A-level Psychology Key Terms & Definitions


Test your knowledge of the key terms and definitions you need to know for your A-level Psychology exam with this quick Flashcard Deck.
Andrea Leyden
Flashcards by Andrea Leyden, updated more than 1 year ago
Andrea Leyden
Created by Andrea Leyden about 9 years ago

Resource summary

Question Answer
Abnormal Behaviour Behaviour that differs from the norm
Adaptive Behaviours that promote survival and reproduction
Agentic State When a person is under the control of an authority figure
Alturism Helping behaviour. Putting other people before your self
Attachment The strong emotional bond between a baby and their carer
Behaviourism An approach to Psychology that believes that all behaviour can be explained by the learning theory
Bystander behaviour The theory that within a potential helping scenario the presence of other people reduces the victim's chances of receiving help
Case Study A research method that involves looking in detail at a single person, event or organisation
Cognition This refers to our higher mental processes such as believing, acquiring knowledge and perceiving
Control Control refers to the extent to which an experimenter can claim that the behaviour recorded in experiment is as a result of the independent variable
Correlation A measure of the extent to which two variables are related. For example, a positive correlation is when two variables increase together and a negative correlation is when one variable increases and the other one decreases
Deindividuation When loss of personal identity occurs. E.g. when a person is part of a crowd
Determinism The belief that all human actions are determined by causes that are outside of our control
Demand Characteristics Features within an experiment that give away the experiment's aim. This can lead to participants displaying artificial behaviour in order to please the experimenter
Ecological Validity Whether a psychological method/technique corresponds to its equivalent in an everyday natural setting. Laboratory settings are often low in Ecological Validity and therefore behaviour is unnatural
Ethics To do with rights and wrongs. Psychologists must follow ethical guidelines to reduce the chances of deception/ danger/damage. Ethical Guidelines are laid down by the British Psychological Society
Ethnocentric Bias When a situation is interpreted unfairly due to the psychologists’ own biases/ point of view. Ethnocentrism: Only being able to interpret the a situation from your own point of view
Extraneous Variables These are variables that are controlled by the experimenter because they may interfere with the investigation. For instance in an experiment measuring the effect of noise on perfomance, temperature may be controlled because it may be possible that temperature could affect participants' performance
Free Will The belief that we all choose how to behave
Gender Bias When people are treated differently or unfairly because of their gender
Gender Identity The part of your self concept that identifies with a gender. "I am a girl."
Generalisability The extent to which research findings can be applied to people away from the study
Helping Behaviour Alturism. Assisting somebody who is in need
Hormone Chemicals in our bodies that can alter our behaviour
Hypothesis When Psychologists conduct experiments they formulate hypotheses. Hypotheses are both testable statements and predicaments. The experiment is designed to test the hypotheses
Individual and Situational Explanations When a person’s behaviour is explained using their personality (individual) or when a person’s behaviour is explained using the situation they are in. (situational)
Informed Consent One of the ethical guidelines. It is when an experimenter asks a participant's full permission before they take part in the research
Inter-rater Reliability This is the extent to which two or more experimenters, usually within an observation, gather similar findings/information
Just-world hypothesis This is the belief that we live in a fair and predictable world
Laboratory A very controlled and often artificial environment where experiments take place
Minimal Group A group that has nothing in common and therefore group identification is based on nothing meaningful
Natural Experiment When the Independent variable in an experiment is naturally occuring and is not manipulated by the experimenter. E.g. Gender
Observation A research method that involves watching people
Operant Conditioning A type of learning that takes place because of the consequences - punishment and reinforcement
Participant A person who is measured/questioned/observed within research
Personality A person's relatively stable set of characteristics
Qualitative measures Techniques for obtaining information that assume that the meaning of the information is the most important thing. Methods include interviews, case studies, observation. Measures are usually descriptive and interpretation can be subjective
Quantitative measures An approach to psychological information that is primarily concerned with the collection of numerical information
Reductionism An argument that takes the view that an event, behaviour or phenomenon can be understood as nothing but its component parts. E.g. stimulus – response. This argument ignores deeper explanations and is simplistic
Reliability Consistency of measure. How likely an experimental design is to produce the same results if used again in the same circumstances
Validity The extent to which a psychological technique really assesses what it intends to measure
Variable Anything that varies. In a psychology experiment any measure of performance or behaviour taken in a study is referred to as a variable.Independent variable (iv): Manipulated by a psychologist.Dependent variable (dv): Measured by a psychologist
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