GRE Subjects Test

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  1. Ablation
    A surgically induced brain lesion
  2. Absolute refractory period
    The period that follows the onset of an action potential. During this period, a nerve impulse cannot be initiated.
  3. Absolute threshold
    The minimum of stimulus energy needed to activate a sensory system.
  4. Accommodation
    A principle of Piaget's theory of cognitive development. Occurs when cognitive structures are modified because new information or new experiences do not fit into existing cognitive structures.
  5. Acetylcholine
    A neurotransmitter found in both central and peripheral nervous systems linked to Alzheimer's disease and used to transmit nerve impulses to the muscles.
  6. Acrophobia
    An irrational fear of heights
  7. ACT Model (Adaptive Control of Thought)
    A model that describes memory in terms of procedural and declarative memory.
  8. Actor-Observer effect
    The tendency of actors to see observer behavior as due to external (situational) factors; and the tendency of observers to attribute actors' behaviors to internal (dispositional) characteristics.
  9. Adrenaline
    A hormone that increases energy available for "fight or flight" reactions (AKA epinephrine)
  10. Afterimage
    A visual sensation that appears after prolonged or intense exposure to a stimulus.
  11. Agnosia
    Impairments in perceptual recognition.
  12. Agoraphobia
    An irrational fear of being in places or situations where escape might be difficult.
  13. All-or-Nothing Law
    A law about nerve impulses stating that when depolarization reaches the critical threshold (-50 millivolts) the neuron is going to fire, each time, every time.
  14. Alternate-form Method
    In psychometrics, it is the method of using two or more different forms of a test to determine the reliability of a particular test.
  15. Altruism
    A form of helping behavior where the animal's intent is to benefit other animals at some cost to itself.
  16. Amnesia
    A dissociative disorder where individuals are unable to recall past experience, but this inability is not due to a neurological disorder.
  17. Analogy of Inoculation
    McGuire's analogy that people can be psychologically inoculated against the "attack" of persuasive communications by first exposing them to a weakened attack.
  18. Analysis of Variance (Anova)
    A statistical method to compare the means of more than two groups by comparing the between-group variance to the within-group variance.
  19. Anima (animus)
    An archetype from Jung's theory referring to the feminine behaviors in males, and the masculine behaviors in females.
  20. Anorexia Nervosa
    An eating disorder characterized by a refusal to maintain a minimal normal body weight.
  21. Anterograde amnesia
    Memory loss for new information following brain injury.
  22. Antisocial personality disorder
    A personality disorder characterized by a pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others.
  23. Aphagia
    An impairment in the ability to eat.
  24. Aphasias
    Language disorders, which are associated with Broca's and Wernicke's areas in the brain.
  25. Apparent Motion
    An illusion that occurs when two dots flashed in different locations on a screen seconds apart are perceived as one moving dot.
  26. Apraxia
    An impairment in the organization of voluntary action.
  27. Archetypes
    The building blocks for the collective unconscious referred to in Jung's theory of personality.
  28. Assimilation
    A principle of Piaget's theory of cognitive development. It is the process of understanding new information in relation to prior knowledge, or existing schema.
  29. Association Area
    Areas in the brain that integrate information from different cortical regions.
  30. Atkinson-Shiffin model
    A model of memory that involves three memory structures (sensory, short-term, and long-term), and the processes that operate these structures.
  31. Attachment bond
    Evidence of a preference for the primary caregiver and a wariness of strangers.`
  32. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/HD)
    A disorder characterized by developmentally atypical inattention and/or impulsivity-hyperactivity.
  33. Attribution Theory
    Fritz Heider's theory that people tend to infer the causes of other people's behavior as either dispositional (related to the individual) or situational (related to the environment).
  34. Authoritarian parenting style
    A parenting style tending to use punitive control methods and lacking emotional warmth.
  35. Authoritative parenting style
    A parenting style tending to have reasonably high demands for child compliance coupled with emotional warmth.
  36. Autism
    A disorder whose essential features are:  

    lack of responsiveness to other people,

    gross impairment in communication skills, and

    behaviors and interests that are repetitive, inflexible routined, and stereotyped.
  37. Autokinetic effect
    An illusion that occurs when a spot of light appears to move erratically in a dark room, simply because there is no frame of reference.
  38. Availability Heuristic
    A decision-making shortcut that people tend to use when trying to decide how likely something is based upon how easily similar instances can be imagined.
  39. Aversion Therapy
    A behavioral therapy of pairing unpleasant stimuli with undesirable behavior.
  40. Balance theory
    Fritz Heider's consistency theory that is concerned with balance and imbalance in the ways in which three elements are related.
  41. Behavioral contracts
    A therapeutic technique that is a negotiated agreement between two parties that explicitly stipulates the behavioral change that is desired and indicates consequences of certain acts.
  42. Behavioral stimulants
    A class of drugs that increase behavioral activity by increasing motor activity or by counteracting fatigue, and which are thought to stimulate receptors for dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.
  43. Békésy's traveling wave theory
    Theory proposed by Von Békésy holding that high-frequency sounds maximally vibrate the basilar membrane near the beginning of the cochlea close to the oval window; and low frequencies maximally vibrate near the apex (tip) of the cochlea.
  44. Between-subjects designs
    An experimental design whereby each subject is exposed to only one level of each independent variable.
  45. Binocular disparity (stereopsis)
    A cue for depth perception that depends on the fact that the distance between the eyes provides two slightly disparate views of the world that, when combined, give us a perception of depth.
  46. Bipolar disorder
    A mood disorder characterized by both depression and mania.
  47. Boomerang effect
    In theories of attitude persuasion, it is an attitude change in the opposite direction of the persuader's message.
  48. Borderline personality disorder
    A personality disorder characterized by an instability in interpersonal behavior, mood, and self-image that borders on psychosis.
  49. Bottom-up processing (data-driven processing)
    Information processing that occurs when objects are recognized by the summation of the components of incoming stimulus to arrive at the whole pattern.
  50. Brightness
    The subjective impression of the intensity of a light stimulus.
  51. Brightness contrast
    In brightness perception, it refers to when a particular luminance appears brighter when surrounded by a darker stimulus than when surrounded by a lighter stimulus.
  52. Broca's aphasia
    Impairments in producing spoken language associated with lesions to Broca's area.
  53. Bulimia nervosa
    An eating disorder that involves binge eating and excessive attempts to compensate for it by purging, fasting, or excessive exercising.
  54. Bystander effect
    The reluctance of people to intervene to help others in emergency situations when other people also witness the situation.
  55. Cannon-Bard theory
    A theory of emotions stating that awareness of emotions reflects our physiological arousal and our cognitive experience of emotion.
  56. Case study
    An experimental method used in developmental psychology to take a very detailed look at development by studying a small number of individuals. (AKA the clinical method).
  57. Centration
    A term from Piaget's theory, it is the tendency for preoperational children to be able to focus on only one aspect of a phenomenon.
  58. Chi-square test
    A statistical method of testing for an association between two categorical variables. Specifically, it tests for the equality of two frequencies or proportions.
  59. Chlorprozamine
    An antipsychotic drug thought to block receptor sites for dopamine, making it effective in treating the delusional thinking, hallucinations and agitation commonly associated with schizophrenia.
  60. Circadian rhythms
    Internally generated rhythms that regulate our daily cycle of waking and sleeping, approx. a 24 hour cycle
  61. Classical conditioning
    (AKA respondent conditioning), it is a result of learning connections between different events.
  62. Claustrophobia
    An irrational fear of closed places
  63. Client-Centered therapy, Person-Centered therapy, Non-directive therapy
    Carl Rogers' therapeutic technique that is based on the idea that clients have the  freedom to control their own behavior, and that the client is able to reflect upon their problems, make choices and take positive action.
  64. Clustering
    A technique to enhance memory by organizing items into conceptually-related categories.
  65. Cognitive dissonance theory
    Leon Festinger's consistency theory that people are motivated to reduce dissonant elements or add consonant elements to reduce tension.
  66. Cognitive map
    A mental representation of a physical space.
  67. Collective unconscious
    From Carl Jung's personality theory, it is the idea that all humans share an unconscious, a residual of the experiences of our early ancestors.
  68. Color constancy
    Refers to the fact that the perceived color of an object does not change when we change the wavelength of the light we see.
  69. Compensation
    A defense mechanism whereby something is done to make up for something that is lacking.
  70. Conception
    Takes place in the fallopian tubes where the ovum (egg cell) is fertilized by the male sperm cell.
  71. Conditioned stimulus
    In classical conditioning, it is a neutral stimulus that has been paired with an unconditioned stimulus to elicit a conditioned response.

    (i.e. the sound of a bell eliciting "drooling")
  72. Conditioned Response
    In classical conditioning, it is the learned response to a conditioned stimulus.
  73. Confounding variables
    Unintended independent variables
  74. Connectionism
    Also called parallel distribution processing, it is a theory of information processing that is analogous to a complex neural work.
  75. Consistency theories
    Theoretical perspectives from social psychology that hold that people prefer consistency between attitudes and behaviors, and that people will change or resist changing based upon this preference.
  76. Construct validity
    A type of validity that refers to how well a test measures the intended theoretical construct.
  77. Content validity
    A type of validity that refers to how well the content items of a test measure the particular skill or knowledge area that it is supposed to measure.
  78. Control group design
    A technique of treating experimental and control groups equally in all respects, except that one group is exposed to the treatment in the experiment, and the other group is not exposed to the treatment.
  79. Conversion disorders
    Disorders characterized by unexplained symptoms affecting voluntary motor or sensory functions. Previously known as hysteria.
  80. Correlation Coefficient
    A type of descriptive statistic that measures to what extent, if any, two variables are related.
  81. Counterbalancing
    A method of controlling the potential effects of unintended independent variables (e.g. order effects) by making sure that the experimental and control groups are similar in all respects except for in the independent variable being measured.
  82. Countertransference
    In psychoanalysis, it occurs when the therapist experiences emotions in response to the patient's transference.
  83. Criterion Validity
    How well the test can predict an individual's performance on an established test of the same skill or knowledge area.
  84. Cross-sectional studies
    An experimental method used in developmental psychology to compare different groups of individuals at different ages.
  85. Crystallized intelligence
    Proposed by Raymond Cantrell, it is a type of intelligence that uses knowledge acquired as a result of schooling or other life experiences.
  86. Cynophobia
    A specific phobia referring to an irrational fear of dogs.
  87. Decay theory
    A theory that holds that if the information in long-term memory is not used or rehearsed, it will eventually be forgotten.
  88. Declarative memory
    Sometimes called fact memory, it is memory for explicit information.
  89. Defense mechanism
    In Freud's structural dynamic model of personality, they are unconscious mechanisms that deny, falsify, or distort reality.
  90. Delusions
    False beliefs, discordant with reality, that are maintained in spite of strong evidence to the contrary.
  91. Demand characteristics
    Cues that suggest to subjects what the researcher expects from research participants.
  92. Dementia praecox
    "Split mind," used to refer to what is now called schizophrenia
  93. Dementias
    A neurological disorder characterized by a loss in intellectual functioning.
  94. Dependent variable
    A measurement of the response that is expected to vary with differences in the independent variable.
  95. Depersonalization disorder
    A dissociative disorder that involves a sense of detachment from the self despite an intact sense of reality.
  96. Depolarization
    The second stage in the firing cycle

    occurs when the membrane's electrical charge decreases - anytime the membrane's voltage moves toward a neutral charge of 0 millivolts.
  97. Descriptive statistics
    Statistics concerned with organizing, describing, quantifying, and summarizing a collection of actual observations.
  98. Deviation quotients
    A deviation IQ score that tells us how far away a person's score is from the average score for that person's particular age group.
  99. Diathesis-stress model
    A framework explaining the causes of mental disorders as an interaction between biological causal factors and psychological causal factors.
  100. Difference threshold
    The amount of difference that there must be between two stimuli before they are perceived to be different.
  101. Diploid cell
    Cells that contain 23 pairs of chromosomes
  102. Discriminative stimulus
    In operant conditioning, it is a stimulus condition that indicates that the organism's behavior will have consequences.
  103. Displacement
    A defense mechanism that refers to the pent-up feelings (often hostility) discharged on objects and people less dangerous than those objects or people causing the feelings.
  104. Dissociative disorders
    Disorders characterized by an avoidance of stress by escaping from personality identity.
  105. Dissociative fugue
    A dissociative disorder that involves amnesia plus a sudden, unexpected move away from one's home or location of usual daily activities.
  106. Dissociative Identity Disorder
    A dissociative disorder characterized by two or more personalities that recurrently take control of a person's behavior (formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder).
  107. Dissonance theory
    The tendency to change thoughts or behavior in response to perceived inconsistencies.
  108. Distal stimulus
    In perception, it is the actual object or event out there in the world, as opposed to its perceived image.
  109. Domain-referenced testing, criterion-referenced testing
    It is concerned with the question of what the test-taker knows about a specified content domain.
  110. Dopamine hpothesis
    a biochemical explanation for schizophrenia suggesting that the delusions, hallucinations, and agitation associated with it arise from an excess of dopamine activity at certain sites in the brain.
  111. Double-bind hypothesis
    A psychosocial theory of schizophrenia holding that schizophrenics received contradictory messages from primary caregivers during childhood that led them to see their perceptions of reality as unreliable.
  112. Double-blinding
    A research design that controls for the influence of the researcher and research participants since neither group knows which participants are in the control group and which participants are in the experimental group.
  113. Down's syndrome
    A set of psychological conditions, including severe mental retardation, resulting from an extra 21st chromosome.
  114. Duplexity, or Duplicity of vision
    the theory holding that the retina contains two kinds of photoreceptors.
  115. Echoic memory
    Auditory memory
  116. Ego psychology
    a branch of psychoanalytic theory that emphasizes the role of the ego as autonomous.
  117. Eidetic memory
    memory for images.
  118. Elaborative rehearsal
    The process of organizing information and associating it with what you already know to get information into long-term memory.
  119. Electroencephalograph (EEG)
    It records a gross average of the electrical activity in different parts of the brain.
  120. Embryonic stage
    The third stage during prenatal development, it refers to the period during which the embryo

    increases in size dramatically,

    begins to develop a human appearance with limb motion,

    produces androgen in the testes of male embryos, and

    develops nerve cells in the spine.
  121. Emmert's law
    A law describing the relationship between size constancy and apparent distance - the farther away the object appears to be, the more the scaling device in the brain will compensate for its retinal size by enlarging our perception of the object.
  122. Empathy
    the ability to vicariously experience the emotions of another, and thought by some social psychologists to be a strong influence on helping behavior.
  123. Encoding
    the process of putting new information into memory.
  124. Encoding specificity theory
    a theory that recall is best if the context at recall approximates the context during the original encoding.
  125. Endorphins
    peptides that are natural painkillers produced in the brain.
  126. Episodic memory
    a type of declarative memory referring to memories for particular events, or episodes, from personal experience.
  127. Equity theory
    a theory stating that individuals strive for fairness and feel uncomfortable when there is a perception of a lack of fairness.
  128. Eros
    In Freud's structural dynamic model of personality, it refers to the life instincts that serve the purpose of individual survival (hunger, thirst, and sex).
  129. Ethology
    the study of animals in their natural environment.
  130. Exchange theory
    The tendency to evaluate interactions and relationships in terms of relative costs and benefits.
  131. External validity
    In research methodology, it refers to how generalizable the results of an experiment are.
  132. Extinction
    In operant conditioning, it is when a conditioned stimulus is repeatedly not reinforced and as a result, the conditioned response is no longer produced as consistently.
  133. Extirpation
    A process of removing various parts of the brain and observing the behavioral consequences.
  134. Extrinsic motivation
    Behavior that is motivated by some external reward.
  135. Face validity
    A type of validity that refers to whether test items appear to measure what they are supposed to measure.
  136. Factor analysis
    a statistical technique using correlation coefficients to reduce a large number of variables to a few factors.
  137. Fechner's law
    A law that expresses the relationship between the intensity of the sensation and the intensity of the stimulus, and states that sensation increases more slowly as intensity increases.
  138. Fetal period
    the last stage of prenatal development, its onset is marked by the beginning of measurable electrical activity in the brain.
  139. Fictional finalism
    A concept in Alfred Adler's theory of personality, it is the notion that an individual is motivated more by their expectations of the future based on a subjective or fictional estimate of life's values, than by past experiences.
  140. Field independence-field dependence
    A personality style characterized by an ability/inability to distinguish experience from its context
  141. "Fight or flight" responses
    The emotional experience associated with the sympathetic nervous system and managed by the hypothalamus during high arousal.
  142. Figure
    A concept in visual perception referring to the integrated visual experience that stands out at the center of attention.
  143. Fixation
    From psychoanalytic theory, it is an inability to successfully proceed through a stage in development because of an overindulgence or frustration.
  144. Fixed action pattern
    A behavior that is relatively stereotyped and appears to be species-typical.
  145. Fixed-interval (FI)
    In operant conditioning, it is when behavior is reinforced on the first response after a fixed period of time has elapsed since the last reinforcement.
  146. Fixed-ratio (FR)
    In operant conditioning, it is when behavior is reinforced after a fixed number of responses.
  147. Flooding
    A behavior modification technique used to treat anxiety disorders by exposing the client to the anxiety-producing stimulus.
  148. Fluid Intelligence
    Proposed by Raymond Cattell, it is a type of intelligence that has the ability to quickly grasp relationships in novel situations and make correct deductions from them.
  149. Follicle-stimulating hormone
    A hormone that is secreted by the pituitary gland to stimulate the growth of an ovarian follicle.
  150. Ovarian Follicle
    a small protective sphere surrounding the egg or ovum
  151. Free association
    a psychoanalytic technique in which the client says whatever comes to mind regardless of how personal, painful, or irrelevant it may appear to be so that the analyst and client together can reconstruct the nature of the client's original conflict.
  152. Frequency
    In sound perception, it is the number of sound wave cycles per second.
  153. Frequency theory
    A theory suggesting that the basilar membrane of the ear vibrates as a whole, that the rate of vibration equals the frequency of the stimulus, and that the vibration rate is directly translated into the appropriate number of neural impulses per second.
  154. Functional autonomy
    a given activity or form of behavior may become an end or a goal in itself, regardless of its original reason for existence.
  155. Functional fixedness
    an impediment to effective problem solving because of an inability to use a familiar object in an unfamiliar way.
  156. Functionalism
    a system of thought in psychology that was concerned with studying how mental processes help individuals adapt to their environments.
  157. Fundamental attribution error
    the tendency to attribute individual characteristics as causes of others' behaviors and situational characteristics to one's own behavior
  158. g
    proposed by Charles Spearman, this is an individual difference in intelligence that refers to a general, unitary factor of intelligence.
  159. GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid)
    A neurotransmitter that produces inhibitory post-synaptic potentials and is thought to play an important role in stabilizing neural activity in the brain.
  160. Garcia Effect
    Food aversion that occurs when people attribute illness to a particular food.
  161. Gate theory of Pain
    A theory that proposes that there is a special "gating" mechanism located in the spine that can turn pain signals on and off, thus affecting whether we perceive pain.
  162. Generation-recognition Model
    Model that proposes that recall tasks tap the same basic process of accessing information in memory as recognition tasks, but also require an additional processing step.
  163. Genes
    Located on the chromosomes, they are basic units of hereditary transmission.
  164. Germinal period
    a period of rapid cell division during prenatal development that lasts approximately 2 weeks and ends with the implantation of the cellular mass into the uterine wall.
  165. Gonadoptropic Hormones
    Hormones produced by the pituitary gland during puberty that activate a dramatic increase in the production of hormones by the testes or ovaries.
  166. Ground
    a concept in visual perception that refers to the background against which figures appear.
  167. Group polarization
    A tendency for group discussion to enhance the group's initial tendencies toward riskiness or caution.
  168. Groupthink
    a tendency of decision-making groups to strive for consensus at the expense of not considering discordant information.
  169. Hallucinations
    perceptions that are not due to external stimuli but have a compelling sense of reality.
  170. Halo effect
    In social psychology, it is the tendency to generalize from one attribute or characteristic to a person's entire personality.
  171. Haloperidol (Haldol)
    An antipsychotic drug thought to block receptor sites for dopamine, making it effective in treating the delusional thinking, hallucinations, and agitation commonly associated with schizophrenia.
  172. Haploid Cells
    cells that contain 23 single chromosomes (i.e. gametes - sperm and egg cells).
  173. Hawthorne effect
    the tendency of people to behave differently if they know that they are being observed.
  174. Homeostasis
    refers to those self-regulatory processes that maintain a stable equibrium.
  175. Humanism
    system of thought characterized by a belief in the notion of free will and the idea people should be considered as wholes rather than in terms of stimuli and responses (behaviorism) or instincts (psychoanalysis) ... arose in opposition to both psychoanalysis and behaviorism.
  176. Hyperpolarization
    An increase in the membrane potential that decreases the possibility of generating a nerve impulse.
  177. Hypochondriasis
    A disorder that causes an individual to be preoccupied with fears that they have a serious disease, based on a misinterpretation of one or more bodily signs or symptoms.
  178. Hypothesis
    a tentative and testable explanation of the relationship between 2 or more variables.
  179. Iconic memory
    Visual memory
  180. Id
    In Freud's structural dynamic model of personality, it is the source and reservoir of all psychic energy.
  181. Idiographic
    An approach to studying personality that focuses on individual case study.
  182. Illumination
    a physical, objective measurement that is simply the amount of light falling on a surface.
  183. Illusory Correlation
    an apparent correlation that is perceived, but does not really exist.
  184. Imprinting
    an attachment bond between an organism and an object in the environment.
  185. Independent variable
    the variable whose effect is being studied.
  186. Induced motion
    an illusion of movement occurring when everything around the spot of light is moved.
  187. Inferential statistics
    Statistics concerned with making an inference from the sample involved in the research to the population of interest in order to provide an estimate of popular characteristics.
  188. Insomnia 
    a disturbance affecting the ability to fall asleep and/or stay asleep.
  189. Instincts
    In Freud's structural dynamic model of personality, these are inner representations of a psychological excitation or wish, and are the propelling aspects of Freud's dynamic theory of personality.
  190. Intensity
    In sound perception, it is the amplitude or height of the air-pressure wave and is related to loudness
  191. Interneurons
    neurons located in the spinal cord that connect sensory neurons with motor neurons to form the reflex arc.
  192. Interposition (Overlap)
    refers to the cue for depth perception when one object (A) covers another object (B) and we perceive object A as being in front of B
  193. Interval Scale
    A scale of measurement using actual numbers (not ranks).
  194. Intrinsic Motivation
    motivation by some reward that is inherent to the task
  195. IQ
    a well-known measure of intelligence aptitude using an equation comparing mental age to chronological age.
  196. Isomorphism

    a theory that suggests that there is a one-to-one correspondence between the object in the perceptual field and the pattern of stimulation in the brain.
  197. James-Lange theory of Emotion
    a theory that people become aware of their emotions after they notice their physiological reactions to some external event.
  198. Just World Hypothesis
    the tendency to believe that the world is fair: people who are good are rewarded and people who are bad are punished.
  199. Klinefelter's Syndrome
    The possession of an extra X chromosome in males that leads to sterility and often to mental retardation.
  200. Language Acquisition Device (LAD)
    Proposed by Noam Chomsky, this is an innate, biologically based mechanism that helps us understand rule structures in language.
  201. Lateral Inhibition
    In visual perception, it is the process of inhibiting the response of adjacent retinal cells resulting in the sharpening and highlighting of the boarders between dark and light areas.
  202. Law of Closure
    From Gestalt psychology, it is the tendency for people to perceive complete figures even when the actual figures are not complete.
  203. Law of Effect
    Proposed by E. L. Thorndike, this law holds that if a response is followed by an annoying consequence, the animal will be less likely to emit the same response in the future.
  204. Law of Good Continuation
    From Gestalt psychology, it is the tendency for elements appearing to follow in the same direction (i.e. a straight line or a simple curve) to be grouped together.
  205. Law of prägnanz
    From Gestalt psychology, it is the tendency for perceptual organization to be as "good" - as regular, simple, and symmetric - as possible.
  206. Law of Proximity
    From Gestalt psychology, it is the tendency for elements close to each other to be perceived as a unit.
  207. Law of Similarity
    From Gestalt psychology, it is the tendency for similar objects to be grouped together.
  208. Law of Specific Nerve Energies
    Proposed by Johannes Müller, this law states that each sensory nerve is excited by only one kind of energy (i.e. light or air vibrations), and that the brain interprets any stimulation of that nerve as being that kind of energy.
  209. L-Dopa

    A synthetic substance that increases dopamine levels in the brain and is used to treat motor disturbances in Parkinson's disease. 

    When this drug leads to an oversupply of dopamine, it can produce psychotic symptoms in Parkinson's patients.
  210. Levels-of-Processing Theory (Depth-of-Processing Theory)
    Proposed by Craik and Lockart, the theory suggests that there is only one memory system, and that items entering the memory are analyzed in one of three stages: physical (visual), acoustical (sound), or semantic (meaning)
  211. Libido
    from psychoanalytic theory, it refers to the life drive present at birth.
  212. Lightness Constancy
    refers to the fact that, despite changes in the amount of light falling on an object (illumination), the apparent lightness of the object remains unchanged.
  213. Linear Perspective
    A cue for depth perception that refers to the perception of parallel lines converging in the distance.
  214. Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis (aka: Whorfian Hypothesis)
    The theory proposing that our perception of reality is determined by the content of language.
  215. Lithium
    a drug used to treat bipolar disorder
  216. Long-Term Memory
    The memory system that holds a permanent store of information
  217. Longitudinal Studies
    An experimental method used in developmental psychology to compare the same group of individuals repeatedly over time.
  218. Loudness
    a subjective experience of the magnitude or intensity of sound
  219. Luteinizing Hormone
    a hormone associated with ovulation
  220. Maintenance Rehearsal
    the process of rehearsing information so that items remain in short-term memory for a longer duration than usual
  221. Major Depressive Disorder
    a mood disorder characterized by at least a 2 week period during which there is a prominent and relatively persistent depressed mood, or loss of interest in (almost) all activities.
  222. Mania
    a symptom of bipolar disorders, it is characterized by an abnormally elevated mood, accompanied by a speeding up of thought processes and activities and an abnormally decreased need for sleep.
  223. MAO (monoamine oxidase) Inhibitors
    Behavioral stimulants that reduce depression by inhibiting the action of the enzyme that normally breaks down and deactivates norepinephrine and serotonin.
  224. Matched-Subjects Design
    In research methodology, it is a technique of matching subjects on the basis of the variable that the researcher wants to control.
  225. Mean
    the numerical halfway point between the highest score and the lowest score: the arithmetic average
  226. Median
    The middle value when observations (numbers) are ordered sequentially.
  227. Mental Chronometry
    a cognitive psychology research method of measuring the time elapsed from between a stimulus presentation and the subject's response to it
  228. Mere-Exposure Hypothesis
    the tendency for people to prefer things with which they are familiar
  229. Meta-analysis
    a statistical procedure that can be used to make conclusions on the basis of data from different studies
  230. Metacognition
    the ability to think about and monitor cognition
  231. Metamemory
    the ability to think about and monitor memory
  232. Method of Loci
    a mnemonic device of associating information with some sequence of familiar places.
  233. Method of Savings
    a research technique for studying memory by measuring the amount of time it takes to relearn the same material later.

    The decrease in time represents an indication of original learning.
  234. Methylphenidate (aka Ritalin)
    a behavioral stimulant that increases alertness and decreases motor activity, and is used to treat hyperactive children who suffer from ADHD
  235. Mnemonic Devices
    techniques used to improve the likelihood that we will remember something.
  236. Mode
    the value of the most frequent observation in a set of scores [the number(s) that appear(s) the most frequently].
  237. Modeling
    a therapeutic technique in which the client learns appropriate behavior through imitation of someone else.
  238. Monoamine theory of Depression (aka Catecholamine theory of Depression)
    a theory that holds that too much norepinephrine and serotonin leads to mania, while too little leads to depression.
  239. Morphemes
    the smallest units of meaning in a language
  240. Motion Aftereffect
    an illusion that occurs when you first view a moving pattern (i.e. stripes moving off to the right/ a waterfall) and then you view a spot of light - the spot of light will appear to move in the opposite direction.
  241. Motion Parallax
    a cue for depth perception that occurs during movement when objects that are closer appear to move
  242. Motor Neurons
    neurons transmitting motor commands from the brain to the muscles along efferent fibers.
  243. Narcissistic Personality Disorder
    a personality disorder characterized by a

    grandiose self-importance or uniqueness,

    preoccupation with fantasies of success, an

    exhibitionistic need for constant admiration and attention, and

    characteristic disturbances in interpersonal relationships such as feelings of entitlement.
  244. Negative Reinforcement
    increasing the probability that a desired behavior will be performed by removing something undesirable whenever the desired behavior is performed.
  245. Neologisms
    newly invented words
  246. Neurotransmitters
    chemical substances that allow neurons to communicate with one another
  247. Nominal (aka Categorical) Scale
    a scale of measurement that labels observations rather than quantifying observations
  248. Nomothetic
    an approach to personality that focuses on groups of individuals and tries to find the commonalities between individuals
  249. Nonequivalent Group Design
    an experimental design whereby the researcher doesn't use random assignment, so the control group is not necessarily equivalent to the experimental group.
  250. Norepinephrine (aka Noradrenaline)
    neurotransmitter involved in controlling alertness and wakefulness and is implicated in mood disorders (i.e. depression and mania)
  251. Normal Distribution
    a distribution that is symmetrical and has its greatest frequency in the middle
  252. Norm-referenced Testing
    comparing a test-taker's performance to that test's norms that are derived from standardized samples
  253. Object permanence
    from Piaget's theory, it is the capacity for representational thought: a child is able to make mental representations of external objects and events. 

    - an object still exists even if no longer visible
  254. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
    a disorder characterized by repeated obsessions (persistent irrational thoughts) and/or compulsions (irrational and repetitive impulses to perform certain acts) that cause significant impairment in a person's life.
  255. Operant Conditioning (aka Instrumental Conditioning or Reward Learning)
    conditioning based on learning the relationship between one's actions and their consequences.

    *behavior is controlled by consequences*
  256. Operational Definitions
    Measurable definitions of variables in research

    - quantified variables (i.e. # of correct answers on a test, amount of protein in a meal)
  257. Opiate Receptors
    receptors that respond to the bodies own naturally produced painkillers (endorphins) as well as narcotics (i.e. heroin and morphine).
  258. Opponent-Process theory of Color Vision
    E. Hering's theory that there are 4 primary colors in additive color mixing (red, blue, green, and yellow), and that the primary colors are arranged in opposing pairs.
  259. Order Effects
    a problem in research design when the results of the study are attributed to the sequence of tasks in the experiment rather than to the independent variable
  260. Ordinal Scale
    a scale of measurement using ranks rather than actual numbers
  261. Osmoreceptors
    receptors in the hypothalamus that control the maintenance of water balance in the body
  262. Outliers
    scores falling far outside the main cluster of scores
  263. Overjustification Effect
    the tendency of people to stop liking something that they've previously enjoyed because of receiving a reward for the behavior
  264. Paivio's Dual-code hypothesis
    according to this theory, information can be stored (encoded) in 2 ways: visually and verbally.

    Abstract information tends to be encoded verbally.

    Concrete information tends to be encoded visually (i.e. as an image) AND verbally.
  265. Paradoxical Intervention
    a therapeutic technique that appears to contradict the therapeutic needs
  266. Parallel Distributed Process (PDP)
    This theory holds that information processing is distributed across the brain (across nodes in a network) and is done in a parallel fashion.
  267. Perceptual Sets
    expectations we have about perception due to past experiences
  268. Permissive Parenting Style
    a parenting style referring to the tendency to score very low on control/demand measures.
  269. Persona
    an archetype from Jung's theory referring to a mask that is adopted by the person in response to the demands of social convention.
  270. Personality Disorders
    a pattern of behavior that is inflexible and maladaptive, causing distress and/or impaired functioning in at least 2 of the following:

    • cognition
    • emotions
    • interpersonal functioning
    • impulse control
  271. Phelogeny
    the term used for evolutionary development in humans
  272. Phenothiazine
    antipsychotic drugs thought to block receptor sites for dopamine, making the drug effective in treating the delusional thinking, hallucinations, and agitation commonly associated with schizophrenia.
  273. Phenylketonuria (PKU)
    a degenerative disease of the nervous system occurring when a child lacks the enzyme needed to digest phenylalanine, an amino acid found in milk and other foods.
  274. Phi Phenomenon
    an illusion of movement that occurs when 2 dots flashed in different locations on a screen seconds apart are perceived as one moving dot.
  275. Phobia
    an irrational fear of something that results in a compelling desire to avoid that thing
  276. Phonemes
    the smallest sound units of language
  277. Phrenology
    F. Gall - the study of the psychological functions of areas in the brain (via the lumps and bumps of the skull)
  278. Physiological Zero
    the temperature of the skin
  279. Pitch
    the subjective experience of the frequency of the sound
  280. Place Theory
    Proposed by Helmhotlz and Young, theory holds that each different pitch causes a different place on the basilar membrane of the ear to vibrate
  281. Placebo Effect
    a therapeutic effect resulting from an inactive substance (i.e. a sugar pill)
  282. Pleasure Principle
    In Freud's structural dynamic model of personality, it is the id's operating principle, which is to immediately discharge any energy buildup.
  283. Positive Reinforcement
    Increasing the probability that a desired behavior will be performed by reinforcing (rewarding) that behavior when it occurs
  284. Predictive Validity
    the use of some criterion scores obtained in advance, and validating them against scores obtained later.
  285. Premack Principle
    a more preferred activity can be used to reinforce a less preferred activity
  286. Preparedness
    Inborn tendency to associate certain stimuli with certain consequences
  287. Primacy Effect
    a social psychology term that refers to those occasions when first impressions are more important that subsequent impressions.
  288. Primary Circular Reactions
    from Piaget's theory, it is reflex activities characteristic of behavior during the sensorimotor phase
  289. Primary Prevention
    efforts to correct the conditions that foster mental illness and establish the conditions that foster mental health
  290. Primary Process
    In Freud's structural dynamic model of personality, it is the id's response to frustration - "obtain satisfaction now, not later."
  291. Prisoner's Dilemma
    a classic method of investigating people's choices to compete or cooperate using a hypothetical case where 2 men have been taken into custody, separated, and can choose to confess or not confess
  292. Proactive Inhibition
    when what you learned earlier interferes with what you learn later
  293. Procedural Memory
    memory for how things are done
  294. Prodromal Phase
    the phase before schizophrenia is actually diagnosed, characterized by poor adjustment
  295. Progesterone
    a hormone produced and secreted by the ovary to prepare the uterus for implantation of the fertilized egg
  296. Projection
    A defense mechanism that refers to when a person attributes his forbidden urges to others
  297. Projection Area
    areas in the brain receiving incoming sensory information or sending out motor-impulse commands
  298. Proprioception
    a general term for our sense of bodily position, including aspects of both the vestibular and kinesthetic senses
  299. Protection-Motivation Theory
    a social psychology theory proposing that an appeal to fear produces attitude change under particular conditions
  300. Proxemics
    the study of how individuals space themselves in relation to others
  301. Proximal Stimulus
    In perception, it is the information our sensory receptors receive about the object.
  302. Psychoanalysis
    an intensive, long-term treatment for uncovering repressed memories, motives, and conflicts stemming from problems in psychosexual development - the goal is to gain insight to the repressed material
  303. Psychodynamic (Psychoanalytical) Theory
    A system of thought that postulates the existence of unconscious internal states that motivate the overt actions of individuals and determine personality
  304. Psychopharmacology
    The science of how drugs affect behavior
  305. Psychophysics
    a branch of psychology concerned with measuring the relationship between physical stimuli and psychological responses to the stimuli
  306. Punishment
    The probability that a behavior will be performed decreases by giving the organism something undesirable when the behavior is performed
  307. Range
    a descriptive statistic that measures the variability
  308. Ratio Scale
    A scale of measurement using actual numbers where there is a true zero point that indicates the total absence of the quantity being measured.
  309. Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy
    a therapeutic approach that focuses on changing irrational belief system
  310. Rationalization
    a defense mechanism that refers to the process of developing socially acceptable explanations for inappropriate behavior or thoughts
  311. Reactance
    when social pressure to behave in a particular way becomes so blatant that the person's sense of freedom is threatened, the person will tend to act in a way to reassert that sense of freedom
  312. Reaction Formation
    a defense mechanism that refers to when a repressed wish is warded off by its diametrical opposite 
  313. Reality Principle
    In Freud's structural dynamic model of personality, it is the ego's response to frustration that takes into account objective reality as it guides or inhibits the activity of the id and the id's pleasure principle
  314. Recency Effect
    In social psychology, it refers to those occasions when the most recent information we have about an individual is most important in forming our impressions. In cognitive psychology, it is the tendency for items that are presented last to be remembered the best.
  315. Reception
    the first step in all sensory information processing; each sensory system has receptors to react to the physical external energy.
  316. Reciprocity Hypothesis
    The hypothetical that we tend to like those who seem to like us, and dislike those who dislike us.
  317. Refractory Period
    the period following the firing of a neuron just before the neuron is able to fire again
  318. Regional Cerebral Blood Flow (rcbf)
    a noninvasive procedure that detects blood patterns of neural activity based on increased blood flow to different parts of the brain
  319. Regrassion
    a defense mechanism that refers to a person who reverts to an earlier mode of satisfaction
  320. Relative Refractory Period
    the period following the absolute refractory period. During this time, the neuron will fire in response to a strong stimulus.
  321. Relative Size
    A cue for depth perception that occurs when as an object gets further away and its image on the retina gets smaller. 

    * People can tell how far away something is relative to another object by comparing the size of the images on the retina with what is known about actual size. 
  322. Reliability
    the consistency and stability of a test measure
  323. Rapid Eye Movement sleep (REM)
    sleep characterized by the presence of theta waves and the absence of delta waves - this is also when dreams occur.
  324. Representative Heuristic
    a decision-making shortcut that people tend to use when trying to decide how likely something is by categorizing on the basis of whether it fits the prototypical, stereotypical, or representative image of the category.
  325. Repression
    a defense mechanism that refers to the unconscious forgetting of anxiety-producing memories
  326. Reproductive Isolating Mechanism
    behaviors that prevent animals of one species from attempting to mate with animals of a closely-related species
  327. Resistance
    an unwillingness or inability to relate to certain thoughts, motives, or experiences, it is a major part of psychoanalysis
  328. Response Bias
    the tendency for research participants to respond to sensory perception in a particular way, due to nonsensory factors.
  329. Resting Potential
    a slight electrical charge (-70 mV) stored inside the neuron's cell membrane - a charge just waiting to be transformed into a nerve impulse
  330. Retrieval
    process of recovering stored material in memory
  331. Retroactive Inhibition
    learning something new that interferes with what was learned earlier
  332. Retrograde Amnesia
    memory loss for events that occurred before brain injury
  333. Rhodospin
    the only photopigment in the rods, it is made up of a vitamin A derivative (retinene) and a protein (opsin)
  334. Risky shift
    refers to the finding that group decisions are riskier than the average of the individual choices.

    *This average riskiness of the individual choices can be considered to be an estimate of the group's original riskiness.
  335. Rods
    Located in the periphery of the retina, these are sensory receptors for vision that work best in reduced illumination, and only allow perception of achromatic colors, have low sensitivity to detail, and are not involved in color vision.
  336. Role Theory
    a theoretical perspective from social psychology that holds that people are aware of the social roles they are expected to fill, and behavior can be understood and attributed to the adoption of those social roles.
  337. Sample
    in research design, it is a subset of the population
  338. Scatterplot
    a graphical representation of correlational data
  339. Schema (schemata)
    conceptual frameworks used to organize knowledge
  340. Schizoid Personality Disorder
    a personality disorder characterized by a pervasive pattern of detachment from social relationships and a restricted range of emotional expression.
  341. Schizophrenia
    a disorder characterized by any or all of the following symptoms:

    • *delusions
    • *hallucinations
    • *disorganized thought
    • *inappropriate affect
    • *catatonic behavior
  342. Secondary Process
    In Freud's structural dynamic model of personality, it is the ego's mode of functioning, which is to postpone the discharge of energy until the actual object that will satisfy the need has been discovered or produced.
  343. Secondary Sex Characteristics
    physical sex characteristics that do not appear until puberty

    • Females: enlarged breasts and widened hips
    • Males: facial hair and a deeper voice
  344. Sedative-Hypnotic Drugs
    a class of drugs that slow down the functioning of the central nervous system by facilitating the action of GABA
  345. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI)
    Behavioral stimulants that reduce depression by blocking the reuptake of serotonin and increasing serotonin in the synapse.
  346. Self-Actualization 
    From Abraham Maslow's theory, it the need to realize one's fullest potential
  347. Self-awareness Theory
    the theory that our behavior is influenced by an awareness of the self, and that there are certain situations that trigger a focus on ourselves (mirrors, cameras, recording devices).
  348. Self-Disclosure Theory
    a theory that refers to those conditions that prohibit or facilitate the process of revealing personal or intimate aspects of oneself.
  349. Self-Perception Theory
    Daryl Bem's theory that when attitudes about something are weak or ambiguous, people observe their own behavior and then attribute attitudes to themselves.
  350. Semantic Feature-Comparison Model
    Smith, Shoben, and Rips' model that suggests that concepts are represented by sets of features, some of which are required for that concept and some of which are typical of that concept.
  351. Semantic Memory
    a type of declarative memory that has to do with remembering general knowledge, especially the meaning of words and concepts
  352. Semantics
    the meaning of words and sentences
  353. Sensory memory
    part of the stage theory of memory that contains the fleeting impressions of sensory stimuli
  354. Sensory Neurons
    Neurons that transmit sensory information to the spinal cord and then to the brain through afferent fibers.
  355. Sequential Cohort Studies
    an experimental method used in developmental psychology to study groups of subjects at different ages, repeatedly over time
  356. Serotonin
    a neurotransmitter loosely classified as a monoamine or biogenic-amine transmitter generally thought to play roles in:

    • *regulating mood
    • *eating
    • *sleeping
    • *arousal

    an oversupply: thought to produce manic states

    an under-supply: thought to produce depression
  357. Shadow
    an archetype from Jung's theory referring to the animal instincts which humans inherited in their evolution from lower forms of life
  358. Shaping
    in operant conditioning, it is the process of reinforcing successive approximations of a desired behavior
  359. Short-Term Memory
    a memory system that has a limited capacity (7±2 items) and a relatively short duration (approx. 30 seconds)
  360. Sign Stimulus
    a feature of a stimulus that is sufficient to bring about a particular fixed-action pattern
  361. Signal Detection Theory
    a theory that suggests that non-sensory factors influence sensory perception
  362. Significance Test
    a statistical technique used in inferential statistics to test the probability of an observed difference
  363. Single-Blind Experiment
    a research design that controls for the influence of the research participants' expectations by not revealing whether participants are in the control group in the experimental group
  364. Single-Cell Recording 
    a method of study in sensory perception that records the response cell by placing a microelectrode in the cortex
  365. Size Constancy
    when an object appears to retain its size despite the fact that its image on the retina has changed in size
  366. Sleep Apnea
    a disorder characterized by an inability to breath during sleep
  367. Social Comparison Theory
    Leon Festinger's theory that the tendency to evaluate the self in comparison to other people drives affliction
  368. Social Exchange Theory
    the theory that we are motivated to affiliate with others based upon the rewards and costs of affiliation:

    *The more the rewards outweigh the costs, the greater the attraction to the other person
  369. Social Facilitation
    the idea that being in a group enhances performance
  370. Social Influence
    the notion that the presence of other people affects an individual's judgment about an event
  371. Social Learning Theory
    According to the theory, behavior is learned through modeling (direct observation), or through reinforcement.
  372. Social Loafing
    a group phenomenon referring to the tendency for people to put forth less effort when part of a group effort than when acting individually
  373. Somatoform Disorders
    disorders that are characterized by the presence of physical symptoms not fully explained by a medical condition
  374. Split-half Consistency
    dividing a test into equal halves and correlating scores on one half with the scores on the other half
  375. Standard Deviation
    a measure of the typical distance of scores from the mean
  376. Standard Error of Measurement (SEM)
    an index of how much, on average, we expect a person's observed score to vary from the score the person is capable of receiving based on actual ability
  377. State-Dependent Learning
    when recall is better if the psychological or physical state at the time of the recall is the same as the state when original learning occurred 
  378. Stevens' Power Law
    a law that relates the intensity of the stimulus to the intensity of the sensation
  379. Storage
    process of retaining the information in memory over time
  380. Strange Situation
    a laboratory study designed to measure the quality of the caregiver-child attachment relationship
  381. Structuralism
    system of thought that refers to breaking consciousness down into its elements
  382. Subtractive Color Mixture
    occurs when we mix pigments (i.e. to make green): the primary colors are red, blue, yellow
  383. Sublimination
    a defense mechanism that refers to the process of transforming unacceptable urges into socially acceptable behaviors
  384. Superego
    in Freud's structural dynamic model of personality, it strives for the ideal rather than the real and it is not directly in touch with reality
  385. Supernormal Stimulus
    a stimulus that is more effective at triggering the fixed action pattern than the actual stimulus found in nature
  386. Supression
    a defense mechanism that refers to a deliberate, conscious form of forgetting
  387. Synapse
    the tiny gap between neurons
  388. Syntax
    the grammatical arrangement of words in senences
  389. Systematic Desensitization
    a technique used to treat phobias by pairing the object of fear with relaxation
  390. tabula rasa
    the idea that all knowledge is gained through experience
  391. Tardive Dyskinesia
    resting tremors and jerky motor movements caused by disruptions of dopamine transmission
  392. Temperament
    individual differences thought to have a genetic basis, and thought to form the foundation of personality
  393. Test-retest Method
    the same test is administered to the same group of people twice to estimate the inter-individual stability of test scores over time
  394. Texture Gradients
    a cue for depth perception that refers to the variation in perceived surface texture as a function of the distance from the observer

    - the more distant parts of a scene appear to have smaller, more densely packed elements 

    - sudden changes in texture generally signal either a change in distance or a change in direction
  395. Thanatos
    In Freud's structural dynamic model of personality, it refers to the instincts that represent an unconscious wish for the absolute state of quiescence.
  396. Theory of Motivation
    a drive-reduction theory proposed by Clark Hull suggesting that the goal of behavior is to reduce biological drives 

    * behavioral reinforcement occurs whenever a biological drive is reduced
  397. Theory of multiple intelligences
    Howard Gardner's theory that there are 7 intelligence factors

    • * Bodily-Kinesthetic ability
    • * Interpersonal ability
    • * Intrapersonal ability
    • * Linguistic ability
    • * Logical-mathematical ability
    • * Musical ability
    • * Spatial ability
  398. Thorazine
    an anti-psychotic drug thought to block receptor sites for dopamine, making it effective in treating the delusional thinking, hallucinations, and agitation commonly associated with schizophrenia 
  399. Timbre 
    in sound perception, it is the tone quality 

    * the aspect that distinguishes the sound of one instrument from another
  400. Tip-of-the-tongue Phenomena 
    a problem with memory retrieval where some parts of the information are available to memory, but not enough for complete recall
  401. Token Economies
    a technique used in behavior therapy to reinforce behavior by giving tokens (that can be cashed in for something desirable) for appropriate behavior
  402. Top-Down Processing (conceptually-driven processing)
    from object recognition theory, it refers to when people recognize objects by using conceptual processes such as memories and expectations about the whole object
  403. Tourette's Disorder
    a disorder characterized by multiple motor tics (i.e. eye-blinking, skipping, deep knee bends) and one or more vocal tics (i.e. grunts, barks, sniffs, snorts, caughs, utterances of obscenities)
  404. Trasduction
    the 2nd step in sensory information processing where physical energy is translated into neural impulses or action potentials
  405. Transference
    involves the carrying over and applying to the therapist attitudes and feelings that developed in the patient's relations with significant others in the past
  406. Transformational Grammer
    rules that govern the ways in which changes in word order change meaning
  407. Triarchic theory
    Robert Sternberg's theory of intelligence that suggests that there are 3 aspects to intelligence

    • - Componential (i.e. performance on tests)
    • - Experiential (creativity)
    • - Contextual (street smarts/business sense)
  408. Tricyclic Antidepressants
    behavioral stimulants thought to reduce depression by facilitating the transmission of norepinephrine or serotonin at the synapse
  409. True Experiments
    research designs that use random assignment and manipulate the independent variable
  410. T-scores
    a test score that is converted to a normal distribution that has a mean of 50 and a standard deviation of 10
  411. t-tests
    a significance test used to compare the means of two groups
Card Set:
GRE Subjects Test
2015-12-17 10:11:36
GRE Subjects Psychology
Psych terms, names, and formulas for the GRE Subjects Test
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