"Random" essay topics

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Availability heuristic (a mental shortcut that relies on immediate examples that come to mind)
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Estimating the likelihood of events based on their ability in memory; if instances come readily to mind (perhaps because of their vividness), we presume such events are common •operates when we place our judgments on how mentally available information is (ex. \”Work beginning with k\” thing) • anything that increases the ease of our retrieving information can increase its perceived availability
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Foot-in-the-door phenomenon
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The tendency for people who have first agreed to a small request to comply later with a large request •Chinese experimentation (\”start small and build\”); a trivial act makes the next act easier
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Reaction formation (*hint: Freud created it)
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Psychoanalytic defense mechanism by which the ego unconsciously switches unacceptable impulses into their opposites. Thus, people may express feelings that are the opposite of their anxiety arousing unconscious feelings (ex. Someone who fights horribly with their child/spouse to try and hide the fact that they deeply love them
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Cerebellum (\”little brain\”)
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Attached to the rear of the brainstem; it’s functions include processing sensory input and coordinating movement output and balance •enables one type of nonverbal learning and memory; helps us judge time, moderate our emotions, and discriminate sounds and textures along with coordinates voluntary movement (ex. Kicking a soccer ball) * without it we would have a hard time walking, keeping our balance, or shaking hands *implicit memory formation (forms independent of conscious thoughts, without conscious efforts) needs the cerebellum! • plays a key role in forming and storing the implicit memories created by classical conditioning (humans with damage to their cerebellum can’t develop certain conditioned reflexes)
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Difference threshold
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The minimum amount that something needs to change in order for a person to notice a difference 50% of the time (ex. 2 lights have to differ by 8% in intensity, and 2 tones have to differ by 0.3% in frequency in order for us to notice anything) •10 grams+100 grams (low difference threshold); 10 grams+1 kg (increases the difference threshold, because it’s harder to notice) *Weber’s Law: The difference threshold is not a constant amount but some constant proportion of the stimulus (rough approximation)
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Overjustification effect (Ex. Kid who works for the psych firm on unpayed internship changes moto when he gets $)
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Occurs when an unexpected external incentive such as money or prizes decreases a person’s intrinsic motivation to perform task -intrinsic motivation: A desire to perform a behavior for its own sake -extrinsic motivation: A desire to perform a behavior due to promised rewards or threats of punishment
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Explicit memory
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Memory of facts and experiences that one can consciously know and \”declare\” (a.k.a. declarative memory) • it occurs without conscious recall, is processed in hippocampus, and includes facts (general knowledge) and personally experienced events • people with Alzheimer’s retain their new learning, but don’t explicitly recall it • explicit memories of names, images, and events are laid down via the hippocampus * patients with damage to the left hippocampus have trouble remembering verbal information, but have no trouble recalling visual designs and locations (right side hippocampus is the opposite)
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Variable ratio schedule of reinforcement (in operant conditioning, a reinforcement schedule that reinforces a response after an unpredictable number of responses; in operant conditioning, any event that strengthens the behavior it follows)
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When it comes to ratio schedules of reinforcement, the only thing that matters is that the behavior occurs a specific number of times. **So, a variable ratio schedule of reinforcement is a schedule of reinforcement wherein a reinforcer is provided following a predetermined average number of responses
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Belief perseverance
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Clinging to one’s initial conceptions after the basis on which they were formed has been discredited (ex. Kind of like belief bias, it doesn’t matter which way the opposition present it’s information, you will not change your opinion about the topic, even if what you originally thought was proven wrong)
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Permissive parenting style
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When parents submit to their children’s desires, make few demands, and use little punishment
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Practical intelligence (street smarts)
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Often required for every day tasks, which are frequently ill-defined, with multiple solutions
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Cognitive dissonance theory (change our attitudes to justify our acts)
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We act to reduce the discomfort (dissonance) we feel when two of our thoughts (cognitions) are inconsistent (* we feel uncomfortable when we act in ways that conflict with our feelings and beliefs, and we reduce this discomfort by revising our attitudes to align them more closely with our behavior (ex. After smoking pot one day with friends, you might tell yourself that it’s not so bad so you feel better about yourself)
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Internal vs. external locus of control
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•internal: The perception that one controls one’s own fate •external: The perception that chance or outside forces beyond one’s personal control determine one’s fate – internals achieved more in school, act more independently, enjoy better health, and feel less depressed than do externals * self control predicts good adjustment, better grades, and social success
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Prospective memory (\”Remember to…\”)
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Involves remembering to perform a planned action or intention at some future point in time; are highly prevalent in daily life and range from relatively simple tasks to extreme life-or-death situations -remains strong when events help trigger memories, as when walking by a convenience store triggers a \”…pick up milk\” memory
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Postconventional morality (top rung of Kohlberg’s ladder)
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Affirms people’s agreed upon rights or follows what one person perceives as basic ethical principle (only some adults achieve it; after Kohlberg’s preconventional [\”I better share this toy or mommy will get mad\”] and conventional [\”It’s against the law to speed, and you could get a ticket\”] morality) •\”I don’t care if it’s the law, it’s wrong and unfair\” kind of thinking
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Framing
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The way an issue is posed; how an issue is framed can significantly affect decisions and judgements (ex. Saying ground beef is 75% lean is more positive than saying its 25% fat)
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Cognitive maps
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A mental representation of the layout of one’s environment (ex. You make one of your house; after exploring a maze, rats act as if they have learned a cognitive map of it)
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Peripheral vs. central route to persuasion (Passive vs. engaged)
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•Peripheral route: occurs when the listener decides whether to agree with the message based on other cues besides the strength of the arguments or ideas in the message (ex. A listener may decide to agree with a message because the source appears to be an expert, or is attractive) * The peripheral route also occurs when a listener is persuaded because he or she notices that a message has many argument-but lacks the ability or motivation to think about them individually **(like source expertise [credibility]) it’s short cut; \”I can’t think carefully about the ideas in this persuasive message, but it is a fair gamble to go ahead and agree with the message if the source appears to be knowledgeable, or there are many arguments in support of the message\” •central route: consists of thoughtful consideration of the arguments (ideas, content) of the message. When a receiver is doing central processing, he or she is being an active participant in the process of translation *Central processing has two prerequisites: It can only occur when the receiver has both the motivation and the ability to think about the message and it’s topic. **If the listener doesn’t care about the topic of the persuasive message (a bored student listening to a psych lecture ~>peripheral), he or she will almost certainly lack the motivation to do central processing
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Jean Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development (cognition: all the mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, remembering and communicating)
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(1) sensorimotor stage: (birth ~> 2 yrs of age) during which infants know the world mostly in terms of their sensory impressions and motor activities -object permanence: the awareness that things continue to exist even when not perceived (bunny and blanket example) (2) preoperational stage: (2 yrs ~> 6 or 7 yrs of age) during which a child learns to use language but does not yet comprehend the mental operations of concrete logic -conservation: the principal (which Piaget believed to be a part of concrete operational reasoning) that properties such as mass, volume, and numbers remain the same despite changes in the forms of objects •egocentrism: in Piaget’s theory, the preoperational child’s difficulty taking another’s point of view -theory of mind: people’s ideas about their own and others’ mental states-about their feelings, perceptions, and thoughts and the behavior these might predict (3) concrete operational stage: (6 or 7 ~>11 yrs of age) during which children gain the mental operations that enable them to think logically about concrete events (4) formal operational stage: (begins at about age 12) during which people begin to think logically about abstract concepts *(examples) (1) infants try to get to know their dog by tasting and touching it; (2) preschoolers see the family pet as yet another playmate, existing purely for them to play with; (3&4) older children begin to understand the level of responsibility and work that is associated with owning a pet
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Cross sectional vs. longitudinal study (The research question will determine which approach is best: methodology)
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•cross sectional: A study in which people of different ages are compared with one another •longitudinal: research in which the same people are re-studied in re-tested over a long period -in a test of one type of verbal intelligence (inductive reasoning), the cross-sectional method produced declining scores with age. The longitudinal method (in which the same people were retested over a period of years) produced a slight rise in scores well into adulthood **ex. Let’s say we want to investigate the relationship between daily walking and cholesterol levels in the body. One of the first things we’d have to determine is the type of study that will tell us the most about that relationship. Do you want to compare cholesterol levels among different populations of walkers and nonwalkers at the same point in time? Or, do you want to measure cholesterol levels in the single population of daily walkers over an extended period of time? The first approach is typical of a cross sectional study. The second requires a longitudinal study. ~cross sectional: +don’t manipulate the environment; we would not try to interfere. It can compare different population groups at a single point in time – -it may not provide definite information about cause and effect relationships (the snapshot effect: it doesn’t consider what comes before or after the study, just what happens during it) ~longitudinal: +researchers are able to detect developments or changes in the characteristics of the target population of both the group and individual level (establish a sequence of events) – -it’s slower than cross sectional study
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Generalization
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The tendency, once a response has been conditioned, for stimuli similar to the conditioned stimulus to elicit similar responses (example. Toddlers taught to fear moving cars in the street respond similarly to trucks and motorcycles) -stimuli that are similar to natural disgusting or appealing objects will, by association, evoke some disgust or liking (example. Fudge looks gross if they made it look like dog poop)
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Operational definition of reasoning ability (as used by Piaget)
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A statement of the procedures (operations) used to define research variables (example. Human intelligence may be operationally defined as what an intelligence test measures) -Piaget’s theories explain how children reason!! * Reasoning ability can be operationally defined as something that is displayed in Piaget’s cognitive theory of development
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Encoding failure (Encoding: the process of info into the memory system; ex. By extracting meaning)
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We cannot remember what we failed to encode because the information never enters long-term memory -affected by age; some brain areas that jump into action when young adults are encoding new information are less responsive among older adults (use penny example) * we encode some info automatically (what we ate last night for dinner) well others (like the concept of this module) require effort and attention; without effortful processing, many memories never form
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Big 5 Traits (personality factors) CANOE
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•Conscientiousness (organized, careful, disciplined ~> disorganized, careless, impulsive) •Agreeableness (soft hearted, trusting, helpful ~> ruthless, suspicious, uncooperative) •Neuroticism [emotional stability vs. instability] (calm, secure, self-satisfied ~> anxious, insecure, self-pitying) •Openness (imaginative, preference for variety, independent ~> practical, preference for routine, conforming) •Extraversion (sociable, fun loving, affectionate ~> retiring, sober, reserved) * The test sums of personality but it is not the last word: other factors like dimensions such as self-consciousness, masculinity-femininity, intellect-imagination, religiosity, or positive-negative emotion * \”common currency for personality psychology\” * with age people become less and NOE and more CA; 50% or more for each dimension is generally heritable; they apply well to different cultures; they predict other personal attributes (example. When one’s partner scores lower on agreeableness, stability, and openness, marital and sexual satisfaction may suffer)
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Dispositional and internal attribution (* The fundamental attribution error)
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The tendency for observers, when analyzing another’s behavior, to underestimate the impact of the situation and to overestimate the impact of personal disposition (ex. If our new colleague at work acts grouchy, we may infer that she’s a grouchy person, discounting her having lost sleep over a family worry, having a flat tire on the way to work, and being unable to find a parking space) -\”walk a mile in another persons shoes\” * The tendency to attribute behavior to peoples dispositions runs really high in individualistic western countries
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Reciprocity norm
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An expectation that people will help, not hurt, those who have helped them (ex. If a friend gets you a nice birthday present, you want to get them a nice birthday present) -\”give what you receive\” -\”treat others the way you wish (or have already been) treated\”

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