Intro to Psychology CLEP

Wilhelm Wundt
german physiologist who founded psychology as a formal science; opened first psychology research laboratory in 1879

Structuralists
Believed that consciousness was made up of basic elements that were combined to produce diffferent perceptions

Introspection
a method of self-observation in which participants report their thoughts and feelings

Edward Titchener
Student of Wilhelm Wundt; founder of Structuralist school of psychology; set up first psychology lab in U.S.

Functionalists
studied the function of consciousness

William James
1842-1910; Field: functionalism; Contributions: studied how humans use perception to function in our environment; Studies: Pragmatism, The Meaning of Truth

Biological Approach
A psychological perspective that examines behavior and mental processes through a focus on the body, especially the brain and nervous system.

Psychodynamic Approach
Approach that states that behavior reflects unconscious internal conflict between inherited instincts and society’s behavioral rules. **Sigmund Freud

Behaviorist Approach
A theoretical perspective that focuses only on objective, observable reactions. Behaviorism emphasizes the environmental stimuli that determines behavior.

Classical Conditioning
a learning procedure in which associations are made between a natural stimulus and a learned, neutral stimulus

Operant Conditioning
a type of learning in which behavior is strengthened if followed by a reinforcer or diminished if followed by a punisher

Cognitive Approach
According to this approach, behavior is a result of information processing, such as perception, memory, thought, judgment, and decision making

Humanistic Approach
approach to psychology that sees humans as basically good and striving to reach their ideal self

Self-actualization
self fulfillment the realization of all ones potential and desire to become creative in the full sense if the world.

Experiments
a means for researchers to assess cause-and-effect relationships between at least two variables.

Independent Variable
The experimental factor, “cause”, that is manipulated; the variable whose effect is being studied.

Experimental Group
Exposed to presumed “cause”

Control Group
the group that does not receive the experimental treatment.

Dependent Variable
the “effect” of an experiment; will usually involve measuring how subjects behave.

Random Subject assignment
Is done to ensure that the average behavior of the two groups would be the same PRIOR to manipulation.

Placebo Effect
experimental results caused by expectations alone; any effect on behavior caused by the administration of an inert substance or condition, which the recipient assumes is an active agent

Blind Study
participants are not told whether they’re in the control or experiment group

Double-blind study
Research method in which both the subjects and the experimenter are unaware to the anticipated results.

Correlational Studies
research method that examines relationships between variables in order to analyze trends in data, test predictions, etc. (they do NOT discern cause and effect relationships)

Positive Relationship
A relationship in which the values of one variable increase (or decrease) as the values of another variable increase (or decrease)

Negative Relationship
when an increase in one variable is associated with a decrease in the other variable

Correlation Coefficient
A numerical index of the degree of relationship between two variables, a positive number near 1.0 indicates two variables are positively related; a negative number indicates a negative relationship; zero indicates no relationship

Surveys
Questionnaires and interviews that ask people directly about their experiences, attitudes, or opinions.

Case Study
In-depth study analysis of only one person

Naturalistic Observation
observing and recording behavior in naturally occurring situations without trying to manipulate and control the situation

inter-rater reliability
the degree of agreement between co-observers watching the same set of events

Behavioral Neuroscience
an approach to psychology that links psychological processes to activities in the nervous system and other bodily processes

Nervous System
The body system of nervous tissues–organized into the brain,spinal courd, and nerves–that send and receive messages and integreate the body’s activities.

Sense Receptors
Detect heat, light, or touch and then pass information about those stimuli on to the brain, thereby triggering thoughts about those things and/or causing behavioral responses to occur

Neurons
individual cells that are the smallest units of the nervous system; the long, thin cells of nerve tissue along which messages travel to and from the brain

Sensory (or afferent) Neurons
neurons that carry incoming information from the sense receptors to the central nervous system

Motor (or efferent) Neurons
neurons that carry outgoing information from the central nervous system to the muscles and glands

Interneurons (or association Neurons)
Central nervous system neurons that internally communicate and intervene between the sensory inputs and motor outputs

Cell Body
contains the nucleus, where most of the molecules the neuron needs to survive and function is manufactured

Dendrites
short fibers that branch out from the cell body and pick up incoming messages

Axons
a part of a neuron that carries impulses away from the cell body

Myelin Sheath
a layer of fatty tissue encasing a neuron’s axon that speeds transmission

Action Potential
a neural impulse; a brief electrical charge that travels down an axon

Ions
positively and negatively charged atoms

Resting potential
when a neuron is in polarization; more negative ions are inside the neuron cell membrane with a positive ions on the outside, causing a small electrical charge; release of this charge generates a neuron’s impulse (signal/message)

Refractory Period
resting time; occurs in both neuron firing and in human sexual response

Synapse
the junction between two neurons (axon-to-dendrite) or between a neuron and a muscle

Synaptic Gap
The tiny gap at the junction between the sending neuron and the dendrite or cell body of the receiving neuron

Neurotransmitters
chemical messengers that traverse the synaptic gaps between neurons

Vesicles
small membrane sacs that specialize in moving products into, out of, and within a cell

Axon Terminal
the endpoint of a neuron where neurotransmitters are stored

Serotonin
a neurotransmitter that affects hunger,sleep,arousal,and mood. appears in lower than normal levels in depressed persons

Agonists
drugs which mimic or increase the activity of neurotransmitters

Antagonists
drugs that block the function of a neurotransmitter

Central Nervous System
consists of the brain and spinal cord

Peripheral Nervous System
the sensory and motor neurons that connect the central nervous system to the rest of the body

Somatic Nervous System
the division of the peripheral nervous system that connects the central nervous system with sensory receptors, muscles, and the skin

Autonomic Nervous System
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.

Sympathetic Nervous System
the division of the autonomic nervous system that arouses the body, mobilizing its energy in stressful situations

Parasympathetic Nervous System
the division of the autonomic nervous system that calms the body, conserving its energy

Neural Networks
interconnected neural cells. With experience, networks can learn, as feedback strengthens or inhibits connections that produce certain results. Computer simulations of neural networks show analogous learning.

Brainstem
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

Thalamus
the brain’s sensory switchboard, located on top of the brainstem; it directs messages to the sensory receiving areas in the cortex and transmits replies to the cerebellum and medulla

Reticular Formation
a nerve network in the brainstem that plays an important role in controlling arousal

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

Limbic System
a doughnut-shaped system of neural structures at the border of the brainstem and cerebral hemispheres; associated with emotions such as fear and aggression and drives such as those for food and sex. Includes the hippocampus, amygdala, and hypothalamus.

Hippocamus
a brain structure in the limbic system that is involved in forming and indexing memories

Amygdala
limbic system component associated with emotion, particularly fear and anger

Hypothalamus
limbic system component that regulates hunger, body temperature and other functions

Pituitary Gland
gland in the base of the skull that secretes nine hormones that directly regulate many body functions and control the actions of several other endocrine glands

Hormones
chemical messengers, mostly those manufactured by the endocrine glands, that are produced in one tissue and affect another

Endoctrine System
system in the body that sends messages to the bodily organs via hormones

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

Frontal Lobes
the portion of the cerebral cortex lying just behind the forehead; involved in speaking and muscle movements and in making plans and judgments

Broca’s area
controls language expression-an aread of the frontal, usually in the left hemisphere, that directs the muscle movements involved in speech

Wernicke’s area
controls language reception-a brain area involved in language comprehension and expression;usually in the left temporal lobe

Parietal Lobes
the portion of the cerebral cortex lying at the top of the head and toward the rear; receives sensory input for touch and body position

Temporal Lobes
the portion of the cerebral cortex lying roughly above the ears; includes the auditory areas, each of which receives auditory information primarily from the opposite ear

Occipital Lobes
the portion of the cerebral cortex lying at the back of the head; includes the visual areas, which receive visual information from the opposite visual field

Psychophysics
the study of relationships between the physical characteristics of stimuli, such as their intensity, and our psychological experience of them

Signal Detection Theory
a theory predicting how and when we detect the presence of a faint stimulus (“signal”) amid background stimulation (“noise”). Assumes there is no single absolute threshold and detection depends partly on a person’s experience, expectations, motivation, and level of fatigue. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 199)

Absolute Threshold
the minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus 50 percent of the time

Difference Threshold
also called the jnd; smallest distinction between two stimuli that can consistently be detected

Weber’s Law
the principle that for any change in a stimulus to be detected, a constant proportion of that stimulus must be added or subtracted

Sensory Adaptation
Diminished sensitivity as a consequence of constant stimulation.

Feature Detectors
nerve cells in the brain that respond to specific features of the stimulus, such as shape, angle, or movement

Gestalt
an organized whole. Gestalt psychologists emphasized our tendency to integrate pieces of information into meaningful wholes

Binocular Cues
depth cues, such as retinal disparity and convergence, that depend on the use of two eyes

Retinal Disparity
a binocular cue for perceiving depth; by comparing images from the two eyeballs, the brain computes distance – the greater the disparity (difference) between the two images, the close the object

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

Monocular Cues
depth cues, such as interposition and linear perspective, available to either eye alone

Linear Perspective
a monocular cue for perceiving depth; the more parallel lines converge, the greater their perceived distance

Motion Parallax
cue to depth that involves images of objects at different distances moving across the retina at different rates

Interposition
monocular visual cue in which two objects are in the same line of vision and one patially conceals the other, indicating that the first object concealed is further away

Texture Gradients
The gradual diminishing of detail that occurs in surfaces as they recede into the distance, compared with objects in the visual field that are close and seen in fine detail

Sensory Restriction
includes loss of a sense such as sight, resulting in increase perception in other senses

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

Perceptual Sets
Demonstrates our readiness to percieve in a particular manner; Based on experience and expectation

Bottom-up
refers to visual processing in which experience does not influence perception

Top-down
refers to processing in which our experience and expectations influence our perceptions

Circadian Rhythm
the biological clock; regular bodily rhythms that occur on a 24-hour cycle

Brain Waves
patterns of neural activity detected by EEG

Alpha Waves
the relatively slow brain waves of a relaxed, awake state

Stage 1
Disappearance of alpha waves, appearance of theta waves

Hypnogogic
the state of intermediate consciousness preceding sleep (during first 5 minutes of stage 1)

Stage 2
Lasts about 20 minutes and involves deeper relaxation and occasional bursts of rhythmic brainwaves called sleep spindles and K-complexes

Stage 3
Delta Waves appear. Heart rate, breathing, blood pressure and temperature continue to lower. Very difficult to wake.

Stage 4
stage of sleep in which Delta waves predominate

Slow-wave sleep
consists of sleep stages 3 and 4, during which high amplitude, low frequency delta waves become prominent in EEG recordings

REM
describes sleep in which vivid dreams typically occur; this type of sleep increases as the night progresses while stage 4 sleep decreases

Paradoxical Sleep
REM when muscles are deeply relaxed but there are high levels of brain activity

Manifest content
according to Freud, the remembered story line of a dream

Latent Content
according to Freud, the underlying meaning of a dream

Activation-synthesis theory
the theory that dreams result from the brain’s attempt to make sense of random neural signals that fire during sleep

Psychoactive Drugs
Chemicals that affect the nervous system and result in altered consciousness

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

Behaviorist
a psychologist who analyzes how organisms learn or modify their behavior based on their response to events in the environment

Cognitive factors
what we think which influences how we behave and our environment

non-associative Learning
occurs when the repeated presentation of a single stimulus produces an enduring change in behavior.

Habituation
decreasing responsiveness with repeated stimulation

Sensitization
the process of becoming highly sensitive to specific events or situations (especially emotional events or situations)

Associative Learning
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).

Instrumental conditioning
A form of learning in which the participant receives a reinforcer only after performing the desired response, and thereby learns a relationship between the response and the reinforcer. Also called operant conditioning.

Reinforcement
a stimulus that strengthens or weakens the behavior that produced it

Positive reinforcement
increasing behaviors by presenting positive stimuli, such as food. A positive reinforcer is any stimulus that, when presented after a response, strengthens the response.

Negative Reinforcement
increasing the strength of a given response by removing or preventing a painful stimulus when the response occurs