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226 Cards in this Set

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the process by which our sensory receptors and nervous system receive and represent stimulus energies from our environment
the process of organizing and interpreting sensory information, enabling us to recognize meaningful objects and events
bottom-up processing
analysis that begins with the sense receptors and works up to the brain's integration of sensory information
top-down processing
information processing guided by higher-level mental processes, as when we construct perceptions drawing on our experience
the study of relationships between the physical characteristics of stimuli, such as their intensity, and our psychological experience of them
absolute threshold
the minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus 50 percent of the time
signal detection theory
a theory predicting how and when we detect the presence of a faint stimulus ("signal") amid background stimulation ("noise"). Assumes that there is no single absolute threshold and that detection depends partly on a person's experience, expectations, motivation, and level of fatigue.
below one's absolute threshold for conscious awareness
difference threshold
the minimum difference between two stimuli required for detection 50 percent of the time. We experience the difference threshold as a just noticeable difference.
Weber's las
the principle that, to be perceived as different, two stimuli must differ by a constant minimum percentage (rather than a constant amount).
sensory adaptation
diminished sensitivity as a consequence of constant stimulation
selective attention
the focusing of conscious awareness on a particular stimulus, as in the cocktail party effect
conversion of on form of energy into another. In sensation, the transforming of stimulus energies into neural impulses
the distance from the peak of one light or sound wave to the peak of the next. Electromagnetic wavelengths vary from the short blips of cosmic rays to the long pulses of radio transmission
the dimension of color that is determined by the wavelength of light; what we know as the color names blue, grean and so forth
the amount of energy in a light or sound wave, which we perceive as brightness or loudness, as determined by the wave's amplitude
the adjustable opening in the center of the eye through which light enters
a ring of muscle tissue that forms the colored portion of the eye around the pupil and controls the size of the pupil opening
the transparent structure behind the pupil that changes shape to help focus images on the retina
the process by which the eye's lens changes shape to focus near or far objects on the retina
the light-sensitive inner surface of the eye, containing the receptor rods and cones plus layers of neurons that begin the processing of visual information
the sharpness of vision
a condition in which nearby objects are seen more clearly than distant objects because distant objects focus in front of the retina
a condition in which faraway objects are seen more clearly than near objects because the image of near objects is focused behind the retina
retinal receptors that detect black, white, gray; necessary for peripheral and twilight vision, when cones don't respond
receptor cells that are concentrated near the center of the retina and that function in daylight or in well-lit conditions. The cones detect fine detail and give rise to color sensations
optic nerve
the nerve that carries neural impulses from the eye to the brain
blind spot
the point at which the optic nerve leaves the eye, creating a "blind" spot because no receptor cells are located there
the central focal point in the retina, around which the eye's cones cluster
feature detectors
nerve cells in the brain that respond to specific features of the stimulus, such as shape, angle, or movement
parallel processing
the processing of several aspects of a problem simultaneously; the brain's natural mode of information processing for many functions, including vision. Contrasts with the step-by-step (serial) processing of most computers and of conscious problem solving
Young-Helmholtz trichromatic (three-color) theory
the theory that the retina contains three different color receptors-one most sensitive to red, one to green, one to blue- which when stimulated in combination can produce the perception of any color
opponent-process theory
the theory that opposing retinal processes (red-green, yellow-blue, white-black) enable color vision. For example, some cells are stimulated by green and inhibited by red; others are stimulated by red and inhibited by green
color constancy
perceiving familiar objects as having consistent color, even if changing illumination alters the wavelengths reflected by the object
visual capture
the tendency for vision to dominate the other senses
an organized whole. Gestalt psychologists emphasize our tendency to integrate pieces of information into meaningful wholes
the organization of the visual field into objects (the figures) that stand out from their surroundings (the ground).
the perceptual tendency to organize stimuli into coherent groups
depth perception
the ability to see ojects in three dimensions although the images that strike the retina are two-dimensional; allows us to judge distance
visual cliff
a laboratory device for testing depth perception in infants and young animals
binocular cues
depth cues, such as retinal disparity and convergence, tht depend on the use of two eyes
retinal disparity
a binocular cue for perceiving depth: By comparing images from the two eyeballs, the brain computes distance- the greater the disparity (difference) between the two images, the closer the object
a binocular cue for perceiving depth: the extent to which the eyes converge inward when looking at an object
phi phenomenon
an illusion of movement created when two or more adjacent lights blink on and off in succession
perceptual constancy
perceiving objects as unchanging (having consistent lightness, color, shape, and size) even as illumination and retinal images change
perceptual adaptation
in vision, the ability to adjust to an artificially displaced or even inverted visual field
perceptual set
a mental predisposition to perceive one thing and not another
human factors psychology
a branch of psychology that explores how people and machines interact and how machines and physical environments can be adapted to human behaviors
extrasensory perception (ESP)
the controversial claim that perception can occur apart from sensory input. Said to include telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition
the study of paranormal phenomena, including ESP and psychokinesis
our awareness of ourselves and our environment
biological rhythms
periodic physiological fluctuations
circadian rhythm
the biological clock; regular bodily rhythms (for example, of temperature and wakefulness) that occur on a 24-hour cycle
REM sleep
rapid eye movement sleep, a recurring sleep stage during which vivid dreams commonly occur. Also known as paradoxical sleep, because the muscles are relaxed (except for minor twitches) but other body systems are active
alpha waves
the relatively slow brain waves of a relaxed, awake state
periodic, natural, reversible loss of consciousness- as distinct from unconsciousness resulting from a coma, general anesthesia, or hibernation
false sensory experiences, such as seeing something in the absence of an external visual stimulus
delta waves
the large, slow brain waves associated with deep sleep
recurring problems in falling or staying asleep
a sleep disorder characterized by uncontrollable sleep attacks. The sufferer may lapse directly into REM sleep, often at inopportune times
sleep apnea
a sleep disorder characterized by temporary cessations of breathing during sleep and consequent momentary reawakenings
night terrors
a sleep disorder characterized by high arousal and an appearance of being terrified; unlike nightmares, night terros occur during Stage 4 sleep, within 2 or 3 hours of falling asleep, and are seldom remembered.
a sequence of images, emotions, and thoughts passing through a sleeping person's mind. Dreams are notable for their hallucinatory imagery, discontinuities, and incongruities, and for the dreamer's delusional acceptance of the content and later difficulties remembering it
manifest content
according to Freud, the remembered story line of a dream (as distinct from its latent content).
latent content
according to Freud, the underlying meaning of a dream (as distinct from its manifest content). Freud believed that a dream's latent content functions as a safety valve
REM rebound
the tendency for REM sleep to increase following REM sleep deprivation (created by repeated awakenings during REM sleep)
associative learning
learning that certain events (two stimuli in classical conditioning) occur together.
classical conditioning
a type of learning in which an organism comes to associate stimuli. A neutral stimulus that signals an unconditioned stimulus (UCS) begins to produce a response that anticipates and prepares for the unconditioned stimulus. Also called Pavlovian conditioning
a relatively premanent change in an organism's behavior due to experience
the view that psychology (1) should be an objective science that (2) studies behavior without reference to mental processes. Most research psychologists today agree with (1) but not with (2)
unconditioned response (UCR)
in classical conditioning, the unlearned, naturally occurring response to the unconditioned stimulus (UCS), such as salivation when food is in the mouth
unconditioned stimulus (UCS)
in classical conditioning, a stimulus that unconditionally- naturally and automatically- triggers a response
conditioned response (CR)
in classical conditioning, the learned response to a previously neutral conditioned stimulus
conditioned stimulus (CS)
in classical conditioning, an originally irrevelant stimulus that, after association with an unconditioned stimulus (UCS), comes to trigger a conditioned response.
the intial stage in classical conditioning; the phrase associating a neutral stimulus with an unconditioned stimulus so that the neutral stimulus comes to elicit a conditioned response
the diminishing of a conditioned response; occurs in classical conditioning when an unconditioned stimulus (UCS) does not follow a conditioned stimulus (CS).
spontaneous recovery
the reappearance, after a rest period, of an extinguished conditioned response
the tendency, once a response has been conditioned, for stimuli similiar to the conditioned stimulus to elicit similar responses
in classical conditioning, the learned ability to distiniguish between a conditioned stimulus and other stimuli that do not signal an unconditioned stimulus
spontaneous recovery
the reappearnce, after a rest period, of an extinguished conditioned response
the tendency, once a response has been conditioned, for stimuli similar to the conditioned stimulus to elicit similar responses
in classical conditioning, the learned ability to distinguish between a conditioned stimulus and other stimuli that do not signal an unconditioned stimulus
associative learning
learning that certain events (a response and its consequences in operant conditioning) occur together
operant conditioning
a type of learning in which behavior is strengthened if followed by a reinforcer or diminished if followed by a punisher
respondent behavior
behavior that occurs as an automatic response to some stimulus; Skinner's term from behavior learned through classical conditioning
operant behavior
behavior that operates on the environment, producing consequences
law of effect
Throndike's principle that behaviors followed by favorable consequences become more likely, and that behaviors followed by unfavorable consequences become less likely
operant chamber (Skinner box)
a chamber containing a bar or key that an animal can manipulate to obtain a food or water reinforcer
a relatively permanent change in an organism's behavior due to experience
an operant conditioning procedure in which reinforcers guide behavior toward closer and closer approximations of a desired goal
in operant conditioning, any event that strengthens the behavior it follows
primary reinforcer
an innately reinforcing stimulus, such as one that satifies a biological need
conditioned reinforcer
a stimulus that gains its reinforcing power through its association with a primary reinforcer; also known as secondary reinforcer
continuous reinforcement
reinforcing the desired response every time it occurs
parital (intermittent) reinforcement
reinforcing a response only part of the time; results in slower acquisition of a response but much greater resistance to extiniction than does continuous reinforcement
fixed-ratio schedule
in operant conditioning, a schedule of reinforcement that reinforces a response only after a specified number of responses
variable-ratio schedule
in operant conditioning, a schedule of reinforcement that reinforces a response after an unpredictable number of responses
fixed-interval schedule
in operant conditioning, a schedule of reinforcement that reinforces a response only after a specified time has elapsed
variable-interval schedule
in operant conditioning, a schedule of reinforcement that reinforces a response at unpredictable time intervals
an event that decreases the behavior that it follows
cognitive map
a mental representation of the layout of one's environment. For example, after exploring a maze, rats act as if they have learned a cognitive map of it
latent learning
learning that occurs but it is not apparent until there is an incentive to demonstrate it
overjustification effect
the effect of promising a reward for doing what one already likes to do. The person may now see the reward, rather than intrinsic interest, as the motivation for performing the task
intrinsic motivation
a desire to perform a behavior for its own sake and to effective
extrinsic motivation
a desire to perform a behavior due to promised rewards or threats of punishment
a relatively permanent change in an organism's behavior due to experience
observational learning
learning by observing others
the process of observing and imitating a specific behavior
mirror neurons
frontal lobe neurons that fire when performing certain actions or when observing another doing so. The brain's mirroring of another's action may enable imitation, language learning, and empathy
prosocial behavior
positive, constructive, helpful behavior. The opposite of antisocial behavior
memory se
the persistence of learning over time through the storage and retrieval of information
flashbulb memory
a clear memory of an emotionally significant moment or event
the processing of information into the memory system- for example, by extracting meaning
the retention of encoded information over time
the process of getting information out of memory storage
sensory memory
the immediate, initial recording of sensory information in the memory system
short-term memory
activated memory that holds a few items briefly, such as the seven digits of a phone number while dailing, before the information is stored or forgotten. Working memory is a similar concept that focuses more on the processing of briefly stored information
long-term memory
the relatively permanent and limitless storehouse of the memory system
automatic processing
unconscious encoding of incidental information, such as space, time, and frequency, and of well-learned information, such as word meanings
effortful processing
encoding that requires attention and conscious effort
the conscious repetition of information, either to maintain it in consciousness or to encode it for storage
spacing effect
the tendency for distributed study or practice to yield better long-term retention that is achieved through massed study or practice
serial position effect
our tendency to recall best the last and first items in a list
visual encoding
the encoding of picture images
acoustic encoding
the encoding of sound, especially the sound of words
semantic encoding
the encoding of meaning, including the meaning of words
mental pictures; a powerful aid to effortful processing, especially when combined with semantic encoding
memory aids, especially those techniques that use vivid imagery and organizational devices
organizing items into familiar, manageable units; often occurs automatically
iconic memory
a momentary sensory memory of visual stimuli; a photographic or picture-image memory lasting no more than a few tenths of a second
echoic memory
a momentary sensory memory of auditory stimuli; if attention is elsewhere, sounds and words can still be recalled within 3 or 4 seconds
long-term potentiation (LTP)
an increase in a synapse's firing potential after brief, rapid stimulation. Believed to be a neural basis for learning and memory
the loss of memory
implicit memory
retention independent of conscious recollection. Also called procedural memory
explicit memory
memory of facts and experiences that one can consciously know and "declare." (Also called declaritive memory.)
a neural center located in the limbic system that helps process explicit memories for storage
a measure of memory in which the person must retrieve information learned earlier, as on a fill-in-the-blank test
a measure of memory in which the person need only identify items previously learned, as on a multiple-choice test
a memory measure that assesses the amount of time saved when learning material for a second time
the activation, often unconsciously, of particular associations in memory
deja vu
that eerie sense that "I've experienced this before." Cues from the current situation may subconsciously trigger retrieval of an earlier experience
mood-congruent memory
the tendency to recall experiences that are consistent with one's current good or bad mood
proactive interference
the disruptive effect of prior learning on the recall of new information
retroactive interference
the disruptive effect of new learning on the recall of old information
in psychoanalytic theory, the basic defense mechanism that banishes from consciousness anxiety-arousing thoughts, feelings, and memories
misinformation effect
incorporating misleading information into one's memory of an event
source amnesia
attributing to the wrong source an event that we have experienced, heard about, read about, or imagined. Source amnesia, along with misinformation effect, is at the heart of many false memories
the mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, remembering, and communicating
a mental grouping of similar objects, events, ideas, or people
a mental image or best example of a category. Matching new items to the prototype provides a quick and easy method for including items in a category (as when comparing feathered creatures to a prototypical bird, such as a robin).
a methodical, logical rule or procedure that guarentees solving a particular problem. Contrasts with the usually speedier- but also more errorprone- use of heuristics
a simple thinking strategy that often allows us to make judgements and solve problems efficiently; usually speedier but also more error-prone than algorithms
a sudden and often novel realization of the solution to a problem; it contrasts with strategy-based solutions
confirmation bias
a tendency to search for information that confirms one's preconceptions
the inability to see a problem from a new perspective; an impediment to problem solving
mental set
a tendency to approach a problem in a particular way, especially a way that has been successful in the past but may or may not be helpful in solving a new problem
functional fixedness
the tendency to think of things only in terms of their usual functions; an impediment to problem solving
representativeness heuristic
judging the likelihood of things in terms of how well they seem to represent, or match, particular prototypes; may lead one to ignore other relevant information
availability heuristic
estimating the likelihood of events based on their availability in memory; if instances come readily to mind (perhaps because of their vividness), we presume such events are common.
the tendency to be more confident than correct- to overestimate the accuracy of one's beliefs and judgments
belief bias
the tendency for one's preexisting beliefs to distort logical reasoning, sometimes by making invalid conclusions seem valid, or valid conclusions seem invalid
belief perseverance
clinging to one's intial conceptions after the bias on which they were formed has been discredited
artificial intelligence
the science of designing and programming computer systems to do intelligent things and to simulate human thought processes, such as intuitive reasoning, learning, and understanding language
computer neural networks
computer circuits that mimic that brain's interconnected neural cells, performing tasks such as learning to recognize visual patterms and smells
our spoken, written, or signed words and the ways we combine them to communicate meaning
in a spoken language, the smallest distinctive sound unit
in language, the smallest unit that carries meaning; may be a word or a part of a word (such as a prefix)
in a language, a system of rules that enables us to communicate with and understand others
the set of rules by which we derive meaning from morphemes, words, and sentences in a given language; also, the study of meaning
the rules for combining words into grammatically sensible sentences in a given language
babbling stage
beginning at 3 to 4 months, the stage of speech development in which the infant spontaneously utters various sounds at first unrelated to the household language
one-word stage
the stage in speech development, from about 1 to 2, during which a child speaks mostly in single words
two-word stage
beginning about age 2, the stage in speech development during which a child speaks mostly two-word statements
telegraphic speech
early speech stage in which a child speaks like a telegram-"go car"-using mostly nouns and verbs and omitting "auxiliary" words
linguistic determinism
Whorf's hypothesis that language determines the way we think
intelligence test
a method for assessing an individual's mental aptitudes and comparing them with those of others, using numerical scores
mental quality consisting of the ability to learn from experience, solve problems, and use knowledge to adapt to new situations
factor analysis
a statistical procedure that identifies clusters of related items (called factors) on a test; used to identify different dimensions of performance that underlie one's total score
general intelligence
a general intelligence factor that Spearman and others believed underlies specific mental abilities and is therefore measured by every task on an intelligence test
savant syndrome
a condition in which a person otherwise limited in mental ability has an exceptional specific skill, such as in computation or drawing
emotional intelligence
the ability to perceive, express, understand, and regulate emotions
the ability to produce novel and valuable ideas
mental age
a measure of intelligence test performance devised by Binet; the chronological age that most typically corresponds to a given level of performance. Thus, a child who does as well as the average 8 year old is said to have a mental age of 8
the widely used American revision (by Terman at Standford) of Binet's original intelligence test
Intelligence quotient (IQ)
defined originally as the ratio of mental age to chronological age multiplied by 100 (thus IQ=ma/ca x 100) On contemporary intelligence tests, the average performance for a given age is assingned a score of 100
aptitude test
a test designed to predict a person's future performance; aptitude is the capacity to learn
achievement test
a test designed to assess what a person has learned
Wechsler Adlut Intelligence Scale
the WAIS is the most widely used intelligence test; contains verbal and performance (nonverbal) subtests
defining meaningful scores by comparison with the performance of a pretested "standardization group"
normal curve
the symmetrical bell-shaped curve that describes the distribution of many phsyical and psychological attributes. Most scores fall near the average, and fewer and fewer scores lie near the extremes
the extent to which a test yields consistent results, as assessed by the consistency of scores on two halves of the test, on alternate forms of the test, or on retesting
the extent to which a test measures or predicts what it is supposed to
content validity
the extent to which a test samples the behavior that is of interest (such as a drving test that samples driving tasks)
the behavior (such as college grades) that a test (such as SAT) is designed to predict; thus, the measure used in defining whether the test has predictive validity
predictive validity
the success with which a test predicts the behavior it is designed to predict; it is assessed by computing the correlation between test scores and the criterion behavior
mental retardation
a condition of limited mental ability, indicated by an intelligence score below 70 and difficulty in adapting to the demands of life; varies from mild to profound
down syndrome
a condition of retardation and associated physical disorders caused by an extra chromosome in one's genetic make-up
the proportion of variation among individuals that we can attribute to genes. The heritability of a trait may vary depending on the range of populations and environments studied
stereotype threat
a self-confirming concern that one will be evaluated based on a negative stereotype
a need or desire that energizes and directs behavior
a complex behavior that is rigidly patterned throughout a species and is unlearned
drive-reduction theory
the idea that a physiological need creates an aroused tension state (a drive) that motivates an organism to satisfy the need
a tendency to maintain a balanced or constant internal state; the regulation of any aspect of body chemistry, such as blood glucose, around a particular level
a positive or negative environmental stimulus that motivates behavior
hierarchy of needs
Maslow's pyramid of human needs, beginning at the base with physiological needs that must first be satisfied before higher-level safety needs and then psychological needs become active
the form of sugar that circulates in the blood and provides the major source of energy for body tissues. When its level is low, we feel hunger
set point
the point at which an individual's "weight thermostat" is supposedly set. When the body falls below this weight, an increase in hunger and lowered metabolic rate may act to restore the lost weight
basal metabolic rate
the body's resting rate of energy expenditure
anorexia nervosa
an eating disorder in which a normal-weight person (usually an adolescent female) diets and becomes significantly (15 percent or more) underweight, yet still feeling fat, continues to starve
bulimia nervosa
an eating disorder characterized by episodes of overeating usually of high-calorie foods, followed by vomiting, laxative use, fasing or excessive exercise
sexual response cycle
the four stages of sexual responding described by Masters and Johnson- excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution
refractory period
a resting period after orgasm, during which a man cannot achieve another orgasm
sexual disorder
a problem that consistently impairs sexual arousal or functioning
a sex hormone, secreted in greater amounts by females than by males. In nonhuman female mammals, estrogen levels peak during ovulation, promoting sexual receptivity
the most important of the male sex hormones. Both males and females have it, but the additional testosterone in males stimulates the growth of the male sex organs in the fetus and the development of the male sex characteristics during puberty
sexual orientation
an enduring sexual attraction toward members of either one's own sex (homosexual orientation) or the other sex (heterosexual orientation).
a completely involved, focused state of consciousness, with diminished awareness of self and time, resulting form optimal engagement of one's skills
industrial-organizational psychology
the application of psychological concepts and methods to optimizing human behavior in workplaces
personnel psychology
a subfield of I/O psychology that focuses on employee recruitment, selection, placement, training, appraisal and development
organizational psychology
a subfield of I/O psychology that examines organizational influences on worker satisfaction and productivity and facilitates organizational change
structured interviews
interview process that asks the same job-relevant questions of all applicants, each of whom is rated on established scales
achievement motivation
a desire for significant accomplishment: for mastery of things, people, or ideas; for attaining a high standard
task leadership
goal-oriented leadership that sets standards, organizes work, and focuses attention on goals
social leadership
gruop-oriented leadership that builds teamwork, mediates conflict, and offers support
Theory X
assues that workers are basically lazy, error-prone, and extrinsically motivated by money and thus should be directed from above
theory Y
assumes that given challenge and freedom, workers are intrinsically motivated to achieve self-esteem and to demonstrate their competence and creativity