Key Terms/Concepts

– human actions that can be analyzed through psychology (aggression, gender roles, temperament, learned helplessness, depression, etc.)

Behavior Change
– literally, a change in behavior. (How does one change from non-aggressive to aggressive, happy/normal to depressed?)

Falsifiable - whether something can be tested by experiment or observation. Can the information be refuted by empirical data (data that results from experiment or observation, rather than speculation or theory)?

Free Will
– humans are free to choose their behavior, that they are essentially self-determining. This does not mean that behavior is uncaused in the sense of being completely random, but assumes that influences (biological or environmental) can be rejected at will. Humanistic perspective is the strongest advocate of human free will, evident in humanistic therapies which are usually non-directive. Cognitive perspective is influenced by soft determinism. (Free will is not freedom from causation, but freedom from coercion and constraint – if our actions are voluntary and in line with our conscious desired goals then they are free.) While it seems that we select what we pay attention to, these mechanisms operate with the parameters of their innate capabilities and our past experience (just as a computer cannot choose to do something it was not built or programmed for).

– every physical event is caused, and, since human behavior is a physical event, it follows that it too is caused by preceding factors. If all events are caused and perfect knowledge is gained of the current state of the universe, it follows that future events are entirely predictable. (basis of science) Behaviorism took an extreme environmental determinism approach – learning from the environment writes upon the blank slate of our mind at birth to cause behavior. Psychoanalytic perspective took the view of unconscious determinism. Biological perspective looks at the deterministic influence of genetics, brain structure, biochemistry, and evolution.

- explaining a phenomenon by breaking it down into its constituent parts (analyzing it). Behaviorism assumes that complex behavior is the sum of all past stimulus-response learning units. Biological perspective aims to explain behavior at the physiological, chemical, or genetic level.

Ecological Validity
- Does the study apply beyond the lab?

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Command Terms Review

account for - Asks students to explain a particular happening or outcome. Students are expected to present a reasoned case for the existence of something.

Asks students to respond with a closely argued and detailed examination of a perspective or a development. A clearly written analysis will indicate the relevant interrelationships between key variables, any relevant assumptions involved, and also include a critical view of the significance of the account as presented. If this key word is augmented by “the extent to which” then students should be clear that judgment is also sought.

- Asks students to measure and judge the merits and quality of an argument or concept. Students must clearly identify and explain the evidence for the assessment they make.

compare/compare and contrast
- Asks students to describe two situations and present the similarities and differences between them. On its own, a description of the two situations does not meet the requirements of this key word.

Asks students to give a portrayal of a given situation. It is a neutral request to present a detailed picture of a given situation, event, pattern, process or outcome, although it may be followed by a further opportunity for discussion and analysis.

Asks students to consider a statement or to offer a considered review or balanced discussion of a particular topic. If the question is presented in the form of a quotation, the specific purpose is to stimulate a discussion on each of its parts. The question is asking for students’ opinions; these should be presented clearly and supported with as much empirical evidence and sound argument as possible.

Asks students to demonstrate a clear understanding of similar terms.

Asks students to make an appraisal of the argument or concept under investigation or discussion. Students should weigh the nature of the evidence available, and identify and discuss the convincing aspects of the argument, as well as its limitations and implications.

Asks students to investigate an argument or concept and present their own analysis. Students should approach the question in a critical and detailed way that uncovers the assumptions and interrelationships of the issue.

Asks students to describe clearly, make intelligible and give reasons for a concept, process, relationship or development.

Asks students to write a brief summary of the major aspects of the issue, principle, approach or argument stated in the question.

to what extent?
- Asks students to evaluate the success or otherwise of one argument or concept over another. Students should present a conclusion, supported by arguments.

Source -

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