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.