Psychology 101

Review Sheet for Exam #1

Table of Contents

  • Lecture 01
  • Lecture 02
  • Lecture 03
  • Lecture 04
  • Lecture 05
  • Lecture 06
  • Lecture 07
  • Lecture 08
  • Lecture 09
  • Lecture 10
  • Lecture 11
  • Lecture 12
  • Lecture 13

  • Lecture 01


    1. Course Syllabus
      1. Course Content
      2. Grading
      3. Resources
      4. Etiquette
    2. What is Psychology?
      1. Scientific study of mind, brain, & behavior
      2. Careers in Psychology
      3. Academic Psychology
    3. Pseudopsychologies


    In this introductory lecture, I tried to convey a sense of psychology's breadth. All topics that concern human behavior and functioning (e.g., dreams, jealousy, tickling, and war) interest psychologists. I also wanted you to be aware that although there are many different kinds of psychologists, our focus will be on research generated and reported by academic psychologists (and scientists in related fields). Within academia, psychology sits at the center of the biological and social sciences, and the humanities. Not all psychological phenomena can be understood from these various perspectives, but many can. Finally, I wanted you to be aware of the assumptions that guide contemporary psychological research within academic psychology, and be familiar with the common divisions that organize psychology departments.










    Academic Areas














    Lecture 02

    History of Psychology

    1. Psychology and Philosophy
      1. Mind-Body Problem
        1. Are body and mind identical or distinct?
        2. Is behavior reflexive and determined or freely chosen and willed?
      2. Origins of Knowledge
        1. Nativism vs. Empiricism
        2. Associationism
    2. Early Psychological Theories
      1. Structuralism
      2. Functionalism
      3. Gestalt Psychology
      4. Freud
      5. Behaviorism
    3. Contemporary Perspectives
      1. Biological
      2. Cognitive
      3. Humanism
      4. Sociocultural


    Many people assume that psychology is primarily about the "diagnosis and treatment of psychological problems," but this topic was not part of the field when it began. Instead, psychology developed from the field of philosophy, and two philosophical issues were of particular importance to early psychologists: (1) The mind-body problem concerns two questions: To what extent is the mind separate from the brain and is behavior reflexive or subject to free will? (2) The second issue concerns the origins of knowledge. Here philosophers have disagreed about the degree to which all knowledge is acquired through the senses or whether some knowledge is innate, present at birth. Following Locke's assertion that "there is nothing in the intellect that is not first in the sense," early psychologists set about trying to identify the basic elements of psychological experience. Several schools of thought arose to address this issue, each adopting a particular perspective. Although the issues themselves are still debated and researched within the field, psychological research is now influenced by broader perspectives that make assumptions about human nature.


    • Be familiar with four positions regarding the "mind-body" problem.
    • Distinguish two approaches to the origins of knowledge, and explain how, according to the empiricists, people can have thoughts of things never seen (e.g., a purple cow with wings).
    • Identify the central assumptions made by each of the five early schools of psychology.
    • Know four contemporary perspectives and the assumptions they make about human nature.

    Mind-Body Problem


    Are body and mind identical or distinct?

    Is behavior reflexive or is there free will?

    Strict Dualism  
    Cartesian Interactionism  
    Willful Materialism  
    Absolute Materialism  

    Early Psychological Theories



    Guiding Assumption

    Gestalt Psychology  

    Contemporary Perspectives


    Guiding Metaphor


    Lecture 03


    1. Ways of Knowing
      1. Dogmatism
      2. Rationalism
      3. Empiricism
        1. Positivism
      4. Science
    2. Functions of Science
      1. Description
      2. Prediction
      3. Explanation
      4. Control
        1. Basic vs. Applied Research
    3. Terminology
      1. Variable
      2. Hypothesis
      3. Law
      4. Theory
    4. Scientific Process
      1. Hypotheses
      2. Theory
      3. Observation
    5. Three Criteria Used to Evaluate a Theory
      1. Parsimony
      2. Breadth
      3. Generativity


    My aim in this lecture was to demystify science. I emphasized that science is simply one way of acquiring knowledge (or learning what the world is like). It combines logic with rigorous observation. Scientists use logic to generate hypotheses, and test those hypotheses in such a way that multiple, neutral observers can verify the findings.

    I also described the functions science serves, and clarified the difference between basic research and applied research. I then defined four common scientific terms (variable, hypothesis, law, and theory) and showed how they combine to create the "scientific process." Finally, I discussed three criteria we use to evaluate theories: Parsimony (good theories are no more complex than they need to be), breadth (good theories explain a lot of different things), and generativity (good theories stimulate research).


    • Identify and describe four ways of knowing (with science being the last).
    • Identify four functions science can serve, and be able to distinguish basic research and applied research.
    • Distinguish among the following terms: Variables, Hypotheses, Laws, and Theories, and discuss the criteria used to evaluate theories.
    • Know the roles deductive and inductive logic play in science.

    Ways of Knowing

    Way of KnowingDescription



    Functions of Science


    Lecture 04

    Brain 1

    1. Neuroscience
      1. Neuropsychology
      2. Crick's "Astonishing Hypothesis"
      3. Guiding Assumptions
      4. Two Guiding Questions
        1. Where
        2. How
      5. Methods
        1. Brain Functioning
        2. Neurological Damage
        3. Animal Studies
    2. The Nervous System
      1. Divisions
      2. Cells within the Nervous System
    3. Neurons
      1. Three types
      2. Neuron Anatomy
        1. Cell Body
        2. Cell Nucleus
        3. Dendrites
        4. Axon
        5. Terminal Buttons
        6. Myelin Sheath
        7. Nodes of Ranvier


    In this lecture, I introduced the field of neuropsychology. We discussed the issues that stimulate research in this area, as well as the methods used to address these issues. Next, I tried to give you a sense of the simplicity and complexity of the physical processes that underlie psychological phenomena.

    The neuron is the nervous system's most fundamental unit. Neurons can be found in very primitive organisms (e.g., jellyfish, roundworms), and their structure and function have not changed much for ~550 million years. In humans (as in almost all other animals) three different types of neurons are found: Sensory neurons, motor neurons, and interneurons. In addition to having structures found in almost all cells in the body (e.g., organelles and a nucleus within a cell body), neurons have specialized structures that transfer electrochemical signals. These structures are the dendrites, axon, and terminal buttons. Many axons are wrapped in a fatty substance, called myelin.


    • Describe two cells within the nervous system, and discuss their major functions.
    • Identify, by sight, 7 structures of a typical neuron, and be able to describe their function.

    Neuron Terminology

    TypeCell Bodies and DendritesAxons

    Lecture 05

    Brain 2

    1. Evolution of the Nervous System
    2. Electrochemical Communication
      1. Neurons produce electrical signals
      2. Electrical signals are generated by chemical changes
    3. Resting Phase
      1. Distribution of potassium and sodium ions
      2. Negative electrical change (~-70mV)
    4. Action Potentials
      1. Depolarization
      2. Repolarization
      3. Propagation
      4. All or None Principle
      5. Transmission Speed


    Psychological phenomena are generated by electrical signals. The process underlies all aspects of psychological life, including emotion, behavior, dreams, and memory, and has remained unchanged for several hundred million years. Billions of neurons have been firing in the time it has taken you to read this paragraph and consider its implications.

    Neurons communicate by means of an electrical signal called the Action Potential. These signals are produced by sudden reversals in a neuron's electrical charge. These reversals are produced by the movement of ions across a neuronal membrane. This process is called electrochemical communication: Chemical changes produce electrical signals.


    • Identify two main factors that influence the distribution of ions within and outside of a neuron.
    • Know the relative distribution of potassium and sodium ions during a neuron's resting phase, and the (approximate) electrical current the flow of these ions creates.
    • Describe what happens to the distribution of potassium and sodium ions during depolarization (along with the factors that create this distribution), and know the (approximate) electrical current the flow of these ions creates.
    • Be familiar with the following terms as they pertain to the flow of the electrical current through a neuron: Hyperpolarization, propagation, and the "all or none principle."
    • Identify two factors that influence how fast an electrical charge travels through a neuron.

    Lecture 06

    Brain 3

    1. Synaptic Transmission
      1. Otto Loewi's Dream
      2. Synaptic Transmission
    2. Major Neurotransmitters
    3. Psychoactive Drugs


    Scientists once believed that neurons physically touch one another and communicate with electrical signals, but in an experiment that allegedly came to him in a dream, Otto Loewi first showed that neurons communicate through the exchange of chemicals, not through electrical signals. These chemicals are now known as neurotransmitters.

    Nearly 100 neurotransmitters have been identified, but 6 important ones were discussed in lecture. These chemicals have different effects depending on the receptor site of the neighboring axon.

    Psychoactive drugs are exogenous substances that affect psychological phenomena by altering the normal transfer of a neurotransmitter. This disruption can occur during any of four stages.


    • Be familiar with Otto Loewi's experimental demonstration that neurons communicate chemically.
    • Describe the role that calcium plays in synaptic transmission.
    • Be able to identify six major neurotransmitters and some of their dominant effects.
    • Describe four stages during which psychoactive drugs can alter the transmission of neurotransmitters, and be familiar with how two drugs, Prozac and cocaine, achieve their effects.

    Major Neurotransmitters

    NeurotransmitterPrimary FunctionMalfunctions

    Acetylcholine (ACh)












    Psychoactive Drugs










    Lecture 07

    Brain 4

    1. Nervous System
      1. Functions
        1. React
        2. Desire
        3. Plan
      2. Divisions
        1. Central Nervous System
        2. Peripheral Nervous System
      3. Terminology
    2. Peripheral Nervous System
      1. Somatic Nervous System
      2. Autonomic Nervous System
        1. Sympathetic Division
        2. Parasympathetic Division
    3. Central Nervous System
      1. Brain
      2. Spinal Cord
        1. Spinal Reflex
        2. Why Spinal Reflexes are Fast


    In humans (as in almost all animals), neurons do not exist in a haphazard arrangement. Instead, they are organized in an elegant system that speeds the flow of information in and out of a central command. The central nervous system, consisting of the brain and spinal cord, serves as this central command, and almost all of the 100 billion neurons in the human body are found there.

    The peripheral nervous system contains the remaining neurons (a few million). The peripheral nervous system has several subdivisions that govern the control of muscles, glands, and organs.

    The spinal cord contains a few billion neurons. It generally relays information to and from the periphery to the brain. But spinal reflexes that do not require any brain involvement also exist. These reflexes are of two types: Monosynaptic reflexes that to not involve interneurons (knee jerk reflex) and polysynaptic ones that involve sensory, motor, and interneurons within the spinal cord (pain reflex).


    • Identify the structures that comprise the central and peripheral nervous system, and distinguish nerves and tracts, and white matter and gray matter.
    • Be familiar with the divisions of the peripheral nervous system, and discuss their functions.
    • Understand the dynamics of a spinal reflex, and the role brain processes do and do not play.

    Peripheral Nervous System

    DivisionsPrimary Function
    Somatic Nervous System 
    Autonomic Nervous System 

    Sympathetic Division of the ANS


    Parasympathetic Division of the ANS


    Lecture 08

    Brain 5

    1. Brain
      1. Divisions
        1. Hindbrain
        2. Midbrain
        3. Forebrain (aka Cerebrum)
      2. Brain Development
        1. Ontology
        2. Phylogenesis
    2. Brain Stem
      1. Structures
      2. Function
    3. Forebrain
      1. Subcortical Structures
      2. Limbic System


    The brain consists of a variety of structures that are organized into divisions and functional systems. The broadest division involves the hindbrain, midbrain, and forebrain. Each of these divisions, in turn, consists of specific neurological structures.

    The three divisions emerge early in fetal development, differentiated four weeks after conception. Later development in humans brings further differentiation. There is also reason to believe these structures evolved at different times. The hindbrain and midbrain areas are well-developed in fish and reptiles, while the forebrain is well-developed only in birds and mammals. Primates have a particularly large and well-developed forebrain.

    The hindbrain and midbrain regulate instinctive behaviors and govern processes relevant to survival. Animals whose forebrains have been surgically severed from the other two areas of the brain can perform many behaviors that normal animals perform, as long as they are externally stimulated. The limbic system, which we identified as having six subcortical structures, governs learned and motivated behavior.


    • Visually identify the hindbrain, midbrain, and forebrain.
    • Describe the specific structures that comprise the hindbrain, midbrain, and brain stem.
    • Know the location and importance of the reticular formation.
    • Describe the structures that comprise the limbic system and, for each one, specify how they influence learned and motivated behavior.

    Lecture 09

    Brain 6

    1. Cerebral Cortex
      1. Lobes
      2. Areas of Specialization
      3. Hemispheres
      4. Speech Comprehension and Production Areas
    2. Prefrontal Cortex
      1. Function
      2. Development
    3. Cerebral Hemispheres
      1. Corpus Callosum
      2. Contralateral Functioning
      3. Hemispheric Lateralization


    The cerebral cortex is the outer layer of the forebrain (cerebrum). It is highly developed in humans with numerous ridges that increase its surface area without increasing its size. It is divided into lobes, areas of specialization, and hemispheres. Each of these areas performs specific functions, although many functions occur in more than one location or structure.

    The prefrontal cortex is an area directly behind the nose. It is widely-assumed to be the seat of reason, judgment, and planning, and is not fully developed until 25 years of age.

    The cortex is divided into two hemispheres that exhibit contralateral functioning. Each hemisphere is specialized for performing certain functions. In all mammals (except marsupials), the two sides are connected by a rich web of myelinated axons called the corpus callosum.


    • Visually identify the four lobes of the cortex, the three primary association areas, and Wernicke's and Broca's area.
    • Describe the general functions the four lobes serve, and the specific language functions that are localized in Wernicke's area and Broca's area.
    • Visually find the prefrontal cortex, and describe its role in executive functioning.
    • Visually identify the corpus callosum, and describe the specific functions that are specialized in the left hemisphere and the right hemisphere.

    Cerebrum Lobes

    LobeLocationPrimary Function









    Lecture 10

    Genes 1

    1. Evolution, Genetics, & Psychology
      1. Evolutionary Psychology
      2. Behavioral Genetics
    2. Protein Synthesis
      1. Amino Acids
      2. Proteins
      3. Genes
      4. Genome
    3. Gene Replication
      1. Meiosis
      2. Alleles
      3. Genotypes & Phenotypes
      4. Monogenic & Polygenic Traits
    4. Psychology and Genetics
      1. Topics
      2. Understanding What's Inherited


    If we accept that psychological phenomena have a biological basis, we must also consider the origins of biological structures and processes. Like all aspects of our anatomy, the nervous system is inherited from our biological parents and its specification is contained in our DNA. To understand ourselves as a species and how we differ as individuals, we need to understand mechanisms of inheritance.

    I began this lecture by discussing protein synthesis. Proteins are molecules that influence virtually all aspects of human functioning. They are synthesized from amino acids, and the blueprint used to create proteins is specified by DNA molecules found in chromosomes.

    We then discussed gene replication, and the importance of distinguishing between genotypes and phenotypes. Finally, we noted that, unlike some physical phenomena (e.g., dimples), psychological phenomena are influenced by a host of genes working together in ways not yet fully understood.


    • Define evolutionary psychology and behavioral genetics.
    • Define each of the following terms and be able to describe their relationship (i.e., what produces what): Amino acids, chromosomes, codons, DNA molecules, genes, proteins.
    • Define and distinguish the terms in each of the following pairs: (a) mitosis and meiosis, (b) genes and alleles, (c) genotypes and phenotypes, and (d) monogenic and polygenic traits.

    Amino Acids, Proteins, & Genes


    Amino Acids












    Lecture 11

    Genes 2

    1. Evolution & Psychology
      1. Definition
      2. Guiding Assumptions
      3. Two Causal Explanations
        1. Proximate Explanations
        2. Ultimate Explanations
      4. Two Similarities
        1. Homologous
        2. Analogous
    2. Selective Breeding
      1. Artificial Selection
      2. Natural Selection
      3. Behaviors are Heritable
      4. Heritable Qualities
    3. Sex Differences in Mating Preferences


    The biological structures we see today (and the psychological phenomena they produce) are products of hundreds of thousands of years of selective pressures. Structures that increased reproductive fitness were preferentially selected, making them part of human nature. In this sense, ancient consequences sculpted psychological structures and processes.

    It is important to remember that the structures and processes we possess today are ones that were adaptive in the past. Modern life is quite different than the life our ancient ancestors lived, so it is entirely possible that the structures that once improved reproductive success are no longer adaptive.

    Men and women face different reproductive challenges, and many people believe these challenges underlie sex differences in mating strategies.


    1. Distinguish ultimate and proximate explanations
    2. Distinguish homologous and analogous and similarities, and know what each reveals.
    3. Discuss what is meant by artificial selection, and compare it with natural selection.
    4. What evidence suggests that behaviors can be inherited, and what is the name for an inherited behavior?
    5. Describe and identify four types of heritable qualities.


    • Distinguish ultimate and proximate explanations
    • Distinguish homologous and analogous and similarities, and know what each reveals.
    • Discuss what is meant by artificial selection, and compare it with natural selection.
    • What evidence suggests that behaviors can be inherited, and what is the name for an inherited behavior?
    • Describe and identify four types of heritable qualities.

    Heritable Qualities










    Chapter 03

    • What was the most interesting group studied in the Minnesota project?
    • Differentiate between genotype and phenotype. How do genes regulate biological structures and functions?
    • Describe dominant, recessive, and polygenic influences on phenotype.
    • Describe techniques used to modify genes for research and therapeutic purposes.
    • Describe three research approaches used to estimate genetic and environmental determinants of behavior.
    • Define heritability. How is heritability of a trait estimated?
    • Contrast the behavioristic and ethological assumptions regarding the development of behavior.
    • Discuss the relation of evolution and culture to species and personal adaptations. What are the basic adaptations that organisms must learn?
    • How large a factor is heritability in individual differences in intelligence?
    • Describe shared and unshared environmental influences on intelligence. How is this affected by social class?
    • Describe the heritability of personality and the role of shared and unshared environmental influences on personality differences.
    • Describe reaction range and its hypothesized effects on the genetic expression of intelligence.
    • Describe the ways that genotype can affect environmental influences on behavior.
    • Define evolution and explain how genetic variation and natural selection produce adaptations.
    • How does brain evolution illustrate the natural selection of biological mechanisms?
    • How have evolutionary principles been used to account for diverse cultures?
    • Do genetically based diseases provide an argument against natural selection?
    • Describe examples of human behavior that suggest innate evolved mechanisms. Differentiate between remote and proximate causal factors.
    • Contrast sexual strategies and social structure explanations for mate preferences, citing results from cross-cultural research.
    • How does evolutionary theory account for the universal nature of the Big Five personality traits and of variation on each of them?
    • Describe some of the fallacies that can arise from misinterpreting evolutionary theory.

    Lecture 12


    1. Sensation & Perception
      1. Three Component Processes
      2. Adaptive Senses
      3. Sensation Sans Perception
    2. Perception
      1. Bottom Up
      2. Top Down
      3. Visual Search
    3. Psychophysics
      1. Absolute Thresholds
      2. Just Noticeable Difference
      3. Weber's Law


    Because the nervous system evolved to help animals react to the external world, sensing external stimuli is a fundamental psychological phenomenon. Perception is a bit different, as it involves a (more or less) conscious awareness of what we have sensed and the meaning we attach to sensory experience. All animals have senses, but not all perceive.

    We began this lecture by discussing the processes involved in sensation and perception. Next, we considered why we have the senses that we do, and discussed situations in which animals sense without perceiving. We then considered the nature of visual search. Finally, we discussed the field of psychophysics, which models the relation between physical stimuli and psychological perception.


    • Distinguish sensation, transduction, and perception
    • Distinguish bottom-up and top-down processes of perception
    • Describe Hubel and Wiesel's (1962) findings and know why their findings are important.
    • Describe the two-stage model of feature detection, and distinguish automatic, parallel processing from effortful, serial processing.
    • Know what the following terms refer to, and how they related to the two-stage model of feature detection: Pop out Effect ¡X a Distractor Size Effect.
    • Define the absolute threshold, the just noticeable difference, and the terms that comprise Weber's Law.

    Visual Search

    Primary FeatureSearch TypeProcessing TypePop Out?Distractor Size Effect





    Lecture 13


    1. Top Down Processes
      1. Bottom Up: Whole=Parts
      2. Top Down: Whole>Parts
      3. Context
    2. Gestalt Psychology
      1. Interdependence
      2. Figure & Ground
      3. Laws of Perceptual Organization
      4. Perceptual Schemas & Sets
    3. Perceptual Illusions


    According to Locke and the associationists, the whole is = to the sum of the parts. Gestalt psychologists objected to this assumption, arguing that the whole is > than the sum of the parts. In making this assertion, the Gestalt psychologists sought to underscore the degree to which perception is a top-down, theory driven process, rather than a bottom-up, data driven one.


    • Distinguish bottom-up from top-down processes.
    • Identify the central assumptions Gestalt psychology makes
    • Be familiar with four laws of perception.
    • Be familiar with perceptual constancy, especially as it pertains to the apparent size of figures near and far from the eye.