neuroscience of social interaction

This page intentionally left blank

If you’re wondering why we’re bringing you a new edition of Psychology: Core Concepts . . .

1 In the new seventh edition, we feature new cutting-edge research on the neuroscience of social interaction, cul- tural influences on perception, daydreaming, taste, and meditation, as well as updates on bullying, the slower rise of IQ scores (the Flynn effect) in developed coun- tries, the myth of multitasking, and much more. We also introduce readers to a groundbreaking modification of Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs, newly framed by evolutionary psychologists.

2 Our lead author Philip Zimbardo has recently published a detailed description and analysis of his famous Stanford Prison Experiment in The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil. We are pleased to include in Psychology: Core Concepts some of the insights he presented in Lucifer—particularly the notion of the effect of impersonal social systems, as well as social situations, on human behavior. Ours is the only introductory text in which you will find a discussion of how these social systems, such as organizations and bureaucracies, create a context that can profoundly influence the behavior of groups and individuals.

3 Dr. Zimbardo has also done important new work on the differences among people in their time perspective, re- ferring to a focus on the past, the present, or the future. This text is the only introduction to psychology to dis- cuss the powerful influence of time perspective on our decisions and actions.

4 In this edition, Read on MyPsychLab icons appear in the margins indicating that additional readings are

available for students to explore. For example, one of the Read features in Chapter 3 (Sensation and Percep- tion) deals with the classic study of backward masking. In Chapter 12 (Disorders and Therapy), you can read more about an African perspective on mental disorder.

5 One of our goals in this new edition is, again, to help you learn to “think like psychologists.” To do so, we have placed new emphasis on two kinds of psychological think- ing: (1) problem solving and (2) critical thinking. Every chapter begins with a Problem and ends with a critical analysis of an important psychological question, such as gender differences or repressed memory.

6 We have made a special effort in the seventh edition to provide clues throughout the chapter to help you un- derstand the solution to the chapter-opening Problem— which proved to be a popular feature in the last edition. The Chapter Summary now gives a brief “answer” to the problem as well.

7 We have designed the Critical Thinking applications at the end of each chapter to build upon a set of critical thinking skills introduced in Chapter One. Each of these focuses on an issue that is popularly misunderstood (e.g., the Mozart Effect) or contentious within the field (e.g., the evidence- based practice debate within clinical psychology). In this edition, we have also included the gist of the Critical Thinking section in the Chapter Summary.

8 Reflecting advances in multicultural and cross-cultural research, we have added even more coverage of culture and gender throughout the text. Our goal here is two- fold: We want you to see the relevance of psychology in your life, and we want you to understand that psychol- ogy is the science of behavior and mental processes that both generalizes and differs across cultures.

Why Do You Need This New Edition?

This page intentionally left blank


Philip G. Zimbardo Stanford University

Robert L. Johnson Umpqua Community College

Vivian McCann Portland Community College

Boston Columbus Indianapolis New York San Francisco Upper Saddle River

Amsterdam Cape Town Dubai London Madrid Milan Munich Paris

Montreal Toronto Delhi Mexico City São Paulo Sydney Hong Kong Seoul

Singapore Taipei Tokyo

Seventh Edition

Core Concepts

Student Edition ISBN-10: 0-205-18346-8

ISBN-13: 978-0-205-18346-3 Instructor’s Review Copy

ISBN-10: 0-205-21513-0 ISBN-13: 978-0-205-21513-3

Books à la Carte ISBN-10: 0-205-21505-X

ISBN-13: 978-0-205-21505-8

Editorial Director: Craig Campanella

Editor in Chief: Jessica Mosher

Executive Editor: Stephen Frail

Acquisitions Editor: Amber Chow

Director of Development: Sharon Geary

Senior Development Editor: Deb Hanlon

Editorial Assistant: Madelyn Schricker

VP, Director of Marketing: Brandy Dawson

Executive Marketing Manager: Jeanette Koskinas

Marketing Manager: Brigeth Rivera

Director of Project Management: Lisa Iarkowski

Managing Editor: Maureen Richardson

Project Manager, Production: Shelly Kupperman

Operations Supervisor: Mary Fischer

Senior Operations Specialist: Sherry Lewis

Art Director: Leslie Osher

Interior and Cover Designer: Ximena Tamvakopoulos

Cover Image: nikamataview/iStockphoto

Senior Digital Media Editor: Beth Stoner

Full-Service Project Management and Composition: Andrea Stefanowicz, PreMediaGlobal

Printer/Binder: Courier Companies Inc.

Cover Printer: Lehigh-Phoenix

Text Font: SabonLTStd-Roman, 10/12

Credits and acknowledgments borrowed from other sources and reproduced, with permission, in this textbook appear on pages C-1–C-2.

Copyright © 2012, 2009, 2006 by Pearson Education, Inc.

All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. This publication is protected by Copyright and permission should be obtained from the

publisher prior to any prohibited reproduction, storage in a retrieval system, or transmission in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical,

photocopying, recording, or likewise. To obtain permission(s) to use material from this work, please submit a written request to Pearson Education, Inc.,

Permissions Department, One Lake Street, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458 or you may fax your request to 201-236-3290.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Zimbardo, Philip G.

Psychology : core concepts / Philip G. Zimbardo, Robert L. Johnson, Vivian McCann. — 7th ed.

p. cm.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN-13: 978-0-205-18346-3

ISBN-10: 0-205-18346-8

1. Psychology. I. Johnson, Robert L. (Robert Lee) II. McCann, Vivian. III. Title.

BF121.Z53 2012



1 0 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

1 Mind, Behavior, and Psychological Science 2 2 Biopsychology, Neuroscience, and Human Nature 40 3 Sensation and Perception 86 4 Learning and Human Nurture 132 5 Memory 170 6 Thinking and Intelligence 212 7 Development Over the Lifespan 264 8 States of Consciousness 322 9 Motivation and Emotion 362 10 Personality: Theories of the Whole Person 412 11 Social Psychology 458 12 Psychological Disorders 514 13 Therapies for Psychological Disorders 554 14 From Stress to Health and Well-Being 596 Glossary G-1 References R-1 Answers to Discovering Psychology Program Review Questions A-1 Photo Credits C-1 Name Index I-1 Subject Index I-7



This page intentionally left blank



CHAPTER 1 Mind, Behavior, and Psychological Science 2

PROBLEM: How would psychologists test the claim that sugar makes children hyperactive? 3

1.1 What Is Psychology—And What Is It Not? 4 Psychology: It’s More Than You Think 4 Psychology Is Not Psychiatry 6 Thinking Critically about Psychology

and Pseudo-Psychology 7

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Using Psychology to Learn Psychology 10

1.2 What Are Psychology’s Six Main Perspectives? 11 Separation of Mind and Body and the Modern Biological

Perspective 12 The Founding of Scientific Psychology and the Modern

Cognitive Perspective 13 The Behavioral Perspective: Focusing on Observable

Behavior 16

The Whole-Person Perspectives: Psychodynamic, Humanistic, and Trait and Temperament Psychology 17

The Developmental Perspective: Changes Arising from Nature and Nurture 19

The Sociocultural Perspective: The Individual in Context 19 The Changing Face of Psychology 20

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Psychology as a Major 22

1.3 How Do Psychologists Develop New Knowledge? 23 Four Steps in the Scientific Method 24 Five Types of Psychological Research 27 Controlling Biases in Psychological Research 31 Ethical Issues in Psychological Research 32

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: The Perils of Pseudo-Psychology 33

CRITICAL THINKING APPLIED: Facilitated Communication 35

Chapter Summary 36 Discovering Psychology Viewing Guide 38

PROBLEM: What does Jill Bolte Taylor’s experience teach us about how our brain is organized and about its amazing ability to adapt? 42

2.1 How Are Genes and Behavior Linked? 43 Evolution and Natural Selection 43 Genetics and Inheritance 45

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Choosing Your Children’s Genes 48

2.2 How Does the Body Communicate Internally? 49 The Neuron: Building Block of the Nervous System 50 The Nervous System 56 The Endocrine System 58

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: How Psychoactive Drugs Affect the Nervous System 60

2.3 How Does the Brain Produce Behavior and Mental Processes? 62 Windows on the Brain 63 Three Layers of the Brain 65 Lobes of the Cerebral Cortex 69 Cerebral Dominance 73

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Using Psychology to Learn Psychology 79

CRITICAL THINKING APPLIED: Left Brain versus Right Brain 80

Chapter Summary 81 Discovering Psychology Viewing Guide 84

CHAPTER 2 Biopsychology, Neuroscience, and Human Nature 40

CHAPTER 3 Sensation and Perception 86

PROBLEM: Is there any way to tell whether the world we “see” in our minds is the same as the external world—and whether we see things as most others do? 88

3.1 How Does Stimulation Become Sensation? 89 Transduction: Changing Stimulation to Sensation 90 Thresholds: The Boundaries of Sensation 91 Signal Detection Theory 93

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Sensory Adaptation 93

3.2 How Are the Senses Alike? How Are They Different? 94 Vision: How the Nervous System Processes Light 94 Hearing: If a Tree Falls in the Forest . . . 100 How the Other Senses Are Like Vision and Hearing 104 Synesthesia: Sensations across the Senses 108

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: The Sense and Experience of Pain 109

3.3 What Is the Relationship between Sensation and Perception? 112 Perceptual Processing: Finding Meaning in Sensation 112 Perceptual Ambiguity and Distortion 114 Theoretical Explanations for Perception 117 Seeing and Believing 124

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Using Psychology to Learn Psychology 125

CRITICAL THINKING APPLIED: Subliminal Perception and Subliminal Persuasion 126

Chapter Summary 128 Discovering Psychology Viewing Guide 130 vii

viii C O N T E N T S

CHAPTER 4 Learning and Human Nurture 132

PROBLEM: Assuming Sabra’s fear of flying was a response she had learned, could it also be treated by learning? If so, how? 134

4.1 What Sort of Learning Does Classical Conditioning Explain? 136 The Essentials of Classical Conditioning 137 Applications of Classical Conditioning 139

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Taste Aversions and Chemotherapy 142

4.2 How Do We Learn New Behaviors By Operant Conditioning? 142 Skinner’s Radical Behaviorism 143 The Power of Reinforcement 143 The Problem of Punishment 149 A Checklist for Modifying Operant Behavior 152 Operant and Classical Conditioning Compared 153

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Using Psychology to Learn Psychology 155

4.3 How Does Cognitive Psychology Explain Learning? 156 Insight Learning: Köhler in the Canaries with Chimps 157 Cognitive Maps: Tolman Finds Out What’s on a

Rat’s Mind 158 Observational Learning: Bandura’s Challenge to

Behaviorism 159 Brain Mechanisms and Learning 161 “Higher” Cognitive Learning 162

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Fear of Flying Revisited 162

CRITICAL THINKING APPLIED: Do Different People Have Different “Learning Styles”? 164

Chapter Summary 166 Discovering Psychology Viewing Guide 168

CHAPTER 5 Memory 170

PROBLEM: How can our knowledge about memory help us evaluate claims of recovered memories? 172

5.1 What Is Memory? 172 Metaphors for Memory 173 Memory’s Three Basic Tasks 174

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Would You Want a “Photographic” Memory? 175

5.2 How Do We Form Memories? 177 The First Stage: Sensory Memory 178 The Second Stage: Working Memory 180 The Third Stage: Long-Term Memory 184

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: “Flashbulb” Memories: Where Were You When . . . ? 189

5.3 How Do We Retrieve Memories? 190 Implicit and Explicit Memory 190 Retrieval Cues 191 Other Factors Affecting Retrieval 193

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: On the Tip of Your Tongue 194

5.4 Why Does Memory Sometimes Fail Us? 195 Transience: Fading Memories Cause Forgetting 196 Absent-Mindedness: Lapses of Attention Cause

Forgetting 198 Blocking: Access Problems 198 Misattribution: Memories in the Wrong Context 199 Suggestibility: External Cues Distort or Create Memories 200 Bias: Beliefs, Attitudes, and Opinions Distort Memories 201 Persistence: When We Can’t Forget 202 The Advantages of the “Seven Sins” of Memory 202 Improving Your Memory with Mnemonics 203

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Using Psychology to Learn Psychology 204

CRITICAL THINKING APPLIED: The Recovered Memory Controversy 206

Chapter Summary 207 Discovering Psychology Viewing Guide 210

C O N T E N T S ix

CHAPTER 7 Development Over the Lifespan 264

PROBLEM: Do the amazing accounts of similarities in twins reared apart indicate we are primarily a product of our genes? Or do genetics and environment work together to influence growth and development over the lifespan? 266

7.1 What Innate Abilities Does the Infant Possess? 268 Prenatal Development 268 The Neonatal Period: Abilities of the Newborn Child 269 Infancy: Building on the Neonatal Blueprint 271

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Not Just Fun and Games: The Role of Child’s Play in Life Success 277

7.2 What Are the Developmental Tasks of Childhood? 279 How Children Acquire Language 279 Cognitive Development: Piaget’s Theory 282 Social and Emotional Development 288


7.3 What Changes Mark the Transition of Adolescence? 296 Adolescence and Culture 296

Physical Maturation in Adolescence 297 Adolescent Sexuality 298 Neural and Cognitive Development in Adolescence 299 Moral Development: Kohlberg’s Theory 300 Social and Emotional Issues in Adolescence 302

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Using Psychology to Learn Psychology: Cognitive Development in College Students 304

7.4 What Developmental Challenges Do Adults Face? 305 Early Adulthood: Explorations, Autonomy, and Intimacy 306 The Challenges of Midlife: Complexity and Generativity 308 Late Adulthood: The Age of Integrity 310

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: A Look Back at the Jim Twins and Your Own Development 313


Chapter Summary 316 Discovering Psychology Viewing Guide 320

CHAPTER 6 Thinking and Intelligence 212

PROBLEM: What produces “genius,” and to what extent are the people we call “geniuses” different from others? 214

6.1 What Are the Components of Thought? 215 Concepts 215 Imagery and Cognitive Maps 217 Thought and the Brain 218 Intuition 219

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Schemas and Scripts Help You Know What to Expect 221

6.2 What Abilities Do Good Thinkers Possess? 223 Problem Solving 223 Judging and Making Decisions 227 Becoming a Creative Genius 229

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Using Psychology to Learn Psychology 232

6.3 How Is Intelligence Measured? 233 Binet and Simon Invent a School Abilities Test 234 American Psychologists Borrow Binet and Simon’s Idea 235 Problems with the IQ Formula 236 Calculating IQs “on the Curve” 237 IQ Testing Today 238

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: What Can You Do for an Exceptional Child? 239

6.4 Is Intelligence One or Many Abilities? 242 Psychometric Theories of Intelligence 242 Cognitive Theories of Intelligence 243 The Question of Animal Intelligence 247

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Test Scores and the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy 249

6.5 How Do Psychologists Explain IQ Differences Among Groups? 250 Intelligence and the Politics of Immigration 251 What Evidence Shows That Intelligence Is Influenced

by Heredity? 251 What Evidence Shows That Intelligence is Influenced

by Environment? 252 Heritability (Not Heredity) and Group Differences 253 PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Stereotype Threat 256

CRITICAL THINKING APPLIED: The Question of Gender Differences 258

Chapter Summary 259 Discovering Psychology Viewing Guide 262

CHAPTER 8 States of Consciousness 322

PROBLEM: How can psychologists objectively examine the worlds of dreaming and other subjective mental states? 324

8.1 How Is Consciousness Related to Other Mental Processes? 324 Tools for Studying Consciousness 326 Models of the Conscious and Nonconscious Minds 327 What Does Consciousness Do for Us? 329 Coma and Related States 330

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Using Psychology to Learn Psychology 331

8.2 What Cycles Occur in Everyday Consciousness? 332 Daydreaming 332

Sleep: The Mysterious Third of Our Lives 333 Dreaming: The Pageants of the Night 338

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Sleep Disorders 341

8.3 What Other Forms Can Consciousness Take? 344 Hypnosis 345 Meditation 347 Psychoactive Drug States 348

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Dependence and Addiction 354

CRITICAL THINKING APPLIED: The Unconscious—Reconsidered 356

Chapter Summary 358 Discovering Psychology Viewing Guide 360

x C O N T E N T S

CHAPTER 10 Personality: Theories of the Whole Person 412

PROBLEM: What influences were at work to produce the unique behavioral patterns, high achievement motivation, and consistency over time and place that we see in the personality of Mary Calkins? 414

10.1 What Forces Shape Our Personalities? 415 Biology, Human Nature, and Personality 416 The Effects of Nurture: Personality and the Environment 416 The Effects of Nature: Dispositions and Mental

Processes 417 Social and Cultural Contributions to Personality 417 PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Explaining Unusual People

and Unusual Behavior 418

10.2 What Persistent Patterns, or Dispositions, Make Up Our Personalities? 420

Personality and Temperament 421 Personality as a Composite of Traits 422 PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Finding Your Type 426

10.3 Do Mental Processes Help Shape Our Personalities? 428 Psychodynamic Theories: Emphasis on Motivation

and Mental Disorder 428

Humanistic Theories: Emphasis on Human Potential and Mental Health 439

Social-Cognitive Theories: Emphasis on Social Learning 442

Current Trends: The Person in a Social System 445 PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Using Psychology to Learn

Psychology 445

10.4 What “Theories” Do People Use to Understand Themselves and Others? 447

Implicit Personality Theories 447 Self-Narratives: The Stories of Our Lives 448 The Effects of Culture on Our Views of Personality 449 PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: The Personality of Time 450

CRITICAL THINKING APPLIED: The Person–Situation Controversy 453

Chapter Summary 454 Discovering Psychology Viewing Guide 456

CHAPTER 9 Motivation and Emotion 362

PROBLEM: Motivation is largely an internal and subjective process: How can we determine what motivates people like Lance Armstrong to work so hard at becoming the best in the world at what they do? 364

9.1 What Motivates Us? 364 Why People Work: McClelland’s Theory 365 The Unexpected Effects of Rewards on Motivation 367 PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Using Psychology to Learn

Psychology 368

9.2 How Are Our Motivational Priorities Determined? 369 Instinct Theory 369 Drive Theory 370 Freud’s Psychodynamic Theory 371 Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs 372 Putting It All Together: A New Hierarchy of Needs 373

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Determining What Motivates Others 374

9.3 Where Do Hunger and Sex Fit into the Motivational Hierarchy? 375 Hunger: A Homeostatic Drive and a Psychological

Motive 376 The Problem of Will Power and Chocolate Cookies 379

Sexual Motivation: An Urge You Can Live Without 380 Sex, Hunger, and the Hierarchy of Needs 384

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: The What and Why of Sexual Orientation 385

9.4 How Do Our Emotions Motivate Us? 387 What Emotions Are Made Of 388 What Emotions Do for Us 389 Counting the Emotions 389 Cultural Universals in Emotional Expression 390

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Gender Differences in Emotion Depend on Biology and Culture 391

9.5 What Processes Control Our Emotions? 392 The Neuroscience of Emotion 393 Arousal, Performance, and the Inverted U 396 Theories of Emotion: Resolving Some Old Issues 397 How Much Conscious Control Do We Have Over Our

Emotions? 399

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Detecting Deception 403

CRITICAL THINKING APPLIED: Do Lie Detectors Really Detect Lies? 405

Chapter Summary 407 Discovering Psychology Viewing Guide 410

C O N T E N T S xi

CHAPTER 11 Social Psychology 458

PROBLEM: What makes ordinary people willing to harm other people, as they did in Milgram’s shocking experiment? 461

11.1 How Does the Social Situation Affect Our Behavior? 462 Social Standards of Behavior 463 Conformity 465 Obedience to Authority 471 Cross-Cultural Tests of Milgram’s Research 475 Some Real-World Extensions of the Milgram Obedience

to Authority Paradigm 477 The Bystander Problem: The Evil of Inaction 478 Need Help? Ask for It! 480

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: On Being “Shoe” at Yale U 482

11.2 Constructing Social Reality: What Influences Our Judgments of Others? 483 Interpersonal Attraction 484 Loving Relationships 488

Making Cognitive Attributions 490 Prejudice and Discrimination 492

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Stereotype Lift and Values Affirmations 498

11.3 How Do Systems Create Situations That Influence Behavior? 500 The Stanford Prison Experiment 500 Chains of System Command 502 Preventing Bullying by Systematic Changes and Reframing 504

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Using Psychology to Learn Psychology 507

CRITICAL THINKING APPLIED: Is Terrorism “a Senseless Act of Violence, Perpetrated by Crazy Fanatics”? 508

Chapter Summary 510 Discovering Psychology Viewing Guide 512

PROBLEM: Is it possible to distinguish mental disorder from merely unusual behavior? That is, are there specific signs that clearly indicate mental disorder? 516

12.1 What Is Psychological Disorder? 517 Changing Concepts of Psychological Disorder 518 Indicators of Abnormality 521 A Caution to Readers 522

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: The Plea of Insanity 522

12.2 How Are Psychological Disorders Classified in the DSM-IV ? 524 Overview of the DSM-IV Classification System 524 Mood Disorders 526 Anxiety Disorders 530 Somatoform Disorders 534 Dissociative Disorders 535 Schizophrenia 537

Developmental Disorders 541 Personality Disorders 542 Adjustment Disorders and Other Conditions: The Biggest

Category of All 544 Gender Differences in Mental Disorders 544


12.3 What Are the Consequences of Labeling People? 545 Diagnostic Labels, Labeling, and Depersonalization 546 The Cultural Context of Psychological Disorder 546

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Using Psychology to Learn Psychology 547

CRITICAL THINKING APPLIED: Insane Places Revisited—Another Look at the Rosenhan Study 548

Chapter Summary 550 Discovering Psychology Viewing Guide 552

CHAPTER 12 Psychological Disorders 514

xii C O N T E N T S

Glossary G-1 References R-1 Answers to Discovering Psychology Program Review Questions A-1 Photo Credits C-1 Name Index I-1 Subject Index I-7

CHAPTER 14 From Stress to Health and Well-Being 596

PROBLEM: Were the reactions and experiences of the 9/11 firefighters and others at the World Trade Center attacks typical of people in other stressful situations? And what factors explain individual differences in our physical and psychological responses to stress? 598

14.1 What Causes Distress? 600 Traumatic Stressors 601 Chronic Stressors 606

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Student Stress 611

14.2 How Does Stress Affect Us Physically? 613 Physiological Responses to Stress 614 Stress and the Immune System 617

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Cognitive Appraisal of Ambiguous Threats 619

14.3 Who Is Most Vulnerable to Stress? 620 Type A Personality and Hostility 622 Locus of Control 623 Hardiness 624

Optimism 625 Resilience 626

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Using Psychology to Learn Psychology 628

14.4 How Can We Transform Negative Stress Into Positive Life Strategies? 629 Psychological Coping Strategies 630 Positive Lifestyle Choices: A “Two-for-One” Benefit to Your

Health 634 Putting It All Together: Developing Happiness and Subjective

Well-Being 637

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Behavioral Medicine and Health Psychology 639

CRITICAL THINKING APPLIED: Is Change Really Hazardous to Your Health? 641

Chapter Summary 643 Discovering Psychology Viewing Guide 646

CHAPTER 13 Therapies for Psychological Disorders 554

PROBLEM: What is the best treatment for Derek’s depression: psychological therapy, drug therapy, or both? More broadly, the problem is this: How do we decide among the available therapies for any of the mental disorders? 556

13.1 What Is Therapy? 556 Entering Therapy 557 The Therapeutic Alliance and the Goals of Therapy 557 Therapy in Historical and Cultural Context 559

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Paraprofessionals Do Therapy, Too 560

13.2 How Do Psychologists Treat Psychological Disorders? 561 Insight Therapies 562 Behavior Therapies 568 Cognitive–Behavioral Therapy: A Synthesis 571 Evaluating the Psychological Therapies 574

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Where Do Most People Get Help? 576

13.3 How Is the Biomedical Approach Used to Treat Psychological Disorders? 577 Drug Therapy 577

Other Medical Therapies for Psychological Disorders 581 Hospitalization and the Alternatives 583

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: What Sort of Therapy Would You Recommend? 584

13.4 How Do the Psychological Therapies and Biomedical Therapies Compare? 585 Depression and Anxiety Disorders: Psychological versus

Medical Treatment 587 Schizophrenia: Psychological versus Medical

Treatment 587 “The Worried Well” and Other Problems: Not Everyone Needs

Drugs 588

PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS: Using Psychology to Learn Psychology 588

CRITICAL THINKING APPLIED: Evidence-Based Practice 589

Chapter Summary 592 Discovering Psychology Viewing Guide 594

P R E FA C E xiii

T O T H E S T U D E N T . . .

There is one simple formula for academic success, and the following demonstration will show you what it is. Study this array of letters for a few seconds: I B M U F O F B I C I A

Now, without peeking, write down as many of the letters as you can (in the correct order).

Most people remember about five to seven letters correctly. A few people get them all. How do these exceptional few do it? They find a pattern. (You may have noticed some familiar initials in the array above: IBM, UFO, FBI, CIA.) Finding the pattern greatly eases the task because you can draw on material that is already stored in mem- ory. In this case, all that needs to be remembered are four “chunks” of information instead of 12 unrelated letters.

The same principle applies to material you study for your psychology class. If you try to remember each piece of information as a separate item, you will have a difficult time. But if instead you look for patterns, you will find your task greatly simplified— and much more enjoyable.

USING PSYCHOLOGY TO LEARN PSYCHOLOGY So, how can you identify the patterns? Your friendly authors have developed several learning features that will make meaningful patterns in the text stand out clearly:

Core Concepts We have organized each major section of every chapter around a single big idea called a Core Concept. For example, one of the four Core Concepts in Chapter 5, Memory, says:

Core Concept 5.4 Human memory is an information-processing system that works constructively to encode, store, and retrieve information.

The Core Concept, then, becomes the central theme around which about 10 pages of material—including several new terms—are organized. As you read each chapter, keep- ing the Core Concept in mind will help you encode the new terms and ideas related to that concept, store them in your memory, and later retrieve them when you are being tested. To borrow an old saying, the Core Concepts become the “forest,” while the details of the chapter become the “trees.”

Key Questions Each Core Concept is introduced by a Key Question that also serves as a main heading in the chapter. Here, for example, is a Key Question from the Memory chapter:

5.4 KEY QUESTION Why Does Memory Sometimes Fail Us?

Key Questions such as this will help you anticipate the most important point, or the Core Concept, in the section. In fact, the Core Concept always provides a brief answer to the Key Question. Think of the Key Question as the high beams on your car, helping


xiv T O T H E S T U D E N T

you focus on what lies ahead. Our Key Questions should also serve as guides for you in posing questions of your own about what you are reading.

Both the Key Questions and the Core Concepts later reappear as organizing fea- tures of the Chapter Summary.

Psychology Matters Psychology has many captivating connections with events in the news and in everyday life, and we have explored one of these connections at the end of each major section in every chapter. To illustrate, here are some examples from the Memory chapter:

• Would You Want a “Photographic” Memory? • “Flashbulb” Memories: Where Were You When . . . ? • On the Tip of Your Tongue

Such connections—practical, down to earth, and fascinating—will help you link your study of psychology with your real-life experiences. They will also help you critically evaluate many of the psychological ideas you encounter in the media—as when you see news stories that begin with “psychological research shows that . . .” By the end of this course, you will become a much wiser consumer of such information.

Psychology Matters: Using Psychology to Learn Psychology A special Psychology Matters section in every chapter explains how you can apply new knowledge from the chapter to make your studying more effective. For example, in Chapter 2, Biopsychology, Neuroscience, and Human Nature, we tell you how to put your understanding of the brain to work for more efficient learning. Similarly, at the end of Chapter 9, Motivation and Emotion, we explain how to use the psychological concept of “flow” to boost your academic motivation. Thus, Using Psychology to Learn Psychology not only reinforces points that you have studied but also brings the material home with immediate and practical applications to your life in college.

Do It Yourself! Throughout the book we have scattered active-learning demonstrations like the one in which you were asked to memorize the letters I B M U F O F B I C I A. Besides being fun, these activities have the serious purpose of illustrating important principles discussed in the text. In Chapter 5, for example, one Do It Yourself! box helps you find the capacity of your short-term memory; another lets you test your “photographic memory” ability.

Check Your Understanding Whether you’re learning psychology, soccer, or the saxophone, you need feedback on your progress, and that’s exactly what you will get from the Check Your Understanding quizzes. These quizzes appear at the end of every major section in the chapter, offering you a quick checkup indicating whether you have assimilated the main points from what you have read. Some questions call for simple recall; others call for deeper analysis or application of material. Some are multiple- choice questions; some are short-answer essay questions. These exercises will help you determine how well you have mastered the material.

MyPsychLab Integration Throughout the text, you will find marginal icons that link to important videos, simulations, podcasts, and activities you can find on MyPsychLab. New to this edition, we have developed reading activities (called Read on MyPsychLab) that will allow you to explore interesting topics more deeply. There are many more resources on MyPsychLab than those highlighted in the text, but the icons draw attention to some of the most high-interest materials. If you did not receive an access code with your text, you can purchase access at

Connection Arrows Links to important topics discussed in other chapters are often cross-referenced with an arrow in the margin, as you can see in the sample here. These links will help you integrate your new knowledge with information you have already learned, or will show you where in a later chapter you can find out more

Study and Review at MyPsychLab

Read the Document at MyPsychLab

Simulate the Experiment at MyPsychLab

Explore the Concept at MyPsychLab

Watch the Video at MyPsychLab

Listen to the Podcast at MyPsychLab

T O T H E S T U D E N T xv

about what you are reading. Connecting these concepts in your mind will help you remember them.

Marginal Glossary The most important terms appear in boldface, with their glossary definitions readily accessible in the margin. We list these key terms again in the Chapter Summary. Then, at the end of the book, a comprehensive Glossary gathers together all the key terms and definitions from each chapter in one easy-to-find location.

Chapter Summaries We have written our Chapter Summaries to provide you with an overview of main points in each chapter—to help you preview and review the chapter. The summaries are organized around the Key Questions and Core Concepts introduced within the chapter to facilitate review and mastery of chapter material. But we offer one caution: Reading the Chapter Summary will not substitute for reading the entire chapter! Here’s a helpful hint: We recommend that you read the summary before you read the rest of the chapter to get a flavor of what’s ahead, then reread the summary after you finish the chapter. Reading the summary before will provide a framework for the material so that it can be more easily encoded and stored in your memory. And, naturally, reviewing the summary after reading the chapter will reinforce what you have just learned so that you can retrieve it when needed on an examination.

THINKING LIKE A PSYCHOLOGIST Learning all the facts and definitions of psychology won’t make you a psychologist. Beyond the facts, thinking like a psychologist requires learning some problem-solving skills and critical thinking techniques that any good psychologist should possess. With this goal in mind, we have added two unique features to this book.

Chapter-Opening Problems Each chapter begins with an important problem that you will learn how to solve with the tools you acquire in your reading. Examples of the chapter- opening problems include testing the claim that sweet treats give children a “sugar high,” evaluating claims of recovered memories, and judging the extent to which the people we call “geniuses” are different from the rest of us.

Critical Thinking Applied At the end of each chapter, you will be asked to consider issues disputed among psychologists and issues raised in the media, such as the nature of the unconscious mind and the effects of subliminal persuasion. Each of these issues requires a skeptical attitude and the application of a special set of critical thinking skills that we will introduce in Chapter 1.

DISCOVERING PSYCHOLOGY VIDEOS At the end of each chapter, you will notice viewing guides for Discovering Psychology, a 26-part video series produced by WGBH and Annenberg Media and narrated by the lead author of this textbook, Phil Zimbardo. The videos provide an overview of his- toric and current theories of human behavior and feature many of the researchers and studies introduced in this textbook. You can access the Discovering Psychology videos and additional viewing resources through MyPsychLab (, the online companion to this textbook.

We have one final suggestion to help you succeed in psychology: This book is filled with examples to illustrate the most important ideas, but you will remember these ideas longer if you generate your own examples as you study. This habit will make the information yours as well as ours. And so we wish you a memorable journey through the field we love.

Phil Zimbardo Bob Johnson

Vivian McCann

T O T H E I N S T R U C T O R . . .

Psychology has undergone remarkable changes since 2008, when we finished writing the previous edition of Psychology: Core Concepts. Here are just a few examples of the new developments we have included in this seventh edition:

• The brain’s “default network,” involving parts of the temporal lobe, the prefrontal cortex, and the cingulate cortex, becomes active when people focus their attention internally—when they are remembering personal events, making plans, or imagin- ing the perspectives of others. Unfortunately, daydreamers activating this default network while studying will probably not remember the material they have just studied.

• New research shows that analgesics such as Tylenol, normally used to treat physical pain, can reduce the painful psychological sensations resulting from social rejection and ruminating about unhappy relationships.

• Also in the realm of sensation, taste researcher Linda Bartoshuk has discovered a “Rosetta Stone,” enabling her to compare objectively the intensities of taste sensations experienced by different individuals.

• Meanwhile, perceptual psychologists have recently used brain scans to confirm the assertion that Americans and Asians perceive scenes differently.

• Brain scans have also enabled researchers to assess patients who have been classi- fied as in persistent vegetative states—and predict which ones might improve.

• In healthy individuals, scans have detected changes in the brains of volunteers who have undergone intensive training in meditation. The changes are most obvious in brain areas associated with memory, emotional processing, attention, and stress reduction.

• As cognitive psychologists continue to puzzle over the Flynn effect, IQ scores con- tinue to rise—but new studies show that the rise is slowing in developed countries of the West.

• Cognitive research also shows that one in four auto accidents results from the driver failing to notice hazardous conditions while using a cell phone—a bad decision probably deriving from a mistaken belief in multitasking. (Perhaps future research will determine whether the IQs of these drivers fall above or below the rising average.)

• New research by our own Phil Zimbardo shows that decisions can also be influenced by a personality trait that he calls time perspective—referring to a past, present, or future orientation.

• However, the ultimate influence on our decisions lies in natural selection, accord- ing to evolutionary psychologists—who have recently proposed a major new and controversial modification of Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs.

In all, we have included some 350 new references in this new edition—gleaned from literally thousands we have perused. Which is to say that psychological knowledge continues to grow, with no end in sight. As a result, many introductory textbooks have grown to daunting proportions. Meanwhile, our introductory courses remain the same length—with the material ever more densely packed. We cannot possibly introduce students to all the concepts in psychology, nor can our students possibly remember everything.

The problem is not just one of volume and information overload; it is also a prob- lem of meaningfulness. So, while we have aimed to cover less detail than do the more encyclopedic texts, we have not given you a watered-down “brief edition” book. The result is an emphasis on the most important and meaningful ideas in psychology.


T O T H E I N S T R U C T O R xvii

Our inspiration for Psychology: Core Concepts came from psychological research: specifically, a classic study of chess players by Dutch psychologist and chess master Adriaan de Groot (1965). His work, as you may recall, involved remembering the locations of pieces on a chessboard. Significantly, when the pieces were placed on the board at random, chess experts did no better than novices. Only when the pat- terns made sense—because they represented actual game situations—did the experts show an advantage. Clearly, meaningful patterns are easier to remember than random assignments.

In applying de Groot’s findings to Psychology: Core Concepts, our goal has been to present a scientific overview of the field of psychology within meaningful patterns that will help students better remember what they learn so that they can apply it in their own lives. Thus, we have organized each major section of every chapter around a single, clear idea that we call a Core Concept, which helps students focus on the big picture so they don’t become lost in the details.

From the beginning, our intention in writing Psychology: Core Concepts has been to offer students and instructors a textbook that combines a sophisticated introduc- tion to the field of psychology with pedagogy that applies the principles of psychology to the learning of psychology, all in a manageable number of pages. Even with all the new material we have included, the book remains essentially the same size—which, of course, meant making some tough decisions about what to include, what to delete, and what to move into our extensive collection of ancillary resources.

Our goal was to blend great science with great teaching and to provide an alter- native to the overwhelmingly encyclopedic tomes or skimpy “brief edition” texts that have been traditionally offered. We think you will like the introduction to psychol- ogy presented in this book—both the content and the pedagogical features. After all, it’s a text that relies consistently on well-grounded principles of psychology to teach psychology.

NEW TO THIS EDITION This edition of Psychology: Core Concepts is certainly no perfunctory revision or slap- dash update. And here’s why . . .

We have reconceptualized our goal of helping students learn to “think like psychologists.” These days, of course, everyone emphasizes critical thinking. The new edition of Psychology: Core Concepts, however, gives equal weight to that other essen- tial thinking skill: problem solving.

To encourage the sort of problem solving psychologists do, every chapter begins with a Problem, a feature we introduced in the last edition. The Problem grows out of the opening vignette and requires, for its solution, material developed in the chapter. In this edition, we have focused on helping readers discover, throughout each chapter, the “clues” that lead to the solution of the problem.

But we have not neglected critical thinking. Throughout the text, we deal with common psychological misconceptions—such as the notion that venting anger gets it “out of your system” or the belief that punishment is the most effective way of chang- ing behavior. And in our Critical Thinking Applied segment at the end of each chapter, we also focus on an important psychological issue in the popular media or an ongoing debate within the field:

• Can “facilitated communication” help us understand people with autism? • Left vs. right brain: Do most of us use only one side of the brain? • Can our choices be influenced by subliminal messages? • Do people have different “learning styles”? • The recovered memory controversy: How reliable are reports of long-forgotten

memories of sexual abuse? • Gender issues: Are we more alike or more different? • The “Mozart Effect”: Can music make babies smarter?

xviii T O T H E I N S T R U C T O R

• The Unconscious reconsidered: Has modern neuroscience reshaped Freud’s concept of the unconscious mind?

• Do lie detectors really detect lies? • The person-situation controversy: Which is the more important influence on our

behavior? • Is terrorism “a senseless act of violence, perpetrated by crazy fanatics”? • Insane places revisited: Did Rosenhan get it right? • Evidence-based practice: Should clinicians be limited by the tested-and-true? • Is change really hazardous to your health?

But that’s not all. We have made extensive updates to the text (in addition to the new research listed above). And we have improved the pedagogical features for which Psychology: Core Concepts is known and loved. To give a few examples, we have:

• added MyPsychLab icons throughout the margins to highlight important videos, simulations, podcasts, and additional resources for students to explore online. New to this edition, we have created Read on MyPsychLab activities that allow students to read and answer questions about many interesting topics more deeply online.

• shifted the focus of psychology’s six main perspectives to practical applications, giving a concrete example of a real-life problem for each.

• clarified and updated our discussion of the scientific method to reflect more accurately how research is done in a real-world context.

• added material on interpreting correlations—to help students use the notions of correlation and causation more accurately in their everyday lives.

• simplified and consolidated our discussion of the split-brain experiments. • updated material on flashbulb memories, using up-to-date examples. • created a new section on cognitive theories of intelligence. • added a new Psychology Matters piece entitled “Not Just Fun and Games: The

Role of Child’s Play in Life Success,” telling of the growing role of self-control in life success, and how parents and teachers can help nurture this important ability.

• added new material on Vygotsky’s theory, including scaffolding and the zone of proximal development, plus new material on neural development in adolescence.

• revised and expanded the sections on daydreaming and on both REM and NREM sleep to reflect important new research.

• changed the order of topics in the Motivation and Emotion chapter, bringing in new material on practical ways of motivating people, updating the section on sexual orientation, and presenting a revised hierarchy of needs based in evolutionary psychology.

• added new material on cross-cultural differences in shyness, Carol Dweck’s research on mindset, and individual differences in time perspective.

• updated the section on positive psychology. • updated the Heroic Defiance section, including new examples from the recent

Egyptian protests and new material on events at the Abu Ghraib prison. • added new examples of recent replications of Milgram’s obedience experiment. • added new material on bullying, the jigsaw classroom, and stereotype lift. • reconceptualized depression in terms of Mayberg’s model, which emphasizes three

factors: biological vulnerability, external stressors, and abnormality of the mood- regulation circuits in the brain. Also presented the new studies on the value of exercise in combating depression and the anxiety disorders.

• added new material on psychopathy—which is attracting increasing interest but is not a DSM-IV disorder.

• discussed the growing rift within clinical psychology (and between APA and APS) over empirically supported treatments and empirically based practice.

T O T H E I N S T R U C T O R xix

• updated the information on telehealth therapy strategies. • connected the discussion of traumatic stress to the 2011 earthquake in Japan. • added a new Do It Yourself! The Undergraduate Stress Questionnaire: How Stressed

Are You?

We think you will find the seventh edition up-to-date and even more engaging for students than the previous edition. But the changes are not limited to the book itself. Please allow us to toot our horns for the supplements available to adopters.

TEACHING AND LEARNING PACKAGE The following supplements will also enhance teaching and learning for you and your students:

Instructor’s Manual Written and compiled by Sylvia Robb of Hudson County Community College, includes suggestions for preparing for the course, sample syllabi, and current trends and strategies for successful teaching. Each chapter offers integrated teaching outlines, lists the Key Questions, Core Concepts, and Key Terms for each chapter for quick reference, an extensive bank of lecture launchers, handouts, and activities, crossword puzzles, and suggestions for integrating third-party videos, music, and Web resources. The electronic format features click-and-view hotlinks that allow instructors to quickly review or print any resource from a particular chapter. This resource saves prep work and helps you maximize your classroom time.

Test Bank Written by Jason Spiegelman of Community College of Baltimore County, has provided an extensively updated test bank containing more than 2,000 accuracy- checked questions, including multiple choice, completion (fill-in-the-blank and short answer), and critical essays. Test item questions have been also written to test student comprehension of select multimedia assets found with MyPsychLab for instructors who wish to make MyPsychLab a more central component of their course. In addition to the unique questions listed previously, the Test Bank also includes all of the Check Your Understanding questions from the textbook and all of the test questions from the Discovering Psychology Telecourse Faculty Guide for instructors who wish to reinforce student use of the textbook and video materials. All questions include the correct answer, page reference, difficulty ranking, question type designation, and correlations to American Psychological Association (APA) Learning Goal/Outcome. A new feature of the Test Bank is the inclusion of rationales for each correct answer and the key distracter in the multiple- choice questions. The rationales help instructors reviewing the content to further evaluate the questions they are choosing for their tests and give instructors the option to use the rationales as an answer key for their students. Feedback from current customers indicates this unique feature is very useful for ensuring quality and quick response to student queries. A two-page Total Assessment Guide chapter overview makes creating tests easier by listing all of the test items in an easy-to-reference grid. The Total Assessment Guide organizes all test items by text section and question type/level of difficulty. All multiple- choice questions are categorized as factual, conceptual, or applied.

The Test Bank comes with Pearson MyTest, a powerful assessment-generation program that helps instructors easily create and print quizzes and exams. Ques- tions and tests can be authored online, allowing instructors ultimate flexibility and the ability to efficiently manage assessments anytime, anywhere! Instructors can easily access existing questions and then edit, create, and store them using simple drag-and- drop and Word-like controls. Data on each question provide information relevant to dif- ficulty level and page number. In addition, each question maps to the text’s major section and learning objective. For more information, go to

NEW Interactive PowerPoint Slides These slides, available on the Instructor’s Resource DVD (ISBN 0-205-58439-7), bring the Psychology: Core Concepts design right into the classroom, drawing students into the lecture and providing wonderful interactive

xx T O T H E I N S T R U C T O R

activities, visuals, and videos. A video walk-through is available and provides clear guidelines on using and customizing the slides. The slides are built around the text’s learning objectives and offer many links across content areas. Icons integrated throughout the slides indicate interactive exercises, simulations, and activities that can be accessed directly from the slides if instructors want to use these resources in the classroom.

A Set of Standard Lecture PowerPoint Slides Written by Beth M. Schwartz, Randolph College, is also offered and includes detailed outlines of key points for each chapter supported by selected visuals from the textbook. A separate Art and Figure version of these presentations contains all art from the textbook for which Pearson has been granted electronic permissions.

Classroom Response System (CRS) Power Point Slides Classroom Response System questions (“Clicker” questions) are intended to form the basis for class discussions as well as lectures. The incorporation of the CRS questions into each chapter’s slideshow facilitates the use of “clickers”—small hardware devices similar to remote controls, which process student responses to questions and interpret and display results in real time. CRS questions are a great way to get students involved in what they are learning, especially because many of these questions address specific scientific thinking skills highlighted in the text. These questions are available on the Instructor’s Resource DVD (ISBN 0-205-85439-7) and also online at

Instructor’s Resource DVD (ISBN 0-205-85439-7) Bringing all of the Seventh Edition’s instructor resources together in one place, the Instructor’s DVD offers both versions of the PowerPoint presentations, the Classroom Response System (CRS), the electronic files for the Instructor’s Manual materials, and the Test Item File to help instructors customize their lecture notes.

The NEW MyPsychLab The NEW MyPsychLab combines original online materials with powerful online assessment to engage students, assess their learning, and help them succeed. MyPsychLab ensures students are always learning and always improving.

• New video: New, exclusive 30-minute video segments for every chapter take the viewer from the research laboratory to inside the brain to out on the street for real-world applications.

• New experiments: A new experiment tool allows students to experience psychol- ogy. Students do experiments online to reinforce what they are learning in class and reading about in the book.

• New BioFlix animations: Bring difficult-to-teach biological concepts to life with dramatic “zoom” sequences and 3D movement.

• eText: The Pearson eText lets students access their textbook anytime, anywhere, in any way they want it, including listening to it online.

• New concept mapping: A new concept-mapping tool allows students to create their own graphic study aids or notetaking tools using preloaded content from each chapter. Concept maps can be saved, e-mailed, or printed.

• Assessment: With powerful online assessment tied to every video, application, and chapter of the text, students can get immediate feedback. Instructors can see what their students know and what they don’t know with just a few clicks. Instruc- tors can then personalize MyPsychLab course materials to meet the needs of their students.

• New APA assessments: A unique bank of assessment items allows instructors to assess student progress against the American Psychological Association’s Learning Goals and Outcomes. These assessments have been keyed to the APA’s latest pro- gressive Learning Outcomes (basic, developing, advanced) published in 2008.

Proven Results Instructors and students have been using MyPsychLab for nearly ten years. To date, more than 500,000 students have used MyPsychLab. During that time,

T O T H E I N S T R U C T O R xxi

three white papers on the efficacy of MyPsychLab were published. Both the white papers and user feedback show compelling results: MyPsychLab helps students succeed and improve their test scores. One of the key ways MyPsychLab improves student outcomes is by providing continuous assessment as part of the learning process. Over the years, both instructor and student feedback have guided numerous improvements, making MyPsychLab even more flexible and effective.

Please contact your local Pearson representative for more information on MyPsychLab. For technical support for any of your Pearson products, you and your students can contact

NEW MyPsychLab Video Series (17 episodes) This new video series offers instructors and students the most current and cutting-edge introductory psychology video content available anywhere. These exclusive videos take the viewer into today’s research laboratories, inside the body and brain via breathtaking animations, and onto the street for real-world applications. Guided by the Design, Development and Review team, a diverse group of introductory psychology instructors, this comprehensive series features 17 half-hour episodes organized around the major topics covered in the introductory psychology course syllabus. For maximum flexibility, each half-hour episode features several brief clips that bring psychology to life:

• The Big Picture introduces the topic of the episode and provides the hook to draw students fully into the topic.

• The Basics uses the power of video to present foundational topics, especially those that students find difficult to understand.

• Special Topics delves deeper into high-interest and cutting-edge topics, showing research in action.

• In the Real World focuses on applications of psychological research. • What’s in It for Me? These clips show students the relevance of psychological

research to their own lives.

Available in MyPsychLab and also on DVD to adopters of Pearson psychology text- books (ISBN 0-205-03581-7).

Discovering Psychology Telecourse Videos Written, designed, and hosted by Phil Zimbardo and produced by WGBH Boston in partnership with Annenberg Media, this series is a perfect complement to Psychology: Core Concepts. Discovering Psychology is a landmark educational resource that reveals psychology’s contribution not only to understanding the puzzles of behavior but also to identifying solutions and treatments to ease the problems of mental disorders. The video series has won numerous prizes and is widely used in the United States and internationally. The complete set of 26 half-hour videos is available for purchase (DVD or VHS format) from Annenberg Media. The videos are also available online in a streaming format that is free (, and, for the convenience of instructors and students using Psychology: Core Concepts, links to these online videos have been included in the MyPsychLab program that accompanies the textbook. A student Viewing Guide is found at the end of every chapter within Psychology: Core Concepts, with additional Viewing Guide resources also available online within MyPsychLab.

Discovering Psychology Telecourse Faculty Guide (ISBN 0-205-69929-4) The Telecourse Faculty Guide provides guidelines for using Discovering Psychology as a resource within your course. Keyed directly to Psychology: Core Concepts, the faculty guide includes the complete Telecourse Study Guide plus suggested activities; suggested essays; cited studies; instructional resources, including books, articles, films, and websites; video program test questions with answer key; and a key term glossary. Test questions for Discovering Psychology also reappear in the textbook’s test bank and MyTest computerized test bank.

Student Study Guide (ISBN 0-205-25299-0) This robust study guide, written by Jane P. Sheldon of University of Michigan-Dearborn, is filled with guided activities and in-depth exercises to promote student learning. Each chapter includes worksheets that

xxii T O T H E I N S T R U C T O R

give students a head start on in-class note taking; a full list of key terms with page references; a collection of demonstrations, activities, exercises, and three short practice quizzes; and one comprehensive chapter exam with critical-thinking essay questions and concept maps to help you study for your quizzes and exams. The appendix includes answers to all of the practice activities, tests, and concept maps.


For a list of all student resources available with Psychology: Core Concepts, Seventh Edition, go to, enter the text ISBN (0-205-18346-8), and check out the “Everything That Goes with It” section under the book cover.

For access to all instructor supplements for Psychology: Core Concepts, Seventh Edition go to and follow the directions to register (or log in if you already have a Pearson user name and password). Once you have registered and your status as an instructor is verified, you will be e-mailed a log-in name and password. Use your log-in name and password to access the catalog. Click on the “online catalog” link, click on “psychology” followed by “introductory psychology,” and then the Zimbardo/Johnson/McCann, Psychology: Core Concepts, Seventh Edition text. Under the description of each supplement is a link that allows you to download and save the supplement to your desktop.

You can request hard copies of the supplements through your Pearson sales representa- tive. If you do not know your sales representative, go to replocator/ and follow the directions. For technical support for any of your Pearson prod- ucts, you and your students can contact

A NOTE OF THANKS Nobody ever realizes the magnitude of the task when taking on a textbook-writing project. Acquisitions Editor Amber Chow and Executive Editor Stephen Frail deftly guided (and prodded) us through this process. The vision of the seventh edition con- fronted reality under the guidance of Deb Hanlon, our tenacious Senior Development Editor, who made us work harder than we had believed possible. Assistant Editor Kerri Hart-Morris managed our spectacular ancillaries package.

The job of making the manuscript into a book fell to Shelly Kupperman, our Production Project Manager at Pearson Education; Andrea Stefanowicz, our Senior Project Manager at PreMediaGlobal; and Kim Husband, our copyeditor. We think they did an outstanding job—as did our tireless photo researcher, Ben Ferrini.

We are sure that none of the above would be offended if we reserve our deepest thanks for our spouses, closest colleagues, and friends who inspired us, gave us the caring support we needed, and served as sounding boards for our ideas. Phil thanks his wonderful wife, Christina Maslach, for her endless inspiration and for modeling what is best in academic psychology. He has recently passed a milestone of 50 years of teaching the introductory psychology course, from seminar size to huge lectures to more than 1,000 students. Phil continues to give lectures and colloquia to college and high school groups throughout the country and overseas. He still gets a rush from lec- turing and from turning students on to the joys and fascination of psychology. His new “psych rock star” status comes mostly from generations of students who have grown up watching him perform on the Discovering Psychology video series in their high school and college psychology courses.

Bob is grateful to his spouse, best friend, and best editor Michelle, who has for years put up with his rants on topics psychological, his undone household chores, and much gratification delayed—mostly without complaint. She has been a wellspring of understand- ing and loving support and the most helpful of reviewers. His thanks, too, go to Rebecca, their daughter, who has taught him the practical side of developmental psychology—and now, much to her own astonishment and an undergraduate lapse into sociology, pos- sesses her own graduate degree in psychology. In addition, he is indebted to many friends,

T O T H E I N S T R U C T O R xxiii

most of whom are not psychologists but who are nevertheless always eager to raise and debate interesting issues about the applications of psychology to everyday life. Readers will find topics they have raised throughout the book and especially in the chapter-opening “problems” and in the critical thinking sections at the end of each chapter.

Vivian’s thanks go first to her husband, Shawn, and their sons, Storm and Blaze. All three of these amazing men are endless sources of love, support, inspiration, fun, and delight. They also generously allow Vivian to use them as examples of a multi- tude of concepts in her classes! Vivian also appreciates the many students, friends, and colleagues who have both encouraged and challenged her over the years.

We would especially like to thank Michelle Billies, Nikita Duncan, George Slavich, and Christina Zimbardo for their exceptional help as we revised and prepared this edition for print.

Many psychological experts and expert teachers of introductory psychology also shared their constructive criticism with us on every chapter and feature of the seventh edition of this text:

Thomas Beckner, Trine University Chris Brill, Old Dominion University Allison Buskirk-Cohen, Delaware Valley

College Christie Chung, Mills College Elizabeth Curtis, Long Beach City College Linda DeKruif, Fresno City College Meliksah Demir, Northern Arizona

University Roger Drake, Western State College of

Colorado Denise Dunovant, Hudson County

Community College Arthur Frankel, Salve Regina University Marjorie Getz, Bradley University Nancy Gup, Georgia Perimeter College Carrie Hall, Miami University Jeremy Heider, Stephen F. Austin State

University Allen Huffcutt, Bradley University Kristopher Kimbler, Florida Gulf Coast

University Sue Leung, Portland Community College Brian Littleton, Kalamazoo Valley

Community College Annette Littrell, Tennessee Tech University Mark Loftis, Tennessee Tech University Lillian McMaster, Hudson County

Community College

Karen Marsh, University of Minnesota–Duluth

Jim Matiya, Florida Gulf Coast University Nancy Melucci, Long Beach City College Jared Montoya, The University of Texas

at Brownsville Suzanne Morrow, Old Dominion

University Katy Neidhart, Cuesta College Donna Nelson, Winthrop University Barbara Nova, Dominican University of

California Elaine Olaoye, Brookdale Community

College Karl Oyster, Tidewater Community

College Sylvia Robb, Hudson County

Community College Nancy Romero, Lone Star College Beverly Salzman, Housatonic

Community College Hildur Schilling, Fitchburg State College Bruce Sherwin, Housatonic Community

College Hilary Stebbins, Virginia Wesleyan

College Doris Van Auken, Holy Cross College Matthew Zagummy, Tennessee Tech


We also thank the reviewers of the previous editions of Psychology: Core Concepts and hope that they will recognize their valued input in all that is good in this text:

Gordon Allen, Miami University Beth Barton, Coastal Carolina

Community College Linda Bastone, Purchase College, SUNY Susan Beck, Wallace State College

Michael Bloch, University of San Francisco Michele Breault, Truman State University John H. Brennecke, Mount San Antonio

College T. L. Brink, Crafton Hills College

xxiv T O T H E I N S T R U C T O R

Jay Brown, Southwest Missouri State University

Sally S. Carr, Lakeland Community College

Saundra Ciccarelli, Gulf Coast Community College

Wanda Clark, South Plains College Susan Cloninger, The Sage Colleges John Conklin, Camosun College (Canada) Michelle L. Pilati Corselli (Rio Hondo

College) Sara DeHart-Young, Mississippi State

University Janet DiPietro, John Hopkins University Diane Finley, Prince George’s

Community College Krista Forrest, University of Nebraska at

Kearney Lenore Frigo, Shasta College Rick Froman, John Brown University Arthur Gonchar, University of LaVerne Peter Gram, Pensacola Junior College Jonathan Grimes, Community College of

Baltimore County Lynn Haller, Morehead State University Mary Elizabeth Hannah, University of

Detroit Jack Hartnett, Virginia Commonwealth

University Carol Hayes, Delta State University Karen Hayes, Guilford College Michael Hillard, Albuquerque TVI

Community College Peter Hornby, Plattsburgh State

University Deana Julka, University of Portland Brian Kelley, Bridgewater College Sheila Kennison, Oklahoma State

University Laurel Krautwurst, Blue Ridge

Community College Judith Levine, Farmingdale State College Dawn Lewis, Prince George’s

Community College Deborah Long, East Carolina University

Margaret Lynch, San Francisco State University

Jean Mandernach, University of Nebraska, Kearney

Marc Martin, Palm Beach Community College

Richard Mascolo, El Camino College Steven Meier, University of Idaho Nancy Mellucci, Los Angeles

Community College District Yozan Dirk Mosig, University of

Nebraska Melinda Myers-Johnson, Humboldt

State University Michael Nikolakis, Faulkner State

College Cindy Nordstrom, Southern Illinois

University Laura O’Sullivan, Florida Gulf Coast

University Ginger Osborne, Santa Ana College Vernon Padgett, Rio Hondo College Jeff Pedroza, Santa Ana College Laura Phelan, St. John Fisher College Faye Plascak-Craig, Marian College Skip Pollock, Mesa Community College Chris Robin, Madisonville Community

College Lynne Schmelter-Davis, Brookdale

County College of Monmouth Mark Shellhammer, Fairmont State

College Christina Sinisi, Charleston Southern

University Patricia Stephenson, Miami Dade

College Mary Ellen Dello Stritto, Western

Oregon University Mario Sussman, Indiana University of

Pennsylvania John Teske, Elizabethtown College Stacy Walker, Kingwood College Robert Wellman, Fitchburg State

University Alan Whitlock, University of Idaho

Finally, we offer our thanks to all of the colleagues whose feedback has improved our book. Thanks also to all instructors of this most-difficult-to-teach course for taking on the pedagogical challenge and conveying to students their passion about the joys and relevance of psychological science and practice.

If you have any recommendations of your own that we should not overlook for the next edition, please write to us! Address your comments to Dr. Robert Johnson,


Philip Zimbardo, PhD, Stanford University professor, has been teaching the introductory psychology course for 50 years and has been writing the basic text for this course, as well as the faculty guides and student workbooks, for the past 35 years. In addition, he has helped to develop and update the PBS-TV series, Discovering Psychol- ogy, which is used in many high school and university courses both nationally and internationally. He has been called “The Face and Voice of Psychology” because of this popular series and his other media presentations. Phil also loves to conduct and publish research on a wide variety of subjects, as well as teach and engage in public and social service activities. He has published more than 400 professional and popular articles and chapters, including 50 books of all kinds. He recently published a trade book on the psychology of evil, The Lucifer Effect, that relates his classic Stanford Prison Experiment to the abuses at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib Prison. His new book is The Time Paradox, but his new passion is helping to create wise and effective everyday heroes as part of his Heroic Imagination Project. Please see these websites for more information:;;;;;

Robert Johnson, PhD, taught introductory psychology for 28 years at Umpqua Community College. He acquired an interest in cross-cultural psychology during a Fulbright summer in Thailand, followed by many more trips abroad to Japan, Korea, Latin America, Britain, and, most recently, to Indonesia. Currently, he is working on a book on the psychology in Shakespeare. Bob is especially interested in applying psy- chological principles to the teaching of psychology and in encouraging linkages be- tween psychology and other disciplines. In keeping with those interests, he founded the Pacific Northwest Great Teachers Seminar, of which he was the director for 20 years. Bob was also one of the founders of Psychology Teachers at Community Colleges (PT@CC), serving as its executive committee chair during 2004. That same year, he also received the Two-Year College Teaching Award given by the Society for the Teaching of Psychology. Bob has long been active in APA, APS, the Western Psychological Association, and the Council of Teachers of Undergraduate Psychology.

Vivian McCann, a senior faculty member in psychology at Portland Community College in Portland, Oregon, teaches a wide variety of courses, including introductory psychology, human relations, intimate relationships, and social psychology. Born and raised in the California desert just 10 miles from the Mexican border, she learned early on the importance of understanding cultural backgrounds and values in effective communication and in teaching, which laid the foundation for her current interest in teaching and learning psychology from diverse cultural perspectives. She loves to travel and learn about people and cultures and to nurture the same passions in her students. She has led groups of students on four trips abroad, and in her own travels has visited 24 countries so far. Vivian maintains a strong commitment to teaching excellence and has developed and taught numerous workshops in that area. She has served on the APA’s Committee for Psychology Teachers at Community Colleges (PT@CC) and is an active member of the Western Psychological Association and APS. She is also the author of Human Relations: The Art and Science of Building Effective Relationships.


Mind, Behavior, and Psychological Science1

Psychology MattersCore ConceptsKey Questions/Chapter Outline

1.1 What Is Psychology—and What Is It NOT ? Psychology: It’s More Than You Think Psychology Is Not Psychiatry Thinking Critically about Psychology and


Psychology is a broad field with many specialties, but fundamentally, psychology is the science of behavior and mental processes.

Using Psychology to Learn Psychology

In this book, Key Questions and Core Concepts help you organize what you learn.

1.2 What Are Psychology’s Six Main Perspectives?

Separation of Mind and Body and the Modern Biological Perspective

The Founding of Scientific Psychology and the Modern Cognitive Perspective

The Behavioral Perspective: Focusing on Observable Behavior

The Whole-Person Perspectives: Psychodynamic, Humanistic, and Trait and Temperament

The Developmental Perspective: Changes Arising from Nature and Nurture

The Sociocultural Perspective: The Individual in Context

The Changing Face of Psychology

Six main viewpoints dominate modern psychology—the biological, cognitive, behavioral, whole-person, developmental, and sociocultural perspectives—each of which grew out of radical new concepts about mind and behavior.

Psychology as a Major

To call yourself a psychologist, you’ll need graduate training.

Psychologists, like all other scientists, use the scientific method to test their ideas empirically.

The Perils of Pseudo-psychology

Critical thinking failures often result in disastrous consequences.

CHAPTER PROBLEM How would psychology test the claim that sugar makes children hyperactive?

CRITICAL THINKING APPLIED Facilitated Communication

1.3 How Do Psychologists Develop New Knowledge?

Four Steps in the Scientific Method Five Types of Psychological Research Controlling Biases in Psychological Research Ethical Issues in Psychological Research


A FTER THE KIDS HAD ALL THAT SUGAR—THE CAKE, ICE CREAM, PUNCH, and candy—they were absolutely bouncing off the walls!” said one of our friends who was describing a birthday party for her 8-year-old daughter.I must have had a skeptical look on my face, because she stopped her story short and asked, “You don’t believe it?” Then she added, “You psychologists just don’t believe

in common sense, do you?”

I responded that what people think of as “common sense” can be wrong, reminding her

that common sense once held that Earth was flat. “Perhaps,” I suggested, “it might be wrong

again—this time about the so-called ‘sugar high’ people think they observe.

“It could have been just the excitement of the party,” I added.

“Think they observe?” my friend practically shouted. “Can you prove that sugar doesn’t

make children hyperactive?”

“No,” I said. “Science doesn’t work that way. But what I could do,” I ventured, “is perform

an experiment to test the idea that sugar makes children ‘hyper.’ Then we could see whether

your claim passes or fails the test.”

My timing wasn’t the best for getting her involved in a discussion of scientific experiments,

so let me pose the problem to you.

PROBLEM: How would psychology test the claim that sugar makes children hyperactive?

We invite you to think about how we might set up such an experiment. We could, for example,

give kids a high-sugar drink and see what happens. But because people often see only what

4 C H A P T E R 1 Mind, Behavior, and Psychological Science

they expect to see, our expectations about sugar and hyperactivity could easily influence our

observations. So how could we design an experiment about sugar and hyperactivity that also

accounts for our expectations? It is not an easy problem, but we will think it through together,

and by the end of this chapter, you will have the tools you need to solve it.

Every chapter in the book will begin with a problem such as this—a problem aimed at

getting you actively involved in learning psychology and thinking critically about some impor-

tant concepts in the chapter. Solving the problem with us, rather than just passively reading

the words, will make the concepts more meaningful to you and more easily remembered (see

Chapter 5 to find out why).

The important concept illustrated by the “sugar high” problem is one of the most fun-

damental concepts in all of psychology: using the scientific method to explore the mind and

behavior. But before we get into the details of the scientific method, let’s clarify what we mean

by the term psychology itself.

1.1 KEY QUESTION What Is Psychology—and What Is It NOT?

“I hope you won’t psychoanalyze me,” says the student at the office door. It is a frequent refrain and an occupational hazard for professors of psychology. But students need not worry about being psychoanalyzed, for two reasons. First, not all psychologists diagnose and treat mental problems—in fact, those who do are actually in the minority among pro- fessors of psychology. Second, only a few psychologists are actually psychoanalysts. The term psychoanalysis refers to a highly specialized and relatively uncommon form of ther- apy. You will learn more about the distinction between psychologists and psychoanalysts later in the chapter—but, in the meantime, don’t fret that your professor will try to find something wrong with you. In fact, your professor is much more likely to be interested in helping you learn the material than in looking for signs of psychological disorder.

So, you might wonder, if psychology is not all about mental disorders and therapy, what is it all about?

The term psychology comes from psyche, the ancient Greek word for “mind,” and the suffix -ology, meaning “a field of study.” Literally, then, psychology means “the study of the mind.” Most psychologists, however, use the broader definition given in our Core Concept for this section of the chapter:

Core Concept 1.1 Psychology is a broad field, with many specialties, but fundamentally psychology is the science of behavior and mental processes.

One important point to note about this definition: Psychology includes not only mental processes but also behaviors. In other words, psychology’s domain covers both internal mental processes that we observe only indirectly (such as thinking, feeling, and desiring) as well as external, observable behaviors (such as talking, smiling, and running). A second important part of our definition concerns the scientific compo- nent of psychology. In brief, the science of psychology is based on objective, verifiable evidence—not just the opinions of experts and authorities, as we often find in non- scientific fields. We will give a more complete explanation of the science of psychol- ogy in the last part of this chapter. For now, though, let’s take a closer look at what psychologists actually do.

Psychology: It’s More Than You Think Psychology covers more territory than most people realize. As we have seen, not all psychologists are therapists. Many work in education, industry, sports, prisons,

psychology The science of behavior and mental processes.

What Is Psychology—and What Is It NOT? 5

government, churches and temples, private practice, human relations, advertising, and in the psychology departments of colleges and universities (see Figure 1.1). Others work for engineering firms, consulting firms, and the courts (both the judicial and the NBA variety). In these diverse settings, psy- chologists perform a wide range of tasks, including teaching, research, testing, and equipment design—as well as psycho- therapy. In fact, psychology’s specialties are too numerous to cover them all here, but we can give you a taste of the field’s diversity by first dividing psychology into three broad groups.

Three Ways of Doing Psychology Broadly speaking, psychologists cluster into three main categories: experi- mental psychologists, teachers of psychology, and applied psychologists. Some overlap exists among these groups, how- ever, because many psychologists take on multiple roles in their work.

Experimental psychologists (sometimes called research psychologists) constitute the smallest of the three groups. Nevertheless, they perform most of the research that creates new psychological knowledge (Frincke & Pate, 2004).1 For example, an experimental psychologist would be well equipped to study the effects of sugar on hyperactivity in children. While some experimental psychologists can be found in in- dustry or private research institutes, the majority work at a college or university, where most also teach.

Teachers of psychology are traditionally found at colleges and universities, where their assignments typically involve not only teaching but also research and publica- tion. Increasingly, however, psychologists can be found at community colleges and high schools, where their teaching load is higher because these institutions generally do not require research (American Psychological Association, 2007b; Johnson & Rudmann, 2004).

Applied psychologists use the knowledge developed by experimental psychologists to tackle human problems of all kinds, such as toy or equipment design, criminal analy- sis, and psychological treatment. They work in a wide variety of places, ranging from schools, clinics, and social service agencies to factories, airports, hospitals, and casinos. All told, about two-thirds of the doctoral-level psychologists in the United States work primarily as applied psychologists (Kohout & Wicherski, 2000; Wicherski et al., 2009).

Applied Psychological Specialties Some of the most popular applied specialties include:

• Industrial and organizational psychologists (often called I/O psychologists) specialize in personnel selection and in tailoring the work environment to maximize productivity and morale. They may, for example, create programs to motivate employees or to improve managers’ leadership skills. I/O psychologists also conduct market research and examine current issues such as attitudes toward pregnancy in the workplace (Shrader, 2001).

• Sports psychologists help athletes improve their performance by planning effective practice sessions, enhancing motivation, and learning to control emotions under pressure. Some focus exclusively on professional athletes, and others work with recreational athletes. Sports psychologists may also, for example, study various types of personalities and their relation to high-risk endeavors such as firefighting, parachuting, or scuba diving.

1Throughout this book, you will find citations in parentheses, calling your attention to a complete bibliographic reference found in the References section, beginning on p. R-1, near the end of this book. These brief in-text citations give the authors’ last names and the publication date. With the complete references in hand, your library can help you find the original source.

experimental psychologists Psychologists who do research on basic psychological processes—as contrasted with applied psychologists. Experimental psychologists are also called research psychologists.

teachers of psychology Psychologists whose primary job is teaching, typically in high schools, colleges, and universities.

applied psychologists Psychologists who use the knowledge developed by experimental psychologists to solve human problems.

FIGURE 1.1 Work Settings of Psychologists

Source: 2009 Doctorate Employment Survey, APA Center for Workforce Studies. March 2011.

Independent practiceOther counseling


Other educational settings


Business, Consulting, Other

Hospitals and HMOs

Universities, colleges, and medical schools

6% 6%





Read MyPsychLab

about I/O Psychology at

6 C H A P T E R 1 Mind, Behavior, and Psychological Science

• School psychologists are experts in teaching and learning. They deal with issues impacting learning, family or personal crises influencing school performance, or social conditions such as gangs, teen pregnancy, or substance abuse. They sometimes diagnose learning or behavioral problems and work with teachers, students, and parents to help students succeed in school. Many school psychologists work for school districts, where their work includes administering, scoring, and interpreting psychological tests.

• Clinical and counseling psychologists help people improve social and emotional adjustment or work through difficult choices in relationships, careers, or education. Almost half of all doctoral-level psychologists list clinical or counseling psychology as their specialty (Wichersky et al., 2009).

• Forensic psychologists provide psychological expertise to the legal and judicial system. One of the most recently recognized specialties in psychology, forensic psychology has gained rapid popularity due in part to such TV shows as

Criminal Minds, Profiler, and CSI. And, while a real day in the life of forensic psychologists may not be as glamorous or fast paced as their television counter- parts, the field is burgeoning with opportunities. Forensic psychologists may test inmates in prisons or forensic hospitals to determine readiness for release or fitness to stand trial, evaluate testimony in cases of rape or child abuse, or help with jury selection (Clay, 2009; Huss, 2001).

• Environmental psychologists aim to improve human interaction with our envi- ronment. They may, for example, study the impact of inner-city garden spaces on children’s academic performance or determine how best to encourage environmen- tally friendly behavior such as recycling. In private practice, environmental psy- chologists sometimes help clients maintain their commitment to sustainability or conduct workshops teaching people the mental health benefits of interacting with nature (Novotney, 2009).

More information on career possibilities in psychology can be found in Careers in Psychology for the Twenty-First Century, published by the American Psychological Association (2003a) and available online at careers.pdf.

Psychology Is Not Psychiatry Just as beginning psychology students may think all psychologists are clinical psychol- ogists, they also may not know the distinction between psychology and psychiatry. So let’s clear up that confusion, just in case you encounter a test question on the topic.

Virtually all psychiatrists, but only some psychologists, treat mental disorders—and there the resemblance ends. Psychiatry is a medical specialty, not part of psychology at all. Psychiatrists hold MD (Doctor of Medicine) degrees and, in addition, have special- ized training in the treatment of mental and behavioral problems, typically with drugs. Therefore, psychiatrists are licensed to prescribe medicines and perform other medical procedures. Consequently, psychiatrists tend to treat patients with more severe mental disorders (such as schizophrenia) and also to view patients from a medical perspective, as persons with mental “diseases.”

By contrast, psychology is a much broader field that encompasses the whole range of human behavior and mental processes, from brain function to social interaction and from mental well-being to mental disorder. For most psychologists, graduate training emphasizes research methods, along with advanced study in a specialty such as those listed earlier. Moreover, while psychologists usually hold doctoral degrees, their train- ing is not usually medical training, and thus they are not generally licensed to prescribe medications (Carlat, 2010; Practice Directorate Staff, 2005). Psychologists, then, work


Clinical psychologists help people deal with mental disorders and other psychological problems (p. 558).

psychiatry A medical specialty dealing with the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders.

Applying psychological principles of learning and motivation, sports psychologists work with athletes to improve performance.

Explore the Concept Psychologists at Work at MyPsychLab

What Is Psychology—and What Is It NOT? 7

in a wide variety of fields, all of which view people from a psychological perspective. This perspective is il- lustrated by clinical and counseling psychologists, who are likely to view the people they are helping as clients rather than patients.

So, now you know that psychiatry is not psychol- ogy. Next, we’ll look at something else that often gets confused with psychology: pseudo-psychology.

Thinking Critically about Psychology and Pseudo-Psychology TV series like Medium and Supernatural continue a long tradition of programs that play on people’s fasci- nation with claims of mysterious powers of the mind and supernatural influences on our personalities. Your daily horoscope does the same thing—never mind that astrology has been thoroughly debunked (Schick & Vaughn, 2001). Neither is there any factual basis for graphology (the bogus science of handwriting analysis), fortune telling, or the supposed power of subliminal messages to influence our behavior. All these fall under the heading of pseudo-psychology: unsupported psychological beliefs masquerading as scientific truth.

Certainly horoscopes and paranormal claims can be fun as pure entertainment, but it is important to know where fact-based reality ends and imagination-based fantasy begins. After all, you wouldn’t want to stake an important decision about your health or welfare on false information, would you? Thus, one of the goals of this text is to help you think critically when you hear extraordinary claims about behavior and mental processes.

What Is Critical Thinking? Those who talk about critical thinking often find them- selves in the position of Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, who famously was unable to define pornography but concluded, “I know it when I see it.” Like Justice Stewart, your fearless authors (Phil, Bob, and Vivian) cannot offer a definition of criti- cal thinking with which everyone will agree. Nevertheless, we are willing to jump into the fray with a list of six critical thinking skills we wish to emphasize in this text. Each is based on a specific question we believe should be asked when confronting new ideas.

1. What is the source? Does the person making the claim have real expertise in the field? Suppose, for example, you hear a newscast on which a politician or pundit declares that juvenile lawbreakers can be “scared straight.” The story explains that, in the program, first-time offenders receive near-abusive treatment from felons who try to scare them away from a life of crime with tales of harsh prison life. Such programs have, in fact, been tried in several states (Finckenauer et al., 1999). But does the person making the claim have any real knowledge of the subject? Does the claimant have legitimate credentials, or is he or she merely a self-proclaimed “expert?” One way to find out is to go online and examine the individual’s ref- erences and standing within the field. Also, find out whether the source has something substantial to gain from the claim. If it’s a medical breakthrough, for example, does the claimant stand to make money from a new drug or medical device? In the case of a “scared straight” program, is the source trying to score political points or get votes?

2. Is the claim reasonable or extreme? Life is too short to be critical of everything, of course, so the trick is to be selective. How? As the famous astronomer Carl Sagan once said about reports of alien abductions, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” (Nova Online, 1996). Critical thinkers, then, are skeptical

pseudo-psychology Erroneous assertions or practices set forth as being scientific psychology.

critical thinking skills This book emphasizes six critical thinking skills, based on the following ques- tions: What is the source? Is the claim reasonable or extreme? What is the evidence? Could bias contaminate the conclusion? Does the reasoning avoid common fallacies? Does the issue require multiple perspectives?

Fortune tellers, astrologers, and other practitioners of pseudo-psychology don’t bother to verify their claims with careful research—nor do their clients engage in critical thinking about such practices.

8 C H A P T E R 1 Mind, Behavior, and Psychological Science

of claims touted as “breakthroughs” or “revolutionary.” Certainly, there are occasionally breakthroughs or revolutionary new treatments that work—but they are relatively rare. Most new scientific developments are extensions of existing knowledge. So, claims that conflict with well-established knowledge should raise a red flag. For example, beware of ads that promise to help you quit smoking or lose weight with little or no effort. In the case of “scared straight” programs or any other quick fix for a difficult problem, remember that simple solutions to complex problems rarely exist.

3. What is the evidence? This is one of the most important guidelines to critical think- ing, and you will learn more about what constitutes scientific evidence in the last section of this chapter. For now, though, beware of anecdotal evidence or testimoni- als proclaiming the dramatic effects of a new program. These first-hand accounts tend to be quite convincing, so they often lure us into believing them. Testimonials and anecdotes, though—no matter how compelling—are not scientific evidence. They merely represent the experiences of a few carefully selected individuals. It would be risky, and perhaps even dangerous, to assume that what seems true for some people must also be true for everyone.

What does the evidence say about “scared straight” programs? Not only do they not work, but they can also actually inoculate juveniles against fears about prison. Surprising as it may seem, the hard evidence indicates that teens exposed to such treatments, on average, subsequently get into more trouble than do those not given the “scared straight” treatment (Petrosino et al., 2003).

4. Could bias contaminate the conclusion? Critical thinkers know the conditions under which biases are likely to occur and can recognize common types of bias we will examine in this chapter. For example, they would question whether medi- cal researchers who are involved in assessing new drugs can truly remain unbiased if they are receiving money from the companies whose drugs they are testing (McCook, 2006).

The form of bias most applicable to our “scared straight” example is emotional bias: People not only fear crime and criminals but also are often in favor of harsh treatments for criminal behavior, as evidenced by the recent spate of “three strikes” laws (which mandate a lifetime in prison after three felony convictions). Accordingly, the “scared straight” approach may appeal to people simply because of its harshness. Also, people with a loved one who has gotten into some trouble may be especially vulnerable to promises of easy reform: Their desire for help can interfere with clear thinking.

Another common form of bias is confirmation bias, the all-too-human ten- dency to remember events that confirm our beliefs and ignore or forget contra- dictory evidence (Halpern, 2002; Nickerson, 1998). For example, confirmation bias explains why people persist in their beliefs that astrology works: They remember the predictions that seemed accurate and forget the ones that missed the mark. Confirmation bias also explains why gamblers have better recollections for their wins than for their losses, or why we persist in thinking a particular object is our lucky charm. Amazingly, recent research reveals this bias may be partly biological in nature. In a study done before a recent presidential election, people listened to their favorite politicians making statements that contradicted themselves. Upon hearing the contradictory statement, brain circuits associated with reasoning in the listeners suddenly shut down, while brain regions most in- volved with emotion remained active (Shermer, 2006; Westen et al., 2006). It was as though the brain was saying, “I don’t want to hear anything that conflicts with my beliefs.” Thus, we may have to exert extra effort and diligence to overcome this bias.

5. Does the reasoning avoid common fallacies? We will study several common logical fallacies in this book, but the one most applicable to the “scared straight” example is the assumption that common sense is a substitute for scientific evidence. In fact,

emotional bias The tendency to make judgments based on attitudes and feelings, rather than on the basis of a rational analysis of the evidence.

confirmation bias The tendency to attend to evidence that complements and confirms our beliefs or expectations, while ignoring evidence that does not.

anecdotal evidence First-hand accounts that vividly describe the experiences of one or a few people, but may erroneously be assumed to be scientific evidence.

What Is Psychology—and What Is It NOT? 9

in many cases there exists common sense to support both sides of an issue. For example, we hear that “Birds of a feather flock together”—but we also hear that “Opposites attract.” Similarly, we are told that “The early bird gets the worm,” but aren’t we also cautioned that “Haste makes waste?” Which, then, is true? Only an examination of the evidence can reliably provide the answer. Stay tuned later in this chapter, and in Chapter 6, for other common fallacies that derail critical thinking.

6. Does the issue require multiple perspectives? The “scared straight” intervention makes the simplistic assumption that fear of punishment is the best deterrent to delinquency, so inducing fear will prevent delinquency. A more sophisticated view sees delinquency as a complex problem that demands scrutiny from several perspectives. Psychologists, for example, may look at delinquency from the stand- points of learning, social influence, or personality traits. Economists would be interested in the financial incentives for delinquency. And sociologists would focus on such things as gangs, poverty, and community structures. Surely such a multi- faceted problem will require a more complex solution than a threatening program.

Thinking Critically about the Chapter Problem How would you apply these criti- cal thinking guidelines to the chapter-opening problem about whether sugar makes children hyperactive? First, consider the source: Is the mother of an 8-year-old an ex- pert on biological effects of sugar? Assuming she is not, you’d have to wonder if the source of her belief is a reliable one or if she is just repeating some “common sense” she’s often heard but never questioned. Second, examine the evidence: Have scientific tests been conducted to measure the effects of sugar on children? Third, could any bi- ases be at work? For example, if we expect children to be hyperactive after consuming sugar, that is likely what we will observe. Fourth, is the claimant avoiding common fallacies in reasoning? In this case, even if we can prove that kids who consume more sugar are more hyperactive, we can’t be sure that sugar is the cause: Alternatively, per- haps kids who are already hyperactive eat more sugar as a means of maintaining their high need for activity. Finally, we should recognize that there are probably other rea- sons kids get excited at parties. We will explore some of these competing perspectives in the second section of this chapter.

You may have seen the “scared straight” issue parodied on the TV show Saturday Night Live.

10 C H A P T E R 1 Mind, Behavior, and Psychological Science


Using Psychology to Learn Psychology

Throughout this book, we show you how to use psychology to learn psychology. For example, we have built in learning tools to help you construct a mental map (sometimes called a cognitive map or concept map) of every chapter, which is guaranteed to make your studying of psychology easier. Among the most important are the numbered Key Questions and Core Concepts. And in MyPsychLab, you will find a tool specially de- signed to help you to construct concept maps of each chapter.

The Key Questions, which act as the main headings in each chapter, give you a “heads up” by signaling what to watch for as you read. For example, Key Ques- tion 1.1 for this section of the chapter asked, WHAT IS PSYCHOLOGY—AND WHAT IS IT NOT? This tells you this section will define psychology and make some distinctions between psychology and other fields with which it may be con- fused or overlap. You are much more likely to remember new concepts if you ap- proach them with an appropriate Key Question in mind (Glaser, 1990). You can also use the Key Question to check your understanding of each section before an exam. If you have a study partner, try asking each other to give detailed answers to the Key Questions.


Now, let’s put a sampling of your psycho- logical beliefs to the test. Some of the following statements are true, and some are false. Don’t worry if you get a few—or all—of the items wrong: You will have lots of company. The point is that what so- called common sense teaches us about psychological processes may not withstand the scrutiny of a scientific test. Mark each of the following statements as “true” or “false.” (The answers are given at the end.)

1. _________ It is a myth that most people use only about 10% of their brains.

2. _________ During your most vivid dreams, your body may be paralyzed.

3. _________ Psychological stress can cause physical illness.

4. _________ The color red exists only as a sensation in the brain. There is no “red” in the world outside the brain.

5. _________ Bipolar (manic–depressive) disorder is caused by a conflict in the unconscious mind.

6. _________ The newborn child’s mind is essentially a “blank slate” on which everything he or she will know must be “written” (learned) by experience.

7. _________ Everything that happens to us leaves a permanent record in memory.

8. _________ You were born with all the brain cells that you will ever have.

9. _________ Intelligence is a nearly pure genetic trait that is fixed at the same level throughout a person’s life.

10. _________ Polygraph (“lie detector”) devices are remarkably accurate in detecting physical responses that, in the eye of a trained examiner, reliably indicate when a suspect is lying.

Answers The first four items are true; the rest are false. Here are some brief explanations for each item; you will find more detail in the chapters indicated in parentheses. 1. True: This is a myth. We use all parts of our brains every day. (See Chapter 2, “Biopsychology, Neuroscience, and Human Nature.”) 2. True: During our most vivid dreams, which occur during rapid eye movement sleep (REM), the voluntary muscles in our body are paralyzed, with the exception of those controlling our eyes. (See Chapter 8, “States of Consciousness.”) 3. True: The link between mind and body can make you sick when you are under chronic stress. (See Chapter 14, “From Stress to Health and Well-Being.”) 4. True: Strange as it may seem, all sensations of color are created in the brain itself. Light waves do have different frequencies, but they have no color. The brain interprets the various frequencies of light as different colors. (See Chapter 3, “Sensation and Perception.”) 5. False: There is no evidence at all that unconscious conflicts play a role in bipolar disorder. Instead, the evidence suggests a strong biochemical component. The disorder

usually responds well to certain drugs, hinting that it involves faulty brain chemistry. Research also suggests that this faulty chemistry may have a genetic basis. (See Chapter 12, “Psychological Disorders,” and Chapter 13, “Therapies for Psychological Disorders.”) 6. False: Far from being a “blank slate,” the newborn child has a large repertoire of built-in abilities and protective reflexes. The “blank slate” myth also ignores the child’s genetic potential. (See Chapter 7, “Development over the Lifespan.”) 7. False: Although many details of our lives are remembered, there is no evidence that memory records all the details of our lives. In fact, we have good reason to believe that most of the information around us never reaches memory and that what does reach memory often becomes distorted. (See Chapter 5, “Memory.”) 8. False: Contrary to what scientists thought just a few years ago, some parts of the brain continue to create new cells throughout life. (See Chapter 2, “Biopsychology, Neuroscience, and Human Nature.”) 9. False: Intelligence is the result of both heredity and environment. Because it depends, in part, on environment, your level of intelligence (as measured by an IQ test) can change throughout your life. (See Chapter 6, “Thinking and Intelligence.”) 10. False: Even the most expert polygrapher can incorrectly classify a truth-teller as a liar or fail to identify someone who is lying. Objective evidence supporting the accuracy of lie detectors is meager. (See Chapter 9, “Motivation and Emotion.”)

Map the Concepts at MyPsychLab

What Are Psychology’s Six Main Perspectives? 11

Think of Core Concepts as brief answers to the Key Questions. (In fact, each one is numbered to match its Key Question.) In other words, a Core Concept highlights the central idea in each section—much like a preview at the movies. Recognize, though, that a Core Concept is not a complete answer but rather a capsule summary of ideas to be fleshed out. For example, the Core Concept for this section says:

Psychology is a broad field with many specialties, but fundamentally, psychology is the science of behavior and mental processes.

This alerts you to the two important ideas in this section: (1) psychology studies both the mind and behavior, and (2) there is a variety of specialties within psychology. Knowing these overarching themes will help you find the important ideas and organize them in your mind.

After you have constructed the foundation of your mental map with the overarch- ing themes, fill in the details using the boldfaced terms in that section so your map shows how each term fits into the theme. For example, can you explain the differ- ence between applied, experimental, and teaching psychologists? Between psychology, psychiatry, and pseudo-psychology?

In summary, then, Key Questions and Core Concepts lead you to the big ideas in the chapter and provide a framework for the various concepts in that chapter. They will help you step back from the details to see meaningful patterns—as the saying goes—to distinguish the forest from the trees (and consequently, to understand how all the trees fit into the forest).

1.2 KEY QUESTION What Are Psychology’s Six Main Perspectives?

The shape of modern psychology has been molded by its history, which dates back some 25 centuries to the Greek philosophers Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. These sages not only speculated about consciousness and madness; they also knew that emo- tions could distort thinking and that our perceptions are merely interpretations of the external world. Even today, people would probably agree with many of these ancient conjectures—and so would modern psychology.

The Greeks, however, get only partial credit for laying the foundations of psychol- ogy. At roughly the same time, Asian and African societies were developing their own

Check Your Understanding 1. RECALL: In what way is modern psychology’s scope broader than

the Greek concept of psyche?

2. RECALL: Name two types of applied psychologists.

3. TRUE OR FALSE: Most psychologists are therapists.

4. APPLICATION: Which critical thinking questions discussed in this section would be most applicable to the argument

that harsher sentences are the best way of dealing with crime because “punishment is the only language that criminals understand”?

5. UNDERSTANDING THE CORE CONCEPT: How is psychology different from psychiatry and other disciplines that deal with people?

Answers 1. Modern psychology studies behavior as well as the mind. 2. There are many sorts of applied psychologists. The ones mentioned in this chapter are I/O psychologists, sports psychologists, school psychologists, clinical and counseling psychologists, forensic psychologists, and environmental psychologists. 3. False. 4. Probably the most applicable for this claim would be these: “What is the evidence?” and “Could bias contaminate the conclusion?” But we wouldn’t disagree with any other questions you may have listed because, just as with the “scared straight” issue, they could all apply to a critical analysis of the claim. 5. Psychology is a broader field, covering all aspects of behavior and mental processes.

Study and Review at MyPsychLab

12 C H A P T E R 1 Mind, Behavior, and Psychological Science

psychological ideas. In Asia, followers of yoga and Buddhism were exploring conscious- ness, which they attempted to control with meditation. Meanwhile, in Africa, other ex- planations for personality and mental disorders were emerging from traditional spiritual beliefs (Berry et al., 1992). Based on these folk psychologies, shamans (healers) devel- oped therapies rivaling the effectiveness of treatments used in psychology and psychiatry today (Lambo, 1978). It was, however, the Greek tradition and, later, the Church that most influenced the winding developmental path of Western psychology as a science.

What role did the Church play in shaping the study of psychology? During medieval centuries, for example, clerics actively suppressed inquiry into human nature, partly in an attempt to discourage interest in the “world of the flesh.” For medieval Christians, the human mind and soul were inseparable and—like the mind of God—presented a mystery that mortals should never try to solve.

Change of this entrenched viewpoint did not come easily. It took a series of radi- cal new ideas, spaced over several hundred years, to break the medieval mindset and lay the intellectual foundation for modern psychology—which brings us to our Core Concept for this section:

Core Concept 1.2 Six main viewpoints dominate modern psychology—the biological, cognitive, behavioral, whole-person, developmental, and sociocultural perspectives—each of which grew out of radical new concepts about mind and behavior.

As we examine these perspectives, you will see that each viewpoint offers its own unique explanation for human behavior. Taken together, they comprise psychology’s multiple perspectives, each of which will become an important tool in your “psychol- ogy toolbox” for understanding human behavior. To help you see for yourself how useful these perspectives can be, we will apply each one to a problem with which many students struggle: procrastination. Let’s begin with the biological perspective.

Separation of Mind and Body and the Modern Biological Perspective The 17th-century philosopher René Descartes (Day-CART) proposed the first radi- cal new concept that eventually led to modern psychology: a distinction between the spiritual mind and the physical body. The genius of Descartes’ insight was that it allowed the Church to keep the mind off limits for scientific inquiry, while simultane- ously permitting the study of human sensations and behaviors because they were based on physical activity in the nervous system. His proposal fit well with exciting new discoveries about biology, in which scientists had just learned how the sense organs of animals convert stimulation into nerve impulses and muscular responses. Such dis- coveries, when combined with Descartes’ separation of mind and body, allowed scien- tists to demonstrate that biological processes, rather than mysterious spiritual forces, caused sensations and simple reflexive behaviors.

The Modern Biological Perspective Four hundred years later, Descartes’ revolu- tionary perspective provides the basis for the modern biological perspective. No lon- ger constrained by the dictates of the medieval Church, however, modern biological psychologists have rejoined mind and body (although they leave issues of the soul to religion), and now view the mind as a product of the brain.

In this current view, our personalities, preferences, behavior patterns, and abilities all stem from our physical makeup. Accordingly, biological psychologists search for the causes of our behavior in the brain, the nervous system, the endocrine (hormone) system, and the genes. Procrastination, from this perspective, may result from a certain type of brain chemistry (Liu, 2004), which could be inherited. While they don’t deny the value of other perspectives on mind and behavior, biological psychologists aim to learn as much as possible about the physical underpinnings of psychological processes.

biological perspective The psychological perspective that searches for the causes of behavior in the functioning of genes, the brain and nervous system, and the endocrine (hormone) system.

What Are Psychology’s Six Main Perspectives? 13

Two Variations on the Biological Theme As you might imagine, the biological view has strong roots in medicine and biological science. In fact, the emerging field of neuroscience combines biological psychology with biology, neurology, and other disci- plines interested in brain processes. Thanks to spectacular advances in computers and brain-imaging techniques, neuroscience is a hot area of research. Among their achieve- ments, neuroscientists have learned how damage to certain parts of the brain can destroy specific abilities, such as speech, social skills, or memory. And, as we will see in Chapter 8, they now use brain wave patterns to open up the hidden world of sleep and dreams.

Another important variant of biological psychology sprouted recently from ideas proposed by Charles Darwin some 150 years ago. This new evolutionary psychology holds that much human behavior arises from inherited tendencies, and it has gained a substantial boost from the recent surge of genetics research. In the evolutionary view, our genetic makeup—underlying our most deeply ingrained behaviors—was shaped by conditions our remote ancestors faced thousands of years ago.

According to evolutionary psychology, environmental forces have pruned the human family tree, favoring the survival and reproduction of individuals with the most adaptive mental and physical characteristics. Darwin called this process natural selec- tion. Through it, the physical characteristics of our species have evolved (changed) in the direction of characteristics that gave the fittest organisms a competitive advantage.

Some proponents of evolutionary psychology have made highly controversial claims. In their view, even the most undesirable human behaviors, such as warfare, rape, and infanticide, may have grown out of biological tendencies that once helped humans adapt and survive (Buss, 2008). This approach also proposes controversial biological explanations for certain gender differences—why, for instance, men typically have more sexual partners than do women. Stay tuned for more of this controversy in our discussion of sexuality in Chapter 9.

The Founding of Scientific Psychology and the Modern Cognitive Perspective Another radical idea that shaped the early science of psychology came from chem- istry, where scientists had developed the famous periodic table after noticing pat- terns in properties of the chemical elements. At one stroke, the periodic table made the relationships among the elements clear. Wil- helm Wundt, a German scientist (who, incidentally, became the first person to call himself a “psychologist”) wondered if he could sim- plify the human psyche in the same way the periodic table had simplified chemistry. Perhaps he could discover “the elements of conscious experience”! Although Wundt never realized his dream of a periodic table for the mind, he did have this break- through insight: The methods of science used to objectively measure and study the natural world, such as in chemistry or physics, could be used to study the mind and body as well.

Introspecting for the Elements of Conscious Experience “Please press the button as soon as you see the light,” Professor Wundt might have said, as he readied to record the reaction time between the light stimulus and a student’s response. Such simple yet concrete experiments were common fare in 1879 in the world’s first psychology laboratory at the University of Leipzig. There, Wundt and his students also performed studies in which trained volunteers described their sensory and emotional responses to various stimuli, using a technique called introspection. These were history’s first psychology experiments: studies of what Wundt and his students proposed to be the basic “elements” of consciousness, including sensation and perception, memory, attention, emotion, thinking, learning, and language. All our mental activity, they asserted, consists of different combinations of these basic processes.

neuroscience The field devoted to understanding how the brain creates thoughts, feelings, motives, con- sciousness, memories, and other mental processes.

evolutionary psychology A relatively new specialty in psychology that sees behavior and mental processes in terms of their genetic adaptations for survival and reproduction.

introspection The process of reporting on one’s own conscious mental experiences.

The periodic table of the chemical elements inspired Wilhelm Wundt to consider how the human mind might be broken down into a similar framework of common elements.


Attention Perception Memory

Emotion Sensation Thinking

14 C H A P T E R 1 Mind, Behavior, and Psychological Science

Wundt’s Legacy: Structuralism Wundt’s pupil, Edward Bradford Titchener, brought the quest for the elements of consciousness to America, where Titchener be- gan calling it structuralism. Titchener’s term was fitting, because his goal—like that of Wundt—was to reveal the most basic “structures” or components of the mind (Fancher, 1979). So, even though Wundt never used the term, he is considered the father of structuralism.

From the outset, both Wundt and Titchener became magnets for critics. Objections especially targeted the introspective method as being too subjective. After all, said the critics, how can we judge the accuracy of people’s descriptions of their thoughts and feelings?

But Wundt and Titchener have had the last laugh. Even though psychologists some- times view their ideas as quaint, they still rely on updated versions of the old structur- alist methods. For example, you will see introspection at work when we study sleep and dreaming, and you can experience it firsthand in the upcoming Do It Yourself!

box. Further, we can guess that Wundt and Titchener, if they were alive today, would still be laughing for one more reason: The topics they first identified and explored can be found as chapter headings in every intro- ductory psychology text—including this one.

James and the Function of Mind and Behavior One of Wundt’s most vocal critics, the American psychologist William James, argued that the German’s approach was far too narrow. (James also said it was boring—which didn’t help his already strained relationship with Wundt.) Psychology should include the function of conscious- ness, not just its structure, James argued. Appropriately, his brand of psychology led to a “school”2 that became known as functionalism (Fancher, 1979).

James and his followers found Charles Darwin’s ideas far more interesting than Wundt’s. Like Darwin, James had a deep interest in emotion that included its relation to the body and behavior (not just as an element of consciousness, as in Wundt’s system). He also liked

structuralism A historical school of psychology devoted to uncovering the basic structures that make up mind and thought. Structuralists sought the “elements” of conscious experience.

2The term school refers to a group of thinkers who share the same core beliefs.

functionalism A historical school of psychology that believed mental processes could best be under- stood in terms of their adaptive purpose and function.

For such demonstrations, the Gestalt psychologists borrowed Wundt’s method of introspection, but they objected to his emphasis on the parts, or “elements,” of consciousness. Instead, the Gestalt psychologists sought to understand how we construct “perceptual wholes,” or Gestalts. How do we, for example, form the perception of a face from its compo- nent lines, shapes, colors, and textures? Their ultimate goal was even grander: They believed that understanding percep- tion would lead them to an understanding of how the brain creates perceptions. You will get to know the Gestalt psychologists better in Chapter 3, when we take an in-depth look at sensation and perception.


Without reading further, decide quickly which one of the two figures above (see Figure 1.2) you would name “Takete” and which you would call “Maluma.” You might want to see if your friends give the same answer.

According to an early 20th-century group of German psychologists, known as the Gestalt psychologists, the names you give to these figures may reflect the asso- ciations wired into your brain. Indeed, most peo- ple think that the soft-

sounding term Maluma is more appropriate for the rounded left-hand figure, while the sharp-sounding term Takete better fits the pointy figure on the right (Köhler, 1947). This was just one of many simple tests they developed in their quest to understand how we perceive our world.

FIGURE 1.2 Takete or Maluma?

Cognitive psychologist Elizabeth Loftus has done pioneering studies showing the fallibility of memory and eyewitness testimony.

What Are Psychology’s Six Main Perspectives? 15

Darwin’s emphasis on organisms adapting to their environments. James therefore proposed that psychology should explain how people adapt—or fail to adapt—to the real world outside the laboratory.

The functionalists, then, became the first applied psychologists— examining how psychology could be used to improve human life. James himself wrote extensively on the development of learned “habits,” the psychology of religion, and teaching. He is also thought to be the first American professor ever to ask for student evaluations (Fancher, 1979). His follower, John Dewey, founded the “progressive education” move- ment, which emphasized learning by doing rather than by merely listening to lectures and memorizing facts.

Introspection was the point on which structuralism and functionalism agreed. Ironically, their point of agreement was also their greatest point of vulnerability: The introspective method was subjective, leaving them vulnerable to criticism that their versions of psychology were not really scientific. Overcoming this problem took more than half a century and the cooperation of experts from several disciplines who came together to form the cognitive perspective.

The Modern Cognitive Perspective The development of the computer—which became the new metaphor for the mind—gave psychology an irresistible push to- ward a new synthesis: the modern cognitive perspective. Following in the tradition of its structuralist, functionalist, and Gestalt ancestors, this perspective emphasizes cognition, or mental activity, such as perceptions, interpretations, expectations, beliefs, and memories. From this viewpoint, a person’s thoughts and actions are the result of the unique cognitive pattern of perceptions and interpretations of her experiences.

Today, however, the cognitive perspective boasts more objective methods of observation than its forebears, thanks to stunning advancements in brain-imaging techniques that allow scientists to view the brain as it engages in various mental processes.

cognitive perspective Another of the main psychological viewpoints distinguished by an empha- sis on mental processes, such as learning, memory, perception, and thinking, as forms of information processing.


The cube in Figure 1.3A will trick your eye—or, more accurately, it will trick your brain. Look at the cube for a few moments, and suddenly it will seem to change per- spectives. For a time it may seem as if you were viewing the cube from the upper right (see Figure 1.3B). Then, abruptly, it will shift and appear as though you were seeing it from the lower left (see Figure 1.3C).

It may take a little time for the cube to shift the first time. But once you see it change, you won’t be able to prevent it from alternating back and forth, seem- ingly at random. Try showing the cube to a few friends and asking them what they see. Do they see it shifting perspectives, as you do?

This phenomenon was not discovered by a psychologist. Rather, Louis Necker, a Swiss geologist, first noticed it nearly 200 years ago while looking at cube-shaped crystals under a microscope. Necker’s amazing cube illustrates two important points.

First, it illustrates the much- maligned process of introspection, pioneered by Wundt and his students. You will note that the only way we can demonstrate that the Necker cube changes perspectives in our minds is by introspection: having people look at the cube and report what they see. And why is this important to psychology? Only the most hard-core behaviorists would deny that something happens mentally within a person looking at the cube. In fact, the Necker cube demonstrates that we add meaning to our sensations—a process called per- ception, which will be a main focus of Chapter 3.

The second important point is this: The Necker cube can serve as a metaphor for the multiple perspectives in psychol- ogy. Just as there is no single right way to see the cube, there is no single per- spective in psychology that gives us the whole “truth” about behavior and mental

processes. Put another way, if we are to understand psychology fully, we must alter- nately shift our viewpoints among multiple perspectives.



FIGURE 1.3 Different Perspectives of the Necker Cube

Necker cube An ambiguous two-dimensional figure of a cube that can be seen from different per- spectives: The Necker cube is used here to illustrate the notion that there is no single “right way” to view psychological processes.

16 C H A P T E R 1 Mind, Behavior, and Psychological Science

How would cognitive psychologists explain procrastination? First, they might point out that procrastinators often underestimate how long a project might take— illustrating the role of cognitive expectations in our behavior patterns. Also, procrastina- tors may be victims of confirmation bias if they remember the times they previously pro- crastinated yet completed a project on time, while forgetting the deadlines they missed. Finally, people who put things off until the last minute may not interpret their behav- ior as a problem—perhaps they tell themselves they do their best work under pressure. In all these ways, cognitive psychology sheds light on the internal thinking processes that influence procrastination and other human behaviors.

The Behavioral Perspective: Focusing on Observable Behavior Early in the 1900s, a particularly radical and feisty group, known as the behavior- ists, made a name for themselves by disagreeing with nearly everyone. Most famously, they proposed the idea that the mind should not be part of psychology at all! John B. Watson, an early leader of the behaviorist movement, argued that a truly objective sci- ence of psychology should deal solely with observable events: physical stimuli from the environment and the organism’s overt responses. Behaviorism, said Watson, is the sci- ence of behavior and the measurable environmental conditions that influence it (refer to Table 1.1).

Why did behaviorists reject mental processes—such as introspection—as a viable area of scientific study? B. F. Skinner, another influential behaviorist, may have best summarized this perspective when he suggested that the seductive concept of “mind”

behaviorism A historical school (as well as a modern perspective) that has sought to make psychol- ogy an objective science by focusing only on behavior—to the exclusion of mental processes.

TABLE 1.1 Psychology’s Six Perspectives

Perspective What Determines Behavior? Sources

Biological perspective The brain, nervous system, endocrine system (hormones), and genes.

Rene Descartes

Cognitive perspective A person’s unique pattern of perceptions, interpretations, expectations, beliefs, and memories.

Wilhelm Wundt and William James

Behavioral perspective The stimuli in our environment, and the previous consequences of our behaviors.

John Watson and B.F. Skinner

Whole-person perspective Psychodynamic: Processes in our unconscious mind.

Humanistic: Our innate needs to grow, and to fulfill our best possible potential.

Trait and temperament: Unique personality characteristics that are consistent over time and across situations.

Sigmund Freud

Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow

Ancient Greeks

Developmental perspective The interaction of heredity and environment, which unfolds in predictable patterns through the lifespan.

Mary Ainsworth, Jean Piaget

Sociocultural perspective The power of the situation. Social and cultural influences can overpower the influence of all other factors in determining behavior.

Stanley Milgram, Philip Zimbardo


Brain scanning methods such as CT, PET, MRI, and fMRI use advanced computer technology to see into the brain without opening the skull (p. 64).

What Are Psychology’s Six Main Perspectives? 17

has led psychology in circles. The mind, he said, is something so subjective that it cannot even be proved to exist (Skinner, 1990). (Think about it: Can you prove you have a mind?) As Skinner noted wryly, “The crucial age-old mistake is the belief that . . . what we feel as we behave is the cause of our behaving” (Skinner, 1989, p. 17). Thus, for the behaviorists, a person’s thoughts or emotions became irrelevant—it was only behavior that could be reliably observed and measured. So, for example, behaviorists examined whether a young child would learn to avoid a harmless white rat if the rat was paired with a sudden loud sound. Importantly, the behaviorists refrained from making any subjective assumptions about what the outward behavior (avoidance) represented inter- nally (such as fear).

We can summarize the radical new idea that drove behavior- ism this way: Psychology should be limited to the study of observ- able behavior and the environmental stimuli that shape behavior. This behavioral perspective called attention especially to the way our actions are modified by their consequences, as when a child is praised for saying “Thank you” or an adult is rewarded for good job performance with a pay raise. The behaviorists contributed greatly to our detailed understanding of environmental forces that impact all kinds of human learning, and have also given us powerful strat- egies for changing behavior by altering the environment (Alferink, 2005; Roediger, 2004). We will examine these ideas more closely in Chapter 4.

How do you think behaviorists, with their emphasis on reward and punishment, might explain procrastination? Consider the rewards reaped from putting off some- thing you don’t want to do: Instead of the dreaded work, you likely spend the time doing something you enjoy, which is instantly gratifying. Then, when you tackle the problem at the last minute, you get rewarded by the feeling of success when you man- age to pull it off and get it done just in the nick of time! Is it any wonder why pro- crastination is a difficult behavior to change? Fortunately, in Chapter 4, you will learn some effective strategies offered by these same behaviorists for overcoming this trou- blesome pattern.

The Whole-Person Perspectives: Psychodynamic, Humanistic, and Trait and Temperament Psychology As the 20th century dawned, a new challenge to Wundt and structuralism came from the Viennese physician Sigmund Freud and his disciples, who were developing a method of treating mental disorders based on yet another radical idea: Personality and mental disorders arise mainly from processes in the unconscious mind, outside of our awareness (refer to Table 1.1). Although Freud was not the first to suggest that we are unaware of some mental processes, neither structuralism nor functionalism had imagined that unconscious processes could dominate the personality and cause mental disorders. Moreover, Freud’s psychoanalytic theory aimed to explain the whole person, not just certain components (such as attention, perception, memory, behavior, or emo- tion), as other schools of psychology had done. His goal was to explain every aspect of mind and behavior in a single, grand theory.

Psychodynamic Psychology Freud could be a difficult mentor, provoking many of his followers to break ranks and develop their own theories. We use the term psychodynamic to refer both to Freud’s ideas and to all these other neo-Freudian formulations that arose from Freud’s notion that the mind (psyche), especially the unconscious mind, is a reservoir of energy (dynamics) for the personality. This en- ergy, says psychodynamic psychology, is what motivates us.

behavioral perspective A psychological view- point that finds the source of our actions in environ- mental stimuli, rather than in inner mental processes.

psychodynamic psychology A clinical approach emphasizing the understanding of mental disorders in terms of unconscious needs, desires, memories, and conflicts.


Strict behaviorists, such as B. F. Skinner, believe that psy- chology should focus on the laws that govern behavior—that is, on the relations between stimuli (S) and responses (R)— rather than on the subjective processes of the mind.

18 C H A P T E R 1 Mind, Behavior, and Psychological Science

The first and best-known representative of the psychodynamic approach is, of course, Sigmund Freud, whose system is called psychoanalysis. Originally conceived as a medical technique for treating mental disorders, psychoanalysts emphasize the analy- sis of dreams, slips of the tongue (the so-called Freudian slip), and a technique called free association to gather clues to the unconscious conflicts and “unacceptable” desires thought to be censored by consciousness. For example, psychoanalysts might interpret a person’s pattern of self-defeating behavior—such as procrastination—as motivated by an unconscious fear of failure.

Like Freud, most psychoanalysts today are physicians with a specialty in psychiatry and advanced training in Freudian methods. (And now, as promised, you know the dif- ference between a psychologist and a psychoanalyst.) But these practitioners are not the only ones aspiring to explain the whole person. Two other groups share an interest in a global understanding of the personality, humanistic psychology and trait and tempera- ment psychology. Here, we group all three under the heading whole-person perspectives.

Humanistic Psychology Reacting to the psychoanalytic emphasis on sinister forces in the unconscious, humanistic psychology took a different tack. Their radical new idea was an emphasis on the positive side of our nature that included human ability, growth, and potential (refer to Table 1.1). Led by the likes of Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers, they offered a model of human nature that proposed innate needs for growth and goodness, and also emphasized the free will people can exercise to make choices affecting their lives and growth (Kendler, 2005).

In the humanistic view, your self-concept and self-esteem have a huge influence on your thoughts, emotions, and actions, all of which ultimately impact development of your potential. Like psychodynamic psychology, humanistic psychology has had a major impact on the practice of counseling and psychotherapy.

Trait and Temperament Psychology The ancient Greeks, who anticipated so many modern ideas, proclaimed that personality is ruled by four body humors (flu- ids): blood, phlegm, melancholer, and yellow bile. Depending on which humor was dominant, an individual’s personality might be sanguine (dominated by blood), slow and deliberate (phlegm), melancholy (melancholer), or angry and aggressive (yellow bile).

We no longer buy into the ancient Greek typology, of course. But their notion of personality traits lives on in modern times as trait and temperament psychology. The fun- damental idea distinguishing this group says: Differences among people arise from differences in persistent characteristics and internal dispositions called traits and temperaments (refer to Table 1.1).

psychoanalysis An approach to psychology based on Sigmund Freud’s assertions, which empha- size unconscious processes. The term is used to refer broadly both to Freud’s psychoanalytic theory and to his psychoanalytic treatment method.

whole-person perspectives A group of psychological perspectives that take a global view of the person: Included are psychodynamic psychology, humanistic psychology, and trait and temperament psychology.

humanistic psychology A clinical approach emphasizing human ability, growth, potential, and free will.


People’s personalities differ on five major trait dimensions, cleverly called the Big Five (p. 423).

trait and temperament psychology A psychological perspective that views behavior and personality as the products of enduring psychological characteristics.

This cartoon illustrates the Freudian slip, which suggests that thoughts or feelings we try to hide from others will sometimes accidentally find their way into our speech.

What Are Psychology’s Six Main Perspectives? 19

You have probably heard of such traits as introversion and extraversion, which seem to be fundamental characteristics of human nature. Other traits psycholo- gists have identified in people all over the world include a sense of anxiety or well-being, openness to new experiences, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. We will examine these “Big Five” personality traits (as well as the other whole- person theories) more closely in Chapter 10. Some psychologists also propose that we differ on an even more fundamental level called temperament, thought to ac- count for the different dispositions observed among newborn babies (and among adults as well).

Trait and temperament psychologists might explain procrastination in terms of the extent to which a person possesses the trait of conscientiousness. So, for exam- ple, a person who is high in conscientiousness—in other words, takes commitments very seriously—would be less likely to procrastinate. The individual who habitually puts things off, yet doesn’t get stressed at missed deadlines, would be labeled low on conscientiousness and in possession of an easy temperament (thus explaining the low stress). All these individual characteristics would be presumed to be at least partly biological in nature and would be expected to be fairly consistent over time and across situations.

The Developmental Perspective: Changes Arising from Nature and Nurture Change may be the only constant in our lives. According to the developmental perspec- tive, psychological change results from the interaction between the heredity written in our genes and the influence of our environment (see Table 1.1). But which counts most heavily: nature (heredity) or nurture (environment)? As we have seen, biological psychologists emphasize nature, while behaviorists emphasize nurture. Developmental psychology is where the two forces meet.

The big idea that defines the developmental perspective is this: People change in predictable ways as the influences of heredity and environment unfold over time. In other words, humans think and act differently at different times of their lives. Physi- cally, development can be seen in such predictable processes as growth, puberty, and menopause. Psychologically, development includes the acquisition of language, logical thinking, and the assumption of different roles at different times of life. De- velopmental psychologists, then, might not be surprised by the teen who procrasti- nates. On the contrary, they may see it as normal behavior at that age, given that teens are still learning how to juggle multiple responsibilities and accurately esti- mate how long things take to complete—all while simultaneously coping with their changing bodies and social worlds.

In the past, much of the research in developmental psychology has focused on children—in part because they change so rapidly and in rather predictable ways. De- velopmental psychologists are increasing their scrutiny of teens and adults, however, as we discover how developmental processes continue throughout our lives. In Chapter 7, we will explore some common patterns of psychological change seen across the entire lifespan, from conception to old age. The developmental theme will appear elsewhere throughout this text, too, because development affects all our psychological processes, from biology to social interaction.

The Sociocultural Perspective: The Individual in Context Who could deny that people exert powerful influences on each other? The sociocultural perspective places the idea of social influence center stage. From this viewpoint, social psychologists probe the mysteries of liking, loving, prejudice, aggression, obedience, and conformity. In addition, many have become interested in how these social pro- cesses vary from one culture to another (refer to Table 1.1).

developmental perspective One of the six main psychological viewpoints, distinguished by its emphasis on nature and nurture and on predictable changes that occur across the lifespan.

sociocultural perspective A main psychologi- cal viewpoint emphasizing the importance of social interaction, social learning, and culture in explaining human behavior.

20 C H A P T E R 1 Mind, Behavior, and Psychological Science

Culture, a complex blend of human language, beliefs, customs, values, and traditions, exerts profound influences on all of us. We can see culture in action not only as we com- pare people of one continent to those of another but also by comparing people, for exam- ple, in the California–Mexican culture of San Diego and the Scandinavian-based culture of Minnesota. Psychology’s earlier blindness to culture was due, in part, to the beginnings of scientific psychology in Europe and North America, where most psychologists lived and worked under similar cultural conditions (Lonner & Malpass, 1994; Segall et al., 1998). Today the perspective has broadened: Less than half of the world’s half-million psychologists live and work in the United States, and interest in psychology is growing in countries outside of Europe and North America (Pawlik & d’Ydewalle, 1996; Rosenz- weig, 1992, 1999). Still, much of our psychological knowledge has a North American/Eu- ropean flavor. Recognizing this bias, cross-cultural psychologists have begun the long task of reexamining the “laws” of psychology across cultural and ethnic boundaries (Cole, 2006).

Proponents of the sociocultural view do not, of course, deny the effects of heredity or learning or even of unconscious processes. Rather, they bring to psychology a pow- erful additional concept: the power of the situation. From this viewpoint, then, the so- cial and cultural situation in which the person is embedded can sometimes overpower all other factors that influence behavior. For example, certain cultures place greater emphasis on meeting deadlines, which would in turn influence the behavior (such as procrastination) of an individual in that culture. What situational or cultural forces have, in your own past, interfered with your timely attention to a project?

Together, then, these six perspectives all play key roles in developing a holistic understanding of human behavior. As we have seen with our example of procrastina- tion, many perspectives can reasonably applied to any single behavior—and rarely is just one perspective sufficient to adequately explain the behavior. (We hasten to add, however, that explanations for a behavior are not intended as justifications for it. Instead, they function well as clues for overcoming a behavior when it is problematic, or for understanding behaviors in others.)

To summarize the perspectives we have just covered, please have a look at Figure 1.4. There you will find a thumbnail overview of the main viewpoints that make up the spec- trum of modern psychology.

The Changing Face of Psychology Modern psychology is a field in flux. In recent decades, the biological, cognitive, and developmental perspectives have become dominant. And increasingly, adherents of once- conflicting perspectives are making connections and joining forces: We now see such

new and strange hybrid psychologists as “cognitive behaviorists” or “evolutionary developmentalists.” At the same time, nearly all specialties within psychology seem eager to make a connection with neuroscience, which is rapidly becoming one of the pillars of the field.

We also call your attention to a noteworthy shift in the propor- tion of psychologists who are women and members of minority groups. Ethnic minorities—especially Asians, African Americans, and Latinos—are becoming psychologists in increasing numbers (Kohout, 2001). Even more striking is the new majority status of women in psychology. In 1906, only 12 percent of Ameri- can psychologists listed were women, according to a listing in American Men of Science (named with no irony intended). By 1921, the proportion had risen above 20 percent. And now, women receive more than two-thirds of the new doctorates awarded in the field each year (Cynkar, 2007; Kohout, 2001).

Although psychology has always included a higher pro- portion of women than any of the other sciences, women have often found gender biases blocking their career paths

culture A complex blend of language, beliefs, customs, values, and traditions developed by a group of people and shared with others in the same environment.

cross-cultural psychologists Those who work in this specialty are interested in how psychologi- cal processes may differ among people of different cultures.

Dr. Phil Zimbardo, one of your authors, is a social psychologist who studies the “power of the situation” in controlling our behavior. You will see how strongly social situations affect our behavior when you read about his Stanford Prison Experiment in Chapter 11.

Cross-cultural psychologists, such as this researcher in Kenya, furnish important data for checking the validity of psychological knowledge.

What Are Psychology’s Six Main Perspectives? 21

FIGURE 1.4 Summary of Psychology’s Six Main Perspectives

The Biological Perspective focuses on: • nervous system • endocrine system • genetics • physical characteristics

The Behavioral Perspective focuses on: • learning • control of behavior by the

environment • stimuli and responses—but

not mental processes

The Developmental Perspective focuses on: • changes in psychological

functioning across the life span • heredity and environment

The Cognitive Perspective focuses on: • mental processes, such as thought, learning, memory, and perception • the mind as a computer-like ”machine” • how emotion and motivation influence thought and perception (”hot cognition”)

The Whole-Person Perspective includes: • the Psychodynamic View, which emphasizes unconscious motivation and mental disorder • the Humanistic View, which emphasizes mental health and human potential • the Trait and Temperament View, which emphasizes personality characteristics and individual differences

The Sociocultural Perspective focuses on: • social influences on behavior and

mental processes • how individuals function in

groups • cultural differences

questions, or create one of your own. Can you explain how at least four of psychol- ogy’s perspectives might explain that be- havior? If so, you are well on your way to understanding the importance of multiple perspectives in the field of psychology.


The six perspectives in psychology can be one of the most useful tools you take away from this class. How? By applying them to behaviors of interest in your own life, you can become more sophisticated and more accurate in your interpretations of

why people do what they do. Why do some people commit acts of terror or violence? What causes infidelity in romantic relation- ships? What makes a person feel anxious when speaking in public? Why do people smoke cigarettes? Consider one of these

22 C H A P T E R 1 Mind, Behavior, and Psychological Science

(Furumoto & Scarborough, 1986). For example, G. Stanley Hall, one of the pioneers of American psychology, notoriously asserted that academic work would ruin a woman’s health and cause deterioration of her reproductive organs. Nevertheless, as early as 1905, the American Psychological Association elected its first female president, Mary Whiton Calkins. See Table 1.2 for a sampling of other important contributions made by women to the field of psychology.


Psychology as a Major

Becoming a fully fledged psychologist requires substantial training beyond the bach- elor’s degree. In graduate school, the psychology student takes advanced classes in one or more specialized areas while developing general skills as a scholar and researcher. On completion of the program, the student receives a master’s or doctor’s degree, typically a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy), a PsyD (Doctor of Psychology), or an EdD (Doctor of Education).

Satisfying careers are available, however, at various levels of education in psychology, although the widest range of choices is available to holders of a doctorate (Smith, 2002b). In most states, a license to practice psychology requires a doctorate plus a supervised intern- ship. Most college and university teaching or research jobs in psychology also require a doctorate.

A master’s degree, typically requiring two years of study beyond the bache- lor’s level, may qualify you for employment as a psychology instructor at the high school level or as an applied psychologist in certain specialties, such as counseling. Master’s-level psychologists are common in human service agencies, as well as in private practice (although many states do not allow them to advertise themselves as “psychologists”).

Holders of associate’s degrees and bachelor’s degrees in psychology or related human services fields may find jobs as psychological aides and technicians in agencies,

TABLE 1.2 A Sampling of Women’s Contributions to Psychology

Research Area Institutional Affiliation

Mary Ainsworth Infant attachment University of Toronto

Mary Calkins Memory, psychology of the self Wellesley College

Christine Ladd Franklin Logic and color vision Johns Hopkins University

Carol Gilligan Gender studies, moral development Harvard University

Julia Gulliver Dreams and the subconscious self Rockford University

Diane Halpern Critical thinking, gender differences University of Cincinnati

Elizabeth Loftus False memory Stanford University

Eleanor Maccoby Developmental psychology, effects of divorce on children

University of Michigan

Lillien Martin Psychophysics Wellesley College

Christina Maslach Burnout and job stress Stanford University

Anna McKeag Pain Bardwell School

Sandra Scarr Intelligence Harvard University

Margaret Washburn Perception Vassar College

How Do Psychologists Develop New Knowledge? 23

hospitals, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centers. A bachelor’s degree in psychology, coupled with training in business or education, can also lead to interesting careers in personnel management or education.

Further information about job prospects and salary levels for psychologists is available online in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook (2011–2012 edition) at You might also check out the American Psychological Association’s career pages at index.aspx.

Check Your Understanding 1. RECALL: René Descartes made a science of psychology possible

when he suggested that __________.

2. APPLICATION: “The differences between men and women are mainly the result of different survival and reproduction issues faced by the two sexes.” Which of the main viewpoints in psychology would this statement represent?

3. APPLICATION: If you were a teacher trying to understand how students learn, which of the following perspectives would be most helpful?

a. the cognitive view b. the psychodynamic view c. structuralism d. the trait and temperament view

4. RECALL: To which of the structuralists’ and functionalists’ ideas did the behaviorists object?

5. RECALL: Which of the whole-person views focuses on understanding the unconscious mind?

6. APPLICATION: “Soldiers may sometimes perform heroic acts, not so much because they have heroic personality traits but because they are in a situation that encourages heroic behavior.” Which perspective is this observation most consistent with?

7. APPLICATION: If you wanted to tell whether a friend had experienced a perceptual shift while viewing the Necker cube, you would have to use the method of __________, which was pioneered by Wundt and the structuralists.

8. UNDERSTANDING THE CORE CONCEPT: Which of the following sets of factors are all associated with the perspective indicated?

a. memory, personality, environment: the behavioral perspective b. mental health, mental disorder, mental imagery: the trait and

temperament perspective

c. heredity, environment, predictable changes throughout the lifespan: the developmental perspective

d. neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, genetics: the cognitive perspective

Answers 1. sensations and behaviors are the result of activity in the nervous system. 2. The biological perspective—in particular the viewpoint of evolutionary psychology 3. a 4. They particularly objected to the concept of the mind as an object of scientific study. They also objected to introspection as a subjective and therefore unscientific method. 5. The psychodynamic view, especially psychoanalysis 6. The sociocultural perspective 7. introspection 8. c.

1.3 KEY QUESTION How Do Psychologists Develop New Knowledge?

Earlier in this chapter, we saw how Descartes’ radical new idea separating the spiritual mind from the physical body enabled scientists to start identifying biological bases for behaviors, thus challenging the pseudoscientific “common sense” that attributed cer- tain behaviors to mysterious spiritual forces. Today, psychology continues to dispute the unfounded claims of pseudoscience, which range from palm reading to psychic predictions to use of crystals to heal physical ailments.

What makes psychology different from these pseudopsychological approaches to understanding people? Not one of them has survived trial by the scientific method, which is a way of testing ideas against observations. Instead, pseudo-psychology is based on hope, confirmation bias, anecdote—and human gullibility.

Study and Review at MyPsychLab

24 C H A P T E R 1 Mind, Behavior, and Psychological Science

You might think this an arrogant view for psychologists to take. Why can’t we make room for many different ways of understanding people? In fact, we do. Psychologists welcome sociologists, anthropologists, psychiatrists, and other scientists as partners in the enterprise of understanding people. We reject only those approaches that mislead people by claiming to have “evidence” that is, in truth, only anecdotes and testimonials.

What makes psychology a real science, then, is the method. As our Core Concept for this section says:

Core Concept 1.3 Psychologists, like all other scientists, use the scientific method to test their ideas empirically.

What is this marvelous method? Simply put, the scientific method is a way of putting ideas to an objective pass–fail test. The essential feature of this test is empirical investigation, the collection of objective information by means of careful measurements based on di- rect experience. From empirical investigations, psychological science ultimately seeks to develop comprehensive explanations for behavior and mental processes. In science, we call these explanations theories—a commonly misunderstood word.

“It’s only a theory,” people may say. But to a scientist, theory means something special. In brief, a scientific theory is a testable explanation for a broad set of facts or observations (Allen, 1995; Kukla, 1989). Obviously, this definition differs from the way people customarily use the term. In everyday language, theory can mean wild speculation or a mere hunch—an idea that has no evidence to support it. But to a sci- entist, a good theory has two attractive attributes: (a) the power to explain the facts and (b) the ability to be tested. Examples of well-supported theories include Einstein’s theory of relativity, the germ theory of disease, and Darwin’s theory of natural selec- tion. And as you will see throughout this text, psychology has many well-supported theories too. But what are the essential steps involved in testing a theory?

Four Steps in the Scientific Method Testing any idea scientifically requires four basic steps that we can illustrate by apply- ing them to our problem examining the effects of sugar on children’s activity (see Figure 1.5). All scientists follow essentially the same steps, no matter whether their field is psychology, biology, chemistry, astronomy, or any other scientific pursuit. Thus, it is the method that makes these fields scientific, not their subject matter.

Develop a Hypothesis The scientific method first requires a specific testable idea or prediction, called a hypothesis. The term literally means “little theory” because it often represents only one piece of a larger theoretical explanation. For example, a hypothesis predicting that introverted people are attracted to extra- verted people might be part of a theory tying together all the components of romantic attraction. Alternatively, a hypothesis can just be an interesting idea that piques our curiosity—as in our study of the effects of sugar on children.

To be testable, a hypothesis must be potentially falsifiable—that is, stated in such a way that it can be shown to be either correct or incorrect. Let’s illustrate how this works with the following hypothesis: Sugar causes children to become hyperactive. We could test it by having children consume sugar and then observing their activity level. If we find no increase, the hypothesis is falsified. The hypothesis would not be falsifiable if we merely stated a value judgment—for example, that sugar is “bad” for children. Science does not aim to make value judgments and cannot answer questions that can’t be tested empiri- cally. See Table 1.3 for examples of other questions science cannot answer.

Next, the scientist must consider precisely how the hypothesis will be tested. This means defining all aspects of the study in concrete terms called operational definitions. The following examples could serve as operational definitions for our study.

scientific method A four-step process for em- pirical investigation of a hypothesis under conditions designed to control biases and subjective judgments.

empirical investigation An approach to research that relies on sensory experience and observa- tion as research data.

theory A testable explanation for a set of facts or observations. In science, a theory is not just specula- tion or a guess.

hypothesis A statement predicting the outcome of a scientific study; a statement predicting the relation- ship among variables in a study.

operational definitions Objective descriptions of concepts involved in a scientific study. Operational definitions may restate concepts to be studied in be- havioral terms (e.g., fear may be operationally defined as moving away from a stimulus). Operational defini- tions also specify the procedures used to produce and measure important variables under investigation (e.g., “attraction” may be measured by the amount of time one person spends looking at another).

How Do Psychologists Develop New Knowledge? 25

• Operational definition of “children.” We can’t test all the children in the world, of course. So, our operational definition of “children” might be all the third graders in one class at a nearby elementary school.

• Operational definition of “sugar.” Likewise, we could define what we mean by “sugar” as the amount of sugar in a commercial soft drink. If we decide, for example, to use 7Up as our sugar source, we could operationally define “sugar” as the 38 grams available in one can of 7Up. (Using a noncaffeinated beverage, such as 7Up, avoids the possibly confounding effects of caffeine on the children’s behavior.)

FIGURE 1.5 Four Steps in the Scientific Method

1. Developing a hypothesis

2. Gathering objective data

3. Analyzing the results

N u

m b

er o

f ch

ild re


Activity level Low High

4. Publishing, criticizing, and replicating the results

TABLE 1.3 What Questions Can the Scientific Method Not Answer? The scientific method is not appropriate for answering questions that cannot be put to an objective, empirical test. Here are some examples of such issues:

Topic Question

Ethics Should scientists do research with animals?

Values Which culture has the best attitude toward work and leisure?

Morality Is abortion morally right or wrong?

Preferences Is rap music better than blues?

Aesthetics Was Picasso more creative than Van Gogh?

Existential issues What is the meaning of life?

Religion Does God exist?

Law What should be the speed limit on interstate highways?

Although science can help us understand such issues, the answers ultimately must be settled by logic, faith, legislation, consensus, or other means that lie beyond the scope of the scientific method.

26 C H A P T E R 1 Mind, Behavior, and Psychological Science

• Operational definition of hyperactive. This will be a bit more complicated. Sup- pose we have specially trained observers who will rate each child’s behavior on the following 5-point scale:

passive moderately active very active 1 2 3 4 5

So, if our study specifies giving some children a sugar-sweetened drink and others the same drink containing artificial sweetener, we can operationally define “hyperactive” as a significantly higher average activity rating for the group getting the sugared drink.

With our hypothesis and operational definitions in hand, we have taken the first step in our scientific study. Next, we test our hypothesis. (The great failing of pseudosciences like astrology or fortunetelling is they never actually take this step of testing their assertions.)

Collect Objective Data This is where we begin our empirical investigation. Literally, empirical means “experience based”—as contrasted with speculation based solely on hope, authority, faith, or “common sense.” This literal definition can be misleading, however, if we mistakenly classify one person’s experience as “empirical.” Regardless of how powerful one person’s experience might be, it remains merely a testimonial or an anecdote that needs to be verified under the controlled conditions of scientific research. As we discussed in the Critical Thinking section earlier in this chapter, it would be risky to assume one person’s experiences would be true for others.

Investigating a question empirically means collecting evidence carefully and sys- tematically, using one of several tried-and-true methods we will examine in depth in the next section. Such methods are designed to avoid false conclusions caused by our expectations, biases, and prejudices. Having done so, the data we obtain can be applied, or generalized, to a larger group of people with more confidence.

Analyze the Results and Accept or Reject the Hypothesis Once we have collected our data, we then analyze it using some type of mathematical or statistical formula. If you hate math, though, fear not: Detailed explanations of statistical procedures are beyond the scope of this book—in fact, advanced psychology students take entire courses on statistical methods! In our experiment, however, the statistical analysis will be relatively straightforward, because we merely want to know whether scores for the children receiv- ing sugar are higher than those taking the sugar-free drink. If so, we can declare that our hypothesis has been supported. If not, we will reject it. Either way, we have learned some- thing. You can find a statistical appendix for this text online at

Publish, Criticize, and Replicate the Results The final step in the scientific method exposes a completed study to the scrutiny and criticism of the scientific com- munity by publishing it in a professional journal, making a presentation at a profes- sional meeting, or—occasionally—writing a book. Then the researchers wait for the critics to respond.

If colleagues find the study interesting and important—and especially if it challenges other research or a widely held theory—critics may look for flaws in the research de- sign: Did the experimenters choose the participants properly? Were the statistical anal- yses done correctly? Could other factors account for the results? Alternatively, they may decide to check the study by replicating it. To replicate the experiment, they would redo it themselves to see if they get the same results.

In fact, our study of the effects of sugar on children is a simplified replication of research done previously by Mark Wolraich and his colleagues (1995). Their study lasted three weeks and compared one group of children who ate a high-sugar diet with another group given a low-sugar diet with artificial sweeteners. Contrary to folk wisdom, the researchers found no differences between the groups in behavior or cognitive (mental) function. So, if our study were to find a “sugar high” effect, it would contradict the Wolraich findings, and you can be sure it would receive careful scrutiny and criticism.

Criticism also occurs behind the scientific scenes to filter out poorly conceived or executed research prior to publication. Journal editors and book publishers (including

data Pieces of information, especially informa- tion gathered by a researcher to be used in testing a hypothesis. (Singular: datum.)

replicate In research, this refers to doing a study over to see whether the same results are obtained. As a control for bias, replication is often done by someone other than the researcher who performed the original study.

How Do Psychologists Develop New Knowledge? 27

the publishers of this book) routinely seek opinions of expert reviewers. As a result, authors usually receive helpful, if sometimes painful, suggestions for revision. Only when a hypothesis has cleared all these hurdles will editors put it in print and scholars tentatively accept it as scientific “truth.”

We should emphasize, however, that scientific findings are always tentative. As long as they stand, they stand in jeopardy from a new study that requires a new interpreta- tion or sends earlier work to the academic scrap heap. Consequently, the results of the Wolraich sugar study could be eventually replaced by better, more definitive knowl- edge. Obviously, then, the scientific method is an imperfect system, but it is the best method ever developed for testing ideas about the natural world. As such, it represents one of humankind’s greatest intellectual achievements.

Five Types of Psychological Research The scientific method, then, provides much greater credibility for ideas than does mere anecdote or pseudoscience. Within this method, there are several specific ways a re- searcher can collect objective data. Each has unique advantages, as well as limitations. One key step in conducting good research, then, is choosing the method best suited to your particular hypothesis and resources.

Experiments Like the word theory, the term experiment also has a very specific mean- ing in science. Contrary to everyday usage of the term to refer to any type of formal or informal test, the scientific use of the word applies to a particular set of procedures for collecting information under highly controlled conditions. As a result of its careful design, an experiment is the only type of research method we will discuss here that can reliably determine a cause–effect relationship. Thus, if a hypothesis is worded in a man- ner that suggests cause and effect—as ours does in stating that sugar causes hyperactivity in children—then the experiment is the best option. Let’s see how our sugar study can determine cause and effect.

In the most basic experimental design, the researcher varies only one factor, known as a variable, and keeps all other conditions of the experiment under constant control— the same for all participants. Scientists call that one variable the independent variable because it operates independently of everything else in the study. In our sugar study, we hypothesized that sugar causes hyperactivity, so sugar/no sugar is our independent variable. By giving some children sugar and others a sugar substitute, and keeping all other conditions constant, we are manipulating the independent variable. Because all other aspects of the experiment are held constant, we can say that the indepen- dent variable is the cause of any experimental effects we observe.

Likewise, the dependent variable is the outcome variable, or what we hypothesize to be the effect. In other words, any experimental effects we observe depend on the independent variable that we have introduced. In our sugar experiment, then, the de- pendent variable is the children’s activity level. If the group receiving the sugar is later observed to be more active, we can be sure it was the sugar that caused the hyperactiv- ity, because it was the only difference between the two groups.

Before going any further, we should clarify two other important terms used to identify our participants. Those receiving the treatment of interest (in our study, the high-sugar drink) are said to be in the experimental condition. Individuals exposed to the experi- mental condition, then, make up the experimental group. Meanwhile, those in the control group enter the control condition, where they do not receive the special treatment. (In our study, the control group will get the artificially sweetened drink.) Thus, the control group serves as a standard against which to compare those in the experimental group.

How do we decide which participants will be placed into each group? The easy way to divide them up would be to let the children (or their parents) decide, based on their own preferences. The problem with that, however, is there could be some difference between children whose parents let them drink sugared drinks and those whose parents do not. Perhaps, for example, parents who allow their children to drink sugared drinks are more relaxed about rules in general, which could result in those same kids being rowdier in their play—which would confound our results. Similarly, it wouldn’t do to put all the girls

experiment A kind of research in which the researcher controls all the conditions and directly manipulates the conditions, including the independent variable.

independent variable A stimulus condition so named because the experimenter changes it indepen- dently of all the other carefully controlled experimental conditions.

dependent variable The measured outcome of a study; the responses of the subjects in a study.

experimental group Participants in an experi- ment who are exposed to the treatment of interest.

control group Participants who are used as a comparison for the experimental group. The control group is not given the special treatment of interest.

Distinguishing Independent and Dependent Variables at

Simulate the Experiment


28 C H A P T E R 1 Mind, Behavior, and Psychological Science

in one group and all the boys in the other. Why not? There could be gender differences in their physical reactions to sugar. In addition, one sex might be better than the other at controlling their reactions. These pre-existing differences could impact our outcome.

The best solution is to use random assignment, by which participants are assigned to each group purely by chance. One way to do this would be to list the children alpha- betically and then assign alternating names to the experimental and control groups. In this way, random assignment minimizes any pre-existing differences between the two groups. This, in turn, assures that any differences in activity level are truly due to sugar rather than to some other factor such as sex or parenting style.

In summary, the experimental method is the gold standard for finding cause-and- effect relationships. It does so by isolating the variable of interest (the independent variable) and holding all other conditions of the experiment constant. Random assign- ment to experimental and control groups is used to minimize pre-existing differences between the groups so we can be more confident that differences in the outcome (the dependent variable) are due to the effects of the independent variable and nothing else.

Given the power of the experiment to find cause and effect, why do we need other methods? For one reason, not all hypotheses aim to find cause and effect—some merely wish to describe certain populations, such as determining what personality traits are common among psychology students. For another, ethical considerations prevent us from conducting certain kinds of experimental studies, notably those which might potentially harm participants. In such instances, then, one of the following research methods is a better or more practical choice.

Correlational Studies In addition to the considerations described above, there is yet another factor that influences a researcher’s choice of method: Due to practical or ethi- cal considerations, sometimes scientists cannot gain enough control over the situation to allow them to conduct a true experiment. Suppose, for example, you wanted to test the hypothesis that children who ingest lead-based paint run an increased risk of learn- ing disabilities. (Lead-based paint is common in older homes, especially in low-income urban housing.) You couldn’t do an experiment, because an experiment would require you to manipulate the independent variable—which in this case would mean giving toxic material (lead) to a group of children. Obviously, this would be harmful and unethical.

Fortunately, you can find a way around the problem—but at the expense of some control over the research conditions. The solution takes the form of a correlational study. In correlational research you, in effect, look for a “natural experiment” that has already occurred by chance in the real world. So, in a correlational study on the ef- fects of ingesting lead-based paint, you might look for a group of children who had already been exposed to lead paint. Then you would compare them to another group who had not been exposed. As a further control, you should try to match the groups so they are comparable in every conceivable respect (such as age, family income, and gender)—except in their exposure to lead-based paint.

The big drawback of a correlational study is that you can never be sure the groups are completely comparable, because you did not randomly assign people to experimen- tal groups or manipulate the independent variable. In fact, the groups may differ on some important variables (such as access to health care or nutrition) that you could have overlooked. Thus, even if you observe more learning disabilities among children who were exposed to lead-based paint, you cannot conclude with certainty that expo- sure to the paint caused the disabilities. The most you can say is that lead-based paint is correlated (associated) with learning disabilities. This is, however, still useful, as it narrows the search for links to learning disabilities. In addition, a series of solid corre- lational findings sometimes pave the road to an experimental study, as we will discuss in the following text. Many research findings reported in the media are likely to be from correlational studies, rather than experimental ones, so let’s take a closer look at what these findings mean and how we can accurately interpret them.

Three Types of Correlations If two variables show a pattern in which they vary in the same direction (as one variable increases, so does the other), we say they have a positive correlation. For example, we predicted a positive correlation in our hypothesis

random assignment A process used to assign individuals to various experimental conditions by chance alone.

correlational study A form of research in which the relationship between variables is studied, but with- out the experimental manipulation of an independent variable. Correlational studies cannot determine cause- and-effect relationships.

positive correlation A correlation indicating that the variables change simultaneously in the same direction: As one grows larger or smaller, the other grows or shrinks in a parallel way.

How Do Psychologists Develop New Knowledge? 29

that children exposed to lead-based paint are at higher risk for learning disabili- ties. But when one variable decreases as the other increases, this is called a negative correlation. You would probably find a negative correlation between the amount of al- cohol consumed by college students and their grade-point averages (as college students increase their consumption of alcohol, their grade-point averages decrease). Finally, if the variables have no relationship at all, there is a zero correlation, which is what you might expect between height and GPA, for example (see Figure 1.6).

Researchers usually express the degree of correlation as a number that can range from as low as –1.0 (reflecting a strong negative correlation) to a positive number as high as +1.0 (indicating a strong positive correlation). It is important to note that a correlation can show a strong relationship even when it is negative. (Note: Professors often ask test questions about this!) Suppose we find a correlation of –0.7 between anxiety and time spent studying. In other words, this is a negative correlation indicat- ing more anxiety is correlated with less studying. Even though this is a negative cor- relation, it shows a stronger relationship than the positive correlation of +0.4 that is found, for example, between SAT scores and grades.

Interpreting Correlational Findings One of the most common errors in critical thinking occurs when correlational findings are misinterpreted as cause-and-effect findings. For example, some years ago, research identified a positive correlation between children’s self-esteem and their performance in school. Did that mean high self-esteem caused kids to do better in school? Not necessarily—and to conclude otherwise is a critical thinking error! While that notion certainly fits our “common sense” ideas about the benefits of self-esteem, without conducting an experiment, manipulating the independent variable (self-esteem), and randomly assigning students to experimental and control conditions, we cannot be sure what the causal factor is. Scientists often put the general principle this way: Correlation does not necessarily mean causation.

In fact, any time you see a correlational finding, you must consider three possible interpretations for the finding:

• A causes B. If “A” refers to the first variable mentioned—in this case, self-esteem— and “B” refers to the second variable (grades), this interpretation recognizes that self-esteem may indeed influence a student’s grades in school. That is, however, only one possibility.

• B causes A. It could also be the case that grades in school influence self-esteem—in other words, that our initial assumption about causality was backwards. If you think about it, couldn’t it also be possible that students who do well in school feel

negative correlation A correlation indicating that the variables change simultaneously in opposite directions: As one becomes larger, the other gets smaller.

zero correlation When two variables have no relationship to each other.

FIGURE 1.6 Three Types of Correlation

The graphs illustrate the three main types of correlation, with data points for 27 individuals. (A) shows a positive correlation between SAT scores and GPA; (B) shows a negative correlation between alcohol consumption and GPA; and (C) shows no correlation between height and GPA.


Number of Drinks per Week


SAT Scores



(B) Negative Correlation(A) Positive Correlation (C) No Correlation

200 400 600 800 2 4 6 7 9 10 12 4’6” 5”0” 5”6” 6’0” 6’6”
















Explore the Concept Correlations Do Not Show Causation at MyPsychLab

30 C H A P T E R 1 Mind, Behavior, and Psychological Science

better about themselves as a result? If that were true, grades in school (rather than self-esteem) would be the driving force of the correlation.

• C causes both A and B. Yet a third possibility must also be recognized in contem- plating correlational findings: What if a different variable (C)—something not measured in the study—was actually the driving force behind the observed rela- tionship? In this example, what might influence a student’s school performance and his or her self-esteem? Perhaps more time spent with parents helps a child succeed in school and also improves the child’s self-esteem. In that case, we would be mistaken to assume that grades and self-esteem were related causally—instead, they just appeared that way due to lack of attention to the true source of both.

The important thing to remember is that without a true experiment, speculation about cause is just that: speculation—and potentially dangerous speculation at that. This dan- ger was powerfully illustrated by the very findings we have discussed here: In the wake of correlational studies showing a relationship between self-esteem and grades, millions of dollars were spent nationwide on programs training teachers to help improve students’ self-esteem, with the mistaken assumption that higher self-esteem would in turn raise students’ grades. Did it work? No. On the contrary, follow-up experimental research discovered that getting good grades is one causal component in high self-esteem, provid- ing support for the B causes A explanation given previously. Moreover, it turns out that self-control (in this case, an example of a C variable) promotes both self-esteem and school performance (Baumeister, 2003). Even trained researchers and lawmakers can make mistakes when “common sense” biases their accurate interpretations of research.

Surveys Which type of learning do students prefer: listening to lectures, reading material on their own, or participating in hands-on activities? If you want to know the answer to this question, you don’t need to perform an experiment or a correlational study. Instead, you can simply ask students what they like using a survey, which is a popular and effec- tive method of determining people’s attitudes, preferences, or other characteristics.

Widely used by political pollsters and marketing consultants (as well as by many researchers in psychology and sociology), surveys typically ask people for their re- sponses to a prepared set of questions. The biggest advantage of the survey method is its ability to gather data from large numbers of respondents relatively quickly and inexpensively, such as through Internet surveys. This easy access to many people is also the source of the survey’s biggest disadvantage: its vulnerability to a variety of biases.

What are some common biases in conducting or interpreting results of a survey? Social desirability bias refers to respondents’ tendency to answer questions in ways that are socially or politically correct (Schwarz, 1999). Other biases can stem from wording of the questions (Are they clear? Do they use emotionally charged words to elicit a particular type of response?), the sample (How well do the respondents repre- sent the general population?), and the survey conditions (Is the survey anonymous? Are people completing it in a setting that might bias their responses?)

If care is taken to avoid these biases, surveys can be very useful—but only when the hypothesis can be legitimately studied with a survey. Examining the effects of sugar on children’s activity level by asking parents if they’ve noticed their children behaving more actively after consuming sugar, for example, would reveal parents’ opinions about sugar and hyperactivity—but opinions do not empirically test the relationship in which we are interested. Thus, it would not be an appropriate choice for solving our chapter problem.

Naturalistic Observations In her classic studies showing that chimpanzees have a complex, tool-making culture, Jane Goodall observed chimps in their natural jungle environment. Likewise, when psychological researchers want to know how people act in their natural surroundings (as contrasted with the artificial conditions of a labora- tory), they use the same method of naturalistic observation. This approach is a good choice for studying child-rearing practices, shopping habits, or how people flirt in pub- lic. Thus, the setting for a naturalistic observation could be as varied as a home, a shopping mall, a restaurant, or a remote wilderness.

survey A technique used in descriptive research, typically involving seeking people’s responses to a prepared set of verbal or written items.

naturalistic observation A form of descriptive research involving behavioral assessment of people or animals in their natural surroundings.

How Do Psychologists Develop New Knowledge? 31

As you might guess, naturalistic observations are made under far less controlled conditions than are experiments because the researcher merely observes and records behaviors, rather than manipulating the en- vironment. The best naturalistic observations, however, follow a care- fully thought-out plan. Thus, such concerns as expectancy bias can be minimized by use of systematic procedures for observation and data collection and by careful training of observers.

The advantage of naturalistic observation is that you see the behav- iors as they naturally occur, which often reveals insights not found in a laboratory setting. In some situations, it is also more cost effective to use the natural environment rather than try to reconstruct one in the lab. The disadvantages include the lack of control over the environment, which prohibits causal conclusions, as well as the time-consuming and expensive nature of a well-designed naturalistic study.

Case Studies How might you study what shaped comedian Stephen Colbert’s sense of humor? You can’t conduct any type of empirical research, because (for better or worse) you have only one Stephen Colbert. In situations such as this, researchers must rely on the case study, a unique type of research method that focuses in depth on only one or a few individuals, usually with rare problems or unusual talents. For example, in his book, Creating Minds, Howard Gardner (1993) used the case study method to explore the thought processes of several highly creative individuals, including Einstein, Picasso, and Freud. Therapists who use case studies to develop theories about mental disorder sometimes call this the clinical method. By either name, the disadvantages of this approach lie in its subjectivity, its small sample size, and the lack of control over variables that could affect the individuals under study. These limitations severely restrict the researcher’s ability to draw conclusions that can be generalized or applied with con- fidence to other individuals. Nevertheless, the case study can sometimes give us valuable information that could be obtained in no other way.

Controlling Biases in Psychological Research Assisted suicide. Abortion. Capital punishment. Do you have strong feelings and opin- ions on any of these issues? Emotion-laden topics can bring out biases that make criti- cal thinking difficult, as we have seen. The possibility of bias, then, poses problems for psychologists interested in studying such issues as child abuse, gender differences, or the effects of racial prejudice—topics that may interest them precisely because of their own strong opinions. Left uncontrolled, researcher biases can affect the ways they design a study, collect the data, and interpret the results. Let’s take a look at two forms of bias that require special vigilance in research.

Emotional bias, which we discussed earlier in connection with critical thinking, involves an individual’s cherished beliefs, strong preferences, unquestioned assump- tions, or personal prejudices. Often these are not obvious to the individual who has such biases. For example, in his book Even the Rat Was White, psychologist Robert Guthrie (1998) points out the bias in the long psychological tradition of research on college students—who were most often White—without realizing they were introduc- ing bias with their sample-selection procedures. This practice limited the applicabil- ity of the research results to people of color. Fortunately, the scientific method, with its openness to peer criticism and replication, provides a powerful counterbalance to an experimenter’s emotional bias. Still, scientists would prefer to identify and control their biases before potentially erroneous conclusions hit print.

Expectancy bias can also affect scientists’ conclusions when they observe only what they expect to observe. (You can see a close kinship here with confirmation bias, also discussed earlier.) Expectancy bias revealed itself in, for example, a notable study in which psychology students trained rats to perform behaviors such as pressing a lever to obtain food (Rosenthal & Lawson, 1964). The experimenters told some students their rats were especially bright; other students heard their rats were slow learners. (In fact,

case study Research involving a single individual (or, at most, a few individuals).

expectancy bias The researcher allowing his or her expectations to affect the outcome of a study.

Jane Goodall used the method of naturalistic observation to study chimpanzee behavior.

In his book Even the Rat Was White, Robert Guthrie called attention to the neglect of contributions by African Americans in psychology.

32 C H A P T E R 1 Mind, Behavior, and Psychological Science

the experimenters had randomly selected both groups of rats from the same litters.) Sure enough, the students’ data showed that rats believed to be bright outperformed their supposedly duller littermates—in accord with the students’ expectations. How could this be? Apparently, rats perform better for an enthusiastic audience! Follow-up questionnaires showed that students with the “bright” rats were “more enthusiastic, encouraging, pleasant, and interested in their rat’s performance.”

Not only can these sources of bias lead to erroneous conclusions, they can also pro- duce expensive or even dangerous consequences. Imagine that you are a psychologist working for a pharmaceutical company that wants you to test a new drug. With mil- lions of dollars riding on the outcome, you may not be thinking with complete objectivity— despite your most sincere efforts. And what about the doctors who will prescribe the drug to patients in your study? Surely they will have high hopes for the drug, as will their patients. And so the stage is set for expectancy bias to creep covertly into the study.

Fortunately, scientists have developed a strategy for controlling expectancy bias by keeping participants in the research experimentally “blind,” or uninformed, about whether they are getting the real treatment or a placebo (a sham “drug” or fake treat- ment with no medical value). Even better is the double-blind study, which keeps both participants and experimenters unaware of which group is receiving which treatment. In a double-blind drug study, then, neither researchers nor participants would know (until the end of the study) who was getting the new drug and who was getting the placebo. This scientific trick controls for experimenters’ expectations by assuring that experimenters will not inadvertently treat the experimental group differently from the control group. And it controls for expectations of those receiving the experimental treatment, because they are also “blind” to which group they have been assigned.

As you can imagine, expectancy bias could affect the response of the children in our sugar study. Similarly, expectations of the observers could color their judgments. To prevent this, we should ensure that neither the children nor the observers nor the teachers know which children received each condition.

Ethical Issues in Psychological Research Research also can involve serious ethical issues, such as the possibility of people being hurt or unduly distressed. No researcher would want this to happen, yet the issues are not always clear. Is it ethical, for example, in an experiment on aggression, to deliberately provoke people by insulting them? What degree of stress is too high a price to pay for the knowledge gained from the experiment? Such ethical issues raise difficult but important questions, and not all psychologists would answer them in exactly the same way.

To provide some guidelines for researchers, the American Psychological Associa- tion (APA) publishes Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (2002a). This document not only deals with the ethical obligation to shield research participants from potentially harmful procedures, but it also warns researchers that information acquired about people during a study must be held confidential (Knapp & VandeCreek, 2003; Smith, 2003a, b).

Informed Consent One important ethical guideline involves gaining informed consent, which ensures that our participants are willingly engaging in our research. In our sugar study, for example, we might explain to parents and the teacher the broad outline of the experiment like this:

We propose to examine the supposed effect of sugar on children’s activity level. To do so, we have planned a simple study of the children in your child’s third- grade classroom—subject to the permission of their parents. The procedure calls for dividing the children into two groups: At lunchtime, one group will be given a commercial soft drink (7Up) sweetened with sugar, while the other group will be given the same drink sweetened with artificial sweetener (Diet 7Up). The children will not be told to which groups they have been assigned. For the rest of the school day, specially trained observers will rate the children’s activity level. Once averaged, ratings will show whether the group receiving


For many people, the brain responds to placebos in much the same way that it responds to pain-relieving drugs (p. 110).

placebo (pla-SEE-bo) Substance that appears to be a drug but is not. Placebos are often referred to as “sugar pills” because they might contain only sugar, rather than a real drug.

double-blind study An experimental procedure in which both researchers and participants are unin- formed about the nature of the independent variable being administered.

informed consent Insures that research partici- pants are informed of the procedures of the research, as well as any potential dangers involved, so they may opt out if desired.

How Do Psychologists Develop New Knowledge? 33

the sugar-sweetened drink was more active than the other group. We will share the results with you at the end of the study.

Deception The use of deception poses an especially knotty problem for re- searchers in psychology. As discussed above, the Ethical Principles document states that, under most circumstances, participation in research should be volun- tary and informed, so volunteers are told what challenges they will face and have a real opportunity to opt out of the study. But the issue can be more complicated than it first appears. What if you are interested in the “good Samaritan” prob- lem: the conditions under which people will help a stranger in distress? If you tell people you have contrived a phony emergency situation and ask them whether they are willing to help, you will spoil the very effect you are trying to study. Consequently, the guidelines do allow for deception under some conditions, pro- vided no substantial risks are likely to accrue to the participants.

You might well ask, “Who judges the risks?” Most places where research is done now have watchdog committees, called institutional review boards (IRBs), that examine all studies proposed to be carried out within an institution, such as a college, university, or clinic. Further, when a researcher uses deception, the APA guidelines require that participants be informed of the deception as soon as pos- sible without compromising the study’s research goals. Thus, participants are de- briefed after the study to make sure they suffer no lasting ill effects. Despite these precautions, some psychologists stand opposed to the use of deception in any form of psychological research (Baumrind, 1985; Ortmann & Hertwig, 1997).

Animal Studies Another long-standing ethical issue surrounds the use of lab- oratory animals, such as rats, pigeons, and monkeys. Animals make attractive research subjects because of the relative simplicity of their nervous systems and the ease with which large numbers of individuals can be maintained under controlled conditions. Animals also have served as alternatives to humans when a procedure was deemed risky or outright harmful, such as implanting electrodes in the brain to study its parts.

With such concerns in mind nearly 100 years ago, officers of the American Psycho- logical Association established a Committee on Precautions in Animal Experimentation, which wrote guidelines for animal research (Dewsbury, 1990). More recently, the APA’s Ethical Principles document reiterated the experimenter’s obligation to provide decent liv- ing conditions for research animals and to weigh any discomfort caused them against the value of the information sought in the research. Additional safeguards appear in a 1985 federal law that regulates animal research (Novak & Suomi, 1988).

Recent years have seen a renewal of concern about the use of animals as research sub- jects. When the research involves painful or damaging procedures, such as brain surgery, electrode implants, or pain studies, people become especially uneasy. Some feel that limita- tions should be more stringent, especially on studies using chimpanzees or other human- like animals. Others believe that limitations or outright bans should apply to all animal research, including studies of simple animals such as sea slugs (often used in neurological studies). While many psychologists support animal research under the APA guidelines, the issue remains a contested one (Bird, 2005; Plous, 1996).


The Perils of Pseudo-Psychology

Now that we understand the importance of the scientific method in determining the credibility of claims we hear in the news, let’s look at a few serious problems that have resulted from failures to follow this reliable system carefully.

In 1949, the Nobel Prize in medicine went to the inventor of the “lobotomy,” which at the time was a crude brain operation that disconnected the frontal lobes from the rest of the brain. Originally intended as a treatment for severe mental disorders, the operation led instead to thousands of permanently brain-injured patients. The procedure had no careful scientific basis, yet it became popular because people who wanted it to

34 C H A P T E R 1 Mind, Behavior, and Psychological Science

work didn’t ask critical questions. Emotional bias (in this case, the desire to cure people with severe mental illnesses) promoted blind faith instead of clear-eyed scrutiny. As a result, people failed to examine the evidence objectively.

For a modern example of pseudo-psychology’s harmful effects, we offer the widespread belief that positive thoughts can cure dire diseases such as cancer. What could possibly be wrong with that idea? For one thing, the evidence doesn’t support the notion that a per- son’s state of mind significantly impacts the chances of recovery from a serious physical illness (Cassileth et al., 1985; Coyne et al., 2007). For another, the attitude-can-make-you- well belief can lead to “blaming the victim,” or assuming a patient didn’t get well because his or her attitude was not sufficiently optimistic (Angell, 1985). And finally, for patients suffering from severe illness, the lure of positive thinking certainly presents a less pain- ful and traumatic solution than does surgery, chemotherapy, or other medical procedures. Thus, their fear of the pain and suffering of proven medical treatment may bias them to put their faith in positive thinking instead of the more scientifically valid course of treatment.

Throughout this text, we aim to help you improve your own scientific thinking by iden- tifying and countering your own critical thinking errors. We will emphasize critical thinking in three ways. One involves the problem presented at the beginning of each chapter: By ap- plying the new knowledge you develop as you work your way through the chapter, you can solve the problem. The second is through the way we have integrated our six critical think- ing guidelines, introduced in the first section of this chapter, into discussions of controversial issues in each chapter. In so doing, we hope you will become more accustomed to routinely using these guidelines to think through other controversial issues you encounter in your life. And, third, we have highlighted a special section at the end of each chapter, entitled “Critical Thinking Applied.” In these features, we model the critical thinking process as we consider a current issue related to the chapter topic—for instance, in this chapter we explore a popu- lar treatment for autism. After reading each of these special sections, we challenge you to follow our lead in critically thinking about some issue of particular interest to you in that area. You can maximize your gain from this class by choosing topics especially relevant to yourself, whether it be improving your memory, getting better sleep, or eliminating problem behaviors such as procrastination. As you will see, Psychology Matters!

Check Your Understanding 1. RECALL: What is the difference between a scientific theory and a

mere opinion?

2. APPLICATION: Which of the following could be an operational definition of “fear”?

a. an intense feeling of terror and dread when thinking about some threatening situation

b. panic c. a desire to avoid something d. moving away from a stimulus

3. ANALYSIS: Identify the only form of research that can determine cause and effect. Why is this so?

4. ANALYSIS: Why would an experimenter randomly assign participants to different experimental conditions?

5. ANALYSIS: Which one of the following correlations shows the strongest relationship between two variables?

a. +0.4 b. +0.38 c. −0.7 d. 0.05

6. ANALYSIS: What would be a good method for controlling expectancy bias in research on a new drug for depression?

7. RECALL: Why does research using deception pose an ethical problem?

8. UNDERSTANDING THE CORE CONCEPT: What do scientists mean by empirical observation?

Answers 1. A scientific theory is a testable explanation for available facts or observations. An opinion is not necessarily testable, nor can it generally explain all the relevant information. 2. d. (because it is the only one phrased in terms of behaviors that can be observed objectively) 3. Only the experiment can determine cause and effect, because it is the only method that manipulates the independent variable. 4. Random assignment helps ensure that the experimental and control groups are comparable. 5. c. 6. A double-blind study, because it controls for the expectations of both the experimenters and the participants who receive the drug. 7. Deception involves a conflict with the principle that participants in research should give their informed consent. (Deception is, however, permitted under certain circumstances specified in the Ethical Principles document.) 8. Empirical observation requires making careful measurements based on direct experience.

Study and Review at MyPsychLab

How Do Psychologists Develop New Knowledge? 35


Facilitated Communication

A utism is a developmental disorder that can cause severe impairments in attention, cognition, communication, and social functioning. In the most extreme forms, persons with autism often seem encapsulated in their own worlds, disconnected from people around them. Consequently, working with them can sometimes be quite discouraging for parents and teachers alike. It is no wonder, then, that a tech- nique known as facilitated communication was heralded as a dramatic breakthrough in the treatment of autism.

Facilitated communication rests on the belief that untapped language abilities lie hidden by the mask of autism. Propo- nents of this technique use a trained facilitator to see through the mask by helping the person with autism answer questions by pointing to letters on a letter board or keyboard. (You can see how this is done in the accompanying photo.) Parents and teachers welcomed the initial enthusiastic reports on facilitated communication. But would those reports withstand the scru- tiny of science?

What Are the Critical Issues? On its face, the claim that a person with autism is, somehow, ready but unable to communicate is quite appealing to anyone personally involved in the issue—after all, communication is a basic element of human relationships. But many psychologists re- mained skeptical. What critical thinking questions did they ask?

Is the Claim Reasonable or Extreme? The notion that a simple pointing technique could break through the barrier of autism sounded too good to be true, said critics. Indeed, such extreme claims are typically a cue for critical thinkers to exam- ine the claim and the evidence more closely. Testimonials, no matter how powerful, are no substitute for empirical evidence.

What Is the Evidence? Sure enough, evidence from scientific studies showed that, when the facilitator knew the questions, the child with autism would appear to give sensible answers. But when “blinders” were applied—by hiding the questions from the facilitator—the responses were inaccurate or nonsensical (American Psychological Association, 2003d; Lilienfeld, 2007).

Could Bias Contaminate the Conclusion? The evidence above reveals one form of bias you may have already suspected: The helper was—consciously or unconsciously—guiding the child’s hand to produce the messages. This expectancy bias became apparent when erroneous responses emerged under conditions where the facilitator didn’t know the question. Con- firmation bias and emotional biases were undoubtedly at work,

Autism A developmental disorder marked by disabilities in language, social interaction, and the ability to understand another person’s state of mind.

too: Parents and teachers, desperate for an effective treatment, uncritically accepted the anecdotal reports of success.

What Conclusions Can We Draw? Sadly, although facilitated communication had extended hope to beleaguered parents and teachers, a scientific look presented a pic- ture showing how uncritical belief could create consequences far worse than false hopes. More effective treatments were delayed, and moreover, parents blamed themselves when their children did not respond to the treatment as expected (Levine et al., 1994). Worst of all were the false accusations of sexual abuse based on messages thought to have come from children with autism (Bick- len, 1990; Heckler, 1994). The research left little doubt, however, that these messages had originated wholly in the minds of the facilitators. In light of such findings, the American Psychological Association (2003b) denounced facilitated communication as a failure and relegated it to the junk pile of ineffective therapies.

What lessons about critical thinking can you, as a student of psychology, take away from the facilitated communica- tion fiasco? We hope you will develop a skeptical attitude about reports of extraordinary new treatments, dramatic psychological breakthroughs, and products that claim to help you develop untapped potential. And we hope you will al- ways pause to ask: What is the evidence? Could the claims be merely the result of people’s expectations? Perhaps the big lesson to be learned is this: No matter how much you want to believe, and no matter how many anecdotes and testimonials you have, there is no substitute for empirical evidence.

When skeptical psychologists tested the claims for facilitated com- munication, they found that it wasn’t the autistic children who were responsible for the messages.

36 C H A P T E R 1 Mind, Behavior, and Psychological Science


By now, you probably recognize that everyone—even well-trained scientists— risks falling prey to biases and pseudosci- ence. Thus, we hope you will accept that you, too, are vulnerable to these errors in logic. Here, we list several popular beliefs that—yes, you guessed it—do not hold up to scientific scrutiny. Choose one that you tend to believe and use the Internet to find reports of scientific studies of the belief.

Then identify at least two of the critical thinking guidelines that you violated when you believed that myth to be true. Then, share your findings with your classmates.

Popular Pseudoscientific Myths

Crime rates increase when the moon is full.

Venting anger is healthy.

Abused children become abusive adults.

Most people repress traumatic memories.

If you believe in yourself, you can do anything (or, Visualize success and you’ll achieve it).

People who join cults are weak- minded or lack intelligence.

If you’re depressed, think happy thoughts and you’ll feel better.


PROBLEM: How would psychology test the claim that sugar makes children hyperactive?

• Psychologists would use the scientific method to test this claim.

• In a controlled experiment—designed to show cause- and-effect—children would be assigned randomly to an experimental group or a control group and given a drink with sugar or a sugar substitute.

• Using a double-blind procedure to control for experimenter bias and the placebo effect, observers would rate each child’s activity level.

• Analyzing the resulting data would show whether or not the hypothesis had been supported. If children who received the sugared drink were more active, we could conclude that sugar does make children hyperactive.

1.1 What Is Psychology—and What Is It Not?

Core Concept 1.1 Psychology is a broad field with many specialties, but fundamentally, psychology is the science of behavior and mental processes.

All psychologists are concerned with some aspect of behavior and mental processes. Unlike the pseudosciences, scientific psy- chology demands solid evidence to back up its claims. Within psychology, there are many specialties that fall within three broad areas. Experimental psychologists primarily do research but often teach as well. Those who are primarily teachers of psychology work in a variety of settings, including colleges, uni- versities, and high schools. Applied psychologists practice many specialties, such as industrial/organizational, sports, school, rehabilitation, clinical and counseling, forensic, and environ- mental psychology. In contrast with psychology, psychiatry is a medical specialty that deals exclusively with mental disorders.

In the media, much of what appears to be psychology is actually pseudo-psychology. Noticing the difference requires development of critical thinking skills—which this book

organizes around six questions to ask when confronting new claims that purport to be scientifically based:

• What is the source? • Is the claim reasonable or extreme? • What is the evidence? • Could bias contaminate the conclusion? • Does the reasoning avoid common fallacies? • Does the issue require multiple perspectives?

anecdotal evidence (p. 8) applied psychologists (p. 5) confirmation bias (p. 8) critical thinking skills (p. 7) emotional bias (p. 8) experimental psychologists (p. 5) pseudo-psychology (p. 7) psychiatry (p. 6) psychology (p. 4) teachers of psychology (p. 5)

Listen at MyPsychLabto an audio file of your chapter

Chapter Summary 37

1.2 What Are Psychology’s Six Main Perspectives?

Core Concept 1.2 Six main viewpoints dominate modern psychology—the biological, cognitive, behavioral, whole- person, developmental, and sociocultural perspectives—each of which grew out of radical new concepts about mind and behavior.

Psychology’s roots stretch back to the ancient Greeks. Several hundred years ago, René Descartes helped the study of the mind to become scientific, based on his assertion that sen- sations and behaviors are linked to activity in the nervous system—a step that ultimately led to the modern biological perspective, which looks for the causes of behavior in physi- cal processes such as brain function and genetics. Biological psychology itself has developed in two directions: the fields of neuroscience and evolutionary psychology.

The formal beginning of psychology as a science, how- ever, is traced to the establishment by Wundt of the first psy- chological laboratory in 1879. Wundt’s psychology, which American psychologists morphed into structuralism, advo- cated understanding mental processes such as consciousness by investigating their contents and structure. Another early school of psychology, known as functionalism, argued that mental processes are best understood in terms of their adap- tive purposes and functions. Both were criticized for the use of introspection, which some psychologists found too subjec- tive. Nevertheless, elements of these schools can be found in the modern cognitive perspective, with its interest in learning, memory, sensation, perception, language, and thinking and its emphasis on information processing.

The behavioral perspective emerged around 1900, reject- ing the introspective method and mentalistic explanations, choosing instead to analyze behavior in terms of observable stimuli and responses. Proponents of behaviorism, such as John Watson and B. F. Skinner, have exerted a powerful influ- ence on modern psychology with their demands for objective methods, insights into the nature of learning, and effective techniques for management of undesirable behavior.

Three rather different viewpoints make up the whole-person perspective, which takes a global view of the individual. Sigmund

Freud’s psychoanalytic approach, with its focus on mental disorder and unconscious processes, led to psychoanalysis and modern psychodynamic psychology. In contrast, humanistic psychol- ogy, led by Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers, emphasizes the positive side of human nature. Meanwhile, trait and temperament psychology sees people in terms of their persistent characteristics and dispositions.

The developmental perspective calls attention to mental and behavioral changes that occur predictably throughout the lifespan. Such changes result from the interaction of hered- ity and environment. Alternatively, the sociocultural perspective argues that each individual is influenced by other people and by the culture in which they are all embedded.

Modern psychology has changed rapidly over the past decades as the biological, cognitive, and developmental perspectives have become dominant. At the same time, adherents of different perspectives are joining forces. Another major change involves the increasing number of women and minority-group members entering the field.

While careers in psychology are available at various edu- cational levels, becoming a fully fledged psychologist requires a doctorate. Those with less than a doctorate work in various applied specialties as aides, teachers, and counselors.

behavioral perspective (p. 17) behaviorism (p. 16) biological perspective (p. 12) cognitive perspective (p. 15) cross-cultural psychologists (p. 20) culture (p. 20) developmental perspective (p. 19) evolutionary psychology (p. 13) functionalism (p. 14) humanistic psychology (p. 18) introspection (p. 13) Necker cube (p. 15) neuroscience (p. 13) psychoanalysis (p. 18) psychodynamic psychology (p. 17) sociocultural perspective (p. 19) structuralism (p. 14) trait and temperament psychology (p. 18) whole-person perspectives (p. 18)

Research utilizing this scientific method can employ experi- ments, correlational studies, surveys, naturalistic observations, and case studies. Each method differs in the amount of control the researcher has over the conditions being investigated. Re- searchers can fall prey to expectancy bias. One way scientists control for bias in their studies is the double-blind method. Using the experimental method in large and well-controlled double-blind studies, researchers have failed to find evidence that links sugar to hyperactivity in children.

1.3 How Do Psychologists Develop New Knowledge?

Core Concept 1.3 Psychologists, like all other scientists, use the scientific method to test their ideas empirically.

Psychology differs from the pseudosciences in that it employs the scientific method to test its ideas empirically. The scientific method relies on testable theories and falsifiable hypotheses.

38 C H A P T E R 1 Mind, Behavior, and Psychological Science


however, experimental studies revealed that reports of success were skewed by expectancy bias. As a result, facilitated com- munication was denounced by the American Psychological Association.

Facilitated Communication

A form of therapy known as facilitated communication was originally touted as a revolutionary new method of commu- nicating with persons with autism. Upon closer inspection,


Watch the following videos by logging into MyPsychLab ( After you have watched the videos, answer the questions that follow.



c. the scientific study of the behavior of individuals and of their mental processes

d. the knowledge used to predict how virtually any organism will behave under specified conditions

Program Review 1. What is the best definition of psychology?

a. the scientific study of how people interact in social groups

b. the philosophy explaining the relation between brain and mind

Psychologists follow a code of ethics, established by the American Psychological Association, for the humane treat- ment of subjects. Still, some areas of disagreement remain. These especially involve the use of deception and the use of animals as experimental subjects.

Despite widespread acceptance of the scientific method, pseudo-psychological claims abound. Unchecked, pseudo- psychology can have harmful effects, as seen in the use of the lobotomy.

case study (p. 31) control group (p. 27) correlational study (p. 28) data (p. 26) dependent variable (p. 27) double-blind study (p. 32) empirical investigation (p. 24)

expectancy bias (p. 31) experiment (p. 27) experimental group (p. 27) hypothesis (p. 24) independent variable (p. 27) informed consent (p. 32) naturalistic observation (p. 30) negative correlation (p. 29) operational definitions (p. 24) placebo (p. 32) positive correlation (p. 28) random assignment (p. 28) replicate (p. 26) scientific method (p. 24) survey (p. 30) theory (p. 24) zero correlation (p. 29)

Discovering Psychology Viewing Guide 39

2. What is the main goal of psychological research?

a. to cure mental illness

b. to find the biological bases of the behavior of organisms

c. to predict and, in some cases, control behavior

d. to provide valid legal testimony

3. Who founded the first psychology laboratory in the United States?

a. Wilhelm Wundt

b. William James

c. G. Stanley Hall

d. Sigmund Freud

4. Which of the following is desirable in research?

a. having the control and experimental conditions differ on several variables

b. interpreting correlation as implying causality

c. systematic manipulation of the variable(s) of interest

d. using samples of participants who are more capable than the population you want to draw conclusions about

5. What is the main reason the results of research studies are published?

a. so researchers can prove they earned their money

b. so other researchers can try to replicate the work

c. so the general public can understand the importance of spending money on research

d. so attempts at fraud and trickery are detected

6. Why does the placebo effect work?

a. because researchers believe it does

b. because participants believe in the power of the placebo

c. because human beings prefer feeling they are in control

d. because it is part of the scientific method

7. What is the purpose of a double-blind procedure?

a. to test more than one variable at a time

b. to repeat the results of previously published work

c. to define a hypothesis clearly before it is tested

d. to eliminate experimenter bias

8. A prediction of how two or more variables are likely to be related is called a

a. theory.

b. conclusion.

c. hypothesis.

d. correlation.

9. Why would other scientists want to replicate an experiment that has already been done?

a. to have their names associated with a well-known phenomenon

b. to gain a high-odds, low-risk publication

c. to ensure that the phenomenon under study is real and reliable

d. to calibrate their equipment with that of another laboratory

10. The reactions of the boys and the girls to the teacher in the Candid Camera episode were essentially similar. Professor Zimbardo attributes this reaction to

a. how easily adolescents become embarrassed.

b. how an attractive teacher violates expectations.

c. the way sexual titillation makes people act.

d. the need people have to hide their real reactions.

11. The amygdala is an area of the brain that processes

a. sound.

b. social status.

c. faces.

d. emotion.

12. What assumption underlies the use of reaction times to study prejudice indirectly?

a. People of different ethnic backgrounds are quicker intellectu- ally than people of other ethnicities.

b. Concepts that are associated more strongly in memory are veri- fied more quickly.

c. Prejudice can’t be studied in any other way.

d. People respond to emotional memories more slowly than emotionless memories.

2.2 How Does the Body Communicate Internally?

The Neuron: Building Block of the Nervous System

The Nervous System The Endocrine System

2.1 How Are Genes and Behavior Linked?

Evolution and Natural Selection Genetics and Inheritance

Biopsychology, Neuroscience, and Human Nature2

Psychology MattersCore ConceptsKey Questions/Chapter Outline

Evolution has fundamentally shaped psychological processes because it favors genetic variations that produce adaptive behavior.

Choosing Your Children’s Genes

Within your lifetime, parents may be able to select genetic traits for their children. What price will we pay for these choices?

The brain coordinates the body’s two communications systems, the nervous system and the endocrine system, which use similar chemical processes to communicate with targets throughout the body.

How Psychoactive Drugs Affect the Nervous System

Chemicals used to alter thoughts and feelings usually affect the actions of hormones or neurotransmitters. In so doing, they may also stimulate unintended targets, producing unwanted side effects.

The brain is composed of many specialized modules that work together to create mind and behavior.

Using Psychology to Learn Psychology

The fact that we employ many different regions of the cerebral cortex in learning and memory may be among neuroscience’s most practical discoveries.

CHAPTER PROBLEM What does Jill Bolte Taylor’s experience teach us about how our brain is organized and about its amazing ability to adapt?

CRITICAL THINKING APPLIED Left Brain versus Right Brain

2.3 How Does the Brain Produce Behavior and Mental Processes?

Windows on the Brain Three Layers of the Brain Lobes of the Cerebral Cortex Cerebral Dominance


I WAS LIVING LARGE,” SAYS DR. JILL BOLTE TAYLOR, ALSO KNOWN AS THE Singing Scientist (Taylor, 2009, p. xiv). At age 37, the Harvard Medical School brain anatomist had won prestigious awards and was recognized nationwide for her breakthrough research on the brain’s involvement in mental illness. Then, on a cold December morning, her life abruptly changed.

When Jill first awoke that fateful day, she noticed a painful pounding in her head that felt

like a severe headache. As she tried to go about her normal morning routine, however, she

began to notice odd changes in her body and her mind. Stepping into the shower became a fo-

cused effort in coordination. Her body felt strange; the sound of the water was a deafening roar,

and the overhead light seared her eyes. As she tried to think rationally and figure out what was

happening, she couldn’t keep her thoughts on track. Instead, she found herself irresistibly dis-

tracted by a newfound fascination with the movement of her body parts. “As I held my hands

up in front of my face and wiggled my fingers, I was simultaneously perplexed and intrigued.

Wow, what a strange and amazing thing I am . . . I was both fascinated and humbled by how

hard my little cells worked, moment by moment . . . I felt ethereal” (pp. 42–43). Then, her right

arm became paralyzed, and suddenly she knew: “Oh my gosh, I’m having a stroke!”—followed

immediately by something perhaps only a brain scientist would consider at a time like that,

“Wow, this is so cool!” (p. 44).

Over the next few hours, Jill struggled with figuring out how to get help. She was no longer

aware that calling 911 would bring emergency treatment, nor could she recognize the numbers

on a telephone keypad. When—after spending a full hour figuring out how to call for help—she

finally reached a coworker, she discovered that not only did she not understand his words,

he could not understand hers: She had lost her ability to speak and to understand language.

Fortunately, her coworker recognized her voice, but the several hours it took for Jill to get to a

hospital took a profound toll on her brain. She could not sit up or walk without assistance. She

could hear, but sounds were merely noise; she could not make sense out of them. She could

see but could not distinguish color or determine whether a crack in the sidewalk was danger-

ous. She could not communicate with others. She didn’t even recognize her own mother. The

massive stroke she had suffered spilled blood throughout the left side of her brain, creating a

toxic environment for millions of brain cells.

Remarkably, though, Jill recovered. Despite the extensive damage to her brain, she has

returned to her career as a neuroanatomist, teaching at Indiana University School of Medicine

and traveling as a national spokesperson for the Harvard Brain Bank. She water skis, plays

guitar, and creates works of art that are uniquely representative of her experiences: anatomi-

cally correct stained glass brains. On the outside, observers see no signs of the traumatic brain

injury she survived. On the inside, however, Jill is not the same person. Her injury and recovery

rewired her brain, and with the rewiring came a different perspective on life and different per-

sonality traits. “I may look like me, and I may sound like me, but I’m different now, and I had

to accept that,” she states with grace and conviction. “I believe [Einstein] got it right when he

said, ‘I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be’” (p. 185).

PROBLEM: What does Jill’s experience teach us about how our brain is organized and about its amazing ability to adapt?

What do we know about the human brain? In simplest terms, it is about the size of a grapefruit,

it weighs about 3 pounds, and it has a pinkish-gray and wrinkled surface. But such bald facts

offer no hint of the brain’s amazing structure and capabilities. Some 100 billion neurons (nerve

cells), each connecting with up to 10,000 other neurons, make the human brain the most com-

plex structure known. Our largest computers seem primitive by comparison.

At birth, you actually had far more neurons than you do now. Many of them have been pruned away, probably from disuse in the first few years of your life. (Don’t worry. It happens to everyone!) In adolescence, the number stabilizes and then remains essen- tially the same throughout adulthood as some cells die and others develop on a daily basis (Gage, 2003).

As for its capabilities, the human brain uses its vast nerve circuitry to regulate all our body functions, control our behavior, generate our emotions and desires, and pro- cess the experiences of a lifetime. Most of this activity operates unconsciously behind the scenes—much like the electronics in your TV. Yet when disease, drugs, or accidents destroy brain cells, the biological basis of the human mind becomes starkly apparent. Then we realize the critical role of biology in human sensation and perception, learn- ing and memory, passion and pain, reason—and even madness.

Most remarkable of all, perhaps, the human brain has the ability to think about itself. This fact fascinates specialists in biopsychology, who work in a rapidly growing field that lies at the intersection of biology, behavior, and mental processes. Biopsy- chologists often collaborate with cognitive psychologists, biologists, computer scien- tists, chemists, neurologists, linguists, and others interested in the connection between brain and mind. The result is a vibrant interdisciplinary field known as neuroscience (Kandel & Squire, 2000).

Looking at mind and behavior from this biological perspective has produced many practical applications. For example, we now know that certain parts of the brain control sleep patterns—with the result that we now have effective treatments for a number of formerly untreatable sleep disorders. Likewise, the effects of certain psycho- active drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine, make sense now that we

biopsychology The specialty in psychology that studies the interaction of biology, behavior, and mental processes.


Neuroscience grew out of the biological perspective in psychology, which looks for physiological explanations for human behavior and mental processes (p. 13).

42 C H A P T E R 2 Biopsychology, Neuroscience, and Human Nature

How Are Genes and Behavior Linked? 43

understand how these drugs interact with chemicals produced by the brain. And, as we will see, recent discoveries involving mirror neurons, the genetic code for human life, brain implants, and the biological basis of memory promise many more benefits for people who live with brain disease.

We begin our exploration of biopsychology and neuroscience at the most basic level—by considering the twin domains of genetics and evolution, both of which have shaped our bodies and minds. Then we will examine the endocrine system and the nervous system, the two communication channels carrying messages throughout the body. Finally, we will focus on the brain itself. By reading this chapter, you will come to understand how Jill Bolte Taylor recovered from the massive damage to her brain, yet became an essentially different person. More importantly, you will learn how biologi- cal processes shape your every thought, feeling, and action.

2.1 KEY QUESTION How Are Genes and Behavior Linked?

Just as fish have an inborn knack for swimming and most birds are built for flight, we humans also have innate (inborn) abilities. At birth, the human brain emerges already “programmed” for language, social interaction, self-preservation, and many other functions—as we can readily see in the interaction between babies and their caregivers. Babies “know,” for example, how to search for the breast, how to communicate rather effectively through coos and cries and, surprisingly, how to imitate a person sticking out her tongue. We’ll look more closely at the menu of innate human behaviors in our discussion of human development (Chapter 7), but for now, this is the question: How did such potential come to be woven into the brain’s fabric?

The scientific answer rests on the concept of evolution, the process by which suc- ceeding generations of organisms change as they adapt to changing environments. We can observe evolution in action on a microscopic level, when an antibiotic fails to work on a strain of bacteria that has evolved a resistance. When it comes to larger and more complex organisms, change occurs over much longer periods of time as these organisms adapt to changing climates, predators, diseases, and food supplies. In our own species, for example, change has favored large brains suited to language, complex problem solving, and social interaction.

Our Core Concept for this section makes this evolutionary process the link between genetics and behavior.

Place this order or similar order and get an amazing discount. USE Discount code “GET20” for 20% discount