Applied History of Psychology/Vocabulary

Contrasting ConceptsEdit

Concept Opposing Concept
Functionalism Structuralism
Nomothetic Idiographic
Behaviorism Hormic
Behavorism Gestalt
Reductionism Gestalt
Nativism (Nature) Empiricism (Nuture)
Innate (Nature) Learned (Nuture)



The neural representation of memory that has been stored.


The principle that if certain areas of specialization, the specialization may be lost is the whole area is removed; but it may not be lost if a small part of the area is spared or other parts of the brain may take on the role of the damaged portion.


The scientific study of animals in their natural environment to learn about the animals' natural and instinctive behaviors. Karl Lorenz and Nikolaas Tinbergen were considered ethologists.


Emphasis on the how or why of mental operations rather than the content.

General Factor of IntelligenceEdit

Also known as 'g'. General intelligence that is thought to underlie specialized types of intelligence. Often measured by correlating results of a variety of intellectual tasks (subtests) which results in an IQ score.


Focus on the whole as an area of interest rather than reducing mental operations to their parts.


Focus on instincts.


Focuses on the individual case. A perspective in psychology that is opposite to the nomological approach.

Evolutionary TheoriesEdit

Larmarck: An organism can pass on characteristics that it acquired during its lifetime to its offspring

Darwin: Specific variations give the advantage or disadvantage in the competition for a mate. The inherited traits that are passed down to the offspring make it more likely for an organism to survive and reproduce become more common in a population over successive generations

Longitudinal ResearchEdit

A research method where the same individual is studied over several time points.


Development after birth in an orderly sequence. For example, a baby learns to crawl, then, proceeds to learn to walk (p. 412).

Mass ActionEdit

Memory cannot be confined to a cortical area, but is dispersed throughout the cortex.


We are born to perceive as we do.


Physiological psychology that is mainly concerned with the brain and nervous system. The aim is to understand the relationship between mind and body, or mind and brain.


A science of quantitative laws. A perspective in psychology that is opposite to the idiographic approach.

Ontogeny Recapitulates PhylogenyEdit

Dead end theory in developmental psychology by Ernst Haeckel. Theory suggested that the growth and development changes in size and shape of a particular organism reflect evolution from the beginning of its fertilization (embryo) and developing through its adulthood.


A point of view where scientific concepts are defined by their measurement.


The study of how individual experiences determine the way that we perceive; related to the subjective sensory experience.


Phrenology is the belief of mapping the brain with specific areas to precise functions. In the 18th and 19th century Phrenology was widely accepted but not academically proven. It was even believed that certain mental behaviors could be measured by the size of a specific portion of the brain. Phrenology was eventually proven to be pseudoscience, but contributed towards further developing the neuroscience field.


Explaining complex phenomena by reducing it to its units or elements.


Field related to psychology. Focuses on the influence of evolution on the social behavior of humans and animals.


Emphasis on the content of consciousness rather than the process.

Vicarious FunctioningEdit

A concept developed by Franz that an eliminated habit may be restored through learning in another part of the brain.

Schools and SystemsEdit

Animal PsychologyEdit

Study of psychology of animals either because an animal model is a convenient substitute for humans or to learn more about animal behavior and cognition.

Clinical psychologyEdit

Focuses on providing professional services to people who are mentally unwell. Clinical psychologists assess, diagnose, treat, and prevent mental disorders. The field was named and defined by Witmer in 1907.

Comparative PsychologyEdit

Study of the cross-species relationships between humans and animals in search for the understanding of human behavior.

Cognitive PsychologyEdit

This perspective focuses on the whole range of mental activities, including attention and perception, and higher mental processes such as remembering.

Organizational PsychologyEdit

The application of psychological principles to the workplace. The study of helping an organization perform at its best when considering the needs of the workers and the organization as a whole.


Cannon's Emergency TheoryEdit

Suggests that emotions result when the thalamus sends a message to the brain in response to a stimulus, resulting in a physiological reaction; we react to a stimulus and experience the associated emotion at the same time. Cannon’s theory contradicts James-Lange theory, which argues that physiological responses occur first and result and are the cause of emotions.


Hilgard, E. R. (1987). Psychology in America: A historical survey. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers.