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392 terms

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psychology
the scientific study of behavior and mental processes. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 002)
empiricism
the view that (a) knowledge comes from experience via the senses, and (b) science flourishes through observation and experiment. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 003)
structuralism
an early school of psychology that used introspection to explore the elemental structure of the human mind. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 004)
functionalism
a school of psychology that focused on how mental and behavioral processes function—how they enable the organism to adapt, survive, and flourish. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 005)
humanistic psychology
historically significant perspective that emphasized the growth potential of healthy people; used personalized methods to study personality in hopes of fostering personal growth. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 007)
natural selection
the principle that, among the range of inherited trait variations, those that lead to increased reproduction and survival will most likely be passed on to succeeding generations. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 009)
nature-nurture issue
the longstanding controversy over the relative contributions that genes and experience make to the development of psychological traits and behaviors. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 009)
biopsychosocial approach
an integrated perspective that incorporates biological, psychological, and social-cultural levels of analysis. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 010)
levels of analysis
the differing complementary views, from biological to psychological to social-cultural, for analyzing any given phenomenon. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 010)
basic research
pure science that aims to increase the scientific knowledge base. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 012)
applied research
scientific study that aims to solve practical problems. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 013)
clinical psychology
a branch of psychology that studies, assesses, and treats people with psychological disorders. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 013)
counseling psychology
a branch of psychology that assists people with problems in living (often related to school, work, or marriage) and in achieving greater well-being. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 013)
psychiatry
a branch of medicine dealing with psychological disorders; practiced by physicians who sometimes provide medical (for example, drug) treatments as well as psychological therapy. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 013)
hindsight bias
the tendency to believe, after learning an outcome, that one would have foreseen it. (Also known as the I-knew-it-all-along phenomenon.) (Myers Psychology 8e p. 020)
critical thinking
thinking that does not blindly accept arguments and conclusions. Rather, it examines assumptions, discerns hidden values, evaluates evidence, and assesses conclusions. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 024)
theory
an explanation using an integrated set of principles that organizes and predicts observations. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 024)
hypothesis
a testable prediction, often implied by a theory. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 025)
operational definition
a statement of the procedures (operations) used to define research variables. For example, human intelligence may be operationally defined as what an intelligence test measures. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 025)
replication
repeating the essence of a research study, usually with different participants in different situations, to see whether the basic finding extends to other participants and circumstances. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 025)
case study
an observation technique in which one person is studied in depth in the hope of revealing universal principles. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 026)
survey
a technique for ascertaining the self-reported attitudes or behaviors of people, usually by questioning a representative, random sample of them. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 027)
false consensus effect
the tendency to overestimate the extent to which others share our beliefs and behaviors. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 028)
population
all the cases in a group, from which samples may be drawn for a study. (Note: Except for national studies, this does not refer to a country's whole population.) (Myers Psychology 8e p. 028)
random sample
a sample that fairly represents a population because each member has an equal chance of inclusion. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 028)
naturalistic observation
observing and recording behavior in naturally occurring situations without trying to manipulate and control the situation. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 029)
correlation
a measure of the extent to which two factors vary together, and thus of how well either factor predicts the other. The correlation coefficient is the mathematical expression of the relationship, ranging from -1 to 1. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 030)
scatterplot
a graphed cluster of dots, each of which represents the values of two variables. The slope of the points suggests the direction of the relationship between the two variables. The amount of scatter suggests the strength of the correlation (little scatter indicates high correlation). (Also called a scattergram or scatter diagram.) (Myers Psychology 8e p. 031)
illusory correlation
the perception of a relationship where none exists. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 033)
experiment
a research method in which an investigator manipulates one or more factors (independent variables) to observe the effect on some behavior or mental process (the dependent variable). By random assignment of participants, the experimenter aims to control other relevant factors. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 036)
control condition
the condition of an experiment that contrasts with the experimental condition and serves as a comparison for evaluating the effect of the treatment. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 037)
double-blind procedure
an experimental procedure in which both the research participants and the research staff are ignorant (blind) about whether the research participants have received the treatment or a placebo. Commonly used in drug-evaluation studies. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 037)
experimental condition
the condition of an experiment that exposes participants to the treatment, that is, to one version of the independent variable. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 037)
placebo [pluh-SEE-bo] effect
experimental results caused by expectations alone; any effect on behavior caused by the administration of an inert substance or condition, which is assumed to be an active agent. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 037)
random assignment
assigning participants to experimental and control conditions by chance, thus minimizing preexisting differences between those assigned to the different groups. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 037)
dependent variable
the outcome factor; the variable that may change in response to manipulations of the independent variable. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 038)
independent variable
the experimental factor that is manipulated; the variable whose effect is being studied. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 038)
mean
the arithmetic average of a distribution, obtained by adding the scores and then dividing by the number of scores. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 041)
median
the middle score in a distribution; half the scores are above it and half are below it. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 041)
mode
the most frequently occurring score(s) in a distribution. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 041)
range
the difference between the highest and lowest scores in a distribution. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 042)
standard deviation
a computed measure of how much scores vary around the mean score. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 042)
statistical significance
a statistical statement of how likely it is that an obtained result occurred by chance. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 043)
culture
the enduring behaviors, ideas, attitudes, and traditions shared by a large group of people and transmitted from one generation to the next. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 045)
evolutionary psychology
the study of the evolution of behavior and the mind, using principles of natural selection. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 107)
mutation
a random error in gene replication that leads to a change. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 108)
natural selection
the principle that, among the range of inherited trait variations, those that lead to increased reproduction and survival will most likely be passed on to succeeding generations. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 108)
gender
in psychology, the biologically and socially influenced characteristics by which people define male and female. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 110)
biological psychology
a branch of psychology concerned with the links between biology and behavior. (Some biological psychologists call themselves behavioral neuroscientists, neuropsychologists, behavior geneticists, physiological psychologists, or biopsychologists.) (Myers Psychology 8e p. 054)
action potential
a neural impulse; a brief electrical charge that travels down an axon. The action potential is generated by the movement of positively charged atoms in and out of channels in the axon's membrane. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 055)
axon
the extension of a neuron, ending in branching terminal fibers, through which messages pass to other neurons or to muscles or glands. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 055)
dendrite
the bushy, branching extensions of a neuron that receive messages and conduct impulses toward the cell body. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 055)
myelin [MY-uh-lin] sheath
a layer of fatty tissue segmentally encasing the fibers of many neurons; enables vastly greater transmission speed of neural impulses as the impulse hops from one node to the next. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 055)
neuron
a nerve cell; the basic building block of the nervous system. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 055)
threshold
the level of stimulation required to trigger a neural impulse. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 056)
neurotransmitters
chemical messengers that traverse the synaptic gaps between neurons. When released by the sending neuron, neurotransmitters travel across the synapse and bind to receptor sites on the receiving neuron, thereby influencing whether that neuron will generate a neural impulse. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 057)
synapse [SIN-aps]
the junction between the axon tip of the sending neuron and the dendrite or cell body of the receiving neuron. The tiny gap at this junction is called the synaptic gap or cleft. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 057)
acetylcholine [ah-seat-el-KO-leen] (ACh)
a neurotransmitter that enables learning and memory and also triggers muscle contraction. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 058)
endorphins [en-DOR-fins]
"morphine within"—natural, opiatelike neurotransmitters linked to pain control and to pleasure. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 059)
central nervous system (CNS)
the brain and spinal cord. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 061)
nervous system
the body's speedy, electrochemical communication network, consisting of all the nerve cells of the peripheral and central nervous systems. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 061)
peripheral nervous system (PNS)
the sensory and motor neurons that connect the central nervous system (CNS) to the rest of the body. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 061)
autonomic [aw-tuh-NAHM-ik] nervous system
the part of the peripheral nervous system, which controls the glands, and the muscles of the internal organs (such as the heart). Its sympathetic division arouses; its parasympathetic division calms. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 062)
interneurons
central nervous system neurons that internally communicate and intervene between the sensory inputs and motor outputs. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 062)
motor neurons
neurons that carry outgoing information from the central nervous system to the muscles and glands. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 062)
nerves
neural "cables" containing many axons. These bundled axons, which are part of the peripheral nervous system, connect the central nervous system with muscles, glands, and sense organs. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 062)
parasympathetic nervous system
the division of the autonomic nervous system that calms the body, conserving its energy. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 062)
sensory neurons
neurons that carry incoming information from the sense receptors to the central nervous system. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 062)
somatic nervous system
the division of the peripheral nervous system that controls the body's skeletal muscles. Also called the skeletal nervous system. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 062)
sympathetic nervous system
the division of the autonomic nervous system that arouses the body, mobilizing its energy in stressful situations. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 062)
reflex
a simple, automatic, inborn response to a sensory stimulus, such as the knee-jerk response. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 063)
neural networks
interconnected neural cells. With experience, networks can learn, as feedback strengthens or inhibits connections that produce certain results. Computer simulations of neural networks show analogous learning. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 064)
endocrine [EN-duh-krin] system
the body's "slow" chemical communication system; a set of glands that secrete hormones into the bloodstream. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 065)
hormones
chemical messengers, mostly those manufactured by the endocrine glands, that are produced in one tissue and affect another. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 065)
adrenal [ah-DREEN-el] glands
a pair of endocrine glands just above the kidneys. The adrenals secrete the hormones epinephrine (adrenaline) and nor-epinephrine (nor-adrenaline), which help to arouse the body in times of stress. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 066)
pituitary gland
the endocrine system's most influential gland. Under the influence of the hypothalamus, the pituitary regulates growth and controls other endocrine glands. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 066)
electroencephalogram (EEG)
an amplified recording of the waves of electrical activity that sweep across the brain's surface. These waves are measured by electrodes placed on the scalp. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 068)
lesion [LEE-zhuhn]
tissue destruction. A brain lesion is a naturally or experimentally caused destruction of brain tissue. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 068)
fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging)
a technique for revealing blood flow and, therefore, brain activity by comparing successive MRI scans. MRI scans show brain anatomy; fMRI scans show brain function. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 069)
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
a technique that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce computer-generated images that distinguish among different types of soft tissue; allows us to see structures within the brain. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 069)
PET (positron emission tomography) scan
a visual display of brain activity that detects where a radioactive form of glucose goes while the brain performs a given task. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 069)
brainstem
the oldest part and central core of the brain, beginning where the spinal cord swells as it enters the skull; the brainstem is responsible for automatic survival functions. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 071)
medulla [muh-DUL-uh]
the base of the brainstem; controls heartbeat and breathing. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 071)
reticular formation
a nerve network in the brainstem that plays an important role in controlling arousal. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 071)
amygdala [uh-MIG-duh-la]
two lima bean sized neural clusters that are components of the limbic system and are linked to emotion. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 072)
cerebellum [sehr-uh-BELL-um]
the "little brain" attached to the rear of the brainstem; its functions include processing sensory input and coordinating movement output and balance. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 072)
limbic system
a doughnut-shaped system of neural structures at the border of the brainstem and cerebral hemispheres; associated with emotions such as fear and aggression and drives such as those for food and sex. Includes the hippocampus, amygdala, and hypothalamus. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 072)
thalamus [THAL-uh-muss]
the brain's sensory switchboard, located on top of the brainstem; it directs messages to the sensory receiving areas in the cortex and transmits replies to the cerebellum and medulla. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 072)
hypothalamus [hi-po-THAL-uh-muss]
a neural structure lying below (hypo) the thalamus; it directs several maintenance activities (eating, drinking, body temperature), helps govern the endocrine system via the pituitary gland, and is linked to emotion. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 073)
cerebral [seh-REE-bruhl] cortex
the intricate fabric of interconnected neural cells that covers the cerebral hemispheres; the body's ultimate control and information-processing center. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 074)
glial cells (glia)
cells in the nervous system that support, nourish, and protect neurons. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 075)
frontal lobes
the portion of the cerebral cortex lying just behind the forehead; involved in speaking and muscle movements and in making plans and judgments. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 076)
occipital [ahk-SIP-uh-tuhl] lobes
the portion of the cerebral cortex lying at the back of the head; includes the visual areas, which receive visual information from the opposite visual field. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 076)
parietal [puh-RYE-uh-tuhl] lobes
the portion of the cerebral cortex lying at the top of the head and toward the rear; receives sensory input for touch and body position. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 076)
temporal lobes
the portion of the cerebral cortex lying roughly above the ears; includes the auditory areas, each of which receives auditory information primarily from the opposite ear. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 076)
motor cortex
an area at the rear of the frontal lobes that controls voluntary movements. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 077)
sensory cortex
the area at the front of the parietal lobes that registers and processes body touch and movement sensations. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 078)
association areas
areas of the cerebral cortex that are not involved in primary motor or sensory functions; rather, they are involved in higher mental functions such as learning, remembering, thinking, and speaking. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 079)
aphasia
impairment of language, usually caused by left hemisphere damage either to Broca's area (impairing speaking) or to Wernicke's area (impairing understanding). (Myers Psychology 8e p. 080)
Broca's area
controls language expression—an area of the frontal lobe, usually in the left hemisphere, that directs the muscle movements involved in speech. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 081)
Wernicke's area
controls language reception—a brain area involved in language comprehension and expression; usually in the left temporal lobe. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 081)
plasticity
the brain's capacity for modification, as evident in brain reorganization following damage (especially in children) and in experiments on the effects of experience on brain development. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 082)
corpus callosum [KOR-pus kah-LOW-sum]
the large band of neural fibers connecting the two brain hemispheres and carrying messages between them. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 084)
split brain
a condition in which the two hemispheres of the brain are isolated by cutting the connecting fibers (mainly those of the corpus callosum) between them. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 084)
behavior genetics
the study of the relative power and limits of genetic and environmental influences on behavior. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 096)
chromosomes
threadlike structures made of DNA molecules that contain the genes. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 096)
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid)
a complex molecule containing the genetic information that makes up the chromosomes. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 096)
environment
every nongenetic influence, from prenatal nutrition to the people and things around us. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 096)
genes
the biochemical units of heredity that make up the chromosomes; a segment of DNA capable of synthesizing a protein. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 096)
genome
the complete instructions for making an organism, consisting of all the genetic material in that organism's chromosomes. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 096)
identical twins
twins who develop from a single fertilized egg that splits in two, creating two genetically identical organisms. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 097)
fraternal twins
twins who develop from separate fertilized eggs. They are genetically no closer than brothers and sisters, but they share a fetal environment. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 098)
heritability
the proportion of variation among individuals that we can attribute to genes. The heritability of a trait may vary, depending on the range of populations and environments studied. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 102)
temperament
a person's characteristic emotional reactivity and intensity. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 102)
interaction
the effect of one factor (such as environment) depends on another factor (such as heredity). (Myers Psychology 8e p. 105)
molecular genetics
the subfield of biology that studies the molecular structure and function of genes. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 105)
bottom-up processing
analysis that begins with the sensory receptors and works up to the brain's integration of sensory information. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 197)
perception
the process of organizing and interpreting sensory information, enabling us to recognize meaningful objects and events. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 197)
sensation
the process by which our sensory receptors and nervous system receive and represent stimulus energies from our environment. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 197)
top-down processing
information processing guided by higher-level mental processes, as when we construct perceptions drawing on our experience and expectations. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 197)
absolute threshold
the minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus 50 percent of the time. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 199)
psychophysics
the study of relationships between the physical characteristics of stimuli, such as their intensity, and our psychological experience of them. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 199)
signal detection theory
a theory predicting how and when we detect the presence of a faint stimulus ("signal") amid background stimulation ("noise"). Assumes there is no single absolute threshold and detection depends partly on a person's experience, expectations, motivation, and level of fatigue. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 199)
priming
the activation, often unconsciously, of certain associations, thus predisposing one's perception, memory, or response. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 200)
subliminal
below one's absolute threshold for conscious awareness. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 200)
difference threshold
the minimum difference between two stimuli required for detection 50 percent of the time. We experience the difference threshold as a just noticeable difference. (Also called just noticeable difference or jnd.) (Myers Psychology 8e p. 201)
sensory adaptation
diminished sensitivity as a consequence of constant stimulation. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 202)
Weber's law
the principle that, to be perceived as different, two stimuli must differ by a constant minimum percentage (rather than a constant amount). (Myers Psychology 8e p. 202)
transduction
conversion of one form of energy into another. In sensation, the transforming of stimulus energies, such as sights, sounds, and smells, into neural impulses our brains can interpret. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 204)
wavelength
the distance from the peak of one light or sound wave to the peak of the next. Electromagnetic wavelengths vary from the short blips of cosmic rays to the long pulses of radio transmission. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 204)
accommodation
the process by which the eye's lens changes shape to focus near or far objects on the retina. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 205)
hue
the dimension of color that is determined by the wavelength of light; what we know as the color names blue, green, and so forth. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 205)
intensity
the amount of energy in a light or sound wave, which we perceive as brightness or loudness, as determined by the wave's amplitude. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 205)
iris
a ring of muscle tissue that forms the colored portion of the eye around the pupil and controls the size of the pupil opening. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 205)
lens
the transparent structure behind the pupil that changes shape to help focus images on the retina. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 205)
pupil
the adjustable opening in the center of the eye through which light enters. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 205)
retina
the light-sensitive inner surface of the eye, containing the receptor rods and cones plus layers of neurons that begin the processing of visual information. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 205)
acuity
the sharpness of vision. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 206)
cones
retinal receptor cells that are concentrated near the center of the retina and that function in daylight or in well-lit conditions. The cones detect fine detail and give rise to color sensations. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 206)
farsightedness
a condition in which faraway objects are seen more clearly than near objects because the image of near objects is focused behind the retina. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 206)
nearsightedness
a condition in which nearby objects are seen more clearly than distant objects because distant objects focus in front of the retina. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 206)
rods
retinal receptors that detect black, white, and gray; necessary for peripheral and twilight vision, when cones don't respond. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 206)
blind spot
the point at which the optic nerve leaves the eye, creating a "blind" spot because no receptor cells are located there. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 207)
fovea
the central focal point in the retina, around which the eye's cones cluster. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 207)
optic nerve
the nerve that carries neural impulses from the eye to the brain. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 207)
feature detectors
nerve cells in the brain that respond to specific features of the stimulus, such as shape, angle, or movement. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 209)
parallel processing
the processing of several aspects of a problem simultaneously; the brain's natural mode of information processing for many functions, including vision. Contrasts with the step-by-step (serial) processing of most computers and of conscious problem solving. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 210)
Young-Helmholtz trichromatic (three-color) theory
the theory that the retina contains three different color receptors—one most sensitive to red, one to green, one to blue—which when stimulated in combination can produce the perception of any color. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 212)
opponent-process theory
the theory that opposing retinal processes (red-green, yellow-blue, white-black) enable color vision. For example, some cells are stimulated by green and inhibited by red; others are stimulated by red and inhibited by green. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 213)
color constancy
perceiving familiar objects as having consistent color, even if changing illumination alters the wavelengths reflected by the object. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 214)
audition
the sense or act of hearing. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 215)
frequency
the number of complete wavelengths that pass a point in a given time (for example, per second). (Myers Psychology 8e p. 216)
pitch
a tone's experienced highness or lowness; depends on frequency. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 216)
cochlea [KOK-lee-uh]
a coiled, bony, fluid-filled tube in the inner ear through which sound waves trigger nerve impulses. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 217)
inner ear
the innermost part of the ear, containing the cochlea, semicircular canals, and vestibular sacs (Myers Psychology 8e p. 217)
middle ear
the chamber between the eardrum and cochlea containing three tiny bones (hammer, anvil, and stirrup) that concentrate the vibrations of the eardrum on the cochlea's oval window. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 217)
frequency theory
in hearing, the theory that the rate of nerve impulses traveling up the auditory nerve matches the frequency of a tone, thus enabling us to sense its pitch. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 219)
place theory
in hearing, the theory that links the pitch we hear with the place where the cochlea's membrane is stimulated. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 219)
conduction hearing loss
hearing loss caused by damage to the mechanical system that conducts sound waves to the cochlea. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 220)
sensorineural hearing loss
hearing loss caused by damage to the cochlea's receptor cells or to the auditory nerves; also called nerve deafness. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 220)
cochlear implant
a device for converting sounds into electrical signals and stimulating the auditory nerve through electrodes threaded into the cochlea. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 221)
gate-control theory
the theory that the spinal cord contains a neurological "gate" that blocks pain signals or allows them to pass on to the brain. The "gate" is opened by the activity of pain signals traveling up small nerve fibers and is closed by activity in larger fibers or by information coming from the brain. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 227)
sensory interaction
the principle that one sense may influence another, as when the smell of food influences its taste. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 230)
kinesthesis [kin-ehs-THEE-sehs]
the system for sensing the position and movement of individual body parts. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 233)
vestibular sense
the sense of body movement and position, including the sense of balance. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 234)
selective attention
the focusing of conscious awareness on a particular stimulus, as in the cocktail party effect. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 237)
inattentional blindness
failing to see visible objects when our attention is directed elsewhere. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 238)
Gestalt
an organized whole. Gestalt psychologists emphasized our tendency to integrate pieces of information into meaningful wholes. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 242)
visual capture
the tendency for vision to dominate the other senses. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 242)
figure-ground
the organization of the visual field into objects (the figures) that stand out from their surroundings (the ground). (Myers Psychology 8e p. 243)
grouping
the perceptual tendency to organize stimuli into coherent groups. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 243)
binocular cues
depth cues, such as retinal disparity and convergence, that depend on the use of two eyes. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 245)
depth perception
the ability to see objects in three dimensions although the images that strike the retina are two-dimensional; allows us to judge distance. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 245)
visual cliff
a laboratory device for testing depth perception in infants and young animals. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 245)
monocular cues
depth cues, such as interposition and linear perspective, available to either eye alone. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 246)
retinal disparity
a binocular cue for perceiving depth: By comparing images from the two eyeballs, the brain computes distance—the greater the disparity (difference) between the two images, the closer the object. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 246)
convergence
a binocular cue for perceiving depth; the extent to which the eyes converge inward when looking at an object. The greater the inward strain, the closer the object. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 246)
perceptual constancy
perceiving objects as unchanging (having consistent lightness, color, shape, and size) even as illumination and retinal images change. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 250)
phi phenomenon
an illusion of movement created when two or more adjacent lights blink on and off in quick succession. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 250)
perceptual adaptation
in vision, the ability to adjust to an artificially displaced or even inverted visual field. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 256)
perceptual set
a mental predisposition to perceive one thing and not another. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 257)
human factors psychology
a branch of psychology that explores how people and machines interact and how machines and physical environments can be made safe and easy to use. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 261)
extrasensory perception (ESP)
the controversial claim that perception can occur apart from sensory input. Said to include telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 264)
parapsychology
the study of paranormal phenomena, including ESP and psychokinesis. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 264)
consciousness
our awareness of ourselves and our environment. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 271)
biological rhythms
periodic physiological fluctuations. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 274)
circadian [ser-KAY-dee-an] rhythm
the biological clock; regular bodily rhythms (for example, of temperature and wakefulness) that occur on a 24-hour cycle. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 275)
REM sleep
rapid eye movement sleep, a recurring sleep stage during which vivid dreams commonly occur. Also known as paradoxical sleep, because the muscles are relaxed (except for minor twitches) but other body systems are active. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 276)
alpha waves
the relatively slow brain waves of a relaxed, awake state. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 277)
delta waves
the large, slow brain waves associated with deep sleep. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 277)
hallucinations
false sensory experiences, such as seeing something in the absence of an external visual stimulus. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 277)
sleep
periodic, natural, reversible loss of consciousness—as distinct from unconsciousness resulting from a coma, general anesthesia, or hibernation. (Adapted from Dement, 1999.) (Myers Psychology 8e p. 277)
insomnia
recurring problems in falling or staying asleep. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 283)
narcolepsy
a sleep disorder characterized by uncontrollable sleep attacks. The sufferer may lapse directly into REM sleep, often at inopportune times. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 284)
night terrors
a sleep disorder characterized by high arousal and an appearance of being terrified; unlike nightmares, night terrors occur during Stage 4 sleep, within two or three hours of falling asleep, and are seldom remembered. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 284)
sleep apnea
a sleep disorder characterized by temporary cessations of breathing during sleep and repeated momentary awakenings. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 284)
dream
a sequence of images, emotions, and thoughts passing through a sleeping person's mind. Dreams are notable for their hallucinatory imagery, discontinuities, and incongruities, and for the dreamer's delusional acceptance of the content and later difficulties remembering it. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 285)
manifest content
according to Freud, the remembered story line of a dream (as distinct from its latent, or hidden, content). (Myers Psychology 8e p. 286)
latent content
according to Freud, the underlying meaning of a dream (as distinct from its manifest content). Freud believed that a dream's latent content functions as a safety valve. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 287)
REM rebound
the tendency for REM sleep to increase following REM sleep deprivation (created by repeated awakenings during REM sleep). (Myers Psychology 8e p. 288)
hypnosis
a social interaction in which one person (the hypnotist) suggests to another (the subject) that certain perceptions, feelings, thoughts, or behaviors will spontaneously occur. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 290)
posthypnotic suggestion
a suggestion, made during a hypnosis session, to be carried out after the subject is no longer hypnotized; used by some clinicians to help control undesired symptoms and behaviors. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 292)
dissociation
a split in consciousness, which allows some thoughts and behaviors to occur simultaneously with others. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 293)
psychoactive drug
a chemical substance that alters perceptions and mood. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 296)
addiction
compulsive drug craving and use. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 297)
physical dependence
a physiological need for a drug, marked by unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when the drug is discontinued. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 297)
psychological dependence
a psychological need to use a drug, such as to relieve negative emotions. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 297)
tolerance
the diminishing effect with regular use of the same dose of a drug, requiring the user to take larger and larger doses before experiencing the drug's effect. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 297)
withdrawal
the discomfort and distress that follow discontinuing the use of an addictive drug. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 297)
depressants
drugs (such as alcohol, barbiturates, and opiates) that reduce neural activity and slow body functions. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 298)
Amphetamines
drugs that stimulate neural activity, causing speeded-up body functions and associated energy and mood changes. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 300)
barbiturates
drugs that depress the activity of the central nervous system, reducing anxiety but impairing memory and judgment. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 300)
methamphetamine
a powerfully addictive drug that stimulates the central nervous system, with speeded-up body functions and associated energy and mood changes; over time, appears to reduce baseline dopamine levels. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 300)
opiates
opium and its derivatives, such as morphine and heroin; they depress neural activity, temporarily lessening pain and anxiety. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 300)
stimulants
drugs (such as caffeine, nicotine, and the more powerful amphetamines, cocaine, and Ecstasy) that excite neural activity and speed up body functions. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 300)
ecstasy (MDMA)
a synthetic stimulant and mild hallucinogen. Produces euphoria and social intimacy, but with short-term health risks and longer-term harm to serotonin-producing neurons and to mood and cognition. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 302)
hallucinogens
psychedelic ("mind-manifesting") drugs, such as LSD, that distort perceptions and evoke sensory images in the absence of sensory input. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 302)
LSD
a powerful hallucinogenic drug; also known as acid (lysergic acid diethylamide). (Myers Psychology 8e p. 302)
THC
the major active ingredient in marijuana; triggers a variety of effects, including mild hallucinations. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 303)
near-death experience
an altered state of consciousness reported after a close brush with death (such as through cardiac arrest); often similar to drug-induced hallucinations. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 309)
dualism
the presumption that mind and body are two distinct entities that interact. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 310)
monism
the presumption that mind and body are different aspects of the same thing. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 310)
learning
a relatively permanent change in an organism's behavior due to experience. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 313)
associative learning
learning that certain events occur together. The events may be two stimuli (as in classical conditioning) or a response and its consequences (as in operant conditioning). (Myers Psychology 8e p. 314)
classical conditioning
a type of learning in which an organism comes to associate stimuli. A neutral stimulus that signals an unconditioned stimulus (US) begins to produce a response that anticipates and prepares for the unconditioned stimulus. Also called Pavlovian or respondent conditioning. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 315)
behaviorism
the view that psychology (1) should be an objective science that (2) studies behavior without reference to mental processes. Most research psychologists today agree with (1) but not with (2). (Myers Psychology 8e p. 316)
conditioned response (CR)
in classical conditioning, the learned response to a previously neutral (but now conditioned) stimulus (CS). (Myers Psychology 8e p. 317)
conditioned stimulus (CS)
in classical conditioning, an originally irrelevant stimulus that, after association with an unconditioned stimulus (US), comes to trigger a conditioned response. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 317)
unconditioned response (UR)
in classical conditioning, the unlearned, naturally occurring response to the unconditioned stimulus (US), such as salivation when food is in the mouth. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 317)
unconditioned stimulus (US)
in classical conditioning, a stimulus that unconditionally—naturally and automatically—triggers a response. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 317)
acquisition
the initial stage in classical conditioning; the phase associating a neutral stimulus with an unconditioned stimulus so that the neutral stimulus comes to elicit a conditioned response. In operant conditioning, the strengthening of a reinforced response. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 318)
extinction
the diminishing of a conditioned response; occurs in classical conditioning when an unconditioned stimulus (US) does not follow a conditioned stimulus (CS); occurs in operant conditioning when a response is no longer reinforced. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 319)
spontaneous recovery
the reappearance, after a pause, of an extinguished conditioned response. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 319)
discrimination (Classical Conditioning)
in classical conditioning, the learned ability to distinguish between a conditioned stimulus and stimuli that do not signal an unconditioned stimulus. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 320)
generalization
the tendency, once a response has been conditioned, for stimuli similar to the conditioned stimulus to elicit similar responses. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 320)
operant behavior
behavior that operates on the environment, producing consequences. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 326)
operant conditioning
a type of learning in which behavior is strengthened if followed by a reinforcer or diminished if followed by a punisher. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 326)
respondent behavior
behavior that occurs as an automatic response to some stimulus; Skinner's term for behavior learned through classical conditioning. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 326)
law of effect
Thorndike's principle that behaviors followed by favorable consequences become more likely, and that behaviors followed by unfavorable consequences become less likely. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 327)
operant chamber
a chamber also known as a Skinner box, containing a bar or key that an animal can manipulate to obtain a food or water reinforcer, with attached devices to record the animal's rate of bar pressing or key pecking. Used in operant conditioning research. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 327)
shaping
an operant conditioning procedure in which reinforcers guide behavior toward closer and closer approximations of the desired behavior. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 328)
negative reinforcement
increasing behaviors by stopping or reducing negative stimuli, such as shock. A negative reinforcer is any stimulus that, when removed after a response, strengthens the response. (Note: Negative reinforcement is not punishment.) (Myers Psychology 8e p. 329)
positive reinforcement
increasing behaviors by presenting positive stimuli, such as food. A positive reinforcer is any stimulus that, when presented after a response, strengthens the response. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 329)
reinforcer
in operant conditioning, any event that strengthens the behavior it follows. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 329)
conditioned reinforcer
a stimulus that gains its reinforcing power through its association with a primary reinforcer; also known as secondary reinforcer. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 330)
continuous reinforcement
reinforcing the desired response every time it occurs. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 330)
primary reinforcer
an innately reinforcing stimulus, such as one that satisfies a biological need. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 330)
fixed-ratio schedule
in operant conditioning, a reinforcement schedule that reinforces a response only after a specified number of responses. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 331)
partial (intermittent) reinforcement
reinforcing a response only part of the time; results in slower acquisition of a response but much greater resistance to extinction than does continuous reinforcement. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 331)
fixed-interval schedule
in operant conditioning, a reinforcement schedule that reinforces a response only after a specified time has elapsed. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 332)
punishment
an event that decreases the behavior that it follows. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 332)
variable-interval schedule
in operant conditioning, a reinforcement schedule that reinforces a response at unpredictable time intervals. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 332)
variable-ratio schedule
in operant conditioning, a reinforcement schedule that reinforces a response after an unpredictable number of responses. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 332)
cognitive map
a mental representation of the layout of one's environment. For example, after exploring a maze, rats act as if they have learned a cognitive map of it. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 334)
latent learning
learning that occurs but is not apparent until there is an incentive to demonstrate it. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 334)
extrinsic motivation
a desire to perform a behavior due to promised rewards or threats of punishment. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 335)
intrinsic motivation
a desire to perform a behavior for its own sake. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 335)
mirror neurons
frontal lobe neurons that fire when performing certain actions or when observing another doing so. The brain's mirroring of another's action may enable imitation, language learning, and empathy. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 341)
modeling
the process of observing and imitating a specific behavior. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 341)
observational learning
learning by observing others. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 341)
prosocial behavior
positive, constructive, helpful behavior. The opposite of antisocial behavior. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 343)
relative deprivation
the perception that one is worse off relative to those with whom one compares oneself. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 343)
memory
the persistence of learning over time through the storage and retrieval of information. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 349)
encoding
the processing of information into the memory system—for example, by extracting meaning. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 351)
flashbulb memory
a clear memory of an emotionally significant moment or event. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 351)
long-term memory
the relatively permanent and limitless storehouse of the memory system. Includes knowledge, skills, and experiences. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 351)
retrieval
the process of getting information out of memory storage. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 351)
sensory memory
the immediate, very brief recording of sensory information in the memory system. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 351)
short-term memory
activated memory that holds a few items briefly, such as the seven digits of a phone number while dialing, before the information is stored or forgotten. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 351)
storage
the retention of encoded information over time. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 351)
working memory
a newer understanding of short-term memory that involves conscious, active processing of incoming auditory and visual-spatial information, and of information retrieved from long-term memory. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 352)
automatic processing
unconscious encoding of incidental information, such as space, time, and frequency, and of well-learned information, such as word meanings. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 353)
effortful processing
encoding that requires attention and conscious effort. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 354)
rehearsal
the conscious repetition of information, either to maintain it in consciousness or to encode it for storage. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 354)
spacing effect
the tendency for distributed study or practice to yield better long-term retention than is achieved through massed study or practice. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 355)
acoustic encoding
the encoding of sound, especially the sound of words. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 356)
semantic encoding
the encoding of meaning, including the meaning of words. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 356)
serial position effect
our tendency to recall best the last and first items in a list. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 356)
visual encoding
the encoding of picture images. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 356)
imagery
mental pictures; a powerful aid to effortful processing, especially when combined with semantic encoding. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 358)
mnemonics [nih-MON-iks]
memory aids, especially those techniques that use vivid imagery and organizational devices. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 358)
chunking
organizing items into familiar, manageable units; often occurs automatically. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 359)
echoic memory
a momentary sensory memory of auditory stimuli; if attention is elsewhere, sounds and words can still be recalled within 3 or 4 seconds. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 362)
iconic memory
a momentary sensory memory of visual stimuli; a photographic or picture-image memory lasting no more than a few tenths of a second. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 362)
long-term potentiation (LTP)
an increase in a synapse's firing potential after brief, rapid stimulation. Believed to be a neural basis for learning and memory. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 365)
Amnesia
the loss of memory. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 367)
explicit memory
memory of facts and experiences that one can consciously know and "declare." (Also called declarative memory.) (Myers Psychology 8e p. 367)
implicit memory
retention independent of conscious recollection. (Also called procedural memory.) (Myers Psychology 8e p. 367)
hippocampus
a neural center located in the limbic system that helps process explicit memories for storage. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 368)
recall
a measure of memory in which the person must retrieve information learned earlier, as on a fill-in-the-blank test. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 370)
recognition
a measure of memory in which the person need only identify items previously learned, as on a multiple-choice test. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 370)
relearning
a memory measure that assesses the amount of time saved when learning material for a second time. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 370)
priming
the activation, often unconsciously, of certain associations, thus predisposing one's perception, memory, or response. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 372)
déjà vu
that eerie sense that "I've experienced this before." Cues from the current situation may subconsciously trigger retrieval of an earlier experience. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 373)
mood-congruent memory
the tendency to recall experiences that are consistent with one's current good or bad mood. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 374)
proactive interference
the disruptive effect of prior learning on the recall of new information. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 379)
retroactive interference
the disruptive effect of new learning on the recall of old information. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 379)
repression
in psychoanalytic theory, the basic defense mechanism that banishes anxiety-arousing thoughts, feelings, and memories from consciousness. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 381)
misinformation effect
incorporating misleading information into one's memory of an event. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 383)
source amnesia
attributing to the wrong source an event we have experienced, heard about, read about, or imagined. (Also called source misattribution.) Source amnesia, along with the misinformation effect, is at the heart of many false memories. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 384)
cognition
all the mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, remembering, and communicating. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 395)
concept
a mental grouping of similar objects, events, ideas, or people. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 396)
prototype
a mental image or best example of a category. Matching new items to the prototype provides a quick and easy method for including items in a category (as when comparing feathered creatures to a prototypical bird, such as a robin). (Myers Psychology 8e p. 396)
algorithm
a methodical, logical rule or procedure that guarantees solving a particular problem. Contrasts with the usually speedier—but also more error-prone—use of heuristics. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 397)
heuristic
a simple thinking strategy that often allows us to make judgments and solve problems efficiently; usually speedier but also more error-prone than algorithms. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 398)
insight
a sudden and often novel realization of the solution to a problem; it contrasts with strategy-based solutions. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 398)
confirmation bias
a tendency to search for information that confirms one's preconceptions. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 399)
fixation
the inability to see a problem from a new perspective; an impediment to problem solving. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 400)
functional fixedness
the tendency to think of things only in terms of their usual functions; an impediment to problem solving. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 400)
mental set
a tendency to approach a problem in a particular way, often a way that has been successful in the past. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 400)
representativeness heuristic
judging the likelihood of things in terms of how well they seem to represent, or match, particular prototypes; may lead one to ignore other relevant information. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 401)
availability heuristic
estimating the likelihood of events based on their availability in memory; if instances come readily to mind (perhaps because of their vividness), we presume such events are common. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 402)
overconfidence
the tendency to be more confident than correct—to overestimate the accuracy of one's beliefs and judgments. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 403)
framing
the way an issue is posed; how an issue is framed can significantly affect decisions and judgments. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 406)
belief bias
the tendency for one's preexisting beliefs to distort logical reasoning, sometimes by making invalid conclusions seem valid, or valid conclusions seem invalid. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 407)
belief perseverance
clinging to one's initial conceptions after the basis on which they were formed has been discredited. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 407)
language
our spoken, written, or signed words and the ways we combine them to communicate meaning. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 410)
phoneme
in a language, the smallest distinctive sound unit. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 410)
grammar
in a language, a system of rules that enables us to communicate with and understand others. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 411)
morpheme
in a language, the smallest unit that carries meaning; may be a word or a part of a word (such as a prefix). (Myers Psychology 8e p. 411)
semantics
the set of rules by which we derive meaning from morphemes, words, and sentences in a given language; also, the study of meaning. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 411)
syntax
the rules for combining words into grammatically sensible sentences in a given language. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 411)
babbling stage
at about 4 months, the stage of speech development in which the infant spontaneously utters various sounds at first unrelated to the household language. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 412)
one-word stage
the stage in speech development, from about age 1 to 2, during which a child speaks mostly in single words. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 413)
telegraphic speech
early speech stage in which a child speaks like a telegram—"go car"—using mostly nouns and verbs and omitting auxiliary words. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 413)
two-word stage
beginning about age 2, the stage in speech development during which a child speaks mostly two-word statements. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 413)
linguistic determinism
Whorf's hypothesis that language determines the way we think. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 418)
intelligence
mental quality consisting of the ability to learn from experience, solve problems, and use knowledge to adapt to new situations. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 431)
factor analysis
a statistical procedure that identifies clusters of related items (called factors) on a test; used to identify different dimensions of performance that underlie one's total score. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 432)
general intelligence (g)
a general intelligence factor that according to Spearman and others underlies specific mental abilities and is therefore measured by every task on an intelligence test. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 432)
savant syndrome
a condition in which a person otherwise limited in mental ability has an exceptional specific skill, such as in computation or drawing. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 433)
emotional intelligence
the ability to perceive, understand, manage, and use emotions. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 436)
creativity
the ability to produce novel and valuable ideas. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 438)
intelligence test
a method for assessing an individual's mental aptitudes and comparing them with those of others, using numerical scores. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 442)
mental age
a measure of intelligence test performance devised by Binet; the chronological age that most typically corresponds to a given level of performance. Thus, a child who does as well as the average 8-year-old is said to have a mental age of 8. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 443)
Stanford-Binet
the widely used American revision (by Terman at Stanford University) of Binet's original intelligence test. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 443)
achievement test
a test designed to assess what a person has learned. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 444)
aptitude test
a test designed to predict a person's future performance; aptitude is the capacity to learn. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 444)
intelligence quotient (IQ)
defined originally as the ratio of mental age (ma) to chronological age (ca) multiplied by 100 [thus, IQ = (ma/ca) x 100]. On contemporary intelligence tests, the average performance for a given age is assigned a score of 100. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 444)
Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS)
the WAIS is the most widely used intelligence test; contains verbal and performance (nonverbal) subtests. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 445)
standardization
defining meaningful scores by comparison with the performance of a pretested standardization group. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 446)
normal curve
the symmetrical bell-shaped curve that describes the distribution of many physical and psychological attributes. Most scores fall near the average, and fewer and fewer scores lie near the extremes. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 447)
content validity
the extent to which a test samples the behavior that is of interest (such as a driving test that samples driving tasks). (Myers Psychology 8e p. 448)
criterion
the behavior (such as future college grades) that a test (such as the SAT) is designed to predict; thus, the measure used in defining whether the test has predictive validity. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 448)
predictive validity
the success with which a test predicts the behavior it is designed to predict; it is assessed by computing the correlation between test scores and the criterion behavior. (Also called criterion-related validity.) (Myers Psychology 8e p. 448)
reliability
the extent to which a test yields consistent results, as assessed by the consistency of scores on two halves of the test, on alternate forms of the test, or on retesting. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 448)
validity
the extent to which a test measures or predicts what it is supposed to. (See also content validity and predictive validity.) (Myers Psychology 8e p. 448)
Down syndrome
a condition of retardation and associated physical disorders caused by an extra chromosome in one's genetic makeup. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 452)
mental retardation
a condition of limited mental ability, indicated by an intelligence score of 70 or below and difficulty in adapting to the demands of life; varies from mild to profound. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 452)
stereotype threat
a self-confirming concern that one will be evaluated based on a negative stereotype. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 465)
developmental psychology
a branch of psychology that studies physical, cognitive, and social change throughout the life span. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 139)
zygote
the fertilized egg; it enters a 2-week period of rapid cell division and develops into an embryo. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 140)
embryo
the developing human organism from about 2 weeks after fertilization through the second month. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 141)
fetus
the developing human organism from 9 weeks after conception to birth. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 141)
teratogens agents
such as chemicals and viruses, that can reach the embryo or fetus during prenatal development and cause harm. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 141)
fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)
physical and cognitive abnormalities in children caused by a pregnant woman's heavy drinking. In severe cases, symptoms include noticeable facial misproportions. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 142)
rooting reflex
a baby's tendency, when touched on the cheek, to turn toward the touch, open the mouth, and search for the nipple. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 142)
habituation
decreasing responsiveness with repeated stimulation. As infants gain familiarity with repeated exposure to a visual stimulus, their interest wanes and they look away sooner. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 143)
maturation
biological growth processes that enable orderly changes in behavior, relatively uninfluenced by experience. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 145)
schema
a concept or framework that organizes and interprets information. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 147)
assimilation
interpreting one's new experience in terms of one's existing schemas. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 148)
cognition
all the mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, remembering, and communicating. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 148)
accommodation
adapting one's current understandings (schemas) to incorporate new information. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 148)
object permanence
the awareness that things continue to exist even when not perceived. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 149)
sensorimotor stage
in Piaget's theory, the stage (from birth to about 2 years of age) during which infants know the world mostly in terms of their sensory impressions and motor activities. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 149)
conservation
the principle (which Piaget believed to be a part of concrete operational reasoning) that properties such as mass, volume, and number remain the same despite changes in the forms of objects. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 150)
egocentrism
in Piaget's theory, the preoperational child's difficulty in taking another's point of view. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 150)
preoperational stage
in Piaget's theory, the stage (from about 2 to 6 or 7 years of age) during which a child learns to use language but does not yet comprehend the mental operations of concrete logic. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 150)
theory of mind
people's ideas about their own and others' mental states—about their feelings, perceptions, and thoughts and the behavior these might predict. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 151)
autism
a disorder that appears in childhood and is marked by deficient communication, social interaction, and understanding of others' states of mind. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 152)
concrete operational stage
in Piaget's theory, the stage of cognitive development (from about 6 or 7 to 11 years of age) during which children gain the mental operations that enable them to think logically about concrete events. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 153)
formal operational stage
in Piaget's theory, the stage of cognitive development (normally beginning about age 12) during which people begin to think logically about abstract concepts. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 154)
attachment
an emotional tie with another person; shown in young children by their seeking closeness to the caregiver and showing distress on separation. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 155)
stranger anxiety
the fear of strangers that infants commonly display, beginning by about 8 months of age. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 155)
critical period
an optimal period shortly after birth when an organism's exposure to certain stimuli or experiences produces proper development. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 156)
imprinting
the process by which certain animals form attachments during a critical period very early in life. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 156)
basic trust
according to Erik Erikson, a sense that the world is predictable and trustworthy; said to be formed during infancy by appropriate experiences with responsive caregivers. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 158)
self-concept
(1) a sense of one's identity and personal worth. (2) all our thoughts and feelings about ourselves, in answer to the question, "Who am I?" (Myers Psychology 8e p. 161)
adolescence
the transition period from childhood to adulthood, extending from puberty to independence. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 164)
primary sex characteristics
the body structures (ovaries, testes, and external genitalia) that make sexual reproduction possible. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 165)
puberty
the period of sexual maturation, during which a person becomes capable of reproducing. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 165)
secondary sex characteristics
nonreproductive sexual characteristics, such as female breasts and hips, male voice quality, and body hair. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 165)
menarche [meh-NAR-key]
the first menstrual period. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 166)
identity
one's sense of self; according to Erikson, the adolescent's task is to solidify a sense of self by testing and integrating various roles. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 171)
intimacy
in Erikson's theory, the ability to form close, loving relationships; a primary developmental task in late adolescence and early adulthood. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 172)
menopause
the time of natural cessation of menstruation; also refers to the biological changes a woman experiences as her ability to reproduce declines. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 176)
Alzheimer's disease
a progressive and irreversible brain disorder characterized by gradual deterioration of memory, reasoning, language, and, finally, physical functioning. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 180)
cross-sectional study
a study in which people of different ages are compared with one another. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 183)
longitudinal study
research in which the same people are restudied and retested over a long period. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 183)
crystallized intelligence
one's accumulated knowledge and verbal skills; tends to increase with age. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 184)
fluid intelligence
one's ability to reason speedily and abstractly; tends to decrease during late adulthood. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 184)
social clock
the culturally preferred timing of social events such as marriage, parenthood, and retirement. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 186)