Psychology Definitions

  1. cognition
    the mental activities involved in acquiring, retaining, and using knowledge.
  2. thinking
    the manipulation of mental representations of information in order to draw interferences and conclusions.
  3. mental image
    a mental representation of objects or events that are not physically present.
  4. concept
    a mental category of objects or ideas based on properties they share.
  5. formal concept
    a mental category that is formed by learning the rules or features that define it.
  6. natural concept
    a mental category that is formed as a result of everyday experience.
  7. prototype
    the most typical instance of a particular concept.
  8. exemplars
    individual instances of a concept or category, held in memory.
  9. problem solving
    thinking and behavior directed toward attaining a goal that is not readily available.
  10. trial and error
    a problem-solving strategy that involves attempting different solutions and eliminating those that do not work.
  11. algorithm
    a problem-solving strategy that involves following a specific rule, procedure, or method that inevitably produces the correct solution.
  12. heuristic
    a problem-solving strategy that involves following a general rule of thumb to reduce the number of possible solutions.
  13. insight
    the sudden realization of how a problem can be solved.
  14. intuition
    coming to a conclusion or making a judgement without conscious awareness of the thought processes involved.
  15. functional fixedness
    the tendency to view objects as functioning only in their usual or customary way.
  16. mental set
    the tendency to persist in solving problems with solutions that have worked in the past.
  17. availability heuristic
    a strategy in which the likelihood of an event is estimated on the basis of how readily available other instances of the event are in memory.
  18. representativeness heuristic
    a strategy in which the likelihood of an event is estimated by comparing how similar it is to the prototype of the event.
  19. language
    a system for combining arbitrary symbols to produce an infinite number of meaningful statements.
  20. linguistic relativity hypothesis
    the hypothesis that differences among language cause differences in the thoughts of their speakers.
  21. animal cognition
    the study of animal learning, memory, thinking, and language; also called comparative cognition.
  22. intelligence
    the global capacity to think rationally, act purposefully, and deal effectively with the environment.
  23. mental age
    a measurement of intelligence in which an individual's mental level is expressed in terms of the average abilities of a given age group.
  24. intelligence quotient (IQ)
    a measure of general intelligence derived by comparing an individual's score with the scores of others in the same age group.
  25. achievement test
    a test designed to measure a person's level of knowledge, skill, or accomplishment in a particular area.
  26. aptitude test
    a test designed to asses a person's capacity to benefit from education or training.
  27. standardization
    the administration of a test to a large, representative sample of people under uniform conditions for the purpose of establishing norms.
  28. normal curve or normal distribution
    a bell-shaped distribution of individual differences in a normal population in which most scores cluster around the average score.
  29. reliability
    the ability of a test to produce consistent results when administered on repeated occasions under similar conditions.
  30. validity
    the ability of a test to measure what it is intended to measure.
  31. g factor or general intelligence
    the notion of a general intelligence factor that is responsible for a person's overall performance on tests of mental ability.
  32. autism
    behavioral syndrome associated with differences in brain functioning and sensory responses, and which is characterized by impaired social interaction, impaired verbal and nonverbal communication skills, repetitive or odd motor behaviors, and highly restricted interests and routines.
  33. Asperger's syndrome
    behavioral syndrome characterized by varying degrees of difficulty in social and conversational skills but normal-to-above-average intelligence and language development; often accompanied by obsessive preoccupation with particular topics or routines.
  34. mental retardation
    disorder characterized by intellectual function that is significantly below average, usually defined as a measured IQ of 70 or below and which is caused by brain injury, disease, or a genetic disorder.
  35. triarchic theory of intelligence
    Sternberg's theory that there are three distinct forms of intelligence: analytic, creative, and practical.
  36. heritability
    the percentage of variation within a given population that is due to heredity.
  37. stereotype threat
    a psychological predicament in which fear that you will be evaluated in terms of a negative stereotype about a group to which you belong creates anxiety and self-doubt, lowering performance in a particular domain that is important to you.
Card Set
Psychology Definitions
Chapter 7