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General Psychology Chapters 1-5 Vocabulary

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Psychology
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The scientific study of mind and behavior
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Mind
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The private inner experience of perceptions, thoughts, memories, and feelings
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Behavior
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Observable actions of human and nonhuman animals
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Nativism
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The philosophical view that certain kinds of knowledge are innate or inborn
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Philosophical Empiricism
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The view that all knowledge is acquired through experience
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Reaction Time
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The amount of time taken to respond to a specific stimulus
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Consciousness
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A person’s subjective view of the world and the mind
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Structuralism
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The analysis of the basic elements that constitute the mind
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Introspection
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The subjective observation of one’s own experience
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Functionalism
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The study of the purpose mental processes serve in enabling people to adapt to their environment
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Natural Selection
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Charles Darwin’s theory that the features of an organism that help it survive and reproduce are more likely than other features to be passed on to subsequent generations
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Hysteria
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A temporary loss of cognitive or motor functions, usually as a result of emotionally upsetting experiences
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Unconscious
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The part of the mind that operates outside of the conscious awareness but influences conscious thoughts, feelings, and actions.
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Psychoanalytic Theory
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An approach that emphasizes the importance of unconscious mental processes in shaping feelings, thought, and behavior.
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Psychoanalysis
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A therapeutic approach that focuses on bringing unconscious material into conscious awareness to better understand psychological disorders.
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Humanistic Psychology
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An approach to understanding the human nature that emphasizes the positive potential of human beings
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Behaviorism
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An approach that advocates that psychologists restrict themselves to the scientific study of objectively observable behavior
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Stimulus
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Sensory input from the environment
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Response
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An action or physiological change elicited by a stimulus
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Reinforcement
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The consequences of a behavior determine whether it will be more or less likely to occur again
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Illusions
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Errors of perception, memory, or judgement in which subjective experience differs from objective reality
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Gestalt Psychology
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A psychological approach that emphasizes that we often the perceive the whole rather than the sum of the parts
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Cognitive Psychology
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The scientific study of mental processes,including perception, thought, memory, and reasoning
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Behavioral Neuroscience
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An approach to psychology that links psychological processes to activities in the nervous system and other bodily processes
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Cognitive Neuroscience
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The field of study that attempts to understand the links between cognitive processes and brain activity
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Evolutionary Psychology
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A psychological approach that explains mind and behavior in terms of the adaptive value of abilities that are preserved over time by natural selection
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Social Psychology
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The study of the causes and consequences of sociality
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Cultural Psychology
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The study of how cultures reflect and shape the psychological processes of their members
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Empiricism
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The belief that accurate knowledge can be acquired through observation
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Scientific Method
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A procedure for finding truth by using empirical evidence
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Theory
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A hypothetical explanation of a natural phenomenon
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Hypothesis
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A falsifiable prediction made by a theory
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Empirical Method
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A set of rules and techniques for observation
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Operational Definition
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A description of a property in concrete, measurable terms
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Instrument
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Anything that can detect the condition to which an operational definition refers
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Validity
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The goodness with which a concrete event defines a property
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Reliability
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The tendency for an instrument to produce the same measurement whenever it is used to measure the same thing
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Power
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An instrument’s ability to detect small magnitudes of the property
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Demand Characteristics
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Those aspects of an observational setting that cause people to behave as they think someone else wants or expects
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Naturalistic Observation
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A technique for gathering scientific information by unobtrusively observing people in their natural environments
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Double-Blind
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An observation whose true purpose is hidden from both the observer and the person being observed
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Variable
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A property whose value can vary across individuals or over time
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Correlation
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Two variables are said to “be correlated” when variations in the value of one variable are synchronized with variations in the value of the other.
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Natural Correlations
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A correlation observed in the world around us
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Third Variable Correlation
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Two variables are correlated only because each is causally related to a third variable
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Third Variable Problem
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The fact that a causal relationship between two variables cannot be inferred from the naturally occurring correlation between them because the ever-present possibility of third-variable correlation
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Experiment
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A technique for establishing the causal relationship between variables
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Manipulation
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Changing a variable in order to determine its causal power
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Independent Variable
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The variable that is manipulated in an experiment
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Experimental Group
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The group of people who are exposed to a particular manipulation, as compared to the control group, in an experiment
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Control Group
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The group of people who are not exposed to the particular manipulation, as compared to the experimental group, in an experiment
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Dependent Variable
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The variable that is measurable in a study
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Self-Selection
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A problem that occurs when anything about a person determines whether he or she will be included in the experimental or control group
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Random Assignment
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A procedure that lets chance assign people to the experimental or control group
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Internal Validity
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An attribute of an experiment that allows it to establish causal relationships
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External Validity
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An attribute of an experiment in which variables have been defined in a normal, typical, or realistic way
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Population
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A complete collection of participants who might possibly be measured
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Sample
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A partial collection of people drawn form a population
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Case Method
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A procedure for gathering scientific information by studying a single individual
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Random Sampling
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A technique for choosing participants that ensures that every member of a population has an equal chance of being included in the sample
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Informed Consent
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A written agreement to participate in a study made by an adult who has been informed of all the risks that participation may entail
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Debriefing
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A verbal description of the true nature and purpose of a study
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Neurons
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Cells in the nervous system that communicate with one another to perform information-processing tasks
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Cell Body (or Soma)
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The part of a neuron that coordinates information-processing tasks and keeps the cell alive
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Dendrites
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The part of the neuron that receives information from other neurons and relays it to the cell body
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Axon
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The part of the neuron that carries information to other neurons, muscles, or glands
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Synapse
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The junction or region between the axon of one neuron and the dendrites or cell body of another
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Myelin Sheath
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An insulating layer of fatty material
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Glial Cells
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Support cells found in the nervous system
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Sensory Neurons
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Neurons that receive information from the external world and convey this information to the brain via the spinal cord
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Motor Neurons
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Neurons that carry signals from the spinal cord to produce movement
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Interneurons
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Neurons that connect sensory neurons, motor neurons, or other interneurons
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Resting Potential
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The difference in electric charge between the inside and outside of a neuron’s cell membrane
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Action Potential
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An electric signal that is conducted along a neuron’s axon to a synapse
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Terminal Buttons
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Knoblike structures that branch out from an axon
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Neurotransmitters
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Chemicals that transmit information across the synapse to a receiving neuron’s dendrites
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Receptors
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Parts of the cell membrane that receive the neurotransmitter and initiate or prevent a new electric signal
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Agonists
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Drugs that increase the action of a neurotransmitter
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Antagonists
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Drugs that block the function of a neurotransmitter
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Nervous System
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An interacting network of neurons that conveys electrochemical information throughout the body
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Central Nervous System(CNS)
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The part of the nervous system that is composed of the brain and the spinal cord
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Peripheral Nervous System(PNS)
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The part of the nervous system that connects the central nervous system to the body’s organs and muscles
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Somatic Nervous System
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A set of nerves that conveys information between voluntary muscles and the central nervous system
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Autonomic Nervous System(ANS)
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A set of nerves that carries involuntary and automatic commands that control blood vessels, body organs, and glands
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Sympathetic Nervous System
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A set of nerves that prepares the body for action in challenging or threatening situations
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Parasympathetic Nervous System
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A set of nerves that helps the body return to a normal resting state
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Spinal Reflexes
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Simple pathways in the nervous system that rapidly generate muscle contractions
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Hindbrain
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An area of the brain that coordinates information coming into and out of the spinal cord
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Medulla
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An extension of the spinal cord into the skull that coordinates heart rate, circulation, and respiration
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Reticular Formation
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A brain structure that regulates sleep, wakefulness, and levels of arousal
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Cerebellum
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A large structure of the hindbrain that controls fine motor skills
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Pons
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A brain structure that relays information from the cerebellum to the rest of the brain
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Subcortical Structures
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Areas of the forebrain housed under the cerebral cortex near the very center of the brain
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Thalamus
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A subcortical structure that relays and filters information from the senses and transmits the information to the cerebral cortex
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Hypothalamus
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A subcortical structure that regulates body temperature, hunger, thirst, and sexual behavior.
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Pituitary Gland
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The “master gland” of the body’s hormone-producing system, which releases hormones that direct the functions of many other glands in the body
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Hippocampus
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A structure critical for creating new memories and integrating them into a network of knowledge so that they can be stored indefinitely in other parts of the cerebral cortex
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Amygdala
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A part of the limbic system that plays a central role in many emotional processes, particularly the formation of emotional memories
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Basal Ganglia
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A set of subcortical structures that directs intentional movements
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Cerebral Cortex
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The outermost layer of the brain, visible to the naked eye and divided into two hemispheres
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Corpus Callosum
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A thick band of nerve fibers that connects large ares of the cerebral cortex on each side of the brain and supports communication of information across the hemispheres
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Occipital Lobe
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A region of the cerebral cortex that processes visual information
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Parietal Lobe
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A region of the cerebral cortex whose functions include processing information about touch
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Temporal Lobe
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A region of the cerebral cortex responsible for hearing and language
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Frontal Lobe
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A region of the cerebral cortex that has specialized areas for movement, abstract thinking, planning, memory, and judgement
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Association Areas
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Areas of the cerebral cortex that are composed of neurons that help provide sense and meaning to information registered in the cortex
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Mirror Neurons
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Neurons that are active when an animal performs a behavior such as reaching for or manipulating an object, and are also activated when another animal observes that animal performing that same behavior.
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Gene
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A major unit of hereditary transmission
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Chromosomes
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Strands of DNA wound around each other in a double-helix configuration
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Sensation
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Simple stimulation of a sense organ
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Perception
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The organization, identification, and interpretation of a sensation in order to form a mental representation
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Transduction
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What takes place when many sensors in the body convert physical signals from the environment into encoded neural signals sent to he the central nervous system
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Psychophysics
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Methods that measure the strength of a stimulus and the observer’s sensitivity to that stimulus
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Absolute Threshold
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The minimal intensity needed to just barely detect a stimulus in 50% of the trials
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Just Noticeable Difference(JND)
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The minimal change in a stimulus that can just barely be detected
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Weber’s Law
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The just noticeable difference of a stimulus is a constant proportion despite variations in intensity
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Signal Detection Theory
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The response to a stimulus depends both a person’s sensitivity to the stimulus in the presence of noise and on a person’s response criterion.
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Sensory Adaptation
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Sensitivity to prolonged stimulation tends to decline over time a an organism adapts to current conditions
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Visual Acuity
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The ability to see fine detail
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Retina
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Light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eyeball
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Accommodation
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The process by which the eye maintains a clear image on the retina
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Cones
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Photoreceptors that detect color, operate under normal daylight conditions, and allow us to focus on fine detail
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Rods
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Photoreceptors that become active under low-light conditions for night vision
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Fovea
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An area of the retina where vision is the clearest and there are no rods at all
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Blind Spot
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A location in the visual field that produces no sensation on the retina
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Area V1
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The part of the occipital lobe that contains the primary visual cortex
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Visual Form Agnosia
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The inability to recognize objects by sight
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Binding Problem
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How features are linked together so that we see unified objects in our visual world rather than free-floating or miscombined features
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Illusory Conjunction
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A perceptual mistake where features from multiple objects are incorrectly combined
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Feature-Integration Theory
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The idea that focused attention is not required to detect the individual features that comprise a stimulus, but is required to bind those individual features together
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Monocular Depth Cues
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Aspects of a scene that yield information about depth when viewed with only one eye
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Binocular Disparity
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The difference in the retinal images of the two eyes that provides information about depth
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Apparent Motion
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The perception of movement as a result of alternating signals appearing in rapid succession in different locations
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Change Blindness
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When people fail to detect changes to the visual details of a scene
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Inattentional Blindness
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A failure to perceive objects that are not the focus of attention
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Pitch
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How high or low a sound is
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Loudness
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A sound’s intensity
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Timbre(Pronounced “Tamber”)
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A listener’s experience of sound quality or resonance
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Cochlea
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A fluid-filled tube that is the organ of auditory transduction
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Basilar Membrane
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A structure in the inner ear that undulates when vibrations from the ossicles reach the cochlear fluid
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Hair Cells
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Specialized auditory receptor neurons embedded in the basilar membrane
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Area A1
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A portion of the the temporal lobe that contains the primary auditory cortex
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Place Code
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The process by which different frequencies stimulate neural signals at specific places along the basilar membrane, from which the brain determines pitch
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Temporal Code
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The cochlea register low frequencies via the firing rate of action potentials entering the auditory nerve
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Haptic Perception
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The active exploration of the environment by touching and grasping objects with our hands
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Referred Pain
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Feeling of pain when sensory information from internal and external areas converges on the same nerve cells in the spinal cord
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Gate-Control Theory of Pain
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A theory of pain perception based on the idea that signals arriving from pain receptors in the body can be stopped, or gated, by interneurons in the spinal cord via feedback from two directions
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Vestibular System
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The three fluid-filled semicircular canals and adjacent organs laced next to the cochlea in each inner ear
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Olfactory Receptor Neurons(ORNS)
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Receptor cells that initiate the sense of smell
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Olfactory Bulb
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A brain structure located above the nasal cavity beneath the frontal lobes
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Pheromones
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Biochemical odorants emitted by other members of its species that can affect an animal’s behavior or physiology
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Taste Buds
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The organ of taste transduction
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Consciousness
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A person’s subjective view of the world and the mind
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Phenomenology
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How things seem to the conscious person
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Problem of Other Minds
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The fundamental difficulty we have in perceiving the consciousness of others
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Mind-Body Problem
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The issue of how the mind is related to the brain and body
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Cocktail-Party Phenomenon
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A phenomenon in which people tune in one message even while they filter out others nearby
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Dichotic Listening
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A task in which people wearing headphones hear different messages presented to each ear
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Minimal Consciousness
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A low-level kind of sensory awareness and responsiveness that occurs when the mind inputs sensations and may output behavior
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Full Consciousness
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Concsiousness in which you know and are able to report your mental state
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Self-Consciousness
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A distinct level of consciousness in which the person’s attention is drawn to the self as an object
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Mental Control
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The attempt to change conscious states of mind
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Thought Suppression
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The conscious avoidance of a thought
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Rebound Effect of Thought Suppression
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The tendency of a thought to return to consciousness with greater frequency following suppression
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Ironic Processes of Mental Control
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Mental processes that can produce ironic errors because monitoring for errors can itself produce them
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Dynamic Unconscious
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An active system encompassing a lifetime of hidden memories, the persons deepest instincts and desires, and the person’s inner struggle to control these forces
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Repression
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A mental process that removes unacceptable thoughts and memories from consciousness and keeps them in the unconscious
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Cognitive Unconscious
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All the mental processes that give rise to a person’s thoughts, choices, emotions, and behavior even though they are not experienced by the person
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Subliminal Perception
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Thought or behavior that is influenced by stimuli that a person cannot consciously report perceiving
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Altered State of Consciousness
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A form of experience that departs significantly from the normal subjective experience of the world and the mind
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Circadian Rhythm
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A naturally occurring 24-hour cycle
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REM Sleep
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A stage of sleep characterized by rapid eye movements and a high level of brain activity
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Insomnia
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Difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep
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Sleep Apnea
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A disorder in which the person stops breathing for brief periods while asleep
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Somnambulism(or Sleepwalking)
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Occurs when a person arises and walks around while asleep
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Narcolepsy
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A disorder in which sudden sleep attacks occur in the middle of waking activities
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Sleep Paralysis
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The experience of waking up unable to move
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Night Terrors(or Sleep Terrors)
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Abrupt awakenings with panic and intense emotional arousal
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Activation-Synthesis Model
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The theory that dreams are produced when the brain attempts to make sense of random neural activity that occurs during sleep
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Psychoactive Drugs
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Chemicals that influence the consciousness or behavior by altering the brain’s chemical message system
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Drug Tolerance
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The tendency for larger doses of a drug to be required over time to achieve the same effect
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Depressants
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Substances that reduce the activity of the central nervous system
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Expectancy Theory
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The idea that alcohol effects can be produced by people’s expectations of how alcohol will influence them in particular situations
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Alcohol Myopia
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A condition that results when alcohol hampers attention, leading people to respond in simple ways to complex situations
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Stimulants
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Substances that excite the central nervous system, heightening arousal and activity level
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Narcotics(or Opiates)
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Highly addictive drugs derived from opium that relieve pain
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Hallucinogens
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Drugs that alter sensation and perception and often cause visual and auditory hallucinations
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Marijuana(or Cannibis)
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The leaves and buds of the hemp plant, which contains a psychoactive drug called tetrahydrocannabinol(THC)
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Gateway Drug
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A drug whose use increases the risk of the subsequent use of more harmful drugs
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Hypnosis
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A social interaction in which one person(the hypnotist) makes suggestions that lead to the change in another person’s(the subject’s) subjective experience of the world
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Posthypnotic Amnesia
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The failure to retrieve memories following hypnotic suggestions to forget
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Hypnotic Analgesia
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The reduction of pain through hypnosis in people who are susceptible to hypnosis
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Area A1
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