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Glossary // G-1
glossary
A
abnormal behavior Behavior that is deviant,
maladaptive, or personally distressful over a relatively
long period of time.
absolute threshold The minimum amount of stimulus
energy that a person can detect.
accommodation An individual’s adjustment of his or her
schemas to new information.
acquired immune de ciency syndrome (AIDS) A
sexually transmitted infection, caused by the human
immunode ciency virus (HIV), that destroys the body’s
immune system.
acquisition The initial learning of the connection between
the unconditioned stimulus and the con ditioned stimulus
when these two stimuli are paired.
action potential The brief wave of positive electrical
charge that sweeps down the axon.
activation-synthesis theory T h e o r y t h a t d r e a m i n g o c c u r s
when the cerebral cortex synthesizes neural signals
generated from activity in the lower part of the brain and
that dreams result from the brain’s attempts to nd logic
in random brain activity that occurs during sleep.
addiction Either a physical or a psychological
dependence, or both, on a drug.
adrenal glands Glands at the top of each kidney that are
responsible for regulating moods, energy level, and the
ability to cope with stress.
aerobic exercise Sustained activity—jogging,
swimming, or cycling, for example—that stimulates
heart and lung functioning.
affectionate love Love that occurs when an individual
has a deep, caring affection for another person and
desires to have that person near; also called
companionate love.
afferent nerves Also called sensory nerves; nerves that
carry information about the external environment to the
brain and spinal cord via sensory receptors.
aggression Social behavior whose objective is to harm
someone, either physically or verbally.
agonist A drug that mimics or increases a
neurotransmitter’s effects.
alcoholism Disorder that involves long-term, repeated,
uncontrolled, compulsive, and excessive use of alcoholic
beverages and that impairs the drinker’s health and social
relationships.
algorithms Strategies—including formulas, instructions,
and the testing of all possible solutions—that guarantee a
solution to a problem.
all-or-nothing principle The principle that once the
electrical impulse reaches a certain level of intensity (its
threshold) , it res and moves all the way down the axon
without losing any intensity.
altruism Unsel sh interest in helping another person.
amnesia The loss of memory.
amygdala An almond-shaped structure within the base
of the temporal lobe that is involved in the discrimination
of objects that are necessary for the organism’s survival,
such as appropriate food, mates, and social rivals.
androgens The class of sex hormones that predominate
in males, produced by the testes in males and by the
adrenal glands in both males and females.
anorexia nervosa Eating disorder that involves the
relentless pursuit of thinness through starvation.
antagonist A drug that blocks a neurotransmitter’s effects.
anterograde amnesia A memory disorder that affects
the retention of new information and events.
antianxiety drugs Commonly known as tran quilizers,
drugs that reduce anxiety by making individuals calmer
and less excitable.
antidepressant drugs Drugs that regulate mood.
antipsychotic drugs Powerful drugs that diminish
agitated behavior, reduce tension, decrease
hallucinations, improve social behavior, and produce
better sleep patterns in individuals with a severe
psychological disorder, especially schizophrenia.
antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) Psycho logical
disorder characterized by guiltlessness, law-breaking,
exploitation of others, irresponsibility, and deceit.
anxiety disorders Disabling (uncontrollable and
disruptive) psychological disorders that feature motor
tension, hyperactivity, and apprehensive expectations
andthoughts.
anxious attachment style An attachment style that
describes adults who demand closeness, are less trusting,
and are more emotional, jealous, and possessive.
apparent movement The perception that a stationary
object is moving.
applied behavior analysis (behavior modi cation) The
use of operant conditioning principles to change human
behavior.
archetypes Jung’s term for emotionally laden ideas and
images in the collective unconscious that have rich and
symbolic meaning for all people.
arti cial intelligence (AI) A scienti c eld that focuses
on creating machines capable of performing activities
that require intelligence when they are done by people.
assimilation An individual’s incorporation of new
information into existing knowledge.
association cortex Sometimes called association areas ,
the region of the cerebral cortex that is the site of the
highest intellectual functions, such as thinking and
problem solving.
associative learning Learning that occurs when an
organism makes a connection, or an association, between
two events.
Atkinson- Shiffrin theory Theory stating that memory
storage involves three separate systems: sensory memory,
short-term memory, and long-term memory.
attention de cit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) One of
the most common psychological disorders of childhood,
in which individuals show one or more of the following:
inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.
attitudes An individual’s opinions and beliefs about
people, objects, and ideas—how the person feels about
the world.
attribution theory The view that people are motivated to
discover the underlying causes of behavior as part of their
effort to make sense of the behavior.
auditory nerve The nerve structure that receives
information about sound from the hair cells of the inner
ear and carries these neural impulses to the brain’s
auditory areas.
authoritarian parenting A restrictive, punitive style in
which the parent exhorts the child to follow the parent’s
directions and to value hard work and effort.
authoritative parenting A parenting style that
encourages the child to be independent but that still
places limits and controls on behavior.
autobiographical memory A special form of episodic
memory, consisting of a person’s recollections of his or
her life experiences.
automatic processes States of consciousness that
require little attention and do not interfere with other
ongoing activities.
autonomic nervous system The body system that takes
messages to and from the body’s internal organs,
monitoring such processes as breathing, heart rate, and
digestion.
availability heuristic A prediction about the prob ability
of an event based on the ease of recalling or imagining
similar events.
aversive conditioning A form of treatment that consists
of repeated pairings of a stimulus with a very unpleasant
stimulus.
avoidance learning An organism’s learning that it can
altogether avoid a negative stimulus by making a
particular response.
avoidant attachment style An attachment style that
describes adults who are hesitant about getting involved
in romantic relationships and, once in a relationship, tend
to distance themselves from their partner.
axon The part of the neuron that carries information
away from the cell body toward other cells.
B
barbiturates Depressant drugs, such as Nembutal and
Seconal, that decrease central nervous system activity.
basal ganglia Large neuron clusters located above the
thalamus and under the cerebral cortex that work with
the cerebellum and the cerebral cortex to control and
coordinate voluntary movements.
base rate fallacy The tendency to ignore information
about general principles in favor of very speci c but
vivid information.
behavior E v e r y t h i n g w e d o t h a t c a n b e d i r e c t l y o b s e r v e d .
behavioral approach An approach to psychology
emphasizing the scienti c study of observable behavioral
responses and their environmental determinants.
behavioral genetics The study of the inherited
underpinnings of behavioral characteristics.
behavioral medicine An interdisciplinary eld that
focuses on developing and integrating behavioral
andbiomedical knowledge to promote health and reduce
illness; overlaps with and is sometimes indistinguishable
from health psychology.
behaviorism A theory of learning that focuses solely on
observable behaviors, discounting the importance of
such mental activity as thinking, wishing, and hoping.
behavior therapies Treatments, based on the behavioral
and social cognitive theories of learning and personality,
that use principles of learning to reduce or eliminate
maladaptive behavior.
big ve factors of personality The ve broad traits
thatare thought to describe the main dimensions of
personality: openness to experience, conscientiousness,
extraversion, agreeableness, andneuroticism (emotional
instability).
binding In the sense of vision, the bringing together and
integration of what is processed by different neural
pathways or cells.
binge eating disorder (BED) Eating disorder
characterized by recurrent episodes of consuming large
amounts of food during which the person feels a lack of
control over eating.
binocular cues Depth cues that depend on the
combination of the images in the left and right eyes and
on the way the two eyes work together.
biological approach An approach to psychology focusing
on the body, especially the brain and nervous system.
biological rhythms Periodic physiological uc tuations
in the body, such as the rise and fall of hormones and
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G-2 // Glossary
creativity The ability to think about something in novel
and unusual ways and to devise unconventional solutions
to problems.
critical thinking The process of thinking deeply and
actively, asking questions, and evaluating the evidence.
cross-cultural competence A therapist’s assessment of
his or her abilities to manage cultural issues in therapy
and the client’s perception of those abilities.
cross-sectional design A research design in which
agroup of people are assessed on a psychological
variable at one point in time.
culture-fair tests Intelligence tests that are intended to
be culturally unbiased.
D
decay theory Theory stating that when an individual
learns something new, a neurochemical memory trace
forms, but over time this trace disintegrates; suggests
that the passage of time always increases forgetting.
decision making The mental activity of evaluating
alternatives and choosing among them.
deductive reasoning Reasoning from a general case that
is known to be true to a speci c instance.
defense mechanisms Tactics the ego uses to reduce
anxiety by unconsciously distorting reality.
deindividuation The reduction in personal identity and
erosion of the sense of personal responsibility when one
is part of a group.
delusions False, unusual, and sometimes magical beliefs
that are not part of an individual’s culture.
demand characteristics Any aspects of a study that
communicate to the participants how the experimenter
wants them to behave.
dendrites Treelike bers projecting from a neuron,
which receive information and orient it toward the
neuron’s cell body.
deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) A complex molecule in
the cell’s chromosomes that carries genetic information.
dependent variable The outcome; the factor that
canchange in an experiment in response to changes in
the independent variable.
depressants Psychoactive drugs that slow down mental
and physical activity.
depressive disorders Mood disorders in which the
individual suffers from depression—an unrelenting lack
of pleasure in life.
depth perception The ability to perceive objects three-
dimensionally.
development The pattern of continuity and change
inhuman capabilities that occurs throughout life,
involving both growth and decline.
diathesis-stress model View of schizophrenia
emphasizing that a combination of biogenetic disposition
and stress causes the disorder.
difference threshold The degree of difference that must
exist between two stimuli before the difference is detected.
discrimination An unjusti ed negative or harmful action
toward a member of a group simply because the person
belongs to that group.
discrimination (classical conditioning) The process of
learning to respond to certain stimuli and not others.
discrimination (operant conditioning) Responding
appropriately to stimuli that signal that a behavior will or
will not be reinforced.
display rules Sociocultural standards that determine
when, where, and how emotions should be expressed.
dissociative amnesia Dissociative disorder char acterized
by extreme memory loss that is causedby extensive
psychological stress.
dissociative disorders Psychological disorders that involve
a sudden loss of memory or change in identity due to the
dissociation (separation) of the individuals conscious
awareness from previous memories and thoughts.
dissociative fugue Dissociative disorder in which the
individual not only develops amnesia but also unexpectedly
travels away from home and assumes anew identity.
how we direct our attention, perceive, remember, think,
and solve problems.
cognitive-behavior therapy A therapy that combines
cognitive therapy and behavior therapy with the goal of
developing self-ef cacy.
cognitive dissonance An individual’s psychological
discomfort (dissonance) caused by two inconsistent
thoughts.
cognitive theory of dreaming Theory proposing that we
can understand dreaming by applying the same cognitive
concepts we use in studying the waking mind.
cognitive therapies Treatments that point to cognitions
(thoughts) as the main source of psychological problems
and that attempt to change the individual’s feelings and
behaviors by changing cognitions.
collective unconscious Jung’s term for the impersonal,
deepest layer of the unconscious mind, shared by all
human beings because of their common ancestral past.
concept A mental category that is used to group objects,
events, and characteristics.
concrete operational stage Piaget’s third stage of
cognitive development, lasting from about 7 to 11 years
of age, during which the individual uses operations and
replaces intuitive reasoning with logical reasoning in
concrete situations.
conditioned response (CR) The learned response to the
conditioned stimulus that occurs after a con ditioned
stimulus–unconditioned stimulus pairing.
conditioned stimulus (CS) A previously neutral stimulus
that eventually elicits a conditioned response after being
paired with the unconditioned stimulus.
conditions of worth The standards that the individual must
live up to in order to receive positive regard from others.
cones The receptor cells in the retina that allow for color
perception.
confederate A person who is given a role to play in a
study so that the social context can be manipulated.
con rmation bias The tendency to search for and use
information that supports one’s ideas rather than refutes
them.
conformity A change in a person’s behavior to coincide
more closely with a group standard.
connectionism A l s o c a l l e d p a r a l l e l d i s t r i b u t e d p r o c e s s i n g
(PDP), the theory that memory is stored throughout the
brain in connections among neurons, several of which
may work together to process a single memory.
consciousness An individual’s awareness of external
events and internal sensations under a condition of
arousal, including awareness of the self and thoughts
about one’s experiences.
control group T h e p a r t i c i p a n t s i n a n e x p e r i m e n t w h o a r e
as much like the experimental group as possible and who
are treated in every way like the experimental group
except for a manipulated factor, the independent variable.
controlled processes The most alert states of human
consciousness, during which individuals actively focus
their efforts toward a goal.
convergence A binocular cue to depth and distance in
which the muscle movements in an individual’s two eyes
provide information about how deep and/or far away
something is.
convergent thinking Thinking that produces the single
best solution to a problem.
coping Managing taxing circumstances, expending effort
to solve life’s problems, and seeking to master or reduce
stress.
corpus callosum The large bundle of axons that
connects the brain’s two hemispheres, responsible for
relaying information between the two sides.
correlational research Research that examines the
relationships between variables, whose purpose is to
examine whether and how two variables change together.
counterconditioning A classical conditioning procedure
for changing the relationship between a conditioned
stimulus and its conditioned response.
couples therapy Group therapy with married or unmarried
couples whose major problem lies within their relationship.
accelerated/decelerated cycles of brain activity, that can
in uence behavior.
biological therapies Also called biomedical therapies,
treatments that reduce or eliminate the symptoms of
psychological disorders by altering aspects of body
functioning.
bipolar disorder Mood disorder characterized by
extreme mood swings that include one or more episodes
of mania , an overexcited, unrealistically optimistic state.
borderline personality disorder (BPD) Psycho logical
disorder characterized by a pervasive pattern of
instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image, and
emotions, and of marked impulsivity beginning by early
adulthood and present in a variety of contexts.
bottom-up processing The operation in sensation and
perception in which sensory receptors register
information about the external environment and send it
up to the brain for interpretation.
brain stem The stemlike brain area that includes much
of the hindbrain (excluding the cerebellum) and the
midbrain; connects with the spinal cord at its lower end
and then extends upward to encase the reticular
formation in the midbrain.
broaden-and-build model Fredrickson’s model of
positive emotion, stating that the function of positive
emotions lies in their effects on an individual’s attention
and ability to build resources.
bulimia nervosa Eating disorder in which an individual
(typically female) consistently follows abinge-and-purge
eating pattern.
bystander effect The tendency for an individual
whoobserves an emergency to help less when other
people are present than when the observer is alone.
C
Cannon-Bard theory The proposition that emotion and
physiological reactions occur simultaneously.
case study or case history An in-depth look at a single
individual.
catatonia State of immobility and unresponsiveness,
lasting for long periods of time.
cell body The part of the neuron that contains the
nucleus, which directs the manufacture of substances
that the neuron needs for growth and maintenance.
central nervous system (CNS) The brain and spinal cord.
cerebral cortex Part of the forebrain, the outer layer of
the brain, responsible for the most complex mental
functions, such as thinking and planning.
chromosomes I n t h e h u m a n c e l l , t h r e a d l i k e s t r u c t u r e s
that come in 23 pairs, one member of each pair
originating from each parent, and that contain DNA.
circadian rhythms Daily behavioral or physiological
cycles that involve the sleep/wake cycle, body
temperature, blood pressure, and blood sugar level.
classical conditioning Learning process in which a
neutral stimulus becomes associated with an innately
meaningful stimulus and acquires the capacity to elicit a
similar response.
client-centered therapy Also called Rogerian therapy
ornondirective therapy, a form of humanistic therapy,
developed by Rogers, in which the therapist provides a
warm, supportive atmosphere to improve the client’s
self-concept and to encourage the client to gain insight
into problems.
cognition T h e w a y i n w h i c h i n f o r m a t i o n i s p r o c e s s e d a n d
manipulated in remembering, thinking, and knowing.
cognitive affective processing systems (CAPS)
Mischel’s theoretical model for describing that
individuals’ thoughts and emotions about themselves
and the world affect their behavior and become linked
inways that matter to that behavior.
cognitive appraisal Individuals’ interpretation of the
events in their life as harmful, threatening, or challenging
and their determination of whether they have the
resources to cope effectively with the events.
cognitive approach An approach to psychology
emphasizing the mental processes involved in knowing:
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Glossary // G-3
functionalism James’s approach to mental processes,
emphasizing the functions and purposes of the mind and
behavior in the individuals adaptation to the environment.
fundamental attribution error Observers’
overestimation of the importance of internal traits and
underestimation of the importance of external situations
when they seek explanations of an actor’s behavior.
G
gender The social and psychological aspects of being
female or male.
gender roles R o l e s t h a t r e ect the individual’s expectations
for how females and males should think, act, and feel.
gender similarities hypothesis Hyde’s proposition that
men and women (and boys and girls) are much more
similar than they are different.
general adaptation syndrome (GAS) Selye’s term for
the common effects of stressful demands on the body,
consisting of three stages: alarm, resistance, and
exhaustion.
generalization (classical conditioning) The tendency of
a new stimulus that is similar to the original conditioned
stimulus to elicit a response that is similar to the
conditioned response.
generalization (operant conditioning) Performing a
reinforced behavior in a different situation.
generalized anxiety disorder Psychological disorder
marked by persistent anxiety for at least 6 months, and in
which the individual is unable to specify the reasons for
the anxiety.
genes The units of hereditary information, consisting of
short segments of chromosomes composed of DNA.
genotype An individual’s genetic heritage; his or her
actual genetic material.
gestalt psychology A school of thought interested
inhow people naturally organize their perceptions
according to certain patterns.
gifted Possessing high intelligence (an IQ of 130 or
higher) and/or superior talent in a particular area.
glands Organs or tissues in the body that create
chemicals that control many bodily functions.
glial cells The second of two types of cells in the
nervous system; glial cells (also called glia) provide
support, nutritional bene ts, and other functions and
keep neurons running smoothly.
group polarization effect The solidi cation and further
strengthening of an individual’s position as a
consequence of a group discussion.
group therapy A s o c i o c u l t u r a l a p p r o a c h t o t h e t r e a t m e n t
of psychological disorders that brings together individuals
who share a particular psy chological disorder in sessions
that are typically led by a mental health professional.
groupthink The impaired group decision making that
occurs when making the right decision is less important
than maintaining group harmony.
H
habituation Decreased responsiveness to a stimulus
after repeated presentations.
hallucinations Sensory experiences that occur in the
absence of real stimuli.
hallucinogens Psychoactive drugs that modify a person’s
perceptual experiences and produce visual images that
are not real.
hardiness A personality trait characterized by a sense of
commitment rather than alienation and of control rather
than powerlessness; a perception of problems as
challenges rather than threats.
health behaviors Practices that have an impact on
physical well-being.
health psychology A s u b eld of psychology that
emphasizes psychology’s role in establishing and
maintaining health and preventing and treating illness.
heritability The proportion of observable differences in
a group that can be explained by differences in the genes
of the group’s members.
ethnocentrism The tendency to favor one’s own ethnic
group over other groups.
evidence-based practice Integration of the best
available research with clinical expertise in the context
of client characteristics, culture, and preferences.
evolutionary approach An approach to psychology
centered on evolutionary ideas such as adaptation,
reproduction, and natural selection as the basis for
explaining speci c human behaviors.
exercise Structured activities whose goal is to improve
health.
experiment A carefully regulated procedure in which
the researcher manipulates one or more variables that are
believed to in uence some other variable.
experimental group The participants in an experiment
who receive the drug or other treatment under study—
that is, those who are exposed to the change that the
independent variable represents.
experimenter bias T h e i n uence of the experimenters
expectations on the outcome of research.
explicit memory (declarative memory) The con scious
recollection of information, such as speci c facts or
events and, at least in humans, information that can be
verbally communicated.
external validity The degree to which an experimental
design actually re ects the real-world issues it is supposed
to address.
extinction (classical conditioning) The weakening of
the conditioned response when the unconditioned
stimulus is absent.
extinction (operant conditioning) Decreases in the
frequency of a behavior when the behavior is no longer
reinforced.
extrinsic motivation Motivation that involves external
incentives such as rewards and punishments.
F
face validity The extent to which a test item appears to
t the particular trait it is measuring.
facial feedback hypothesis The idea that facial expressions
can in uence emotions as well as re ect them.
false consensus effect Observers’ overestimation of the
degree to which everybody else thinks or acts the way
they do.
family therapy Group therapy with family members.
feature detectors Neurons in the brains visual system that
respond to particular features of a stimulus.
gure-ground relationship The principle by which we
organize the perceptual eld into stimuli that stand out
( gure) and those that are left over (ground).
xation Using a prior strategy and failing to look at a
problem from a fresh new perspective.
ashbulb memory The memory of emotionally
signi cant events that people often recall with more
accuracy and vivid imagery than everyday events.
at affect The display of little or no emotion—a
common negative symptom of schizophrenia.
forebrain The brain’s largest division and its most
forward part.
formal operational stage Piaget’s fourth stage of
cognitive development, which begins at 11 to 15 years
ofage and continues through the adult years; it features
thinking about things that are not concrete, making
predictions, and using logic to come up with hypotheses
about the future.
free association A psychoanalytic technique that
involves encouraging individuals to say aloud whatever
comes to mind, no matter how trivial or embarrassing.
frequency theory Theory on how the inner ear registers
the frequency of sound, stating that the perception of a
sound’s frequency depends on how often the auditory
nerve res.
frontal lobes The portion of the cerebral cortex behind
the forehead, involved in personality, intelligence, and
the control of voluntary muscles.
functional xedness Failing to solve a problem as a
result of xation on a thing’s usual functions.
dissociative identity disorder (DID) Formerly called
multiple personality disorder, a dissociative disorder in
which the individual has two or more distinct
personalities or selves, each with its own memories,
behaviors, and relationships.
divergent thinking Thinking that produces many
solutions to the same problem.
divided attention Concentrating on more than one
activity at the same time.
divided consciousness view of hypnosis Hilgard’s view
that hypnosis involves a splitting of consciousness into
two separate components, one ofwhich follows the
hypnotist’s commands and the other of which acts as a
“hidden observer.
double-blind experiment A n e x p e r i m e n t a l d e s i g n i n
which neither the experimenter nor the participants are
aware of which participants are in the experimental
group and which are in the control group until the
results are calculated.
dream analysis A psychoanalytic technique for
interpreting a person’s dreams.
drive An aroused state that occurs because of a
physiological need.
DSM-IV T h e Diagnostic and Statistical Manual ofMental
Disorders, F o u r t h E d i t i o n ; t h e m a j o r c l a s s i cation of
psychological disorders in the United States.
dysthymic disorder (DD) Mood disorder that is
generally more chronic and has fewer symptoms than
major depressive disorder.
E
efferent nerves Also called motor nerves; nerves that
carry information out of the brain and spinal cord to
other areas of the body.
ego The Freudian structure of personality that deals with
the demands of reality.
egoism Giving to another person to ensure reciprocity; to
gain self-esteem; to present oneself as powerful,
competent, or caring; or to avoid social and self-censure for
failing to live up to society’s expectations.
elaboration The formation of a number of different
connections around a stimulus at a given level of
memory encoding.
elaboration likelihood model Theory identifying two
ways to persuade: a central route and a peripheral route.
electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) Also called shock
therapy, a treatment, commonly used for depression, that
sets off a seizure in the brain.
emerging adulthood The transitional period from
adolescence to adulthood, spanning approximately 18 to
25 years of age.
emotion F e e l i n g , o r a f f e c t , t h a t c a n i n v o l v e p h y s i o l o g i c a l
arousal (such as a fast heartbeat), conscious experience
(thinking about being in love with someone), and
behavioral expression (a smile orgrimace).
emotion-focused coping The coping strategy that
involves responding to the stress that one is feeling—
trying to manage one’s emotional reaction—rather than
focusing on the root problem itself.
empathy A feeling of oneness with the emotional state
of another person.
empirically keyed test A type of self-report test that
presents many questionnaire items to two groups that are
known to be different in some central way.
empirical method Gaining knowledge through the
observation of events, the collection of data, and logical
reasoning.
encoding The rst step in memory; the process by which
information gets into memory storage.
endocrine system The body system consisting of a set
of glands that regulate the activities of certain organs by
releasing their chemical products into the bloodstream.
episodic memory The retention of information about the
where, when, and what of life’s happenings—that is,
how individuals remember life’s episodes.
estrogens T h e c l a s s o f s e x h o r m o n e s t h a t p r e d o m i n a t e i n
females, produced mainly by the ovaries.
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G-4 // Glossary
M
major depressive disorder (MDD) Psychological
disorder involving a major depressive episode and
depressed characteristics, such as lethargy and
hopelessness, for at least two weeks.
manifest content According to Freud, the surface
content of a dream, containing dream symbols that
disguise the dream’s true meaning.
medical model T h e v i e w t h a t p s y c h o l o g i c a l d i s o r d e r s a r e
medical diseases with a biological origin.
meditation The attainment of a peaceful state of mind in
which thoughts are not occupied by worry; the meditator
is mindfully present to his or her thoughts and feelings
but is not consumed by them.
memory The retention of information or experience over
time as the result of three key processes: encoding,
storage, and retrieval.
mental age (MA) An individual’s level of mental
development relative to that of others.
mental processes The thoughts, feelings, and motives
that people experience privately but that cannot be
observed directly.
mere exposure effect The phenomenon that the more
individuals encounter someone or something, the more
probable it is that they will start liking the person or
thing even if they do not realize they have seen it before.
midbrain Located between the hindbrain and forebrain,
an area in which many nerve- ber systems ascend and
descend to connect the higher and lower portions of the
brain; in particular, the midbrain relays information
between the brain and the eyes and ears.
middle ear The part of the ear that channels sound through
the eardrum, hammer, anvil, and stirrup to the inner ear.
mindfulness The state of being alert and mentally
present for one’s everyday activities.
Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory
(MMPI) The most widely used and researched
empirically keyed self-report personality test.
monocular cues Powerful depth cues available from
theimage in one eye, either the right or the left.
mood disorders Psychological disorders—the main
types of which are depressive disorders and bipolar
disorder—in which there is a primary disturbance of
mood: prolonged emotion that colors the individual’s
entire emotional state.
morphology A language’s rules for word formation.
motivated forgetting Forgetting that occurs when
something is so painful or anxiety-laden that
remembering it is intolerable.
motivation The force that moves people to behave,
think, and feel the way they do.
motor cortex A region in the cerebral cortex, located
just behind the frontal lobes, that processes information
about voluntary movement.
myelin sheath A layer of fat cells that encases and
insulates most axons.
N
naturalistic observation The observation of behavior in
a real-world setting.
natural selection Darwins principle of an evolutionary
process in which organisms that are best adapted to their
environment will survive and produce offspring.
nature An individual’s biological inheritance, especially
his or her genes.
need A deprivation that energizes the drive to eliminate
or reduce the deprivation.
negative punishment The removal of a stimulus
following a given behavior in order to decrease the
frequency of that behavior.
negative reinforcement The removal of a stimulus
following a given behavior in order to increase the
frequency of that behavior.
neglectful parenting A parenting style characterized by
a lack of parental involvement in the child’s life.
instinct An innate (unlearned) biological pattern of
behavior that is assumed to be universal throughout a
species.
instinctive drift The tendency of animals to revert to
instinctive behavior that interferes with learning.
integrative therapy A combination of techniques from
different therapies based on the therapist’s judgment of
which particular methods will provide the greatest
bene t for the client.
intellectual disability A condition of limited mental
ability in which an individual has a low IQ, usually
below 70 on a traditional intelligence test, and has
dif culty adapting to everyday life.
intelligence All-purpose ability to do well on cognitive
tasks, to solve problems, and to learn from experience.
intelligence quotient (IQ) An individual’s mental age
divided by chronological age multiplied by 100.
interference theory The theory that people forget not
because memories are lost from storage but because
other information gets in the way of what they want to
remember.
internal validity The degree to which changes in the
dependent variable are due to the manipulation of the
independent variable.
interpretation A psychoanalyst’s search for symbolic,
hidden meanings in what the client says and does
during therapy.
intrinsic motivation Motivation based on internal
factors such as organismic needs (competence,
relatedness, and autonomy), as well as curiosity,
challenge, and fun.
investment model A model of long-term relation ships
that examines the ways that commitment, investment,
and the availability of attractive alternative partners
predict satisfaction and stability in relationships.
J
James-Lange theory The theory that emotion results
from physiological states triggered by stimuli in the
environment.
K
kinesthetic senses Senses that provide information about
movement, posture, and orientation.
L
language A form of communication—whether spoken,
written, or signed—that is based on a system of symbols.
latent content According to Freud, a dream’s hidden
content; its unconscious and true meaning.
latent learning (implicit learning) Unreinforced
learning that is not immediately re ected in behavior.
law of effect Thorndike’s law stating that behaviors
followed by positive outcomes are strengthened and that
behaviors followed by negative outcomes are weakened.
learned helplessness Through experience with
unavoidable aversive stimuli, an organism learns that it
has no control over negative outcomes.
learning A systematic, relatively permanent change in
behavior that occurs through experience.
levels of processing A continuum of memory processing
from shallow to intermediate to deep, with deeper
processing producing better memory.
limbic system A loosely connected network of structures
under the cerebral cortex, important in both memory and
emotion. Its two principal structures are the amygdala
and the hippocampus.
lithium The lightest of the solid elements in the periodic
table of elements, widely used to treat bipolar disorder.
longitudinal design A special kind of systematic
observation, used by correlational researchers, that
involves obtaining measures of the variables of interest
in multiple waves over time.
long-term memory A relatively permanent type of
memory that stores huge amounts of information for a
long time.
heuristics Shortcut strategies or guidelines that suggest a
solution to a problem but do not guarantee an answer.
hierarchy of needs Maslow’s theory that human
needs must be satis ed in the following sequence:
physiological needs, safety, love and belongingness,
esteem, and self-actualization.
hindbrain Located at the skull’s rear, the lowest portion
of the brain, consisting of the medulla, cerebellum,
and pons.
hindsight bias The tendency to report falsely, after the
fact, that one has accurately predicted an outcome.
hippocampus The structure in the limbic system that has
a special role in the storage of memories.
homeostasis The body’s tendency to maintain an
equilibrium, or steady state.
hormones Chemical messengers that are produced by
the endocrine glands and carried by the blood stream to
all parts of the body.
humanistic approach A n a p p r o a c h t o p s y c h o l o g y
emphasizing a person’s positive qualities, the capacity for
positive growth, and the freedom to choose any destiny.
humanistic perspectives Theoretical views stressing a
person’s capacity for personal growth and positive
human qualities.
humanistic therapies Treatments, unique in their emphasis
on peoples self-healing capacities, that encourage clients to
understand themselves and to grow personally.
human sexual response pattern According to Masters
and Johnson, the characteristic sequence of physiological
changes that humans experience during sexual activity,
consisting of four phases: excitement, plateau, orgasm,
and resolution.
hypnosis An altered state of consciousness or a
psychological state of altered attention and expectation in
which the individual is unusually receptive to suggestions.
hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis) The
complex set of interactions among the hypothalamus,
thepituitary gland, and the adrenal glands that regulate
various body processes and control reactions to
stressful events.
hypothalamus A small forebrain structure, located just
below the thalamus, that monitors three pleasurable
activities—eating, drinking, and sex—as well as emotion,
stress, and reward.
hypothesis A testable prediction that derives logically
from a theory.
I
id The part of the person that Freud called the “it,
consisting of unconscious drives; the individual’s
reservoir of sexual energy.
implementation intentions Speci c strategies for
dealing with the challenges of making a life change.
implicit memory ( nondeclarative memory) Memory in
which behavior is affected by prior experience without a
conscious recollection of that experience.
independent variable A manipulated experimental
factor; the variable that the experimenter changes to see
what its effects are.
individual psychology Adler’s view that people are
motivated by purposes and goals and that perfection, not
pleasure, is thus the key motivator in human life.
inductive reasoning Reasoning from speci c
observations to make generalizations.
infant attachment The close emotional bond between
an infant and its caregiver.
in nite generativity The ability of language to produce
an endless number of meaningful sentences.
informational social in uence The in uence other
people have on us because we want to be right.
inner ear The part of the ear that includes the oval
window, cochlea, and basilar membrane and whose
function is to convert sound waves into neural impulses
and send them to the brain.
insight learning A f o r m o f p r o b l e m s o l v i n g i n w h i c h t h e
organism develops a sudden insight into orunderstanding
of a problem’s solution.
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Glossary // G-5
positive reinforcement The presentation of a stimulus
following a given behavior in order to increase the
frequency of that behavior.
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Anxiety
disorder that develops through exposure to a trau matic
event, a severely oppressive situation, cruel abuse, or a
natural or unnatural disaster.
pragmatics The useful character of language and the
ability of language to communicate even more meaning
than is verbalized.
preferential looking A research technique that involves
giving an infant a choice of what object to look at.
prefrontal cortex An important part of the frontal lobes
that is involved in higher cognitive functions such as
planning, reasoning, and self-control.
prejudice An unjusti ed negative attitude toward an
individual based on the individual’s membership in a
group.
preoperational stage Piaget’s second stage of cognitive
development, lasting from about 2 to 7 years of age,
during which thought is more symbolic than
sensorimotor thought.
preparedness The species-speci c biological
predisposition to learn in certain ways but not others.
primary reinforcer A reinforcer that is innately
satisfying; one that does not take any learning on the
organism’s part to make it pleasurable.
priming The activation of information that people
already have in storage to help them remember new
information better and faster.
proactive interference Situation in which material that
was learned earlier disrupts the recall of material that
was learned later.
problem-focused coping The coping strategy of
squarely facing one’s troubles and trying to solve them.
problem solving The mental process of nding an
appropriate way to attain a goal when the goal is not
readily available.
procedural memory Memory for skills.
projective test A personality assessment test that
presents individuals with an ambiguous stimulus and
asks them to describe it or tell a story about it—to
project their own meaning onto the stimulus.
prosocial behavior Behavior that is intended to bene t
other people.
prospective memory Remembering information about
doing something in the future; includes memory for
intentions.
prototype model A model emphasizing that when
people evaluate whether a given item re ects a certain
concept, they compare the item with the most typical
item(s) in that category and look for a “family
resemblance” with that item’s properties.
psychoactive drugs Drugs that act on the nervous
system to alter consciousness, modify perception, and
change moods.
psychoanalysis Freud’s therapeutic technique for
analyzing an individual’s unconscious thoughts.
psychodynamic approach An approach to psychology
emphasizing unconscious thought, the con ict between
biological drives (such as the drive for sex) and society’s
demands, and early childhood family experiences.
psychodynamic perspectives Theoretical views
emphasizing that personality is primarily unconscious
(beyond awareness).
psychodynamic therapies Treatments that stress
theimportance of the unconscious mind, extensive
interpretation by the therapist, and the role of early
childhood experiences in the development of an
individual’s problems.
psychological dependence The strong desire to repeat
the use of a drug for emotional reasons, such as a feeling
of well-being and reduction of stress.
psychology The scienti c study of behavior and mental
processes.
psychoneuroimmunology A n e w eld of scienti c
inquiry that explores connections among psychological
P
pain The sensation that warns an individual of damage
to the body.
pancreas A dual-purpose gland under the stomach that
performs both digestive and endocrine functions.
panic disorder Anxiety disorder in which the individual
experiences recurrent, sudden onsets of intense
apprehension or terror, often without warning and with
no speci c cause.
papillae Rounded bumps above the tongue’s surface that
contain the taste buds, the receptors for taste.
parallel processing The simultaneous distribution of
information across different neural pathways.
parasympathetic nervous system The part of the
autonomic nervous system that calms the body.
parietal lobes Structures at the top and toward the rear
of the head that are involved in registering spatial
location, attention, and motor control.
perception T h e p r o c e s s o f o r g a n i z i n g a n d i n t e r p r e t i n g
sensory information so that it makes sense.
perceptual constancy The recognition that objects are
constant and unchanging even though sensory input
about them is changing.
perceptual set A predisposition or readiness to perceive
something in a particular way.
peripheral nervous system (PNS) The network of
nerves that connects the brain and spinal cord to other
parts of the body.
permissive parenting A parenting style characterized
by the placement of few limits onthechilds behavior.
personality A pattern of enduring, distinctive thoughts,
emotions, and behaviors that characterize the way an
individual adapts to the world.
personality disorders Chronic, maladaptive cognitive-
behavioral patterns that are thoroughly integrated into an
individual’s personality.
personological and life story perspectives Theoretical
views stressing that the way to understand the person is
to focus on his or her life history and life story.
phenotype An individuals observable characteristics.
phobic disorder (phobia) Anxiety disorder
characterized by an irrational, overwhelming, persistent
fear of a particular object or situation.
phonology A language’s sound system.
physical dependence The physiological need for a drug
that causes unpleasant withdrawal symptoms such as
physical pain and a craving for the drug when it is
discontinued.
pituitary gland A pea-sized gland just beneath the
hypothalamus that controls growth and regulates
other glands.
placebo In a drug study, a harmless substance that has
no physiological effect, given to participants in a control
group so that they are treated identically to the
experimental group except for the active agent.
placebo effect The situation where participants’
expectations, rather than the experimental treatment,
produce an experimental outcome.
place theory Theory on how the inner ear registers the
frequency of sound, stating that each frequency produces
vibrations at a particular spot on the basilar membrane.
plasticity The brain’s special capacity for change.
polygraph A machine, commonly called a lie detector,
that monitors changes in the body, and is used to try to
determine whether someone is lying.
population The entire group about which the researcher
wants to draw conclusions.
positive affect Pleasant emotions such as joy, happiness,
and interest.
positive illusions Favorable views of the self that are not
necessarily rooted in reality.
positive punishment The presentation of a stimulus
following a given behavior in order to decrease the
frequency of that behavior.
neocortex The outermost part of the cerebral cortex,
making up 80 percent of the human brain’s cortex.
nervous system The body’s electrochemical
communication circuitry.
neural networks Networks of nerve cells that integrate
sensory input and motor output.
neurons One of two types of cells in the nervous system;
neurons are the nerve cells that handle the information-
processing function.
neuroscience The scienti c study of the structure,
function, development, genetics, and biochemistry of the
nervous system, emphasizing that the brain and nervous
system are central to understanding behavior, thought,
and emotion.
neurotransmitters Chemical substances that are stored
in very tiny sacs within the neuron’s terminal buttons and
involved in transmitting information across a synaptic
gap to the next neuron.
noise Irrelevant and competing stimuli—not only sounds
but also any distracting stimuli for the senses.
normal distribution A symmetrical, bell-shaped curve,
with a majority of test scores (or other data) falling in the
middle of the possible range and few scores (or other
data points) appearing toward the extremes.
normative social in uence The in uence others have on
us because we want them to like us.
nurture An individual’s environmental and social
experiences.
O
obedience Behavior that complies with the explicit
demands of the individual in authority.
object permanence Piaget’s term for the crucial
accomplishment of understanding that objects and events
continue to exist even when they cannot directly be seen,
heard, or touched.
observational learning Learning that occurs through
observing and imitating another’s behavior.
obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) Anxiety disorder
in which the individual has anxiety-provoking thoughts
that will not go away and/or urges to perform repetitive,
ritualistic behaviors to prevent or produce some future
situation.
occipital lobes Structures located at the back of the head
that respond to visual stimuli.
Oedipus complex According to Freud, a boy’s intense
desire to replace his father and enjoy the affections of
hismother.
olfactory epithelium The lining of the roof of the nasal
cavity, containing a sheet of receptor cells for smell.
open-mindedness The state of being receptive to other
ways of looking at things.
operant conditioning (instrumental conditioning) A
form of associative learning in which the conse quences
of a behavior change the probability of the behavior’s
occurrence.
operational de nition A de nition that provides an
objective description of how a variable is going to be
measured and observed in a particular study.
opiates Opium and its derivatives; narcotic drugs that
depress activity in the central nervous system and
eliminate pain.
opponent-process theory Theory stating that cells in the
visual system respond to complementary pairs of red-
green and blue-yellow colors; a given cell might be
excited by red and inhibited by green, whereas another
cell might be excited by yellow and inhibited by blue.
optic nerve The structure at the back of the eye, made up
of axons of the ganglion cells, that carries visual
information to the brain for further processing.
outer ear The outermost part of the ear, consisting ofthe
pinna and the external auditory canal.
ovaries Sex-related endocrine glands that produce
hormones involved in women’s sexual development and
reproduction.
overt aggression Physical or verbal behavior that
directly harms another person.
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G-6 // Glossary
sensory adaptation A change in the responsiveness of
the sensory system based on the average level of
surrounding stimulation.
sensory memory Memory system that involves holding
information from the world in its original sensory form
for only an instant, not much longer than the brief time it
is exposed to the visual, auditory, and other senses.
sensory receptors Specialized cells that detect stimulus
information and transmit it to sensory (afferent) nerves
and the brain.
serial position effect The tendency to recall the items at
the beginning and end of a list more readily than those in
the middle.
set point The weight maintained when the individual
makes no effort to gain or lose weight.
sexual harassment Unwelcome behavior of a sexual
nature that offends, humiliates, or intimidates another
person.
sexually transmitted infection (STI) An infection that
is contracted primarily through sexual activity—vaginal
intercourse as well as oral and anal sex.
sexual orientation The direction of an individuals
erotic interests, today viewed as a continuum from
exclusive male–female relations to exclusive same-
sex relations.
shaping Rewarding successive approximations of a
desired behavior.
short-term memory Limited-capacity memory system
in which information is usually retained for only as
long as 30 seconds unless strategies are used to retain
itlonger.
signal detection theory An approach to perception that
focuses on decision making about stimuli in the presence
of uncertainty.
sleep A natural state of rest for the body and mind that
involves the reversible loss of consciousness.
social cognitive behavior view of hypnosis The
perspective that hypnosis is a normal state in which the
hypnotized person behaves the way he or she believes
that a hypnotized person should behave.
social cognitive perspectives Theoretical views
emphasizing conscious awareness, beliefs, expectations,
and goals.
social comparison The process by which individuals
evaluate their thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and abilities
in relation to others.
social contagion Imitative behavior involving the spread
of behavior, emotions, and ideas.
social exchange theory The view of social relationships
as involving an exchange of goods, the objective of
which is to minimize costs and maximize bene ts.
social facilitation Improvement in an individual’s
performance because of the presence of others.
social identity The way individuals de ne themselves in
terms of their group membership.
social identity theory The view that social identity is a
crucial part of self-image and a valuable source of
positive feelings about oneself.
social loa ng Each person’s tendency to exert less effort
in a group because of reduced accountability for
individual effort.
social psychology The study of how people think about,
in uence, and relate to other people.
social support Information and feedback from
othersindicating that one is loved and cared for,
esteemed and valued, and included in a network
ofcommunication and mutual obligation.
sociocultural approach An approach to psychology
thatexamines the ways in which social and cultural
environments in uence behavior.
somatic nervous system The body system consisting
ofthe sensory nerves, whose function is to convey
information from the skin and muscles to the central
nervous system about conditions such as pain and
temperature, and the motor nerves, whose function is
totell muscles what to do.
rods The receptor cells in the retina that are sensitive to
light but not very useful for color vision.
romantic love Love with strong components of sexuality
and infatuation, often predominant in theearly part of a
love relationship; also called passionate love.
Rorschach inkblot test A famous projective test that
uses an individual’s perception of inkblots to determine
his or her personality.
S
sample The subset of the population chosen by the
investigator for study.
schedules of reinforcement Speci c patterns that
determine when a behavior will be reinforced.
schema A preexisting mental concept or framework that
helps people to organize and interpret information.
Schemas from prior encounters with the environment
in uence the way individuals encode, make inferences
about, and retrieve information.
schizophrenia Severe psychological disorder char acterized
by highly disordered thought processes; individuals
suffering from schizophrenia may be referred to as
psychotic because they are so far removed from reality.
science The use of systematic methods to observe the
natural world, including human behavior, and to draw
conclusions.
script A schema for an event, often containing information
about physical features, people, and typical occurrences.
secondary reinforcer A reinforcer that acquires its
positive value through an organism’s experience; a
secondary reinforcer is a learned or conditioned reinforcer.
secure attachment The ways that infants use their
caregiver, usually their mother, as a secure base from
which to explore the environment.
secure attachment style A n a t t a c h m e n t s t y l e t h a t
describes adults who have positive views of relationships,
nd it easy to get close to others, and are not overly
concerned or stressed out about their romantic
relationships.
selective attention The act of focusing on a speci c
aspect of experience while ignoring others.
self-actualization The motivation to develop one’s full
potential as a human being—the highest and most
elusive of Maslow’s proposed needs.
self-determination theory Deci and Ryan’s theory
asserting that all humans have three basic, innate
organismic needs: competence, relatedness, and autonomy.
self-ef cacy The belief that one can master a situation
and produce positive change.
self-perception theory Bem’s theory on how behaviors
in uence attitudes, stating that individuals make inferences
about their attitudes by perceiving their behavior.
self-regulation The process by which an organism
effortfully controls its behavior in order to pursue
important objectives.
self-report test Also called an objective test or an
inventory, a method of measuring personality
characteristics that directly asks people whether speci c
items describe their personality traits.
self-serving bias The tendency to take credit for one’s
own successes and to deny responsibility for one’s own
failures.
semantic memory A persons knowledge about the world.
semantics The meaning of words and sentences in a
particular language.
semicircular canals Three uid- lled circular tubes in
the inner ear containing the sensory receptors that detect
head motion caused when an individual tilts or moves
the head and/or the body.
sensation The process of receiving stimulus energies
from the external environment and transforming those
energies into neural energy.
sensorimotor stage Piaget’s rst stage of cognitive
development, lasting from birth to about 2 years of age,
during which infants construct an understanding of the
world by coordinating sensory experiences with motor
(physical) actions.
factors (such as attitudes and emotions), the nervous
system, and the immune system.
psychosurgery A b i o l o g i c a l t h e r a p y , w i t h i r r e v e r s i b l e
effects, that involves removal or destruction of brain
tissue to improve the individual’s adjustment.
psychotherapy A nonmedical process that helps
individuals with psychological disorders recognize and
overcome their problems.
puberty A period of rapid skeletal and sexual maturation
that occurs mainly in early adolescence.
punishment A consequence that decreases the likelihood
that a behavior will occur.
R
random assignment Researchers’ assignment of
participants to groups by chance, to reduce the likelihood
that an experiment’s results will be due topreexisting
differences between groups.
random sample A sample that gives every member of
the population an equal chance of being selected.
rational-emotive behavior therapy (REBT) A therapy
based on Ellis’s assertion that individuals develop a
psychological disorder because of irrational and self-
defeating beliefs and whose goal is to get clients to
eliminate these beliefs by rationally examining them.
reasoning The mental activity of transforming
information to reach conclusions.
referential thinking Ascribing personal meaning to
completely random events.
re ective speech A technique in which the therapist
mirrors the client’s own feelings back to the client.
reinforcement The process by which a stimulus or an event
(a reinforcer) following a particular behavior increases the
probability that the behavior will happen again.
relapse A return to former unhealthy patterns.
relational aggression Behavior that is meant to harm the
social standing of another person.
reliability The extent to which a test yields a consistent,
reproducible measure of performance.
REM sleep An active stage of sleep during which
dreaming occurs.
representativeness heuristic The tendency to make
judgments about group membership based on physical
appearances or the match between a person and one’s
stereotype of a group rather than on available base rate
information.
research participant bias I n a n e x p e r i m e n t , t h e i n uence
of participants’ expectations, and of their thoughts on how
they should behave, on their behavior.
resilience A person’s ability to recover from or adapt to
dif cult times.
resistance A client’s unconscious defense strategies that
interfere with the psychoanalyst’s understanding of the
individual’s problems.
resting potential The stable, negative charge of an
inactive neuron.
reticular formation A system in the midbrain
comprising a diffuse collection of neurons involved in
stereotyped patterns of behavior such as walking,
sleeping, and turning to attend to a sudden noise.
retina The multilayered light-sensitive surface in the
eye that records electromagnetic energy and converts it
to neural impulses for processing in the brain.
retrieval The memory process that occurs when
information that was retained in memory comes out of
storage.
retroactive interference Situation in which material that
was learned later disrupts the retrieval of information
that was learned earlier.
retrograde amnesia Memory loss for a segment of the
past but not for new events.
retrospective memory Remembering information from
the past.
risky shift The tendency for a group decision to be
riskier than the average decision made by the individual
group members.
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Glossary // G-7
trichromatic theory Theory stating that color perception
is produced by three types of cone receptors in the retina
that are particularly sensitive to different, but
overlapping, ranges of wavelengths.
two-factor theory of emotion Schachter and Singer’s
theory that emotion is determined by two factors:
physiological arousal and cognitive labeling.
Type A behavior pattern A cluster of characteristics—
including being excessively competitive, hard-driven,
impatient, and hostile—that are related to a higher
incidence of heart disease.
Type B behavior pattern A cluster of characteristics—
including being relaxed and easygoing—that are related
to a lower incidence ofheart disease.
Type D behavior pattern A cluster of characteristics—
including being generally distressed, having negative
emotions, and being socially inhibited—that are related
to adverse cardiovascular outcomes.
U
unconditional positive regard Rogers’s construct
referring to the individual’s need to be accepted, valued,
and treated positively regardless of his or her behavior.
unconditioned response (UR) An unlearned reaction that
is automatically elicited by the unconditioned stimulus.
unconditioned stimulus (US) A stimulus that produces
a response without prior learning.
unconscious thought According to Freud, a reservoir of
unacceptable wishes, feelings, and thoughts that are
beyond conscious awareness.
V
validity The soundness of the conclusions that a
researcher draws from an experiment. In the realm of
testing, the extent to which a test measures what it is
intended to measure.
variable Anything that can change.
visual cortex Located in the occipital lobe, the part of
the cerebral cortex involved in vision.
vestibular sense Sense that provides information about
balance and movement.
volley principle Principle addressing limitations of the
frequency theory of hearing, stating that a cluster of
nerve cells can re neural impulses in rapid succession,
producing a volley of impulses.
W
Weber’s law The principle that two stimuli must differ
by a constant minimum percentage (rather than a
constant amount) to be perceived as different.
well-being therapy (WBT) A short-term (eight
sessions), problem-focused, directive therapy that
encourages clients to accentuate the positive.
wisdom Expert knowledge about the practical aspects
of life.
working memory A combination of components, including
short-term memory and attention, that allow individuals to
hold information temporarily asthey perform cognitive
tasks; a kind of mental workbench on which the brain
manipulates and assembles information to guide
understanding, decision making, and problem solving.
Y
Yerkes -Dodson law The psychological principle stating
that performance is best under conditions of moderate
arousal rather than either low or high arousal.
T
temperament An individual’s behavioral style and
characteristic way of responding.
temporal lobes Structures in the cerebral cortex that are
located just above the ears and are involved in hearing,
language processing, and memory.
testes Sex-related endocrine glands in the scrotum that
produce hormones involved in men’s sexual development
and reproduction.
thalamus The forebrain structure that sits at the topof
the brain stem in the brain’s central core andserves as an
important relay station.
Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) A projective test
that is designed to elicit stories that reveal something
about an individual’s personality.
theory A broad idea or set of closely related ideas that
attempts to explain observations and to make predictions
about future observations.
theory of mind Individuals’ understanding that they
and others think, feel, perceive, and have private
experiences.
theory of planned behavior Theoretical model that
includes the basic ideas of the theory of reasoned
action but adds the person’s perceptions of control over
the outcome.
theory of reasoned action T h e o r e t i c a l m o d e l s t a t i n g
that effective change requires individuals to have
speci c intentions about their behaviors, as well as
positive attitudes about a new behavior, and to perceive
that their social group looks positively on the new
behavior as well.
therapeutic alliance The relationship between the
therapist and client—an important element of successful
psychotherapy.
thermoreceptors Sensory nerve endings under the skin
that respond to changes in temperature at or near the
skinand provide input to keep the body’s temperature
at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
thinking The process of manipulating information
mentally by forming concepts, solving problems, making
decisions, and re ecting critically or creatively.
third variable problem The circumstance where
avariable that has not been measured accounts for the
relationship between two other variables. Third variables
are also known as confounds.
tip-of-the-tongue (TOT) phenomenon A type of
effortful retrieval associated with a person’s feeling that
he or she knows something (say, a word or a name) but
cannot quite pull it out of memory.
tolerance The need to take increasing amounts of a drug
to get the same effect.
top-down processing The operation in sensation and
perception, launched by cognitive processing at the
brain’s higher levels, that allows the organism to sense
what is happening and to apply that framework to
information from the world.
trait theories Theoretical views stressing that
personality consists of broad, enduring dispositions
(traits) that tend to lead to characteristic responses.
tranquilizers Depressant drugs, such as Valium and
Xanax, that reduce anxiety and induce relaxation.
transference A client’s relating to the psychoanalyst in
ways that reproduce or relive important relationships in
the individual’s life.
triarchic theory of intelligence Sternberg’s theory that
intelligence comes in three forms: analytical, creative,
and practical.
somatosensory cortex A region in the cerebral cortex
that processes information about body sensations,
located at the front of the parietal lobes.
spontaneous recovery The process in classical
conditioning by which a conditioned response can recur
after a time delay, without further conditioning.
stages of change model Theoretical model describing a
ve-step process by which individuals give up bad habits
and adopt healthier lifestyles.
standardization The development of uniform
procedures for administering and scoring a test, and the
creation of norms (performance standards) for the test.
stem cells Unique primitive cells that have the capacity
to develop into most types of human cells.
stereotype A generalization about a group’s
characteristics that does not consider any variations from
one individual to another.
stereotype threat An individual’s fast-acting, self-
ful lling fear of being judged based on a negative
stereotype about his or her group.
stimulants Psychoactive drugs, including caffeine,
nicotine, amphetamines, and cocaine, that that increase
the central nervous system’s activity.
storage The retention of information over time and how
this information is represented in memory.
stream of consciousness Term used by William James to
describe the mind as a continuous ow of changing
sensations, images, thoughts, and feelings.
stress The responses of individuals to environmental
stressors.
stress management program A regimen that teaches
individuals how to appraise stressful events, how to
develop skills for coping with stress, and how to put
these skills into use in everyday life.
stressors C i r c u m s t a n c e s a n d e v e n t s t h a t t h r e a t e n i n d i v i d u a l s
and tax their coping abilities and that cause physiological
changes to ready the body to handle the assault of stress.
structuralism Wundt’s approach to discovering the basic
elements, or structures, of mental processes.
subgoaling Setting intermediate goals or intermediate
problems in order to be in a better position for reaching
the nal goal or solution.
subjective well-being A person’s assessment of his or
her own level of positive affect relative to negative affect,
and an evaluation of his or her life in general.
subliminal perception The detection of information
below the level of conscious awareness.
superego The Freudian structure of personality that
serves as the harsh internal judge of our behavior; what
we often call conscience.
suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) A small brain structure
that uses input from the retina to synchronize its own
rhythm with the daily cycle of light and dark; the body’s
way of monitoring the change from day to night.
sustained attention The ability to maintain attention to a
selected stimulus for a prolonged period of time.
sympathetic nervous system The part of the autonomic
nervous system that arouses the body to mobilize it for
action and thus is involved in the experience of stress.
synapses Tiny spaces between neurons; the gaps
between neurons are referred to as synaptic gaps.
syntax A language’s rules for combining words to form
acceptable phrases and sentences.
systematic desensitization A behavior therapy that
treats anxiety by teaching the client to associate
deeprelaxation with increasingly intense anxiety-
producing situations.
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