Previous AP Psychology FRQ Terms - 2010-2019

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operational definition

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157 Terms

1

operational definition

a carefully worded statement of the exact procedures (operations) used in a research study. (necessary for replication)

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experiment

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).

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3

correlation

a measure of the extent to which two variables change together, and thus of how well either variable predicts the other.

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4

dependent variable

the outcome factor; the variable that may change in response to manipulations (variable that is manipulated)

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5

statistical significance

a statistical statement of how likely it is that an obtained result occurred by chance

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6

random assignment

assigning participants to experimental and control groups by chance, thus minimizing preexisting differences between the different groups.

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7

double-blind experiment

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.

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8

independent variable

the experimental factor that is manipulated; the variable whose effect is being studied.

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9

informed consent

an ethical principle that research participants be told enough to enable them to choose whether they wish to participate.

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10

debriefing

the postexperimental explanation of a study, including its purpose and any deceptions, to its participants.

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11

hypothesis

a testable prediction, often implied by a theory.

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12

illusory correlation

the perception of a relationship where none exists.

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13

mean

the arithmetic average of a distribution, obtained by adding the scores and then dividing by the number of scores.

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14

median

the middle score in a distribution; half the scores are above it and half are below it.

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15

descriptive statistics

numerical data used to measure and describe characteristics of groups. Includes measures of central tendency and measures of variation.

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16

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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17

random selection

A way of ensuring that a sample of people is representative of a population by giving everyone in the population an equal chance of being selected for the sample

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18

survey

a technique for ascertaining the self-reported attitudes or behaviors of a particular group, usually by questioning a representative, random sample of the group.

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19

case study

a descriptive technique in which one individual or group is studied in depth in the hope of revealing universal principles.

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20

naturalistic observation

observing and recording behavior in naturally occurring situations without trying to manipulate and control the situation.

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21

prefrontal cortex

part of frontal lobe responsible for thinking, planning, and language (Broca's area is in it's left lobe)

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22

sympathetic nervous system

the division of the autonomic nervous system that arouses the body, mobilizing its energy in stressful situations.

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23

adrenal glands

a pair of endocrine glands that sit just above the kidneys and secrete hormones (epinephrine and norepinephrine) that help arouse the body in times of stress.

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24

dopamine

A neurotransmitter associated with movement, attention and learning and the brain's pleasure and reward system.

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25

somatosensory cortex (sensory cortex)

area at the front of the parietal lobes that registers and processes body touch and movement sensations.

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26

motor neuron

a neuron that sends an impulse to a muscle or gland, causing the muscle or gland to react. (part of the peripheral nervous system)

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27

serotonin

A neurotransmitter that affects hunger,sleep, arousal, and mood.

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28

motor cortex

an area at the rear of the frontal lobes that controls voluntary movements.

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29

Broca's area

Controls language expression - an area of the frontal lobe, usually in the left hemisphere, that directs the muscle movements involved in speech.

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30

myelin sheath

a fatty tissue layer segmentally encasing the axons of some neurons; enables vastly greater transmission speed as neural impulses hop from one node to the next.

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31

occipital lobe

portion of the cerebral cortex lying at the back of the head; includes areas that receive information from the visual fields.

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32

evolutional psychology

the study of the evolution of behavior and the mind, using principles of natural selection

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33

cerebellum

the "little brain" at the rear of the brainstem; functions include processing sensory input, coordinating movement output and balance, and enabling nonverbal learning and memory.

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34

Acetylcholine (ACh)

A neurotransmitter that enables learning and memory and also triggers muscle contraction

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35

long-term potentiation

an increase in a synapse's firing potential after brief, rapid stimulation. Believed to be a neural basis for learning and memory.

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36

circadian rhythm

the biological clock; regular bodily rhythms that occur on a 24-hour cycle

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37

REM sleep

Rapid eye movement sleep, a recurring sleep stage during which vivid dreams commonly occur. Also known as paradoxical sleep, because the muscles are relaxed (except for minor twitches) but other body systems are active.

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38

retinal disparity

a binocular cue for perceiving depth by comparing images from the retinas in the two eyes, the brain computes distance—the greater the disparity (difference) between the two images, the closer the object.

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39

difference threshold

the minimum difference between two stimuli required for detection 50 percent of the time.

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40

selective attention

the focusing of conscious awareness on a particular stimulus.

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41

sensory adaptation

diminished sensitivity as a consequence of constant stimulation.

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42

absolute threshold

the minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus 50 percent of the time.

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43

basilar membrane

A structure that runs the length of the cochlea in the inner ear and holds the auditory receptors, called hair cells.

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44

inattentional blindness

failing to see visible objects when our attention is directed elsewhere.

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45

rods

retinal receptors that detect black, white, and gray; necessary for peripheral and twilight vision, when cones don't respond.

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46

proximity

nearness, closeness, the state of being in the vicinity of something

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47

fovea

the central focal point in the retina, around which the eye's cones cluster.

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48

feature detectors

nerve cells in the brain that respond to specific features of the stimulus, such as shape, angle, or movement.

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49

closure

the tendency to complete figures that are incomplete (a Gestalt principal)

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50

cocktail party effect

ability to attend to only one voice among many

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51

figure-ground

the organization of the visual field into objects (the figures) that stand out from their surroundings (the ground).

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52

modeling

the process of observing and imitating a specific behavior.

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53

schedules of reinforcement

different patterns of frequency and timing of reinforcement following desired behavior (FI, VI, FR, VR)

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54

positive reinforcement

A reinforcer that, when presented after a response, strengthens the response.

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55

negative reinforcement

Any stimulus that, when removed after a response, strengthens the response.

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56

observational learning

learning by observing others. (Also called social learning.) Bandura.

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57

conditioned response

in classical conditioning, a learned response to a previously neutral (but now conditioned) stimulus (CS).

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58

Ivan Pavlov

discovered classical conditioning; trained dogs to salivate at the ringing of a bell

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59

secondary reinforcer

any reinforcer that becomes reinforcing after being paired with a primary reinforcer, such as praise, tokens, or gold stars

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60

operant conditioning

a type of learning in which behavior is strengthened if followed by a reinforcer or diminished if followed by a punisher.

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61

reinforcement

any event that strengthens the behavior it follows

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62

availability heuristic

making a decision based on the answer that most easily comes to mind

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63

distributed practice

spacing the study of material to be remembered by including breaks between study periods

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64

prospective memory

remembering to do things in the future

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65

retroactive interference

the disruptive effect of new learning on the recall of old information.

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66

proactive interference

the disruptive effect of prior learning on the recall of new information.

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67

confirmation bias

a tendency to search for information that supports our preconceptions and to ignore or distort contradictory evidence.

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68

procedural memory

the gradual acquisition of skills as a result of practice, or "knowing how" to do things

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69

state-dependent memory

The theory that information learned in a particular state of mind (e.g., depressed, happy, somber) is more easily recalled when in that same state of mind.

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70

encoding failure

the inability to recall specific information because of insufficient encoding of the information for storage in long-term memory

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71

algorithm

a methodical, logical rule or procedure that guarantees solving a particular problem.

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72

source amnesia

attributing to the wrong source an event we have experienced, heard about, read about, or imagined.

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73

source misattribution

memory distortion that occurs when people misremember the time, place, person, or circumstances involved with a memory

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74

phoneme

in a language, the smallest distinctive sound unit.

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75

chunking

organizing items into familiar, manageable units; often occurs automatically.

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76

language acquisition

the process by which the infants learn to understand and speak their native language

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77

serial position effect

our tendency to recall best the last (a recency effect) and first items (a primacy effect) in a list.

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78

episodic memory

the collection of past personal experiences that occurred at a particular time and place

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79

representativeness heuristic

judging the likelihood of things in terms of how well they seem to represent, or match, particular prototypes; may lead us to ignore other relevant information.

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80

functional fixedness

the tendency to think of things only in terms of their usual functions; an impediment to problem solving

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81

explicit memory

memory of facts and experiences that one can consciously know and "declare"

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82

cognitive map

a mental representation of the layout of one's environment

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83

imagery

Description that appeals to the senses (sight, sound, smell, touch, taste)

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84

context dependent memory

The theory that information learned in a particular situation or place is better remembered when in that same situation or place.

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85

convergent thinking

narrows the available problem solutions to determine the single best solution.

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86

implicit memory

retention independent of conscious recollection. (Also called nondeclarative memory.)

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87

heuristic

a simple thinking strategy that often allows us to make judgments and solve problems efficiently; usually speedier but also more error-prone than algorithms.

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88

mnemonic

memory aids, especially those techniques that use vivid imagery and organizational devices.

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89

belief perserverancne

clinging to one's initial conceptions after the basis on which they were formed has been discredited.

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90

divergent thinking

expands the number of possible problem solutions (creative thinking that diverges in different directions).

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91

predictive validity

the extent to which a score on a scale or test predicts scores on some criterion measure

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92

practical intelligence

the ability to use information to get along in life and become successful

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93

mental set

a tendency to approach a problem in one particular way, often a way that has been successful in the past.

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94

postconventional morality

Affirms people's agreed-upon rights or follows personally perceived ethical principles.

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95

cross-sectional study

a study in which people of different ages are compared with one another.

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96

longitudinal study

research in which the same people are restudied and retested over a long period.

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97

habituation

decreasing responsiveness with repeated stimulation. As infants gain familiarity with repeated exposure to a visual stimulus, their interest wanes and they look away sooner.

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98

social learning theory

the theory that we learn social behavior by observing and imitating and by being rewarded or punished.

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99

authoritarian parent

a parenting style characterized by high levels of control and low levels of affection

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100

identity v. role confusion

(12-18 years) adolescents must make the transition to adulthood, establish an identity, develop a sense of self, and consider a future occupational identity; otherwise, role confusion can result

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