June 19, 2018



  • Absolute threshold – The minimum amount of physical energy needed to produce a reliable sensory experience; operationally defined as the stimulus level at which a sensory signal is detected half the time.
  • Action potential – The nerve impulse activated in a neuron that travels down the axon and causes neurotransmitters to be released into a synapse.
  • Acute –
  • Aggression – Behaviors that cause psychological or physical harm to another individual.


  • Agoraphobia – An extreme fear of being in public places or open spaces from which escape may be difficult or embarrassing.
  • Altruism – Prosocial behaviors a person carries out without considering his or her own safety or interests.
  • Alzheimer’s – A chronic organic brain syndrome characterized by gradual loss of memory, decline in intellectual ability, and deterioration of personality.
  • Amnesia – A failure of memory caused by physical injury, disease, drug use, or psychological trauma.
  • Amygdala – The part of the limbic system that controls emotion, aggression, and the formation of emotional memory.
  • Anorexia nervosa – An eating disorder in which an individual weighs less than 85 percent of her or his expected weight but still controls eating because of a self-perception of obesity.
  • Archetype – A universal, inherited, primitive, and symbolic representation of a particular experience or object.


  • Assertive– having or showing a confident and forceful personality


  • Assimilation – According to Piaget, the process whereby new cognitive elements are fitted in with old elements or modified to fit more easily; this process works in tandem with accommodation.
  • Autonomic nervous system – The subdivision of the peripheral nervous system that controls the body’s involuntary motor responses by connecting the sensory receptors to the central nervous system (CNS) and the CNS to the smooth muscle, cardiac muscle, and glands.
  • Axon – The extended fiber of a neuron through which nerve impulses travel from the soma to the terminal buttons


  • Bipolar – A mood disorder characterized by alternating periods of depression and mania.
  • Broca’s area – The region of the brain that translates thoughts into speech or sign.
  • Bulimia  – An eating disorder characterized by binge eating followed by measures to purge the body of the excess calories.


  • Catharsis – the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions.
  • Central nervous system – The part of the nervous system consisting of the brain and spinal cord.
  • Cerebellum – The region of the brain attached to the brain stem that controls motor coordination, posture, and balance as well as the ability to learn control of body movements.
  • Cerebral cortex – The outer surface of the cerebrum.
  • Cerebral hemispheres – The two halves of the cerebrum, connected by the corpus callosum.
  • Cerebrum – The region of the brain that regulates higher cognitive and emotional functions.
  • Chronic – continuing a long time or recurring frequently
  • Classical conditioning – A type of learning in which a behavior (conditioned response) comes to be elicited by a stimulus (conditioned stimulus) that has acquired its power through an association with a biologically significant stimulus (unconditioned stimulus)
  • Cochlea – The primary organ of hearing; a fluid-filled coiled tube located in the inner ear.
  • Closure – a sense of resolution or conclusion at the end.
  • Cognition – Processes of knowing, including attending, remembering, and reasoning; also the content of the processes, such as concepts and memories.
  • Cognitive dissonance – The feeling of uncomfortable tension which comes from holding two conflicting thoughts in the mind at the same time.
  • Comorbidity – The experience of more than one disorder at the same time.
  • Conditioned response – In classical conditioning, a response elicited by some previously neutral stimulus that occurs as a result of pairing the neutral stimulus with an unconditioned stimulus.
  • Conditioned stimulus – In classical conditioning, a previously neutral stimulus that comes to elicit a conditioned response.
  • Conditioning –  The ways in which events, stimuli, and behavior become associated with one another.
  • Conformity – The tendency for people to adopt the behaviors, attitudes, and values of other members of a reference group.
  • Consciousness – A state of awareness of internal events and of the external environment.
  • Conservation – According to Piaget, the understanding that physical properties do not change when nothing is added or taken away, even though appearances may change.
  • Corpus callosum – The mass of nerve fibers connecting the two hemispheres of the cerebrum.


  • Deductive reasoning – A form of thinking in which one draws a conclusion that is intended to follow logically from two or more statements or premises.
  • Delusions – False or irrational beliefs maintained despite clear evidence to the contrary.
  • Dendrites – The branched fibers of neurons that receive incoming signals.
  • Dependent variable – In an experimental setting, any variable whose values are the results of changes in one or more independent variables.
  • Dissociative disorder – A personality disorder marked by a disturbance in the integration of identity, memory, or consciousness.
  • Distal – Far away
  • Double blind control – An experimental technique in which biased expectations of experimenters are eliminated by keeping both participants and experimental assistants unaware of which participants have received which treatment.


  • Ego – The aspect of personality involved in self-preservation activities and in directing instinctual drives and urges into appropriate channels.
  • Egocentrism – In cognitive development, the inability of a young child at the preoperational stage to take the perspective of another person.
  • Electro convulsive therapy – The use of electroconvulsive shock as an effective treatment for severe depression.
  • Electro encephalogram – A recording of the electrical activity of the brain.
  • Encoding – The process by which a mental representation is formed in memory.
  • Endocrine system – The network of glands that manufacture and secrete hormones into the bloodstream.
  • Erogenous zone – Areas of the skin surface that are especially sensitive to stimulation and that give rise to erotic or sexual sensations.
  • Estrogen – The female sex hormone, produced by the ovaries, that is responsible for the release of eggs from the ovaries as well as for the development and maintenance of female reproductive structures and secondary sex characteristics.
  • Etiology – The causes of, or factors related to, the development of a disorder.
  • Evolution – The approach to psychology that stresses the importance of behavioral and mental adaptiveness, based on the assumption that mental capabilities evolved over millions of years to serve particular adaptive purposes.
  • Extinction – In conditioning, the weakening of a conditioned association in the absence of a reinforcer or unconditioned stimulus.


  • Fixation – A state in which a person remains attached to objects or activities more appropriate for an earlier stage of psychosexual development.
  • Fixed interval – A schedule of reinforcement in which a reinforcer is delivered for the first response made after a fixed period of time.
  • Fixed ratio – A schedule of reinforcement in which a reinforcer is delivered for the first response made after a fixed number of responses.
  • Fluid intelligence – The aspect of intelligence that involves the ability to see complex relationships and solve problems.
  • Frequency distribution – A summary of how frequently each score appears in a set of observations.
  • Frontal lobe – Region of the brain located above the lateral fissure and in front of the central sulcus; involved in motor control and cognitive activities.


  • Ganglion cells – Cells in the visual system that integrate impulses from many bipolar cells in a single firing rate.
  • Generativity – A commitment beyond one’s self and one’s partner to family, work, society, and future generations; typically, a crucial step in development in one’s 30s and 40s
  • Genes – The biological units of heredity; discrete sections of chromosomes responsible for transmission of traits.
  • Genotype – The genetic structure an organism inherits from its parents.
  • Glia – The cells that hold neurons together and facilitate neural transmission, remove damaged and dead neurons, and prevent poisonous substances in the blood from reaching the brain.
  • Group dynamics – The study of how group processes change individual functioning.


  • Hallucinations – False perceptions that occur in the absence of objective stimulation.
  • Heredity – The biological transmission of traits from parents to offspring.
  • Hippocampus – The part of the limbic system that is involved in the acquisition of explicit memory.
  • Homeostasis – Constancy or equilibrium of the internal conditions of the body
  • Hormone – The chemical messengers, manufactured and secreted by the endocrine glands, that regulate metabolism and influence body growth, mood, and sexual characteristics.
  • Hypnosis – An altered state of awareness characterized by deep relaxation, susceptibility to suggestions, and changes in perception, memory, motivation, and self-control.
  • Hypothalamus – The brain structure that regulates motivated behavior (such as eating and drinking) and homeostasis
  • Hypothesis – A tentative and testable explanation of the relationship between two (or more) events or variables; often stated as a prediction that a certain outcome will result from specific conditions.


  • Illusion – An experience of a stimulus pattern in a manner that is demonstrably incorrect but shared by others in the same perceptual environment.
  • Implicit – Availability of information through memory processes without the exertion of any conscious effort to encode or recover information.
  • Incentives – External stimuli or rewards that motivate behavior although they do not relate directly to biological needs
  • Independent variable – In experimental settings, the stimulus condition whose values are free to vary independently of any other variable in the situation.
  • Inductive reasoning – A form of reasoning in which a conclusion is made about the probability of some state of affairs, based on the available evidence and past experience.
  • Inference – Missing information filled in on the basis of a sample of evidence or on the basis of prior beliefs and theories.
  • Inhibitory input – Information entering a neuron signaling it not to fire.
  • Insomnia – The chronic inability to sleep normally; symptoms include difficulty in falling asleep, frequent waking, inability to return to sleep, and early-morning awakening.
  • Instincts – Preprogrammed tendencies that are essential to a species’s survival.
  • Intimacy – The capacity to make a full commitment — sexual, emotional, and moral — to another person.



  • Kinesthetic – Sense concerned with bodily position and movement of the body parts relative to each other.


  • Latent content – In Freudian dream analysis the hidden meaning of a dream.
  • Learned helplessness – A general pattern of nonresponding in the presence of noxious stimuli that often follows after an organism has previously experience inescapable aversive stimuli
  • Lesions – Injuries to or destruction of brain tissue.
  • Libido – The psychic energy that drives individuals toward sensual pleasures of all types, especially sexual ones.
  • Limbic system  – The Region of the brain that regulates emotional behavior, basic motivational urges, and memory, as well as major physiological functions.
  • Longitudinal design – A research design in which the same participants are observed repeatedly sometimes over many years.


  • Magnetic resonance imaging (M.R.I) – A technique for brain imaging that scans the brain using magnetic fields and radio waves.
  • Manic – Extreme elation, unbounded euphoria without sufficient reason, and grandiose thoughts or feelings about personal feelings.
  • Mean – The arithmetic average of a group of scores; the most commonly used measure of central tendency.
  • Median – The score in a distribution above and below which lie 50% of the other scores.
  • Medulla – The region of the brain stem that regulates breathing, waking, and heartbeat.
  • Memory – The mental capacity to encode, store, and retrieve information.
  • Menarche – The onset of menstruation.
  • Mnemonics – Strategies of devices that use familiar information during the encoding of new information to enhance subsequent access to the information in memory.
  • Mode – A score appearing most frequently in a set of observations.
  • Morality – A system of beliefs and values that ensures that individuals will keep their obligations to others in society and will behave in ways that don’t infer with the rights and interests of others.
  • Motor cortex – The region of the cerebral cortex that controls the action of the bodies voluntary muscles.
  • Motor neurons – The neurons that carry messages away from the central nervous system toward the muscles and glands.


  • Narcolepsy – A sleep a disorder characterized by an irresistible compulsion to sleep during the day time.
  • Nature vs nurture – The debate concerning hereditary (nature) and learning or experience (nurture) in determining development and behavior
  • Negative punishment – A behavior is followed by the removal of an appetitive stimulus, decreasing the probability of the behavior.
  • Negative reinforcement – A behavior is followed by the removal of an aversive stimulus, increasing the probably of behavior.
  • Neuron – A cell in the nervous system specialized to receive, process, or transmit information to other cells.
  • Neurotic / Neurosis – Mental disorders in which a person does not have signs of brain abnormalities and does not display grossly irrational thinking or violate basic norms, but does experience subjective stress a category dropped by the DSM 3.
  • Neurotransmitter – Chemical messengers released from neurons that cross synapse from one neuron to another stimulating post synaptic neurons
  • Norms – Standards based on measurements of a large group of people; used for comparing the scores of an individual with those of others within a well-defined group


  • Obsessive compulsion disorder – A mental disorder characterized by obsession-recurrent thoughts, images, or impulses that recur or persist despite efforts to suppress them and compulsion-repetitive, purposeful acts performed according to certain rules or in a ritualized manner
  • Occipital lobe – Rearmost region of the brain; contains primary visual cortex
  • Operant conditioning – Learning in which the probability of a response is changed by a change in its consequences
  • Operant extinction – When a behavior no longer produces predictable consequences, it returns to the level of occurrence it had before operant conditioning
  • Optic nerve – The axons of the ganglion cells that carry information from the eye to the brain
  • Organism – An individual animal, plant or a single-celled life form


  • Panic disorder – An anxiety disorder in which sufferers experience unexpected, severe panic attacks that begin with a feeling of intense apprehension, fear or terror
  • Paranoid –
  • Parenting – The manner in which parents rear their children;
  • Parietal lobe – Region of the brain behind the frontal lobe and above the lateral fissure; contains somatosensory cortex
  • Perceived control-The belief that one has the ability to make a difference in the course or the consequences of some event or experience; often helpful in dealing with stressors
  • Perception – The processes that organize information in the sensory image and interpret it as having been produced by properties of objects or events in the external, 3-dimensional world
  • Peripheral nervous system – The part of the nervous system composed of the spinal and cranial nerves that connect the body’s sensory receptors to the CNS and the CNS to the muscles and glands
  • P.E.T. scan – Brain images produced by a device that obtains detailed pictures of activity in the living brain by recording the radioactivity emitted by cells during different cognitive or bahvioral activity
  • Phenotype – The observable characteristics of an organism resulting from an organism’s genotype and the environment
  • Pheromones – Chemical signals released by organisms to communicate with other members of the species.
  • Phobia – A persistent and irrational fear of an object, activity, or situation that is excessive and unreasonable given the reality of the threat.
  • Phonemes – Minimal units of speech in any given language that make a meaningful difference in speech production and reception.
  • Photoreceptors – Receptor cells in the retina that are sensitive to light.
  • Pituitary gland – Located in the brain the gland that secretes growth hormone and influences the secretion of hormones by other endocrine glands.
  • Placebo – An experimental condition in which treatment is not administered.
  • Pons – The region of the brain stem that connects the spinal cord with the brain and links parts of the brain to one another.
  • Population – The entire set of individuals to which generalizations will be made based on an experimental sample.
  • Positive punishment – A behavior is followed by the presentation of an aversive stimulus decreasing the probably of that behavior.
  • Positive reinforcement  – A behavior is followed by the presentation of an appetitive stimulus increasing the probability of that behavior
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder/PTSD –
  • Preconscious memories – Memories that are not currently conscious but that can be easily called into conscious when necessary
  • Prejudice – A learned attitude toward a target object, involving negative affect (dislike or fear), negative beliefs(stereotype) that justify the attitude and a behavioral intention to avoid, control, dominate or eliminate the target object
  • Primacy effect – Improved memory for items at the start of a list
  • Proximal – Close
  • Psychiatrist – An individual who has obtained an MD degree and also has completed post-doctoral specialty training in mental and emotional disorders; a psychiatrist may prescribe medications for the treatment of psychological disorders
  • Psychoactive drugs – Chemicals that effect mental processes and behavior by temporarily changing conscious awareness of reality
  • Psychosomatic – Physical disorders aggravated by or primarily attributable to prolonged emotional stress or other psychological causes
  • Psychotic – A severe mental disorder in which a person experiences impairments in reality testing manifested through thought, emotional or perceptual difficulties
  • Puberty – The attainment of sexual maturity


  • Racism – Discrimination against people based on their skin color or ethnic heritage
  • Rational emotive therapy – A comprehensive system of personality change based on changing irrational beliefs that cause undesirable highly charges emotional reactions such as severe anxiety
  • Reasoning – The process of thinking in which conclusions are drawn from a set of facts
  • Recall – to bring back from memory; recollect; remember
  • Recency effect – the phenomenon that when people are asked to recall in any order the items on a list, those that come at the end of the list are more likely to be recalled than the others
  • Reciprocal altruism – is a behavior whereby an organism acts in a manner that tempoorarily reduces its fitness while increasing another organism’s fitness, with the expectation that the other organism will act in a similar manner at a later time.
  • Reciprocity – A mutual exchange of commercial or other privileges
  • Reflex – an involuntary response to a stimulus
  • Refractory period – a short period after a nerve or muscle cell fires during which the cell cannot respond to additional stimulation
  • Repression – the rejection from consciousness of painful or disagreeable ideas, memories, feelings, or impulses
  • Reticular formation – a network of neurons in the brainstem involved in consciousness, regulation of breathing, the transmission of sensory stimuli to higher brain centers, and the constantly shifting muscular activity that supports the body against gravity
  • Retina – the innermost coat of the posterior part of the eyeball that receives the image produced by the lens.
  • Retrieval – the chance of recovery or restoration


  • Sample – a small part of anything or one of a number, intended to show the quality, style, or nature of the whole; speimen
  • Saturation – The dimension of color space that captures the purity and vividness of color sensations.
  • Schema – general conceptual frameworks, or cluster of knowledge, regarding objects, people and situations; knowledge packages that encode generalizations about the structure of the environment.
  • Schizophrenia – severs form of pyschopathology characterized by the breakdown of integrated personality functioning, withdrawal from reality emotional distortions and disturbed thought processes.
  • Self-Actualization – a concept in personality psychology referring to a persons constant striving to realize his or her potential and to develop inherent talents and capabilities.
  • Self-efficacy – the set of beliefs that one can perform adequately in a given situation.
  • Self esteem – a generalized evaluative attitude toward the self that influences both moods and behavior and that exerts a powerful effect on a range of personal and social behaviors.
  • Self fulfilling prophecy – a prediction made about some future behavior or event that modifies interactions so as to produce what is expected.
  • Sensory receptors – specialized cells that convert physical signals into cellular signals that are processed by the nervous system.
  • Sexism – discrimination against people because of their sex.
  • Short term memory (STM) – memory processes associated with preservation of recent experiences and with retrieval of information from long term memory.
  • Socialization – the life long process whereby and individuals behavioral patterns, values, standards, skills, attitudes and motives are shaped to conform to those regarded as desirable in a particular society.
  • Soma – the cell body of a neuron containing the nucleus and cytoplasm
  • Somatic Nervous System – the subdivision of the peripheral nervous system that connects the central nervous system to the skeletal muscles and skin
  • Standard Deviation – the average difference of a set of scores from their mean; a measure of variability
  • Stereotype – generalization about a group of people in which the same characteristics are assigned to all members of a group
  • Stigma – the negative reaction of people to an individual or group because of some assumed inferiority or source of difference that is degraded
  • Stressor – an internal or external even or stimulus that induces stress
  • Superego – the aspect of personality that represents the internalization of society’s values, standards and morals
  • Synapse – the gap between one neuron and another
  • Systematic Desensitization – a behavioral therapy technique in which a client is taught to prevent the arousal of anxiety by confronting the feared stimulus while relaxed


  • Temporal Lobe – region of the brain found below the lateral fissure; contains auditory cortex
  • testosterone – the male sex hormone, secreted by the testes, that stimulates production of sperm and is also responsible for the development of male secondary sex characteristics
  • Thalamus – the brain structure that relays sensory impulses to the cerebral cortex
  • Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) – a projective test in which pictures of ambiguous scenes are presented to an individual who is encouraged to generate stories about them
  • Tolerance– a situation that occurs with continued use of a drug in which an individual requires greater dosage to achieve the same effect
  • Traits – enduring personal qualities or attributes that influence behavior across situations
  • Transference– the process by which a person in psychoanalysis attaches to a therapist feelings formerly held toward some significant person who figured in a past emotional conflict


  • Unconditioned Response– the response elicited by an unconditioned stimulus without prior training or learning
  • Unconditioned Stimulus– the stimulus that elicits an unconditioned response
  • Unconscious– the domain of the psyche that stores repressed urges and primitive impulses


  • Validity– the extent to which a test measures what it was intended to measure
  • Variable– in an experimental setting, a factor that varies in amount and kind
  • Variable Interval Schedule – A reinforcer is delivered for the first response made after a variable period of time whose average is predetermined
  • Variable Ratio–  reinforcer is delivered for the first response is made after a variable number of responses whose average is predetermined
  • Vestibular Sense– the sense that tells how ones own body is oriented in the world with respect to gravity


  • Wellness– optimal health, incorporating the ability to function fully and actively over the physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, social, and environmental domains of health
  • Working Memory– a memory resource that is used to accomplish tasks such as reasoning and language comprehension


  • Zygote– the single cell that results when a sperm fertilizes an egg