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psych 10


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independent variable
the experimental factor that is manipulated; the variable whose effect is being studied
dependent variable
the experimental factor- in psychology, the behavior or mental process- that is being measured; the variable that may change in response to manipulattions of the independent variable
standard deviation
a computed measure of how much scores vary around the mean score
statistical significance
a statistical statement of how likely it is that an obtained result occurred by chance
the enduring behaviors, ideas, attitudes, and traditions shared by a large group of people and transmitted from on generation to the next
biological psychology
a branch of psychology concerned with the links between biology and behavior
a nerve cell; the basic building block of the nervous system
the busy, branching extensions of a neuron that receive messages and conduct impulses toward the cell body
the extension of a neuron, ending in branching terminal fibers, through which messages passs to other neurons or to muscles or glands
myelin sheath
a layer of fatty tissue segmentally encasing the fibers of many neurons; enables vastly greater transmission speed of neural impulses as the impluse hops from on node to the next
action potential
a neural impluse; a brief electrical charge that travles down an axon. The action potential is generated by the movement of positively charged atons in and out of channels in the axon's membrane
the level of stimulation required to trigger a neural impulse
the junction between the axon tip of the sending neuron and the dendrite or cell body of the receiving neuron. The tiny gap at this junction is called the synaptic gap or cleft
chemical messengers that traverse the synaptic gaps betweeen neurons. When released by the sending neuron, neurotransmitters travel across the synapse and bind to receptor sites on the receiving neuron, thereby influencing whether that neuron will generate a neural impluse
a neurotransmitter that, among its functions, triggers muscle contraction
"morphine within"- natural, opiatelike neurotransmitters liked to pain control and to pleasure
nervous system
the body's speedy, electrochemical communication system, consisting of all the nerve cell of the peripheral and central nervous systems
central nervous system
the brain and spinal cord
peripheral nervous system
the sensory and motor neurons that connect the central nervous system to the rest of the body
neural "cables" containing many axons. THese bundled axons, which are part of the peripheral nervous system, connect the central nervous sytem with muscles, glands, and sense organs
sensory neurons
neurons that carry incoming info from the sense receptors to the central nervous system
central nervous system neurons that internally communicate and intervene between the sensory inputs and motor outputs
motor neurons
neurons that carry outgoing information from the central nervous system to the muscles and glands
somatic nervous system
the division of the peripheral nervous system that contrls the body's skeletal muscles. AKA skeletal nervous system
autonomic nervous system
the part of the peripheral nervous system that controls the glands and the muscles of the internal organs (such as the heart). Its sympathetic division arouses; its parasympathetic division calms
sympathetic nervous system
the division of the autonomic nervous system that arouses the body, mobolizing its energy in stressful situations
parasympathetic nervous system
the division of the autonomic nervous system that calms the body, conserving its energy
neural networks
interconnected neural cells. With experience, networks can learn, as feedback strengthens or inhibits connections that produce certain resuls. Computer stimulations of neural networks show analogous learning
endocrine system
the body's "slow" chemical communication system; a set of glands that secrete hormones into the bloodstream
chemical messengers, mostly those manufactured by the endocrine glands, that are produced in one tissue and affect another
adrenal glands
a pair of endocrine glands just above the kidneys. The adrenals secrete the hormones epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline), which help to arouse the body in times of stress
pituitary gland
the endocrine system's most influential gland. Under the influence of the hypothalamus, the pituitary regulates growth and controls other endocrine glands
tissue destruction. A brain lesion is a naturally or experimentally caused destruction of brain tissue
electroencephalogram (EEG)
an amplified recording of the waves of electrical activity that sweep across the brain's surface. These waves are measured by electrodes placed on the scalp
CT (computed tomography)scan
a series of x-ray photographs taken from different angles and combined by computer into a composite representation of a slice through the body. AKA CAT scan
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
a technique that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce computer-generated images that distinguish among different types of soft tissue; allows us to see structures within the brain
the oldest part and central core of the brain, beginning where teh spinal cord swells as it enters the skull; the brainstem is responsible for automatic survival functions
the base of the brainstem; controls heartbeat and breathing
reticular formation
a nerve network in the brainstem that plays an important role in controlling arousal
the brain's sensory switchboard, located on top of the brainstem; it directs messages to the sensory receiving areas in the cortex and transmits replies to the cerebellum and medulla
the "little brain" attached to the rear of the brainstem; it helps coordinate voluntary movement and balance
limbic system
a doughnut-shaped system of neural structures at the border of the brainstem and cerebal hemispheres; associated w/ emotions such as fear and aggression and drives such as those for food and sex. Includes the hippocampus, amygdala, and hypothalamus
two almond-shaped neural clusters that are components of the limbic system and are linked to emotion
a neural structure lying below the thalamus; it directs sevearl maintenance activities(ex:eating, drinking, body temp) helps govern the endocrine system via the pituitary gland, and is linked to emotion
cerebral cortex
the intricate fabric of interconnected neural cells that covers the cerebral hemispheres; the body's ultimate control and information-processing center
glial cells
cells in the nervous system that support, nourish, and protect neurons
frontal lobes
the portion of the cerebral cortex lying just behind the forehead; involved in speaking and muscle movements and in making plans and judgments
parietal lobes
the portion of the cerebral cortex lying at the top of the head and toward the rear; includes the sensory cortex
occipital lobes
the portion of the cerebral cortex lying at the back of the head; includes the visual areas, which receive visual information from the opposite visual field
temporal lobes
the portion of the cerebral cortex lying roughly above the ears; includes teh auditory areas, each of which receives auditory info primarily from the opposite ear
motor cortex
an are at the rear of the frontal lobes that controls voluntary movements
sensory cortex
the areat the the front of the parietal lobes that registers and processes body sensations
association areas
areas of the cerebral cortex that are not involved in primary motor or sensory functions; rather they are invovled in higher mental functions such as learning, remembering, thinking, and speaking
impairment of language, usually caused by left hemisphere damage either to Broca's area (impairing speaking) or to Wernicke's area (imparing understanding)
the brain's capacity for modification, as evident in brain reorganization following damage (especially in children) and in experiments on the effects of experience on brain development
corpus callosum
the large band of neural fibers connecting the two brain hemispheres and carrying messages between them
split brain
a condition in which the two hemispheres of the brain are isolated by cutting the connecting fibers(mainly those of the corpus callosum) between them
threadlike structures made of DNA molecules that contain the genes
a complex molecule containing the genetic information that makes up the chromosomes.
the biochemical units of heredity that make up the chromosomes; a segment of DNA capable of synthesizing a protein.
the complete instructions for making an organism, consisting of all the genetic material in its chromosomes. The human genome has 3 billion weakly bonded pairs of nucleotides organized as coiled chains of DNA
a random error in gene replication that leads to a change in teh sequence of nucleotides; the source of all genetic diversity
evolutionary psychology
the study of the evolution of behavior and the mind, using principles of natural selection. Natural slection has favored genes that designed both behavioral tendencies and info-processing systems that solved adaptive problems faced by our ancestors, thus contributing to the survival and spread of their genes
in psychology, the characteristics, wheter biologically or socially influenced, by which people define male and female
behavior genetics
the study of the relative power and limits of genetic and environmental influences on behavior
every nongenetic influence, form prenatal nutrition to the people and things around us
indentical twins
twins who develop from a single fertilized egg that splits in two, creating two genetically identical organisms
fraternal twins
twins who develop from separate eggs. They are genetically no closer than brothers and sisters, bu they share a fetal environment
a person's characteristic emotional reactivity and intensity
the proportion of variation among individuals that we can attribute to genes. The heritability of a trait may vary, depending on the range of populations and environments studied
the dependence of the effect of on factor (such as environment) on another factor (such as heredity)
molecular genetics
the subfield of biology that studies the molecular structure and function of genes
an understood rule for accepted and expected behavior. Norms prescribe "proper" behavior
personal space
the buffer zone we like to maintain around our bodies
x chromosome
the sex chromosome found in both men and women. Females have 2 X chromosomes; males have one. An X chromosome from each parent produces a female child
Y chromosome
the sex chromosome found only in males When paired with an X sex chromosome from the mother, it produces a male
the most important of the male sex hormones. Both males and females have it, but the additonal testosterone in males stimulates the growth of the male sex organs in the fetus and teh development of the male sex characteristics during puberty
a set of expectations about a social position, defining how those in the position ought to behave
gender role
a set of expected behaviors for males and for females
gender identity
one's sense of being male or female
the acquistion of a tradtional masculine or feminine role
social learning theory
the theory that we learn social behavior by observing and imitating and by being rewarded or punished
gender schema theory
the theory that children learn from their cultures a concept of what it means to be male and female adn thtat they adjust their behavior accordingly
developmental psychology
a branch of psych that studies physical, cognitive, and social change throughout the life span
the fertilized egg; it enters a 2-week period of rapid cell division and develops into an embryo
the developing human organism from about 2 weeks after fertilization through the 2nd month
the developing human organism from 9 weeks after conception to birth
agents, such as some chemicals and viruses, that can reach teh embryo or fetus druing prenatal development and cause harm
fetal alcohol syndrome
physical and cognitive abnormalities in children caused by a pregnant woman's heavy drinking. In severe cases, symptoms include noticeable facial misproportions
rooting reflex
a baby's tendency, when touch on the cheek, to open the mouth and search for the nipple
biological growth processes that enable orderly changes in behavior, relatively uninfluenced by experience
a concept or framework that organizes and interprets info
interpreting one's new experience in terms of one's existing schemas
adapting one's current understandings (schemas)to incorporate new info
all the mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, remembering, and communicating
sensorimotor stage
in Piaget's theory, the stage(from birth to about 2 years)during which infants know the world mostly in terms of thier sensory impressions and motor activities
object permanence
the awareness that things continue to exist even when not perceived
preoperational stage
in Piaget's theory, the stage(from about 2 to 6 or 7 years)during which a child learns to use language but does not yet comprehend the mental operations of concrete logic
the principle(which Piaget believed to be a part of concrete operation reasoning)that properties such as mass, volume, and # remain the same despite changes in teh forms of objects
in Piaget's theory, the inability of the preoperational child to take another's point of view
theory of mind
people's ideas about thier own and others' mental states-about their feelings, perceptions, and thoughts and the behavior these might predict
a disorder that appears in childhood and is marked by deficient communication, social interaction, and understanding of others' states of mind
concrete operational stage
in Piaget's theory, the stage of cognitive development(from about 6 or 7 to 11 years) during which children gain the mental operations that enable them to think logically about concrete events
formal operational stage
in Piaget's theory, the stage of cognitive development(normally beginning about 12)during which people begin to think logically about abstract concepts
stranger anxiety
the fear of strangers that infants commonly display, beginning by about 8 months of age
an emotional tie with another person; shown in young children by thier seeking closeness to the caregiver and showing distress on separation
critical period
an optimal period shortly after birth when an organism's exposure to certain stimuli or experiences produces proper development
the process by which certain animals form attachments during a critical period very early in life
basic trust
according to Erik Erikson, a sense that the world is predictable and trustworthy; said to be formed during infancy by appropriate experiences with responsive caregivers
a sense of one's identity and personal worth
the transition period from childhood to adulthood, extending from puberty to independence
the period of sexual maturation, during which a person becomes capable of reproducing
primary sex characteristics
the body structures(ovaries, testes, and external genitalia)that make sexual reproduction possible
secondary sex characteristics
nonreproductive sexual characteristics, such as female breast and hips, male voice quality, and body hair
the first menstrual period
one's sense of self-concept; according to Erikson, the adolescent's task is to solidify a sense of self by testing and integrating various roles
in Erikson's theory, the ability to form close, loving relationships; a primary development task in late adolescence and early adulthood
the process by wqhich our sensory receptors and nervous system receive and represent stimulus energies from our environment
the process of organizing and interpreting sensory info, enabling us to recognize meaningful objects and events
bottom-up processing
analysis that begins with the sense receptors and works up to the brain's integration of sensory info
top-down processing
info processing guided by higher-level mental processes, as when we construct perceptions drawing on our experience and expectations
the study of relationships between the physical characteristics of stimluli, such as thier intensity, and our psychological experience of them
absolute threshold
the minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus 50 percent of the time
signal detection theory
a thoery predicting how and when we detect the presence of a faint stimulus(signal) amid background stimulation(noise) Assumes that there is no single absolute thershold and that detection depends partly on a person's experience, expecations, motivation, and level of fatigue
below one's absolute sethreshold for conscious awareness
difference thershold
the minimum difference between two stimuli required for detection 50 percent of the time. We experience the difference threshold as a just noticeable difference
Weber's law
the principle that, to be perceived as different, two stimuli must differ by a constant minimum percentage
sensory adaption
diminished sensitivity as a consequence of constant stimulation
selective attention
the focusing of conscious awareness on a particular stimulus, as in the cocktail party effect

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