A surgically induced brain lesion.
Absolute refractory period
The period that follows the onset of an action potential. During this period, a nerve impulse cannot be initiated
The minimum of stimulus energy needed to activate a sensory system.
A principle of Piaget's theory of cognitive development. It occurs when cognitive structures are modified because new information or new experiences do not fit into existing cognitive structures.
A neurotransmitter found in both central and peripheral nervous systems linked to Alzheimer's disease and used to transmit nerve impulses to the muscles, respectively.
A specific phobia that is an irrational fear of heights.
ACT model (Adaptive Control of Thought)
A model that describes memory in terms of procedural and declarative memory.
The tendency of actors to see observer behavior as due to external factors (situational factors) and the tendency of observers to attribute actors' behaviors to internal characteristics (dispositional characteristics).
A hormone that increases energy available for "fight or flight" reactions (also known as epinephrine).
A visual sensation that appears after prolonged or intense exposure to a stimulus.
Impairments in perceptual recognition.
An irrational fear of being in places or situations where escape might be difficult.
A law about nerve impulses stating that when depolarization reaches the critical threshold (-50 millivolts) the neuron is going to fire, each time, every time.
In psychometrics, it is the method of using two or more different forms of a test to determine the reliability of a particular test.
A form of helping behavior where the person's intent is to benefit someone else at some cost to him- or herself.
A dissociative disorder where individuals are unable to recall past experience, but this inability is not due to a neurological disorder.
Analogy of inoculation
McGuire's analogy that people can be psychologically inoculated against the "attack" of persuasive communications by first exposing them to a weakened attack.
Analyses of Variance (anovas)
A statistical method to compare the means of more than two groups by comparing the between-group variance to the within-group variance.
A cognitive term (a heuristic) that refers to the tendency of people to make decisions based on reference points, or standards used to make judgements.
An archetype from Jung's theory referring to the feminine behaviors in males, and the masculine behaviors in females.
An eating disorder characterized by a refusal to maintain a minimal normal body weight.
Memory loss for new information following brain injury.
Anti-social personality disorder
A personality disorder characterized by a pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others.
An impairment in the ability to eat.
Language disorders, which are associated with Broca's and Wernicke's areas in the brain.
An illusion that occurs when two dots flashed in different locations on a screen seconds apart are perceived as one moving dot.
An impairment in the organization of voluntary action.
The building blocks for the collective unconscious referred to in Jung's theory of personality.
A principle of Piaget's theory of cognitive development. It is the process of understanding new information in relation to prior knowledge, or existing schemata.
Areas in the brain that integrate information from different cortical regions
A model of memory that involves three memory structures (sensory, short-term and long-term), and the processes that operate these memory structures.
Evidence of a preference for the primary caregiver and a wariness of strangers.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADD/HD)
A disorder characterized by developmentally atypical inattention and/or impulsivity-hyperactivity.
Fritz Heider's theory that people tend to infer the causes of other people's behavior as either dispositional (related to the individual) or situational (related to the environment).
Authoritarian parenting style
A parenting style tending to use punitive control methods and lacking emotional warmth.
Authoritative parenting style
A parenting style tending to have reasonably high demands for child compliance coupled with emotional warmth.
A disorder whose essential features are lack of responsiveness to other people, gross impairment in communication skills, and behaviors and interests that are repetitive, inflexibly routined and stereotyped.
An illusion that occurs when a spot of light appears to move erratically in a dark room, simply because there is no frame of reference.
A decision-making short-cut that people tend to use when trying to decide how likely something is based upon how easily similar instances can be imagined .
A behavioral therapy of pairing unpleasant stimuli with undesirable behavior.
Fritz Heider's consistency theory that is concerned with balance and imbalance in the ways in which three elements are related
A therapeutic technique that is a negotiated agreement between two parties that explicitly stipulates the behavioral change that is desired and indicates consequences of certain acts.
A class of drugs that increase behavioral activity by increasing motor activity or by counteracting fatigue, and which are thought to stimulate receptors for dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin.
Békésy's traveling wave theory
Proposed by Von Békésy, the theory holds that high frequency sounds maximally vibrate the basilar membrane near the beginning of the cochlea close to the oval window and low frequencies maximally vibrate near the apex, or tip of the cochlea.
An experimental design whereby each subject is exposed to only one level of each independent variable.
Binocular disparity (stereopsis)
A cue for depth perception that depends on the fact that the distance between the eyes provides two slightly disparate views of the world that, when combined, give us a perception of depth.
A mood disorder characterized by both depression and mania.
In theories of attitude persuasion, it is an attitude change in the opposite direction of the persuader's message.
Borderline personality disorder
A personality disorder characterized by an instability in interpersonal behavior, mood and self-image that borders on psychosis.
Bottom-up processing (data-driven processing)
Information processing that occurs when objects are recognized by the summation of the components of incoming stimulus to arrive at the whole pattern.
The subjective impression of the intensity of a light stimulus.
In brightness perception, it refers to a when a particular luminance appears brighter when surrounded by a darker stimulus than when surrounded by a lighter stimulus.
Impairments in producing spoken language associated with lesions to Broca's area.
An eating disorder that involves binge eating and excessive attempts to compensate for it by purging, fasting, or excessive exercising.
It is the reluctance of people to intervene to help others in emergency situations when other people also witness the situation.
A theory of emotions stating that awareness of emotions reflects our physiological arousal and our cognitive experience of emotion.
An experimental method used in developmental psychology to take a very detailed look at development by studying a small number of individuals. This is also called the clinical method.
A term from Piaget's theory, it is the tendency for pre-operational children to be able to focus on only one aspect of a phenomenon.
A statistical method of testing for an association between two categorical variables. Specifically, it tests for the equality of two frequencies or proportions.
An anti-psychotic drug thought to block receptor sites for dopamine, making it effective in treating the delusional thinking, hallucinations and agitation commonly associated with schizophrenia.
Internally generated rhythms that regulate our daily cycle of waking and sleeping, approximating a 24-hour cycle.
Also known as respondent conditioning, it is a result of learning connections between different events.
An irrational fear of closed places.
Client-centered therapy, person-centered therapy, and sometimes non-directive therapy
Carl Rogers' therapeutic technique that is based on the idea that clients have the freedom to control their own behavior, and that the client is able to reflect upon his or her problems, make choices and take positive action.
A technique to enhance memory by organizing items into conceptually-related categories
Cognitive dissonance theory
Leon Festinger's consistency theory that people are motivated to reduce dissonant elements or add consonant elements to reduce tension.
A mental representation of a physical space
Refers to the fact that the perceived color of an object does not change when we change the wavelength of the light we see.
A defense mechanism whereby something is done to make up for something that is lacking
Takes place in the fallopian tubes where the ovum or egg cell is fertilized by the male sperm cell.
In classical conditioning, it is the learned response to a conditioned stimulus.
In classical conditioning, it a neutral stimulus that has been paired with an unconditioned stimulus to elicit a conditioned response.
Unintended independent variables
Also called parallel distribution processing, it is a theory of information processing that is analogous to a complex neural network.
Theoretical perspectives from social psychology that hold that people prefer consistency between attitudes and behaviors, and that people will change or resist changing attitudes based upon this preference.
A type of validity that refers to how well a test measures the intended theoretical construct.
A type of validity that refers to how well the content items of a test measure the particular skill or knowledge area that it is supposed to measure.
Control group design
A technique of treating experimental and control groups equally in all respects, except that one group is exposed to the treatment in the experiment, and the other group is not exposed to the treatment.
Disorders characterized by unexplained symptoms affecting voluntary motor or sensory functions. Conversion disorder used to be referred to as "hysteria."
A type of descriptive statistic that measures to what extent, if any, two variables are related.
A method of controlling the potential effects of unintended independent variables (e.g., order effects) by making sure that the experimental and control groups are similar in all respects expect for in the independent variable being measured.
In psychoanalysis, it occurs when the therapist experiences emotions in response to the patient's transference.
How well the test can predict an individual's performance on an established test of the same skill or knowledge area.
An experimental method used in developmental psychology to compare different groups of individuals at different ages.
Proposed by Raymond Cattell, it is a type of intelligence that uses knowledge acquired as a result of schooling or other life experiences.
A specific phobia referring to an irrational fear of dogs.
A theory that holds that if the information in long-term memory is not used or rehearsed it will eventually be forgotten.
Sometimes called fact memory, it is memory for explicit information.
In Freud's structural dynamic model of personality, they are unconscious mechanisms that deny, falsify or distort reality.
False beliefs, discordant with reality, that are maintained in spite of strong evidence to the contrary.
Cues that suggest to subjects what the researcher expects from research participants.
The word literally means "split mind", and was used to refer to what is now known as schizophrenia.
A neurological disorder characterized by a loss in intellectual functioning.
A measurement of the response that is expected to vary with differences in the independent variable
A dissociative disorder that involves a sense of detachment from the self despite an intact sense of reality.
The second stage in the firing cycle, occurs when the membrane's electrical charge decreases—anytime the membrane's voltage moves toward a neutral charge of 0 millivolts.
Statistics concerned with organizing, describing, quantifying, and summarizing a collection of actual observations.
A deviation IQ score that tells us how far away a person's score is from the average score for that person's particular age group.
A framework explaining the causes of mental disorders as an interaction between biological causal factors (a predisposition toward developing a specific mental disorder) and psychological causal factors (excessive stress).
The amount of difference that there must be between two stimuli before they are perceived to be different.
Cells that contain 23 pairs of chromosomes.
In operant conditioning, it is a stimulus condition that indicates that the organism's behavior will have consequences.
A defense mechanism that refers to the pent-up feelings (often hostility) discharged on objects and people less dangerous than those objects or people causing the feelings.
A disorder that is characterized by an avoidance of stress by escaping from personality identity.
A dissociative disorder that involves amnesia plus a sudden, unexpected move away from one's home or location of usual daily activities.
Dissociative Identity Disorder
A dissociative disorder characterized by two or more personalities that recurrently take control of a person's behavior (formerly Multiple Personality Disorder).
The tendency to change thoughts or behavior in response to perceived inconsistencies.
In perception, it is the actual object or event out there in the world, as opposed to its perceived image.
Sometimes called criterion-referenced testing, it is concerned with the question of what the test-taker knows about a specified content domain.
A biochemical explanation for schizophrenia suggesting that the delusions, hallucinations and agitation associated with schizophrenia arise from an excess of dopamine activity at certain sites in the brain.
A psychosocial theory of schizophrenia holding that people with schizophrenia received contradictory messages from primary caregivers during childhood, and that these contradictory messages led them to see their perceptions of reality as unreliable.
A research design that controls for the influence of the researcher and research participants since neither group knows which participants are in the control group and which participants are in the experimental group.
A set of physiological conditions, including severe mental retardation, resulting from an extra 21st chromosome.
Duplexity, or duplicity theory of vision
The theory holding that the retina contains two kinds of photoreceptor.
A branch of psychoanalytic theory that emphasizes the role of the ego as autonomous.
Memory for images.
The process of organizing information and associating it with what you already know to get information into long-term memory.
It records a gross average of the electrical activity in different parts of the brain.
The third stage during prenatal development, it refers to the period during which the embryo increases in size dramatically, begins to develop a human appearance with limb motion, produces androgen in the testes of male embryos, and develops nerve cells in the spine.
A law describing the relationship between size constancy and apparent distance—the farther away the object appears to be, the more the scaling device in the brain will compensate for its retinal size by enlarging our perception of the object.
It is the ability to vicariously experience the emotions of another, and it is thought by some social psychologists to be a strong influence on helping behavior.
The process of putting new information into memory.
Encoding specificity theory
A theory that recall is best if the context at recall approximates the context during the original encoding.
Peptides that are natural pain killers produced in the brain
A type of declarative memory, episodic memory refers to memories for particular events, or episodes, from personal experience.
A theory stating that individuals strive for fairness and feel uncomfortable when there is a perception of a lack of fairness.
In Freud's structural dynamic model of personality, it refers to the life instincts that serve the purpose of individual survival (hunger, thirst, and sex).
The study of animals in their natural environment.
The tendency to evaluate interactions and relationships in terms of relative costs and benefits.
In research methodology, it refers to how generalizable the results of an experiment are.
In operant conditioning, it is when a conditioned stimulus is repeatedly not reinforced and as a result, the conditioned response is no longer produced as consistently.
A process of removing various parts of the brain, and then observing the behavioral consequences.
Behavior that is motivated by some external reward.
A type of validity that refers to whether test items appear to measure what they are supposed to measure.
A statistical technique using correlation coefficients to reduce a large number of variables to a few factors.
A law that expresses the relationship between the intensity of the sensation and the intensity of the stimulus, and states that sensation increases more slowly as intensity increases.
The last stage of prenatal development, its onset is marked by the beginning of measurable electrical activity in the brain.
A concept in Alfred Adler's theory of personality, it is the notion that an individual is motivated more by his or her expectations of the future based on a subjective or fictional estimate of life's values, than by past experiences.
Field independence-field dependence
A personality style characterized by an ability/inability to distinguish experience from its context.
Fight or flight responses
The emotional experience associated with the sympathetic nervous system and managed by the hypothalamus during high arousal.
A concept in visual perception referring to the integrated visual experience that stands out at the center of attention.
From psychoanalytic theory, it is an inability to successfully proceed through a stage in development because of an overindulgence or frustration.
Fixed action pattern
A behavior that is relatively stereotyped and appears to be species-typical.
In operant conditioning, it is when behavior is reinforced on the first response after a fixed period of time has elapsed since the last reinforcement.
In operant conditioning, it is when behavior is reinforced after a fixed number of responses.
A behavioral modification technique used to treat anxiety disorders by exposing the client to the anxiety-producing stimulus.
Proposed by Raymond Cattell, it is a type of intelligence that refers to the ability to quickly grasp relationships in novel situations and make correct deductions from them (e.g., solving analogies).
Follicle stimulating hormone
A hormone that is secreted by the pituitary gland to stimulate the growth of an ovarian follicle, which is a small protective sphere surrounding the egg or ovum.
A psychoanalytic technique where the client says whatever comes to his or her mind regardless of how personal, painful, or seemingly irrelevant it may appear to be so that the analyst and patient together can reconstruct the nature of the client's original conflict.
In sound perception, it is the number of sound wave cycles per second.
A theory suggesting that the basilar membrane of the ear vibrates as a whole, that the rate of vibration equals the frequency of the stimulus and that the vibration rate is directly translated into the appropriate number of neural impulses per second.
A given activity or form of behavior may become an end or a goal in itself, regardless of its original reason for existence.
An impediment to effective problem solving because of an inability to use a familiar object in an unfamiliar way.
A system of thought in psychology that was concerned with studying how mental processes help individuals adapt to their environments.
Fundamental attribution error
The tendency to attribute individual characteristics as causes of others' behaviors and situational characteristics to one's own behavior.
Proposed by Charles Spearman, this is an individual difference in intelligence that refers to a general, unitary factor of intelligence.
GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid)
A neurotransmitter that produces inhibitory postsynaptic potentials and is thought to play an important role in stabilizing neural activity in the brain.
Named after researcher John Garcia, it is basically food aversion that occurs when people attribute illness to a particular food.
Gate theory of pain
A theory that proposes that there is a special "gating" mechanism located in the spine that can turn pain signals on or off, thus affecting whether we perceive pain.
Model that proposes that recall tasks tap the same basic process of accessing information in memory as recognition tasks, but also requires an additional processing step.
Located on the chromosomes, they are the basic units of hereditary transmission.
A period of rapid cell division during prenatal development that lasts approximately 2 weeks, and ends with the implantation of the cellular mass into the uterine wall.
Hormones produced by the pituitary glad during puberty that activate a dramatic increase in the production of hormones by the testes or ovaries.
A concept in visual perception that refers to the background against which the figures appear.
A tendency for group discussion to enhance the group's initial tendencies towards riskiness or caution.
A tendency of decision-making groups to strive for consensus at the expense of not considering discordant information.
Perceptions that are not due to external stimuli but have a compelling sense of reality.
In social psychology, it is the tendency to generalize from one attribute or characteristic to another person's entire personality.
An antipsychotic drug thought to block receptor sites for dopamine, making it effective in treating the delusional thinking, hallucinations and agitation commonly associated with schizophrenia.
Cells that contain 23 single chromosomes. The gametes (sperm and egg cells) are haploid.
The tendency of people to behave differently if they know that they are being observed.
A term referring to those self-regulatory processes that maintain a stable equilibrium.
A system of thought that arose in opposition to both psychoanalysis and behaviorism, and is characterized by a belief in the notion of free will and the idea that people should be considered as wholes rather than in terms of stimuli and responses (behaviorism) or instincts (psychoanalysis).
An increase in the membrane potential that decreases the possibility of generating a nerve impulse.
A disorder that causes an individual to be preoccupied with fears that he or she has a serious disease, based on a misinterpretation of one or more bodily signs or symptoms.
A tentative and testable explanation of the relationship between two or more variables.
In Freud's structural dynamic model of personality, it is the source, the reservoir, of all psychic energy.
An approach to studying personality that focuses on individual case studies.
A physical, objective measurement that is simply the amount of light falling on a surface.
An apparent correlation that is perceived, but does not really exist.
An attachment bond between a organism and an object in the environment.
The variable whose effect is being studied.
An illusion of movement occurring when everything around the spot of light is moved.
Statistics concerned with making an inference from the sample involved in the research to the population of interest in order to provide an estimate of popular characteristics.
Innate releasing mechanism (IRM)
A mechanism in the animal's nervous system that serves to connect the stimulus with the right response.
A disturbance affecting the ability to fall asleep and/or stay asleep.
In Freud's structural dynamic model of personality, these are inner representations of a psychological excitation or wish, and are the propelling aspects of Freud's dynamic theory of personality.
In sound perception, it is the amplitude or height of the air-pressure wave and it is related to loudness.
Neurons located in the spinal cord that connect sensory neurons with motor neurons to form the reflex arc.
Also called overlap, it refers to the cue for depth perception when one object (A) covers or overlaps another object (B), and we see object (A) as being in front.
A scale of measurement using actual numbers (not ranks).
Motivation by some reward that is inherent to the task.
A well-known measure of intelligence aptitude using an equation comparing mental age to chronological age.
A theory that suggests that there is a one-to-one correspondence between the object in the perceptual field and the pattern of stimulation in the brain.
James-Lange theory of emotions
A theory that people become aware of their emotions after they notice their physiological reactions to some external event.
The tendency to believe that the world is fair; that is, that people who are good are rewarded while people who are bad are punished
The possession of an extra X chromosome in males that leads to sterility and often to mental retardation.
Language acquisition device (LAD)
Proposed by Noam Chomsky, this is an innate, biologically-based mechanism that helps us understand rule structures in language.
In visual perception, it is the process of inhibiting the response of adjacent retinal cells resulting in the sharpening and highlighting of the borders between dark and light areas.
Law of closure
From Gestalt Psychology, it is the tendency for people to perceive complete figures even when the actual figures are not complete.
Law of good continuation
From Gestalt Psychology, it is the tendency for elements appearing to follow in the same direction (such as a straight line or a simple curve) to be grouped together.
Law of prägnanz
From Gestalt Psychology, it is the tendency for perceptual organization to be as "good"—as regular, simple and symmetric—as possible.
Law of proximity
From Gestalt Psychology, it is the tendency for elements close to each other to be perceived as a unit.
Law of similarity
From Gestalt Psychology, it is the tendency for similar objects to be grouped together.
A synthetic substance that increases dopamine levels in the brain and is used to treat motor disturbances in Parkinson's disease—when L-dopa leads to an oversupply of dopamine in the brain, it can produce psychotic symptoms in Parkinson's patients.
Levels-of-processing theory (depth-of-processing theory)
Proposed by Craik and Lockart, the theory suggests that there is only one memory system, and that items entering the memory are analyzed in one of three stages: physical (visual), acoustical (sound) or semantic (meaning).
From psychoanalytic theory, it refers to the life drive present at birth
Refers to the fact that, despite changes in the amount of light falling on an object (illumination), the apparent lightness of the object remains unchanged.
A cue for depth perception that refers to the perception of parallel lines converging in the distance.
Linguistic relativity hypothesis
The theory proposing that our perception of reality is determined by the content of language. Also called the Whorfian hypothesis.
An antipsychotic used to treat bipolar disorder.
Long term memory
The memory system that holds a permanent store of information.
An experimental method used in developmental psychology to compare the same group of individuals repeatedly over time.
The subjective experience of the magnitude or intensity of sound.
A hormone associated with ovulation.
The process of rehearsing information so that items remain in short term memory for a longer duration than usual.
Major depressive disorder
A mood disorder characterized by at least a two-week period during which there is a prominent and relatively persistent depressed mood, or loss of interest in all or almost all activities.
A sympton of bi-polar disorders, it is characterized by an abnormally elevated mood, accompanied by a speeding up of thought processes and activities and an abnormally decreased need for sleep.
Behavioral stimulants that reduce depression by inhibiting the action of an enzyme called MAO, which normally breaks down and deactivates norepinephrine and serotonin.
In research methodology, it is a technique of matching subjects on the basis of the variable that he or she wants to control.
The numerical halfway point between the highest score and the lowest score, the arithmetic average.
The middle value when observations are ordered from least to most or from most to least.
A cognitive psychology research method of measuring the time elapsed between a stimulus presentation and the subject's response to it.
The tendency for people to prefer things with which they are familiar.
A statistical procedure that can be used to make conclusions on the basis of data from different studies.
The ability to think about and monitor cognition.
The ability to think about and monitor memory.
Method of savings
A research technique for studying memory by measuring the amount of time it takes to learn material and comparing it to the amount of time it takes to relearn material later. The decrease in time represents an indication of original learning.
A behavioral stimulant that increases alertness and decreases motor activity, and is used to treat hyperactive children who suffer from attention deficit disorder. Also known as Ritalin.
Techniques used to improve the likelihood that we will remember something.
The value of the most frequent observation in a set of scores.
A therapeutic technique in which the client learns appropriate behavior through imitation of someone else.
Monoamine theory of depression
A theory that holds that too much norepinephrine and serotonin leads to mania, while too little leads to depression. It is also sometimes called the catecholamine theory of depression.
The smallest units of meaning in a language.
An illusion that occurs when you first view a moving pattern, such as stripes moving off to the right (or a waterfall), and then you view a spot of light—the spot of light will appear to move in the opposite direction.
A cue for depth perception that occurs during movement when objects that are closer move.
Neurons transmitting motor commands from the brain to the muscles along efferent fibers
Narcissistic personality disorder
A personality disorder characterized by a grandiose sense of self-importance or uniqueness, preoccupation with fantasies of success, an exhibitionistic need for constant admiration and attention, and characteristic disturbances in interpersonal relationships such as feelings of entitlement.
The probability that the desired response will be performed is increased by removing something undesirable whenever the desired response is made.
Newly invented words.
Chemical substances that allow neurons to communicate with one another.
A scale of measurement (also called a categorical scale), that labels observations rather than quantifying observations.
An approach to personality that focuses on groups of individuals and tries to find the commonalities between individuals.
Nonequivalent group design
An experimental design whereby the researcher doesn't use random assignment, so the control group is not necessarily equivalent to the experimental group.
Also known as noradrenaline, it is involved in controlling alertness and wakefulness and is implicated in mood disorders such as depression and mania.
A distribution that is symmetrical and has its greatest frequency in the middle.
Comparing the test-taker's performance to that test's norms that are derived from standardized samples.
From Piaget's theory, it is the capacity for representational thought.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
A disorder characterized by repeated obsessions (persistent irrational thoughts) and/or compulsions (irrational and repetitive impulses to perform certain acts) that cause significant impairment in a person's life.
Instrumental conditioning, reward learning, is based on learning the relationship between one's actions and their consequences.
Measurable definitions of variables in research.
Receptor that respond to the body's own naturally produced pain killers (endorphins) as well as narcotics such as heroin and morphine.
Opponent-process theory of color vision
Ewald Hering's theory that there are four primary colors in additive color mixing (red, blue, green and yellow), and that the primary colors are arranged in opposing pairs.
A problem in research design when the results of the study are attributed to the sequence of tasks in the experiment rather than to the independent variable.
A scale of measurement using ranks rather than actual numbers.
Receptors in the hypothalamus that control the maintenance of water balance in the body.
Scores falling far outside the main cluster of scores.
The tendency of people to stop liking something that they previously enjoyed because of receiving a reward for the behavior.
Paivio's dual-code hypothesis
According to this theory, information can be stored (or encoded) in two ways: visually and verbally. Abstract information tends to be encoded verbally, whereas concrete information tends to be encoded visually (i.e., as an image) and verbally.
A therapeutic technique that appears to contradict the therapeutic needs.
Parallel Distributed Processs (PDP)
This theory holds that information processing is distributed across the brain (across nodes in a network) and is done in a parallel fashion.
Expectations we have about perception due to past experiences.
Permissive parenting style
A parenting style referring to the tendency to score very low on control/demand measures.
An archetype from Jung's theory referring to a mask that is adopted by the person in response to the demands of social convention.
A pattern of behavior that is inflexible and maladapative, causing distress and/or impaired functioning in at least two of the following: cognition, emotions, interpersonal functioning or impulse control.
The term for evolutionary development in humans.
Anti-psychotic drugs thought to block receptor sites for dopamine, making it effective in treating the delusional thinking, hallucinations and agitation commonly associated with schizophrenia.
A degenerative disease of the nervous system occurring when a child lacks the enzyme needed to digest phenylalanine, an amino acid found in milk and other foods.
An illusion of movement that occurs when two dots flashed in different locations on a screen seconds apart are perceived as one moving dot.
An irrational fear of something that results in a compelling desire to avoid that thing.
The smallest sound units of language.
The study of the psychological functions of areas in the brain.
The temperature of the skin
The subjective experience of the frequency of the sound.
Proposed by Helmhotlz and Young, the theory holds that each different pitch causes a different place on the basilar membrane of the ear to vibrate.
A therapeutic effect resulting from an inactive substance, such as a sugar pill.
In Freud's structural dynamic model of personality, it is the id's operating principal, which is to immediately discharge any energy build-up.
Increasing the probability that a desired response will be performed by reinforcing (rewarding) that response when it does occur.
The use of some criterion scores obtained in advance, and validating them against scores obtained later.
A more preferred activity can be used to reinforce a less preferred activity.
In-born tendency to associate certain stimuli with certain consequences.
A social psychology term that refers to those occasions when first impressions are more important than subsequent impressions.
Primary circular reactions
From Piaget's theory, it is reflex activities characteristic of behavior during the sensorimotor phase.
Efforts to correct the conditions that foster mental illness and establish the conditions that foster mental health.
In Freud's structural dynamic model of personality, it is the id's response to frustration—"obtain satisfaction now-not later".
A classic method of investigating people's choices to compete or cooperate using a hypothetical case where two men have been taken into custody, separated, and can choose either to confess or not to confess.
When what you learned earlier interferes with what you learn later.
Memory for how things are done.
The phase before schizophrenia is actually diagnosed, characterized by poor adjustment.
A hormone produced and secreted by the ovary to prepare the uterus for implantation of the fertilized egg.
A defense mechanism that refers to when a person attributes his forbidden urges to others.
Areas in the brain receiving incoming sensory information or sending out motor-impulse commands.
A general term for our sense of bodily position, including aspects of both the vestibular and kinesthetic senses.
A social psychology theory proposing that an appeal to fear produces attitude change under particular conditions.
The study of how individuals space themselves in relation to others.
In perception, it is the information our sensory receptors receive about the object.
An intensive, long-term treatment for uncovering repressed memories, motives, and conflicts stemming from problems in psychosexual development—the goal of therapy is to gain insight into the repressed material.
Psychodynamic, or psychoanalytic theory
A system of thought that postulates the existence of unconscious internal states that motivate the overt actions of individuals and determine personality.
The science of how drugs affect behavior.
A branch of psychology concerned with measuring the relationship between physical stimuli and psychological responses to the stimuli.
The probability that a response will be made is decreased by giving the organism something undesirable whenever the response is made.
A descriptive statistic that measures the variability.
A scale of measurement using actual numbers where there is a true zero point that indicates the total absence of the quantity being measured.
Rational emotive behavioral therapy
A therapeutic approach that focuses on changing irrational belief systems.
A defense mechanism that refers to the process of developing socially acceptable explanations for inappropriate behavior or thoughts.
When social pressure to behave in a particular way becomes so blatant that the person's sense of freedom is threatened, the person will tend to act in a way to reassert that sense of freedom.
A defense mechanism that refers to when a repressed wish is warded off by its diametrical opposite.
In Freud's structural dynamic model of personality, it is the ego's response to frustration that takes into account objective reality as it guides or inhibits the activity of the id and the id's pleasure principle.
In social psychology, it refers to those occasions when the most recent information we have about an individual is most important in forming our impressions. In cognitive psychology, it is the tendency for items that are presented last to be remembered the best.
The first step in all sensory information processing; each sensory system has receptors to react to the physical external energy.
The hypothesis that we tend to like those who seem to like us, and dislike those who dislike us.
The period following the firing of a neuron just before the neuron is able to fire again.
Regional cerebral blood flow (rcbf)
A noninvasive procedure that detects broad patterns of neural activity based on increased blood flow to different parts of the brain.
A defense mechanism that refers to a person who reverts to an earlier mode of satisfaction.
Relative refractory period
The period following the absolute refractory period. During this time, the neuron will fire in response to a strong stimulus.
A cue for depth perception that occurs when as an object gets farther away and its image on the retina gets smaller. People can tell how far away something is relative to another object by comparing the size of the images on the retina with what is known about actual sizes.
The consistency and stability of a test measure.
Rapid Eye Movement sleep characterized by the presence of theta waves and the absence of delta waves. Dreams occur during REM sleep
A decision-making short-cut that people tend to use when trying to decide how likely something is by categorizing on the basis of whether it fits the prototypical, stereotypical or representative image of the category.
A defense mechanism that refers to the unconscious forgetting of anxiety-producing memories.
Reproductive isolating mechanisms
Behaviors that prevent animals of one species from attempting to mate with animals of a closely-related species.
An unwillingness or inability to relate to certain thoughts, motives or experiences, it is a major part of psychoanalysis.
The tendency for research participants to respond to sensory perception in a particular way, due to nonsensory factors.
A slight electrical charge (-70 mV) stored inside the neuron's cell membrane—a charge just waiting to be transformed into a nerve impulse.
Process of recovering stored material in memory.
Learning something new that interferes with what was learned earlier.
Memory loss for events that occurred before brain injury.
The only photopigment in the rods, it is made up of a vitamin A derivative, called retinene, and a protein, called opsin.
It refers to the finding that group decisions are riskier than the average of the individual choices (and, this average riskiness of the individual choices can be considered to be an estimate of the group's original riskiness).
Located in the periphery of the retina, these are sensory receptors for vision that work best in reduced illumination, and only allow perception of achromatic colors, low sensitivity to detail and are not involved in color vision.
A theoretical perspective from social psychology that holds that people are aware of the social roles they are expected to fill, and behavior can be understood and attributed to the adoption of those social roles.
In research design, it is a subset of the population.
A graphical representation of correlational data.
Conceptual frameworks used to organize knowledge.
Schizoid personality disorder
A personality disorder characterized by a pervasive pattern of detachment from social relationships and a restricted range of emotional expression.
A disorder characterized by any or all of the following symptoms: delusions, hallucinations, disorganized thought, inappropriate affect, and catatonic behavior.
In Freud's structural dynamic model of personality, it is the ego's mode of functioning, which is to postpone the discharge of energy until the actual object that will satisfy the need has been discovered or produced.
Secondary sex characteristics
Physical sex characteristics that do not appear until puberty—for females, enlarged breasts and widened hips, for males facial hair and deeper voices.
A class of drugs that slow down the functioning of the central nervous system by facilitating the action of GABA.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI)
Behavioral stimulants that reduce depression by blocking the reuptake of serotonin, and increases serotonin in the synapse.
From Abraham Maslow's theory, it is the need to realize one's fullest potential.
The theory that our behavior is influenced by an awareness of the self, and that there are certain situations that trigger a focus on ourselves (mirrors, cameras, recording devices).
A theory that refers to those conditions that prohibit or facilitate the process of revealing personal or intimate aspects of oneself.
Daryl Bem's theory that when attitudes about something are weak or ambiguous, people observe their own behavior and then attribute attitudes to themselves.
Semantic feature-comparison model
The model, proposed by Smith, Shoben and Rips suggests that concepts are represented by sets of features, some of which are required for that concept, and some of which are typical of that concept.
A type of declarative memory, semantic memory has to do with remembering general knowledge, especially the meanings of words and concepts
The meaning of words and sentences.
Part of the stage theory of memory that contains the fleeting impressions of sensory stimuli.
Neurons that transmit sensory information to the spinal cord and then to the brain, through afferent fibers.
Sequential cohort studies
An experimental method used in developmental psychology to study groups of subjects at different ages, repeatedly over time.
A neurotransmitter loosely classified as a monoamine or biogenic-amine transmitter generally thought to play roles in regulating mood, eating, sleeping and arousal—an oversupply of serotonin is thought to produce manic states; an undersupply is thought to produce depression.
An archetype from Jung's theory referring to the animal instincts which humans inherited in their evolution from lower forms of life.
In operant conditioning, it is the process of reinforcing successive approximations of a desired behavior.
Short term memory
A memory system that has a limited capacity (7 + 2 items) and a relatively short duration (approx. 30 sec.).
A feature of a stimulus that is sufficient to bring about a particular fixed-action pattern
Signal detection theory
A theory that suggests that non-sensory factors influence sensory perception.
A statistical technique used in inferential statistics to test the probability of an observed difference.
A research design that controls for the influence of the research participants' expectations by not revealing whether participants are in the control group or in the experimental group.
A method of study in sensory perception that records the response cell by placing a microelectrode in the cortex
When an object appears to retain its size despite the fact that its image on the retina has changed in size.
A disorder characterized by an inability to breathe during sleep
Social comparison theory
Leon Festinger's theory that the tendency to evaluate the self in comparison to other people drives affiliation.
Social exchange theory
The theory that we are motivated to affiliate with others based upon the rewards and costs of affiliation—the more the rewards outweigh the costs, the greater the attraction to the other person.
The idea that being in a group enhances performance.
The notion that the presence of other people affects an individual's judgment about an event.
Social learning theory
According to the theory, behavior is learned through modeling (direct observation), or through reinforcement.
A group phenomenon referring to the tendency for people to put forth less effort when part of a group effort than when acting individually.
Disorders that are characterized by the presence of physical symptoms not fully explained by a medical condition.
Dividing a test into equal halves and correlating scores on one half with the scores on the other half.
A measure of the typical distance of scores from the mean.
Standard error of measurement (S.E.M)
An index of how much, on average, we expect a person's observed score to vary from the score the person is capable of receiving based on actual ability.
When recall is better if the psychological or physical state at the time of recall is the same as the state when original learning occurred.
Steven's power law
A law that relates the intensity of the stimulus to the intensity of the sensation.
Process of retaining the information in memory over time.
A laboratory study designed to measure the quality of the caregiver-child attachment relationship.
System of thought that refers to breaking consciousness down to its elements.
A defense mechanism that refers to the process of transforming unacceptable urges into socially acceptable behaviors.
Subtractive color mixture
Occurs when we mix pigments; yellow, blue and red are the primary colors.
In Freud's structural dynamic model of personality, it strives for the ideal rather than the real and it is not directly in touch with reality.
A stimulus that is more effective at triggering the fixed action pattern than the actual stimulus found in nature.
A defense mechanism that refers to a deliberate, conscious form of forgetting.
The tiny gap between neurons.
The grammatical arrangement of words in sentences.
The idea that all knowledge is gained through experience.
Resting tremors and jerky motor movements caused by disruptions of dopamine transmission.
Individual differences thought to have a genetic basis, and thought to form the foundation of personality.
To estimate the inter-individual stability of test scores over time, the same test is administered to the same group of people twice.
A cue for depth perception that refers to the variations in perceived surface texture as a function of the distance from the observer—the more distant parts of a scene appear to have smaller, more densely packed elements, and sudden changes in texture generally signal either a change in distance or a change in direction.
In Freud's structural dynamic model of personality, it refers to the death instincts that represent an unconscious wish for the ultimate absolute state of quiescence.
From Carl Jung's personality theory, it is the idea that all humans share an unconscious, a residual of the experiences of our early ancestors.
Law of effect
Proposed by E. L. Thorndike, the law holds that if a response is followed by an annoying consequence, the animal will be less likely to emit the same response in the future.
Law of specific nerve energies
Proposed by Johannes Müller, this law states that each sensory nerve is excited by only one kind of energy (e.g., light or air vibrations), and that the brain interprets any stimulation of that nerve as being that kind of energy.
Method of loci
A mnemonic device of associating information with some sequence of familiar places.
Theory of motivation
A drive-reduction theory proposed by Clark Hull suggesting that the goal of behavior is to reduce biological drives—that is, behavioral reinforcement occurs whenever a biological drive is reduced.
Theory of multiple intelligences
Howard Gardner's theory that there are 7 intelligence factors: linguistic ability, logical-mathematical ability, spatial ability, musical ability, bodily-kinesthetic ability, interpersonal ability, and intrapersonal ability.
An antipsychotic drug thought to block receptor sites for dopamine, making it effective in treating the delusional thinking, hallucinations and agitation commonly associated with schizophrenia.
In sound perception, it is the tone quality—the aspect that distinguishes the sound of one instrument from another.
A problem with memory retrieval where some parts of the information are available to memory, but not enough for complete recall.
A technique used in behavior therapy to reinforce behavior by giving tokens (that can be cashed in for something desirable) for appropriate behavior.
Top-down processing (conceptually-driven processing)
From object recognition theory, it refers to when people recognize objects by using conceptual processes such as memories and expectations about the whole object
A disorder characterized by multiple motor tics (e.g., eye-blinking, skipping, deep knee bends) and one or more vocal tics (e.g., grunts, barks, sniffs, snorts, coughs, utterance of obscenities).
The second step in sensory information processing where physical energy is translated into neural impulses or action potentials.
Involves the carrying over and applying to the therapist attitudes and feelings that developed in the patient's relations with significant others in the past.
Rules that govern the ways in which changes in word order change meaning.
Robert Sternberg's theory of intelligence that suggests that there are three aspects to intelligence: componential (e.g., performance on tests), experiential (creativity) and contextual (street smarts/business sense).
Behavioral stimulants thought to reduce depression by facilitating the transmission of norepinephrine or serotonin at the synapse.
Research designs that use random assignment and manipulate the independent variable.
A test score that is converted to a normal distribution that has a mean of 50 and a standard deviation of 10.
A significance test used to compare the means of two groups.
Caused by the lack of one X chromosome in females, it results in a failure to develop secondary sex characteristics and cognitive impairment.
Two-factor theory of emotion
A theory stating that the subjective experience of emotion is based on the interaction between changes in physiological arousal and cognitive interpretation of that arousal. In absence of any clear emotion-provoking stimulus, interpretation of physiological arousal depends on what is happening in the environment.
The minimum distance necessary between two points of stimulation on the skin such that the points will be felt as two distinct stimuli.
Type I errors
An error of mistakenly rejecting the null hypothesis. The likelihood of making a Type I error is the criterion of significance.
Type II errors
An error of mistakenly failing to reject the null hypothesis.
In classical conditioning, it is a response that occurs without any behavioral conditioning—like a reflex.
In classical conditioning, it is a stimulus that elicits an unconditioned response, without any behavioral conditioning.
The extent to which a test actually measures what it is purports to measure.
A hypothesis that suggests that the risky shift occurs in situations in which riskiness is culturally valued.
A characteristic or property that varies in amount or kind, and can be measured (e.g., height, weight, mental abilities, physical abilities, personality characteristics, and so on).
Variable interval (VI)
In operant conditioning, it is when behavior is reinforced at the first response made after a variable amount of time has elapsed since the last reinforcement.
In operant conditioning, it is when behavior is reinforced after a varying number of responses.
The square of the standard deviation, it is a description of how much each score varies from the mean.
The sense of balance of our bodily position relative to gravity.
An impairment in visual recognition whereby the person can see an object, but is unable to recognize what it is.
A law stating that the change in stimulus intensity needed to produce a just noticeable difference, divided by the stimulus intensity of the standard stimulus is a constant.
Impairment in understanding spoken language associated with damage to Wernicke's area.
A law stating that performance is worst at extremely low or extremely high levels of arousal, and optimal at some intermediate level.
Zone of proximal development
It refers to those skills and abilities that have not yet fully developed but are in the process of development.
A score that represents how many standard deviations above or below the mean a score is.
A single, fertilized cell created during conception when the egg and sperm cells combine.