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180 terms

Psychology 101

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Biological Evolution
Changes that take place in the genetic and physical characteristics of a population or group of people
Adaptive Significance
The effectiveness of behaviour in aiding organisms to adjust to changing environmental conditions
ultimate causes
Evolutionary conditions that have slowly shaped the behaviour of a species over generations
Proximate causes
immediate environmental events and conditions that affect behaviour
Evolutionary psychology
the branch of psychology that studies the ways in which an organism's evolutionary history contributes to the development of behavioural patterns and cognitive strategies related to reproduction and survival during its lifetime
Culture
The sum of socially transmitted knowledge, customs, and behaviour patterns common to a particular group of people
Artificial Selection
A procedure in which animals are deliberately mated to produce offspring that possess particularly desirable characteristics
Natural Selection
The consequence of the fact that, because there are physical and behavioural differences among organisms, they reproduce differentially. Within a given population, some animals- the survivors - will produce more offspring than will other animals
Reproductive success
The number of viable offspring an individual produces relative to the number of viable offspring produced by other members of the same species
Variation
The differences found across individuals of any given species in terms of their genetic, biological (size, strength, physiology), and psychological (intelligence, sociability, behaviour) characteristics
genotype
An organism's genetic makeup
phenotype
The outward expression of an organism's genotype; an organism's physical appearance and behaviour
competition
A striving or vying with others who share the same ecological niche for food, mate, and territory
Bipedalism
The ability to move about the environment upright on two feet
Encephalization
Increases in brain size
Cultural Evolution
The adaptive changes of cultures in response to environmental changes over time
Genetics
The study of the genetic makeup of organisms and how it influences their physical and behavioural characteristics
heredity
The sum of the traits and tendencies inherited from a person's parents and other biological ancestors
DNA
The structure resembles that of a twisted ladder. Strands of sugar and phosphates are connected by rungs made from nucleotide molecules of adenine, thymine, guanine and cytosine
Genes
Small units of DNA that direct the synthesis of proteins and enzymes
Genome
The total set of genetic material of an organism
Enzymes
Proteins that regulate the structure of bodily cells and the processes occurring within those cells.
Chromosomes
Rod-like structures in the nuclei of living cells; contains genes
Sex Chromosomes
The chromosomes that contain the instructional code for the development of male or female sex characteristics
autosomes
The chromosomes that are not sex chromosomes
Meiosis
The form of cell division by which new sperm and ova are formed. The chromosomes within the cell are randomly rearranged so that new sperm and ova contain 23 individual chromosomes, or half of those found in other bodily cells
Alleles
Alternative forms of the same gene
Dominant trait
The trait that is exhibited when an individual possesses heterozygous alleles.
Recessive trait
A trait that occurs when it is expresses by homozygous alleles
Mutations
Accidental alterations in the DNA code within a single gene. The can be either spontaneous, occurring naturally or the result of environmental factors such as exposure to high energy radiation
chromosomal aberration
The rearrangement of genes within chromosomes or a change in the total number of chromosomes
Down syndrome
A genetic disorder caused by a chromosomal aberration resulting in an extra twenty-first chromosome. People having this disorder show impairments in physical, phychomotor, and cognitive development
Huntington's chorea
A genetic disorder caused by a dominant lethal gene in which a person experiences slow but progressive mental and physical deterioration
Phenlketonuria
A genetic disorder caused by a particular pair of homozygous recessive genes and characterized by the inability to break down phenylalanine, an amino acid found in many high-protein foods. The resulting high blood levels of phenylalanine cause mental retardation
heritability
the amount of variability in a given trait in an given population at a given time due to genetic factors
behaviour genetics
The study of genetic influences on behaviour
mendelian trait
A trait showing a classical dominant, recessive, or sex-linked pattern of inheritance. They are usually dichotomous and are controlled by a single locus
Nonmendelian trait
a trait that does no show the inheritance pattern described by Mendel. They are usually polygenic and show continuous variation in the phenotype
Genetic engineering
the new scientific discipline of manipulating genetic sequences to alter an organism's genome
Knockout mutation
An artificially constructed genetic sequence inserted into a gene to inactivate it
genetic marker
A known DNA sequence that occurs at a particular place in the chromosome
Concordance research
Research that studies the degree of similarity between twins in traits expresses.
reproductive strategies
Different systems of mating and rearing offspring. These include monogamy, polygyny, polyandry and polygyandry
Monogamy
The mating of one female to one male
Polygyny
The mating of one male with more than one female
Polyandry
The mating of one female with more than one male
Polygyandry
The mating of several females with several males
Parental Investment
The resources, including time, physical effort, and risk to life that a parent spends in procreation and in the feeding, nurturing and protecting offspring
Sexual selection
selection for traits specific to sex, such as body size, or particular patterns of behaviour
Altruism
The unselfish concern of one individual for the welfare of another
Inclusive fitness
The reproductive success of those who share common genes
Kin selection
A type of selection that favours altruistic acts aimed at individuals who share some of the altruist's genes, such as parents, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, and under certain circumstances, distant relatives
Reciprocal altruism
Altruism in which people behave altruistically towards one another because they are confident that such acts will be reciprocated towards either them or their kin
Ethnocentrism
the idea that one's own cultural, national, racial or religious group is superior to or more deserving than others.
Central Nervous System
The brain and the spinal cord
Spinal Cord
A long, thin collection of nerve cells attached to the base of the brain and running the length of the spinal column
Nerve
A bundle of nerve fibers that transmit information between the central nervous system and the body's sense organs, muscles, and glands
Peripheral Nervous system
The cranial and spinal nerves; that part of the nervous system peripheral to the brain and spinal cord
Brain stem
Part of the brain including the medulla, pons, and mid-brain
Cerebral hemisphere
The largest part of the brain; covered by the cerebral cortex and containing parts of the brain that evolved most recently
Cerebellum
A pair of hemispheres resembling the cerebral hemispheres but much smaller and lying beneath and in the back of them; controls posture and movements, especially rapid ones
Vertebra
One of the bones that encase the spinal cord and constitute the vertebral column
Meninges
The three-layered set of membranes that enclose the brain and spinal cord
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)
The liquid in which the brain and spinal cord float; provides a shock - absorbing cushion
Cerebral cortex
the outer layer of the cerebral hemispheres of the brain, approximately 3 mm thick
Grey matter
The portions of the central nervous system that are abundant in cell bodies of neurons rather than axons. The colour appears grey relative to white matter
White Matter
The portions of the central nervous system that are abundant in axons rather than cell bodies of neurons. The colour derives from the presence of the axon's myelin sheaths
Spinal Nerve
A bundle of nerve fibers attached to the spinal cord; conveys sensory information from the body and carries messages to muscles and glands
Cranial Nerve
A bundle of nerve fibers attached to the base of the brain; conveys sensory information from the face and head and carries messages to muscles and glands
Neuron
A nerve cell; consists of a cell body with dendrites and an axon whose branches end in terminal buttons that synapse with muscle fibers, gland cells, or other neurons
Glial cell
A cell of the central nervous system that provides support for neurons and supplies them with some essential chemicals
Soma
A cell body; the largest part of a neuron
Dendrite
A treelike part of a neuron on which other neurons form synapses
Axon
A long, thin part of a neuron attached to the soma; divides into a few or many branches, ending in terminal buttons
Dendritic spine
A small bud-like protuberance on the surface of a neuron's dendrite
Terminal Button
The rounded swelling at the end of the axon of a neuron; releases transmitter substance
transmitter substance
A chemical released by the terminal buttons that causes the postsynaptic neuron to be excited or inhibited
Myelin Sheath
The insulating material that encases most large axons
Action Potential
A brief electrochemical event that is carried by an axon from the soma of the neuron to its terminal buttons; causes the release of a transmitter substance
Ion
A positively charged particle; produced when many substances dissolve in water
Ion Channel
A special protein molecule located in the membrane of a cell; controls the entry or exit of particular ions
Ion transporter
A special protein molecule located in the membrane of a cell; actively transports ions into or out of the cell
Synapse
The junction between the terminal button of one neuron and the membrane of a muscle fibre, a gland, or another neuron
postsynaptic neuron
A neuron with which the terminal buttons of another neuron form synapses and that is excited or inhibited by that neuron
Motor neuron
A neuron whose terminal buttons form synapses with muscle fibres. When an action potential travels down its axon, the associated muscle fibres will twitch.
Synaptic Cleft
A fluid-filled gap between the presynaptic and postsynaptic membranes; the terminal button releases transmitter sunstance into this space
Receptor molecule
A special protein molecule located in the membrane of the postsynaptic neuron that responds to molecules of the transmitter substance. Receptors such as those that respond to opiates are sometimes found elsewhere on the surface of neurons
Reuptake
The process by which a terminal button retrieves the molecules of transmitter substances that it has just released; terminates the effect of the transmitter substance on the receptors of the postsynaptic neuron
Sensory Neuron
A neuron that detects changes in the external or internal environment and sends information about these changes to the central nervous system
Interneuron
A neuron located entirely within the central nervous system
Neuromodulator
A substance secreted in the brain that modulates the activity of neurons that contain the appropriate receptor molecules
Opioid
A neurotransmitter whose action is mimicked by a natural or synaptic opiate, such as opium, morphine or heroin
Brain lesion
Damage to a particular region of the brain; a synonym for experimental ablation
Stereotaxic apparatus
A device used to insert an electrode into a particular part of the brain for the purpose of recording electrical activity, stimulating the brain electrically, or producing localized damage
Microelectrode
A thin electrode made of wire or glass that can measure the electrical activity of a single neuron
magnetoencephalography
A method of brain study that measures the changes in magnetic fields that accompany action potentials in the cerebral cortex
Microdialysis
A procedure that collects solutions surrounding the brain's neurons for subsequent chemical analysis
transcranial magnetic stimulation
Direct stimulation of the cerebral cortex induced by magnetic fields generated outside the skull
Brain plasticity
Structural change in the brain resulting from experience
CT scanner
A device that uses a special X-ray machine and a computer to produce images of the brain that appear as slices taken parallel to the top of the skull
Anterior
Towards the front
Posterior
Towards the back
Frontal Lobe
The front portion of the cerebral cortex, including Broca's speech area and the motor cortex; damage impairs movement, planning, and flexibility in behavioural strategies
Parietal Lobe
The region of the cerebral cortex behind the frontal lobe and above the temporal lobe; contains the somatosensory cortex; is involved in spatial perceptions and memory
Temporal Lobe
The portion of the cerebral cortex below the frontal and parietal lobes; contains the auditory cortex
Occipital Lobe
The rearmost portion of the cerebral cortex; contains the primary visual cortex
Primary visual cortex
The region of the cerebral cortex that receives information directly from the visual system; located in the occipital lobe
Primary auditory cortex
The region of the cerebral cortex that receives information directly from the auditory system; located in the temporal lobes
Primary somatosensory cortex
The region of the cerebral cortex that receives information directly from the somatosensory system (touch, pressure, vibration, pain and temperature); located in the front part of the parietal lobes
Contralateral
Residing in the side of the body opposite the reference point
Primary motor cortex
The region of the cerebral cortex that directly controls the movements of the body; located posterior to the frontal lobes
Sensory association cortex
Those regions of cerebral cortex that receive information from the primary sensory areas
Prefrontal cortex
The anterior part of the frontal lobe; contains the motor association cortex
Motor Association cortex
Those regions of the cerebral cortex that contains the primary motor cortex; involved in planning and executing behaviour
Corpus Callosum
A large bundle of axons ("white matter") that connects the cortex of the two cerebral hemispheres
Visual agnosia
The inability of a person who is not blind to recognize the identity or use of an object by means of vision; usually caused by damage to the brain
Homeostasis
The process by which important physiological characteristics (such as body temperature and blood pressure) are regulated so that they remain at the optimum level
Species-typical behaviour
A behaviour seen in all or most members of a species; such as nest building; special food-getting behaviours; or reproductive behaviours
Medulla
The part of the brain stem closest to the spinal cord; controls vital functions such as heart rate and blood pressure
Pons
The part of the brain stem just anterior to the medulla; involved in control of sleep
Midbrain
The part of the brain stem just anterior to the pons; involved in control of fighting and sexual behaviour and in decreased sensitivity to pain during these behaviours
Thalamus
A region of the brain near the centre of the cerebral hemispheres. All sensory information except smell is sent here and relayed to the cerebral cortex
Hypothalamus
A region of the brain located just above the pituitary gland; controls the autonomic nervous system and many behaviours related to regulation and survival. such as eating, drinking, fighting, shivering, and sweating
Pituitary Gland
An endocrine gland attached to the hypothalamus at the base of the brain
Hormone
A chemical substance secreted by an endocrine gland that has physiological effects on target cells in other organs
Target cell
A cell whose physiological processes are affected by a particular hormone; contains special molecules that respond to the presence of the hormone
Autonomic nervous system
The portion of the peripheral nervous system that controls the functions of the glands and internal organs
Sympathetic branch
The portion of the autonomic nervous system that activated functions that accompany arousal and expenditure of energy
Parasympathetic branch
The portion of the autonomic nervous system that activates functions that occur during a relaxed state
Limbic system
A set of interconnected structures of the brain important in emotional and species-typical behaviour; includes the amygdala. hippocampus, and limbic cortex
Limbic cortex
The cerebral cortex located around the edge of the cerebral hemisphere where they join with the brain stem; part of the limbic system
Amygdala
A part of the limbic system of the brain located deep in the temporal lobe; damage causes changes in emotional and aggressive behavior
Hippocampus
A part of the limbic system of the brain, located in the temporal lobe; plays important roles in learning
Barbiturate
A drug that causes sedation; one of several derivatives of barbituric acid
Antianxiety drug
A "tranquilizer" which reduces anxiety. The most common are chlordizepoxine (librium) and diazepram (Valium)
benzodiazepine
A class of drugs having anxiolytic ("tranquilizing") effects; examples are Librium and Valium
tolerance
the decreased sensitivity to a drug resulting form its continued use
Withdrawal symptom
An effect produced by discontinuance of use of a drug after a period of continued use; generally opposite to the drug's primary effects
Naturalistic Observation
The observation of behaviours of people or other animals in their environment
Correlational Study
The examination of relations between two or more measurements of behaviour or other characteristics of people or other animals
Experiment
A study in which the researcher changes the value of an independent variable and observed whether this manipulation affects the value of a dependent variable. Only these can confirm the existence of cause-and-effect relations among variables
Scientific Method
A set of rules governs the collection and analysis of data gained through observational studies or experiements
Replication
Repetition of an experiment or observational study to see whether previous results will be obtained
Hypothesis
A statement, usually designed to be tested by an experiment, that tentatively expresses a cause-and-effect relationship between two or more events
Theory
A set of statements designed to explain a set of phenomena; more encompassing than a hypothesis
Variable
Anything capable of assuming any of several values
Manipulation
Setting the values of an independent variable in an experiment to see whether the value of another variable is affected
Experimental group
A group of participants in an experiment, the members of which are exposed to a particular value of the independent variable, which has been manipulated by the researcher
Control Group
A comparison group used in an experiment, the members of which are exposed to the naturally occurring or zero value of the independent variable
Independent Variable
The variable that is manipulated in an experiment as a means of determining cause-and-effect relations
Dependent variable
The variable that is measured in an experiment
Nominal Fallacy
The false belief that one has explained the causes of a phenomenon by identifying and naming it; for example, believing that one has explained lazy behaviour by attributing it to "laziness"
Operational Definition
The definition of a variable in terms of the operations the researcher performs to measure or manipulate it
Validity
The degree to which the operation definition of a variable accurately reflects the variable it is designed to measure or manipulate
Confounding of variables
Inadvertent simultaneous manipulation of more than one variable. The result of an experiment involving this permit no valid conclusions about cause and effect
Counterbalancing
A systematic variation of conditions in an experiment, such as the order of presentation of stimuli, so that different participants encounter them in different orders; prevents confounding of independent variables with time-dependent processes such as habituation or fatigue
Reliability
The repeatability of a measurement; the likelihood that if the measurement was made again it would yield the same value
Interrater reliability
The degree to which two or more independent observers agree in their ratings of another organism's behaviour
Random Assignment
Procedure in which each participant has an equally likely chance of being assigned to any of the conditions or groups of an experiment
Placebo
An inert substance that cannot be distinguished in appearance from a real medication; used as the control substance in a single blind or double blind experiment
Single-Blind Study
An experiment in which the researcher but not the participant knows the value of the independent variable
Double-Blind Study
An experiment in which neither the participant not the researcher knows the value of the independent variable
Matching
A systematic selection of participants in groups in an experiment or (more often) a correlational study to ensure that the mean values of important participant variables of the group are similar
Sample
A selection of elements from a larger population - for example, a group of participants selected to participate in an experiment
Generalization
The conclusion that the results obtained from a sample apply also to the population from which the sample was taken
Informed Consent
Agreement to participate in an experiment after being informed about the nature of the research and any possible risks and benefits
Confidentiality
Privacy of participants and non-disclosure of their participation in a research project
Debriefing
Full disclosure to research participants of the nature and purpose of a research project after its completion
Cross-cultural psychology
A branch of psychology that studies the effects of culture on behaviour
descriptive statistics
Mathematical procedures for organizing collections of data, such as determining the mean, the median, the range, the variance, and the correlation coefficient
measure of central tendency
A statistical measure used to characterize the value of items in a sample of numbers
Mean
A measure of central tendency; the sum of a group of values divided by their number; the arithemic average
median
A measure of central tendency; the midpoint of a group of values arranged numberically
measure of variability
A statistical measure used to characterize the dispersion in values of items in a sample of numbers
range
The difference between the highest score and the lowest score of a sample
Standard Deviation
A statistic that expresses the variability of a measurement; square root of the average of the squared deviations from the mean
Scatterplot
A graph of items that have two values; one value is plotted against the horizontal axis and the other against the vertical axis
Correlational Coefficient
A measurement of the degree to which two variables are related
statistical Significance
The likeliness that an observed relation of difference between two variable really exists rather than is due to chance factors
Inferential Statistics
Mathematical procedures for determining whether relations of differences between sample are statistically signficance