MCAT Behavioral Science

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  1. Parasympathetic
    • -autonomic nervous system
    • -"rest-and-digest"
  2. Sympathetic
  3. Hindbrain
    contains cerebellum, medulla, oblangata, and reticular formation
  4. Midbrain
    contains inferior and superior colliculi
  5. Forebrain
    Contains thalamus, hypothalamus basal ganglia, limbic system, and cerebral cortex
  6. Thalamus
    relay station for sensory information
  7. Hypothalamus
    • -maintains homeostasis
    • -integrates with endocrine system through the hypophyseal portal system that connects it to the anterior pituitary
  8. Basal ganglia
    smoothens movements and helps maintain postural stabililty
  9. Limbic system
    • Controls emotion and memory.
    • Includes septal nuclei (pleasure-seeking), amygdala(fear and aggression), hippocampus(memory), and fornix(communication with the limbic system)
  10. Lobes of the cerebral cortex:
    • Frontal
    • Parietal 
    • Occipital
    • Temporal
  11. Frontal Lobe
    • -Executive function
    • -impulse control 
    • -long-term planning(prefrontal cortex)
    • -motor function(primary motor cortext)
    • -speech production(Broca's area)
  12. Parietal
    • -Sensation of touch
    • -pressure 
    • -temp.
    • -pain(somatosensory cortex)
    • -spatial processing
    • -orientation and manipulation
  13. Occipital
    Visual Processing
  14. Temporal
    • -Speech processing(auditory cortex)
    • -speech perception (Wernicke's area)
    • -memory
    • -emotion (limbic system)
  15. Acetylcholine
    • -Voluntary muscle control
    • -parasympathetic NS
    • -attention and alertness
  16. Epinephrine and Norepinephrine
    Fight-or-flight responses, wakefulness, alertness
  17. Dopamine
    • -Smooth movements 
    • -Postural stability
  18. Serotonin
    • -Mood
    • -Sleep 
    • -eating
    • -dreaming
  19. GABA
    Brain "stabilization"
  20. Endorphins
    Natural painkillers
  21. Sensation vs Perception
    • Sensation=conversion of phys. stimuli into neurological signals
    • Perception=processing of sensory information to make sense of its significance
  22. Threshold
    the min. stimulus that causes a change in signal transduction
  23. Weber's Law
    states that the JND for a stimulus is proportional to the magnitude of the stimulus, and this proportion is constant over most of the range of possible stimuli
  24. Signal detection theory
    the effects of nonsensory factors, such as experiences, motives, and expectations, on perception of stimuli
  25. Response Bias
    • examined using signal detection experiments with four possible outcomes:
    • -hits
    • -misses
    • -false alarms
    • -correct negatives
  26. Adaptation
    a decrease in response to a stimulus over time
  27. Visual Pathway
    Retina=>optic nerve=>optic chiasm=>optic tracts=>lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) of thalamus=>visual radiations=>visual cortex
  28. cochlea
    detects sound
  29. Utricle and saccule
    detect linear motion
  30. semicircular canals
    detect rotational acceleration
  31. Auditory pathway
    cochlea=>vstibulocochlear nerve=>MGN of thalamus=>auditory cortex
  32. Bottom-up(data-driven) processing
    • -recognition of objects by parallel processing and feature detection.
    • -Slower but less prone to mistakes
  33. Top-down (conceptually-driven) processing
    • -recognition of an object by memories and expectations, with little attention to detail.
    • -Faster, but more prone to mistakes
  34. Gestalt Principles
    ways that the brain can infer missing parts of an image when it is incomplete
  35. Habituation
    the process of becoming used to a stimulus
  36. Dishabituation
    occurs when a second stimulus intervenes, causing resensitization to the original stimulus
  37. Observational learning
    the acquisition of behavior by watching others
  38. Associative learning
    pairing together stimuli and responses, or behaviors and consequences
  39. Classical conditioning
    a form of associative learning in which a neutral stimulus becomes associated with an unconditioned stimulus such that the neutral stimulus alone produces the same response as the unconditioned stimulous, the neutral stimulus thus becomes the conditioned stimulus
  40. Operant Conditioning
    a form of associative learnign in which the frequency of a behavior is modified using reinforcement(increases behavior) or punishment(decreases the behavior)
  41. Dyssomnias
    • amount or timing of sleep
    • Ex.) insomnia, narcolepsy, sleep apnea, sleep deprivation
  42. Parasomnias
    • Odd behaviors during sleep
    • Ex.) night terrors, sleep walking(somnambulism)
  43. Drug addiction
    • mediated by the mesolimbic pathway, which includes the nucleus accumbens, medial forebrain bundle and ventral tegmental area
    • (Dopamine is the main neurotransmitter)
  44. Encoding
    process of putting new information into memory
  45. Piaget's Stages of Cognitive Development
    • Sensorimotor stage
    • preoperational stage 
    • concrete operational stage
    • formal operational stage
  46. Sensorimotor stage:
    Focuses on manipulating the environment to meet physical needs through circular reactions; Object permanence ends this stgae
  47. Preoperational stage
    focuses on symbolic thinking, egocentrism(ability to imaginve what another person thinks of feels) and centration(focusing on only one aspect of a phenomenon
  48. Concrete operational stage
    focuses on understanding the feelings of others and manipulating physical (concrete) objects
  49. Formal operational stage
    focuses on abstract thought and problem solving
  50. Deductive reasoning
    deriving conclusions from general rules
  51. Inductive reasoning
    deriving generalizations from evidence
  52. Heuristics
    simplified principles used to make decisions based; "rules of thumb"
  53. Selective Attention
    allows one to pay attention to a particular stimulus while determining if additional stimuli require attention in the background
  54. Divided attention
    uses autonomic processing to pay attention to multiple activities at one time
  55. Wernicke's area
    • language comprehension; 
    • (Wernickes aphasia=fluent, nonsensical aphasia with lack of comprehension)
  56. Broca's area
    Motor function of speech; (Broca's aphasia=nonfluent aphasia in which generating each word requires great effort)
  57. Arcuate fasciculous
    connects Wernicke's and Broca's areas; damage results in conduction aphasia(inability to repeat words despite intact speech generation and comprehension)
  58. Motivation Theories
    Instinct theory=innate, fixed patterns of behavior in response to stimuli

    Arousal theory=the state of being awake and reactive to stimuli;aim for optimal level of arousal for a given task(Yerkes-Dodson Law)

    Drive reduction theory=individuals act to relieve internal states of tension
  59. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
    • prioritizes needs into 5 categories:
    • 1. Physiological needs(highest priority)
    • 2. Safety and security
    • 3. Love and belonging
    • 4. self-esteem
    • 5. Self-actualization(lowest Priority)
  60. Seven universal emotions
    • Happines
    • sadness
    • contempt 
    • surprise 
    • fear
    • disgust 
    • anger
  61. James-Lang theory of Emotion
    Physical arousal instigates the experience of a specific emotion
  62. Cannon-Bard theory of emotion
    Emotions and bodily changes do not share a cause-and-effect relationship. Rather, they occur simultaneously, following a stimulating event.
  63. Schachter-Singer theory of emotion
    People's experience of emotion depends on two factors: physiological arousal and the cognitive interpretation of that arousal.
  64. Primary appraisal
    classifying a potential stressor as irrelevant, benign-positive, or stressful
  65. Secondary appraisal
    directed at evaluating whether the organism can cope with the stress based on harm, threat and challenge
  66. Three stages of the general adaption syndrome
    alarm, resistance, and exhaustion
  67. Self-concept
    the sum of the ways in which we describe ourselves: in the present, who we used to be, and who we might be in the future
  68. Identities
    individual components of our self-concept related to the groups to which we belong
  69. Self-esteem
    our evaluation of ourselves
  70. Self-efficacy
    the degree to which we see ourselves as being capable of a given skill in a given situation
  71. Locus of control
    • a self-evaluation that refers to the way we characterize the influences in our lives.
    • Either internal(success or failure is a result of our own actions) or External(success or failure is the result of outside factors)
  72. Schizophrenia
    psychotic disorder characterized by distortions of reality and disturbances in content and form of thought, perception, and behavior
  73. Positive symptoms
    include hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized thought and behavior.
  74. negative symptoms
    disturbance of affect and avolition
  75. Major depressive disorder
    contains at least one major depressive episode
  76. Pervasive depressive disorder
    a depressed mood (either dysthymia or major depression) for at least 2 years
  77. Bipolar 1 disorder
    contains at least one manic episode
  78. Bipolar II disorder 
    contains at least one hypomanic episode and at least one major depressive episode
  79. Cyclothymic disorder
    contains hypomanic episodes with dysthymia
  80. Freud's stages of psychosexual development
    In Freudian psychology, psychosexual development is a central element of the psychoanalytic sexual drive theory, that human beings, from birth, possess an instinctual libido (sexual energy) that develops in five stages. Each stage – the oral, the anal, the phallic, the latent, and the genital – is characterized by theerogenous zone that is the source of the libidinal drive. Sigmund Freud proposed that if the child experienced sexual frustration in relation to any psychosexual developmental stage, he or she would experience anxiety that would persist into adulthood as a neurosis, a functional mental disorder.[1][2]
  81. Erikson's stages of psychosocial development
    • -stems from conflicts that are the result of decisions we are forced to make about ourselves and the environment around us at each phase of life 
    • -trust v mistrust; autonomy vs. shame and doubt; initiative vs guilt, industry vs inferiority, identity vs role confusion......
  82. Kholberg's theory of moral reasoning development
    • -describes the approaches of individuals to resolving moral dilemmas
    • -6 stages divided into 3:
    •    Preconventional
    •    Conventional
    •    Postconventional
  83. Panic disorder 
    • recurrent attacks of intense, overwhelming fear and sympathetic nervous system activity with no clear stimuli.
    • (It may lead to agoraphobia) 
  84. Dissociative amnesia
    inability to recall past experience.  May involve dissociative fugue, a sudden change in location that can involve the assumption of a new identity
  85. Dissociative identity disorder
    two or more personalities that take control of behavior
  86. Depersonalization/derealization disorder
    feelings of detachment from the mind and body, or from the environment
  87. Psychoanalytic perspective
    • -personality results from unconscious urges and desires
    • -Freud: id,superego,ego
    • -Jung: collective unconscious and archetypes 
  88. Humanistic perspective
    • Emphasizes internal feelings of healthy individuals as they strive toward happiness and self-realization
    • Maslow: hierarchy of needs
    • Rogers: unconditional positive regard
  89. Conversion disorder 
    unexplained symptoms affecting motor or sensory function
  90. Personality disorder clusters
    • Cluster A: (odd, eccentric, "weird") paranoid schizotypal, schizoid
    • Cluster B: (dramatic, emotional, "wild") antisocial, borderline, narcissistic
    • Cluster C: (anxious, fearful, "worried) avoidant, dependent, obsesive-compulsive
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MCAT Behavioral Science
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