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141 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
the view that psychology (1) should be an objective science that (2) studies behavior without reference to mental processes. Most research psychologists today agree with (1) but not with (2)
Humanistic psychology
historically significant perspective that emphasized the growth potential of healthy people; used personalized methods to study personality in hopes of fostering personal growth.
the scientific study of behavior and mental processes
Nature-nurture issue
the longstanding controversy over the relative contributions that genes and experience make to the development of psychological traits and behaviors. Today’s science sees traits and behaviors arising from the interaction of nature and nurture
Levels of analysis
differing complementary views, from biological to psychological to socio-cultural, for analyzing any given phenomenon
Biopsychosocial approach
an integrated approach that incorporates biological, psychological ,and social-cultural levels of analysis
Basic research
science that aims to increase the scientific knowledge base
Applied research
scientific study that aims to solve practical problems
Counseling psychology
a branch of psychology that assists people with problems in living and in achieving greater well-being
Clinical psychology
a branch of psychology that studies, assesses, and treats people with psychological disorders
a branch of medicine dealing with psychological disorders; practiced by physicians who sometimes provide medical (for example, drug) treatments as well as psychological therapy
Hindsight bias
the tendency to believe, after learning an outcome, that one would have foreseen it
Critical thinking
thinking that does not blindly accept arguments and conclusions. Rather, it examines assumptions, discern hidden values, evaluates evidence, and assesses conclusions
an explanation using an integrated set of principles that organizes observations and predicts behaviors or events
testable prediction, often implied by a theory
Operational definition
a statement of the procedures (operations) used to define research variables. For example, human intelligence may be operationally defined as what an intelligence test measures
repeating the essence of a research study, usually with different participants in different situations, to see whether the basic, findings extends to other participants and circumstances
Case study
an observation technique in which one person is studied in depth in the hope of revealing universal principles
technique for ascertaining the self-reported attitudes or behaviors of people, usually by questioning a representative, random sample of them
all the cases in a group, from which samples may be drawn for a study
Random sample
a sample that fairly represents a population because each member has an equal chance of inclusion
Naturalistic observation
observing and recording behavior in naturally occurring situations without trying to manipulate and control the situation
a measure of the extent to which two factors vary together, and thus of how well either factor predicts the other. The correlation coefficient is the mathematical expression of the relationship, ranging from -1 to +1
a research method in which an investigator manipulates one or more factors (independent variables) to observe the effect on some behavior or mental process (the dependent variable). By random assignment of participants, the experiment aims to control other relevant factors
Random assignment
assigning research participants to experimental and control conditions by chance, thus minimizing pre-existing differences between those assigned to the different groups
Double-blind procedure
an experimental procedure in which both the research participants and the research staff are ignorant (blind) about whether the research participants have received the treatment or a placebo. Commonly used in drug-evaluation studies
experimental results caused by expectations alone; any effect on behavior caused by the administration of an inert substance or condition, which is assumed to be an active agent
Experimental group
the group in an experiment that is exposed to the treatment, that is, to one version of the independent variable
Control group
the group in an experiment that contrasts with the experiment group and serves as a comparison for evaluating the effect of the treatment
Independent variable
the experimental factor that is manipulated, the variable whose effect is being studied
Dependent variable
the outcome factor; the variable that may change in response to manipulations of the independent variable
the enduring behaviors, ideas, attitudes, and traditions shared by a large group of people and transmitted from one generation to the next
Developmental psychology
a branch of psychology that studies physical, cognitive, and social change throughout a life span
the fertilized egg; it enters a 2-week period of rapid cell division and develops into an embryo
the developing human organism from about 2 weeks after fertilization through the second month
the developing human organism from 9 weeks after conception to birth
agents, such as chemicals and viruses, that can reach the embryo or fetus during prenatal development and cause harm
Fetal alcohol syndrome
physical and cognitive abnormalities in children caused by a pregnant woman’s heavy drinking. In severe cases, symptoms include noticeable facial misproportions
biological growth processes that enable orderly changes in behavior, relatively uninfluenced by experience
– all the mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, remembering, and communicating
a concept or framework that organizes and interprets information
– interpreting one’s new experience in terms of one’s existing schemas
adapting one’s current understandings (schemas) to incorporate new information
Sensorimotor stage
in piaget’s theory, the stage from birth to about 2 years during which infants know the world mostly in terms of their sensory impressions and motor activities
Object permanence
the awareness that things continue to exist even when not perceived
Preoperational stage
in piaget’s theory, the stage from about 2-6 or 7 years of age during which a child learns to use language but does not yet comprehend the mental operations of concrete logic
the principle which piaget believed to be a part of concrete operational reasoning that properties such as mass, volume, and number remain the same despite changes in the forms of objects
in piaget’s theory, the pre-operational child’s difficulty taking another’s point of view
Theory of mind
people’s ideas about their own and others’ mental states – about their feelings, perceptions, and thoughts, and the behavior these might predict
disorder that appears in childhood and is marked by deficient communication, social interaction, and understanding of others’ states of mind
concrete operational stage
– in piaget’s theory, the stage of cognitive development from about 6 or 7 to 11 years of age during which children gain the mental operations that enable them to think logically about concrete events
Formal operational stage
in piaget’s theory, the stage of cognitive development normally beginning about age 12 during which people begin to think logically about abstract concepts
Stranger anxiety
the fear of strangers that infants commonly display, beginning about 8 months of age
an emotional tie with another person; shown in young children by their seeking closeness to the caregiver and showing distress on separation
Critical period
optimal period shortly after birth when an organism’s exposure to certain stimuli or experiences produces proper development
the process by which certain animals form attachments during a critical period very early in life
Basic trust
according to erik erikson, a sense that the world is predictable and trustworthy; said to be formed during infancy by appropriate experiences with responsive caregivers
the transition period from childhood to adulthood, extending from puberty to independence
the period of sexual maturation during which a person becomes capable of reproducing
Primary sex characteristics
the body structures that make sexual reproduction possible
Secondary sex characteristics
nonreproductive sexual characteristics, such as female breasts and hips, male voice quality, and body hair
the first menstrual period
one’s sense of self; according to Erikson, the adolescent’s task is to solidify a sense of self by testing and integrating various roles
in Erikson’s theory, the ability to form close, loving relationships; a primary developmental task in late adolescence and early adulthood
our spoken, written, or signed words and the ways we combine them to communicate meaning
Babbling stage
beginning at about 4 months, the stage of speech development in which the infant spontaneously utters various sounds at first unrelated to the house-hold language
One-word stage
the stage in speech development, from about age 1-2 during which a child speaks mostly in single words
Two-word stage
beginning about age 2, the stage in speech development during which a child speaks mostly two-word statements
Telegraphic speech
speech stage in which a child speaks like a telegram – “go car” – using mostly nouns and verbs and omitting auxiliary words
Linguistic determinism
Whorf’s hypothesis that language determines the way we think
Biological psychology
a branch of psychology concerned with the links between biology and behavior.
a nerve cell; the basic building block of the nervous system
the bushy, branching extensions of a neuron that receive messages and conduct impulses toward the cell body
the extension of a neuron, ending in branching terminal fibers, through which messages pass to other neurons or to muscles or glands
Action potential
a neural impulse; a brief electrical charge that travels down an axon
the level of stimulation required to trigger a neural impulse
the junction between the axon tip of the sending neuron and the dendrite or cell body of the receiving neuron. The tiny gap of this junction is called the synaptic gap or cleft
chemical messengers that traverse the synaptic gaps between neurons. When released by the sending neuron, neurotransmitters travel across the synapse and bind to receptor sites on the receiving neuron, thereby influencing whether that neuron will generate a neural impulse
natural, opiatelike neurotransmitters linked to pain control and to pleasure
Nervous system
the body’s speedy, electrochemical communication network, consisting of all the nerve cells of the peripheral and central nervous system
Central nervous system
the brain and spinal cord
Peripheral nervous system
the sensory and motor neurons that connect the central nervous system to the rest of the body
neural cables containing many axons. These bundled axons, which are part of the peripheral nervous system, connect the central nervous system with muscles, glands, and sense organs
Sensory neurons
neurons that carry incoming information from the sense receptors to the central nervous system
Motor neurons
neurons that carry outgoing information from the central nervous system to the muscles and glands
central nervous system neurons that internally communicate and intervene between the sensory inputs and motor outputs
Somatic nervous system
the division of the peripheral nervous system that controls the body’s skeletal muscles
Autonomic nervous system
the part of the peripheral nervous system that controls the glands and the muscles of the internal organs (such as the heart). Its sympathetic division arouses; its parasympathetic division calms
Sympathetic nervous system
the division of the autonomic nervous system that arouses the body, mobilizing its energy in stressful situations
Parasympathetic nervous system
the division of the autonomic nervous system that calms the body, conversing its energy
a simple, automatic response to a sensory stimulus, such as the knee-jerk response
the body’s slow chemical communication system; a set of glands that secrete hormones into the bloodstream
chemical messengers, mostly those manufactured by the endocrine glands, that are produced in one tissue and affect another
Adrenal gland
a pair of endocrine glands just above the kidneys. The adrenals secrete the hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine which helps to arouse the body in times of stress
Pituitary gland
the endocrine system’s most influential gland. Under the influence of the hypothalamus, it regulates growth and controls other endocrine glands
the process by which our sensory receptors and nervous system receive and represent stimulus energies from our environment
the process of organizing and interpreting sensory information, enabling us to recognize meaningful objects and events
Bottom-up processing
analysis that begins with the sensory receptors and works up to the brain’s integration of sensory information
Top-down processing
information processing guided by the higher-level mental processes, as when we construct perceptions drawing on our experience and expectations
the study of relationships between the physical characteristics of stimuli, such as their intensity, and our psychological experience of them
Absolute threshold
the minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus 50% of the time
below one’s absolute threshold for conscious awareness
the activation, often unconsciously, of certain associations, thus pre-disposing one’s perception, memory, or response
Difference threshold
the minimum difference between two stimuli required for detection 50% of the time. We experience the difference threshold as a just noticeable difference
Weber’s law
the principle that, to be perceived as different, two stimuli must differ by a constant minimum percentage (rather than a constant amount)
Sensory adaptation
diminished sensitivity as a consequence of constant stimulation
the distance from the peak of one light or sound wave to the peak of the next. Electromagnetic wavelengths vary from the short blips of cosmic rays to the long pulses of radio transmission
– the dimension of color that is determined by the wavelength of light; what we know as the color names blue, green, and so forth
the amount of energy in a light or sound wave, which we perceive as brightness or loudness, as determined by the wave’s amplitude
the light-sensitive inner surface of the eye, containing the receptor rods and cones plus layers of neurons that begin the processing of visual information
the process by which the eye’s lens changes shape to focus near or far objects on the retina
retinal receptors that detect black, white, and gray; necessary for peripheral and twilight vision, when cones don’t respond
retinal receptor cells that are concentrated near the center of the retina and that function in daylight or in well-lit conditions. The cones detect fine detail and give rise to color sensations
Optic nerve
the nerve that carries neural impulses from the eye to the brain
Blind spot
– the point at which the optic nerve leaves the eye, creating a “blind” spot because no receptor cells are located there
the central focal point in the retina, around which the eye’s comes cluster
Feature detectors
nerve cells in the brain that respond to specific features of the stimulus, such as shape, angle, or movement
Parallel processing
the processing of many aspects of a problem simultaneously; the brain’s natural mode of information processing for many functions, including vision. Contrasts with the step-by-step processing of most computers and of conscious problem solving
Young-Helmholtz trichromatic theory
the theory that the retina contains three different color receptors – one most sensitive to red, one to green, and one to blue – which when stimulated in combination can produce the perception of any color.
Opponent-process theory
the theory that opposing retinal processes (red-green, blue-yellow, white-black) enable color vision. For example, some cells are stimulated by green and inhibited by red; others are stimulated by red and inhibited by green
the sense or act of hearing
the number of complete wavelengths that pass a point in a given time (for example, per second)
a tone’s experienced highness or lowness, depends on frequency
Middle ear
the chamber between the eardrum and cochlea containing three tiny bones (hammer, anvil, and stirrup) that concentrate the vibrations of the eardrum on the cochlea’s oval window
– a coiled, bony, fluid-filled tube in the inner ear through which sound waves trigger nerve impulses
Inner ear
the innermost part of the ear, containing the cochlea, semicircular canals, and vestibular sacs
an organized whole. Gestalt psychologists emphasized our tendency to integrate pieces of information into meaningful objects
the organization of the visual field into objects (the figures) that stand out from their surroundings (the ground)
the perceptual tendency to organize stimuli into coherent groups
Depth perception
the ability to see objects in three dimensions although the images that strike the retina are two-dimensional; allows us to judge distance
Visual cliff
a laboratory device for testing depth perception in infants and young animals
Binocular cues
depth cues, such as retinal disparity, that depend on the use of two eyes
Retinal disparity
a binocular cue for perceiving depths: By comparing images from the two eyeballs, the brain computes distance – the great the disparity (difference) between the two images, the closer the object
Monocular cues
depth cues, such as interposition and linear perspective, available to either eye alone
Perceptual constancy
perceiving object as unchanging (having consistent color, shape, size, or lightness) even as illumination and retinal images change
Color constancy
perceiving familiar objects as having consistent color, even if changing illumination alters the wavelengths reflect by the object
group of severe disorders characterized by disorganized and delusional thinking, disturbed perceptions, and inappropriate emotions and actions
false beliefs, often of persecution or grandeur, that may accompany schizophrenia and other disorders
Evolutionary psychology
the study of the evolution of behavior and the mind, using principles of natural selection
Natural selection
the principle that, among the range of inherited trait variations, those that lead to increased reproduction and survival will most likely be passed onto succeeding generations
a random error in gene replication that leads to a change