General Psychology Terms


absolute threshold - the smallest amount of physical intensity by which a stimulus can be detected
accommodation in vision - the changing of the shape and the refractory ability of the lens in the eye as it focuses the image of an object
accommodation in Piagetís developmental theory - the modification of old ways of thinking to incorporate new knowledge and information
acculturation - the process of acquiring the values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors of a new culture
acetylcholine - one of the most common neurotransmitters in the human nervous system, it is manufactured and delivered by motor neurons
acquisition - in conditioning, the initial stage of learning in which the association between a stimulus and a response is established
action potential - a brief reversal in the electrical potential between the inside and the outside of a nerve cell triggered by an above-threshold stimulus
active touch - the manipulation of an object, which produces information about the shape, weight, length, and other characteristics of the object
actor-observer effect - the tendency to attribute the behavior of others to internal causes while attributing oneís own behavior to situational causes
acupuncture - a treatment in traditional Chinese medicine in which sharp needles are inserted in special places on the skin and twirled rapidly to affect other parts of the body, this technique is used to suppress pain and to treat other bodily problems
adrenal glands , adrenals - the endocrine glands responsible for secreting the hormones adrenaline (epinephrine) and noradrenaline (norepinephrine), which regulate bodily functions and affect mood and emotion, blood pressure, blood sugar level, and redistribution of blood between internal organs and voluntary muscles
adulthood - the period of development that takes place from puberty to death
afterimage - a sensory impression that lasts after removal of the stimulus that caused it
agonists - a group of psychoactive drugs that cause neurotransmitters to be released, prevent deactivation of neurotransmitters, or mimic the effects of neurotransmitters by binding to their receptors, drugs such as nicotine and cocaine are examples
alcohol intoxication - according to legal definition, this condition occurs when one has a blood alcohol level of 0.10 or more
algorithm - a well-defined procedure or series of actions that guarantees a solution to a problem
allergens - substances, such as pollen, household dust, tobacco smoke, fabric softener, and perfume, that trigger allergic responses
all-or-none principle - the principle that a neuronís action potential is triggered at full strength or not at all, it does not diminish in intensity as it travels down the neuron
altered state of consciousness - a condition r state that is considered outside the realm of normal consciousness, resulting from any number of different conditions, such as sensory deprivation or overstimulation, hypnosis, meditation, or the use of psychoactive drugs
altruism - this phenomenon occurs when oneís actions benefit others but do not benefit the individual performing them
amniocentesis - a medical technique used after the sixteenth week of pregnancy whereby a sample of amniotic fluid is drawn from the amniotic sac surrounding the fetus, an analysis of the fluid enables doctors to determine whether the fetus has certain chromosomal abnormalities
amphetamines - drugs that stimulate the CNS putting the body into a hyperenergized state, amphetamines block the reuptake of dopamine into nerve cells while directly causing the release of dopamine from the cells
amplitude - one of the basic elements of sound, referring to the strength of the wave, graphically represented as the height of the crest of the wave
amygdala - the part of the limbic system that plays a role in eating, drinking, and sexual and aggressive behaviors
analgesics - drugs that reduce physical pain
analogical reasoning - reasoning by analogy, by inferring that if who or more things agree with one another in some respect, they will agree in others
anal stage - according to Freud, the second stage of childhood development, which occurs between one to three years of age, in which psychic energy becomes focused on anal activities, such as defecation
analytic intelligence - the knowledge and skills that enable us to think critically and analytically about components of a problem, and to compare and evaluate alternatives
anchoring heuristic - a common decision-making shortcut through which currently available information is used as a reference point for judgment, which is then subject to later adjustment
anger - an emotion characterized by extreme or passionate displeasure and often antagonism
anosmia - impairment in the sense of smell
antagonists - a group of psychoactive drugs that prevent, inhibit, or block neurotransmitters, curare and other paralyzing drugs are examples
anterograde amnesia - a disruption of memory consolidation process that occurs when a blow to the head interferes with the formation of memory of events immediately following the blow
antibodies - protein molecules that circulate in the blood and can identify and kill antigens
antigens - specific bacteria, viruses, or other foreign bodies that trigger immune responses
anxiety - a state of heightened physiological arousal and fear and apprehension that cannot be attributed to a specific source
aphasia - the loss of verbal understanding or comprehension
arousal - overall level of animation, including lever of alertness, activity, and excitement
artificial intelligence - the programming in a computer that instructs it to behave in intelligent ways, as in simulating human knowledge and skills to accomplish a task, as well as the branch of computer science concerned with such programming
assimilation - for new immigrants, the process of acquiring the values, beliefs, and behaviors required in a new culture while discarding those from the old
assimilation of memory - the distortion of a memory trace toward the direction of something already familiar and common
assimilation - according to Piaget, the incorporation of new events or knowledge into existing schemas
association cortex - region of the cortex that is not programmed for sensory or motor activities were higher mental processing involved in thought, learning, and memory occurs, this region is involved in the integration of sensory information or motor commands
associative learning - the learning of associations between two stimuli or between a stimulus and a response based on repetition, includes classical and operant conditioning
attachment - the emotional bond between people
attachment behaviors - the signals, e.g., crying, smiling, reaching, and clinging from infants that trigger responsiveness in caregivers, increasing the likelihood of attachment
attitude - a relatively stable and enduring learned evaluation of something, including a particular person, behavior, belief, object, or idea
attraction - positive feelings for others, including loving and liking
attribution - a mental explanation of the causes of a personís behavior, including oneís own
attribution theory - the theory that seeks to explain how we decide, on the basis of samples of an individualís behavior, what the specific causes of that behavior are
attrition effects - the process of participants dropping out of a study for personal or uncontrollable reasons, this can severely bias experimental results
auditory and speech centers - the division of the cerebral cortex that receive auditory information and produce speech, they are located in the temporal lobe
auditory nerve - one of the basic structures of the ear formed by the axons of all the hair cells on the basilar membrane, this structure carries information about sounds to the brain for further processing
authority - influence based on knowledge or expertise, a person or group displaying this characteristic
autistic savant - a person with greatly diminished mental skills who displays an extraordinary proficiency in one isolated skill
autoimmune diseases - a class of diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, that are characterized by a disruption of the chemical communication system that regulates the immune system, instead of attacking antigens, the immune system attacks healthy tissues of the body and causes inflammation or deterioration
automatic processing - the encoding of information, particularly related to tme, space, and frequency of events in addition to well-learned information that occurs outside of conscious awareness and requires little attention or effort, and is of unknown capacity
autonomic nervous system - the division of the peripheral nervous system that consists of the nerves and ganglia that serve the glands, smooth muscles, and the heart
autoshaping - a system of reinforcements that organisms seem to design for themselves that lead to gradual behavioral change
availability heuristic - the decision-making shortcut whereby oneís judgment is biased from using the information that most readily comes to mind
axon - the thin process of a neuron that is specialized to conduct action potentials away from the soma
axonal conduction - the conveyance of nerve impulses within nurons
base analog - a term from analogical reasoning that is also know as a source analog, this is the first fact that is given in the analogy
basilar membrane - one of the basic structures of the ear, this membrane subdivides the cochlea and the sound waves passing them to the hair cells
beauty principle - the tendency for individuals to like physically attractive persons more than physically unattractive persons, especially in first impressions
behavior - an action, response, or performance that is observer or measured by others
behavioral confirmation - behavioral change that occurs in accordance with a self-fulfilling prophecy
behavioral medicine - an interdisciplinary field which encompasses scientific research, education, and practice focusing on the relation between behaviors to health, illness, and related physiological problems
behavior modification - the operant procedures applied to change behavior in accordance with learning principles
behaviorism - a school of psychology that developed in response to functionalism, which defined psychology as the study of the behaviors that can be observed and measured
behavior therapy - a general approach to psychological treatment which hold that the disorders to which it addresses itself are produced by maladaptive learning and must be remedied by reeducation, proposes techniques for this reeducation based on principles of learning and conditioning, and focuses on the maladaptive behaviors themselves rather than on hypothetical unconscious processes of which they may be expressions
belief - mental acceptance of something as true
bi-cultural - identification with two cultures
binocular cues - cues for depth perception that depend on the use of two eyes, such as convergence and binocular disparity
binocular disparity - when both eyes are focused on the same object, the difference in the retinal position of the objectís image in the left and right eyes provides a cue for depth perception
biological dispositions - biological characteristics or traits
biological universals - the biological elements that are common among all the members of a species, for human being, these include body structure, dependency of newborn children, year-round sexuality, and a complex brain structure
biomedical model - a model of heath that assumes that the mind and the body function separately and that disease lads to a dysfunction of the body
biopsychosocial model - a multi-level model of health that uses a combination of biological psychological, and social factors to explain how we maintain wellness or develop illness
bipolar cells - specialized nerve cells that connect the rods and cones to the ganglion cells in the eye
bipolar disorder - formerly called manic-depressive psychosis, mood disorder characterized by swings between mania and depression
blind spot - the place on the retina where the optic nerve exits the eyeball that lacks rods or cones, the brain fills in information to compensate for the lack of receptors in this area
blood alcohol level - the concentration of alcohol in the blood plasma measured in milligrams per 100 ml of blood
borderline personality disorder - a personality disorder characterized by distrust, impulsive and self-destructive behavior, and difficulty in controlling anger and other emotions
bottom-up processes - processes in form recognition that start with smaller component parts and then gradually build up to the larger units
brain growth spurt - the developmental period during which more than half of a childís eventual brain weight is added, this period occurs between the last three months of pregnancy and the first year after birth
brain stem - the brain matter between the spinal cord and the cerebrum
brightness - a perceived dimension or quality of visual stimuli, the extent to which an object appears light or dark
brightness constancy - the perception of an object as having the same relative brightness regardless of changing surroundings
brightness contrast - the perceiverís tendency to exaggerate the physical difference in the light intensities of two adjacent regions, as a result, a gray patch looks brighter on a black background and darker on a white background
Brocaís area - a part of the left side of the frontal lobe connected with the production of speech, it is named for its discovered, the French surgeon Paul Broca
bystander apathy - a bystanderís failure to help someone in need, increases in probability with the number of observers present, a.k.a. the bystander effect
Cannon-Bard theory - the perspective that suggests that when we are exposed to emotion-provoking events or stimuli, we simultaneously experience both physiological arousal and the subjective experience of emotions
cardinal traits - according to Allport, single personality traits that dominate a personís personality
case study - an observational study in which one person is studied intensively
catatonic schizophrenia - subtype of schizophrenia characterized by a waxy flexibility of body and limbs, loss of motion, and a tendency to remain motionless for hours or days
catharsis - a release of suppressed emotions that is sometimes believed to have therapeutic effect
cause-effect relationship - when one variable directly influences another variable, the experimental method is used to identify these relationships
central nervous system - one of the major divisions of the human nervous system, it consists of the brain, spinal cord, optic nerves, and retina, and is primarily responsible for storing and processing information
central tendency - the tendency of scores in a frequency distribution to cluster around a central value
central traits - according to Allport, the core traits, usually five to ten, that best describe a personís personality, they are generalized across situations and readily noticeable by others
central traits in impression formation - the major traits used to form impressions of others
cerebellum - a structure that is part of the hindbrain involved in muscular coordination and equilibrium
cerebrum - the largest part of the forebrain
cerebral cortex - the outermost layer of the cerebral hemisphere, it primarily consists of nerve cell bodies and their branches
childhood - the period of development between birth and puberty
chunks - the units of short-term memory which combine, integrate, or unite separate items
classical conditioning - the learning of a new response to a stimulus by pairing the stimulus with another stimulus that already elicits the response
client - centered therapy - a humanistic psychotherapy developed by Carl Rogers
closure - a factor in visual grouping, the perceptional tendency to fill in gaps in a figure so that is looks closed or complete
cocaine - a drug that stimulate the central nervous system and puts the body into a hyperenergized state
cochlea - a coiled structure in the inner ear that contains the basilar membrane whose deformation by sound-produced pressure stimulates the auditory receptors
cognition - the total process of thinking, which encompasses perception, learning, memory, and consciousness
cognitive approach - a theoretical framework of human and animal learning which olds that both humans and animals acquire and store mental representations of knowledge, cognitions, such as what is where, cognitive maps or what leads to what, expectancies, this contrasts with theories of instrumental learning such a s Skinnerí, which assert that learning consists of the strengthening or weakening of particular tendencies
cognitive - behavioral therapy - a process by which peopleís faulty cognitions about themselves and the world are changed to more accurate ones, thus changing the maladaptive behaviors based on those cognitions
cognitive consistency - a state in which beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors are mutually compatible
cognitive dissonance theory - Leon Festingerís consistency theory, which states that inconsistency between cognitions produces discomfort (dissonance), leading a person to act to restore consistency in order to remove that discomfort. For example, when we realize that we have behaved in a way that is inconsistent with out attitudes, we may change out attitudes to reduce the dissonance caused by having those inconsistent cognitions
cognitive learning - the learning of new skills and facts through focused attention and observation
cognitive map - a mental representation of our environment
cognitive psychology - the study of mental structures and processes and how pople use them to process, store, and receive information
cognitive schema - a mental representation or framework that is used to organize and process information
cognitive triad - according to Beck, a belief system involved in depression that includes three views: self-worth, the world in general, and the future
cohort effect - age-related differences among people who grew up at the same time attributable to cultural or historical differences while growing up rather than real developmental change
collective unconscious - in Jungís theory, a mystical construct that contains the basic images and ideas believed to be shared by all human beings
color blindness - a popular term used to describe having a color deficiency
color deficiency - the inability of people with normal acuity to see certain colors, owing to a deficit in one or more of the three types of retinal cones, the most common is the inability to distinguish red and green
community mental health programs - programs that emphasize the prevention of mental illness and the need for broader and more effective mental health services within communities
compliance - a form of social influence that involves behaving in accordance with another personís request
compliance techniques - persuasive techniques used to induce people to behave in a requested way, many are based on the social-psychological principles of consistency, reciprocity, attraction, social validation, scarcity, and authority
complexity - in audition, the number of different pure sound waves that are components of a single sound
computerized axial tomography (CAT or CT scan) - the use of brain X-rays to reveal differences in tissue densities among regions
concept - a class or category that encompasses a number of individual examples, the concept "bird" encompasses "robin," "eagle," and "penguin," for example
concrete operational stage - in Piagetís theory, the developmental period from about ages six to eleven, at this time, the child has acquired mental operations that allow her or him to abstract some essential attributes or reality, such as number and substance, but these operations are as yet applicable to only concrete events and cannot be considered entirely in the abstract
conditioned reflex - a learned reflex
conditioned response (CR) - a response elicited by some initially neutral stimulus, the conditioned stimulus (CS), as a result of pairing between that CS and an unconditioned stimulus (US), the CR and the unconditioned response are typically not identical, though they are often similar
conditioned stimulus (CS) - in classical conditioning, the stimulus that comes to elicit a new response after repeated pairings with the unconditional stimulus
conditioning trials - the repeated pairings of a neutral stimulus and an unconditioned response
cones - visual receptors that respond to greater light intensities and give rise to chromatic sensations
confounding variable - a variable that is linked to the independent variable that could affect the dependent variable that the experimenter inadvertently fails to control
conformity - a form of social influence which requires that people change their behaviors or attitudes to be in accord with group norms
conscious - in Freudian theory, the ideas, thoughts, and images that a person is aware of at any given moment
consciousness - self-knowledge or awareness of what one is experiencing at any given moment
consensus - the extent to which a personís reactions in response to an event are shared by others, in Kelleyís theory, this is one piece of information used to determine whether people make dispositional or situational attributions for behavior
conservation - a feature of cognitive development, this is the knowledge that essential physical properties of an object are not dependent on its external appearance and do not change if that appearance is altered
consistency - the extent to which a person consistently reacts to some stimulus in a particular way, in Kelleyís theory, this is one piece of information used to determine whether people make dispositional or situational attributions for behavior
contiguous events - events that occur close together in time, sometimes perceived to lead to learned associations
contingencies - relations between two events in which one is dependent upon another, if the contingency is greater than 0, the probability of event A will be greater when event B is present than when it is absent
continuous reinforcement - a schedule of reinforcement in which every response is followed by a reinforcer
control group - in experimental design, the group that does not experience the experimenterís manipulation of the independent variable, it is equal to the experimental group in all other ways
controllable versus uncontrollable - a dimension of causal attributions, the focus of which is to determine whether a person can control a particular behavior
controlled processing - thought processes that require conscious mental effort
convergent thinking - putting together a variety of facts to find and produce the one correct answer to a particular question or problem
conversion disorder - a type of somatoform disorder involving motor and/or sensory impairments such as paralysis, seizure, and lack of sensation that have no apparent physiological basis, formerly known as hysteria
cornea - the curved transparent surface of the eyeball that bends the light waves entering the eye, helping to focus them
corpus callosum - a bundle of neural fibers that connect the two cerebral hemispheres
correlation - the tendency of two variables to vary together, if one goes ups as the other goes up, the correlation is positive, if one goes up as the other goes down, the correlation is negative
correlational coefficient - a statistic, r, that expresses both the size and the direction of a correlation, varying from 1.00 (perfect positive correlation) to -1.00 (perfect negative correlation)
correspondence bias - the tendency to assume that peopleís words and actions correspond to their intentions, attitudes, and traits, even in the light of evidence to the contrary
cortisol - a hormone that regulates the thymus, dissolves excess white blood cells, and keeps the immune system under control
counterconditioning - a procedure for wakening a classically conditioned CR by connecting the stimulus that presently evokes it to a new response that is incompatible with the CR
covariation - in statistical analysis, the degree to which two sets of scores vary together
creative intelligence - the aptitude for seeing new and practical relationships between what we know and what we do not know, and for extrapolating what we know to novel situations
creativity - the ability to find original solutions to problems
crisis intervention - short-term therapeutic techniques used as a form of secondary prevention in times of crisis, an aspect of the community mental health movement
critical period - a time of particular sensitivity to specific environmental stimuli during development
cross-sectional study - an experimental design that tests groups of participants who are of different ages
crystallized intelligence - according to Cattell, the repertoire of information, cognitive skills, and strategies acquired by the application of fluid intelligence to various fields, it is said to increase with age
cue-dependent forgetting - the inability to remember learned information due to retrieval failure because cues present during learning are not present during recall
cultural differences - differences among groups attributable to variations in some aspect of their culture, the variations among cultures themselves
culturally sensitive therapy - therapy designed to be responsive to variations of values, beliefs, norms, and behaviors across cultures, when dealing with disadvantaged groups, it avoids blaming the victim and recognizes that behaviors defined as abnormal by the dominant society may be coping strategies necessary for survival
cultural relativism - the view that all cultural systems and moral codes are equally valid
culture - a peopleís way of life, including material goods, social institutions, and the symbols, concepts, values, beliefs, norms, habits, skills, and other learned capabilities acquired by human beings and transmitted across generations
dark adaptation - an increase in the eyeís sensitivity to light that occurs after the reduction or complete absence of light energy reaching it, attributable to changes in the level or light-sensitive pigments in the eyeís receptor cells
decision-making heuristics - mental decision-making shortcuts that bypass logic, rely on memory for past experiences, and are intuitive rather than analytic in nature
declarative knowledge - knowing "that" (i.e., knowing someoneís name) as contrasted with procedural knowledge, which is knowing "how" (i.e., knowing to ride a bicycle)
deductive reasoning - reasoning by which one tries to determine whether a particular statement follows logically from a number of premises, as in syllogisms
defense mechanisms - according to Freud, unconscious tactics employed by the ego to prevent anxiety
deindividuation - the loss of personal identity that occurs under conditions of anonymity
delirium tremens - a syndrome of highly unpleasant withdrawal symptoms (i.e., hallucinations, vomiting, uncontrolled trembling, and muscle spasms) that occurs as a consequence of abstinence from intoxicating substances after a period of long-term heavy use
dendrite - a typically highly branched part of a neuron that receives impulses from receptors or other neurons and conducts them toward the cell body
dependent variable - in the design of an experiment, the variable that is expected to be affected or influenced by the independent variable
depressive disorders - mood disorders marked by a state of deep and pervasive sadness, dejection, and hopelessness, accompanied by feelings or fatigue, apathy, and low self-worth
depth perception - the ability to perceive a three-dimensional world and determine the distance of objects from one another
determining causes - the immediate causes of an event
development - the systematic physiological and psychological changes that occur in an individual over time between conception and death
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) or Mental Disorders - a manual that identifies and defines over 200 separate diagnostic categories of mental problems and abnormal behaviors
diagnostic test - standard psychological exams used to gauge intellectual ability, determine personality traits, or identify a psychological condition or problem
diathesis-stress model - a model based on the belief that many organic and mental disorders arise from an interaction between a diathesis (a predispositions toward and illness) and some form of precipitating environmental events
difference threshold - a measure of a personís ability to discriminate one stimulus from another on a particular dimensions, which as intensity or frequency
differentiation - a progressive change from the general to the particular and from the simpler to the more complex which characterizes embryological development, according to some theorists, the same patters holds for the development of behavior after birth
diffusion of responsibility - a decrease in a personís individual sense of responsibility to help in an emergency that occurs when bystanders are present, the greater the number of bystanders, the less likely a helping response is to occur
discourse - an oral or written body of language consisting of two or more sentences
discrimination - in learning, the process of distinguishing among similar stimuli and responding to only the appropriate one, in social psychology, the behavioral expression of prejudice
disorganized schizophrenia - a form of schizophrenia characterized by disorganized speech and behavior and inappropriate or blunted affect (i.e., laughing at something sad or expressing no emotions at all), people exhibiting this form of schizophrenia tend to be socially withdrawn
dispositional attributions - attributions that assign the cause of a behavior to something about the person, e.g., the presence or absence of some ability or personality trait
dispositions - personal characteristics or attributes
dissociative amnesia - the sudden loss of memory, especially such information that is traumatic or stressful, in response to a specific upsetting event
dissociative disorder - a disorder characterized by a mental dissociation or separation of one part of a personís conscious awareness from another
dissociative identity disorder - a relatively rare disorder that develops when individuals find certain events in their lives so psychologically painful that they seek to escape by creating new and different identities that typically exhibit different, and often opposite traits from the original identity, also called multiple personality disorder
distal stimuli - the objects in the environment that are the origins of the physical energies (proximal stimuli) that impinge on our sensory receptors, for example, a tree is a distal stimulus, while the light energies reflected from the tree that fall on the retina in the image of the tree are the proximal stimuli
distinctiveness - the extent to which a personís behavior is unique, that is the extent to which a given behavior does or does not occur across different situations, in Kelleyís theory, this is one piece of information used to determine whether people make dispositional or situational attributions for behavior
divergent thinking - a kind of thought process that refers to the ability to produce a variety of different, yet relevant responses to an open-ended question or problem
dopamine - a neurotransmitter involved in various brain structures, including those that control motor action
double-blind experiment - an experiment in which neither the research participants nor the experimenter know which treatment is being applied until the experiment is over
dream analysis - a psychodynamic technique in which a therapist interprets a clientís dream to uncover hidden, unconscious motivation
drive - a state of tension or arousal that motivates organisms to behave in particular ways, typically to reduce that tension, drives generally, but nor always, arise in response to a state of physical need, for example, the hunger drive results from the need for food
drug abuse - the consumption of a drug or drugs to the extent that the userís functioning orhealth is significantly impaired, or when the actions of the user become potentially dangerous to others
drug therapy - the use of psychotropic drugs to treat a personís mental or psychological state
drug tolerance - the compensatory reaction that develops after repeated use of a drug, leading to the need to use increasingly larger doses to obtain the same effect produced previously
drug use - the consumption of a drug or drugs
dysthymia - sometimes called neurotic depression, a mood disorder characterized by a mild but pervasive depression over an extended period of time
eardrum - the taut membrane that transmits vibrations of sound waves across the middle ear to the inner ear
echoic memory - a sensory memory of an auditory stimulus
ego - one of the basic structures of the personality as proposed by Freud, the ego maintains a balance among the demands of the id, superego, and reality
ego analysis - therapeutic approach based on ego psychology
egocentric - viewing events solely from oneís own point of view and failing to take into account the perspectives of others, in Piagetís theory, egocentrism is characteristic of children in the preoperational state of development
ego integrity - the ability of the ego to accomplish balance between id, superego, and reality
ego psychology - an approach to psychology that, in addition to the neo-Freudian concern with cultural and interpersonal factors, holds that the ego has its own functions apart from dealing with the id and stresses the healthy aspects of the self as it tries to cope with reality
elaboration likelihood model - the theory that there are two different routes to persuasion, central and peripheral, which differ in the amount of cognitive effort (elaboration) ivolved in processing the persuasive information
elaborative rehearsal - rehearsal in which material in working memory is actively reorganized and linked to previously known information
electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) - a form of biological therapy in which an electric current is passed through the brain, causing a convulsion used to treat severe depression
embryo - the earliest stage in a developing animal that occurs after implantation, in humans this stage occurs up to about eight weeks after implantation
emotion - internal feelings that energize behavior, emotions have three components: physiological responses, subjective or conscious experience, and overt behavior
emotion-focused coping - a method of coping in which the objective is to reduce tension and anxiety resulting from a problem rather than to deal directly with the problem itself
empirical methods - methods that rely on the systematic observation and measurement of overt behavior
empiricism - a school of thought that holds that all knowledge comes through the senses, that is, though observation
encoding specificity principle - the hypothesis that retrieval is facilitated if the context at the time of recall is similar to that present during the original encoding
encounter groups - a form of group therapy that operates on the basis of humanistic theories and emphasizes the sharing of perspectives and support of individual growth, the goal of encounter groups is to sensitize each member to his or hr own feelings as well as to the feelings of others by placing the members in face-to face encounters with each other
endocrine system - the network of glands that sends chemical messages throughout the body by secreting hormones that affect the bodyís growth and functioning
endorphins - naturally occurring chemicals produced within the brain that act as neurotransmitters whose effects and chemical composition are similar to such pain-relieving opiates as morphine
episodic memory - the memory of particular events in oneís own life
equilibrium - in perception, the sense that informs us about the position of the body in space, in Piagetís theory, a state of balance between the processes of assimilation and accommodation
equity theory - the theory that interpersonal attraction depends upon the ration of each personís costs and benefits in the relationship
escape training - instrumental training in which reinforcement consists of the reduction or cessation of an aversive stimulus
estimation - the use of inferential statistics to estimate the actual values of some population characteristic from a sample of observations
ethnicity - a social category that distinguishes people based on their common social and cultural characteristics, such as nationality, religion, and language
ethnocentrism - prejudice in favor of oneís own ethnic group
evolutionary psychology - the theoretical perspective that seeks to explain social behavior in human beings and animals in terms of the principles of evolution
expectancy - the anticipation of a particular event or outcome, such as having the expectancy that a certain behavior will result in a specific outcome
expectancy effects - these effects occur when research participantsí knowledge of experimental conditions influences their behavior, thereby affecting the outcome of the experiment
expected utility - the subjective utility of a goal combined with the subjective probability of attaining it
experimental group - in an experiment, the group that receives the experimental treatment
expert system - a computer problem-solving program that attempts to simulate the reasoning of a human specialist
explanatory style - oneís habitual method of explaining the causes of behavior and other events
explicit memory - memory retrieval that requires a conscious effort to remember so that one is aware of remembering during the time of retrieval
external attributions - attributions that assign the cause of a behavior to something about the situation, also called situational attributions
extinction - in classical conditioning, the weakening of the tendency of a CS to elicit a CR by unreinforced presentations of the CS, in instrumental conditioning, a decline in the tendency to perform the instrumental response brought about by unreinforced occurrences of that response
extrinsic motivation - motivation to perform a behavior for an external, tangible reward, rather than for the pleasure of doing the behavior itself
facial feedback hypothesis - the hypothesis that sensory feedback from the facial muscles will lead to subjective feelings of emotion that correspond to the particular facial pattern
factor - in statistics, a hypothetical ability or attribute that underlies a pattern of highly intercorrelated tests
factor analysis - a method of interpreting test questionnaire results in which clusters of related items, or factors, are analyzed to reveal the underlying phenomena or concepts
false consensus bias - the tendency to overestimate the extent to which other think and feel the same way that we do
family therapy - a general term for a number of therapies that treat the family or a couple, operating on the assumption that the cause of family or marital distress lies not in the pathology of any individual souse of family member but rather in relationship dynamics within the family or marriage system
fear of failure - a fear of ailing a task that can lead people not to attempt the task in the first place
feature detectors - neurons in the retina or brain that respond to specific features of a stimulus, such as movement and orientation
feminist therapy - a form of therapy that views differential power between men and women as the source of many womenís problems, feminist therapy emphasizes egalitarian relationships between men and women, between minority and majority groups, and between therapists and clients, it tries to help clients identify and change dysfunctional situations rather than encourage clients to adapt to them
fertilization
fetus - second major stage after implantation
fight-or-flight response - a physiological reaction to stress in which an organism is aroused and becomes physiologically prepared to take action, either to attack or to flee
fixed interval - one of the four basic partial reinforcement schedules in which reinforcements are delivered to the first response that occurs after a specific amount of time has passed, the amount of time does not vary from trial to trial
fixed ratio - one of the four basic partial reinforcement schedules in which reinforcements are delivered following a specific number of responses, the number of responses required does not very from trial to trial
flashbulb memories - vivid and detailed memories of unexpected and emotionally important events
fluid intelligence - the ability to deal with new types of problems
forebrain - in mammals, the bulk of the brain, its foremost region includes the cerebral hemispheres, its rear includes the thalamus and hypothalamus
formal operational stage - according to Piaget, a stage of development that is characterized by the ability to form abstract thoughts, and which is typically reached during the period from age twelve to adulthood
fovea - the central region of the retina, which contains cones but few rods, it is the area of greatest visual acuity
free association - a psychoanalytic technique for exploring the unconscious by encouraging a patient to say whatever comes to mind, without censoring or editing any statement
free nerve endings - the branching ends of dendrites or certain sensory neurons which act as receptors for sensations of pain
free will - the power to make choices that are not predetermined and to direct oneís own actions
frequency - in audition, the property of sound waves that refers to the umber of crests in the wave during a second of time
frequency distribution - an arrangement of scores that are tabulated by the frequency in which they occur
Freudian theory - the original psychodynamic personality theory developed by Sigmund Freud and his followers that emphasizes the effects of conflicts between unconscious and conscious forces and the impact of early childhood experiences for the development of adult personality
friendship - a relationship characterized by the sharing of private thoughts and feelings
frontal lobe - the frontmost portion of the cerebral cortex, which lies just behind the forehead, it is concerned with the regulation of voluntary movements
functional distance - in attraction theory, a measure that takes into account the distance between two residences and the arrangement of space, as both influence the probability that people will interact with each other
functional fixedness - a mental set that involves the tendency to think of objects in terms of the way they are typically used
functional psychology (functionalism) - a school of psychology that emphasizes learned behaviors that enable organisms to adapt to their environments and to function effectively
fundamental attribution error - the tendency to use internal attributions about others and to underestimate the situational factors in their behavior
ganglion cells - one of the intermediate links between the receptor cells of the retina and the cerebrum, the axons of the ganglion cells converge into a bundle that leaves the eyeball as the optic nerve
gender - the cultural package of characteristics, assigned by sex in most cultures, that defines the social categories of male and female
gender identity - oneís personal awareness of being male or female
gender role - the set of social expectations for behaviors on the part of males and females
gender schemas - organized sets of beliefs and expectations about males and females that guide information processing
general adaptation syndrome (GAS) - a sequence of physiological responses that the body goes through in response to a stressor, it involves three stages: alarm/mobilization, resistance, and exhaustion
generalized anxiety disorder - the experience of long-term anxiety with no explanation for it
genital stage - in Freudian theory, the final phase of psychosexual development in which psychic energy becomes focused on heterosexual genital mating
Gestalt psychology - a theoretical approach that emphasizes that mental phenomena are best understood when viewed as organized wholes rather than when reduced and analyzed into various components
Gestalt therapy - a humanistic approach to psychotherapy developed by Fritz Perlz, in which patients act out past conflicts in order to confront, take responsibility for, and learn control of their feelings
g-factor - in intelligence, a general mental ability cutting across all tests, first discovered by Charles Spearman
glycerol - a carbohydrate found in the bloodstream, the levels of glycerol fall and rise in relation to changes in fat storage
gradient of stimulus generalization - a mathematical curve that illustrates the degree of generalization among various stimuli
group - two or more individuals who interact and perceive themselves as a unit
group polarization effect - the observation that groups often adopt positions more extreme than would be predicted by averaging the initial views held by members before discussion occurred
group therapy - a type of psychotherapy in which therapists work with an interacting collection of people rather than with single individuals
habituation - in learning, a decline in response to stimuli that have become familiar
hair cells - the auditory receptors in the cochlea, lodged between the basilar membrane and other membranes above, that transduce sound wave into electrochemical energy
halfway houses - houses that rehabilitate people released from mental hospitals when they are not yet fully prepared to take their place in a home and family environment, these houses are usually supervised by paraprofessionals, who consult periodically with mental health professionals
hardiness - a personality attribute characterized by a sense of control over experiences and outcomes, a deep involvement in daily activities, and a believe that daily activities are worth doing
health behaviors - behaviors that enhance and maintain health
health belief model - a model that suggests that help-seeking behavior depends on how much one has, first, general health values, second, specific beliefs about personal vulnerability to a particular disorder, and, three, beliefs about how life-threatening the disorder is
health-compromising behaviors - behaviors that undermine or harm current or future health
health-enhancing behaviors - behaviors that improve health (e.g., maintaining a well-balanced diet and a reasonable exercise program, wearing seat belts)
health habits - firmly established health behaviors, often performed automatically, without awareness
health promotion - the process of helping people to gain more control over and to improve their health by increasing health-enhancing behaviors and decreasing health-compromising behaviors
health psychology - a subfield of psychology that focuses on health-related behaviors and psychological aspects of health and illness over the life span by studying how mind and body interact to influence health
heuristics - problem-solving shortcuts that are sometimes more efficient and immediately effective than a systematic approach
hidden observer technique - according to Hildard, a hypnotized subjectís awareness of experiences, such as pain, that are nonetheless unreported during hypnosis
hierarchy of needs - according to Maslow, the concept of an ordering of needs, physiological, safety, belongingness, esteem, and self-actualization, in which those lower in the order, beginning with physiological needs, must be satisfied before those that are higher merge
hindbrain - the most primitive portion of the brain, which include the medulla and the cerebellum
hippocampus - a structure in the temporal lobe that constitutes and important part of the limbic system, of the functions involves memory
homeostasis - the bodyís tendency to maintain a constant internal environment even when the external environment changes
hormone - chemical messenger secreted into the bloodstream by an endocrine gland, which may activate another gland or regulate body functions and behavior
hue - the property of light stimulation (wavelength) that corresponds to the sensation of color
humanistic approach - a theory that focuses on what it means to be an individual human being with the ability to choose oneís own actions and to find self-actualization or fulfillment, often through helping others
humanistic psychology - a school of psychology that focuses on the uniqueness of individuals and their tendencies toward creativity, growth, and personal improvement, and emphasizes their ability to make conscious choices and to take personal responsibility for their actions
hunger - a drive that compels organisms to seek out the nutrients that the body requires
hypermnesia - an enhancement of memory typically attributable to increased or repeated efforts at recall
hyperphagia - voracious, chronic overeating that can be brought about by a lesion of the ventromedial rgion of the hypothalamus
hypersuggestability - a strong inclination to follow the suggestions and instructions of a hypnotist
hypnagogic stage - a state of consciousness experienced when passing from wakefulness to sleep
hypochondriasis - a disorder characterized by persistent and irrational fear of having an illness despite reassurance from doctors that nophysical illness exists
hypnosis - a temporary, trance-like state of heightened suggestibility to the suggestions of others that can be induced in normal persons. During hypnosis, various hypnotic or posthypnotic suggestions sometimes produce effects that resemble some symptoms of conversion disorders
hypothalamus - a brain structure located in the forebrain that is involved in many behavioral functions, especially the emotional and motivational aspects of behavior. It can control the endocrine systemís acticities through connections with the pituitary gland
hypothesis - a statement of a predicted relationship between two or more variables; specifically, in experimental design, the statement of the predicted relationship between the independent and the dependent variable
iconic memory - brief sensory memory of visual images
id - in Freudean theory, a term for the most primitive structures of human personality, the unconscious, irrational, and instinctual strivings for immediate satisfaction regardless of cost
identity - an individualís sense of personal uniqueness and continuity
illusory correlation - an error that occurs because people tend to perceive correlations were they expect them to b even if they are not present; illusory correlations help to form and maintain stereotypes
implicit memory - memory retrieval that requires no conscious effort to remember so that one is not aware of remembering during the time of retrieval
imprinting - a species-specific preprogrammed form of learning that occurs at a particular period in life (the critical or sensitive period) if the organism is exposed to the appropriate stimulus
incentive - a circumstance or stimulus situation that one will work to obtain or avoid
incubation - in problem solving, a time-out period of rest from intensive work on a problem
independent variable - in experimental design, the variable that the psychologist manipulates to determine its effect on another
inductive reasoning - reasoning from the specific to the general, by which one observes a umber of particular instances and tries to determine a general rule that covers them all
infancy - very early childhood, from birth to two years
inferences - conclusions about people or situations derived by making assumptions based on observations
information-processing approach - theory of problem solving that focuses on the way a persona receives information from the environment, operates on it, integrates it with other information available in memory, and uses it as a basis for deciding how to act
in-group - a group to which an individual belongs, feels loyalty, and with which he or she identifies
in-group favoritism - the positive feelings and special treatment that members of a group will accord other group members while having negative feelings toward and unfairly treating those who are not group members
insight - the sudden achievement of understanding that arises from a change in perspective on a problem, in Gestalt psychology, insight is viewed as the most appropriate description of human problem solving
instinct - an inherited pattern of behavior
instrumental conditioning - a type of learning in which the probability of behavior changes depending on its consequences, also called operant conditioning
integration - efforts to get along with others, to regulate behavior according to social codes and standards, and to develop a conscience
intelligence - the abilities needed to perform goal-directed adaptive behaviors in oneís environment
intelligence quotient (IQ) - an index of intelligence allowing for comparison of research participants across all chronological ages, IQ is calculated by dividing metal age by chronological age and multiplying by 100
intensity - in vision, a property of light measured by the amount of energy in the light, intensity produces the experience of brightness
interactionist approach - the view that emphasizes joint influence of aspects of the persona dn the situation in determining behavior
interference theory - the assertion that items are forgotten because they are somehow interfered with by other items learned before or after
internal attribution - same as dispositional attribution
internal locus of control - a personality orientation in which individuals believe thy have control over their behavior and its outcomes
internal versus external attributions - a dimension of causal attributions concerned with deciding whether a behavior reflects something about the person or something about the situation
interneurons - neurons that transmit and process information between sensory and motor neurons
interpersonal attraction - the expression of desire to approach and become involved with other people
interposition - a monocular depth cue in which we perceive and object that is partially blocked by another s more distant than the blocking object
interval schedule - a reinforcement schedule in which reinforcement in delivered for the first response made after a given interval of time has passed, in a fixed-interval schedule, the interval is always the same, in a variable-interval schedule, the interval varies around a specified average
intrinsic motivation - a desire to perform a behavior in the absence of tangible reward because the activity itself is enjoyable
introspection - observing oneís own private, internal sate of being, including oneís thoughts and feelings
James-Lange theory - the view, advanced by William James and Carl Lange, that the perception of events in he environment triggers bodily changes that produce the actual experience of emotion
just noticeable difference (j.n.d.) - the smallest difference between two stimuli or stimuli intensities that can be detected
language - an organized system of symbols with meanings that are shared and are used to communicate
language acquisition - the process by which individuals learn a language
latent learning - learning that occurs without being manifested in performance
latent stage - according to Freud, the fourth state of psychosexual development during which the childís psychic energies are not attached to any particular part of the body
law of contiguity - a principle of learning that states that events occurring close together in space and time become associated
law of effect - the forerunner of the contemporary principle of reinforcement, this law states that responses leading to satisfying consequences will be strengthened and more likely to be repeated, whereas responses leading to unsatisfying consequences will be weakened and less likely to occur
learned helplessness - an organismís learned belief that it cannot control its environment, which may or may not be accurate
learning - a relatively permanent change in behavior that occurs as a result of experience
learning curve - a curve in which some index of learning, e.g., the number of drops of saliva in Pavlovís classical conditioning experiment, is plotted against trials or sessions
learning by imitation - learning that takes place by observing and repeating anotherís behavior
lens - the structure of the eye that bends light rays to focus an image on the retina
leveling - in memory, the gradual wakening and eventual disappearance of a memory trace over a period of disuse or non-retrieval
libido - according to Freud, psychic energy that is primarily drived from the sexual, pleasure-seeking instinct of the id
limbic system - a set of brain structures that includes a relatively primitive portion of the cerebral cortex and parts of the thalamus and hypothalamus, it is believed to be involved in the control of emotional behavior and motivation
linear perspective - a monocular cue for perceiving distance derived from the fact that parallel lines appear to converge more closely the rather away they are
linear regression - the simplest form of statistical regression which involves finding the straight line that best represents the data in a scatter plot
lithium - an antidepresant drug that is especiallyuseful in preventing the extreme mood swings that characterize bipolar mood disorders
lobotomy - psychosurgery that involves remogng, destroying, or disconnecting the area of the prefrontal lobe of the brain thought to be associated with violent or aggressive behavior
locus of control - personality dimension that distinguishes between people who believe their behaviors and outcomes are under their personal control from people who do not have such beliefs
longitudinal study - a developmental study in which the same people are tested at different ages
long-term memory - those parts of the memory system that store such vast amounts of information for such log periods of time that their limits are yet undetermined
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - a neurodiagnostic technique that relies on nuclear magnetic resonance, and MRI scan passes a high-frequency alternating magnetic field through the head and produces information that can be used to form a three-dimensional picture of the brainís features
maintenance rehearsal - rehearsal in which material remains in the working memory for a while, in contrast to elaborative rehearsal, maintenance rehearsal confers little long-term benefits
major depression - a disorder characterized by two or more weeks of depressed mood and/or loss of interest or pleasure in all or most activities, too much or too little sleep, fatigues, loss of energy, significant weight loss or gain, feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt, diminished ability to concentrate, and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
marijuana - the dried leaves and flowering tops of the female hemp plant, sometimes smoked for their intoxicating effects on the mind
master status - location in the social structure that is given precedence over other statuses across a variety of situations, foe example, the status of being female sometimes acts as a master status, overriding other status categories, such as occupation
material culture - those aspects of culture that are tangible human creations
maturation - biological changes that reflect a programmed growth process that is relatively unaffected by environmental conditions (e.g., the maturational sequence of creeping, crawling, and walking found in human beings)
mean - a measure of central tendency, it is the total of the scores divided by the number of scores
median - a measure of central tendency, it is the point that divides the distribution of a set of values into two equal halves
meditation - a set of techniques used to attain an altered state of consciousness that allows one to exclude external stimulation, to control oneís thoughts, and to focus or concentrate on a single stimulus or idea to a significant degree
medulla oblongata - the rearmost portion of the brain, just adjacent to the spinal cord, it includes centers that help control respiration and maintain muscle tone
memory trace - the change assumed to occur in the nervous system as a result of an experience that is the physical basis of its retention in memory
mental age (MA) - a score devised by Binet to represent the level of intelligence based on an individualís test performance relative to others in his or her age group, it is computed by determining the chronological age at which 50 percent of the age group perform at the same level of the child being tested, children with an MA greater than their chronological age (CA) are ahead of their age group mentally, if their MA is lower than their CA, they lag behind it
mental representations - internal symbols that stand for something but are not equivalent to is, such as words or images
mental set - the predisposition to process information about a subject in one particular way, even when that way is inadequate for representing the information in new situations
midbrain - -the part of the brain that makes connections between the forebrain and the hindbrain and alerts the forebrain to incoming sensory information
mind-body dualism - the assumption that the mind and the body function separately
minimal groups - an experimental paradigm that aims to create groups based on the most trivial (minimal) of criteria, such as flipping a coin
Minnesota Miltiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) - a test used to aid in the diagnosis of mental disorders, it consists of statements that people are asked to judge as "true," "false," or "cannot say" about themselves, the responses are then compared to those typically given by people diagnosed as having particular psychiatric disorders
mnemonics - strategies for improving memory typically based on translating information into vivid imagery or providing meaningful framework for remembering it
modal score - the score that occurs most frequently in a distribution of values, also called the mode
modeling - a technique used to teach people how to do things by having them watch the behavior of others
monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor - an antidepressant drug that increases norepinephrine and serotonin levels in the brain and has been found to relive depression in some people
monocular cues - various features of the visual stimulus that indicate depth, even when viewed with one eyes, e.g., linear perspective and motion parallax
mood disorders - psychological disorders characterized by deep, severe, and long-lasting periods of sadness and low energy, or swings between high and low periods
morality - a set of ideals or principles that help a person to make distinctions between right and wring and to act on the basis of those distinctions
morality of care - a theory of moral development conceptualized by Carol Gilligan that emphasizes the values of caring and compassion and suggests that females develop different moral orientations that do males
moral realism - according to Piagetian theory, the initial state in moral development, in which rules are viewed as sacred and unchangeable moral absolutes
moral relativism - according to Piagetian theory, the second stage of moral development in which rules are regarded as changeable agreements created by people to serve particular needs
motion parallax - the smallest units of meaning in a language
motivation - the factors, including needs, drives, and incentives, that energize behavior toward a goal
motor cortex - the cortical structure in the brain that is directly involved in the control of voluntary muscle movement
motor neurons - neurons that carry information away from the central nervous cells to muscle cells
multicultural - belonging to, or displaying aspects of more than one culture
multiple personality disorder - dissociative identity disorder
multiple regression - a statistical procedure that can be used to correlate more than one variable (predictor variables) with another variable (criterion variable) in order to improved prediction accuracy
naturalistic observation - a research method for systematically observing and recording behaviors as they occur in real world settings
nature - genetic factors that influence behavior
need - a state created when an organism does not have or is deprived of an object or condition it requires
need for achievement - the need to meet a standard for excellent, to accomplish something difficult, or to excel, people high in this need persist longer and do better on difficult tasks, and are apt to set realistic and challenging goals, the need for achievement reflects a central value in American culture
need for affiliation - the need to develop relationships with other people
need for power - the need to control resources and the behavior of other people
need for social approval - the desire to obtain the approval or to avoid the disapproval of others
negative afterimage - in vision, the visual image that lasts after removal of the stimulus that caused it, this afterimage appears in the opposite color of the original stimulus, e.g., red appears as green and blue appears as yellow
negative punishment - the process of lowering the probability of a behavior by removing a pleasant stimulus after the response occurs
negative reinforcement - the process of increasing the probability of a response by removing an unpleasant stimulus after the response occurs
neurotransmitters - chemical messengers released at the terminal button of an axon which travel across the synapse and have an excitatory or inhibitory effect on an adjacent neuron
nicotine - a drug generally classified as a stimulant that is the active ingredient in tobacco products, an acetylcholine agonist
non-REM sleep - the four distinguishable stages of sleep characterized by slow-wave EEG and gross body movements (rolling or changing positions)
noradrenaline - norepinephrine, a hormone that plays a role in adapting the body to stress, also found in the nervous system as a neurotransmitter
normal distribution - a frequency distribution whose graphic representation has a symmetric, bell-shaped form called the normal curve, its characteristics are often referred to when investigators test statistical hypotheses and make inferences about the population from a given sample
norms - in intelligence testing, the scores taken from a large sample of a population against which an individualís test scores are evaluated, in social psychology, a groupís standards for the behavior of its members
nurture - the environmental factors that influence human development
obedience - a form of social influence in which people obey a direct order from an authority figure
objective - having to do with external events that are observable by more than one individual
objective personality tests - a method of personality assessment that is based on a standardized set of questions of previously determined reliability and validity that have been given to a large number of people and permit comparisons among individuals
object permanence - the belief that an object exists even when it is out of sight, according to Piaget, this concept does not develop until infants are eight months old or more
object relations theory - a form of psychoanalytic ego psychology, the theory that ego development and subsequent interpersonal relationships are based on the infantís attachment to the mother and other figures
observational learning - cognitive learning that can occur simply by watching another personís behavior
obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) - a disorder characterized by repeated or continuous intrusive thoughts, feeling of anxiety as a result of these thoughts, and the need to repeat certain acts to reduce that anxiety
occipital lobe - the lobe of the cerebral cortex involved in the perception and analysis of visual information
operant chamber - Skinner box
operant conditioning - instrumental conditioning
operant response - in Skinnerís system, the response that is followed by a reinforcement or punishment
operational definition - the use of a methodological procedure (operation) to define and abstract concept in a concrete way, for example, the operational definition of the abstract concept of anxiety might be operationally defined by a physiological measure, such as heart rate, or by a verbal report measure, such as a rating of anxiety level
opponent-process theory - in vision, a theory of color vision based on the idea that the perception of a particular color depends on a combination of signals from three opposing pairs of receptors or channels (red-green, yellow-blue, and black-white), in motivation, a theory that claims that every emotional experience leads to the opposite emotional experience that persists after the original emotion has ended
optimal level of arousal - the idea that, in keeping with the principle of homeostasis, we have a particular level of cortical stimulation at which our goal-directed behaviors are most effective, we seek stimulation when arousal is low and we avoid stimulation when arousal is high in order to maintain our optimal level of arousal
oral stage - in Freudian theory, the first stage of psychosexual development, in which psychic energy is focused on the mouth
out-group - two or more individuals who are not included in an in-group
out-group homogeneity bias - the perception that members of groups that we are not part of (out-groups) are more similar to each other than members of our own group (in-group)
pain - unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual, potential, or imagined tissue damage
panic attacks - anxiety attacks that involve feelings and physical reactions such as heart palpitations, shortness of breath, sweating, faintness, and great fear that resemble those f someone in terrible danger when no real danger is present
panic disorder - an anxiety disorder characterized by sudden anxiety attacks usually lasting for several minutes in which bodily symptoms, e.g., choking, dizziness, trembling, and chest pains, are accompanied by feelings of intense apprehension, terror, and a sense of impending doom
parasympathetic nervous system - the part of the autonomic division of the peripheral nervous system involved in controlling involuntary behavior, such as digestion, it works in opposition to the sympathetic nervous system and conserves body energy, calming the body and bringing functions back to normal after an emergency has passed
parietal lobe - a lobe of the cerebral cortex between the frontal lobe and the occipital lobe that is concerned with the senses of skin and body position
partial reinforcement - a condition in which a response is reinforced only some of the time
partial reinforcement effect - the finding that a response is much harder to extinguish if it was acquired during a partial rather than continuous reinforcement
perception - the mental process by which we organize and interpret sensory information
peripheral nervous system (PNS) - one of the two major divisions of the nervous system that contains the nerves that provide communication between the central nervous system and other part of the body, including muscles, glands, and sensory receptors
permastore - an extremely stable and durable form of memory
personal control - our belief in our ability to affect the situations in which we find ourselves
personality - an individualís unique combination of enduring personal characteristics and behaviors
phallic stage - in Freudean theory, the third stage of psychosexual development, in which psychic energies are focused on the genitals
phenothiazines - a group of antipsychotic drugs that reduces the agitation and psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia
phenotype - the unique combination of overt characteristics of an organism that results from the interaction of the genotype with the environment
pheromones - special chemicals secreted by many animals which trigger particular reactions in members of the same species
phobias - intense, irrational fears that include the persistent and extreme desire to avoid some object or situation
photoreceptors - cells in the retina that transduce light energy into electrochemical information, cones encode color vision and are responsible for acuity, while rods are sensitive to light and are used primarily for vision in dim light
physical development - developmental change that occurs in bodily structures and processes over the life cycle
physical drug dependence - dependence on a drug when the drug has created a physiological need by changing the bodyís normal chemical balance
Piagetian theory - a theory of cognitive development, conceptualized by Jean Piaget, that takes the dynamic view that intellectual development occurs in stages
piuitary gland - an endocrine glad heavily influenced by the hypothalamus, it is considered a master glad because many of its secretions trigger hormone secretions in other glands
placebo - in medical practice, a term for a chemically inert substance that the patient perceives as having therapeutic effects
placebo effect - the beneficial effect of a treatment administered to a patient who believes it has therapeutic powers even though it has none
placenta - the network of blood vessels attached to the uterine wall, which carries oxygen and food to the developing embryo or fetus
plasticity - the brainís capacity for modification
pleasure principle - according to Freud, the concept of immediate gratification of desires hat governs the operation of the id
polygraph - a complex piece of electronic equipment that measures blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, and electrical resistance of the skin, it is used in research to determine what people experience as stressful and sometimes as a lie detector, although its validity for that purpose is debated
pons - the structure just above the medulla that connects parts of the brain stem to one another and to the spinal cord, it plays a role in sleep and respiration
positive punishment - an aversive stimulus administered to decrease the likelihood of a response
positive reinforcement - the process of increasing the probability of a response by following it with a pleasant stimulus
positron emission tomography (PET scans) - an imaging process that records the levels of glucose and glucose metabolism in the brain, the resulting pictures show the level of metabolic activity throughout the various regions of the brain at a given point in time
posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) - an anxiety disorder resulting from intensely traumatic events (e.g., experiencing the threat of death, serious injury, or bodily violation as occurs in rape and torture) in which the individual reexperiences emotional, cognitive, and behavioral aspects of the past trauma, including intense fear, helplessness, horror, physical symptoms, and irritability
practical intelligence - the ability to apply what we know to adapt to the demands of everyday tasks, and to act in accordance with the rules of society and the environment
pragmatics - a discipline devoted to the study of the implicit aspect of language use, particularly with regard to how it is used in various contexts
Pragnanz - a Gestalt principle of perceptual organization that corresponds to a "goodness of figure"
preconscious - according to Freud, the ideas, thoughts, and images that a person is not aware of at a given moment but that can be brought into awareness with little or no difficulty
preembryo - in prenatal development, the formless mass of cells that multiplies during the week after fertilization while making its way down the Fallopian tube to burrow into the wall of the uterus (implantation) where it develops into the embryo
prejudice - negative attitudes toward individuals based on their group membership
Premack principle - the principle developed by David Premack that states that under conditions of free choice, the behavior that is most probably is the behavior that is most preferred and therefore most reinforcing
premoral period - in Piagetian theory, the period from birth to four years of age when children show no understanding or conception of rules
prenatal period - the time in an individualís development from conception to birth
preoperational stage - in Piagetís theory, the second stage of cognitive development occurring roughly between two and seven years of age, characterized by a limited understading of logical principles such as conservation and reversibility
prepared learning - a generically based predisposition to learn associations between certain kinds of stimuli and specific responses more readily than others
prescription drugs - drugs that are legally available only with authorization by a physician
primacy effects - in learning, the principle that information received first tends to be remembered better than later information, which helps explain why first impressions are important
primary appraisal - the first step in the cognitive appraisal of stressors in which the individual asks "am I OK or in trouble" and "what does this mean to me", these questions lead to three conclusions about a potential stressorís significance: it can be irrelevant, benign or positive, or stressful
primary prevention services - a form of mental health care that seeks to prevent the occurrence of mental disorders by finding and eliminating their potential causes
priming - the activation of a schema (concept), perhaps unconsciously, which can then be used to process incoming information
priming effect - increased access to a particular stimulus or piece of information as a result of priming, which can occur from previous recent exposure to the same or a related stimulus
primitive reflexes - one of two forms of reflexes that full-term new-borns inherit, primitive reflexes, e.g., the grasping reflex, are controlled by subcortical areas of the brain and gradually disappear over the first year of life, they may be a holdover from early evolutionary history when they were once needed for survival
proactive interference - interference with memory for certain information that is attributable to other information learned at an earlier time
problem-focused coping - a method of coping in which stressful conditions are evaluated and something is done to change or avoid them
problem space - the internal representation of a problem in memory
procedural knowledge - knowing "how" to do something in contrast to declarative knowledge
projective personality tests - a method of personality assessment in which test-takers response to or interpret ambiguous stimuli, e.g., inkblots, it is based on the psychodynamic approach and assumes that unconscious needs or desires will be revealed in the responses
propositions - a way of relating concepts by making an assertion that links a subject and a predicate
prototype - the most typical example of a category
proximal stimuli - those physical energies that impinge directly on the sensor receptors
proximity principle - in perception, the Gestalt principle of organization that says that objects that are closer to each other will be more likely to b perceived as a group; in interpersonal attraction, the principle that the mere fact of being physically near someone in one of the most powerful predictors of whether two people will become friends
psychoactive drugs - chemical compounds that affect the central nervous system, changing perception, reactivity, mood, and consciousness
psychoanalysis - psychodynamic therapy based on Freudian theory which employs techniques such as dream interpretation, free association, and analysis of resistance and transference, the goal i to provide insight into the patientís unconscious impulses, conflicts, and motives
psychodynamic approach - a school of psychology that views behavior as a result f mental events and emphasizes the importance of conflicting unconscious mental processes and early developmental experiences for understanding human behavior
psychological universals - psychological processes that operate in all individuals, such as learning, perception, and memory (what about object relations, projective identification, and defense mechanisms?)
psychology - the scientific study of behavior and mental processes
psychometrics - an area of psychology concerned with the construction and use of tests to measure qualitative and quantitative aspects of mental processes and behavior, such as intelligence and personality
psychopathology - the inability to behave in a socially appropriate way such that the consequences of oneís behavior are maladaptive for oneself or society
psychophysics - an approach that relates the characteristics of physical stimuli to attributes of the sensory experience they produce
psychosexual development - the stages of development that, according to Freud, all human beings pass through during early life, each stage, oral, anal, phallic, latent, and genital, centers around a specific area of the body where psychic energy (libido) concentrates during that particular period
psychosomatic illness - a physiological condition with psychological origins
psychosomatic medicine - the field devoted to treating illnesses that reflect emotional conflicts
psychosurgery - the treatment of pathological behavior by surgical intervention, including probing, slicing, or removing some parts of the brain
psychotherapy - collectively, methods for treating psychological problems based on principles of psychology aimed at changing behaviors, thoughts, perceptions, and emotions, sometimes called the "talking cure"
puberty - a period of development that marks the transition between childhood and adolescence when primary and secondary sex characteristics develop
punishment - decreasing the probability of a response by following it with an unpleasant stimulus
punishment and aversion therapy - a form of behavior therapy that involves the utilization of unpleasant stimuli to control or alter behavior
race - a social category based on a small number of readily discernible biological characteristics that is to a great extent random, the definition of racial categories changes over time and differs across cultures
random assignment - in experimental design, the assignment of research participants to conditions whereby each participant has the same probability of being assigned to any one condition
random sampling - selecting a sample in such a manner that each person in the population has an equal chance of being chosen for the sample
rational-emotive therapy - a clinical technique developed by Albert Ellis to help clients understand the irrationality of various beliefs, recognize how these beliefs affect their behavior, and practice new, more adaptive, rational, and beneficial ways of thinking and behaving
ratio schedule - a reinforcement schedule in which reinforcement is delivered for the first response that occurs after a certain number of responses, in a fixed-ratio schedule, the number of responses required for a reward is always the same, in a variable ratio schedule, the number of responses required varies irregularly around a specified average
reality principle - a concept originated by Freud, this principle governs the egoís functioning as it mediates among the demands of the external world, the id, and the super-ego
recall - a method of measuring memory in which research participants are simply asked to produce an item from memory
recency effect - in freely recalling a learned list of items, the recall superiority of the items at the end of the list compared to those in the middle, see also primacy effect and serial position effect
receptive field - the retinal area in which visual stimulation affects a particular cellís firing rate
reciprocal determinism - Banduraís concept in which behavioral variables, environmental variables, and personal/cognitive variables all mutually influence each other, a personís behavior affects the environment, the environment, in turn, affects behavior, and the personís awareness of mutual dependency affects both
reciprocity - the social-psychological principle that states that when we receive something, we feel compelled to return something of equal value
reciprocity principle - a basic norm of many social interactions that decrees the one must repay whatever one has been given
recognition - a measure of memory in which a person is presented a stimulus and asked to identify whether it is the same as one the person has previously encountered
reflectance - the percentage of the light falling on an object that is reflected from the object rather than absorbed
reflex - a simple, specific, involuntary response to a stimulus that does not require learning (e.g., the pupilís constriction in response to bright light)
refractory period - (1) the period during and after a neuronís firing in which the responsiveness of the axon is reduced, (2) the time interval following orgasm during which a person, typically a man, cannot have another orgasm, (3) the time interval following a response during which almost no stimulus will produce another response
regression - (1) in Freudís theory, a defense mechanism characterized by a return to an earlier stage of psychosexual development, (2) in statistics, a procedure for predicting a persons score on one variable when the personís score on another variable and the correlation between the two variables is already known
regression line - in statistics, when plotting the data during a regression analysis in graph, this line best represents the scores
rehabilitative services - mental health care that aims to reduce the long-term effects of existing emotional problems
rehabilitative therapy - a form of therapy designed to help victims of crisis by providing job retraining training in social skills, as well as variety of other psychological services
rehearsal - the conscious repetition of information in an effort to retain it in short-term memory
reinforcement - in classical conditioning, the procedure by which the US is made contingent on the CS, in instrumental conditioning , the procedure by which the instrumental response is made contingent on some desired outcome
reinforcer - an event or stimulus that increases the frequency of a response with which it is associated
relaxation training - a stress management technique that applies learning principles to counter the effects of stress by teaching individuals how to relax
reliability - an essential characteristic of any psychological test or measure, a test is reliable if, when given again, it obtains consistent results when there is no reason to believe the phenomenon being measured has changed
REM sleep - a qualitatively unique form of sleep that is characterized by a rapid EEG pattern and short bursts of rapid eye movement
representations - cognitions that correspond to or represent certain events, or relations between events, in the external world
representativeness heuristic - a decision-making shortcut used when estimating the probability that an object or event belongs to a certain category in which the judgment is based on the extent to which the object resembles the prototype of that category rather than on base-rate information
repression - in psychoanalytic theory, a defense mechanism by means of which thoughts, impulses, or memories that give rise to anxiety are pushed out of consciousness
research methods - the wide variety of methods used to gather and record data systematically, they can be correlational or experimental
response discrimination - learning to give one, and only one, particular response in a given situation
response generalization - performance of a response similar to the original learned response
resting potential - the difference in electrical charge across the membrane in a cellís normal state
reticular formation - a network of fibers in the lower to middle brain stem that alerts the forebrain to receive and process incoming sensory information and is critically involved in sleep and emotion
retina - photosensitive surface at the back of the eye that contains visual receptor cells upon which the visual image is focused
retrieval cue - a stimulus that helps to retrieve a memory
retrieval failure - the act of forgetting all or some of the details of a memory
retroactive interference - the interference with memory of certain information that is attributable to other information learned at a later time
retrograde amnesia - loss of memory of events just prior to the event that caused the memory loss, long-term memory remains intact
reversibility - the Piagetian concept, generally achieved during the formal operational period, that certain mathematical operations, such as addition and subtraction, can be reversed or undone
rods - long, thin photoreceptor cells in the periphery of the retina that are sensitive to light of low intensity and that function in dim light and nighttime vision but are not involve din perception of color
role-conflict - conflict that occurs when the different roles we hold require us to do incompatible things, such as when a parental role may require us to care for a sick child at the same time that a work role requires us to be at an important meeting
role taking - assuming a point of view and takin on the belief, attitudes, and behaviors associated with it
rooting reflex - the infantís inborn tendency to turn the head toward any object or person that gently touches a cheek, this response helps the child locate a nipple for feeding
Rorschach Inkblot Test - a projective technique developed by Hermann Rorschach that requires an individual to look at ambiguous inkblots and say what he or she sees in them, the responses are then studied for their emotional expression, their focus, and their recurring patterns
saturation - the dimension of color experience that corresponds to how much or how deep the hue of a light is
savings - a method of measuring memory in which research participants are asked to relearn old but seemingly forgotten information, the difference in time between relearning versus originally learning the information is then computed
scarcity - the social psychological principle that states that we accord value to those things we perceive to be rare or difficult to obtain
schizophrenia - a group of severe mental disorders characterized by one or more of the following: marked disturbance of thought, withdrawal, inappropriate or flat emotions, delusions, and hallucinations, see also catatonic and disorganized schizophrenia
scripts - schemas that contain information about the characteristic scenarios of behaviors in particular setting, e.g., a restaurant script
secondary appraisal - the second step in the cognitive appraisal of stressors, which involves a person answering the question, "what am I able to do about this stressful event?" The answer involves deciding at leas one of three things: (1) who or what is responsible for the stressful event, (2) what is the probability of success or failure in coping with the event, (3) what does the future hold
secondary prevention services - mental health care that is designed to prevent or reduce the impact or severity of a problem once it occurs
secondary reinforcers - stimuli that become reinforcers after being paired with primary reinforcers
secondary sex characteristics - the physical features associated with sexual maturation that are not directly involved with reproduction, such as the development of pubic hair, changes in voice, etc.
secondary traits - according to Allport, personality traits that are less conspicuous, consistent, and generalized than cardinal or central traits, they typically apply under only certain circumstances, e.g., Martha is grouchy in the morning
sedatives - drugs that reduce anxiety by inducing muscle relaxation, sleep, and inhibition of the cognitive centers of the brain, see tranquilizers
selective attention - paying attention to only some of the information that is available in a situation, in particular, we are most likely to pay attention to information that we perceive as personally relevant
self-actualization - a major concern of humanistic psychologists, it is the fulfillment of oneís potential
self-concept - the mental framework that contains the information we have about our self
self-efficacy - a learned expectation that one is capable of performing behaviors needed to produce a desired result
self-fulfilling prophecy - an expectancy that leads to behavior with consequences that lead to confirmation of the expectancy
self-referencing effect - the enhanced memory and increased ease and efficiency of cognitive processing when information is self-relevant compared to other types of information
self-schemas - mental frameworks, i.e., cognitive structures, that are used to store and process information about the self
self-serving bias - the tendency to see oneself in a favorable light, leading us to deny responsibility for failures but take credit for successes, see also attribution theory and fundamental attribution error
self-theory - approach to personality that focuses on the individual as a whole, unified self, it takes a positive view of human beings and is a part of the humanistic approach to psychology
semantic memory - memory of information that is independent of time and place
semantics - in language, the study of meaning, also, the set of rules for deriving meaning in a given language
semicircular canals - three canals within the inner ear that contain a viscous liquid that moves when the head rotates, providing information about the nature and extent of the movement
sensation - the process whereby our sensory receptors receive and transduce information from the external world into electrochemical impulses in our nervous system
sensation seeking - the tendency to seek novel experiences, look for thrills and adventure, and be highly susceptible to boredom
sensorimotor stage - according to Piaget, the first two years of life when a child knows and interacts with the world primarily in terms of sensory impressions and motor activities, and has little competence in representing the environment using symbols, language, or images
sensory abilities - the abilities of our sensory receptors to receive and transduce information from the external world into electrochemical information in the nervous system, these include the ability to sense light, mechanical pressure, heat, certain chemical substances, and tissue damage
sensory neurons - neurons that respond to incoming stimuli, such as sound or light, and carry this information to the central nervous system
serial position effect - in memorization, when the beginning and the end items of a list are easier to remember than those in the middle, see primacy and recency effects
serotonin - a neurotransmitter involved in many of the mechanisms of sleep and emotional arousal
setpoint - the weight that a body seeks to maintain by influencing a personís metabolic rate and desire to eat
sex drive - a biologically based psychological state that motivates an organism to have sexual activity
s-factor - in intelligence, a specific cognitive ability found to underlie performance on some, but not all, types of intelligence tests
shading - a monocular cue for depth derived from information provided by shadows connected to an object as well as those cast in the background environment
shallow processing - the repetition of information to maintain it in short-term memory, this is also known as maintenance rehearsal
shaping - an instrumental learning procedure through which an animal is trained to perform a rather difficult response by reinforcing successively closer and closer approximation to that response, see also successive approximation
sharpening - the exaggeration of certain features of a memory trace so that they take on a greater importance than they had previously, see also assimilation and leveling
short-term memory - memory for learned material over a brief retention interval, this is our hypothetical memory system for transient memory, also called working memory
signal detection theory - a statistical theory of perception that postulates two processes in stimulus detection: a sensory process and a decision process
similarity - in perception, a principle by which we tend to group like figures, especially by color and orientation
similarity bias - the tendency to see oneself as more like member of oneís in-group than like members of an out-group
similarity principle - in interpersonal attraction, the principle that the more similar two people are, the more likely they are to be attracted to each other
situational attribution - see external attributions
size constancy - the tendency to perceive the size of objects as constant despite the fact that the retinal images of these objects change in size whenever we change the distance from which we view them
skew - this phenomenon occurs when a frequency distribution is characterized by a concentration of scores either to the left or the right of the center of the scale
Skinner box - a device developed by B. F. Skinner to investigate the events of operant conditioning, also known as an operant chamber
sleeper effect - the notion that message from an unreliable source may have little persuasive effect at first, but may come to increase in persuasion as time goes on because the source is forgotten while the message is retained
sleepwalking - nocturnal wanderings, when it occurs, it is usually during REM sleep
slow-wave sleep - sleep characterized by large amplitude, slow-activity EEG
socialization - the process whereby the child acquires the patterns of behavior characteristic of his or her society
social category - a grouping of individuals who share one or more social characteristics, such as age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical disability, or income
social class - the stratification of society based on a combination of social and economic factors
social facilitation - a phenomenon in which the mere presence of other persons improves individual performance
social identity - that component of individual self-concept or identity derived from oneís membership in one or more social groups
social inhibition - the inhibition of performance by the presence of an audience
social learning approach - a cognitive oriented theoretical approach that emphasizes the importance of learning that occurs by observing the behavior of others, even in the absence of reinforcement
social loafing - individuals spend less effort on a common task when they are working in a group than if they had worked on that task alone
social phobias - fears of embarrassment or humiliation that cause people to avoid situations in which they must expose themselves to public scrutiny
social play - play that involves peer interaction, it is an important contributor to the development of language and social skills
social psychology - the scientific study of how people think about, influence, and relate to one another
social role - a specific position in a social structure that has expectations for values, attitudes, and behaviors, including rights and responsibilities, associated with it
social schemas - cognitive structures that organize our beliefs and feelings and process information about our social world
social skills training - a form of rehabilitation therapy that involves teaching the behaviors needed for acceptance in oneís social groups, including how to relax and interact comfortably with others
social status - an individualís recognized position or location within a society or group
social stratification - the distribution of power, prestige, and social rewards in a society
social structure - the way that society is organized
social universals - the social elements that are common across human culture, including group living, languages, cooking, and other characteristics, see also biological and psychological universals
social validation - the social-psychological principle that states that we use other peopleís behavior, particularly that of those who are similar to us, to guide our own actions, it underlies a number of strategies of social influence
society - a structured group of individuals typically within a geographical or political boundary who share a culture
somatic nervous system - a division of the peripheral nervous system primarily concerned with the control of the skeletal musculature and the transmission of information from the specialized sense organs
somatoform disorder - the generic term for disorders that are expressed in physical symptoms in the absence of any known physical illness
somatosensory cortex - the cortical area located in the parietal lobe just behind the motor area in the frontal lobe, this region is involved in bodily sensation, including touch, pain, and temperature
source traits - those fundamental dimensions of personality which underlie many other characteristics
spontaneous recovery - an increase in the tendency to perform an extinguished response after a time interval in which neither CS nor US are presented
stable attribution - an attribution of a behavior to a cause that is steady over time
stable versus unstable - a dimension of causal attributions that deals with the question, is the cause a one-time event or does it persist
Stanford-Binet test - a widely used standardized intelligence test, it was originally developed to distinguish between malingerers and schoolchildren who were likely to experience learning difficulties and who would benefit from a specialized education
status - social status
stereotype - a social schema about characteristics of members of a group, can be positive or negative
stimulus - an object or event in the environment
stimulus control - an instrumental learning process whereby a cue in the environment comes to control the behavior or an organism
stimulus discrimination - the act or responding differently to various stimuli that have some similarities
stimulus generalization - the occurrence of a learned response under circumstances similar but not identical to the original learning situation
strange situation - a test that involves exposing infants to a series of mildly stressful situations in order to determine the quality of their attachments to one or more chosen companions
stress - a psychophysiological state or process that occurs when we face events we perceive as threatening to our physical or psychological well-being
stress-inoculation training - a stress management technique by which individuals are introduced to small amounts of stress and taught cognitive-behavioral strategies for dealing with them
stressors - environmental events perceived as harmful or threatening
stress response - psychological and physiological responses to stressors
Stroop-effect - a marked decrease in the speed of naming the colors in which various color names are printed when the colors and the names are different
structuralism - an early school of psychological thought that held that the subject matter of psychology was conscious experience, that the object of study was to analyze experience into its component parts, and that the primary method of analysis was introspection, see also functional psychology
structured interview - an interview method that consists of a series of prearranged questions, it is often used as part of a case study
subcultures - groups with different cultural traditions that co-exist within a larger society
subjective - having to do with inner mental events such as individual consciousness and perception that are only observable by the person experiencing them
subjective culture - aspects of culture that involve intangible human creations, such as ideas, symbols, language, beliefs, values, and norms
subjective expected utility - the perceived worth, subjective utility, of a goal object combined with the subjective probability a particular behavior will lead to it
subjective norms - these guides to oneís behaving are based on what one thinks other people believe one ought to do combined with oneís motivation to comply with these beliefs
subjective utility - perceived usefulness or worth of a goal object, this perception reflects a combination of need, drive, and incentive
successive approximation - learning in graduated steps whereby each successive step requires a response that is closer than the previous response to the desired performance, this process is also known as shaping
superego - according to Freudian theory, one of the basic structures of the personality, it is the partially unconscious area of the mind that contains and enforces peopleís values, morals, and basic attitudes that they learned from their parents and society
superordinate goal - goals that are shared by competing groups and require their members to cooperate in order to achieve them
superstitious behavior - in operant conditioning, behavior that is strengthened or weakened because by chance it happens to precede reinforcement or punishment
survey method - a research method that involves asking a representative sample of a population about its opinions, characteristics, or behaviors in an attempt to estimate their occurrence in the larger population
survival reflexes - innate reflexes, e.g., breathing, sucking, swallowing, that are present at birth and that help infants adapt to the world outside the womb
symbol - something used to stand for something else, that is, something used to represent and idea, concept, or object
symbolic representation - a type of mental representation that does not correspond to the physical characteristics of tat which it represents, this the world "mouse" does not resemble he small rodent it represents
symmetrical - counterbalance of exactly similar parts facing each other or a center
sympathetic nervous system - a division of the autonomic nervous system that mobilizes the body's energies for emergencies, it works in opposition to the parasympathicus
symptoms - the outward manifestations of the underlying pathology
synapse - the juncture between the axon of one neuron and the dendrite or cell body of another, it includes the tip of the axon on one side, the receiving cellís membrane on the other, and the space between the
synaptic cleft - the gap between neurons, across which signals are transmitted
synaptic vesicles - pockets or sacs that store neurotransmitters at the presynaptic cellís axon terminal buttons
syndrome - a pattern of symptoms that tend to go together
syntax - the system by which words are arranged into meaningful phrases and sentences
systematic desensitization - a behavior therapy used to treat phobias through a gradual process of counterconditioning to a response incompatible with fear, usually muscular relaxation, the stimuli are usually evoked as mental images according to an anxiety hierarchy whereby the less frightening stimuli re conterconditioned before the more frightening ones
tabula rasa - a blank slate, some philosophers erroneously used this term to describe the mind at birth
tardive dyskinesia - a severe side effect of phenothiazines indicated by a disturbance of motor control that involves drooling, lip smacking, and grimacing similar to that seen in Parkinsonís disease
temperament - broad emotional traits, that are believed to have a substantial biological basis, including level of reactivity and level or energy
temporal lobes - the lobes in the cerebral cortex involved in hearing and visual processing
texture gradient - a monocular distance cue based on perceived characteristics in surface texture whereby coarser textures appear closer, and finer textures appear more distant
thalamus - the part of the lower portion of the forebrain that serves as a major relay and integration center for sensory information
thatís-not-all technique - a compliance strategy based on the norm of reciprocity in which a small, usually preplanned, concession is made to "sweeten" a deal
Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) - a theory of behavior derived from the theory of reasoned action that says that a combination of our attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control over a particular behavior determine our intention to perform it
theory of reasoned action - a theory of behavior that says that a combination of our attitudes and subjective norms determine our intention to perform a particular behavior
thirst - the psychological expression or drive of our physiological need for fluids
threshold - the value a stimulus must reach to produce a response
thymus - an organ located behind the breastbone above the heart whose role in the immune system includes turning undifferentiated lymphocytes into cells designed to attack and ill specific foreign invaders
thyroid - an endocrine gland that produces the hormone thyroxin and thus regulates metabolism and growth
timbre - a characteristic of sound that reflects the complexity of the frequencies of the sound waves produced by the vibrating object
time out - an operant-conditioning therapy technique that involves following undesirable behavior with a period of time away from positive reinforcement
token economy - a structured environment designed on the basis of operant-conditioning principles in which objects such as poker chips are used as rewards that may be exchanged for desired activities or objects
top-down processes - mental processes, such as expectancies, that operate on incoming stimuli and interpret them
trace-dependent forgetting - loss of learned information due to the loss of memory, see cue-dependent forgetting
traits - relatively permanent characteristics that one tends to show in most situations
trait theory - the view that people differ in regard to underlying attributes (traits) that partially determine behavior and that are presumed to be consistent across time and situation
tranquilizers - drugs that reduce anxiety without inducing sleep, see also sedatives
transduction - in sensation, the process by which our senses convert energy from the external world, e.g., light, heat, into neural impulses
transference - in psychoanalysis, the patientís tendency to transfer emotional reactions that were originally directed toward oneís own parents or other critical figures in oneís early life and redirects the toward the analyst
tricyclics - drugs that alleviate depressive symptoms, presumably because they increase availability of certain neurotransmitters, especially norepinephrine and serotonin, in the brain
two-factor theory of emotion - a theory of emotion that states that emotional experience reflects the interaction of general (physiological) arousal and cognitive appraisal of the arousal
Type A personality - a personality type characterized by extreme competitiveness, aggressiveness, hostility, anger, and impatience
Type B personality - a personality type characterized by an easygoing, not hurried, less competitive, and friendlier behavior pattern, compared to Type A
unconditioned response (UR) - in classical conditioning, the response that automatically occurs whenever the US is presented, without any training
unconditioned stimulus (US) - in classical conditioning, the stimulus that automatically elicits the response, without training
unconscious - the part of the mind that contains memories, thoughts, and feelings that cannot be easily brought into consciousness
undifferentiated schizophrenia - a "catch all" term indicating that a person has characteristics of schizophrenia but does not neatly fall into one of its categories, this is the most common schizophrenic diagnosis
unstructured interview - an interview technique that allows for wide-range questions and enables the interviewer to probe spontaneous responses during the course of the interview, this technique is used in the case study method
utility - subjective utility
validity - degree to which a measuring device measures what it is supposed to measure
values - goals that are viewed as good in themselves and not because they lead to further desirable consequences
variable - any characteristic of an object, event, or person that can take two or more values
variable interval - a schedule of reinforcement in which the reinforcers are delivered after the first response after a certain time interval has elapsed, the length of the time varies from trial to trial
variable ratio - a schedule of reinforcement in which the reinforcers are delivered after a certain number of responses occur, the number of responses required varies from trial to trial
visual acuity - ability to notice fine detail in a patterned stimulus
visual cortex - a division of the cerebral cortex that receives and integrates visual sensations, it is located in the occipital lobe
wavelength - the distance between the crests of two successive waves, light wavelength is a major determinant of perceived color
Weberís law - the observation that the size of the difference threshold is proportional to the intensity of the initial stimulus
Wechsler intelligence test - an alternative approach to measuring intelligence quotient developed by psychologist David Wechsler, tests use two separate scales, verbal and nonverbal (performance), to measure intelligence
Wernickeís area - the part of the left side of the temporal lobe involved in speech comprehension, it is named for its discoverer, the German neurologist Carl Wernicke
withdrawal effects - physical effects, which can include vomiting, hallucinations, uncontrolled trembling, muscle spasms, and other forms of discomfort that can occur when an individual stops taking certain drugs
Yerkes-Dodson law - the observation that there is an optimal level of motivation for any task, such that increased motivation will improve performance up to a point, beyond which there is deterioration, the easier a task is to perform, the higher the drive level required for optimal performance
z-score - a statistical score that is expressed as a deviation from the mean in standard deviation units, which allows a comparison of scores drawn from different distributions
zygote - the fertilized ovum