Glossary of ap psych 16-30

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Asch's conformity study (line segments)
Solomon Asch did some of the very first studies of conformity. His famous "line segment' study is in every psychology book. Bet you can find it. His research showed that we are most likely to conform when: it appears we are in the minority, when we feel we are of lesser status than those around us, when we haven't made a public commitment on a stated issue and when we're somewhat unsure as what to do.
Attachment is the term we use to refer to bonding. Unlike our animal friends, humans don't bond (imprinting) immediately to their parents, it takes time, about 9 months for an infant to become attached to mom or dad. And, the quality of our attachment influences us for a long time and in many different ways (Mary Ainsworth's studies, Erik Erikson's study of basic trust).
Attribution theory
Attribution theory attempts to explain how and why we interpret other people's motivations and behaviors in the way we do. Whether or not you are aware of it, we are always attributing the cause of other people's behavior to one of two things: the power of the situation or the person's personality. We say someone is smart, angry, helpful, evil either because that's the way they are (dispositional-personality factors) or because the situation they are in makes them respond that way.
Aversive conditioning (good or bad?)
Aversive conditioning is using some kind of unpleasant stimulus or consequence to train someone's behavior. Spanking is an obvious example, or having people smoke cigarettes that would make them nauseous and vomit after smoking them would be another example. Is it good or bad? Depends. What does the research show?
aversice conditions
Aversive conditions are similar to aversive conditioning. It would be the presence of something unpleasant in the learning environment. For example, a bright light, a loud noise, a painful shock.
Babinsky response
The Babinsky reponse is a quick neurological test we give infants. If you stroke the sole of their foot, they will reflexively extend their big toe and fan out their other toes. It's a sign that the nerves in the foot are working.
Behavior as being adaptive
Human behavior is incredibly adaptive. That means that it changes over time to adjust to the demands of the environment and the situation. If we did come from the jungle, look at how adaptive our behavior is! It's not just survival of the fittest, but survival of he/she who can adapt the best to a changing environment. And, we can thank our cerebral cortex (higher thinking area of the brain) for giving us the ability to do this.
Bell curve (normal distribution)
The famous "bell curve" is formally known as the curve of normal distribution. Look it up in any statistics book or psych book. Basically, it's a graph of what it would look like if we graphed a million IQ tests, or a million heights/weights, or a million bank accounts. There would be a big chunk (68%) of the people somewhere around the center (mean, median, mode) with less and less people as we travel either direction away from the center. So, it's a mathematical model or represenation of common occurances in life.
Benjamin Warf
Benjamin Worf promoted the idea that our thinking ability is dependent on the language we use. Since people in various cultures use different words to describe things, their thinking must also be different. But, Worf was wrong. We've found that everyone no matter what the population or culture, has the same thinking, perceiving and intellectual ability of the next culture. Now, some cultures might invent different words for things: Eskimo's have hundreds of ways to express snow, but that's because snow is very important to them in that culture. But, that doesn't mean other cultures aren't capable of thinking about snow. Worf's theory is known as lingustic relativism or determinism.
Binocular disparity
Binocular disparity (a.k.a. retinal disparity) refers the fact that because we have two eyes, each set about 4 inches apart, our brain really gets two different visual images of things out there. What the brain does is fuse these separate "pictures" of things out there into one seamless field. Now binocular disparity is very important for depth perception. People with only one eye have a tough time with perceiving depth. Think about it, each separate eye picks up different visual cues and the brain computes it and picks it apart to give you a more complete picture of things like height & distance. If you only had one eye, you'd not be able to get as much information and your visual accuracy - especially in depth- would be lacking.
Blind spot
Blind Spot. Each eye has one. Where the axons from rods and cones exit the eye, a place called the optic disc, there is a small spot known as the blindspot. If light should strike this area, you won? see anything because there are not rods or cones here to decode the frequency of light (which the brain later reads and turns the frequency signals into an image in your mind). Since it? a spot on the retina where there are not rods and cones, light falls merely on the long axon fibers of adjacent rods and cones ? but that? not enough to create an image in the brain. Light must fall on a rod or cone for us to "see" something.
Blood brain barrier
Blood Brain Barrier: the arteries and veins in the brain are "double sealed" to keep certain molecules, and substances from crossing over the arterial membrane. Very few things can leave the arteries and get into the stuff of the brain which is neurons. Only things like oxygen, glucose, and certain other substances can cross this barrier. This keeps harmful things like viruses, infections, cancer cells, etc. from getting loose into the area of the brain where serious damage could take place.
Brain: what part do we share with animals? how do we differ?
What part of the brain do we share with animals? We and animals share the same basic hind brain, at the base of our skull where the brain meets the spinal cord. These structures (medulla, cerebellum, reticular system, pons, etc.) are important for basic vital functions such as heartbeat, balance, digesting and breathing. So humans and animals all have the same lower part to their brains. It? only the higher parts (cerebral cortex) that distinguishes us from the apes, dogs, lions, tigers and bears (Oh, My!)
Brainstorming: A way to generate novel solutions to problems. Everyone in the room just sort of shouts out ideas about something and the ideas are written on the board, no one is allowed to criticize the ideas until everyone has said everything they want. By reducing criticism, there is a free flow of ideas from which you can go back later on and judge which ones are good or which ones are bad. But the initial idea is to get those ideas out and on the board. If you know you?l be instantly criticized, they someone with a good idea might not speak up in the first place.

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