Structuralism An early school of psychology that used introspection to explore the elemental structure of the human mind. (Wilhelm Wundt) Functionalism A school of psychology that focused on how our mental and behavioral processes function-how they enable us to adapt, survive and flourish. (William James) Cognitive Perspective The view that our thoughts and how we encode, process, store and retrieve information influences our behavior. Humanistic Perspective The view that our behavior is influenced by our need for love and acceptance and a desire to achieve self-fulfillment and our potential. Social Cultural Perspective The view that behavior is influenced by the interaction between people (and their thinking) and their social context. Behavioral Perspective The view that we are shaped by our environment and learn from those around us. Biological Perspective The view that our biology shapes and enables emotions, memories and sensory experiences. Developmental Psychology A branch of psychology that studies physical, cognitive, and social change throughout the life span. Educational Psychology The study of how psychological processes affect and can enhance teaching and learning. Personality Psychology The study of an individual's characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting. Social Psychology The scientific study of how we think about, influence, and relate to one another. Industrial-Organized Psychology The application of psychological concepts and methods to optimizing human behavior in workplaces. Human Factors Psychology A branch of psychology that explores how people and machines interact and how machines and physical environments can be made safe and easy to use. Counseling Psychology A branch of psychology that assists people with problems in living (often related to school, work, or marriage) and in achieving greater well-being. Clinical Psychology A branch of psychology that studies, assesses, and treats people with psychological disorders. 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. Community Psychology A branch of psychology that studies how people interact with their social environments and how social institutions affect individuals and groups. Biopsychosocial - Three Main Levels of Analysis An integrated approach that incorporates biological, psychological, and social-cultural levels of analysis. Naturalistic Observation Case Study Observing and recording behavior in naturally occurring situations without trying to manipulate and control the situation. An observation technique in which one person is studied in depth in the hope of revealing universal principles. Survey A technique for ascertaining the self-reported attitudes or behaviors of a particular group, usually by questioning a representative, random sample of the group. Hindsight Bias The tendency to believe, after learning an outcome, that one would have foreseen it. (Also known as the I-knew-it-all-along phenomenon.) Overconfidence The tendency to be more confident than correct, to overestimate the accuracy of one's beliefs and judgments. Scientific Attitude It equips us to be curious, skeptical, and humble in scrutinizing competing ideas or our own observations as well as carrying into everyday life as critical thinking. Population All the cases in a group, from which samples may be drawn for a study. (Note: Except for national studies, this does not refer to a country's whole population.) Operational Definition A statement of the procedures (operations) used to define research variables. For example, human intelligence may be operationally defined as what an intelligence test measures. Independent Variable The experimental factor that is manipulated; the variable whose effect is being studied. Dependent Variable The outcome factor; the variable that may change in response to manipulations of the independent variable. Extraneous or Confounding Variables A factor other than the independent variable that might produce an effect in an experiment. Control Group In an experiment, the group that is not exposed to the treatment; contrasts with the experimental group and serves as a comparison for evaluating the effect of the treatment. Experimental Group In an experiment, the group that is exposed to the treatment, that is, to one version of the independent variable. Random Assignment Assigning participants to experimental and control conditions by chance, thus minimizing pre-existing differences between those assigned to the different groups. Ethical Guidelines 1) Participants should know the basic purpose of the study 2) Participants have the right to withdraw or decline study 3) Participants should receive benefits that outweigh the costs or risks involved 4) Participants have the right to expect anonymity 5) Participants have the right to know when they are deceived Positive Correlation Increases in one variable are matched by increases in another. Negative Correlation Increases in one variable are matched by decreases in the second variable. Illusory Correlation The perception of a relationship where none exists. Mode The most frequently occurring score(s) in a distribution. Mean The arithmetic average of a distribution, obtained by adding the scores and then dividing by the number of scores. Median The middle score in a distribution; half the scores are above it and half are below it. Neuron A nerve cell; the basic building block of the nervous system. Axon The extension of a neuron, ending in branching terminal fibers, through which messages pass to other neurons or to muscle or glands. Dendrites The bushy, branching extensions of a neuron that receive messages and conduct impulses toward the cell body. Neurotransmitter 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 that neuron will generate a neural impulse. Central Nervous System (CNS) The system that includes the brain and spinal cord. Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) The sensory and motor neurons that connect the central nervous system (CNS) to the rest of the body. Right Hemisphere This hemisphere is more adept at expressive and creative tasks such as recognizing faces, expressing and reading emotions, imagination, and intuition. Left Hemisphere This hemisphere is more adept at tasks that involve logic, language, and analytical thinking such as organization, critical thinking, math and numbers, and reasoning. Corpus Callosum The large band of neural fibers connecting the two brain hemispheres and carrying messages between them. Cerebral Cortex The intricate fabric of interconnected neural cells that covers the cerebral hemispheres; the body's ultimate control and information-processing center. Occipital Lobe 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. Frontal Lobe The portion of the cerebral cortex lying just behind the forehead; involved in speaking and muscle movements and in making plans and judgments. Temporal Lobe 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. Parietal Lobe The portion of the cerebral cortex lying at the top of the head and toward the rear; receives sensory input for touch and body position. Brain Plasticity The brain's ability to change, especially during childhood, by reorganizing after damage or by building new pathways based on experience. PET (Positron Emission Tomography) Scan A visual display of brain activity that detects where a radioactive form of glucose goes while the brain performs a given task. 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. CT Scan A series of X-ray photographs taken from different angles and combined by computer into a composite representation of a slice through the body. Also called CAT scan. EEG (electroencephalogram) Genes Heritability An amplified recording of the waves of electrical activity sweeping across the brain's surface. These waves are measured by electrodes placed on the scalp. The biochemical units of heredity that make up the chromosomes; a segment of DNA capable of synthesizing a protein. The proportion of variation among individuals that we can attribute to genes. The heritability of a trait may vary, depending on the range of populations and environments studied. Evolutionary Psychology The study of the roots of behavior and mental processes using the principles of natural selection. Natural Selection The principle that, among the range of inherited trait variations, those that lead to increased reproduction and survival will most likely be passed on to succeeding generations. Sensation The process by which our sensory receptors and nervous system receive and represent stimulus energies from our environment. Bottom-Up Processing Analysis that begins with the sensory receptors and works up to the brain's integration of sensory information. Absolute Threshold The minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus 50 percent of the time. Sensory Adaptation Diminished sensitivity as a consequence of constant stimulation. Visual Processing (how it works) After processing by bipolar and ganglion cells in the retina, neural impulses travel through the optic nerve, to the thalamus, and on to the visual cortex. In the visual cortex, feature detectors respond to specific features of the visual stimulus. Phi Phenomenon An illusion of movement created when two or more adjacent lights blink on and off in quick succession. Functions of the Inner Ear This part of the ear serves to balance the body and convert sound waves to electrical impulses Functions of the Middle Ear It amplifies the vibrations and relays them to the fluid-filled cochlea. Frequency Theory In hearing, the theory that the rate of nerve impulses traveling up the auditory nerve matches the frequency of a tone, thus enabling us to sense its pitch. Perception The process of organizing and interpreting sensory information, enabling us to recognize meaningful objects and events. Top-down Processing Information processing guided by higher-level mental processes, as when we construct perceptions drawing on our experience and expectations. Convergence A binocular cue for perceiving depth; the extent to which the eyes converge inward when looking at an object. The greater the inward strain, the closer the object. Perceptual Constancy The perceptual stability of the size, shape, and brightness, and color for familiar objects seen at varying distances, different angles, and under different lighting conditions. Perceptual Set A mental predisposition to perceive one thing and not another. Criticisms of Parapsychology and ESP Skeptics argue that (1) to believe in it, you must believe the brain is capable of perceiving without sensory input, and (2) researchers have been unable to replicate the phenomena under controlled conditions. Consciousness Our awareness of ourselves and our environment. Hypnosis A social interaction in which one person (the hypnotist) suggests to another (the subject) that certain perceptions, feelings, thoughts, or behaviors will spontaneously occur. Circadian Rhythm The biological clock; regular bodily rhythms (for example, of temperature and wakefulness) that occur on a 24-hour cycle. Stage 1 (sleep) Characterized by the irregular brain waves of non-REM sleep, often with the sensation of falling or floating Stage 2 (sleep) Characterized by the irregular brain waves of non-REM sleep, lasting about 20 minutes and sleep spindles (bursts of brain activity) Stage 3 (sleep) Characterized by the irregular brain waves of non-REM sleep, lasting about 30 minutes with large, slow delta waves REM (Rapid Eye Movement) Sleep A recurring sleep stage during which vivid dreams commonly occur. Also known as paradoxical sleep, because the muscles are relaxed (except for minor twitches) but other body systems are active. Wish Fulfillment (dreams) Sigmund Freud suggested that dreams provide a psychic safety valve to discharge unacceptable feelings. The dream's manifest (apparent) content may also have symbolic meanings (latent content) that signify our unacceptable feelings. Information Processing (dreams) Dreams may help sift, sort, and fix a day's experiences in our memories. Physiological Function (dreams) Dreams provide the sleeping brain with periodic stimulation to help develop and preserve neural pathways. Activation-Synthesis Theory (dreams) The brain engages in a lot of random neural activity during sleep. Dreams make sense of this activity. Cognitive Development (dreams) We dream as a part of brain maturation and cognitive development. Sleep Deprivation A state that occurs when you don't get enough sleep. It can weaken the immune system; increase blood pressure, stress, and irritability; and decrease mental functioning, memory, and higher level processing. Depressants Drugs (such as alcohol, barbiturates, and opiates) that reduce neural activity and slow body functions. Stimulants Drugs (such as caffeine, nicotine, and the more powerful amphetamines, cocaine, and Ecstasy) that excite neural activity and speed up body functions. Hallucinogens Psychedelic ("mind manifesting") drugs, such as LSD, that distort perceptions and evoke sensory images in the absence of sensory input. Tolerance The diminishing effect with regular use of the same dose of a drug, requiring the user to take larger and larger doses before experiencing the drug's effect. Addiction Compulsive drug craving and use, despite adverse consequences. Psychoanalytic (personality) Freud's theory of personality that attributes thoughts and actions to unconscious motives and conflicts. Humanist (personality) The theory that posits that way you see yourself (Self Concept) and the positive influences around you ultimately determine your personality. Trait (personality) A theory that attempts to learn what traits make up personality and how they relate to actual behavior. Social Cognitive (personality) Personality is the result of an interaction that takes place between a person's thoughts and their social context (Environment). Myers Briggs Type Indicator A personality inventory that asses one on the theory of psychological types described by C. G. Jung. Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) The most widely researched and clinically used of all personality test. Originally developed to identify emotional disorders (still considered its most appropriate use), this test is now used for many other screening purposes. Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) A projective test in which people express their inner feelings and interests through the stories they make up about ambiguous scenes. Individualism Giving priority to one's own goals over group goals and defining one's identity in terms of personal attributes rather than group identifications. Collectivism Giving priority to the goals of one's group (often one's extended family or work group) and defining one's identity accordingly. Classical Conditioning A type of learning in which an organism comes to associate stimuli. A neutral stimulus that signals an unconditioned stimulus (US) begins to produce a response that anticipates and prepares for the unconditioned stimulus. Also called Pavlovian or respondent conditioning. Ivan Pavlov A Russian physiologist who developed Classical Conditioning Unconditioned Stimulus In classical conditioning, a stimulus that unconditionally - naturally and automatically - triggers a response. Unconditioned Response In classical conditioning, the unlearned, naturally occurring response to the unconditioned stimulus (US), such as salivation when food is in the mouth. Conditioned Stimulus In classical conditioning, an originally irrelevant stimulus that, after association with an unconditioned stimulus (US), comes to trigger a conditioned response. Conditioned Response In classical conditioning, the learned response to a previously neutral (but now conditioned) stimulus (CS). Neutral Stimulus In classical conditioning, a stimulus that naturally triggers no response that then becomes the conditioned stimulus Generalization The tendency, once a response has been conditioned, for stimuli similar to the conditioned stimulus to elicit similar responses. Robert Rescorla's Model A model of classical conditioning, in which learning is conceptualized in terms of associations between conditioned (CS) and unconditioned (US) stimuli. Operant Conditioning A type of learning in which behavior is strengthened if followed by a reinforcer or diminished if followed by a punisher. B.F. Skinner Positive Reinforcement Modern behaviorism's most influential and controversial figure who believed rewarded behavior is likely to recur. He pioneered operant conditioning. Increasing behaviors by presenting positive stimuli, such as food. A positive reinforcer is any stimulus that, when presented after a response, strengthens the response. Negative Reinforcement Increasing behaviors by stopping or reducing negative stimuli, such as shock. A negative reinforcer is any stimulus that, when removed after a response, strengthens the response. Positive Punishment Decreasing behaviors by presenting negative stimuli, such as a parking ticket. A positive punishment is any stimulus that, when presented after a response, weakens the response. Negative Punishment Decreasing behaviors by stopping or reducing positive stimuli, such as phones. A negative punishment is any stimulus that, when removed after a response, weakens the response. Shaping An operant conditioning procedure in which reinforcers guide behavior toward closer and closer approximations of the desired behavior. Observational Learning Learning by observing others; also called social learning. Modeling The process of observing and imitating a specific behavior. Pro-Social Model Positive, constructive, helpful behavior. The opposite of an anti-social model. Anti-Social Model Negative, destructive, aggressive behavior. The opposite of a pro-social model.