AP Psychology Review

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removal or destruction of brain tissue in a surgical procedure

absolute threshold

intensity level at which one can detect a stimulus 50% of the time


the process of modifying a schema to account for new information; the process of the eyes lens changing shape in order to focus on distant or near objects

acetylcholine (ACh)

a neurotransmitter involved in learning, memory and muscle movement

need for achievement

desire for accomplishment, mastery of people, ideas, things, desire for reaching a high standard

achievement test

a test that assesses what one has learned


a process in classical conditioning by which the association of a neutral stimulus with a natural stimulus is first established

action potential

the electrical process by which information is transmitted the length of an axon

activation synthesis

the idea that dreams are the result of the cerebral cortex interpreting and organizing random flashes of brain activity, originating in the lower brain structures, especially the pons

adrenal gland

source of the hormone norepinephrine which affects arousal

affective disorders

psychological disturbances of mood

need for affiliation

desire to associate with others, to be part of a group, to form close and intimate relationships

after image

an image that remains after a stimulus is removed, especially one in which the colors are reversed


drugs which mimic the activity of neurotransmitters


the most frequently used and abused CNS depressant in most cultures; its use affects mood, judgment, cognition


description of the action of neurons when firing

alpha waves

seen when an individual is in a relaxed, unfocused, yet still awake state


limbic system component associated with emotion, particularly fear and anger

anal stage

Freud’s pychosexual period during which a child learns to control his bodily excretions

anorexia (nervosa)

an eating disorder in which one starves oneself even though significantly underweight


drug which blocks the activity of neurotransmitters

anterograde amnesia

loss of memory for events that occur after the onset of the amnesia; eg, see in a boxer who suffers a severe blow to the head and loses memory for events after the blow

retrograde amnesia

loss of memory for events that occurred before the onset of amnesia; eg a soldier’s forgetting events immediately before a shell burst nearby, injuring him

antisocial personality disorder

psychological disorder in which one demonstrates a lack of conscience


the middle of the three ossicles


impairment of language usually caused by damage to the left hemisphere


condition in which the sympathetic nervous system is in control

artificial intelligence

a subdiscipline of computer science that attempts to simulate human thinking


interpreting new experiences in terms of existing schema

association areas

areas of the cerebral cortex which have no specific motor or sensory repsonsibilities, but rather are involved in thinking, memory and judgment

associative learning

learning in which an organism learns that certain events occur together, such as my cat knowing that she will be fed when I get home from work


theory developed by Harlow; types include secure and insecure


a relatively enduring evaluation of a person or thing; Asch demonstrated that this doesn’t always match one’s behavior


feeling of being drawn toward another and desiring the company of a person

attribution theory

a way of explaining others’ behavior by either one’s disposition or one’s situation

auditory canal

the area that sound waves pass through to reach the eardrum


style of parenting in which the parent creates strict rules for the child and the child has little or no input into determining the rules

autonomic nervous system

division of the nervous system that control the glands and organs; its divisions arouse or calm

autonomy vs. shame and doubt

Erikson’s stage in which a toddler learns to exercise will and to do things independently; failure to do so causes shame and doubt

availability heuristic

this cognitive shortcut features the idea that events which are vividly in memory seem to be more common


extension of the neuron which carries, via an action potential, information that will be sent on to other neurons, muscles or glands


stage of language development at about 4 months when an infant spontaneously utters nonsense sounds

basic research

scientific investigations intended to expand the knowledge base

applied research

scientific investigations intended to solve practical problems


perspective on psychology that sees psychology as an objective science without reference to mental states

belief perseverance

situation in which one’s beliefs continue despite the fact that the ground for the beliefs have been discredited

big 5 personality factors

openness to new experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism

binocular cues

retinal disparity and convergence which enable people to determine depth using both eyes


perspective that stresses links between biology and behavior

bipolar cells

eye neurons that receive information from the retinal cells and distribute information to the ganglion cells

bipolar disorder

mood disorder in one experiences both manic and depressed episodes

blind spot

point in the retinal where the optic nerve leaves the retina so there are no rods or cones there

bottom-up processing

analysis that begins with sensory receptors and works its way up to the brain’s integration of sensory information


we have two, right and left, and some brain functions seem to centered in one or the other


oldest part of the brain, beginning where the spinal cord swells upon entering the skull; controls fundamental survival processes like heartrate and breathing


eating disorder characterized by excessive eating followed by purging

bystander effect

the tendency to not offer help when needed if others are present who do not offer help


theory of emotion that says that a stimulus causes simultaneously psyiological arousal and the subjective experience of an emotion

case study

scientific investigation in which a single subject is studied in great detail

CAT scan

a method of creating static images of the brain through computerized axial tomography


a form of schizophrenia in which the patient has muscle immobility and does not move


release of aggressive energy through activity or fantasy

Central Nervous System

consists of the brain and the spinal cord


brain structure that controls well-learned motor activities like riding a bike

cerebral cortex

the fabric of interconnecting cells that blankets the brain hemispheres; the brain’s center for information processing and control


using operant conditioning to teach a complex response by linking together less complex skills


organizing units of information into manageable units such as memorizing a phone number as three groups of information 248-555-1212

circadian rhythm

the daily biological rhythms that occur in a 24-hour period

classical conditioning

method of learning in which a neutral stimulus can be used to elicit a response that is usually a natural response to a stimulus

client-centered therapy

developed by Carl Rogers, this humanistic therapy includes unconditional positive regard


this type of psychologist studies, assesses and treats those with psychological disorders


this coiled structure in the inner ear is fluid-filled and in it the energy from sound waves stimulate hair cells

cognitive dissonance theory

this says that we will suffer discomfort and act to change the situation when our thoughts and actions seem to be inconsistent


perspective on psychology that stresses the importance of mental activities associated with thinking, remembering, etc

cognitive therapy

treatment for psychological disorders that centers on changing self-defeating thinking

collective unconscious

Jung’s theory that we all share an inherited memory that contains our culture’s most basic elements

color blindness

a variety of disorders marked by inability to distinguish some or all colors


this adjective describes cultures in which the individual is less important than the group

concrete operations

Piaget’s stage in which children learn such concepts as conservation and mathematical transformations; about 7 – 11 years of age

concurrent validity

the extent to which two measures of the same trait or ability agree

conditioned response

in classical conditioning, the response elicited by the conditioned stimulus


generally, learning in which certain experiences make certain behaviors more or less likely; there are two forms of this


one type of hearing impairment caused by mechanical problems in the ear structures


neurons in the retina that are responsible for color vision

confirmation bias

a tendency to search for information that supports one’s preconceptions


adjusting behavior to meet a group’s standard

confounding variable

extraneous factor that interferes with the action of the independent variable on the dependent variable


one’s awareness of one’s environment and oneself.

consummate love

includes passion, intimacy and commitment

control group

subjects in an experiment who do not receive application of the independent variable but are measured nonetheless for the dependent variable

convergent thinking

a type of critical thinking in which one evaluates existing possible solutions to a problem to choose the best one


the transparent outer covering of the eye

corpus callosum

the fibers that connect the right and left hemispheres, enabling them to communicate


the degree of relationship between two variables

correlation coefficient

a positive one near 1.0 indicates two variable are positively related; a negative number indicates a negative relationship; zero indicates no relationship


type of study that measures a variable across several age groups at the same time


giving participants in a research study a complete explanation of the study after the study is completed

defense mechanisms

Freud’s processes by which individuals express uncomfortable emotions in disguised ways


when an individual seems to lose himself or herself in the group’s identity


moving people with psychological or developmental disabilities from highly structured institutions to home- or community-based settings

delta waves

largest brain waves, associated with deep, dreamless sleep


irrational, highly improbable belief


a branch off the cell body of a neuron that receives new information from other neurons


a defense mechanism in which unpleasant thought or desires are ignored or excluded from consciousness

dependent variable

the variable that the experimenter measures at the end of the experiment


any agent that reduces the activity of the CNS

depth perception

an ability that we exercise by using both monocular and binocular cues

difference threshold

also called the jnd; smallest distinction between two stimuli that can consistently be detected

diffusion of responsibility

reduction in sense of responsibility often felt by individuals in a group; may be responsible for the bystander effect


treating members of different races, religions, ethnic groups differently; usually associated with prejudice


defense mechanism in which unwanted feelings are directed towards a different object

dispositional attribution

assuming that another’s behavior is due to personality factors, not situational ones

dissociative identity disorder

also called multiple personality disorder

dissociative fugue

disorder in which one travels away from home and is unable to remember details of his past, including often his identity

divergent thinking

a type of creative thinking in which one generates new solutions to problems


a neurotransmitter that is associated with Parkinson’s disease (too little of it) and schizophrenia (too much of it)

double blind

this term describes an experiment in which neither the subjects nor the experimenter knows whether a subject is a member of the experimental group or the control group


occur most often during REM sleep; may be caused by activation-synthesis, or may be a way of cementing memories

drive reduction

theory that claims that behavior is driven by a desire to lessen drives resulting from needs that disrupt homeostasis


initials of the American Psychiatric Association’s book that lists diagnostic criteria for many psychological disorders


a learning disability that results in difficulty reading and writing


also called the tympanic membrane


term that describes memory of sounds


electroencephalogram; initials of a method of representation of brain waves; detects electrical activity in brain through electrodes on scalp. Results show as wavy lines.


the Latin for "I"; in Freud’s theories, the mediator between the demands of the id and the superego


in a toddler, the belief that others perceive the world in the same way that he or she does

Electra complex

counterpart to the Oedipus complex for females

electroconvulsive therapy

a treatment in which low level electric current is passed through the brain


early stage of human development, when cells have begun to differentiate

emotion theories

James-Lange, Cannon-Baird and Singer-Schachter are three


conversion of sensory information into a form that can be retained as a memory

endocrine system

the slow messenger system of the body; produces hormones that affect many bodily functions


neurotransmitters that give one a feeling of well-being, euphoria or eliminate pain


describes a type of memory that includes specific events that one has personally experienced


perspective that stresses the value of behavior in Darwinian terms


form of scientific investigation in which one variable is tested to determine its effect on another

experimental group

subjects in an experiment to whom the independent variable is administered


term that describes memories that can be consciously recalled

external locus of control

this term describes what you have if your behaviors are driven mainly by outside forces


in classical conditioning, the process of eliminating the previously acquired association of the conditioned stimulus and conditioned response


one of the Big 5, a personality trait orients one’s interests toward the outside world and other people, rather than inward


term that describes motivations that drive behavior in order to gain rewards from outside forces

false consensus

a belief that others share the same opinion about something, when actually most don’t

feature detection

the ability of the brain to identify specific components of visual stimuli such as corners or edges

fetal alcohol syndrome

sometimes the result in a child of the mother’s excessive drinking while pregnant, characterized by low birth weight, facial abnormalities, mental retardation


a stage in human development extending from about ten weeks after conception to birth


refers to our ability to distinguish foreground from background in visual images

fixed interval

describes the schedule of reinforcement wherein a worker receives a paycheck every Friday

fixed ratio

describes a schedule of reinforcement wherein a worker is paid for a certain sum for each product produced


term describes a vivid memory of a personally significant and emotional event


term describes a type of intelligence used to cope with novel situations and problems


term describes a type of intelligence which applies cultural knowledge to solving problems


term describes a phenomenon in which people who agree to a small request are more likely to later agree to a larger request

formal operations

One of Piaget’s stages; includes the ability to use abstract thinking


the central focus area of the retina


theory of hearing which states that the rate of nerve impulses traveling up the auditory nerve matches the tone’s frequency

functional fixedness

the tendency to think about things only in terms of their usual uses; can be a hindrance to creative thinking


William James’s school of thought that stressed the adaptive and survival value of behaviors

fundamental attribution error

tendency to attribute others’ behavior to their dispositions and our own behaviors to our situations

ganglion cells

their axons form the optic nerve

general adaptation syndrome

Seyle’s concept that the body responds to stress with alarm, resistance and exhaustion

generativity vs. stagnation

Erikson’s stage of social development in which middle-aged people begin to devote themselves more to fulfilling one’s potential and doing public service


made of DNA, it is the basic building block of heredity

genital stage

Freud’s stage of psychosexual development when adult sexuality is prominent


German word for "whole", it refers to our tendency to perceive incomplete figures as complete

glial cell

this acts as a support system for neurons


a system of rules in a language

social norm

a group’s determination of socially acceptable behavior

group polarization

tendency of group members to move to an extreme position after discussing an issue as a group


tendency for group members to think alike with certainty of correctness, biased perceptions of outgroup members, and generally defective decision-making processes


a false sensory perception that seems to be real but for which there is not an actual external stimulus


a substance capable of producing a sensory effect in the absence of real external sensory stimuli


the extent to which differences in a group of a characteristic is due to genetics, not environment


a useful, but unprovable, cognitive shortcut, such as a "rule of thumb"

hierarchy of needs

Maslow’s theory of the most important motivations people have

hindsight bias

the tendency, after an event occurs, to overestimate the likelihood that an event could have been predicted


limbic system component associated with memory


the steady, stable state that is the body’s regulatory processes try to maintain


chemical substance secreted by endocrine glands that affect body processes


perspective in psychology that stresses the goodness of people and their possibility of reaching their fullest potential


it is regulated by the lateral hypothalamus and the ventromedial hypothalamus


a social interaction in which one person suggests to another that certain events or emotions will occur


a disorder characterized by an unreasonable fear that one has a serious disease


limbic system component that regulates hunger, body temperature and other functions


a prediction of how the an experiment will turn out


term that describes the memory of images


in Freud’s conception, the repository of the basic urges toward sex and agression

identity vs. role confusion

Erikson’s stage during which teenagers and young adults search for and become their true selves


evidence of critical period in some animals; they follow the first moving thing they see after hatching

in-group bias

tendency to favor one’s own group over other groups


an external stimulus that tends to encourage behavior


type of variable manipulated by the experimenter


culture in which the individual is valued more highly than the group

industry vs. inferiority

Erikson’s stage between 6 and 11 years, when the child learns to be productive

inferiority complex

Adler’s conception of a basic feeling of inadequacy stemming from childhood experiences

information processing

humans accomplish this either in parallel (unconsciously) or in serial fashion (consciously)

informed consent

agreement to participate in psychology research, after being appraised of the dangers and benefits of the research

initiative vs guilt

Erikson’s third stage in which the child finds independence in planning, playing and other activities


a legal term describing one’s inability to be responsible for one’s action due to the condition of the mind


in psychoanalysis, the basic understanding one develops of the underlying sources of emotion or behavioral difficulty


inability to fall asleep or remain asleep long enough for sufficient rest


a complex pattern of behavior that is fixed across a species

integrity vs despair

Erikson’s final stage in which those near the end of life look back and evaluate their lives


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


the average is 100; there are many definitions of this attribute, including multiple and crystallized

internal locus of control

people with this tned to respond to internal states and desires; they tend to see their successes as the result of their own efforts


cells in the spinal cord through which reflexes travel without going to the brain


monocular visual cue in which two objects are in the same line of vision and one patially conceals the other, indicating that the first object concealed is further away

intimacy vs isolation

Erikson’s stage in which individuals form deeply personal relationships, marry, begin families


term that describes motivations that derive from one’s interest in the object of the motivation, rather than from rewards that one might gain


a personality trait that signifies that one finds energy from internal sources rather than external ones


theory of emotion in which physiological arousal precedes the emotion

just world

phenomenon that describes the belief that what happens to people is what they deserve

just noticeable difference

the threshold at which one can distinguish two stimuli that are of different intensities, but otherwise identical


sense of balance and of one’s physical position


Freud’s stage of psychosexual development occuring from about age 6 to puberty during which little happens in psychosexual terms

latent content

the hidden or disguised meaning of dreams

latent learning

a change in behavior due to experience acquired without conscious effort, s, for example, a student using a quote in an exam essay that the student had never tried to memorize, though had encountered it in studying

law of effect

Thorndike’s rule that behaviors which have positive outcomes tend to be repeated

learned helplessness

lack of motivation to avoid unpleasant stimuli after one has failed before to escape similar stimuli


a curved, transparent element of the vision system that provides focus


any destruction or damage to brain tissue


in psychopharmacology, this is used to control bipolar symptoms


describes research that measures a trait in a particular group of subjects over a long period of time

long term

refers to memory that is stored effectively in the brain and may be accessed over an extended period of time

long term potentiation

a possible source of the formation of memories; improvement in a neuron’s ability to transmit caused by repeated stimulations


describes a dream in which the dreamer is aware that he or she is dreaming and is able to influence the progress of the dream narrative


describes a type of visual memory that is retained for a long time; photographic


high state of arousal, often accompanied by poor judgment


describes, in Freudian terms, the surface content of a dream


a drug, often smoked, whose effects include euphoria, impairment of judgment and concentration and occasionally hallucinations; rarely reported as addictive


numerical average of a set of numbers


the middle one of a set of numbers


part of the brain nearest the spinal cord which controls breathing, heart rate and blood pressure


functions associated with this include encoding, storage and retrieval

mental age

developed by Binet; equal to one’s chronological age times the percentage score on an IQ test

mere exposure effect

this phenomenon causes one to prefer a stimulus as a consequence of repeated exposures to that stimulus, particularly is there is no adverse result of the exposure


thinking about thinking


the initials of a long, detailed personality inventory; Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory

mnemonic device

method of improving memory by associating new information with previously learned information


the most commonly occurring term in a batch of data


the process of observing and imitating a behavior


terms that means "one eyed", used to indicate the sort of of environmental cues to depth perception that only require one eye, for example, interposition


in language, the smallest unit that carries meaning

motion parallax

a depth cue in which the relative movement of elements in a scene gives depth information when the observer moves relative to the scene


a need or desire that energizes and directs behavior

motor cortex

an area of the brain, near the rear of the frontal lobes, that controls voluntary movement

motor neuron

this carries information from the brain to the muscles; also called "efferent"


a technique that enables us to see static images of the brain’s structures; uses magnetism to achieve this effect

dissociative identity disorder

previously called multiple personality disorder; disorder where personality is segmented into 3+ identities; often controversial; often accompanied by sever trauma at a young age

myelin sheath

a layer of fatty tissue encasing a neuron’s axon that speeds transmission


a disorder characterized by sudden sleep attacks, often at inopportune times


term refers to observations made of individual’s behavior in an everyday life setting

nature vs nurture

name for a controversy in which it is debated whether genetics or environment is responsible for driving behavior

negative reinforcement

in operant conditioning, removing something unpleasant in order to elicit more of a particular behavior

neural network

refers to interconnected neuron cells


the fundamental building block of the nervous system


perspective on psychology that emphasizes the study of the brain and its effects on behavior


a chemical that is released by a neuron for the purpose of carrying information across the gaps (synapses) between neurons


describes a stimulus in classical conditioning that would normally not elicit the response intended, such as the tone in Pavlov’s experiments before it was associated with the food

night terrors

also called sleep terror disorder, these include the characteristic of waking abruptly in a state of panic, usually in children, less often in adults

normal distribution

describes a symmetrical, bell shaped curve that shows the distribution of many physical and psychological attributes


an understood rule for social behavior


refers to sleep during which there is no rapid eye movement


condition of having excess body fat resulting in being greatly overweight

object permanence

recognition that things continue to exist even though hidden from sight; infants generally gain this after 3 to 7 months of age

observational learning

change in behavior due to watching other people behave

obsessive-compulsive disorder

an anxiety disorder characterized by repetitive obsessions and compulsions


this lobe contains the primary vision processing function

Oedipus complex

in Freud’s theory, the conflict which results in a boy gaining a superego and beginning to emulate his father

olfactory bulb

the first brain structure to pick up smell information from the nose

omission training

a procedure in which reinforcement occurs when a specific behavior does not occur in a fixed period of time

operant conditioning

a method of influencing behavior by rewarding desired behaviors and punishing undesired ones

operational definition

a description of an experimental variable in such a way that the variable can be measured and the procedure can be replicated

optic chiasm

the point in the brain where the visual field information from each eye "crosses over" to the appropriate side of the brain for processing

optic nerve

the axons of the ganglion cells form this

oral stage

Freud’s first stage of psychosexual development during which pleasure is centered in the mouth

opponent process theory

term used in both vision theory and emotion theory


generally, any group that one does not belong to

oval window

membrane at the enterance to the cochlea through which the ossicles transmit vibrations

panic disorder

characterized by recurrent, unexpected panic attacks


a type of schizophrenia characterized by prominent delusions that are persecutory or grandiose


the branch of the nervous system that automatically calms us down when the reason for arousal has passed


lobe that contains the sensory cortex

Parkinson’s disease

this ailment, whose symptoms includes tremors and later difficulty walking, is caused by inability to produce dopamine


the process of organizing and interpreting sensory information

peripheral nervous system

the subsystem of the nervous system that does not include the CNS


describes a parenting style that is characterized by the parent making few demands on the child


therapy developed by Rogers featuring the patient’s self-discovery and actualization; also called client-centered


a consistent pattern of thinking, acting, feeling

PET scan

method of brain imaging using positron emissions


name for Freud’s stage which features the Oedipus stage




in language, smallest distinctive sound unit


gland that is the master gland of the endocrine system

place theory

the idea that different sound frequencies stimulate different locations on the basilar membrae


an inert substance given to the control group in an experiment

placebo effect

phenomenon that some people get better even though they receive not medication but an inert substance which should have no medical effect


the ability of the brain to adapt to damage by reorganizing functions


part of the brain, works with the cerebellum in coordinating voluntary movement; neural stimulation studied in activation synthesis theory may originate here


all of the individuals from which subjects for an experiment may be drawn

positive psychology

field of study which concentrates on good psychological traits such as contentment and joy; it also studies character traits such as wisdom, integrity and altruism


initials representing a disorder in which one relives painfully stressful events


in Freud’s theory, the level of consciousness in which thoughts and feelings are not conscious but are readily retrieveable to consciousness


Kohlberg’s stage of moral development in which rewards and punishments dominate moral thinking


a negative attitude formed toward an individual or group without sufficient experience with the person or group


Piaget’s second stage of cognitive development, when egocentrism declines

proactive interference

when prior learning disrupts the recall of new information


defense mechanism in which one disguises one’s won unacceptable impulses by attributing them to others


term describes a personality test in which ambiguous stimuli trigger revelation of inner feelings, thoughts


medical doctor who has specialized in treating psychological disorders


Freud’s therapeutic technique


term describes the perspective on psychology in which inner feeling and unconscious tensions are emphasized


the study of the effects of drugs on the mind and behavior


can be either positive or negative, intended to reduce the occurrence of a behavior


term that describes assignment in which all subjects have an equal chance of being assigned to the control group or to the experimental group


Albert Ellis’s form of therapy for psychological disorders


"The only reason I flunked the test is because our teacher is no good."

reaction formation

defense mechanism in which unacceptable impulses are transformed into their opposite

reciprocal determinism

Bandura’s idea that though our environment affects us, we also affect our environment

refractory period

resting time; occurs in both neuron firing and in human sexual response


defense mechanism in which one retreats to an earlier stage of life


conscious repetition of information in order to fix it in memory, such as practicing a list of terms to memorize


in operant conditioning any event that strengthens the behavior it follows


in testing, the characteristic of a test that produces consistent scores through retesting or alternate halves or other methods


describes sleep in which vivid dreams typically occur; this type of sleep increases as the night progresses while stage 4 sleep decreases


this kind of sample accurately reproduces the characteristics of the population a researcher is studying

representativeness heuristic

this cognitive short cut enables one to generalization based on how closely a stimulus matches a typical member of a class; given a picture of a man in a tweed jacket with a textbook, is this man a professor or a truck driver?


defense mechanism in which painful memories are excluded from consciousness

reticular formation

a network of cells in the brainstem that filters sensory information and is involved in arousal and alertness


the sensory reception system of the eye; includes rods and cones


the process of recovering information stored in memory

retroactive interference

when new learning disrupts the recall of previously-learned information


responsible for black and white vision


technique in therapy and training in which participants act out new behaviors or skills


a reflex in which a newborn turns its head in response to a gentle stimulus on its cheek

Rorschach test

a projective test that uses inkblots as the ambiguous stimulus


the second rung of Maslow’s hierarchy; refers to need for freedom from danger


this theory says that having suffered negative experience, an individual might blame an innocent person or group for the experience and subsequently mistreat the person or group


name for a graph of data points in a two variable correlation

schedules of reinforcement

these include fixed interval and variable ratio


a collection of basic knowledge about a category of information; serves as a means of organization and interpretation of that information


plural form of schema


disorder characterized by hallucinations and delusions


term describes conditioning in which the CS for one experiment becomes the UCS in another experiment so that another neutral stimulus can be made to elicit the original UCR

selective attention

this term describes the situation when you are focused on certain stimuli in the environment while other stimuli are excluded


one’s idea and evaluation of oneself; this contributes to one’s sense of identity


one’s ability to act effectively to bring about desired results; from Bandura


the highest of Malow’s needs; "the full use of talent"


the more positive one’s estimation of one’s qualities and characteristics, the higher this is

self-fulfilling prophecy

a belief or expectation that helps to make itself true

self-serving bias

he tendency to assign oneself credit for successes but to blame failures on external forces


in language, study of meanings of words


describes Piaget’s stage in which the child explores the world through interaction of his mouth and hands with the environment

sensory adaptation

reduced responsiveness caused by prolonged stimulation

sensory cortex

the parts of the brain that receive information from the sensory receptors

sensory neurons

nervous system cells that receive information from the environment


in neurons, another name for sensory

serial position effect

this tells us that the best recall of a list of items will be of those at the beginning of the list


a neurotransmitter; associated with improved mood and other positive emotions


class of drugs used to relieve anxiety by limiting reuptake of a neurotransmitter

set point

the point at which one’s body tries maintain weight

sexual response

its four stages are excitement, plateau, orgasm and resolution


an operant conditioning technique in which reinforces guide behavior to closer and closer approximations of the desired behavior


type of memory that holds a few items briefly before they are lost

signal detection

this theory predicts how and in what circumstances we can detect a stimulus; assumes there is no single threshold

sleep apnea

a disorder characterized by cessation of breathing during sleep

sleep spindles

short bursts of brain waves detected in stage 2 sleep


a perspective on psychology that emphasizes effects on behavior and thinking of one’s culture and the people around one

social exchange

a theory that suggests that our behavior is based on maximizing benefits and minimizing costs

social facilitation

a phenomenon in which we perform simple or well-learned tasks better when in the presence of others

social learning

a theory that suggests we learn social behaviors by watching and imitating others


a division of the nervous system that controls voluntary muscle movements

somatoform disorder

any of a group of psychological disturbances characterized by physical symptoms for which there is not a medical cause

split brain

a condition in which the two brain hemispheres are isolated by cutting the corpus callosum

spontaneous recovery

in classical conditioning the re-occurence of conditioning after it had appeared to be extinct

standard deviation

a computation of how much scores vary around a mean


a set of generalizations about a group


school of psychology developed by Wilhelm Wundt


a defense mechanism in which unacceptable energies are directed into socially admirable outlets, such as art


the part of the personality in Freud’s theory that is responsible for making moral choices


part of the nervous system that controls the "flight or fight" response

synaptic gap

space between the axon terminal of one neuron and the receptors of the next neuron


in language the set of rules that describe how words are arranged to make sentences


personality component that ranges from very calm to very exitable


the lobe that controls audition


the sensory switchboard


a projective test in which subjects look at and tell a story about ambiguous pictures


this organizes data and is used to make predictions


in a neuron, reaching this causes the neuron to fire

token economy

a technique in operant conditioning by which desired behaviors receive forms of currency that can be exchanged for rewards

twin studies

a common method of investigating whether nature or nurture affects behavior

unconditioned response

in conditioning the behavior elicited by the unconditioned stimulus

unconditioned stimulus

in conditioning it elicits the UCR

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