PSYC 2301 – Chapter 1: Scientific Understanding of Behavior

Practice Test


  • Alternative explanations – when attempting to find a causal relationship, one must eliminate alternative explanations. Remember that correlation is not causation, all possible causes for behavior must be eliminated until only one remains.
  • Applied research – attempts to apply research to practical issues in order to find solutions.
  • Authority – A common fallacy of humans is to accept the word of those we believe are speaking from a place of authority. These sources may not always be correct, which is why it is important to compare data from various sources.
  • Basic research – attempts to answer questions about the nature of behavior.
  • Covariation of cause and effect – for this to apply,the cause and effect are either both present or neither are present; one cannot exist without the other to be considered covariant.
  • Empiricism – knowledge must be gained via sensory experience, all hypotheses and theories must be tested against observations and must be falsifiable.
  • Falsifiability – Hypotheses must be tested, thus data collected must be able to both support or refute the hypothesis. Falsifiability means that a hypothesis has the potential to be refuted based on gathered data.
  • Goals of behavioral science
    1. Description of Behavior
    2. Prediction of Behavior
    3. Determining the Causes of Behavior
    4. Explanation of Behavior
  • Intuition – Non-scientific explanation of events; what seems true to an individual based on their observations. Intuition can be both correct or incorrect, but there is no external confirmation of an individual’s intuition.
  • Peer review – the method by which a study is reviewed prior to publication by those educated in the field. This ensures that the methodology in the study is valid.
  • Program evaluation – an area of applied research which seeks to inform both public and other organizational policy.
  • Psuedoscience – Claims made in scientific terminology which have not been sufficiently researched, if at all. In the textbook, page 7, figure 1.1 displays several helpful points for identifying pseudoscience.
  • Skepticism – Beliefs must be tested for reliability, by using systematic investigation via the scientific method, and by observing empirical evidence
  • Temporal precedence – The order of events. When seeking the cause of a behavior, one must establish which events precede the behavior.