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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

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