psychology gre

  1. a-b variable
    a variable that describes the effectiveness of therapists with schizophrenic or neurotic patients. "A" therapists work best with schizophrenics, and "B" therapies work best with neurotics.
  2. ability
    possessing the necessary skills to perform a specific act at the present time, as opposed to aptitude (having the potential to perform with additional training).
  3. ability tests
    subdivided into tests of aptitude and achievement, ability tests are designated to measure individual differences in knowledge and skills to determine what a person can do.
  4. ablation
    removal of a body part for the purpose of studying it
  5. abnormal behavior
    behavior which creates a problem for the individual and/or for society. Abnormal behavior is often maladaptive to the individual's functioning in society.
  6. abortion
    a spontaneous or induced expulsion of the fetus usually prior to the twentieth week of pregnancy
  7. abreaction
    a term used by breuer and freud to describe a patient's, sometimes violent, expression of a repressed emotion during hypnosis. this release of strangulated affect is synonymous with catharsis
  8. abscissa
    the x-axis, or horizontal axis of a graph. the independent variable is plotted on the abscissa
  9. absolute refractory period
    a brief period toward the end of neural stimulation during which the nerve cannot be restimulated
  10. absolute threshold
    the lowest level of intensity of a stimulus at which its presence or absence can be correctly detected 50 percent of the time.
  11. abstract intelligence
    the ability to deal effectively with ideas expressed in symbols such as words, numbers, pictures, or diagrams
  12. accommodation (perception)
    in vision, the changed of lens shape or curvature that produce sharpened retinal images of objects at varying distance from the eye
  13. accommodation (theory)
    in Piaget's system, the adaptive modification of the child's cognitive structures in order to deal with new objects of experiences (see assimilation)
  14. acculturaltion
    the learning of behaviors and attitudes one is expected to adopt as a member of a particular culture
  15. acetylcholine
    an acid that acts as an excitatory substance to facilitate neural transmission at many synapses and neuromuscular junctions
  16. achievement motivation
    the need, or drive, to perform a task successfully as judged against standards of excellence. the concept predominates in the expectancy value theory of motivation
  17. achievement test
    the part of an ability test designed to assess what an individual has already learned through prior training
  18. achromatic
    without hue or saturation, varying only on the brightness dimension. for example, the black, gray, and white series.
  19. achromatism
    total color blindness due to congenital absence of cone cells.
  20. acoustic stimulus
    a sound wave arising from the vibrations around an object in the air. Sound waves are generally referred to as acoustic stimuli only when they are audible.
  21. acquisition
    the gradual strengthening of a response through learning as it is incorporated into the behavioral repertoire
  22. acquisition curve
    the graphic representation of the acquisition process in which response strength is displayed on the vertical axis and amount of practice on the horizontal.
  23. acrophobia
    a neurotic fear of heights.
  24. act
    a single unit in the continuous stream of behavior
  25. ACTH
    (adrenocorticotrophic hormone) a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland in response to stress, causing the adrenal cortex to secrete corticosterone
  26. acting out
    • 1. the performance in a new setting of behavior learned from and appropriate to another social situation
    • 2. in psychoanalysis, the carrying out of repressed impulses; the manifest behavior that is often symbolic of earlier stages of he individual's life.
  27. action decrement
    the tendency of an organism not to repeat the action just completed
  28. action potential
    the nerve impulse; the changes in electrical potential along a nerve fiber that constitute the nerve impulse as it travels through the axon
  29. action-specific energies
    (lorenz) motivating energies that impel only very specific sequences of behavior; motivating energy for instinctual behaviors.
  30. active analytic psychotherapy
    the form of psychoanalysis developed by wilhelm stekel in which the therapist takes a directive role as educator
  31. active avoidance learning
    a learning task in which the subject must make a prescribed response in order to avoid an aversive stimulus
  32. active learning
    learning procedures that stress recitation and performance as opposed to simple reading of materials.
  33. actualization
    the desire to realize one's own potential; in Maslow's theory of motivation, the highest level in the human need hierarchy
  34. acuity
    sharpness of perception. usually visual acuity, the ability of the eye to see spatial detail
  35. adaptation
    • 1. a reduction in the sensitivity of a sense organ due to continued stimulation from the same source.
    • 2. behavioral or anatomical changes which enhance the possibility of survival.
    • 3. in Piaget's system, the process of cognitive growth which modifies psychological structures to suit the environment.
  36. adaptation level
    the level of stimulation to which an individual has already adapted and against which new stimulus conditions are judged.
  37. addiction
    a state of dependence upon a drug or chemical in which discontinued use of the substance results in extreme psychological and/or physiological reactions
  38. adipsia
    a condition resulting from the destruction of the lateral hypothalamus that causes the victim to stop drinking
  39. adjective checklist
    a technique, used in the assessment of adult emotions, in which the subject is presented with a list of emotion words and is then instructed to check off those that are most appropriate to his feelings.
  40. alfred adler
    a personality theorist who emphasized social factors in personality development. Founder of the school of Individual psychology, he broke away from freud in 1911
  41. adolescence
    the period from the onset of puberty to adulthood (11 to 19 years of age)
  42. adrenal cortex
    the outer layer of the adrenal gland that secretes several hormones, including corticosterone, in response to emotional arousal.
  43. adrenal gland
    a gland of the endocrine system that produces many hormones; especially important in regulating bodily responses to stress.
  44. adrenal medulla
    the inner core of the adrenal gland that secretes the hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine into the blood stream
  45. adrenal steroids
    hormones secreted into the circulatory system by the adrenal cortex during emotional arousal.
  46. adrenaline
    also called epinephrine; a substance produced by the adrenal gland which is related to increases in general arousal.
  47. affect
    a synonym for emotion; sometimes employed as a quantitative term to express a person's emotional capacity and degree of reaction to given situations
  48. affective component
    the emotional or feeling aspect of an attitude
  49. affective feedback
    the feelings of pleasantness or unpleasantness following an organism's responses
  50. affective psychosis
    psychotic behavior characterized by extremes of mood. the most common include depressive reactions or manic-depressive reactions.
  51. affective state
    the emotion of an individual at a specified point in time; can include negative, positive, or neural feelings
  52. afferent nerves
    nerves carried by the dorsal root which relay sensory impulses (information about the environment) to the central nervous system; sometimes used synonymously with sensory nerves
  53. afferent neuron
    a neuron carrying information to the central nervous system
  54. affiliation
    the need to associate with others; also, the quantity and quality of group memberships and friendship bonds
  55. affirmation rule
    in concept learning, a rule specifying that all items with a particular attribute are instances of the concept
  56. afterbirth
    the placenta and other membranes that are expelled from a woman's body following the birth of a child.
  57. aftersensation
    most often in vision (after images), the continuation of a sensation even after the removal of the stimulus.
  58. age equivalent
    • 1. in testing, a score conversion in which a test score is assigned the age value for which that score is the average score
    • 2. in development, the average age at which a child reaches a particular developmental stage.
  59. age norms
    norms based upon large samples of children at each age
  60. aggression
    hostile action or feelings, especially those caused by frustration, which may result in harm or injury to another person
  61. aggressive drive
    one of the inherited instincts proposed by Freud and thought to give rise to the destructive components of human behavior.
  62. agoraphobia
    a strong fear of open places; often referred to as a form of neurosis
  63. albinism
    the congenital absence of hair, eye, and skin pigmentation. as albino is colorblind.
  64. alcoholism
    a substance use disorder marked by compulsive drinking and inability to read or understand written or printed language.
  65. alexia
    a form of aphasia, usually caused by brain damage, in which one has an inability to read or understand written or printed language.
  66. algorithm
    a method for attacking a problem which is assured of success; often involves repetitive operations which survey the possibilities at each step
  67. alienation
    the state of feeling separated or withdrawn from each one's culture and/or social and personal relationships; the central theme of existential philosophy
  68. allele
    one of a pair of genes located at corresponding positions on a pair of chromosomes. each pair contains the genetic code for a particular trait, with one allele often dominant
  69. all-or-none law
    the principle that the axon of a neuron fires either with full strength or not at all to a stimulus, regardless of its intensity, provided the stimulus, regardless of its intensity, provided the stimulus is at least at the threshold value
  70. gordon allport
    american psychologist who studied the development of personality. he favored a dynamic trait model.
  71. alpha rhythm
    a wave pattern, found in the EEG during period of relaxed alertness, which has a frequency of 8 to 12 cycles per second
  72. alpha wave
    a particular brain wave pattern that occurs when the subject is in a state of "relaxed wakefulness." people can be taught to control the presence of alpha waves through biofeedback training.
  73. altered state of consciousness
    state that occurs when the overall functioning of the mind takes on a pattern that is qualitatively different from normal
  74. alternation
    experimental method used in the study of thinking in which the subject is required to alternate responses in a pattern (such as left-right-left-right-left-right)
  75. altruistic behavior
    behavior that benefits others and is not directly rewarding to the self
  76. amacrine cells
    retinal cells believed to be of importance in summation effects. they interconnect bipolar or second order neurons.
  77. ambiguity
    the possibility that a given stimulus can elicit more than one definition response
  78. ambivalence
    the bipolarity of feeling; the state of being drawn to or away from two mutually antagonistic goals at the same time.
  79. american psychiatric association
    the major and official professional organization for psychologists in the united states
  80. american sign language
    the gestural language used by the deaf in north america
  81. amnesia
    the inability to recall events in one's past, sometimes including one's identity, often as a result of physical or psychological trauma. In the absence of physical trauma, amnesia is often attributed to neurotic dissociation of threatening aspects of one's past sometimes restricted to one severely tramatic event
  82. amniocentesis
    the removal of fetal cells from the fluid of the amniotic sac to test for the presence of abnormal chromosomes
  83. amniotic fluid
    a dark, watery fluid that fills the amniotic sac during pregnancy. The sac lines the uterus and contains the developing child
  84. amphetamine
    a class of drugs that stimulates the central nervous system. Chemically all amphetamines contain C9H13N. Use can become addictive
  85. amplitude
    the intensity or loudness of sound, measured in decibels
  86. amygdala
    a part of the limbic system, the system where emotion is organized, located between the hypothalymus and pituitary gland which becomes active whenever we encounter anything new or unexpected.
  87. anal character
    in psychoanalytic personality, one characterized by stinginess, orderliness, and compulsize behavior because of an infantile fixation on the anal region
  88. anal stage
    the second of Freud's stages in which libidinal interest and conflicts center on excretory functions and toilet training. This stage usually occurs between the ages 8 to 18 months
  89. analog computer
    a computer that operates on continuous signals of varying voltages
  90. analysis of variance
    a statistical test appropriate for analyzing reliability from experiments with any number of levels on one or more independent variables
  91. analytic psychology
    the term applied to the form of psychoanalysis developed by Carl Jung
  92. anaphrodisiac
    having to do with a lack of sexual feeling
  93. anchorage effect
    resistance to attitude change because of particularly strong beliefs or group support
  94. androgens
    substances associated with male sex gormone activity in vertabrates, produced mainly by the testes and to a small extent by ovaries and the adrenal cortex
  95. androgyny
    having psychological characteristics expected of members of both sexes
  96. anecdotal record
    a written report describing an incident of an individual's behavior. Theoretical conclusions based solely on anecdotal reports are often suspect. They do, however, often serve as the basis for actual research
  97. anechoic chamber
    an enclosure, the walls of which are especially absorbing of sounds
  98. james angell
    one of the founders of Functionalism
  99. anger
    an acute emotional reaction characterized by strong impulses in the autonomic nervous system which may occur when the attainment of a goal is blocked. often by frustration
  100. anima
    according to jung, an archetype representing the feminine characteristics as opposed to the animus, or male archetype
  101. animism
    the belief held by young children to the effect that nonliving objects have some of the characteristics of living beings, such as will and intention
  102. anisocoria
    a pathologial condition in which the pupils of the two eyes are of unequal diameter
  103. anomalous color defect
    anomalous dichromatism and trichromatism. In dichromatism only two colors are seen (most often blue and yellow). in trichromatism weakness in the red-green region is observed.
  104. anomy
    a term employed by Bull to describe the earliest stage in the development of mortality. Refers to the absence of a moral orientation
  105. anorexia
    (nervosa: self starvation) Extreme loss of appetite accompanied by pathological and dangerous weight loss
  106. anosmia
    complete absence or serious deficiency in the sense of smell
  107. anoxemia
    an oxygen deficiency which interferes with normal metabolism
  108. anoxia
    a condition in which the brain does not receive enough oxygen to allow it to develop or function properly
  109. antabuse
    drug that causes intense nausea if a person drinks alcohol while the chemical is in his bloodstream. Used as a method of controlling the pathological drinking environmental conditions affect performance
  110. antecedent-consequent research
    research strategy that studies subjects of the same age to determine how different environmental conditions affect performance
  111. anthropomorphism
    the attribution of human characteristics to subhuman species. anthropomorphic explanations often attribute conscious thought, etc. to animals or to inanimate objects (most common in children)
  112. anticipation
    a technique for testing learning and memory that requires the subject to indicate the learned material in a determined order
  113. anticipation learning
    a form of rote-learning procedure in which the subject tries to give the next item in the list during each trial. Affords a running account of the subject's progress
  114. antidepressant
    a drug which elevates the mood and relieves depression. Most antidepressants are "set-point" drugs which, like aspirin, have no effect on an individual unless he or she is in an abnormal state (e.g. has a headache). people who are not depressed do not feel better after taking antidepressants (just as aspirin will not change the temperature of someone who already has a temperature of 98.6)
  115. antipsychotics
    these drugs are used with major psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. The drugs have a calming effect and seem o alleviate schizophrenic symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations. Some examples are chlorpromazine and reserpine (also known as "major tranquilizers)
  116. antisocial behavior
    behavior characterized by a failure to act according to societal standards and the absence of anxiety about such behavior; also called psychopathic or sociopathic behavior
  117. anvil
    a small bone in the middle of the ear located between the hammer and stirrup (synonym: incus)
  118. anxiety
    feeling of dread and apprehension without a specific and realistic fear of some threatening object
  119. anxiety reaction
    a form of neurosis characterized by vague feelings of anxiety. Often called free-floating anxiety because it is not attached to any specific stimulus. Physiological symptoms of anxiety reactions include heart palpitations, tremors, nausea, and shortness of breath
  120. apathy
    extreme indifference to situations that normally arouse a response. In extreme cases (depression), complete and total indifference to one's surroundings
  121. aphagia
    condition in which an animal refuses to eat, ignores food, and starves to death unless treated. ____ has been produced experimentally by surgical removal of the lateral hypothalamic nucleus
  122. aphasia
    loss or impairment of the ability to express of receive linguistic communications, resulting from cerebral damage to the parietotemporal cortex
  123. aphonia
    loss of speech resulting from emotional or laryngeal disorders
  124. apoplexy
    a cerebral hemorrhage or blocked blood vessel causing a loss of consciousness and motor control
  125. apparent motion
    an illusion in which objects either appear to move but in fact do not, or appear to move in directions contrary to their actual movement
  126. appetitive behavior
    behavior directed toward some positive goal (from the latin, petere to seek)
  127. applied psychology
    any branch of psychology that employs psychological principles for solution of practical problems
  128. approach-approach conflict
    the conflict in which a person or organism is motivated toward two gratifying goals or stimuli that are incompatible
  129. approach-avoidance conflict
    a conflict situation in which one is both attracted to and repelled by the same goal. For example, one may want to go to college, but be fearful og the work that would be involved.
  130. approach-withdrawal systems
    the organization of behavior patterns according to whether the response is toward or away from objects and events
  131. apptitude test
    an ability test designed to appraise, to predict, what the individual can learn to do if he receives appropriate education or job training.
  132. aquaphobia
  133. aqueous humor
  134. arachnoid
  135. archetype
  136. arithmetic mean
  137. arousal
  138. arousal jag
  139. arousal potential
  140. arousal theory
  141. artificial insemination
  142. asch situation
  143. assertation-structured therapy
  144. assertiveness training
  145. assessment
  146. assimilation
  147. association
  148. association cortex
  149. laws of association
  150. association theory
  151. associationism
  152. associative attribute
  153. associative cortex
  154. associative thinking
  155. asthma
  156. asymptote
  157. atavism
  158. atmosphere effect
  159. attachment
  160. attention
  161. attention-rejection
  162. attention span
  163. attenuation
  164. attitude
  165. attitude scale
  166. attitude system
  167. attribute
  168. attribute identification
  169. attribution
  170. audition
  171. auditory canal
  172. auditory localization
  173. augmented sensory feedback
  174. authoritarian personality
  175. authoritarians
  176. autism
  177. autistic
  178. autogenic
  179. autokinetic effect
  180. automatic action
  181. autonomic conditioning
  182. autonomic nervous system (ANS)
  183. autonomy
  184. average
  185. aversions
  186. aversive behavior
  187. aversive conditioning
  188. aversive stimulus
  189. aversive therapy
  190. avoidance-avoidance conflict
  191. avoidance conditioning
  192. avoidance response
  193. axillary hair
  194. axon
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psychology gre
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