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All vocab from every chapter. added as i went through the year

Hindsight bias

the tendency to believe, after learning an outcome, that one would have foreseen it. Some people know it as the "I-KNEW-IT-ALL-ALONG" syndrome.

Critical thinking

thinking that does not blindly accept arguments and conclusions. Rather, it examines assumptions, discerns hidden values, evaluates evidence, and assesses conclusions. Critical thinkers break down


an explanation using an integrated set of principles that organizes and predicts observations.


a testable prediction about something yet to be tested

Operational definitions

precise statements of the procedures (operations) used to define independent and dependent variables.


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

Case study

a descriptive research strategy in which one person is studied in great depth


a technique for ascertaining the self-reported attitudes or behaviors of people, usually by questioning a representative, random sample of them.

False consensus effect

is the tendency to overestimate the extent to which others share our beliefs and behaviors.


all the cases in a group, from which samples may be drawn for a study.

Random sample

a sample that fairly represents a population because each member has an equal chance of inclusion. People/Items are picked randomly from the selected population.

Naturalistic observation

involves observing and recording behavior in naturally occurring situations without trying to manipulate or control the situation.


a statistical measure that indicates the extent to which two factors vary together and thus how well one factor can be predicted from the other. These can be positive or negative or neither; they can help predict, but not explain results.


a depiction of the relationship between two variables by means of a graphed cluster of dots.

Illusory correlation

the false perception of a relationship between two events when none exists.


a research strategy in which a researcher directly manipulates one or more factors (independent variables) in order to observe their effect on some behavior or mental process (the dependent variables; experiments therefore make it possible to establish cause-and-effect relationships.


an inert substance or condition that is administered as a test of whether an experimental subjects who mistakenly thinks a treatment

Double-blind procedure

a control procedure in which neither the experimenter nor the research subjects are aware of which condition is in effect. It is used to prevent experimenters' and subjects' expectations from influencing the results of an experiment.

Placebo 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.

Experimental condition

the condition of an experiment that exposes participants to the treatment, that is, to one version of the independent variable.

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.

Random assignment

the procedure of assigning subjects to the experimental and control conditions by chance in order to minimize preexisting differences between the groups.

Independent variable

the factor being manipulated and tested by the investigator.

Dependent variable

the factor being measured by the investigator.


the most frequently occurring score in a distribution; it is the simplest measure of central tendency to determine.


the arithmetic average of a distribution, obtained by adding the scores and then dividing by the number of scores.


the middle score in a distribution; half the scores are above it and half are below it.


a measure of variation computed as the difference between the highest and lowest scores in a distribution.

Standard deviation

the average amount by which the scores in a distribution deviate around the mean. Because it is based on every score in the distribution

Statistical significance

a statistical statement of how likely it is that an obtained result occurred by chance.


the enduring behaviors, ideas, attitudes, and traditions shared by a large group of people and transmitted from one generation to the next. Biological Psychology branch of psychology concerned with the links between biology and behavior.


a nerve cell - the basic building block of the nervous system.


the bushy branching extensions of a neuron that receive messages and conduct impulses toward the cell body.


the extension of a neuron - ending in branching terminal fibers, through which messages pass to other neurons or to muscles or glands.

myelin 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.

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


the level of stimulation required to trigger a neural impulse.


the junction between the axon tip of the sending neuron and the dendrite or cell body of the receiving neuron. The tiny gap is called the synaptic gap or cleft.


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.


(ACh) a neurotransmitter that enables learning and memory and also triggers muscle contraction.


"morphine within"--natural, opiatelike neurotransmitters linked to pain control and to pleasure.


impairment of language - usually cause by left hemisphere damage either to Broca's area or to Wernicke's area.

association areas

areas of the cerebral cortext that are not involved in primary motor or sensory functions - rather, they are involved in higher mental functions such as learning - remembering - thinking - speaking


the oldest part and central core of the brain - beginning where the spinal cord swells as it enters the skull; the brainstem is repsonsible for automatic survival functions.


the part of the brain at the back of the head that controls the activity of the muscles.

cerebral cortex

the intricate fabric of interconnected neural cells that covers the cerebral hemispheres - the body's ultimate control and information processing center.

frontal lobes

the portion of the cerebral cortex lying just behid the forehead - involved in speaking and muscle movements and in amking plans and judgments.

glial cells

glial cells-cells in the nervous system that support nourish and protect neurons.


chemical messengers released mostly by endocrine system - They travel through blood stream and affect other tissues.


means the tissue destruction - A brain lesion reffers to a naturally or experimentally damaged or removed brain.

nervous system

the body's speedy electrochemical communication network consisting of all the nerve cells of the peripheral and central nervous system


the field of study encompassing the various scientific disciplines dealing with the structure development function chemistry pharmacology and pathology of the nervous system.

parietal 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.

reticular formation

a nerve netwrok in the brainstem that plays an important role in controlling arousal.

sensory cortex

the area at the front of the parietal lobes that registers and processes body touch and movement sensations.

Wernicke's area

controls language reception - a brain area invloved in language comprehension and expression - usually in the left temporal lobe.

adrenal glands

This gland is located on the kidneys, they release hormones that trigger the body to respond to emergencies and high stress


The bridge between endocrine and nervous systems and contains body's thermostat and centers for regulating hunger and thirst


This is one of usually two organs that produce ova and secrete estrogen and progesterone


This produces the hormones insulin and glucagon which control the level of glucose in the blood


Small glands in the neck that regulate calcium and phosphorous balance.

pituitary gland

This produces hormones which regulate growth from infancy to adulthood and the amount of water in the blood


This is one of the two male reproductive glands that produce spermatozoa and secrete androgens

Thyroid Gland

This produces hormones that regulate metabolism, body heat, and bone growth

myelin 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.


the level of stimulation required to trigger a neural impulse.

central nervous system

the brain and spinal cord.

peripheral nervous system

the sensory and motor neurons that connect the central nervous system (CNS) to the rest of the body.


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.

sensory neurons

neurons that carry incoming information from the sense receptors to the central nervous system.

motor neurons

neurons that carry outgoing information from the central nervous system to the muscles and glands.


central nervous system neurons that internally communicate and intervene between the sensory inputs and motor outputs.

somatic nervous system

the division of the peripheral nervous system that controls the body's skeletal muscles. Also called the skeletal nervous system.

autonomic nervous system

the part of the peripheral nervous system that controls the glands and the muscles of the internal organs (such as the heart). Its sympathetic division arouses; its parasympathetic division calms.

sympathetic nervous system

the division of the autonomic nervous system that arouses the body, mobilizing its energy in stressful situations.

parasympathetic nervous system

the division of the autonomic nervous system that calms the body, conserving its energy.


a simple, automatic, inborn response to a sensory stimulus, such as the knee-jerk response.

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.

endocrine system

the body's "slow" chemical communication system; a set of glands that secrete hormones into the bloodstream.


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.

PET scan

a visual display of brain activity that detects where a radioactive form of glucose goes while the brain performs a given task.


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.


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.


the base of the brainstem; controls heartbeat and breathing.

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.


two lima bean-sized neural clusters that are components of the limbic system and are linked to emotion.


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.

corpus callosum

the large band of neural fibers connecting the two brain hemispheres and carrying messages between them.

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.


An inherited characteristic that increases in a population because it provides a survival or reproductive advantage.


physical or verbal behavior that is intended to hurt or harm someone.

behavior genetics

the study of the relative power and limits of genetic and enviromental influences on behavior.

Charles Darwin

renowned naturalist and thinker associated with the theory of evolution by natural selection


threadlike structures made of DNA molecules that contain the genes


sense of "we". priorities are given to a certain group. One's identity is defined accordingly


the enduring behaviors, ideas, attitudes, and traditions shared by a large group of people and transmitted from one generation to the next.


(deoxyribonucleic acid) is a complex molecule containing the genetic information that makes up the chromosomes.


refers to every nongenetic, or external, influence on our traits and behaviors.

evolutionary psychology

the study of evolution of behavior and the mind, using principles of natural selection.

fraternal twins

develop from two separate eggs fertilized by different sperrn and therefore are no more genetically similar than ordinary siblings.


the biologically and socially influenced characteristic by which people define male and female.

gender identity

one's personal sense of being male or female.

gender role

a culturally prescribed set of behaviors for males and females.

gender schema theory

children acquire a cultural concept of what it means to be female or male and adjust their behavior accordingly.


the acquisition of a traditional feminine or masculine gender role.


the biochemical units of heredity that make up the chromosomes; they are segments of the DNA molecules capable of synthesizing a protein.


the complete instructions for making an organism - consisting of all the genetic material in that organism's chromosomes


the proportion of variation among individuals that we can attribute to genes. The ___________ of a trait may vary, depending on the range of populations and environments studied.

identical twins

develop from a single fertilized egg that splits in two and therefore are genetically identical.


Giving priority to one's own goals over group and defining one's identity in terms of personal sttributes rather than group identification.


occurs when the effects of one factor (such as heredity) depends on another factor (such as environment).


variations in ideas, fashions, and innovations passed from one person to another that cause rapid cultural mutations.

molecular genetics

the subfield of biology that studies the molecular structure and function of genes.


a process in which the genetic material of a person, a plant or an animal changes in structure when it is passed on to children, causing different phycical characteristics to develop.

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.


understood social prescriptions, or rules, for accepted and expected behavior.


biochemical units that make up DNA and genes.

personal space

personal space-the buffer zone we like to maintain around our bodies.


a culturally prescribed set of behaviors expected of those who occupy a particular social position.

social learning theory

people learn social behavior (such as gender roles) by observing and imitating and by being rewarded or punished.


a person's characteristic emotional reactivity and intensity.


the principal male sex hormone. During prenatal development, it stimulates the development of the external male sex organs.

X Chromosome

the sex chromosome found in both men and women. Females have two of these chromosomes; males have one. One of these chromosome from each parent produces a female child.

Y chromosome

the sex chromosome found only in males. When paired with an X chromosome from the mother, it produces a male child.

Absolute threshold

The smallest magnitude of a stimulus that can be detected half the time.


the process by which the eye's lens changes shape to focus near or far objects on the retina.


the sense of hearing.

Basilar membrane

One of the membranes that separate the two tubes of the cochlea and on which the organ of Corti rests.

Basket cells

Sensory receptor cells at the base of hairs that detect pressure.

Binocular cues

Two visual cues that require both eyes to allow us to perceive depth.

Blind spot

The spot where the optic nerve attaches to the retina, which contains no rods or cones.

Bone conduction hearing

Hearing accomplished through sounds transmitted through the bones of the head directly to the cochlear fluid.

Bottom-up processing

analysis that begins with the sensory receptors and works up to the brain's integration of sensory information.

Ciliary muscle

The muscle in the eye that controls the shape of the lens.


A curved structure of the inner ear that is filled with fluid.

Cochlear implant

a device for converting sounds into electrical signals and stimulating the auditory nerve through electrodes threaded into the cochlea

Color constancy

perceiving familiar objects as having consistent color, even if changing illumination alters the wavelengths reflected by the object.

Conduction hearing loss

hearing loss caused by damage to the mechanical system that conducts sound waves to the cochlea.


The 6 million receptor cells located mostly in the center of the retina that transduce light waves into neural impulses, thereby coding information about light, dark, and color.


The protective coating on the surface of the eye through which light passes.


A gelatin-like structure containing a tuft of hairlike sensory receptor cells in the semicircular canals.

Dark adaptation

Increased sensitivity of the eye in semidarkness following an abrupt reduction in overall illumination.


Measurement of the intensity of perceived sound.

Difference threshold

The smallest difference between two stimuli that can be detected half the time.


A thin membrane that sound waves cause to vibrate; a structure of the middle ear., the membrane in the ear that vibrates to sound

Electromagnetic radiation

A form of energy including electricity, radio waves, and X rays, of which visible light is a part.

Feature detectors

nerve cells in the brain that respond to specific features of the stimulus, such as shape, angle, or movement.


The central spot of the retina, which contains the greatest concentration of cones.

Free nerve endings

Sensory receptor cells in the skin that detect pressure, temperature, and pain.

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