Glossary of AP Psychology Midterm Term Review

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all-or-nothing law
This refers to the firing of neurons. Their ion channels either open or close; there is no half-way position.
Consciously repeating information over and over so that one can keep it in their temporary memory. Rehearsal can also be used to encode it for long-term memory storage.
The process of getting information in to the memory system for storage and later retrieval.
systematic desensitization
This is a form of treatment or therapy for phobias, fears, and aversions that people have. The premise is to reduce a person's anxiety responses through counterconditioning - a person who learned to be afraid of something is associating fear with that object or behavior, and the way to eliminate this is to teach the person to replace the feelings of anxiety with feelings of relaxation when the object or behavior is present. This approach is based on conditioning relaxation with the feared object or object of anxiety.
functional fixedness
When something is thought of only in terms of its functionality, then the person is demonstrating functional fixedness. This type of thinking is narrow and limited, often inhibiting the problem solving process.
proactive interference
Difficulty in learning new information because of already existing information.
classical conditioning
Classical Conditioning: First proposed and studied by Ivan Pavlov, classical conditioning is one form of learning in which an organism "learns" through establishing associations between different events and stimuli. (UCR, CR, CS, UCS)
aversive conditioning
A form of behavior therapy that is used to reduce the occurrence of undesirable behavior, such as sexual deviations or drug addiction. Conditioning is used, with repeated pairing of some unpleasant stimulus with a stimulus related to the undesirable behavior. An example is pairing the taste of beer with electric shock in the treatment of alcoholism. Aversion therapy is little used nowadays.
Modeling is a form of learning where individuals ascertain how to act or perform by observing another individual.
glial cells
Glial cells support and maintain neurons. They insulat the axons by enclosing individual azons in a protective myelin sheath which helps protect it and aid in the speed of condution.
The loss of self awareness and personal identity. People in groups tend to lose some of their own self-awareness and self-restraint when in groups. They become less of an individual and more anonymous. In a sense, people will do things in groups they otherwise would not because they feel less responsible for their actions and less like an individual.
dependent variable
The variable expected to change due to variations in the independent variable.
operant conditioning
Operant Conditioning is a type of learning in which a behavior is strengthened (meaning, it will occur more frequently) when it's followed by reinforcement, and weakened (will happen less frequently) when followed by punishment. Operant conditioning is based on a simple premise - that behavior is influenced by the consequences that follow. (B.F. Skinner)
social learning theory
Social Learning Theory: This theory, made famous by Albert Bandura, states that social behavior (any type of behavior that we display socially) is learned primarily by observing and imitating the actions of others. The social behavior is also influenced, according to this theory, by being rewarded and/or punished for these actions. (Bobo doll)
reciprocal determinism
According to Albert Bandura, a person's behavior is both influenced by and influences a person's personal factors and the environment. Bandura suggests that a person's behavior can be conditioned through the operant conditioning (use of consequences like reward and punishment); he also believes that a person's behavior can impact the environment. So it is not just that you are influenced by your environment, but that you also influence the environment around you--each impacts the other.
episodic memory
Episodic memory is the type of long-term, declarative memory in which we store memories of personal experiences that are tied to particular times and places. For example, if you are having a conversation with a friend and you tell your friend, "last night I went to a 9:00 movie..." you are recalling information stored in episodic memory. This type of memory is often what comprises eye-witness testimony and is especially susceptible to subsequent events like questioning, reading the newspaper, talking to others about the event, etc.
semantic memory
Semantic memory is one of the three types of long-term memory (the others are episodic and procedural) in which we store general world knowledge like facts, ideas, words, problem solving, etc.
echoic memory
Memory for sound is referred to as echoic memories, which can be defined as very brief sensory memory of some auditory stimuli. Typically, echoic memories are stored for slightly longer periods of time than iconic memories (visual memories). Echoic and iconic memories are sensory memories, not types of long-term memory, and thus are very temporary and fade quickly.
eidetic memory
Photographic memory, eidetic memory, or total recall, is the ability to recall images, sounds, or objects in memory with great accuracy and in seemingly unlimited volume.
authoritarian style of raising children
Authoritarian parents are rigid in their rules; they expect absolute obedience from the child without any questioning. They also expect the child to accept the family beliefs and principles without questions. Authoritarian parents are strict disciplinarians, often relying on physical punishment and the withdrawal of affection to shape their child's behavior.

Children raised with this parenting style are often moody, unhappy, fearful, and irritable. They tend to be shy, withdrawn, and lack self-confidence. If affection is withheld, the child commonly is rebellious and antisocial.
authroritative style of raising children
Authoritative parents show respect for the opinions of each of their children by allowing them to be different. Although there are rules in the household, the parents allow discussion if the children do not understand or agree with the rules. These parents make it clear to the children that although they (the parents) have final authority, some negotiation and compromise may take place. Authoritative parents are both responsive and demanding; they are firm, but they discipline with love and affection, rather than power, and they are likely to explain rules and expectations to their children instead of simply asserting them. This style of parenting often results in children who have high self-esteem and are independent, inquisitive, happy, assertive, and interactive.
permissive style of raising children
Permissive (indulgent) parents have little or no control over the behavior of their children. If any rules exist in the home, they are followed inconsistently. Underlying reasons for rules are given, but the children decide whether they will follow the rule and to what extent. They learn that they can get away with any behavior. Indulgent parents are responsive but not especially demanding. They have few expectations of their children and impose little or inconsistent discipline. There are empty threats of punishment without setting limits. Role reversal occurs; the children act more like the parents, and the parents behave like the children.

Children of permissive parents may be disrespectful, disobedient, aggressive, irresponsible, and defiant. They are insecure because they lack guidelines to direct their behavior. However, these children are frequently creative and spontaneous. Although low in both social responsibility and independence, they are usually more cheerful than the conflicted and irritable children of authoritarian parents.
intrinsic motivation
Motivation derived from the task itself and not external rewards.
extrinisic motivation
Motivation derived from the external reward for a task and not the task itself.
positive reinforcement
stimulus which increases the frequency of a particular behavior using pleasant rewards.
negative reinforcement
With negative reinforcement the occurrence of a behavior is increased by removing an unpleasant stimulus.
Benjamin Whorf
His hypothesis is that language controls the way we think.
variable ratio schedule
A variable ratio schedule (VR) is a type of operant conditioning reinforcement schedule in which reinforcement is given after an unpredictable (variable) number of responses are made by the organism.
The term metacognition refers to the act of thinking about thinking, or the cognition of cognition. It is the ability for you to control your own thoughts. It really is the knowledge and regulation of cognitive phenomena which means, you can control your own thoughts. Metacognition includes the ability for you to control, 1) person variables (knowledge about one's self, and others' thinking), 2) task variables (knowledge that different types of tasks exert different types of cognitive demands), and; 3) strategy variables (knowledge about cognitive and metacognitive strategies for enhancing learning and performance).
achievement test
An achievement test is a standardized test that is designed to measure an individual's level of knowledge in a particular area. Unlike an aptitude test which measures a person’s ability to learn something, an achievement test focuses specifically on how much a person knows about a specific topic or area such as math, geography, or science.
person-centered psychotherapy
Created by Carl Rogers, this form of humanistic therapy deals with the ways in which people perceive themselves consciously rather than having a therapist try to interpret unconscious thoughts or ideas. There are many different components and tools used in person-centered therapy including active listening, genuineness, paraphrasing, and more. But the real point is that the client already has the answers to the problems and the job of the therapist is to listen without making any judgements, without giving advice, and simply help the client feel accepted and understand their own feelings.
It is the process of modifying existing shemata to adapt to new information. (part of John Piaget's cognitive development)
clinical depression
A state of depression so severe as to require clinical intervention by a health care professional. It has several treatment options, including psychotherapy, antidepressant medication, and electroconvulsive therapy.
cognitive dissonance
Proposed by Festinger, the cognitive dissonance theory asserts that people often have two conflicting or inconsistent cognitions which produce a state of tension or discomfort (also known as "dissonance"). People are then motivated to reduce the dissonance, often in the easiest manner possible.
just noticeable difference
he just noticeable difference (JND), also known as the difference threshold, is the minimum difference in stimulation that a person can detect 50 percent of the time.
An aroused state of psychological tension that typically arises from a need. A drive, such as hunger or thirst, motivates the organism to act in ways that will reduce the tension.
The psychological feature that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal; the reason for the action; that which gives purpose and direction to behavior.
A simple definition of emotion is that it is a response by a whole organism, involving (1) physical arousal, (2) expressive behaviors, and (3) conscious experience.
A behavior that is genetically programmed into an entire species. Thus, the behavior is not the result of learning, and can be seen across members of a species.
latent dream
(latent content)
According to Freud, dreams have two types of content, each of which contains different meanings to the dreams. One of these type of content islatent content, which is the underlying, more hidden, but true meaning of a dream (as opposed to the manifest content). Freud believed that the latent content was somehow censored by the subconscious which was a way to protect us from the real meanings of the dreams. This was necessary because the dream content may be difficult for people to deal with, so people disguise the real meaning. However, Freud believed that when people were in conflict, if he could uncover or get to the latent content, then he could identify the person's problem and resolve their conflict.
manifest dream
(manifest content)
According to Freud, our dreams are important and meaningful in understanding the causes of our problems, hidden issues, and painful issues we can't face during wakefulness. Freud identified two types of content in our dreams; latent content and manifest content. Manifest content is all the parts of the dream that we remember (the actual content). It's not the stuff we associate with our dreams, but the actual story lines of the dreams.
Depressants are drugs (such as alcohol, barbiturates, and opiates) that reduce neural activity and slow down body functions.
An addictive drug, such as opium, that reduces pain, alters mood and behavior, and usually induces sleep or stupor. Natural and synthetic narcotics are used in medicine to control pain.
Stimulants are drugs that arouse or excite the nervous system and speed up bodily processes. Some types of stimulants include nicotene (cigarettes), caffeine (coffee, tea, etc.), and cocaine.
group polarization
When people are placed into a group and these people have to deal with some situation, the group as a whole typically has some overriding attitude toward the situation. Over time and with group discussion, the group's attitude toward that situation may change. When it changes in such a way that the group attitude is enhanced and strengthened, then group polarization has occurred.
Schizophrenia is a psychological disorder, thought to be caused by imbalances in brain chemistry, which involves delusions and faulty perceptions of the world. Schizophrenics often hear voices in their head and have delusions of grandeur.
According to Freud, humans have three main components to their personality that cause us to behave the way we do and make us who we are. One of these components, the id, is the part that you may consider that little devil sitting on your shoulder trying to get you to do all those things that feel good, even if they are wrong. More specifically, the id is the part of the human personality that is made up of all our inborn biological urges that seeks out immediate gratification (guided by the Pleasure Principle), regardless of social values or consequences.
According to Freud, the ego is the part of personality that helps us deal with reality by mediating between the demands of the id, superego, and the environment. The ego prevents us from acting on every urge we have (produced by the id) and being so morally driven that we can't function properly. The ego works according to the reality principle which helps us direct our unacceptable sexual and aggressive urges to more acceptable targets.
According to Freud, humans have three main components to their personality that cause us to behave the way we do and make us who we are; the id, ego, and superego. The superego (Latin for "over the I") acts as our moral guide and mediates between the id and the ego. The superego contains the conscience, which makes us feel guilty for doing or thinking something wrong and good when we do something right.
state-dependent learning
State-dependent learning is a phenomenon in which the retrieval of newly acquired information is possible only if the subject is in the same sensory context and physiological state as during the encoding phase.
A hormone produced by the thyroid gland affecting body temperature and the metabolism of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Thyroxine also keeps up growth hormone release, skeletal maturation, and the heart function.
A hormone produced by the adrenal glands that also acts as a neurotransmitter for nerve cells. As part of the fight-or-flight response, epinephrine signals the heart to pump harder, increases blood pressure and has other effects on the cardiovascular system. Also called adrenaline.
A protein hormone that is responsible for women's production of breast milk after giving birth to a child. Prolactin is produced by the pituitary gland
Insulin is a hormone that's secreted by your pancreas to help regulate blood sugar level and promotes glycogen storage. Individuals with diabetes mellitus supplement insulin to make up for their body's inability to produce sufficient amounts.
Testosterone is a very important male sex hormone. Although it is considered a male sex hormone, women do have it, just in lesser quantities than men. As a fetus is developing, it is testosterone that promotes the growth of male sex organs and other male-specific features. It's also responsible for the male-specific changes that occur during puberty such as deepening in the voice and increased facial hair.
Phonemes are sets of basic sounds (in fact, the smallest set of sounds) that are the building blocks to all spoken language. Unlike morphemes, phonemes are not units of speech that convey meaning when used in isolation.
The smallest units of speech that convey meaning. All words are composed of at least one morpheme. For example, the word "work" is a single morpheme, but the word "working", which implies some action, is made up of two morphemes ("work" and "ing").
In grammar, a single word that carries the meaning of a whole sentence (‘Help!’). Children learning to speak go through a stage when they communicate in holophrases.
projective test
A test which requires an individual to respond to indistinct stimuli. The individual's interpretation about the stimuli is meant to reveal aspects of their personality. The Rorschach, which has individuals describe various ambiguous inkblot pictures is a classic example of a projective test.
The fovea is the central focal point on the retina in the eye around which the cones cluster. In fact, the fovea has only cones around it, which are better for detecting fine detail. So, when trying to really see some fine detail or focus something, people tend to move the image onto the fovea (although they may be unaware that this is what they are doing...they just think they are trying to see something better).
An inherited disorder resulting in the inability to process the amino acid, phenylananine. If not treated, the disorder may result in mental retardation. Treatment is a diet low in phenylalanine. Newborns are screened for PKU, in order to determine the need for treatment before brain damage occurs.
phenylketonuria (PKU)
An inherited disorder resulting in the inability to process the amino acid, phenylananine. If not treated, the disorder may result in mental retardation. Treatment is a diet low in phenylalanine. Newborns are screened for PKU, in order to determine the need for treatment before brain damage occurs.
Hans Selye
The G.A.S., alternately known as the stress syndrome, is what Selye came to call the process under which the body confronts "stress" (what he first called "noxious agents"). In the G.A.S., Selye explained, the body passes through three universal stages of coping. First there is an "alarm reaction," in which the body prepares itself for "fight or flight." No organism can sustain this condition of excitement, however, and a second stage of adaptation ensues (provided the organism survives the first stage). In the second stage, a resistance to the stress is built. Finally, if the duration of the stress is sufficiently long, the body eventually enters a stage of exhaustion, a sort of aging "due to wear and tear."
fixed-ratio schedule
With this type of operant conditioning reinforcement schedule, an organism must make a certain number of operant responses (whatever it may be in that experiment) in order to receive reinforcement.
Carl Rogers
Carl Rogers was a Humanistic Psychologist who is most known for his approach to psychological treatment and his belief in the genuine good in the individual. (client-centered therapy)
A chemical related to dopamine that is used in the treatment of Parkinson's disease.
Sigmund Freud is the most famous developer of this therapy approach. The therapy concentrates on bringing forward repressed unconscious thoughts. Freud believed that the ego and superego spent a considerable amount of energy to keep these feelings and thoughts repressed. It was this repression and the development of defense mechanism that left these hidden conflicts unresolved. Freud thought that these unresolved conflicts prevented normal psychosexual development, which in turn cause personality disorders. One of his most common techniques to bring these thoughts to the consciousness was the use of free association.
daptation refers to an individual's ability to adjust to changes and new experiences, and to accept new information. The ability to adapt helps us grow mentally and continually develop.
myelin sheath
Myelin is a fatty substance that covers neurons. Around your neurons is a myelin sheath (a layer of myelin) that helps increase the speed at which information can travel on the neurons.
A good way to define this term is to tell you how Irving Janus (the main researcher on this topic) describes it. Janus (1972) said that groupthink is "a deterioration of mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment that results from in-group pressures." Essentially, people within a group become so consumed with the group, maintaining group cohesiveness, and doing what is important for the group that they themselves lose their ability to think independently and make good, sound judgments. There are quite a few symptoms and causes of groupthink, but it is important to know what groupthink is and that it has been used to explain a variety of tragic events throughout history such as, mass suicides (like the Heaven's Gate suicides), poor political decisions (like the Bay of Pigs invasion), riots, and more.
divergent thinking
A cognitive process (a mode of critical thinking) in which a person generates many unique, creative responses to a single question or problem. This is different from convergent thinking which attempts to find a single, correct answer to a problem.
hen you take medications or drugs your body begins to get used to the drug. As a result, you may need to take more and more of it in order to get the same effects. This reduced effect of the drug is tolerance - your body is getting used to the drug causing a reduction in its effectiveness. In some cases, psychologists require patients to go without medications or take breaks from their medications (drug holidays) in order to reduce tolerance and maintain its effectiveness.
When an organism (does not have to be a human; can be another type of animal) becomes addicted to a substance, and then they are prevented from having that substance for an extended period of time, they go through a period of withdrawal. This period of withdrawal involves feelings of discomfort and distress.
Paranoia is a psychological disorder in which the person has delusions of being persecuted by others or delusions of their own grandeur. Paranoia is a symptom of several different psychological disorders, including schizophrenia. Paranoid thinking often comes on gradually and develops into a very complex pattern of thought based on misinterpretations of real events.
Unlike being depressed, mania is a mood disorder in which people feel incredibly excited, hyperactive, and overly optimistic. Mania is also one part of bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression in which people swing from being depressed to being manic (being in a state of mania). Often times people who are manic indicated enjoying the state and getting a sense of pleasure from it since during the state they are so optimistic and energetic.
A mental disorder that is characterized by insensitivity and rigidity of the muscles.
Endorphins are endogenous opioid biochemical compounds. They are peptides produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus in vertebrates, and they resemble the opiates in their abilities to produce analgesia and a sense of well-being. In other words, they work as "natural pain killers".
A pheromone is any chemical produced by a living organism that transmits a message to other members of the same species. There are alarm pheromones, food trail pheromones, sex pheromones, and many others. Their use among insects has been particularly well documented, although many vertebrates also communicate using pheromones. Their use by humans is controversial.
A hormone produced by the adrenal glands in response to stress, affecting the body's metabolism of glucose, proteins, and fats. Cortisol is normally released by the body in a regular daily pattern of highs and lows. Imbalances are associated with fatigue, depression, obesity, and immune dysfunction.
A chemical messenger involved in the regulation and coordination of cellular and bodily functions.
autonomic nervous system
The part of the nervous system that regulates involuntary vital functions, including the activity of the cardiac (heart) muscle, smooth muscles (eg, of the gut), and glands. The autonomic nervous system has two divisions: the sympathetic nervous system accelerates heart rate, constricts blood vessels, and raises blood pressure; the parasympathetic nervous system slows heart rate, increases intestinal and gland activity, and relaxes sphincter muscles.
situational attribution
How individuals make inferences about why people do things according to external factors and how they relate to features of the environment (threats, money, peer pressure).
Harry Harlow
Studied theory of attachment in infant Rhesus monkeys.
Sigmund Freud
Developed psychoanalytical theory that focuses on the unconscious - pioneered in charting personality and emotional growth - psychosexual development.
Albert Bandura
Pioneered observational learning - Bobo doll experiments
APA ethical guidlines
Include: informed consent, avoiding harm, decpetion & debriefing, confidentiality, offering inducements, honoring commitments, minimizing invasiveness
A part of the brain that sits below (hypo) the thalamus and is responsible for orchestrating several behaviors that are considered "maintenance" behaviors (such as eating, drinking, body temperature). In addition, the hypothalamus helps govern the endocrine system (glands that produce hormones) using the pituitary gland, and is also involved in feeling emotions and perceiving things are rewarding (for example, being in love is perceived as a good and rewarding feeling/emotion and something worth trying to obtain more of).
primacy effect
This is the tendency for the first items presented in a series to be remembered better or more easily, or for them to be more influential than those presented later in the series. If you hear a long list of words, it is more likely that you will remember the words you heard first (at the beginning of the list) than words that occurred in the middle. This is the primacy effect.
recency effect
This is the principle that the most recently presented items or experiences will most likely be remembered best. If you hear a long list of words, it is more likely that you will remember the words you heard last (at the end of the list) than words that occurred in the middle. This is the recency effect.
A prototype is the BEST example or cognitive representation of something within a certain category. Prototypes are used to enhance memory and recall, since you can keep a prototype of something and then match new, similar things to the prototype in order to identify, categorize, or store this new thing.
The balanced state of the living body (ie temperature, chemistry, blood pressure, sleep and wakefulness, and so on), despite variations in the environment.
size constancy
Size constancy refers to our ability to see objects as maintaining the same size even when our distance from them makes things appear larger or smaller.
The extent downward or backward or inward.
Solomon Asch
Study on conformity. His experiment had a subject unaware of his situation, test to see if he would conform if all the members of the group gave an incorrect answer.
The visual impression that remains after the initial stimulus is removed. Staring at a single intense hue may cause the cones, or color receptors, of the eye to become so fatigued that they perceive only the complement of the original hue when it has been removed.
blind spot
Visual information travels along the optic nerve in the eye before it begins its journey to the brain for processing. There is a certain spot on the optic nerve that does not have any receptor cells (the area where the optic nerve leaves the eye), and, as a result, can't receive information. The result is the blind spot.
fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)
Fetal alcohol syndrome includes physical, cognitive, and psychologicl abnormalities that result from consuming alcohol during pregnancy.
reticular formation
Located deep within the brainstem, it runs between the medulla and midbrain; it is a cluster of small nerve cells and short fibers that rules consciousness: even when sleeping, the reticular formation remains ready to alert the forebrain if the senses signal threat.
variable interval schedule
A variable interval schedule (VI) is a type of operant conditioning reinforcement schedule in which reinforcement is given to a response after specific amount of time has passed (an unpredictable amount of time), but this amount of time is on a changing/variable schedule.
Although this is not done much at all anymore (if at all), it is a procedure that was once used to reduce uncontrollably violent or emotional people. Technically this is a type of psychosurgery (surgery for psychological purpose that destroys brain tissue to change a person's behavior) in which the nerves that connect the frontal lobes to the parts of the brain that control emotions are severed. Used in the 1930's, the patient would be shocked into a coma then the surgeon would drive a big pick-like tool through the person's eye socket and then move it around to cut the nerves.
aptitude test
Standardized tests measuring specific intellectual capabilities or other characteristics.
computerized axial tomography
A CAT Scan is "Computerized Axial Tomography" (also known as a CT Scan), which is a process of using computers to make a 3-dimensional image from a 2-dimensional picture (X-ray). During the process a series of x-ray photographs are taken from different angles and then combined by computer into a composite 3-dimensional representation. So, pictures are taken one slice at a time going through the whole object and then the slices are combined to get a great visual of the whole thing.
A correlation is a statistical index used to represent the strength of a relationship between two factors, how much and in what way those factors vary, and how well one factor can predict the other. Using correlations does NOT (I repeat, does not) provide you with cause and effect information; it will not tell you if one factor causes or is caused by the other.
Phobias are unsound or illogical fears of objects or events. It is thought that phobias are learned or conditioned responses from early childhood experiences.
absolute threshold
Absolute threshold is the smallest intensity of a stimulus that has to be present for the stimulus to be detected.
multiple personality disorder
A personality disorder where an individual seems to possess more than one personality. People who suffer from this disorder generally have gone through traumatic childhood experiences that have caused the formation of more than one personality in order to psychologically escape from their situation. A high percentage of people who suffer from this disorder have been sexually abused as a child. Also, many people mistakenly refer to people with MPD as schizophrenics, but they are completely different disorders.
Denial is a defense mechanism in which a person unconsciously rejects thoughts, feelings, needs, wishes, or external realities that they would not be able to deal with if they got into the conscious mind.
According to Freudian psychoanalytic theory, displacement is when a person shifts his/her impulses from an unacceptable target to a more acceptable or less threatening target.
Projection is one of the defense mechanisms identified by Freud and still acknowledged today. According to Freud, projection is when someone is threatened by or afraid of their own impulses so they attribute these impulses to someone else.
Rationalization is a defense mechanism identified by Freud. According to Freud when people are not able to deal with the reasons they behave in particular ways, they protect themselves by creating self-justifying explanations for their behaviors.
Regression is another one of the defense mechanisms identified by Freud. According to Freud there are times when people are faced with situations that are so anxiety provoking that they can't deal with it and they protect themselves by retreating to an earlier stage of development.
inner ear
The innermost part of the ear, containing the cochlea (the spiral shape part that has lots of neural receptors for picking up auditory stimuli), semicircular canals, and vestibular sacs.
response bias
esponse bias can affect survey results if respondents answer questions in the way they think the questioner wants them to answer rather than according to their true beliefs.
mere exposure effect
The mere exposure effect is where you begin to like something simply because you are exposed to it over and over again.
When the solution to a problem comes to you in an all-of-a-sudden manner, it can be considered insight. More specifically, insight can be defined as the sudden and often novel realization of the solution to a problem.
A belief that you could do something if you wanted to, for example, a belief that you could manage, or help to allieviate your pain by using a hot/cold compress. A high self-efficacy for a task may mean that you are more likely to try it out.
Any stimulus that represses a behavior.
Abraham Maslow
Humanistic psychologist - Hiearchy of needs - Needs at the lower level dominate an individual's motivation as long as they are unsatisfied. Once these needs are adequately met, the higher needs occupy the individual's attention.
cross-sectional study
A cross-sectional study is one type of study in which people of different ages are examined at the same time(s). This is usually done with cohorts, so that researchers can examine how people of different ages perform, behave, or respond to a particular function.
medulla oblongata
The most vital part of the entire brain, continuing as the bulbous portion of the spinal cord just above the foramen magnum and separated from the pons by a horizontal groove. It is one of three parts of the brainstem . The medulla contains the cardiac (heart),vasomotor and the respiratory centers of the brain.
attribution theory
Attribution theory is a Social Psychological theory that relates to the way in which people explain their own behavior and that of others. According to this theory, people tend to attribute (or explain) psychological or external causes as the determining factor in behavior.
longitudinal study
A longitudinal study is somewhat similar to a repeated measures study but in this case people are study and restudied over a period of time (as opposed to studied across different experimental conditions as is the case with a repeated measures study). The longitudinal study design is good for looking at the effects or changes over a long period of time, usually as people age.
occipital lobe
The brain can be divided into four main areas, one of which is the occipital lobe, which is the area of the brain located at the rear of the head. The occipital lobe is responsible for sight.
One of the structures located in the lower brain stem just above the spinal cord. Pons act as a major pathway for motor and sensory information between the body and higher level brain functioning.
visual cliff
The Visual Cliff is a test given to infants to see if they have developed depth perception.
shape constancy
the tendency to perceive the shape of a rigid object as constant despite differences in the viewing angle (and consequent differences in the shape of the pattern projected on the retina of the eye)
The human eye is made of several layers and components. Behind the cornea, iris, and pupil sits the lens (it is directly behind the pupil) which actually changes shape as you try to focus on something. When you try to focus on something the lens changes shape (called accomodation) and then focuses the incoming light onto the back of the eye (the retina) which send the information on to be processed by the brain.
right hemisphere
The half of the brain that functions to think about abstract information like music, colors or shapes and to synthesize experiences by giving a quick, general sense of what is happening - controls the left side of the body.
left hemisphere
The half of the brain that functions to help analyze details and think about analytical concepts, for example math, logic and speech - "dominant hemisphere" - controls the right side of the body.
electroconvulsive therapy
ECT (also known as shock therapy) is a type of biomedical therapy in which a brief electric current is sent through the brain of a patient in order to produce a chemical change. This treatment, although not practiced commonly, is most often used to treat severely depressed people, and has been shown to work quite effectively. ECT fell out of favor and was perceived as cruel and inhuman, but in recent years has regained some popularity.
Closure is a Gestalt principle of perceptual organization that explains how humans fill in visual gaps in order to perceive disconnected parts as a whole object.
fixed-interval schedule
With this type of operant conditioning reinforcement schedule, an organism must wait (either not make the operant response, whatever it is in that experiment; or it can make the response but the response produces nothing) for a specific amount of time and then make the operant response in order to receive reinforcement.
limbic system
The limbic system is a grouping of structures in the brain that sits between in the most primitive part of the forebrain called the rhinecephalon. This is a doughnut-shaped network of neurons that inlfuences many deep-rooted drives and emotions including pain, anger, hunger, sex, thirst, and pleasure. The thalamus, hypothalamus, amygdala, fornix, mammiliary bodies, and septal areas are all parts of the limbic system.
A method of behavior modification that uses principles of operant conditioning to change a maladaptive behavior. With this method, a person is presented with visual or auditory information about some internal, involuntary process. The information is actual feedback about the internal process that the person can use to increase control of the internal process.
somatoform disorder
Somatoform disorders as those that have some type of bodily symptom (soma = body) but don’t appear to have any physical cause. This does not mean that the symptoms are not real, only that a physical cause for the real symptoms can't be found. This may be the result of anxiety, stress, among other causes.
Freud said that when we have memories, impulses, desires, and thoughts that are too difficult or unacceptable to deal with, we unconsciously exclude them from our consciousness (some people like to say we "push" them down from our consciousness to our uncosciousness).
down syndrome
Down syndrome is a condition of mental retardation and associated physical disorders caused by an extra chromosome. Each person has 23 pairs of chromosomes, one pair from each parent. A person with down syndrome has a 3rd chromosome on the 21st pair. The results are both mental and physical, and often include small eyes, and hands, protruding tongues, short necks and fingers. There are all different levels of the disorder, and the probability of a child being born with it increases as the mother's age increases; this is especially true as the mother becomes middle aged.
convergent thinking
A cognitive process (a mode of critical thinking) in which a person attempts to find a single, correct answer to a problem. This is opposite from divergent thinking in which a person generates many unique, creative responses to a single question or problem.
rational-emotive therapy
This type of therapy was created by Albert Ellis who himself defines rational-emotive therapy (also known as rational-emotive behavior therapy) as, " a humanistic, action-oriented approach to emotional growth which emphasizes individuals' capacity for creating their own emotions; the ability to change and overcome the past by focusing on the present; and the power to choose and implement satisfying alternatives to current patterns." The approach to this therapy is to aggressively challenge irrational, illogical, or altered views people have of themselves to help them see that their views are indeed irrational, illogical, etc.
Recurrent and persistent thought, impulse, or image experienced as intrusive and distressing. Recognized as being excessive and unreasonable even though it is the product of one's mind. This thought, impulse, or image cannot be expunged by logic or reasoning.
normal distribution
The normal distribution (a bell-shaped curve) represents a theoretical frequency distribution of measurements. In a normal distribution, scores are concentrated near the mean and decrease in frequency as the distance from the mean increases.
narcissistic personality
A personality marked by self-love and self-absorption; unrealistic views about your own qualities and little regard for others.
Ivan Pavlov
Classical conditioning - an unconditional stimuls naturally elicits a reflexive behavior called an unconditional response. But with repeated pairings with a neutral stimulus, the neurtal stimulus will elicit the response. (dog salivation)
A neurotransmitter, or chemical that transmits signals between nerve cells. Dopamine appears to function as an inhibitor. It has been associated with schizophrenia, and there is some evidence linking dopamine levels with pathological gambling.
post-traumatic stress disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychological disorder where individuals suffer nightmares and other types of emotional distress from a traumatic past experience or set of experiences. Stimulus that reminds them of the event or events can cause flashbacks and irritability.
tudy participants are usually assigned to groups in such a way that each participant has an equal chance of being assigned to each treatment (or control) group. Since randomization ensures that no specific criteria are used to assign any patients to a particular group, all the groups will be equally comparable.
type A personality
Friedman and Rosenman conducted studies on the relationship between stress and heart disease. One of the outcomes was the discovery of Type A and Type B personalities. People who are classified as having Type A personality have characteristisc like: they have a sense of time urgency, find it difficult to relax, and often become impatient and angry when they get delayed (or if they are going to be late) or are around other people whom they view as incompetent. They are the opposite of Type B people.
type B personality
Friedman and Rosenman conducted studies on the relationship between stress and heart disease. One of the outcomes was the discovery of Type A and Type B personalities. People who are classified as having Type B personality are better at relaxing without feeling guilty and working without becoming anxious or agitated. Some of the other characteristics include being more relaxed about time (they don't get overly stressed about being late), and are not easily angered. You probably know people who just seemed to be relaxed people who don’t get angry often (they roll with the punches well)…these are the characteristics of a Type B. They are the opposite of Type A people.
Broca's area
amed for the French surgeon and anthropologist, Paul Broca, who found this area of the brain, Broca's Area is located in the frontal lobe of the brain and acts as the speech center. Although there are other areas of the brain that also influence speech (Wernicke's Area and the motor cortex), Broca's Area is considered the central component.
Aphasia is the inability to use language appropriately and may include problems speaking language, hearing language, and reading language. Some with aphasia are able to read properly, but can't speak the language, speak the language but not be able to read it, or read letters but not numbers. Aphasia usually results from damage to parts of the brain such as Broca's (speaking problems) area or Wernicke's area (understanding language problems).
retroactive interference
Retroactive interference is when a person has difficulty recalling old information because of newly learned information. For example, you may have difficulty skiing because of recently learning how to snowboard.
object permanence
A developmental term that refers to a child's ability to understand that objects still exist after they are no longer in sight. Infants eight-months old or younger tend not to have this ability. It is not until they become more cognitively developed that they understand to search for an object even though it has been hidden from view.
The concept understood by concrete operational children that logical propositions can be reversed (if 2 + 3 = 5, then 5 - 3 = 2).
seasonal affective disorder
(SAD) a cyclically recurring mood disorder characterized by depression, extreme lethargy, increased need for sleep, hyperphagia, and carbohydrate craving; it intensifies in one or more specific seasons, most commonly the winter months, and is hypothesized to be related to melatonin levels.
antisocial personality disorder
This is a type of personality disorder in which the person has impulsivity, an inability to live by the rules, customs, and laws of the society in which they live, and a lack of anxiety or guilt about their behavior. It is synonymous with sociopathic personality and sociopath.
Erik Erikson
A developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst known for his theory on social development of human beings, and for coining the phrase 'identity crisis' - 8 stages "who am I?"
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
A psychiatrist and the author of the groundbreaking book On Death and Dying, where she first discussed what is now known as the Kübler-Ross model (5 stages for dealing with death)
abnormal behavior
”Abnormal is anything that is not considered normal”. The reality is that we define all sorts of behaviors, thoughts, etc. by what the majority of people do, and say that this is the norm. Behavior that falls outside of this is considered abnormal. It is important to recognize that abnormality is affected significantly by society and culture.
phi phenomenon
A phenomenon in which lights next to each other blinking on and off in succession appear to actually move.
electroencephalogram (EEG)
An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a recording of the electrical waves of activity that occur in the brain, and across its surface. Electrodes are placed on different areas of a person's scalp, filled with a conductive gel, and then plugged into a recording device. The brain waves are then attracted by the electrodes, travel to the recording device and then amplified so that they can be more easily seen and examined. The EEG recording can be used to examine a variety of brain functions including sleep (the different stages of sleep) and different psychological disorders.
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a method used for studying the functions of the brain (or any living tissue) without surgery. Images are obtained by using a strong magnetic field. This technology has improved medical diagnoses and research methods. For example, with a MRI, a psychologist can observe different structures in the brain by having a subject perform certain exercises or tasks.
sensory neurons
Sensory neurons are responsible for bringing information from sensory receptors (like the nerves in your hand) to the central nervous system (spinal cord and brain). In other words, these neurons carry information about the senses, so they bring information from the eyes, ears, etc., as well as from within the body like the stomach.
fundamental attribution error
In attribution theory, the fundamental attribution error (sometimes referred to as the actor-observer bias, correspondence bias or overattribution effect) is the tendency for people to over-emphasize dispositional, or personality-based, explanations for behaviors observed in others while under-emphasizing the role and power of situational influences on the same behavior.
stroboscopic motion
You see movement on TV or at the movies, although you're actually watching a series of static images.
Autism is a disorder of brain function that appears early in life, generally before the age of three. Children with autism have problems with social interaction, communication, imagination and behavior. Autistic traits persist into adulthood, but vary in severity. Some adults with autism function well, earning college degrees and living independently. Others never develop the skills of daily living, and may be incorrectly diagnosed with a variety of psychiatric illnesses. The cause is unknown.
A measure of central tendency which is more commonly known as an "average." The average or mean is calculated by adding all scores and then dividing by the number of scores.
An uncontrollable, repetitive and compelling urge to perform certain acts, such as hand washing, which has no immediate benefit beyond relief of anxiety. It is the behavioral manifestation of an obsession.
intelligence quotient (IQ)
This is a mathematical formula that is supposed to be a measure of a person's intelligence.
mental age
The score achieved by a person in an intelligence test, expressed in terms of the chronological age of an average normal individual showing the same degree of attainment.
Fugue (also known as Dissociative Fugue) is a really interesting type of disorder in which a person suffers a bout of amnesia and then flees their home and identity. Often the person will travel far away from their home, assume a new identity, and live as a different person until they "snap" out of their amnesic state.
Retrieval is the process in which information in your memory can be recalled.
learned helplessness
When an organism (person, animal, etc.) is prevented from avoiding some aversive stimulus repeatedly (e.g., continuous electric shocks) the organism will reach a state in which it becomes passive and depressed because he believes that there are no actions it can take to avoid the aversive stimulus. Esssentially, the organism just gives up trying to avoid it and just takes the aversive stimulus. Thus, the organism learns that it is helpless against the aversive stimulus.
The rules that specify how words should be ordered in a sentence to make the sentence meaningful.
The science of describing what words mean, the opposite of syntax.
Schacter's two-factor theory
Schacter's two-factor theory emphasizes the role of cognition, including memories of similar situations.
Norms are the unwritten but understood rules of a society or culture for the behaviors that are considered acceptable and expected.
Method for solving a problem or performing a task.
There are lots of ways we can make judgments and solve problems; there are complex ways and quick ways. One quick way is to use a heuristic, which is a rule-of-thumb strategy for making more efficient decisions. For example, you may be an experienced driver. Over time you have learned that when you come to a stop sign, you need to come to a complete stop or you will get a ticket. Now, whenever you come to a stop sign, you have to give very little thought at all to what behavior is required; you see the stop sign, you stop. You have a heuristic for stop signs.
A placebo is any substance that is not known to have any pharmacological effects (produces no meaningful changes in an oranism, either chemical, biological, etc.) that is made to look like an active ("real") drug.
This is a behavioral term that refers to gradually molding or training an organism to perform a specific response (behavior) by reinforcing any responses that are similar to the desired response.
Wernicke's area
The auditory word center; located in the posterior part of the superior temporal convolution in most people.
conversion disorder
Conversion disorder is a rare somatoform disorder in which a person has specific, genuine, physical symptoms, but there is no physiological basis for the symptoms; at least there is no physiological basis that can be found.
factor analysis
Factor analysis is a type of statistical procedure that is conducted to identify clusters or groups of related items (called factors) on a test.
parietal lobe
The division of the cerebral hemisphere lying behind the frontal lobe. It receives and processes sensations of touch including pain, heat, cold, pressure, size, shape, and texture. Also the combined analysis of information from the various senses occurs in this lobe.
REM sleep
REM, which is also known as paradoxical sleep, stands for Rapid Eye Movement and occurs in cycles every 60-90 minutes througout your sleep period. This means that every 60-90 minutes you enter a REM stage during which you have rapid eye movements and your muscles become almost paralyzed (this is why it's called paradoxical sleep - the rest of your body is active but your muscles are inactive). The majority of dreams occur in REM sleep, but not all of them.
personality disorder
People with personality disorders have personalities that are outside social norms. Very often these people are not even aware that their maladaptive behaviors and personalities are so different than those of other members of their society. In addition, these behaviors are personalities are usually so ingrained that the person accepts them as completely normal and has no desire to change them.
A measure of central tendency that is defined as the midpoint in an array of numbers.
eople with certain psychological disorders (or those having a psychotic episode), such as schizophrenia, may demonstrate delusions, or false beliefs, often of persecution or grandeur.
Lawrence Kohlberg
Kohlberg's theory of moral development emphasizes that moral reasoning develops in stages. In this it resembles Jean Piaget's theory of cognitive development.
experimentor bias
Occurs when a researcher inadvertently encourages subjects to respond in a way that supports her hypothesis.
acetylcholine (ACh)
Acetylcholine (ACh) is the most common type of neurotransmitter, and the most well understood. It's found in parts of the peripheral nervous system, spinal cord, and areas of the brain. In the peripheral nervous system, ACh activates muscles that help the body move. When Ach is released to the muscle cells, the muscle contracts.
panic disorder
Panic Disorder is a mental condition that causes the sufferer to experience sporadic bouts of frightening symptoms, such as racing heart, shortness of breath, or a feeling of hopeless loss of control.
semicircular canal
The semicircular canals are three half-circular, interconnected tubes located inside each ear that are the equivalent of three gyroscopes located in three planes perpendicular (at right angles) to each other -concerned with equilibrium.
oval window
An opening in the bony wall that separates the middle ear from the inner ear.
Hallucinations can be defined as false sensory (visual, auditory, etc.) experiences, such as seeing something a person although nobody is really there, hearing a voice although nobody is speaking, feeling someone touch who despite being alone, etc.
trait theory
A theory of human traits and their role in personality.
flashbulb memory
The sudden onset of a clear memory of an emotionally significant moment or event. When you are trying to remember something and then it "all of a sudden comes to you", you have experienced a flash bulb memory. It is like turning on a light.
approach-approach conflict
In approach-approach conflict we are attracted to two equally desirable goals.
external locus of control
A person with an external locus of control is more likely to believe that his or her fate is determined by chance or outside forces that are beyond their own personal control. This strategy can be healthy sometimes. Like when dealing with failure or disaster, but can also be harmful in that it can lead to feeling of helplessness and loss of personal control.
Mary Ainsworth
Ainsworth concluded that there are qualitatively distinct patterns of attachment that evolve between infants and their mothers over the opening years of life. (secure attachment, ect)
Chunking is a way of organizing information into familiar groupings. This is done with all sorts of information, including numbers, single words, and multiple-word phrases which are collapsed into a single word, to create acronyms. The main advantage of this type of mnemonic device is that it enhances retention and memory.
frontal lobe
The area of the brain situated directly behind your forehead. It is important for cognitive functions and control of voluntary movement or activity.
Transference is a phenomenon where patients undergoing clinical therapy begin to transfer their feelings of a particular person in their lives to the therapist.
Noam Chomsky
Chomsky is credited with the creation of the theory of generative grammar, often considered the most significant contribution to the field of theoretical linguistics of the 20th century. He also helped spark the cognitive revolution in psychology through his review of B. F. Skinner's Verbal Behavior, which challenged the behaviorist approach to the study of mind and language dominant in the 1950s. His naturalistic approach to the study of language has also affected the philosophy of language and mind.
positron emission tomography (PET)
Positron emission tomography (PET), which is similar to the MRI, is a scanning method that enables psychologists and doctors to study the brain (or any other living tissue) without surgery. PET scans use radioactive glucose (instead of a strong magnetic field) to help study activity and locate structures in the body.
Wolfgang Kohler
German-American psychologist, one of the founders of Gestalt psychology with Kurt Koffka. Köhler gained fame with his studies on cognitive processing involved in problem-solving by animals. Köhler argued that animals do not learn everything through a gradual trial-and-error process, or stimulus-response association. His tests in Tenerife in the 1910s with chimpanzees suggested that these animals solved problems by understanding - like human beings, they are capable of insight learning, the "aha!" solutions to problems.
self-fulfilling prophecy
A predetermined idea or expectation one has toward oneself that is acted out, thus "proving" itself.
An area of the brain that helps process information from the senses and transmit it to other parts of the brain.
retinal disparity
Cue to distance in visual perception. The two eyes receive slightly different information from the world, owing to their slightly different position in space. It is the task of the brain to combine these two "messages" into one coherent perception. This combination allows the visual system to calculate the distance of the objects in the visual field.
A measure of central tendency which is defined by the most common number in an array.
Hypnosis is a temporary state of heightened relaxation and suggestibility during which some (not all) people are able to become so focused that they experience imaginary happenings as if they were real.
James-Lange theory of emotion
We have experiences, and as a result, our autonomic nervous system creates physiological events such as muscular tension, heart rate increases, perspiration, dryness of the mouth, etc. This theory proposes that emotions happen as a result of these, rather than being the cause of them.
Removing the needy from residential facilities and placing them in the community. Reduction in the size of populations held in institutions of involuntary confinement, primarily mental hospitals and prisons. This movement began in the 1970s and was very successful in reducing the size of mental hospitals.
color blindness
Reduced ability to discriminate between colors, especially shades of red and green. Usually hereditary.
neurotransmitter and a hormone. It is released by the sympathetic nervous system onto the heart, blood vessels, and other organs, and by the adrenal gland into the bloodstream as part of the fight-or-flight response. Norepinephrine in the brain is used as a neurotransmitter in normal brain processes.
anxiety disorders
he class of disorders containing any disorder in which anxiety is the primary feature or in which anxiety appears when the individual tries to resist a phobia.
corpus callosum
A thick band of nerve fibers that connects the two hemispheres of the brain.
cerebral cortex
The outer layer of the brain, consisting of nerve cells and the pathways that connect them. The cerebral cortex is the part of the brain in which thought processes take place. In Alzheimer’s disease, nerve cells in the cerebral cortex degenerate and die.
pituitary gland
The pituitary gland, which is part of the endocrine system, is a small structure located just below the hypothalamus. This is a very influential gland releases hormones that affect your growth as well as influencing the activities of other glands. For this reason the pituitary gland is often referred to as the master gland.
A neurotransmitter that has been implicated in states of consciousness, mood, depression and anxiety.
Altruism refers to unselfish behaviors or actions done for the sake of someone else.
The Stanford-Binet test is predominantly a verbal test, developed in 1910. It was the as the first widely used intelligence test.
approach-avoidance conflict
In approach-avoidance conflict we have one goal that has positive and negative aspects.
internal locus of control
If you believe that you control your own destiny and that your behaviors are under your control, then you have an internal locus of control.
dichotic listening
In a dichotic listening task, subjects hear two voices at a time, and they must listen to and process the words of one voice, called the attended voice. Subjects are unable to process the content of the second, unattended voice, suggesting that there are limits to the capacity of our attention.
double blind procedure
This is one type of experimental procedure in which both the patient and the staff are ignorant (blind) as to the condition (or group) that the participant is in. This would make it impossible for the participant or researcher to know if the participant is receiving the treatment (for example a drug) or a placebo.
Catharsis is a psychodynamic principle that, in its most basic sense, is simply an emotional release. Further, the catharsis hypothesis maintains that aggressive or sexual urges are relieved by "releasing" aggressive or sexual energy, usually through action or fantasy.
Carole Gilligan
She presents a theory of moral development which claims that women tend to think and speak in a different way than men when they confront ethical dilemmas. Gilligan contrasts a feminine ethic of care with a masculine ethic of justice. She believes that these gender differences in moral perspective are due to contrasting images of self.
sympathetic nervous system
A branch of the autonomic nervous system responsible for mobilizing the body's energy and resources during times of stress and arousal.
If the test does indeed measure what it is intended to measure, then we can say that the test is valid (or has validity). In psychology, tests are usually judged according to their validity and their reliability (if the test produces similar results each time the test is taken). Tests that are valid are also reliable. However a test might be reliable without it being valid.
Reliability refers to the extent to which a test or other instrument is consistent in its measures.
motor neurons
Neurons that carry information from the central nervous system to the muscles to make movements.

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