AP Psychology All Terms

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452 Terms

1

psychology

the science of behavior and mental processes

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2

nature-nurture issue

the long-standing controversy over the relative contributions that genes and experience make to the development of psychological traits and behaviors

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3

natural selection

the principle that, among the range of inherited trait variations, those contributing to reproduction and survival will most likely be passed on to succeeding generations

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neuroscience

the perspective of psychological science that deals with how the body and brain create emotions, memories, and sensory experiences

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evolutionary

the perspective of psychological science that deals with how nature selects traits that promote the perpetuation of one's genes

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behavior genetics

the perspective of psychological science that deals with how much our genes, and our environment, influence our individual differences

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psychodynamic

the perspective of psychological science that deals with how behavior springs from unconscious drives and conflicts

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behavioral

the perspective of psychological science that deals with how we learn observable responses

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cognitive

the perspective of psychological science that deals with how we encode, process, store, and retrieve information

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10

social-cultural

the perspective of psychological science that deals with how behavior and thinking vary across situations and cultures

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11

basic research

pure science that aims to increase the scientific knowledge base

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12

applied research

scientific study that aims to solve practical problems

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13

clinical psychology

a branch of psychology that studies, assesses, and treats people with psychological disorders

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14

psychiatry

a branch of medicine dealing with psychological disorders, practiced by physicians who sometimes provide medical (for example, drug) treatments as well as psychological therapy

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15

hindsight bias (I-knew-it-all-along phenomenon)

the tendency to believe, after learning an outcome, that one would have foreseen it

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16

critical thinking

thinking that does not blindly accept arguments and conclusions. Rather, it examines assumptions, discerns hidden values, evaluates evidence, and assesses conclusions

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17

theory

an explanation using an integrated set of principles that organizes and predicts observations

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hypothesis

a testable prediction, often implied by a theory

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19

operational definition

a statement of the procedures (operations) used to define research variables. For example, intelligence may be operationally defined as what an intelligence test measures

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20

replication

repeating the essence of a research study, usually with different participants in different situations, to see whether the basic finding generalizes to other participants and circumstances

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21

case study

an observation technique in which one person is studied in depth in the hope of revealing universal principles

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22

survey

a technique for ascertaining the self-reported attitudes or behaviors of people, usually by questioning a representative, random sample of them

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23

false consensus effect

the tendency to overestimate the extent to which others share our beliefs and behaviors

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population

all the cases in a group, from which samples may be drawn for a study

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random sample

a sample that fairly represents a population because each member has an equal chance of inclusion

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26

naturalistic observation

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

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27

correlation coefficient

a statistical measure of the extent to which two factors vary together, and thus of how well either factor predicts the other

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28

scatterplot

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 correlation (little scatter indicates high correlation).

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29

illusory correlation

the perception of a relationship where none exists

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30

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). By random assignment of participants the experimenter controls other relevant factors)

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31

placebo

an inert substance or condition that may be administered instead of a presumed active agent, such as a drug, to see if it triggers the effects believed to characterize the active agent

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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.

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placebo effect

any effect on behavior caused by a placebo

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experimental condition

the condition of an experiment that exposes participants to the treatment, that is, to one version of the independent variable

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35

control condition

the condition of an experiment that contrasts with the experimental condition and serves as a comparison for evaluation the effect of the treatment

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random assignment

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

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37

independent variable

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

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dependent variable

the experimental factor--in psychology, the behavior or mental process--that is being measured; the variable that may change in response to the manipulations of the independent variable

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39

mode

the most frequently occurring score in a distribution

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40

mean

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

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41

median

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

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42

range

the difference between the highest and lowest scores in a distribution

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43

standard deviation

a computed measure of how much scores vary around the mean score

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44

statistical significance

a statistical criterion for rejecting the assumption of no differences in a particular study

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45

culture

the enduring behaviors, ideas, attitudes, and traditions shared by a large group of people and transmitted from one generation to the next

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46

Biological psychology

concerned with links between biology and behavior

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47

Neuron

building blocks of the nervous system

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48

Dendrite

Branches designed to receive/send/and transport information

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Axon

transports messages to different muscles/glands in the body

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50

Action potential

a neural impulse; a brief electrical charge that travels down an axon. The action potential is generated by the movement of positively charged atoms in and out of channels in the axon's membrane.

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51

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

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52

Threshold

the level of stimulation required to trigger a neural impulse

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53

Synapse

the junction between the axon tip of the sending neuron and the dendrite or cell body of the receiving neuron. The tiny gap at this junction is called the synaptic gap or cleft

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54

Neurotransmitters

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 it will generate a neural impulse

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55

Acetylcholine

a neurotransmitter that, among its functions, triggers muscle contraction

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56

Endorphins

"morphine within" - natural, opiatelike neurotransmitters linked to pain control and to pleasure.

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57

Nervous system

the body's speedy, electrochemical communication system, consisting of all the nerve cells of the peripheral and central nervous systems.

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58

Central nervous system (CNS)

the brain and spinal cord

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59

Peripheral nervous system (PNS)

The sensory and motor neurons that connect the central nervous system (CNS) to the rest of the body

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60

Nerves

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

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61

Sensory neurons

neurons that carry incoming information from the sense receptors to the central nervous system

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62

Interneurons

central nervous system neurons that intervene between the sensory inputs and motor outputs

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63

Motor neurons

The neurons that carry outgoing information from the central nervous system to the muscles and glands

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64

Somatic nervous system

the division of the peripheral nervous sytem that controls the body's skeletal muscles.

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65

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.

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66

Sympathetic nervous system

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

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Parasympathetic nervous system

The division of the autonomic nervous system that calms the body, conserving its energy

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68

Reflex

a simple, automatic, inborn response to a sensory stimulus, such as the knee-jerk response

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69

Neural networks

interconnected neural cells. With experience, networks can learn, as feedback strengthens or inhibits connections that produce certain results. Computer stimulations of neural networks show analogous learning.

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70

Phrenology

an ill-fated theory that claimed bumps on the skull could reveal our mental abilities and our character traits.

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71

lesion

tissue destruction. A brain lesion is a naturally or experimentally caused destruction of brain tissue

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72

EEG (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

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73

CT (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

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74

PET (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

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75

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)

a technique that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce computer-generated images that distinguish among different types of soft tissue; allows us to see structures within the brain

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76

brainstem

the oldest part and central core of the brain, beginning where the spinal cord swells as it enters the skull; the brainstem is responsible for automatic survival functions

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medulla

the base of the brainstem; controls heartbeat and breathing

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78

reticular formation

a nerve network in the brainstem that plays an important role in controlling arousal

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79

thalamus

the brain's sensory switchboard, located on top of the brainstem; it directs messages to the sensory receiving areas in the cortex and transmits replies to the cerebellum and medulla

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cerebellum

the "little brain" attached to the rear of the brainstem; it helps coordinate voluntary movement and balance

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81

limbic system

a doughnut-shaped system of neural structures at the border of the brainstem and cerebral hemispheres; associated with emotions such as fear and aggression and drives such as those for food and sex. Includes the hippocampus, amygdala, and hypothalamus

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82

amygdala

two almond-shaped neural clusters that are components of the limbic system and are linked to emotion

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83

hypothalamus

a neural structure lying below the thalamus; it directs several maintenance activities (eating, drinking, body temperature), helps govern the endocrine system via the pituitary gland, and is linked to emotion

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84

cerebral cortex

the intricate fabric of interconnected neural cells that covers the cerebral hemispheres; the body's ultimate control and information-processing center

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85

glial cells

cells in the nervous system that are not neurons but that support, nourish, and protect neurons

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86

frontal lobes

the portion of the cerebral cortex lying just behind the forehead; involved in speaking and muscle movements and in making plans and judgement

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87

parietal lobes

the portion of the cerebral cortex lying at the top of the head and toward the rear; includes the sensory cortex

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88

occipital lobes

the portion of the cerebral cortex lying at the back of the head; includes the visual areas, which receive visual information from the opposite visual field

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temporal lobes

the portion of the cerebral cortex lying roughly above the ears, includes the auditory areas, each of which receives auditory information primarily from the opposite ear

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90

motor cortex

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

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91

sensory cortex

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

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92

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

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93

aphasia

impairment of language, usually caused by left hemisphere damage to either Broca's area (impairing speaking) or to Wernicke's area (impairing understanding)

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Broca's Area

an area of the frontal lobe, usually in the left hemisphere, that directs the muscle movements involved in speech

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95

Wernicke's area

a brain area involved in language comprehension and expression; usually in the left temporal lobe

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96

plasticity

the brain's capacity for modification, as evident in the brain reorganization following damage (especially in children) and in experiments on the effects of experience on brain development

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97

corpus callosum

the large band of neural fibers connecting the two brain hemispheres and carrying messages between them

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98

split brain

a condition in which the two hemispheres of the brain at isolated by cutting the connecting fibers (mainly those of the corpus callosum) between them

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99

endocrine system

the body's "slow" chemical communication system; a set of glands that secrete hormones into the bloodstream

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hormones

chemical messengers, mostly those manufactured by the endocrine glands, that are produced in one tissue and affect another

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