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Flashcards in Spark Notes Psychology Deck (191):
1

Absolute refractory period

Period when neuron lies dormant after an AP is completed

2

Absolute threshold

Minimum amount of stimulation needed for person to detect stimulus 50% of the time

3

Accomodation

Process by which the shape of an eye's lends adjust to focus light from objects nearby or far away. Also: the modification of a scheme as new information is incorporated.

4

Acetylcholine

NT involved in muscle movement, attention, arousal, memory, and emotion

5

Achievement motive

Impulse to master challenges and reach high standard of excellence

6

Achievement tests

Assessment that measures skills and knowledge that people have already learned.

7

Acronym

A word made out of the first letters of several words

8

Acrostic

A sentence or phrase in which each word begins with a letter that acts as a memory cue

9

Action Potential

A short-lived change in electric charge inside a neuron.

10

Activation-synthesis theory

A theory proposing that neurons in the brain activate randomly during REM sleep.

11

Active listening

A feature of client-centered th erapy that involves empathetic listening, by which the therapist echoes, restates, and clarifies what the client says.

12

Adaptation

An inherited characteristic that increases in a population because it provides a survival or reproductive advantage.

13

Adaptive behaviors

Behaviors that increase reproductive success.

14

Additive strategy

The process of listing the attributes of each element of a decision, weighing them according to importance, adding them up, and determining which one is more appealing based on the result.

15

Adoption Studies

Studies in which researchers examine trait similarities between adopted children and their biological and adoptive parents to figure out whether that trait might be inherited.

16

Adrenal Cortex

The outer part of the adrenal glands, which secretes corticosteroids.

17

Adrenal medulla

The inner part of the adrenal glands, which secretes catecholamines.

18

Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)

A hormone released by the pituitary gland that stimulates release of corticosteroids from the adrenal cortex.

19

Afferent nerves

Bundles of axons that carry information from muscles and sense organs to the central nervous system.

20

Afterimage

A color we perceive after another color is removed.

21

Age of viability

The point at which a fetus has some chance of surviving outside the mother if born prematurely.

22

Agonists

Chemicals that mimic the action of a particular neurotransmitter.

23

Agoraphobia

A disorder involving anxiety about situations from which escape would be difficult or embarrassing or places where there might be no help if a panic attack occurred.

24

Algorithm

A step-by-step procedure that is guaranteed to solve a problem.

25

All or none law

States that neurons fire to generate an action potential only if stimulation reaches a minimum threshold.

26

Alpha waves

Type of brain waves present when a person is very relaxed or meditating.

27

Alternate forms reliability

The ability of a test to produce the same results when two different versions of it are given to the same group of people.

28

Ambigiuous language

Language that can be understood in several ways.

29

Amplitude

The height of a wave.

30

Amygdala

A part of the limbic system of the brain that is involved in regulating aggression and emotions, particularly fear.

31

Animism

The belief that inanimate objects are alive.

32

Anorexia Nervosa

A disorder characterized by refusal to maintain a body weight in the normal range, intense fear about gaining weight, and highly distorted body image.

33

Antagonists

Chemicals that block the action of a particular neurotransmitter.

34

Anterograde amnesia

An inability to remember events that occurred after a brain injury or traumatic event.

35

Antisocial personality disorder

A disorder characterized by a lack of conscience and lack of respect for other people’s rights, feelings, and needs, beginning by age fifteen.

36

Appraisal

The process of evaluating an environmental challenge to determine whether resources are available for dealing with it.

37

Approach approach conflict

A conflict between two desirable alternatives.

38

Approach avoidance conflict

A conflict that arises when a situation has both positive and negative features.

39

Aptitude test

An assessment that predicts people’s future ability to acquire skills or knowledge.

40

Archetypes

Images or thoughts that have the same meaning for all human beings.

41

Assimilation

The broadening of an existing schema to include new information.

42

Atherosclerosis

Hardening of arteries because of cholesterol deposits.

43

Attachment styles

Types of attachment, which include secure attachment, anxious-ambivalent attachment, and avoidant attachment.

44

Attachement

The close bond between babies and their caregivers.

45

Attitudes

Evaluations people make about objects, ideas, events, or other people.

46

Attributions

Inferences people make about the causes of events and behavior.

47

Atypical antipsychotic drugs

A new class of antipsychotic drugs that are effective for treating negative and positive symptoms of schizophrenia. They target the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.

48

Auditory nerve

A nerve that sends impulses from the ear to the brain.

49

Automatic thoughts

Self defeating judgments people make about themselves

50

Automatic nervous system

The part of the peripheral nervous system connected to the heart, blood vessels, glands, and smooth muscles.

51

Availiability heuristic

A rule-of-thumb strategy in which people estimate probability based on how quickly they remember relevant instances of an event.

52

Avoidance advoidance conflict

A conflict that arises when a choice must be made between two undesirable alternatives.

53

Avoidant personality disorder

A disorder involving social withdrawal, low self-esteem, and extreme sensitivity to being evaluated negatively.

54

Aversion therapy

A therapy in which a stimulus that evokes an unpleasant response is paired with a stimulus that evokes a maladaptive behavior.

55

Axon

A fiber that extends from a neuron and sends signals to other neurons.

56

Babbling

A producton of sounds that resemble many different languages.

57

Basal metabolic rate

The rate at which energy is used when a person is at complete rest.

58

Basilar membrane

A membrane in the inner ear that runs along the length of the cochlea.

59

Behavior genetics

The study of behavior and personality differences among people.

60

Behavior therapies

Treatments involving complex conversations between therapists and clients that are aimed at directly influencing maladaptive behaviors through the use of learning principles.

61

Belief perserverance

The process of rejecting evidence that refutes one’s beliefs.

62

Benzodiazepines

A class of antianxiety drugs. They are also called tranquilizers.

63

Beta waves

The type of brain waves present when a person is awake and alert.

64

Bias

The distortion of results by a variable that is not part of the hypothesis.

65

Big Five

Five basic personality traits from which other traits are derived. They include neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness.

66

Binocular cues

Depth perception cues that require both eyes.

67

Biologival rhythms

Periodic physiological changes.

68

Biomedical therapies

Treatments that involve efforts to directly alter biological functioning through medication, electric shocks, or surgery.

69

Biopsychosocial model of illness

The idea that physical illness is the result of a complicated interaction among biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors.

70

Bipolar disorders

Disorders in which people alternate between periods of depression and mania

71

Blood brain barrier

A membrane that lets some substances from the blood into the brain but keeps out others.

72

Boderline personality disorder

A disorder characterized by impulsive behavior and unstable relationships, emotions, and self-image.

73

Brain

The main organ in the nervous system.

74

Brain waves

Tracings that show the electrical activity of the brain.

75

Broca's area

A part of the brain, in the left frontal lobe, that is involved in speech production.

76

Bulimia nervosa

A disorder involving binge eating followed by compensatory behaviors such as vomiting, fasting, excessive exercise, or use of laxatives, diuretics, and other medications to control body weight.

77

Bystander effect

The tendency of people to be less likely to offer help to someone who needs it if other people are also present.

78

Cannon Bard theory

The idea that the experience of emotion happens at the same time that physiological arousal happens.

79

Case Study

A research method in which an individual subject is studied in depth.

80

Castration Anxiety

The fear a male child has that his father will cut off his penis for desiring his mother.

81

Catatonic type

A subtype of schizophrenia characterized by unnatural movement patterns such as rigid, unmoving posture or continual, purposeless movements, or by unnatural speech patterns such as absence of speech or parroting of other people’s speech.

82

Catecholamines

Hormones released by the adrenal medulla in response to stress.

83

Catharsis

The release of tension that results when repressed thoughts or memories move into a patient’s conscious mind.

84

Central nervous system

The part of the nervous system that includes the brain and the spinal cord.

85

Centration

The tendency to focus on one aspect of a problem and ignore other key aspects.

86

Cerebellum

A part of the hindbrain that controls balance and coordination of movement.

87

Cerebrospinal fluid

The fluid that cushions and nourishes the brain.

88

Cerebrum

The largest part of the brain, involved in abstract thought and learning.

89

Chromosomes

Thin strands of DNA that contain genes.

90

Chunking

The process of combining small bits of information into bigger, familiar pieces.

91

Cilia

Hair cells that are embedded in the basilar membrane of the ear.

92

Cingulotomy

A surgical procedure that involves destruction of part of the frontal lobes. It is sometimes done to treat severe disorders that do not respond to other treatments.

93

Circadian Rhythms

Biological cycles that occur about every twenty-four hours.

94

Clasical conditioning

A type of learning in which a subject comes to respond to a neutral stimulus as he would to another stimulus by learning to associate the two stimuli. It can also be called respondent conditioning or Pavlovian conditioning.

95

Client-centered therapy

A humanistic therapy, developed by Carl Rogers, that aims to help clients increase self-acceptance and personal growth by providing a supportive emotional environment.

96

Closure

The tendency to interpret familiar, incomplete forms as complete by filling in gaps.

97

Cochlea

A coiled tunnel in the inner ear that is filled with fluid.

98

Cognition

Thinking. It involves mental activities such as understanding, problem solving, decision making, and creativity.

99

Cognitive appraisal

The idea that people’s experience of emotion depends on the way they appraise or evaluate the events around them.

100

Cognitive Development

The development of thinking capacity.

101

Cognitive Dissonance

An unpleasant state of tension that arises when a person has related cognitions that conflict with one another.

102

Cognitive Schema

A mental model of some aspect of the world.

103

Cognitive therapies

Therapies aimed at identifying and changing maladaptive thinking patterns that can result in negative emotions and dysfunctional behavior.

104

Collective unconscious

The part of our minds, according to Carl Jung, that contains universal memories of our common human past.

105

Color blindness

A hereditary condition that makes people unable to distinguish between colors.

106

Commitment

The intent to continue a romantic relationship even in the face of difficulties.

107

Community mental health movement

A movement that advocates treating people with psychological problems in their own communities, providing outpatient treatment, and preventing psychological disorders.

108

Compassionate love

Warmth, trust, and tolerance of a person with whom one is romantically involved.

109

Compensation

According to Alfred Adler, the process of striving to get rid of normal feelings of inferiority.

110

Complexity

The range of wavelengths in light.

111

Componential intelligence

The ability assessed by intelligence tests.

112

Compulsions

Repetitive behaviors that help to prevent or relieve anxiety.

113

Computerized tomography (CT)

A method for studying the brain that involves taking x-rays of the brain from different angles.

114

Concept

A mental category that groups similar objects, events, qualities, or actions.

115

Concordance rate

The percentage of both people in a pair having a certain trait or disorder.

116

Conditioned response

In classical and operant conditioning, a response that resembles an unconditioned response, achieved by pairing a conditioned stimulus with an unconditioned stimulus.

117

Conditioned stimulus

In classical conditioning, a neutral stimulus that comes to evoke a response similar to an unconditioned response through pairing with an unconditioned stimulus.

118

Cones

Photoreceptor cells in the retina that allow people to see in color.

119

Confabulation

A phenomenon in which a person thinks he or she remembers something that did not really happen.

120

Confirmation bias

The tendency to look for and accept evidence that supports what one wants to believe and to ignore or reject evidence that refutes those beliefs.

121

Conflict

The experience of having two or more incompatible desires or motives.

122

Conformity

The process of giving in to real or imagined pressure from a group.

123

Congruence

According to Carl Rogers, the accurate match between self-concept and reality.

124

Conscious

The part of the mind that contains all the information that a person is paying attention to at a particular time.

125

Consciousness

The awareness people have of themselves and the environment around them.

126

Conservation

The ability to recognize that measurable physical characteristics of objects can be the same even when objects look different.

127

Consolidation

Transfer of information into long-term memory.

128

Contact comfort

Comfort derived from physical closeness with a caregiver.

129

Contact hypothesis

A hyposthesis stating that prejudice declines when people in an ingroup become more familiar with the customs, norms, food, music, and attitudes of people in an outgroup.

130

Content validity

A test’s ability to measure all the important aspects of the characteristic being measured.

131

Contextual intelligence

The ability to function effectively in daily situations.

132

Continuity

The tendency to perceive interrupted lines and patterns as being continuous by filling in gaps.

133

Continuous reinforcement

A reinforcement schedule in which reinforcement happens every time a particular response occurs.

134

Control group

A group of subjects in an experiment that receives the same treatment and is treated exactly like the experimental group, except with respect to the independent variable.

135

Convergence

The turning inward of eyes when an object is viewed close up.

136

Convergent thinking

A style of thinking in which a person narrows down a list of possibilities to arrive at a single right answer.

137

Conversion disorder

A disorder characterized by medically unexplained symptoms that affect voluntary motor functioning or sensory functioning.

138

Coping

Efforts to manage stress.

139

Cornea

The transparent outer membrane of the eye.

140

Corpus callosum

A band of fibers that divides the cerebrum into two halves.

141

Correlation coefficient

A measurement that indicates the strength of the relationship between two variables. In a positive correlation, one variable increases as the other increases. In a negative correlation, one variable decreases as the other increases.

142

Correlational research methods

A research method that provides information about the relationship between variables. It is also called a descriptive research method.

143

Corticosteroids

Hormones released by the adrenal cortex in response to stress.

144

Couples therapy

A type of therapy in which a therapist helps couples identify and resolve conflicts.

145

Creativity

The ability to generate novel, useful ideas.

146

Criterion validity

A test’s ability to predict another criterion of the characteristic being measured.

147

Crystallized intelligence

Intelligence based on the knowledge and skills accumulated over the life span.

148

Culture-bound disorders

Psychological disorders that are limited to specific cultural contexts.

149

Dark adaptation

The process by which receptor cells become more sensitive to light.

150

Decay theory

A theory stating that memory traces fade with time.

151

Decentration

The ability to focus simultaneously on several aspects of a problem.

152

Decision making

The process of weighing alternatives and choosing among them.

153

Declarative memory

The remembering of factual information. Declarative memory is usually considered explicit.

154

Deductive reasoning

The process by which a particular conclusion is drawn from a set of general premises or statements.

155

Defense mechanisms

Behaviors that protect people from anxiety.

156

Deindividuation

The tendency of people in a large, arousing, anonymous group to lose inhibitions, sense of responsibility, and self-consciousness.

157

Deinstitutionalization

The trend toward providing treatment through community-based outpatient clinics rather than inpatient hospitals.

158

Delta waves

The type of brain waves present when a person is deeply asleep.

159

Delusions

False beliefs that are held strongly despite contradictory evidence.

160

Dementia

A condition characterized by several significant psychological deficits.

161

Dendrite

A fiber that extends from a neuron. It received signals from other neurons and sends them toward the cell body.

162

Dendritic tress

Highly branched fibers extending from neurons.

163

Denial

A defense mechanism that involves refusing to acknowledge something that is obvious to others.

164

Dependent variable

The variable that is observed in an experiment and that may be affected by manipulations of the independent variable.

165

Descriptive statistics

Numbers that researchers use to describe their data so it can be organized and summarized.

166

Development

The series of age-related changes that occurs over the course of a person’s life span.

167

Developmental norms

The median ages at which children develop specific behaviors and abilities.

168

Diabetes

A condition caused by a deficiency of insulin.

169

Diagnosis

The process of distinguishing among disorders.

170

DSM

A reference book used by psychologists and psychiatrists to diagnose psychological disorders.

171

Dialectical reasoning

A process of going back and forth between opposing points of view in order to come up with a satisfactory solution to a problem.

172

Dichromat

A person who is sensitive to only two of the three wavelengths of light.

173

Difference threshold

The smallest difference in stimulation that is detectable 50 percent of the time. This threshold is also called the just noticeable difference, or jnd.

174

Diffusion of responsbility

The tendency for an individual to feel less responsible in the presence of others because responsibility is distributed among all the people present.

175

Discriminitive stimulus

In operant conditioning, a cue that indicates the kind of consequence that’s likely to occur after a response.

176

Disease model of addiction

The idea that addiction is a disease that has to be medically treated.

177

Disorganized type

A subtype of schizophrenia characterized by disorganized behavior, disorganized speech, and emotional flatness or inappropriateness.

178

Displacement

A defense mechanism that involves transferring feelings about a person or event to someone or something else.

179

Display rules

Norms that tell people whether, which, how, and when emotions should be displayed.

180

Dissociative amnesia

A disorder characterized by an inability to remember extensive, important personal information, usually about something traumatic or painful.

181

Dissociative disorders

Disorders characterized by disturbances in consciousness, memory, identity, and perception.

182

Dissociative fugue

- A disorder in which a person suddenly and unexpectedly leaves home, fails to remember the past, and becomes confused about his or her identity.

183

Dissociative identity disorder

A disorder in which a person fails to remember important personal information and has two or more identities or personality states that control behavior. It is also called multiple personality disorder.

184

Dissonance theory

A theory that proposes that people change their attitudes when they have attitudes that are inconsistent with one another.

185

Distributed practice

The practice of learning material in short sessions over a long period. It is also called the spacing effect.

186

Divergent thinking

A style of thinking in which people’s thoughts go off in different directions as they try to generate many different solutions to a problem.

187

Dopamine

A neurotransmitter involved in voluntary movement, learning, memory, and emotion.

188

Double-blind

A procedure in which neither the subjects nor the experimenter knows which subjects belong to the experimental and control groups.

189

Drive reduction theories of motivation

Ideas that suggest people act in order to reduce needs and maintain a constant physiological state.

190

Drug therapy

Treatment that involves the use of medications. It is also called pharmacotherapy.

191

Dsythymic disorder

A disorder involving depressed mood on a majority of days for at least two years.