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AP Psychology (Weiten 7th Edition)

All vocabulary words from Weiten's Psychology: Themes and Variations 7th edition, in alphabetical order. Use this to study for the exam! Version 1.0 Completed the set of words
Absolute refractory period
The minimum length of time after an action potential during which another action potential cannot begin
Absolute threshold
The minimum amount of stimulation that an organism can detect for a specific type of sensory input
Changing existing mental structures to explain new experiences
The degree to which a person is socially and psychologically integrated into a new culture
Achievement motive
The need to master difficult challenges, to outperform others, and to meet high standards of excellence
Achievement tests
Tests that gauge a person's mastery and knowledge of various subjects
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
A disorder in which the immune system is gradually weakened and eventually disabled by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
The formation of a new conditioned response tendency
Action potential
A brief change in a neuron's electrical charge
Acute stressors
Threatening events that have a relatively short duration and a clear endpoint
An inherited characteristic that increased in a population (through natural selection) because it helped solve a problem of survival or reproduction during the time it emerged
Additive color mixing
Formation of colors by superimposing lights, putting more light in the mixture than exists in any one light by itself
Adoption studies
Research studies that assess heredity influence by examining the resemblance between adopted children and both their biological and their adoptive parents
Afferent nerve fibers
Axons that carry information inward to the central nervous system from the periphery of the body
A visual image that persists after a stimulus is removed
Age of viability
The age at which a baby can survive in the event of a premature birth
Any behavior that is intended to hurt someone, either physically or verbally
A chemical that mimics the action of a neurotransmitter
A fear of going out to public places
A variety of beverages containing ethyl alcohol
A methodical, step-by-step procedure for trying all possible alternatives in searching for a solution to a problem
Alternative outcome effect
Phenomenon that occurs when people's belief about whether an outcome will occur changes depending on how alternative outcomes are distributed, even though the assumed probability of the alternative outcomes is held constant
A significant memory loss that is too extensive to be due to normal forgetting; See also Anterograde amnesia, Retrograde amnesia
The principal class of gonadal hormones in males
Anecdotal evidence
Personal stories about specific incidents and experiences
The belief that all things are living
Anorexia nervosa
Eating disorder characterized by intense fear of gaining weight, disturbed body image, refusal to maintain normal weight, and dangerous measures to lose weight
A chimerical that opposes the action of a neurotransmitter
Anterograde amnesia
Loss of memory for events that occur after a head injury
Antianxiety drugs
Medication that relieve tension, apprehension, and nervousness
Antidepressant drugs
Medications that gradually elevate mood and help bring people out of a depression
Antipsychotic drugs
Medications used to gradually reduce psychotic symptoms, including hyperactivity, mental confusion, hallucinations, and delusions
Antisocial personality disorder
A type of personality disorder marked by impulsive, callous, manipulative, aggressive, and irresponsible behavior that reflects a failure to accept social norms
Anxiety disorders
A class of disorders marked by feelings of excessive apprehension and anxiety
Applied psychology
The branch of psychology concerned with everyday, practical problems
Approach-approach conflict
A conflict situation in which a choice must be made between two attractive goals
Approach-avoidance conflict
A conflict situation in which a choice must be made about whether to pursue a single goal that has both attractive and unattractive aspects
Aptitude test
Psychological tests used to assess talent for specific types of mental ability
According to Jung, emotionally charged image and though forms that have universal meaning
One or more premises used to provide support for a conclusion
Ascending reticular activating system (ARAS)
The afferent fibers running through the reticular formation that influence physiological arousal
Interpreting new experiences in terms of existing mental structures without changing them
Premises for which no proof or evidence is offered
A close, emotional bond of affection between infants and their caregiver
focusing awareness on a narrowed rance of stimuli or events
Orientations that locate objects of thought on dimentions of judgement
Inferences that people draw about the causes of events, others' behavior, and their own behavior
Auditory localization
Locating the source of a sound in space
Autonomic nervous system (ANS)
The system of nerves that connect to the heart, blood vessels, smoother muscles, and glands
Availability heuristics
Basing the estimated probability of an event on the case with which relevant instances come to mind
Aversion therapy
A behavior therapy in which an aversive stimulus is paired with a stimulus that elicits an undesirable response
A long, thin fiber that transmits signals away from the neuron cell body to another neurons, or to muscles or glands
Basilar membrane
A structure that runs the length of the cochlea in the inner ear and holds the auditory receptors, called hair cells
Any overt (observable) response or activity by an organism
Behavior modification
A systematic approach to changing behavior through the application of the principles of conditioning
Behavior therapies
Applications of the principles of learning to direct efforts to change clients' maladaptive behaviors
Behavioral contract
A written agreement outlining a promise to adhere to the contingencies of a behavior modification program
Behavioral genetics
An interdisciplinary field that studies the influence of genetic factors on behavioral traits
A theoretical orientation based on the premise that scientific psychology should study only observable behavior
The acquisition of two languages that use different speech sounds, vocabularies, and grammatical rules
Binocular depth cues
Cues about distance based on the differing views of the two eyes
Biological rhythms
Periodic fluctuations in physiological functioning
Biomedical therapies
Physiological interventions intended to reduce symptoms associated with psychological functioning
Biopsychosocial model
A model of illness that holds that physical illness is caused by a complex interaction of biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors
Bipolar disorder
(formerly known as manic-depressive disorder) Mood disorder marked by the experience of both depressed and manic periods
Persons who seek emotional-sexual relationships with members of either sex
Body mass index (BMI)
Weight (in kilograms) divided by height (in meters) squared (kg/m^2)
Bottom-up processing
In form perception, progression from individual elements to the whole
Bulimia nervosa
Eating disorder characterized by habitually engaging in out-of-control overeating followed by unhealthy compensatory efforts, such as self-induced vomiting, fasting, abuse of laxatives and diuretics, and excessive exercise
Physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion that is attributable to work-related stress
Bystander effect
A paradoxical social phenomenon in which people are less likely to provide needed help when they are in groups than when they are alone
The hemp plant from which marijuana, hashish, and THC are derived
Catastrophic thinking
Unrealistically pessimistic appraisals of stress that exaggerate the magnitude of one's problems
Catatonic schizophrenia
A type of schizophrenia marked by striking motor disturbances, ranging from muscular rigidity to random motor activity
The release of emotional tension
Central nervous system (CNS)
The brain and the spinal cord
The tendency to focus on just one feature of a problem, neglecting other important aspects
Cephalocaudal trend
The head-to-foot direction of motor development
Cerebral cortex
The convoluted outer layer of the cerebrum
Cerebral hemispheres
The right and left halves of the cerebrum
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)
A solution that fills the hollow cavities (ventricles) of the brain and circulates around the brain and spinal cord
The medium through which a message is sent
Threadlike strands of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) molecules that carry genetic information
Chronic Stressors
Threatening events that have a relatively long duration and no readily apparent time limit
A group of familiar stimuli stored as a single unit
Circadian rhythms
The twenty-four hour biological cycles found in human and many other species
Classical conditioning
A type of learning in which a neutral stimulus acquires the ability to evoke a response that was originally evoked by another stimuli
Client-centered therapy
An y that emphasizes providing a supportive emotional climate for clients, who plat a major role in determining the place and direction of their therapy
Clinical psychologists
Psychologists who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders and everyday behavioral problems
Clinical psychology
The branch of psychology concerned with the disagnosis and treatment of psychological problems and disorders
The fluid-filled, coiled tunnel in the inner ear that contains the receptors for hearing
Coefficient of determination
The percentage of variation in one variable that can be predicted based on the other variable
The mental processes involved in acquiring knowledge
Cognitive development
Transitions in youngsters' pattern of thinking, including reasoning, remembering, and problem solving
Cognitive dissonance
A psychological state that exists when related cognitions are inconsistent
Cognitive therapy
An insight therapy that emphasizes recognizing and changing negative thoughts and maladaptive beliefs
Cognitive-behavioral treatments
A varied combination of verbal interventions and behavioral modification techniques used to help clients change maladaptive patterns of thinking
Collective unconscious
According to Jung, a storehouse of latent memory traces inherited from people's ancestral past
Putting group goals ahead of personal goals and defining one's identity in terms of the groups one belongs to
Color blindness
Deficiency in the ability to distinguish among colors
An intent to maintain a relationship in spite of the difficulties and costs that may arise
The coexistence of two or more disorders
Companionate love
Warm, strutting, tolerate affection for another whose life is deeply intertwined with one's own
People, objects, events, and other standards that are used as a baseline for comparisons in making judgments
According to Adler, efforts to overcome imagined or real inferiorities by developing one's abilities
Complementary colors
Pairs of colors that produce gray tones when added together
Conceptual hierarchy
A multilevel classification system based on common properties among items
Concordance rate
The percentage of twin pairs or other pairs of relatives Agatha exhibit the same disorder
Conditioned reinforcers
See Secondary reinforcers
Conditioned response (CR)
A learned reaction to a conditioned stimulus that occurs because of previous conditioning
Conditioned stimulus (CS)
A previously neutral stimulus that has, through conditioning, acquired the capacity to evoke a conditioned response
Specialized visual receptors that play a key role in daylight vision and color vision
Confirmation bias
The tendency to seek information that supports one's decisions and beliefs while ignoring disconfirming information
A state that occurs when two or more incompatible motivations or behavioral impulses compete for expression
The tendency for people to yield to real or imagined social pressure
Confounding of variables
A condition that exists whenever two variables are linked together in a way that makes it difficult to sort out their independent effects
Conjunction fallacy
An error that occurs when people estimate that the odds of two uncertain events happening together are greater than the odds of either event happening alone
Connectionist models
See parallel distributed processing (PDP) model
Whatever one is aware of at a particular point in time
Piaget's term for the awareness that physical quantities remain constant in spite of changes in their shape or appearance
A hypothetical process involving the gradual conversion of information into durable memory codes stored in long-term memory
Construct validity
The extend to which there is evidence that a test measures a particular hypothetical construct
Constructive coping
Relatively healthful efforts that people make to deal with stressful events
Content validity
The degree to which the content of a test is representative of the domain it's supposed to cover
Continuous reinforcement
Reinforcing every instance of a designated response
Control group
Subjects in a study who do no receive the special treatment given to the experimental group
A cue to depth that involves sensing the eyes converging toward each other as they focus on closer objects
Convergent thinking
Narrowing down a list of alternatives to converge on a single correct answer
Conversion disorder
A somatoform disorder characterized by significant loss of physical function (with no apparent organic basis), usually in a single organ system
Active efforts to master, reduce, or tolerate the demands created by stress
Corpus callosum
The structure that connects the two cerebral hemispheres
The extend to which two variables are related to each other
Correlation coefficient
A numerical index of the degree of relationship between two variables
Counseling psychologists
Psychologists who specialize in the treatment of everyday adjustment problems
The generation of ideas that are original, novel, and useful
Criterion-related validity
Test validity that is estimated by correlating subjects 's scores on a est with their scores on an independent criterion (another measure) of the trait assessed by the test
Critical period
A limited time span in the development of an organism when it is optimal for certain capacities to emerge because the organism is especially responsive to certain experiences
Critical thinking
The use of cognitive skills and strategies that increase the probability of a desired outcome
Cross-sectional design
A research design in which investigators compare groups of subjects of differing age who are observed at a single point in time
The widely shared customs, beliefs, values, norms, institutions, and other products of a community that are transmitted socially across generations
Culture-bound disorders
Abnormal syndromes found only in a few culture groups
Cumulative recorder
A graphic record of reinforcement and responding in a Skinner box as a function of time
Cyclothymic disorder
Exhibiting chronic but relatively mild symptoms of bipolar disorder
Dark adaptation
The process in which the eyes become more sensitive to light in low illumination
Data collection techniques
Procedures for making empirical observations and measurements
Decay theory
The idea that forgetting occurs because memory traces fade with time
Decision making
The process of evaluating alternatives and making choices among them
Declarative memory system
Memory for factual information
Defense mechanisms
Largely unconscious reactions that protect a person from unpleasant emotions such as anxiety and guilt
Defensive attribution
The tendency to blame victims for their misfortune, so that one feels less likely to be victimized in a similar way
Transferring the treatment of mental illness from inpatient institutions to community-based facilities that emphasize outpatient care
False beliefs that are maintained even though they are clearly out of tough with reality
An abnormal condition marked by multiple cognitive defects that include memory impairment
Branchlike parts of a neuron that are specialized to receive information
Dependent variable
In an experiment, the variable that is thought to be affected by the manipulation of the independent variable
Depth perception
Interpretation of visual cues that indicate how near or far away objects are
Descriptive statistics
Statistics that are used to organize and summarize data
The sequence of age-related changes that occur as a person progresses from conception to death
Developmental norms
The average age at which individuals display various behaviors and abilities
Deviation IQ scores
Scores that locate subjects precisely within the normal distribution, using the standard deviation as the unit of measurement
Distinguish one illness from another
Behaving differently, usually unfairly, toward members of a group
Discriminative stimuli
Cues that influence operant behavior by indicating the probable consequences (reinforcement or nonreinforcement) of a response
An increase in the strength of a habituated response elicited by a new stimuli
Disorganized schizophrenia
A type of schizophrenia in which particularly severe deterioration of adaptive behavior is seen
Diverting emotional feelings (usually anger) from their original source to a substitute target
Display rules
Cultural norms that regulate the appropriate expressions of emotions
A splitting off of mental processes into two separate, simultaneous streams of awareness
Dissociative amnesia
A sudden loss of memory for important personal information that is too extensive to be due to normal forgetting
Dissociative disorders
A class of disorders in which pole lose contact with portions of their consciousness or memory, resulting in disruptions in their sense if identity
Dissociative fugue
A disorder in which people lose their memory for their entire lives along with their sense of personal identity
Dissociative identity disorder (DID)
A type of dissociative disorder characterized by the coexistence in one person of two or more largely complete, and usually every different, personalities; Also called multiple-personality disorder
Distal stimuli
Stimuli that lie in the distance (that is, in the world outside the body)
Divergent thinking
Trying to expand the range of alternatives by generating many possible solutions
Dominant gene
A gene that is expressed when paired genes are heterozygous (different)
Door-in-the-face technique
Making a large request that is likely to be turned down as a way to increase the chances that people will agree to a smaller request later
Double-blind procedure
A research strategy in which neither subjects nor experimenters know which subjects are in the experimental or control groups
Dream analysis
A psychoanalytic technique in which the therapist interprets the symbolic meaning of the client's dreams
An internal state of tension that motivates an organism to engage in the activities that should reduce the tension
Dual-coding theory
Paivio's theory that memory is enhanced by forming semantic and visual codes, since either can lead to recall
Dysthymic disorder
A chronic depression that is insufficient to merit diagnosis of a major depressive episode
Eating disorders
Severe disturbances in eating behavior characterized by preoccupation with weight concerns and unhealthy efforts to control weight
In psychotherapy, drawing ideas from two or more systems of therapy instead of committing to just one system
Efferent nerve fibers
Axons that carry information outward from the central nervous system to the periphery of the body
According to Freud, the decision-making component of personality that operates according to the reality principle
A limited ability to share another person's viewpoint
Linking a stimulus to other information at the time of encoding
Electrical stimulation of the brain (ESB)
Sending a weak electric current into a brain structure to stimulate (activate) it
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
A biomedical treatment in which electric shock is used to produce a cortical seizure accompanied by convulsions
Electroencephalograph (EEG)
A device that monitors the electrical activity of the brain over time by means of recording electrodes attached the the surface of the scalp
Electromyograph (EMG)
A device that records muscular activity and tension
Electrooculograph (EOG)
A device that records eye movements
To draw out or bring forth
Embryonic stage
The second stage of prenatal development, lasting from two weeks until the end of the second month
To send forth
A subjective conscious experience (the cognitive component) accompanied by bodily arousal (the physiological component) and by characteristic overt expressions (the behavioral component)
Emotional intelligence
The ability to perceive and express emotion ,assimilate emotion in though, understand and reason with emotion, and regulate emotion
The premise that knowledge should be acquired through observation
Forming a memory code
Encoding specificity principle
The idea that the value of a retrieval cue depends on how well it corresponds to the memory code
Endocrine system
A group of glands that secrete chemicals into the bloodstream that help control bodily functioning
The entire family of internally produced chemicals that resemble opiates in structure and effects
The study of the distribution of mental or physical disorders in a population
Episodic memory system
Chronological, or temporally dated, recollections of personal experiences
Escape learning
A type of learning in which an organism acquires a response that decreases or ends some aversive stimulation
The principal class of gonadal hormones in females
The tendency to view one's own group as superior to others and as the standard for judging the worth of foreign ways
The apparent causation and developmental history of an illness
Evaluative conditioning
Efforts to transfer the emotion attached to a UCS to a new CS
Evolutionary psychology
Theoretical perspective that examines behavioral processes in terms of their adaptive value for a species over the course of many generations
Excitatory PSP
An electrical potential that increases the likelihood that a postsynaptic neuron will fire action potentials
A research method in which the investigator manipulates a variable under carefully controlled conditions and observes whether any changes occur in a second variable as a result
Experimental group
The subjects in a study who receive some special treatment in regard to the independent variable
External attributions
Ascribing the causes of behavior to situational demands and environmental constraints
The gradual weakening and disappearance of a conditioned response tendency
Extraneous variables
Any variables other than the independent variable that seem likely to influence the dependent variable in a specific study
People who tend to be interested in the external world of people and things
Factor analysis
Statistical analysis of correlations among many variables to identify closely related clusters of variables
Family life cycle
A sequence of stages that families tend to progress through
Family Studies
Scientific studies in which researchers assess hereditary influence by examining blood relatives to see how much they resemble each other on a specific trait
A vision deficiency in which distant objects are seen clearly but close objects appear blurry
Fast mapping
The process by which children map a word onto an underlying concept after only one exposure to the word
Feature analysis
The process of detecting specific elements in visual input and assembling them into a more complex form
Feature detectors
Neurons that respond selectively to very specific features of more complex stimuli
Fetal alcohol syndrome
A collection of congenital (inborn) problems associated with excessive alcohol use during pregnancy
Fetal stage
The third stage of prenatal development, lasting from two months through birth
Field dependence-independence
Individuals' tendency to rely primarily on external versus internal frames of reference when orienting themselves in space
Fight-or-Flight response
A physiological reaction to threat which the autonomic nervous system mobilizes the organism for attacking (fight) or fleeing (flight) an enemy
The reproductive success (number of descendants) of an individual organism relative to the average reproductive success of the population
According to Freud, failure to move forward from one psychosexual stage to another as expected
Fixed-interval (FI) schedule
A reinforcement schedule in which the reinforcer is given for the first response that occurs after a fixed time interval has elapsed
Fixed-ratio (FR) schedule
A reinforcement schedule in which the reinforcer is given after a fixed number of nonreinforced responses
Flashbulb memories
Unusually vivid and detailed recollections of momentous events
Foot-in-the-door technique
Getting people to agree to a small request to increase the chances that they will agree to a larger request later
The largest and most complicated region of the brain, encompassing a variety of structures, including the thalamus, hypothalamus, limbic system, and cerebrum
Forgetting curve
A graph showing retention and forgetting over time
A tiny spot in the center of the retina that contains only cones; visual acuity is greatest at this spot
How issues are posed or how choices are structured
Fraternal twins
Twins that result when two eggs are fertilized simultaneously by different sperm cells, forming two separate zygotes; Also called Dizygotic twins
Free association
A psychoanalytic technique in which clients spontaneously express their thoughts and feelings exactly as they occur, with as little censorship as possible
Frequency distribution
An orderly arrangement of scores indicating the frequency of each score or group of scores
Frequency polygon
A line figure used to present data from a frequency distribution
Frequency theory
The theory that perception of pitch corresponds to the rate, or frequency, at which the entire basilar membrane vibrates
The feeling that people experience in any situation in which their pursuit of some goal is thwarted
Functional fixedness
The tendency to perceive an item only in terms of its most common use
A school of psychology based on the belief that psychology should investigate the function or purpose of consciousness, rather than its structure
Fundamental attribution error
Observers' bias in favor of internal attributions in explaining others' behavior
Galvanic skin response (GSR)
An increase in the electrical conductivity of the skin that occurs when sweat glands increase their activity
Gambler's fallacy
The belief that the odds of a chance event increases if the event hasn't occurred recently
Gate-control theory
The idea that incoming pain sensations must pass through a "gate" in the spinal cord that can be closed, thus blocking pain signals
Culturally constructed distinctions between masculinity and femininity
Gender differences
Actual disparities between the sexes in typical behavior or average ability
Gender roles
Expectations about what is appropriate behavior for each sex
Gender stereotypes
Widely held beliefs about males' and females' abilities, personality traits, and behavior
General adaptation syndrome
Selye's model of the body's stress response, consisting of three stages: alarm, resistance, and exhaustion
Generalized anxiety disorder
A psychological disorder marked by a chronic, high level of anxiety that is not tied to any specific threat
DNA segments that serve as the key functional units in hereditary transmission
Genetic mapping
The process of determining the location and chemical sequence of specific genes on specific chromosome
A person's genetic makeup
Germinal stage
The first phase of prenatal development, encompassing the first two weeks after conception
Germinal stage
The first phase of prenatal development, encompassing the first two weeks after conception
A simple sugar that is an important source of energy
Neurons sensitive to glucose in the surrounding fluid
Two or more individuals who interact and are interdependent
Group cohesiveness
The strength of the liking relationships linking group members to each other and to the group itself
Group polarization
A phenomenon that occurs when group discussion strengthens a group's dominant point of view and produces a shift toward a more extreme decision in that direction
Group therapy
The simultaneous treatment of several clients in a group
A process in which members of a cohesive group emphasizes concurrence at the expense of critical thinking in arriving at a decision
Gustatory system
The sensory system for taste
A gradual reduction in the strength of a response when a stimulus event is presented repeatedly
A gradual reduction in the strength of a response when a stimulus event is presented repeatedly
A diverse group of drugs that have powerful effects on mental and emotional functioning, marked most prominently by distortions in sensory and perceptual expierence
Health psychology
The subfield of psychology concerned with how psychosocial factors relate to the promotion and maintenance of health and with the causation, prevention and treatment of illness
Hedonic adaptation
An effect that occurs when the mental scale that people use to judge the pleasantness-unpleasantness of their experiences shifts so that their neutral point, or baseline for comparison, changes
Heritability ratio
An estimate of the proportion of trait variability in a population that is determined by variations in genetic inheritance
Persons who seek emotional-sexual relationships with member of the other sex
Heterozygous condition
The situation that occurs when two genes in a specific pair are different
A strategy, guiding principle, or rule of thumb used in solving problems or making a decision
Hierarchy of needs
Maslow's systematic arrangement of needs according to priority, which assumes that basic needs must be met before less basic needs are aroused
Higher-order conditioning
A type of conditioning in which a conditioned stimulus functions as if it were an unconditioned stimulus
The part of the brain that includes the cerebellum and two structures found in the lower part of the brainstem: the medulla and the pons
Hindsight bias
The tendency to mold one's interpretation of the past to fit how events actually turned out
A bar graph that presents data from a frequency distribution
A state of physiological equilibrium or stability
Persons who seek emotional-sexual relationships with members of the same sex
Homozygous condition
The situation that occurs when two genes in a specific pair are the same
The chemical substances released by the endocrine glands
Human factors (human engineering psychology) psychology
Area of psychology that examines the ways in which work environments can be designed or modified to match the capabilities and limitations of human begins
A theoretical orientation that emphasizes the unique qualities of humans, especially their freedom and their potential for personal growth
A somatoform disorder characterized by excessive preoccupation with health concerns and incessant worry about developing physical illnesses
A structure found near the base of the forebrain that is involved in the regulation of basic biologically needs
A systematic procedure that typically produces a heightened state of suggestibility
A tentative statement about the relationship between two or more variables
According to Freud, the primitive, instinctive component of personality that operates according to the person or group
Identical twins
Twins that emerge from one zygote that splits for unknown reasons; Also called Monozygotic twins
Bolstering self-esteem by forming an imaginary or real alliance with some person or group
Illusory correlation
A misconception that occurs when people estimate that they have encountered more confirmations of an association between social traits than they have actually seen
Immune response
The body's defensive reaction to invasion by bacteria, viral agents, or other foreign substances
Impossible figures
Objects that can be represented in two-dimensional pictures but cannot exist in three-dimensional space
Inattentional blindness
Failure to see visible objects or events because one's attention is focused elsewhere
An external goal that has the capacity to motivate behavior
Inclusive fitness
The sum of an individual's own reproductive success plus the effects the organism has on the reproductive success of related others
The degree of disparity between one's self-concept and one's actual experience
Independent variable
In an experiment, a condition or event that an experimenter varies in order to see its impact on another variable
Putting personal goals ahead of group goals and defining one's identity in terms of personal attributes rather than group memberships
Industrial and organizational (I/O) psychology
the branch of psychology concerned with the application of psychological principals to the workplace
Inferential statistics
Statistics that are used to interpret data and draw conclusions
The group that people belong to and identify with
Inhibitory PSP
An electric potential that decreases the likelihood that a postsynaptic neuron will fire action potentials
A legal status indicating that a person cannot be held responsible for his or her actions because of mental illness
In problem solving, the sudden discovery of the correct solution following incorrect attempts based primarily on trial and error
Insight therapies
Psychotherapy methods characterized by verbal interactions intended to enhance clients' self-knowledge and thus promote healthful changes in personality and behavior
Chronic problems in getting adequate sleep
instinctive drift
The tendency for an animal's innate responses to interfere with conditioning processes
Instrumental learning
See Operant conditioning
Intelligence quotient (IQ)
A child's mental age divided by chronological age, multiplied by 100
Intelligence tests
Psychological tests that measure general mental ability
Interference theory
The idea that people forget information because of competition from other material
Intermittent reinforcement
A reinforcement schedule in which a designated response is reinforced only some of the time
Internal attributions
Ascribing the causes of behavior to personal dispositions, traits, abilities, and feelings
Internet addiction
Spending an inordinate amount of time on the internet and being unable to control online use
Interpersonal attraction
Positive feelings toward another
In psychoanalysis, the therapist's attempts to explain the inner significance of the client's thoughts, feelings, memories, and behaviors
Warmth, closeness, and sharing in a relationship
Careful, systematic observation of one's own conscious experience
People who tend to be preoccupied with the internal world of their own thoughts, feelings, and experiences
Involuntary commitment
A civil proceeding in which pole are hospitalize in psychiatric facilities against their will
The inability to envision reversing an action
Job analysis
A method for breaking a job into its component parts
A periodical that publishes technical and scholarly material, usually in a narrowly defined area of inquiry
Just noticeable difference (JND)
The smallest difference in the amount of stimulation that a specific sense can detect
Kinesthetic system
The sensory system that monitors the positions of the various parts of one's body
A set of symbols that convey meaning, and rules for combining those symbols, that can be used to generate an infinite variety of messages
Language acquisition device (LAD)
An innate mechanism or process that facilitates the learning of language
Latent content
According to Freud, the hidden or disguised meaning of the events in a dream
Latent learning
Learning that is not apparent from behavior when it first occurs
Lateral antagonism
A process in the retina that occurs when neural activity in a cell opposes activity in surrounding cells
Law of effect
The principle that if a response in the presence of a stimulus leads to satisfying effects, the association between the stimulus and the response is strengthened
Learned helplessness
Passive behavior produced by exposure to unavoidable aversive events
A relatively durable change in behavior or knowledge that is due to experience
The transparent eye structure that focuses the light rays falling on the retina
Destroying a piece of the brain
Levels-of-processing theory
The theory holding that deeper levels of mental processing result in longer-lasting memory codes
Lie detector
See Polygraph
Life changes
Any noticeable alterations in one's living circumstances that require readjustment
Light adaptation
The process whereby the eyes become less sensitive to light in high illumination
Limbic system
A densely connected network of structures roughly located along the border between the cerebral cortex and deeper subcortical areas
Linguistic Rrlativity
The theory that one's language determines the nature of one's thought
Link method
Forming a mental image of items to be remembered in a way that links them together
Long-term memory (LTM)
An unlimited capacity store that can hold information over lengthy periods of time
Long-term potentiation (LTP)
A long-lasting increase in neural excitability in synapses along a specific neural pathway
Longitudinal design
A research design in which investigators observe one group of subjects repeatedly over a period of time
Lowball technique
Getting someone to commit to an attractive proposition before revealing the hidden costs
Lucid dreams
Dreams in which people can think clearly about the circumstances of waking life and the fact that they are dreaming, yet they remain asleep in the midst of a vivid dream
Major depressive disorder
Mood disorder characterized by persistent feelings of sadness and despair and a loss of interest in previous sources of pleasure
Manic-depressive disorder
See Bipolar disorder
Manifest content
According to Freud, the plot of a dream at a surface level
Matching hypothesis
The idea that males and females of approximately equal physical attractiveness are likely to select each other as partners
Development that reflects the gradual unfolding of one's genetic blueprint
A compound drug related to both amphetamines and hallucinogens, especially mescaline; commonly called "ecstasy"
The arithmetic average of the scores in a distribution
Mean length of utterance (MLU)
The average length of children's spoken statements (measured in phonemes)
The score that falls exactly in the center of a distribution of scores
Medical model
The view that it is useful to think of abnormal behavior as a disease
A family of mental exercises in which a conscious attempt is made to focus attention in a nonanalytical way
The first occurrence of menstruation
Mental age
In intelligence testing, a score that indicates that a child displays the mental ability typical of a child of that chronological (actual) age
Mental hospital
A medical institution specializing in providing inpatient care for psychological disorders
Mental retardation
Subnormal general mental ability accompanied by deficiencies in everyday living skills originating prior to age 18
Mental set
Persisting in using problem-solving strategies that have worked in the past
The information transmitted by a source
Metalinguistic awareness
The ability to reflect on the use of language
Method of loci
A mnemonic device that involves taking an imaginary walk along a familiar path where images of items to be remembered are associated with certain locations
The segment of the brain stem that lies between the hindbrain and the forebrain
Midlife crisis
A difficult, turbulent period of doubts and reappraisal of one's life
Misinformation effect
Phenomenon that occurs when participants' recall of an event they witnessed is altered by introducing misleading postevent information
Mnemonic devices
Strategies for enhancing memory
The score that occurs most frequently in a distribution
A person whose behavior is observed by another
Monocular depth cues
Clues about distance based on the image from either eye alone
Mood disorders
A class of disorders marked by emotional disturbances of varied kinds that may spill over to disrupt physical, perceptual, social, and thought processes
Mood stabilizers
Drugs used to control mood swings in patients with bipolar mood disorders
The smallest units of meaning in a language
Motion parallax
Cue to depth that involves images of objects at different distances moving across the retina at different rates
Motivated forgetting
Purposeful suppression of memories
Goal-directed behavior
Motor development
The progression of muscular coordination required for physical activities
Multiple-personality disorder
See Dissociative identity disorder
Myelin sheath
Insulating material, derived from glial cells, that encases some axons of neurons
A disease marked by sudden and irresistible onsets of sleep during normal waking periods
Narcotics (opiates)
Drugs derived from opium that are capable of relieving pain
Natural selection
Principle stating that heritable characteristics that provide a survival reproductive advantage are more likely than alternative characteristics to be passed on to subsequent generations and thus come to be "selected" over time
Naturalistic observation
A descriptive research method in which the researcher engages in careful, usually prolonged, observation of behavior without intervening directly with the subjects
A vision deficiency in which close objects are seen clearly but distant objects appear blurry
Need for self-actualization
The need to fulfill one's potential
Negative Reinforcement
The strengthening of a response because it is followed by the removal of an aversive (unpleasant) stimulus
Negative symptoms
Schizophrenic symptoms that involve behavioral deficits, such as flattened emotions, social withdrawal, apathy, impaired attention, and poverty of speech
Negatively-skewed distribution
A distribution in which most scores pile up at the high end of the scale
Bundles of neuron fibers (axons) that are routed together in the peripheral nervous system
Individual cells in the nervous system that receive, integrate, and transmit information
Chemicals that transmit information from one neuron to another
Night terrors
Abrupt awakenings from NREM sleep accompanied by intense autonomic arousal and feelings of panic
Anxiety-arousing dreams that lead to awakening, usually from REM sleep
Non-REM (NREM) sleep
Sleep stages 1 through 4, which are marked by an absence of rapid eye movements, relatively little dreaming, and varied EEG activity
Nondeclarative memory system
Memory for actions, skills, and operations
Normal distribution
A symmetric, bell-shaped curve that represents the pattern in which many characteristics are dispersed in the population
Null hypothesis
In inferential statistics, the assumption that there is no true relationship between the variables being observed
A form of compliance that occurs when people follow direct commands, usually from someone in a position of authority
The condition of being overweight
Object permanence
Recognizing that objects continue to exist even when they are no longer visible
Observational Learning
A type of learning that occurs when an organism's responding is influenced by the observation of others, who are called models
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
A type of anxiety disorder marked by persistent, uncontrollable intrusions of unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and urges to engage in senseless rituals (compulsions)
Oedipal Complex
According to Freud, children's manifestation of erotically tinged desires for the opposite sex- parent, accompanied by feeling of hostility toward their same-sex parent
Olfactory system
The sensory system for smell
Operant chamber
See Skinner box
Operant conditioning
A form of learning in which voluntary responses come to be controlled by their consequences
Operational definition
A definition that describes the actions or operations that will be made to measure or control a variable
See Narcotics
Opponent process theory
The theory that color perception depends on receptors that make antagonistic responses to three pairs of colors
Optic chiasm
The point at which the optic nerves from the inside half of each eye cross over and then project to the opposite half of the brain
Optic disk
A hole in the retina where the optic nerve fibers exit the eye
Optical Illusion
See Visual illusion
A general tendency to expect good outcomes
Organizational psychology
Area of psychology concerned with how people adapt emotionally and socially to working in complex human organization
People who are not part of the ingroup
Using a word incorrectly to describe a wider set of objects or actions than it is meant to
Continued rehearsal of material after one first appears to have mastered it
In children, incorrect generalization of grammatical rules to irregular cases where they do not apply
Panic disorder
A type of anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent attacks of overwhelming anxiety that usually occur suddenly and unexpectedly
Parallel distributed processing (PDP) models
Models of memory that assume cognitive processes depend on patterns of activation in highly interconnected computational networks that resemble neural networks; Also called connectionist models
Parallel processing
Simultaneously extracting different kinds of information from the same input
Paranoid schizophrenia
A type of schizophrenia that is dominated by delusions of persecution along with delusions of grandeur
Parasympathetic division
The branch of the autonomic nervous system that generally conserves bodily resources
Parental Investment
What each sex invests--in terms of time, energy, survival risk, and forgone opportunities--to produce and nurture offspring
Partial reinforcement
See Intermittent reinforcement
See Subjects
Passionate love
A complete absorption in another that includes tender sexual feelings and the agony and ecstasy of intense emotion
Pavlovian conditioning
See Classical conditioning
Percentile score
A figure that indicates the percentage of people who score below the score one has obtained
The selection, organization, and interpretation of sensory input
Perceptual asymmetries
Left-right imbalances between the cerebral hemispheres in the speed of visual or auditory processing
Perceptual constancy
A tendency to experience a stable perception in the face of continually changing sensory input
Perceptual hypothesis
An inference about which distal stimuli could be responsible for the proximal stimuli sensed
Perceptual set
A readiness to perceive a stimulus in a particular way
Peripheral nervous system
All those nerves that lie outside the brain and spinal cord
Person perception
The process of forming impressions of others
Personal unconscious
According to Jung, the level of awareness that houses material that is not within one's conscious awareness because it has been repressed or forgotten
An individual's unique constellation of consistence behavioral traits
Personality disorders
A class of psychological disorders marked by extreme, inflexible personality traits that cause subjective distress or impaired social and occupational functioning
Personality tests
Psychological tests that measure various aspects of personality, including motives, interests, values, and attitudes
Personality trait
A durable disposition to behave in a particular way in a variety of situations
Personnel psychology
Area of psychology that deals with determining whether people have the knowledge, skill, abilities, and personality necessary to perform various tasks to work effectively
Phenomenological approach
The assumption that one must appreciate individuals' personal, subjective experiences to truly understand their behavior
The ways in which a person's genotype is manifested in observable characteristics
Phi phenomenon
The illusion of movement created by presenting visual stimuli in rapid succession
Irrational fears of specific objects or situations
Phobic disorder
A type of anxiety disorder marked by a persistent and irrational fear of an object or situation that presents no realistic danger
The smallest units of sound in a spoken language
Physical dependence
The condition that exists when a person must continue to take a drug to avoid withdrawal illness
Pictorial depth cues
Clues about distance that can be given in a flat picture
Pituitary gland
The "master gland" of the endocrine system; it releases a great variety of hormones that fan out through the body, stimulating actions in the other endocrine glands
Place theory
The idea that perception of pitch corresponds to the vibration of different portions, or places, along the basilar membrane
Placebo effects
The fact that subjects' expectations can lead them to experience some change even though they receive an empty, fake, or ineffectual treatment
A structure that allows oxygen and nutrients to pass into the fetus from the mother's bloodstream and bodily wastes to pass out to the mother
Pleasure principle
According to Freud, the principle upon which the id operates, demanding immediate gratification of its urges
Polygenic traits
Characteristics that are influenced by more than one pair of genes
A device that records autonomic fluctuations while a subject is questions, in an effort to determine whether the subject is telling the truth
The larger collection of animals or people from which a sample is drawn and that researchers want to generalize about
Positive psychology
Approach to psychology that uses theory and research to better understand the positive, adaptive, creative, and fulfilling aspects of human existence
Positive reinforcement
Reinforcement that occurs when a response is strengthened because it is followed by the presentation of a rewarding stimulus
Positive symptoms
Schizophrenic symptoms that involve behavioral excesses or peculiarities, such as hallucinations, delusions, bizarre behavior, and wild flights of ideas
Positively skewed distribution
A distribution in which scores pile up at the low end of the scale
Postsynaptic potential (PSP)
A voltage change at the receptor site on a postsynaptic cell membrane
Posttraumatic stress disorder
Disturbed behavior that is attributed to a major stressful event but that emerges after the stress is over
According to Freud, the level of awareness that contains material just beneath the surface of conscious awareness that can easily be retrieved
A negative attitude held toward members of a group
The reasons presented to persuade someone that a conclusion is true or probably true
Prenatal period
The period from conception to birth, usually encompassing nine months of pregnancy
Expectations or demands that one behave in a certain way
The percentage of a population that exhibits a disorder during a specified time period
Primary reinforcers
Events that are inherently reinforcing because they satisfy biological needs
Primary sex characteristics
The sexual structures necessary for reproduction
Proactive interference
A memory problem that occurs when previously learned information interferes with the retention of new information
Problem solving
Active efforts to discover what must be done to achieve a goal that is not readily available
Problem space
The set of possible pathways to a solution considered by the problem solver
A forecast about the probable course of an illness
Attributing one's own thoughts, feelings, or motives to another
Projective tests
Psychological tests that ask subjects to respond to vague, ambiguous stimuli in ways that may reveal the subjects' needs, feelings, and personality traits
Prospective memory
The ability to remember to perform actions in the future
Proximal stimuli
The stimulus energies that impinge directly on sensory receptors
Proximodistal trend
The center-outward direction of motor development
Physicians who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of psychological problems and disorders
A branch of medicine concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of psychological problems and disorders
Psychoactive drugs
Chemical substances that modify mental, emotional, or behavioral functioning
An insight therapy that emphasizes the recovery of unconscious conflicts, motives, and defenses through techniques such as free association and transference
Psychoanalytic theory
A theory developed by Freud that attempts to explain personality, motivation, and mental disorders by focusing on unconscious determinants of behavior
Psychodynamic theories
All the diverse theories descended from the work of Sigmund Freud that focus on unconscious mental forces
Psychological dependence
The condition that exists when a person must continue to take a drug in order to satisfy intense mental and emotional craving for the drug
Psychological test
A standardized measure of a sample of a person's behavior
The science that studies behavior and the physiological and cognitive processes that underlie it, and the profession that applies the accumulated knowledge of this science to practical problems
The treatment of mental disorders with medication
The study of how physical stimuli are translated into psychological experience
Psychosexual stages
According to Freud, developmental periods with a characteristic sexual focus that leave their mark on adult personality
Psychosomatic diseases
Physical ailments with a genuine organic basis that are caused in part by psychological factors, especially emotional distress
The period of early adolescence marked by rapid physical growth and the development of sexual (reproductive) maturity
The two-year span preceding puberty during which the changes leading to physical and sexual maturity take place
An event that follows a response that weakens or suppresses the tendency to make that response
The opening in the center of the iris that helps regulate the amount of light passing into the rear chamber of the eye
Random assignment
The constitution of groups in a study such that all subjects have an equal chance of being assigned to any group or condition
Rational-emotive therapy
An approach to therapy that focuses on altering clients' patterns of irrational thinking to reduce maladaptive emotions and behavior
Creating false but plausible excuses to justify unacceptable behavior
Reaction formation
Behaving in a way that's exactly the opposite of one's true feeling
Reaction range
Genetically determined limits on IQ or other traits
Reality monitoring
The process of deciding whether memories are based on external sources (our perceptions of actual events) or internal sources (our thoughts and imaginations)
Reality principle
According to Freud, the principle on which the ego operates, which seeks to delay gratification of the id's urges until appropriate outlets and situations can be found
A memory test that requires subjects to reproduce information on their own without any cues
The person to whom a message is sent
Receptive field of a visual cell
The retinal area that, when stimulated, affects the firing of that cell
Recessive gene
A gene whose influence is masked when paired genes are different (heterozygous)
Recessive gene
A gene whose influence is masked when paired genes are different (heterozygous)
Reciprocal determinism
The assumption that internal mental events, external environmental events, and overt behavior all influence each other
Liking those who show that they like you
Reciprocity norm
The rule that people should pay back in kind what they receive from others
A memory test that requires subjects to select previously learned information from an array of options
Refractory period
A time following orgasm during which males are largely unresponsive to further stimulation
A reversion to immature patterns of behavior
Regression towards the mean
Effect that occurs when people who score extremely high or low on some trait are measured a second time and their new score falls closer to the mean (average)
The process of repetitively verbalizing or thinking about information to be stored in memory
Giving an abstract concept a name and then treating it as though it were a concrete, tangible object
An event following a response that strengthens the tendency to make that response
Reinforcement contingencies
The circumstances or rules that determine whether responses lead to the presentation of reinforcers
A memory test that requires a subject to memorize information a second time to determine how much time or effort is saved by having learned it before
The measurement consistency of a test (or of other kinds of measurement techniques)
REM sleep
A deep stage of sleep marked by rapid eye movements, high-frequency brain waves, and dreaming
The repetition of a study to see whether the earlier results are duplicated
Representativeness heuristic
Basing the estimated probability of an event on how similar it is to the typical prototype of that event
Keeping distressing thoughts and feelings buried in the unconscious
Research methods
Differing approaches to the manipulation and control of variables in empirical studies
Largely unconscious defensive maneuvers a client uses to hinder the progress of therapy
Resistance to extinction
In operant conditioning, the phenomenon that occurs when an organism continues to make a response after delivery of the reinforcer for it has been terminated
Respondent conditioning
See Classical conditioning
Response set
A tendency to respond to questions in a particular way that is unrelated to the content of the questions
Resting potential
The stable, negative charge of a neuron when it is inactive
Resting potential
The stable, negative charge of a neuron when it is inactive
The proportion of material retained (remembered)
the neural tissue lining the inside back surface of the eye; it absorbs light, processes images, and sends visual information to the brain
Retinal disparity
A cue to the depth based on the fact that objects within 25 feet project images to slightly different locations on the left and right retinas, so the right and left eyes see slightly different views of the object
Recovering information from memory stores
Retroactive interference
A memory problem that occurs when new information impairs the retention of previously learned information
Retrograde amnesia
Loss of memories for events that occurred prior to a head injury
Retrospective memory
The ability to remember events from the past or previously learned information
A process in which neurotransmitters are sponged up from the synaptic cleft by the presynaptic membrane
Reversible figure
A drawing that is compatible with two different interpretations that can shift back and forth
Risky decision making
Making choices under conditions of uncertainty
Specialized visual receptors that play a key role in night vision and peripheral vision
The collection of subjects selected for observation in an empirical study
Sampling bias
A problem that occurs when a sample is not representative of the population from which it is drawn
Situation that occurs in cognitive development when the assistance provided to a child is adjusted as learning progresses
Scatter diagram
A graph in which paired X and Y scores for each subject are plotted as single points
Schedule of reinforcement
A specific presentation of reinforcers over time
An organized cluster of knowledge about a particular object or sequence of events
Schizophrenic disorders
A class of psychological disorders marked by disturbances in thought that spill over to affect perceptual, social, and emotional processes
Secondary (conditioned) reinforcers
Stimulus events that acquire reinforcing qualities by being associated with primary reinforcers
Secondary sex characteristics
Physical features that are associated with gender but that are not directly involved in reproduction
Sleep-inducing drugs that tend to decrease central nervous system activation and behavioral activity
Self-actualizing persons
People with exceptionally healthy personalities, marked by continued personal growth
A collection of beliefs about one's own nature, unique qualities, and typical behavior
One's belief about one's ability to perform behaviors that should lead to expected outcomes
Focusing on positive feedback from others, exaggerating one's strengths, and seeing oneself as above average
A person's overall assessment of he or his personal adequacy or worth
Self-referent encoding
Deciding how or whether information is personally relevant
Self-report inventories
Personality test that ask individuals to answer a series of questions about their characteristic behavior
Self-serving bias
The tendency to attribute one's successes to personal factors and one's failures to situational factors
Semantic memory system
General knowledge that is not tied to the time when the information was learned
Semantic network
Concepts joined together by links that show how the concepts are related
The area of language concerned with understanding the meaning of words and word combinations
The stimulation of sense organs
Sensory adaptation
A gradual decline in sensitivity to prolonged stimulation
Sensory memory
The preservation of information in its original sensory form for a brief time, usually only a fraction of a second
Separation anxiety
Emotional distress seen in many infants when they are separated from people with whom they have formed an attachment
Serial-position effect
In memory tests, the fact that subjects show better recall for items at the beginning and end of a list than for items in the middle
Set-point theory
The idea that the body monitors fat-cell levels to keep them (and weight) fairly stable
Setting-point theory
The idea that weight tends to drift around a level at which the constellation of factors that determine food consumption and energy expenditure achieve and equilibrium
The biologically based categories of male and female
Sexual Orientation
A person's preference for emotional and sexual relationships with individuals of the same sex, the other sex or either sex
The reinforcement of closer and closer approximations of a desired response
Short-term memory (STM)
A limited-capacity store that can maintain unrehearsed information for about 20 to 30 seconds
Signal-detection theory
A psychophysiological theory proposing that the detection of stimuli involves decision processes as well as sensory processes, which are influenced by a variety of factors besides the physical intensity of a stimulus
Skinner box
A small enclosure in which an animal can make a specific response that is systematically recorded while the consequences of the response are controlled
Sleep apnea
A sleep disorder characterized by frequent reflexive gasping for air that awakens a person and disrupts sleep
Slow-wave sleep (SWS)
Sleep stages 3 and 4, during which low-frequency delta waves become prominent in EEG recordings
Social comparison theory
The idea that people compare themselves with others to understand and evaluate their own behavior
Social desirability bias
A tendency to give socially approved answers to questions about oneself
Social loafing
A reduction in effort by individuals when they work in groups as compared to when they work by themselves
Social psychology
The branch of psychology concerned with the way individuals' thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by others
Social roles
Widely shared expectations about how people in certain positions are supposed to behave
Social schemas
Organized clusters of ideas about categories of social events and people
Social skill training
A behavior therapy designed to improve interpersonal skills that emphasizes shaping, modeling, and behavioral rehearsal
Social support
Various types of aid and succor provided by members of one's social networks
The acquisition of the norms, roles, and behaviors expected of people in a particular society
The cell body of a neuron; it contains the nucleus and much of the chemical machinery common to most cells
Somatic nervous system
The system of nerves that connect to voluntary skeletal muscles and to sensory receptors
Somatization disorder
A type of somatoform disorder marked by a history of diverse physical complaints that appear to be psychological in origin
Somatoform disorders
A class of psychological disorders involving physical ailments with no authentic organic basis that are due to psychological factors
Somnambulism (sleep waking)
Arising and wandering about while remaining asleep
The person who sends a communication
Source monitoring
The process of making attributions about the origins of memories
Source-monitoring error
An error that occurs when a memory derived from one source is misattributed to another source
The first occurrence of ejaculation
Split-brain surgery
A procedure in which the bundle of fibers that connects the cerebral hemispheres (the corpus callosum) is cut to reduce the severity of epileptic seizures
Spontaneous recovery
In classical conditioning, the reappearance of an extinguished response after a period of nonexposure to the conditioned stimulus
Spontaneous remission
Recovery from a disorder without formal treatment
A study system designed to promote effective reading by means of five steps: survey, question, read, recite, and review
A developmental period during which characteristic patterns of behavior are exhibited and certain capacities become established
Standard deviation
An index of the amount of variability in a set of data
The uniform procedures used in the administration and scoring of a test
Statistical significance
The condition that exists when the probability that the observed findings are due to change is very low
The use of mathematics to organize, summarize, and interpret numerical data; See also Descriptive statistics, Inferential statistics
Widely held beliefs that people have certain characteristics because of their membership in a particular group
Drugs that tend to increase central nervous system activation and behavioral activity
Stimulus discrimination
The phenomenon that occurs when an organism that has learned a response to a specific stimulus does not respond in the same way to stimuli that are similar to the original stimulus
Stimulus generalization
The phenomenon that occurs when an organism that has learned a response to a specific stimulus responds in the same way to new stimuli that are similar to the original stimulus
Maintaining encoded information in memory over time
Any circumstances that threaten or are perceived to threaten one's well-being and that thereby tax one's coping abilities
Striving for superiority
According to Adler, the universal drive to adapt, improve oneself, and master life's challenges
A school of psychology based on the notion that the task of psychology is to analyze consciousness into its basic elements and to investigate how these elements are related
Subjective contours
The perception of contrours where none actually exist
Subjective well-being
Individuals' perceptions of their overall happiness and life satisfaction
The persons or animals whose behavior is systematically observed in a study
Subliminal perception
The registration of sensory input without conscious awareness
Subtractive color mixing
Formation of colors by removing some wavelengths of light, leaving less light than was originally there
According to Freud, the moral component of personality that incorporates social standards about what represents right and wrong
A descriptive research method in which researchers use questionnaires or interviews to gather information about specific agents of subjects' behavior
Sympathetic division
The branch of the autonomic nervous system that mobilizes the body's resources for emergencies
A junction where information is transmitted from one neuron to the next
Synaptic cleft
A microscopic gap between the terminal button of a neuron and the cell membrane of another neuron
A system of rules that specify how words can be combined into phrases and sentences
Systematic desensitization
A behavior therapy used to reduce clients' anxiety responses through counter-conditioning
Tactile system
The sensory system for touch
Tardive dyskinesia
A neurological disorder marked by chronic tremors and involuntary spastic movements
Telegraphic speech
Speech that consists mainly of content words; articles, prepositions, and other less critical words are omitted
An individual's characteristic mood, activity level, and emotional reactivity
Terminal buttons
Small knobs at the end of axons that secrete chemicals called neurotransmitters
Test norms
Standards that provide information about where a score on a psychological test ranks in relation to other scores on that test
The ability to use the characteristics and format of a cognitive test to maximize one's score
A structure in the forebrain through which all sensory information (except smell) must pass to get to the cerebral cortex
A system of interrelated ideas that is used to explain a set of observations
Theory of bounded rationality
Simon's assertion that people tend to use simple strategies in decision making that focus on only a few facets of available options and often result in "irrational" decisions that are less than optimal
Tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon
A temporary inability to remember something accompanied by a feeling that it's just out of reach
Token economy
A system of doling out symbolic reinforcers that are exchanged later for a variety of genuine reinforcers
A progressive decrease in a person's responsiveness to a drug
Top-down processing
In form perception, a progression from the whole to the elements
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)
A new technique that permits scientists to temporarily enhance or depress activity in a specific area of the brain
Transfer-appropriate processing
The situation that occurs when the initial processing of information is similar to the type of processing required by the subsequent measures of attention
In therapy, the phenomenon that occurs when clients start relating to their therapists in ways that mimic critical relationships in their lives
In classical conditioning, any presentation of a stimulus or pair of stimuli
Trial and error
Trying possible solutions sequentially and discarding those that are in error until one works
Trichromatic theory
The theory of color vision holding that the human eye has three types of receptors with differing sensitivities to different wavelengths
Twin studies
A research design in which hereditary influence is assessed by comparing the resemblance of identical twins and fraternal twins with respect to a trait
Type A personality
Personality characterized by (1) a strong competitive orientation, (2) impatience and time urgency, and (3) anger and hostility
Type B personality
Personality characterized by relatively relaxed, patient, easygoing, amicable behavior
Unconditioned response (UCR)
An unlearned reaction to an unconditioned stimulus that occurs without previous conditioning
Unconditioned stimulus (UCS)
A stimulus that evokes an unconditioned response without previous conditioning
According to Freud, thoughts, memories, and desires that are well below the surface of conscious awareness but that nonetheless exert great influence on behavior
Errors that occur when a child incorrectly uses a word to describe a narrower set of objects or actions than it is meant to
Undifferentiated schizophrenia
A type of schizophrenia marked by idiosyncratic mixtures of schizophrenic symptoms
The ability of a test to measure what it was designed to measure
The extent to which the scores in a data set tend to vary from each other and from the mean
Variable-interval schedule (VI)
A reinforcement schedule in which the reinforcer is given for the first response after a variable time interval has elapsed
Variable-ratio schedule (VR)
A reinforcement schedule in which the reinforcer is given after a variable number of nonreinforced responses
Any measurable conditions, events, characteristics, or behaviors that are controlled and observed in a study
Engorgment of blood vessels
Vestibular system
The sensory system that responds to gravity and keeps people informed of their body's location in space
Visual illusion
An apparently inexplicable discrepancy between the appearance of a visual stimulus and its physical reality
Volley principle
The theory holding that groups of auditory nerve fibers fire neural impulses in rapid succession, creating volleys of impulses
Weber's law
The theory stating that the size of a just noticeable difference is a constant proportion of the size of the initial stimulus
Zone of proximal development (ZPD)
The gap between what a learner can accomplish alone and what he or she can achieve with guidance from more skilled partners
A one-celled organism formed by the union of a sperm and an egg