Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a psychiatric disorder that is most often diagnosed in school-aged children. Many children with ADHD find it difficult to focus on tasks and follow instructions, and these characteristics can lead to problems in school and at home. How children with ADHD are diagnosed and treated is a topic of controversy, and many people, including scientists and nonscientists alike, hold strong beliefs about what ADHD is and how people with the disorder should be treated. This module will familiarize the reader with the scientific literature on ADHD. First, we will review how ADHD is diagnosed in children, with a focus on how mental health professionals distinguish between ADHD and normal behavior problems in childhood. Second, we will describe what is known about the causes of ADHD. Third, we will describe the treatments that are used to help children with ADHD and their families. The module will conclude with a brief discussion of how we expect that the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD will change over the coming decades.
Reading with the learning objectives: 1) Describe major features of physical, cognitive, and social development during adolescence. 2) Understand why adolescence is a period of heightened risk taking.
3) Be able to explain sources of diversity in adolescent development.
This module provides a brief overview of the neuroscience of emotion. It integrates findings from human and animal research to describe the brain networks and associated neurotransmitters involved in basic affective systems.
This module discusses the causes and consequences of human aggression and violence. Both internal and external causes are considered. Effective and ineffective techniques for reducing aggression are also discussed.
Anxiety is a natural part of life and, at normal levels, helps us to function at our best. However, for people with anxiety disorders, anxiety is overwhelming and hard to control. Anxiety disorders develop out of a blend of biological (genetic) and psychological factors that, when combined with stress, may lead to the development of ailments. Primary anxiety-related diagnoses include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, specific phobia, social anxiety disorder (social phobia), post traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. In this module, we summarize the main clinical features of each of these disorders and discuss their similarities and differences with everyday experiences of anxiety.
More attractive people elicit more positive first impressions. This effect is called the attractiveness halo, and it is shown when judging those with more attractive faces, bodies, or voices. Moreover, it yields significant social outcomes, including advantages to attractive people in domains as far-reaching as romance, friendships, family relations, education, work, and criminal justice. Physical qualities that increase attractiveness include youthfulness, symmetry, averageness, masculinity in men, and femininity in women. Positive expressions and behaviors also raise evaluations of a person’s attractiveness. Cultural, cognitive, evolutionary, and overgeneralization explanations have been offered to explain why we find certain people attractive. Whereas the evolutionary explanation predicts that the impressions associated with the halo effect will be accurate, the other explanations do not. Although the research evidence does show some accuracy, it is too weak to satisfactorily account for the positive responses shown to more attractive people.
People with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) suffer from a profound social disability. Social neuroscience is the study of the parts of the brain that support social interactions or the “social brain.” This module provides an overview of ASD and focuses on understanding how social brain dysfunction leads to ASD. Our increasing understanding of the social brain and its dysfunction in ASD will allow us to better identify the genes that cause ASD and will help us to create and pick out treatments to better match individuals. Because social brain systems emerge in infancy, social neuroscience can help us to figure out how to diagnose ASD even before the symptoms of ASD are clearly present. This is a hopeful time because social brain systems remain malleable well into adulthood and thus open to creative new interventions that are informed by state-of-the-art science.
Love is deeply biological. It pervades every aspect of our lives and has inspired countless works of art. Love also has a profound effect on our mental and physical state. A “broken heart” or a failed relationship can have disastrous effects; bereavement disrupts human physiology and may even precipitate death. Without loving relationships, humans fail to flourish, even if all of their other basic needs are met. As such, love is clearly not “just” an emotion; it is a biological process that is both dynamic and bidirectional in several dimensions. Social interactions between individuals, for example, trigger cognitive and physiological processes that influence emotional and mental states. In turn, these changes influence future social interactions. Similarly, the maintenance of loving relationships requires constant feedback through sensory and cognitive systems; the body seeks love and responds constantly to interactions with loved ones or to the absence of such interactions. The evolutionary principles and ancient hormonal and neural systems that support the beneficial and healing effects of loving relationships are described here.
The human brain is responsible for all behaviors, thoughts, and experiences described in this textbook. This module provides an introductory overview of the brain, including some basic neuroanatomy, and brief descriptions of the neuroscience methods used to study it.
Basic principles of learning are always operating and always influencing human behavior. This module discusses the two most fundamental forms of learning -- classical (Pavlovian) and instrumental (operant) conditioning. Through them, we respectively learn to associate 1) stimuli in the environment, or 2) our own behaviors, with significant events, such as rewards and punishments. The two types of learning have been intensively studied because they have powerful effects on behavior, and because they provide methods that allow scientists to analyze learning processes rigorously. This module describes some of the most important things you need to know about classical and instrumental conditioning, and it illustrates some of the many ways they help us understand normal and disordered behavior in humans. The module concludes by introducing the concept of observational learning, which is a form of learning that is largely distinct from classical and operant conditioning.
Because of its ability to determine cause-and-effect relationships, the laboratory experiment is traditionally considered the method of choice for psychological science. One downside, however, is that as it carefully controls conditions and their effects, it can yield findings that are out of touch with reality and have limited use when trying to understand real-world behavior. This module highlights the importance of also conducting research outside the psychology laboratory, within participants’ natural, everyday environments, and reviews existing methodologies for studying daily life.
We often change our attitudes and behaviors to match the attitudes and behaviors of the people around us. One reason for this conformity is a concern about what other people think of us. This process was demonstrated in a classic study in which college students deliberately gave wrong answers to a simple visual judgment task rather than go against the group. Another reason we conform to the norm is because other people often have information we do not, and relying on norms can be a reasonable strategy when we are uncertain about how we are supposed to act. Unfortunately, we frequently misperceive how the typical person acts, which can contribute to problems such as the excessive binge drinking often seen in college students. Obeying orders from an authority figure can sometimes lead to disturbing behavior. This danger was illustrated in a famous study in which participants were instructed to administer painful electric shocks to another person in what they believed to be a learning experiment. Despite vehement protests from the person receiving the shocks, most participants continued the procedure when instructed to do so by the experimenter. The findings raise questions about the power of blind obedience in deplorable situations such as atrocities and genocide. They also raise concerns about the ethical treatment of participants in psychology experiments.
Humans are social animals. This means we work together in groups to achieve goals that benefit everyone. From building skyscrapers to delivering packages to remote island nations, modern life requires that people cooperate with one another. However, people are also motivated by self-interest, which often stands as an obstacle to effective cooperation. This module explores the concept of cooperation and the processes that both help and hinder it.
An idea or solution is considered creative if it is original, useful, and surprising. However, depending on who actually judges these three criteria, we must distinguish personal “little-c creativity” from consensual “Big-C Creativity.” In any case, psychologists who investigate creativity most often adopt one of three perspectives. First, they can ask how creators think, and thus focus on the cognitive processes behind creativity. Second, they can ask who is creative, and hence investigate the personal characteristics of highly creative people. Third, they can ask about the social context, and, thereby, examine the environments that influence creativity. Although psychologists have made major advances in the study of creativity, many exciting and important questions remain to be answered.
Although the most visible elements of culture are dress, cuisine and architecture, culture is a highly psychological phenomenon. Culture is a pattern of meaning for understanding how the world works. This knowledge is shared among a group of people and passed from one generation to the next. This module defines culture, addresses methodological issues, and introduces the idea that culture is a process. Understanding cultural processes can help people get along better with others and be more socially responsible.
How do people’s cultural ideas and practices shape their emotions (and other types of feelings)? In this module, we will discuss findings from studies comparing North American (United States, Canada) and East Asian (Chinese, Japanese, Korean) contexts. These studies reveal both cultural similarities and differences in various aspects of emotional life. Throughout, we will highlight the scientific and practical importance of these findings and conclude with recommendations for future research.
This textbook presents core concepts common to introductory courses. The 15 units cover the traditional areas of intro-to-psychology; ranging from biological aspects of psychology to psychological disorders to social psychology. This book can be modified: feel free to add or remove modules to better suit your specific needs.
This book includes a comprehensive instructor's manual, PowerPoint presentations, a test bank, reading anticipation guides, and adaptive student quizzes.
- Material Type:
- Diener Education Fund
- Provider Set:
- Cara Laney
- David M. Buss
- David Watson
- Edward Diener
- Elizabeth F. Loftus
- Emily Hooker
- George Loewenstein
- Henry L. Roediger III
- Jeanne Tsai
- Kathleen B. McDermott
- Mark E. Bouton
- Max H. Bazerman
- Richard E. Lucas
- Robert Siegler
- Robert V. Levine
- Ross Thompson
- Sarah Pressman
- Sudeep Bhatia
- Susan T. Fiske
- Yoshihisa Kashima
- Date Added:
In psychopathology, dissociation happens when thoughts, feelings, and experiences of our consciousness and memory do not collaborate well with each other. This module provides an overview of dissociative disorders, including the definitions of dissociation, its origins and competing theories, and their relation to traumatic experiences and sleep problems.
Our thoughts and behaviors are strongly influenced by affective experiences known as drive states. These drive states motivate us to fulfill goals that are beneficial to our survival and reproduction. This module provides an overview of key drive states, including information about their neurobiology and their psychological effects.
Emotions don’t just feel good or bad, they also contribute crucially to people’s well-being and health. In general, experiencing positive emotions is good for us, whereas experiencing negative emotions is bad for us. However, recent research on emotions and well-being suggests this simple conclusion is incomplete and sometimes even wrong. Taking a closer look at this research, the present module provides a more complex relationship between emotion and well-being. At least three aspects of the emotional experience appear to affect how a given emotion is linked with well-being: the intensity of the emotion experienced, the fluctuation of the emotion experienced, and the context in which the emotion is experienced. While it is generally good to experience more positive emotion and less negative emotion, this is not always the guide to the good life.
In this module, we review the construct of emotional intelligence by examining its underlying theoretical model, measurement tools, validity, and applications in real-world settings. We use empirical research from the past few decades to support and discuss competing definitions of emotional intelligence and possible future directions for the field.
Eyewitnesses can provide very compelling legal testimony, but rather than recording experiences flawlessly, their memories are susceptible to a variety of errors and biases. They (like the rest of us) can make errors in remembering specific details and can even remember whole events that did not actually happen. In this module, we discuss several of the common types of errors, and what they can tell us about human memory and its interactions with the legal system.
Learning is a complex process that defies easy definition and description. This module reviews some of the philosophical issues involved with defining learning and describes in some detail the characteristics of learners and of encoding activities that seem to affect how well people can acquire new memories, knowledge, or skills. At the end, we consider a few basic principles that guide whether a particular attempt at learning will be successful or not.
We think important objects and events in our world will automatically grab our attention, but they often don’t, particularly when our attention is focused on something else. The failure to notice unexpected objects or events when attention is focused elsewhere is now known as inattentional blindness. The study of such failures of awareness has a long history, but their practical importance has received increasing attention over the past decade. This module describes the history and status of research on inattentional blindness, discusses the reasons why we find these results to be counterintuitive, and the implications of failures of awareness for how we see and act in our world.
Each and every one of us has a family. However, these families exist in many variations around the world. In this module, we discuss definitions of family, family forms, the developmental trajectory of families, and commonly used theories to understand families. We also cover factors that influence families such as culture and societal expectations while incorporating the latest family relevant statistics.
This module explores the causes of everyday forgetting and considers pathological forgetting in the context of amnesia. Forgetting is viewed as an adaptive process that allows us to be efficient in terms of the information we retain.
Emotions play a crucial role in our lives because they have important functions. This module describes those functions, dividing the discussion into three areas: the intrapersonal, the interpersonal, and the social and cultural functions of emotions. The section on the intrapersonal functions of emotion describes the roles that emotions play within each of us individually; the section on the interpersonal functions of emotion describes the meanings of emotions to our relationships with others; and the section on the social and cultural functions of emotion describes the roles and meanings that emotions have to the maintenance and effective functioning of our societies and cultures at large. All in all we will see that emotions are a crucially important aspect of our psychological composition, having meaning and function to each of us individually, to our relationships with others in groups, and to our societies as a whole.
This module discusses gender and its related concepts, including sex, gender roles, gender identity, sexual orientation, and sexism. In addition, this module includes a discussion of differences that exist between males and females and how these real gender differences compare to the stereotypes society holds about gender differences. In fact, there are significantly fewer real gender differences than one would expect relative to the large number of stereotypes about gender differences. This module then discusses theories of how gender roles develop and how they contribute to strong expectations for gender differences. Finally, the module concludes with a discussion of some of the consequences of relying on and expecting gender differences, such as gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and ambivalent sexism.
The NOBA Project is a growing collection of expert-authored, open-licensed modules in psychology, funded by the Diener Education Fund. From these open modules, Tori Kearns and Deborah Lee created an arranged open textbook for her introductory psychology class. This textbook was created under a Round One ALG Textbook Transformation Grant.
Subjective well-being (SWB) is the scientific term for happiness and life satisfaction—thinking and feeling that your life is going well, not badly. Scientists rely primarily on self-report surveys to assess the happiness of individuals, but they have validated these scales with other types of measures. People’s levels of subjective well-being are influenced by both internal factors, such as personality and outlook, and external factors, such as the society in which they live. Some of the major determinants of subjective well-being are a person’s inborn temperament, the quality of their social relationships, the societies they live in, and their ability to meet their basic needs. To some degree people adapt to conditions so that over time our circumstances may not influence our happiness as much as one might predict they would. Importantly, researchers have also studied the outcomes of subjective well-being and have found that “happy” people are more likely to be healthier and live longer, to have better social relationships, and to be more productive at work. In other words, people high in subjective well-being seem to be healthier and function more effectively compared to people who are chronically stressed, depressed, or angry. Thus, happiness does not just feel good, but it is good for people and for those around them.
Our emotions, thoughts, and behaviors play an important role in our health. Not only do they influence our day-to-day health practices, but they can also influence how our body functions. This module provides an overview of health psychology, which is a field devoted to understanding the connections between psychology and health. Discussed here are examples of topics a health psychologist might study, including stress, psychosocial factors related to health and disease, how to use psychology to improve health, and the role of psychology in medicine.
Hearing allows us to perceive the world of acoustic vibrations all around us, and provides us with our most important channels of communication. This module reviews the basic mechanisms of hearing, beginning with the anatomy and physiology of the ear and a brief review of the auditory pathways up to the auditory cortex. An outline of the basic perceptual attributes of sound, including loudness, pitch, and timbre, is followed by a review of the principles of tonotopic organization, established in the cochlea. An overview of masking and frequency selectivity is followed by a review of the perception and neural mechanisms underlying spatial hearing. Finally, an overview is provided of auditory scene analysis, which tackles the important question of how the auditory system is able to make sense of the complex mixtures of sounds that are encountered in everyday acoustic environments.
People often act to benefit other people, and these acts are examples of prosocial behavior. Such behaviors may come in many guises: helping an individual in need; sharing personal resources; volunteering time, effort, and expertise; cooperating with others to achieve some common goals. The focus of this module is on helping—prosocial acts in dyadic situations in which one person is in need and another provides the necessary assistance to eliminate the other’s need. Although people are often in need, help is not always given. Why not? The decision of whether or not to help is not as simple and straightforward as it might seem, and many factors need to be considered by those who might help. In this module, we will try to understand how the decision to help is made by answering the question: Who helps when and why?
Open textbook on abnormal psychology. Includes sections on personality disorders, mood disorders, anxiety, schizophrenia, psychopathy, behavioral disorders, autism and disassociative disorders.
This module is divided into three parts. The first is a brief introduction to various criteria we use to define or distinguish between normality and abnormality. The second, largest part is a history of mental illness from the Stone Age to the 20th century, with a special emphasis on the recurrence of three causal explanations for mental illness; supernatural, somatogenic, and psychogenic factors. This part briefly touches upon trephination, the Greek theory of hysteria within the context of the four bodily humors, witch hunts, asylums, moral treatment, mesmerism, catharsis, the mental hygiene movement, deinstitutionalization, community mental health services, and managed care. The third part concludes with a brief description of the issue of diagnosis.
This module provides an introduction and overview of the historical development of the science and practice of psychology in America. Ever-increasing specialization within the field often makes it difficult to discern the common roots from which the field of psychology has evolved. By exploring this shared past, students will be better able to understand how psychology has developed into the discipline we know today.
This module provides an introduction to industrial and organizational (I/O) psychology. I/O psychology is an area of psychology that specializes in the scientific study of behavior in organizational settings and the application of psychology to understand work behavior. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that I/O psychology, as a field, will grow 26% by the year 2018. I/O psychologists typically have advanced degrees such as a Ph.D. or master’s degree and may work in academic, consulting, government, military, or private for-profit and not-for-profit organizational settings. Depending on the state in which they work, I/O psychologists may be licensed. They might ask and answer questions such as “What makes people happy at work?” “What motivates employees at work?” “What types of leadership styles result in better performance of employees?” “Who are the best applicants to hire for a job?” One hallmark of I/O psychology is its basis in data and evidence to answer such questions, and I/O psychology is based on the scientist-practitioner model. The key individuals and studies in the history of I/O psychology are addressed in this module. Further, professional I/O associations are discussed, as are the key areas of competence developed in I/O master’s programs.
Psychologists interested in the study of human individuality have found that accomplishments in education, the world of work, and creativity are a joint function of talent, passion, and commitment — or how much effort and time one is willing to invest in personal development when the opportunity is provided. This module reviews models and measures that psychologists have designed to assess intellect, interests, and energy for personal development. The module begins with a model for organizing these three psychological domains, which is useful for understanding talent development. This model is not only helpful for understanding the many different ways that positive development may unfold among people, but it is also useful for conceptualizing personal development and ways of selecting opportunities in learning and work settings that are more personally meaningful. Data supporting this model are reviewed.
Intelligence is among the oldest and longest studied topics in all of psychology. The development of assessments to measure this concept is at the core of the development of psychological science itself. This module introduces key historical figures, major theories of intelligence, and common assessment strategies related to intelligence. This module will also discuss controversies related to the study of group differences in intelligence.