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6 Key Terms for Introduction to Psychology

Adaptation
a trait of an organism has a function for the survival and reproduction of the individual
American Psychological Association (APA)
professional organization representing psychologists in the United States
behaviourism
focus on observing and controlling behaviour
biopsychology
study of how biology influences behaviour
biopsychosocial model
perspective that asserts that biology, psychology, and social factors interact to determine an individual’s health
clinical psychology
area of psychology that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders and other problematic patterns of behaviour
cognitive psychology
study of cognitions, or thoughts, and their relationship to experiences and actions
counselling psychology
area of psychology that focuses on improving emotional, social, vocational, and other aspects of the lives of psychologically healthy individuals
developmental psychology
scientific study of development across a lifespan
dissertation
long research paper about research that was conducted as a part of the candidate’s doctoral training
empirical method
method for acquiring knowledge based on observation, including experimentation, rather than a method based only on forms of logical argument or previous authorities
forensic psychology
area of psychology that applies the science and practice of psychology to issues within and related to the justice system
functionalism
focused on how mental activities helped an organism adapt to its environment
humanism
perspective within psychology that emphasizes the potential for good that is innate to all humans
introspection
process by which someone examines their own conscious experience in an attempt to break it into its component parts
natural selection
the process by which differences in an organisms characteristics arise leading to better adaptation to their environment
-ology
suffix that denotes “scientific study of”
personality psychology
study of patterns of thoughts and behaviours that make each individual unique
personality trait
consistent pattern of thought and behaviour
PhD
(doctor of philosophy) doctoral degree conferred in many disciplinary perspectives housed in a traditional college of liberal arts and sciences
postdoctoral training program
allows programs and broaden their research skills under the supervision of other professionals in the field
psychoanalytic theory
focus on the role of the unconscious in affecting conscious behaviour
psychology
scientific study of the mind and behaviour
PsyD
(doctor of psychology) doctoral degree that places less emphasis on research-oriented skills and focuses more on application of psychological principles in the clinical context
sport and exercise psychology
area of psychology that focuses on the interactions between mental and emotional factors and physical performance in sports, exercise, and other activities
structuralism
understanding the conscious experience through introspection

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Key Terms for Introduction to Psychology by Edited by Leanne Stevens is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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