Psychology is defined as the scientific study of the mind and behavior. In a high school psychology course, students are introduced to the scientific method and the core ideas and theories of psychology. As a result, students gain an understanding of the complexities and diversity of human thought and behavior.
Development of psychology as an empirical science:
- Define psychology as a discipline and identify its goals as a science.
- Describe the emergence of psychology as a scientific discipline.
- Describe perspectives employed to understand behavior and mental processes.
- Explain how psychology evolved as a scientific discipline.
Major subfields within psychology:
- Discuss the value of both basic and applied psychological research with human and non-human animals.
- Describe the major subfields of psychology.
- Identify the important role psychology plays in benefiting society and improving people’s lives.
Research methods and measurements used to study behavior and mental processes:
- Describe the scientific method and its role in psychology.
- Describe and compare a variety of quantitative (e.g., surveys, correlations, experiments) and qualitative (e.g., interviews, narratives, focus groups) research methods.
- Define systematic procedures used to improve the validity of research findings, such as external validity.
Structure and function of the nervous system in human and non-human animals:
- Identify the major divisions and subdivisions of the human nervous system.
- Identify the parts of the neuron and describe the basic process of neural transmission
- Differentiate between the structures and functions of the various parts of the central nervous system.
- Describe lateralization of brain functions.
- Discuss the mechanisms of, and the importance of, plasticity of the nervous system.
Structure and function of the endocrine system:
- Describe how the endocrine glands are linked to the nervous system.
- Describe the effects of hormones on behavior and mental processes.
- Describe hormone effects on the immune system.
The interaction between biological factors and experience:
- Describe concepts in genetic transmission.
- Describe the interactive effects of heredity and environment.
- Explain how evolved tendencies influence behavior.
Methods and issues related to biological advances:
- Identify tools used to study the nervous system.
- Describe advances made in neuroscience.
- Discuss issues related to scientific advances in neuroscience and genetics.
The processes of sensation and perception:
- Discuss processes of sensation and perception and how they interact.
- Explain the concepts of threshold and adaptation.
The capabilities and limitations of sensory processes:
- List forms of physical energy for which humans and non-human animals do and do not have sensory receptors.
- Describe the visual sensory system.
- Describe the auditory sensory system.
- Describe other sensory systems, such as olfaction, gustation, and somesthesis (e.g., skin senses, kinesthesis, and vestibular sense).
Interaction of the person and the environment in determining perception:
- Explain Gestalt principles of perception.
- Describe binocular and monocular depth cues.
- Describe the importance of perceptual constancies.
- Describe the nature of attention.
- Explain how experiences and expectations influence perception.
Encoding of memory:
- Identify factors that influence encoding.
- Characterize the difference between shallow (surface) and deep (elaborate) processing
- Discuss strategies for improving the encoding of memory.
Storage and retrieval of memory:
- Describe the differences between working memory and long-term memory.
- Identify and explain biological processes related to how memory is stored.
- Analyze the importance of retrieval cues in memory.
- Discuss strategies for improving the retrieval of memories.
Basic elements comprising thought:
- Define cognitive processes involved in understanding information.
- Define processes involved in problem solving and decision making.
- Discuss non-human problem-solving abilities.
Obstacles related to thought:
- Describe obstacles to problem solving.
- Describe obstacles to decision making.
- Describe obstacles to making good judgments.
Development and Learning
- Describe the principles of classical conditioning.
- Describe clinical and experimental examples of classical conditioning.
- Apply classical conditioning to everyday life.
- Describe the Law of Effect.
- Describe the principles of operant conditioning.
- Describe clinical and experimental examples of operant conditioning.
- Apply operant conditioning to everyday life.
- Describe attributional explanations of behavior.
- Describe the relationship between attitudes (implicit and explicit) and behavior.
- Identify persuasive methods used to change attitudes.
Social influence and relations:
- Describe effects of others’ presence on individuals’ behavior.
- Discuss how an individual influences group behavior.
- Discuss the nature and effects of stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination.
- Describe determinants of prosocial behavior.
- Discuss influences upon aggression and conflict.
- Discuss factors influencing attraction and relationships.
Social and cultural diversity:
- Define culture and diversity.
- Identify how cultures change over time and vary within nations as well as internationally.
- Discuss the relationship between culture and conceptions of self and identity.
- Discuss psychological research examining race and ethnicity.
- Discuss psychological research examining socioeconomic status.
- Discuss how privilege and social power structures relate to stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination.
Perspectives on motivation:
- Explain biologically based theories of motivation.
- Explain cognitively based theories of motivation.
- Explain humanistic theories of motivation.
- Explain the role of culture in human motivation.
Perspectives on emotion:
- Explain the biological and cognitive components of emotion.
- Discuss psychological research on basic human emotions.
- Differentiate among theories of emotional experience.
Perspectives on abnormal behavior:
- Define psychologically abnormal behavior.
- Describe historical and cross-cultural views of abnormality.
- Describe major models of abnormality.
- Discuss how stigma relates to abnormal behavior.
- Discuss the impact of psychological disorders on the individual, family, and society.
Categories of psychological disorders:
- Describe the classification of psychological disorders.
- Discuss the challenges associated with diagnosis.
- Describe symptoms and causes of major categories of psychological disorders (including schizophrenic, mood, anxiety, and personality disorders).
- Evaluate how different factors influence an individual’s experience of psychological disorders.
Perspectives on treatment of Psychological Disorders:
- Explain how psychological treatments have changed over time and among cultures.
- Match methods of treatment to psychological perspectives.
- Explain why psychologists use a variety of treatment options.
- Identify careers in psychological science and practice.
- Identify resources to help select psychology programs for further study.
- Identify degree requirements for psychologists and psychology-related careers.
- Identify resources to help select psychology programs for further study.
Vocational applications of psychological science:
- Discuss ways in which psychological science addresses domestic and global issues.
- Identify careers in psychological science that have evolved as a result of domestic and global issues.