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Looking for definitions of psychology terms? Don’t worry, we have you covered. Below you will find out glossary of psychology.
ablation:surgical removal ofbraintissue, used to aid identification ofbrainlocalisation.
abnormal behaviour:behaviour which is regarded by society asdeviantormaladaptive; according toDSM, an individual must be suffering or showmaladaptivefunctioning in order for behaviour to be described as abnormal.
abnormal psychology:theempirical studyof abnormal behaviour, which seeks to describe, explain and predict abnormal behaviour.
absent-mindedness:may refer to 1) a low level of attention (“blanking” or “zoning out”); or 2) intense attention to a single object of focus (hyperfocus) that makes a person oblivious to events around him/her; or 3) unwarranted distraction of attention from the object of focus by irrelevant thoughts or environmental events.
absolute threshold:the minimum amount of energy required for a sensory experience to be produced
abstract: existing only in themind; separated from embodiment; “abstract words like `truth’ and `justice'”.
accessibility:inlong-term memory, the principle that remembering and forgetting are dependent on effectiveretrieval; without the proper cues, information which exists inlong-term memorymay not be accessible.
accommodation:inPiaget’stheoryofcognitive development, the process of changing existingschemaswhen new information cannot beassimilated.
acetylcholine:is aneurotransmitterfound in thebrain, where it is crucial for the regulation ofmemory(loss of acetylcholine has been implicated inAlzheimer’s disease)and in theperipheral nervous system, where it activates the actions of muscles.
achievement motivation:is the inclination to persevere at tasks that may be complex or demanding for the individual.
acquired immune deficiency syndrome(AIDS):is a deadly diseasecaused by the ‘human immunodeficiency virus-HIV’, that weakens theimmune systemand subsequently, the body’s resilience to fight infection.
action potential:thenerve impulsethat travels down theaxonand triggers the release ofneurotransmittersinto asynapse.
action slips:a form ofabsent-mindednesswhere a person performs an action that was not intended; caused by not paying attention to what is going on.
activity theory:proposes that individuals prefer to remain active and productive in later life, even resisting disengagement from society – contrasts with socialdisengagement theory.
actor/observer biases:these refer to the tendency for (a) ‘actors’ to explain their own behaviour in situational terms and (b) observers to explain the behaviour of others in dispositional (person) terms.
actualisation:an important concept inhumanistic psychology, meaning the achievement of one’s potential.
actualizing tendency:inRogers’stheory, aninnatedrive which reflects the desire to grow, to develop and to enhance one’s capacities.
adaptation:a feature of an organism that has been shaped bynatural selectionso that it enhances the fitness of its possessor. Alternative meaning: One adapts the way of living to the medicine and will then be forced to change one’s living habits if one has to stop taking the medicine. An example of this is if one lives a verystressfullife and manages to continue with this due to sedatives.
addiction:now little used term that referred tophysical dependenceand was associated with its negative effects, such as on social functioning.
Adler(1870-1937)– an Austrian doctor andpsychologist, who was initially influenced byFreud, and later developed his owntheoryof personality andpsychotherapy, through “individualpsychology”. Adler strongly believed in treating each patientholisticallyas a “whole person”, and a range of his ideas and techniques have been applied to a variety ofpsychology, includingcognitive behavioural therapyandholisticpsychology.
adoption studies:employed to demonstrate the influence ofgenetics(as opposed to environment) by comparing the correlations between adopted children and either their biological parents or adoptive parents on a measurable trait (e.g.intelligence).
Adorno(1903-1969):was aphilosopher,sociologistand composer. Withinsocial psychology, is largely remembered for defining the authoritarian personality (characterised by intolerance of ambiguity, prejudiced attitudes and conformity to authority, with an emphasis on the influence of childhood experiences and internalisation) and the subsequent development of theF-scale(a measurement of the authoritarian personality).
adrenal glands:endocrine glands, located just above the kidneys, which play an important role inarousalandstress; the outer layer, thecortex, secretescorticosteroidsand themedulla(the inner core) secretes epinephrine(adrenaline) andnorepinephrine(noradrenaline).
adrenocorticotropic hormone(ACTH):released by theanterior pituitaryduringstressfulsituations. ACTH, in turn, triggers the release ofcorticosteroids(another type ofhormone).Corticosteroidsproduce many of the effects of thestressresponse.
advertising:seeks to influence consumer attitudes and behaviour, through a variety of persuasive techniques, for instance use of fear appeals.
aetiology:the study of the causes of a disease ormental disorder.
affect:emotionormood, e.g. sadness. Withinabnormal psychology, patients may display different types of affect disturbance, e.g. blunted, flat or inappropriate affect.
affectionless psychopathy:condition proposed byBowlby,whereby individuals display little remorse orguiltfor their crimes.
affective disorder:seemood disorder.
afferent neurons:the communication of thesensesexperienced by the body are conveyed to thecentral nervous systemby afferentneuronsfor processing.
affiliation:the desire of people to associate with others.
ageism:a form ofstereotypinganddiscriminationagainst the elderly.
agency:the belief that human beings are free to make decisions and have control over their own lives.
agency theory:theory developed byMilgramto explain why people obey orders that go against theconscience. When people see themselves as mere agents of another person, they will obey that person’s orders, feeling themselves free of individual responsibility.
aggression:an action or a series of actions where the aim is to cause harm to another person or object.
agoraphobia:anxiety disorderin which a person feelsanxietyabout experiencing panic attacks in public, and therefore avoids public situations.
AIDS:seeacquired immune deficiency syndrome.
aims:the general investigative purpose of the study.
alarm reaction:seegeneral adaptation syndrome.
alcoholism:physical dependencyon alcohol.
alpha/beta bias:alpha bias refers totheoriesand research which assume real and enduring differences between men and women. Betabiastheoriesand research have traditionally ignored or minimised differences between men and women.
alpha rhythm/waves:the averagebrain wavepattern (between eight to thirteen per second) whilst in a relaxed, wakeful state.
altered states of awareness:any state ofawarenesswhich differs from normal wakingawareness; examples includemeditation, sleep, drug states andpsychosis.
alternative hypothesis:a testable statement that states the expected result of the study, specifying the effect of theindependent variableupon thedependent variable, based on the researcher’s knowledge from observations, related studies and previous investigations.
altruism (animal):an animal is considered to be engaging in altruistic behaviour when by so doing it increases the survival chances of another animal whilst decreasing its own.
altruism (human):as with animal altruism, this involves some cost to the altruist and some benefit to the recipient. Unlike animal altruism, there is often evidence of ‘kindly intent’ on the part of the altruist.
Alzheimer’s disease:A degenerativebrain disorder, which is characterised by gradualmemoryloss, deterioratingcognitive skills, increasing disorientation and a reduction inintellectualability. Linked to the deterioration ofacetylcholinepathways in thebrain.
ambiguous figure:anystimuluswhich can beperceivedin more than one way.
American Sign Language:manual-visual language system, including gestures, used by hearing-impaired individuals in America.
amnesia:a significant loss ofmemoryas a result of brain damage orpsychologicaltrauma.Anterogradeamnesiarefers to the inability to learn and remember new information afterbraindamage andretrograde amnesiarefers to the loss ofmemoriesfrom beforebraindamage.
amphetamine delusional disorder:a form ofmental disorderresulting from the excessive use of amphetamines; its primary symptom, extremeparanoiddelusions, can make it appear symptomatically identical toparanoid schizophrenia.
amygdala:an almond-shaped structure in thelimbic systemwhich plays a role in basicemotions,aggressionand the development ofemotionalmemories.
anal personality:an adult who has remained ‘fixated’ during theanal stageofpsychosexual developmentand displays ananally retentivepersonality, which is characterised byobsessivecleanliness, stinginess and aggressiveness, as a result of either excessive or insufficientgratificationofidimpulses during theanal stage.
anally retentive:commonly abbreviated to “anal”, is used conversationally to describe a person with such attention to detail that theobsessionbecomes an annoyance to others, and can be carried out to the detriment of the anal-retentive person.
anal stage:the second stage inFreud’stheory ofpsychosexual development, from 15 months to 3 years. According topsychoanalytic theory– when the child’s main source of pleasure is the anus.
analytical psychology:branch ofpsychologydeveloped byJung– emphasizes the interplay between oppositional forces within thepsycheand the ways in which these internal conflicts affectpersonalitydevelopment.
analysis of variance(ANOVA):seecovariation principle.
androcentrism:refers to the tendency of sometheoriesto offer an interpretation of women based on an understanding of the lives of men(see alsoalpha/beta bias).
androgens:hormoneswhose functions are related to masculine characteristics; the most important istestosterone.
androgyny:gender roleidentity where an individual possesses both male and female (personality) characteristics.
anger management:a programme designed to teach individuals how to apply self-control in order to reduce anger against others.
animal language:as an area of research, this refers to either (a) attempts to teach nonhuman animals to speak, or (b) studies of animals’ ‘natural’ language in their own natural environment.
animal research:the use of non-human animals inempirical research, on the basis of greater control, objectivity and similargeneticmakeup. However, the use of non-human animals has raised a number ofethicalandmoralquestions.
animism:the belief that inanimate objects are alive and as such have life-like qualities such asfeelingsand intentions. A child may get angry and smack his bicycle because it ‘made him get hurt’. Animism is a characteristic found in children inPiaget’ssecond stage ofintellectual development, the pre-operational stage.Piagetbelieved that animism was a characteristic of the child’segocentricreasoning – if the child hasfeelingsand intentions, then so must all other things.
anonymity:a state for an individual within a crowd where each person loses their sense of individuality.
anorexia nervosa:(literally, a nervous loss of appetite) a disorder characterised by the pursuit of extreme thinness and by an extreme loss of weight.
ANS:seeautonomic nervous system.
antagonist:a substance that hinders the activity of aneurotransmitter, through reducing the amount available.
antagonistic:opposition inphysiologicalaction; especially : interaction of two or more substances such that the action of any one of them on living cells or tissues is lessened.
antecedent control:a behavioural measure in which the intervention occurs before the behaviour arises. Antecedent procedures include education, attitude change and inducing or preventing behaviours by controlling the triggers which cause them to occur.
anterior pituitary:The front portion of thepituitary, a small gland in the head called the master gland.Hormonessecreted by the anterior pituitary influence growth, sexual development, skin pigmentation, thyroid function, and adrenocortical function.
anterograde amnesia:the inability to learn and remember new information afterbraindamage.
anthropomorphism:assigning human feelings and emotions to non-human animals.
anti-anxiety drug:a drug which functions as acentral nervous systemdepressant, but whose primary behavioural effect is the reduction ofanxiety.
anti-conformity:refers to behaviour carried out in order to oppose the norms of the group.
anti-depressants:a drug which is used to treat clinicaldepression, primarily by enhancing the activity of theneurotransmitterserotonin.
anti-inflammatory:a medication to reduce inflammation (the body’s response to surgery, injury, irritation, or infection).
anti-social behaviour:this is a general term used to refer to any behaviour that harms or offends another person. Common examples areaggressionanddiscrimination.
anti-social personality disorder:individuals who show a lack of regard for others, are impulsive, and behave in an socially unacceptable manner.
antipsychotic drug: a drug used to treatpsychoticsymptoms, such as disordered thoughts,delusions, orhallucinations.
anxiety:a negativeemotionalstate, characterised by highphysiologicalarousaland nervousness or fear.
anxiety disorders:the most common of adult mental disorders, characterised by severe anxiety and feelings of tension.Phobiasare probably the most familiar of these disorders.
APA:the American Psychological Association
aphasia:language impairment as a result ofbraininjury or lesions.
aphonia:an inability to produce normal speech sounds.
applications:actual or possible ways of usingpsychologicalknowledge in an applied or practical setting.
appraisal:a judgement about whether a potentiallystressfulsituation is threatening, challenging or harmful.
archetypes:inJung’stheory, patterns or frameworks within the collectiveunconsciouswhich serve to organise our experiences, providing the basis of many fantasies, myths and symbols.
arousal:refers to the body’s level of alertness and activation as reflected in certainphysiologicalresponses such as heart rate or muscle tension.
artificial intelligence(AI):in computer science, the attempt to build machines which can functionintelligently, and the use of such machines to test our understanding of humanintelligence.
Asch effect:seeconformity(majority influence)
assimilation:inPiaget’stheory ofcognitive development, the process of fitting new information into existingschemas.
association areas:parts of thecortexthat receive input from more than one sensory system.
assumption:something taken for granted as being true.
Atkinson and Shiffrin(1968):proposed the multi-store model ofmemory, comprised of three stages; incoming sensory information,short-term memory(7+/- 2 “chunks” of information) andlong-term memory.
Atkinson and Shiffrin model of memory:also known as the multi-store model ofmemory. Proposes the existence of three separate but linked systems –sensory memory,short-term memoryandlong-term memory.
attachment:a two-way bond between two individuals (humans or some other animal species), in which each individual gains a sense of security from the other.
attachment theory:apsychodynamicapproach todevelopmental psychology, which places a lot of emphasis on the formation of a secureattachmentbetween infant andprimary carer(s).
attention:the process of selectively focusing on particularstimuluselements, typically those deemed most significant.
attention deficit disorder(ADD):neurological conditionthat is often evident from childhood. ADD may cause restlessness, disorganisation,hyperactivity, distractibility, andmoodswings.
attenuator model of attention:Treisman’sproposal that, instead of selecting one channel and blocking the others, the filtering mechanism (a) selects one channel and passes it on for semantic analysis, and (b) allows the unattended channels through for processing but in weakened (attenuated) form.
attitude:a personal belief of an evaluative nature, such as good or bad, likeable or not likeable, which influences our reactions towards people or things.
attribution(of causality):the way in which we infer the causes of our own or another person’s behaviour according to a set ofcognitiverules andbiases. As a result of these strategies we decide whether a person’s behaviour is caused by their own stable characteristics, or whether it is a result of situational influences.
attribution theory:atheorythat seeks to explain the causes of behaviour in terms of either dispositional (personality) factors or situational factors.
attributional biases:inattribution theory, common faults in attributing causes to behaviour such that mistakes are made and the causes of behaviour are misunderstood. An example isself-serving biasin which we attribute our own good and worthy behaviours topersonalityfactors (I gave my mum a bunch of flowers because I am kind) and any bad or unworthy behaviours to situational factors (I shouted at mum because I’ve got a headache).
audience effect:how performance on a task can be affected by others watching – either improves performance (social facilitation) or reduces performance (social inhibition)
auditory adaptation:the tendency of repeated or continuous sounds to appear less loud over time. As we habituate to thestimulusof the sound its apparent loudness decreases.
auditory cortex:the area of thebrain(in thetemporal cortex) that connects fibers of the auditory nerve and interprets nerve impulses in a form that is perceived as sound.
auditory fatigue:occurs on exposure to intense sounds which cause a persistent reduction in apparent loudness.
autonomic conditioning(also called ‘learned operant control of autonomic responses’):the conditioning of changes in autonomic (involuntary) responses (such as heart rate or blood pressure) by means ofoperant reinforcement.
authoritarian personality:personalitystyle strongly associated withprejudicedattitudes, where the person is intolerant of ambiguity or uncertainty, submissive to those in authority and dismissive or arrogant towards those perceived to be of lower social status.
autistic disorder (autism):a developmental disorder, whereby children are unresponsive and avoid contact with others, and demonstrate a lack of language and communication skills. Autism is a type ofpervasive developmental disorder.
autokinetic effect:an optical illusion experienced when a person in a totally dark room sees a stationary spot of light appearing to move.
automatic processing:a rapid mental operation that does not involve conscious awareness and often improves with practice, e.g. theStroop effect.
autonomic nervous system:part of the nervous system that maintains the normal functioning of the body’s inner environment The ANS has two subdivisions: (a) thesympathetic divisionwhose activity mobilises energy resources and prepares the body for action, and (b) theparasympathetic divisionwhose activity tends to conserve the body’s energy resources and restore inner calm.
availability:inmemory, the principle that remembering is determined by whether the information exists inlong-term memoryor not; forgetting implies that the information is destroyed.
availability heuristic:a rule of thumb used to make decisions about frequencies of events based on how easily relevant examples can be remembered acognitiveshort cut
aversion therapy:a behavioural treatment that aims to rid the individual of an undesirable habit (e.g. smoking) by pairing the habit with unpleasant (aversive) consequences.
aversive:an unpleasantstimulusor event.
aversive conditioning:a form ofbehaviour modificationwhich is designed to induce an aversive response tostimuliwhich are associated with existing undesirable behaviours.
awareness:inbiological psychology, awareness comprises a human’s or an animal’sperceptionandcognitivereaction to a condition or event. Awareness does not necessarily implyunderstanding, just an ability to beconsciousof, feel orperceive.
axon:the relatively elongated portion of aneuronbetween the cell body and the terminals which provides the signal pathway for a nerve impulse.
backward conditioning:a form ofclassical conditioningwhereby theconditioned stimulusis presented after theunconditioned stimulus.
balance theory:proposed byHeider(1946), whereby individuals aremotivatedto seek balance in their attitudes towards themselves and other people. “Sentiment” or liking relations may be balanced or unbalanced according to the overall valence of affect between people.
Bandura(1925 -):was a key proponent ofbehaviourism. Best remembered for his research intoobservational learningormodellingin the “Bobo dollexperiment”. His work also includesself-efficacy,aggressionandpersonalitytheory.
bar chart:this is used to display nominal data and average scores in the form of a graph. There are gaps between each bar that is plotted on the graph.
baseline:a datum of comparison to measure against the effects of a manipulated variable (theindependent variable).
basic anxiety:in Horney’spsychodynamic theory, an intense sense of isolation and helplessness which is the primary source of humanmotivation.
basic trust(vs mistrust):sense of security towards a parent/caregiver and world around them, that develops in an infant after being given loving and responsive care.
Bateson(1904-1980) :proposed thedouble bind?theoryof faulty communication patterns within families of patients ofschizophrenia.
behavioural model of abnormality:the view thatabnormal behavioursaremaladaptivelearned responses to the environment which can be replaced by more adaptive behaviours.
behavioural psychology:an approach topsychologythat emphasises the learning of behaviour and objective recording.
behavioural therapy:a form of treatment that aims to change behaviour by means of systematic desensitisation,behaviour modification, oraversion therapy.
behaviourism:one of the major perspectives inpsychologythat concentrates on overt (observable) behaviour rather than covert (unobservable)mentalprocessing. Behaviours are seen as being acquired through the processes of learning, and the role of the environment is seen to be crucial in development.
behaviour modification:is a general label for attempts to change behaviour by using appropriate and timelyreinforcement.
Berkowitz(1926 ):specialises inaggression, in particular instrumental andemotionalaggression, the frustration-aggressionhypothesisand intergroup hostility.
beta rhythm:also known as beta activity. Whilst an individual is alert and responsive, beta activity is depicted by irregular, low-amptitude waves on anEEG.
bias:a source of error which results in a systematic distortion of results.
biased sampling:a sample ofparticipantsis not representative of thepopulationfrom which it was taken, and thus is likely to over-represent one group (e.g. by gender, working class etc)
binge eating:is related to “bulimia nervosa” but sometimes occurs without the compensatory behaviour to get rid of the excess calories.
binomial sign test:a non-parametricinferential statistical test. Used when you have nominal data, the research is repeated measures (ormatched pairs) and you are looking for a difference in the effect each level of theindependent variablehas on thedependent variable.
biochemical:refers to those chemical processes involving human biological function.
biofeedback:feedback to a person about some bodily process (e.g. heart rate, muscle tension) of which the person is usually unaware.
biological model/biomedical approach to abnormality:emphasises the role ofphysiologicalprocesses (i.e. genetic and biochemical factors) in causingmental disorders, and in the treatment of disorders..
biological psychology:the study of the relationship between thephysiologicalsystems in the body and behaviour.
biological rhythms:activity that occur with some regularity in an organism.Infradianrhythmsoccur less than once a day (e.g. human menstrual cycle),circadianrhythmsrepeat themselves every 24 hours (e.g. sleep/waking cycle), andultradianrhythmsmore than once a day (e.g. stages of sleep during one night).
biological (somatic) therapies:an approach to the treatment ofmental disordersthat relies on the use of physical or chemical methods.
biopsychosocial model:a model of heath and illness are determined by multiple factors, including social, cultural,psychologicaland biological, which can thus have multiple effects.
bipolar disorder/depression: (manic depressive disorder) amood disordercharacterised by extremes ofmaniaanddepression.
bobo doll:an inflatable toy used inAlbert Bandura’sstudies ofaggressionimitation.
body language:sometimes referred to as ‘non-verbal communication’, in other words, what you can tell about someone’smoodorframe of mindby the expression on their face, the way they are standing or sitting, etc.
Bolwby(1907 -1990):a Britishpsychologist, who focused primarily onattachmentbonds between a caregiver and a child, and how the strength or deprivation of the bond may affect the childscognitive,socialandemotionaldevelopment, epitomised inBowlbysmaternal deprivationhypothesis.
bonding:the process whereby the young of a species form a bond with their parent(s). In the bonding process, parents also bond with their offspring and thus safeguard them from abuse or abandonment.
bottom-up approach:in the context ofoffender profiling, an approach that starts from the available evidence from the crimes committed by a particular offender (the ‘bottom’) and attempts to look for connections and links between them that will give a clue to the characteristics of the criminal.
bottom-up processing:of information (stimulus) that is determined solely by aspects of thestimulus.
BPS:an abbreviation of the British Psychological Society.
brain:the portion of thecentral nervous systemwhich lies within the skull, responsible for controlling a range of behaviours. The brain is the centrepiece of the nervous system.Neuroscientistshave identified different areas of the brain. These areas perform a range of different functions. The brain consists of three interconnected layers. Thecentral core,limbic systemandcerebral cortex.
brain disorder:any abnormality in the brain that results in impaired functioning or thinking.
brain stem:the region at the top of the spinal cord, composed of three primary structures; themedulla, theponsand themidbrain.
brain ventricles:cavities in the brain that contain a clear, colourless fluid called cerebrospinal fluid which acts as a buffer against damage caused by blows to the head.
brain wave:(neurophysiology) rapid fluctuations of voltage between parts of thecerebral cortexthat are detectable with anelectroencephalograph.
brief:a description given toparticipantsto indicate what will be expected of them during a study and to describe its general purpose so that they can give their informed consent to participate. It should also state their right to withdraw at any time.
British Crime Survey:a regular, large, face-toface survey of adults living in private households in England and Wales. Its main purpose is to monitor trends in crime but it also covers a range of other topics such as attitudes to crime.
Broca’s aphasia:characterised as a disturbance of speech production, whilst language comprehension remains largely intact. Occurs as a result of damage to Brocas area.
Broca’s area:the area of the inferior prefrontalcortexof the left hemisphere of the brain,hypothesisedby Broca to be the centre of speech production.
buffers:term used in social influence research to refer to any aspect of a situation that protects people from having to confront the consequences of their actions.
bulimia_nervosa:characterised by secret binge eating followed by vomiting, misuse of laxatives, diuretics, excessive exercise, etc., in order to lose weight.
bystander behaviour:the behaviour shown by those who witness an emergency. This is often referred to as ‘bystander apathy’because of the tendency of bystanders to ignore the emergency when in the company of others.
bystander intervention:the act of assisting strangers in an emergency.
capacity:quantifies the amount of information that can be held inmemory, e.g.short-term memoryhas a limited capacity of 7 +/- 2 items.
capacity models / resource allocation models(of divided attention):those models proposing that we have a pool of processing resources that we can allocate according to the demands of the task and environmental factors.
cardiovascular system:consists of two parts, the heart and the blood vessels. It is a system for distributing oxygen and nutrients to the organs in the body. Heart rate, blood pressure and local blood volume are three measures of cardiovascular activity commonly used in research bypsychophysiologists.
case study:a detailed description of a single individual, typically used to provide information on the person’s history and to aid in interpreting the person’s behaviour.
castration anxiety:theanxietythat boys suffer during theOedipus complexthat their rivalrous father may castrate them.
CAT (computed axial tomography) scans:anon-invasive, multiple X-ray procedure for creating images of thebrain.
cataplexy:sudden paralysis of some or all muscles brought on by laughter, anger, or strong emotions; a hallmark ofnarcolepsy.
catatonic schizophrenia:a form ofschizophrenia, characterised by a patient who displays motor abnormalities, for instance, changing between a state of complete immobility to energised excitement.
categorisation:a short cut used when processing information. A category is a set of items perceived to have at least one feature in common. In interpersonalperception, categories such as young-old and male-female are used.
catharsis:a term used inpsychodynamicpsychologyto mean the release of emotion. An example is crying to release sadness.
cause and effect:establishing that theindependent variablehas had a clear effect upon thedependent variable.
central core: this exists in all vertebrates. The central core regulates the basic life processes such as breathing, pulse,arousal, movement, balance, sleep and also the early stages of processingsensory information. The central core includes thethalamus,pons,cerebellum,reticular formationandmedulla.
central nervous system(CNS):thebrain, together with the nerve pathways of the spinal cord.
central tendency:a single value which is representative of a set of numbers by indicating the most typical value. Three measures of central tendency are themean,medianandmode.
centration:a characteristic of the preoperational stage ofcognitive development. Children centre on one aspect of a problem and overlook otherperceptualfactors.
cerebellum:(‘little brain’ in Latin) two small hemispheres located beneath the cortical hemispheres, at the back of the head; the cerebellum plays an important role in directing movements and balance.
cerebral cortex:an area of thebrainresembling a folded sheet of grey tissue that covers the rest of thebrain. The cerebral cortex directs thebrainshighercognitiveandemotionalfunctions. It is divided into two almost symmetrical halves called thecerebral hemispheres. Each hemisphere contains four lobes. Areas within these lobes regulate all forms ofconsciousexperience such asemotion,perception,thoughtand planning as well asunconsciouscognitiveandemotionalprocesses. The cerebral cortex includes thefrontal lobe,occipital lobe,parietal lobeandtemporal lobe.
cerebral dominance:the tendency for one hemisphere to be superior for particular functions.
cerebral hemispheres:two half spheres, made up of thecortexand underlying structures, which comprise the major portion of thebrain.
chaos theory:a branch of mathematics dealing with non-linear functions which has been applied to the modelling of situations such as the weather and stock markets; non-linear systems are not predictable, because very small changes in initial conditions can result in radical differences at a later point.
charisma: a personal attractiveness or interestingness that enables you to influence others.
checklist:a simple list of all the behaviours being recorded. On every occurrence of a behaviour on the list, a single tally is recorded. At the end of the observation period, the observer has a record of the number of occurrences of each of the behaviours being investigated.
child psychology:(developmental psychology) the branch ofpsychologythat studies the social andmentaldevelopment of children.
child rearing styles:varying style of parenting classified according to the extent parents are demanding of their child and/or responsive to the childs needs, including authoritative and authoritarian parenting.
chi-squared (x2) test of association:a nonparametricinferential statistical test. Used when you have nominal data, the research is independent groups and you are looking for an association between theindependent variableand thedependent variable.
chromosomes:thread-likegeneticstructures composed of double strands ofDNAand proteins, containing the genes; in humans, there are twenty-three pairs of chromosomes.
chromosome abnormalities:typically occur when a chromosome is missing or there is an extra chromosome, e.g.Downs syndrome.
chronic schizophrenia:used to diagnoseschizophrenicswho show no significant improvement after therapy or treatment over a long period of time.
chunk:the basic measure ofshort-term memorycapacity, representing a meaningful unit, such as random letters, numbers or words.
chunking:combining individual letters or numbers into larger meaningful units
circadian rhythm:a roughly 24-hour cycle which is determined by an internal body clock, e.g. the sleep-wake cycle.
classical conditioning:a basic form of learning, whereby aneutral stimulusis repeatedly paired with anunconditioned stimulus(UCS), that naturally produces anunconditioned response(UCR). After several trials, theneutral stimulusis now aconditioned stimulus(CS) and thus produces aconditioned response(CR).
claustrophobia:an intense fear of confined spaces such as lifts.
client-centred therapy:anhumanistic approachto therapy developed byCarl Rogers, in which the person seeking treatment (termed a client),not the therapist, is seen as directing the process oftherapy; later calledperson-centred therapy.
clinical interview:a flexible research method that usesopen-ended questionsto obtain a lot of information from aparticipant.
clinical psychologist:apsychologistwho has possesses a doctorate inpsychologyand has been trained to assess and treatpsychologicalproblems.
clinical psychology:focuses on the assessment and treatment ofabnormal or maladaptive behaviour.
closed questions:questions that have set answers forparticipantsto choose from.
closure:a term used inGestalttherapyto mean theemotionalexperience of moving on from a pasttrauma.
CNS:seecentral nervous system
cocktail party effect:refers to (,I) a person’s ability to concentrate on just one conversation although others are going on all around and (b) the way a person engaged in (attending to) one conversation will nevertheless hear their own class=”d-title” name if it is mentioned in a nearby conversation.
codes of practice:ethical guidelinesproduced bypsychologicalorganisations such as theBPSand theAPA,containing advice on research and practice.
confidence:is generally described as a state of being certain, either that ahypothesisor prediction is correct, or that a chosen course of action is the best or most effective given the circumstances at the time.
cognition:the processes ofreasoning,thoughts,attitudesandmemories.
cognitive:a process of information storage and retrieval, which can be utilised flexibly in behaviour. In humans, cognitive?relates tomentaloperations sometimes termed thought processes, egreasoning, calculation and planning.
cognitive ability:thepsychologicalconcept that refers to such processes asperceiving, knowing, recognising, conceptualising, judging, andreasoning.
cognitive appraisal theory:devised byLazarus, stating that our cognitive appraisal of a situation in crucial in experiencingemotions.
cognitive behavioural programmes:programmes designed tomodify behaviourby changingattitudesandthoughts.
cognitive behavioural therapies:techniques that involve helping clients to identify their negative,irrationalthoughtsand to replace these with more positive,rationalways of thinking.
cognitive development:the growth of cognitive (thinking) abilities. This may be studied by examining changes in the form and structure of children’s thinking as they get older, or by looking at individual differences in the power of children’s thinking as measured, e.g. byIQtests.
cognitive dissonance:inFestinger’stheory, a state of tension created when there are conflicts between an individual’s behaviour and beliefs, or between two beliefs.
cognitive interview:an interview technique designed to be used by police investigators to help elicit accurate information fromeyewitnesses.
cognitive labelling theory:Schachter and Singer’stheorythat it is the combination ofphysiologicalarousaland cognitive appraisal that leads to the experience ofemotion.
cognitive map:Tolman’sterm for thementalrepresentation of learned relationships amongstimuli.
cognitive model of abnormality:the view thatstressesthe role of cognitive problems (such asillogicalthoughtprocesses) inabnormal functioning.
cognitive neo-association theory:Berkowitz’stheorythatthoughts,memoriesand behaviour may be triggered by affective states and/orpriming.
cognitive neuroscience:a hybrid discipline aimed at identifying the biological bases ofcognitive processesby combining techniques for the study ofcognitive processeswith measures ofphysiologicalprocesses.
cognitive pathology:aphenomenonwhereby researchers selectively ignore simplifyingassumptionsand other limitations which are part of the foundations of theirtheoriesand methods.
cognitive processes:aspects ofmental‘behaviour’ that focus on the acquisition, storage,retrievaland use ofknowledge, for instance in memory andperception.
cognitive psychology:research field inpsychologythat focuses on mental processes used to acquire, store,retrieveand useknowledge.
cognitive restructuring:in Ellis’srational-emotive therapy, a process for modifying faulty beliefs and thenegative emotionsthey produce, in order to develop realistic beliefs andself acceptance.
cognitive science:the study of humanintelligenceand of the symbol-processing nature ofcognition.
cognitive therapy: a form oftherapywhich focuses on the role of faulty beliefs andthoughtpatterns inabnormal behaviour; because it also encourages testing beliefs via behavioural strategies, it is sometimes called’cognitive behavioural therapy’. See alsorational-emotive therapy.
cohort:a group of individuals who were born during the same time interval, i.e. a ‘generation’.
collective unconscious:inJung’stheory, a biologically based portion of theunconsciouswhich reflects universal themes and ideas, not individual experience.
collectivism:an orientation which emphasises a person’s connections and obligations to a social group (family, tribe, etc.); when applied to describe aculture, typically contrasted toindividualism.
collectivist society:a society characterised by a high level of mutualinterdependencebetween individuals.
collectivistic cultures:culturesthat value group loyalty, prefer group to individual decisions and where the needs of the group outweigh the concerns of the individual.
colour processing/vision:refers to the ability to see chromatic colours (hues) such as yellow, green and blue. Twotheorieshave been proposed trichromatic and opponent process – but no satisfactory complete explanation exists.
Comfortable Interpersonal Distance Scale:anon-invasive methodused to measure people’spersonal space.
community environmental design:differs from urban renewal because these projects allow the current residents in the area to have an input in the redesign of the area.
companionate love:theemotionalstate that combines feelings of affection and attachment characterised by mutual concern for each other – less intense than romantic love.
compensation:inAdler’stheory, a process of engaging in activities intended to produce a feeling of superiority over others,in order to overcome feelings of inferiority.
competitive altruism:(also called ‘costly signalling theory’) the concept that individuals will make large public sacrifices if they believe there is a long-term personal benefit.
complementarity:a concept developed by physicists to deal with the existence of two models which are both useful, but not directly reconcilable.
compliance:a form ofsocial influence, whereby an individual seeks to influence another to comply with a demand.
compulsion:an irresistible impulse to act, regardless of the rationality of themotivation.
computerised axial tomograms(CAT):seecomputed tomography.
computerised imaging techniques:for studyingbrainfunction which use computers to convert information into a three-dimensional model of thebrainwhich can be viewed on a television monitor.
computed tomography(CT):imaging technique using X-rays.
concept(s):an idea or group of ideas that might be used as the basis for apsychologicaltheory.
concordance:a technique for studying inheritance by examining characteristics of individuals whosegeneticrelationship is known.
concrete operational period:InPiaget’sstages ofcognitive development, a period between ages seven and eleven during which children gain a better understanding ofmentaloperations. Children begin thinking logically about concrete events, but have difficulty understandingabstractorhypotheticalconcepts.
concurrent validity:an indicator ofvalidity, which compares measures of the samephenomenonto determine whether they produce similar results in the same circumstances.
conditional positive regard:acceptance and caring given to a person only for meeting certain standards of behaviour.
conditioned emotional response:anemotionalresponse such as fear which is established throughclassical conditioning.
conditioned reinforcer:stimuliwhich act asreinforcersbut are not based on biological survival, such asattention, praise ormoney.
conditioned response:inclassical conditioning,a response to a previouslyneutral stimuluswhich has become aconditioned stimulusby repeated pairing with anunconditioned stimulus.
conditioned stimulus:astimuluswhich by repeated pairings with anunconditioned stimuluscomes to elicit aconditioned response.
conditions forgrowth:the conditions under which healthy development ofpersonalityoccurs;defined byRogersas unconditional positive regard, openness andempathy.
conditions of worth:restrictions imposed on self-expression in order to earn positive regard.
conduct disorderis used to describe a pattern of repetitive behavior of children where the rights of others or the current social norms are violated. Symptoms include verbal and physical.aggression, cruel behavior toward people and pets, destructive behavior, lying, truancy, vandalism, and stealing.
cones:photoreceptor cells located in the centre of theretinathat allow us to see colour.
confederates:individuals who pose asparticipantsinempirical research, in order to produce responses from real?participantsin the study.
confidentiality:theethicalconcern that information gathered duringpsychologicalresearch ortherapyshould not be divulged to others unless otherwise agreed in advance or unless there is a legal requirement to disclose it.
confirmation:in research, the process of determining that observations are consistent with thehypothesisbeing true.
confirmation bias:a form ofcognitiveerror based on the tendency to seek out information which supports one’s beliefs, and ignore contradictory information.
conformity:a type ofsocial influenceexpressed through exposure to the views of a majority and our submission to those views.
confound:inexperimentalresearch, a situation where two variables change simultaneously, making it impossible to determine their relative influence.
confounding variable:uncontrolled variable that produces an unwanted effect on thedependent variable. It obscures the effect of theindependent variable.
congruence:inRogers’stheory, a feeling of integration experienced when the self and ideal self match.
conscience:a person’smoralsense of right and wrong, chiefly as it affects their own behaviour.
conscious:inFreud’stheory, that aspect of themindwhich contains thosethoughtsandfeelingsof which we are immediately aware at a given moment.
consciousness:is regarded to comprise qualities such as subjectivity,self-awareness,sentience, and the ability toperceivethe relationship between oneself and one’s environment. It is a subject of much research inphilosophy of mind,psychology,neuroscience, andcognitive science.
consent:anethicalnecessity, wherebyparticipantsagree to procedures that will take place and are given the right to withdraw at any time in the study.
conservation:understanding that physical characteristics of number or quantity do not change, even though the appearance may change, and is demonstrated by children in the pre-operational stage ofPiagetstheoryof development.
consequent control:a behavioural measure in which the intervention follows the behaviour to be changed. Consequent procedures can affect behaviours by using pleasant or unpleasant consequences (positive or negative reinforcement or punishment) to make their performance more or less likely or through the use of feedback.
constant errors:uncontrolled variables that act on only one level of theindependent variable. Their action may either be in the same direction as a predicted difference, exaggerating the apparent effect of theindependent variableor in the opposite direction, obscuring the effect of theindependent variable.
constructive theories of perception:top-down(or concept driven)theoriesthat emphasise the need for several sources of information in order to construct ourperceptionof the world. In addition to information available in the sensorystimulus, we need to use highercognitive processes, according to thistheory, to interpret the information appropriately.
construct validity: an indicator ofvalidity, which aims to demonstrate that thephenomenonbeing measured actually exists, for example, by justifying it in relation to a model ortheory.
contact hypothesis:suggestion thatprejudicecan be reduced if members of different groups are brought into contact with each other.
content analysis:examination of certain types of media (e.g. books, TV; magazines, the Internet) to see what effect they may be having on ourperceptionsand/or behaviour. It involves the analysis of language, certain words or certain activities that appear in the chosen media.,
context-dependent forgetting:failure to retrieve information fromlong-term memorydue to the absence of appropriate contextual cues.
contiguity:inbehaviourism, the principle that areinforcermust occur immediately after a response in order for learning to occur.
contextual reinstatement:in the context ofcriminal psychology, a way of improvingmemoryfor an event by returning to the place where it happened or asking the witness to imagine themselves back in that place and in the sameemotional state.
contingency ofreinforcement:inoperant conditioning, a description of the relationship between a response and areinforcer.
continuity: indevelopmental theory, the view that changes occur through a continuous gradual process, rather than as a series of discrete stages; continuity is an assertion about the processes that underlie development, as well as the changes observed in behaviour.
continuous reinforcement:a reinforcement schedule in which every response is followed by areinforcer; equivalent to an FR (Fixed Ratio) 1 schedule.
contrast processing:term used in the study of visualperceptionto describe the ability to differentiate between brightness levels in adjoining areas.
control(psychological):the sense that one can anticipate events that occur in one’s environment – a feeling that one can accomplish things and is not at the mercy of forces beyond one’s control. Types of control include: informational, decisional, behavioural,cognitiveand retrospective.
control group:in anexperimental design, group used as a baseline to compare the effect of theindependent variablein theexperimental group.
controlled (attentional) processing:amentaloperation that isconscious, relatively slow and easily interrupted.
controls:the steps taken to limit factors that could distort the collection of valid and reliable data.
convenience sample:a quasi-random samplingprocedure in which the potential sample pool actually differs from thepopulation– for example, selecting university students instead of people in general; the impact on representativeness (if any) often depends on what behaviour is being studied.
convergent problem:a problem which has a single solution, and all elements lead towards that solution; also called closed-end or well-defined problems.
coping:a person’s efforts to minimise, control or tolerate environmental demands that are judged to exceed their resources to fight or avoid.
coprolalia:an uncontrollable use of obscene language; often accompanied bymental disorders.
corpus callosum:a wide band of nerve fibres which connect the two hemispheres of thebrain.
correlation:the degree of relatedness between two sets of scores. If two sets of scores are correlated, it enables researchers to predict (with varying degrees of certainty) the approximate value of one score if they know the value of the other. A positive correlationexists when high values on one variable are associated with high values on another variable. A negative correlationexists when high values on one variable are associated with low values on another variable.
correlational analysis: a type of analysis used to measure the extent of relationship between variables that are thought likely to co-vary.
correlation coefficient:a descriptive statistic measuring the degree of relationship between two variables; for positive correlations, it is a number which varies between 0.0 and + 1.0, and for negative correlations between 0.0 and -1.0; in both cases, the closer the value is to I, the stronger the relationship between the two variables.
cortex:the outer layer of thebrainwhich controls many of our higher functions like speech andperception.
cortical activity:neural activity in thecortexof thebrain.
corticosteroids:drugs that mimic the action of a group ofhormonesproduced byadrenal glands; they areanti-inflammatoryand act as bronchodilators.
counter balancing:the systematic variation of the order of presentation of the levels of theindependent variable(eg. Half of theparticipantsfirst undergo Condition A followed by Condition B, whilst the other half do vice versa), in a repeated measures design, to avoid order and fatigue effects.
counter factual thinking:thinking about events that did not actually take place, such as winning when we in fact lost.
counter transference:as part ofpsychoanalytictherapy, thetherapistmay transfer feelings or conflicts they may have about their own life, or significant others in it, onto the client. It is imperative that thetherapistrecognises this possibility and guards against it.
co-variation model of attribution:Kelley’stheorythat people decide on the cause of a behaviour by weighing up how consistent and distinctivethe behaviour is and how much consensusthere is about it.
covariation principle:proposes that individuals attribute behaviour to a causal factor if it existed whilst the behaviour took place, but was not there when it did not occur.
Craik and Lockhart(1972):put forward the levels of processing model of memory, as a counterpoint to themulti-store model of memory.Memoryis seen as a product of the depth of processing and encoding of information; for instance shallow processing or deep processing (e.g.semantic processing).
creativity:the capacity to produce something which is both unique and useful.
criminal psychology:is the study of thewills,thoughts, intentions and reactions of criminals.
crisis:apsychologicalconflict which needs to be resolved if the individual is to move on to the next stage of development.
criterion: a standard or test by which individual things or people may be compared and judged.
critical period:a crucial period in a person’s or animal’s development when certain experiences must happen for normal development to proceed. Today it is more common to use the term sensitive periodto describe the optimum period for certain experiences to happen.
critical value:the value that is compared with the observed (calculated) value in aninferential statistical test. Eachinferential statistical testhas a table or tables of critical values. The comparison with the observed (calculated) allows you to conclude if you have found a significant result.
cross cultural study:a study conducted across two or moreculturesin order to make comparisons between them.
cross sectional sample:asamplewhich is deliberately selected in such a way that the sample matches thepopulationfor particular characteristics, such as age and income.
cross sectional study:a research design based on selecting representative groups who vary on a particular characteristic; when the characteristic is age, this design provides a means of making developmental comparisons.
cross tolerance:thisphenomenonarises in some drug categories, such as the opiates (heroin, morphine etc) and tryptamines (LSD, mescaline and psilocybin) when the prolonged use of one drug in the group results in the development of tolerance to the others opioids.
crowd:may refer to a large, cohesive gathering of individuals or to the act of coming together to form a tightly-spaced group. In addition, crowding is used to refer to thepsychologicalperceptionsassociated with this increase in density.
crowding:the feeling that is induced if our expectations about the use of space are violated by the presence of others.
crystallised intelligence:knowledgeand skills already acquired by a person, e.g. arithmetic.
cue-arousal theory:suggests that the presence of specific cues in the environment triggersaggressivebehaviour.
cue-dependent coding:the concept that all information is stored inmemoryas a set of relationships called the context; remembering is seen as dependent on restoring the cues which formed the original context.
cue-dependent forgetting:failure torecallmemorydue to a lack of cues that were present at the time ofmemoryencoding.
cultural bias:a tendency inpsychologicaltheory and research to ignore the differences betweenculturesand impose understanding based on the study of oneculturealone.
cultural identity:the influence of one’scultureon the development of identity.Individualist culturesstress the importance of personal achievement and independence, whilecollectivist culturesstress the importance of collective achievement and dependence.
cultural relativism:in the context of atypicalpsychology, the acknowledgement that symptoms may differ acrosscultures.
culture:a system ofvalues, beliefs and practices that characterise a particular group, for example a national or ethnic group.
culture-bound syndrome:Amental disorderthat appears to be confined to the members of a particularculturalgroup.
custom:a practice from the past that people continue to observe.
dark adaptation:the gradual process through which the eyes adjust from a change in illumination from light to low light intensity.
Darwin(1809-1882):a hugely influential naturalist, who proposed that all species evolve through natural selection so that traits that enhance survival are passed on.
daydream:a visionary fantasy experienced while awake, especially one of happy, pleasant thoughts, hopes, or ambitions.
debriefing: anethicalprocedure that occurs at the end of a study, wherebyparticipantsare given as much information as possible about the study, are given the option to discuss their experience of the study, to ensure thatparticipantsleave theexperimentin the sameemotionalstate as they entered.
decay:the loss of information inmemoryover a long period of time.
deception:in research, the intentional misleading and misinforming ofparticipantswith regard to the aim of the study.
decibels(dB):a measure of volume (sound intensity) .decision-making:reasoning that involves considering and choosing different options.
declarative knowledge:memoryfor facts (semantic knowledge) and events (episodic knowledge).
deduction/deductive reasoning:the logical process of drawing a particular conclusion from a set of general principles.
defence mechanism:psychologicalstrategies as part ofFreudianpsychoanalytictheory, that are used to distort or deny reality, in order to cope withanxietyand/or a situation which an individual feels is difficult to cope with.
deindividuation:a process through which group members cease to view themselves as individuals. Individual identity is replaced with identification with a group.
delusion: unfounded and irrational beliefs held despite contrary evidence. Characteristic ofmental disorderssuch asschizophrenia, can be manifested in delusions of grandeur (believing that one is famous or powerful) or delusions of persecution (believing that one is being chased or followed).
demand characteristic:cues in anexperimentthat reveal information toparticipantsabout the aim and expected outcome, thereby influencing their behavior and subsequently confounding the results.
dementia:disorder characterised by considerable deterioration incognitivefunction, for instance in loss ofmemory. Different types of dementia includecorticialdementias (e.g.Alzheimers disease) and sub-cortical dementias (e.g.Huntingtons disease).
demographic:asocioeconomicor similar factor that defines a certain group or area.
dendrites:branched fibres at the end of the cell body of aneuronthat receive incoming impulses
denial:adefence mechanism,whereby an individual may denies or rejects some aspect of reality.
deoxyribonucleic acid(DNA):the molecule which forms basis of heredity. DNA holds allgeneticinformation on thechromosomes.
dependent personality disorder:a form ofpersonality disorder, whereby an individual is heavily reliant upon others and demonstrates feelings of inadequacy and helplessness when alone.
dependent variable(DV):in anexperiment, the values of the variable that change as a result of manipulation of theindependent variable.
depression(unipolar disorder):a type ofmood disorder, characterised by persistent feelings of great sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness,guiltand a loss of interest in activities.
deprivation:a condition of having too little of something.
depth/distance (visual) perception:the capability to view the world three-dimensionally, utilising monocular and binocular cues to appraise depth and distance between objects.
descriptive statistics:the description and summation of sets of scores in statistics.
determinism:theassumptionthat all behaviour has specific causes.
developmental psychology:also known ashuman development. It is the scientific study of the processes which underlie and control growth and change in behaviour over time.
deviant behavior:behavior that is a recognised violation of social norms.?
diagnosis:the identification and classification of apsychological disorder.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual(DSM):a multi-axial manual used for the classification, definition and description ofmental health disorders.
diathesis-stress model:an explanation ofmental disordersbased on a combination ofgeneticvulnerability (diathesis) and environmental influences.
dichotic listening:utilised in attention research, whereby a different auditory message is simultaneously presented to each ear.Participantsare required to repeat one of the messages whilst ignoring the other.
diencephalon:a part of theforebrain, containing thethalamusand thehypothalamus.
diffusion of responsibility:occurs in groups when an individual feels less responsibility because accountability is diffused amongst the group. Evident in emergency situations, whereby the larger the number of bystanders, the less responsibility each bystander feels.
digit span:a test ofshort-term memory, wherebyparticipantsare presented with a series of digits and asked to repeat them. Average digit span is 7 +/- 2.
directional hypothesis:states which of the two condition means will be larger, most often used,one tailed T-test.
discovery learning:aPiagetianbelief that children learn through self-discovery, aided by a teacher providing suitable materials, thereby stimulatingintrinsic satisfaction.
discrete variable:measurement using of a discrete category (eg. Gender) as opposed to a continuous score (e.g height, weight, intelligence).
discrimination:unequal and unlawful treatment based upon race, colour, creed, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, orsexual orientation.
disengagement theory:mutual process of disengagement in activities expected by the individual and by society.
disorganised speech:one of thepositive symptomsofschizophrenia,a disturbance whereby speech is disjointed and incoherent.
displacement:forgetting inshort-term memory, as a result of to new incoming information replacing the previous contents
dispositional attribution:when behavior is attributed to internal factors that are directly controllable by a person, e.g. an individuals effort or ability, as opposed to external factors (situational attributions), such as the weather or bad luck.
dissociative disorder: Is a condition, often caused bytrauma, in which a person disconnects from a full awareness of self, time, or external circumstances as a defence against unpleasant realities ormemories.
distal cause:a factor which has an indirect effect on behaviour, such as previous experiences in similar situations.
divided attention:the ability to divide our attentional processing between more than one task.
dizygotic twins(non-identical twins):twins that develop from differentzygotes(eggs) and only share about fifty percent of theirDNA.
door-in-the-face technique:a technique used to inducecompliance,whereby individuals are first asked a large favour, followed by a smaller favour, which is more likely to be followed.
dopamine:a chemicalneurotransmitterin thebrain, important for learning and the experience of pleasure and reward.
dopamine hypothesis:argues thatschizophreniais based on over-activity ofsynapsesthat depend ondopamine.
double-bind theory:a theory ofschizophreniaproposed byBateson, which argues that faulty communication patterns within the family contribute to the onset ofschizophrenia.
double-blind design:a form ofexperimentalcontrol, whereby both the subject and experimenter are kept uninformed about the purpose of theexperiment, to reduce any forms of bias (in particular, experimenterbias).
Down’s syndrome:achromosomal disorderthat is characterised by lowIQlevels.
dreaming:a stage of sleep typified by the experience of visual imagery andrapid eye movements(REM).
drive reduction theory(of motivation):Hull’s proposal that all behaviour is motivated and thatmotivationstems from the satisfaction ofhomeostaticdrives (e.g. hunger and thirst).Stimuli(e.g. food and water) that decreases the drives subsequently reinforce the behaviour that led to them.
drug treatments:treatment ofpsychological disordersthat are based on biological explanations ofabnormal behavior. Treatment includesanti-anxiety drugs,anti-depressantdrugs and anti-bipolar drugs.
dysfunctional:functioning incorrectly or abnormally.
dyslexia:‘developmental dyslexia’ is used to explain difficulties with written and spoken language (across differing levels ofintellect) that occurs as a result of development, whilst acquired dyslexia?occurs as a result of a stroke or similar injury, whereby language skills are impaired.
echolalia:a condition often found inautisticchildren andcatatonic schizophrenics, whereby individuals demonstrate apathologicalrepetition of other’s words, either immediately or delayed for hours or days.
efficacy:the effectiveness of a treatment used in medicine orpsychotherapy.
ego:(Latin for ‘I’) inpsychoanalysis, the part ofpersonalitythat serves to mediate betweenidandsuperego, by directing instinctual drives and urges into appropriate channels.
egocentricity:evident at the preoperational stage, whereby a young child is unable to take the perspective of another person.Piaget’s‘three mountains’experimentis a test of egocentricity, as children are unable to see how the ‘mountains’ would look to a child at a different location.
elaborative rehearsal:the active processing of items to improvememory, through a variety of methods, from focusing on sensory characteristics (visual appearance, sound) to an emphasis on the semantic content (meaning) of information.
electroconvulsive shock treatment(ECT):the use of passing small amounts of electric current through thebrain, inducing a convulsion or epileptic seizure, as an effective treatment for severedepression.
electroencephalograph(EEG):anon-invasivemethod of recording the electrical activity of thebrain, by fixing electrodes to the scalp.
emancipation(psychological): The step by step development of thepersonalityof a self-reliant mature individual. All good education guides towards mature self-reliance andself-realisation.
emotion:an pattern of intense changes inphysiologicalarousal, behavior,cognitive processesand environmental influences that are described in subjective terms such as happiness, fear or anger.
emotion-focused coping:aims to manage the negative effects ofstresson the individual, through changing anemotionalresponse.
emotional development:the development of a full range of emotions from sad to happy to angry, and learning to deal with them appropriately.
emotional state:the state of a person’semotions(especially with regard to pleasure or dejection).
empathy:the ability to understand another person’sperceptionsand feelings; cited byRogersas a condition for growth.
empirical data:information derived from measurements made in “real life” situations (eg, field data).
encoding:changing sensory input into a mental representation in thememorysystem.
endocrine glands:glands which secretehormonesdirectly into the bloodstream.
endocrinologist: a specialist of the endocrine glands andhormonesystems of the body. iepituitary gland,adrenal gland, testes.
endogenous:caused by factors within the body ormindor arising from internal structural or functional causes.
endogenous pacemakers: inherited mechanisms important for the regulation ofbiological rhythms, particularly in the absence of external cues. The principal endogenous pacemaker in mammals is a small group of cells in thehypothalamus, known as thesuprachiasmatic nucleus(SCN), which regulates the production of melatonin in the pineal gland.
endorphins:a neuropeptide which plays an important role in pain and mood states.
environmental stressors(aggressive behaviour):elements of the environment that give rise toanti-social behavior, by increasingarousalwhich subsequently may produce negativeemotionsandaggressive behavior. For instance, high temperatures, intense levels of noise, and crowding can produce high levels ofaggression.
episodic memory:long-term memoriesfor personal experiences and the contexts in which they occur.
equilibration:inPiaget’stheory ofcognitive development, maintaining balance between the environment and thementalstructures (schemas) which we use to represent that environment.
Erikson(1902-1994):psychoanalystand proponent ofdevelopmental psychology. Proposed eight stages ofpsychosocialdevelopment from birth to death, for instance identity vs. role confusion.
ergonomics:the study of the ‘fit’ between human operators and their workplace, which can be used to design working environments that maximise user efficiency.
estimator variables:in witness testimony, variables that affect the accuracy of witness testimony, that the justice system has little control over, including weather and amount of time witness was at the scene
ethical guidelines:prescriptive guidance (e.g. clear guidelines published by theBPS)on the conduct ofpsychologistsin research and practice, to oversee what is acceptable within the pursuit of a specific goal, including informed consent, right to withdraw anddebriefing.
ethical hedonism:the view that individuals engage inmoralbehaviour, such asaltruism, because it provides some personal advantage.
ethics:a major branch ofphilosophy. The study of principles relating to right and wrong conduct;Morality; The standards that govern the conduct of a person, especially a member of a profession.
ethnocentrism:the practice of researching or theorising from the perspective of a particular ethnic, national orculturalgroup.
euphoria: a feeling of happiness, confidence, or well-being sometimes exaggerated inmood disordersasmania.
evolutionary psychology:the application of evolutionary ideas, including the importance of behavioural and mental adaptiveness over millions of years, to help explain human behaviour.
excitatory:that tends to excite or causes excitation.
existential therapies:seehumanistic therapies.
exogenous zeitgebers(‘time givers’):external events that help regulatebiological rhythms, for instance, light and socialstimuli(see alsoendogenous pacemakers).
extraneous variables:variables that make possible an alternative explanation of results; an uncontrolled variable.
expectancy/incentive approaches:in the study ofmotivation, these approaches exploreincentivesthat produce goal-directed behaviour.
experiment:a test under controlled conditions made to either demonstrate a known truth, examine the validity of ahypothesis, or determine the efficacy of something previously untried.
experimental methods:systematically manipulate theindependent variableto determine the effect upon thedependent variable.Extraneous variablesthat may influence the outcome of the experiment are rigorously controlled.
experimental group:participantsin an experimentwho receive theindependent variable. The control group serves as a comparison group.
experimental psychology:is a field ofpsychologythat typically involves laboratory research in basic areas of the discipline.
experimenter effects:when an experimenters behavior or characteristics influenceparticipants, through subtle cues or signals, that can affect the performance or response of subjects in theexperiment.
explicit memory: requires a conscious attempt torecallmemory.
external validity:an extent to which research results can be generalised beyond the specific situation studied.
extinction:when theconditioned responsesceases to be produced, with the absence of areinforcerorunconditioned stimulus.
extroversion:a dimension ofpersonality,characterised by sociability, the tendency to engage in conversation with others and impulsiveness. Extroversion can be measured on theIntroversion-Extroversion scale of the EPI (Eysenck Personality Inventory).
eyewitness testimony:the study of the accuracy ofmemoryfollowing an accident or crime, and an exploration of the types of errors commonly made.
Eysenck Personality Inventory(EPI):apersonalitytest designed to measure the traits ofextroversionandneuroticism.
F scale:a measuring instrument used byAdornoto measure theauthoritarianpersonality, by exploring the extent to which people agree with statements such ‘Obedience and respect for authority are the most important virtues children should learn.’
face recognition:involves the comparison of aperceivedstimuluspattern with stored representations of familiar faces.
face validity:the extent to which the measureappears (at face value) to test what it claims to.
false memory debate:seerecovered memories
false memory syndrome:seerecovered memories.
false negative(also called aType II error): ininferential statistics, concluding that the observed results are due only to chance when in fact a significant effect exists
false positive(also called aType 1 error):ininferential statistics, concluding that an observed outcome is significant when in fact it reflects only chance.
falsifiability:acriterionto evaluate atheoryagainst, whereby thetheoryshould state circumstances where it can be proven wrong.
family systems theory:the view of the family as a set of interacting andinterdependentcomponents.
fatigue effects:whenparticipantsbecome tired or bored if a demanding or repetitive task is repeated, resulting in deteriorating performance.
feature detection theories:used to explain pattern recognition, proposes that images are processed in terms of their component parts, which then match the features of a pattern stored inmemory.
feature processing:in visualperception, the ability to detect contours, crucial for object recognition.
feelings:the expression and sensation ofemotion; created, expressed and stored in theemotionalbody.
Festinger(1919-1989):a renowned socialpsychologistwho developed thetheoriesofcognitive dissonance(whereby incongruity between beliefs or behaviours causepsychologicaldiscomfort) andsocial comparisontheory.
field experiments:anexperimentin a natural setting, rather than the comparatively artificial setting of the laboratory. Consequently,extraneous variablesare difficult to control.
fight-or-flight response:a series of internal activities that are set off when an organism is faced with a threat, in preparation of defending or attacking (fight) or fleeing to safety (flight).
filial imprinting: the best known form ofimprinting. When a young animal learns the characteristics of its parent. It is most obvious in nidifugous birds, whoimprinton their parents and then follow them around.
filognosy: love for the knowledge ofself-realisationas inspired by as well the western as eastern concepts ofemancipationthat together make for the integrity of the different views, formsoflogicandintelligenceone finds in modern society on a global scale.
fixation:inpsychoanalytictheory, a preference for the mode ofgratificationassociated with a particular stage ofpsychosexual developmentas a result of too much or too littlegratificationat that stage.
fixed interval schedule:areinforcementapplied on a systematic time basis, for instance, every four minutes.
fixed ratio schedule:areinforcementapplied according to a number of predetermined responses, for instance onereinforcementfor every three responses.
flashbulb memory:memoryrelated to anemotionallyarousingevent.
flooding:a behaviouraltherapyto treatphobias, through exposure to the feared object for an extended period of time, with no opportunity for escape.
fluid intelligence:an abstract form ofintelligencethat includes the ability to analyse complex relationships,reasonand find solutions to problems.
follow-up study:continuing contact withparticipantsafter a study, in order to examine any long-term effects that may have arisen as a result of their participation.
foot-in-the-door technique:a method ofcompliancemethod, whereby people are more likely to comply if they initially agree to a small request, followed by a larger request later on. (see alsodoor-in-the-face technique.)
forced-choice item:a test where respondents select one of a number of differing responses, in order to reduce likelihood of socially desirable responses.
forgetting:the inability to recall or recognise what has previously been remembered. Forgetting has been explained by a number of accounts ?trace-dependent forgetting(thememorytrace is lost),cue-dependent forgetting(the lack of necessary cues to retrieve thememory),repression(painfulmemoriesareunconsciouslyrepressed) orinterference.
fovea:a small area on theretina,that contains closely packedcones, onto which light from an object is focused upon.
frame of mind(state of mind):a temporarypsychologicalstate i.e.Mentaloremotionalattitude ormood.
free association:Apsychodynamictechnique, whereby a patient is encouraged to freely talk about their thoughts, wishes, experiences andmentalimages as they arise, in the hope of allowingpreconsciouscontent to surface in theconsciousness.
free will vs determinism:refers to the debate between those who believe that external or internal factors acting upon the individual determine behaviour (determinism), and those that believe individuals respond actively to the outside world (free will).
frequency distribution:a statistical analysis of a set of data reflecting how often each score occur. Frequency distributions can be represented in a number of graphical ways, includinghistograms.
Freud(1856-1939):the founder of thepsychoanalyticschool ofpsychology, emphasised the importance of theunconsciousmind, childhood experiences and repressed urges. His theory ofpsychosexual developmentoutlines five stages; oral, anal, phallic, latent and genital, according to the different objects fixated upon at each specific stage. Freud also focused on the structure and development ofpersonality; comprised of three parts – theid,egoandsuperego. Conflicts between the id andsuperegoare dealt with by the ego that utilizes ?a target=”_parent” href=”https://www.itseducation.asia/psychology/d.htm#defence_mechanism”>defence mechanisms? for instance,denial. Furthermore, he applied a range of his ideas to dreams to understandunconsciousdesires, for instance, repressed urges often manifest indreamsthrough symbolic images. Freuds work, albeit controversial, has had a huge impact onpsychology, in particular throughpsychoanalysisand his therapeutic techniques (e.g.free association).
Freudian slip:a slip-up, either in speech, writing or inmemorylapses that reflects the hidden worries or focus of theunconsciousmind.
frontal lobe:the area of thecortexin front of the central fissure, and above the lateral fissure; involved in motor control andcognitive processes.
frontal lobotomy:an operation, popular in the 1940s and 1950s, which involved sectioning or removing sections of the frontal lobes, often to treat cases ofbipolar mood disorderor chronic pain.
frustration-aggression theory:atheoryofaggressiondeveloped by Dollard and Miller which proposes that frustration ?whereby people are blocked or prevented from reaching their goals ?results in a great chance ofaggressionoccurring.
fully functioning person:portrayed byRogersas the ideal of growth; healthy growth is demonstrated by openness, a high level of spontaneity, compassion and self-direction.
functional fixedness:inGestalttheory, perceiving an object as having only one already established or associated use; an inability to identify a new use.
functional MRI(fMRI):brainimaging technique that scans by measuring magnetic changes in the flow of blood to cells in thebrain.
fundamental attribution error:inattribution theory, the inclination to overemphasise the influence of dispositional factors (e.g.personality) and underestimating the role of situational factors (e.g. weather) on a persons behaviour.
galvanic skin response(GSR)a measure of the change in electrical resistance of the skin, commonly used as a measure ofautonomic reactionandarousal.
gender:term commonly used to refer to thepsychologicalcharacteristics (e.g. behaviour and attitudes) of being male and female (in contrast to ‘sex’ which refers to purelyphysiologicalcharacteristics).
gender identity:an individual’sperceptionabout whether they are male or female.
gender roles:a givencultureor society’s acceptable set of attitudes and behaviours for each gender.
gene:biological units ofheredity, crucial for transmitting traits.
general adaptation syndrome(GAS):a model, proposed byHans Selye, depictingphysiologicalmechanisms that occur in response to astressorover an extended period of time. There are three stages: (a) alarm stage which activates anarousalresponse (e.g. to fight or flee); (b) resistance stage when body is attempts to cope with thestressor; (c) exhaustionstage takes place if thestressorcontinues over a long period of time, leading to physical symptoms such as stomach ulcers.
general intelligence(g):mentalattribute that underlies a range ofintellectualtasks. Proposed byCharles Spearman, who found that people that performed well on one type ofmentalability test also tended to do well on other types of test.
generalisability:the extent to which findings based on an study using a sample ofparticipantsare representative of the target population or of other populations.
genetic:inherited; having to do with information that is passed from parents to children through genes in sperm and egg cells.
genetics:the study ofheredityof physical andpsychologicaltraits.
genius:a term used to describe a person with exceptional ability and creativity within a particular field, for instanceintellect(by definingIQSof 140 + as the guideline for genius).
genital stage:inpsychoanlaytictheory, the last stage ofpsychosexual development, when the main source of pleasure is the genitals.
genotype:the genetic code which is inherited and carried inDNA.
Gestalt:a German word (translated as configuration?or organised whole? that emphasises that the whole (whether of a person or image) is greater than the sum of its parts.
Gestalt psychology: approach that viewspsychologicalphenomena, such asperception, learning and thinking, as organised, structured wholes. For instance, the Gestalt approach to problem solving seeks the need for structural understanding in comprehending how different parts of the problem fit together to reach the goal.
Gestalt therapy:atherapythat considers all dimensions of a person’s life and experience, to stimulate personal growth and increased self-awareness, in order to develop a sense of the whole person.
goal state:in problem solving, the desired outcome of a problem.
gratification:is the positiveemotionalresponse (happiness) to a fulfilment of desire.
group dynamics:the branch ofsocial psychologythat studies thepsychodynamicsof interaction in social groups.
group polarisation:the tendency for groups to shift to make more extreme decisions than decisions made independently by members of the group. If individual members of a group are already cautious in their attitude, they will demonstrate a shift toward an even more cautious attitude during group discussion within a like-minded group. When individuals are less cautious before group discussion, they are likely to show a shift towards more risky decisions.
group therapy:whentherapeuticsessions are carried out in groups rather than individually, whereby the therapist acts as a facilitator amongst the group. Grouptherapycan help individuals feel less isolated and through fostering social interaction, are able to discuss with and help others.
groupthink:the tendency for decision making groups to reach a conclusion that is extreme and which tend to be unwise or unrealistic, as a result of discounting information that is inconsistent with their view and expressing disapproval against any member who disagrees.
guilt:is a higher form of development thanshame. Guilt has an internal punitive voice which operates at the levelsuperego(an internalised punitive harsh parental figure). There are two kinds of guilt: Valid guilt and invalid guilt.
habit:a behaviour that develops as a result of experience and occurs almost automatically. For instance, behaviours that satisfypsychologicalcravings (through for example chain smoking).
habituation:the process whereby an organism’s response to repeatedstimulitemporarily decreases.
hallucination:falseperceptionsthat occur with the lack of relevant sensorystimuli, such as hearing voices.
halo effect:a form of perceptualbiaswhich transpires when our rating of a person on one characteristic as being positive or negative of a person affects the rating of the individual on other characteristics (similarly positive or negative). For instance, if an individual is viewed asintelligent, the rater also perceives them to be friendly.
hardiness:personalityfactors (control, commitment and challenge) identified byKobasathat help mitigate against negative effects ofstress.
health behaviours:activities that maintain or improve health.
health promotion:refers to strategies and tactics that help enable people to gain control of, and therefore enhance, their health through changes in lifestyle and preventative practices, significantly reduce the risk of illness.
health psychology:area ofpsychologythat aims to understand why people become ill, how they stay healthy and how they respond and cope with illness.
hedonic relevance:the likelihood of making a dispositionalattributionif we are directly involved and the consequences are serious. Therefore, we are likely to overstate the influence of dispositional factors, and underestimate the importance of situational factors.
hedonism:a belief that all behaviour is, or should be,motivatedtoward the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain.
Heider(1896-1988):Austrianpsychologistwho focused on interpersonal relationships, proposingbalance theoryandattribution theory.
helping behaviour:seealtruism (human)andbystander behaviour
heredity:the biological transmission of inherited characteristics from parents to offspring.
Heritability estimate:measured by H, the heritability ratio, a statistical estimate of the degree of inheritance of a specifictraitor behavior, measured by the degree of similarity between individuals who share differing amounts ofgeneticsimilarity.
hertz:a measure of frequency, cycles per second.
heterosexuality:an attraction to the opposite sex.
heuristic:cognitivestrategies, or rules of thumb? Heuristics provide informal strategies to aid problem solving, which are usually more successful than random search, but less effective than algorithms..
hierarchy of needs:Maslow’smodel of basic human motives, which he saw as organised in a hierarchical structure; needs range from the bottom level ofphysiological(e.g. food, water, shelter) to the highest level –self-actualisation. Needs at each level of the hierarchy must be met before the next level can be achieved.
hippocampus:part of thelimbic system, located in the medialtemporal lobe. Important for spatial orientation and navigation, and is crucial formemory, in particular the transfer of information fromshort-termtolong-term memory.
histogram:used to represent the distribution of scores for one set of data. The data must be numerical and there should be no gaps between the bars.
HIV(human immunodeficiency virus):a virus that attacks white blood cells in the blood, reducing the bodys ability to fight off illness. HIV causesAIDSand can be transmitted through unprotected sex, by drug users who use similar equipment and from an infected mother to her unborn child.
holistic:used to describe an approach that focuses on the whole person, rather than their constituent parts.
Holmes and Rahe(1967):constructed theSocial Readjustment Rating Scaleto measure the impact of significant life events.
homeostasis:a state of equilibrium or balance of the internal conditions of the body.
homeostatic drive theory(of eating and drinking):refers tothe proposition that eating and drinking are driven by internalhomeostasis.
homosexuality:a term used to describe either sexual contact with members of the same sex, or a sexual preference for one’s own sex.
hormone:chemical messengers, secreted by theendocrine glands, that affect a range of aspects ofmetabolismand body functioning, for instance, mood and sexual characteristics.
hostile aggression:a form ofaggressionto cause intentional harm of injury to another person or object.
humanistic psychology:a perspective inpsychology, that views every individual as unique and as possessing an inherent capacity for making rational choices, positive growth and ultimately, maximum potential.
humanistic therapies:treatment whereby the therapist seeks see the world through the clients perspective, and to allow the client to view their situations with greater insight and acceptance, with an ultimate goal of growth and fulfilment. Examples of humanistic therapies includeclient-centred therapy.
Huntington’s disease(HD):is a fatalhereditydisease that destroysneuronsin areas of thebraininvolved in theemotions,intellect, and movement.
hyperactivity: a higher degree of inappropriate motor activity than is considered typical for a particular age group. SeeAttention Deficit Disorder(ADD).
hyperfocus:is an intense form ofmentalconcentration or visualisation that focusesconsciousnesson a narrow subject, or beyond objective reality and onto subjectivementalplanes,daydreams, concepts, fiction, theimagination, and other objects of themind.
hypothetical:based onassumptionrather than fact or reality.
hypnosis:the induction of an altered state ofconsciousness, manifested in a sleep-like state or of deep relaxation. Consequently, changes inperception,memoryand self-control leave an individual more vulnerable to suggestion. The use ofhypnosisintherapystill remains highly controversial, particularly with the occurrence offalse memoriesbeing recovered?
hypothalamus:part of the brain that is crucial in control theautonomic nervous system, maintaininghomeostasisand regulating motivated behavior (e.g. appetite) andhormonalfunctions.
hypothesis:a testable statement, predicting therelationship between two (or more) variables, which can be accepted or rejected as a result of the research outcome.
ICD:seeInternational Classification of Disorders.
id:inpsychoanalytictheory, theunconscious, pleasure part of thepersonalitythat operates irrationally and pursues primitives drives such as anger and hunger.
ideal self:inRogers’shumanistictheory, an evolving construct which represents the goals and aspirations of an individual.
identical twins:seemonozygotic twins.
idiographic:any approach or method inpsychologythat focuses on the individual rather than in the development of general laws of behavior (known as thenomothetic approach).
illogical:contrary tologic; lacking sense or soundreasoning.
illusion:perceptualexperiences, through the senses, that are not true representations ofthe physical event.
illusory correlation:perceiving a relationship between variables where none exists.
imagination:is the ability to formmentalimages, or the ability to spontaneously generate images within one’s ownmind.
imitation:the learning of behaviour through the observation of others behaviour; sometimes called ‘modelling’ or ‘observational learning’ .
implosion therapy:abehavioural therapeutictechnique to reduce a clientsphobia, through requiring the client to imagine the fearfulstimuli. This operates on the premise of experiencing the feared situation throughimagination, but in the safe context of thetherapysession, in order to remove theanxietyassociated with thestimuli.
impression management theory:refers to our desire to make a favourable impression on other people. We may adjust our behavior to appear positively to others, for instance, doing favours for others.
imprinting:a primitive type oflearningthat occurs during the early part of an animal’s life, whereby anattachmentis formed to another animal that is difficult to change (filial imprinting).
immune system:system of cells and chemicals within the body that defends against infection and disease, by seeking out and destroying harmful influences.
incentive:astimulusthat elicits goal directed behaviour.
incongruence:inRogers’stheory, a mismatch between the self andideal selfresults in a feeling of conflict or unease.
incubation:in theGestaltmodel of problem solving, a process of pausing to actively work on a problem, in order to modify one’smentalset.
independent groups designs: used inexperimentswhen separate groups of individuals participate in the different levels of theindependent variable, so that each data set is independentof each other. Also known as a betweensubjects or unrelated design, ascomparisons are made between groups rather than within them.
independent variable(IV):the variable that is manipulated in anexperiment(e.g. type of wordsparticipantsreceive in amemoryexperiment) and consequently affects thedependent variable.
individualistic cultures:cultureswhere self-interest and individual rights are promoted, and is characterised by low levels of mutual interdependence between individuals, rather than the collective needs and interests of others.
induction:a process of reasoning based on forming general principles from specificobservations.
inductive reasoning:is the process by which a conclusion is drawn about theprobabilityofpsychologicalphenomena, based on evidence and past experience, from the specific to the general.
inferiority complex:in the fields ofpsychologyandpsychoanalysis, is a feeling that one is inferior to others in some way. Such feelings can arise from an imagined or actual inferiority in the afflicted person.
inferential statistics:procedures used to analyse empirical data to test if theindependent variablehas had a significant effect upon thedependent variable, in order to either accept thehypothesisor to reject it, (thereby attributing the results to chance variation). Tests includeChi-square,Binomial Sign, Wilcoxon Matched Pairs,Mann-Whitney U,and Spearman’s Rho.
informational (social) influence:occurs when we seek informational guidance from others in groups, as a result of the desire to be right.
informed consent:anethicalrequirement thatparticipantsor clients should have sufficient information about an experiment ortherapeuticintervention to enable them to make an informed judgement about whether or not to participate.
infradian rhythms:occur less frequently than once every 24 hours, for instance the human menstrual cycle.
in-group:a reference to any group of which we perceive ourselves to be a member, based on global dimensions (e.g. race, religion) or specific localised dimensions (e.g. friendship).
inhibition:1) In reference toneurons, it is asynaptic messagethat prevents the recipient cell from firing. 2) In reference to behavior, restraint on instinctive impulses.
inhibitory:a process used to stop an action (stop a muscle from becoming stiff) by modifying sensory input.
innate:anything that is inherited or natural to an organism, existing at birth rather than acquired.
innovation(minority influence):a form ofsocial influence, whereby the minority in a group have an influence over the majority. A number of conditions must be met, including holding a clear and confident position.
insecure attachment:a form ofattachmentbetween infant and caregiver that develops as a result of the caregiver’s lack of sensitive responding to the infant’s needs. The two types of insecure attachment are insecure/avoidant (children who avoid social interaction with others) and insecure/resistant (seek and reject social interaction).
insomnia:the unusually prolonged inability to fall asleep or difficulty staying asleep.
instinct:inborn pattern of behavior often responsive to specificstimuli; “the spawning instinct in salmon”; “altruisticinstincts in social animals”.
instrumental aggression:aggressivebehavior that is goal directed in order to achieve specific aims.
intellect:the faculty of reasoning, knowing and thinking, as distinct from feeling; the understanding ormentalpowers of a particular person etc.
intellectual development:(Piaget) concluded that intellectual development is the result of the interaction ofhereditaryand environmental factors. As the child develops and constantly interacts with the world around him,knowledgeis invented and reinvented. Histheoryof intellectual development is strongly grounded in the biological sciences. He sawcognitivegrowth as an extension of biological growth and as being governed by the same laws and principles.Piagetargued that intellectual development controlled every other aspect of development –emotional, social, andmoral.
intelligence:an underlying ability which enables an individual to adapt to and function effectively within a given environment.
intelligence quotient(IQ):IQ is calculated by dividingmentalage by chronological age (and multiplying by 100 to give a whole number), in order to compare thementalage of a child compared with their chronological age. It is now directly calculated as an IQ test score.
interdependence:when two or more things depend on each other.
interference theory:refers to the process that occurs when incoming information disruptsmemorytraces
International Classification of Disorders(lCD):a classification system ofmental disorderspublished by theWorld Health Organisation. Patterns ofsymptomsas opposed toaetiologyor treatment are emphasised, as a result, the ICD is not used fordiagnosticpurposes.
inter-observer reliability:a measure of the extent to which different individuals generate the same records when they observe the same sequence of behaviour. By correlating the scores of observers we can measure inter-observer reliability: individuals (or groups) with highly correlated scores are demonstrating good interobserver reliability.
interpersonal attraction:the study of factors and processes involved in the attraction between two people. As such it covers a wide range of different forms of attraction, including friendships, sexual attraction and romantic love.
interquartile range:the spread of scores for the middle 50 per cent of scores.
interval data:data with equal intervals, but not an absolute zero.
interview:usually a verbal research method consisting of eitheropenorclosedended questions.
intrinsic motivation:motivationbased on taking pleasure in an activity rather working towards an external reward.
introspection:the process by which a person looks inward at their ownmentalprocesses in order to gain insight into theirpersonalities.
introversion:a part of the introversion-extroversionpersonalitydimension associated with thepersonalitytheory of Eysenck. Introversion is associated with a reluctance to seek the stimulation of social contacts and to be generally more passive and controlled thanextroverts.
irrational:contrary to or lacking in reason orlogic.
James-lange theory of emotion:the idea that theperceptionof anemotionarousingstimulusleads to a behavioural response that results in differing sensory and motor feedback to thebrain, which is interpreted as anemotion.
jealousy:typically refers to the thoughts, feelings, and behaviours that occur when a person believes a valued relationship is being threatened by a rival. This rival may or may not know that he or she is perceived as a threat.
Jung(1875-1961):A Swisspsychologist, founder ofanalytical psychology. Jung placed importance on a hypotheticalcollective unconsciousand explored the symbolic nature ofdreams. His work also included exploring thepsychethrough three principles; the principle of opposites, equivalence and
just world hypothesis:the assumption that the world is a fair and just place in which people receive what they deserve.
Kelley(1921-2003):was asocial psychologist, focusing on interpersonal relationships and contributing toattribution theory– how individuals ‘attribute’ causes to events, for instance a “situational” or “dispositional” factor.
kin altruism:inevolutionary psychology, the concept that individuals help those who are close relatives, because it fosters the transmission of theirgenes.
kinaesthetics:a term used to describe the response and feedback from movement sensations in the muscles or joints.
kinship (family) studies:research that examinescorrelationsoftraitsor behaviours between individuals who share differing degrees ofgeneticsimilarity.
Klinefelter’s syndrome: seeXXV syndrome.
Kobasa: (1979): examined resistance tostress, in particular “hardiness” tostress, characterised by commitment, control and challenge.
Korsakoff’s syndrome:a type ofamnesiacommonly found in chronic alcoholics, caused by a lack of Vitamin D (thiamine).
laboratory experiments:conducted in a laboratory or a rigorously controlled environment, whereby theindependent variableis manipulated, whilst all otherextraneous variablesare strictly controlled.
language acquisition:the processes by which children acquire or develop human language.
Language Acquisition Device(LAD):aninnatemechanism that aids language development, through recognising grammatical structure.
language development:the study of the acquisition of language,with emphasis on the development of four sub-systems of language ?phonology, semantics, pragmatics and tense andgender.
latency stage:Freud’sfourth stage ofpsychosexual developmentwhereby sexual preoccupations arerepressed, children focus on interact with same sex peers.
latent content: term used inFreud’sstages ofpsychosexual development, to signify the underlying or hidden content represented indreams.
lateral thinking:an approach to problem solvingwhereby an individual looks at a problem from many different perspectives to seek to find the best solution.
lateralisation of function:refers to the distribution of functions across the two hemispheres of thebrain. For instance, language ability is localised in the left hemisphere.
law of effect:a principle of learning put forward byThorndike, which proposes that whenever a response is followed by a reward, it is strengthened and therefore more likely to be repeated.
Lazarus(1922-2002): a hugely influentialpsychologistwho focused on the study ofcognition, in particular appraisal ofemotionandstress, and coping mechanisms in response tostress.
leadership:the ability of an individual or member of a group to influence other group members, in achieving group goals. A variety of characteristics have been proposed to contribute to a successful leader, includingcognitive ability,charisma, andleadershipmotivation.
leading questions:are questions subtly communicate to the respondent to answer in a particularly way, which results in abiasedanswer or recall of an event. Commonly used to illustrate howmemoryrecall can be altered aftereyewitness testimony.
learned helplessness:non-responsiveness demonstrated when there is aperceptionof possessing a lack of control over a situation, after experience of non-contingent, unavoidable negativestimuli.
learning:a change in behavior, knowledge and skills, from interaction with the environment and experience.
least preferred co-worker theory(LPC):examines how a leader prioritises work tasks and relationships, by asking leaders to either favourably or unfavourably evaluate the person who they found difficult to work with. High LPC leader used more favourable terms to describe the LPC, and vice versa for the low LPC. High LPC leaders commonly have close and warm relationships, often prioritising a relationship before a task, whereas low LPC leaders often put the task first and will only consider relationships once work is acceptable.
lesioning:injury or destruction ofbraintissue.
level of measurement: the type of data collected; nominal, order, interval or ratio, which subsequently affects theinferential statisticused.
levels of processing theory:Craikand Lockhart’stheorythat the ‘deeper’ information is processed, the more likely it is to be retained inmemory.
libido:inpsychoanalysis,a term used to represent energy that comes from theid, typically energy driven towards achieving sexual pleasure.
life events:refer to events that require a significant adjustment in a person’s life, for instance divorce, moving house etc. Quantified on the Holmes and Rahe “Social Readjustment Rating Scale” whereby respondents indicate the events (differing scores allocated according to greater adjustment required) that have been experienced over the previous twelve months.
light adaptation:the process by which the eye adjusts to increasing levels of light intensity, whereby the pupil shrinks andconesfunction to aid the adjustment.
Likert scalea type of response format used in surveys developed by Rensis Likert. Likert items have responses on a continuum and response categories such as “strongly agree,” “agree,” “disagree,” and “strongly disagree.”
limbic system:exists in mammals only. It is a series ofsubcorticalstructures which connect thecortexwith other parts of thebrainand which are important in regulatingemotionalandmotivationbehavior andmemory. Structures within the limbic system include thethalamus,hypothalamus,amygdalaandhippocampus.
localisation of function:the assumption that specific functions (e.g. movement control, language production) are associated with specificbrainareas.
locus of control:the extent to which people believe they have control over situations in their life. An internal locus of control refers to the belief that actions and consequences are under an individual control (e.g. through hard work), whereas an external locus of control refers to consequences occurring as a result of external circumstances.
logic:(from Classical Greek λόγος logos; meaning word, thought, idea, argument, account, reason, or principle) is the study of the principles and criteria of valid inference and demonstration.
logical empiricism:inphilosophy of science, the assumption that it is possible to compare and evaluatetheoriesin terms of how well they account for the evidence.
logotherapy:atheoryof development andtherapydeveloped by Frank, which proposes that finding a meaning for life is crucial for individual growth and happiness.
long-term memory(LTM):enduring memories that retain and preserve information for later retrieval over long periods. Long-term memory includesepisodic memory(memory of the personal episodes),semantic memory(memory of knowledge);declarative memory(knowing ‘that’ andprocedural memory(knowing ‘how’.
longitudinal study:a research method that examine changes in the same group ofparticipantsthrough repeated testing over an extended period of time.
magnetic resonance imaging(MRI):is a painlessdiagnostictool which uses a magnetic field and radio waves to see inside the body without using x-rays or surgery; a computer then interprets the radio waves and creates a picture of the internal body tissues.
maladaptive behavior:behavior that bringstress.
manic depressive disorder: seebipolar disorder/depression
manifest content:inFreud’stheoryofdreams, the superficial, symbolic form of adreamwhich theconsciousmind is aware of, both duringsleepand on waking, which is assumed to hide the true meaning.
mania:anemotionalstate typified by intense elation, unrestrictedeuphoria, hyperactivity, excessive talkativeness, grandiose feelings or thoughts and disrupted thought processes.
Mann-Whitney U test:A non-parametricinferential statisticaltest. Employed with ordinal data and independent groups.
Maslow(1908-1970):ahumanistic psychologistwho proposedhumanistic psychologyas a third force?in reaction to the perspectives ofpsychoanalysisandbehaviourism, and the belief that humans are essentially good. Maslows ‘hierachy of needs’proposes apsychologicalstructure of needs and tendencies, whereby basic needs (e.g. hunger) must be satisfied before higher needs (e.g. self-esteem) can be achieved, towards an ultimate goal ofself-actualisation.
matched pairs design:participantsin different conditions are matched according to certain characteristics, e.g. age orgender.
maternal deprivation:children deprived of maternal care and love in early childhood are likely to suffer some degree ofemotional, social orintellectualretardation in later life. Prolonged separation (resulting in anattachmentbond breaking) was proposed byBowlbyto cause thedeprivationsyndrome.
maturation:processes in development which seem to be relatively independent of environmental influences, such as depth perception and walking; implied in the term is the assumption that the characteristics are governed byheredity.
mean:measure of central tendency, calculated by the total sum of all the scores, divided by the total number of scores.
median:measure of central tendency that utilises the mid-point of the ranked data.
means-ends analysis:a type ofproblem solving strategy that is used in computer programs, whereby problems are broken down into their constituent parts and then solved in turn until the solution is found.
measure ofdispersion:a measurement ofthe spread or variability in a set of scores.
medical model:atheoryofabnormal behaviourwhich assumes that all such disorders havephysiologicalcauses.
medical model of abnormality:viewsmental disordersas havingphysiologicalcauses , e.g.geneticandbiochemical.
meditation:refers to techniques that focus themindand promote a state of calmness so that themindand body can be brought into greater harmony to facilitate health and healing.
medulla:a small region of thebrain stem, that regulates basic bodily processes including breathing and the heartbeat.
MEG(magnetoenecephalography):non-invasivetechnique for visualising (imaging) thebrainby recording tiny magnetic fields produced by activeneurons.
melancholia:originally first described by the Greeks and Romans, and characterised by a deep and persistent sadness and now corresponds closely todepression.
memory:the capacity to encode, retain, store and retrieve information.
mental:refers to themind, the collective aspects ofintellectandconsciousness.
mental set:inGestalttheory, theschemaused to organise perception of a new problem.
mental age:the level ofintellectualfunctioning which is suitable for children of a particular age. Typically, mental age is equivalent to chronological age, but if a child is of lower/higherintelligencethe mental age will be accordingly lower/higher than chronological age.
mental disorders:anxiety disorders,conduct disorder,depressive disorders,oppositional defiant disorder,pervasive development disorderorTourette’s syndrome.
mental health:a state ofpsychologicalandemotionalwell-being that enables an individual to work, love, relate to others effectively, and resolve conflicts.
mental retardation:individuals who have significantly below averageintellectualfunctioning, withIQscores of 70-75 or below, combined with inability to use adaptive skills.
mere exposure effect:the higher the levels of exposure to astimulus, the more likely we are to develop a greater attraction to it.
meta-analysis:a statistical technique that involves combining and analysing the data of a number of independent studies.
metabolic:pertaining to all chemical functions within the body.
method of loci:a technique to increasememoryeffectiveness through memorising a series of different locations (such as rooms in a house) and then imagining an item to be remembered at each location. Items are thenrecalledby mentally “walking through” the house and “seeing” the item.
midbrain:a region of thebrainthat relays sound input to theauditory cortex.
milieu therapy:ahumanisticapproach to the treatment ofpsychologicaldisorders that emphasises the importance of an institution in recovery. An environment is created whereby staff and patients are viewed as equal, and an atmosphere is fostered of self-respect.
Milgram(1933- 1984): an influentialsocial psychologistwho is best known for his controversial study on obedience to authority, under conditions whereby obeying conflicts with personalconscience.
mind:collectively refers to the aspects ofintellectandconsciousnessmanifested as combinations ofthought,perception,memory,emotion,willandimagination;mindis the stream ofconsciousness. It includes all of thebrain’sconsciousprocesses.
minority influence:the effect when a persuasive minority exerts pressure to change theattitudes, beliefs or behaviours of the majority. Minorities are most influential when they appear consistent and principled.
misattribution:a mistakenattributionof anemotionalresponse to a cause that did not produce it.
mitosis:a type of cell division within the body, whereby cells divide into other cells, each with the full set ofchromosomes.Each of these cells receives an exact copy of thechromosomesin the original cell. During development, mitosis occurs again and again, until finally the adult organism is created.
mnemonics:techniques that improvememory, often through using existing familiar information (e.g. imagery) during the encoding of new information to aid later retrieval and access. Seemethod of loci.
mock juries:a group ofparticipantswho are required to imagine and act as members of a jury, to investigate factors affecting the decision making process.
mode:the score that occurs most frequently within a data sample.
modelling:the term used byBandurato describe the process of learning and socialisation, through observing andimitatingothers.
monism:the view thatmindand body are a single unit.
monozygotic (identical) twins:twins that develop from the samezygote(egg) and therefore share 100 percent of theirgenes.
mood disorders:a mood disturbance, characterised byemotionalextremes, alternating between extremedepressionandmania.
moral development:the process through which children learn to understand the differences between right and wrong and can make independent decisions on moral issues.
morality:in the strictest sense of the word, deals with that which isinnatelyregarded as right or wrong. The term is often used to refer to a system of principles and judgments shared bycultural, religious, andphilosophicalconcepts and beliefs, by which humanssubjectivelydetermine whether given actions are right or wrong.
moral realism:part ofPiagetstheoryofmoral development, whereby children understand that the rules of adults are firm and unquestionable.
moratorium:a term devised byEriksonto describe a period during which adolescents consider various values and goals, in order to understand and establish their own individual identity.
mores:refers to standards of behaviour orcustomsthat are appropriate within a society, and accepted by the majority.
morpheme:the smallest significant unit of speech that conveys meaning.
motivation:an internal state thatarouses, drives and directs behaviour, that have been accounted for byphysiologicalexplanations (e.g. internal drives such as hunger),behavioural explanationsandpsychologicalexplanations (e.g. for complex human behaviours, such as the need for achievement).
motive:a specific need or desire, such as hunger or achievement, that energizes and directs behavior.
motor neuron:nerves that transmit messages from the central nervous system (i.e. spinal cord orbrain) to individual muscle cells .
MRI:seemagnetic resonance imaging.
multiaxial diagnosis:used in theDSMclassification system of mental disorders, whereby patients are assessed on a variety of axises (e.g. clinical conditions,psychosocialand environmental factors)
multimodal therapy:acognitive behavioural therapydeveloped byLazarus, which aims to consider all aspects of a disorder. To be effective, seven different dimensions, represented by BASIC IB?(behavior, affects, sensations, images, cognitions, interpersonal relationships, and biological functioning) must be focused on and treated.
multiple personality disorder(MPD):adissociative disorder, whereby two or more distinct and separate personalities are manifested within the same individual, each displaying different interests,memoriesand behaviour patterns.
multi-store model of memory:devised byAtkinson and Shiffrin, represents memory as a flow of information in a set sequence between a rigid set of structures, including sensorymemory,short-term memoryandlong-term memory.
myelin sheath:a layer of fatty tissue that covers theaxonsof nerve cells, insulating theaxonfrom otheraxonsand to increase the conduction of nerve impulses along theaxon.
narcolepsy:an uncommonsleep disorder, narcolepsy is marked by recurring irrepressible attacks of sleep during normal waking hours, as well as bycataplexy, sleep paralysis andhallucinations.
nativism:that aspects ofcognitive processesand behaviour areinnate.
natural experiment: experimentwhereby the researcher cannot directly control theindependent variablenorparticipantallocation to conditions.
naturalistic observation:a study whereby the observer does not manipulate any variables within a natural setting where behaviour takes place, by merely observing and recording.Observational techniquecan be divided intoparticipantobservation(where the researcher takes contributes to a groups behaviour, whilstparticipantsare unaware of the observers true purpose or identity) andnon-participant observation(whereby the researcher remains inconspicuous).
natural selection: a principle ofDarwinstheoryof evolution that animals that haveadaptedbetter to their envir onment allows some members of a species to produce more offspring that others, as a result of possessing advantageoustraitsthat improve survival chances and increase reproductive success.
nature vs nurture:a debate withinpsychologythat explores the extent to which specific aspects of behaviour are inherited or learnt as a result of environmental influences.
negative correlation:a relationship between two measured variables where as one variable increases the other variable decreases.
negative emotions:can be described as any feeling which causes you to be miserable and sad. Theseemotionsmake you dislike yourself and others, and take away yourconfidence.
negative reinforcement:inoperant conditioning, a method to increase the probability and strength of a response by removing or withholding anaversivestimuli (negativereinforcer)
negative-state relief:proposal that we assist others in order to alleviate negative feelings, for instance to lessen feelings of guilt or sadness.
negative symptoms:inabnormal psychology, particularly with reference toschizophrenia, deficits in functioning that reveal the absence of expected behaviours, for instance, flataffectand limited speech.
neo-Freudian:a term that is used to characterise a group of Freudian-influencedpsychologistswho, whilst accepting the concept ofunconsciousconflict, disagree over the extent of the influence of bodily pleasures or frustrations and have placed greater emphasis on other aspects of behaviour and experience. Famous neo-Freudians includeAdlerandJung.
neonate research:investigations carried out using newborn infants.
nerve impulse:the electrical signal produced when aneuronis active, which passes from thedendrites, along theaxon, to the specific terminals.
neurological disorder:disturbance in structure or function of the nervous system resulting from developmental abnormality, disease, injury, or toxin.
neuron:(‘nerve cell’) a cell of the nervous system that functions to receive and communicate information to other cells .
neurophysiology:study of the workings of the nervous system includingbrainfunction.
neuroscience:a branch ofpsychology, also calledphysiological psychology. Neuroscience is the study of the functioning of the nervous system which includes the structures and functioning of thebrainand its relationship to behaviour.
neurosis:a mental or personality disturbance not attributable to any knownneurologicalor organic dysfunction.
neuroticism:is a fundamentalpersonalitytraitin the study ofpsychology. It can be defined as an enduring tendency to experience negativeemotionalstates.
neurotransmitter:chemical messengers released by the terminals of aneuronwhich cross between thesynapsesofneurons, to have anexcitatoryorinhibitoryeffect on an adjacentneuron.
neutral stimulus:inclassical conditioning, astimuluswhich initially fails to elicit a response, but as conditioning continues, becomes a conditionedstimulus.
nominal data:data that is organised on the basis of category.
nomothetic:refers to a perspective or method that attempts to establish general patterns of behaviour that can be extended to all members of a population.
non-conformity:refers to situations whereby an individual withstands the tendency to conform to theattitudes, judgements or behaviour of the majority.
non-directional hypotheses (two-tailed hypotheses):states that theindependent variablewill have an effect upon thedependent variable, but does not specify the direction (e.g. higher/lower scores) of effect upon thedependent variable.
non-invasive procedures:procedures (e.g.MRI,PETscans) for imaging thebraindo not require direct contact and interference withbraintissue.
non-participant observation:the observer remains inconspicuous so that the behaviour of theparticipantsis not affected.
non-verbal communication:generally referred to as ‘body language’ by non-psychologists, refers to any form of communication that is not conveyed through verbal or written language, for instance posture and facial expressions.
Norepinephrine or ‘noradrenaline’:aneurotransmitterthat is important in the regulation of mood; disturbances in its tracts have been implicated indepressionandmania.
normal distribution:a type of frequency distribution which is represented by a symmetrical, bell-shaped curve, whereby themean,modeandmedianall lie at the highest point of the curve.
normative influence:an explanation ofconformitywhich occurs as a result of a desire to be accepted in a group and liked by others.
null hypothesis:thehypothesisthat any difference between theindependentanddependent variablesmerely occur as a result of chance, rather than as any significant effect of theindependent variable.
object permanence:an understanding that objects that continue to exist, despite being hidden from sight or awareness. An important cognitive concept that, according toPiaget, does not develop until infants are eight months old or more.
objectivity:conducting an investigation and collecting data without the process being influenced by personal interpretation orbias.
observation:used to describe a situation where an observer records behaviour demonstrated by aparticipant. An observation does not involve manipulation of anindependent variable, but simply allows the observation of relationships between variables as they occur. Observation includes a variety of differing types of observation includingnaturalistic observation,participantandnon-participant observation.
observational learning:a process ofsocialisationthat takes place as a result of an individual observing andimitatingthe behaviour of another person who serves as a model, as opposed to through direct experience. Seemodelling.
observational learning:a process ofsocialisationthat takes place as a result of an individual observing andimitatingthe behaviour of another person who serves as a model, as opposed to through direct experience. Seemodelling.
observer bias:the tendency for observers to record data that may bebiasedas a result of personal expectations (e.g. awareness of thehypothesis) or motives, rather than recording what actually happens.
obsessions:irrationalthoughts and images that are normally unfounded, but over which a person may appear to have little control over, and which may ultimately affect the normal functioning of a person.
obsessive-compulsive disorder:an disorder characterised by obsessions (uncontrollable, persistent andirrationalthoughts or wishes) andcompulsions(repetitive ritualistic acts).
occipital lobe:the rearmost region of the eachcerebral hemisphere, located behind theparietal lobeand above thetemporal lobes. Crucial for the processing of visual information.
occupational psychology:branch ofpsychologythat focuses on human beings in the workplace, including job satisfaction, leadership, selection and recruitment of staff and the effect of different working conditions upon performance.
Oedipal conflict:inFreud’stheory of development, the major conflict associated with thephallic stagewhich challenges the developingego; class=”d-title” named after the Greek story of Oedipus, who unknowingly killed his father and married his mother.
Oedipus complex:a term devised byFreud,to describe the intense sexual love that a young boy develops toward his mother, which is followed byjealousyand rivalry with his father to seek the attention and affection of the mother. The son subsequently demonstratescastration anxiety, fearing that his father might castrate him for his incestuous feelings towards his mother, and so represses his feelings and identifies with his father.
offender profiling:a technique used based on an examination of the crime scene, including how the crime was committed, and a consideration of previous offender profiles, to build and predict a detailed description (includingsocio-demographiccharacteristics) of a criminal offender.
ontogeny:the evolution (i.e. the origin and development) of an individual organism, from conception to death.
open-ended questions:questions that do not contain fixed, pre-determined responses, that allow a respondent to answer relatively freely.
operant conditioning:a form of learning that is determined by consequences that either reinforce or punish particular behaviours, that can increase or decrease the probability of the behaviour.
operation:the act of something being carried out.
Operation Headstart:an enrichment intervention programme used in the US in the 1960s for preschool children, aimed at changing the effects of social disadvantage.
operational definition:a definition of avariableor condition on the basis of the exact operation or procedure that determines its existence and makes it usable.Variablescan be identified by factors that are manipulated or measured.
opportunity sample:sampling technique not based on random selection orprobability; the researcher selects those who are convenient to him or her as respondents.
oppositional defiant disorder:a disruptive pattern of behavior of children and adolescents that is characterised by defiant, disobedient, and hostile behaviours directed toward adults in positions of authority.
optic nerve:a group of fibres, comprised of theaxonsof ganglion cells, that leave the eyeball, carrying information from the eye towards thebrain.
optimal mismatch theory:based onPiagetstheory of intellectual development, aims to accelerate learning by ‘mismatching’ a child’s current level of competence with a set of problems slightly more complex than this level. If there is a correct, optimal?difference between what they can do, and what is being asked of them, children then experience acognitiveconflict and seek to find solutions through their own actions.
oral stage:the first stage inFreud’stheoryof development, from birth to about 15 months, when the primary source of gratification is stimulation of the mouth and lips.
order effects:differences inparticipantsperformance that occurs as a result ofparticipantsexperiencing different conditions in a specific order. Subsequently, learning and practice effects can arise (wherebyparticipantsadapt and improve on later measurements) or fatigue effects (resulting in a decline in performance on later measures).
ordinal data:data that can be rank-ordered, but intervals between ranks are not necessarily equal.
ordinate:when plotting data on a graph, the ordinate refers to information on the vertical or y axis of the graph. Thedependent variableis plotted on this axis.
organ of corti:a receptive organ in the inner ear, whereby sound waves are changed into nerve impulses.
organic disorder:a disorder with a knownphysiologicalcause. For instance,schizophreniahas been linked to enlargedbrain ventriclesand excessivedopamine.
Origin of Species:the book in whichDarwinproposed his theory of evolution in 1859.
outcome study:a technique for exploring how successful atherapeuticintervention has been. For instance, an experimental group who has been given a drug may be compared to a control group that received aplacebo.
out-group:individuals who are not members of, and are not accepted by thein-group.
overcompensation:a Freudiandefence mechanism, whereby an individual attempts to offset weakness in an area of their lives by focusing on another aspect of it.
pain management:the various measures and techniques employed to controland reduce pain.
panic disorder:classified underDSMas ananxiety disorder,sufferers experience attacks?that are unpredictable, and involve intense feelings of apprehension,anxietyand fear, andphysiologicalsymptoms of chest pain, dizziness and heavy breathing.
paralinguistics:refers to how something is said rather than what is said, including pauses and tone of voice.
parallel processing:an explanation of information processing, whereby two or more mental processes can be carried out simultaneously.
paranoia:is a disturbed thought process characterised by excessiveanxietyor fear, often to the point ofirrationalityanddelusion.
paranoid schizophrenia:a subcategory ofschizophrenia, whereby an individual possesses an organised and systematic set ofdelusionsorhallucinations, including that ofpersecutionorjealousy.
parapsychology:refers to a branch ofpsychologythat seeks to explain the paranormal (which cannot be explained in terms of normal sensory experience)
parasympathetic nervous system:combined with thesympathetic nervoussystem, comprises theautonomic nervous systemof the body. The parasympathetic system isantagonisticto thesympathetic nervous system, by conserving and restoring bodily energy to restore the organism to a state of calm and relaxation.
parietal lobe:the region of thecortexbehind thefrontal lobeand above the lateral fissure, containing thesomatosensory cortex, important for the sense of touch.
Parkinson’s disease:a degenerativeneurological disorder, typified by difficulties in movement, for instance a continual rapid tremor in the limbs, a lack of sensory-motor co-ordination and a tendency to be continually tired. The condition is thought to be caused by problems in the production of theneurotransmitterdopamine.
parsimony:in thephilosophy of science, the principle that the simplest possible explanation should always be sought for any event.
partial reinforcement:inoperant conditioning, a contingency of reinforcement whereby a response is rewarded or punished only some of the time.
participant:(‘subjecf) in research, an individual who is the object of study or who participates in anexperiment.
participant observation:a research method involving direct participation of the researcher in the events being studied.
participant variables:confounding effects that result from the characteristics of theparticipantsthat may influence the results, such as differences in age,memory,gender, state of hunger or level ofarousal.
paternal deprivation:loss of the father, or growing up without a steady father figure may havedeprivationeffects, including a range ofemotionaland social disturbances depending on the nature and length of the absence.
pathological:the quality of being diseased ordysfunctional. SigmundFreud’spsychologicaltheoriesdescribe anddiagnosethe sources of pathological social behavior in individuals.
pattern recognition:the process by which we transform and organise the raw sensory information into a meaningful whole.
Pavlovian conditioning:seeclassical conditioning.
peak experience:proposed by Maslow, a temporary, profound and intense experience of enhanced awareness, frequently accompanied by feelings of feeling fully alive.
peer:an individual who is in some way equal to the person with whom they are being compared on a specific dimension.
peer group:a social unit of (typically) same-age peers who share common values and standards of behaviour.
perception:the process of selection, meaningful organisation and interpretation of information from thesenses.
perceptual constancy:the tendency for objects to provide the same perceptual experience despite changes in the retinal image, e.g.size constancy.
perceptual defence:a phenomenon whereby words that have a high degree ofemotionalcontent or might be considered ‘taboo’ are perceptually recognised less easily than neutralvalencewords.
perceptual development:the systematic development and maturation of perceptual abilities and processes over time.
perceptual organisation:processes that combine incoming sensory information into a coherent, meaningful perceptual experience. For instance, the ability to perceive patterns and to judge size and distance in a three-dimensional scene.
peripheral nervous system:nerves outside the spinal cord andbrain(not part of thecentral nervous system).
persecution: to be badly treated, oppressed or harassed usually because of beliefs,gender, race, religion orsexual orientation.
personal space:the physical region around us that we deem to be our own, in order to regulate interactions with others.
personality:a set of qualities that make a person (or thing) distinct from another.
personality disorder:a group of disorders characterised bypathologicaltrends in personality structure. It may show itself by lack of good judgment or poor relationships with others, accompanied by littleanxietyand no personal sense of distress.
personality inventory:a self-report questionnaire that is designed to measure personality characteristics, through questions on personal thoughts, feelings and behaviours. TheEysenck Personality Inventory(EPI) measures personality along the dimensions ofneuroticism– stability andextroversion–introversion.
person-centred therapy:Seeclient-centred therapy
persuasion:intentional efforts to alter attitudes.
pervasive development disorder(PDD): refers to a group of five disorders characterised by delays in the development of multiple basic functions includingsocialisationand communication. The most commonly known PDD isautism.
PET(positron emission tomography) scans:a technique for imagingbrainactivity by recording the extent ofmetabolicactivity in different regions of thebrainduring differentcognitiveor behavioural activities, through injecting a radioactive substance.
phallic stage:the third stage of development inFreud’stheory, from about 3 to 5 years of age, during which the source of gratification is focused on the genitals.
phantom limb:a mysterious phenomenon experienced by amputees who often continue to experience sensations which seem to originate from the missing limb.
phenomena:in the scientific sense, a phenomenon is an observable occurrence, pattern, or relationship between events.
phenomenological:pertaining to the way things appear or are experienced; in thehumanistic approach, a reference to the emphasis on an individual’sperceptionsand feelings as defining the meaning of their behaviour.
phenotype:the observed characteristics of the individual, that manifest as a combination of genetic and environmental influences.
philosophy:is the study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, truth, justice, beauty, validity, mind, and language.
philosophy of mind: is the branch ofphilosophythat studies the nature of themind, mental events, mental functions, mental properties,consciousnessand their relationship to the physical body, particularly thebrain.
philosophy of perception:concerns how mental processes and symbols depend on the world internal and external to the perceiver.
philosophy of science:is the study of assumptions, foundations, and implications of science.
philosophical:of or pertaining tophilosophy; a certain critical, creative way of thinking.
phobic disorders(phobias):a type ofanxiety disorder, of a persistent andirrationalfear of an object or situation that is often unreasonable and unfounded in proportion to the threat, and which may interfere with an individuals function in daily life.
phoneme:minimal units of speech, that create differences in speech production and reception.
phylogeny:evolution and development of a species. Seeontogeny,which refers tothe evolution and development of an individual organism.
physical (physiological) dependence:a state where the body has adapted to and has become dependent on drugs, and sudden absence can result inwithdrawal.
physiological:relating to the way that living things function rather than to their shape or structure.
physiologists:scientists who study living organisms and how their parts work.
Piaget(1896-1980):a Swissdevelopmental psychologistwhose work has had a huge influence onpsychologyand education. Piaget defined four sequential stages ofcognitive development; the sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational and formal operational stages, each characterised by different ways of thinking. Through development a child develops ?a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.itseducation.asia/psychology/s.htm#schema”>schemas? (mental representations), which are used to solve new problems (?a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.itseducation.asia/psychology/a.htm#assimilation”>assimilation? and existingschemais also changed to solve new experiences (“accommodation”.
Piagetian:of, relating to, or dealing withJean Piagetor his writings,theories, or methods especially with respect to child development.
Piliavin(1969):completed a famous experiment demonstrating diffusion of responsibility by exploring factors that influence helpingbehavior of bystanders.
pituitary gland:a small gland located next to thehypothalamus, which regulates manyendocrinefunctions, including the secretion of growthhormones, and secreteshormonesthat in turn triggerhormonesecretions in other glands. For instance, ahormonecalled ACTH is released duringstress, which in turn triggers the release ofsteroidsfrom thecortexof theadrenal glands.
placebo:a chemically inert substance administered instead of a real drug.
placebo effect:whenparticipantsdisplay improvements after being administered a placebo, on the belief that it has beneficial powers even though it has none.
pleasure principle:Freuds proposal that humans aremotivatedto achieve immediate and maximal pleasure, regardless of the cost.
pons: the pons trigger dreaming and awakening from sleep.
population:(or target population)the entire group to which the results of the study are intended to apply to and from which those individuals selected to participate in the study will be drawn.
positive correlation:a relationship between two measured variables where as one measure increases the other measured variable increases too.
positive regard:seeunconditional positive regard.
positive reinforcement:inoperant conditioning, a process of increasing the likelihood of a response by immediately following the response with a desirable stimulus (a positivereinforcer).
positive symptoms: behaviours related to a mental disorder which do not occur in healthy persons; for example,hallucinationsinschizophrenia.
posthypnotic amnesia:a subject’s inability to remember something that happened while they werehypnotised.
post-traumatic stress disorder:a type ofanxiety disorderthat arises as a consequence of the experience of atraumaticevent, such as a life-threatening event. Symptoms typically involve a persistent re-experience of the event, throughhallucinations, recollections, flashbacks, increasedanxietyandguilt.
postsynaptic:in asynapse, of or pertaining to theneuronthat bears receptors forneurotransmitterreleased into the synaptic cleft by thepresynapticneuron.
preconscious:thoughts, experiences, andmemoriesnot in a persons immediate attention but that can be called into awareness at any moment.
predictive validity:an indicator of validity based on whether a test can accurately predict future performance on the measure in question.
prejudice:a learned negative attitude, comprised of negative affective andstereotypestowards a person or group. Behavioural manifestation is labelled ‘discrimination’
presynaptic:refers to theaxonalend of theneuronwhere thesynapsemay beinhibitedor stimulated to releaseneurotransmitters.
primacy effect:information presented first to aparticipantis more likely to be remembered than material subsequently presented.
primary carer:the individual that holds primary responsibility for the care of an infant, often the biological mother.
primary prevention:strategies that aim to prevent disease in currently healthy individuals, by focusing on the development of good health habits and discouraging poor ones.
primary reinforcer:reinforcersbased oninnatebiological significance, such as food or water.
priming:a phenomenon whereby previous exposure to a word or situation, improves implicitmemoryand increases the activation of associated thoughts ormemories.
pro-attitudinal behaviour:a tendency for people to behave in a manner that is consistent, with existing, underlying attitudes.
probability:a numerical measure of the chance that something will happen, expressed as a number between 1 (certainty) and 0 (impossibility). A probability of 0.05 is typically used inpsychologicalinvestigations to represent the probability of an effect found occurring if thenull hypothesisis true, ie. The results are purely due to chance factors.
procedural memory:memoryfor how-to?information, that we have no conscious access to, for instance, how to ride a bike.
prognosis:when used inclinical psychology, refers to the expected eventual outcome of a disorder.
projection:defence mechanismswhereby which unwanted thoughts are externalised or projected onto someone else.
projective test:a type ofpersonalityassessment during which an individual is asked to interpret an ambiguous, abstractstimulusand an individuals response will revealunconsciousand hidden feelings, motives and conflicts.
pro-social behaviour:behaviour that is believed to help other individuals.
protection of participants:anethicalrequirement whereby researchers must minimise any risk or harm toparticipants.
proximal cause:a factor which is a direct influence on behaviour, such as one’s attitude or an aspect of the immediate situation.
psyche:Jungsterm for the totality of each persons psychic contents.
psychiatrists:medical doctors who possess an M.D. degree and may prescribe medications for the treatment ofpsychological disorders.
psychoanalytic theory:is a general term for approaches topsychoanalysiswhich attempt to provide a conceptual framework more-or-less independent of clinical practice rather than based on empirical analysis of clinical cases.
psychoanalysis:a type of psychodynamic therapy devised byFreud, in line with the assumptions ofunconsciousconflict andpsychosexual development.Therapyaims for the patient to gain a deeper understanding of their ownunconsciousthoughts and feelings through free association andtransference.
psychodynamics:the branch ofsocial psychologythat deals with the processes and emotions that determinepsychologyandmotivation.
psychodynamic approach:a perspective that views behaviour in terms of past childhood experiences, and the influence ofunconsciousprocesses, drives and conflicts.
psychological:relating to the way that living things function rather than to their shape or structure i.e. mental or emotional as opposed to physical in nature.
psychological dependence:the reliance upon and beliefs that are held when individuals becomeaddictedto drugs.
psychological disorder:a psychological disorder of thought or emotion; a more neutral term than mental illness.
physiological psychology:is a subdivision ofbiological psychologythat studies the neural mechanisms ofperceptionand behavior through direct manipulation of thebrainsof nonhuman animal subjects in controlledexperiments.
psychologist:means a person who by years of study, training and experience has achieved professional recognition and standing in the field ofclinical psychology.
psychology:the scientific study of the behavior and mental processes.
psychometric testing:the testing of individuals to measure competence in a specific area of functioning, e.g.intelligence,personality.
psychopath:seeanti-social personality disorder.
psychopharmacology:the study of the effects that drugs have on behaviour.
psychophysics:the study of the relationship between physicalstimuliand the mental events that arise as a result of thesestimuli. The methods developed are fundamental to sensation andperception.
psychophysiology:the branch ofpsychologythat is concerned with thephysiologicalbases ofpsychologicalprocesses.
psychosis:any major mental disorder that involves loss of contact with reality. This usually includesdelusionsand/orhallucinations.
psychotic:a person afflicted with psychosis.
psychosocial:thepsychologicaland/or social aspects of health, disease, treatment, and/or rehabilitation.
psychosurgery:surgical procedures conducted onbraintissue to alleviate thesymptomsof severepsychological disorder.
psychotherapy:any variety of treatment forabnormal behaviourwhich is primarily verbal in nature, rather than based on the use of drugs.
psychosexual development:inpsychoanalytic theory, a description of how a child progresses through set stages that vary according to the focus ofgratification(oral, anal, genital) and by the person towards which this feeling is directed at.
public territory:a type ofterritorywhere there is a low amount of occupation andperceptionof ownership, for instance a beach.
punishment:inoperant conditioning, a process whereby a response is followed by anegative reinforcer, which results in a decrease in theprobabilityof the response.
Q-sort:a tool that is occasionally used intherapy. A pack of cards containing statements are presented to the client, who then sorts these into a number of categories(for example, ‘very like me’, ‘not at all like me’ and so on). Iftherapyis successful, there will be a shift from a great distribution of negative cards to positive cards, to reflect a positiveself-image.
qualitative research(data):information in nonnumerical form, e.g. speech, written words, pictures, which places importance on the meaningful interpretation of data, rather than simply converting data to numbers, for instance, material gathered from a case study.
quantitative research(data):information in numerical form, e.g. number of students in a class, average scores on a quiz.
quasi-experiment:an experimental design whereby the experimenter does not directly influenceparticipantallocation to different conditions, but instead utilises existing groupings.
questionnaire(survey):a research method that is contains different formats of questionnaires, for example theLikert scale,open- andclosed- questions.
quota sampling:a technique for obtaining participants by selecting a quota of individuals, in proportion to their frequency in the population.
random allocation:refers to the how experimenters divideparticipantsinto each experimental condition, to reduce anybiasin the distribution ofparticipantcharacteristics.
random sample:a technique for obtainingparticipants, whereby every member of the population has an equal chance of being selected
range:adescriptive statisticthat shows the difference between the highest and the lowest scores in a data set.
rapid eye movement(REM) sleep:refers to the phase of sleep, characterised by eye movements anddreaming. In adults, REM sleep alternates with other periods of sleep (non-REM sleep) over a 9O-minute cycle. REM sleep is also accompanied by an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, and faster and more irregular breathing patterns.
rating scale:refers to theappraisalof a person or behaviour along a specific scale.
ratio data/scale:an interval scale that has a true zero point (eg. temperature).
rational:consistent with or based on or using reason; “rational behavior”.
rational-emotive therapy:a form oftherapydeveloped byElliswhich focuses changing irrational beliefs and faulty interpretations, which result in negativeemotionsand severeanxiety.
rationalisation:adefence mechanismwhereby behaviour is explained and justified by offering a reason acceptable to theegoin place of the true reason.
reaction formation:adefence mechanismwhereby a person a behaviour is displayed that is the opposite of a forbidden impulse. An example would be a man who deals with hishomosexualfeelings by displaying external resentment towardshomosexuals.
reaction time:time taken to respond to astimulus, measured by the interval between thestimulusand the response.
realistic conflict theory:an account ofprejudiceanddiscriminationthat proposes intergroup conflict and antagonism occurs when groups are competing for scarce resources.
reality principle:inFreud’stheory, the constraints and set of rules that govern theego, delaying theidsgratification, by recognition of the demands of the real world.
reasoning:is themental (cognitive) processof looking for reasons for beliefs, conclusions, actions or feelings.
rebound:thesymptomsthat the medicine was going to cure returns when one stops taking the medicine and sometimes extra much so during the time just after one has gone off the medicine.
recall:inmemory, the active retrieval of information.
recency effect:improvedmemoryfor list of words at the end of a list than those in the middle of the list.
recentring:inGestalttheory, developing an alternative ?a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.itseducation.asia/psychology/m.htm#mental_set”>mental set?for a situation, such as when trying to solve a problem.
recidivism:reverting back to crime, for instance after being released from prison.
reciprocal altruism:inevolutionary psychology, the concept that individuals performancealtruisticbehaviour if the expected benefit of future help from the strangers surpasses the short-term cost of helping.
recognition:inmemory, the process of identifying presented information as familiar and having been experienced before.
reconstructive memory:an account of piecing together and reassembling stored information duringrecall, and stored knowledge, expectations and beliefs are used to fill gaps and produce a coherent memory representation.
recovered memories:adults recover earlyrepressedmemories(often sexual abuse), which are often cited as the cause of a problem (e.g. eating disorder)
reflex:an unlearned response that is triggered by specific environmentalstimuli, e.g. as a baby’s sucking on an object placed in the mouth.
refractory period:refers to the period following anaction potentialwhen a particular section of a nerve cell cannot be stimulated.
regression:inFreudiantheory, adefence mechanismwhereby a individual reverts to a behaviour of an earlier developmental period to preventanxietyand satisfy current needs.
rehearsal:refers to thecognitive processinvolving the repetition of an item in order to maintain it inshort-term memory.
reinforcer:inconditioning, anystimulus, that after following a response, increases theprobabilityof that response occurring.
relapse:return to drug use by a user who has previously recovered. Alternative definition: Thesymptomsthat the medicine was going to cure returns when one stops taking the medicine and sometimes extra much so during the time just after one has gone off the medicine.
related t-test:a parametricinferential statisticaltest. Used withintervalorratio data, a repeated measures design (ormatched pairs), to investigate any difference in the effect each level of theindependent variablehas on thedependent variable.
relaxation training:procedures that target to reduce and relax muscle tension, heart rate andcortical activity. This is evident insystematic desensitisation.
reliability:a measure of consistency, to represent the degree to which replications of a test or method produces similar data scores.
repeated measures design:(within-subjects or related design)experimental design in which each individual participates in every level of theindependent variable.
repression:defence mechanismwherebymemories, feelings or ideas associated with pain orguiltare blocked fromconsciousawareness.
research:the process of gainingknowledge, either by an examination of appropriatetheoriesor throughempirical data. Inpsychology, the term is used to refer to an investigative process such as theexperimentor thecase study.
resistance:inpsychoanalysis, inability or unwillingness of a patient to accept the analysts interpretations of their behaviour and to discuss certain ideas or experiences.
responder bias(participant reactivity):Arial”>tendency of aparticipantto producebiasedresponses as a result of wanting to appear socially desirable or to be in line with what the experimenter wants.
restoration accounts of sleep:thehypothesisthat the purpose of sleep is to restore and repair the body.
reticular formation:a diffuse network of nerve fibres which runs through thebrain stemandlimbic system, with connections both up to thecortexand down to the spinal cord; that alerts thecerebral cortexto incoming sensory signals and serves to regulatearousallevels, maintainconsciousnessand awakening from sleep.
retina:the light sensitive part of the eye, that is comprised of three layers of neural tissue, including photoreceptors that convert light into neural responses to be passed to thebrainvia theoptic nerve.
retrieval:the process and recovery of a stored item frommemory.
retrieval cues:internal or externalstimulithat aidmemoryretrieval.
retrograde amnesia:the inability torecallevents before the cause of theamnesia, e.g.braininjury.
retrospective study:a study which assesses the impact of early experience on later development looking back from the time of the specified effecttothe early experience.
reward:any event which is pleasurable or satisfying to the organism (for example, food to a hungry animal)
rewards-cost model:theorybyPiliavinthat proposes thataltruistic behaviouris determined by weighing up therewardsand costs of helping and not helping.
risky shift:refers to the fact that people tend to make riskier decisions when they are members of a group than they would if they made the same decision independently.
ritalin:a drug whose action resembles that of the amphetamines. It has been controversially used in the treatment of children suffering fromattention deficit (hyperactivity) disorder.
Rogers(1902-1987):was one of the original founders of thehumanistic perspective. Histheoriesencompassed the importance of unconditional and conditional positive regard in development of the ‘self concept’ and ‘conditions of worth’ set by others. His work has been applied to a range of domains, particularly intherapythrough his development of ‘client-centred’ (now class=”d-title” named ‘person-centred’therapy.
rods(and cones):a type of receptor cell found in theretinaof the eye. Rods are critical for sight during dim illumination, whereas cones are more active in good light conditions. Individuals who lack rods (or have rods that don’t function) suffer from night blindness, and cannot see properly in dim light.
role conflict:a situation where an individual occupies two roles at the same time, where each role is incompatible to the expectations of the other.
role model:a person whose behaviour is observed andimitated.
Rorschach test:a type ofprojectivetestthat consists of ten bilaterally symmetrical inkblots.Participantsresponses and interpretations are assumed to reveal of various characteristics such asemotionalresponsiveness andpersonality.
SAD:seeseasonal affective disorder.
salience:refers to the distinctiveness or importance of something. For example, when we are thirsty, images of drink are more salient.
sample:the group of individuals selected fromthepopulationto participate in a study so that the researcher can make generalisations about the whole of the originalpopulation.
sampling error:an error that occurs as a result of having a non-representative sample.
sampling method:a technique by which a sample ofparticipantsis taken from apopulation. Includesrandom sampling,stratified sampling,opportunity samplingandquota sampling.
scaffolding:a term to describe how a childs learning can be advanced by a tutor who provides a framework within which the child can develop.
Schachter and Singer(1962):proposed atwo-factor theory of emotion, wherebyemotionis experienced as a combination ofarousalandattribution(labelling).
schedule of reinforcement:inoperant conditioning, sequence of presenting and withholding reinforcement.
schema:mental frameworks which structureknowledge, beliefs and expectations, of objects, people and situations, to guidecognitive processesand behaviour.
schizophrenia:a severe form of mental disorder, characterised by distortions and disturbances ofperception, thought, language andemotions.
schizophrenia in remission:a diagnostic label to indicate that at the time ofdiagnosis, the client is free of schizophrenic symptoms, but has had periods ofschizophreniain the past.
schizophrenogenic family:a term to describe a family with faulty communication patterns and conflict between members, and has been implicated in the development ofschizophrenia.
seasonal affective disorder(SAD):amood disorderassociated with changes in season.
secondary reinforcement:serves as areinforcerthrough association with aprimary reinforcement.
secondary sexual characteristics:characteristics that differ between the sexes, other than reproductive organs, such as body hair, facial hair and voice pitch.
secondary territory:territory with a medium degree of occupation andperceptionof ownership, e.g. classroom seat.
secure attachment:an attachment bond between the mother (orprimary caregiver) and infant, whereby the mother is sensitive and responsive to the childs needs, who will not experience significant distress at separation from the caregiver, but who seek comfort from caregiver when frightened.Secure attachment is related to healthy subsequentcognitiveandemotionaldevelopment as adults, including highself-esteemand the ability to maintain loving, trusting relationships.
sedative:a category of drugs that result in drowsiness and reduced sensori-motor skills by reducingcentral nervous systemfunctioning.
selective attention:perceptual processof focusing on specific elements of astimulus.
self-acceptance:an acceptance of yourself as you are, warts and all.
self-actualisation: in Maslowshierarchy of needs, refers to an individuals desire to grow and reach his or her potential. The process of becoming a person inpsychologicalemancipation(CarlRogers).
self-awareness:is the explicit understanding that one exists. Furthermore, it includes the concept that one exists as an individual, separate from other people, with private thoughts.
self-categorisation theory:proposes people are most likely to be influenced by those perceived to be similar to themselves (i.e.in-groupmembers).
self-concept:mental representation of our sense of individuality and inter-dependence on others, and includes two aspects ? self-understanding andself-esteem.
self-disclosure:the tendency to reveal gradually more intimate information as we get to know others better.
self-efficacy:an individual’s belief in ability and performance on a task or in a situation.
self-esteem:evaluative attitude towards the self of how much an individual likes themselves, influencing personal andsocial behaviours.
self-image:is the mental picture, generally of a kind that is quite resistant to change, that depicts not only details that are potentially available to objective investigation by others (height, weight, hair color, sex,I.Q.score, etc.), but also items that have been learned by that person about himself or herself, either from personal experiences or by internalising the judgments of others.
self-fulfilling prophecy:a phenomenon whereby expectations of how others will act or behave, affects interactions and elicits the anticipated response.
self-perception theory:suggests that by observing and perceiving how we act in a situation, shapes our attitudes and otherself-characterisations.
self-realisation:theemancipationof an individual towards self-reliance in respect of the integrity, or the love of knowledge, thefilognosy, of the different views, forms of logic andintelligenceone finds in modern society.Self-actualisationis the more specific humanist conception of self-realisation.
self-report:a method of gathering data by asking an individual to report and identify their behaviour or mental state.
self-serving bias:the tendency tobiasour judgements of our own behaviour, by emphasising external factors for failure, but attributing success to ability or effort.
Selye(1907-1982):anendocrinologist, who exploredphysiologicalresponses tostress, illness and disease. This led to theGeneral Adaptation Syndrome(GAS) consisting three stages of stress; an alarm state, resistance state, and exhaustion state.
semantic memory:generalmemoriesthat involve general knowledge of the world, including facts.
senses:are thephysiologicalmethods ofperception. The senses and their operation, classification, andtheoryare overlapping topics studied by a variety of fields, most notablyneuroscience,cognitive psychology(or cognitive science), andphilosophy of perception.
sensitive period:(or critical period): a period in development when an organism is best able to develop a response, for instance development of language.
sensitive responsiveness:the extent to which aprimary carerresponds to an infants signals.
sensory memory:a modality-specific form ofmemory, involved in temporary preservation of sensorystimuli, serving as a buffer between thesensesandshort-term memory.
sensory nerves:neural pathways in theparasympathetic nervous systemwhich transfer information from the sensory receptors to thecentral nervous system.
sentience: the quality or state of being sentient;consciousness; Feeling as distinguished fromperceptionor thought.
sentient:self-aware, choice-makingconsciousness. Humans and cetaceans (dolphins and whales) are the two sentient species on earth.
serial-position curve:a graphical representation ofmemoryretrieval, wherebyrecallis highest for beginning(primacy effect) and end items (recency effect) on a list than in the middle.
serotonin:neurotransmitterthat is important in the regulation of mood and control ofaggressivebehaviour. Normally produces aninhibitoryeffect.
sex differences:commonly observed differences between males and females, that may be primary (associated with reproduction), secondary (biological, but not associated with reproduction) and differences of mental,emotionalor behavioural characteristics.
sex-linked trait:anygenetically-determinedcharacteristic, that is linked to one sex more than the other, for instance male performance at tests ofspatialability is superior to women.
sexism:prejudiceanddiscriminationagainst one sex by members of the other sex, for instance in employment.
sexual orientation:preference for sexual partners of the same or opposite sex
sexual selection:individuals have features that make them attractive to members of the opposite sex (intersexual selection), or help them to compete with members of the same sex for access to mates (intrasexual selection).
shadowing:used in studies ofattention,involves listening to and repeating a message that is presented in one ear.
shadow juries:seemock jury.
shame:a negative affect elicited by a perceived loss ofself-esteemrelated to a particular behaviour.
shape constancy:refers to the tendency to perceive the shape of an object, despite variations in the size of theretinalimage.
shaping:inoperant conditioning,reinforcingsuccessive approximations to the desired response.
short-term memory(STM):memoryprocess which preserves recent information over relatively brief intervals, of limited capacity and information is stored for only a short length of time withoutrehearsal.
sibling rivalry:inevitable rivalry between children for parental affection and other resources.
sign language:a form of gestural communication used by the deaf.
significance level:ininferential statistics, a statement of theprobabilitythat an observed outcome is due only to chance.
significance tests:in statistics,inferential statisticalprocedures which are used to test whether observed results reflect real differences as a result of manipulation ofvariables, rather than chance variations.
simultaneous conditioning:used inclassical conditioningwhere theunconditioned(UCS) and theconditioned stimuli(CS) are presented simultaneously rather than one (theUCS) preceding the other, (theCS).
single-blind design:anexperimentwhereby subjects are kept uninformed of the purpose and aim of the study, to avoidbias.
situational attribution:attributing behaviour to be caused by factors outside of a persons control, for instance task difficulty or weather.
situational variables:confounding effects as a result of environmental influences, such as lighting, noise levels and temperature.
size constancy:the tendency to perceive objects as being closer to their actual size rather than the physical size registered on theretinaof the eye.
skewed distribution:an asymmetricalfrequency distribution, whereby themedianis usually more representative than themeanas a measure ofcentral tendency.
skill:the abilitythat aperson has to carry outa task successfully andcompetently.
Skinner(1904-1990):influentialbehaviourist, who pioneered the principle ofoperant conditioning, including schedules ofreinforcement, shaping and subsequentbehavior modification.
sleep:a natural and periodic state of rest during which consciousness of the world is suspended.
sleep apnea: a temporary suspension of breathing occurring repeatedly during sleep that often affects overweight people or those having an obstruction in the breathing tract, an abnormally small throat opening, or aneurological disorder.
sleep disorders:includeinsomnia,sleep apneaandnarcolepsy.
sleeper effect:the effect of persuasive messages may not have an immediate effect, but may be revealed in a change of behaviour after a period of time.
sociability:a child’s inclination to interact with others and to seek theirattentionor approval.
social behaviour:any behaviour which involves others or is oriented towards others
social cognition:the mental processes involved in the way individuals perceive and react to social situations.
social comparison:tendency ofjudging our own behaviour against that of others.
social desirability:either behaving in a way to bring social approval from others, or responding in a self-evaluative situation (e.g. interview, questionnaire) to present ourselves in a way that reveals more socially desirable characteristics (whilst potentially hiding undesirable characteristics).
social development:growth ofsocial behaviours, such as the ability to formattachments, develop healthyself-esteemand form successful relationships.
social drift theory(hypothesis):the attempt to explain the relationship between social class and serious mental illness by suggesting that those who are seriously mentally ill ‘drift’ down the socio-economic scale.
social facilitation and inhibition(SFI):an improvement in performance on a task due to the presence of others (social facilitation), or an impairment in performance due to the presence of others (socialinhibition).
social identity theory:proposition that individuals categorise themselves and others intoin-groupsandout-groups. Negative comparisons are made between the two groups as a result of a need to maintain a positive social identity, subsequently giving rise to competition anddiscrimination.
social influence:how an individual’s behaviour is affected by others, such asconformitypressures andgroup dynamics.
social inhibition: is what keeps humans from becoming involved in potentially objectionable actions and/or expressions in a social setting.
social learning theory:proposes thatlearningoccurs throughimitationandmodellingof behaviour ofrole models.
social loafing:the phenomenon in which people working together on a task tend to contribute less individual effort than they would if working alone.
social norms:expected standards of acceptable and appropriate behaviour and attitudes for members of a group or society.
socially sensitive research:research that may have direct social consequences forparticipantsor thepopulationrepresented. For instance, research into racial differences.
social skills training:a programme to teach people to improve social skills, such as making eye contact.
social psychology:an attempt to understand and explain how the thoughts, feelings and behaviour of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined or implied presence of others.
socialisation:is used bysociologists,social psychologistsand educationalists to refer to the process of learning onescultureand how to live within it. For the individual it provides the resources necessary for acting and participating within their society
Social Readjustment Rating Scale(SRRS):a rating scale, devised byHolmes and Rahe, that scores important life events and life changes according to theirpsychologicalimpact and degree of adjustment required. Higher scores on the SRRS indicate a higher risk ofstress-related ill health..
social support:people and/or services that are supportive during difficult periods, including information (e.g. advice) oremotionalsupport (e.g. reassurance that one is cared for).
socio-demographic:pertaining to or characterised by a combination of sociological anddemographiccharacteristics
socioeconomics:or socio-economics is the study of the relationship between economic activity and social life.
sociologist: a social scientist who studies the institutions and development of human society.
sociology:is the scientific or systematic study of society, including patterns of social relations, social stratification, social interaction, andculture.
somatic treatments:treatments of mental disorders that employ physical and chemical methods, e.gElectroconvulsive Shock Treatment(ECT).
somatosensory cortex:a part of thebrainresponsible for processing stimulation coming from the skin, body wall, muscles, bones, tendons and joints. It plays a part in determining pain intensity.
spatial memory:is the ability of animals to form a internal representation or map of its familiar area or home range.
Spearman(1863-1945):focused onintelligenceresearch; proposing the theoretical underlying general factor (g) ofintelligence, and statistics; establishing Spearmans rankcorrelation coefficientand factor analysis.
species-specific behaviour:behaviours which are characteristic of all members of a particular species. These response patterns (sometimes popularly called ‘instincts’) apply to behaviours such as mating, finding food, defence and raising offspring.
split half reliability:an evaluation of the internal consistency of a test, by splitting test items randomly into two halves and comparingparticipants’ performance on the two halves. The two scores should correlate highly if the test is internally reliable.
split-brain studies:refers to studies derived from split?a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.itseducation.asia/psychology/b.htm#brain”>brain operations on epileptic patients, involves cutting thecorpus callosum, and thereby separating the two hemispheres of thebrain.
spontaneous recovery:inclassical conditioning, afterextinction, an extinguished conditioned response will be spontaneously produced.
spontaneous remission:inpsychotherapy, improvement in an individual’s condition without professional intervention, often serves as a baseline criterion to compare the effectiveness oftherapies.
standard deviation:a measure of dispersion; average difference of a set of scores from themeanmeasure.
standardised instructions:directions given toparticipantsin a study to ensure that eachparticipantreceives the same information to minimise variation.
standardisation:A set of consistent procedures to treatparticipantsin a test, interview, orexperimentor for recording data.
statistical infrequency:any behaviour that is statistically infrequent is viewed asabnormal.
statistical significance:a conclusion drawn from the data collected in a research study that the results are a result of the effect of theindependent variableupon thedependent variable, and are not due to chance.
stereoscopic vision:the perceptual experience of a three-dimensional image through the combination of two different views of the same scene from the two eyes.
stereotype:an oversimplified, generalised and often inaccurateperceptionof an individual based upon membership of a particular group. Can often underlieprejudiceanddiscrimination.
steroids:any of a number of natural or synthetic substances that regulate body function.
stimuli:irregular plural ofstimulus
stimulant:a drug which increases activation of thecentral nervous systemand theautonomic nervous system; decreasing fatigue, increasing physical activity and alertness, diminish hunger, and result in a temporary elevation of mood.
stimulus:in general, any event, situation, object or factor that may affect behaviour; in thebehaviourist approach, a stimulus must be a measurable change in the environment.
stimulus discrimination:inconditioning, an organism learns to differentiate betweenstimulithat differ from theconditioned stimuluson some dimension.
stimulus generalisation:inclassical conditioning, once a response to astimulushas been learnt, the response may also be evoked by other similarstimulithat have never been paired with theunconditioned stimulus.
stimulus-response learning:a term used to describe any type of learning which involves an association between astimulusand a response.
storage:the retention of encoded information inmemoryover time.
stratified sample: thesamplereflect the composition of thepopulation, for instance 20 per cent left handed individuals, 80 percent right handed individuals in thepopulationwould determine a selection ofparticipantsusing the same percentages.
stress:a mismatch between the perceived demands of the environment and an organisms perceived ability to cope.
stress reduction:techniques used by an individual to cope withstressand reduce its adverse effects.
stressor:any event orstimulus(internal or external) which triggers astressresponse in an individual.
Stroop effect:is a demonstration of interference in the reaction time of a task. When a word such as blue, green, red, etc. is printed in a color differing from the color expressed by the word’s semantic meaning (e.g. the word “red” printed in blue ink), a delay occurs in the processing of the word’s color, leading to slower test reaction times and an increase in mistakes.
subconscious:inFreud’stheory, portions of the mind which are below the level ofconsciousawareness.
subcortical:relating to the portion of thebrainimmediately below thecerebral cortex, which is the part of thebrainresponsible for most higher functions (sensation, voluntary muscle movement, thought,reasoning,memory, etc.)
subjective:a subjective assessment is one that is based on criteria that exist only or principally in the assessor. Two subjective assessors assessing the same item might differ widely in their assessment.
sublimation:inFreud’stheory, adefence mechanismwhereby energy is redirected towards a socially desirable creative activity.
substance abuse:a pattern of behaviour where a person relies excessively on a particular substance (e.g. alcohol or opioids such as heroin) which can ultimately interfere with the individuals daily functioning.
superego:inFreudiantheory, portion of thepsychegoverned bymoral constraints.
superordinate goal:a higher and more important goal than that normally pursued by individuals within a group.
suprachiasmatic nucleus(SCN):is a bilateral region of thebrain, located in thehypothalamus, that is responsible for controllingendogenouscircadian rhythms. Theneuronalandhormonalactivities it generates regulate many different body functions over a 24-hour period.
symbiosis:a relationship between two animals where each animal benefits.
sympathetic nervous system:seeautonomic nervous system.
symptom:a change from normal structure, function, or sensation as would be experienced by the patient and indicative of disease.
synapse:a small physical gap between twoneurons, which is connected by the flow ofneurotransmitterchemicals
synaptic transmission:refers to the process by which a nerve impulse passes across the synaptic cleft from oneneuron(thepresynapticneuron) to another (thepostsynapticneuron).
systematic desensitisation:abehavioural therapyto treatphobiasandanxieties, whereby a client is gradually exposed to situations that are more and moreanxietyprovoking until the fear response is replaced by one of relaxation.
system variables:in witness testimony, variables that affect the accuracy of witness testimony and over which the police (and justice system in general) have some influence, including interviewing techniques.
systems theory:a theoretical framework involving multiple interrelated elements, where the properties of the whole are different from the properties of the parts; systems are viewed as governed by processes of negative feedback (which promotes stability) and positivefeedback (which promotes instability). Used to explain a range of phenomena, and a range of situations, for instance, Minuchins family systems theory.
taboo:something that is avoided, banned, or not allowed because of acultural belief.
tabula rasa: (translation:‘blank slate’), refers to thebehaviouristbelief that all human behaviour is infinitely plastic and malleable, and therefore can be explained in terms of learnt experiences, rather thangeneticpredispositions.
tardive dyskinesia:a condition that is occasionally experienced as a side-effect ofantipsychotic drugs, typified by involuntary movements of the tongue, lips, jaw and other facial movements.
taste aversion:refers to a type of learning formed after one trial, whereby an association is formed between feelings of sickness and (usually) a particular food, resulting in an avoidance of the food.
telegraphic speech:refers to the reduced sentences (resembling telegrams) that distinguish children’s speech patterns from around 18 months to two years, demonstrating the basics of early grammar by containing crucial nouns and verbs.
telic state:amotivationalstate in whicharousalis avoided.
temperament:aspects ofpersonalitythat exist at birth and are believed to be as a result ofgeneticinfluences.
template theories:an account ofpattern recognition; the proposal that we match incoming information with templates (miniature representations) of patterns stored inlong-term memory.
temporal lobe:the region of thecortexbelow the lateral fissure; contains theauditory cortex.
territoriality:the tendency of animals to defend (e.g. through scent markings) a particular geographical area from other members of their own species, in order to gain access to and increase control over a resource.
testosterone:a male sexhormoneproduced by the testes, that is responsible for production of sperm and the development of thesecondary sexual characteristics.It has also been associated withaggression.
test-retest reliability:measure of measurements consistency, bycorrelating(the same) test performance on two different occasions.
thalamus:part of theforebrain,transmits nerve impulses, up sensory pathways to thecerebral cortex. Damage to the thalamus can result inanterograde amnesia.
thanatos:aFreudianterm which represents the death instinct,characterised byaggressivebehaviour and a rejection of pleasurablestimuli.
thematic apperception test(TAT):aprojective test, whereby individuals are presentedwith ambiguous pictures and asked to generate a story from them, thereby revealpersonalitycharacteristics,motivationfor power, achievement andaffiliation, and in a clinical setting, any underlyingemotionalproblems.
theory:a structured set of concepts to explain aphenomenaor group ofphenomena.
theory of mind:child’s understanding of theemotionsandmotivesof other people.
therapeutic:having a beneficial effect onmental health.
therapy:any process that aids understanding and recovery frompsychologicaldifficulties. A wide variety of therapies can be divided intopsychotherapies(involving discussion or action) andsomatic therapies(medical or biological intervention).
think-aloud protocol:comments made when by experimentalparticipantsof the mental processes and approaches used whilst working on a task.
third force:term used to describe the development of thehumanistic perspectiveas an alternative to thepsychoanalyticandbehaviourist perspectives.
Thorndike puzzle-box:piece of laboratory apparatus used bySkinner, to demonstrate trial-and-error learning.
thought:an idea; an instance of thinking; the state or condition of thinking.
thought disturbances:inabnormal psychology, distortions of thought processes such as incoherent speech.
thought disorder:in abnormal psychology,a general term to describe disturbance of thought or speech that might be symptomatic of amental disorder, for instance incoherent thought and speech patterns.
Thorndike(1874-1949):renowned for his animal research, exploring trial and error learning (known as instrumental learning) in animals through the development of the Thorndike ‘puzzle-box’
three mountains test:aPiagetiantask to demonstrateegocentricity, whereby children are shown a model of three mountains, and watches as a doll is positioned at a different point around the mountains. Pre-operationalegocentricchildren are unable to see from the dolls perspective of the mountains.
tip of the tongue phenomenon:a term used to refer to the experience when we feel that we know a particular word, yet are unable to retrieve it.
token economy:using the principles ofoperant conditioning,abehaviour modificationtechnique used to encourage particular behaviour, through the employment ofsecondary reinforcers(tokens) after desirable behaviour, which can be collected and exchanged forprimary reinforcers(a meaningful object or privilege).
tolerance:over time,the need for greater dosages of a drug in order to achieve the same effect.
Tolman(1886 ?1959): an Americanpsychologistwho concentrated on learning (escape, latent, avoidance, approach and choice-point learning) in rats, most commonly in mazes.
top-down approach:in the context ofoffender profiling, an approach that examines evidence from the crime scene in light of existing classifications andtheoriesof serious crimes (the ‘top’) and appraises which category a particular crime fits into. Commonly used by American criminal profilers.
top-down processing:perceptual processing in which previous experiences, existing knowledge, expectations,motivationsor the context in whichperceptiontakes place, affect how a perceived object is interpreted and classified.
Tourette’s syndrome:neurological disordercharacterised by facial grimaces and tics and movements of the upper body and grunts and shouts andcoprolalia.
trace-dependent forgetting: the information no longer stored inmemory.
trait:a specific personal characteristic or attribute which occurs consistently and influences behaviour across a range of situations.
transference:a process duringpsychoanalysis, whereby a client attaches feelings towards thetherapistthat were previouslyunconsciouslydirected towards a significant person in their life, who may have been involved in some form ofemotionalconflict.
transfer of training:refers to the wayin which skills learnt in one situation may to be transferred to a second, related situation.
trauma:term used either for a physical injury (as a result of an external force), or apsychologicalinjury (caused by anemotionalevent).
Treisman(1935-):A Britishpsychologistspecialising in visual attention and object perception, renowned for proposing the feature integrationtheoryofattention.
trial:inexperimental psychology,a single unit of experimentation where astimulusis presented, an organism responds and a consequence follows.
trial-and-error learning:originally proposed by Thorndike, a view of learning that proposes responses that do not achieve the desired effect are gradually reduced, and those that do are gradually strengthened.
turing test:a test to determine how closely computers mimic humancognitive process.
two factor theory of emotion:is asocial psychologytheorythat viewsemotionas having two components (factors):physiologicalarousalandcognition. According to thetheory, “cognitionsare used to interpret the meaning ofphysiologicalreactions to outside events.”
twin studies:refers to studies wheremonozygoticanddizygotictwinsare studied to assess the relative contributions ofgeneticand environmental influences on a particular characteristic, e.g.intelligence.
type 1 error:rejecting thenull hypothesiswhen it should be accepted. Also called afalse positive.
type 2 error:accepting thenull hypothesiswhen it should be rejected. Also called afalse negative.
type A personality:a set ofpersonalitycharacteristics, including a sense of competitiveness, hostility, a constant sense of time pressure and impatience, which result in an increased risk of coronary heart disease.
ultradian rhythms:one complete cycle that repeats in less than twenty-four hours, for instance different stages of sleep several times during a single night’s sleep.
unconditional positive regard:complete acceptance and caring of an individual, without imposing conditions.
unconditioned response:inclassical conditioning, a reflexive response elicited by anunconditioned stimulus, such as pupil contraction to bright light, without prior learning.
unconditioned stimulus: inclassical conditioning, astimuluswhich elicits a reflexive (unconditioned) response.
unconscious:inFreud’stheory, portion of thepsychethat cannot be directly accessed by the unconscious, repressing urges, impulses and thoughts, which may filter intoconsciousawarenessdirectly or in symbolic form.
unconscious motive:a term used to describe that much of (motivated) behaviour is a result of influences outside ourconsciousawareness, and manifests indefence mechanismsor other symbolic ways.
understanding:thecognitivecondition of someone who understands. It is is the possession ofknowledgecoupled with the capability of reasoning and making judgements relating to the applicability of theknowledge.
unfalsifiable:atheoryorhypothesisis unfalsifiable if it cannot be disproved by data and thus cannot be used to make predictions.
universal:any characteristic that can be applied to all members of the species, despite a variety of experiences and development.
unstructured interview:an interview whereby the interviewer does not have pre-determined questions, but instead asks questions spontaneously as topics arise.
upper quartile:the data point that is at the 75 per cent point of the data set when the data is ranked in order.
utilitarianism:states that what isethicallyacceptable is that which produces the greatest pleasure and happiness (in comparison to pain and suffering) for the greatest number of people.
valence:inpsychology, especially in discussingemotions, means the intrinsic attractiveness (positive valence) oraversiveness(negative valence) of an event, object, or situation.
validity:the extent to a test measures what it claims and was intended to measure.
values:involves one’s principles or standards or judgments about what is valuable or important in life.
variable:in an experimental setting,any measured factor which shows variation across cases or conditions.
variable interval schedule:inoperant conditioning, a schedule of reinforcement determined by the average time interval which must elapse since the lastreinforcerbefore a response will be reinforced.
variable ratio schedule:inoperant conditioning, a schedule of reinforcement determined by the average number of responses required to receive areinforcer.
variability:in statistics, the dispersion of scores within a set of data.
ventro-medial hypothalamus:section of thehypothalamus, that when lesioned in a ratsbrain, the rat will demonstrateabnormal appetitive behaviour.
vicarious learning:seeobservational learning.
vicarious reinforcement:learning behaviour by observing others being rewarded for the behaviour.
visual agnosia:a general term for disorders which occur as a result of disruption of visual recognition.
visual cliff:an apparatus used to assess an infant’s perception of depth, comprised of a thick pane of glass that covers a shall drop and a deep drop. Surfaces of both are covered with the same chequered pattern; however children of six months and older will not explore the deep?side which demonstrates depth perception.
visual pathways:the routes by which nerve impulses travel from theretinato the visual areas of thebrain.
visual perception:the process by which sensory information from the eyes is transformed to produce an experience of depth, distance, colour, etc.
volume:an increase in magnitude of vibration in the air (measured indecibels). Sounds increase in volume as the amplitude of the waves increases.
voluntary response:a response which is controlled by the individual rather than being elicited by specificstimulias reflexes are.
volunteer bias:participantswho volunteer for a research investigation may differ on particular characteristics from non-volunteers, therefore comprising a non-representativesample.
Wada test:a technique to anaesthetise one hemisphere of thebrainat a time, by injecting a short-acting anaesthetic (sodium amytal) into the carotid artery serving one hemisphere, then a short time later repeating the procedure for the other hemisphere, in order to see which hemisphere is important for language inparticipants.
WAIS:seeWeschler Adult Intelligence Scale.
weapon focus effect:the tendency for witnesses to a crime involving a weapon (e.g. gun) torecalldetails of the weapon, but to be less accurate on other details such as the perpetrator’s face.
Weber’s Law:is a law ofpsychophysicswhich states that the amount by which astimulusmust change in order for that change to be noticeable is proportional to the intensity of thatstimulus. Thus, strongerstimuliwould need to be increased by greater amounts than would weakerstimulifor noticeable change.
Wernicke’s aphasia:caused by damage toWernicke’s areain thebrain,resulting in disruptions in processing and comprehension of speech input, whilst speech production remains unimpaired. See alsoBroca’s aphasia.
Wernicke’s area:area of the lefttemporal cortexWernicke proposed to be the centre of language comprehension, whereby sound patterns of words are stored, in order to convert speech sounds into words.
Weschler Adult Intelligence Scale:anintelligencetestwhich measures elements of adultintelligence, including verbalintelligenceand performanceintelligence, which are then divided into specific abilities so that an individual performance and any deficiencies can be assessed.
Weschler Intelligence Scale for Children:a version of theWAISthat measuresIQin children aged from six to 16 years.
will: the capability ofconsciouschoice and decision and intention.Nietzschedefines will similarly to the “any internally motivated action” usage, but more narrowly. In this sense, will is more a “creative spark,” a certain independence and stubbornness.
wish fulfilment:inFreud’stheory, the symbolic manifestation of drives in fantasy form, as indreams.
withdrawal:physically painful and unpleasant symptoms (such as vomiting, shaking, headaches and convulsions) suffered by a physically dependent drug user as the effects of a drug wears off.
withdrawal from investigation:anethicalrequirement ofpsychologicalresearch thatparticipantshave the right to withdraw at any time during the study
within subjects design:seerepeated measures design.
wolf children:or feral children,are children who have been found living in the wild, and often display animal-like behaviours, indicating they have been brought up by wild animals.
World Health Organisation (WHO)– an office of the UN which overseas international efforts to improve general health conditions and to address international threats such aspandemics.http://www.who.int/en/
word recognition threshold:is the minimum exposure of a word necessary to recognise and identify it. The threshold is set as the point at which the word can be correctly recognised 50 per cent of the time when presented.
working memory:a flexiblememorysystem used for reasoning and language comprehension, that is comprised of the phonological loop, visuospatial sketchpad and central executive.
workplace stressors:aspects of the working environment (e.g. impending deadlines) that are experienced to be stressful, including physicalstressors(such as noise, length of working day and inherent danger) andpsychosocialstressors(such as relationships with coworkers, organisation of work, and role responsibility).