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General Psychology Midterm 1

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Introspection
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the examination of one’s own thoughts and feelings.
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Behaviorism
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the view that psychology should be an objective science that studies behavior without reference to mental processes.
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Psychology
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the scientific study of behavior and mental processes.
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Hindsight bias
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after learning the outcome of an event, many believe they could have predicted that very outcome.
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Overconfidence
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an excessive degree of confidence, and an effect in cognitive psychology which shows that people are systematically biased toward their own abilities.
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Nature vs nurture
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how differences in traits and behavior relate to differences in heredity and environment.
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Descriptive research
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technique in which one person is studied in depth to reveal underlying behavioral principles.
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Correlational research
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used to predict behavior.
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Experimental research
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researchers can isolate cause and effect by manipulating factors that interest us while keeping other factors under control.
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Correlational coefficient
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a statistical measure of the relationship between two variables.
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Independent variable
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a factor manipulated by the experimenter.
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Dependent variable
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a factor that may change in response to the Ind variable; what is being measured.
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Basic research
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pure science that aims to increase the scientific knowledge base.
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Applied research
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scientific study that aims to solve practical problems.
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Biopsychosocial approach
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model stating that biological, psychological and social factors all play a role in human functioning.
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Dendrites
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receive messages from other cells.
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Cell body
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the cells life support center.
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Axon
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passes messages away from the cell body to other neurons, muscles or glands.
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Action potential
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neural impulse that occurs when threshold is reached.
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Synapse
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gap between axon terminal of sending neuron and receiving neuron.
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Neurotransmitters
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chemicals released from sending neuron.
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Central NS
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the brain and spinal cord.
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Reuptake
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the process where sending neuron reabsorbs excess neurotransmitters in synapse.
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Operational definitions
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a statement of the procedures used to define research variables. Ex. hunger defined as “hours without eating.”
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Theory
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an explanation using an integrated set of principles that organizes observations and predicts behaviors or events.
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Hypothesis
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a testable prediction, often implied by a theory.
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Case study
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an observation technique in which one person is studied in depth in the hope of revealing universal principles.
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Naturalistic observation
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observing and recording behavior in naturally occurring situations without trying to manipulate and control the situation.
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Survey
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a technique for ascertaining the self-reported attitudes or behaviors of a particular group, usually by questioning a representative, random sample of the group.
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Random sample
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a sample that fairly represents a population because each member has an equal chance of inclusion.
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Positive correlation
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indicates a direct relationship, meaning that two things increase together or decrease together.
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Negative correlation
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indicates an inverse relationship, as one increases the other decreases.
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Random assignment
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assigning participants to experimental and control groups by chance, thus minimizing preexisting differences between the different groups.
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Double blind procedure
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an experimental procedure in which both the research participants and staff are ignorant to whether they received a placebo or the treatment.
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Placebo effect
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experimental results caused by the expectation of treatment.
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Neuron
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a nerve cell; the basic building block of the nervous system.
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Peripheral NS
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the sensory and motor neurons that connect the CNS to the rest of the body.
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Somatic NS
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the division of the peripheral NS that controls the bodes skeletal muscles.
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Autonomic NS
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the part of the peripheral NS that controls the glands and the muscles of the internal organs.
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Sympathetic NS
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the division of the autonomic NS that arouses the body, mobilizing its energy in stressful situations.
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Parasympathetic NS
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the division of the autonomic NS that calms the body, conserving energy.
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Endocrine system
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the body’s “slow” chemical communication system; a set of glands that secrete hormones into the bloodstream.
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Hormones
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chemical messengers that are manufactured by the endocrine glands, travel through the bloodstream, and affect other tissues.
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Adrenal glands
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a pair of glands that sit above the kidneys and secrete adrenaline in times of stress.
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Pituitary gland
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the endocrine system’s most influential gland, regulates growth and controls other endocrine glands, master gland.
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Brainstem
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central core of the brain, responsible for automatic survival functions.
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Thalamus
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the brains sensory router, directs messages to the sensory receiving ares in the cortex.
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Reticular formation
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a nerve network that travels through the brainstem and plays an important role in controlling arousal.
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Amygdala
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two lima bean sized neural clusters in the limbic system, linked to emotions of fear and anger.
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Cerebellum
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located in the rear of the brainstem, functions include processing sensory input, coordinating movement and balance, and enabling nonverbal learning and memory.
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Hypothalamus
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a neural structure lying below the thalamus; directs several maintenance activities, helps govern the endocrine system, and linked to emotion and reward.
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Hippocampus
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important for learning and forming new memories.
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Cerebral cortex
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the intricate fabric of interconnected neural cells covering the cerebral hemisphere, the bodes ultimate control and information processing center.
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Frontal lobes
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located on front of head, involved in speaking and muscle movements and judgement.
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Parietal lobe
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located on top of head, receives sensory input for touch and body position.
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Occipital lobe
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located on back of head, includes areas that receive information from the visual fields.
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Temporal lobe
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located above the ears, includes auditory areas, each receiving information primarily from the opposite ear.
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Motor cortex
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an area at the rear of the frontal lobes that controls voluntary movements.
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Sensory cortex
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area at the front of the parietal lobes that registers and processes body touch and movement sensations.
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Plasticity
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the brain’s ability to change, especially during childhood, by reorganizing after damage or by building new pathways based on experience.
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Neurogenesis
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the formation of new neurons.
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Behavior genetics
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the study of the relative power and limits of genetic and environmental influences on behavior.
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Genes
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the biochemical units of heredity that make up the chromosomes
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Epigenetics
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the study of environmental influences on gene expression that occur without a DNA change.
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Evolutionary psychology
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the study of the evolution of behavior and the mind, using principles of natural selection.
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Natural selection
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the principle that, among the range of inherited trait variations, those contributing to reproduction and survival will most likely be passed on to succeeding generations.
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Mutation
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a random error in gene replication that leads to a change.
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Developmental psychology
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a branch of psychology that studies physical, cognitive, and social changes throughout the life span.
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Zygote
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the fertilized egg; it enters a 2 week period of rapid cell division and develops into an embryo.
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Embryo
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the developing human organism from about 2 weeks after fertilization through the second month.
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Fetus
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the developing human organism from 9 weeks after conception to birth.
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Teratogens
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agents, such as toxins, chemicals, and viruses, that can reach the embryo or fetus during prenatal development and cause harm.
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Habituation
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decreasing responsiveness with repeated stimulation.
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Maturation
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biological growth processes that enable orderly changes in behavior, relatively uninfluenced by experience.
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Critical period
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an optimal period early in the life of an organism when exposure to certain stimuli or experiences produces normal development.
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Schema
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a concept or framework that organizes and interprets information.
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Assimilation
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interpreting our new experiences in terms of our existing schemas.
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Accommodation
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adapting our current understanding to incorporate new information.
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Object permanence
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the awareness that things continue to exist even when not perceived.
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Conservation
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the principle that properties such as mass, volume and number remain the same despite changes in the forms of objects.
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Egocentrism
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the pre operational child’s difficulty taking another’s point of view.
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Theory of mind
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people’s ideas about their own and others’ mental states.
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Stranger anxiety
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the fear of strangers that infants commonly display, beginning by about 8 months of age.
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Attachment
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an emotional tie with another person; shown in young children by their seeking closeness to the caregiver and showing distress on separation.
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Cognition
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refers to all the mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, remembering and communicating.
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Sensorimotor stage
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the stage during which infants know the world mostly in terms of their sensory impressions and motor activities.
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Preoperational stage
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the stage during which a child learns to use language but does not yet comprehend the mental operations of concrete logic.
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Formal operational stage
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the stage of cognitive development during which people begin to think logically about abstract concepts.
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Concrete operational stage
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the stage of cognitive development during which children gain the mental operations that enable them to think logically about concrete events.