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37 terms

Psych Vocabulary Unit IX

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Behavior Genetics
the study of the relative power and limits of genetic and environmental influences on behavior
Chromosomes
threadlike structures made of DNA molecules that contain genes
DNA
a complex molecule containing the genetic information that makes up the chromosomes
Genes
the biochemical units of heredity that make up the chromosomes; segments of DNA capable of synthesizing a protein
Genome
the complete instructions for making an organism; consists of all the genetic material in an organism's chromosomes
Identical 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 fertilized eggs; genetically no closer than brothers and sisters, but share the same fetal environment
Heritability
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
Interaction
the interplay that occurs when the effect of one factor (such as environment) depends on another factor (such as heredity)
Molecular Genetics
the subfield of biology that studies the molecular structure and function of genes
Evolutionary Psychology
using principles of natural selection to study the evolution of behavior and the mind
Natural Selection
the principle that, among the range of inherited trait variations, those that lead to increased reproduction and survival will most likely be passed onto succeeding generations
Mutation
a random error in gene replication that leads to a change
Developmental Psychology
a branch of psychology that studies the physical, cognitive, and social change throughout the life span
Zygote
the fertilized egg; it enters a two week period of rapid cell division and develops into an embryo
Embryo
the developing human organism from about two weeks after fertilization through the second month
Fetus
the developing human organism from nine weeks after conception to birth
Teratogens
agents (chemicals or viruses) that can reach the embryo or fetus during prenatal development and cause
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
physical and cognitive abnormalities in children caused by the mother drinking during pregnancy
Habituation
decreasing responsiveness with repeated stimulation; as infants gain familiarity with repeated exposure to a visual stimulus, their interest wanes
Maturation
biological growth processes that enable orderly changes in behavior; relatively uninfluenced by experience
Cognition
all the mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, remembering, and communicating
Schema
a concept or framework that organizes and interprets information
Assimilation
interpreting our new experiences in terms of our existing schemas
Accommodation
adapting our current understandings (schemas) to incorporate new information
Sensorimotor Stage
in Piaget's theory, the stage (0-2 years) during which infants know the world mostly in terms of their 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 (2-7 years) during which a child learns to use language but does not yet comprehend the mental operations of concrete logic
Lack of Conservation
Piaget's principle that properties such as mass, volume, and number remain the same despite changes in the forms of objects
Egocentrism
Piaget's theory that the preoperation stage child has difficulty seeing from the perspective of others
Theory of Mind
people's ideas about their own and other's mental states, and how behavior may telegraph feelings, perceptions, and thoughts
Concrete Operational Stage
Piaget's theory concerning the stage of cognitive development (6-11 years) in which children gain the mental operations that enable them to think logically about concrete events
Autism
a disorder which appears in childhood and is marked by deficient communication, social interaction, and inability to understand others' states of mind
Stranger Anxiety
the fear of strangers that infants commonly display beginning around 8 months of age
Attachment
an emotional tie with another person; shown in children by seeking closeness to the caregiver and showing distress upon separation
Critical Period
an optimal period shortly after birth when an organism's exposure to certain stimuli or experiences produces proper development
Imprinting
the process by which certain animals form attachments during a critical period very early in life