Absolute threshold

refers to the minimum amount of stimulus energy that must be present for the stimulus to be detected 50% of the time

acoustic encoding

We encode the sounds the words make


when an organism learns to connect a neutral stimulus and an unconditioned stimulus

actor-observer bias

attributing other people’s behaviour to internal factors (fundamental attribution error) while attributing our own behaviour to situational forces


a trait of an organism has a function for the survival and reproduction of the individual, because it has been naturally selected


the period of development that begins at puberty and ends at emerging adulthood


the continuation of a visual sensation after removal of the stimulus


seeking to cause harm or pain to another person


drug that mimics or strengthens the effects of a neurotransmitter


the tendency to be pleasant, cooperative, trustworthy, and good-natured. People who score low on agreeableness tend to be described as rude and uncooperative


a problem-solving formula that provides you with step-by-step instructions used to achieve a desired outcome


refers to reduced speech output; in simple terms, patients do not say much


the partial or total forgetting of some experience or event


the distance from the center line to the top point of the crest or the bottom point of the trough


structure in the limbic system involved in our experience of emotion and tying emotional meaning to our memories

Analytical intelligence

closely aligned with academic problem solving and computations. Sternberg says that analytical intelligence is demonstrated by an ability to analyze, evaluate, judge, compare, and contrast.

anchoring bias

when you focus on one piece of information when making a decision or solving a problem


an inability to experience pleasure


drug that blocks or impedes the normal activity of a given neurotransmitter

anterograde amnesia

you cannot remember new information, although you can remember information and events that happened prior to your injury

antisocial personality disorder

the individual with antisocial personality disorder shows no regard at all for other people’s rights or feelings


involves apprehension, avoidance, and cautiousness regarding a potential threat, danger, or other negative event

appraisal theory

you have thoughts (a cognitive appraisal) before you experience an emotion, and the emotion you experience depends on the thoughts you had

archival research

method of research using past records or data sets to answer various research questions, or to search for interesting patterns or relationships

artificial concept

a concept that is defined by a specific set of characteristics


social withdrawal and lack of interest in engaging in social interactions with others

Associative learning

occurs when an organism makes connections between stimuli or events that occur together in the environment

attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

a constant pattern of inattention and/or hyperactive and impulsive behaviour that interferes with normal functioning


our evaluation of a person, an idea, or an object

auditory cortex

strip of cortex in the temporal lobe that is responsible for processing auditory information

authoritarian style

the parent places high value on conformity and obedience. The parents are often strict, tightly monitor their children, and express little warmth

authoritative style

the parent gives reasonable demands and consistent limits, expresses warmth and affection, and listens to the child’s point of view. Parents set rules and explain the reasons behind them

Autism spectrum disorder

Children with this disorder show signs of significant disturbances in three main areas: (a) deficits in social interaction, (b) deficits in communication, and (c) repetitive patterns of behaviour or interests. These disturbances appear early in life and cause serious impairments in functioning

automatic emotion regulation (AER)

the non-deliberate control of emotions

Automatic processing

usually done without any conscious awareness

autonomic nervous system

controls our internal organs and glands

availability heuristic

you make a decision based on an example, information, or recent experience that is that readily available to you, even though it may not be the best example to inform your decision

avoidant attachment

the child is unresponsive to the parent, does not use the parent as a secure base, and does not care if the parent leaves


characterized by a lack of motivation to engage in self-initiated and meaningful activity, including the most basic of tasks, such as bathing and grooming

binocular cues

depth cues that they rely on the use of both eyes

binocular disparity

the slightly different view of the world that each of our eyes receives

biological perspective

The perspective (or school of thought) that looks at the influence of biology on behaviour

Biological rhythms

internal rhythms of biological activity - ultradian, circadian, infradian

bipolar disorder

experience of mood states that vacillate between depression and mania; the depressive episode is not required for a diagnosis

blind spot

part of our visual field where the optic nerve leaves the eye, meaning we do not receive visual information for that area

Borderline personality disorder

characterized chiefly by instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image, and mood, as well as marked impulsivity

Bottom-up processing

Sense basic features of a stimulus in out environment and then integrate them

Broca’s area

region in the left hemisphere that is essential for language production


repeated negative treatment of another person, often an adolescent, over time

bystander effect

a phenomenon in which a witness or bystander does not volunteer to help a victim or person in distress. Instead, they just watch what is happening.

Cannon-Bard theory of emotion

physiological arousal and emotional experience occur simultaneously, yet independently

central route

logic driven path of persuasion using data and facts to convince people of an argument’s worthiness


hindbrain structure that controls our balance, coordination, movement, and motor skills, and it is thought to be important in processing some types of memory

cerebral cortex

the outer surface of the brain, is associated with higher level processes such as consciousness, thought, emotion, reasoning, language, and memory


organize information into manageable bits or chunks

circadian rhythm

a biological rhythm that takes place over a period of about 24 hours


Central nervous system - the brain and spinal chord

Cognitive development

involves learning, attention, memory, language, thinking, reasoning, and creativity

cognitive dissonance

psychological discomfort arising from holding two or more inconsistent attitudes, behaviours, or cognitions (thoughts, beliefs, or opinions)

Cognitive psychology

the field of psychology dedicated to examining how people think

Cognitive-behavioral therapy

a type of psychotherapy that focuses on cognitive processes and problem behaviors

cognitive-mediational theory

asserts our emotions are determined by our appraisal of the stimulus

collective unconscious

a universal version of the personal unconscious, holding mental patterns, or memory traces, which are common to all of us such as facing death, becoming independent, and striving for mastery

combined approach

serves as a bridge between Western and indigenous psychology as a way of understanding both universal and cultural variations in personality


the co-occurrence of two disorders


going along with a request or demand, even if you do not agree with the request


repetitive and ritualistic acts that are typically carried out primarily as a means to minimize the distress that obsessions trigger or to reduce the likelihood of a feared event


occurs when sperm fertilizes an egg and forms a zygote


light-detecting cells. The cones are specialized types of photoreceptors that work best in bright light conditions. Cones are very sensitive to acute detail and provide tremendous spatial resolution. They also are directly involved in our ability to perceive color.


a person who works with a researcher on an experiment, often acting as a participant in order to deceive real participants

confirmation bias

tendency to focus on information that confirms your existing beliefs


characterized by competence, self-discipline, thoughtfulness, and achievement-striving (goal-directed behaviour). People who score high on this factor are hardworking and dependable.


awareness of internal and external stimuli; awareness of the self

continuous reinforcement

When an organism receives a reinforcer each time it displays a behaviour


the transparent covering over the eye

corpus callosum

thick band of neural fibers connecting the brain’s two hemispheres

Creative intelligence

inventing or imagining a solution to a problem or situation. Creativity in this realm can include finding a novel solution to an unexpected problem or producing a beautiful work of art or a well-developed short story.

critical thinking

involves maintaining an attitude of skepticism, recognizing internal biases, making use of logical thinking, asking appropriate questions, and making observations

Crystallized intelligence

characterized as acquired knowledge and the ability to retrieve it. When you learn, remember, and recall information, you are using crystallized intelligence.

CT scan

imaging technique in which a computer coordinates and integrates multiple x-rays of a given area

cultural-comparative approach

seeks to test Western ideas about personality in other cultures to determine whether they can be generalized and if they have cultural validity


the beliefs, customs, art, and traditions of a particular society.


repeated behaviour that is intended to cause psychological or emotional harm to another person


refers to situations in which a person may feel a sense of anonymity and therefore a reduction in accountability and sense of self when among others


beliefs that are contrary to reality and are firmly held even in the face of contradictory evidence


branch-like extension of the soma that receives incoming signals from other neurons


defined as feelings of “unreality or detachment from, or unfamiliarity with, one’s whole self or from aspects of the self”

Depersonalization/derealization disorder

characterized by recurring episodes of depersonalization, derealization, or both


conceptualized as a sense of “unreality or detachment from, or unfamiliarity with, the world, be it individuals, inanimate objects, or all surroundings”


negative action toward an individual as a result of one’s membership in a particular group

disorganized attachment

Behave oddly in the Strange Situation. They freeze, run around the room in an erratic manner, or try to run away when the caregiver returns

Disorganized thinking

disjointed and incoherent thought processes—usually detected by what a person says. The person might ramble, exhibit loose associations (jump from topic to topic), or talk in a way that is so disorganized and incomprehensible that it seems as though the person is randomly combining words


our behaviour is determined by internal factors, such as personality

Dissociative disorders

characterized by an individual becoming split off, or dissociated, from her core sense of self. Memory and identity become disturbed; these disturbances have a psychological rather than physical cause

dissociative identity disorder

People with dissociative identity disorder exhibit two or more separate personalities or identities, each well-defined and distinct from one another

drive theory

deviations from homeostasis create physiological needs


electroencephalography (EEG)
recording the electrical activity of the brain via electrodes on the scalp


the rational part of our personality. It’s what Freud considered to be the self, and it is the part of our personality that is seen by others; operates on the "reality principle"

elaborative rehearsal

a technique in which you think about the meaning of new information and its relation to knowledge already stored in your memory

emerging adulthood

a relatively newly defined period of lifespan development spanning from 18 years old to the mid-20s, characterized as an in-between time where identity exploration is focused on work and love


a subjective state of being that we often describe as our feelings

Emotion-focused coping

consists of efforts to change or reduce the negative emotions associated with stress

emotional intelligence

the ability to understand the emotions of yourself and others, show empathy, understand social relationships and cues, and regulate your own emotions and respond in culturally appropriate ways


the capacity to understand another person’s perspective, to feel what he or she feels.


based on measurable data


the input of information into the memory system

encoding failure

memory loss that happens before the actual memory process begins

endocrine system

series of glands that produce chemical substances known as hormones


study of gene-environment interactions, such as how the same genotype leads to different phenotypes

Episodic memory

information about events we have personally experienced

event schema

a set of behaviours that can feel like a routine

Evolutionary psychology

a discipline that studies how universal patterns of behavior and cognitive processes have evolved over time as a result of natural selection

Explicit memories

those we consciously try to remember, recall, and report


the decrease in the conditioned response when the unconditioned stimulus is no longer presented with the conditioned stimulus


arising from external factors

extrinsic motivation

Doing something for a reward or reinforcer, such as a prize or money


characterized by sociability, assertiveness, excitement-seeking, and emotional expression. People who score high on this factor are usually described as outgoing and warm.

facial feedback hypothesis

proposes that your facial expression can actually affect your emotional experience

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD)

a collection of birth defects associated with heavy consumption of alcohol during pregnancy

figure-ground relationship

we tend to segment our visual world into figure and ground

Fine motor skills

focus on the muscles in our fingers, toes, and eyes, and enable coordination of small actions

flashbulb memory

an exceptionally clear recollection of an important event

Fluid intelligence

encompasses the ability to see complex relationships and solve problems. Navigating your way home after being detoured onto an unfamiliar route because of road construction would draw upon your fluid intelligence

Flynn effect

the observation that each generation has a significantly higher IQ than the last


functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
MRI that shows changes in metabolic activity over time

foot-in-the-door technique

the persuader gets a person to agree to bestow a small favor or to buy a small item, only to later request a larger favor or purchase of a bigger item


largest part of the brain, containing the cerebral cortex, the thalamus, and the limbic system, among other structures


loss of information from long-term memory


The part of the retina where images are focused; contains cones

frontal lobe

part of the cerebral cortex involved in reasoning, motor control, emotion, and language; contains motor cortex

frustration aggression theory

This theory states that when humans are prevented from achieving an important goal, they become frustrated and aggressive

Functional fixedness

a type of mental set where you cannot perceive an object being used for something other than what it was designed for


focused on how mental activities helped an organism fit into its environment

fundamental attribution error

They tend to assume that the behaviour of another person is a trait of that person, and to underestimate the power of the situation on the behaviour of others

gender dysphoria

When individuals do not feel comfortable identifying with the gender associated with their biological sex

Gender identity

refers to one’s sense of being male or female

genetic environmental correlation

view of gene-environment interaction that asserts our genes affect our environment, and our environment influences the expression of our genes

glial cells

nervous system cell that provides physical and metabolic support to neurons, including neuronal insulation and communication, and nutrient and waste transport

good life

achieved through identifying our unique skills and abilities and engaging these talents to enrich our lives

grandiose delusions

beliefs that one holds special power, unique knowledge, or is extremely important

Gross motor skills

focus on large muscle groups that control our arms and legs and involve larger movements

Group polarization

the strengthening of an original group attitude after the discussion of views within a group


bumps or ridges on the cerebral cortex (singular: gyrus)


a perceptual experience that occurs in the absence of external stimulation

halo effect

the tendency to let the overall impression of an individual color the way in which we feel about their character


consists of three distinct elements: the pleasant life, the good life, and the meaningful life


the proportion of difference among people that is attributed to genetics


mental shortcuts that are used to solve problems


division of the brain containing the medulla, pons, and cerebellum

Hindsight bias

leads you to believe that the event you just experienced was predictable, even though it really wasn’t


structure in the temporal lobe associated with learning and memory


state of equilibrium—biological conditions, such as body temperature, are maintained at optimal levels


the tendency for people to form social networks, including friendships, marriage, business relationships, and many other types of relationships, with others who are similar


chemical messenger released by endocrine glands

Hostile aggression

motivated by feelings of anger with intent to cause pain; a fight in a bar with a stranger is an example of hostile aggression


forebrain structure that regulates sexual motivation and behavior and a number of homeostatic processes; serves as an interface between the nervous system and the endocrine system


a tentative explanation


contains our most primitive drives or urges, and is present from birth. It directs impulses for hunger, thirst, and sex

ideal self

is the person that you would like to be

Implicit memories

long-term memories that are not part of our consciousness


a group that we identify with or see ourselves as belonging to

Inattentional blindness

the failure to perceive stimuli that are in your environment

indigenous approach

has led to the development of personality assessment instruments that are based on constructs relevant to the culture being studied

inferiority complex

refers to a person’s feelings that they lack worth and don’t measure up to the standards of others or of society

informational social influence

people conform because they believe the group is competent and has the correct information, particularly when the task or situation is ambiguous

infradian rhythms

Biological rhythms lasting longer than 24 hours, such as menstruation, migration, and hibernation


a consistent difficulty in falling or staying asleep


a species-specific pattern of behaviour that is not learned


innate behaviors that are triggered by a broader range of events, such as maturation and the change of seasons

instrumental aggression

motivated by achieving a goal and does not necessarily involve intent to cause pain (Berkowitz, 1993); a contract killer who murders for hire displays instrumental aggression


arising from internal factors

intrinsic motivation

Being motivated by internal factors, such as a desire to reach a goal or wanting to get better at a task; doing something for yourself


a process by which someone examines their own conscious experience as objectively as possible

Involuntary treatment

refers to therapy that is not the individual’s choice


intelligence quotient and describes a score earned on a test designed to measure intelligence


the colored portion of the eye

James-Lange theory of emotion

asserts that emotions arise from physiological arousal

Jet lag

a collection of symptoms that results from the mismatch between our internal circadian cycles and our environment

just noticeable difference

how much difference in stimuli is required to detect a difference between them

just-world hypothesis

the belief that people get the outcomes they deserve

justification of effort

we value goals and achievements that we put a lot of effort into


concept that each hemisphere of the brain is associated with specialized functions

law of continuity

we are more likely to perceive continuous, smooth flowing lines rather than jagged, broken lines

law of effect

behaviours that are followed by consequences that are satisfying to the organism are more likely to be repeated, and behaviours that are followed by unpleasant consequences are less likely to be repeated


acquiring knowledge and skills through experience


a curved, transparent structure that serves to provide additional focus. The lens is attached to muscles that can change its shape to aid in focusing light that is reflected from near or far objects

limbic system

collection of structures involved in processing emotion and memory

Linear perspective

the fact that we perceive depth when we see two parallel lines that seem to converge in an image

Long-term memory (LTM)

the continuous storage of information

major depressive disorder

A mood disorder characterized by “depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day” (feeling sad, empty, hopeless, or appearing tearful to others), and loss of interest and pleasure in usual activities

meaningful life

involves a deep sense of fulfillment that comes from using our talents in the service of the greater good


hindbrain structure that controls automated processes like breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate

mental set

where you persist in approaching a problem in a way that has worked in the past but is clearly not working now


division of the brain located between the forebrain and the hindbrain; contains the reticular formation

Milgram's Obedience Study

Mnemonic devices

memory aids that help us organize information for encoding

monocular cues

depth cues that require only one eye, such as in 2D paintings or photographs


refers to a prolonged, less intense, affective state that does not occur in response to something we experience

Mood disorders

characterized by severe disturbances in mood and emotions—most often depression, but also mania and elation

Morbid obesity

having a BMI over 40


the wants or needs that direct behaviour toward a goal

Motor development

occurs in an orderly sequence as infants move from reflexive reactions (e.g., sucking and rooting) to more advanced motor functioning

Motor skills

our ability to move our bodies and manipulate objects


magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
magnetic fields used to produce a picture of the tissue being imaged

myelin sheath

fatty substance that insulates axons

Natural concepts

created “naturally” through your experiences and can be developed from either direct or indirect experiences

negative punishment

remove a pleasant stimulus to decrease behaviour

negative reinforcement

an undesirable stimulus is removed to increase a behaviour

Negative symptoms

those that reflect noticeable decreases and absences in certain behaviors, emotions, or drives


nervous system's ability to change and adapt


the tendency to experience negative emotions. People high on neuroticism tend to experience emotional instability and are characterized as angry, impulsive, and hostile.


chemical messenger of the nervous system

Nodes of Ranvier

open spaces that are found in the myelin sheath that encases the axon

normative social influence

people conform to the group norm to fit in, to feel good, and to be accepted by the group


giving a test to a large population so data can be collected comparing groups, such as age groups


the change of an individual’s behaviour to comply with a demand by an authority figure


characterized as persistent, unintentional, and unwanted thoughts and urges that are highly intrusive, unpleasant, and distressing

Obsessive-compulsive and related disorders

a group of overlapping disorders that generally involve intrusive, unpleasant thoughts and repetitive behaviours

occipital lobe

part of the cerebral cortex associated with visual processing; contains the primary visual cortex

Openness to experience

characterized by imagination, feelings, actions, and ideas. People who score high on this factor tend to be curious and have a wide range of interests.

opponent-process theory

suggests that color is coded in opponent pairs: black-white, yellow-blue, and green-red

optic chiasm

information from the right visual field (which comes from both eyes) is sent to the left side of the brain, and information from the left visual field is sent to the right side of the brain.

optic nerve

carries visual information from the retina to the brain


a group that we view as fundamentally different from us


refers to an extension of a language rule to an exception to the rule

overjustification effect
paranoid delusions

involve the (false) belief that other people or agencies are plotting to harm the person

parasympathetic nervous system

associated with routine, day-to-day operations of the body (e.g., rest-and-digest)

parietal lobe

part of the cerebral cortex involved in processing various sensory and perceptual information; contains the primary somatosensory cortex


the way sensory information is organized, interpreted, and consciously experienced

perceptual hypotheses

educated guesses that we make while interpreting sensory information

peripheral route

the peripheral route of persuasion relies on association with positive characteristics such as positive emotions and celebrity endorsement

permissive style

the kids run the show and anything goes. Permissive parents make few demands and rarely use punishment. They tend to be very nurturing and loving, and may play the role of friend rather than parent

PET scan

positron emission tomography (PET) scan
involves injecting individuals with a mildly radioactive substance and monitoring changes in blood flow to different regions of the brain

Physical development

involves growth and changes in the body and brain, the senses, motor skills, and health and wellness

pituitary gland

secretes a number of key hormones, which regulate fluid levels in the body, and a number of messenger hormones, which direct the activity of other glands in the endocrine system

pleasant life

realized through the attainment of day-to-day pleasures that add fun, joy, and excitement to our lives


connects the brain and spinal cord to the muscles, organs and senses in the periphery of the body


hindbrain structure that connects the brain and spinal cord; involved in regulating brain activity during sleep

positive punishment

add an undesirable stimulus to decrease a behaviour

positive reinforcement

a desirable stimulus is added to increase a behaviour

post-traumatic stress disorder

a chronic stress reaction characterized by experiences and behaviours that may include intrusive and painful memories of the stressor event, jumpiness, persistent negative emotional states, detachment from others, angry outbursts, and avoidance of reminders of the event

Practical intelligence

find solutions that work in your everyday life by applying knowledge based on your experiences

prefrontal cortex

area in the frontal lobe responsible for higher-level cognitive functioning


a negative attitude and feeling toward an individual based solely on one’s membership in a particular social group

Primary sexual characteristics

organs specifically needed for reproduction, like the uterus and ovaries in females and testes in males

principle of closure

we organize our perceptions into complete objects rather than as a series of parts

principle of similarity

things that are alike tend to be grouped together

proactive interference

when old information hinders the recall of newly learned information

problem-focused coping

one attempts to manage or alter the problem that is causing one to experience stress

prosocial behaviour

Voluntary behaviour with the intent to help other people


asserts that things that are close to one another tend to be grouped together

psychological disorder

a condition characterized by abnormal thoughts, feelings, and behaviours


the scientific study of the mind and behavior


the study of psychological disorders, including their symptoms, etiology (i.e., their causes), and treatment

Psychosocial development

involves emotions, personality, and social relationships


the small opening in the eye through which light passes, and the size of the pupil can change as a function of light levels as well as emotional arousal


prejudice and discrimination against an individual based solely on one’s membership in a specific racial group (such as toward African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, European Americans)

range of reaction

asserts our genes set the boundaries within which we can operate, and our environment interacts with the genes to determine where in that range we will fall

real self

the person you actually are


you can access information without cues


the give and take in relationships


you identify information that you have previously learned after encountering it again


a motor or neural reaction to a specific stimulus in the environment


the conscious repetition of information to be remembered


learning information that you previously learned

Representative bias

a faulty way of thinking, in which you unintentionally stereotype someone or something

resistant attachment

children tend to show clingy behaviour, but then they reject the attachment figure’s attempts to interact with them

reticular formation

midbrain structure important in regulating the sleep/wake cycle, arousal, alertness, and motor activity


The act of getting information out of memory storage and back into conscious awareness

Retrograde amnesia

loss of memory for events that occurred prior to the trauma


specialized photoreceptors that work well in low light conditions, and while they lack the spatial resolution and color function of the cones, they are involved in our vision in dimly lit environments as well as in our perception of movement on the periphery of our visual field

role schema

makes assumptions about how individuals in certain roles will behave


the act of blaming an out-group when the in-group experiences frustration or is blocked from obtaining a goal

Schachter-Singer two-factor theory of emotion

emotions are composed of two factors: physiological and cognitive


a mental construct consisting of a cluster or collection of related concepts


a devastating psychological disorder that is characterized by major disturbances in thought, perception, emotion, and behavior

scientific theory

a broad explanation or group of explanations for some aspect of the natural world that is consistently supported by evidence over time

Secondary sexual characteristics

physical signs of sexual maturation that do not directly involve sex organs, such as development of breasts and hips in girls, and development of facial hair and a deepened voice in boys

secure attachment

The attachment figure is used as a secure base to explore the environment and is sought out in times of stress


an understanding of who you are


the sharing of personal information


an individual’s belief in their own capability to complete a task

self-serving biases

those attributions that enable us to see ourselves in a favorable light (for example, making internal attributions for success and external attributions for failures)

semantic encoding

The encoding of words and their meaning

semantic network

Related concepts are linked, and the strength of the link depends on how often two concepts have been associated


the process by which we derive meaning from morphemes and words

sensory adaptation

stimuli that remain relatively constant over prolonged periods of time are no longer perceived - e.g., jumping into a pool and feeling cold at first, but after a while you no longer the cold.

sensory memory

storage of brief sensory events, such as sights, sounds, and tastes

set-point theory

each individual has an ideal body weight, or set point, which is resistant to change

sexual orientation

emotional and erotic attraction toward another individual


reward successive approximations of a target behaviour

Short-term memory (STM)

a temporary storage system that processes incoming sensory memory

signal detection theory

The ability to identify a stimulus when it is embedded in a distracting background


the view that our behaviour and actions are determined by our immediate environment and surroundings

social norms
Social traps

situations that arise when individuals or groups of individuals behave in ways that are not in their best interest and that may have negative, long-term consequences


cell body (neuron)

somatic delusion

the belief that something highly abnormal is happening to one’s body (e.g., that one’s kidneys are being eaten by cockroaches)

somatic nervous system

relays sensory and motor information to and from the CNS

somatosensory cortex

essential for processing sensory information from across the body, such as touch, temperature, and pain

spontaneous recovery

the return of a previously extinguished conditioned response following a rest period


the manner of administration, scoring, and interpretation of test results is consistent


a specific belief or assumption about individuals based solely on their membership in a group, regardless of their individual characteristics

stimulus discrimination

When an organism learns to respond differently to various stimuli that are similar

stimulus generalization

when an organism demonstrates the conditioned response to stimuli that are similar to the condition stimulus


the creation of a permanent record of information


focus on the contents of mental processes rather than their function


Suggestibility describes the effects of misinformation from external sources that leads to the creation of false memories


death caused by self-directed injurious behaviour with any intent to die as the result of the behaviour


depressions or grooves in the cerebral cortex (singular: sulcus)


develops as a child interacts with others, learning the social rules for right and wrong. The superego acts as our conscience; it is our moral compass that tells us how we should behave

sympathetic nervous system

involved in stress-related activities and functions (e.g., fight-or-flight response)


refers to the way words are organized into sentences

Taste aversion

a type of conditioning in which an interval of several hours may pass between the conditioned stimulus (something ingested) and the unconditioned stimulus (nausea or illness)


innate traits that influence how one thinks, behaves, and reacts with the environment

temporal lobe

part of cerebral cortex associated with hearing, memory, emotion, and some aspects of language; contains primary auditory cortex


any environmental agent—biological, chemical, or physical—that causes damage to the developing embryo or fetus


sensory relay for the brain - al senses, except smell, are routed through the thalamus

top-down processing

processing occurs when previous experience and expectations are used to recognize stimuli

trial and error

A problem solving strategy were you continue to try different solutions until you solved your problem

trichromatic theory of color vision

suggests that all colors in the spectrum can be produced by combining red, green, and blue. The three types of cones are each receptive to one of the colors

Type A pattern

an aggressive and chronic struggle to achieve more and more in less and less time

Type B pattern

those who are more relaxed and laid-back, in comparison to Type A individuals

ultradian rhythms

Biological rhythms that repeat throughout a 24 hour day, such as changes in body temperature, arousal, bowel activity and appetite


refers to that mental activity of which we are unaware and are unable to access

uninvolved style

the parents are indifferent, uninvolved, and sometimes referred to as neglectful. They don’t respond to the child’s needs and make relatively few demands

Visual encoding

the encoding of images, and acoustic encoding is the encoding of sounds, words in particular


people have free will and should know the intentions of a psychological experiment if they were participating

Voluntary treatment

the person chooses to attend therapy to obtain relief from symptoms


refers to the number of waves that pass a given point in a given time period and is often expressed in terms of hertz (Hz), or cycles per second

Weber’s law

The difference threshold is a constant fraction of the original stimulus

Wernicke’s area

important for speech comprehension; located in the temporal lobe

what pathway

involved in object recognition and identification

where/how pathway

involved with location in space and how one might interact with a particular visual stimulus

Yerkes-Dodson law

a simple task is performed best when arousal levels are relatively high and complex tasks are best performed when arousal levels are lower


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Introduction to Psychology Copyright © 2021 by Southern Alberta Institution of Technology (SAIT) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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