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modules 29-32


all the mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, remembering, and communicating


grouping of objects, events, or ideas that have similar characteristicks


a mental image or best example of a category


a methodical, logical rule or procedure that guarantees solving a particular problem


a simple thinking strategy that often allows us to make judgments and solve problems efficiently; usually speedier but also more error-prone than algorithms


a sudden and often novel realization of the solution to a problem

confirmation bias

a tendency to search for information that confirms one's preconceptions


the inability to see a problem from a new perspective; an impediment to problem solving

mental set

a tendency to approach a problem in a particular way, often a way that has been successful in the past

functional fixedness

the tendency to think of things only in terms of their usual functions; an impediment to problem solving

representative 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 relevent information

availability heuristic

heuristic in which the probabiltiy of an event is determined by how redily it comes to mind


the tendency to be more confident than correct--to overestimate the accuracy of one's beliefs and judgments


the way an issue is posed; how an issue is framed can significantly affect decisions and judgments

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

belief perserverence

Clinging to one's initial conceptions after the basis on which they were formed has been discredited


our spoken, written, or signed words and the ways we combine them to communicate meaning


in a language, the smallest distinctive sound unit


in a language, the smallest unit that carries meaning; may be a word or a part of a word (such as a prefix)


the study of meaning in language


the grammatical arrangement of words in sentences

babbling stage

stage of random nonsense words before the first birthday

one-word stage

the stage in speech development, from about age 1 to 2, during which a child speaks mostly in single words

two-word stage

beginning about age 2, the stage in speech development during which a child speaks mostly two-word statements

telegraphic speech

early speech stage in which a child speaks like a telegram--'go car'--using mostly nouns and verbs and omitting 'auxiliary' words

linguistic determinism

Whorf's hypothesis that language determines the way we think.


the ability to learn from experience, to use information, to understand things

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

general intelligence

underlies specific mental abilities and is therefore measured by every task on an intelligence test

savant syndrome

a condition in which a person otherwise limited in mental ability has an exceptional specific skill, such as in computation or drawing

emotional intelligence

the ability to perceive, understand, manage, and use emotions


the ability to produce novel and valuable ideas

intelligence test

IQ test

mental age

a measure of intelligence test performance devised by Binet; the chronological age that most typically corresponds to a given level of performance


widely used US revision made by terman of binet original intelligence test

Intelligence Quotient

defined originally as the ratio of mental age to chronological age multiplied by 100

aptitude test

a test designed to predict a person's future performance

achievement test

assess what a person has learned

Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale

the most widely used intelligence test; contains verbal and performance (nonverbal) subtests.


defining meaningful scores by comparison with the performance of a pretested standardization group

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.


consistency in measurement


the extent to which a test measures or predicts what it is supposed to

content validity

the extent to which a test samples the behavior that is of interest


standard used in judging

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.

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

down syndrome

a condition of retardation and associated physical disorders caused by an extra chromosome in one's genetic makeup


the proportion of variation among individuals that we can attribute to genes

stereotype threat

a self-confirming concern that one will be evaluated based on a negative stereotype

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