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121 Terms

1

psychology

scientific study of behavior and mental processes

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objective introspection

the process of examining and measuring one's own thoughts and mental activities

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structuralism

early perspective in psychology associated with Wilhelm Wundt and Edward Titchener, in which the focus of study is the structure or basic elements of the mind

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functionalism

early perspective in psychology associated with William James, in which the focus of study is how the mind allows people to adapt, live, work, and play.

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gestalt psychology

early perspective in psychology focusing on perception and sensation, particularly the perception of patterns and whole figures

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psychoanalysis

an insight therapy based on the theory of Freud, emphasizing the revealing of unconscious conflicts; Freud's term for both the theory of personality and the therapy based on it

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behaviorism

the science of behavior that focuses on observable behavior only

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psychodynamic perspective

modern version of psychoanalysis that is more focused on the development of a sense of self and the discovery of motivations behind a person's behavior other than sexual motivations

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cognitive perspective

modern perspective in psychology that focuses on memory, intelligence, perception, problem solving, and learning

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cognitive neuroscience

study of the physical changes in the brain and nervous system during thinking

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11

sociocultural perspective

perspective that focuses on the relationship between social behavior and culture, in which thinking and behavior is seen as the product of learning and shaping within the context of one's family, social group, and culture

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biopsychological perspective

perspective that attributes human and animal behavior to biological events occurring in the body, such as genetic influences, hormones, and the activity of the nervous system

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evolutionary perspective

perspective that focuses on the biological bases of universal mental characteristics that all humans share

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14

psychologist

a professional with an academic degree and specialized training in one or more areas of psychology

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psychiatrist

a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders

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psychiatric social worker

a social worker with some training in therapy methods who focuses on the environmental conditions that can have an impact on mental disorders, such as poverty, overcrowding, stress, and drug abuse

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basic research

research focused on adding information to the scientific knowledge base

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applied research

research focused on finding practical solutions to real-world problems

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scientific approach

system of gathering data so that bias and error in measurement are reduced

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hypothesis

tentative explanation of a phenomenon based on observations

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replicate

in research, repeating a study or experiment to see if the same results will be obtained in an effort to demonstrate reliability of results

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22

observer effect

tendency of people or animals to behave differently from normal when they know they are being observed

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participant observation

a naturalistic observation in which the observer becomes a participant in the group being observed

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observer bias

tendency of observers to see what they expect to see

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case study

study of one individual in great detail

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representative sample

randomly selected sample of subjects from a larger population of subjects

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population

the entire group of people or animals in which the researcher is interested

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correlation

a measure of the relationship between two variables

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correlation coefficient

a number that represents the strength and direction of a relationship existing between two variables; number derived from the formula for measuring a correlation

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experiment

a deliberate manipulation of a variable to see if corresponding changes in behavior result, allowing the determination of cause-and-effect relationships

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operationalization

specific description of a variable of interest that allows it to be measured

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independent variable

variable in an experiment that is manipulated by the experimenter

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dependent variable

variable in an experiment that represents the measurable response or behavior of the subjects in the experiment

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experimental group

subjects in an experiment who are subjected to the independent variable

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control group

subjects in an experiment who are not subjected to the independent variable and who may receive a placebo treatment

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random assignment

process of assigning subjects to the experimental or control groups randomly, so that each subject has an equal chance of being in either group

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placebo effect

the phenomenon in which the expectations of the participants in a study can influence their behavior

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experimenter effect

tendency of the experimenter's expectations for a study to unintentionally influence the results of the study

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single-blind study

study in which the subjects do not know if they are in the experimental or the control group

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double-blind study

study in which neither the experimenter nor the subjects know if the subjects are in the experimental or the control group

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nervous system

an extensive network of specialized cells that carries information to and from all parts of the body

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neuroscience

a branch of the life sciences that deals with the structure and function of neurons, nerves, and nervous tissue

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biological psychology or behavioral neuroscience

branch of neuroscience that focuses on the biological bases of psychological processes, behavior, and learning

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neuron

the basic cell that makes up the nervous system and that receives and sends messages within that system

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dendrites

branchlike structures of a neuron that receive messages from other neurons

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soma

the cell body of the neuron responsible for maintaining the life of the cell

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axon

tubelike structure of neuron that carries the neural message from the cell body to the axon terminals, for communication with other cells

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axon terminals

enlarged ends of axonal branches of the neuron, specialized for communication between cells

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glial cells

cells that provide support for the neuron to grow on and around, deliver nutrients to neurons, produce myelin to coat axons, clean up waste products and dead neurons, influence information processing, and, during prenatal development, influence the generation of new neurons

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myelin

fatty substances produced by certain glial cells that coat the axons of neurons to inflate, protect, and speed up the neural impulse

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nerves

bundles of axons coated in myelin that travel together through the body

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diffusion

process of molecules moving from areas of high concentration to areas of low concentration

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resting potential

the state of the neuron when not firing a neural impulse

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action potential

the release of the neural impulse, consisting of a reversal of the electrical charge within the axon

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all-or-none

referring to the fact that a neuron either fires completely or does not fire at all

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synaptic vesicles

saclike structures found inside the synaptic knob containing chemicals

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neurotransmitters

chemical found in the synaptic vesicles that, when released, has an effect on the next cell

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synapse (synaptic grip)

microscopic fluid-filled space between the axon terminal of one cell and the dendrites or soma of the next cell

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receptor sites

three-dimensional proteins on the surface of the dendrites or certain cells of the muscles and glands, which are shaped to fit only certain neurotransmitters

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excitatory synapse

synapse at which a neurotransmitter causes the receiving cell to fire

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inhibitory synapse

synapse at which a neurotransmitter causes the receiving cell to stop firing

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antagonists

chemical substances that block or reduce a cell's response to the action of other chemicals or neurotransmitters

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agonists

chemical substances that mimic or enhance the effects of a neurotransmitter on the receptor sites of the next cell, increasing or decreasing the activity of that cell

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reuptake

process by which neurotransmitters are taken back into the synaptic vesicles

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enzymatic degradation

process by which the structure of a neurotransmitter is altered so it can no longer act on a receptor

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66

central nervous system (CNS)

part of the nervous system consisting of the brain and spinal cord

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spinal cord

a long bundle of neurons that carries messages between the body and the brain and is responsible for very fast, lifesaving reflexes

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afferent (sensory) neuron

a neuron that carries information from the senses to the central nervous system

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efferent (motor) neuron

a neuron that carries messages from the central nervous system to the muscles of the body

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interneuron

a neuron found in the center of the spinal cord that receives information from the afferent neurons and sends commands to the muscles through the efferent neurons. Interneurons also make up the bulk of the neurons in the brain

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reflex

an involuntary response, one that is not under personal control or choice

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neuroplasticity

the ability within the brain to constantly change both the structure and function of many cells in response to experience or trauma

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neurogenesis

the formation of new neurons; occurs primarily during prenatal development but may also occur at lesser levels in some brain areas during adulthood

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stem cells

special cells found in all the tissues of the body that are capable of becoming other cell types when those cells need to be replaced due to damage or wear and tear

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epigenetics

the interaction between genes and environmental factors that influence gene activity; environmental factors include diet, life experiences, and physical surroundings

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peripheral nervous system (PNS)

all nerves and neurons that are not contained in the brain and spinal cord but that run through the body itself

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somatic nervous system

division of the PNS consisting of nerves that carry information from the senses to the CNS and from the CNS to the voluntary muscles of the body

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autonomic nervous system (ANS)

division of the PNS consisting of nerves that control all of the involuntary muscles, organs, and glands

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sensory pathway

nerves coming from the sensory organs to the CNS consisting of afferent neurons

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motor pathway

nerves coming from the CNS to the voluntary muscles, consisting of efferent neurons

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sympathetic division

part of the ANS that is responsible for reacting to stressful events and bodily arousal; "Fight or Flight system"

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parasympathetic division

part of the ANS that restores the body to normal functioning after arousal and is responsible for the day-to-day functioning of the organs and glands; "eat-drink-and-rest system"

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83

pituitary gland

gland located in the brain that secretes human growth hormone and influences all other hormone-secreting glands (also known as the master gland)

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84

oxytocin

hormone released by the posterior pituitary gland that is involved in reproductive and parental behaviors

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85

pineal gland

endocrine gland located near the base of the cerebrum; secretes melatonin

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86

thyroid gland

endocrine gland found in the neck; regulates metabolism

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pancreas

endocrine gland; controls the levels of sugar in the blood

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gonads

sex glands; secrete hormones that regulate sexual development and behavior as well as reproduction

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ovaries

the female gonads or sex glands

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testes

the male gonads or sex glands

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adrenal glands

endocrine glands located on top of each kidney that secrete over 30 different hormones to deal with stress, regulate salt intake, and provide a secondary source of sex hormones affecting the sexual changes that occur during adolescence

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92

computed tomography (CT) scan

brain-imaging method using computer-controlled X-rays of the brain

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magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

brain-imaging method using radio waves and magnetic fields of the body to produce detailed images of the brain

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electroencephalogram (EEG)

a recording of the electrical activity of large groups of cortical neurons just below the skull, most often using scalp electrodes

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positron emission tomography (PET)

brain-imaging method in which a radioactive sugar is injected into the subject and a computer compiles a color-coded image of the activity of the brain

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functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)

MRI-based brain-imaging method that allows for functional examination of brain areas through changes in brain oxygenation

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97

medulla

the first large swelling at the top of the spinal cord, forming the lowest part of the brain, which is responsible for life-sustaining functions such as breathing, swallowing, and heart rate

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pons

the larger swelling above the medulla that relays information from the cortex to the cerebellum, and that plays a part in sleep, dreaming, left-right body coordination, and arousal

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reticular formation (RF)

an area of neurons running through the middle of the medulla and the pons and slightly beyond that is responsible for general attention, alertness, and arousal

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cerebellum

part of the lower brain located behind the pons that controls and coordinates involuntarily, rapid, fine motor movement, and may have some cognitive functions

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