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MCAT 2015: Psychology & Sociology
Terms in this set (295)
Illuminates the importance of psychological and sociological study in medicine.
Focuses narrowly on the physical aspects of illness.
Human actors construct or create "reality" rather than discovering a reality that has inherent validity.
Explains social behavior in terms of how people interact with each other via symbols.
Terms, concepts, or items that represent specific meanings by accepted convention.
Factions of society work together to maintain stability. Claims that society, like an organism, is a system that consists of different components working together.
Views society in terms of competing groups that act according to their own self-interests, rather than according to the need for societal equilibrium.
All the beliefs, assumptions, objects, behaviors, and processes that make up a shared way of life.
The objects involved in a certain way of life (products manufactured, tools used, art made, etc.).
Encompasses the elements of culture that are not physical (ideas, knowledge, etc.).
Expectations that govern what behavior is acceptable within a group.
A subset of a population that maintains social interactions.
A type of non-material culture that consists of the elements of culture that have meaning only in the mind.
Formal, ceremonial behaviors with a specific purpose and significance.
Two or more individuals living together in a community and/or sharing elements of culture.
Hierarchical systems that bring order to interpersonal interactions, structuring society.
Government and Economy
A type of social institution. _____ provides order to society through the services it provides and making/enforcing law. The _____ distributes goods and services to meet the needs of society.
A type of social institution. Provides a formal structure during childhood/transition into adulthood and an opportunity to instruct youth on the social norms, knowledge, skills, expectations needed.
A type of social institution. A system of beliefs that affects how people make sense of their experiences and provides a framework for questions about life, death, existence.
A type of social institution. Consist of bonds of kin and marriage and make up a major organizing institution of society.
Health and Medicine
A type of social institution. Fulfills the need for healthcare in an organized manner.
Statistics used to examine the nature of a specific population.
Demographic Parameters (examples)
Age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, immigration status.
A demographic change that takes place over time.
The production of offspring within a population.
The death rate within a population.
The relocation of people from one place to another.
A group of people who share an ideology and work together toward a specified set of goals.
The increase in the proportion of people living in specified urban areas.
The increasing amount of interaction and integration on the international scale through exchange of products, services, ideas, and information.
The unequal access to resources and variable quality of life within a population/geographical distribution.
Disparities between regions and nations in aspects such as GNP, natural resources, access to healthcare, types of work available.
The equal treatment of all people regardless of social grouping with regard to prevention and relief from environmental and health hazards.
A system of stratification that groups members of society according to similarities in social standing. Tied to status and power in the community.
Having advantages of power and opportunity over others.
The relative value assigned to something within a particular society.
Moving up the class system.
Moving lower withing the class system.
A change in social position that occurs in a person's lifetime. "Rags to riches".
Changes in social status between different generations within the same family.
A society in which advancement is based solely on the abilities and achievements of the individual.
The set of non-monetary social factors that contribute to social mobility.
An individual's social networks and connections that may confer economic and/or personal benefits.
An insufficiency of material goods, monetary wealth, access to resources.
Social disadvantage and relegation to the fringe of society.
A lack of essential resources (food, shelter, clothing, hygiene).
Social inequality in which people are relatively poor compared to other members of the society in which they live.
Differences in health and healthcare that occur between groups of people.
Involves associations between certain stimuli and specific responses.
A test subject develops a response to a previously neutral stimulus by associating the stimulus with another stimulus that already elicited that response (Pavlov).
A stimulus that elicits an unconditioned response (food [US] --> salivation [UR]).
A behavior that occurs naturally due to a given stimulus (food [US] --> salivation [UR]).
A stimulus eliciting no response.
A previously neutral stimulus that, after repeated association with an unconditioned stimulus, elicits the response produced by the unconditioned stimulus itself (bell [CS] --> salivation [CR]).
An automatic response established by training to an ordinarily neutral stimulus (bell [CS] --> salivation [CR]).
The stage of learning over which a conditioned response to a new stimulus is established.
The reappearance of the conditioned response after a period of lessened response.
Disappearance of the conditioned response.
The tendency to respond to stimuli that are similar to the conditioned stimulus.
The learned lack of response to a stimulus similar to the conditioned stimulus.
A type of associative learning that occurs through rewards and punishments for behavior (Skinner).
A consequence that increases the likelihood of a behavior.
A consequence that decreases the likelihood of a behavior.
Increasing/decreasing the likelihood of a behavior by introducing a stimulus.
Increasing/decreasing the likelihood of a behavior by removing a stimulus.
Stimuli that relate to a physiological need and drive for survival (food, drink, pleasure).
Secondary (Conditioned) Reinforcer/Punisher
Stimuli that require learning/social context (money, praise, prestige, fines, scolding, ostracism).
Learning in which the learned behavior allows the subject to escape the unpleasant stimulus.
Learning in which the learned behavior allows the subject to avoid the stimulus altogether by employing a specific response.
Describes how often and under what conditions a behavior is reinforced.
Reinforcment is only given some of the time when the behavior occurs.
A type of partial reinforcement. Rewards are provided after a specified number of responses.
A type of partial reinforcement. Rewards are provided after an unpredictable number of responses.
A type of partial reinforcement. Rewards are provided after a specified time interval has passed.
A type of partial reinforcement. Rewards are provided after a unpredictable time interval has passed.
Method of operant conditioning that shifts behavior toward a certain response by reinforcing successive approximations toward the desired behavior.
Behaviors that are developmentally fixed.
Learning that occurs through observing the behavior of others.
Learning that consists of witnessing another person's actions, retaining information on that behavior, and re-enacting what was learned.
Specialized nerve cells that fire when a person is completing an action and when the person observes someone else completing the same action.
Feeling the emotions of others as though they are one's own.
The sum coordinated responses of organisms to the internal and external stimuli they experience.
The sharing of information between individuals by using speech.
All communication between people that does not involve words.
Vocalizations, the use of visual stimuli, touch, and smell for communication.
All interactions taking place between members of the same species.
Factors that draw members of a species together.
Conflict and competition between individuals.
Forming relationships between individuals.
Finding help through social connections.
The set of behavior through which animals obtain food.
The behavior surrounding propagation of a species through reproduction.
Behaviors that are disadvantageous to the individual acting, but confer benefits to other members of its social group.
Overall fitness based on the individual's own progeny and the offspring of its close relatives.
The use of mathematical models to represent complex decision making in which the actions of other group members must be taken into account.
A set of individuals who interact with each other and share some elements of identity.
Connections through a web of weaker social interactions outside of group-specific interactions.
A collection of individuals joining together to coordinate their interactions toward a specific purpose.
Part a person plays in a social interaction.
Social position within the group, network, or organization.
How humans behave to affect how they are perceived.
The process of consciously making behavioral choices in order to create a specific impression in the minds of others.
One theory of impression management. Proposes that impression management takes place in all aspects of human interaction.
Front Stage Self
Encompasses the behavior that a person performs in front of an audience.
Back Stage Self
Behavior that is employed when players are together, but no audience is present.
The phenomenon where a group's members tend to think alike and agree for the sake of group harmony.
The attitude of the group as a whole toward a particular issue becomes stronger than the attitudes of its individual members.
The social influence exerted by one's peers to act in a way that is acceptable or similar to their own behaviors.
The tendency to perform better when a person knows he is being watched.
When fewer people are present, it is more likely that any one person will help another in distress.
Members of a group decrease the pace or intensity of their own work with the intention of letting other group members work harder.
People lose awareness of their individuality and instead immerse themselves in the mood or activity of the crowd.
The process by which people learn customs and values of their culture.
Agents of Socialization
Groups and people who influence personal attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.
The tendency of individuals to change their attitudes, opinions, and behaviors to align with the group norms.
Behavioral changes made in response to a command by an authority figure.
Behavior that violates social expectations.
A negative social label that changes a person's social identity by classifying the person as abnormal or tainted.
The process by which an individual or a group becomes part of a new culture.
A culture that is shared by a smaller group of people who are also part of a larger culture.
The practice of valuing and respecting differences in culture.
The belief that one's group is of central importance, tendency to judge the practices of other groups by one's own cultural standards.
The practice of trying to understand a culture on its own terms and to judge a culture by its own standards.
A group with which an individual shares identity and feels loyalty towards.
A group with which an individual does not identify and may feel competition/hostility towards.
Individual favors the in-group and devalues out-groups.
Generalizations about other groups or categories of people.
A concept about a group or category of people that includes the belief that all members of that group share certain characteristics.
Anxiety and resulting impaired performance that a person may experience when confronted with a negative stereotype about a group to which they belong.
The stress and lowered expectations accompanying negative stereotypes contribute to making stereotypical beliefs into reality.
Unfair treatment of others based on their membership in a specific social group.
Occurs when one person behaves negatively toward another because of that person's membership in a specific social group or category.
Social institutions that employ policies that differentiate between people based on social grouping.
The collection of lasting characteristics that makes a person unique.
Personality consists of a set of traits.
Characteristics that vary between people and are stable over the course of the lifetime, regardless of environmental factors.
Theory that focuses on biological contributions to certain traits.
An innate, genetically influenced "baseline" of personality.
Studies used to separate the effects of genetics and the environment.
Proposes a universal personality structure that contributes both to behavior and to differences between people (Freud).
Personality is constructed by a series of learning experiences that occur through interactions between the individual and their environment.
Social Cognitive Theory
Theory that holds that portions of an individual's knowledge acquisition can be directly related to observing others within the context of social interactions, experiences, and outside media influences (Bandura).
People continually seek experiences that make them better, more fulfilled individuals.
Situational Approach to Explaining Behavior
A person's view of who they are in terms of both internal and external factors.
The knowledge of oneself as a person both separate from other people and constant throughout changing situations.
The perception of oneself as a member of certain social groups.
A collection of people who interact with each other and share similar characteristics and a sense of unity.
Different Types of Identities
Race/ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, class.
Adopting the role of another person, either by imitating behaviors or taking the other person's point of view.
A group that provides an individual with a model for appropriate actions, values, and worldviews.
A person's overall value judgment of him- or herself.
The feeling of being able to carry out an action successfully.
Locus of Control
A person's belief about the extent to which internal or external factors play a role in shaping his or her life.
Freud's Theory of Developmental Stages
Sequential series of psychosexual stages in early childhood: oral, anal, phallic, latent, genital.
Psychoanalytic psychologist, re-envisioned the psychosexual stages as eight psychosocial stages.
Proposed that learning takes place through interactions with others that promote the acquisition of cultural factors in development.
Kohlberg's Theory of Moral Development
Developing children progress through a predictable sequence of stages of moral reasoning (preconventional, conventional, postconventional).
Stage of moral development. Moral judgments are based solely on consideration of the anticipated consequences of behavior (punishment or reward).
Stage of moral development. Moral judgments take into account social disapproval and rule following.
Stage of moral development. Moral judgments take into account social contracts and universal ethics.
A theory that supposes that one attempts to understand the behavior of others by attributing feelings, beliefs, and intentions to them.
Assigning the cause of a behavior to an inherent quality or desire.
Assigning the cause of a behavior to environmental factors.
Fundamental Attribution Error
The tendency to automatically favor dispositional attributions over situational ones when judging other people.
The tendency to attribute one's success to internal factors while attributing one's failures to external factors.
Sets of psychological abnormalities that are maladaptive to the individual.
Somatic Symptom and Related Disorders
Disorders characterized by bodily symptoms along with associated psychological symptoms.
The experience of unwarranted fear and anxiety, physiological tension, and behaviors associated with the emotional and physical experience of anxiety.
Disorders defined by two extremes, depression and mania.
Pervasive feelings of sadness and hopelessness and/or the loss of interest in activities that an individual usually enjoys.
A disorder that is fundamentally characterized by an impaired connection with reality. Hallucinations, delusions, disorganized speech.
Disorders defined by the experience of a split between different aspects of psychological functioning.
Disorders that involve the development of personality traits that cause psychological and social disfunction.
A wide range of internal mental activities, such as analyzing information, generating ideas, and problem solving.
Computer-like models of cognitive functioning.
The part of the brain where information processing takes place. Divided into four lobes.
Part of the brain associated with motor control, decision making, and long-term memory storage.
Part of the brain that processes tactile information, contains the somatosensory cortex.
Part of the brain that processes visual information.
Part of the brain that processes auditory and olfactory information. Associated with emotion, language, and memory formation.
Developmental psychologist who integrated nature and nurture into a theory of child development.
Stages of Cognitive Development
All children pass through the same set of discrete cognitive developmental stages at the same ages (Piaget).
A stage of cognitive development (birth to 2 years). Children learn to separate themselves from objects. Object permanence.
A stage of cognitive development (2 to 7 years). Children learn to use language while they continue to think very literally. They maintain an egocentric worldview.
Concrete Operational Stage
A stage of cognitive development (7 to 11 years). Children become more logical in concrete thinking. They develop inductive reasoning and understand conservation.
Formal Operational Stage
A stage of cognitive development (11 years and older). Children develop the ability to think logically in the abstract. They develop deductive reasoning skills and are capable of achieving post-conventional moral reasoning.
Learning Theory of Language Development
Theory that argues that language is a form of behavior and is thus learned through operant conditioning (Skinner).
Nativist Theory of Language Development
Theory that language development is innately human and that all people have the language acquisition device, which allows for learning of syntax and grammar (Chomsky).
Interactionist Theory of Language Development
Theory that argues that the human brain develops so that it can be receptive to new language input and development.
Located in the frontal lobe, primarily involved in speech production. Damage to this area leads to the condition called ____ aphasia, or expressive aphasia.
Located in the temporal lobe, contributes primarily to the understanding of language. Damage to this area leads to ____ aphasia, or receptive aphasia.
The ability to understand and reason with complex ideas, adapt effectively to the environment, and learn from experience.
Intelligence Quotient (IQ)
Scores on a nonverbal scale and performance scale are synthesized to yield this score.
Theory of Multiple Intelligences
Theory that everyone has a variety of intelligences that are used in combination to solve problems and perform tasks (Gardner).
A different type of intelligence, composed of: perceiving emotions, using and reasoning with emotions, understanding emotions, and managing emotions.
A step-by-step procedure that leads to a definite solution.
Allow a new problem to be reduced to a previously known problem, where prior knowledge of how to determine the solution can be applied.
Trial and Error Method
Method of problem solving characterized by repeated, unsystematic attempts to solve a problem until the desired outcome is achieved.
Mental shortcuts or "rules of thumb" that often lead to a solution (but not always).
Personal perception or feeling used to solve a problem (as opposed to logic).
People hold on to their initial beliefs, even when rational argument would suggest they are incorrect.
An example of belief perseverance. Information that should logically undermine confidence to some extent is overlooked.
A multifaceted experience that is connected to thought, physiology, and behavior.
A component of emotion that includes a personal assessment of the significance of the particular situation, which leads to the subjective experience of the emotion.
A component of emotion associated with activation of the autonomic nervous system.
A component of emotion that occurs when emotion leads to urges to act in a certain way and thereby leads to actions.
Connects the hypothalamus with structures in the temporal lobe.
Autonomic Nervous System
The part of the nervous system responsible for control of the bodily functions that are not consciously directed, such as breathing, the heartbeat, and digestive processes.
Part of the limbic system, responsible for the emotional reactions of fear and anger.
Part of the limbic system, involved in conscious regulation of emotional states.
Part of the limbic system, regulates the autonomic nervous system's sympathetic and parasympathetic functions.
James-Lange Theory of Emotion
Theory of emotion that states that people experience emotion because they perceive their bodies' physiological responses to external events.
Cannon-Bard Theory of Emotion
Theory of emotion that states that the experience of emotion happens at the same time that physiological arousal happens.
Schacter-Singer Theory of Emotion
Theory of emotion that stats that people's experience of emotion depends on two factors: physiological arousal and the cognitive interpretation of that arousal. When people perceive physiological symptoms of arousal, they look for an environmental explanation of this arousal. The label people give an emotion depends on what they find in their environment.
A psychological factor that provides a directional force or reason for behavior.
A biological, innate tendency to perform a certain behavior that leads to the fulfillment of a need.
Physiological and psychological tension.
Urges to perform certain behaviors in order to resolve physiological arousal.
Negative Feedback System
A reaction that causes a decrease in function in response to some kind of stimulus.
Drive Reduction Theory
A theory that states that people are motivated to take action in order to lessen the state of arousal caused by a physiological need.
A theory that states that people are motivated by external rewards.
Cognitive Theories of Motivation
Theories that suggest that people behave based on their expectations. People behave in a way that they predict will yield the most favorable outcome.
Need-Based Theories of Motivation
Theories that state that people are motivated by the desire to fulfill unmet needs (Maslow's hierarchy of needs).
Affective Component (Attitude)
A person's feelings or emotions about an object, person, or event.
Behavioral Component (Attitude)
The influence that attitudes have on behavior.
Cognitive Component (Attitude)
Beliefs or knowledge about a specific object of interest.
People are more likely to agree to a large request if they first agree to a smaller one.
The conflict or inconsistency between internal attitudes and external behaviors.
Cognitive Dissonance Theory
Theory that people have an inherent desire to avoid the internal discomfort associated with a mismatch between attitudes and behaviors.
Elaboration Likelihood Model
A dual process theory model of persuasion, describing the interaction between an argument and relevant psychological factors of the person who receives the argument.
Peripheral Route Processing
One of the ELM routes. Occurs when a listener decides whether to agree with the message based on other cues besides the strength of the arguments or ideas in the message.
Central Route Processing
One of the ELM routes. Occurs when a listener is persuaded by the arguments or the content of the message
Factors Affecting Attitude Change
Behavior change (foot-in-the-door, role-playing), characteristics of the message (strong, persuasive argument is better than a weaker one), characteristics of the target, social factors.
The strain that is experienced when an organism's equilibrium is disrupted and it must adapt.
Source of stress.
Personal interpretations of the situations that trigger stress.
Physiological Fight-or-Flight Response
The sympathetic division of the ANS releases adrenaline and noradrenaline, adrenal glands release the same chemicals as a hormonal response, adrenal glands release cortisol (increases blood glucose).
Genes that are involved in controlling the expression of one or more other genes.
The extent to which genes contribute to survival in a given environment.
The conversion of physical stimuli into electrical signals that are transferred through the nervous system by neurons.
The use of sensory information and pre-existing knowledge to create a functional representation of the world.
The lowest intensity of a stimulus that can be sensed.
The smallest difference that is sufficient for a change in stimulus to be noticed
The change required to meet the difference threshold is a certain fraction of the originally presented stimulus.
Signal Detection Theory
Theory that focuses on how an organism differentiates important stimuli (signals) from meaningless stimuli (noise) in an environment where the distinction is ambiguous.
Selects sensory information for perceptual processing.
The focus of attention on one particular stimulus or task at the exclusion of other stimuli.
Splits perceptual resources between multiple stimuli or behaviors.
Processing that involves the construction of perceptions from individual pieces of information provided by sensory processing.
Processing that brings the influence of prior knowledge into play to make perception more efficient.
Principles that describe the top-down processing that organizes sensory information into distinct forms (nearness, similarity, common region, closure, continuity, figure & ground).
The interpretation of otherwise raw sensory data to produce visual perception.
The use of multiple pathways to convey information about the same stimulus.
A process by which specialized nerve cells in the brain respond to specific features of a visual stimulus, such as lines, edges, angle, or movement.
Regulates the body's functions on a predictable schedule.
Sleep Stage #1
Light sleep, includes alpha waves.
Sleep Stage #2
Associated with bursts of brain wave activity that indicate a full transition into sleep.
Sleep Stage #3
Delta waves are first seen, reflecting the transition into deep sleep.
Sleep Stage #4
Deepest sleep, almost entirely delta waves.
Rapid Eye Movement (REM) Sleep
Characteristic eye movements, period of high brain activity that occurs during Stage 1 sleep. Dreaming occurs.
Non-REM (NREM) Sleep
The largest proportion of sleep, brain activity is much lower.
Some aspect of sleep is abnormal, leading to negative health consequences.
A state of relaxation, focused attention, and increased willingness to relinquish control over one's own actions.
An intentional, self-produced state of consciousness induced by relaxing and systematically shifting attention away from day-to-day concerns.
Conciousness Altering Drugs
Drugs that affect nervous system function and psychological characteristics, such as perception, attention, and emotion.
Drugs that raise the level of activity in the CNS. Increase the amount of monoamine neurotransmitters.
Drugs that cause a decrease of activity in the CNS.
Drugs that alter sensory and perceptual experience.
A particular pathway within the limbic system that is associated with both feelings of reward in day-to-day life and the feelings of pleasure that lead to cravings and addiction.
Where memory is transformed into the type of representation that is used by that particular form of memory storage.
Temporary storage for incoming sensory stimuli.
A system for temporarily storing and managing the information required to carry out complex cognitive tasks such as learning, reasoning, and comprehension.
Information held here is maintained outside of conscious awareness and can be called back into working memory when needed.
The ability of the brain's networks of neurons and their synapses to change.
Long-Term Potentiation (LTP)
A persistent increase in synaptic strength following high-frequency stimulation of a chemical synapse.
Information stored in long-term memory can return to working memory through this process.
Organize information in networks of meaningfully related memories.
One item triggers an activation of related memories.
The retrieval of a memory "from scratch" (fill in the blank questions).
The correct identification of information that is presented (multiple-choice test).
Environmental stimuli or pieces of information that are associated in some way with the memory being sought.
The fading of a memory.
Recall is strongest for items at the beginning of a list.
Recall is strongest for items at the end of a list.
Similar information prevents the retrieval of a memory.
Newly learned material prevents successful retrieval of older memories.
Previously held knowledge prevents successful retrieval of more newly learned information.
Memories are updated with new information and experiences.
Occurs when a person attributes a memory to a particular source, correctly or not.
Associated with aging, has a characteristic pattern of neurodegeneration.
Neurodegeneration caused by a nutritional deficiency (typically vitamin B1), often due to severe alcoholism.
A neurodegenerative disease in which associated brain damage is restricted to a specific area (substantia nigra in the midbrain), leading to the impairment of motor abilities.
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