A

abduction
the process of reasoning to the best explanations. In other words, it is the reasoning process that starts from a set of facts and derives their most likely explanations. Abduction leads to a generation of an hypothesis or theory.

acculturation
the exchange of cultural features which result when groups come into continuous firsthand contact. Either or both groups of the original cultural patterns may be changed a bit, but the groups remain distinct overall.

accommodation


actor-observer bias
Jones and Nisbett distinquished the actor-observer bias from the fundamental attribution error in terms of self and other attributions. According to Ross's fundamental attribution error, individuals generally overemphasize dispositional explanations over situational explanations. However, according to the actor-observer bias this error occurs with reference to other people and not with reference to the self. Specifically, my explanations for other individual's behaviors overemphasize the influence of their disposition/personality and underemphasize the situation they are in. However, I explain my own behaviors by overemphasizing the situation that I am in and underemphasizing my own dispostion/personality. Simply: "If others do it, it's their fault; if I do it, it's not my fault, it was because of someone/something else."

Resources
Jones, E. E., & Nisbett, R. E. 1971. The Actor and the Observer: Divergent Perceptions of the Causes of Behavior. New York: General Learning Press.
Ross, L. D. 1977. The intuitive psychologist and his shortcomings: Distortions in the attribution process. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 10: 173-220. New York: Random House.

acquisition
the initial stage of learning, during which a response is established and gradually strengthened. In classical conditioning, the phase in which a stimulus comes to evoke a conditioned response. In operant conditioning, the strengthening of a reinforced response.

action potential
a neural impulse; a brief electrical charge that travels down an axon, produced by rapid fluctuations in the concentrations of sodium and potassium ions in the fluid inside and outside the axon membrane.

affective disorder
a group of disorders primarily characterized by a disturbance of mood

agreeableness

Agreeableness is a tendency to be concerned with cooperation and social harmony. People with this trait value getting along with others. They are therefore considerate, friendly, generous, helpful, and willing to compromise their interests with others'. Agreeable people also have an optimistic view of human nature. They believe people are basically honest, decent, and trustworthy.

Disagreeable individuals place self-interest above getting along with others. They are generally unconcerned with others' well-being, and therefore are unlikely to extend themselves for other people. Sometimes their skepticism about others' motives causes them to be suspicious, unfriendly, and uncooperative.

Agreeableness is obviously advantageous for attaining and maintaining popularity. Agreeable people are better liked than disagreeable people. Self-managed work teams perform more effectively with members have high and aproximately equivalent levels of agreeableness. On the other hand, agreeableness is not useful in situations that require tough or absolute objective decisions. Disagreeable people can make excellent scientists, critics, or soldiers.

A recent study has found that extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism were positively correlated with well-being in orangutans—a finding that dovetails with previous research in chimpanzees and humans. The study suggests that the three personality traits, and their relationship to subjective well-being, were evident in a great-ape ancestor prior to chimpanzees and orangutans' evolutionary split, says researcher James E. King, PhD, a University of Arizona psychology professor.



alcohol dependence
disorder characterized by habitual consumption of alcohol in quantities large enough to interfere with daily activities

assimilation
interpreting one's new experience in terms of one's existing schemas concrete operations period - in Piaget's theory, the stage of cognitive development (from about 6 or 7 to 11 years of age) during which children gain the mental operations that enable them to think logically about concrete events

alpha waves
the relatively slow brain waves of a relaxed, awake state

amnesia
loss of memory; psychogenic amnesia, a dissociative disorder, is selective memory loss often brought on by extreme stress

amplitude
the distance from the crest (top) to the trough (bottom) of a wave

anions
negatively-charged particles.

antisocial personality
a personality disorder in which the person (usually a man) exhibits a lack of conscience for wrongdoing, even toward friends and family members; may be aggressive and ruthless or a clever con artist

anvil
the middle of the three bones or ossicles in the middle ear; also called the incus

anxiety disorder
psychological disorders characterized by distressing, persistent anxiety or maladaptive behaviors that reduce anxiety

attention
selective perception

attribution theory
a field of social psychology, which was born out of the theoritical models of Fritz Heider, Harold Kelley, Edward E. Jones, and Lee Ross. Attribution theory is concerned with the ways in which people explain (or attribute) the behavior of others. It explores how individuals "attribute" causes to events and how this cognitive perception affects their motivation.

attribution biases
Most of these biases are labeled as attributional biases .
attitude
a psychological tendency to evaluate a given entity with some degree of favor or disfavor.

auditory cortex
area of the cerebral cortex located in the temporal lobe

auditory nerve
the cranial nerve that contains the sensory neurons for hearing and the vestibular sense

availability heuristic
a rule of thumb, heuristic, or cognitive bias, where people base their prediction of an outcome on the vividness and emotional impact rather than on actual probability.
An everyday example would be the statement: "Sorry I'm late-I hit every red light on the way here." Here the aggravation of the red lights made them seem more prevalent than they actually were.
This phenomenon was first reported by psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, who also identified the representativeness heuristic.

In one experiment that occurred before the 1976 US Presidential election, participants were asked simply to imagine Gerald Ford winning the upcoming election. Those who were asked to do this subsequently viewed Ford as being significantly more likely to win the upcoming election, and vice versa for participants that had been asked to imagine Jimmy Carter [Carroll, 1978]. Analogous results were found with vivid versus pallid descriptions of outcomes in other experiments.

When asked to rate the probability of a variety of causes of death people tend to rate more "newsworthy" events as more likely. People often rate the chance of death by plane crash higher after plane crashes, and death by natural disaster as too likely only because these events are more reported than more common causes of death. Other rare forms of death are also seen as more common than they really are because of their inherent drama: shark attacks, terrorism, etc.

An opposite effect of this bias, called denial, occurs when an outcome is so upsetting that the very act of thinking about it leads to an increased refusal to believe it might occur. In this case, being asked to imagine the outcome actually made participants view it as less likely.

Resources:
Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1973). Availability: a heuristic for judging frequency and probability. Cognitive Psychology 5, 207-232.

Tversky, A. & Kahneman, D. (1974). Judgment under uncertainty: Heuristics and biases. Science 185, 1124-1130.

Combs, B. & Slovic, P. (1979). Newspaper coverage of causes of death. Journalism Quarterly 56, 837-843.

Carroll, J. S. (1978). The effect of imagining an event on expectations for the event: An interpretation in terms of the availability heuristic. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 14, 88-96.

axon
part of a neuron specialized to send impulses to other neurons.

axonal conduction
electrochemical process by which the neural impulse (action potential) is passed along the axon to the axon terminals.

axon terminals
branching fibers at the end of an axon (also called synaptic knobs, synaptic terminals, or terminal buttons). Contain the synaptic vesicles which release neurotransmitters into the synaptic cleft.

B

base rate
the relative frequency; for a given set of possible outcomes, the relative frequency of each outcome is the number of times that particular outcome has occurred in the past divided by the total number of times that any of the outcomes in the set have occurred

basilar membrane
a flexible membrane in the cochlea of the inner ear; the wavelike movement of this structure in response to sound stimulates the receptor cells for hearing

beta waves
the relatively fast and irregular waves of an awake, alert state

behavior
refers to the actions or reactions of an object or organism, usually in relation to the environment. Behavior can be conscious or unconscious, overt or covert, as well as voluntary or involuntary. In animals, behavior is controlled by the endocrine system and the nervous system. The complexity of the behavior of an organism is related to the complexity of its nervous system. Generally, organisms with complex nervous systems have a greater capacity to learn new responses and thus adjust their behavior. In the science of psychology behavior is an object of study together with correlated physiology and phenomena.


behaviorism

Methodological behaviorism is a normative theory about the scientific conduct of psychology. It claims that psychology should concern itself with the behavior of organisms (human and nonhuman animals). Psychology should not concern itself with mental states or events or with constructing internal information processing accounts of behavior. According to methodological behaviorism, reference to mental states, such as an animal's beliefs or desires, adds nothing to what psychology can and should understand about the sources of behavior. Mental states are private entities which, given the necessary publicity of science, do not form proper objects of empirical study.

Psychological behaviorism's historical roots consist, in part, in the classical associationism of the British Empiricists, foremost John Locke (1632-1704) and David Hume (1711-76). According to classical associationism, intelligent behavior is the product of associative learning. As a result of associations or pairings between perceptual experiences or stimulations on the one hand, and ideas or thoughts on the other, persons and animals acquire knowledge of their environment and how to act. Associations enable creatures to discover the causal structure of the world. Association is most helpfully viewed as the acquisition of knowledge about relations between events. Intelligence in behavior is a mark of such knowledge.


References:

Graham, G., "Behaviorism" (2008), In Zalta, E. N. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2008 Edition), Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2008/entries/behaviorism/ August 24, 2009.


biological clock
also called the circadian rhythm

bipolar disorder
a mood disorder in which the person alternates between the hopelessness and lethargy of depression and the overexcited state of mania

bipolar neuron
type of neuron in the retina of the eye; receives signals from the rods and cones.

C

catatonic schizophrenia
a type of schizophrenia primarily characterized by strange motor patterns, such as prolonged immobility or repetitive motions

cations
positively-charged particles.

cause
causation is a relationship that holds between events, properties, variables, or states. Causality always implies at least some relationship of dependency between the cause and the effect. For example, deeming something a cause may imply that, all other things being equal, if the cause occurs the effect does as well, or at least that the probability of the effect occurring increases. It is also usually presumed that the cause chronologically precedes the effect. In terms of experimental design the cause is the manipulated independent variable and the effect is the changed dependent variable. How are variable is independent and dependent is defined in terms of the particular experiment.


cell body
part of a neuron that contains the nucleus. Also called the soma.

central tendency
the center or middle of a distribution of scores, computed as the mean, the median, or the mode

chained associations
conditioned associations; associative links formed between two stimuli (as in classical conditioning) or between a response and a rewarding or punishing stimulus (as in operant conditioning)

chance
unpredictable fluctuations; events occurring at random

chunk
meaningful unit of information. It may be composed of smaller units

circadian rhythm
the biological clock; regular bodily rhythms (for example, of temperature and wakefulness) that occur on a 24-hour cycle

classical conditioning
a type of learning in which an organism comes to associate events. A neutral stimulus that signals an unconditioned stimulus (US) begins to produce a response that anticipates and prepares for the unconditioned stimulus. (Also known as Pavlovian conditioning.)

citizenship behavior
also called contextual performance, behavior that is beneficial to the organization and goes beyond formal job requirements, for example, helping colleagues at work, volunteering to organize and office party, making suggestions for improvement. Borman & Motowidlo, 1997

cochlea
a coiled structure in the inner ear in which the receptor cells for hearing are located; consists of a canal that spirals for two and a half turns around a central bone core

cognitive dissonance
the theory of cognitive dissonance states that contradicting cognitions serve as a driving force that compels the mind to acquire or invent new thoughts or beliefs, or to modify existing beliefs, so as to reduce the amount of dissonance (conflict) between cognitions.

cognitive map
a mental representation of the layout of one's environment; for example, after exploring a maze, rats act as if they learned a cognitive map of it

concept
mental representations of a thing or a process. Concepts can be of phenomena to which anyone could reference such as dog, clouds, or pain. Concepts can also describe agreed upon phenomena which are agreed upon sucha truth, beauty, depression, satisfaction, prejudice etc. The latter set are not subject to direct observation and measurement. In order to study them scientifically, concepts that are not directly observable must be defined soley in observational and measurable terms. When these concepts are defined in this weay they are called operationally defined concepts.

concrete operations period
in Piaget's theory, the stage of cognitive development (from about 6 or 7 to 11 years of age) during which children gain the mental operations that enable them to think logically about concrete events

conditional probability
the probability that a particular event will occur, given that another event has already occurred

construct
an object of perception or thought formed by a combination of present with past sense-impressions

contextual performance
also called citizenship behavior, behavior that is beneficial to the organization and goes beyond formal job requirements, for example, helping colleagues at work, volunteering to organize and office party, making suggestions for improvement. Borman & Motowidlo, 1997

correlation
a statistical measure that indicates the extent to which two factors vary together and thus how well either factor predicts the other

correlation analysis
a statistical technique that indicates the extent to which two factors vary together and thus how well either factor predicts the other

correlation coefficient
a statistical measure of how much two factors vary together (and thus how well either predicts the other); referred to as r

conditioned response
in classical conditioning, the learned response to a previously neutral environmental event

conditioned stimulus
in classical conditioning, an originally neutral event in the environment of the organism that, after repeated pairing with an unconditioned stimulus, comes to trigger a  response in the organism

CR
CR stands for conditioned response. This response is the same as the unconditioned response, except that it is produced by the conditioned stimulus rather than by the unconditioned stimulus.

CS
CS stands for conditioned stimulus. This formerly neutral event gradually begins to produce a conditioned response, as it becomes associated with the unconditioned stimulus. An example of a CS would be a dinner bell. extinction -- the diminishing of a response when, in classical conditioning, an unconditioned stimulus (US) does not follow a conditioned stimulus (CS); or when, in operant conditioning, a response is no longer reinforced

conditioned association
the formation of associative links between two stimuli (as in classical conditioning) or between a response and a rewarding or punishing stimulus (as in operant conditioning)

conditioned associations
associative links formed between two stimuli (as in classical conditioning) or between a response and a rewarding or punishing stimulus (as in operant conditioning)

continuous reinforcement
reinforcing the desired response every time it occurs

conscientiousness

Conscientiousness concerns the way in which we control, regulate, and direct our impulses. Impulses are not inherently bad; occasionally time constraints require a snap decision, and acting on our first impulse can be an effective response. Also, in times of play rather than work, acting spontaneously and impulsively can be fun. Impulsive individuals can be seen by others as colorful, fun-to-be-with, and zany. Conscientiousness includes the factor known as Need for Achievement (NAch).

The benefits of high conscientiousness are obvious. Conscientious individuals avoid trouble and achieve high levels of success through purposeful planning and persistence. They are also positively regarded by others as intelligent and reliable. On the negative side, they can be compulsive perfectionists and workaholics. Furthermore, extremely conscientious individuals might be regarded as stuffy and boring. Unconscientious people may be criticized for their unreliability, lack of ambition, and failure to stay within the lines, but they will experience many short-lived pleasures and they will never be called stuffy.

Two researchers from the University of Central Florida analyzed the grades, online activities, and behavioral characteristics of 57 students taking a web-based course. Students who came to the course's home page more often than their peers also received higher grades on their final exams. In fact, if a student was lagging in visits to a course's page in the first week of the semester, that student was likely to end up having difficulty in the course. (See Guernsey, L. & Young, J.R. [1998, October 23]. EDUCOM Notebook: Predicting on-line grades. Chronicle of Higher Education , p. A24.)

Conscientiousness consistently predicted performance for all jobs from managerial and sales positions to skilled and semiskilled work. Self-managed work teams perform more effectively with members have high and aproximately equivalent levels of conscioentiousness.



conservation
the principle (which Piaget believed to be a part of concrete operational reasoning) that changing the shape or form of an object or group of objects doesn't change the amount

conservation of liquid quantity
the principle (which Piaget believed to be a part of concrete operational reasoning) that volume remains the same despite changes in the forms of objects

conservation of number
the principle (which Piaget believed to be a part of concrete operational reasoning) that number remains the same despite changes in the forms of objects

conversion reaction disorder
a rare somatoform disorder in which a person experiences very specific genuine physical symptoms for which no physiological basis can be found

constant
a phenomenon that does not change. When we say that something that does not change we mean that it does not change relative to the measurements being used.


construct
concept or idea used in research. A system of constructs provides a bridge between nature and the numbers obtained from measuring nature. Constructs are labels applied to variables and constants.

corpus callosum
the largest bundle of neural fibers connecting and carrying messages between the two brain hemispheres

CR
CR stands for conditioned response. This response is the same as the unconditioned response, except that it is produced by the conditioned stimulus rather than by the unconditioned stimulus.

CS
CS stands for conditioned stimulus. This formerly neutral stimulus gradually begins to produce a conditioned response, as it becomes associated with the unconditioned stimulus. An example of a CS would be a dinner bell.

D

declarative memory
memories of facts, rules, conceptss, and events ("knowing that"); they include semantic and episodic memories. It is so called because it refers to memories that can be consciously discussed, or declared. It applies to standard textbook learning and knowledge, as well memories that can be 'travelled back to' in one's 'mind's eye'. It is contrasted with procedural memory, which applies to skills. Declarative memory is subject to forgetting, but frequently-accessed memories can last indefinitely. Declarative memories are best established by using active recall combined with mnemonic techniques and spaced repetition.

deductive reasoning
logical reasoning from the general to the specific; the reasoner begins by accepting the truth of one or more general premises or axioms and uses them to assert whether a specific conclusion is true, false, or indeterminate; also called hypothesis construction.

deep sleep
stages 3 and 4 of the sleep cycle

delta waves
the large, slow brain waves associated with deep sleep (stages 3 and 4)

dendrites
parts of a neuron specialized to receive messages from other neurons.

dependent variable
in experimental design, a dependent variable (also known as response variable or regressand) is a factor whose values in different treatment conditions are compared. That is, the experimenter is interested in determining if the value of the dependent variable varies when the values of another variable - the independent variable - are varied, and by how much. In simple terms, the independent variable is said to cause an apparent change in, or simply affect, the dependent variable. In analysis, researchers usually want to explain why the dependent variable has a given value. In research, the values of a dependent variable in different settings are usually compared.
Here is a simple example of independent and corresponding dependent variables. The independent variable is typically the variable being manipulated or changed by the experimenter and the dependent variable is the observed result of the independent variable being manipulated. For example concerning nutrition, the independent variable of your daily vitamin C intake (how much should I take) can determine the dependent variable of your life span (what is the result or observation as a result of manipulating the 'independent variable'). Scientists will manipulate the vitamin C intake in a group of lets say 100 people who are over the age of 65. Half of the group, 50 people will be given a daily high dose of vitamin C (lets say 2000 mg) and 50 people will be given a placebo pill (no vitamin C dose or a pill with zero vitamin C) over a period of 25 years. The scientists will log the life span of the 100 people to see if there is any statistically significant change in the life span of the people who took the high dose and those who took the placebo (no dose). The goal is to see if the independent variable of high vitamin C dosage affects the dependent variable of people's life span.

depolarization
sudden positive shift in the electrical potential inside a neuron, caused by the inflow of positively-charged sodium ions. When this occurs at an excitatory synapse, it becomes temporarily easier for the neuron to fire.

descriptive statistics
mathematical methods for summarizing sets of data

discrimination
In classical conditioning, the ability to distinguish between a conditioned stimulus and similar stimuli that do not signal an unconditioned stimulus. In operant conditioning, responding differently to stimuli that signal that behavior will be reinforced or nonreinforced.

discriminative stimulus
In operant conditioning, a stimulus that signals when a particular response is likely to be followed by a certain type of consequence.

disorganized schizophrenia
a type of schizophrenia characterized by disorganized thinking, incoherent speech, and inappropriate emotional outbursts

disposition
a set of relatively stable traits of an individual organism that are deduced from the observation of the individual at various times and in a variety of situations. These may be feelings, beliefs, and behaviors that make one individual different from another. Disopositions are also called "individual difference variables."

dissociative disorder
disorders in which conscious awareness becomes separated

distribution
a set of scores arranged in order from lowest to highest

distributions
sets of scores arranged in order from lowest to highest

distribution of scores
a set of scores arranged in order from lowest to highest

dyad
a group of two people

E

ear
the organ of hearing, composed of the outer, middle, and inner ears

ear canal
the chamber in the outer ear extending from the pinna to the eardrum

eardrum
a thin, tense membrane separating the ear canal from the middle ear; vibrates in resonance to incoming sound waves; also called the tympanic membrane frequency the number of waves that pass a point in a given time (for example, per second)

economics
Economics is the study of how human beings allocate scarce resources to produce various commodities and how those commodities are distributed for consumption among the people in society. The a foundational principle of economics is that resources are limited, and that not all needs of a population can be met. How to distribute these resources in the most efficient and equitable way is a principal concern of economists. References:

The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition | 2008 | The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Copyright 2008 Columbia University Press.

egocentric bias
the tendency for people to claim more responsibility for themselves for the results of a joint action than an outside observer would.

Besides simply claiming credit for positive outcomes, which might simply be self-serving bias, people exhibiting egocentric bias also cite themselves as overly responsible for negative outcomes of group behavior as well.

Reference:
Ross, M. & Sicoly, F. (1979). Egocentric biases in availability and attribution. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 37, 322-336.

egocentrism
in Piaget's theory, the inability of the preoperational child to take another's point of view

electrode
a conductor, such as a wire, through which an electric current enters or leaves

electroencephalogram (EEG)
an amplified recording of the waves of electrical activity that sweep across the brain's surface. These waves are measured by placing electrodes on the scalp.

emotions
responses of the whole organism, involving physical arousal, expressive behaviors, and conscious experiences

encode
to process information into the memory system, for example by extracting meaning

encoding
the processing of information into the memory system, for example by extracting meaning

episodic memory
memories of personally experienced events and the context in which they occurrred

excitatory synapses
synaptic connections which, when stimulated, increass the likelihood that the receiving neuron will fire.

explicit memory
conscious intentional recollection of an event or item of information

extinction
the diminishing of a response when, in classical conditioning, an unconditional stimulus (US) does not follow a conditioned stimulus (CS); or when, in operant conditioning, a response is no longer reinforced

extraversion

Extraversion is the tendency to be socially outgoing. It is characterized by substantial involvement with the other people. Extraverts not only enjoy being with people, but are full of energy, and often experience positive emotions. They tend to be enthusiastic and action-oriented,and are likely to readily choose opportunities for excitement. In groups they like to talk, assert themselves, and draw attention to themselves. Self-managed work teams perform more effectively with members have high and aproximately equivalent levels of extraversion.
Introversion features include relatively low levels of exuberance, energy, and activity levels. They tend to be quiet, low-key, deliberate, and disengaged from the social world. Their lack of social involvement should not be interpreted as shyness or depression; the introvert simply needs less stimulation than an extrovert and prefers to be alone.

Introversion/extraversion and neuroticism are two important and frequently studied dimensions of human personality. These dimensions describe individual differences in emotional responding across a range of situations and may contribute to a predisposition for psychiatric disorders. Recent neuroimaging research has begun to provide evidence that neuroticism and introversion/extraversion have specific functional and structural neural correlates. Previous studies in healthy adults have reported an association between neuroticism, introversion/extraversion, and the activity of the prefrontal cortex and amygdala. Studies of individuals with psychopathological states have also indicated that anatomic variations in these brain areas may relate to extraversion and neuroticism. The thickness of specific prefrontal cortex regions correlates with measures of extraversion and neuroticism. In contrast, no such correlations were observed for the volume of the amygdala. The results suggest that specific aspects of regional prefrontal anatomy are associated with specific personality traits.

A high level of neuroticism (score = 27; 90th percentile) was associated with a 33% increase in risk of death compared with a low level of neuroticism (score = 9; 10th percentile).

A recent study has found that extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism were positively correlated with well-being in orangutans—a finding that dovetails with previous research in chimpanzees and humans. The study suggests that the three personality traits, and their relationship to subjective well-being, were evident in a great-ape ancestor prior to chimpanzees and orangutans' evolutionary split, says researcher James E. King, PhD, a University of Arizona psychology professor.



expectancy theory
Expectancy theory predicts that individuals will be motivated to put forth effort if they believe that their effort will result in good performance (expectancy); that this performance will lead to secondary outcomes, such as rewards, recognition, or satisfaction (instrumentality); and if they assign a high positive valence to the secondary outcomes.
References:
Vroom, V. H. (1964). Work and motivation. New York: Wiley.

F

facial code
the system of emotional signals displayed by altering the positions of the facial muscles around the eyes and the mouth

false consensus effect
the tendency for people to overestimate the degree to which others agree with them. People readily guess their own opinions, beliefs and predilections to be more prevalent in the general public than they really are.
This bias is commonly present in a group setting where one thinks the collective opinion of their own group matches that of the larger population. Since the members of a group reach a consensus and rarely encounter those who dispute it, they tend to believe that everybody thinks the same way.
There is no single cause for this cognitive bias; the availability heuristic and self-serving bias have been suggested as at least partial underlying factors.

Resources:

Ross L., Greene D. & House, P. (1977). The false consensus effect: an egocentric bias in social perception and attribution processes. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 13, 279-301.

Fields, James M., and Howard Schuman, (1976-77) "Public Beliefs about the Beliefs of the Public," Public Opinion Quarterly, 40: 427-448.

falsifiability
falsifiability, contingency, and defeasibility are roughly equivalent terms referring to the property of empirical statements that they must admit of logical counterexamples. No empirical hypothesis, proposition, or theory can be considered scientific if it does not admit the possibility of a contrary case.

FI
(fixed-interval schedule); in operant conditioning, a schedule of reinforcement that reinforces a response only after a specified time has elapsed

fixed-interval schedule
in operant conditioning, a schedule of reinforcement that reinforces a response only after a specified time has elapsed

fixed-ratio schedule
in operant conditioning, a schedule of reinforcement that reinforces a response only after a specified number of responses

framing heuristic
tendency to reach conclusions based on the 'framework' or context within which a situation was presented.

FR
(fixed-ratio schedule); in operant conditioning, a schedule of reinforcement that

Forer Effect (a.k.a. Barnum effect or personal validation fallacy)
the observation that individuals will give high accuracy ratings to descriptions of their personality that supposedly are tailored specifically for them, but are in fact vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people. The Forer effect can provide a partial explanation for the widespread acceptance of some pseudosciences such as astrology and fortune telling.

In 1948, psychologist Bertram R. Forer gave a personality test to his students, and then gave them a personality analysis supposedly based on the test's results. He invited each of them to rate the analysis on a scale of 0 (very poor) to 5 (excellent) as it applied to themselves: the average was 4.26. He then revealed that each student had been given the same analysis:

You have a need for other people to like and admire you, and yet you tend to be critical of yourself. While you have some personality weaknesses you are generally able to compensate for them. You have considerable unused capacity that you have not turned to your advantage. Disciplined and self-controlled on the outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure on the inside. At times you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing. You prefer a certain amount of change and variety and become dissatisfied when hemmed in by restrictions and limitations. You also pride yourself as an independent thinker; and do not accept others' statements without satisfactory proof. But you have found it unwise to be too frank in revealing yourself to others. At times you are extroverted, affable, and sociable, while at other times you are introverted, wary, and reserved. Some of your aspirations tend to be rather unrealistic.

Note:Forer had assembled this text from horoscopes.

References:
Forer, B. R. (1949). The fallacy of personal validation: A classroom demonstration of gullibility. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 44, 118-123.
Dickson, D. H. and Kelly, I. W. (1985). The 'Barnum Effect' in Personality Assessment: A Review of the Literature. Psychological Reports, 57, 367-382.


formal operations period
in Piaget's theory, the stage of cognitive development (normally beginning about age 12) during which people begin to think logically about

formal thought
type of thinking that becomes possible when the individual enters the formal operations period

frequency
the number of complete wavelengths that pass a point in a given time (for example, per second)

frequency distribution
a method of summarizing a distribution of scores by indicating the number of times that each score occurs in the distribution

frequency histogram
a graph that illustrates a frequency distribution, with a rectangle for each score in the distribution. The height of each rectangle represents the frequency of that score.

fundamental attribution error

In attribution theory, the fundamental attribution error (also known as correspondence bias or overattribution effect and frequently confused with the actor-observer bias) is the tendency for people to over-emphasize dispositional, or personality-based, explanations for behaviors observed in others while under-emphasizing the role and power of situational influences on the same behavior. In other words, people tend to have a default assumption that what a person does is based more on what "kind" of person he or she is, rather than the social and environmental forces at work on that person. This default assumption leads to people sometimes making erroneous explanations for behavior. This general bias to over-emphasizing dispositional explanations for behavior at the expense of situational explanations is much less likely to occur when people evaluate their own behavior.

The term was coined by Lee Ross some years after the now-classic experiment by Edward E. Jones and Victor Harris. Ross argued in a popular paper that the fundamental attribution error forms the conceptual bedrock for the field of social psychology.

More recently some psychologists including Daniel Gilbert have begun using the term "correspondence bias" for the fundamental attribution error and the two terms are often used synonymously. Jones wrote that he found Ross's term "overly provocative and somewhat misleading" (and also joked "Furthermore, I'm angry that I didn't think of it first").

Resources:
Heider, Fritz. (1958). The Psychology of Interpersonal Relations. New York: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0-471-36833-4

Jones, E. E. & Harris, V. A. (1967). The attribution of attitudes. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 3, 1-24.

Ross, L. (1977). The intuitive psychologist and his shortcomings: Distortions in the attribution process. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (vol. 10, pp. 173-220). New York: Academic Press.

Gilbert, D. T., & Malone, P. S. (1995). The correspondence bias. Psychological Bulletin, 117, 21-38. PDF.

Gilbert, D. T. (1998). Speeding with Ned: A personal view of the correspondence bias. In J. M. Darley & J. Cooper (Eds.), Attribution and social interaction: The legacy of E. E. Jones. Washington, DC: APA Press. PDF.

Miller, J.G. (1984). Culture and the development of everyday social explanation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 46, 961-978.

G

generalization
In operant conditioning the tendency for a response that has be reinforced or punished in the presence of one stimulus to occur, or with punishment to be suppressed, in the presence of similar but someway different stimuli.
groupthink
In social psychology a mode of thought whereby individuals consciously or unconsciously conform to what they perceive to be the consensus of the group. Groupthink may cause the group to make inadequate appraisals as well as poor decisions which each member might indivdiually consider to be unwise.

H

hair cells
the receptor cells for hearing, which are arranged in rows along the basilar membrane of the cochlea in the inner ear

halo effect
the cognitive bias in which the assessment of an individual quality serves to influence and bias the judgment of other qualities. Said another way, a person who is good at "X" is often deemed to be good at "Y" even if the two items are not related. Attractive people are often judged as having a more desirable personality and more skills than someone of average appearance. Celebrities are used to endorse products that they have no expertise in evaluating.

When commanding officers were asked to rate their soldiers in an early psychology experiment conducted by Edward L. Thorndike, he found high cross-correlation between all positive and all negative traits. People seem to rarely think of each other in mixed terms; instead we seem to see them as universally roughly good or roughly bad across all categories of measurement. Solomon Asch also performed research in this area. The halo effect may be involved with the theory of cognitive dissonance.

In brand marketing, a halo effect is one where the perceived positive features of a particular item extend to a broader brand. It has been used to describe how the iPod has had positive effects on perceptions of Apple Computer's other products. The term is also widely used in the automotive industry, where a manufacturer may produce an exceptional halo vehicle in order to promote sales of an entire marque. Modern cars often described as halo vehicles include the Dodge Viper, Ford GT, and Acura NSX.

A corollary to the halo effect is the "devil effect" (or "horns effect"), where individuals judged to have a single undesirable trait are subsequently judged to have many poor traits, allowing a single weak point or negative trait to influence others' perception of the person in general.

Halo effect refers to the cognitive bias in which the assessment of an individual quality serves to influence and bias the judgment of other qualities. Said another way, a person who is good at "X" is often deemed to be good at "Y" even if the two items are not related. Attractive people are often judged as having a more desirable personality and more skills than someone of average appearance. Celebrities are used to endorse products that they have no expertise in evaluating.

When commanding officers were asked to rate their soldiers in an early psychology experiment conducted by Edward L. Thorndike, he found high cross-correlation between all positive and all negative traits. People seem to rarely think of each other in mixed terms; instead we seem to see them as universally roughly good or roughly bad across all categories of measurement. Solomon Asch also performed research in this area. The halo effect may be involved with the theory of cognitive dissonance.

In brand marketing, a halo effect is one where the perceived positive features of a particular item extend to a broader brand. It has been used to describe how the iPod has had positive effects on perceptions of Apple Computer's other products. The term is also widely used in the automotive industry, where a manufacturer may produce an exceptional halo vehicle in order to promote sales of an entire marque. Modern cars often described as halo vehicles include the Dodge Viper, Ford GT, and Acura NSX.

A corollary to the halo effect is the "devil effect" (or "horns effect"), where individuals judged to have a single undesirable trait are subsequently judged to have many poor traits, allowing a single weak point or negative trait to influence others' perception of the person in general.

Note: Halo Effect is also a term used in HR recruitment. While interviewing a person, you might be influenced by one of his attributes and ignore his/her other weaknesses. Solomon Asch has also done a study about central traits and his findings suggest that attractiveness is a central trait, so we presume all the other traits of an attractive person are just as attractive and sought after.

Resources:
Asch, S. E. (1946). "Forming impressions of personality." Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 41, 258-290

Thorndike, E. L. (1920). "A Constant Error on Psychological Rating." Journal of Applied Psychology, vol. IV, 25-29

hammer
the largest of the three bones or ossicles in the middle ear; attached to the eardrum laterally and to the anvil or incus medially; moves in resonance to the vibrations of the eardrum; also called the malleus

hedonic treadmill

Resources:
Tellegen, A., Lykken, D. T., Bouchard, T. J., Wilcox, K. J., Segal, N. L., & Rich, S. (1988). Personality similarity in twins reared apart and together. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology54, 1031-1039.

Hagerty, M. R. (2000). Social comparisons of income in one's community: Evidence from national surveys of income and happiness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78, 764-771.
hemisphere
one half of the brain

hertz
a unit of frequency; one cycle per second

heuristic
simple, efficient rules which have been proposed to explain how people make decisions, come to judgments, and solve problems, typically when facing social situations, complex problems or incomplete information. These cognitive shortcuts, or "rules of thumb" work well under most circumstances, but in certain cases lead to errors in specific judgements or decisions as well chronic cognitive biases. Heuristics are considered to be hard wired through evolution by providing an ability to make quick judgements in the presence of imminent danger-- that is, fight-or-flight decisions.

For example, people may tend to perceive more expensive beers as tasting better than inexpensive ones. This finding holds true even when prices and brands are switched. If a high price is put on the normally relatively inexpensive brand, that is enough to lead subjects to perceive the actually lower priced beer as tasting better than the beer that is normally more expensive. One might call this a "price implies quality" bias.

Much of the work of discovering heuristics in human decision-makers was ignited by Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, who together had an important influence on behavioral finance. Critics led by Gerd Gigerenzer focus on how heuristics can be used to make judgments that are in principle accurate, rather than producing cognitive biases - heuristics that are "fast and frugal"..

Theorized psychological heuristics:
Well known:
Anchoring and adjustment
Availability heuristic
Representativeness heuristic

Less well known:
Affect heuristic
Contagion heuristic
Effort heuristic
Familiarity heuristic
Fluency heuristic
Gaze heuristic
Peak-end rule
Recognition heuristic
Scarcity heuristic
Similarity heuristic
Simulation heuristic
Social proof
Take-the-best heuristic

Resources:
Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1973). Availability: a heuristic for judging frequency and probability. Cognitive Psychology 5, 207-232.

Tversky, A. & Kahneman, D. (1974). Judgment under uncertainty: Heuristics and biases. Science 185, 1124-1130.

Combs, B. & Slovic, P. (1979). Newspaper coverage of causes of death. Journalism Quarterly 56, 837-843.

Carroll, J. S. (1978). The effect of imagining an event on expectations for the event: An interpretation in terms of the availability heuristic. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 14, 88-96

horizontal-vertical illusion
a visual illusion in which a vertical line perpendicular to a horizontal line of the same length appears longer than the horizontal line

hyperpolarization
sudden negative shift in the electrical potential inside a neuron. When this occurs at an inhibitory synapse, it becomes temporarily more difficult for the neuron to fire.

hypothalamus
a neural structure lying below ("hypo") the thalamus; it directs several maintenance activities (eating, drinking, body temperature), helps govern the endocrine system via the pituitary gland, and is linked to emotion

hypothesis
a statement of the relationships among the variables that a researcher intends to study

A well formed hypothesis must be falsifiable and contain concepts that are fully defined in terms of observable and measurable events in nature. random - occurring by chance.

Assume that we are interested in studying why students leave college. One possible hypothesis is: Students drop out of college because they cannot afford to pay the high costs. This hypothesis posits that dropping out and finances are related, and suggests that those who cannot afford the costs will leave. This hypothesis is testable, because we could see if students leave because they cannot afford the cost as opposed to leaving for other reasons. Hypotheses should both say what the researcher expects to find in her research and be testable.

I

iconic memory
a momentary sensory memory of visual stimuli; a photographic or picture-image memory lasting no more than a second or so

illusion of asymmetric insight
a cognitive bias that involves the fact that people perceive their knowledge of others to surpass other people's knowledge of them. The source for this bias seems to stem from the fact that observed behaviors of others are more revealing than one's own similar behaviors1.

Relatedly, people seem to believe that they know themselves better than their peers know themselves and that their social group knows and understands other social groups better than that social group knows them.


Reference:
Pronin E., Kruger J., Savitsky K., Ross L. (2001)."You don't know me, but I know you: the illusion of asymmetric insight." , Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 81(4), 639-56.


illusion of transparency
The illusion of transparency is a tendency for people to overestimate the degree to which their personal mental state is known by others.

Another manifestation of the illusion of transparency (aka the observer's illusion of transparency) is a tendency for people to overestimate how well they understand other's personal mental states.

This cognitive bias is similar to the illusion of asymmetric insight, but the illusion of transparency is more prominent for people who have a personal relationship.

implicit memory
unconscious retention in memory as evidenced by the effect of a previously experienced information on present thoughts or actions

independent variable
in an experimental design, the independent variable (also known as predictor or regressor or manipulated variable) is the variable which is manipulated or selected by the experimenter to determine its relationship to an observed phenomenon (the dependent variable). In other words, the experiment will attempt to find evidence that the values of the independent variable determine the values of the dependent variable (which is what is being measured). The independent variable can be changed as required, and its values do not represent a problem requiring explanation in an analysis, but are taken simply as given. More generally, the independent variable is the event that someone actively controls/changes; while the dependent variable is the thing that changes as a result. In other words, the independent variable is the "presumed cause," while dependent variable is the "presumed effect" of the independent variable. The independent variable is also called the manipulated variable, predictor variable, exposure variable, explanatory variable, or x-variable. Independent variable is the most common name given for this item.
Here is a simple example of independent and corresponding dependent variables. The independent variable is typically the variable being manipulated or changed by the experimenter and the dependent variable is the observed result of the independent variable being manipulated. For example concerning nutrition, the independent variable of your daily vitamin C intake (how much should I take) can determine the dependent variable of your life span (what is the result or observation as a result of manipulating the 'independent variable'). Scientists will manipulate the vitamin C intake in a group of lets say 100 people who are over the age of 65. Half of the group, 50 people will be given a daily high dose of vitamin C (lets say 2000 mg) and 50 people will be given a placebo pill (no vitamin C dose or a pill with zero vitamin C) over a period of 25 years. The scientists will log the life span of the 100 people to see if there is any statistically significant change in the life span of the people who took the high dose and those who took the placebo (no dose). The goal is to see if the independent variable of high vitamin C dosage affects the dependent variable of people's life span.

inductive reasoning
logical reasoning from the specific to the general; the reasoner begins with a set of specific observations or facts and uses them to infer a more general rule to account for those observations or facts; also called hypothesis construction


ingroup bias
the preferential treatment people give to whom they perceive to be members of their own groups.

Experiments in psychology have shown that group members will award one another higher payoffs even when the "group" they share seems random and arbitrary, such as having the same birthday, having the same final digit in their U.S. Social Security Number, or even being assigned to the same flip of a coin.

Ingroup effects appear to be stronger, however, when the group is smaller relative to another high-power group.

This cognitive bias has been studied extensively by Henri Tajfel. It is considered a group-serving bias.

Resources:
Tajfel, H. (1970). Experiments in intergroup discrimination. Scientific American, 223, 96-102.

Brewer, M. B. (1979). Ingroup bias in the minimal intergroup situations: A cognitive motivational analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 86, 307-324.

Tajfel, H. (1982). Social identity and intergroup relations. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press

inhibitory synapses
synaptic connections which, when stimulated, decrease the likelihood that the receiving neuron will fire.

inner ear
the innermost part of the ear, containing the cochlea and the semicircular canals

interference
failure to encode, store, or retrieve items because of interference from items learned before or after

intermittent reinforcement
in operant conditioning, a reinforcement schedule in which a given response is sometimes, but not always reinforced. Responses persist longer when intermittently reinforced than when continuously reinforced.

interneurons
neurons in the brain and spinal cord that link the sensory and motor neurons. They do the additional processing of the information needed to make sense of the events occurring within your body and outside in the environment. Most of the neurons in the central nervous system are of this type.

internal validity
a form of experimental validity. An experiment is said to possess internal validity if it properly demonstrates a causal relation between two variables. An experiment can demonstrate a causal relation by satisfying three criteria:

That the "cause" precedes the "effect" in time (temporal precedence),
that the "cause" and the "effect" are related (covariation),
and that there are no plausible alternative explanations for the observed covariation (nonspuriousness)

In scientific experiments, researchers often manipulate a variable (the independent variable) to see what effect it has on a second variable (the dependent variable)

For example, a researcher might manipulate the dosage of a particular drug to see what effect it has on a person's health. If the experiment allows the researcher to conclude that different doses of the drug caused a change in peoples' health (by satisfying the above criteria), then the study possesses internal validity. In other words, an experiment possesses internal validity if the observed changes in the dependent variable were caused by the manipulation of the independent variable.

ions
positively-charged or negatively-charged particles (atoms or molecules).


J


just-world phenomenon
the tendency for people to believe that the world is "just" and so therefore people "get what they deserve."

One study gave women what appeared to be painful electric shocks while working on a difficult memory problem. Those who observed the experiment appeared to blame the victim for her fate, praised the experiment, and rated her as being less physically attractive than those who had seen her but not the experiment.

In another study, subjects were told two versions of a story about an interaction between a woman and a man. Both variations were exactly the same, except at the very end the man raped the woman in one and in the other he proposed marriage. In both conditions, subjects viewed the woman's (identical) actions as inevitably leading to the (very different) results.

Studies have shown that those who believe in a "just world" may be more likely to believe that rape victims must have behaved seductively, battered wives must have deserved their beatings, that sick people must have caused their own illness, or that the poor deserve their lot.

In this way, if something good (like a job promotion) or bad (like an injury) occurs, people attribute the occurrence to the person, not to a chance turn of events. For example, some people feel that those living on the street are homeless because they are too lazy to find a job, rather than considering alternatives such as bad luck or mental illness. Likewise, if someone invests well and is rewarded by it, most people believe that the person is smart and a good investor, instead of it being chance.

Closely related cognitive biases include hindsight bias, the illusion of control, the halo effect, self-serving bias and the fundamental attribution error. The effect could also be explained in terms of cognitive dissonance theory.

Resources:

Lerner, M. (1980). The belief in a just world. New York: Plenum Press.

Lerner, M. and Simmons, C. H. (1966). Observer's Reaction to the "Innocent Victim": Compassion or Rejection? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 4, v. 2.



L


Lake Wobegon effect
The Lake Wobegon effect is the human tendency to overestimate one's achievements and capabilities in relation to others. It is named for the fictional town of Lake Wobegon from the radio series A Prairie Home Companion, where, according to Garrison Keillor, "all the children are above average". In a similar way, a large majority of people claim to be above average; this phenomenon has been observed among drivers, CEOs, stock market analysts, college students, and state education officials, among others. Experiments and surveys have repeatedly shown that most people believe that they possess attributes that are better or more desirable than average.

Surveying drivers, Ole Svenson (1981) found that 80% of respondents rated themselves in the top 30% of all drivers.[1] Asking college students about their popularity, Zuckerman and Jost (2001) showed that most students judged themselves to be "more popular than average".

In 1987, John Cannell completed a study that reported the statistically impossible finding that all states claimed average student test scores above the national norm.

One College Board survey asked 829,000 high school seniors to rate themselves in a number of ways. When asked to rate their own ability to "get along with others," a statistically insignificant number - less than one percent - rated themselves as below average. Furthermore, sixty percent rated themselves in the top ten percent, and one-fourth of respondents rated themselves in the top one percent. Some have argued that more subjective traits like this may be more easily distorted.

The effect has been found repeatedly by many other studies for other traits, including fairness, virtuosity, luck, and investing ability, to name a few. It is similar and may be related to ingroup bias and wishful thinking. In contrast, the worse-than-average effect refers to a tendency to underestimate oneself in certain conditions, which may include self-handicapping behavior. It can be compared to the false consensus effect.

Resources:
Svenson, O. (1981). Are we all less risky and more skillful than our fellow drivers? Acta Psychologica, 47, 143-48.
Zuckerman, E. W., & Jost, J. T. (2001). What Makes You Think You're So Popular? Self Evaluation Maintenance and the Subjective Side of the "Friendship Paradox". Social Psychology Quarterly, 64(3), 207-223.


lateral
on the side; opposite of medial

lateral hypothalamus
region in the left or right side of the hypothalamus

learning
a relatively permanent change in an organism's behavior due to experience

lesion
tissue destruction; a naturally or experimentally caused destruction of brain tissue

LH
lateral region of the hypothalamus

likelihood estimation
calculating how likely it is that a certain event will occur

long-term memory
In the three-box model of memory, the relatively permanent and limitless storehouse of the memory system

loudness
the quality of the psychological experience (sensation) of a sound that is most related to the amplitude of the physical sound stimulus


M

mean
the arithmetic average of a distribution, obtained by adding the scores and then dividing by the number of scores

median
the middle score in a distribution; half the scores are above it and half are below it

mediator variable
A mediation model is one that seeks to identify and explicate the mechanism that underlies an observed relationship between an independent variable and a dependent variable via the inclusion of a third explanatory variable, known as a mediator variable. Rather than hypothesizing a direct causal relationship between the independent variable and the dependent variable, a mediational model hypothesizes that the independent variable causes the mediator variable, which in turn causes the dependent variable. The mediator variable, then, serves to clarify the nature of the relationship between the independent and dependent variables. The issue of mediation addresses how that treatment effect is produced. Mediational analyses attempt to identify the intermediary process that leads from the manipulated independent variable to the outcome or dependent variable.
References:
Muller, D., Judd, C. M., Yzerbyt, V. Y. (2005). When moderation is mediated and mediation is moderated. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 89(6), 852–863. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.89.6.852

memory
the relatively permanent and limitless storehouse of the memory system proactive interference - the disruptive effect of prior learning on the recall of new information

mental operations
logical thought processes that are reversible

measurement
the assignment of symbols to observable phenomena. The symbols assigned to air temperature might be 12 degrees Farenheit or the symbols assigned to the movement of an object might be 65 miles per hour.

middle ear
the chamber between the eardrum and cochlea containing three tiny bones (hammer, anvil, and stirrup) that transmit the vibrations of the eardrum to the cochlea's oval window

minimax strategy
in gaming situations, a strategy that minimizes potential losses and maximizes potential gains under the worst situation that an opponent can produce.

mode
the most frequently occurring score in a distribution

motor neurons
neurons that carry instructions from the central nervous system to the body's organs and tissues; also called efferent neurons.

Müller-Lyer illusion
a visual illusion in which a horizontal line looks longer if attached at each end to an outward-extending, V-shaped object, and looks shorter if attached at each end to an inward-extending, V-shaped object


N

negative correlation
scores that are negatively correlated are associated in such a way that one score falls as the other rises (as in the relationship between self-esteem and depression); correlation coefficient is negative

negatively correlation
scores that are negatively correlated are associated in such a way that one score falls as the other rises (as in the relationship between self-esteem and depression); correlation coefficient is negative

negative reinforcement
in operant conditioning, a situation in which the subject's response terminates (by escaping) or prevents (by avoiding) the delivery of an aversive stimulus. Thus the removal of the aversive stimulus increases the likelihood that the response will occur.

nervous system
the body's speedy , electrochemical communication system, consisting of all the nerve cells of the peripheral and central nervous systems.

neurons
nerve cells; for more information, see the Neural Messages module

neuroticism

Neuroticism refers to the tendency to experience negative feelings. Those who score high on Neuroticism may experience primarily one specific negative feeling such as anxiety, anger, or depression, but are likely to experience several of these emotions. People high in Neuroticism are emotionally reactive. They respond emotionally to events that would not affect most people, and their reactions tend to be more intense than normal. They are more likely to interpret ordinary situations as threatening, and minor frustrations as hopelessly difficult. Their negative emotional reactions tend to persist for unusually long periods of time, which means they are often in a bad mood. These problems in emotional regulation can diminish a neurotic's ability to think clearly, make decisions, and cope effectively with stress.

At the other end of the scale, individuals who score low in Neuroticism are less easily upset and are less emotionally reactive. They tend to be calm, emotionally stable, and free from persistent negative feelings. Freedom from negative feelings does not mean that low scorers experience a lot of positive feelings; frequency of positive emotions is a component of the Extraversion domain.

Some studies have shown that neuroticism may be a risk factor for major depression. An interaction been found between neuroticism and adversity such that individuals with high neuroticism were at greater overall risk for major depression and were more sensitive to the depressogenic effects of adversity. An interaction was also seen between adversity and sex, as the excess risk for major depression in women was confined to individuals with low stress exposure.

Cigarette smoking behavior is influenced by both personality traits and inherited factors. Neuroticism a broad personality domain that includes anxiety, depression, impulsiveness and vulnerability increases the risk of being a smoker, primarily because of difficulty in quitting.

Understanding neuroticism at a neurobiological level will be an important step toward identifying novel vulnerability factors for psychiatric illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Along these lines, recent work has identified neural activation patterns within the right anterior insula that correlates with an individual's degree of neuroticism.

Introversion/extraversion and neuroticism are 2 important and frequently studied dimensions of human personality. These dimensions describe individual differences in emotional responding across a range of situations and may contribute to a predisposition for psychiatric disorders. Recent neuroimaging research has begun to provide evidence that neuroticism and introversion/extraversion have specific functional and structural neural correlates. Previous studies in healthy adults have reported an association between neuroticism, introversion/extraversion, and the activity of the prefrontal cortex and amygdala. Studies of individuals with psychopathological states have also indicated that anatomic variations in these brain areas may relate to extraversion and neuroticism. The purpose of the present study was to examine selected structural correlates of neuroticism and extraversion in healthy subjects ( n = 28) using neuroanatomic measures of the cerebral cortex and amygdala. We observed that the thickness of specific prefrontal cortex regions correlates with measures of extraversion and neuroticism. In contrast, no such correlations were observed for the volume of the amygdala. The results suggest that specific aspects of regional prefrontal anatomy are associated with specific personality traits.

A high level of neuroticism ( 90th percentile) was associated with a 33% increase in risk of death compared with a low level of neuroticism (10th percentile).

A recent study has found that extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism were positively correlated with well-being in orangutans—a finding that dovetails with previous research in chimpanzees and humans. The study suggests that the three personality traits, and their relationship to subjective well-being, were evident in a great-ape ancestor prior to chimpanzees and orangutans' evolutionary split, says researcher James E. King, PhD, a University of Arizona psychology professor.


neurotransmitters
molecules released by the axon terminal into the synapse, influencing the firing rate of the next neuron.

no correlation
correlation coefficient is near zero

non-zero-sum environment
a situation in which shared resources are not limited. This means that certain sets of decisions could lead to gains for all, while other sets of decisions could produce losses for everyone.

non-zero-sum game
a laboratory game in which shared resources are not limited. This means that certain sets of decisions could lead to gains for all, while other sets of decisions could produce losses for everyone.

normal
with reference to a distribution, normal means a symmetrical bell-shaped curve that describes the distribution of many physical and psychological attributes. Most scores fall near the average, and fewer and fewer scores lie near the extremes.

notational bias
Notational bias is a form of cultural bias that is incurred when the available notation to describe something introduces a bias in our ability to approach it.

An example of this is the standard notation in Western sheet music, which offers limited ability to describe the melodies of the musical systems of various other cultures. A similar example are questionnaires with precoded responses, omitting potentially more appropriate responses

not correlated

correlation coefficient is near zero

O

observations
observations may be either direct, such as the objects of sensory perception, or indirect, through reports such as questionnaires.

observational learning
Observational learning (also known as vicarious learning, social learning, or modeling) is a type of learning that occurs as a function of observing, retaining and replicating novel behavior executed by others. It is argued that reinforcement has the effect of influencing which responses one will partake in, more than it influences the actual acquisition of the new response.
Although observational learning can take place at any stage in life, it is thought to be of greater importance during childhood, particularly as authority becomes important. The best role models are those a year or two older for observational learning. Because of this, social learning theory has influenced debates on the effect of television violence and parental role models.

object permanence
the awareness that things continue to exist even when not perceived.

openness

Openness to Experience describes a dimension of cognitive style that distinguishes imaginative, creative people from down-to-earth, conventional people. Open people are intellectually curious, appreciative of art, and sensitive to beauty. They tend to be, compared to closed people, more aware of their feelings. They tend to think and act in individualistic and nonconforming ways. People with low scores on openness to experience tend to have narrow, common interests. They prefer the plain, straightforward, and obvious over the complex, ambiguous, and subtle. They may regard the arts and sciences with suspicion, regarding these endeavors as abstruse or of no practical use. Closed people prefer familiarity over novelty; they are conservative and resistant to change.

Openness is often presented as healthier or more mature by psychologists, who are often themselves open to experience. However, open and closed styles of thinking are useful in different environments. The intellectual style of the open person may serve a professor well, but research has shown that closed thinking is related to superior job performance in police work, sales, and a number of service occupations. Self-managed work teams perform more effectively with members have high and aproximately equivalent levels of openness.


occipital
with reference to the brain, the portion of the cerebral cortex lying at the back of the head; includes the visual areas, each of which receives visual information from the opposite visual field

operant behavior
behavior that operates on the environment, producing consequences.

operant conditioning
a type of learning in which a behavior is strengthened or diminished, depending on the nature of the consequences that follow it

operational definition
An operational definition is a description of a phenomenon whether a variable or constant in terms of the specific process or set of validation tests used to determine its presence and quantity. Properties described in this manner must be publicly accessible so that persons other than the definer can independently measure or test for them at will.

Let's say y want to study how satisfaction with life affects school performance in college seniors. How would y recognize high "satisfaction with life" when you saw it? How could y make sure that other people would agree with you when you said that a certain person was or was not satisfied with his/her life? One way would be to read the literature and see what other people did. Chances are that someone else out there has studied satisfaction with life and might have studied how to measure it.

optic nerve
the nerve that carries neural impulses from the eye to the brain

outer ear
the part of the ear consisting of the pinna, the ear canal, and the eardrum

outgroup homogeneity bias
individuals see members of their own group as being relatively more varied than members of other groups.

This bias was found to be unrelated to the number of group and non-group members individuals knew. You might think that people thought members of their own groups were more varied and different simply because they knew them better, but this is actually not the case. The outgroup homogeneity bias was found between groups such as "men" and "women" who obviously interact frequently.

The implications of this effect to stereotyping is obvious, and it may be related to confirmation bias.

A similar bias on the individual level is the trait ascription bias. Compare to the group attribution error and the dilution effect.

Resources:
Quattrone, G. A., & Jones, E. E. (1980). The perception of variability within in-groups and out-groups: Implications for the law of small numbers. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 38, 141-152.

Quattrone, G. A. (1986). On the perception of a group's variability. In S. Worchel & W. G. Austin (eds.) Psychology of intergroup relations, 2nd ed. Chicago: Nelson-Hall.

Mullen, B. & Hu, L. (1989). Perceptions of ingroup and outgroup variability: A meta-analytic integration. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 10, 233-252.


oval window
an opening in the medial wall of the entrance or vestibule of the cochlea; closed by the foot of the stirrup or stapes; converts the mechanical vibrations of the ossicles into pressure changes in the cochlea; also called vestibular window

P

partial reinforcement
reinforcing a response only part of the time; results in slower acquisition of response but much greater resistance to extinction than does continuous reinforcement

payoff matrix
in decision games, this matrix shows the outcome of each possible decision one player could make, given each possible decision the other player could make.

person-centered therapy
therapy developed by Carl Rogers. The therapist provides a warm, supportive, non-judgmental environment in which the person can explore feelings and gain self-awareness.


phenomena
direct mental representations such as a dream, your car, an idea, a warm fire-- and anything else we can think of! There are two kinds of phenomena those that change (variables) and those that stay the same (constants). Air temperature is a vaiable and a rock is a constant.
physiological needs
according to Abraham Maslow physiological needs such as eating, sleeping, breathing, sex et al. were the most basic needs on his theoretical "hierarchy of needs."

pinna
the shell-shaped part of the outer ear that protrudes from the side of the head; also called the auricle

pitch
the quality of the psychological experience (sensation) of a sound that is most related to the frequency of the physical sound stimulus

Poggendorf illusion
a visual illusion in which the center portion of a diagonal straight line is hidden by a rectangular object, but the two ends are visible. The two ends appear offset; that is, they don't appear to be part of the same line.

Ponzo illusion
a visual size illusion in which two converging lines cause objects between the two lines to look larger near the converging ends of the lines and smaller near the diverging ends

positive correlation
scores that are positively correlated go up and down together (as with high school and college GPAs); correlation coefficient is positive

positively correlated
scores that are positively correlated go up and down together (as with high school and college GPAs); correlation coefficient is positive

positive reinforcement
in operant conditioning, a situation in which the subject receives a reinforcer after performing a particular operant behavior and does not receive a reinforcer if that operant behavior is not performed. Thus the presence of the reinforcer increases the likelihood that the behavior will occur.

preoperational period
in Piaget's theory, the stage (from about 2 to 6 or 7 years of age) during which a child learns to use language but does not yet comprehend the mental operations of concrete logic

primary affects
according to Paul Ekman, the six basic emotions that are displayed on the face: surprise, fear, disgust, anger, happiness, sadness

primary punisher
in operant conditioning, a stimulus that is naturally rewarding-- usually satisfying a physiological need.

primary reinforcer
in operant conditioning, a stimulus that is in itself naturally punishing-- usually physical.

priming
a method for measuring implicit memory in which a person reads or listens to information and is later tested to see whether the information affects performance on another type of task. Priming refers to activating particular representations or associations in memory just before carrying out an action or task. In a neurological view priming can be seen as the activation of clusters of neurons (which can be seen as little stores of particular information). An interconnected cluster is surrounded by other clusters that are more or less connected with each other. When a cluster is activated, for example by the input of sensory neurons, surrounding clusters that are more interconnected (due to similar information, for example: both clusters represent a kind of flower) become more activated and are therefore more likely to come into consciousness. So when the cluster that represent the concept of "flower" is activated, particular clusters will be more activated then others (i.e. kinds of flowers). These associations are often regarded as unconscious, but can be conscious as well. For example, after studying a list of 20 words containing the word "garbage", a subject can be asked to recall the word by priming with a reminder stimulus "gar".


prisoners' dilemma game
a laboratory game which pits competition against cooperation. The highest combined payoff to the two players occurs if both choose a cooperative response, but a higher individual payoff goes to a player choosing a competitive response while the other chooses a cooperative response.

proactive interference
the disruptive effect of prior learning on the recall of new information

probability
a ratio expressing the likelihood of an occurrence

procedural memory
memories for the performance of of actions or skills

psychology
psychology science or study of the thought processes and behavior of humans and other animals in their interaction with the environment. Psychologists study processes of sense perception , thinking, learning , cognition, emotions and motivations , personality , abnormal behavior, interactions between individuals, and interactions with the environment. The field is closely allied with such disciplines as anthropology and sociology in its concerns with social and environmental influences on behavior; physics in its treatment of vision, hearing, and touch; and biology in the study of the physiological basis of behavior. In its earliest speculative period, psychological study was chiefly embodied in philosophical and theological discussions of the soul.
References:

The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition | 2008 | The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Copyright 2008 Columbia University Press.

punishment
in operant conditioning, a process by which a stimulus reduces the likelihood of a response.

pyramidal neuron
neurons whose cell body has the shape of a pyramid; found in the neocortex and hippocampus.


R

Q-learning
a specific kind of reinforcement learning that assigns values to action-state pairs. The state of the organism is a sum of all its sensory input, including its body position, its location in the environment, the neural activity in its head, etc. So in Q-learning, this means that because for every state there are a number of possible actions that could be taken, each action within each state has a value according to how much or little rewards the organism will get for completing that action (and reward means survival).


R

r
the correlation coefficient; a statistical measure of how much two factors vary together (and thus how well either predicts the other)

range
the difference between the highest and lowest scores in a distribution

raw scores
scores that have not been averaged, sorted, or processed yet

recall
to get information out of memory storage

recognition
ability to identify previously encountereed material

recency effect
when the results of a free recall task are plotted in the form of a serial position curve. Generally, this curve is U-shaped, and the recency effect corresponds to the tail of the U on the right. This tail indicates that words presented at the end of a list of to-be-remembered items are better remembered than words presented in the middle of this list. It is called the recency effect because these items were the ones presented most recently to the subject in the memory experiment.

The recency effect appears to be the result of subjects recalling items directly from the maintenance rehearsal loop used to keep items in primary memory. In other words, it reflects short-term memory for items. This is because the recency effect can be sharply attenuated by performing manipulations that adversely affect such rehearsal -- such as delaying recall of list items with a distractor task, or by using list items that have similar sounds/

receptor
special area on a neuron's membrane that can interact with neurotransmitter molecules. When a molecule binds to the receptor, changes occur in the membrane.



receptor
special area on a neuron's membrane that can interact with neurotransmitter molecules. When a molecule binds to the receptor, changes occur in the membrane.

recognition
the ability to recognize previously encountered material

reductionism
Reductionism encompasses a set of ontological, epistemological, and methodological claims about the relation of different scientific domains. The basic question of reduction is whether the properties, concepts, explanations, or methods from one scientific domain (typically at higher levels of organization) can be deduced from or explained by the properties, concepts, explanations, or methods from another domain of science (typically one about lower levels of organization). Reduction is germane to a variety of issues in philosophy of science, including the structure of scientific theories, the relations between different scientific disciplines, the nature of explanation, the diversity of methodology, and the very idea of theoretical progress, as well as to numerous topics in metaphysics and philosophy of mind, such as emergence, mereology, and supervenience.
References:
Brigandt, I., & Love, A. (2008), In Zalta, E. N. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2008 Edition), Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2008/entries/reduction-biology/.
Reregulatory Focus Theory
Regulatory Focus Theory is a goal pursuit theory[1] formulated by Columbia University psychology professor and researcher E. Tory Higgins regarding peoples’ perceptions in the decision making process. RFT examines the relationship between the motivation of a person and the way in which they go about achieving their goal [2] . This psychological theory, like many others, is applied in communication, specifically in the subfields of nonverbal communication and persuasion.

reinforcer in operant conditioning, any event that strengthens the behavior it follows

relative frequency
for a given set of possible outcomes, the relative frequency of each outcome is the number of times that particular outcome has occurred in the past divided by the total number of times that any of the outcomes in the set have occurred

reliability
reliability is the extent to which the measurements of a test remain consistent over repeated tests of the same subject under identical conditions. An experiment is reliable if it yields consistent results of the same measure. It is unreliable if repeated measurements give different results.

REM
rapid eye movement sleep; a recurring sleep stage during which vivid dreams commonly occur; also known as paradoxical sleep because the muscles are relaxed (except for minor twitches) but other body systems are active

REM sleep
rapid eye movement sleep; a recurring sleep stage during which vivid dreams commonly occur; also known as paradoxical sleep because the muscles are relaxed (except for minor twitches) but other body systems are active

repolarization
negative shift in the electrical potential inside the axon, caused by the outflow of positively-charged potassium ions. This produces a return to the resting potential of the axon.

representativeness heuristic
a cognitive shortcut in which we assume commonality between objects of similar appearance. While often very useful in everyday life, it can also result in neglect of relevant base rates and other errors. The representative heuristic was first identified by Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman.

Resources:
Baron, J. (2000). Thinking and Deciding (3d ed.). Cambridge University Press.

Kahneman, D., & Tversky, A. (1973). On the Psychology of Prediction. Psychological Review, 80, 237-251.

Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1982). Evidential Impact of Base Rates. In D. Kahneman, P. Slovic, & A. Tversky (Eds.), Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


resources
Resources are material, social, or personal characteristics that a person possesses that he or she can use to make progress toward her or his personal goals. Resources can be external possessions (e.g., money), social roles (e.g., being a chairperson), and personal characteristics (e.g., intelligence). The belief that resources should correlate substantially with SWB is based in part on the idea that people with many assets are better able to fulfill their needs. Thus, resources help one fulfill one's physical and psychological needs and thereby also aid one in achieving a sense of competence or mastery. For example, a person who is physically attractive should more readily make friends, gain employment, and have romantic relationships, as well as generally feel empowered. A person with money should not only be better able to meet his or her basic physical needs but also should be able to develop his or her talents, have more choices in terms of recreation, and so forth. A person with resources should make better progress toward his or her goals and therefore experience higher positive affect.

respondent behavior
behavior that occurs as an automatic response to some stimulus; Skinner's term for behavior learned through classical conditioning

resting potential
the axon's electrical state during the period between action potentials. The fluid inside the axon membrane is electrically negative compared to the fluid outside the axon.

retina
the light-sensitive inner surface of the eye, containing the receptor rods and cones plus layers of neurons that begin the processing of visual information

retrieval
the process of getting information out of memory storage. This is a theoretical concept that describes the phenomenon of experiencing a recollection. The process is measured through behaviors in memory recall tests.

retrieve
to get information out of memory storage

retroactive interference
the disruptive effect of new learning on the recall of old information

retroactive interference
the disruptive effect of new learning on the recall of old information

Rogerian approach
pioneered by Carl Rogers, this perspective on therapy focuses on the person or client rather than the therapist. The therapist provides a warm, supportive, non-judgmental environment in which the person can explore feelings and gain self-awareness.


S

saddle point
in decision games based on a payoff matrix, the point at which the minimax strategies of the two players converge
.
salience

The salience of a cognitive or perceptual object is its characteistic of prominence relative to proximate or similar objects. Saliency detection is considered to be a key attentional mechanism that facilitates learning and survival by enabling organisms to focus their limited perceptual and cognitive resources on the most pertinent subset of the available sensory data. Saliency typically arises from contrasts between items and their neighborhood, such as a red dot surrounded by white dots, a flickering message indicator of an answering machine, or a loud noise in an otherwise quiet environment. Saliency detection is often studied in the context of the visual system, but similar mechanisms operate in other sensory systems. When attention deployment is driven by salient stimuli, it is considered to be bottom-up, memory-free, and reactive. Attention can also be guided by top-down, memory-dependent, or anticipatory mechanisms, such as when looking ahead of moving objects or sideways before crossing streets.
Humans and other animals cannot pay attention to more than one or very few items simultaneously, so they are faced with the challenge of continuously integrating and prioritizing different bottom-up and top-down influences.

scatterplot
a graphed cluster of dots

schema
a concept or framework that organizes and interprets information a mental structure that represents some aspect of the world. People use schemata to organize current knowledge and provide a framework for future understanding. Examples of schemata include stereotypes, social roles, scripts, worldviews, and archetypes. In Piaget's theory of development, children adopt a series of schemas to understand the world.

The importance of schemata for thought cannot be overstated. Sufferers of Korsakov's syndrome are unable to form new memories, and must approach every situation as if they had just seen it for the first time. Many sufferers adapt by continually forcing their world into barely-applicable schemata, often to the point of incoherence and self-contradiction.

Schemas are an effective tool for understanding the world. Through the use of schemata, most everyday situations do not require effortful thought -- automatic thought is all that is required. People can quickly organize new perceptions into schemas and act effectively without effort. For example, most people have a stairway schema and can apply it to climb staircases they've never seen before.

However, schemas can influence and hamper the uptake of new information (proactive interference), such as when existing stereotypes, giving rise to limited or biased discourses and expectations (prejudices) may lead an individual to 'see' or 'remember' something that has not happened because it is more believable in terms of his/her schema: for example, if a well-dressed businessman draws a knife on a Rastafarian, the schemas of onlookers may (and often do) lead them to 'remember' the Rastafarian pulling the knife. Such distortion of memory has been demonstrated. See Background research below.

Schemas are often related to one another, and multiple conflicting schemata can be applied to the same information. Schemata are generally thought to have a level of activation, which can spread among related schemata. Which schema is selected can depend on factors such as current activation, accessibility, and priming. Accessibility is how easily a schema comes to mind, and is determined by personal experience and expertise. This can be used as a cognitive shortcut; it allows the most common explanation to be chosen for new information. See availability heuristic.
With priming, a brief imperceptible stimulus temporarily provides enough activation to a schema so that it is used for subsequent ambiguous information. Although this may suggest the possibility of subliminal messages, the effect of priming is so fleeting that it is difficult to detect outside laboratory conditions. Furthermore, the mere exposure effect -- which requires consciousness of the stimuli -- is far more effective than priming.

A schema representation is a way of capturing the insight that concepts are defined by a configuration of features, and each of these features involves specifying a value the object has on some attribute. The schema represents a concept by pairing a class of attribute with a particular value, and stringing all the attributes together. They are a way of encoding regularities in categories, whether these regularities are propositional or perceptual. They are also general, rather than specific, so that they can be used in many situations.

References:
  1. Anderson, J.R. (1990). Cognitive psychology and its implications . New York, NY: Freeman.

secondary punisher
in operant conditioning, a stimulus that acquires punishing properties through a prior pairing with primary or other secondary punishers.

secondary reinforcer
in operant conditioning, a stimulus that acquires reinforcing properties through a prior pairing with primary or other secondary reinforcers.

self-serving bias

to claim responsibility for successes than failures. It may also manifest itself as a tendency for people to evaluate ambiguous information in a way beneficial to their interests. Dale Miller and Michael Ross first suggested this attributional bias. Self-serving bias also results in a statistical bias resulting from people thinking that they perform better than average in areas important to their self esteem. For example a majority of drivers think they drive better than the average.

For instance, a student who gets a good grade on an exam might say, "I got an A because I am intelligent and I studied hard!" while a student who does poorly on an exam might say, "The teacher gave me an F because he does not like me!" When someone seeks out external causes for their poor performance, it may be labeled self-handicapping. Self-serving bias may simply be a form of wishful thinking.

Self-serving bias may result in bargaining impasse if each side interprets the facts of the dispute in their own favor. In this situation one or more of the parties may refuse to continue negotiating, believing the other side is either bluffing or refusing to accept a reasonable settlement and thus deserves to be 'punished.'

There is a good deal of experimental evidence to support this hypothesis. In one experiment (described in Babcock & Lowenstein, 1997) which assigned participants to either the plaintiff or defendant in a hypothetical automotive accident tort case with a maximum potential damages payment of $100,000, the plaintiff's prediction of the likely judicial award was on average $14,500 higher than the defendant's. The plaintiff's average nomination of a 'fair' figure was $17,700 higher than the defendant's. When parties subsequently attempted to negotiate a settlement agreement, the discrepancy between the two sides' assessment of a fair compensation figure strongly correlated with whether or not parties reached an agreement within a set period of time. This experiment was conducted with real money with one real dollar being equal to $10,000 experimental dollars and if parties did not reach a negotiated agreement the case was decided by a third party and each side had to pay costly court and legal fees.

Group-serving bias is a similar bias on the group level.

Resources:
Miller, D. T., & Ross, M. (1975). Self-serving biases in the attribution of causality: Fact or fiction? Psychological Bulletin, 82, 213-225.

Babcock, L. & Loewenstein, G., (1997). Explaining Bargaining Impasse: The Role of Self-Serving Biases, Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), 109-26

semicircular canals
three small semicircular tubes or ducts in the bony labyrinth of the inner ear; the anterior, lateral, and posterior canals lie in planes at right angles to each other; involved in sensing rotational motion and head position

sensorimotor period
in Piaget's theory, the stage (from birth to about 2 years of age) during which infants know the world mostly in terms of their sensory impressions and motor activities

sensory neurons
neurons that carry information from the body's tissues and organs to the central nervous system; also called afferent neurons.

sensory register
a memory system that accurately but very briefly registers sensory information before the information fades or moves into short-term memory

semantic meory
memories of general knowledge, including facts, rules, concepts, and propostions

serial-position effect
tendency for recall of the first and last items on a list to surpass recall of items in the middle of the list

set-point
point of equilibrium, as in a thermostat

shaping
in operant conditioning a procedure in which successive approximation of an intended response are reinforced

short term memory
In the three-box model of memory, a limited capacity memory system involved in the retention of information for brief eriods, it is is also used to hold information retrieved from long-term memory for temporary use

skewed
with reference to a distribution, skewed means that more of the scores are clustered toward one end of the distribution

skewed distribution
a distribution that is not symmetrical; more of the scores are clustered toward one end of the distribution

Skinner Box
a chamber containing a bar or key that an animal can manipulate to obtain a food or water reinforcer, and devices to record the animal's rate of bar pressing or key pecking; used in operant conditioning research

sleep spindles
very brief bursts of rapid brain activity observed in stage 2 of the sleep cycle

sociology
Sociology is the scientific study of human social behavior. As the study of humans in their collective aspect, sociology is concerned with all group activities—economic, social, political, and religious. Sociologists study such areas as bureaucracy, community, deviant behavior, family, public opinion, social change, social mobility, social stratification, and such specific problems as crime, divorce, child abuse, and substance addiction. Sociology tries to determine the laws governing human behavior in social contexts; it is sometimes distinguished as a general social science from the special social sciences, such as economics and political science, which confine themselves to a selected group of social facts or relations. References:

The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition | 2008 | The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Copyright 2008 Columbia University Press.

soma
another name for the cell body of a neuron.

somatosensory neuron
neuron that carries information from the skin to the spinal cord.

split-brain
a condition in which the two hemispheres of the brain are isolated by cutting the connecting fibers (mainly those of the corpus callosum) between them

spontaneous recovery
the reappearance, after a rest period, of an extinguished conditioned response

standard deviation
a measure of score variability, computed by (1) calculating the difference between each score and the mean, (2) squaring those differences, (3) calculating the mean of the squares of the differences, and (4) taking the square root of this mean

statistics
special numbers that have been computed from a set of scores to tell us something about the scores

stirrup
the smallest of the three bones or ossicles in the middle ear; attached to the oval window medially and to the anvil or incus laterally; transmits the vibrations of the ossicles to the oval window; also called the stapes

storage
the maintenance of encoded information over time

symmetrical distribution
a distribution that is balanced; the pattern of scores below the midpoint of the distribution is the mirror-image of the pattern of scores above the midpoint of the distribution

synapse
the junction of the axon tip of the sending neuron with the dendrite or cell body of the receiving neuron. Technically, a synapse consists of the pre-synaptic membrane, the synaptic gap or cleft, and the post-synaptic membrane.

synaptic transmission
chemical process by which the neural impulse is passed from the axon terminal of one neuron to the dendrite or cell body of another neuron.

synaptic vesicles
sacs in the axon terminals that contain the neurotransmitter molecules.


systems theory

Ludwig Von Bertalanffy proposed that organisms are complex, organized, and interactive. Because of this they cannot be fully explained by way of linear causes and mechanistic models. Instead the study of any organism, whether biological or social, requires a model with a broader, holistic orientation in order to understand fully the dynamics involved.

A general systems perspective examines the way components of a system interact with one another to form a whole. Rather than just focusing on each of the separate parts, a systems perspective focuses on the connectedness and the interrelation and interdependence of all the parts. A systems perspective permits one to see how a change in one component of the system affects the other components of the system, which in turns affects the initial component.

The systems thinking approach incorporates several tenets: * Interdependence of objects and their attributes - independent elements can never constitute a system * Holism - emergent properties not possible to detect by analysis should be possible to define by a holistic approach * Goal seeking - systemic interaction must result in some goal or final state * Inputs and Outputs - in a closed system inputs are determined once and constant; in an open system additional inputs are admitted from the environment * Transformation of inputs into outputs - this is the process by which the goals are obtained * Entropy - the amount of disorder or randomness present in any system * Regulation - a method of feedback is necessary for the system to operate predictably * Hierarchy - complex wholes are made up of smaller subsystems * Differentiation - specialized units perform specialized functions * Equifinality - alternative ways of attaining the same objectives (convergence)
References:

T

theory
a logically self-consistent model or framework for describing the behavior of a related set of natural or social phenomena.

theoretical definition
the meaning of a concept in terms of the theories of a specific discipline. This type of definition assumes knowledge and acceptance of the theories that it depends on. A theoretical definition is distinguished from an operational definition.
Theoretical definitions are common in scientific contexts, where theories tend to be more precisely defined, and results are more widely accepted as correct. The definitions of substances as various configurations of atoms are theoretical definitions, as are definitions of colors as specific wavelengths of reflected light. In such cases one definition of a term is unlikely to contradict another definition based on a different theory. However, in areas such as philosophy and the social sciences, theoretical definitions of the same term often contradict each other depending on whose theory is being used as the basis.

timbre
the quality of a sound that enables us to tell what sort of object produced the sound; related to the waveform of the sound wave.

trait_ascription bias
the tendency to view oneself as relatively variable in terms of personality, behavior and mood while viewing others as much more predictable in their personal traits across different situations. This may be because our own internal states are much more observable and available to us than those of others.

This attributional bias has an obvious role in the formation and maintenance of stereotypes and prejudice, combined with the negativity effect.

A similar bias on the group level is called the outgroup homogeneity bias.

Reference:
Kammer, D. (1982). Differences in trait ascriptions to self and friend: Unconscious founding intensity from variability. Psychological Reports 51, 99-102.

trucking game
a laboratory game in which two players share a single road (limited resource), and must choose to cooperate or compete with each other for the use of the road.

U

uncorrelated
correlation coefficient is near zero

unconditioned response
in classical conditioning, the unlearned, naturally occurring response to the unconditioned stimulus, such as salivation when food is in the mouth

unconditioned stimulus
in classical conditioning, a stimulus that unconditionally (naturally and automatically) triggers a response

UR
UR stands for unconditioned response. This is an automatic response that is always produced by an unconditioned stimulus. For example, lemon juice in your mouth (an unconditioned stimulus) triggers the release of saliva (the unconditioned response).

US
US stands for unconditioned stimulus. This type of stimulus always produces a response. The association doesn't need to be learned. An example of a US would be lemon juice, which always produces salivation.


V

validity
validity is the ability of a test to measure what it was designed to measure, the degree to which the operational definition of a variable accurately reflects the variable it is designed to measure or manipulate.

Validity can be defined in a number of ways. A common approach, called criterion validity, is to correlate measures with a criterion measure known to be valid. When the criterion measure is collected at the same time as the measure being validated the goal is to establish concurrent validity; when the criterion is collected later the goal is to establish predictive validity. Separate from criterion validity is construct validity, where an investigator examines whether a measure is related to other variables as required by theory. Content validity, or face validity, is simply a demonstration that the items of a test are drawn from the domain being measured; it does not guarantee that the test actually measures phenomena in that domain. According to classical test theory, predictive or concurrent validity (correlation between the predictor and the predicted) cannot exceed the square root of the correlation between two versions of the same measure -- that is, reliability limits validity. See also internal validity.

variable
A phenomenon that changes. In science variables are measured. A phenomenon may either be a variable or a constant.

variable-interval schedule
in operant conditioning, a schedule of reinforcement that reinforces a response at unpredictable time intervals


variable-ratio schedule
in operant conditioning, a schedule of reinforcement that reinforces a response after an unpredictable number of responses

variability
the degree to which the scores are clustered or scattered around the middle of the distribution; low variability means that the scores are packed tightly around the middle of the distribution

ventromedial
medial means "in the middle," ventro means on the same side of the body as the stomach (as opposed to the back)

ventromedial hypothalamus
region in the bottom/middle of the hypothalamus

visual field
the portion of the visual environment that is projected to one hemisphere

VMH
ventromedial region of the hypothalamus


G

working memory
short term memory plus the mental processes that control tetrieval of information from long-term memory and interpret that information appropriately for a given task

waveform
the shape of a wave; pure single-frequency waves produced by a tuning fork or flute have a smooth, rounded shape, while complex waves produced by a piano have an irregular shape with many small waves (harmonics) of different frequencies embedded in the main wave


Z

zero-sum environment
a laboratory game in which shared resources are strictly limited. If one person gains, the others lose.

zero-sum game
a laboratory game in which shared resources are strictly limited. If one person gains, the others lose.