AP_Midterm Exam AP Midterm Exam Review Units 1-6

Term Definition
John Locke The philosopher that is most well known for theorizing that the mind at birth is a tabula rasa or "blank slate".
Wilhelm Wundt Established the first psychological laboratory. Attempted to investigate the simplest mental processes by gathering data through lab experiments. His work involved experimental studies of reactions to sensory stimulation.
Introspection The self-reflective observation of one’s own sensations and feelings. Titchener used the method to study people’s inner sensations and mental images; elements of sensory experience.
Sigmund Freud The psychologist who emphasized the role of the unconscious in affecting behaviour.
Psychology Contemporary psychology is defined as the scientific study of behaviour and mental processes.
Nature -Nurture Issue A long running debate that explores what makes us who we are; are we the product of genes (nature) or our environment (nurture)? Contemporary psychologists believe that “nurture works on what nature endows.”
Psychiatrist A physician who specializes in psychiatry; the diagnoses and treatment of mental disorders. Have a medical degree.
Social Psychology Focuses on social influences, perception, and interaction. Topics include: attitudes, aggression, prejudice, etc.
Hindsight Bias People’s tendency to exaggerate their ability to have foreseen the outcome of past events; it leads people to perceive research findings as unsurprising.
Overconfidence Our tendency to believe we know more than we do; it inhibits critical thinking.
Empirical Approach Basing decisions or conclusions on observable evidence. Under controlled conditions, researchers collect evidence that may justify a cause-effect conclusion.
Critical Thinking Thinking that does not blindly accept arguments and conclusions. Rather, it examines assumptions, assesses the source, discerns hidden values, evaluates evidence, and assesses conclusions.
Theory An explanation using an integrated set of principles that organizes observations and predicts future behaviours or events.
Hypothesis A testable prediction that gives direction to research. It is often implied by a theory.
Operational Definition A carefully worded statement of the exact procedures (operations) used in a research study. A specification of how a researcher measures a research variable. The main purpose of operationally defining variables is control.
Replication Repeating the essence of a research study, usually with different participants in different situations, to see whether the basic finding extends to other participants and circumstances.
Case Study A descriptive technique in which one individual or group is studied in depth in the hope of revealing universal principles. Usually the individual’s or group’s situation or behaviour is rare or unusual.
Wording Effects The wording of a statement can effect the outcome of a survey.
Naturalistic Observation Observing and recording behaviour in naturally occurring situations without trying to manipulate and control the situation.Observing subjects in their natural environment.
Correlation Coefficient A measure of the direction and strength of the relationship between two variables.
Illusory Correlation The perception of a relationship where none exists. The sequential occurrence of two highly unusual events is most likely to contribute to an illusory correlation.
Experiment A research method in which an investigator manipulates one or more factors (independent variables) to observe the effect on some behaviour or mental process (dependent variable). Can prove a causal relationship.
Double-Blind Procedure An experimental procedure in which both the research participants and the research staff are ignorant (blind) about whether the research participants have received the treatment or a placebo.
Placebo Effect Experimental results caused by expectations alone. A phenomenon in which a fake treatment (placebo), improves a patient’s condition because the person has the expectation that it will be helpful
Experimental Group In an experiment, the group exposed to the treatment, that is, to one version of the independent variable.
Standard Deviation A computed measure of how much scores vary around the mean score. A measure of how spread out numbers are. It tells us how different scores are from each other. Less variability is better than greater variability.
Range The difference between the highest and lowest scores in a distribution. It is the measure of variation that is most affected by extreme scores.
Statistical Significance How likely that an obtained result occurred by chance. When sample averages are reliable, and when the difference between them is large, the difference has statistical significance. Results accept a 5% likelihood that the results occurred by chance.
Phrenology The nineteenth century theory that bumps on the skull reveal a person’s abilities and traits. Franz Gall was the founder of phrenology.
Axon The axon is the extension of a neuron that carries messages away from the cell body to other neurons or muscles or glands. It is the longest part of the cell body.
Myelin Sheath A fatty tissue layer segmentally encasing the axons of neurons. Enables speed as neural impulses hop from one sausage-like node to the next.
Action Potential A neural impulse; a brief electrical charge that travels down the axon of a neuron. Produced by depolarization of the neural membrane; the movement of positively charged ions across the membrane. Travels in one direction toward the axon terminal.
Interneuron A neuron that transmits impulses between other neurons, especially as part of a reflex arc. Located exclusively within the brain and spinal cord.
Sensory (Afferent) Neurons Neurons that carry incoming information from the sensory receptors to the brain and spinal cord. Converts external stimuli into electrical impulses.
Synapse The junction between the axon tip of the sending neuron and the dendrite or cell body of the receiving neuron.
Neurotransmitters The chemical messengers that cross the synaptic gaps between neurons. Released from vesicles located on knob-like terminals at the end of the axon. Influencing whether a neuron will generate a neural impulse.
Reflex A simple, automatic, inborn response to a sensory stimulus, such as a knee jerk response.
Endocrine System The body’s “slow” chemical communication system; a set of glands that secrete hormones into the bloodstream.
Hormones Chemical messengers of the endocrine system. They influence growth, reproduction, metabolism, and mood. Endocrine glands secrete hormones directly into the blood stream.
Pons Helps coordinate movements; lies above the medulla.
Thalamus The brain’s sensory control center, located on top of the brainstem. Receives information from all of the senses except smell. Directs messages to the sensory receiving areas of the cortex and transmits replies to the cerebellum and medulla.
Cerebellum The “little brain” at the back of the brainstem. Processes sensory input and coordinates movement output, balance, and enabling nonverbal learning and memory.
Amygdala Two lima-bean sized neural clusters in the limbic system. Plays a central role in emotions such as aggression and fear.
Cerebral Cortex The thin surface layer of interconnected neural cells that covers the cerebrum. The body’s ultimate control and information-processing center.
Occipital Lobes Portion of the cerebral cortex lying at the back of the head. The visual processing center of the brain.
Plasticity The brain’s ability to change, especially during childhood, by reorganizing after damage or by building new pathways based on experience. The capacity of one brain area to take over the functions of another damaged brain area.
Corpus Callosum The large band of neural fibers connecting the two brain hemispheres and carrying messages between them.
Behaviour Genetics The study of the relative power and limits of genetic and environmental influences on behaviour and personality traits. Behaviour geneticists assess the relative effects of nature and nurture on individual differences.
Genes The biochemical units of heredity that make up the chromosomes. A segment of DNA capable of synthesizing a specific protein. Depending on certain environmental conditions, specific genes can be either active or inactive.
Identical Twins (Monozygotic Twins) Twins who develop from a single fertilized egg that splits in two, creating two genetically identical organisms.
Fraternal Twins (Dizygotic Twins) Twins who develop from separate fertilized eggs. They are genetically no closer than brothers and sisters, but they share a fetal environment.
Twin Studies Reveal the absolute and relative importance of environmental and genetic influences on individuals in a sample. Used to estimate trait heritability. Reveal personality, temperament, and intelligence are genetic.
Heritability Refers to the extent to which trait differences among individuals are attributable to genetic variations. Accounts for variations among people, not in specific individuals. Heritable traits can be influenced by social environments.
Evolutionary Psychology Studies the evolution of behaviour and the mind using principles of natural selection. Emphasize that environmentally adaptive behaviours are those that have promoted reproductive success.
Natural Selection The reproductive advantaged enjoyed by organisms best suited to a particular environment. Acts on populations.
Adaptation An inherited physical or behavioural characteristic that increases an organism’s chance for survival. Our adaptive flexibility in responding to different environments contributes to our fitness which refers to our ability to survive and reproduce.
Sensation The process by which our sensory receptors and nervous system receive and represent stimulus energies from our environment.
Perception The process by which we select, organize, and interpret sensory information in order to recognize meaningful objects and events.
Bottom-Up Processing Analysis that begins with the sensory receptors and works up to the brain’s integration of sensory information.
Change Blindness Change in a visual stimulus is introduced and the observer doesn’t notice it.
Signal Detection Theory Predicts how and when we detect the presence of a faint stimulus (signal) amid background stimulation (noise).
Iris A ring of muscle tissue that forms the coloured portion of the eye around the pupil and controls the size of the pupil opening.
Lens The transparent structure behind the pupil that changes shape (curvature and thickness) to help focus images on the retina.
Rods Retinal receptor cells that detect black, white, and gray. Necessary for peripheral and twilight vision when cones don’t respond. The most light sensitive receptor cells under very dim levels of illumination.
Cones Retinal receptor cells concentrated near the center of the retina that function in daylight or well-lit conditions. The cones detect fine detail and give rise to colour sensations.
Young-Helmholtz (Trichromatic) Theory The theory that the retina contains three different colour receptors – one most sensitive to red, one to green, and one to blue – which when stimulated in combination, can produce the perception of any colour.
Opponent Process Theory Opposing retinal processes (red-green, yellow-blue, white-black) enable colour vision. Some cells are stimulated by green and inhibited by red and vice versa. Opponent process cells have been located in the thalamus.
Basilar Membrane Located in the cochlea, the mechanical vibrations triggered by sound waves are transduced into neural impulses by the hair cells that line the surface of the basilar membrane.
Place Theory The theory that links the pitch we hear with the place where the cochlea’s membrane is stimulated. Best explains how we perceive high-pitched sounds
Frequency Theory The theory that the rate at which nerve impulses travel up the auditory nerve matches the frequency of the tone, thus enabling us to sense its pitch. Best explains how we perceive low-pitched sounds.
Nociceptors Sensory receptors that detect hurtful temperatures, pressure, or chemicals. In response to a harmful stimulus, they transmit pain-triggering signals to your central nervous system leading to the sensation of pain.
Sensory Interaction The principle that one sense may influence another, as when the smell of food influences taste.
Gestalt An organized whole. Emphasized our tendency to integrate pieces of information into meaningful wholes. “The whole may exceed the sum of its parts.”
Proximity The perceptual tendency to group together stimuli that are near each other.
Depth Perception The ability to see objects in three dimensions although the images that strike the retina are two-dimensional; allows us to judge distance.
Phi Phenomenon An illusion of movement created when two or more adjacent lights blink on and off in quick succession. We perceive a single light moving back and forth between them.
Consciousness Our awareness of ourselves and our environment.One part of the dual processing that occurs in our two-track minds.
Circadian Rhythm The biological clock. Regular body rhythms (for example, of temperature and wakefulness) that occur on a 24-hour cycle.The impact is best illustrated by fluctuations in energy level and alertness across the span of the day.
NREM-1 Stage Hallucinations and hypnagogic sensations of falling or floating occur.
REM Sleep The nervous system is highly active while voluntary muscles are very relaxed and hardly move. The heart beats faster, breathing becomes irregular, and eyes dart back and forth. Vivid dreams and genital arousal commonly occur.
Benefits of Sleep Sleep protects. Sleep helps us recuperate. Sleep helps restore and rebuild our fading memories of the day’s experience. Sleep feeds creative thinking. Sleep supports growth.
Narcolepsy A sleep disorder characterized by uncontrollable sleep attacks.The sufferer may lapse directly into REM sleep, often at inopportune times. Linked to a lack of the neurotransmitter orexin.
Sleep Apnea A disorder involving the cessation of breathing during sleeping and repeated momentary awakenings. Obesity is a risk factor.
Manifest Content According to Freud, the remembered story line of a dream (as distinct from its latent, or hidden, content.
Latent Content According to Freud, the underlying meaning of a dream (as distinct from its manifest content).
REM Rebound The tendency for REM sleep to increase following REM sleep deprivation. Created by repeated awakenings during REM sleep.Most mammals experience REM rebound which indicates that dreaming serves a necessary biological function.
Psychoactive Drugs A chemical substance that alters perceptions and moods.
Habituation An organism’s decreasing response to a stimulus with repeated exposure to it.
Unconditioned Stimulus (US) A stimulus that unconditionally – naturally and automatically – triggers a response (UR).
Unconditioned Response (UR) An unlearned, naturally occurring response (such as salivation) to an unconditioned stimulus (US) (such as food in the mouth)
Neutral Stimulus (NS) A stimulus that elicits no response before conditioning.
Conditioned Stimulus (CS) A previously neutral stimulus that, after repeated association with an unconditioned stimulus, elicits the response of the unconditioned stimulus itself.
Conditioned Response (CR) A learned response to the previously neutral (but now conditioned) stimulus.
Spontaneous Recovery Refers to the reappearance, after a time-lapse, of an extinguished conditioned response.
Generalization The tendency, once a response has been conditioned, for stimuli similar to the conditioned stimulus to elicit similar responses.
Classical Conditioning Forming an association between two stimuli resulting in a learned response. An organism forms associations between events it does not control.
Operant Behaviours Voluntary behaviours that produce rewarding or punishing consequences.
Shaping An operant conditioning procedure in which reinforcers guide behaviour toward closer and closer approximations of the desired behaviour.
Immediate Reinforcer Reinforcers delivered immediately after the desired behaviour is performed. Most animals are best conditioned through immediate reinforcers.
Partial Reinforcement Also known as intermittent reinforcement. Reinforcing a response only part of the time. Results in slower acquisition of a response but much greater resistance to extinction than does continuous reinforcement.
Fixed-Ratio Schedules Reinforcing a behaviour after a specific number of responses has occurred.
Variable-Interval Schedules Reinforcing a behaviour after an unpredictable time period has elapsed.
Punishment Involves the withdrawal of a pleasant stimulus or the introduction of an unpleasant stimulus. Decreases the behaviour that it follows.
Insight Learning Learning that occurs after an extended period of thinking about a problem but little or no direct, systematic interaction with the environment. A sudden realization of a problem’s solution.
Intrinsic Motivation The desire to engage in an activity for the sake of its own enjoyment. Promising rewards for what people already enjoy doing undermines intrinsic motivation.
Extrinsic Motivation The desire to perform a behaviour due to promised rewards or threats of punishment.
Observational Learning Learning by observing others. Also called social learning. A key factor that influences whether we will imitate a model is whether the model is rewarded or punished.
Mirror Neurons Frontal lobe neurons (adjacent to the motor cortex) that some scientists believe fire when performing certain actions or when observing another doing so. The brain’s mirroring of another’s action may enable imitation and empathy.
Bandura's Bobo Doll Experiments Preschool children pounded and kicked a large inflatable Bobo doll that an adult had just beaten on. Modelling is important in the process of learning. Observational learning depends on whether we see the people as similar to us.
External Locus of Control The perception that chance or outside forces beyond our personal control determine our fate; one’s fate is determined by luck. Learned helplessness is associated with an external locus of control; people have a lower morale.

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