the chairs meet company standards. We want to reinforce both quality and quantity. To reinforce these standards, let’s say that each worker receives a raffle ticket when he or she exceeds company rocking-chair standards. The raffle tickets would then be picked out of a hat to determine which worker or workers win a prize. (The prize might be an extra vacation day, a cash prize, or a CD player.) The workers might then improve the quality of their work in the hope of winning a prize, despite the fact that they wouldn’t be rewarded every time they exceeded company standards. The chance that they could win is the motivation.

There are four different types of partial reinforcement schedules:

1. Fixed-ratio schedules—Reinforcement is contingent on a fixed number of desired responses in a fixed-ratio (FR) schedule. For example, the workers in the furniture factory might get a raffle ticket only every other time they exceed company standards.

2. Variable-ratio schedules—When reinforcements occur only after a varied number of correct responses or behaviors, we call it a variable-ratio (VR) schedule. The factory workers might get a raffle ticket only after they exceed company standards every three to five times. Sometimes they would receive a ticket after every fifth time; sometimes after every third time.

3. Fixed-interval schedules—Reinforcement occurs only after a fixed period of time passes in a fixed-interval (FI) schedule. On this schedule, our factory workers might receive a raffle ticket only once every month.

4. Variable-interval schedules—Reinforcements for correct responses or behaviors in a variable-interval (VI) schedule occur after a varied amount of time passes. The factory workers might receive a raffle ticket after three months of meeting quality standards. The next raffle might occur two weeks later. The next one might be six months later. The time intervals are always different.

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Shaping: Reinforcing What Doesn’t Come Naturally

Let’s say you’re teaching someone how to play a guitar. Since you can’t expect your novice student to slave away indefinitely for failing to perform like Segovia while you cover him or her with invective, you’ll plan to reinforce a series of learning steps that may, at least, prepare a student to accompany people singing “Home on the Range.” Step 1 might be holding a gui- tar. (Good, now you’ve got it.) Step 2 might be learning to tune a guitar. Step 3 might be learning how to sound simple chords, and so on. This sort of behavioral modification scheme is called shaping.

Cognitive Approaches to Learning Cognitive learning theory recognizes the value of classical or operant approaches to learning. However, cognitive researchers focus on unseen mental processes that take place during learning.

Latent Learning

Evidence for the importance of cognitive processes in learning comes from experiments with animals, usually lab rats. What was discovered was the existence of latent learning. You can think of the term “latent” as referring to hidden learning. Behavior is learned, but it doesn’t get expressed until there’s an incentive—a reward—for expressing it. Your text explains what this means in terms of lab experiments.

However, latent learning can be explained in terms of how you might store up latent (unexpressed) understanding. Let’s say you live in a city, in an apartment, and you walk 10 blocks to work and 10 blocks home from work every day. Day by day, you’ll pick up information about where shops are located, what streets to follow, and so on. Think of this information as your personal cognitive map, a mental map of your route to and from the office.

One day your department head, Ms. Frost, invites you to an after-work gathering at her spacious flat, which is just a block from where you live. You’re thrilled. This could be your

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chance to mingle with some of the firm’s bigwigs and power players. However, Ms. Frost also asks a favor of you. “Could you stop by on your way home and pick up four bottles of Leaning Tree Merlot from that shop on 10th and Claremont? Would you mind? I’ll lend you the department debit card.” You cheerfully agree, despite the fact that you don’t much care for wine. “No problem,” you say after a moment—a moment spent consulting your cognitive map, a moment in which you remember the storefront and “The Wine Cellar” sign. “I know just where that shop is,” you say happily. “I pass by it every day.”

Observational Learning: Learning through Imitation

According to social psychologist Albert Bandura and his col- leagues, a big part of human learning comes from observing the behavior of other people. We engage in observational learning.

Bandura’s famous “Bobo” experiment is explained on pages 191–192 of your text. Children were shown a film in which an adult was punching an inflatable clown doll, Bobo. Later the children were given a chance to play with actual Bobos. And, lo and behold, the typical form of play was whacking and punching Bobo—often in the exact same manner as did the adult in the film.

“Bobo” behavior may not be desirable among schoolchildren. However, observational learning can also encourage positive behavior, like sharing or adopting polite behavior. In any case, observational learning is most likely to occur when it’s rewarded in some way.

Violence on Television and in Video Games: Does the Media’s Message Matter?

Do people tend to imitate the behavior modeled for them by actors (or animated characters) in films, in video games, or on television? A great host of studies have been devoted to this question. And, as it turns out, there’s a rather disturbing consensus among researchers that children and adults are inclined to emulate the often psychopathic behavior of virtual

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or live screen models. This may especially be the case when modeled aggression, smoking, or careless use of alcohol is also reflected to some extent in one’s peer group or in one’s native culture.

Once you’ve finished studying Assignment 5, complete Self-Check 5 and the Evaluate quizzes on pages 175, 187 and 199 in your textbook.

Self-Check 5 1. Considering the two types of punishment used in operant conditioning, a/an _______ punishment

would involve the removal of something pleasant or desirable, such as pay or privileges.

2. Having learned to be afraid of rats, you also become fearful of hamsters, guinea pigs, and

field mice. In the language of classical conditioning, this is called stimulus _______.

3. In a study exploring the relationship between violence portrayed in the mass media and

_______, it was found that one in _______ young males incarcerated for their offenses had

attempted to commit a copy-crime depicted in the media.

4. In the view of _______ learning theorists, the observed link between a stimulus and a

response isn’t adequately understood until we also account for mental processes such as

learned expectations.

5. Reinforcement schedules, shaping, discrimination training, and extinction are all techniques

used in _______ modification.

6. In the social _______ approach to learning of Albert Bandura, _______ learning occurs when

we watch and model the behavior of others.

7. A dog salivates when it encounters meat powder. In classical conditioning, salivation under

these conditions is called a/an _______ response.

8. _______ learning is taking place when you learn how to do something but don’t necessarily or

immediately express what you’ve learned through your behavior.


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ASSIGNMENT 6—THINKING: MEMORY, COGNITION, AND LANGUAGE Read this assignment. Then read Chapter 6 in your textbook.

The Foundations of Memory Our senses gather information as sensory data. Sensory data is organized by the brain into sensory memory. Much of this sensory information is held in conscious awareness as short- term memory (STM). Information we’ll remember later—including thoughts, ideas, impressions (and the feelings associated with them)—go from short-term to long-term memory (LTM). Once you get the basics on these three systems, you can understand how we store and recall information, as well as how we forget information. To that end, this module begins with an introduction to the foundations of human memory.

Self-Check 5 9. In classical conditioning, when the sound of a buzzer evokes no response of interest to an

experimenter, it’s called a/an _______ stimulus.

10. In a learning experiment, reinforcements in the form of gold stars are given to students after

they provide five correct responses to questions. In the language of operant conditioning, this

kind of _______ reinforcement pattern would be called a/an _______-ratio schedule.

Check your answers with those on page 168.

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By way of a helpful analogy, Figure 1 compares the human memory to a computer. Your textbook discusses how infor- mation is encoded, stored, and retrieved. In any case, the main phases of memory are sensory memory, STM, and LTM.

Sensory Memory

Since we receive information through our senses, sensory memory is visual, audible, olfactory, and so on. We hold this information only very briefly. If it isn’t transferred to STM, it’s lost.

Short-Term Memory (STM)

We can store STM as images provided by visual stimuli. However, more often, we store information phonetically by reviewing words in our minds. There are definite limits to the processing abilities of STM. Research indicates that we can process only about seven information bits from a visual field, for example. Your textbook offers you some simple, practical tests that show how we store information in STM.

We sometimes manage more information by chunking it. For example, look at the series of letters below. One at a time, try to get each of the two series into your mind. After studying each series, close your eyes for a moment. Open them to check your immediate recall. Do this for each series.



You should find that the second series was easier to recall. That’s because it’s broken into chunks. Chunking involves clumping information bits into small groups. In the case of random letters, the chunks might remind us of actual words. Recoding the information makes it easier to hold in STM.

We can use rehearsal to hold images or information longer in STM—or to transfer it into long-term memory (LTM). You’ve probably used this technique to remember a phone number by repeating it in your mind several times.

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Elaborative rehearsal consists of linking information to other kinds of information stored in LTM. For example, look at this series:


It could be linked to other information in this way: GEM can stand for jewel; ERT sounds like hurt; TRI could mean three; CAN might stand for Canada; ALA can stand for Alabama. Your rehearsal might be something like this: Jewels hurt three times in Canada and Alabama. What you come up with doesn’t have to make sense. The idea is to make the series easier to remember.

Long-Term Memory

No one is entirely sure how LTM works. Since we don’t actually know what the mind is, what we can say about LTM is limited to our observations. We do know that long-term memories fade with time. So, we don’t appear to have a perfect record of all our memories. We also know that we can update memories by checking facts, looking at old photos, and so on. This updating process is called constructive processing. There’s also evidence that we can invent memories—perhaps from stories we’re told about events we don’t actually experience in our childhood. These are called pseudo-memories. We also know that an enormous amount of information is stored and rapidly processed in LTM. For example, to recall the word absolute while you’re in a conversation, you’re able to retrieve the word while also omitting or mentally rejecting a large number of words that aren’t created.

There are different kinds of memory: Procedural memory is our memory of how to do things physically. An example of procedural memory is the ability to remember how to ride a bicycle. It’s often noted that you can remember how to ride a bicycle even if you haven’t been on one for quite some time.

Declarative memory stores facts. It can be broken down into two separate categories. Semantic memory stores words, skills, and other general facts. Episodic memory links feelings and thoughts to particular times and places. You’ve probably had the experience of hearing a song and suddenly remembering some scene from your past.

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Recall and Forgetting

Retrieval Cues

Partial memory often happens when we remember only some information about a particular subject or experience. The tip- of-the-tongue phenomenon illustrates partial memory. In this state, a person knows that a memory exists, but he or she can’t retrieve it.

Recall is the ability to retrieve information. Our ability to recall information is often affected by the order in which the information was initially processed. For example, it’s easier to recall the first and last names on a list than it is to remem- ber names in the middle of the list. This phenomenon is called the serial-position effect.

Recognition occurs when you correctly recall previously learned information from some kind of cue or clue. Multiple- choice tests depend largely on recognition, and recognition is more accurate and complete than simple recall. Distractors— like answer options on multiple-choice tests—can throw off recognition. We can also make the mistake of accepting a false positive, or a false sense of recognition. For example, we might think that we see a cousin in an old photograph, when in fact the image only looks like that cousin.

Levels of Processing

The levels-of-processing theory focuses on the degree to which new information inputs are perceived, processed, and understood. In a nutshell, it’s thought that the extent of information processing and analysis when new information is initially encountered determines how well it’s remembered. For example, if you’re really paying attention and asking questions when you’re introduced to Newton’s laws of motion, you’re more likely to remember them.

Explicit and Implicit Memory

There are two different types of memories—implicit memories and explicit memories. Explicit memories are those we know we possess. Recalling the actor who starred in your favorite

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movie is an example of an explicit memory. Implicit memories are those that we aren’t necessarily aware we possess. For example, let’s say you’re out in the ocean on a fishing boat and accidentally fall overboard. You may not be consciously aware that, when dumped into water over your head, the first thing to do is get your shoes off. But when the event occurs, you may remember this from a lifesaving course taken years before. Let’s hope so.

Flashbulb Memories

Flashbulb memories are those that are burned into our memories during situations of high emotion. In fact, the main component of a flashbulb memory is a strong emotional response to an unexpected event. We usually don’t repress flashbulb memories, and they’re often very difficult to sup- press. For example, the images of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, are flashbulb memories for many people. They can remember vividly where they were, what they were doing, and what they felt on that day.

Constructive Processes in Memory: Rebuilding the Past

Let’s say Abby and Hank, a married couple, vividly remember the day they met at the public library. Yet when they’re asked to relate just what happened that day, each will tell a some- what different story. Why would that be the case? According to the British psychologist Fred Bartlett, people organize memories of past events through mental schemas. You can think of a schema as a particular way of storing, retrieving, and interpreting information. Abby and Hank probably have dif- ferent tendencies to remember specifics of that day, depending on how they viewed the context, what their expectations were, and how they recall what motivated their behavior. As noted in your text, the fact that eyewitness accounts of the same event may vary wildly illustrates the notion that we tend to see what we expect to see.

Another constructive process occurs with autobiographical memories. Autobiographical memories recall and interpret the events and experiences of our lives. The fact is, when “telling

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our stories,” we tend to forget, or gloss over, things that we feel reflect badly on us. By the same token, we may make a bit more of events and episodes that we feel reflect well on how we see ourselves. As novelist Anaïs Nin once wrote, “We do not see the world as it is. We see it as we are.”


If you worry about forgetting things, take heart. Memory fail- ure is essential to remembering important information. Think about it. If you walked out of a museum remembering every single detail of every one of your sensory impressions, you would, in effect, know everything about nothing. Perception is selective. Getting by in the world is easier if we can simply remember the things that are important to our lives. In any case, memories of all kinds fade over time. There’s always a strong initial decline in memory—over about nine hours, followed by a steady decline thereafter.

Why We Forget

There are many different reasons why we forget. Sometimes information is lost when it’s transferred from STM to LTM. Other times, information is lost because too much time has lapsed from when the information was first learned. Keep in mind once again that forgetting, like remembering, is selective. We remember things that are important to us and forget things that aren’t important to us.

Here’s a summary of the primary reasons we forget:

Encoding failure simply means that we don’t remember enough information to form a complete memory. It’s probably the main reason for forgetting. If we glance at the people in a checkout line at the supermarket, we’re unlikely to remember everyone we see. If we’re later asked to recall how many people were in the line or what they were wearing, chances are good that we won’t remember much. Why? Quite simply, we never formed memories of these things in the first place.

Decay refers to the idea that stored memories lose their sharpness and clarity over time. Memory traces in the brain will fade away if enough time passes. In the case of STM, decay is natural and expected. Information that isn’t stored in LTM disappears from consciousness.

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Cue-dependent forgetting is related to memory cues. If no memory cues are present, we tend to forget information. For example, if you’re asked where you were on June 8, 1982, you might not remember. However, if you recalled a memory cue concerning that day (such as a bad storm or a parade), you would remember immediately.

State-dependent learning is a form of cue-dependent forgetting. It refers to the fact that we’re more likely to remember some- thing if we’re in a bodily state similar to what we were experiencing when the memory was formed. For example, when you’re hungry, you might recall an experience you had during another time when you were hungry. Hearing a song you liked 10 years earlier will make it easier to remember what kind of car you were driving back in those days.

Proactive and Retroactive Interference: The Before and After of Forgetting

Interference is a major factor in forgetting. When new informa- tion obstructs information that’s already in memory, it’s called retroactive interference. In other words, new learning interferes with old learning. You might not recall how to navigate a com- puter program you learned earlier in the day if you learn a new one several hours later. In proactive interference, old learning interferes with new learning. Let’s say you read about the history of the Roman Empire. Later that day, you read about the history of England. Your understanding of English history will be less accurate because you’re still processing what you read about the Roman Empire.

The “Becoming an Informed Consumer of Psychology” feature of your text gives you five excellent tips for improving your memory as you apply yourself to study. Give them your undi- vided attention. Meanwhile, we’ll add that simple things like staying alert by taking breaks or getting some brief physical exercise are common sense. “Sleeping on it” actually works, too. Study what you wish to master. Sleep. Then study again. For some reason, we tend to consolidate and organize knowl- edge during sleep. Therefore, always get a good night’s sleep after studying for an exam.

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Thinking, Reasoning, and Problem Solving

Mental Images

Mental images can be thought of as mind constructions. When we visualize the house we lived in years ago, we can travel through the house mentally, seeing things in three dimensions. If we imagine a flower, we can rotate it mentally to imagine how it looks from different angles. This process is called mental rotation. An artist can imagine a created image before drawing it on paper or sculpting it in clay. Of course, in the process of transferring a mentally created image to any form, a lot of editing takes place. The process is interactive. For example, in building a model, creating the actual form will modify the mental image and vice versa.

Concepts: Categorizing the World

If mental images are visual mind constructions, concepts can be considered as thought constructions. Let’s say I imagine winged creatures that have feathers and that enjoy eating worms. I might create a concept and name it birds. Bird is now a concept that joins a category of phenomena in a mental file. Other con- cepts may be far more abstract. For example, the mathematical concept of infinity can be expressed, but it can’t be visualized.

Prototypes are typical or highly representative examples of a mental image of concept. For example, for Sally, who’s from New England, the “epitome” (prototype) of the category “trees” is a maple tree. For Sandra, who’s from the Pacific Northwest, an ideal tree prototype is a fir tree.

Reasoning: Making Up Your Mind

When we’re presented with options, decisions are in order. Leila wants to go to the beach; Bob wants to camp out in a national park. The decision in this case may be resolved in an emotional tussle over whose preference is more “sensible”— although, in fact, there isn’t a lot of reasoning going on. To reason is to observe facts, understand their relationship,

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evaluate alternatives, and choose the one that seems best to fit one’s objectives. Two shortcuts in a decision-making cognitive process are algorithms and heuristics.

An algorithm is a rule that, when followed correctly, will provide a solution to a problem. You can think of an algorithm as a kind of recipe. Follow steps 1, 2, 3, and so on precisely, and you’ll solve a problem, such as how many widgets to produce if the supply of raw materials is “S” and the demand for widgets is “D.” Computer programs are algorithms made up of logical steps based on the logical principles of base-two mathematics applied to electric logic circuits. A chemical formula, like NaOH + HCl à NaCl + H2O, is a “recipe” for mixing precise quantities of sodium hydroxide and hydrochloric acid to get precise amounts of table salt and water.

A heuristic can be thought of as a “rule of thumb.” For example, if the sales of widgets in the first quarter were “$,” order raw materials in the amount “R” for the next quarter. The problem with heuristics is that we can’t be sure that our rule of thumb actually applies to a situation. Heuristics tend to be “the way we usually do it,” and as situations change (like an unexpected drop in demand), a heuristic decision may be dead wrong.

Problem Solving

Your text outlines three steps in problem solving:

1. Preparation means understanding and diagnosing a problem. Problems related to things like calculating how much a metal bearing will expand when it’s heated to a given temperature are well-defined. We can apply a mathematical equation or a tried-and-true logical rule. On the other hand, problems involving human nature and predicting people’s behavior tend to be ill-defined. For example, improving company morale may involve more variables than management can measure or account for.

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2. Production occurs when we generate alternate solutions. How well we’ll do that depends heavily on how well we understand the problem and its most likely diagnosis (projected outcome). The most common heuristic for gen- erating a solution is a means-end analysis. We apply tests to figure out the gap between the way things are and the way we want them to be. Or, put another way, we try to assess the best means for achieving our pre- ferred ends.

3. Judgment is called for as we evaluate alternative solu- tions. However, judgment tends to be subjective. Let’s say the problem is increasing a company’s productivity. The art department may favor hiring more consultants to increase ad-production efficiency. The accounting depart- ment may favor combining more tasks under one job description to cut labor costs. The union (if there is one) may call for spurring production through more equitable wages.

Impediments to effective problem solving include functional fixedness and mental set.

Functional fixedness is tending to see the functions of objects or processes in narrow terms. Some see a spoon as simply a requirement for eating cereal. A person less inclined to func- tional fixedness may see a spoon as a potential screwdriver or as a rough-and-ready measuring device for adding garlic powder to the spaghetti sauce. Functional fixedness is a failure to think creatively and entertain innovations. For example, aircraft mechanics in World War II stationed with the famous Flying Tigers learned to use oriental coins with holes in them as washers. They overcame functional fixed- ness because they didn’t assume that the coins could be used only as money.

Our mental set can get in the way when old approaches to prob- lem solving persist, even though they’re no longer appropriate to new situations and problems. Red tape in bureaucracies offers examples. A requirement for filling out a paper requisition form may persist, even after all requisitions are automatically recorded in an easily accessible computer database.

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Language Language is essential in human cognition. Language consists of vocal or written symbols that have specific rules for their use and organization. Without language, we couldn’t convey different concepts to other people.

Language Development

Language acquisition in humans occurs in phases:

n Babbling—From around three months to one year of age, children make meaningless sounds. Interestingly, infant babbles range over all the possible sounds (called phonemes) that can show up in an actual language. Arabic, for example, uses many more phonemes than English. In any case, over several months, infants increasingly imitate the sounds of the language they’re exposed to. Theorists maintain that this babbling stage is crucial to learning language. Children who aren’t exposed to language as infants will have far greater difficulties acquiring language when, at last, they’re exposed to it.

n Production of language—By the end of their first year, infants generally use only the sounds (phonemes) of the language they’re exposed to. Think of this as a process of sound-imitation reduction until what’s left is the set of sound for one’s native language. From then on, forming meaningful sounds (called morphemes) gets under way. By age two, the child has a vocabulary of about 50 words. A few months later the child will command hundreds of words.

At this point, children can produce short sentences called telegraphic speech. For example, instead of saying “See Spot run,” they’re more likely to say, “Spot runs.” Instead of “Dad is walking the dog,” we’ll get something like, “Daddy walking dog.” By age three, kids are learning to form plurals and tenses in their sentences. But they tend to make mistakes called overgeneralization. So, for example, a child might say, “Daddy walked home,” which is grammatically correct. But they’ll overgeneralize the “-ed” rule when they say, “Rover runned to me.”

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Children have a complete command of their native language by about age five. However, that may mean having command of an ethnic English language dialect, like Louisiana Bayou patois or Appalachian highland speech. And, in any case, children will learn grammatical concepts only as their formal or informal education proceeds.

Three dominant models of language acquisition are covered in your text:

1. The learning theory approach to language development maintains that language is learned through schedules of reinforcement, like those associated with operant condi- tioning. Support for this model is provided by research showing that children develop language skills more quickly when parents speak (or read) to them often. On the other hand, the learning approach doesn’t do well in explaining how children learn the rules of syntax (word- order) or grammar.

2. The nativist model, mainly developed by linguist Noam Chomsky, maintains that all human languages share a common universal grammar. Chomsky accounts for this by hypothesizing a language-acquisition device (LAD) built into the human nervous system. Chomsky’s position has received support from the discovery of a gene related to the development of language abilities, which seems to have emerged as recently as 100,000 years ago. There’s also evidence that parts of the brain are vital to particu- lar kinds of languages. Thus, the “click” (glottal stop) language of the Kung San of Africa and the tonal- language qualities of Mandarin Chinese are served by specialized language areas of the brain.

3. The interactionist approach attempts to reconcile different models. Basically, an interactionist will assume that lan- guage acquisition is related both to genetic predisposition and to environmental (learning) variables. The research issues then become sorting out the ways learning and genetic predisposition interact under different circumstances.

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The Influence of Language on Thinking

Will you see the world differently if you encode your perceptions in different languages? This is the controversial question posed by the linguistic-relativity hypothesis. According to this hypothesis, the language we use shapes our perception of the world. How we think the world is is how we see the world. On the other hand, opponents of this view maintain that language isn’t the cause of our ways of thinking. Instead, think- ing itself, based on responses to particular environments, shapes language. This could explain why the Eskimo (Inuit) people have many more words for ice and snow than we’ll ever find in American English.

In fact, there’s considerable research, mainly from anthro- pology, that supports the linguistic-relativity hypothesis. However, your text maintains that research opposing that hypothesis is more convincing to most researchers, which, in fact, does seem to be the case. However, your challenge, should you ever become a psycho-linguistic researcher, would be to revisit both sides of the controversy.

Once you’ve finished studying Assignment 6, complete Self-Check 6; the Evaluate quizzes on pages 211–212, 224–225, 235 and 244 in your textbook; and the required discussion board posting.

Then review the material you’ve learned in this study guide and the assigned pages in your textbook for Assignments 4–6. When you’re sure that you completely understand the infor- mation, complete your examination for Lesson 2.

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Self-Check 6 1. Sometimes called a “rule of thumb,” a cognitive shortcut for solving a problem is known to

psychologists as a/an _______.

2. Jake recognizes that a spoon can be used as a lever or even as a screwdriver. Bob can think

of a spoon only as something to use when eating soup or cereal. Psychologists would say that

Bob’s view of spoons results from _______ fixedness.

3. With respect to two kinds of recall interference, _______ interference results when earlier

recall disrupts the recall of more recently acquired information.

4. Memories stored in your mind that you aren’t aware of are to _______ memory as intentional

and conscious recollection is to _______ memory.

5. According to the _______-relativity hypothesis, language shapes the way people who speak

that language view the world.

6. For Sally, who owns one, a German shepherd is a prototype of her _______ of dogs in general

because a German shepherd best represents her _______ image of what a dog is.

7. According to three-system memory theory, the momentary storage of information lasting only

an instant is called _______ memory.

8. In the context of language development, when Leslie’s vocabulary grows to several hundred

words, she’s capable of forming short sentences, such as, “I draw cat.” Leslie’s way of speaking at

this stage is called _______ speech.

9. Chandler once spoke fluent German, but after years of living in England, his fluency in

German declined. For psychologists, the loss of information as a result of not using it is

called _______.

10. Within long-term memory, procedural memory is related to motor skills while semantic and

episodic memories are related to _______ memory.

Check your answers with those on page 169.


Motivation, Emotion, Development, and Personality

INTRODUCTION Lesson 3 opens “with feeling” as Chapter 7 explores the nature of human motivation and emotion. In Chapter 8, you’ll trace the paths of human development across the life cycle, learning how we humans develop physiologically, cognitively, and socially. Finally, in Chapter 9, you’ll look at human personality from different angles and perspectives.

ASSIGNMENT 7—MOTIVATION AND EMOTION Read this assignment. Then read Chapter 7 in your textbook.

Explaining Motivation Motivation refers to the process that encourages thoughts and activities. Motivation can take many different forms. Sometimes we go to the refrigerator at midnight because we’re motivated by hunger. Sometimes we study even if we don’t want to because we’re motivated by the need to pass algebra. Sometimes we sleep in the sun for a long time because it feels good. In this case, pleasure would be our motivation. If we get sunburned, rubbing aloe lotion on the burn is a good way to relieve the pain. The simple motive here is to reduce pain.

Internally perceived needs create drives. When we’re hungry, we seek restaurants or the nearest refrigerator. Such behav- ior is a response to an inner biological drive. In this case, the goal is eating. Incentive value refers to the additional value that meeting a goal provides. External needs, such as social

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approval, offer the incentive of increased self-esteem. Satisfying internal needs provides direct incentives, such as satisfying hunger.

Psychologists identify three types of motives:

1. Primary motives are based on biological needs and must be met to survive.

2. Stimulus motives represent our need for basic human expression as represented by curiosity, playfulness, the quest for exciting or pleasurable sensations (such as eating because it’s pleasant as opposed to eating because we’re actually hungry), and sociability.

3. Secondary motives are based on learned needs, drives, and goals. Nearly all of these motives offer social identity and approval. For example, you might have an incentive to use language that’s acceptable to those around you. You’ll learn to be a hard worker if you learned that hard work is rewarded.

Instinct approaches to motivation focus on genetically “pre- wired” behaviors. In effect, many behaviors in all kinds of animals are dependent on adaptation to habitat environments, which, in turn, are dependent on genetic coding that produces the thousands of proteins (including hormones) needed for biological survival in a particular species.

Drive-Reduction Approaches: Satisfying Our Needs

Primary drive-reduction motives are related to biological homeostasis. A system is in homeostasis if it’s in a steady or balanced state. Your body attempts to maintain homeostatic balance in many ways. For example, thirst is generated by strong body signals that motivate you to hydrate yourself. Thirst is your body’s way of maintaining an internal water balance. In other words, internal “thermostats” such as hormone-producing glands meet the body’s homeostasis needs. For example, if you’re too hot, your body’s temperature- regulating system will produce sweat. Evaporating water on the skin helps cool the body.

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Arousal Approaches: Beyond Drive Reduction

People often seek thrills and excitement. When they do, they’re getting pleasure or fulfillment from bodily stimulation. These people are often called sensation seekers. Sensation seekers experience intense physical arousal that’s often interpreted as excitement or even as stark terror. That’s why people like to go to horror movies. That’s also why some people think skydiving, rock climbing, bungee jumping, and other kinds of risky adventures are fun.

Incentive approaches to motivation focus on theories suggesting that we’re motivated by desires evoked by external stimuli. So, for example, in responding to a hunger drive we may also be attracted to a specific dessert or savory stew. Here, drive reduction through eating is complemented by an incentive represented by a food we desire. There’s both a “push” and a “pull.”

Cognitive approaches to motivation maintain that we’re motivated by our thoughts and feelings. In the context of the cognitive approach, we may be drawn to a behavior that is its own reward, like shooting hoops or ice skating. These are intrinsic motivations. (Vincent van Gogh worked all his life to be a great artist, although he sold very few paintings and had no recognition during his lifetime. For him, painting was its own reward.) In other cases, we’re drawn into activities that promise a reward, like money, a new car, a job promotion, or social approval. These are extrinsic motivations.

Maslow’s Hierarchy: Ordering Motivational Needs

Abraham Maslow proposed a comprehensive model of human needs. Imagine a pyramid divided into five layers. The lowest layer of the pyramid represents our physiological needs for food, water, sleep, and sex. The next layer represents our needs for safety and security. The third layer represents our needs for love and belonging. The fourth layer represents our needs for esteem and self-esteem. These four layers of the pyramid represent our basic needs.

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The fifth layer, the highest part of the pyramid, represents our growth needs. Growth needs are needs for personal growth and life enhancement. The overall objective of our growth needs is to achieve what Maslow called self- actualization.

The key idea in Maslow’s model is that our needs are hierar- chical. In other words, we generally have to fulfill our basic needs—in order—before we can fulfill our highest (fifth-level) needs. Critics of Maslow have pointed out that some people, while fulfilling their so-called meta-needs, may actively forgo basic needs by fasting, taking vows of poverty, and denying themselves sexual pleasure.

Applying the Different Approaches to Motivation

If we really want to understand human motivation, it’s unlikely that any one of the approaches we’ve mentioned will give us the whole story. By analogy, to get the best visual appreciation of an elephant, we’ll benefit from looking at the creature from many different angles.

Human Needs and Motivation

Public health studies reveal that more than 60 percent of Americans are overweight. Obesity has become one of the leading enemies of public health (next to smoking). The sen- sation of hunger is related to glucose (sugar) levels in the blood. Both the liver and the stomach send signals to the brain that stimulate feelings of hunger when glucose levels are low. The brain’s master control center for hunger is the hypothalamus. A specialized part of the hypothalamus then assesses your blood sugar levels. The feeding system of the hypothalamus (called the lateral hypothalamus) is activated when sugar levels are too low for metabolic homeostasis. Metabolism is the energy-burning rate in your body. Homeo- stasis involves system balance and maintenance under constantly changing environmental conditions. Homeostatic balance is required to make sure that cells have the fuel they need. Excess fuel (glucose) is stored as fat. Energy stored as fat is converted to sugar fuel when the hypothalamus detects a low level of blood sugar.

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The set point is the proportion of fat that’s maintained in the body. (Fat is a necessary part of nutrition, by the way. Cell walls are constructed from fatty lipids.) Research suggests that changing one’s set point might be a key to staying at a healthy weight. However, the proportion of fat cells in the body is related to genetic factors, thus making the issue rather complicated.

Social factors contribute significantly to eating patterns. Indeed, while a psychologist can identify personality disor- ders related to eating disorders (discussed below), research indicates that the main cause of eating disorders is cultural. The best evidence of that hypothesis comes from cross- cultural studies. For example, in Polynesia (including Hawaii, Tahiti, and Samoa), before the influences of Western culture began to alter their attitudes, people felt that the ideal female body type was one that we might call generous. Female beauty was considered greatly enhanced by rounded limbs and a formidable torso. In our society, we’re bombarded by media images of ideal bodies. The ideal female body type is at the same time both unrealistic and socially mandated. Body types vary, but very few women look like muscular athletes or models. The same female body types that would have delighted Renaissance artists like Titian and modern impressionists like Renoir are now seen as disgusting. As a result, millions of women judge their own bodies the same way.

In addition to obesity, startling proportions of Americans are afflicted with eating disorders. A disproportionate number of those who suffer from such disorders are female. The two main eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia ner- vosa. Both disorders pose serious health risks, but anorexia is often more deadly. Anorexia nervosa is self-starvation. Although anorexics may experience severe discomfort from hunger, they become emotionally and behaviorally committed to not eating. Anorexics also develop an astonishingly dis- torted body image. They think their bodies are overweight when they’re actually painfully thin.

Bulimia nervosa is characterized by bingeing and purging. Bulimics eat because they get hungry. Then, to maintain an (unrealistic) ideal weight, they make themselves vomit what

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they’ve eaten. An extraordinary number of American girls and women become addicted to this behavior. It’s thought that eat- ing disorders, especially bulimia, are related to professional models and entertainers in much the same way as dangerous steroid use is associated with professional athletes. In both cases, people feel extreme pressure to fit the description of a physically ideal person.

Sexual Motivation

Various studies have shown that both males and females spend a lot of time thinking about sex. As scientists in differ- ent fields have pointed out, the first thing we notice upon seeing another person is his or her gender. Our sex drive is our motivation to seek out and engage in sexual behavior. It’s closely associated with biology. However, for humans, the sex drive is distinct. For example, females of other species mate only when they’re in a stage called heat, or estrus (biologically prepared to conceive). Male sexual behavior is most often triggered by odors or signals from females of the same species that indicate they’re in estrus. This scenario doesn’t occur in humans. Human females are somewhat more inclined to engage in sexual behavior around the time of ovulation, but they’re also likely to be sexually active at any time during their menstrual cycle. Human males are also generally interested in sexual activity at any time or place. The sex drive varies from person to person. It tends to decline only gradually among healthy people, even well into old age.

In humans and in similar animals on the evolutionary scale, estrus is associated with the female hormone called estrogen. In males, hormones called androgens—which include testosterone—regulate the sex drive.

The sex drive is related to pleasure fulfillment on a physical level, but it also plays a crucial role in the survival of our species. Since the sex drive is important to both the individual and to the entire species, we might assume that many of our other motivations are, too. For example, social approval includes individual incentives. At the same time, socially approved behavior often benefits everyone in a social group or society.

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Your text offers helpful information about typical sexual practices, homosexuality, bisexuality, and transsexualism. While it’s likely that many of you will have some understand- ing of many of the concepts and terms, studying this material can help you gather interesting statistical facts and, perhaps, dispel a few myths.

The Needs for Achievement, Affiliation, and Power Social psychologist David McClelland has been a major contribu- tor to ideas about achievement needs. His studies are important because they’re based on careful and exhaustive research that spans a number of years. McClelland proposed that we could measure what he called the need for achievement (nAch). The need for achievement is the desire to meet or exceed personal standards. By analyzing the answers to questionnaires he developed, McClelland found that he could predict the likeli- hood of later achievement. In general, people who are willing to take risks, have a high sense of their own ability, and have a drive to succeed are likely to be achievers. McClelland stud- ied both individual achievement needs as well as the general tendency of entire societies to be achievement-oriented.

McClelland also studied the learned needs for affiliation and power. The affiliation need is high in people “who need people,” people who take satisfaction in personal relation- ships. By contrast, power is the ability to influence or control the behavior of other people. Many have noted that the need for power can be dangerous. It sometimes leads to moral decline and a sense of entitlement. As British statesman Lord Acton once noted, power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Meanwhile, you should note that while achievement may yield social power, the drive for achieve- ment and the need for power are independent of one another.

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Understanding Emotional Experiences

Emotions are associated with adaptive behaviors. Adaptive behaviors help us survive and adapt to changing environ- ments. Emotions are also linked to physiological changes in the body. For example, the hormone adrenaline is pumped into your system from your adrenal glands when you’re motivated to flee or to fight. Physiological changes that are caused by adrenaline include an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and perspiration.

Determining the Range of Emotions: Labeling Our Feelings

Scientists love to classify phenomena. Therefore, it’s no sur- prise that psychologists have come up with various ways to classify different emotions. The scheme emphasized in your text is a hierarchical approach that divides emotions into positive (love and joy) and negative (anger, sadness, and fear). These five primaries are then broken down into 15 subcate- gories. So, for example, anger can be packaged as annoyance, hostility, contempt, or jealousy.

The Roots of Emotions

You’ll want to become familiar with three important theories of emotion:

1. The James-Lange theory proposes that bodily arousal occurs before we experience emotional arousal. The expe- rience of sadness follows the physiological reaction of crying. We don’t cry because we’re sad; we’re sad because we cry. We see a poisonous snake, our sympa- thetic nervous system kicks in, and then we feel fear. We brake hard, swerving to miss an oncoming truck, and then experience a rush of fear.

2. The Cannon-Bard theory rejects the James-Lange theory. Walter Cannon and Phillip Bard argued that a physically aroused state and its accompanying emotional state arise simultaneously. In effect, the brain centers responsible for arousal and fear (the thalamus and hypothalamus) operate together.

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3. Schachter’s cognitive theory of emotion states that we become fearful when we cognitively (mentally) define some threat. Many people would panic if they saw a snake approaching through the grass. An Amazonian tribal person may see the snake in the grass and experi- ence physiological arousal, but he or she might consider it dinner. In any case, research does support the idea that we can experience a physically aroused state as either fear or excitement. A roller-coaster ride may be fun for one person and a nightmare for another.

A contemporary model of emotion concludes the module. If it occurred to you that there’s a degree of truth in each of the major theories of emotion, then you already understand the main idea of the contemporary model of emotion. For exam- ple, the three emotional theories do suggest that the context of an arousal state, along with our definition of it, is related to emotional experience. Emotional appraisal, in turn, refers to how we value or interpret stimuli.

As it turns out, the six basic emotions expressed in the six facial expressions—happiness, anger, sadness, surprise, disgust, and fear—do seem to be universal across cultures. (Research details in your text will help you get the point.) But why should this be so? Two explanatory approaches are mentioned in your text. According to the facial-affect program theory, all of us are genetically “wired” to express these six emotions at birth. In effect, each of the six emotions evokes characteristic responses in facial muscles.

The facial-feedback hypothesis adds an interesting twist to the facial-affect model. (It’s also another version of the “which came first” problem.) According to research by Carol Izard and others, basic facial expressions are programmed by the nervous system, affirming the facial-affect assumption. However, in this model, when an emotion is triggered, we become aware of our facial expression and then realize the emotion, whatever it may be. In short, emotional states and facial expressions are correlated and interactive. It should therefore be possible to alter or produce an emotional state by consciously producing a facial expression. Furthermore, research suggests that this may sometimes be the case. There’s an old song with the lyric “Let a smile be your umbrella.” Maybe that’s good psychological advice!

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Once you’ve finished studying Assignment 7, complete Self-Check 7 and the Evaluate quizzes on pages 260, 274, and 284 in your textbook.

Self-Check 7 1. While the expression _______ involves the feeling that one has been born into a body that

conflicts with one’s sexual identity—whether male or female—_______ refers to sexual

attraction only to persons of the opposite sex.

2. The rate at which food is converted to energy is to _______ as the regulation of food intake is

to the hypothalamus.

3. In drive-reduction approaches to motivation, _______ drives are related to biological needs,

like thirst or hunger, while _______ drives are related to learned needs related to such things

as social status and achievement.

4. According to the _______-_______ hypothesis, facial expressions not only express emotions,

they can also help determine how people feel. Thus, putting on a smile may actually make us

feel a bit happier.

5. In the cognitive perspective on motivation, a distinction is made between being motivated to

do something to get a reward, like money or praise, and motivation based on _______

rewards like self-satisfaction or the joy of the game.

6. The view that premarital sex may be approved for males but disapproved for females is

called the _______ standard.

7. In the context of McClelland’s theory, people who are low in _______ motivation tend to seek

out tasks that offer the lowest risk of failure.

8. The body has built-in processes aimed at maintaining a steady internal state known as


9. A typical behavioral pattern among people suffering from _______ is binge eating followed by

vomiting or the use of laxatives.

10. In Abraham Maslow’s needs hierarchy, _______ has to do with the need to develop a sense of


Check your answers with those on page 169.

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ASSIGNMENT 8—DEVELOPMENT Read this assignment. Then read Chapter 8 in your textbook.

Nature, Nurture, and Prenatal Development Developmental psychology attempts to understand the phases of the human life cycle. There are two frameworks for tracing life’s path from infancy to the great crossing over. One is biology, and the other is human experience viewed through various theories about mind and behavior. The two frameworks are interactive. In particular, there’s an ongoing struggle to understand the extent to which developmental phases of the life cycle are determined by genetic inheritance on the one hand and environmental influences on the other hand. In other words, what is the balance of nature and nurture?

Determining the Relative Influence of Nature and Nurture

To seek the nature of that balance, researchers study the nature of genetic inheritance in two ways. First, drawing on the explosion of knowledge allowing us to create gene maps, genes can be linked to physical and behavioral traits. Mostly, so far, this has been done using animals, such as the hum- ble fruit fly (Drosophila). Second, because it isn’t ethically feasible to do this sort of research on humans, we can study relative impacts of inheritance and environment by comparing behavioral traits of people who are genetically related, yet raised in different environments. The most convincing way to do that has been through studies of twins, and in particular identical twins that, for some reason, have been raised in dif- ferent environments.

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Developmental Research Techniques

To study phenomena of any kind, we need to understand how they’re either distinct or similar. In the study of humans, for example, we may want to understand the extent to which intelli- gence measures change as a function of age. And, at the same time, we may want to learn how levels of measurable intelli- gence vary—or are similar—for people of the same age. Thus, a cross-sectional study could sample IQ scores for people of dif- ferent ages at a given point in time. (A cross-sectional study is like snapshot.) Or we might use a longitudinal study to see how IQ scores change over time as people develop through childhood, adolescence, and so on. (An ongoing longitudinal study is like a series of frames in a film. We can see the pattern over time.) To combine both kinds of studies, we can use sequential research. For example, we could study IQ in three groups—12-year-olds, 14-year-olds, and 17-year-olds. Then we take a cross-sectional snapshot every three months for three years, as each group gets older. Since comparisons can be both within groups and between groups, we have the “best of both worlds,” assuming we can come up with the funding for this sort of study.

Prenatal Development: Conception to Birth

This section traces prenatal development with an emphasis on the transfer of genetic inheritance from the parents. Here, we’ll simply highlight a few key terms.

As you’re likely to have learned in a biology course, conception occurs when sperm and egg get together to form a zygote. For the first two weeks after conception, the zygote is in a germinal phase—basically as a tiny ball of cells. An embryonic period (phase) proceeds from week 2 to week 8, during which we call the developing child an embryo. From around week 8 onward until birth, the developing child is known as a fetus. A fetus reaches the age of viability at about 22 weeks. A fetus is viable if it can survive premature birth.

You’ll be introduced to a variety of ways in which genetic inheritance influences the fetus, including the unfortunate development of Down syndrome or sickle-cell trait. Prenatal environmental influences that can negatively impact the fetus are called teratogens. Teratogens, which lead to birth defects, may include side-effects of drugs, alcohol, and smoking.

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Infancy and Childhood

The Extraordinary Newborn

Newly born people are called neonates. Neonates are born with a range of reflexes. For example, in the rooting reflex, a baby turns its head toward things that touch his or her cheek, like a mother’s breast. In the Babinski reflex, baby’s toes fan out when the outer edge of the sole of the foot is stroked. Babies are also born with a startle reflex, a sucking reflex, and a gag reflex. These early reflexes fade out pretty quickly as the child learns more complex ways of responding to stimuli. An infant’s senses develop rapidly. Even very young infants can follow the motion of a moving object, and a child can recognize a mother’s voice within three days.

The Growing Child: Infancy through Middle Childhood

From infancy to childhood, physical, social, and cognitive development moves onward with remarkable speed. The development of social bonds and attachments is crucial to being human. You’ll be introduced to the famous monkey experiments of Harry Harlow—to learn that our closer evolu- tionary cousins also need bonds of attachment, especially to a mother or mother surrogate. More importantly, you’ll be introduced to the research of Mary Ainsworth. Her work, through the Ainsworth strange situation studies, established four kinds of infant-mother attachment: secure, avoidant, ambivalent, and disorganized-disoriented. You can probably get the gist of what those terms imply, but your text will help you sort out the differences.

Other factors considered here include

n The father’s role—Daddy may interact with his child differently than mom, but both kinds of attachments are important to healthy child development.

n Social relationships with peers—Children learn an awful lot about relationships, other people, and approved social behavior from other kids.

n Consequences of child-care outside the home—In a world where both parents often work full-time, day-care has become an enormous industry. Is that a good thing? Study this topic to decide for yourself.

Parenting styles have a crucial bearing on how a child is socialized. (To be socialized is to learn how to get along in the world through interaction with others.) You’ll want to be quite familiar with the four primary parenting styles and their likely impact on a child.

1. Authoritarian parenting—The “Do as I say, not as I do . . . or else” parenting style encourages children to be unsociable, unfriendly, and withdrawn.

2. Permissive parenting—The permissive style involves on- again off-again approval or disapproval. The child has to cope with the parents’ emotional immaturity. Permissibly raised kids tend to be moody, dependent, and lacking in self-control.

3. Authoritative parenting—“Because we love you, we set boundaries. We expect you to follow them, and here’s why.” Authoritative parenting encourages independence, good social skills, and self-reliance.

4. Uninvolved parenting—“I don’t care what you do, just don’t bother me.” Neglectful, uninvolved parenting leads to adults who may be indifferent to others and con- demned to a life of mental and emotional problems.

On the other hand, children arrive with differences in tem- perament. So, while the authoritative style may be ideal, it may not be ideal for all children. In other words, there can be limits to effective parenting that aren’t actually the fault of the parents.

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Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development Personality theorist Erik Erikson divided human life into categories called life stages. During each life stage, a conflict arises between personal motivations and the world’s expecta- tions. This conflict is called the psychosocial dilemma. For example, during the second stage of life, the psychosocial dilemma is autonomy versus shame and doubt. Children may develop a sense of autonomy and self-control if they aren’t caused to feel shameful and to doubt their abilities. The other seven life stages have similar dilemmas. Each dilemma must be mastered to promote healthy development and avoid personal crises.

The four dilemmas faced in childhood are

1. Trust versus mistrust—The first stage of the life cycle occurs during the first year of life. Caregivers during this stage are crucial in helping an infant feel safe and pro- tected. When such care is absent, trust may not develop, and all the life challenges that follow will be made more difficult. Mistrust may develop due to insufficient parenting.

2. Autonomy versus shame and doubt—The second stage occurs between ages one and three. A sense of autonomy may be developed during this stage. Autonomy is a sense of self-control and independence. Children who feel shameful for acting independently will doubt their power to act on their own.

3. Initiative versus guilt—Stage three occurs during the third and fifth year of life. During this stage, initiative may be developed and reinforced. Guilt instilled by care- givers strangles initiative. A child’s guilt is linked to the feeling that he or she should conform and obey instead of acting on his or her own judgment.

4. Industry versus inferiority—The fourth stage of the life cycle occurs during the elementary school years (ages 6–12). Industry is developed when children are rewarded for adapting and achieving in the classroom and on the playground. If their actions are discouraged, children may develop a sense of inferiority.

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Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development How does a child’s understanding of the world change as he or she matures? That’s a question famously addressed by the work of Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget. What you’ll need to master here are Piaget’s four cognitive developmental stages:

1. Sensorimotor stage: Birth to 2 years—The world is mainly experienced in terms of direct sensory contact related to motor development. Touch, smell, sucking, chewing, and object focus are related to motor skills development. At this stage, a child lacks the concept of object permanence. Let’s say I show baby a doll, hide the doll behind my back, and then show baby the doll again. For baby, the doll exists when it’s visible and simply van- ishes when it isn’t visible. (Doll there. Doll all gone. Doll back again!)

2. Preoperational stage: 2 to 7 years—The child now uses mental symbols (images) to identify objects, which are also identified by language. The preoperational child sees the world entirely from his or her personal perspective. Piaget called this egocentric thought. And while object permanence is now understood, the child doesn’t grasp the principle of conservation. If I put four ounces of orange juice into a tall glass cylinder and the same amount of juice in a squat glass, the child can’t grasp that there’s the same amount of juice in each container. As the shape changes, the child assumes that the volume of liquid also changes.

3. Concrete operational stage: 7 to 12 years—The child now grasps the principle of conservation, within limits. Also, egocentric thought is shifting toward imagining the perspective of other people. However, the capacity for abstract thought isn’t developed. For example, I ask a child a question: “If a pig could fly, would it still be a pig?” Typical responses might be, “That’s silly; a pig can’t fly,” or maybe, “It would be an airplane pig.” The abstract idea that a pig with wings would no longer be a pig but some other species, or the idea that a flying pig is a metaphor for something that can’t happen wouldn’t come up.

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4. Formal operational stage: 12 years to adulthood—Now the child is capable of abstract thought and formal logic. A + B = X can be understood as a general equation. A conclusion must follow from a correct premise. Maybe. In fact, some people seem never to arrive at this stage. Indeed, some researchers have argued that formal opera- tional thinking simply doesn’t exist in some cultures.

For those who reject or doubt Piaget’s stage model of cognitive development, there’s the information-processing perspective. To some extent, this approach draws on digital processing technology, at least by way of analogy. People develop cognitive facilities as functions of things like increased processing time, based on experience, and the fact that memory increases dramatically with age. In the context of the information- processing perspective, metacognition arises as people become capable of understanding and monitoring their own thought processes. In effect, we become capable of reconfiguring our cognitive “programs.”

Vygotsky’s View of Cognitive Development: Considering Culture The Russian developmental psychologist Lev Vygotsky argued (convincingly) that cognitive development is related to social interaction. In particular, he maintains that children’s cogni- tive skills increase when new information falls within their zone of proximal development (ZPD). For example, a child who has some grasp of musical notation, chording, and so on learns more when exposed to teachers who provide new information that amplifies and enlarges upon the content already present in the child’s ZPD. Such assistance, rendered by teachers, coaches, and even parents, is called scaffolding. The mentor provides a scaffold of information that elaborates and adds to what the child already knows.

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Physical Development: The Changing Adolescent

This section summarizes information about physiological changes that occur at puberty. You should recall that the onset of puberty in girls is marked by the onset of menstruation, while the comparable event in boys is the first ejaculation, called spermarche.

Moral and Cognitive Development: Distinguishing Right from Wrong

Lawrence Kohlberg’s theory of moral development is the con- tent of this section. Kohlberg distinguishes three levels of moral development. Each level is related to age and social development. The levels were determined by sorting responses to moral dilemmas presented to people of different ages. For example, “A poor man steals a drug for his sick wife. Is his decision right or wrong?”

The preconventional level of moral thinking is marked by a focus on self-interest. Children are especially likely to see moral issues in terms of pleasure or punishment. “It’s bad to steal cookies because you get spanked,” a child might say. Another might say, “If I clean up my room, Mom lets me go shopping.”

The conventional level of moral thinking is typical of the adolescent years. It’s motivated by receiving approval from others or for being a good person. For example, “I would never smoke because people would think I’m a bad person.” Conventional morality upholds the law and obeys authority at all costs.

The postconventional level of moral thinking is marked by rationality and universal moral principles. Laws are evaluated on a rational basis but are upheld for the good of the people. In terms of the civil-rights movement, for example, nonviolent demonstrators would suffer legal consequences for breaking established laws. In terms of a universal moral principle, emphasis is placed on justice and equality. In this ideal view, laws should serve all people, not specific groups or organizations.

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Arguments against Kohlberg’s stages of moral development have been developed by his colleague, Carol Gilligan. In her research, she found that females generally promoted caring in moral development, while males promoted justice in moral development. In addition, students of Kohlberg have noted that his stages of moral development don’t work well for the governance of, by, and for the people. Only a small percent- age of adults seem to reach the postconventional level. A high percentage of people are inclined to obey an authority that’s considered legal, even if it isn’t particularly moral. Perhaps our society should seriously consider moral instruction in the early years. Maybe we should pay more attention to Gilligan’s findings, especially when choosing political and business leaders.

Social Development: Finding Oneself in a Social World This section returns you to the psychosocial development theories of Erik Erikson.

n Identity versus role confusion—The fifth stage occurs during adolescence. Teens experience the need to dis- cover who they are and to develop a sense of identity. Conflicting identities often lead to role confusion.

n Intimacy versus isolation—The sixth stage occurs during young adulthood. Individuals in this stage achieve inti- macy if they’re able to open themselves up to others and share feelings and experiences. Isolation occurs when intimacy isn’t established.

nGenerativity versus stagnation—The seventh stage occurs during middle adulthood. The term generativity for Erikson means working to help yourself and others find a fulfilling balance among work, play, and intimacy. In short, generativity is largely about balancing self-concern with concern for others. If your early achievements have been thin or limited, moving toward generativity may be difficult. The alternative to generativity, stagnation, is a sterile, empty focus on self. Erikson identifies the chal- lenge of middle adulthood as living for yourself alone or living for the benefit of others and society.

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n Integrity versus despair—The eighth and final stage occurs in late adulthood. To paraphrase Shakespeare, if you stay true to yourself, it follows that you can’t be false to any other. That line expresses the idea of integrity. You live your life as well as you can, owning up to your mistakes, taking responsibility when others haven’t, and allowing your gains in life to be of value to both yourself and to others. In a world that encourages competition at any cost, integrity often goes unnoticed. A person in this stage will experience despair if he or she hasn’t developed a sense of integrity.

The remainder of this section addresses the apparent myth of adolescence as a time of stormy rebellion and alienation. Actual research suggests that, for most, adolescence is neither a catastrophe nor a gambol through fields of daisies. Adolescence has its ups and downs, pretty much like life in general. On the other hand, the discussion of teen suicide does raise questions about just how healthy “life in general” is in our society.


Physical Development: The Peak of Health

The peak of physical health is about 25 years of age. From then on, the mechanical-coordinative capacities of the body tend to gradually decline. So, indeed, there are biological, cogni- tive, and social effects of aging. Probably the most distinct one occurs in late middle adulthood as women undergo menopause (the cessation of ovulation and menstruation). And while there’s no male equivalent of menopause, sperm count and levels of sexual activity gradually decline.

Otherwise, physical aging tends to vary from one individual to another. The biological effects include diminished muscu- lar strength, poor coordination, reduced lung capacity, and a slower reaction time. However, the idea that getting old means getting sick is mainly untrue. Most older people stay relatively healthy.

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Social Development: Working at Life

This section briefly reviews phases of the typical American life cycle. Adulthood gets underway in our society as we leave the parental nest and strike out on our own. Lives tend to focus on choosing careers and pursuing them. However, as people get into their 40s, they may undergo a midlife transition, or even some kind of a midlife crisis. Mortality looms. Signs of aging have appeared. One looks back and wonders if he or she has chosen the right path in life.

Beyond whatever midlife transition that may occur, most of us glide onward, focusing on the present and making the best of things. Finally, during the later stages of adulthood, people become more accepting of others, less troubled by things that used to worry them, and more inclined to enjoy the simple things in life.

Marriage, Children, and Divorce: Family Ties

Patterns of family life have changed considerably over the past half-century. For one thing, the ideal of a society mainly made up of married couples raising families seems like ancient history. Today, young people are marrying later, a significant number of couples live together without being married, and, increasingly, families are headed by single parents. Meanwhile, the divorce rate for first marriages remains near 50 percent.

Part of the reason for these trends, aside from the impact of frenetic lifestyles in industrialized societies, is changing gen- der roles. Nearly 75 percent of women raising children work outside the home. Yet, even as it typically takes two incomes these days to sustain a more or less middle-class lifestyle, women remain saddled with both work roles and traditional household roles. Women are now juggling full-time jobs, even as they remain primarily responsible for the housework and childcare. This pattern is referred to as the second shift. Work all day, be mom all night, sleep when you can.

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Physical Changes in Late Adulthood

Aging brings about physiological changes. Or put another way, people get old. There are two dominant theories of aging:

1. The genetic preprogramming theory of aging holds that human cells have built-in “self-destruct” mechanisms. In fact, however, programmed cell death (called apoptosis) happens throughout the life cycle. The cells of the body are replaced on a regular basis; old cells die as new cells are born. Presumably, however, if this theory is correct, the body is also preprogrammed to shut down the cell replacement process after some period of time. (In princi- ple, under ideal conditions, human physiology should be self-sustaining up to the age of 120.)

2. The wear-and-tear theory simply maintains that the mechanical functions of the body work less efficiently as years go by. Joints creak and give out. Muscles wear out. Digestive processes work less well. In short, our bodies, like that of a used Chevy, are good for only a limited number of miles.

Cognitive Changes in Later Adulthood

The cognitive effects of aging vary, but they aren’t very pro- nounced. The brain doesn’t shrink, for example, and while memory may not work quite as well as it did, the capacity for abstract and creative thought may actually increase. Many successful novelists are over the age of 50. The idea that the mind remains active throughout the life cycle recently has received scientific support. You’ll recall the concept of neurogenesis, the finding that cerebral neurons continue to develop even as we age. Of course, there’s also evidence that people either use it or lose it. Being mentally active goes along with successful thinking and high levels of creativity, like those found among many artists and active intellectuals.

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The Social World of Later Adulthood

According to the disengagement theory of aging, people gradually withdraw from the world—physically, socially, and psychologically. Withdrawal permits more time for reflection, and decreased emotional investment in relationships, after all, must end in death.

By contrast, the activity theory of aging maintains that people who age successfully keep up the active life and social rela- tionships of middle adulthood. Instead of withdrawing, one keeps on keeping on. However, it seems that either keeping it going or withdrawing will accompany a process of life review. We examine and evaluate our lives, maybe a bit like a film critic.

Once you’ve finished studying Assignment 8, complete Self-Check 8 and the Evaluate quizzes on pages 301, 318–319, 329, and 342 in your textbook.

You’ll find the answers upside-down on the same page as the Evaluate


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Self-Check 8 1. A researcher fills a short, squat glass with precisely one pint of an amber liquid. She puts this

beside a tall glass cylinder that also contains precisely one pint of the amber liquid. She then

asks a child which container contains the most liquid. The child selects the tall cylinder, in

which the fluid level is higher. Piaget would say this child hasn’t mastered the principle of


2. In the view of Erik Erikson, the developmental challenge of _______ is identity versus


3. The _______ parenting style is to lax discipline and inconsistent direction as the _______

style is to firm but gently established limits.

4. For Lev Vygotsky, the zone of _______ development is the level at which a child is ready to

increase his or her skill or knowledge if given scaffolding assistance from a mentor or teacher.

5. The intimate emotional bond that occurs between an infant and its immediate caregiver is a

crucial phase in a child’s _______ development. According to Mary Ainsworth, the ideal form

of this bond is called a/an _______ attachment.

6. The _______ theory of aging is to withdraw from social obligations, while the _______ theory

of aging is to be happy in one’s elder years by remaining busy and socially engaged.

7. The first stage of psychosocial development, according to Erikson, is _______ versus


8. According to Kohlberg’s theory of moral development, many people never get beyond the level

of ______ morality.

9. If we take a/an _______-processing approach to cognitive development, what we need to

know is how people take in, use, and store information.

10. For Piaget, the formal _______ stage of cognitive development isn’t reached until a child is

about 12 years old.

Check your answers with those on page 169.

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ASSIGNMENT 9—PERSONALITY AND INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES Read this assignment. Then read Chapter 9 in your textbook.

Psychodynamic Approaches to Personality

Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory: Mapping the Unconscious Mind

You already know that Sigmund Freud invented an approach to the study of psychology called psychoanalytic theory. Here, you’ll explore Freud’s model of personality structure. A structure, as the term is used here, refers to the parts of the human psyche. Since these parts can’t actually be observed, the structure we refer to is actually a structure of ideas or concepts. Remember that the term psyche (derived from the Greek word for soul) is the root of the word psychology, which is the study of the psyche. Freud didn’t believe in a religious idea of the soul. His psychoanalytic (psyche- analyzing) theory simply refers to all the invisible things that cause us to think, feel, and behave as we do. Freud created an interesting and innovative way to think about the human psyche. Here’s an introduction to Freud’s main ideas about the structure of personality:

n The id is the primal part of the psyche. It’s the uncon- scious source of instincts and drives, and it’s also the source of the psyche’s life-energy. Freud called this energy libido. The id, above all, wants. It’s driven by the pleasure principle. The id wants pleasure, and it doesn’t want pain. “No pain, no gain” wouldn’t be an id quote.

n The ego is sometimes called the “executive branch” of the psyche. It’s the part of the psyche we identify with most because it’s primarily conscious. The ego decides when the id should get what it wants by using the reality principle.

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The ego instructs us to wait when the id says “Now!” The ego makes plans to get pleasure, avoid pain, and reduce guilt.

n The superego supervises the thoughts and actions of the ego. It’s where we store guilt. The superego speaks to us through tugs of remorse and moral regret, helping us differentiate between good and bad. Therefore, one part of the superego is our conscience.

Among the first important insights Freud developed was the idea of the unconscious. Freud’s ideas of the psyche are often depicted as an iceberg. Only the tip (the ego and a small part of the superego) is fully conscious. The greater mass of the iceberg is unconscious. The superego rises to consciousness when we experience feelings of guilt. These feelings occur when the buried—and not necessarily reasonable—standards of the superego haven’t been met. When the ego can’t control the id, we experience neurotic anxiety. When the superego fills us with guilt, we experience moral anxiety. The preconscious contains information that can be pulled into consciousness. The point to remember is that unconscious drives from the id or the superego motivate most behaviors.

Developing Personality: Freud’s Psychosexual Stages

Freud’s ideas of personality development are based on levels of sensory focus. Freud began his scientific career as a student of human physiology. (His first important scientific achievement was the discovery of the testes of the eel.) For Freud, personality development depends on developing practical ways to satisfy the id’s demands. Freud divided personality development into psychosexual stages.

n The oral stage can be associated with an infant’s sucking reflexes. Nursing is the first pleasure, experienced orally. You may have heard people say that another person has an “oral personality.” In Freudian terms, they’re saying one of two things. They might mean that the person is oral-dependent, which means he or she is naïve, gullible, and dependent. They also might be saying that the per- son is oral-aggressive. This means that the person is cynical, prone to sarcasm, and inclined to exploit others.

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n The anal stage occurs between ages one and three. Someone fixated at this stage is said to be anal-retentive if they’re stubborn, stingy, compulsively neat, and terrified of bacteria and germs. By contrast, the anal-expulsive person would be messy, cruel, disorderly, and destructive.

n The phallic stage occurs between ages three and six. In this stage, the focus of bodily pleasure shifts to the genitals. The fixated phallic personality is said to be a vain, sensitive, narcissistic exhibitionist. (Narcissism is generally associated with self-fascination or self-love.) Rock and film stars might score high on a phallic personality scale. This stage is also the inner battle- ground for sexual identity. Males undergo the inner turmoil of the Oedipus complex, while females experience an equivalent Electra complex. In Greek legend, the tragic Oedipus tries to avoid a prophecy that he’ll kill his father and marry his mother (although the prophecy proves true eventually). The Electra myth recounts a similar tragedy for a female. The inner child secretly wishes to possess the parent of the opposite sex and dispose of the parent of the same sex. Since achieving these outcomes is unspeakable, they’re repressed into the unconscious and remain there unresolved. Freud’s phallic stage has raised many female eyebrows because in it he claims that females suffer from “penis envy.” Also controversial is the idea that children have active sexuality, though it has been proven true through behavioral research. (However, the idea that females suffer from penis envy remains absurd.)

n The latency period is thought to be a period during which a child’s sexuality is on hold. It isn’t a psychosexual stage. Actual research regarding this matter is mixed. It isn’t clear that sexual impulses in children aged six to puberty (12 to 14) are entirely buried. However, secondary sexual characteristics, triggered by hormones, haven’t begun to appear.

n The genital stage is the culmination of one’s Freudian journey. Puberty occurs. Hormones sing, and romantic love competes with acne for a teenager’s attention. If all

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has gone well according to Freud, Oedipus and Electra complexes are put to rest. Males identify with being male, and females identify with being female.

Freud was the first to identify many of the common defense mechanisms. In general, defense mechanisms are psychologi- cal stratagems, usually unconscious, that help us protect our self-esteem and our sense of self-worth. They also help us protect ourselves from psychological trauma.

n Denial allows us to protect ourselves from the psycholog- ical impact of an event or stimulus. When confronted with a potential threat, such as a serious disease, we may enter a state of denial. “This can’t be happening to me.” If a loved one dies, we may say, “No, it can’t be true.” Denial can also take the form of avoidance. By passing homeless people on the street, we protect ourselves by denying the severity of their condition.

n Repression is a psychological mechanism by which unacceptable sights, thoughts, or impulses are buried in the unconscious. We may repress murderous feelings about someone whom we dislike. Repression also defends us against fully taking in the sights, sounds, and feelings surrounding a traumatic event, such as an auto accident that we witness or are involved in.

n In reaction formation, we not only repress certain impulses, but also try to cover them up by acting in opposition to those impulses. If we feel lust in our hearts, we may be outspoken in our condemnation of those who engage in promiscuous sexual behavior. If we hold secret prejudices, we might speak out boldly and aggressively against prejudice.

n Regression is common among siblings. A firstborn child may regress to infantile behavior after a baby brother is brought home. The regression is an effort to regain the attention that the child once had, which is now being lavished on his or her new sibling.

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n Projection protects us from revealing our faults. Ever have a sense of disgust or revulsion toward the attitudes of another? Chances are good that you’re projecting your own hidden attitudes onto that person. What we dislike in another is often what we secretly dislike in ourselves.

n Rationalization is creating a plausible—but false—reason to justify why you did or didn’t do something. Using the classic excuse “My dog ate my homework” is a way of rationalizing why an assignment wasn’t completed or turned in on time. As with many other defenses, we rationalize our behavior to guard our sense of self-worth.

n Compensation occurs when we achieve more because we feel that we have less. Your textbook cites the amazing example of Helen Keller, who overcame blindness and deafness to become a major contributor to literature and modern thought. Compensation can include any form of vocation or avocation that diminishes feelings of inferiority.

n In sublimation, we work off frustrated desires by shifting our energy to other pursuits. Freud believed that sexual desire (libido) could be sublimated by achievements in areas that expressed passion without sex. Art, dance, literature, scientific pursuits, or even a devotion to surfing could redirect sexual energy.

Freud’s influence on popular culture has been enormous for two reasons: First, some of his insights are very useful. Second, Freud’s ideas about sexuality, dreams, the unconscious, and even science and religion have fascinated people. In a modern world where so little is explained about the human experience, Freud offered ideas that educated people could relate to. Since educated people are those who tend to influence social policies, Freud popped up in schoolrooms, boardrooms, and bedrooms across Europe, America, and elsewhere. However, one must discriminate among Freud’s ideas. His structural model can’t be empirically verified. Some of his ideas appear simply to be wrong. On the other hand, some of his ideas remain influential and important.

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The Neo-Freudian Psychoanalysts: Building on Freud Sigmund Freud felt that Carl Gustav Jung, a pioneering psychologist, would be his intellectual heir. It didn’t turn out that way. Jung broke away from Freud to create an enormous body of work that has yet to be fully absorbed into psychological theory. (“Jung” is pronounced “Yung” in German. Carl was raised in a Swiss canton that used the German language.) Among Jung’s best-known contributions is his understanding that we’re connected by universal collective unconscious. Swimming about in this primal sea are fundamental human symbols or forms he called archetypes. For example, the hag, often represented by our ideas about witches, seems to be a universal motif, under different names. The cat may appear in our dreams as an archetypal symbol of the godlike feminine. The Egyptian goddess Isis was represented as a cat, just as the cow was the archetypal symbol humanized by the Greeks into the form of the god- dess Hera, wife of Zeus.

Karen Horney developed a neo-Freudian approach to psycho- analysis. Often called the first feminist psychologist, she maintained that personality develops in the context of social relationships. She also emphasized the importance of culture with respect to things like gender role.

Alfred Adler, another important neo-Freudian, felt that the drive for superiority was foremost in human motivation. People want to be “the best they can be.” Given that attaining this sort of per- sonality ideal is anything but easy, Adler paid a lot of attention to the need many have for overcoming inferiority complexes. Adler’s approach, not unlike classic psychoanalysis, gave a lot of attention to childhood experiences and conflicted parental relationships.

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Trait, Learning, Biological and Evolutionary, and Humanistic Approaches to Personality

Trait Approaches: Placing Labels on Personality

The basic idea behind trait theory is that different personality traits can be classified. Individual traits define specific personal qualities. Such traits include cheerfulness, sociability, intelligence, and honesty. In trait theory, a central trait, like friendliness or assertiveness, may be differentiated from secondary traits, which are less stable and often change. Political attitudes, diet preferences, or attitudes toward wildlife preservation are examples of secondary traits that may change over time. Secondary traits are considered more superficial than central traits; they’re less important to a person’s self-concept.

Your text focuses on two well-known trait models. Hans Eysenck drew on Jung’s ideas and a mathematical technique called fac- tor analysis to come up with three basic trait clusters. He called them extraversion, neuroticism, and psychoticism. Relatively positive traits, like “sociable,” “lively,” “active,” “assertive,” and “sensation-seeking,” cluster under extraversion. Negative traits cluster under the other two major trait groups.

The five-factor model is a popular trait theory. Indeed, it’s often employed by corporate human resources departments. The model, like Eysenk’s, is derived from factor analysis that correlates a large number of traits derived from interviews and questionnaires. It has become popular because a wide range of studies in different populations and different cultures have come up with the same “big five” trait clusters. They are

1. Openness to experience

2. Neuroticism (degree of emotional stability)

3. Conscientiousness

4. Agreeableness

5. Extraversion

The research issue that plagues trait theories is deciding what traits are actually primary factors in personality.

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Learning Approaches: We Are What We’ve Learned Personality for the behaviorist is a pattern of conditioned or learned behaviors. Mysteries of the unconscious are given little or no attention. And inner mental states are referred to only when they’re directly related to observable behaviors. Thus, behaviorist learning theories—based on classical or operant conditioning models—reject the concept of personality traits. Behaviors are determined by responses to stimuli alone. In this view, personality is made up of habits (learned behaviors). A habit is formed by repeated responses to a drive. A drive is a stimulus that evokes a behavioral response. Cues are environmen- tal signals. Cues may seem to offer rewards (or punishments) for actual behaviors.

Social reinforcements also shape behavior. Praise, attention, and approval from other people influence the actions that people take. This is especially true for children, who learn many behaviors based on the social reinforcements they receive from their parents.

Social-cognitive approaches to personality emphasize thoughts, feelings, expectations, and values, as well as one’s observations of the behavior of others. Since this model is mainly the work of Albert Bandura (to whom you were introduced earlier), you won’t be surprised to learn that observational learning stands out as highly significant in how we tend to favor some per- sonality traits over others. In that context, Bandura stresses the importance of self-efficacy. People are high in a measure of self-efficacy when they feel they can address and handle situations and challenges. High self-efficacy is positively related to goal attainment and achievement.

You should note that both kinds of learning models stress the importance of the interaction between people and their environments.

Biological and Evolutionary Approaches: Are We Born with Personality?

Behavioral geneticists search out evidence that personality traits are, to some extent, linked to genetic inheritance. Indeed, researchers in this field suggest that infants are born with predispositions to particular kinds of temperament. In the context of behavioral genetics, the concept of temperament

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refers to an innate disposition. Some infants are born easygoing. Others are born cranky and demanding. These patterns appear to persist into adolescence and beyond.

Humanistic Approaches: The Uniqueness of You

Anne Frank, who died in the Nazi Holocaust, is famous for her diary. In those pages she wrote, “I feel at last that people are good at heart.” Humanistic theories begin with that premise: people are basically good. However, in taking a positive view of human nature, humanistic psychologists aren’t being naïve. What they offer is hope for making things better through self-knowledge and personal growth. They believe that people have the power of free choice. Your textbook focuses on two major contributors to humanistic psychology—Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers. You’re already familiar with Maslow’s view of human motivation. Recall the pyramid of needs, ranging from four kinds of basic needs to growth needs. In humanistic approaches, the focus is on the top of the needs pyramid and the goal of self-actualization.

Carl Rogers can be thought of as a psychologist’s version of the famous Mr. Rogers of children’s television. On a personal level, he had a gift for making people feel welcome and accepted. His humanistic psychology is, in a way, an exten- sion of his compassionate personality. Above all, Rogers felt we could be fully functioning people only to the extent that we lived authentic lives. But, to do that we must strive for congruence among our self-image, our ideal self, and our true self.

To reach congruence and authenticity, Rogers felt that we should encourage our children by offering them unconditional positive regard. If that sounds a bit like unconditional love, you’re right. Rogers wanted people to be very specific about how they express nurturing love. He wanted child-raising to be free from conditions of worth. We should correct misbe- havior as one would correct a mistake, without threatening the self-worth of the person.

A major criticism of humanistic psychology is its assumption that “people are good at heart.” Anne Frank, after all, died of cholera in a Nazi concentration camp. Thus, we’re reminded

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both of the better angels of human nature and humanity’s dark side in one image, so to speak. On the other hand, assuming people are innocent until proven guilty may be a healthier approach to humane societies than assuming that the CIA, weapons of mass destruction, and a flourishing prisons industry must ever be with us.

Assessing Personality Psychological tests are standard measures intended to measure behavioral data in an objective way. In fact, what we mean by “objective” in this context turns out to mean quantifiable. To the extent that we can code a response to a survey, ques- tionnaire, or test into numbers, we can use statistics to sort and comprehend the data.

“Quantifiable” psychological tests can’t be considered useful unless they’re both reliable and valid. A test is valid if it measures what it’s intended to measure. A test is reliable if it yields consistent response patterns each time it’s given to an individual or group.

Self-Report Measures of Personality

The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2) is a widely used personality inventory. It consists of 567 items. One reason this test has so many items is redundancy. The same kind of activity or attitude is looked at in many differ- ent ways to screen out the tendency of people to “tell us what we want to hear.” Responses produce a profile of personality traits that can assess clinical problems as well as suggest optimal vocations.

In assessing an MMPI-2, responses to all of the items are sorted to identify psychological or personality factors, ranging from attitudes about authority to occupational-task “fit.” When the MMPI-2 is used for clinical purposes, it focuses on clinical scales derived from item-response patterns. Clinical scales include “depression,” “hysteria,” and “hypomania” (a tendency to impulsiveness and overactivity).

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In general terms, a test like the MMPI-2 is standardized to make sure it’s both valid and reliable. The process of standardization consists, in effect, of administration, replication, and adjust- ment. In the case of the MMPI-2, the test was administered to all kinds of specified populations, such as artists, police offi- cers, engineers, diagnosed schizophrenics, identified sufferers from anxiety disorders, and so on. Items that turned out to be irrelevant or ambiguous were scratched. New items were added as seemed advisable. So, as you can now imagine, standardizing any kind of psychological test is a tedious, meticulous process—not unlike other kinds of scientific research.

Projective Methods

Projective tests are used primarily to assess possible person- ality disorders. They include the famous Rorschach test and the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT). The Rorschach test— also known as the inkblot test—consists of patterned blots of ink on paper that people interpret as different forms, objects, and shapes. The TAT requires a person to interpret pictures with ambiguous content. The stories or interpretations that people offer for each picture may speak volumes about a per- son’s personality.

You should understand that the use of projective tests requires quite a bit of training. Further, standards for interpreting projective tests remain unclear. They’re generally seen as a guide or set of clues, rather than as hard data.

Behavioral Assessment

Basically, behavioral assessment amounts to observing behavior from a learning-theory perspective. It is, in effect, a particular kind of naturalistic observation technique. For example, researchers posing as visitors, or maybe as substitute teachers, sit in the school lunchroom to observe preadolescent behavior, take notes, and get ideas for posing testable hypotheses about aggressive behavior patterns in elementary schools. (Rating scales may be prepared to help the evaluator organize his or her observations.) Or, perhaps, to assess and treat cases of shyness in children, a therapist observes the way particular children behave in an intimate play setting involv- ing a small group of playmates.

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Intelligence Intelligence is the capacity to think rationally, act purpose- fully, and adapt well to one’s environment. You’re acting rationally when you can think through a problem and come to a conclusion that makes sense. To do that, you need accurate information. This would suggest that learning is related to intelligence. The more you know, the more access you have to accurate information. Acting purposefully means that your actions achieve your goals in practical ways. This involves efficient use of resources. Acting adaptively means that what you rationally conceive in pursuing your purposes is realistic and practical for you and for others.

Theories of Intelligence: Are There Different Kinds of Intelligence?

Early on, psychologists thought of intelligence as a general- ized factor, a g-factor. Your g-factor would include all the aspects of intelligence mentioned in the definition we gave above. The earliest intelligence tests were based on this point of view. Today, however, psychologists are more inclined to see intelligence as multidimensional.

In this context, some psychologists differentiate fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence. The former has to do with information-processing abilities, reasoning, and memory. The latter has to do with accumulated information, learned skills, and strategies for solving problems.

Another approach, developed by psychologist Howard Gardner, maintains that there are multiple intelligences. These include the following:

n Musical intelligence differentiates a Mozart from one who can read music but can’t carry a tune or keep the beat.

n Body-kinesthetic intelligence differentiates Tiger Woods from the weekend duffer. The professional dancer, the NFL quarterback, and the Olympic gold medalist rate high in this kind of intelligence.

n Logical-mathematical intelligence permits a few to grasp the solution to an equation while someone else is still copying it from the blackboard.

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n Linguistic intelligence shines bright among the most skilled word-crafters. A great poet gets to the roots of things and spins deep insight from the play of language. A great novelist breathes life into imagined characters and allows us to explore the sights and sounds of times long past.

n Spatial intelligence rose to amazing heights in the mind of whoever imagined and then guided the creation of the Great Pyramid at Giza.

n Interpersonal intelligence is the gift of compassionate empathy that sees into the heart and mind of friend and foe alike.

n Intrapersonal intelligence reveals the depths of a heart and mind that has marched far down the path of self-knowledge.

n Naturalist intelligence is the ability to identify and classify patterns in nature. Most people on a nature hike through a forest see lots of leaves. A few, who are high on naturalist intelligence, see distinct differences between many kinds of leaves.

Gardner’s multiple intelligences work together. The great athlete may inspire teammates by way of interpersonal intelligence. The spatial intelligence of the accomplished architect interacts with his or her naturalistic and logical- mathematical intelligences.

Practical Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence

Robert Sternberg’s work sharpens the concept of intelligence in an interesting way. Noting that most measures of intelli- gence don’t correlate very well with career success, he would have us consider the concept of practical intelligence. By contrast with academic intelligence, practical intelligence is based on the ability to observe and understand other people’s behavior. Consider any organizational ladder to success and notice this: The rungs of the ladder are neither facts nor skills—however much these may be helpful. The “rungs” are people. If you don’t know what your boss expects, nothing else you know will get you another step up the corporate

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ladder. If you don’t understand the norms and the culture of the company you work for, you’re likely to remain a stranger in a strange land.

Related to practical intelligence is emotional intelligence. The elemental skill of emotional intelligence is impulse control. High school–level emotional intelligence allows you to tune in to the thoughts and feelings of others. Graduate-level emo- tional intelligence allows you to get along with all kinds of people under all kinds of circumstances.

Assessing Intelligence

For example, intelligence is a concept that can be opera- tionally defined. We define intelligence in terms of a high intelligence quotient (IQ) score (or by an impressive ability to correctly answer Jeopardy! questions). Psychologists attempt to create useful and reasonable operational definitions for intelligence.

In science, an operational definition states the specific actions or procedures used to measure a concept. Operational definitions of intelligence have been widely expressed by two popular IQ tests. The two tests are the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales and the Wechsler Intelligence Scales (there’s a separate Wechsler Scale for adults and for children). The Stanford- Binet was first used to test schoolchildren. It assessed intellectual performance by comparing actual age to mental age. Mental age is the level of intellectual performance expected at any given age. The Stanford-Binet IQ score is derived in this way:

mental age (MA) � chronological age (CA) � 100 = IQ score

We multiply the ratio MA/CA by 100 to derive a standardized score. For example, if Jody has a chronological age of 8 and a mental age of 10, his IQ equals 10 divided by 8, or 1.25. We would then multiply Jody’s score by 100, making his IQ score 125. That score is considered well above average. Why? The average of all score values of MA/CA for the general population is determined by an equal ratio of MA/CA, which would equal to 1/1. When that ratio is multiplied by 100, the answer equals 100. Therefore, 100 is the average expected IQ score for the general population.

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Most IQ tests set the average IQ score at 100. That figure is based on the assumption that, in a general population, IQ measures will follow what’s called the normal curve or bell curve.

Today, forms of the Stanford-Binet are used for adults. However, the most widely used IQ test for adults is one of the Wechsler Scales. (As noted in your text, there are actually several variations of the Wechsler IQ tests.)

Variations in Intellectual Ability

Mental retardation indicates a disability in learning, develop- ment, or behavior. Cases of mental retardation can range from mild to severe. While low IQ scores generally indicate this disability, other factors—such as performing everyday tasks like getting dressed—also play a role in determining mental retardation. You should keep in mind that the men- tally retarded aren’t normally disabled where feelings are concerned. They might not have the same mental capacity as other people, but they do experience the same feelings and emotions.

Your textbook points out several factors that may cause men- tal retardation, suggesting that mental retardation might be preventable in certain cases. For instance, since retardation often occurs as a result of fetal damage, as in fetal alcohol syndrome, it would make sense to ensure that pregnant mothers have adequate diets and that they abstain from drugs and alcohol. Evidence also confirms that exposure to toxins in early childhood may be a cause of mental retarda- tion, so avoiding exposure to toxic substances would be an obvious preventative measure for mental disabilities. It’s also important to note that some causes of this disability—like genetic abnormalities, as in familial retardation—aren’t preventable.

The best studies suggest that people with higher IQs are more likely to be successful and satisfied with their lives. Studies like those conducted by Lewis Terman reject the notion that very bright people are hampered by their intellect and are incapable of common sense. Additionally, people with high IQs use their intelligence in different ways. Though she has the highest IQ ever recorded, Marilyn vos Savant hasn’t

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contributed substantially to the arts or sciences. By contrast, theoretical physicist Murray Gel-Mann had only a modestly high IQ, yet his scientific contributions revolutionized the field of quantum physics.

Debates continue about the accuracy and fairness of intelli- gence tests. A popular question centers on how appropriate IQ tests may be for people raised in different cultures. Given that the United States is a land of immigrants, much atten- tion has been given to developing culture-fair tests. These tests attempt to measure intelligence without being affected by the person’s cultural experience or background.

When you read about how heredity and the environment affect intelligence, you should note two things. First, studies of identical and fraternal twins support the importance of genetic makeup in determining eventual adult IQ scores within certain limits. Second, other research suggests that a child’s environment may have a marked influence on a child’s IQ score. As the debate over heredity and environment contin- ues, most psychologists now admit that intelligence is a product of the interaction of environment and one’s genetic inheritance.

Once you’ve finished studying Assignment 9, complete Self-Check 9; the Evaluate quizzes on pages 359, 371, 379–380, and 396 in your textbook; and the required discussion board posting.

Then review the material you’ve learned in this study guide and the assigned pages in your textbook for Assignments 7–9. When you’re sure that you completely understand the information, complete your examination for Lesson 3.

You’ll find the answers upside-down on the same page as the Evaluate


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Self-Check 9 1. The concept of _______ positive regard characterizes Carl Rogers’s approach to helping peo-

ple overcome the discrepancy between their experience and their self-concept.

2. If you agree with Albert Bandura, you would say that a person with a high level of _______-

_______ is likely to welcome challenges and strive for achievement.

3. For Sternberg, _______ intelligence amounts to a set of skills beyond the intellectual domain

that assist people’s overall success in career advancement.

4. Both the Rorschach and the TAT are considered to be _______ personality tests.

5. Among Freud’s _______ mechanisms, the primary one, called _______, allows us to push

unacceptable impulses and other sources of anxiety deep into the unconscious mind.

6. Fluid intelligence is to information processing and reasoning abilities as _______ intelligence is

to accumulated knowledge and skills gained through experience.

7. The “Big Five” personality traits include openness to experience, neuroticism, _______,

agreeableness, and extraversion.

8. Having evaluated a person’s responses to the many items on the MMPI-2, a/an _______ of

factors, such as depression and hypomania, can be created to help a therapist identify actual

or potential psychological disorders.

9. According to B.F. Skinner, people are infinitely changeable, and an individual’s personality can

be defined simply as a pattern of _______ behavioral responses that have been encouraged

by the presence or absence of positive reinforcements.

10. Among the neo-Freudian psychoanalysts, Carl Jung offers the concept of the collective

_______ and the presence in that entity of universal symbolic representations he calls


11. According to Freud, the first stage in one’s psychosexual development is the _______ stage,

while the famous Oedipal complex is associated with the _______ stage.

12. Because IQ scores follow a bell-shape distribution with an average or mean score set at 100,

about 68 percent of scores from a typical population will range between 85 and _______.

Check your answers with those on page 170.

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Essay Assignment

OBJECTIVE To successfully complete this course, you must write an essay based on information found in your textbook Psychology and Your Life, 2nd Edition, by Robert S. Feldman. The great thing about this assignment is there is NO outside research necessary!

Choose one of the topics and submit a well-written essay based on that topic. Your essay should be 750 to 1,000 words long. Remember: If you use the exact words of your textbook’s authors, you must use quotation marks and cite the information properly. To learn more about proper format- ting of citations for both in-text and a reference page, visit

Note: The only source you may use is your textbook. Any use of outside information will result in an automatic post of 1 percent.

Please take a few moments to watch the video available on your student portal. The video gives a verbal explanation of this assignment.



Begin by reviewing Chapter 5. Chapter 5 discusses classical conditioning and the experiments of Ivan Pavlov, operant conditioning, and B.F. Skinner’s contributions to the field in particular with his discussion on rewards and punishment. Chapter 5 also discusses cognitive approaches to learning, which include latent learning and observational learning based on Bandura’s experiments.

Essay Assignment118

Then, write your essay about one of the following topics:

1. Choose one of these conditioning/learning styles and fully discuss the theory and theorist of your choice. Once this is complete use the elements of the theory to demonstrate how it may be applied to child rearing. In essay format, create a plan to help get a young child to clean his or her room.

2. Conditioning still plays a role in punishment, and the text discusses the pros and cons of punishment and why reinforcement “beats” punishment. An explanation of the theory and theorist needs to be included in your discus- sion. Explain the theory behind this phenomenon and give an example of it by how you used it when training an animal. You can use the theory to train an animal to do a specific trick or stop an unwanted behavior.


Begin by reviewing Chapter 6. Chapter 6 discusses memory, how the brain processes information, and the process involved in forgetting information. In addition, the chapter discusses how we as humans think, reason, and solve prob- lems and the role our brains play in developing language.

Then, write your essay about one of the following topics:

1. Discuss the process of memory. In particular, discuss the different types of memory and relate each one to a personal experience.

2. Discuss each of the different theories on language acqui- sition. As our country becomes more multicultural, how can these any or all of these theories aid our children and/or you in learning a second and perhaps a third language?

Motivation and Emotion

Begin by reviewing Chapter 7. Chapter 7 states that humans are born to be motivated to satisfy our needs, discusses why some of us seek out more sensation and thrills more than others, explains why emotions and the need for power rule some of us, and ends with a discussion of the cultural differ- ences on how we as humans express emotions.

Essay Assignment 119

Then, write your essay about one of the following topics:

1. According to Maslow, our motivation progresses up a pyramid. Discuss his theory and give your opinion on whether or not you agree with it. Give concrete examples (in relation to the hierarchy) to support your opinion.

2. The text discusses three models of emotions. After you have defined all three theories, choose one of those mod- els and describe what you do in the event of a crisis. Provide specific examples.

Process Your essay assignment must include

1. A cover sheet

2. The body of your paper (750–1,000 words)

3. A reference page, if needed

The Cover Sheet

The first page of your paper will be the cover sheet. Provide the following information:

n The title of your chosen topic

n Your name and student ID

n Current date (for example, November 1, 2013)

n Essentials of Psychology SSC130

n Essay 250059

Developing the Body of Your Paper

As stated earlier, you are to choose one of the assigned top- ics and create a thoughtful, well-written essay of 750 to 1,000 words based solely from the sources provided (in other words, your textbook). If you use the exact words of the text- book’s authors, you are required to use quotation marks and provide proper citations both in the text and on a properly formatted reference page. If you don’t know how to do this,

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please refer to shop/citapa.htm to learn more about proper formatting of both in-text citations and a reference page.

Formatting Format your paper using a standard font, such as Times New Roman, 12 point, double-spaced. Set the margins at a stan- dard 1 inch on all sides. Since you’ve given your information on the cover sheet, no header is necessary. The standard style format for citations is American Psychological Association (APA). If you need help with this, refer to

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3. Click on Take Exam next to the lesson you’re working on.

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Grading Criteria Turn to the appendix of this study guide to view the rubric outlining the criteria by which you’ll be graded.


Psychological Disorders

INTRODUCTION The objective of Lesson 4 is to give you an overview of psy- chological disorders and approaches to their treatment. It isn’t meant to make you a clinical psychologist. Two points should be stressed from the very beginning. First, the labels that have been applied to mental disorders have changed over the years. For example, at one time, excessive mastur- bation was considered pathological in males, and it was sufficient to have a woman confined to an asylum. Homo- sexuality was finally eliminated from the official manual of mental disorders in only the past couple of decades.

Second, mental disorders and approaches to their treatment are, to some extent, social products. As societies change over time, so do ideas about mental disorders. For that matter, as society changes, different kinds of mental disorders are likely to become more common. For example, eating disorders, which certainly have psychological components, were all but unknown in the sixteenth century. Getting enough to eat was a sufficient prob- lem for most people. Conclusion: One should apply labels to people with extreme caution. Just as personalities vary, every disorder has commonalities and differences.

ASSIGNMENT 10— PSYCHOLOGICAL DISORDERS Read this assignment. Then read Chapter 10 in your textbook.

Normal versus Abnormal Let’s say that you’re among an isolated tribe of people in the Venezuelan rain forest. In your society, it’s normal for males to prize shrunken heads as trophies with great power. Headhunting is normal for these people. Let’s say you’re a sociologist studying American divorce statistics. You find that

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for every two marriages, one will end in divorce. Does that make divorce normal or abnormal? For a psychologist, statistical normality simply refers to the distribution of some variable in a population. For example, 100 is the mean score on an IQ test, and normal or average ranges from about 80 to 120. On the other hand, when someone says that Justin’s compulsion to wash his hands 40 or 50 times a day isn’t normal, we may agree with that observation. Yet, you should keep in mind that in social worlds, when we refer to normal behavior we’re often simply making a judgment about behavior that we prefer.

Psychologists must use some approach other than “normal versus abnormal” to identify abnormal behavior. For psychol- ogists, behavior is considered abnormal if people experience distress and if that distress prevents them from functioning in their daily life. Given that general definition, it’s also best to think of normal-abnormal as two ends of a continuum. Thus, social nonconformity, such as wearing nose rings and having tattoos, might not have anything to do with a psychological disorder at all. Further, we must consider the situational context. Behavior expected and allowed during New Orleans Mardi Gras, for example, would be unacceptable at a wedding reception.

Perspectives on Abnormality: From Superstition to Science

Your text discusses six perspectives on abnormality:

1. Medical—Biological causes underlie abnormal behavior and are best treated as medical disorders or diseases.

2. Psychoanalytic—Abnormal behavior stems from childhood conflicts such as those identified in Freud’s psychoanalytic theory.

3. Behavioral—Abnormal behaviors are symptoms of under- lying learning dysfunctions. Both the shortcomings and the strengths of this perspective result from an exclusive focus on observable behaviors.

4. Cognitive—How we think affects how we act. If we’re persuaded that our life is hopeless, we may adopt the behaviors of a powerless victim.

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5. Humanistic—People can take responsibility for not only how they think, but how they choose to act. Healing is, in the end, an “inside job.” We can be the “best we can be,” but it’s up to us to do the work, walk the walk, and acquire self-knowledge.

6. Sociocultural—Behavior is shaped by such things as fam- ily relationships, social class, and accepted norms within particular ethnic groups. In this perspective, family or group therapy may accompany other kinds of therapy.

Classifying Abnormal Behavior: The ABCs of DSM

Disorders are classified to facilitate diagnosis and keep therapists, as it were, on the same page. The basic diagnostic manual used by psychologists is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR). If that title suggests to you that the DSM is being continually updated and revised, you’re correct. Understandings change as science changes. Science is an ongoing process.

The Major Psychological Disorders

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are the most common of the anxiety-based disorders, afflicting millions of Americans each year. For some reason, women tend to suffer from anxiety disorders more than men do—though there are still plenty of anxiety sufferers who are men. This disorder is so common that social critics have written often about our “age of anxiety.” Here, you’re introduced to the four major categories of these sorts of problems.

1. Phobic disorder—Specific phobias get a lot of attention in the media. The film Arachnophobia was one example. (Arachnophobia is fear of spiders.) Phobias can best be thought of as conditioned response patterns to specific things. Phobic responses can include anxiety or panic (or both), but the perceived source of the phobia is always specific. Name anything at all, and there’s probably a

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psychological phobia label for it. Acrophobia is fear of heights, claustrophobia is fear of being in enclosed spaces, hematophobia is fear of blood, xenophobia is fear of strangers, and so on.

2. Panic disorder—Panic disorders come in two varieties: with or without agoraphobia. Panic disorders without agoraphobia involve panic attacks. People abruptly feel unreasoned panic. Panic may include all the general anxiety sensations described below (under “generalized anxiety disorder”), along with a sense of impending doom, a sense of suffocation, difficulty swallowing or breathing, trembling, and feelings of unreality. People who have panic attacks often end up in emergency rooms, certain they’re having a heart attack or that they’re about to die.

Panic disorders with agoraphobia include all of the above, along with the symptoms of agoraphobia. Agoraphobia can exist with or without panic attacks. However, it usually begins with a siege of panic attacks. Agoraphobia is a learned pattern of avoidance behaviors that forestall pan- icked states or panicky feelings. Some agoraphobics are literally housebound. Others feel they can travel only very short distances from their homes. Agoraphobics often feel uncomfortable in crowds—or anywhere they can’t detect an escape route to a place where they feel relatively safe and secure.

3. Generalized anxiety disorder—Since anxiety is so widespread in modern societies, a generalized anxiety disorder is said to exist if symptoms last six months or more. The range of anxiety symptoms is astonishing. They include a racing heart, clammy skin, sweating, dizziness, all kinds of digestive problems, shallow breathing, inability to concentrate, and even itching.

4. Obsessive-compulsive disorders—The television series Monk—about a detective with a variety of compulsive behaviors—has familiarized people with this type of dis- order. In this sort of disorder, people may feel compelled to perform certain behaviors because they’re obsessed with repetitive thoughts. Obsessions are thoughts or images that haunt a person’s waking hours.

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For example, a woman may have constant thoughts about harming her child, although she doesn’t want to harm her child and never does. Compulsions may include avoiding cracks in the sidewalk or washing one’s hands repeatedly throughout the day.

Somatoform Disorders

Somatoform disorders take several forms. (The root of this term, soma, is the Greek word for “flesh.”) Hypochondriasis is a heightened sensitivity to bodily sensations that are seen as ominous and threatening. Hypochondriacs will convince them- selves that their accelerated heart rate means an impending heart attack or that a minor pain is a growing cancer. In short, anxieties are displaced or projected onto bodily sensations. Pain disorder is marked by ongoing and sometimes disabling pain that has no known physical origin. The strangest and least common somatoform disorder is conversion disorder. One of Freud’s earliest cases was a young woman who was functionally paralyzed from the waist down. Under hypnosis, however, Freud was able to cure this disability, which he later called conversion hysteria. In any case, conversion disorders, such as partial anesthesia of the hand or temporary blindness, have psychological, not physical, origins.

Dissociative Disorders

Dissociative disorders are actually quite rare. They appear in at least three forms, but they’re all related to stress or trauma. Dissociative amnesia affects people who can’t remember their names or where they came from. This condition is usually brief. Dissociative fugue occurs when people simply walk away from the intolerable anxieties of their lives, even if it means they must cross the country to do so. Confusion and uncertainty about one’s identity are typical of the condition. The most dramatic form of dissociative disorder is dissociative identity disorder (DID). This condition was formerly called multiple personality disorder. Individuals respond to severe trauma or stress by escaping into alternate personalities. The condition is controversial and very strange.

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For example, if person A has alternate personalities B and C, she’ll live her life as A while B and C live parallel lives that are unknown to A. Personality shifts can be abrupt and startling to a therapist who might have to figure out which personality he or she is addressing at any given moment. Perhaps the strangest thing about this disorder is the fact that different personalities may have distinctive physiological profiles. For example, personality A may suffer from allergies that aren’t present in personality B.

Mood Disorders

Are you generally happy and cheerful, or resigned and gloomy? Either scenario illustrates a mood. Mood disorders refer to pronounced and prolonged periods of depressed feel- ings or manic periods of animated, unrealistic cheerfulness. There are two types of mood disorders. Depressive disorders, including major depression, are marked by sadness, poor self-image, disturbed sleep, and suicidal thoughts. They’re the most common form of mood disorder. Bipolar disorders are marked by mood swings ranging from sad and depressed to happy and excited. Major mood disorders cause consider- able suffering and are marked by extreme emotion. In major depressive disorders, hopelessness and despair cloud every moment, causing feelings of worthlessness and suicidal tendencies.

There are a variety of ideas as to the causes of mood disorders. Research suggests that some mood disorders have a genetic basis. Behavioral models propose that decline in positive reinforcements leads to withdrawal, while, at the same time, getting attention for one’s depression can attract a different kind of “positive” reinforcement. According to psychologist Martin Seligman, depression is largely associ- ated with what he called learned helplessness. Feeling we can’t control our situation, we give up and submit to what we perceive as a cruel word. For Aaron Beck, depression results from what is, in effect, negative thinking. Brain research suggests that depression is associated with a dimming or blunting of emotional reaction. Depression in women has been associated with hormonal fluctuations related to the menstrual cycle.

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In general, what we call psychosis is characterized as a break with ordinarily shared perceptions of the world and the self. We often say that a person with psychosis “loses touch with reality.” Given that no one is entirely sure what reality is, we should approach psychosis with an open mind. Psychosis deserves our attention because those who must cope with it experience intense suffering. The films A Beautiful Mind and The Soloist can help many to understand that psychosis is a human condition and that people suffering from psychosis can make important contributions in spite of their affliction.

This section focuses on the most severe of the psychotic disorders, schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is famously difficult to diagnose accurately. Nevertheless, certain characteristics reliably distinguish schizophrenia from other disorders. These include

n A decline in functioning—The sufferer can no longer carry on his or her previous life patterns.

n Disturbance of thought and language—Logic slips away. Language is used inappropriately. Disturbed verbal communication is common, along with personality disintegration.

n Delusions—A delusion is a belief with no reasonable basis in reality. (I’m getting alien transmissions through the fillings in my molars.)

n Hallucinations and perceptual disorders—One sees, hears, and feels that which can’t be seen, heard, or experienced by way of ordinary sensory stimuli. (To hallucinate is to see things that aren’t visible to others, but which, to the sufferer, may seem entirely real.)

n Emotional disturbances—Typical in schizophrenia is an absence of affect (expressions of feeling). On the other hand, emotional responses, like laughter at a funeral, may seem to spring out of nowhere.

n Withdrawal—Interest in others fades away. Social interaction is either one way or entirely absent.

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What Causes Schizophrenia?

There’s no agreement on what causes schizophrenia. Some research suggests that anyone can be driven into a psychotic episode under highly stressful conditions, such as a dysfunc- tional family environment or the experiences of combat. However, evidence also suggests that some individuals are predisposed to schizophrenia due to heredity or specific pat- terns of brain chemistry. For example, the presence of biochemical abnormalities, such as an excess of the neuro- transmitter dopamine, has been linked to schizophrenia.

These days, the dominant model for understanding the causes of schizophrenia is the predispositional model. The basic idea here is that people are variably predisposed to developing this kind of psychosis depending on the interaction of genetic and environmental factors.

Personality Disorders

Personality disorders impair a person’s ability to get along with others. There are a variety of these disorders, ranging in severity from excessive dependency on others (dependency disorder) to borderline and schizotypal disorders that approach full-blown psychosis. As you might expect, the less severe disorders are more common and are easier to treat. In gen- eral, a personality disorder is characterized by inflexible, maladaptive behavior that cripples one’s capacity for normal social relationships. Your textbook focuses on three kinds of personality disorders:

1. Antisocial personality disorder—People with antisocial personalities are often called sociopaths or psychopaths. A common way of thinking of people with antisocial personalities is that they lack a developed conscience. A psychopath is likely to be selfish, impulsive, emotionally shallow, and manipulative. The basic motto of a psy- chopath might be “My way or the highway, and I get to decide which highway.”

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While psychopathic tendencies are often associated with criminal or amoral behavior, psychopaths sometimes ascend to positions of power and responsibility. Even some people in high levels of government and corporate life are said to have psychopathic tendencies. The most striking feature of the antisocial personality is emotional coldness. The fate of others means little or nothing to them. They may be very clever at expressing sympathy, but they’re all but incapable of empathy. They fail to identify with the wants, needs, and suffering of others.

2. Borderline personality disorder—People may have diffi- culty developing a secure sense of personal identity. They cope with this issue by relying on relationships with others to define their identity. Emotional instability and impulsive, episodic behavior are common, since these folks simply can’t handle rejection of any kind.

3. Narcissistic personality disorder—One observes an inflated sense of self-importance. Characteristic of this disorder is a sense of entitlement demanding special treatment from others. A major pattern in this disorder is an inability to experience empathy or compassion for others.

Childhood Disorders

“Almost 20% of children and 40% of adolescents experience significant emotional or behavioral disorders.” (You should memorize this line from your text.) Read on for rather star- tling statistics related to depression and other problems. Two common childhood problems get special attention.

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) includes inatten- tion, lots of inappropriate activity, impulsiveness, and a low tolerance for frustration. Actually, all of these kinds of behavior show up in most children from time to time. A diagnosis of ADHD, therefore, is one of degree. Given that fact, ADHD is a controversial disorder. Some feel that it’s overdiagnosed, possibly with the complicity of pharmaceutical interests that market the standard treatment—a drug called Ritalin, which, oddly enough, is chemically related to amphetamines.

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Autism is getting increasing attention these days. That’s because research indicates that the incidence of this devas- tating disorder in young children is increasing. To learn more about autism, Google “autism symptoms” or “autism prevalence” and see what you find.

Other Disorders

Your text discussion isn’t meant to be exhaustive. It hits important highlights. Other kinds of disorders with signifi- cant public health impacts include alcohol and drug abuse, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and organic mental disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease. In this, the age of the Internet, you can learn more if you’re interested in learning more.

Psychological Disorders in Perspective

Prevalence of Psychological Disorders

The essence of this section is an overall view of the incidence and prevalence of mental and emotional disorders in the United States. It’s based on an interview sample of 8,000 men and women between the ages of 15 and 54, drawn so as to represent the U.S. population at large. The findings are sobering. Of those interviewed, 48% had experienced a disorder at some point in their lives. Additionally, 30% had or were experiencing a disorder in the year of the interview, and the number of persons suffering from more than one disorder simultaneously (called comorbidity) was significant. By far, the most common reported disorder was depression. Of course, the United States isn’t alone in having a high prevalence of psychological disorders.

The Social and Cultural Context of Psychological Disorders

This final topic for the chapter introduces you to some of the perplexities of classifying psychological disorders in different cultures. Are patterns of psychological disorders particular to different cultures? For example, Japan is a collectivist cul-

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ture. That is, a person’s sense of self-worth and identity is strongly intertwined with loyalties to family, peers, and coworkers. By contrast, the dominant culture of the United States is individualistic. American identities are based on competition, personal achievement, and self-reliance. Would the causes of depression be different in Japan and the United States?

Once you’ve finished studying Assignment 10, complete Self-Check 10 and the Evaluate quizzes on pages 412–413, 435, and 441 in your textbook.

Self-Check 10 1. In disorders once called multiple personality disorders and now labeled as _______ disorders,

a person manifests more than one personality.

2. In schizophrenia, the symptom called _______ refers to holding strong beliefs in things that

have no basis in reality.

3. For psychologists, _______ behavior is seen as behavior that produces experiences of distress

and prevents people from functioning as they might wish in their daily lives.

4. The manual that classifies psychological disorders for psychologists is called the DSM-IV-TR.

In this acronym, “S” stands for _______.

5. According to research into the prevalence of psychological disorders, the most common

disorder is depression, while the second most common problem is _______ dependence.

6. Narcissistic personality disorder is to an exaggerated sense of self-importance as _______

personality disorder is to emotional volatility, impulsive behavior, and relying on relationships

to define one’s identity.


You’ll find the answers upside-down on the same page as the Evaluate


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Self-Check 10 7. Claustrophobia is to fear of enclosed spaces as _______ is to fear of strangers.

8. Hypochondriasis is classified as a/an _______ disorder in which people are obsessively

concerned with their health.

9. In obsessive-compulsive disorder, obsession is to persistent unwanted thoughts as _______ is

to irresistible urges to behave in repetitive, irrational ways.

10. Alternating depression and _______ characterize bipolar disorder.

Check your answers with those on page 170.

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ASSIGNMENT 11—TREATMENT OF PSYCHOLOGICAL DISORDERS Read this assignment. Then read Chapter 11 in your textbook.

Psychotherapy: Psychodynamic, Behavioral, and Cognitive Approaches to Treatment

Psychodynamic Approaches to Therapy

The classic psychodynamic approach is the psychoanalytic theory of Sigmund Freud. The following is a summary of ideas embraced in Freud’s approach to therapy.

To resolve unacceptable impulses and unresolved conflicts of the unconscious, it’s necessary to get through a person’s defense mechanisms. The most common of these is repression. We try to keep issues buried when they threaten our ego ideal—our ideas about how we should think and behave. The techniques for uncovering unconscious content in the patient include dream interpretation (What do you think the snake might stand for in that dream?) and free association (Just say whatever comes to mind as I give you a word.).

The very lengthy process of psychoanalysis (it can easily extend over a period of years) is a tedious uphill battle against the patient’s resistance. Meanwhile, the long association between doctor and patient leads to transference. Transference happens when the negative or hidden feelings in the patient (usually associated with a parent or a significant other) are transferred to (projected onto) the therapist. If all goes well and transference issues are resolved, the patient will gradu- ally accept previously unacceptable unconscious content—which now becomes more or less conscious—and move on with their lives.

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Time is money, and life is short. In that context, contemporary psychodynamic approaches focus on immediate issues, take more control over the direction of therapy, and try to get the whole process over within about 20 sessions over, say, three months.

Psychodynamic approaches to therapy get mixed reviews. Overall, they’re time-consuming and expensive, thus elimi- nating their feasibility for most people. On the other hand, they do seem to be useful for some people.

Behavioral Approaches to Therapy

The starting assumption in behavioral therapies is that all behavior—normal or abnormal—is learned. What has been learned can be unlearned. What hasn’t been learned can be learned.

Classical conditioning treatments include three standard techniques:

1. Aversive conditioning—A subject’s behavior is modified by coupling an undesired behavior, like alcohol abuse, with a decidedly unpleasant stimulus. For example, the patient is administered a drug that makes him or her violently nauseous when alcohol is consumed. Problems with aversive conditioning include its harshness on the one hand and uncertainty as to how long the rejection or reduction in the undesired behavior will last.

2. Systematic desensitization—Let’s say Clarissa is deathly afraid of snakes. The approach here is coupling gradual exposure to the anxiety-producing stimulus with learned techniques for relaxation. In systematic desensitization, a hierarchy of fears is created. For Clarissa, that might mean exposure to a picture of a snake, exposure to a snake in a cage, and, finally, immediate up-close-and- personal exposure to a live (harmless) snake for a few seconds, then a little longer, and so on.

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3. Exposure treatment—Here the relaxation technique is put aside, and the patient is simply exposed to the feared stim- ulus. The exposure may be gradual, or it may involve what’s called “flooding.” The latter technique can work, but it isn’t a whole lot of fun for the subject of the treat- ment. Imagine having someone with a fear of spiders suddenly exposed to a live terrarium where tarantulas are here, there, and everywhere.

Operant conditioning techniques follow the regimes you learned about earlier in this course. Reinforce desirable behaviors; don’t reinforce undesirable behaviors. In some settings involving actual human beings, say in a classroom or a “social-skills class” in a prison, desired behaviors can be reinforced by symbols or tokens, such as chips or tickets. For example, earn a token each time you turn in your homework on time. Earn X number of tokens in such a token economy, and you get a reward.

Operant conditioning techniques are pretty much limited to involuntary audiences in institutional settings. Therefore, a therapist who wants results may also employ the principles of observational learning. For example, rowdy children may be exposed to scenarios on film that model fair play and good manners. The same kinds of techniques can also be used to model ways to master one’s fears or learn assertiveness in social situations.

Overall, behavioral approaches work pretty well in treating some kinds of specific phobias or compulsions. Compulsions are observed as habitual behaviors that may be counterpro- ductive, such as the drive to count steps or avoid stepping on cracks in the sidewalk. On the other hand, while learning a new behavior may change CNS responses to some extent, behavioral approaches aren’t designed to give patients deep insights into their hidden desires or semiconscious motives.

Cognitive Approaches to Therapy

There are a variety of approaches to cognitive therapy. However, all of them are about encouraging people to change their thinking, which, in turn, is all about changing the way people frame situations and circumstances. In general, all forms of

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cognitive therapy are based on the assumption that anxiety, depression, and negative emotions are directly related to habitual ways of seeing (perceiving) oneself and the world.

In rational-emotive behavior therapy, singled out for inspection in your text, the therapy amounts to helping people reorganize their belief system to make it more realistic, logical, and rational. Thus, for example, the assumption that everyone is judging you is irrational. In fact, even the people who are closest to you will tend to give you not more than about 2% of their undivided attention—unless you’re in the kitchen smashing the good china. In a similar vein, most of our worries tend to be about matters that no one can control (like the weather) or which are very unlikely to occur under any circumstances. Great Britain’s famous World War II leader, Winston Churchill, once commented, “The things I worried about most in my life never happened.”

Psychotherapy: Humanistic and Group Approaches

Humanistic Therapy

The underlying assumptions of humanistic therapy are, in fact, philosophical and metaphysical. People have free will. Everyone has a place in the cosmic scheme. The concept of soul should be taken seriously. Above all, everyone is born with the potential (however slight) for acquiring self-knowledge and achieving self-actualization. In this perspective, psychological disorders often arise as people fail to grasp purpose or meaning for their lives.

The most common technique in humanistic therapy is called person-centered therapy. A warm, supportive, and nonjudg- mental therapeutic environment is established. Patients are encouraged to follow the implied advice of poet Robert Burns and to “see themselves as others see them”—but without judgment. Carl Rogers was an outstanding exponent of this perspective, and, hopefully, you’ll recall his concept of unconditional self-regard. To find yourself and your purpose in life, accept yourself as you are and be empowered to

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change what can be changed while accepting what can’t be changed. (Interestingly, this last sentiment echoes a famous prayer said to have been authored by St. Francis of Assisi.)

Interpersonal Therapy

Interpersonal therapy (IT) focuses on social relationships. And, therefore, it aims at improving or healing conflicted or dysfunctional personal relationships. Marriage counseling is an example. But IT can also be helpful in dealing with some cases of anxiety or depression. That’s because the context of both of these may be an unhealthy relationship, say, between parents and children. IT is directive, structured, and designed for therapeutic programs that cover about 12 to 16 weeks. (“Directive” means the therapist actively directs sessions. “Structured” means the therapeutic program proceeds in preplanned steps.)

Group Therapy, Family Therapy, and Self-Help Groups

Under a therapist who acts as a guide and a moderator, group therapy involves meetings of unrelated people who share their stories, seek out personal insights into their issues, and often benefit from the emotional support people get from being with people who have similar problems. Combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may benefit from group therapy. First responders involved with the Virginia Tech massacre were expected to engage in group therapy sessions. However, “group therapy” is also used quite a lot in workplace settings in the interest of improving employee morale and developing team spirit. In such cases, the therapist’s role may be served by a specialist in industrial psychology.

Family therapy is a specialized form of group therapy. Family therapists are extensively trained to understand how a family operates as a system, such that what’s going on with one family member will affect other family members. The typical objective of family therapy is resolving interpersonal conflicts and encouraging family members to seek common ground for productive solutions.

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Self-help therapy is pretty much like group therapy without a trained counselor to guide and moderate what goes on. Twelve-step programs for alcoholics (such as AA) and other kinds of addicts are a patterned form of self-help therapy wherein the “counselor” may be literature shared by the group or a “buddy” partner assigned to help a new group member. Other self-help groups take the form of rather informal support groups. For example, people may gather together to help the members deal with the loss of a loved one or encourage their teenagers to take their studies more seriously.

Evaluating Psychotherapy: Does Therapy Work?

Psychologists tend to agree that therapy is better than no therapy, if only because rates of spontaneous remission (spontaneous healing) are low. On the other hand, there isn’t much agreement about which therapies work best. Based on research that scans many studies (meta-analysis), some conclusions can be drawn:

n Psychotherapy is effective for most people.

n However, psychotherapy doesn’t work for everyone. It isn’t a “silver bullet.”

n No single form of therapy works best for every problem, although specific kinds of treatment appear more effective for certain kinds of problems most of the time, but not always. Thus, cognitive therapy is often best for panic disorders, but not always.

n Most therapies share a set of similar elements. These include the opportunity for the patient to form a positive relationship with a therapist, receive an explanation for his or her symptoms, and confront negative emotions.

Because of what you’ve just read about the relative merits of different approaches to therapies, it isn’t surprising that many therapists take an eclectic approach. That is, they pick and choose among different approaches based on an individual’s apparent needs in a specific case.

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Biomedical Therapy

Drug Therapy

Biomedical therapy is aimed at identifying biological factors underlying psychological disorders. In general, this approach has focused on drugs that can alter the operations of neuro- transmitters and cerebral neurons in such a way as to relieve or control symptoms.

n Antipsychotic drugs work primarily by blocking dopamine receptors in the brain’s synapses, although there are other kinds of antipsychotics that work to alter neuro- logical chemistry in specific parts of the brain. The problem with antipsychotics is that they can alleviate symptoms only if the drug regimen is continued. Take away the drugs, and the symptoms reappear.

n Antidepressant drugs are used to reduce or soften the effect of depressions. They’re also used to treat bulimia and certain kinds of anxiety disorders. (Depression is often accompanied by anxiety.) Details about different kinds of antidepressants are summarized in Figure 1 on page 469 of your text. A natural antidepressant, a plant called St. John’s wort, is widely prescribed in Europe but is given less attention in the United States. Its effectiveness is considered uncertain.

n Mood stabilizers include lithium, used successfully in cases of bipolar disorder. What makes mood stabilizers unique is their potential capacity to prevent the recurrence of manic-depressive episodes.

n Anti-anxiety drugs are very frequently prescribed by American physicians. As your text points out, more than half of American families have members who have been on one of these kinds of drugs at some point.

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Electroconvulsive Therapy

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is still used to treat severe depression, but its use remains highly controversial. Side effects are often alarming, including loss of recent memory. Over the years, researchers, physicians, and “veterans” of ECT have argued that the procedure is akin to torture and should long since have been abandoned. Perhaps it will be as a new alternative to ECT is introduced. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is intended to create a magnetic pulse that can be aimed precisely at certain parts of the brain. While TMS results have been promising in some respects, there remains the problem of side effects, such as convulsions and seizures.


Psychosurgery is the use of brain surgery to reduce symp- toms of mental disorder. This type of surgery was used in the past by destroying or removing parts of the brain. While the procedure could reduce symptoms of mental disorder, such surgeries came with drastic side effects. Such surgery is much less common today and is only used in specific circumstances.

Biomedical Therapies in Perspective

While biomedical approaches to psychological disorders have radicalized treatment regimens and no doubt reduced suffer- ing for many people, problems remain. Drug side effects can be serious. Furthermore, drug therapies can mask symptoms such that it’s quite difficult to get at underlying problems that caused a person to seek therapy in the first place. Perhaps, as we learn more about the nature of human con- sciousness, we’ll find some optimal balance among different kinds of therapies.

Community Therapy: Focus on Prevention

Community psychology is aimed at preventing or minimizing the incidence of psychological disorders. An initial approach to this sort of thing began in the 1960s with an effort to create

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a network of community mental health clinics. However, due to funding cuts at state hospitals, there has been a trend toward deinstitutionalization, which hasn’t gone too well. As mental hospitals have been emptied, more and more of the indigent and homeless—including an alarming number of military veterans—are either wandering the streets with shopping carts or being jailed for want of adequate public health facilities.

Once you’ve finished studying Assignment 11, complete Self-Check 11; the Evaluate quizzes on pages 458, 467, and 478–479 in your textbook; and the required discussion board posting.

Then review the material you’ve learned in this study guide and the assigned pages in your textbook for Assignments 10–11. When you’re sure that you completely understand the information, complete your examination for Lesson 4.

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Self-Check 11 1. In biomedical approaches to therapy, the mineral salt lithium may be used to treat _______


2. Among psychotherapeutic approaches to therapy, _______ approaches are considered to be

the least scientifically and theoretically developed.

3. After one or more applications of _______ therapy, a controversial technique, patients

experience disorientation, confusion, and memory loss that may last for months.

4. People who have lost a loved one gather together in a support group to share stories and

offer each other emotional support. Psychologists would call this a form of _______-_______


5. In deinstitutionalization, as an approach to _______ psychology, mental patients are

released into the community, presumably to take advantage of mental health clinics in

their neighborhood.

6. _______-based psychotherapeutic practice uses research literature to determine the best

therapy for a particular person with a particular disorder.

Check your answers with those on page 171.

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Psychology for Two or More

INTRODUCTION “No man is an island, entire of himself . . . [Thus] Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.”

These lines from the English poet John Donne remind us that our thoughts, attitudes, values, and beliefs are inter- twined with those of other people. Consider: Did you select the language you speak? Did you choose the norms and beliefs of your culture? Where did you get your name? How do you know how you should behave if you’re a boy or a girl? When you sit down to collect your thoughts, whose thoughts are you thinking? Did you invent the religion at the church you attend? If you agree that the Earth orbits the Sun, which is, in fact, our local star, did you invent that belief from your own observation? If you had been born in 12th-century Europe, expressing such a belief could get you roasted alive for heresy. Humans are individuals. That’s true enough. But there’s no such thing as individuality outside of a social world that recognizes the very idea of individuality. In short, to be human is to be a social creature.

ASSIGNMENT 12—SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY: PART 1 Read this assignment. Then read pages 484–501 of Chapter 12 in your textbook.

Attitudes and Social Cognition

Persuasion: Changing Attitudes

Attitudes can be thought of as mental orientations toward people, groups, ideas, foods, weather, fashion, and so on. We’re likely to have attitudes about every aspect of our social world, assuming we’re aware of it. Attitudes may be stable or

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unstable and changeable. The extent to which we’re likely to be persuaded to change our attitudes depends on the source of the information, the nature of the information, and our openness to the information. (Your text speaks of “messages” instead of information, but the point is the same.)

Social psychologists recognize two primary information- processing routes. Central route processing happens when the recipient carefully weighs and thinks about the new infor- mation. If one’s attitude about the value of welfare reform is changed, it will be as a result of logic, the merit of the infor- mation, and the power or coherence of the arguments. By contrast, peripheral route processing involves such things as not liking the messenger, the emotional appeal of the message as well as the recipient’s biases, and prepackaged opinions about the issue.

The links between people’s attitudes and their behavior vary from weak to strong. Be that as it may, people try to main- tain an internal consistency between their attitudes. If Jake disapproves of eating pork, he isn’t likely to order a BLT at the deli or support legislation protecting the environmental depredations of hog farmers.

This inner strain to consistency turns out to have a signifi- cant influence on potential changes in our attitudes. When we detect inconsistency among our beliefs or attitudes, we experience cognitive dissonance (discomfort over ideas that don’t mesh). And, in fact, cognitive dissonance theory, developed by Leon Festinger, is a popular model that’s often used to explain why people change their attitudes.

To understand the idea of cognitive dissonance, you should first recognize that we’re able to hold contradictory ideas in our minds. We do it all the time. For example, you may believe in recycling and taking care of the environment. At the same time, you own every conceivable electrical appliance and drive a gas-guzzling SUV. However, if you become aware of the contradictions, you may be inclined to alter your atti- tudes and your behavior. Here’s one odd example: Research discovered that people were likely to pay more attention to ads for a car they just bought after they purchased it. What’s going on here? We know that cars are a big drain on a family budget, but we also want to show people our social status by

driving a nice car. The “budget/thrifty” attitude is in contra- diction (dissonance) to the “showy” attitude. So after we’ve bought the car, we look for ads to justify our purchase and reduce cognitive dissonance.

Social Cognition: Understanding Others

As mentioned earlier, people develop fairly detailed mental schemas (“maps”) for organizing information about the world and how to behave in it. In this context, social cognition is all about schemas that help us make sense of other people’s motivations and behaviors, as well as our own.

We’re guided by schemas that apply to different social roles and to social groups. For example, we have schemas for iden- tifying male and female behavior. We have schemas for how mothers should behave with children. We have schemas that “define” the characteristics of dock workers, detectives, truck drivers, liberals, and conservatives.

Obviously, schemas may have no necessary relationship to objective facts. Our ideas about how detectives behave may be mainly derived from watching television. Our ideas about liberals may simply reflect the attitudes we were taught in our families or by paying attention to mass media. In any case, especially in dealing with other people, our schemas tend to be generalized around what we perceive as central traits. For example, if we meet a Marine, we may expect to see ramrod discipline and macho toughness. Having previ- ously ingested these central trait ideas, we may see our new Marine friend’s language and behavior in terms of these assumed central traits—even if we’re missing out on other traits the man has, such as romantic ideals about marriage or a consuming interest in fly fishing.

Attribution theory is a helpful guide for understanding how we perceive and interpret other people’s behavior. An attribution is an assumption about why people behaved or performed as they did—or as we perceive they did. If we think that Alice’s failure to pass math is internal, we may say that she’s lazy or simply no good at math. If we think her failure is due to external causes, we might say that the test was too hard or that Alice had just broken up with her boyfriend. To adopt

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the internal view is to assume a dispositional cause for Alice’s math performance. To adopt the external assumption is to attribute Alice’s math problems to situational causes.

Our attributions as to the nature and causes of others’ behavior tend not to be guided by pure rationality. In a nutshell, we see what we’re predisposed to see.

n Influenced by the halo effect, we assume that the charac- teristic we most notice in another person suggests other characteristics that may or may not be present. When interviewing Suzy Q., who’s a real knockout and dressed to prove it, we may assume Suzy is also trustworthy, friendly, generous, cheerful, and obviously a team player—none of which may be the case. (In studies using photographs, subjects were significantly inclined to assume that attractive people were more intelligent than less attractive people.)

n Influenced by the assumed similarity bias, we tend to take it for granted that the people we know, and even people we just met, are similar to us. They think like we do, like what we do, and so on. But a moment’s reflection should suggest that this assumption can be dead wrong.

n Under the self-serving bias, other people are responsible for our failures while we’re responsible for our successes. This bias is a requirement for athletic coaches and politicians.

n Exhibiting the fundamental attribution error, if I fail to pass a history test, it’s due to external circumstances (situational causes). If my friend Sally fails the same test, it’s due to internal (dispositional) causes. We tend to make external attributions to account for our mistakes and internal attributions to account for the mistakes of others. The fundamental attribution error is called fundamental because it’s so common.

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Social Influence and Groups

Influence is what social psychologists refer to when they’re interested in how a group alters the behavior and attitudes of its members. In any human interaction, there’s a tendency for individuals to be influenced. Social influence surrounds us, constantly shaping and reshaping our attitudes, opinions, beliefs, values, and behavior. So, in brief, social influence is observed when the actions of an individual or group affect the way others behave.

Conformity: Following What Others Do

Conformity is the main glue that holds society together. To live in a social world, we must get along with others. There’s a lot of pressure to conform to accepted norms of behavior. In fact, those who consistently refuse to conform to social norms are said to be deviant. That is, they deviate, or differ, from accepted behavioral standards. Solomon Asch conducted classic experiments designed to study the power of conformity. Asch’s findings showed us that most people tend to conform at least some of the time, even accepting group judgments they privately see as wrong. Interestingly, some people will agree with an obviously incorrect appraisal and convince themselves that it’s right!

Rather shocking findings emerged from a famous “prisoner” and “guard” role-play experiment conducted at Stanford University. Zimbardo’s research offers an extreme example of pressure on people to conform to social role expectations. Among other things, his studies can help us understand how and why presumably normal and decent people were swept along in the social currents surrounding Adolph Hitler’s rise to power in the 1930s.

Compliance: Submitting to Direct Social Pressure

Compliance is doing what someone wants you to do even if he or she doesn’t have authority over you. Enter the encyclope- dia salesperson, the used-car dealer, and the phone solicitor. All of these people try to influence your behavior (especially where your wallet is concerned). Your textbook explains sev- eral techniques used to gain compliance through influence.

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n The foot-in-the-door principle is based on a simple idea. If I can get you to agree to a minor request, I might be able to get you to sign a sales contract.

n The door-in-the-face technique works like this: I get you to turn down a major request that may make you feel guilty. For example, I may ask you to contribute $100 to feed hungry children. You decline because you can’t afford that much, but you feel guilty. A short time later, the same solicitor requests that you contribute $10. This time, you’ll probably agree. (Incidentally, neither technique must involve doors. Both are behavioral phenomena that just happened to take their name from behaviors practiced by door-to-door salespeople.)

n In the “that’s not all” technique, the salesperson offers you a “great deal” at an inflated price. While you’re pondering, the salesperson immediately offers you a discount, bonuses, and other extras that make the price seem more attractive. Oddly enough, this technique actually works.

n In the “not-so-free sample” technique, you’ll get a free sample of a “great product” with a psychological string attached. Namely, the sample evokes a deeply held idea in most people called the norm of reciprocity. Namely, I gave you this, what should you give me in return?

In case you were wondering, all of these techniques are taught in standard salesmanship classes that are part of a business curriculum. Keep in mind that to guard your resources, you have the right to be assertive—that is, just say no.

Obedience: Following Direct Orders

Compliance techniques amount to psychological manipula- tion. You can exercise free will if you can find your free will. Obedience is another thing entirely. When the big boss says jump, most of us are inclined to ask, “How high?” When the captain advises the private to stand at ease, this isn’t a suggestion. You will stand at ease. In terms of psychological

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research, the issue is this: To what extent will people respond obediently to directions, commands, or suggestions from authority figures?

The most famous obedience research was conducted by Stanley Milgram of Yale University. The subjects for a series of similar experiments were selected at random from local populations representing many different occupations and social class backgrounds. In a nutshell, it was found that people are strongly inclined to obey an authority figure even when they would prefer not to. The findings rocked the world of the human sciences. But no, we won’t tell you more just here. Study the discussion of the Milgram experiments on pages 498–500 of your textbook. Having done so, ask your- self, would you have obeyed the white-coated authority figures all the way to administering a “lethal” electric shock to a reluctant “learner”?

Once you’ve finished studying Assignment 12, complete Self- Check 12.

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Self-Check 12 1. A near cousin of social psychology, _______-organizational psychology looks at issues like

worker motivation, job satisfaction, and productivity.

2. When you first meet Andy Kline, you already know that his friends consider him to be honest

and trustworthy. Therefore, you’re likely to evaluate your meeting with Andy in terms of these

_______ traits.

3. Jason speaks of an experiment, in which participants were asked to compare a standard line

to three grouped lines, a, b, and c. Jason is almost certainly referring to an experiment

designed to measure _______.

4. According to the theory of cognitive _______, people can hold two conflicting ideas in their

mind, thus producing a strain to reconcile the opposed beliefs.

5. _______ route processing is to thoughtfully and deliberately evaluating a persuasive argument

as _______ route processing is to being influenced by matters that have no necessary bearing

on the substance of an argument, such as the speaker’s hairstyle.

6. Nathan’s family has encouraged him to vote for V.O. Yates for City Council. Nancy insists that

her mother give her money to purchase “S&P” jeans because all the “cool” kids at school are

wearing them. Both of these instances are examples of social _______.

7. Brad appears confident, attractive, and charming. As a result, with no actual evidential

support, Sally is likely to think Brad is also intelligent and honest. This is an example of the

_______ effect.

8. The likelihood of _______ change in a person subjected to a message will depend on the mes-

sage source, the message content, and the characteristics of the person hearing the message.

9. In an instance of _______, Sgt. Stanley responds to Capt. James’s order to cancel all leaves.

In an instance of _______, Lulu Smith, having been persuaded by a foot-in-the-door

technique, agrees to buy a set of encyclopedias.

10. By way of what psychologists call the _______-_______ error, in judging the behavior of

others, we’re very likely to maximize the importance of personality factors over environmental

circumstances relevant to a situation.

Check your answers with those on page 171.

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ASSIGNMENT 13—SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY: PART 2 Read this assignment. Then read pages 502–533 of Chapter 12 in your textbook.

Prejudice and Discrimination Prejudice is an unreasoned and usually unexamined attitude about some person, group, thing, or idea. Prejudice is universal because none of us can completely avoid having stereotypes of some kind. A stereotype is a shorthand way of making sense of a very complicated world. Some stereotypes are relatively harm- less; some are toxic and dangerous. A prejudice is a harmful stereotype. A prejudice formed against some racial group that characterizes its members as lazy, reckless, and socially inferior is an example of a harmful stereotype.

Prejudice must be distinguished from discrimination. Discrimination is taking an action based on prejudice— such as denying housing to someone based on his or her race. So, a person could be prejudiced but not discriminatory. People may also discriminate without prejudice to keep a job or gain the approval of a peer group.

The Foundations of Prejudice

According to observational learning theorists, prejudice is learned as we internalize negative stereotypes and model prejudicial and discriminatory behaviors of those around us. To be sure, the “people around us” may include the actors, commentators, and pundits of mass media.

According to social identity theory, people maintain prejudices against outgroups to support pride and self-esteem they identify with their ingroup. In the Reconstruction era of the South, for example, poor white farmers looked down on equally poor black farmers, seeing themselves as superior by way of skin color. Similarly, in urban neighborhoods, Irish ethnics may look down on Italian ethnics—and vice versa.

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Ethnocentrism always lurks where prejudice thrives. Ethno- centrism is the universal human tendency to see the norms, beliefs, attitudes, and values of one’s in-group (ethnic group, nationality, religion) as superior to those of outgroups.

Measuring Prejudice and Discrimination: The Implicit Personality Test

What you’re offered here is a simple test that reveals people’s tacit (hidden) biases. It’s called the Implicit Association Test (IAT). In effect, what the IAT does is sidestep the politically correct responses most of us will give when we know “good people” are supposed to be free of prejudice. What the test reveals is the presence of implicit prejudice. Whites tend to have pro-white bias. Non-Muslims tend to have an anti- Muslim bias.

Reducing Prejudice and Discrimination

Three tips are offered:

1. Increase contact between people who embrace negative stereotypes and the people who are the target of those stereotypes.

2. Make values and norms supportive of negative stereotypes more visible. To disperse shadows of misconception, let the sun shine in.

3. Provide accurate information about the targets of stereo- types. For example, if the target is Muslims, highlight the immense contribution of Islamic civilization to the rise of Western civilization. The word algebra is derived from the Arabic, Al-jabr. Many of our names for visible stars are Arabic because Islamic civilization pioneered astronomy. The works of Plato seeped into Western Europe from Moorish (Islamic) Spain at the outset of the European Renaissance.

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Positive and Negative Social Behavior

Scanning the panorama of human history, one may well wonder if humanity is a dysfunctional species. Freud, taking note of endless wars, persecutions, and savage oppression, commented that “man is wolf to man.” (“Homo homini lupus” was the actual Latin sentence he quoted.) On the other hand, it’s also clear that humans are capable of kindness, civility, sacrifice in the name of social justice, and even unconditional loving actions—what we call altruism. So, given that humans are dark and light, what is the nature of the darkness, and from whence comes the light?

Liking and Loving: Interpersonal Attraction and the Development of Relationships

Initial attractions between people tend to be governed by the following:

n Proximity—It turns out that simply hanging around with another person, at work or play, can lead to mutual attraction. Humans are social creatures, after all, and most of us seek out human company simply because it’s inherently rewarding. Further, and not surprisingly, people tend to be attracted to people who live near them. Your friends are likely to be neighbors or members of your school peer group.

n Mere exposure—Interestingly, merely being exposed to another person can lead to attraction. If you’ve ever been fascinated to the point of fantasy by images of rock stars or actors in films or on TV, you’ll understand this. There must have been several thousand people with hopeless crushes on Marilyn Monroe, just as, today, even more people may have hopeless crushes on . . . Jennifer Aniston? Renee Zellweger? Nicole Kidman? Brad Pitt? George Clooney? Johnny Depp?

n Similarity—Birds of a feather flock together. That’s the old adage. Is it true of human attractions? Yes. People are strongly inclined to hang out with people who have similar interests, similar personality traits, or similar backgrounds. If, as may certainly be the case, attractions

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are mutual, a phenomenon called the reciprocity-of- liking effect kicks in. That means we’re attracted to people who indicate that they like us. Being liked is a strong attractor.

n Physical attractiveness—As the philosopher Aristotle noted, beauty is a singular virtue. It is, so to speak, a force of nature. So, as your mom may have told you, pretty may be as pretty does, but beautiful people certainly have an “attraction edge,” almost regardless of what they do. From childhood onward, the pretty peo- ple are likely to be the most popular, the most sought after, and the most often emulated.

Social networking sites and applications have evolved as a modern way for people to make connections. Such interac- tions give users an ability to control how they present themselves to the world in a way meeting in person can’t. While social networking online can increase civic engage- ment, social trust, and life satisfaction, users must be careful to maintain in person relationships.

Love is the grandest and most confusing of attractors. Romeo and Juliet are icons of Western culture. Great love stories are the stuff of countless novels and films. And nothing is happier in our deepest fantasies than the Hollywood happy ending. Boy gets girl, girl gets boy, and (we can wish) they live happily ever after. However, psychologists are in the business of finding out, not wishing.

In that regard, some researchers have distinguished between passionate or romantic love and companionate love. Robert Sternberg thought that twofold distinction was inadequate to the complexities of human behavior. Thus, he developed a model based on three key factors:

1. Decision-commitment

2. Intimacy

3. Passion

He then proposed identifying six kinds of love based on the way these ingredients may, or may not, interact:

n Intimacy alone = liking. We just like keeping company with someone.

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n Intimacy + Passion = Romantic Love. (This kind of love may explain why some people marry over and over again. The typical romantic affair has a life span of about 18 months.)

n Passion alone = Infatuation. (If you remember the “Peanuts” cartoon characters, think Charlie Brown and the little red-headed girl. Or just think “puppy love.”)

n Passion + Commitment = Fatuous Love. (The term “fatuous” seems to suggest something more like passion- ate commitment, given that intimacy may sleep in the spare bedroom.)

n Empty Love = Commitment. (No passion, no intimacy? What fun is that?)

n Companionate Love = Intimacy + Commitment. (Soldiers form strong bonds of companionate love, as in the idea of a “band of brothers.”)

n Consummate Love = Intimacy + Passion + Commitment. (At last, the real deal. Romeo and Juliet with a mortgage paid off and kids grown up celebrate their thirtieth wedding anniversary.)

Aggression and Prosocial Behavior: Hurting and Helping Others Perspectives on aggression include the following:

n Instinct approaches—Some researchers have sought explanations for aggression in human biology. Animal ethnologist Konrad Lorenz maintained that aggression is an instinctive drive. And, in fact, he was echoing a sentiment voiced by Sigmund Freud. Both Freud and Lorenz seem to have agreed that rough contact sports and games might serve as a catharsis. That is, one can vent aggressive energy in ways that aren’t harmful to society. By contrast, the findings of other researchers reject the catharsis idea as flat out wrong. We must look elsewhere to explain human aggression.

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n Frustration-aggression approaches—Frustration- aggression theory offers the idea that human aggressive behavior is triggered by frustration. We get nasty when we don’t get what we need or want. Advocates of this model speak of aversive stimuli that can make one prone to aggression by way of aggression cues that bring about actual aggressive behavior. For example, research shows us that the typical homicide in America begins with an argument among relatively young men who are having a hard time making a living and feeling good about themselves. Criminologists call these character contests. Especially in a society where so many people own guns, murder can result over something as absurd as an imagined insult against a relative. Guns serve as strong aggression cues; this is referred to as the weapons effect.

n Observational learning approaches—Observational learning approaches reject instinct models. This school wouldn’t deny that humans are capable of aggression. However, being capable of mastering chess doesn’t mean you’ll master chess. Similarly, it can be argued that being capable of aggression doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily be aggressive. Aggressive behavior is a potential that can be actualized. But when it is, we learn to express it through observational learning. The basic idea is simple. We’ll engage in aggressive behavior to the extent that it’s modeled by people from whom we take our social cues and rewarded in some way. As it turns out, actual research has produced strong support for observational learning as the root of aggressive behavior.

Prosocial behavior is selfless behavior directed toward the good of the whole rather than to the advantage of the individual. Prosocial behavior is often explained in much the same way as aggression. We’re capable of prosocial behavior because we possess cooperative instincts that are built into our biology.

However, psychologists may wonder: Why do some people take responsibility for their behaviors and beliefs? Why do some people feel empathy for the concerns of others? Why don’t more people do so? Many have suggested that the answers may be related to the nature of our society. We’re

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strongly socialized to ignore each other, to not get involved, and to assume that someone else will take care of the problem. However, just as we can help people control aggressive impulses, perhaps we can also learn how to encourage selfless, prosocial impulses.

In any case, motivations for prosocial behavior, also known as helping behavior, aren’t fully understood. But researchers have learned a few things from observing how people react in emergency situations. Who will help out on the scene of an auto accident or a house fire or a child stuck up a tree, and why?

One factor turns out to be the number of people present. If there are already a lot of people around, particular individu- als are less likely to lend a hand. A sort of “let George do it” attitude seems to prevail. This phenomenon is known as diffusion of responsibility.

On the other hand, according to studies originally conducted by Latané and Darley, there are four steps in deciding whether to help:

1. Noticing—You won’t see a problem if you don’t notice it. People often drive pass a road emergency without noticing a problem, such as a lifted hood or someone waving a handkerchief.

2. Interpreting the event as needing intervention—We have to see that there’s a problem. The child has been knocked off his bicycle by a passing car. Flames are leaping from a dormer window.

3. Assuming responsibility for helping—We decide we should lend a hand. If there are several people around, we cut through the diffusion-of-responsibility barrier.

4. Deciding on and implementing some way of helping— Once we’ve decided we should help, we decide how. If we’ve had a CPR class, we rush to the aid of the man who has collapsed in the supermarket checkout line. If we realize that someone is being assaulted, we dial 911 on our cell phone and clear our minds to give specific information. In effect, we consult our experience to figure out what we can do.

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Most of the time, we decide to help out, or not, based on a quick costs-rewards analysis. (I would love to save that unhappy cat from the burning house, but I have a thing about death through roasting.)

In other remarkable cases, people will go for the cat, jump on the grenade, or walk that narrow window ledge on the thirty- first floor to talk down a jumper. It happens. When it does, we speak of altruism. Research by way of interviews with such selfless heroes reveals an interesting pattern. In effect, the savior just acts, more or less on “instinct,” without much reflection at all on the potential risks. You might say that altruism is the behavioral side of unconditional love.

Stress and Coping

Stress: Reacting to Threat and Challenge

All stressors are perceived as major or minor threats to a sense of well-being. In other words, situations are appraised as they’re perceived. Our primary appraisal of some potential stressor (any kind of situation or stimulus) determines whether it’s a threat. If the potential stressor isn’t perceived as a threat, we go on with business as usual. If a threat is perceived, we engage in secondary appraisal aimed at dealing with the threat. We may decide to fight, flee, negotiate, or simply smile and get on with our day.

The Nature of Stressors: My Stress Is Your Pleasure

If you recall your introduction to arousal theory, you’ll remember that an arousal state may be interpreted differently by different people at different times. One person’s exciting roller-coaster ride is another person’s traumatic experience. Stress is a mental or physical condition that we must adapt to. The first day of school, a first date, taking the bar exam, or entertaining an annoying relative are all potential stressors. A stressor is any environmental or mental situation or experience perceived as stressful. Emotions and stress responses develop in the same way. They’re automatic responses

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of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). When emotions associated with a stimulus are intense, stress levels are greater. When pressure is increased by the need to meet a deadline or by unpredictable events (such as computer failures), stress tends to be magnified.

Your text identifies three general types of stressors:

1. Cataclysmic events—A natural disaster, the death of a loved one, or almost any given minute in a combat situa- tion qualify as cataclysmic events. If a cataclysmic event is shared and can be dealt with and left behind, it tends not to leave lasting psychological scars. Examples might include coping with a hurricane or tornado, assuming the damage doesn’t linger as it has in New Orleans. Ongoing events, like the aftermath of Katrina or a nasty divorce and struggles over child custody, are more devastating in the long run.

2. Personal stressors—Major life events, like marriage, the death of a parent, or childbirth are considered personal stressors. You’ll notice that both positive and negative events are personal stressors. In the event that cata- clysmic events are combined with personal stressors, the result may be PTSD. Combat veterans often suffer from PTSD.

3. Background stressors—Background stressors, also known as daily hassles, may be what Shakespeare was referring to when he wrote of “the thousand shocks to which mortal flesh is heir.” A French existentialist philosopher framed the matter in a single sentence. “Things are against us.” The “things” in question make for a very long list. The car won’t start, Judy is coming down with a cold, Spot left a spot on the carpet, Harry is late again, I forgot my umbrella, and so on.

The flip sides of hassles are called uplifts. The check arrived in the mail, Mary called to tell me she arrived safely in Denver, Jody got an “A” on his math quiz, the boss smiled, the Mets won, and so on.

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You should become familiar with the general adaptation syndrome (GAS). Developed by physiologist Hans Selye, the GAS outlines what happens to us when we encounter and deal with stress. The three stages of the GAS are applicable to just about any kind of stress—from serious physical trauma to psychological shock resulting from divorce, getting fired, or even failing an algebra test.

The GAS has three stages:

1. In the alarm reaction, your body mobilizes for fight or flight. Though it doesn’t know which you’ll choose, your body will consistently take the same action. Your blood pressure rises, adrenaline pumps into your blood, your digestion slows, and blood flows to the skeletal muscles as you tense for action.

2. In the stage of resistance, the physical adjustments to stress stabilize. Tension and vigilance become the norm. A soldier in combat will remain at this stage until exhaustion sets in. A person going through a divorce may be able to get stress under control before exhaustion sets in.

3. In the stage of exhaustion, the body’s resources—such as adrenaline—are depleted. If stress isn’t relieved at this stage, the result will be some kind of psychosomatic disorder, physical disease, or even complete collapse. The body’s immune system is compromised by prolonged stress.

Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI), the study of relationships between psychological factors and the brain, takes a broader approach to stress. Looking at the outcomes of stress, PNI identifies three basic stress consequences:

1. Stress causes immediate physiological reactions, includ- ing elevated blood pressure, increased hormonal activity, and a decline in the functioning of the immune system.

2. Stress leads people to engage in risky, unhealthy behav- iors, such as substance abuse, smoking, and not getting enough sleep.

3. Stress is associated with indirect consequences, such as a reduced likelihood of getting health-care insurance and an increased likelihood that medical advice will be ignored.

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Coping with Stress

To live on planet Earth is to experience stress. That’s both good news and bad news. Without stress, adaptive behavior wouldn’t be encouraged as situations change—and situations always change. Indeed, Hans Selye spoke of what he called eustress, stress that motivates us to get busy with absorbing and stimulating work that can be useful to one and all. On the other hand, stress without adaptive responses simply wears us out and can even kill us.

When we deal with stressors, there are two basic reaction modes. Problem-focused coping centers on acting to neutralize or manage the threat. Emotion-focused coping involves managing our emotional response to the perceived threat. In reality, we do a little of both of these things.

Things go better when we feel we can cope with stressors, whatever they may be. By contrast, deciding that we have no control over a stressful situation can lead us down paths of hopelessness and fatalistic apathy. That’s a path people may take to the extent that they adopt what psychologists call learned helplessness. For example, people may make nonproductive internal attributions to account for setbacks. A self-applied internal attribution signifies that frustrations are a direct result of one’s inherent (built-in) deficiencies. People may teach themselves that since they failed once, they’ll fail again because they’re stupid, incompetent, or just “no good.”

A key part of psychological reaction to stress is the resilience of a person Resilience refers to the ability of a person to with- stand, overcome and thrive after profound adversity.

Another important factor in coping with stress is social support. Hard times are easier to cope with when there are shoulders to cry on. A hug from a friend can make a difference. My problems can fall into a healthier perspective as I enter into social networks with people who are trying to bail out the same leaky boat.

People benefit from understanding what stress is and how to cope with it. They benefit from knowing how to live in ways that promote good health. Our work lives, family lives, and recreational lives are under control when we understand

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how to manage stress. The last part of this section offers you some excellent tips on effective coping strategies. Here’s a “teaser” preview. Think about what each tip tells you in terms of your life experience.

n Turn a threat into a challenge. U.S. Army combat engineers have an adage: “The possible we get done immediately; the impossible takes a little longer.”

n Look for the silver lining. Even dire situations can be viewed from different perspectives. Members of the anti-Nazi resistance in World War II had a saying: “What doesn’t kill you outright only makes you stronger.”

n Change your goals. When you’ve proved to yourself that you aren’t likely to write the great American novel any time soon, plan a career in journalism.

n Take physical action. It always helps to do something. Run Fido around the block, pump some iron, clean up the kitchen.

n Prepare for stress before it happens. If you know the corporate bigwigs will be descending to inspect your department, make a plan, help get department personnel on the same page, and convince Steve that casual Friday attire won’t cut it.

Once you’ve finished studying Assignment 13, complete Self-Check 13; the Evaluate quizzes on pages 494, 501, 506- 507, 517 and 528 in your textbook; and the required discussion board posting.

Then review the material you’ve learned in this study guide and the assigned pages in your textbook for Assignments 12–13. When you’re sure that you completely understand the information, complete your examination for Lesson 5.

You’ll find the answers upside-down on the same page as the Evaluate


Lesson 5 163

Self-Check 13 1. Borrowing ideas from Freud, Konrad Lorenz, an animal behaviorist, maintained that humans

have a built-in fighting _______, the pressure from which builds up until it’s released through

some kind of catharsis.

2. Regarding ways of coping with stress, _______-focused coping centers on controlling one’s

feelings and attitudes about a situation, while _______-focused coping tries to effect changes

that will alter the situation in a favorable direction.

3. “Birds of a feather” is to _______ as “the girl next door” is to proximity.

4. When a police officer renders assistance with apparent disregard for the threat to his own life

and safety, it goes beyond the idea of simple prosocial behavior to the concept of _______.

5. Carl has decided that nothing he does can make his world better than it is. He can’t get a

break in life. His idea of the “golden rule” is “Those with the gold rule.” It seems likely that

Carl has adopted the attitudes and behavior psychologists call _______ helplessness.

6. The flip side of a hassle is a/an _______.

7. The more people there are at the scene of an accident, the less likely it is that anyone will

offer aid and assistance. Psychologists refer to this phenomenon as _______ of responsibility.

8. Levels of frustration are high in a tense crowd situation following a period of civil unrest.

However, the likelihood that overt aggression will occur may depend on the appearance of

aggressive _______, such as someone coming onto the street waving a baseball bat.

9. Alarm and mobilization make up the first stage of the general _______ syndrome.

10. For Robert Sternberg, intimacy + _______ + commitment equals consummate love.

Check your answers with those on page 172.

Essentials of Psychology164



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Case Studies Assignment You’ll find your case study assignments in the textbook, Psychology and Your Life, 2nd Edition.

Please take a few moments to watch the video available on your student portal. The video gives a verbal explanation of this assignment.

Read the following case studies in your textbook and answer the questions in your text:

1. Case Study 1: “The Case of the Woman Who Dreams of Stress,” page 162

2. Case Study 2: “The Case of John Buckingham, the New Guy on the Job,” page 530

Process Your assignment must include

1. A cover sheet

2. The answers to both Case Study 1 and Case Study 2 written in complete sentences

The Cover Sheet

The first page of your paper will be the cover sheet. Provide the following information:

n Case Studies

n Your name and student ID

n Current date (for example, April 1, 2016)

n Essentials of Psychology SSC130

n Assignment 250064

Essentials of Psychology166

Formatting Format your paper using a standard font, such as Times New Roman, 12 point, double-spaced. Set the margins at a stan- dard 1 inch on all sides. Since you’ve given your information on the cover sheet, no header is necessary.

For the body of your paper, make a clear distinction you’re answering the questions about Case Study 1 and answer questions 1–5 in complete sentences. Then move on to Case Study 2 and continue in the same format.

For clarity please include each question from the case study prior to your response.

Submitting Your Assignment To submit your graded project, follow these steps:

1. Go to

2. Log in to your student portal.

3. Click on Take Exam next to the lesson you’re working on.

4. Follow the instructions provided to complete your assignment.

Be sure to keep a backup copy of any files you submit to the school!

Grading Criteria Turn to the appendix of this study guide to view the rubric outlining the criteria by which you’ll be graded.


Self-Check 1 1. operational

2. evolutionary; neuroscience

3. testing; sample

4. independent; control

5. psychodynamic

6. research

7. naturalistic

8. humanistic

9. correlates

10. determinism

Self-Check 2 1. synapse; neurotransmitters

2. neuroplasticity

3. limbic

4. somatic

5. electrical; biochemical

6. cerebral cortex

7. myelin

8. sensory

9. association

10. cerebellum

Self-Check 3 1. cochlea

2. skin

3. absolute

4. stimulus; perception

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Essentials of Psychology168

5. processing; context

6. depth

7. Rods; color

8. perceptual

9. sensory

10. bitter; smell

Self-Check 4 1. hypnotic

2. Stimulants

3. 4

4. psychedelic (or hallucinogenic)

5. apnea

6. alcohol

7. terrors; narcolepsy

8. REM

9. Addiction; psychological

10. circadian

Self-Check 5 1. negative

2. generalization

3. aggressiveness; four

4. cognitive

5. behavior

6. cognitive; observational

7. unconditioned

8. Latent

9. neutral

10. partial; fixed

Self-Check Answers 169

Self-Check 6 1. heuristic

2. functional

3. proactive

4. implicit; explicit

5. linguistic

6. concept; mental

7. sensory

8. telegraphic

9. decay

10. declarative

Self-Check 7 1. transsexual; heterosexuality

2. metabolism

3. primary; secondary

4. facial-feedback

5. intrinsic

6. double

7. achievement

8. homoeostasis

9. bulimia

10. esteem

Self-Check 8 1. conservation

2. adolescence

3. permissive; authoritative

4. proximal

Essentials of Psychology170

5. social; secure

6. withdrawal; activity

7. trust; mistrust

8. conventional

9. information

10. operational

Self-Check 9 1. unconditional

2. self-efficacy

3. practical

4. projective

5. defense; repression

6. crystallized

7. conscientiousness

8. profile

9. learned

10. unconscious; archetypes

11. oral; phallic

12. 115

Self-Check 10 1. dissociative

2. delusion

3. abnormal

4. statistical

5. alcohol

6. borderline

Self-Check Answers 171

7. xenophobia

8. somatoform

9. compulsion

10. mania

Self-Check 11 1. mood

2. humanistic

3. electroconvulsive

4. self-help

5. community

6. Evidence

Self-Check 12 1. industrial

2. central

3. conformity

4. dissonance

5. Central; peripheral

6. influence

7. halo

8. attitude

9. obedience; compliance

10. fundamental-attribution

Examination, Lesson 5172

Self-Check 13 1. instinct

2. emotion; problem

3. similarity

4. altruism

5. learned

6. uplift

7. diffusion

8. cues

9. adaptation

10. passion

Essentials of Psychology172


Your instructor will use the rubrics on the following pages when grading your essay. You may use these rubrics as guides when writing and completing your assignments.

The criteria for the essay assignment vary slightly, depending on the topic you choose (for example, conditioning [page 174], memory [page 175], or motivation and emotion [page 176]). The criteria for the case studies project are on page 177.

As a reminder, further instructions for the essay can be found on pages 117–120, and the instructions for the case studies project are on pages 165–166.

Note that each rubric is subject to change. If you have any questions, contact your instructor for clarification.

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Essentials of Psychology174

Essentials of Psychology Essay 250059 Conditioning


Student ID:

Skill Realized

Skill Developing

Skill Emerging

Skill Not Evident


• The student chose a specific conditioning/learning style and defined and discussed that style and the role it plays in the topic chosen based on the information presented in the textbook _ /30

• The student either created a plan to help the child clean his/her room or train an animal.

_ /40

70 60 50 30 20 10 0


• The student proofread his or her paper. _ / 2

• The student used correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure. _ / 5

• The student made sure that there were no typographical errors and chose appropriate and correct words. _ / 3

• The student formed proper paragraphs. _ / 5

15 12 10 7 6 4 0


• The student developed his/her essay in 750 to 1,000 words. _ / 5

• The student’s cover page contains all the required information (the title; his/her name and student number; the current date; the course title and number, Essentials of Psychology, SSC 130; and the research proj- ect number). _ / 3

• The student used a standard 12-point font and 1-inch margins. _ / 2

• The student used quotations and provided a reference page. _ / 5

15 12 10 7 6 4 0

Essay Grade: Date of Evaluation: Evaluator:

Appendix 175

Essentials of Psychology Essay 250059



Student ID:

Skill Realized

Skill Developing

Skill Emerging

Skill Not Evident


• The student discussed the process of memory. _ /20

• The student related each type of memory to personal experience demonstrating clear understanding. _ /50


• The student discussed the different theories of language acquisition as presented in the text- book. _ /20

• The student related one or more of those the- ories to his/her discussion on how the process might aid our children and/or you in learning a second and perhaps a third language.

_ /50

70 60 50 30 20 10 0


• The student proofread his or her paper. _ / 2

• The student used correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure. _ / 5

• The student made sure that there were no typographical errors and chose appropriate and correct words. _ / 3

• The student formed proper paragraphs. _ / 5

15 12 10 7 6 4 0


• The student developed his/her essay in 750 to 1,000 words. _ / 5

• The student’s cover page contains all the required information (the title; his/her name and student number; the current date; the course title and number, Essentials of Psychology, SSC 130; and the research proj- ect number). _ / 3

• The student used a standard 12-point font and 1-inch margins. _ / 2

• The student used quotations and provided a reference page. _ / 5

15 12 10 7 6 4 0

Essay Grade: Date of Evaluation: Evaluator:

Essentials of Psychology176

Essentials of Psychology Essay 250059

Motivation and Emotion


Student ID:

Skill Realized

Skill Developing

Skill Emerging

Skill Not Evident


• The student defined Maslow’s pyramid. _ /10

• The student gave his/her opinion on this theory. _ /10

• The student gave specific examples of his/her opinion of the subject, indicating a clear understanding of the theory. _ /40


• The student defined and discussed the three models of emotions as outlined in his/her text. _ /30

• The student chose one of those models and described what he/she does in the event of a crisis by providing specific examples. _ /40

70 60 50 30 20 10 0


• The student proofread his or her paper. _ / 2

• The student used correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure. _ / 5

• The student made sure that there were no typographical errors and chose appropriate and correct words. _ / 3

• The student formed proper paragraphs. _ / 5

15 12 10 7 6 4 0


• The student developed his/her essay in 750 to 1,000 words. _ / 5

• The student’s cover page contains all the required information (the title; his/her name and student number; the current date; the course title and number, Essentials of Psychology, SSC 130; and the research proj- ect number). _ / 3

• The student used a standard 12-point font and 1-inch margins. _ / 2

• The student used quotations and provided a reference page. _ / 5

15 12 10 7 6 4 0

Essay Grade: Date of Evaluation: Evaluator:

Appendix 177

Essentials of Psychology Case Studies Project 250064


Student ID:

Skill Realized

Skill Developing

Skill Emerging

Skill Not Evident


• The student provided thoughtful answers in complete sentences for the questions regard- ing both case studies (“The Case of the Woman Who Dreams of Stress” and “The Case of John Buckingham, the New Guy on the Job.”) (8 points per question)

_ /80

80 75 74 62 50 10 0


• The student proofread his or her paper. _ / 2

• The student used correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure. _ / 5

• The student made sure that there were no typographical errors and chose appropriate and correct words. _ / 3

10 9 8 7 6 4 0


• The student’s cover page contains all the required information (the title; his/her name and student number; the current date; the course title and number, Essentials of Psychology, SSC 130; and the case studies project number). _ / 5

• The student used a standard 12-point font and 1-inch margins. _ / 5

10 9 8 7 6 4 0

Essay Grade: Date of Evaluation: Evaluator:

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