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Glossary of psychological science ch. 1-5

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Created by elisabethjw

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4 stages of sleep +2
  • alert wakefulness, beta waves
  • just before sleep, alpha waves
  • theta waves, can be easily aroused, fantastical images or falling sensation
  • regular breathing, less sensitive to stimulation, sleep spind
  • absolute threshold
    minimum intensity of stimulation that must occur before one can experience a sensation
    accommodation
    a process by which muscles change the shape of the lens by flattening it to focus on distant objects or by thickening it to focus on closer objects
    accuracy
    the extent to which an experiment is free from error
    action potential
    neural impulse that passes along the axon and causes the release of chemicals from the terminal buttons
    activation-synthesis hypothesis
    theory of dreaming that proposes that neural stimulation from the pons activates mechanisms that normally interpret visual input 
    adaptations
    the physical characteristics, skills, or abilities that increase the chances of reproduction or survival and are therefore more likely to be passed along to future generations
    additive color mixing
    different wavelengths of light are mixed, determined by the interaction of those wavelengths with receptors in the eyes -- psychological process
    agonist
    drug that enhances the actions of a specific neurotransmitter
    all-or-none principle
    a neuron fires with the same potency each time, although frequency can vary -- it either fires or not
    amygdala
    brain structure that serves a vital role in our learning to associate things with emotional responses and for processing emotional information
    antagonist
    drug that inhibits the action of a specific neurotransmitter
    are all behaviors adaptive?
    no.  most of our behavior does not reflect our evolutionary heritage -- such behaviors are by-products of of adaptative solutions
    autonomic nervous system (ANS)
    part of the PNS, regulates the body's internal environment by stimulating glands and by maintaining internal organs such as the heart, gall bladder, stomach
    autoreceptors
    neuron's own neurotransmitter receptors which regulate the release of the neurotransmitters
    axon
    long narrow outgrowth of a neuron by which information/electrical impulses is transmitted to other neurons
    basal ganglia
    system of subcortical structures that are important for the initiation of planned movement
    behaviorism
    emphasizes the role that environmental forces have on producing behavior
    binocular depth cues
    cues of depth perception that occur because people have two eyes
    binocular disparity
    cue of depth perception caused because of the distance between a person's eyes
    blindsight
    condition in which people who are blind have  some spared visual capacities in the absence of any visual awareness
    bottom-up processing
    data are relayed from one processing level to the next, always moving to a higher level of processing
    brainstem
    section of the bottom of the brain that houses the most basic programs of survival (breathing, swallowing, vomiting, urination, orgasm)
    Broca's area
    left frontal region of the brain that is crucial to the production of language
    can we override pain
    some people are born who cannot feel pain, but it is dangerous because pain teaches us to avoid bad situations. drugs can subdue (or intensify...) pain
    can we perceive something without attending to it?
    yes -- even if something is not at the forefront of your attention you still perceive it. attention will not be called unless it personally affects you (coctail party phenomenon)
    case study
    intensive examination of one person
    cell body
    where information from thousands of other neurons is collected and processed
    central nervous system (CNS)
    brain and spinal cord -- seperated from the body by the blood-brain barrier, referring to the selectively permeable nature of blood vessels that prevent certain toxins and poisons from entering the brain/spinal cord
    central tendency
    measure that represents the typical behavior of the group as a whole
    cerebellum
    large convulated protuberance at the back of the brainstem that is essential for coordinated movement and balance
    cerebral cortex
    the outer layer of brain tissue that forms the convoluted surface of the brain
    chromosomes
    structures within the cell body that are made up of genes
    circadian rhythm
    regulation of biological cycles into regular pattern -- keeps animals quiet and inactive during the time when there is the greatest danger
    cone
    vision under high illumination, color and detail, densely packed in fovea
    confound
    anything that affects a dependent variable that may unintentionally vary between the different experimental conditions of a study
    cornea
    thick, transparent layer which focuses incoming light in a process called refraction
    corpus callosum
    fiber of axoms that transmits information between the two cerebral hemispheres of the brain
    correlation
    statistical procedure that provides a numerical value between +1 and -1 indicating the strength and direction of the relationship b/t variables
    correlational study
    research method that examines how variables are naturally related in the real world without any attempt by the researcher to alter them
    critical period
    time in which certain experiences must occur for normal brain development, such as exposure to visual information during infancy for normal development of the brain's visual pathways
    critical thinking
    systematic way of evaluating information in order to reach reasonable conclusions -- think skeptically
    culture
    belief, values, rules and customs that exist within a group of people who share a common language and environment and that are transmitted through learning from one generation to the next
    data
    objective observations or measurements
    dendrites
    branchlike extensions of the neuron that detect information from other neurons
    dependent variable
    the measure that is affected by the manipulation of the independent variable
    descriptive study
    involves observing and noting the behavior of people or other animals in order to provide a systematic and objective analysis of behavior
    difference threshold
    the minimum amount of change required in order to detect a difference between intensities of stimuli
    dizygotic twins
    twins who result from two separately fertilized eggs -- fraternal
    does the brain rewire itself during learning, aging and repair?
    yes -- all the maps in the cerebral cortex shift in response to their activity. following a brain injury, surrounding gray matter assumes the function of the damaged area
    dreams
    product of an altered state of consciousness in which images and fantasies are confused with reality
    dualism
    philosophical idea that the mind exists seperately from the physical body - rene descartes idea
    early selection theory
    we can choose the stimuli to which we will attend before we process the basic features
    electrophysiology
    method of data collection that measures electrical activity in the brain
    endocrine system
    communication system that uses hormones to influence thoughts, behaviors, and actions
    enzyme deactivation
    process whereby the neurotransmitter is destroyed by an enzyme
    evolutionary theory
    a theory that emphasizes the inherited, adaptive value of behavior and mental activity through the entire history of a species
    experiment
    study that tests casual hypotheses by measuring and manipulating variables
    experimenter expectancy effect
    actual change in the behavior of people or animals due to the observer bias
    filter thoery
    limited capacity for sensory information and thus screen incoming info, only letting in the most importan
    frontal lobes
    region at the front of the cerebral cortex concerned with planning and movement
    functional MRI
    imaging technique used to examine changes in the activity of the working brain
    functionalism
    concerned with adaptive purpose, or function, of mind and behavior
    GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid)
    primary inhibitory transmitter in the nervous system, works throughout the brain to hyperpolarize postsynaptic membranes 
    gate-control theory of pain
    in order to experience pain, receptors must be activated and a neural gate in the spinal cord must allow these signals into the brain
    gene
    unit of heredity that determines a particular characterist in an organism
    Gestalt school of perceptual psychology
    perceptions are different from the sum of the constituent sensations -- brains use innate organizing principles to organize sensory information
    gestalt theory
    the whole of personal experience is different from the sum of its constituent elements -- perception of objects subjective and dependent on context
    gonads
    primary endocrine glands involved in sexual behavior
    good continuation
    tendency to interpret intersecting lines as continuous
    gray matter
    segment of the spinal cord that is dominated by the cell bodies of neurons
    haptic sense
    sense of touch
    heritability
    statistical estimate of the fraction of observed measure of the overall amount of difference amog people in a population that is caused by differences in heredity
    hippocampus
    brain structure important for the formation of certain types of memory
    hormones
    chemical substances typically released from endocrine glands that travel through the bloodstream to target tissues
    how are genes expressed?
    environment decides which option is taken -- cells specialized for different tasks
    how are qualitative factors coded?
    different sensory receptors respond to different qualities of a stimulus
    how are quantitative factors coded?
    indexed by neural firing frequency
    how can the same problem be studied at different levels?

    different categories of analysis:

    • social (how cultural and social context affect the way people interact)
    • individual (individual differences in personality and mental processes)
    • biological (how the physical body contributes
    how can we study mental activity?
    careful scientific observation, experimentation
    how do drugs alter neural activity?
    alter the actions of neurotransmitters -- how it is synthesized, can raise or lower amount of neurotransmitter released, change the way the neurotransmitter is deactivated by blocking reuptake or preventing enzyme deactivation
    how do ethical issues constrain psychological research?
    participants must be fully aware of the requirements of the study -- risk of emotional/physical harm -- privacy concerns
    how do expectations affect perception?
    can help determine what you are perceiving, but can also affect what you perceive if you expect to perceive something else
    how do nerve cells operate?

    all neurons have resting potential -- negative

    AP opens cell membranes, allows sodium in

    depolarization, spreads down axon

    inside of cell becomes more positive than outside

    how do studies of twins help us understand genetics?
    good way to test contributions of genes and environment -- nature vs. nurture
    how do we disentangle nature and nurture?
    understand both the genetic basis of human nature and the environment that shapes it
    how do we ensure that our measurements are accurate?
    validity, reliability, accuracy
    how do we hear
    a sound wave stimulates hair cells located in the ear, oscillations prompt hair cells to generate action potentials
    how do we know where sound is coming from?
    brain integrates the different sensory information coming from each of the ears
    how do we smell?
    odorous particles pass into the nose, come into contact with thin layer of tissue embedded with smell receptors, convey information to olfactory bulb
    how do we taste?
    taste buds stimulated by chemical substances from food dissolved in saliva, send electrical signals to medulla (in brainstem)
    how does an experiment differ from a descriptive study?
    descriptive studies usually are just trying to see if a phenomenon exists -- from there, scientists can proceed to experiments
    how does culture shape how we interact with the world?
    culture shapes beliefs and values, norms, symbols, ethnicity
    how does hormone transmission differ from neurotransmission?
    released into bloodstream until they reach their target destination, where they bind to receptors and influence tissue
    how does the brain communicate with the body?
    through the spinal cord
    how does the brain enable the mind?
    coordinatd action in a number of different brain regions contributes not only to consciousness but also to variations in conscious experience
    how does the brain give rise to awareness?
    reports that information is perceived
    how is causation between two variables established?
    creating control, allowing the researcher to rule out alternative explanations for the observed data. the more confounds that can be eliminated, the more certain the relationship can be
    how is energy converted into sensation
    sensory coding -- coded by different patterns of neural impulses
    how is info from stimuli in the world transformed into neural activity in the brain?
    sensory organs convert forms of physicalenergy into signals that the brain can understand
    how might a computer analogy be useful for thinking about the mind?
    brain takes in information as a code, processes it, stores relevant sections, retrieves stored information
    how might culture influence observer bias?
    if cultural norms prohibit inhibiting/expressing certain behaviors
    how might environment affect brain development in young children?
    not exposed to conditions that are necessary to pave brain pathways, necessary neurons aren't born
    hypothalamus
    small brain structure that is vital for temperature regulation, emotion, sex, motivation
    hypothesis
    specific prediction of what should be observed in the world if a theory is correct
    ideas from Darwin's On The Origin of Species
    natural selection, survival of the fittest, that inheritable individual differences provide the basis of evolutionary development
    independent variable
    the condition that is manipulated by the experimenter to examine its impact on the dependent variable
    inferential statistics
    set of procedures used to make judgments about whether differences actually exist between sets of numbers
    informed consent
    people are given full information about a study, allowing them to make a knowledgeable decision about whether to participate
    insomnia
    disorder characterized by an inability to sleep
    institutional review boards
    groups of people responsible for reviewing proposed research to ensure that it meets the accepted standards of science and provides for the physical and emotional well-being of research participants
    interneurons
    communicate only with other neurons, typically within a specific brain region
    introspection
    systematic examination of subjective mental experiences that require people to inspect and report on the content of their thoughts
    late selection theory
    people take in sensory information, process it, then select which aspects should be attended
    latent content
    what a dream symbolizes, material disguised in a dream to protect the dreamer -- Freud
    lateral inhibition
    visual process in which adjacent photoreceptors inhibit one another
    left brain
    dominant for language, will attempt to explain behavior of right brain
    magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
    method of brain imaging that produces high-quality images of the brain
    manifest content
    plot of a dream, the way a dream is remembered -- Freud
    materialism
    the belief that the brain and mind are inseparable
    microsleeps
    brief, unintended episodes, ranging from a few seconds to a minute caused by chronic sleep deprivation
    mind-body problem
    whether mind and body are seperate and distinct or whether the mind is simply the subjective experience of the physical brain
    monoamines
    group of neurotransmitters synthesized from a single amino acid that are involved in a variety of psychological activities
    monocular depth cues
    cues of depth perception that are available to each eye alone
    monozygotic twins
    twins who result from one zygote splitting in two and share the same genes -- identical
    motor neurons
    direct muscles to contract/relax, producing movement
    myelin sheath
    fatty material made of glial cells that insulates the axon and allows for the rapid movement of electrical impulses along the axon
    natural selection
    darwin's theory that those who inherit characteristics that help them adapt to their particular environment have a selective advantage over those who don't
    naturalistic observation
    passive descriptive study in which observers do not change or alter ongoing behavior
    nature-nurture debate
    arguments concerning whether psychological characteristics are biologically innate or acquired through education, experience and culture
    neuron
    basic unit of the nervous system that operates through electrical impulses, which communicate with other neurons through chemical signals. 
    neuronal workspace model
    consciousness arises as a function of which brain regions are active
    neurotransmitter
    chemical substance that carries signals from one neuron to another
    nodes of Ranvier
    small gaps of exposed axon between the segments of myelin sheath, where action potentials are transmitted
    observational technique
    careful and systematic assessment and coding of overt behavior
    observer bias
    systematic errors in observation that occur due to an observer's expectations
    occipital lobes
    region of the cerebral cortex at the back of the brain that is important for vision
    olfactory bulb
    brain center for smell, located below the frontal lobes
    operational definition
    quantification of a variable that allows it to be measured
    parasympathetic division of ANS
    division of the automatic nervous system that returns the body to its resting state
    parietal lobes
    region of the cerebral cortex lying in front of the occipital lobes and behind the frontal lobes that is important for the sense of touch and the spatial layout of an environment
    participant observation
    type of descriptive study in which the researcher is actively involved in the situation
    peptides
    chains of two or more amino acids found in the brain and the body; act like classic neurotransmitters or modify the quality of the neurotransmitter they are erleased with
    perception
    processing, organization, interpretation of sensory signals that result in an internal representation of the stimulus
    perceptual constancy
    people correctly perceive objects as constant in their shape, size, color and lightness despite raw sensory data that could mislead perception
    peripheral nervous system (PNS)
    all nerve cells in the body that are not part of the central nervous system
    pheromones
    chemicals released by animals and humans that trigger physiological or behavioral reactions in other members of the same species
    phrenology
    early method of assessing personality traits and mental abilities by measuring bumps on the skull
    pituitary gland
    at the base of the hypothalamus, send hormonla signals that control the release of hormones from endocrine glands
    place coding
    mechanism for encoding high-frequency auditory stimuli in which the frequency of the sound wave is encoded by the location of the hair cells along the basilar membrane
    plasticity
    property of the brain that allows it to change as a result of experience, drugs or injury
    positron emission tomography (PET)
    method of brain imaging that assesses metabolic activity by using a radioactive substance injected into the bloodstream
    prefrontal cortex
    region of the frontal lobes especially prominent in humans important for attention, working memory, decision making, appropriate social behavior and personality
    primary auditory cortex (A1)
    region of the temporal lobe -- neurons in A1 code the frequency of auditory stimuli. neurons at the rear respond best to lower frequencies, at the front responds to higher
    primary somatosensory cortex (S1)
    in the parietal lobe, body mapped out according to physical proximity, sensitive body parts have larger amounts of S1 devoted to them
    primary visual cortex (V1)
    largest area in occipital lobe, where the thalamus projects  the image
    proximity
    closer two figures are, the more likely we are to group them together
    psychoanalysis
    attempts to bring the contents of the unconscious into conscious awareness so that conflicts can be revealed
    psychological practitioners
    those who apply findings from psychological science in order to assist people in their daily lives
    psychological scientist
    one who uses the methods of science to study the interplay between brain, mind and behavior and how the social environment affects these processes
    psychophysiological assessment
    research method that examines how changes in bodily functions are associated with behavior or mental state
    qualia
    properties of our subjectiv, phenomenological awareness (color theory)
    random assignment
    each participant has an equal chance of being assigned to any level of the independent variable
    reaction time
    quantification of performance behavior that measures the speed of a response
    reactivity
    effect that occurs when the knowledge that one si being observed alters the behavior being observed
    receptive field
    region of visual space to which neurons in the primary visual cortex are sensitive
    receptors
    specialized protein molecules on the postsynaptic membrane that neurotransmitters bind to after passing across the synaptic cleft
    reliability
    extent to which a measure is stable and consistent over time in similar conditions
    REM sleep
    stage of sleep marked by rapid eye movements, dreaming, paralysis of motor systems
    replication
    repetition of an experiment in order to confirm the results
    research
    scientific process that involves the systematic and careful collection of data
    response performance
    researchers quantify perceptual or cognitive process in response to a specific stimulus
    resting membrane potential
    electrical charge of a neuron when it is not active
    restoration theory of sleep
    brain and body need to rest, sleep lets the body repair itself
    reticular formation
    large network of neural tissue within the brainstem involved in behavioral arousal and sleep-wake cycles
    retina
    thin inner surface of the back of the eyeball. contains the photoreceptors that transduce light into neural signals
    retinotopic organization
    systematic ordering of the neuronal pathway from the retina to the occipital lobe; preserves spatial relationships, so adjacent areas of the retinal correspond to adjacent areas in the visual cortex
    reuptake

    process where the neurotransmitter is taken back into the presynaptic terminal buttons, thereby stopping its activity 

    reuptake
    process whereby the neurotransmitter taken back into the presynaptic terminal buttons, thereby stopping its activity
    right brain
    good for spatial relationships
    rod
    respond at low levels of light, night vision, located all over the retina, movement
    self-report method
    people are asked to provide information about themselves through questionnaires or surveys
    sensation
    how sense organs respond to external stimuli and transmit the responses to the brain
    sensory adaptation
    when an observer's sensitivity to stimuli decreases over time
    sensory neurons
    detect information from the physical world and pass that information to the brain
    Sigmund Freud beliefs
    level of the unconscious, psychoanalysis
    socially desirable responding
    when people respond to a question in a way that is most socially acceptable or that makes them look good
    somatic nervous ssytem
    part of the PNS, transmits sensory signals to the CNS via nerves
    spinal cord
    part of the central nervous system, rope of neural tissue that runs inside the hollows of the vertebrae from just above the pelvis and into the base of the skull
    split brain
    condition in which the corpus callosum is surgically cut and the two hemispheres of the brain do not receive information directly from each other
    stream of consciousness
    continuous series of ever-changing thoughts
    structuralism
    approach to psychology based on the idea that conscious experience can be broken down into its basic underlying components or elements
    subtractive color mixing
    a way to produce a given spectral pattern in which the mixture occurs within the stimulus itself and is actually a physical process
    sympathetic division of ANS
    division of the autonomic nervous system that prepares the body for action
    synapse
    site for chemical communication between neurons
    synaptic cleft
    small space between neurons that contains extracellular fluid
    temporal coding
    mechanism for encoding low-frequency auditory stimuli in which the frequency of the sound wave is encoded by the frequency of firing of the hair cells
    temporal lobes
    lower region of the cerebral cortex that is important for processing auditory information and memory
    terminal buttons
    small nodules at the end of axons which receive the electrical impulses and release chemical signals from the neuron to the synapse
    thalamus
    gateway to the brain that receives almost all incoming sensory information before it reaches the cortex
    theory
    a model of interconnected ideas and concepts that explain what is observed and makes predictions about future events
    third-variable problem
    when the experimenter cannot directly manipulate the independent variableand therfore cannot be confident that another, unmeasured variable is not the actual cause of differences in the dependent variable.
    threat-rehearsal strategies
    dreams allow you to rehearse coping strategies
    three basic ideas of consciousness
  • subjectivity (unique perspective each of us has on our own conscious experience)
  • acces to information (knowledge of the contents of our consciousness)
  • a unitary experience (fruits of our sensory systems into a unified phenomenal ex
  • three basic types of neurons
  • sensory neurons
  • motor neurons
  • interneurons
  • three functions of neurons
  • take in information from neighboring neurons (reception)
  • integrate those signals (conduction)
  • pass signals to other neurons (transmission)
  • top-down processing
    information at higher leves of processing can also influence lower, earlier levels in the processing hierarchy
    transduction
    process by which sensory receptors produce neural impulses when they receive physical or chemical stimulation
    transplantation of stem cells
    stm cells are master cells that can regenerate themselves, become any type of tissue -- ethical debate
    unconscious
    identifies mental processes that operate below the level of conscious awareness
    validity
    the extent to which the data collected addresses the research hypothesis in the way intended
    variable
    something in the world that can be measured and can vary
    visual hierarchical processing
    processing is in stages, first analyzes retinal image by extracting elementary feature
    what are some of the problems with correlational studies?
    third-variable problem, directionality problem
    what are some problems with the method of introspection
    experience is subjective -- difficult to determine whether subjects are using the criteria in a similar way
    what defines an empirical question?
    can be tested and either confirmed oor shown to be false
    what is a good theory?
    one that produces a wide amount of hypotheses
    what is critical thinking?
    making good decisions based on reasonable and logical conclusions abotu evidence
    what is mind?
    mental activity, such as thoughts and feelings
    what role does genetics play in mind and behavior?
    the actions of multiple genes affect psychological and biological activity
    white matter
    segment of the spinal cord that consists mostly of axons and the fatty sheaths that surround them
    why are anecdotal reports limited in what they can tell us?
    people introduce biases into their answers
    why does crossing levels of analysis provide better insights about the mind?
    provides more insights than just one level -- breakthroughs in psychological understanding
    why is evolutionary theory important to understanding mental activity?
    helpful for thinking about adaptive problems that have the potential to affect whether one survives and reproduces
    why is heritability lower when the population is more diverse?
    the increased variability that comes from diversity and the estimates of genetic variation do not consider such diversity
    why is it important to use operational definitions?
    help other researchers know precisely what is being measured, allowing them to replicate the research

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