Discovering Psychology: Updated Edition
Explore Key Topics in Contemporary Psychology.
Choose a section below to begin.
History of Psychology: Explore historic moments in the development of modern psychology.
Research Methods: Explore the scientific method of psychological research.
The Human Brain: Explore the human brain’s role in regulating everyday life.
Life Span Development: Explore our amazing capacity for change.
Approaches in Practice: Explore the approaches and therapies used to treat mental illness.
0.1 History of Psychology: Timeline
Explore historic moments in the development of modern psychology.
0.2 Research Methods
In this activity you will explore how psychologists draw solid conclusions from the complex and often ambiguous phenomena they study -- how you think, feel, and behave.
0.3 The Human Brain
In this activity you will explore the human brain, the key element of the nervous system. You will learn about its main areas and their functions in regulating everyday life. Understanding the brain's role in all manner of human activity is a central topic in psychology.
0.4 Life Span Development
In this activity you will explore development across the life span. The process begins during the period between conception and birth, as the fetus emerges from a one-celled organism to a full-term infant. As the genetic program within the cells of the body unfolds, important characteristics emerge that will set the stage for the newborn baby's emergence into the world. At the same time, the world around the developing child exerts its influence on growth, and, at critical points, can alter the way these genetic characteristics are expressed. Our exploration begins where this process culminates, at birth, where who we are and will ultimately become is a life-long endeavor.
0.5 Approaches in Practice
In this activity you will explore the contemporary approaches used to understand, treat, and prevent psychological disorders. Although psychologists may blend concepts from more than one approach, each approach represents a distinct view of the central issues in psychology.
Unit 1 Past, Present, and Promise
Past, Present, and Promise is the first program in the Discovering Psychology series. It provides an introduction to and overview of psychology, from its origins in the nineteenth century to current study of the brain's biochemistry. You'll explore the development of psychology in general and some of the paths scientists take to determine relationships among the mind, the brain, and behavior.
Unit 2 Understanding Research
Understanding Research is the second program in the Discovering Psychology series. This program examines how we know what we know. You'll explore the scientific method, the distinction between fact and theory, and the different ways in which data are collected and applied, both in labs and in real-world settings.
Unit 3 The Behaving Brain
The Behaving Brain is the third program in the Discovering Psychology series. This program looks at the structure and composition of the human brain: how neurons function, how information is collected and transmitted, and how chemical reactions relate to thought and behavior.
Unit 4 The Responsive Brain
The Responsive Brain is the fourth program in the Discovering Psychology series. This program explores how the brain alters its structure and functioning in response to social situations. You'll learn about the impact of different stimuli on human and animal brains, from the effect of human touch on premature babies to the effect of social status on the health of baboons.
Unit 5 The Developing Child
The Developing Child is the fifth program in the Discovering Psychology series. This program introduces examples of cognitive, perceptual, and behavioral development in children. You'll explore the roles of heredity and environment in child development, and children's incremental understanding of such phenomena as object permanence, symbolic reasoning, and perception of visual depth.
Unit 6 Language Development
Language Development is the sixth program in the Discovering Psychology series. This program outlines the development of language in children. It highlights linguist Noam Chomsky's theories about the human brain's predisposition to understand language, and then profiles three scientists working on aspects of psycholinguistics.
Unit 7 Sensation and Perception
Sensation and Perception is the seventh program in the Discovering Psychology series. This program unravels the complex process of how we see. You'll learn about visual illusions and what causes them, the biology of perception, the visual pathway, and how the human brain processes information during perception.
Unit 8 Learning
Learning is the eighth program in the Discovering Psychology series. This program discusses the basic principles of how we learn; classical, instrumental, and operant conditioning; and the role that stimuli and consequences play in learned behavior and habits. You'll explore how renowned researchers Ivan Pavlov, B. F. Skinner, Edward Thorndike, and John B. Watson contributed to what we know about human and animal learning.
Unit 9 Remembering and Forgetting
Remembering and Forgetting is the ninth program in the Discovering Psychology series. This program looks at the complexity of memory: how images, ideas, language, physical actions, even sounds and smells are translated into codes that are represented in the memory and retrieved as needed.
Unit 10 Cognitive Processes
Cognitive Processes is the tenth program in the Discovering Psychology series. This program explores the evolution of cognitive psychology and how we take in information. Cognitive psychology spans a vast range of study, from the parts of the brain used in reading to the computer's impact on the study of how humans think.
Unit 11 Judgment and Decision Making
Judgment and Decision Making is the eleventh program in the Discovering Psychology series. This program looks at the process of making decisions and judgments, how and why people make different choices, the factors that influence decisions, and the psychology of risk-taking.
Unit 12 Motivation and Emotion
Motivation and Emotion is the twelfth program in the Discovering Psychology series. Based on the early research of Sigmund Freud and Abraham Maslow, this program explores the sources of motivation, causes of behavior, and interplay between motivation and action. It examines societal and individual motivation, sexual motivation, and cumulative effects of optimism and pessimism in human life.
Unit 13 The Mind Awake and Asleep
The Mind Awake and Asleep is the thirteenth program in the Discovering Psychology series. Drawing on the theories of early modern psychologists Wilhelm Wundt and William James, this program looks at conscious and unconscious awareness, how the mind functions awake and asleep, and the biological rhythms of activity, rest, and dreaming.
Unit 14 The Mind Hidden and Divided
The Mind Hidden and Divided is the fourteenth program in the Discovering Psychology series. Based on the pioneering research of Sigmund Freud, this program explores how the events and experiences that take place in the subconscious manifest themselves in our conscious lives. You'll learn about repression, the distinction between discovered and false memory syndrome, hypnosis, and split-brain cases.
Unit 15 The Self
The Self is the fifteenth program in the Discovering Psychology series. In this program, you'll explore how psychologists study the origins of self-identity, self-esteem, and the social determinants of self-concepts. You'll also learn about some of the emotional and motivational consequences of self-esteem.
Unit 16 Testing and Intelligence
Testing and Intelligence is the sixteenth program in the Discovering Psychology series. This program explores the history of intelligence tests, based on the work of Alfred Binet. You'll also explore the field of psychological assessment, potential biases in testing, and the influence of cultural beliefs and stereotypes on test performance.
Unit 17 Sex and Gender
Sex and Gender is the seventeenth program in the Discovering Psychology series. This program explores the distinction between sex and gender, and the ways gender stereotypes channel behavior in animals as well as in humans. It also examines some of the psychological effects of societal gender roles, from birth to adulthood.
Unit 18 Maturing and Aging
Maturing and Aging is the eighteenth program in the Discovering Psychology series. This program looks at the human life cycle in spans of 20-25 years, and what happens physically and mentally as we age. Popular misconceptions about the elderly are examined, often in contrast to the reality of growing old. Researchers, who are developing mental exercises to improve mental efficiency, explain senile dementia and other effects of aging.
Unit 19 The Power of the Situation
The Power of the Situation is the nineteenth program in the Discovering Psychology series. This program explores psychologists' attempts to understand human behavior within its broader social context. It also examines how beliefs and behavior can be influenced and manipulated by other people and subtle situational forces.
Unit 20 Constructing Social Reality
Constructing Social Reality is the twentieth program in the Discovering Psychology series. This program looks at the process and elements of interpreting reality. You'll explore the power of cognitive control, the Pygmalion effect, the development of prejudice, and how expectations affect behaviors like performance and compliance.
Unit 21 Psychopathology
Psychopathology is the twenty-first program in the Discovering Psychology series. Through glimpses of the original theories of Philippe Pinel, this program explores the biological and psychological components of mental illness, as well as the role of genetics and cultural factors. It also takes a closer look at a few of the major mental illnesses like depression, neurosis, manic-depressive disorders, and schizophrenia.
Unit 22 Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy is the twenty-second program in the Discovering Psychology series. It explores different therapeutic approaches as well as the relationships among theory, research, and practice. You'll learn how some historical, cultural, and social forces have influenced approaches to the treatment of psychological disorders.
Unit 23 Health, Mind, and Behavior
Health, Mind, and Behavior is the twenty-third program in the Discovering Psychology series. This program examines the relationship between mind and body, and some of the ways psychological factors affect our physical health and immune system. It also explores some of the sources and consequences of stress.
Unit 24 Applying Psychology in Life
Applying Psychology in Life is the twenty-fourth program in the Discovering Psychology series. This program examines innovative ways psychology is being applied to practical situations and professions. You'll explore various areas of applied research: the effects of sleep deprivation on ability and performance, ergonomics and human factors in space travel, the law and reliability of courtroom testimony, and interpersonal conflict resolution.
Unit 25 Cognitive Neuroscience
Cognitive Neuroscience is the twenty-fifth program in the Discovering Psychology series. This program looks at scientists' attempts to understand how the brain functions in a variety of mental processes. It also examines empirical analysis of brain functioning when a person thinks, reasons, sees, encodes information, and solves problems. Several brain-imaging tools reveal how we measure the brain's response to different stimuli.
Unit 26 Cultural Psychology
Cultural Psychology is the twenty-sixth, and final, program in the Discovering Psychology series. This program explores how cultural psychology integrates cross-cultural research with social psychology, anthropology, and other social sciences. It also examines how cultures contribute to self-identity, the central aspects of cultural values, and emerging issues regarding diversity.