AP Psychology- Exam Study Guide (Part 1)

question

Absolute threshold
answer

The minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus 50 percent of the time
question

Accommodation(Developmental)
answer

Adapting one’s current understandings (schemas) to incorporate new information
question

Accommodation(Biological)
answer

The process by which the eye’s lens changes shape to focus the image of near objects on the retina
question

Acetylcholine (ACh)
answer

A neurotransmitter that, among its functions, triggers muscle contraction
question

Achievement motivation
answer

A desire for significant accomplishment: for mastery of things, people, or ideas; for attaining a high standard
question

Achievement test
answer

A test designed to assess what a person has learned
question

Acoustic encoding
answer

The encoding of sounds, especially the sound of words
question

Acquisition
answer

The initial stage in classical conditioning; the phase associating a neutral stimulus with an unconditioned stimulus so that the neutral stimulus comes to elicit a conditioned response. In operant conditioning, the strengthening of a reinforced response
question

Action potential
answer

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

Active listening
answer

Empathetic listening in which the listener echoes, restates, and clarifies. A feature of Rogers client-centered therapy
question

Acuity
answer

The sharpness of vision
question

Adaptation-level phenomenon
answer

Our tendency to form judgments (of sounds, of lights, of income) relative to a “neutral” level defined by our prior experience
question

Adolescence
answer

The transition period from childhood to adulthood, extending from puberty to independence
question

Adrenal glands
answer

A pair of endocrine glands just above the kidneys. The adrenals secrete the hormones epinephrine (adrenaline) and nor epinephrine (noradrenaline), which help to arouse the body in times of stress
question

Aerobic exercise
answer

Sustained exercise that increases heart and lung fitness; may also alleviate depression and anxiety
question

Aggression
answer

And physical or verbal behavior intended to hurt or destroy
question

Algorithm
answer

A methodical, logical rule or procedure that guarantees solving a particular problem. Contrasts with the usually speedier- but also more error-prone use of heuristics
question

Alpha waves
answer

The relatively slow brain waves of a relaxed, awake state
question

Altruism
answer

Unselfish regard for the welfare of others
question

Alzheimer’s disease
answer

A progressive and irreversible brain disorder characterized by gradual deterioration of memory, reasoning, language, and finally, physical functioning
question

Amnesia
answer

The loss of memory
question

Amphetamines
answer

Drugs that stimulate neural activity, causing speeded up body functions and associated energy and mood changes
question

Amygdala
answer

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

Anorexia nervosa
answer

An eating disorder in which a normal-weight person (usually and adolescent female) diets and becomes significantly (15 percent or more) underweight, yet, still feeling fat, continues to starve
question

Antisocial personality disorder
answer

A personality disorder in which the person (usually a man) exhibits a lack of conscience for wrongdoing, even toward friends and family members. May be aggressive and ruthless or a clever con artist
question

Anxiety disorders
answer

Psychological disorders characterized by distressing, persistent anxiety or maladaptive behaviors that reduce anxiety
question

Aphasia
answer

Impairment of language, usually caused by left hemisphere damage either to Broca’s area (impairing speaking) or to Wernike’s area (impairing understanding)
question

Applied research
answer

Scientific study that aims to solve practical problems
question

Aptitude test
answer

A test designed to predict a person’s future performance, aptitude is the capacity to learn
question

Artificial intelligence (AI)
answer

Science of designing and programming computer systems to do intelligent things and to stimulate human thought process such as intuitive reasoning, learning, and understanding language. Includes practical implications (chess playing, industrial robots, expert systems) and efforts to model human thinking inspired by our current understanding of how the brain works
question

Assimilation
answer

Interpreting one’s new experience in terms of one’s existing schemas
question

Association areas
answer

Areas of cerebral cortex that are not involved in primary motor or sensory functions; rather, they are involved in higher mental functions such as learning, remembering, thinking, and speaking
question

Associative learning
answer

Learning that certain events occur together. The events may be two stimuli (as in classical conditioning) or a response and its consequences (as in operant conditioning)
question

Attachment
answer

An emotional tie with another person; shown in young children by their seeking closeness to the caregiver and showing distress on separation
question

Attitude
answer

A belief and feeling that predisposes one to respond in a particular way to objects, people, and events
question

Attribution theory
answer

The theory that we tend to give a casual explanation for someone’s behavior, often by crediting either the situation or the person’s disposition
question

Audition
answer

The sense of hearing
question

Automatic processing
answer

Unconscious encoding of incidental information, such as space, time, and frequency, and of well-learned information, such as word meanings
question

Autonomic nervous system
answer

The part of the peripheral nervous system that controls the glands and the muscles of the internal organs (such as the heart). Its sympathetic division arouses; its parasympathetic division calms
question

Availability heuristic
answer

Estimating the likelihood of events based on their availability in memory; if instances come readily to mind (perhaps because of their vividness), we presume such events are common
question

Aversive conditioning
answer

A type of counterconditioning that associates an unpleasant state (such as nausea) with an unwanted behavior (such as drinking alcohol)
question

Axon
answer

The extension of a neuron, ending in branching terminal fibers, through which messages are sent to other neurons or to muscles or glands
question

Babbling stage
answer

Beginning at 3 to 4 months, the stage of speech development in which the infant spontaneously utters various sounds at first unrelated to the household language
question

Barbiturates
answer

Drugs that depress the activity of the central nervous system, reducing anxiety but impairing memory and judgment
question

Basal metabolic rate
answer

The body’s resting rate of energy expenditure
question

Basic research
answer

Pure science that aims to increase the scientific knowledge base
question

Basic trust
answer

According to Erik Erikson, a sense that the world is predictable and trustworthy; said to be formed during infancy by appropriate experiences with responsive caregivers
question

Behavior genetics
answer

The study of the relative power and limits of genetic and environmental influences on behavior
question

Behavior therapy
answer

Therapy that applies learning principles to the elimination of unwanted behaviors
question

Behavioral medicine
answer

An interdisciplinary field that integrates behavioral and medical knowledge and applies that knowledge to health and disease
question

Behaviorism
answer

The view that psychology (1) should be an objective science that (2) studies behavior without reference to mental processes. Most research psychologists today agree with (1) but not (2)
question

Belief bias
answer

The tendency for one’s preexisting beliefs to distort logical reasoning, sometimes by making invalid conclusions seem valid, or valid conclusions seem invalid
question

Belief perseverance
answer

Clinging to one’s initial conceptions after the basis on which they formed has been discredited
question

Binocular cues
answer

Depth cues, such as retinal disparity and convergence, that depend on the use of two eyes
question

Bio-psycho-social perspective
answer

A contemporary perspective which assumes that biological, psychological and sociocultural factors combine and interact to produce psychological disorders
question

Biofeedback
answer

A system for electronically recording, amplifying, and feeding back information regarding a subtle physiological state, such as blood pressure or muscle tension
question

Biological psychology
answer

A branch of psychology concerned with the links between biology and behavior. (Some biological psychologists call themselves behavioral neuroscientists, neuropsychologists, behavior geneticists, physiological psychologists, or biopsychologists
question

Biological rhythms
answer

Periodic physiological fluctuations
question

Bipolar disorder
answer

A mood disorder in which the person alternates between the hopelessness and lethargy of depression and the overexcited state of mania
question

Blind spot
answer

The point at which the optic nerve leaves the eye, creating a “blind” spot because no receptor cells are located there
question

Bottom-up processing
answer

Analysis that begins with the sense receptors and works up to the brains integration of sensory information
question

Brainstem
answer

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

Broca’s area
answer

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

Bulimia nervosa
answer

An eating disorder characterized by private “binge-purge” episodes of overeating, usually of highly caloric foods, followed by vomiting or laxative use
question

Burnout
answer

Physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion brought on by persistent job-related stress
question

Bystander effect
answer

The tendency for any given bystander to be less likely to give aid if other bystanders are present
question

Cannon-Bard theory
answer

The theory that an emotion-arousing stimulus simultaneously triggers (1) physiological responses and (2) the subjective experience of emotion
question

Case study
answer

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

Catharsis
answer

Emotional release. In psychology, the catharsis hypothesis maintains that “releasing” aggressive energy (through action or fantasy) relieves aggressive urges
question

Central nervous system (CNS)
answer

the brain and spinal cord
question

Cerebellum
answer

The “little brain” attached to the rear of the brainstem; it helps coordinate voluntary movement and balance
question

Cerebral cortex
answer

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

Chromosomes
answer

Threadlike structures made of DNA molecules that contain the genes
question

Chunking
answer

Organizing items into familiar, manageable units; often occurs automatically
question

Circadian rhythm
answer

The biological clock; regular bodily rhythms (for example, of temperature and wakefulness) that occur on a 24- hour cycle
question

Classical conditioning
answer

A type of learning in which an organism comes to associate stimuli. A neutral stimulus that signals an unconditioned response (UCS) begins to produce a response that anticipates and prepares for the unconditioned stimulus (also called Pavlovian Conditioning)
question

Client-centered therapy
answer

A humanistic therapy, developed by Carl Rogers, in which the therapist uses techniques such as active listening within a genuine, accepting, empathic environment to facilitate clients’ growth. (Also called person-centered therapy)
question

Clinical psychology
answer

A branch of psychology that studies, assesses, and trests people with psychological disorders
question

Cochlea
answer

A coiled, bony, fluid-filled tube in the inner ear through which sound waves trigger nerve impulses
question

Cognition
answer

All the mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, and remembering
question

Cognitive-behavior therapy
answer

A popular integrated therapy that combines cognitive therapy (changing self-defeating thinking) with behavior therapy (changing behavior)
question

Cognitive dissonance theory
answer

The theory that we act to reduce the discomfort (dissonance) we feel when two of our thoughts (cognitions) are inconsistent. For example, when our awareness of our attitudes and of our actions clash, we can reduce the resulting dissonance by changing our attitudes
question

Cognitive map
answer

A mental representation of the layout of one’s environment. For example, after exploring a maze, rats act as if they have learned a cognitive map of it
question

Cognitive therapy
answer

Therapy that teaches people new, more adaptive ways of thinking and acting; based on the assumption that thoughts intervene between events and our emotional reactions
question

Collective unconscious
answer

Carl Jung’s concept of a shared, inherited reservoir of memory traces from our species’ history
question

Collectivism
answer

Giving priority to the goals of ones group and defining one’s identity accordingly
question

Color constancy
answer

Perceiving familiar objects as having consistent color, even if changing illumination alters the wavelengths reflected by the object
question

Companionate love
answer

The deep affectionate attachment we feel for those whom are lives are intertwined
question

Complementary and alternative medicine
answer

Unproven health care treatments not taught widely in medical school, not used in hospitals, and not usually reimbursed by insurance companies
question

Computer neural networks
answer

Computer circuits that mimic the brain’s interconnected neural cells, performing tasks such as learning to recognize visual patterns and smells
question

Concept
answer

mental grouping of similar objects, events, ideas, or people
question

Concrete operational stage
answer

In Piaget’s theory, the stage of cognitive development from about 6 or 7 to 11 years of age during which children gain the mental operations that enable them to think logically about concrete events
question

Conditioned reinforcer
answer

A stimulus that gains its reinforcing power though its association with a primary reinforcer
question

Conditioned response (CR)
answer

In classical conditioning, the learned response to a previously neutral conditioned stimulus (CS)
question

Conditioned stimulus (CS)
answer

In classical conditioning, an originally irrelevant stimulus that, after association with an unconditioned stimulus (UCS), comes to trigger a conditioned response
question

Conduction hearing loss
answer

Hearing loss caused by damage to the mechanical system that conducts sound waves to the cochlea
question

Cones
answer

Receptor cells that are concentrates near the center of the retina and that function in daylight or in well-lit conditions. The cones detect finel detail and give rise to color sensations
question

Confirmation bias
answer

A tendency to search for information that confirms one’s preconceptions
question

Conflict
answer

A perceived incompatibility of actions, goals, or ideas
question

Conformity
answer

Adjusting one’s behavior or thinking to coincide with a group standard
question

Consciousness
answer

Our awareness of ourselves and our environments
question

Conservation
answer

The principle (which Piaget believed to be a part of concrete operational reasoning) that properties such as mass, volume, and number remain the same despite changes in the forms of objects
question

Content validity
answer

The extent to which a test samples the behavior that is interest (such as driving test samples driving tasks)
question

Continuous reinforcement
answer

Reinforcing the desired response every time it occurs
question

Control condition
answer

The condition of an experiment that contrasts with the experimental condition and serces as a comparison for evaluating the effect of the treatment
question

Convergence
answer

A binocular cue for perceiving depth; the extent to which the eyes converge inward when looking at an object
question

Coronary heart disease
answer

The clogging of the vessels that nourish the heart muscle; the leading cause of death in the United States
question

Corpus callosum
answer

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

Correlation coefficient
answer

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

Counterconditioning
answer

A behavior therapy procedure that conditions new responses to stimuli that trigger unwanted behaviors; based on classical conditioning
question

Creativity
answer

The ability to produce novel and valuable ideas
question

Criterion
answer

The behavior (such as college grades) that a test (such as the SAT) is designed to predict; thus, the measure used in defining whether the test has predictive validity
question

Critical period
answer

An optimal period shortly after birth when an organism’s exposure to certain stimuli or experiences produces proper development
question

Critical thinking
answer

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

Cross-sectional study
answer

A study in which people of different ages are compared with one another
question

Crystallized intelligence
answer

One’s accumulated knowledge and verbal skills; tends to increase with age
question

CT (computer tomography scan)
answer

A series of x-ray photographs taken from different angles and combined by computer into a composite representation of a slice through the body
question

Culture
answer

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

Defense mechanisms
answer

In psychoanalytic theory, the ego’s protective methods of reducing anxiety by unconsciously distorting reality
question

Deindividuation
answer

The loss of self-awareness and self-restraint occurring in group situations that foster arousal and anonymity
question

DĂ©jĂ  vu
answer

That eerie sense that “I’ve experienced this before”. Cues form the current situation may subconsciously trigger retrieval of an earlier experience
question

Delta waves
answer

The large, slow brain waves associated with deep sleep
question

Delusions
answer

False beliefs, often of persecution or grandeur, that may accompany psychotic disorders
question

Dendrite
answer

The bushy, branching extensions of a neuron that receive messages and conduct impulses toward the cell body
question

Dependent variable
answer

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

Depressants
answer

Drugs (such as alcohol, barbiturates, and opiates) that reduce neural activity and slow body functions
question

Depth perception
answer

The ability to see objects in three dimensions although the images that strike the retina are two-dimensional; allows us to judge distance
question

Developmental psychology
answer

A branch of psychology that studies physical, cognitive, and social change throughout the life span
question

Difference threshold
answer

The minimum difference that a person can detect two stimuli. We experience the difference threshold as a just noticeable difference
question

Discrimination
answer

In classical conditioning, the learned ability to distinguish between a conditioned stimulus and other stimuli that do not signal an unconditioned stimulus
question

Displacement
answer

Defense mechanism that shifts sexual or aggressive impulses toward a more acceptable or less threatening object or person, as when redirecting anger toward a safer outlet
question

Dissociation
answer

A split in consciousness, which allows some thoughts and behaviors to occur simultaneously with others
question

Dissociative disorders
answer

Disorder in which conscious awareness becomes separated from previous memories, thoughts, or feelings
question

Dissociative identity disorder
answer

A rare dissociative disorder in which a person exhibits two or more distinct and alternating personalities
question

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid)
answer

A complex molecule containing the genetic information that makes up the chromosomes A DNA molecule has two strands – forming a double helix – held together by bonds between pairs of nucleotides
question

Double-blind procedure
answer

An experimental procedure in which both the research participants and the research staff are ignorant about whether the research participants have received the treatment or placebo. Commonly used in drug evaluation studies
question

Down syndrome
answer

A condition of retardation and associated physical disorders caused by an extra chromosome in one’s genetic makeup
question

Dream
answer

A sequence of images, emotions, and thoughts passing through a sleeping person’s mind. Dreams are notable for their hallucinatory imagery, discontinuities, and incongruities, and for the dreamer’s delusional acceptance of the content and later difficulties remembering it
question

Drive-reduction theory
answer

The idea that a physiological need creates an aroused tension state (a drive) that motivates an organism to satisfy the need
question

DSM-IV
answer

The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a widely used system for classifying psychological disorders
question

Dualism
answer

The presumption that mind and body are two distinct entities that interact

Get instant access to
all materials

Become a Member