AP-Psychology Vocab

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Abraham Maslow
Humanistic psychology; hierarchy of needs-needs at a lower level dominate an individual's motivation as long as they are unsatisfied; self-actualization, transcendence
applied research
Scientific study that aims to solve practical problems as opposed to basic research
Greek philosopher. A pupil of Plato, He developed theories of sensaton, perception, memory, ethics, etc. His approach defined science until the onset of empiricism.
B. F. Skinner
Behaviorism; pioneer in operant conditioning; behavior is based on an organism's reinforcement history; worked with pigeons
basic research
Pure science that aims to increase the scientific knowledge base as opposed to applied research
behavioral approach
Psychology approach that studies observable behavior and its explanation by principles of learning and reinforcement
biological approach
Psychology approach that studies the links between biological (including neuroscience and behavior genetics) and psychological processes
biopsychosocial approach
Integrated modern approach that incorporates biological, psychological, and social-cultural levels of analysis
Carl Rogers
1902-1987; Approach: humanistic; Contributions: founded person-centered therapy, theory that emphasizes the unique quality of humans especially their freedom and potential for personal growth, unconditional positive regard, fully functioning person
Charles Darwin
English natural scientist who formulated a theory of evolution by natural selection (1809-1882) Evolutionary approach
clinical psychology
Branch of psychology that studies, assesses, and treats people with psychological disorders
cognitive approach
Psychology approach that studies the mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, remembering, and communicatin
cognitive neuroscience
Interdisciplinary study of brain activity linked with cognition (including perception, thinking, memory, and language)
counseling psychology
Branch of psychology that assists people with problems in living (often related to school, work, or marriage) and in achieving greater well-being
developmental psychology
Branch of psychology that studies physical, cognitive, and social change throughout the life span
educational psychology
Branch of psychology that studies how psychological processes affect and can enhance teaching and learning
Edward Titchener
Introduced experimental psychology to the United States
Knowledge originates in experience and science should, therefore, rely on observation and experimentation
evolutionary approach
Psychology approach that studies the roots of behavior and mental processes using the principles of natural selection
experimental psychology
Study of behavior and thinking using the experimental method
School of psychology that focused on how our mental and behavioral processes function. How they enable us to adapt, survive and flourish. Associated with William James
G. Stanley Hall
American psychologist who established the first psychology research laboratory in the United States and founded the American Psychological Association
Gestalt Psychology
Psychological approach that emphasizes that we often perceive the whole rather than the sum of the parts
human factors psychology
Branch of psychology that studies how people and machines interact and the design of safe and easily used machines and environments
industrial-organizational (I/O) psychology
Branch of psychology that applies psychological concepts and methods to optimizing human behavior in workplaces
Method of self-observation in which participants report their thoughts and feelings
Ivan Pavlov
Russian physiologist who observed conditioned salivary responses in dogs (1849-1936) (Behavioral approach)
John B. Watson
Behaviorism; emphasis on external behaviors of people and their reactions on a given situation; famous for Little Albert study in which baby was taught to fear a white rat
Margaret Floyd Washburn
First female PhD in psychology
Mary Whiton Calkins
American psychologist who conducted research on memory, personality, and dreams; first woman president of the American Psychological Association.
natural selection
The principle that, among the range of inherited trait variations, those contributing to reproduction and survival with most likely be passed on to succeeding generations
personality psychology
Branch of psychology that studies an individual's characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling and acting
Greek philosopher; first philosopher credited with studying how we obtain knowledge.
Branch of medicine dealing with psychological disorders; practiced by physicians who often provide medical treatments as well as psychological therapy and can prescribe medications
psychoanalytic approach
Psychology approach that studies how unconscious drives and conflicts influence behavior, and uses that information to treat people with psychological disorders (sometimes called psychodynamic)
The science of behavior and mental processes
Scientific study of the measurement of human abilities, attitudes, and traits
Rene Descartes
French nativist philosopher; proponent of dualism; argued that "threads" within the body control movement, and that some behaviors occur without thought thus it was biology, not "spirits" behind sensations and behaviors.
Sigmund Freud
Austrian neurologist who originated psychoanalysis (1856-1939)
social psychology
Branch of psychology that studies how we think about, influence, and relate to one another
socio-cultural approach
Psychology approach that studies how situations and cultures affect our behavior and thinking
Greek philosopher; socratic method of questioning.
Early school of psychology that used introspection to explore the structural elements of the human mind - associated with Wilhelm Wundt
Wilhelm Wundt
German physiologist who founded psychology as a formal science; opened first psychology research laboratory in 1879. Known as the Father of Psychology. Developed structuralism. First to use instrospection.
William James
Founder of functionalism; studied how humans use perception to function in our environment
Hindsight Bias
The tendency to believe, after learning an outcome, that you knew that all along
Critical Thinking
Thinking that does not blindly accept arguments and conclusions. Rather, it examines assumptions, discerns hidden values, evaluates evidence, and assesses conclusions.
An explanation using an integrated set of principles that organizes and predicts observations
A testable prediction, often implied by a theory
Operational Definition
A statement of the procedures used to define research variables. Ex: human intelligence -- what an intelligence test measures.
Repeating the essence of a research study, usually with different participants in different situations, to see whether the basic finding 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
A 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
Correlation Coefficient
a statistical index of the relationship between two things (from -1 to +1)
Scatter plot
A graphed cluster of dots, each of which represents the values of two variables. The slope of the points suggests the direction of the relationship between the two variables. The amount of scatter suggests the strength of the correlation
Illusory Correlation
The perception of a relationship where none exists
A research method in which an investigator manipulates one or more factors (independent variables) to observe the effects on some behavior or mental process (the dependent variable). By random assignment of participants, the experimenter aims to control other relevant variable
Random Assignment
Assigning participants to experimental and control conditions by chance ,thus minimizing preexisting 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 about whether the research participants have received the treatment or a placebo. Commonly used in drug-evaluation studies
Placebo Effect
any effect that seems to be a consequence of administering a placebo
Experimental Group
in an experiment, the group that is exposed to the treatment, that is, to one version of the independent variable.
Control Group
in an experiment, the group that is not exposed to the treatment; contrasts with the experimental 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
Confounding Variable
a factor other than the independent variable that might produce an effect in an experiment.
Dependent Variables
The outcome factor -- the variable that may change in response to manipulations of the independent variable
The most frequently occurring score(s) in a distribution
The arithmetic average of a distribution, obtaining by adding the scores and then dividing by the number of scores
The middle score in a distribution--half the scores are above it and half are below it
Standard Deviations
A computed measure of how much scores vary around the mean score
Normal Curve/distribution
a symmetrical, bell-shaped curve that describes the distribution of many types of data; most scores fall near the mean (68% fall within one standard deviation of it) and fewer near the extremes
Statistical Significance
A statistical statement of how likely it is that an obtained result occurred by chance
the enduring behaviors, ideas, attitudes, and traditions shared by a large group of people and transmitted from one generation to the next
Informed Consent
an ethical principle requiring that research participants be told enough to enable them to choose whether they wish to participate
the post-experimental explanation of a study, including its purpose and any deceptions, to its participants
items selected at random from a population and used to test hypotheses about the population
the difference between the highest and lowest scores in a distribution
Inferential Statistics
numerical methods used to determine whether research data support a hypothesis or whether results were due to chance
experimental results caused by expectations alone; any effect on behavior caused by the administration of an inert substance or condition, which the recipient assumes is an active agent.
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
sensory neurons
neurons that carry incoming information from the sensory receptors to the brain and spinal cord
motor neurons
neurons that carry outgoing information from the brain and spinal cord to the muscles and glands
neurons within the brain and spinal cord that communicate internally and intervene between the sensory inputs and motor outputs
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
myelin sheath
a layer of fatty tissue segmentally encasing the fibers of many neurons; enables vastly greater transmission speed of neural impulses as the impulse hops from one node to the next.
action potential
a brief electrical charge that travels down its 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 receiving neuron. the tiny gap at this junction is called the synaptic gap or synaptic cleft
chemical messengers that cross 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
a neurotransmitter's reabsorption by the sending neuron
natural, opiatelike neurotransmitters linked to pain control and to pleasure (morphine-like)
nervous system
the body's speedy, electrochemical communication network, consisting of all the nerve cells of the peripheral and central nervous systems
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
bundled axons that form neural cables by connecting the central
somatic nervous system
the division of the peripheral nervous system that controls the body's skeletal muscles, also called the skeletal nervous system. Controls voluntary movements of skeletal muscle.
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 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, conserving its energy.
endocrine system
the body's "slow" chemical communication system; a set of glands that secrete hormones into the bloodstream.
chemical messengers that are manufactured by the endocrine glands, travel through the bloodstream, and affect other tissues.
adrenal glands
a pair of endocrine glands that sit just above the kidneys and secrete hormones that help arouse the body in times of stress
pituitary gland
the endocrine system's most influential gland. Under the influence of the hypothalamus, the pituitary regulates growth and controls other endocrine glands.
tissue destruction; a naturally or experimentally caused destruction of brain tissue
EEG scan (electroencephalogram)
an amplified recording of the waves of electrical activity that sweep across the brain's surface. These waves are measured by electrodes placed on the scalp. Functional imaging
CT scan (computed tomography)
a series of x-ray photographs taken from different angles and combined by computer into a composite representation of a slice through the body. AKA cat scan/X-Ray. Structural imaging
PET scan (positron emission tomography)
a visual display of brain activity that detects where a radioactive form of glucose goes while the brain performs a given task. Functional Imaging
MRI scan (magnetic resonance imaging)
a technique that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce computer generated images of soft tissue. Stuctural Imaging
fMRI scan (functional MRI)
a technique for revealing bloodflow and, therefore, brain activity by comparing sucessive MRI scans. Sturcutal and functioninal imaging
the oldest part and central core of the brain, beginning where the spinal cord swells as it enters the skull; responsible for automatic survival functions
the base of the brainstem; controls heartbeat and breathing, swallowing, etc. Part of the brainstem.
reticular formation
a nerve network in the brainstem that plays an importand role in controlling arousal and wakefullness. Part of the brainstem.
relays messages between lower brain centers and cerebral cortex.
the "little brain" at the rear of the brainstem; functions include processing sensory input, procedural memories and coordinating movement output and balance.
limbic system
doughnut-shaped neural system that plays a role in regulating important functions such as memory, fear, aggression, hunger and thirst.
two lima bean-sized neural clusters in the limbic system; linked to emotions such as fear and anger.
a neural structure in the limbic system lying below the thalamus; it directs several maintenance activities (eating, drinking, body temperature), helps govern the endocrine system via the pituitary gland; linked to emotion and reward and sexual function.
a neural center that is located in the limbic system; helps process newmemories for storage.
cerebral cortex
ultimate control and information-processing center. the intricate fabric of interconnected neural cells covering the cerebral hemispheres.
Glial cells
cells in the nervous system that support, nourish, and protect neurons
frontal lobes
portion of the cerebral cortex lying just behind the forehead; involved in speaking,muscle movements (motor cortex) and in making plans and judgements.
parietal lobes
portion of the cerebral cortex lying at the top of the head and toward the rear. Includes the somatosensory cortex and general association areas used for processing information.
occipital lobes
portion of the cerebral cortex lying at the back of the head; primary visual processing areas of the brain.
temporal lobes
portion of the cerebral cortex lying roughly above the ears. Includes auditory processing areas
motor cortex
an area at the rear of the frontal lobes that controls voluntary movements
sensory cortex
area at the front of the parietal lobes that registers and processes body touch and movement sensations
association areas
areas of the cerebral cortex that are not involved in primary motor or sensory functions; rather, they are involved in higher mental functions such as learning, remembering, thinking, and speaking
impairment of language, usually caused by left hemisphere damage either to Broca's area (impairing speaking) or to Wernicke's area (impairing understanding)
Broca's area
controls language expression - an area, usually in the left frontal lobe, that directs the muscle movements involved in speech
Wenicke's area
controls language reception - a brain area involved in language comprehension and expression; usually in the left temporal lobe.
the brain's ability to change, especially during childhood, by reorganizing after damage or by building new pathways based on experience
the formation of new neurons
split brain
a condition resulting from surgery that isolates the brain's two hemispheres by cutting the fibers (mainly of the corpus callosum connecting them)
our awareness of ourselves and our environment
cognitive neuroscience
the interdisciplinary study of the brain activity linked with cognition (including perception, thinking, memory and language)
dual processing
the principle that information is often simultaneously processed on separate conscious and unconscious tracks.
Behavior Genetics
: the study of the relative power and limits of genetic and environmental influences on behavior.
every no genetic influence, from prenatal nutrition to the people and things around us.
threadlike structures made of DNA molecules that contain the genes.
): a complex molecule containing genetic information that makes up the chromosomes.
: the biochemical units of heredity that make up chromosomes, a segment of DNA capable of synthesizing a protein
the complete instructions for making an organism, consisting of all the genetic material in its chromosomes. (blue print)
Identical twins
: twins who developed from single zygote that splits into two.
Fraternal Twins
: twins who develop from separate eggs. Genetically no closer than brothers and sisters but share a fetal environment
the proportion of phenotypic variation (difference) in a population attributable to genetic factors
the effect of one factor (such as environment) depends on another factor (such as heredity)
Molecular Genetics
the subfield of biology that studies the molecular structure and function of genes.
Evolutionary Psychology
a discussion of how genes and the environment interact and how genes change to fit the environment; how traits that have led to survival are more likely to be passed down
Natural Selection
the process by which individuals that are better adapted to their environment survive and reproduce more successfully than less well adapted individuals do
Certain biological and behavioral variations increase organisms' reproductive and survival chances in their particular environment
An organism's physical appearance, or visible traits
The combination of genes for one or more specific traits