G-2 // Glossary
creativity The ability to think about something in novel
and unusual ways and to devise unconventional solutions
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.
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-
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
dissociative disorders Psychological disorders that involve
a sudden loss of memory or change in identity due to the
dissociation (separation) of the individual’s 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
bystander effect The tendency for an individual
whoobserves an emergency to help less when other
people are present than when the observer is alone.
Cannon-Bard theory The proposition that emotion and
physiological reactions occur simultaneously.
case study or case history An in-depth look at a single
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
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
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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