In preparing for this exam, be sure to review the following. Be able to define these concepts, describe them, explain them, and discuss them. This list is a guide and is not meant to indicate that I will not ask about anything else which we studied in class or which you read in the book. This list covers the MAIN POINTS.
1. Different types of mental health professionals, such as psychiatrists, social workers
A psychiatric social worker is trained in the area of social work and usually possesses a master’s degree in that discipline. These professionals focus more on the environmental conditions that can have an impact on mental disorders, such as poverty, overcrowding, stress, and drug abuse.
2. Different types of variables used in research
The name for the variable that is manipulated in any experiment is the independent variable because it is independent of anything the participants do. The participants in the study do not get to choose or vary the independent variable, and their behavior does not affect this variable at all.
The response of the participants to the manipulation of the independent variable is a dependent relationship, so the response of the participants that is measured is known as the dependent variable. Their behavior, if the hypothesis is correct, should depend on whether or not they were exposed to the independent variable. The dependent variable is always the thing (response of subjects or result of some action) that is measured to see just how the independent variable may have affected it.
3. Critical thinking
Critical thinking means making reasoned judgments. The word reasoned means that people’s judgments should be logical and well thought out. Critical thinking also includes the ability to ask and seek answers for critical questions at the right time. (Such as, “Is someone paying you to do this research, and is this a conflict of interest?” or “Do you have any good evidence for your assertions, or are you just giving your opinion?”) Critical thinking can also help us avoid false beliefs that may lead to poor decisions or even prove dangerous to our mental and physical health. While the word critical is often viewed as meaning “negative,” that is not the use of this term here. Instead, it’s more related to the word criteria, as in thinking that meets certain high standards. There are four basic criteria that people should remember when faced with statements about the world around them:
There are very few “truths” that do not need to be subjected to testing.
All evidence is not equal in quality.
Just because someone is considered to be an authority or to have a lot of expertise does not make everything that person claims automatically true.
Critical thinking requires an open mind.
4. The profession of psychology: what does it try to study, to explain, what are its goals, what are the different fields of study within psychology (such as cultural psychology)
Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes. Behavior includes all of our outward or overt actions and reactions, such as talking, facial expressions, and movement. The term mental processes, refers to all the internal, covert (hidden) activity of our minds, such as thinking, feeling and remembering. Why “scientific”? To study behavior and mental processes in both animals and humans, researchers must observe them. Whenever a human being observes anyone or anything, there’s always a possibility that the observer will only see what he or she expects to see. Psychologists don’t want to let these possible biases cause them to make faulty observations. They want to be precise, and to measure as carefully as they can – so they use the scientific method to study psychology.
5. The central nervous system…it’s different parts, what their function is
Central Nervous System – Contains the brain and spinal cord.
Brain – Interprets and stores information