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AP Psych vocab


an irrational but irresistible motive for a belief or action, madness

Bipoloar Disorder

Clinical swing between mania and depression. Depressive phase typically lasting much longer than the manic phase.

Personality Disorders

psychological disorders characterized by inflexible and enduring behavior patterns that impair social functioning


A severe disorder marked by hearing nonexistent voices, seeing hallucination, and exhibiting inappropriate responses

Antisocial Personality Disorder

a personality disorder in which the person (usually a man) exhibits a lack of conscience for wrongdoing, even toward friends and family members; may be aggressive and ruthless or a clever con artist

Major Depressive Disorder

a mood disorder in which a person, for no apparent reason, experiences two or more weeks of depressed moods, feelings of worthlessness, and diminishes interest or pleasure in most activities

Psychological Disorder

a "harmful dysfunction" in which behavior is judged to be atypical, disturbing, maladaptive, and unjustifiable

Attention Deficit Hyperactivitiy Disorder (ADHD)

A psychological disorder marked by the appearance by age 7 of one or more of three key symptoms: extreme inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

Mood disorder

a disorder in which a person undergoes changes in mood that seem inappropriate or extreme

Medical Model

the concept that diseases have physical causes that can be diagnosed, treated, and, in most cases, cured. When applied to psychological disorders, the medical model assumes that these mental illnesses can be diagnosed on the basis of their symptoms and cured through therapy, which may include treatment in a psychiatric hospital.

Dissociative Identity Disorder

a rare dissociative disorder in which a person exhibits two or more distinct and alternating personalities. Also called multiple personality disorder.


the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a widely used system for classifying psychological disorders

Dissociative Disorders

disorders in which conscious awareness becomes separated (dissociated) from previous memories, thoughts, and feelings

Anxiety Disorders

psychological disorders characterized by distressing, persistent anxiety or maladaptive behaviors that reduce anxiety

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

an anxiety disorder characterized by haunting memories, nightmares, social withdrawal, jumpy anxiety, and/or insomnia that lingers for four weeks or more after a traumatic experience

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

an anxiety disorder characterized by chronic free-floating anxiety and such symptoms as tension or sweating or trembling of light-headedness or irritability etc that has lasted for more than six months

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

an anxiety disorder characterized by unwanted repetitive thoughts (obsessions) and/or actions (compulsions)

Panic Disorder

an anxiety disorder marked by unpredictable minutes-long episodes of intense dread in which a person experiences terror and accompanying chest pain, choking, or other frightening sensations


fear of


false sensory experiences, such as seeing something in the absence of an external visual stimulus

Catatonic Schizophrenia

A type of schizophrenia marked by striking motor disturbances, ranging from muscular rigidity to random motor activity.

Disorganized Schizoprenia

-Distinguished by marked regression demonstrating primitive, disinhibited, and disorganized behavior , incoherent speech, inappropriate moods, hallucinations, and delusions

Paranoid Schizophrenia

type of schizophrenia characterized by hallucinations and delusions of persecution or grandeur (or both), and sometimes irrational jealousy.

Undifferentiated Schizoprenia

characteristic positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia but do not meet the specific criteria for the paranoid, disorganized, or catatonic subtypes.

conjunction fallacy

occurs when people estimate that the odds of two uncertain events happening together are greater than the odds of either event happening alone

Converstion disorder

-sudden/involuntary loss of physical function (paralysis, blindness, seizure, deafness) -often have LeBelle Indifference (loss of physical activity w/ lack of concern) -often use primary and secondary gains


false beliefs, often of persecution or grandeur, that may accompany psychotic disorders

Dysthymic disorder

A chronic depression that is insufficient in severity to merit diagnosis of a major depressive episode.


chronic and abnormal anxiety about imaginary symptoms and ailments


relatively permanent disorder of the mind

Negative Symptons

flat affect (little emotional response, social withdrawl

Psychosomatic Disorders

Disorders in which there is real physical illness that is largely caused by psychological factors such as stress and anxiety

Somatization Disorder

A type of somatoform disorder marked by a history of diverse physical complaints that appear to be psychological in origin.

Somatoform disorder

Psychological disorder in which the symptoms take a somatic (bodily) form without apparent physical cause.

Cognitive Therapy

therapy that teaches people new, more adaptive ways of thinking and acting; based on the assumption that thoughts intervene between events and our emotional reactions

Family Therapy

therapy that treats the family as a system. views an individual's unwanted behaviors as influenced by or directed at other family members; attempts to guide family members toward positive relationships and improved communication


a now-rare psychosurgical procedure once used to calm uncontrollably emotional or violent patients. the procedure cut the nerves that connect the frontal lobes to the emotion-controlling centers of the inner brain


brain surgery on human patients intended to relieve severe and otherwise intractable mental or behavioral problems

Regression toward the mean

the tendency for extremes of unusual scores to fall back (regress) toward their average.

Reptitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS)

the application of repeated pulses of magnetic energy to the brain; used to stimulate or suppress brain activity


a procedure for statistically combining the results of many different research studies

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

A biomedical therapy for severely depressed patients in which a brief electric current is sent through the brain of an anesthetized patient.

Tardive dyskinesia

involuntary movements of the facial muscles, tongue, and limbs; a possible neurotoxic side effect of long-term use of antipsychotic drugs that target D2 dopamine receptors


the study of drugs that affect the mind


Freud's theory of personality and therapeutic technique that attributes thoughts and actions to unconscious motives and conflicts. Freud believed the patient's free associations, resistances, dreams, and transferences—and the therapist's interpretations of them—released previously repressed feelings, allowing the patient to gain self-insight.

Biomedical Therapy

prescribed medications or medical procedures that act directly on the patient's nervous system


in psychoanalysis, the patient's transfer to the analyst of emotions linked with other relationships

Client-centered therapy

A humanistic therapy, developed by Carl Rogers, in which the therapist uses techniques such as active listening within a genuine, accepting, empathic environment to facilitate clients' growth.


What is it called when a psychologist uses bits & pieces of different approaches?

Aversion Therapy

behavioral therapy that works by replacing one bond with another but this time adding something nasty. Ex. To stop smoking add something to cigarettes that induces vomiting.

Active Listening

empathic listening in which the listener echoes, restates, and clarifies. A feature of Rogers' client-centered therapy


in psychoanalysis, the analyst's noting supposed dream meanings, resistances, and other significant behaviors in order to promote insight


(psychiatry) an unwillingness to bring repressed feelings into conscious awareness

Exposure Therapies

behavioral techniques, such as systematic desensitization, that treat anxieties by exposing people (in imagination or actuality) to the things they fear and avoid

Systematic Desensitization

a type of exposure therapy that associates a pleasant relaxed state with gradually increasing anxiety-triggering stimuli; commonly used to treat phobias

Behavior Therapy

psychotherapy that seeks to extinguish or inhibit abnormal or maladaptive behavior by reinforcing desired behavior and extinguishing undesired behavior

Counter Conditioning

a behavior therapy procedure that conditions new responses to stimuli that trigger unwanted behaviors; based on classical conditioning. Includes exposure therapies and aversive conditioning.

Anti- Anxiety Drugs

drugs used to control anxiety and agitation

Anti-depressant drugs

Medications that modulate the availability or effectiveness of the neurotransmitters implicated in mood disorders; prozac, for example, increases the action of the neurotransmitter serotonin

Antipsychotic drugs

medications that are used to treat schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders


moving people with psychological or developmental disabilities from highly structured institutions to home- or community-based settings

Insight Therapies

a variety of therapies which aim to improve psychological functioning by increasing the client's awareness of underlying motives and defenses

Placebo Effect

experimental results caused by expectations alone; any effect on behavior caused by the administration of an inert substance or condition, which is assumed to be an active agent

Spontaneous Remission

Recovery from a disorder without formal treatment.

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