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A process or event within the individual which comes between a stimulus and a response

Cognitive Map

Tolman's Term for the mental representation of learned relationships among stimuli


A sudden change in the way one organizes a problem situation, typically this is characterized by a sudden chnage in behavior from random responding to rule based responding

Mental Set

In Gestalt Psychology, the cognitive Schema an individual uses to organize their perception of a particular situation such as a problem

Latent Learning

A term used by Tolman to describe situations in which learning is distinct from the performance of a behavior


The process of gathering information and organizing into mental schemas


The retention and use of prior learning


Active retrieval of information


The process of identification presented information as familiar


An improvement in performance which occurs by reviewing despite the inability to recall or recognize the information


A phenomenon whereby a thought or memory increases the activation of associated memories

Sensory Memory

a modality specific transient form of memory which serves as a buffer between the senses and short term memory


the process of selectively focusing on particular stimuli elements, typically those deemed most important


Handles retention of material up to 15 seconds


Handles retention of memory infinately


Basic measure of STM capacity


the processing of stimulus information for retention in memory


the retention of information in memory

Maintenance rehearsal

the retention of materials in short term memory by means of rote repetition

elaborative rehearsal

the active processing of terms in short term memory in order to code the information for long term memory which may be processed in a variety of active methods

procedural memory

component of long term memory which stores 'how to' information

episodic memory

the portion of long term memory which contains personal experiences

free association

technique used by Freud for studying the mind, based on asking a person to say simply whatever words come to mind when givent a stimulus.


Freud: a defense mechanism in which impulses, memories or ideas are forcibly blocked from the conscious mind

cue dependent coding

the concept that all information is stored in memory as a set of relationships called the context, remembering is seen as dependent on resorting the cues which formed the original context


spontaneous memory loss from the passage of time


forgetting in STM due to new and incoming information


according to associationism, competition between items can hamper learning and produce forgetting

retroactive interference

in memory, a form of interference in recent experiences makes it difficult to recalls something learned earlier

proactive interference

a form of interference in which prior experiences make learning and recall of subsequent experiences difficult


built up interference can lead to the breaking of associations and therefore the destruction of memories


the principle that remembering is determined by whether the true information exists in long term memory or not.


the principle that remembering and forgetting are dependent without proper cues. information which exists in long term memory may not be accessible

context dependent forgetting

failure to retrieve information from long term memory due to the absence of context cues.

state dependent forgetting

failure to retreve information from long term memory due to the absence of state dependent cues. mood. emotion

false recognition

a form of memory where the presence of familiar clues leads one to believe the stimulus matches a previously learned experience


the process of recreating a whole memory when only given a part of the scenario


the study and use of techniques for memory improvement

problem solving

process of determining appropriate actions in order to over come obstacles


a waiting period between problem solving in order to modify your mental set

convergent problem

problem that has a single solution

divergent problem

problem that has more than one solution

persistence of set

a mental set developed in a previous problem is maintained even though it is no longer appropriate and tends to interfere with the current problem you are trying to solve

functional fixedness

perceiving an object as having only one use


developing an alternative mental set for a situation such as when trying to solve a problem

think aloud protocol

transcript of the comments made when an individual is asked to describe their thoughts and behaviors while working on a task

initial state

the situation at the outset of a problem

goal state

the results


one of the actions permitted in order to solve a problem


a procedure for problem solving which always yeilds a result


a rule of thumb in problem solving


the capacity to produce something which is both unique and useful

learning set

a learned strategy which enables the individual to deal with problems of the same type


a system of communication based on symbols, gestures, which can vary across individuals and allow for new forms and meanings

social cognition

the mental processes involved in the way people perceive and react to social situations


personal belief of an avaluative nature such as good or bad

cognitive dissonance

conflict between behavior and belief

attribution theory

theory that states we make assumptions about our own behavior and that of others

fundamental attribution error

theory that states we make assumptions about our own behavior and that of others

self serving bias

when we attribute our successes to personal attributes and our failures to situational factors

cognitive appraisal theory

argues that our emotional state is based on our assessment of the situation and its significance to our well being

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