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295 Cards in this Set

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ABA Design
ABA refers to a specific type of research design in which you have a baseline period where no treatment is given and/or no variable is introduced (A), followed by a period in which the treatment or variable is introduced (B), and then a period in which the treatment is removed so the behavior can be observed a second time (A). This way you can measure behavior before treatment, during treatment, and once treatment is removed.
Abnormal
Although the terms “normal” and “abnormal” can be argued at great length, psychologists often define the term “abnormal” as deviating from what is considered the “norm” and not conforming to the accepted social rules. Sounds pretty weak, right…”abnormal is anything that is not considered normal”. The reality is that we define all sorts of behaviors, thoughts, etc. by what the majority of people do, and say that this is the norm. Behavior that falls outside of this is considered abnormal. It is important to recognize that abnormality is affected significantly by society and culture…what is abnormal in the United States may be considered completely normal in another country.
Abnormal Psychology
A discipline or branch of psychology that studies patterns of normal and abnormal behavior as well as personality disorders. In addition, abnormal psychology is concerned with the origins and treatment of abnormal behavior and disorders. Although the term is not used in this way, it may be helpful for you to think of abnormal psychologists as counseling psychologists and/or clinical psychologists. Abnormal psychology is more of an umbrella term.
Absolute Threshold
This is a term that many students have a difficult time understanding, but it's not as complex as it might seem. One formal definition is that absolute threshold is the smallest intensity of a stimulus that has to be present for the stimulus to be detected. Let's use an example to clear this up. Think of an electric burner on a stove. Imagine turning that burner on and then placing your hand directly on it. At first you won't feel much heat because is takes time for the burner to heat up. But at some point it will get hot enough for you to detect…meaning, there is some temperature that is just hot enough for you to notice it. This isn't the point at which you get burned, but the point at which it is just hot enough for you to detect the presence of the heat.
Accommodation
This term stemmed from the work of Jean Piaget and his work on cognitive development of children. Accommodation is the cognitive process of revising existing cognitive schemas, perceptions, and understanding so that new information can be incorporated. In order to make sense of some new information, you actual adjust information you already have (schemas you already have, etc.) to make room for this new information. This is related to assimilation.
Acculturation
There are actually a couple of different meanings to this word (given in no particular order). The first definition here relates to the effects of groups or societies on people…"The modification of the culture of a group or individual as a result of contact with a different culture" or " The process by which the culture of a particular society is instilled in a human from infancy onward." Acculturation may also refer to a cognitive process that is similar to Piaget's "assimilation", as can be seen in this definition of acculturation: "the process of assimilating new ideas into an existing cognitive structure."
Acetylcholine
Acetylcholine (ACh) is the most common type of neurotransmitter, and the most well understood. It's found in parts of the peripheral nervous system, spinal cord, and areas of the brain. In the peripheral nervous system, ACh activates muscles that help the body move. When Ach is released to the muscle cells, the muscle contracts. In the brain, ACh is involved in breathing, attention, arousal, motivation, etc. Obviously there are many problems that can occur if ACh is blocked (muscles can't contract). One example is the black widow spider uses venom that causes a flood of ACh into muscle cells and results in violent, uncontrollable muscle contractions, paralysis, and death for it's prey.
Acquisition
Acquisition refers to the initial stage of the learning or conditioning process. In this stage, some response is being associated with some stimulus to the point where we can say the organism (person, animal, etc.) has "acquired" the response. During this stage the response is strengthened (reinforced) so that it is truly "learned". For example, if you are trying to train a rat to press a lever in response to you ringing a bell (i.e., trying to condition the rat to press the lever when and only when you ring the bell), then once the rat presses the lever in only response to the bell, you can say the response is "acquired". You would then continue to gradually reinforce the lever pressing in response to the bell to make sure the response is strengthened.
Action Potential
During the sequence of events in the neural impulse, the neural membrane opens at one area and allows the positively charged ions to rush in and the negative ions to rush out. When this happens, the charge inside the neuron rises to approximately +40 mv (is this too much information?) for just a brief moment, but long enough to create a domino effect. As action potentials happen over and over within the neuron, it carries the electrical signal (the information) with it. The neural impulse is like a series of action potentials happening over and over again.
Active Listening
Active listening comes from the theories of Carl Rogers' person-centered-therapy. This type of listening involves a person (typically a therapist) listening to a person and then responding to the person using techniques such as paraphrasing. In this way the listener restates what has been said in order to demonstrate empathy, show that he/she was listening and understanding what was being said.
Actor-Observer Bias
This is a social psychology term that refers to the tendency of an individual to regard situations in which he or she is involved as caused by external factors, and to regard situations he or she observes as caused by the actions of those involved. Think of a time when someone was rude to you. Did you say to yourself, “Wow, that person must be having a bad day. I understand why they were rude to me” ? Or did you say something to the effect of, “What a jerk”? If your response was similar to the latter, then you attributed the persons behavior to internal factors (the person is a jerk) rather than external factors (bad day). The likelihood is that if the situation were reversed and you were rude to someone else, you would say it was because of something external and not some internal factor (like you think you are a jerk--I don't think so!).
Adaptation
Things change. As humans, we must also change. Adaptation refers to an individual's ability to adjust to changes and new experiences, and to accept new information. The ability to adapt helps us grow mentally and continually develop.
Adjustment
Adjustment may be defined as a process of altering behavior to reach a harmonious relationship with the environment. When people say they are in an “adjustment period” they typically mean they are going through a process of change and are searching for some level of balance or acceptance with the environment, others, or themselves.
Adolescence
The developmental stage that occurs from puberty to maturity, lasting from about ages 12 to 18 (there is some debate about the exact age range, but 12-18 is a commonly accepted range). There are numerous theories about the changes that occur during this stage of life, but one thing that is consistent is that this is a significant time of change and growth. During this time of life we transition to adulthood.
Affect
Affect is a fairly general term for feelings, emotions, or moods. To say someone has negative affect means that they have feelings, emotions, or moods that are negative in nature. I guess you can think of this as just a fancy way to say "feelings".
Affective Disorder
Since affect is a general term for feelings, emotion, or moods, affective disorder is a disorder characterized by wide fluctuation of feelings, emotions, and/or moods. For example, a person with affective disorder may be very happy one minute and then terribly depressed the next.
Agape
Agape is a Greek term meaning a purely spiritual love of a person. This type of love corresponds to the love of God.
Alexithymia
This term was requested by a student and is a term we are not very familiar with. As a result, we searched for a definition and found the following...we hope you find it useful: "Sifneos (1972) coined the term alexithymia to designate a group of cognitive and affective characteristics typical of many patients with psychosomatic illnesses. It is thought to be a personality trait that is characterized by a decreased ability to communicate feelings, a decreased ability to identify feelings, a cognitive tendency toward detail and external operations or events, and a paucity of imaginative thought, dream recall, or fantasy"
Alpha Waves
Alpha waves are a type of brain wave that occur when a person is relaxed, but still awake. Alpha waves typically occur when you are falling asleep, as you pass from wakefulness into sleep (from wake into stage 1 sleep).
Altruism
Altruism refers to unselfish behaviors or actions done for the sake of someone else. For example, if you volunteer at a nursing home, or give money to someone in need, etc., you are helping someone else without receiving benefit. However, there is debate about altruism - some people who say altruism doesn't "really" exist because you do get something out of unselfish acts - you feel good about yourself. I'll leave it to you to decide if altruism exists.
Amphetamines
Amphetamines are a type of stimulant that speeds up bodily processes, and includes caffeine (coffee, tea, soda), nicotene (cigarettes), and cocaine. Some of the effects include increased heart rate, increased respiration, reduced appetite, and increased energy. Many modern-day "energy drinks" contain a lot of caffeine to give you all this energy.
Amygdala
The amygdala is actually 2 areas of the brain (not one) containing lots of neurons that influence anger, aggression, fear, and rage. Although there are other parts of the brain that influence these emotions, the amygdala may have the most influence. Early studies demonstrated that damaging these areas can turn very aggressive animals into docile, even fearful creatures.
Anaclitic Depression
This is a type of depression that occurs primarily in infants who have been separated from or lost their mothers or primary caretakers. If a child suffers from anaclitic depression there is a high risk of serious developmental problems both intellectually and physically. Although anaclitic depression has been reserved almost exclusively for infants, psychologists have found it in adults and even monkeys.
Anal-Expulsive
Freud’s psychosexual theory of development has several stages and lots of elements within those stages. The term anal-expulsive refers to a time during the anal stage of development (which lasts from about 18 months to three or four years old) in which the focus of pleasure is the anus and children find sensual pleasure in having bowel movements (expelling feces). This is the opposite of anal-retentive in which children retain feces (they resist having bowel movements).
Antecedent Conflict
Antecedent conflict is the concept or theory that suggests events that happen early in life which are troubling, traumatic, or disturbing bring about intense reactions to conflict during adult life. This is not to say that people who simply don’t deal with problems well have antecedent conflict. Rather, responses to conflict are severe and very intense, well outside the “normal” range or responding.
Aphasia
Aphasia is the inability to use language appropriately and may include problems speaking language, hearing language, and reading language. Some with aphasia are able to read properly, but can't speak the language, speak the language but not be able to read it, or read letters but not numbers. Aphasia usually results from damage to parts of the brain such as Broca's (speaking problems) area or Wernicke's area (understanding language problems).
Applied Research
As opposed to basic research, applied research is the type of research which is conducted to solve practical problems, find cures to illnesses, develop therapies with the purpose of helping people, and other similar types of practical problem-solving research.
Assimilation
This term stemmed from the work of Jean Piaget and his work on cognitive development of children. Assimilation is the cognitive process of fitting new information into existing cognitive schemas, perceptions, and understanding. This means that when you are faced with new information, you make sense of this information by referring to information you already have (information processed and learned previouly) and try to fit the new information into the information you already have. A similar process is accommodation (another one of Piaget's processes), but with accomodation the information you already have has to be adjusted to incorporate the new information.
Association Theory
This theory stems from behaviorism and states that concepts are learned by simple, reinforced connections between a stimulus and a desired response. When an organism makes connections between a stimulus (e.g., a bell ringing) and a response (e.g., pressing a lever which may ultimately lead to a reward), it is making an association.
Associative Learning
This is a "learning" or "conditioning" term that refers to learning that two different events occur or happen together. This is really a fundamental component of conditioning since a response to a stimulus won't really be learned if the organism doesn't get the point that the stimulus and response are supposed to occur together. This doesn't have to be a conscious learning (remember, there is a big difference between classical and operant conditioning) but the association must be made for the learning to occur.
Ataxia
When the brain is unable to regulate the body's posture and direction of movement, it causes shaky and unsteady movements. This sometimes happens temporarily when you take medication, but can also be an ongoing medical condition.
Attribution
Technically speaking, attribution is the process by which people use information to make inferences about the causes of behavior or events. Simply put, this is how we go about inferring behavior (our own and those of others). For example, if you take an exam and you do well but a friend of yours fails, you might say that you did well because you are smart but your friend failed because he partied all night and didn’t study. In this case, you “attributed” your success to an internal attribution (you’re smart) but “attributed” your friend’s behavior to an external attribution (partied all night).
Attribution Theory
Attribution theory is a Social Psychological theory that relates to the way in which people explain their own behavior and that of others. According to this theory, people tend to attribute (or explain) psychological or external causes as the determining factor in behavior. For example, if someone acts mean to you one day, would you attribute the behavior to the person being a jerk (internal attribution) or to the person having a bad day (external attribution)? Attribution theory examines the ways in which people make these attributions. Make sure you review the definition for the Fundamental Attribution Error, which relates directly to this.
Aversion Therapy
Similar to other types of behavior therapy, aversion therapy is based on the principles of learning (conditioning) and is done to eliminate the presence of some maladaptive behavior. This is done by pairing the maladaptive behavior (which is in some way rewarding to the person who engages in it -- like smoking) with a stimulus that is unpleasant. What happens then is that the pleasant behavior becomes less pleasant and decreases over time until it is gone completely.
Axon
Axons are the long, spider-thin, tail-like structures found on neurons (nerve cells). Each neuron has a nerve body, dendrites, and axons, all of which are used to send information throughout your body. The axon carries signals (electric voltages) between the dendrites (the neuron's input sites) and the terminal buttons (the neuron's output sites that are at the very end of the axon). The signal always travels in the same direction - the signal comes into the neuron through the dendrites, through the cell body (soma), to the axon, and then out the terminal buttons to the dendrites of the next neuron. In this way information travels all around your body by going from neuron to neuron.
Barbiturates
This is a class of drug derived from barbituric acid that is often used for medical purposes as a sedative and/or hypnotic. The effects barbiturates produce are similar to alcohol, causing feelings of depression, sleepiness, impaired judgment, and reduced inhibitions. Barbiturates fall under the "depressant" drug class and can be very addictive.
Basal Ganglia
An area of the forebrain that is important to smooth muscle movement and actions. This area works in conjunction with the midbrain to help us avoid moving in choppy, fragmented ways.
Basic Research
As opposed to applied research, basic research is conducted with the intent of increasing the scientific knowledge base, and to find theoretical truth and understanding (not specifically to solve practical problems). For example, someone conducting basic research on cheating behavior may design a study examining whether students from divorced families cheat more often than students not from divorced families. Notice that the research is not done to reduce cheating, help people who cheat, or any other "applied" aspect, but to increase the understanding of cheating behavior.
Basic Trust
Erik Erikson conducted an enormous amount of research on developmental issues. One such issue is that of attachment. He indicated that children who have secure attachments with their parents have a general sense that the world is predictable and reliable (this is basic trust). This basic trust, according to Erikson, is formed by loving, sensitive, care givers and not from genetic makeup or to a continuously positive environment.
Basilar Membrane
This is a long membrane that is part of the auditory system. The membrane runs the length of the cochlea (inside the ear) and contains those tiny hairs that act as sound receptors.
Behavior Modification
A type of behavioral therapy in which the principles of Operant Conditioning (reinforcement, punishments, etc.) are used to eliminate some type of unwanted, maladaptive, behavior. For example, a person may feel that they no longer want to smoke (the maladaptive behavior) and so the person is given a favorite piece of candy every time a cigarette is desired but refused. So, when the person wants a cigarette but does not have one, they get a piece of their favorite candy as a reward.
Behavior Therapy
In 1952, Hans Eysenck coined this term in reference to a type of treatment that focuses on changing or reducing the occurrence of some maladaptive behavior as opposed to simply examining the unconscious conflicts or aspects associated with the maladaptive behavior. So instead of trying to "get to the root of a problem", behavior therapy aims to get rid of the problem regardless of the feelings about the behavior, the underlying causes, etc. In addition, behavior therapy is based on the premise that maladaptive behavior, like adaptive behaviors, are learned, and therefore can be unlearned. Thus, behavior therapies (like systematic desensitization, aversion therapy, and behavior modification) are based on the principles of learning.
Behavioral Psychology (behavioral approach)
The behavioral approach was founded by John B. Watson and originally rejected the study of mental processes in favor of the study of overt behavior (observable behavior) and external factors – study of observable events. The behaviorists believed all behavior was determined by stimuli in the environment. Today, this approach still stresses the importance of the environment on behavior, but also allows for inclusion of cognitive processes and feelings (early behaviorists rejected cognition in the study of behavior).
Behaviorism
The school of thought that stresses the need for psychology to be an objective science. In other words, that psychology should be a science based on observable (and only observable) events, not the unconscious or conscious mind. This perspective was first suggested and propagated by John Watson in 1913, who wanted psychology to study only observable behaviors and get away from the study of the conscious mind completely. Watson's primary rationale was that only observable events are verifiable and thus, are the only events that can be proven false.
Between Subjects Design
In a Between Subjects Design each participant participates in one and only one group. The results from each group are then compared to each other to examine differences, and thus, effect of the IV. For example, in a study examining the effect of Bayer aspirin vs Tylenol on headaches, we can have 2 groups (those getting Bayer and those getting Tylenol). Participants get either Bayer OR Tylenol, but they do NOT get both.
Biastophilia
A paraphilia (or sexually practice that is considered deviant or not socially acceptable) in which sexual arousal becomes dependent on sexually attacking a nonconsenting, surprised, terrified, and struggling stranger. This is a kind of rape even though most rapes are committed by normophilic men (men who's sexually practices are not considered sexually deviant...other than rape, of course). The main source of the sexual arousal is the actual fear, surprise, and resistance from the victim.
Binocular Cues
Humans are able to see things that are both far and near, and can actually identify where those objects are in space (meaning, they can determine if those objects are close or far away). This sort of depth perception requires both of our eyes, which is referred to as binocular cues (depth cues that requires both of our eyes).
Biofeedback
A method of behavior modification that uses principles of operant conditioning to change a maladaptive behavior. With this method, a person is presented with visual or auditory information about some internal, involuntary process. The information is actual feedback about the internal process that the person can use to increase control of the internal process. For example, a person suffering from stress can be hooked up to a biofeedback machine that creates a sound whenever the person starts getting stressed (increased heart rate, blood pressure, etc., would cause the machine to produce the sound). By paying attention to the sounds, the person can use relaxation techniques when there are some internal changes due to the stress - even if they are not yet feeling them, the effects can be identified by the machine and then controlled by the person. Over time, the goal is to be able to control these behaviors without the use of the machine.
Biological Perspective
To understand behavior by understanding the biological processes associated with those behaviors. This includes the brain, nervous system, genetics, and more. This is becoming more prominent all the time.
Biopsychological Perspective
The psychological school of thought based on the premise that physiological influences and factors are the most important factors in developing, determining, and causing behaviors and mental processes. In the classic "nature-nurture" debate, the physiological perspective IS the "nature".
Biopsychology
The scientific field of study that examines the relationships between biology and psychology, and how they influence behavior and cognition. For example, biopsychology examines topics such as how your eyes are able to inform your brain what you are reading, how the brain interprets this information, and how your brain communicates with your hand to move the mouse and click on different links.
Blocking
This refers to a conditioning principle first addressed by Kamin (1969). Kamin indicated that having a CS (conditioned stimulus) that can predict a UCS (also known as US or unconditioned stimulus) is sufficient. What this means is that, if an animal learns that a CS is a realible predictor of a UCS (e.g., a pigeon learns that a light reliably predicts the onset of some painful sitmulus such as a shock), then the pigeon will not become conditioned to another CS or learn that any other CS predicts that UCS. So, our little pigeon friend will not learn that a bell predicts the onset of the shock the same way the light did. Once the pigeon learns one reliable association with the CS, it essentially "blocks" further associations.
Brainstem
This area of the brain is not only the oldest area, but also is located in the most inner regions of the brain. The brainstem is located just above the spinal column. In fact, it is located directly above the spinal column, and is where the spinal cord enters the brain. The brainstem includes the medulla (responsible for functions such as respiration), and the reticular formation, which acts like a bridge; it allows information to pass back and forth from one side (hemisphere) of the brain to the other.
Broca's Area
Named for the French surgeon and anthropologist, Paul Broca, who found this area of the brain, Broca's Area is located in the frontal lobe of the brain and acts as the speech center. Although there are other areas of the brain that also influence speech (Wernicke's Area and the motor cortex), Broca's Area is considered the central component.
Butterfly Effect
The butterfly effect serves as a metaphor for life in a chaotic world. Specifically, it suggests that small events can have very large effects. This is a relatively new approach as it was once believed that small events produced small effects and large events produced large effects. Chaos theory, however, changed this view and now the butterfly effect sugests that little things, like a bird flapping its wings over China today, can have big effects, like causing a hurricane in America next week.
Cannon-Bard Theory
This theory of emotion states that an emotion is produced when some stimulus triggers the thalamus to send information simultaneously to the brain (specifically, the cerebral cortex) and the autonomic system (including the skeletal muscles). Thus, the stimulus is perceived at both a physiological and the subjective level.
Cardinal Trait
According to Gordon Allport, the human personality is comprised of three traits. The most dominant of these traits are the cardinal traits which are dominant traits that characterizes almost all of a person's personality. For example, Mother Teresa is often identified as exemplifying the cardinal trait, altruism, as her life was completely devoted to helping others, even at her own expense.
Catatonic Schizophrenia
People with this type of schizophrenia exhibit unusual motor behaviors, and act in bizarre ways. There are two type of behavioral classes that the catatonic schizophrenic will engage in; catatonic excitement and catatonic stupor. During catatonic excitement, the schizophrenic will act in bizarre, high-strung like behaviors such as pacing quickly, babbling, talking incoherently, etc., while during catatonic stupors, the person will assume one position and remain that way for long periods of time (sometimes for hours). Even more interesting is the fact that the person will typically remain aware of what is going around them despite being frozen.
Catharsis
Catharsis is a psychodynamic principle that, in its most basic sense, is simply an emotional release. Further, the catharsis hypothesis maintains that aggressive or sexual urges are relieved by "releasing" aggressive or sexual energy, usually through action or fantasy. For example, a young male may watch a film in which an attractive woman engages in sexual behavior. The young male may become sexually aroused from this and subsequently frustrated because of his inability to act out his sexual desires. To release this sexual tension, the young male may go outside and play sports or engage in fantasies about himself and the woman.
Cathexis
The term cathexis refers to an investment of mental or emotional energy put into a person, object, or idea. For example, when you have a fight with your boyfriend/girlfriend and it is on your mind, you are stressed out about it, keep going over it, thinking about the other person, what will happen to the relationship, etc., you are investing mental and emotional energy in that situation, event, and person.
Causation
Causation is the demonstration of how one variable influences (or the effect of a variable) another variable or other variables. When one variable does have an effect on another, you can say that you have “causation”.
Cell Assembly
In 1949, Donald O. Hebb coined this term. It refers to a group of cortical neurons that function to sustain the active memory trace that remains for a short time after some stimulus has been perceived.
Central Nervous System (CNS)
CNS is a term that describes the brain and the spinal cord. This is a term you are probably familiar with, since it is one of the most commonly used scientific terms around. Despite this, there is some small debate about the CNS - some claim that the retina is also part of the CNS. However, the most accepted view is that the CNS contains only the brain and spinal cord, and that the retina is part of peripheral nervous system.
Cerebellum
The cerebellum is a structure often referred to as the "little brain" that is located in the rear of the brainstem. The cerebellum helps control voluntary movements such as eye movement and tracking of moving objects, as well as coordination and balance in behaviors that are very fast (for example, running or sprinting).
Cerebral Cortex
The thin outer layer of the brain's (approximately 2 mm) cerebral hemispheres that acts as the main control center and information processing center. The cerebral cortex is not required for performing many simple actions, but is crucial for creating new episodic memories, the fancier associations, and many new movement programs. The cerebral cortex is made up of two different sub-components: the motor cortex and the sensory cortex.
Chunking
A very basic definition is that chunking is a way of organizing information into familiar groupings. This is done with all sorts of information, including numbers, single words, and multiple-word phrases which are collapsed into a single word, to create acronyms. The main advantage of this type of mnemonic device is that it enhances retention and memory. For example, how do you remember the names of the 5 Great Lakes? If you just remember the acronym, HOMES, you may find it easier to remember that the names of the Great Lakes are Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior.
Circadian Rhythms
Circadian rhythms are what people often refer to as your body's internal, biological clock. The typical human circadian rhythm occurs on a cycle of approximately 24 hours. However, the clock is not really functioning on time, but on body temperature. It is just that body temperature fluctuates on somewhat of a regular type of schedule, and so many people often believe that the circadian rhythms are time oriented instead of body temperature oriented. For example, your body temperature begins to increase in the morning (as you wake and start your day), then gets higher during the day while you are active, and begins to drop during the evening, producing feelings of fatigue and preparing for sleep.
Classical Conditioning
First proposed and studied by Ivan Pavlov, classical conditioning is one form of learning in which an organism "learns" through establishing associations between different events and stimuli. For example, when a neutral stimulus (such as a bell) is paired with an unconditioned stimulus (such as food) which produces some involuntary bodily response all on its own (such as salivating), the neutral stimulus begins to trigger a response by the organism similar (some salivation) to that produced by the unconditioned stimulus. In this way, the organism has "learned" that the neutral stimulus equals something good (just like the unconditioned stimulus).
Closure
Closure is a Gestalt principle of perceptual organization that explains how humans fill in visual gaps in order to perceive disconnected parts as a whole object. For example, can you tell what shape this elements make? [__] -- answer = square
Coactors
People who are work on the same noncompetitive task at the same time. When you play on a sports team, work on team or organizational group at the office, do a group project together, or anything where you work with other people toward a goal without competing with them, you are all coactors. This is an important component to social facilitation and the study of how people influence each other.
Cochlea
The cochlea (from the Greek word meaning "snail") is a bony, spiral-shaped, fluid-filled tube in the inner ear through which sound waves travel and trigger nerve impulses. The cochlea looks very much like a snail and is a vital component in hearing. Nerve impulses that send auditory signals to the brain for interpretation are sent from it.
Cognition
All the mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, and remembering. As you can tell, any of your ideas, thoughts, memories, etc., are all types of cognitive processes. What you are doing (reading and learning this explanation) is a type of cognition.
Cognitive Ability Tests
These tests are designed to measure a person's intelligence and mental ability. Some of the specific areas measured by cognitive ability tests include problem-solving, verbal ability, numerical ability, reasoning, memory, and general intelligence.
Cognitive Dissonance Theory
Proposed by Festinger, the cognitive dissonance theory asserts that people often have two conflicting or inconsistent cognitions which produce a state of tension or discomfort (also known as "dissonance"). People are then motivated to reduce the dissonance, often in the easiest manner possible. For example, if you are a pacifist, but punched someone, there is inconsistency -- you think you should be passive, but you became angry enough to punch someone -- which would likely produce tension (you would feel discomfort from this - "how could I do this" ..." I don't believe in violence" ...etc.). You may reduce this tension by claiming that you don't believe in violence, EXCEPT in certain circumstances, like this one!
Cognitive Map
A cognitive map is a mental representation of the layout of one's environment. It seems that many animals, not just humans, are able to form a mental representation of an environment that they have been in or are currently in. For example, when a friend asks you for directions to your house, you are able to create an image in your mind of the roads, places to turn, landmarks, etc., along the way to your house from your friend's starting point. This representation is the cognitive map.
Cognitive Perspective
The Cognitive Perspective is the psychological viewpoint that the focuses on the how people (and other animals) process, store, and retrieve information and how this information is used to reason and solve problems. Obviously, the part about reasoning is generally reserved for humans, although there is some argument concerning the possibility that other animals also reason and engage in problem-solving behaviors.
Cognitive Therapy
Cognitive therapy is a form of therapy developed by Aaron Beck who suggested that our beliefs and perceptions influence our emotional responses to the world around us. According to cognitive therapy, our negative thought patterns (not unconscious conflicts or early life traumas as psychoanalysis suggests) cause depression, anxiety and some other mental disorders. Cogitive Therapy helps patients by making them aware of these beliefs, how they produce so many problems, and then working to change these dysfunctional beliefs.
Collective Unconscious
According to Carl Jung, each person not only has their own unique unconscious mind, but also shares some elements of unconsciousness with all other people. He called this shared unconscious, the collective unconscious. Jung suggested that there are archetypes (images and memories of important human experiences) that are passed down from generation to generation. These archetypes can be common designs, shapes, colors, and figures seen over and over again throughout time.
Collectivism
Collectivism is a social psychological term that relates to the manner in which humans identify themselves and prioritize their goals. Collectivism, which is the opposite of individualism, focuses on the priorities of the group and not the individual. In a collectivist society, people identify themselves with the goals of the group much more so than the goals of individuals. Collectivism also focuses on things such as fitting into the group, behaving in ways that are line with social norms, group solidarity, and gaining a sense of identity from being part of the group. America is a more individualistic country (we do value individualism) whereas many Asian countries place a greater value on collectivism.
Color Constancy
Color constancy is a Gestalt principle of perception that suggests that the context in which an object we are viewing appears in, influences the way we perceive the color of that object. (Wow, is that as wordy and vague as I think??) Here is an example. You are looking at a bowl of fruit, which has in it a bright red apple, bananas, grapes, and some mangos. If you saw only a small portion of the apple, but did not know that it was an apple, the color would appear to change a little as the light changed. However, once you know it is an apple, you will still perceive the color as bright red even when the light changes a little (really).
Concept
A mental grouping of similar things, events, and people that is used to remember and understand what things are, what they mean, and what categories or groups they belong to. For example, if I say to you, "think of a car," the concept, "car" will evoke some ideas in your head about what a car is and what types of characteristics it contains -- does your concept of a car have black tires, two doors, four doors, is it red, white, black, etc.?
Concrete Operational Stage of Development
Jean Piaget, arguable the most prominent developmental theorist, outlined his perspective about the stages children pass through as they age and develop cognitively. In the concrete operational stage of cognitive development (from about 7 to 12 years of age) children gain the abilities and mental operations that allow them to think logically about concrete events such as mathematical operations and principles, and conservation.
Conditioned Response
In classical conditioning, the conditioned response (CR) is the learned response (reflexive behavior) to a conditioned stimulus (CS). This response is almost identical to the Unconditioned Stimulus except that now the reflexive behavior occurs in response to a conditioned stimulus as opposed to an unconditioned stimulus. For example, a dog salivates (UR) from the smell of a bone (US) naturally, without any conditioning. Once some neutral stimulus (CS) (for example, a "beep" that the dog would not naturally or normally cause the dog to salivate) has been paired with the bone for some time, the dog will salivate (CS) when the "beep" occurs.
Conditioned Stimulus
In classical conditioning, a formerly neutral stimulus that, after association with an unconditioned stimulus (US), comes to produce a conditioned response. For example, a dog salivates (UR) from the smell of a bone (US) naturally, without any conditioning. Once some neutral stimulus (for example, a "beep" that the dog would not naturally or normally cause the dog to salivate) has been paired with the bone for some time, the dog will salivate (CS) when the "beep" occurs. Once the beep has the capacity to elicit the salivation, it is now considered a conditioned stimulus (CS).
Cone Receptor
Conereceptors are cells concentrated near the center of the retina that allow vision during daylight or in well-lit conditions. In addition, the cones aid in the detection of fine detail and aid in seeing colors. The cones can become washed out (like being bleached) after being in a dark environment for some time. This is why it is often painful when you have, for example, been asleep, and a light is turned on; the pain actually comes from the cones being reintroduced to the light.
Concept
A mental grouping of similar things, events, and people that is used to remember and understand what things are, what they mean, and what categories or groups they belong to. For example, if I say to you, "think of a car," the concept, "car" will evoke some ideas in your head about what a car is and what types of characteristics it contains -- does your concept of a car have black tires, two doors, four doors, is it red, white, black, etc.?
Concrete Operational Stage of Development
Jean Piaget, arguable the most prominent developmental theorist, outlined his perspective about the stages children pass through as they age and develop cognitively. In the concrete operational stage of cognitive development (from about 7 to 12 years of age) children gain the abilities and mental operations that allow them to think logically about concrete events such as mathematical operations and principles, and conservation.
Conditioned Response
In classical conditioning, the conditioned response (CR) is the learned response (reflexive behavior) to a conditioned stimulus (CS). This response is almost identical to the Unconditioned Stimulus except that now the reflexive behavior occurs in response to a conditioned stimulus as opposed to an unconditioned stimulus. For example, a dog salivates (UR) from the smell of a bone (US) naturally, without any conditioning. Once some neutral stimulus (CS) (for example, a "beep" that the dog would not naturally or normally cause the dog to salivate) has been paired with the bone for some time, the dog will salivate (CS) when the "beep" occurs.
Conditioned Stimulus
In classical conditioning, a formerly neutral stimulus that, after association with an unconditioned stimulus (US), comes to produce a conditioned response. For example, a dog salivates (UR) from the smell of a bone (US) naturally, without any conditioning. Once some neutral stimulus (for example, a "beep" that the dog would not naturally or normally cause the dog to salivate) has been paired with the bone for some time, the dog will salivate (CS) when the "beep" occurs. Once the beep has the capacity to elicit the salivation, it is now considered a conditioned stimulus (CS).
Cone Receptor
Conereceptors are cells concentrated near the center of the retina that allow vision during daylight or in well-lit conditions. In addition, the cones aid in the detection of fine detail and aid in seeing colors. The cones can become washed out (like being bleached) after being in a dark environment for some time. This is why it is often painful when you have, for example, been asleep, and a light is turned on; the pain actually comes from the cones being reintroduced to the light.
Confound
Confounding is when a researcher does not control some extraneous variables that may influence the results…the only variable that should influence the results is the variable being studied. If a variable other than the one that is manipulated by the researcher has any affect at all on the measurements, then the study is said to be confounded.
Congruence
Carl Rogers stated that the personality is like a triangle made up of the real self, the perceived self, and ideal self. According to Rogers, when there is a good fit between all three components, the person has congruence. This is a healthy state of being and helps people continue to progress toward self-actualization.
Conservation
Conservation is one of Piaget's developmental accomplishments, in which the child understands that changing the form of a substance or object does not change its amount, overall volume, or mass. This accomplishment occurs during the operational stage of development between ages 7 and 11. You can often see the lack of conservation in children when there are, for example, several different sizes of juice on a table, and they chose the glass that is the tallest because they perceive the taller glass as having more juice inside of it (even though the tallest glass may also be the thinnest). All the glasses may have the same amount of juice in them, but children who haven't accomplished conservation will perceive the tall glass as being most full.
Construal
Construal is a social psychological term that refers to the way in which (or the process of) people perceive, comprehend, and interpret the world around them. We all need to interpret the world around us so that we can make sense of the world and determine our own actions and judgements. For example, imagine you are walking down the street and in front of you someone stops, falls to the ground, grabs their chest, and starts to turn blue. You would begin to interpret this situation, running through all the possible explanations for this situation and the person's behavior. Is it a joke, are they choking, having a heart attack, is this an emergency, etc. This would be contrual - your interpretation of the situation.
Constructive Recall
According to schema theory of memory organization (please look up the term "schema" for additional information), long-term memories are stored as parts of schemas (cognitive structures used for organizing information about events). Ulric Neisser suggested that there are times when our memories are distorted by adding or changing some of the details in order to fit with a schema. It is possible to have very accurate memory of the themes of specific events but innacurate accounts of the specific details of the event. We may change or tweak the memory a bit in order that it be more consistent with a schema. In other words, we adjust the memory a little bit so that it is more consistent with some schema we already have.
Content Validity
Content validity is an important research methodology term that refers to how well a test measures the behavior for which it is intended. For example, let's say your teacher gives you a psychology test on the psychological principles of sleep. The purpose of this test is to measure your knowledge or mastery of the psychological priniciples of sleep, right? If the test does indeed measure this, then it is said to have content validity -- it measures what it is supposed to measure.
Contiguity
Contiguity is a behaviorist approach that states, for learning to occur, the response must occur in the presence of or very soon after a stimulus is presented, or an association will not occur. In essence, this is a behaviorist view based on the idea that learning will occur only if events occur relatively close together in time.
Continuity
Continuity is a Gestalt principle of perceptual organization that states people have a tendency to group stimuli into continuous lines and patterns. For example, when you see geese flying south for the winter, they fly in a formation that, to us, looks like a big "V".
Continuous Reinforcement
This is an operant conditioning principle in which an organism is reinforced every single time that organism provides the appropriate operant response. For example, you, as a researcher, might present a food pellet every time the rat presses the lever. One of the biggest dangers when using this type of reinforcement is saturation (the organism basically gets full - you keep feeding it and it no longer wants the reinforcement because it is stuffed), so the idea that giving reinforcement all the time is the best way to teach/learn is not necessarily true.
Control Condition (control group)
During many experiments, researchers often include treatment groups (the groups that are given the treatment/IV) and a control group, which is identical to the treatment group in every single way except that the control group does not get the treatment/IV. In this way, the researcher can study effect(s) of the treatment thoroughly.
Convergence
In order to perceive depth properly, your eyes must move slightly inward or converge. In so doing, people are able to determine if objects are close to them or far away.
Convergent Thinking
A cognitive process (a mode of critical thinking) in which a person attempts to find a single, correct answer to a problem. This is opposite from divergent thinking in which a person generates many unique, creative responses to a single question or problem.
Corpus Callosum
This area contains the largest bundle of nerve fibers in the brain and connects the two sides (hemispheres) of the brain. The corpus callosum doesn't just sit there, it is responsible for allowing the two hemispheres to communicate with each other and share information. Thus, the corpus callosum carries massages between the left and right hemispheres of the brain.
Counterbalance
Counterbalancing is a type of experimental design in which all possible orders of presenting the variables are included. For example, if you have two groups of participants (group 1 and group 2) and two levels of an independent variable (level 1 and level 2), you would present one possible order (group 1 gets level 1 while group 2 gets level 2) first and then present the opposite order (group 1 gets level 2 while group 2 gets level 1). This way you can measure the effects in all possible situations. Obviously there are limitations with this procedure as not all studies can be designed this way and as you increase the number of variables, conditions, etc., it just becomes logistically problematic.
Counterconditioning
Counterconditioning is a type of therapy based on the principles of classical conditioning that attempts to replace bad or unpleasant emotional responses to a stimulus with more pleasant, adaptive responses. For example, do you remember the case of Little Albert - the boy that John Watson conditioned to fear little white rats? Well, if Watson attempted to "uncondition" the fear response to the rats, he would be engaging in counterconditioning - attempting to replace the unpleasant response (fear) to the rats with a more pleasant response (happiness).
Countertransference
Countertransference is a situation in which a therapist, during the course of therapy, develops positive or negative feelings toward the patient. These feelings may be the therapist's unconscious feelings that are stirred up during therapy which the therapist directs toward the patient. A therapist might start feeling uneasy about therapy or the patient, unhappy with the way therapy is going, or unhappy with themselves. Just like transference, this is not an uncommon situation in the therapeutic situation. Of course, therapists must not act on any feelings they have.
Criterion
When you take a test or create a test, what is it that the test is designed to measure? Regardless of what the "that" may be (future performance, intelligence, aptitude, etc), it is the criterion.
Critical Period
This one is just as it sounds...a critical period really is a specific time during which an organism has to experience stimuli in order to progress through developmental stages properly. Have you ever taken a language class in school? Did you find it difficult? One reason is that we, as humans, have a critical period for language development. During that time, we are much more capable of learning a new language than at other, later times -- it just comes much easier during that time. In particular, if children don't start speaking around a certain time, it can become even more difficult for them to pick up their native language. Thus, there are critical periods for learning language. A related term is Sensitive Period.
Cross-Sectional Study
A cross-sectional study is one type of study in which people of different ages are examined at the same time(s). This is usually done with cohorts, so that researchers can examine how people of different ages perform, behave, or respond to a particular function. For example, a researcher may give one type of test to children in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades, to examine the differences in performance across these age groups.
Culture
Culture is the set of ideas, behaviors, attitudes, and traditions that exist within large groups of people (usually of a common religion, family, or something similar). These ideas, behaviors, traditions, etc. are passed on from one generation to the next and are typically resistant to change over time. Cultures vary widely not only across the world, but even right next door. For example, if you live in America and then visit different areas of Europe, you may notice that people often get closer to each other physically in social settings - tables are often closer together at restaurants, people stand closer to each other when they speak, etc. These are examples of cultural differences.
Decay
Decay is a type of forgetting that occurs when memories fade over time. This does NOT apply to Long Term Memory, but rather sensory storage and Short Term Memory. The main reason this occurs in sensory and/or short term memory is that we don't need to process and store all the information that we encounter in the world, so we simply don't attend to, recognize, or rehearse all the information, and this information just fades away not to be stored in our long term memories.
Declarative Memory
Declarative memory, also known as explicit memory, is a type of long-term memory in which we store memories of fact. In addition, declarative memory is divided further into semantic and episodic memories (please look those up for complete definitions). So, if you have memories of things such as when Columbus sailed to America or what day and time your baby brother was born, you have declarative memories.
Defense Mechanism
A defense mechanism is a way for the mind to protect us from being consciously aware of thoughts or feelings that are too difficult to tolerate. Since the thought or feeling is too difficult to tolerate the defense mechanism only allows the unconscious thought or feeling to be expressed indirectly in some type of disguised form. Doing this allows us to reduce anxiety that is caused by the unconscious thought or feeling.
The concept of the defense mechanism was popularized by Freud and the psychoanalytic perspective. There are several different types of defense mechanisms including repression, regression, denial (my personal favorite), projection, compensation, sublimation, reaction formation, rationalization, and hallucination.
Deindividuation
People in groups tend to lose some of their own self-awareness and self-restraint when in groups. They become less of an individual and more anonymous. In a sense, people will do things in groups they otherwise would not because they feel less responsible for their actions and less like an individual.
Delta Wave
A delta wave is a type of brain wave that is large (high amplitude) and slow (low frequency), and is most often associated with slow wave sleep (stages 3 and 4; often referred to as deep sleep). Delta waves, like other brain waves, are measured using an electro-encephalogram (EEG).
Demand Characteristic
Sometimes during an experiment, a participant might pick up on some clue or bias from the researcher, the situation, or something about the experiment that gives the participant and idea of what type of response the researcher is looking for. This doesn’t mean that the participant is right, just that something makes them act in a way they think is what the researcher wants and not necessarily in their normal manner. This is similar to oberver bias except that the bias is found in the participants and not the observers of the research.
Dendrite
Dendrites are the branch-like structures of neurons that extend from the cell body (soma). The dendrites receive neural impulses (electrical and chemical signals) from the axons of other neurons. The signal always travels in the same direction - the signal comes into the neuron through the dendrites, through the cell body (soma), to the axon, and then out the terminal buttons to the dendrites of the next neuron. In this way information travels all around your body by going from neuron to neuron.
Dependent Variable (DV)
In an experiment there are two variables; the independent variable (IV) and the dependent variable (DV). In the most basic sense, you need two variables because as a researcher, you want to be able to examine if something (a drug, a therapy, a teaching technique, whatever) has an effect on some participant (person, people, animals, etc.). To accomplish this, you not only need something to examine (and manipulate - this is the IV), but also something to measure the effect the IV has (this is the DV). Thus, we can define the DV as the variable that is being measured. It is this variable that we, as the researchers, look at for change. IF there is a change, we may conclude that the IV affected the DV. The ultimate here is to establish that the IV caused the change in the DV (this is the magical "cause-effect" relationship).
Depressive Realism
Depressive Realism is the tendency for mildly depressed people to make judgments that are typically more accurate than people who are not depressed. Those who are not depressed often make judgments and attributions that are self-serving. For example, if you did well on a psychology test you might say that you did so because you're a genius and know everything about psychology. This would be a pretty self-serving attribution, wouldn't you say? But a mildly depressed person who got an A might make a more accurate attribution such as saying it was not because she is a genius, but because she studied well or the test was particularly easy. Your way might make you feel better, but it also might be less accurate.
Deprivation Study
deprivation study is a form of research in which an organism is prevented from having something they want or need for a designated period of time in order to examine the effect the deprivation has on the organism. For example, I used to work in a sleep lab where we often deprived people of sleep for days at a time. During the study we presented participants with all sorts of tests to see the effects sleep deprivation had on their cognitive functioning, motor skills, coordination, and many other factors.
Developmental Psychology
Developmental psychology is the branch of psychology that studies physical, cognitive, and social change of humans throughout their life cycle. Some argue that developmental psychologists study changes over time which all psychologists study, not just developmentalists. However, the difference is that the topics studied by developmental psychologists revolve around the maturation and aging process; what affects it and what it affects. For example, a developmental psychologist and myself may each conduct a study addressing how children of different ages perform on a particular test. The developmental Psychologist would be concerned with the differences between the age groups, why they performed differently, what developmental issues may be the causal factors in the differences, etc.
Difference Threshold
The difference threshold, also known as the just noticeable difference (jnd), is the minimum difference in stimulation that a person can detect 50 percent of the time. We experience the difference threshold as a just noticeable difference. For example, let's say I asked you to put your hand out and in it I placed a pile of sand. Then, I add tiny amounts of sand to your hand and ask you to tell me when you notice any change in the overall weight. As soon as you can detect any change in the weight, that difference between the weight of the sand before I added that last bit of sand and the amount of sand after I added it, is the difference threshold.
Differentiation
Differentiation typically refers to a developmental process when a skill becomes more sophisticated and broken into subsets. For example, a child may first learn the skill of walking, which can later become more sophisticated and break into skipping, running, jumping, and more. The child has not reached a new level of walking (if you will), but rather differentiated one skill into multiple subsets.
Discriminant Validity
Discriminant validity is the degree to which scores on a test *do not* correlated with scores from other tests that *are not* designed to assess the same construct. For example, if discriminant validity is high, scores on a test designed to assess aggressiveness should not be positively correlated with scores from tests designed to assess intelligence.
Discrimination
Discrimination is a term that is used in both classical and operant conditioning. In classical conditioning, it refers to an ability to distinguish between a conditioned stimulus (CS) and other, similar stimuli that don't signal an unconditioned stimulus (US). For example, if Pavlov's dog had developed discrimination, it would have salivated to the tone that had been paired with the delivery of the meat powder, and not a similar tone with a slightly different pitch. In operant conditioning, the definition is essentially the same, but here the organism discriminates between a learned, voluntary response and an irrelevant, non-learned response.
Displacement
According to Freudian psychoanalytic theory, displacement is when a person shifts his/her impulses from an unacceptable target to a more acceptable or less threatening target. For example, if you are very angry at your teacher because you did poorly on a test and think the reason for your poor performance is because the teacher asked tricky, unfair questions, you may become angry at your teacher. But, you obviously can't yell at your teacher (really, you can't!), hit your teacher, or express your angry in any other hostile way toward the teacher, so you go home and "displace" your anger by punching your little brother instead.
Dissociation
Dissociation is a split in the mind in which there can be two independent streams of consciousness occurring at the same time, allowing some thoughts and behaviors to occur simultaneously with others. According to some, dissociation is the foundation of hypnosis - the hypnotized person is able to maintain control of certain thoughts and behaviors, while others are being influenced by the hypnotist.
Dissociative Disorders
Dissociative disorders are disorders such as psychogenic fugue, multiple personality, and psychogenic amnesia in which a person's conscious awareness becomes separated (dissociated) from previous memories, thoughts, and feelings. When this happens, the person is unable to recall certain events that happened in their lives. For example, you may have heard of people committing heinous crimes and them claiming to have no recollection whatsoever of the event. This would be a case of psychogenic amnesia.
Dissociative Fugue
Dissociative Fugue (also known as just Fugue) is a really interesting type of disorder in which a person suffers a bout of amnesia and then flees their home and identity. Often the person will travel far away from their home, assume a new identity, and live as a different person until they "snap" out of their amnesic state.
Divergent Thinking
A cognitive process (a mode of critical thinking) in which a person generates many unique, creative responses to a single question or problem. This is different from convergent thinking which attempts to find a single, correct answer to a problem.
Door-in-the-Face Technique
This is a technique used to get compliance from others (to get them to behave in a way you want) in which a large request is made knowing it will probably be refused so that the person will agree to a much smaller request. The real objective is to get the person to agree to the small request, which is made to seem very reasonable because it is compared to such a large, seemingly unreasonable request. In essence, the large request gets you the "door in the face" when you ask it. For example, someone might ask you to give to give 5 hours of your time a week for the next year as a volunteer to a charity. After hearing this offer you may think it is a huge request, after which you may be asked to, instead of committing to all this volunteering time, to just donate a small amount of money. Compared to the time commitment, this request seems much more acceptable.
Double-Blind Procedure
This is one type of experimental procedure in which both the patient and the staff are ignorant (blind) as to the condition (or group) that the participant is in. This would make it impossible for the participant or researcher to know if the participant is receiving the treatment (for example a drug) or a placebo. This type of design is commonly used in drug evaluation studies, and is used to prevent the researchers from acting differently to people in one group, or from giving the participant any information that could make them act and/or behave unnaturally.
Drive
An aroused state of psychological tension that typically arises from a need. A drive, such as hunger or thirst, motivates the organism to act in ways that will reduce the tension. So, for example, when you become hungry (tension caused by need for food) you are motivated to eat (method of reducing the tension).
Drive Reduction Theory
How do you know when it is time to get a glass of water? You know because you get this feeling of being thirsty which motivates you to reduce the thirst by drinking water. This is what happens according to drive reduction theory. According to this theory, some physiological need (need for water) occurs that creates a state of tension (you feel thirsty) which in turn motivates you to reduce the tension or satisfy the need (drink water).
DSM
The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is a system used for classifying psychological disorders. This is the most widely accepted set of guidelines and definitions for mental disorders, and is often referred to as, "the clinician's bible". There are approximately 230 disorders listed in the DSM-IV-R which are organized into 17 categories.
Dualism
Dualism is the presumption proposed by Descartes that the human mind and body are two distinct entities that interact with each other to make a person. Descartes reasoned that the mind and the body communicate with each other through a small structure at the base of the brain called the pineal gland.
Dyad
The presence of two entities. For example, two people, two animals, etc. Some have argued that a dyad can be considered a "group", so a dyad could be considered a group consisting of two organisms. The key is that there are 2.
Dysphoria
Dysphoria is a psychological state that causes someone to experience feelings of anxiety, restlessness, and depression. This is not necessarily a diagnosible disorder like schizophrenia or something else that would be identified in the DSM-IV, but it is more of a state of being.
Echoic Memory
Humans remember sounds and words in slightly different ways. Memory for sound is referred to as echoic memories, which can be defined as very brief sensory memory of some auditory stimuli. Typically, echoic memories are stored for slightly longer periods of time than iconic memories (visual memories). Echoic and iconic memories are sensory memories, not types of long-term memory, and thus are very temporary and fade quickly.
Ecological Validity
Ecological Validity is the degree to which the behaviors observed and recordied in a study reflect the behaviors that actually occur in natural settings. In addition, ecological validity is associated with "generalizability". Essentially this is the extent to which findings (from a study) can be generalized (or extended) to the "real world". In virtually all studies there is a trade-off between experimental control and ecological validity. The more control psychologists exert in a study, typically the less ecological validity and thus, the less they may be able to generalize.
Effect Size
This is a statistical term that refers to the size of a relationship between two variable. Sometimes effect size is known as treatment effect because it is often used when dealing with therapeutic intervantions (ie., this treatment is shown to be more effective than another at treating a specific disorder).
Effortful Processing
Effortful processing is just as the name implies; learning or storing (encoding) that requires attention and effort. We have the capacity to remember lots of things without putting forth any effort. However, there are lots of times when we must practice, rehearse, and try to remember things. When we engage in any technique to help remember information better, we are engaging in effortful processing.
Ego
According to Freud, the ego is the part of personality that helps us deal with reality by mediating between the demands of the id, superego, and the environment. The ego prevents us from acting on every urge we have (produced by the id) and being so morally driven that we can't function properly. The ego works according to the reality principle which helps us direct our unacceptable sexual and aggressive urges to more acceptable targets.
Ego Strength
Ego has the ability to deal with reality and stress differently than my ego, your mother's ego, or anyone else's ego. To that extent your ego is able to do all of this, maintain emotional stability, and deal with stress is your “ego strength”. In a clinical setting (when dealing with psychological disorders) we can say that ego-strength is a person's capacity to maintain his/her own identity despite psychological pain, distress, turmoil and conflict between internal forces as well as the demands of reality.
Egocentrism
According to Jean Piaget and his theory of cognitive development, egocentrism is an inability on the part of a child in the preoperational stage of development to any point of view other than their own. For example, little Suzy gets a phone call from her father, who asks little Suzy if Mommy is home. Instead of saying, "yes", little Suzy nods her head. Her father, hearing no response, asks again, to which little Suzy again nods her head. What little Suzy fails to appreciate is that her father is unable to see her nodding. Little Suzy can only take her own perspective - "I am nodding my head yes, why do you keep asking me this question?"
Eidetic Imagery
This is the ability to retain images in memory that aree almost perfect photographic quality. The memories have great detail (much more than normal memories) and can be maintained in memory for a period of minutes.
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
ECT (also known as shock therapy) is a type of biomedical therapy in which a brief electric current is sent through the brain of a patient in order to produce a chemical change. This treatment, although not practiced commonly, is most often used to treat severely depressed people, and has been shown to work quite effectively. ECT fell out of favor and was perceived as cruel and inhuman, but in recent years has regained some popularity.
Electroencephalogram (EEG):
An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a recording of the electrical waves of activity that occur in the brain, and across its surface. Electrodes are placed on different areas of a person's scalp, filled with a conductive gel, and then plugged into a recording device. The brain waves are then attracted by the electrodes, travel to the recording device and then amplified so that they can be more easily seen and examined. The EEG recording can be used to examine a variety of brain functions including sleep (the different stages of sleep) and different psychological disorders.
Empiricism
The Philosophical school of thought that real knowledge comes from the senses. This formed the basis for the foundation of modern science - the reliance on empirical evidence, or evidence that is observable. You have probably heard the expression, "empirical data" before...it is referring to any data that are observable through the senses.
Encoding
Any information which we sense and subsequently attempt to process, store, and later retrieve must be brought in through one of the senses and then transformed into some form that our bodies and minds understand. The process of breaking the information down into a form we understand is the process of encoding (and we later "decode" the information to recall it). But the process of getting into the memory system for storage and later retrieval is encoding.
Encounter Groups
Popularized in the '60s and again in the 90's, encounter groups are gatherings of people (often between 12 to 20) who go through a process of opening up and sharing some emotional side or experience with the other members of the group. By opening up and sharing such emotionally charged experiences, it is hoped that the members will get more in touch with their own feelings, receive support from the other members of the group, and become more socially aware of the feelings of others.
Endocrine System
Information travels through our bodies in two forms; as electrical signals, or as chemical signals. The chemical signals are created and carried throughout the body using the endocrine system. This system works more slowly than the electrical signals, and is made up of glands that secret hormones (the carriers of the information) in the bloodstream.
Episodic Memory
Episodic memory is the type of long-term, declarative memory in which we store memories of personal experiences that are tied to particular times and places. For example, if you are having a conversation with a friend and you tell your friend, "last night I went to a 9:00 movie..." you are recalling information stored in episodic memory. This type of memory is often what comprises eye-witness testimony and is especially susceptible to subsequent events like questioning, reading the newspaper, talking to others about the event, etc.
Equilibrium
Equilibrium is an organism's sense of body movement and position, including their sense of balance. Equilibrium is affected by many things, including the functioning of the components in the middle ear, alcohol, and drugs. Too much alcohol can produce that wonderful feeling of "bed spins" - this essentially is a loss of equilibrium.
Equity
Often discussed in relationships, this is a situation in which people receive in proportion to what they give to the relationship. Equity does not have to be identical or exact. Consider, for example, household chores (this is a stereotypical example, but we use only to illustrate the point). A wife takes care of the entire house and asks only that the husband takes out the garbage twice a week and cut the lawn. However, the husband often forgets or ignores this responsibility and when confronted, he feels that he should not have to do these things since he "works hard all week long".
Eros
According to Freud humans have a death instinct (thanatos) and a life instinct, called eros. This life instinct is important as it promotes behaviors that help us survive. A prime example of life instinct is sex - can you think of something that promotes life more than sex?
Ethnocentrism
Ethnocentrism is a belief that your society, group, or culture is superior to all others. Very often this means that differences in groups (e.g., your group has more old people than ours) are seen as somehow bad.
Ethogram
Comprehensive compilation or inventory of the behavioral patterns exhibited by a species. The goal is to provide as complete and specific a catalogue of behaviors as possible.
Eustress
This is the “good” type of stress (opposite of Distress) and refers to the optimal amount of stress which helps promote health and growth. Many times stressful events push us to perform to higher levels and excel….this is eustress.
Evolutionary Psychology
According to the Center for Evolutionary Psychology, Evolutionary Psychology is "an approach to psychology, in which knowledge and principles from evolutionary biology are put to use in research on the structure of the human mind. It is not an area of study, like vision, reasoning, or social behavior. It is a way of thinking about psychology that can be applied to any topic within it. In this view, the mind is a set of information-processing machines that were designed by natural selection to solve adaptive problems faced by our hunter-gatherer ancestors."
Existentialism
A 20th century traditional philosophy that focuses on the an individual person is supposed to find their "authentic existence" in the world as they face choices and decisions in daily life. At the heart of this view is the perspective that people have free will and freedom of choice to make these daily decisions.
Experimental Condition
To determine what effect an independent variable (IV) or treatment may have on some measure, it is necessary to present that IV to members of a group or condition. The participants who are presented the IV are considered the experimental condition.
Explicit Memory
Explicit memory, also known as declarative memory is a type of long-term memory in which we store memories of fact. In addition, explicit memory is divided further into semantic and episodic memories (please look those up for complete definitions). So, if you have memories of things such as when Columbus sailed to America or what day and time your baby brother was born, you have explicit memories.
External Locus of Control
A person with an external locus of control is more likely to believe that his or her fate is determined by chance or outside forces that are beyond their own personal control. This strategy can be healthy sometimes. Like when dealing with failure or disaster, but can also be harmful in that it can lead to feeling of helplessness and loss of personal control.
External Validity
This refers to the extent to which the results of a study can be generalized or extended to others. For example, if a study on a drug is only conducted on white, middle aged, overweight, women with diabetes, can the results of the study be generalized to the rest of the population? Are the results only valid to the population studied? Researchers go to great lengths to select a group of people for the study (a sample) that is representative enough that the results can be extended to lots of people.
Extinction
Extinction is from conditioning and refers to the reduction of some response that the organism currently or previously produced. In classical conditioning this results from the unconditioned stimulus NOT occurring after the conditioned stimulus is presented over time. In operant conditioning it results from some response by the organism no longer being reinforced (for example, you keep getting your dog to sit on command, but you stop giving it a treat or any other type of reinforcement. Over time, the dog may not sit every time you give the command).
Extraneous Variable
If I want to study the effect of some new therapy to reduce blood pressure (an issue related to stress) wouldn't it be important to make sure that during the experiment I control as many other factors that are NOT part of the therapy so that in the end I can say that the results are due to the therapy and not, for example, me screaming at some participants during testing? Any factor or variable that causes an effect (or potential affects) other than the variable being studied is considered an extraneous variable.
Extrinsic Motivation
Why do you work, go to class, or study for a test? Do you do it because you want to money, a degree, and good grades? If so, you are extrinsically motivated - motivated to perform specific behaviors to achieve promised outside rewards or to avoid punishment from others. You are not working at a job because you get a great feeling of personal satisfaction from it or because it makes you feel good about yourself (that you are a good person), but rather to gain some kind of reward. We are not saying there is anything wrong with this. We are only trying to explain the concept to you.
Face Validity
This is a very basic form of validity in which you determine if a measure appears (on the face of it) to measure what it is supposed to measure. In other words, does the measure "appear" to measure what it is supposed to measure? For example, if you were going to measure anxiety, does your measure appear to actually measure anxiety? If so, it has face validity. Obviously this is not a test you should use to determine if a measure should be used, but more of a first step in determining validity.
Factor Analysis
Okay, we know how most students feel about statistics, so we will make this as quick and painless as possible. Factor analysis is a type of statistical procedure that is conducted to identify clusters or groups of related items (called factors) on a test. For example, when you take a multiple choice Introductory Psychology test, a factor analysis can be done to see what types of questions you did best on and worst on (maybe they did best on factual types of questions but really poorly on conceptual types of questions). That wasn't too bad was it?
False Consensus Effect
False concensus effect is an overestimation of how much other people share our beliefs and behaviors. For example, I know someone who is very health conscious when it comes to eating…she eats all sorts of grains, vegetables, etc., but stays away from fattening (but tasty!) foods. She is religious about eating healthy and truly believes that because she thinks it's important, everyone thinks it's important. This is a false consensus effect.
Feature Detectors
The ability to detect certain types of stimuli, like movements, shape, and angles, requires specialized cells in the brain called feature detectors. Without these, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to detect a round object, like a baseball, hurdling toward you at 90 miles per hour.
Fecundity
Productive or creative power. A common example is to say that someone has fecundity of the mind - meaning, the person has the capacity for creativity and generating novel ideas.
Feel-Good, Do-Good Phenomenon
When do you help other people? According to this theory, you are more likely to help other people when you are already in a good mood. So, if you just got an "A" on the big exam and a friend just gave you a great gift, you are more likely to help someone else that you might not if you weren't in such a good mood.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)
Fetal alcohol syndrome includes physical, cognitive, and psychologicl abnormalities that result from consuming alcohol during pregnancy (no, I'm not talking about guys consuming alcohol when a woman is pregnant…geez).
Figure-Ground
The Gestalt Psychologists studied all sorts of perceptual organization--the ways that humans organize information about what they see, hear, etc. What they found was that there are two main visual components necessary for a person to see an object properly; a figure (the object) and the ground (the background or surroundings in which the object occurs). Thus, when you look at a picture on a wall, the picture is the figure and you can distinguish it clearly from its surroundings, the wall (ground).
Fixation
This term has several different meanings in psychology. Fixation has a long history in Freudian and clinical psychology, and refers to when a person is "stuck" in one stage of psychosexual development. For example, if a person does not get through the oral stage of development properly, then Freud would say that the person is fixated in the oral stage and will continue to seek oral pleasures, and will not be able to progress to the next stage of development until the oral issues are resolved. Fixation also refers to an inability to adopt any different or new perspective on a problem. It is similar to fixation in the Freudian sense except that here it is not necessarily referring to psychosexual development.
Fixed-Interval Schedule
With this type of operant conditioning reinforcement schedule, an organism must wait (either not make the operant response, whatever it is in that experiment; or it can make the response but the response produces nothing) for a specific amount of time and then make the operant response in order to receive reinforcement.
Fixed-Ratio Schedule
With this type of operant conditioning reinforcement schedule, an organism must make a certain number of operant responses (whatever it may be in that experiment) in order to receive reinforcement. For example, if you are conducting a study in which you place a rat on a fixed-ratio 30 schedule (FR-30), and the operant response is pressing the lever, then the rat must press the lever 30 times before it will receive reinforcement. This type of schedule is called fixed because the number of operant responses required remains constant.
Flashbulb Memory
The sudden onset of a clear memory of an emotionally significant moment or event. When you are trying to remember something and then it "all of a sudden comes to you", you have experienced a flash bulb memory. It is like turning on a light.
Fluid Intelligence
There are two main type of intelligence, crystallized intelligence and fluid intelligence. Fluid intelligence is your ability to reason in an abstract way. For example, if I asked you to come up with as many different possible uses for a tire, you would have to use very abstract reasoning -- think about what a tire is, the different types, the sizes, etc., then go through cognitive lists of situations, uses, and much more. One unfortunate problem with this type of reasoning is that it tends to decrease during later adulthood.
Foot-In-The-Door Phenomenon
There is both foot-in-the-door phenomenon and foot-in-the-door technique. As you can guess, the technique is used to get the phenomenon. The phenomenon is the tendancy for people to comply with some large request after first agreeing to a small request. As you can then imagine, the technique is used to get compliance from others (to get them to behave in a way you want) in which a small request is made first in order to get compliance for a larger request.
Forensic Psychology
Forensic Psychology is the application of the science and profession of psychology to questions and issues relating to law and the legal system. The word "forensic" comes from the Latin word "forensis," meaning "of the forum," where the law courts of ancient Rome were held. Today forensic refers to the application of scientific principles and practices to the adversary process where specially knowledgeable scientists play a role.
Formal Operational Stage
According to Piaget's theory of cognitive development, when a person gets to be approximately age 12, they acquire the ability to think logically about abstract concepts. They can extrapolate about events that occurred at different times (does not have to be occurring right then and there), think about people that are not there, etc.
Fovea
The fovea is the central focal point on the retina in the eye around which the cones cluster. In fact, the fovea has only cones around it, which are better for detecting fine detail. So, when trying to really see some fine detail or focus something, people tend to move the image onto the fovea (although they may be unaware that this is what they are doing...they just think they are trying to see something better).
Framing
Read these two questions and consider how you would respond if a person you liked called you and presented them to you: 1) "Would you like to go out tonight?"; and 2) "What time do you want to go out tonight?" These two questions are addressing the same basic issue, but they are framed differently -- they are presented in different ways and under different pretenses. The first, is framed in a more passive, open manner, while the second implies that you and this person ARE going out and the only issue is what time you will be going. It is all in how you ask!
Frequency
Frequency is the number of complete wavelengths (also known as cycles) that occur within a specific time. A wave with high frequency means it occurs more rapidly or often and is also considered shorter. Frequency is used to measure all sorts of wavelengths, such as light waves, sound waves, and brain waves.
Frequency Distribution
Frequency distribution is a simple (basic, not necessarily easy) type of statistic that people often make into a much bigger deal than it really is. Let's say you are in a class with 100 people, and you have just taken a test. The teacher then tells you that on the test, there were 20 "A"s, 25 "B"s, 35 "C"s, 15 "D"s, and 5 "F"s. What the teacher has just given you is a frequency distribution; a breakdown of how all the scores fell into the different categories or ranges that the overall score was broken into.
Frequency Theory
This theory of how we hear sounds states that there are pulses that travel up the auditory nerve, carrying the information about sound to the brain for processing, and that the rate of this pulse matched the frequency of whatever tone you are hearing exactly. We thus hear the tone because the pulse traveling up the auditory nerve matches the actual tone. Essentially, we are getting a copy of the real sound.
Frontal Lobes
A region of the cerebral cortex at the front of the brain (lying just behind the forehead) that is necessary for motor control and more complex, high-end functioning like speech, decision making, and judgments.
Frustration-Aggression Theory
First, we need to explain frustration (not that we don't all already know what this is). Frustration is a feeling of tension that occurs when our efforts to reach some goal are blocked. When this occurs, it can produce feelings of anger, which in turn can generate feelings of aggression and aggressive behavior. This theory has been utilized to explain a lot of violent behavior over time. For example, some have stated that people who become frustrated with their jobs because they don't like their work, can't get the raise they want, etc., but can't take out their aggressions at work (can't yell at the boss, can't punch annoying co-workers), will redirect this frustration and act aggressively toward others (like a husband, wife, children, etc.).
Functional Fixedness
People are often very limited in the ways they think about objects, concepts, and people. When something is thought of only in terms of its functionality, then the person is demonstrating functional fixedness. This type of thinking is narrow and limited, often inhibiting the problem solving process.
Functionalism
Functionalism was the psychological school of thought that followed Structuralism and moved away from focusing on the structure of the mind to a concern with how the conscious is related to behavior... How does the mind affect what people do? One of the major proponents of Functionalism was Thorndike (created the ever-popular puzzle box) who studied the primary issue of functionalism...WHAT FUNCTION DOES A BEHAVIOR HAVE. In addition, this school of thought focused on observable events as opposed to unobservable events (like what goes on in someone’s mind).
Fundamental Attribution Error
Imagine this situation, you are at school and someone you know comes by, you say hello, and this person just gives you a quick, unfriendly "hello" and then walks away. How would you attribute this situation -- why did this person act this way? If you react to this situation by saying the person is a "jerk" or an "ass", then you have made the fundamental attribution error; the tendency for an observer, when interpreting and explaining the behavior of another person (the actor), to underestimate the situation and to overestimate the personal disposition. Maybe the person was having the worst day of their life, just found out a loved one died, failed a test and was feeling devastated, etc. In this case, the situation may have caused them to act in a way that was different than their normal happy self. But, you, as a normal observer, would instead attribute their behavior to them as a person...acted that way because that is the type of person they are.
Gate-Control Theory
The Gate-Control Theory of pain perception was developed by Melzack and Wall's who indicated that the spinal cord contains a type of neurological "gate" which opens and closes to either allow or block pain signals to travel to the brain. This gate does not actually open and close like the gate on a fence, but simply allows pain signals to pass onto the brain when they are traveling on the small nerve fibers, and does not allow pain signals to pass when they are traveling on the larger fibers. In this case, there doesn't really need to be anything physical to produce pain; you only need to have the small nerve fibers send signals onto the brain to feel pain.
Gender Role
Gender role is a set of expectations held by society about the ways in which men and women are supposed to behave based on their gender. For example, my wife once told me that I should cut the lawn because that is "the man's job." Although she was kidding (I think) this is an example of an expectation held because of gender. Remember, these are dependent on the culture/society and can change over time.
Gender-Typing
As children get older they learn about themselves, who they are, how they are "supposed to act", and what is appropriate gender-specific behavior. Gender typing is when children acquire these masculine and/or feminine roles and identify with these roles. There are different degrees to which children exhibit these roles, but we do exhibit masculine or feminine traits, which is gender-typing.
General Adaptation Syndrome
Hans Selye was a young medical doctor who noticed that a lot of people were experiencing similar types of symptoms but did not have any physical cause for the problems. Over time, he came to realize that the problems were caused by stress. He later determined that the body has a natural, adaptive response to stress that is composed of three stages: alarm, resistance, exhaustion. When a person gets to the exhaustion stage, they may experience severe physical problems.
General Experimental Psychology
General Experimental Psychology is the branch of psychology that uses experimental methods to discover principles of behavior, such as those underlying sensation and perception, learning and memory, motivation and emotion.
Generalization
Generalization refers to a process within operant and classical conditioning, where a conditioned response (CR) starts occurring in response to the presentation of other, similar stimuli, not just the conditioned stimulus (CS). For example, a dog is trained to sit (CR) when you give the command, "sit" (CS). Soon after that, the dog might sit when you say "hit", "bit", and "kick". In this case, the CR (sitting) is not only done to the CS (the command, "sit") but also to commands that are similar.
Generativity
According to Erik Erikson's theory of adolescent development, people at certain ages have the impulse to become more productive and do things more "worthwhile" in their lives. For example, a young adult may feel that it is time to get married, have a family, and raise children; they may feel the need to start doing work that is more fulfilling and creative, etc. These feelings of generativity are most prominent during middle adulthood.
Genes
Genes are the biochemical units of heredity that form the chromosomes. The genes are essentially the segments of DNA molecules that contain the code for particular peptides or proteins which then determine who we are (at birth and what we can become - let's not forget about the importance of environment, but the genes give us the starting point). Our eye color, skin color, hair color and type, athletic potential, "smarts" potential, etc., are all influenced at this level.
Genetic Code
Genetic code refers to the combination of the genes (arranged in a specific sequence) that is the blueprint for who we can be. The genes are all independent units that can't do very much. But, when they are combined into a big sequence or code, they produce and indicate who we can be.

BUT, it is important to know that having a certain genetic code does not necessarily mean that is who we will become. Rather, there is a difference between all the genes we have (genotype) and the genes that are actually expressed (phenotype). Plus, environment is absolutely crucial in determining who we are and who we become.
Genital Stage
The genital stage is the final stage in Freud's theory of psychosexual development and begins in puberty. During this stage, the teenager has overcome latency, made associations with one gender or the other, and now seeks out pleasure through sexual contact with others. The sexual contact sought has shifted from the opposite sex parent of the phallic stage (and overcoming this), and is now focused on opposite sex people of similar age. The pleasure that they gain is now through actual physical stimulation of the genitals by the opposite sex.
Genotype
The total set of genes contained within an organisms cells. Organisms contain some genes that are expressed (you can consider the "expressed" to mean that the gene is active or being used) and some that are not. Regardless, all the genes an organism has are considered the genotype.
Germinal Stage
The germinal stage is the prenatal, developmental stage that begins at conception and lasts through the second week (that is still prenatal/before birth) of pregnancy. During this time, the fertilized egg (now called a zygote, and consists of a single cell) makes it way down the fallopian tube, and begins to have cell reproduction. Eventually, the single celled zygote becomes a multi celled ball that attaches itself to the wall of the uterus around the end of the second week, which constitutes the beginning of the embryonic stage.
Gestalt
This term means organized whole, and is the basis of Gestalt Psychology. Gestalt Psychologists study how people integrate and organize perceptual information into meaningful wholes. For example, can you recognize this, (: > o) ? The reason you may be able to recognize that these symbols look like a face, is because of some Gestalt principle of organization that explains how people are able to see some meaningful organization and shape when individual parts are seen together. Although each of the parts that make up the face have meaning by themselves, when they are put together, we are able to perceive them as a whole unit.
Gestalt Therapy
Developed by Fritz Perls, this type of therapy combines the psychoanalytic perspective of bringing unconscious feelings to awareness with the humanistic emphasis of "getting in touch with oneself" in order to help people become more aware of and able to express their feelings. In addition, it is not enough to just become aware of these feelings, Gestalt Therapy also helps people realize the importance of taking responsibility for their feelings and actions.
Good-Patient Role
Yes, this is an actual term. It refers to the situation in which patients (quite often depressed, anxious, and helpless patients) exhibit cooperative, unquestioning, undemanding patient behavior, to an excessive degree. These people may go to extremes because they believe that, as a result of their condition, that they are so helpless and dependent upon others that they must act in these ways for fear of being abandoned.
Group Polarization
When people are placed into a group and these people have to deal with some situation, the group as a whole typically has some overriding attitude toward the situation. Over time and with group discussion, the group's attitude toward that situation may change. When it changes in such a way that the group attitude is enhanced and strengthened, then group polarization has occurred.
Germinal Stage
The germinal stage is the prenatal, developmental stage that begins at conception and lasts through the second week (that is still prenatal/before birth) of pregnancy. During this time, the fertilized egg (now called a zygote, and consists of a single cell) makes it way down the fallopian tube, and begins to have cell reproduction. Eventually, the single celled zygote becomes a multi celled ball that attaches itself to the wall of the uterus around the end of the second week, which constitutes the beginning of the embryonic stage.
Gestalt
This term means organized whole, and is the basis of Gestalt Psychology. Gestalt Psychologists study how people integrate and organize perceptual information into meaningful wholes. For example, can you recognize this, (: > o) ? The reason you may be able to recognize that these symbols look like a face, is because of some Gestalt principle of organization that explains how people are able to see some meaningful organization and shape when individual parts are seen together. Although each of the parts that make up the face have meaning by themselves, when they are put together, we are able to perceive them as a whole unit.
Gestalt Therapy
Developed by Fritz Perls, this type of therapy combines the psychoanalytic perspective of bringing unconscious feelings to awareness with the humanistic emphasis of "getting in touch with oneself" in order to help people become more aware of and able to express their feelings. In addition, it is not enough to just become aware of these feelings, Gestalt Therapy also helps people realize the importance of taking responsibility for their feelings and actions.
Good-Patient Role
Yes, this is an actual term. It refers to the situation in which patients (quite often depressed, anxious, and helpless patients) exhibit cooperative, unquestioning, undemanding patient behavior, to an excessive degree. These people may go to extremes because they believe that, as a result of their condition, that they are so helpless and dependent upon others that they must act in these ways for fear of being abandoned.
Group Polarization
When people are placed into a group and these people have to deal with some situation, the group as a whole typically has some overriding attitude toward the situation. Over time and with group discussion, the group's attitude toward that situation may change. When it changes in such a way that the group attitude is enhanced and strengthened, then group polarization has occurred.
Grouping
Humans have a tendency to organize stimuli into some coherent groups. We like to categorize things and maintain some organization with most stimuli. For example, we meet a new person, and immediately we group them into gender, height, weight, race, etc. This categorization process is done by "grouping" information into logical categories.
Groupthink
A good way to define this term is to tell you how Irving Janus (the main researcher on this topic) describes it. Janus (1972) said that groupthink is "a deterioration of mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment that results from in-group pressures." Essentially, people within a group become so consumed with the group, maintaining group cohesiveness, and doing what is important for the group that they themselves lose their ability to think independently and make good, sound judgments. There are quite a few symptoms and causes of groupthink, but it is important to know what groupthink is and that it has been used to explain a variety of tragic events throughout history such as, mass suicides (like the Heaven's Gate suicides), poor political decisions (like the Bay of Pigs invasion), riots, and more.
Habituation
As humans, we get used to things. Something that is new and incredibly exciting can become boring. This tendancy to have decreased repsponsiveness to something is habituation (you might also hear someone say that you get habituated to something). For example, there may be a painting or picture you really like so you put it on the wall in your room. You see this picture every day, 10 times a day. Over time and repeated exposures to this picture you might start feeling like you've "seen it a million times" and it just doesn’t have the same effect on you that it used to. This is habituation.
Hallucinogens
These are psychedelic ("mind-manifesting") drugs that distort perceptions and produce sensory images (i.e., hallucinations) although there are no sensory stimuli that should produce such images.
Hawthorne Effect
The Hawthorne effect can be defined as changes in behavior resulting from attention participants believe they are getting from researchers, and not the variable(s) manipulated by the researchers (in the Hawthorne case, the amount of light in the work environment). The effect came out of a series of studies conducted at the Hawthorne Plant of Western Electric by Elton Mayo and a team of researchers from Harvard University.
Health Psychology
Health Psychology focuses on the more medical aspects of psychology and applies psychological principles to healing physical illness and medical problems. Health Psychology has grown so much in recent years that it is no longer a field made up of just Health Psychologists. Instead, clinicians, Social Psychologists, and others all conduct research on health topics. For example, a Social Psychologist may conduct studies to determine the different causes of group pressure, while a clinical psychologist may study ways to reduce stress-induced illnesses through relaxation techniques.
Heuristic
There are lots of ways we can make judgments and solve problems; there are complex ways and quick ways. One quick way is to use a heuristic, which is a rule-of-thumb strategy for making more efficient decisions. For example, you may be an experienced driver. Over time you have learned that when you come to a stop sign, you need to come to a complete stop or you will get a ticket. Now, whenever you come to a stop sign, you have to give very little thought at all to what behavior is required; you see the stop sign, you stop. You have a heuristic for stop signs.
Hierarchy of Needs
According to Maslow, humans have certain needs that must be fulfilled for healthy living. These needs motivate us to act the way we do, and in particular, in ways that satisfy the needs that are not yet fulfilled. In addition, Maslow suggested that these needs are not all equally important, but exist in a hierarchy (shaped like a pyramid), with the most important, basic needs at the bottom. For example, at the very bottom of the pyramid are things necessary for daily survival, like food and water. At the top of the pyramid is self actualization, which is the most wonderful thing a person can achieve, but is not necessary to sustain daily life.
Higher Order Conditioning
This is a classical conditioning term that refers to a situation in which a stimulus that was previously neutral (e.g., a light) is paired with a conditioned stimulus (e.g., a tone that has been conditioning with food to produce salivating) to produce the same conditioned response as the conditioned stimulus. Wow…if you understand how a neutral stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus (conditioning), you understand higher order conditioning because this is really just extending the conditioning one more level...the conditioning is happening not by pairing the stimulus with something that naturally produces a response, but with something that has been conditioned to produce a response.
Hindsight Bias
Are you a Monday-morning quarterback? Have you heard the expression "hindsight is 20-20"? Have you ever said, "I knew it all along" after something happened? These are examples of the hindsight bias which is the tendency to believe, once the outcome is already known of course, that you would have forseen it…that even though it's over and you know the outcome, you knew it all along.
Hippocampus
The hippocampus is a part of your brain, specifically a part of the limbic system that is vital for the formation of memories. Without the hippocampus, you would not be able to remember anything that you are reading hear or anywhere else.
Histogram
A histogram is very similar to a bar graph in which each bar represents some class or element (for example, a score on an IQ test). The primary difference between a bar graph and a histogram is that the bars in the histogram actually touch each other to show that there are no gaps in between the classes. The bars in a bar graph have space in between them.
Homeostasis
Humans seek balance in their lives. When things are out of order or imbalanced, it tends to cause problems. This is true particularly with regard to our internal state or well-being. Homeostasis refers to this tendency to maintain a balanced or constant internal state that is optimal for functioning. For example, you have a specific "balanced" or "normal" body temperature that is approximately 98.6 degrees. When there is a problem with the internal functioning of your body, this temperature may increase, signaling and imbalance. As a result, your body attempts to solve the problem and restore homeostasis; your normal body temperature.
Humanistic Perspective
This is the psychological perspective popularized by Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow (hierarchy of needs) that emphasizes the human capacity for choice and growth. The overriding assumption is that humans have free will and are not simply fated to behave in specific ways or are zombies blindly reacting to their environments. So, the Humanists stated that the subject matter or psychology (what psychology should focus on) is the human subjective experience of the world - how humans experience things, why they experience things, etc.
Hypochondriasis
Hypochondriasis is a type of "somatoform" disorder in which a person misinterprets their normal physical experiences as symptoms of some type of disease. A true hypochondriac is not the person who often believes that they have a tumor when they have a headache. A real hypochondriac is someone who looks for physical problems in their normal experiences on a very regular basis (like, all the time). A headache will be perceived as a tumor; a sneeze is pneumonia; etc.
Hypothalamus
A part of the brain that sits below (hypo) the thalamus and is responsible for orchestrating several behaviors that are considered "maintenance" behaviors (such as eating, drinking, body temperature). In addition, the hypothalamus helps govern the endocrine system (glands that produce hormones) using the pituitary gland, and is also involved in feeling emotions and perceiving things are rewarding (for example, being in love is perceived as a good and rewarding feeling/emotion and something worth trying to obtain more of).
Hypothesis
A testable prediction about the relationship between at least two events, characteristics, or variables. Hypotheses usually come from theories; when planning an experiment, a researcher finds out about as much previous research on the topic of study as possible. From all of the previous work, the researcher can develop a theory about the topic of study and then make specific predictions about the study he/she is planning. It is important to note that hypotheses should be as specific as possible since you are trying to find truth, and the more vague your hypotheses, the more vague your conclusions.
Iconic Memory
Humans remember sounds and words in slightly different ways. Memory for visual stimuli is referred to as iconic memory, which can be defined as very brief sensory memory of some visual stimuli, that occur in the form of mental pictures. For example, if I ask you to look at a picture and then close your eyes and try to see the picture, what you can "see" in your mind's eye is an iconic memory of the image in the picture. Typically, iconic memories are stored for slightly shorter periods of time than echoic memories (auditory memories). Please be aware that both echoic and iconic memories are sensory memories, not types of long-term memory, and thus are very temporary and fade quickly.
Id
According to Freud, humans have three main components to their personality that cause us to behave the way we do and make us who we are. One of these components, the id, is the part that you may consider that little devil sitting on your shoulder trying to get you to do all those things that feel good, even if they are wrong. More specifically, the id is the part of the human personality that is made up of all our inborn biological urges that seeks out immediate gratification (guided by the Pleasure Principle), regardless of social values or consequences.
Identification
According to Freud, as children develop, there comes a time in which the child must adopt the characteristics of one of the parents. During this process of identification, the child adopts the characteristics of the same-sex parent and begins to associate themselves with and copy the behavior of significant others. In addition, Freud stated that this process also involves the development of the child's superego (our moral guide in life - the moral component of personality) which is done by incorporating characteristics of the parents superegos into the child's own.
Illusory Correlation
Sometimes people believe there is some relationship between events, variables, etc., even though none really exists. This is known as the illusory correlation and it occurs in everyday life as well as science. For example, you may have had some experiences with lawyers, some good, some not so good. It is possible that you only recall the bad experiences (maybe where you felt as though you were lied to by the lawyers) which leads you to formulate the conclusion that all lawyers are liars. Thus, you could come to associate (wrongly?) lawyers with lying, and conclude that all lawyers are liars.
Imagery
Imagery is simply the formation of any mental pictures. This simple process has great benefit when it comes to memory. By using imagery, we can enhance the processing of information into the memory system. For example, trying to remember a phone number by repeating it in your head is a common method, but what might enhance your processing of the information might be to use imagery - maybe visualize the numbers being written on a chalk board. This allows you to create a mental picture of the numbers that may be processed more completely.
Implicit Memory
Implicit memory, also known as nondeclarative memory, involves recollection of skills, things you know how to do, preferences, etc., that you don't need to recall consciously. For example, if you know how to ride a bike and you can do so without having to think about it, you are demonstrating implicit memory.
Implosion
Implosion is a therapeutic technique in which clients imagine and re-live aversive scenes associated with their anxiety. The premise that that many different exposures in a safe environment, the aversive stimulus will lose its ability to make the person anxious.
Imprinting
Why do chicks (baby birds...jeez) follow the mother bird and do whatever she does? The reason is that they are going through a process of imprinting, in which certain birds and mammals form attachments during a critical period very early in their lives. During this point in development, the birds are so available to form attachments, that even if there is no mother bird, or no bird at all, they may develop attachments to a substitute. For example, if you hatched several baby geese and raised them without having a mother goose around, the chicks may perceive you as the mother and imprint to you. They would follow you around, try to mimic lots of your behaviors, etc., just as if you were the mother. This is the way they learn the behaviors and characteristics of their species.
Incentives
The environment is critical not only in our development, but in determining almost all of our behaviors; why we act the way we do all the time. Incentives are those stimuli in the environment, both positive or negative, that motivate our behavior. These things pull us to behave in certain ways (as opposed to drive which pushes us from within). For example, if you are offered money to perform a certain behavior, the money is the incentive to perform that behavior.
Independent Variable
In an experiment there are two variables; the Independent Variable (IV) and the Dependent Variable (DV). In the most basic sense, you need two variables because as a researcher, you want to be able to examine if something (a drug, a therapy, a teaching technique, whatever) has an effect on some participant (person, people, animals, etc.). To accomplish this, you need to have something to examine (and manipulate -- this is the IV); some variable of interest, as well as something to measure the effect the IV has (this is the DV). Therefore, we can define the independent variable as the experimental variable or variable that is manipulated by the research and has some effect on the DV.
Individualism
Individualism is a social psychological term that refers to the ways in which people identify themselves and focus their goals. Individualism, which is the opposite of collectivism, gives priority to personal goals (as opposed to the goals of a group or society). In addition, individualists tend to define their own identities according to their own personal behaviors and attributes. America is a more individualistic country (we do value individualism) whereas many Asian countries place a greater value on collectivism.
Industrial and Organizational Psychology (I/O Psychology)
A branch of psychology that studies behavior in the workplace and the marketplace. IO Psychologists are involved in many areas of industry, including how communication throughout companies, ergonomics, personnel test development, and much more. Their main goals are to enhance the workplace, making it a better environment in which to work and to be more productive; and to influence the marketplace by making companies work better to increase productivity and profits.
Inferential Statistics
Unlike descriptive statistics, inferential statistics provide ways of testing the reliability of the findings of a study and "inferring" characteristics from a small group of participants or people (your sample) onto much larger groups of people (the population). Descriptive statistics just describe the data, but inferential let you say what the data mean. An example of inferential statistics is the analysis of variance (ANOVA).
Informational Social Influence
When you make decisions about how to behave, there are many sources of information available to help you make these decisions. Sometimes you may need to seek out experts, conform to the way others or a group are behaving, or look to some other source of information. One other way is to use informational social influence; you look to the behaviors of others who are also in the same or similar situation to see how they behave. Then, you can follow their lead.
Ingroup Bias
Ingroup bias is a simple concept, but one that has very powerful affects on people, societies, and life in general. Ingroup bias is simply the tendency to favor one's own group. This is not one group in particular, but whatever group you associate with at a particular time. So, for example, when you play on an intramural softball team that meets once a week, you are part of that softball team's ingroup. Or, it can be something on a much more grand scale like, the situation between religious groups in Ireland. They have been killing each other for years, because they each perceive their own group as being the "right" and "good" group, while the other group (the outgroup) is "bad" and "evil".
Insight Learning
This is an extension of the term, insight (which we also have defined in the glossary) which was identified by Wolfgang Kohler while studying the behavior of chimpanzees. He said that insight learning is a type of learning or problem solving that happens all-of-a-sudden through understanding the relationships various parts of a problem rather than through trial and error.

Sultan, one of Kohler's chimpanzes, learned to use a stick to pull bananas from outside of his cage by putting pieces of stick together. Given two sticks that could be fitted together to make a single pole that was long enough to reach the bananas, aligned the sticks and in a flash of sudden inspiration, fitted the two sticks together and pulled in the bananas. He didn't do this by trial and error, but had a sort of sudden inspiration or insight.
Instinct
A behavior that is genetically programmed into an entire species. Thus, the behavior is not the result of learning, and can be seen across members of a species. For example, there are specific nest building behaviors that are part of different species of birds. If you hatch one of these birds in captivity and raise it without any contact with any other members of its species, it will still do those species-specific nest building behaviors.
Interaction Effect
"the differing effect of one independent variable on the dependent variable, depending on the particular level of another independent variable"
Internal Locus of Control
Who controls your behavior? Are you the master of your own domain? Is your life already predetermined and everything that happens is fated? If you believe that you control your own destiny and that your behaviors are under your control, then you have an internal locus of control. This concept has quite a bit of importance when we try to make attributions for our behaviors. For example, if you did well on a test, how would you explain it? If you said that it was because you got lucky or the teacher made an easy test, then you would be exhibiting and "external" locus of control. However, if you attribute your good performance to your hard work, good study habits, and interest in the topic, you would being exhibiting and internal locus of control.
Internal Validity
Internal validity occurs when a researcher controls all extraneous variables and the only variable influencing the results of a study is the one being manipulated by the researcher. This means that the variable the researcher intended to study is indeed the one affecting the results and not some other, unwanted variables. (Take a look at the definition for “confound”) There are several “threats to internal validity” including: history, maturation of participants, testing, instrument decay, and statistical regression.
Interneuron
Information (neural impulses/action potentials) travel throughout your nervous system along a network of 3 types of neurons; sensory neurons, motor neurons, and interneurons. The interneurons are found in the CNS (the sensory and motor neurons are not) and receive input from about 2,000-10,000 motor neurons and transmits its output to a similar number of sensory neurons. Information from the environment enters the body through one of the sense, and is converted into an electrical signal that begins its journey on the sensory neurons. The signal is then brought to the CNS where it jumps onto the interneurons, which eventually bring the information to the motor neurons in the brain. After the brain processes the information, the resulting information (what response to give, what to say, what muscle to move, etc.) travels from the motor neurons back onto the interneurons, and then to the sensory neurons. It is a big loop, with the interneurons being the middle man in the process.
Intrinsic Motivation
Why do you work or come to class or study for a test? Do you do it because you want to money, a degree, and good grades? If so, you are extrinsically motivated - motivated to perform specific behaviors to achieve promised outside rewards or to avoid punishment from others. However, if you are working at a job because you get a great feeling of personal satisfaction from it, and you are trying to perform the behavior for its own sake (not for money), then you are intrinsically motivated. We are not saying that this is better or worse than extrinsic motivation, only different. Intrinsic motivation does seem to be more satisfying to people though. People who are extrinsically motivated tend to be less satisfied and become unhappy more easily (in general, not always).
Introspection
The process of “looking inward” and examining one's self and one's own actions in order to gain insight. This was a central component to the early days of psychology during the Structuralist period. Wundt and other psychologists had people introspect and then report on their feelings, thoughts, etc. Of course, the problem with introspection is, if you are having some feeling and then you have to stop to think about and report on the feeling, you’ve just changed the experience and therefore, the feeling itself.
James-Lange Theory of Emotion
James-Lange Theory of Emotion was posed by both James and Lang at approximately the same time (hence the name James-Lange) and suggests emotions are a consequence of our physiological responses to external stimuli followed by identification of the emotion by examining the physical responses. So, some external stimulus produces a physiological response in your body. Then, you examine this physiological response and identify the emotion you are experiencing based on the physiological response. For example, you see a bear in the woods, and you begin to tremble. You then identify the fact that you are trembling and conclude that you are afraid..."I am trembling, therefore I am afraid."
Just Noticeable Difference
The just noticeable difference (JND), also known as the difference threshold, is the minimum difference in stimulation that a person can detect 50 percent of the time. For example, let's say I asked you to put your hand out and in it I placed a pile of sand. Then, I add tiny amounts of sand to your hand and ask you to tell me when you notice any change in the overall weight. As soon as you can detect any change in the weight, that difference between the weight of the sand before I added that last bit of sand and the amount of sand after I added it, is the just noticeable difference.
Just-World Phenomenon
The just-world phenomenon is the tendency for people to believe that the world is just and that people therefore get what they deserve and deserve what they get. If you have this belief, and something good happens to you, you may conclude that the world is just because you are a good person and so good things happen to you. In the same way, when you see something bad happen to someone else, you may conclude that they did something to bring on this bad event. Otherwise, it would not have occurred since the world is a just place.
Kin Selection
This theory states that people are more likely to help blood relatives in difficult situations because this increases the odds that their genes will be transmitted to subsequent generations. The closer the relation between the people, the greater the likelihood that help will be given.
Kinesthesis (Kinesthetic Sense)
Imagine this...you drive into a parking lot, get out of the car, and start to walk toward your destination. You decide to cut through a bunch of parked cars and notice that some of them are close together, so when you get to them, you have to turn and adjust your body in order to get through the tight spaces. The reason you are able to sense whether you can fit, what type of movements you need, how to adjust your body position, etc., is because you have kinesthetic sense, or an ability to sense body position and the movement of muscles, tendons, and joints.
Latency
Latency is the fourth stage in Freud's Psychosexual theory of development, and it occurs from about age 5 or 6 to puberty. During the latency stage, a child's sexual impulses are repressed. The reason for this is that during the stage before latency (phallic stage) the child resolves the Oedipus or Electra Complex which are such traumatic events that the child then repress all of his or her sexual impulses. Interestingly, because this stage contains little or no psychosexual development, Freud was fairly uninterested in it.
Latent Content
According to Freud, dreams have two types of content, each of which contains different meanings to the dreams. One of these type of content islatent content, which is the underlying, more hidden, but true meaning of a dream (as opposed to the manifest content). Freud believed that the latent content was somehow censored by the subconscious which was a way to protect us from the real meanings of the dreams. This was necessary because the dream content may be difficult for people to deal with, so people disguise the real meaning. However, Freud believed that when people were in conflict, if he could uncover or get to the latent content, then he could identify the person's problem and resolve their conflict.
Latent Learning
The type of learning that occurs, but you don't really see it (it's not exhibited) until there is some reinforcement or incentive to demonstrate it. This may seem a bit silly, but it is important to understand that there is a difference between learning and performance. For example, if you are in a car going to school with a friend every day, but your friend is driving all the time, you may learn the way to get to school, but have no reason to demonstrate this knowledge. However, when you friend gets sick one day and you have to drive yourself for the first time, if you can get to school following the same route you would go if your friend was driving, then you have demonstrated latent learning.
Learned Helplessness
When an organism (person, animal, etc.) is prevented from avoiding some aversive stimulus repeatedly (e.g., continuous electric shocks) the organism will reach a state in which it becomes passive and depressed because he believes that there are no actions it can take to avoid the aversive stimulus. Esssentially, the organism just gives up trying to avoid it and just takes the aversive stimulus. Thus, the organism learns that it is helpless against the aversive stimulus.
Learning (Conditioning)
We can use the following definition of learning to help us understand this concept: learning is a relatively permanent change in behavior or knowledge that comes from experience or training. But what does this really mean? We all "know" things and we can all perform lots of behaviors. But where did they come from? Some things are innate - we are born with the knowledge. But others must be acquired actively. Thus, any knowledge or behavior that we now possess that we were not born with, was somehow "learned".
Levels of Processing
This is a theory of memory that is contrary to the "stores" theory of memory. According to this theory, memory varies according to and is a by-product of the process of processing information during encoding. Information processed more deeply is remembered better.
Limbic System
The limbic system is a grouping of structures in the brain that sits between in the most primitive part of the forebrain called the rhinecephalon. This is a doughnut-shaped network of neurons that inlfuences many deep-rooted drives and emotions including pain, anger, hunger, sex, thirst, and pleasure. The thalamus, hypothalamus, amygdala, fornix, mammiliary bodies, and septal areas are all parts of the limbic system.

James Olds and Peter Milner discovered the function of the limbic system accidentally in 1954 when experimenting with electrical stimulation of the brain using rats and lever pressing.
Lithium Carbonate
Lithium Carbonate is a chemical compound that is useful in treating bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression). Many people are familiar with Lithium" but it's really the compound Lithium Carbonate that is uses to treat manic depression. Lithium is found naturally in the body at about 1.3 parts per million in bone and 0.023 parts per million in muscle tissue.
Longitudinal Study
A longitudinal study is somewhat similar to a repeated measures study but in this case people are study and restudied over a period of time (as opposed to studied across different experimental conditions as is the case with a repeated measures study). The longitudinal study design is good for looking at the effects or changes over a long period of time, usually as people age.
Manifest Content
According to Freud, our dreams are important and meaningful in understanding the causes of our problems, hidden issues, and painful issues we can't face during wakefulness. Freud identified two types of content in our dreams; latent content and manifest content. Manifest content is all the parts of the dream that we remember (the actual content). It's not the stuff we associate with our dreams, but the actual story lines of the dreams.
Masochism
Masochism is gaining pleasure from physical or psychological. The pain can be self inflicted or inflicted by someone else. When the pain inflicted produces sexual pleasure, the infliction of the pain is called sexual masochism or paraphilia.
Medulla
The medulla is a structure of the brain located in the brain stem. The brain stem begins just above the spinal cord and continues to the center of the brain. The brain stem is void of any cerebral functioning but instead controls lower level functioning. The medulla is primarily responsible for breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, and coughing.
Meme
A meme is a piece of information that is passed from one entity (person, book, etc.) to another. Often memes are social or cultural in nature and are ways aspects of culture are passed from person to person so that the information is understood. They can also be ideas, parts of ideas, sounds, songs, and all sorts of other pieces of information that get passed on. Memes have been compared to viruses because of the way they self perpetuate and spread from person to person.
Mental Age
Binet actually developed tests to measure mental age and it measures a person's level of performance as it corresponds to their chronological age. For example, one child age 10 may be able do sophisticated math, read more effectively, and comprehend more than another child the same age. In this case we might say that one child has a mental age greater than the other and is more in line cognitively with people several years older.
Mental Set
Many people approach problems in similar ways all the time even though they can't be sure they have the best approach or an approach that will even work. Doing this is an example of mental set -- a tendency to approach situations the same way because that way worked in the past. For example, a child may enter a store by pushing a door open. Every time they come to a door after that, the child pushes the door expecting it to open even though many doors only open by pulling. This child has a mental set for opening doors.
Mere Exposure Effect
Have you ever met someone you didn't like very much at first and then over time, even if you didn't really have personal interactions with the person you started liking them (or disliking them less)? This might have been due to the mere exposure effect in which you begin to like something simply because you are exposed to it over and over again. I bet if you think about it you can come up with all sorts of things that you like simply because you are exposed to it repeatedly. There are many advertisers who bombard you with their products for this reason.
Metacognition
The term metacognition refers to the act of thinking about thinking, or the cognition of cognition. It is the ability for you to control your own thoughts. Confused? Although it is a complex construct, the definition is not complex. It really is the knowledge and regulation of cognitive phenomena which means, you can control your own thoughts. Metacognition includes the ability for you to control, 1) person variables (knowledge about one's self, and others' thinking), 2) task variables (knowledge that different types of tasks exert different types of cognitive demands), and; 3) strategy variables (knowledge about cognitive and metacognitive strategies for enhancing learning and performance).
Method of Loci
This is a mnemonic device or technique in which a person visualizes the items they're trying to learn in different spatial locations. To do this, the person associates the items with landmarks in some familiar place, which helps them recall the items later.
Midbrain
The midbrain is a portion of the brain located just above the medulla and pons and contains basic vision and hearing functions; it also is the input center for muscle movement.
Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)
The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) -- a test that detects abnormal personality styles. This instrument is commonly used by clinicians to determine if a person may have a psychological disorder. It is also commonly used by psychologists to determine if people are fit to work in public safety occupations such as police officer.
Misinformation Effect (false memory)
Human memory is not as good as people like to think. There are times when you are 100% confident in your memory of something and the reality is, your memory is wrong. This is often seen in eye witness testimony situations. How is it that 10 people witness a crime and when asked, there are 10 different versions of the crime? According to the misinformation effect, when we witness an event and then get some incorrect information about that event, we incorporate that incorrect information (misinformation) into our memory of the event. The result in an altered memory of the event. You may not want to believe this one, but it's true and we are all susceptible to it.
Mitosis
Cell division in which chromosome pairs split and then duplicate themselves. In essence, this is the way cells grow, the way we grow. We start as a single celled organism and then through a process of cell division, we become 2 celled, then 4 celled, then 8 celled, and so on.
Mnemonics
Mnemonics are simply memory aids. Anything you do (any technique you use) to help you remember something can be considered a mnemonic. For example, if you use the phrase "Emma has a dilemma" in order to remember how to correctly spell "dilemma" you are using a mnemonic.
Mode
A measure of central tendency which is defined by the most common number in an array. For example, the following string of numbers: 1, 3, 3, 3, 56, 89, 89; the mode in this case would be 3 since it is the most frequent number observed in the sample.
Modeling
Modeling is a form of learning where individuals ascertain how to act or perform by observing another individual. Think of it this way, you may know how to tell a joke better because you have watched Jay Leno's standup routine on TV. Or, if you have ever felt uncomfortable at a party and someone gives you the advice of: "When in Rome, do as the Romans do" -- well, the person is really saying: "Model your behaviors and learn how to act by watching how others are performing in the same situation."
Modeling Therapy
In this type of therapy, individuals watch others behaving in an adaptive, effective manner. This is very much like the regular process of modeling (a type of learning), except that Modeling Therapy is not a natural, unprompted event, but a way to change some maladaptive behavior.
Monocular Clues
Cues of depth that can be detected by one eye instead of two. For example, size is a monocular clue. One doesn't need two eyes to tell how large an object is, and because of its size, how close it is perceived to be.
Mood Disorders
Psychological disorders involving intense and prolonged shifts in mood. A person with a mood disorder might feel very happy or very sad for long periods of time and for no apparent reason. Because of this, their moods affect they way perceive everything in their daily lives, making it very difficult to function well. There are two main categories of mood disorders; Depressive Disorders (major depression, dysthymia) and Bipolar Disorders (also known as manic depression; mood swings from euphoria to depression).
Moral Development
As children age, they become more adept at distinguishing right from wrong. For example, most two year olds don't know that it is wrong to take something that is not yours, however, by the time you are an adult, you know that stealing is wrong. This process is moral development.
Morphemes
The smallest units of speech that convey meaning. All words are composed of at least one morpheme. For example, the word "work" is a single morpheme, but the word "working", which implies some action, is made up of two morphemes ("work" and "ing").
Motivated Forgetting
Motivated Forgetting is what Freud referred to as repressing memories. According to Freud, there are times when an event or an action is so painful that we can’t deal with the memory of it, so we repress the memory completely. By pushing the memory into the subconscious and actively repressing it, we are unable to recall the memory. So in essence, motivated forgetting is purposeful forgetting, even if it's not purposeful at a conscious level. Here's an example at a conscious level. Tonight, I want you to do whatever you have to do in order to forget the following numbers: 5-3-1. Do whatever you have to, but forget the numbers "5-3-1" by this time tomorrow. If you can do it, you will have experienced one type of motivated forgetting.
Motor Neurons
As you know, information is traveling throughout your brain and body all the time. As I type this definition, information is traveling from my brain to the muscles in my arms, hands, and fingers to press the right keys. To make my fingers press the right keys, the information travels on motor neurons -- neurons that carry information from the central nervous system to the muscles to make these movements.
Myelin
Myelin is a fatty substance that covers neurons. Around your neurons is a myelin sheath (a layer of myelin) that helps increase the speed at which information can travel on the neurons. If you could look at a neuron you would see the sheath covering the axon of the neuron in a way that looks like a row of sausage links.
Narcolepsy
Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder where the affected individual falls asleep without warning. A person with narcolepsy can fall asleep while driving or while filming their family on vacation. The inability to control their sleep obviously causes challenges in their everyday lives.
Naturalistic Observation
Researchers use all sorts of techniques to collect data, ranging from very controlled lab experiments to natural observation. With naturalistic observation the researcher allows behavior to occur without interference or intervention at all. We all do this type of research when we do things like people watch. This is a great way to study behavior in "real settings" and to see behavior occur in its most natural state. The problem is that it's often difficult to study the behaviors you're most interested in without being intrusive.