Psychology Final Exam Notes
Chapter 1 – Thinking Critically with Psychological Science
1) Hindsight Bias ▯It is the tendency to believe, after learning an outcome, that one would have foreseen it.
(Also known as the Iknewitallalong phenomenon.)
Ex: Hindsight bias After the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre of 32 people, it seemed obvious that school officials
should have locked down the school (despite its having the population of a small city) after the first two people
were murdered. With 20/20 hindsight, everything seems obvious.
2) Overconfidence ▯we tend to think we know more than we do. Once people know the answer to something
hindsight bias makes it seem obvious – so much so that the person becomes overconfident.
Ex: Robert Vallone and his associates (1990) had students predict at the beginning of the school year whether
they would drop a course, vote in an upcoming election, call their parents more than twice a month, and so
forth. On average, the students felt 84 percent confident in making these selfpredictions. Later quizzes about
their actual behavior showed their predictions were only 71 percent correct. Even when students were 100
percent sure of themselves, their selfpredictions erred 15 percent of the time.
3) Humility ▯an awareness of our own vulnerability to error and an openness to surprises and new perspectives
4) Critical thinking ▯thinking that does not blindly accept arguments and conclusions. Rather, it examines
assumptions, discerns hidden values, evaluates evidence, and assesses conclusions.
5a) The scientific method ▯A selfcorrection process for asking questions and observing nature’s answers.
5b) Theory ▯an explanation using an integrated set of principles that organizes observations and predicts
behaviors or events.
6) Hypothesis ▯a testable prediction often implied by a theory.
7) Operational definition ▯a statement of the procedures (operations) used to define research variables.
Ex: Human intelligence may be operationally defined as what an intelligence test measures.
8) Replication ▯repeating the essence of a research study usually with different participants in different
situations, to see whether the basic finding extends to other participants and circumstances.
9) Case Study ▯an observation technique in which one person is studied in depth in the hope of revealing
10) Survey ▯a technique for ascertaining the selfreported attitudes or behaviors of a particular group, usually
by questioning a representative, random sample of the group.
11) Wording Effects – subtle changes in the order of wording or question that can have major effects – forcing
critical thinkers to reflect on how the phrasing of a question might affect people’s expressed opinions.
1 12) Population ▯all the cases in a group being studied, from which samples may be drawn. (Note: Except for
national studies, this does not refer to a country’s whole population.)
13) Random sample ▯a sample that fairly represents a population because each member has an equal chance of
inclusion. (Larger representative sample are better than small ones, but a small representative sample of 100 is
better than an unrepresentative sample of 500)
14) Naturalistic observations ▯observing and recording natural behavior in naturally occurring situations
without trying to manipulate and control the situation. (Naturalistic observation does not explain behavior. It
15) Correlation ▯a measure of the extent to which two factors vary together, and thus of how well either factor
predicts the other. (Remember Correlation indicates the possibility of a causeeffect relationship, but it does
not prove causation. Ex: Correlation need not mean causation Length of marriage correlates with hair loss in
men. Does this mean that marriage causes men to lose their hair (or that balding men make better husbands)? In
this case, as in many others, a third factor obviously explains the correlation: Golden anniversaries and baldness
both accompany aging.)
16) Correlation coefficient ▯a statistical index of the relationship between two thing (from 1 to +1).
17) Scatterplots ▯a graphed cluster of dots, each of which represents the values of two variables. The slope of
the points suggests the direction of the relationship between the two variables. The amount of scatter suggests
the strength of the correlation (little scatter indicates high correlation.)
18) Illusory correlation – the perception of a relationship where none exists. (When we notice random
coincidences, we may forget that they are random and instead see them as correlated. Thus, we can easily
deceive ourselves by seeing what is not there.)
19) Perceiving order in random events – “rage for order” ▯ is the phenomenon that we look for order even in
20) Experiment ▯a research method in which an investigator manipulates one or more factors (independent
variables) to observe the effect on some behavior or mental process (the dependent variable). By random
assignment of participants, the experimenter aims to control other relevant factors.
21) Random assignment ▯assigning participants to experimental and control groups by chance, thus minimizing
preexisting differences between those assigned to the different groups.
22) Double–blind procedure ▯an experimental procedure in which both the research participants the research
staff are ignorant (blind) about whether the research participants have received the treatment of a placebo.
Commonly used in drugevaluation studies.
23) Placebo effect ▯experimental results caused by expectations alone; any effect on behavior caused by the
administration of an inert substance or condition, which the recipient assumes is an active agent.
24) Experimental group ▯in an experiment, the group that is exposed to the treatment, that is, to one version of
the independent variable.
2 25) Control group ▯in an experiment, the group that is not exposed to the treatment; contrasts with the
experimental group and serves as a comparison for evaluating the effect of the treatment.
26) Independent variable ▯the experimental factor that is manipulated; the variable whose effect is being
27) Dependent variable ▯the outcome factor; the variable that may change in response to manipulations of the
28) Mode ▯the most frequently occurring score(s) in a distribution.
29) Mean ▯the arithmetic average of a distribution by adding the scores and then dividing by the number of
30) Median ▯the middle score in a distribution; half the scores are above it and half are below it.
31) Range ▯the difference between the highest and lowest scores in a distribution
32) Standard Deviation ▯a computed measure of how much scores vary around the mean score
33) Normal cure (normal distribution) ▯a symmetrical, bellshaped curve that describes the distribution of many
types of data; most scores fall near the mean (68 percent fall within one standard deviation of it. 95 percent fall
within the 2 deviation and 5% in the third deviation.)
34) When is an observed difference reliable? ▯a) Representative samples are better than biased samples b) Less
variable observation are more reliable than those that are more variable c) More cases are better than fewer.
35) Statistical significance ▯a statistical statement of how likely it is than an obtained result occurred by chance
– (a reasonable doubt means not making much of a finding unless the odds of its occurring by chance are less
than 5 percent (an arbitrary criterion).
36) Culture ▯the enduring behaviors, ideas, attitudes, and traditions shared by a group of people and transmitted
from one generation to the next.
37) Ethics of experimenting on humans (1) obtain the informed consent of potential participants, (2) protect
them from harm and discomfort, (3) treat information about individual participants confidentially, and (4) fully
explain the research afterward. Moreover, most universities today screen research proposals through an ethics
committee that safeguards the wellbeing of every participant.
Chapter 2 – The Biology of Mind
38) Phrenology ▯a popular but illfated theory that claimed bumps of the skull could reveal our mental ability,
and our character traits.
39) Biological Psychology ▯a branch of psychology concerned with the links between biology and behavior.
(Some biological psychologists call themselves behavioral neuroscientists, neuropsychologists, behavior
geneticists, physiological psychologists, or biopsychologists.)
3 40) Neuron ▯a nerve cell; the basic building block of the nervous system.
41) Sensory neurons ▯neurons that carry incoming information from the sensory receptors to the brain and
42) Motor neurons ▯neurons that carry outgoing information from the brain and spinal cord to the muscles and
43) Interneurons ▯neurons within the brain and spinal cord that communicate internally and intervene between
the sensory inputs and motor outputs. (most numerous of all the neurons)
44) Dendrite ▯the bushy, branching extensions of a neuron that receive message and conduct impulses toward
the cell body.
45) Axon ▯the extension of a neuron, ending in branching terminal fibers, through which messages pass to other
neurons or to muscles or glands. (The axons surface is selectively permeable – for example a resting axon has
gates that block positive sodium ions.)
46) Myelin sheath ▯a layer of fatty tissue segmentally encasing the fibers of many neurons; enables vastly
greater transmission speed of neural impulses as the impulse hops from one node to the next. (If the myelin
sheath degenerates, multiple sclerosis results – communication to muscles slows, with eventual loss of muscle
47) Action potential ▯a neural impulse; a brief electrical charge that travels down an axon.
48) Resting potential ▯the fluid interior of a resting axon is negatively charged while the fluid outside the axon
membrane is positively charged. This positive outside/negative inside state is called the resting potential.
When a neuron fires, however, the security parameters change: The first bit of the axon opens its gates, rather
like manhole covers flipping open, and the positively charged sodium ions flood through the membrane. This
depolarizes that section of the axon, causing the axon’s next channel to open, and then the next, like dominoes
falling, each one tripping the next. During a resting pause (the refractory period, rather like a camera flash
pausing to recharge), the neuron pumps the posi tively charged sodium ions back outside. Then it can fire
again. Each neuron is itself a miniature decisionmaking device performing complex calculations as it receives
signals from hundreds, even thousands, of other neurons. Most of these signals are excitatory, somewhat like
pushing a neuron’s accelerator. Others are inhibitory, more like pushing its brake. If excitatory signals minus in
hibitory signals exceed a minimum intensity, or threshold, the combined signals trigger an action potential.
49) Threshold ▯the level of stimulation required to trigger a neural impulse. (Neurons reaction is allornone if it
doesn’t reach threshold the action potential will not fire)
50) Synapse – the junction between the axon tip of the sending neuron and the dendrite or cell body of the
51) Neurotransmitter ▯Chemical messengers that cross the synaptic gaps between neurons. When released by
the sending neuron, neurotransmitters travel across the synapse and bind to receptor sites on the receiving
neuron, thereby influencing whether that neuron will generate a neural impulse.
4 52) Reuptake ▯a neurotransmitter’s reabsorption by the sending neuron.
Neurotransmitter – Function – Examples of Malfunctions
a) Acetylcholine (ACh) – enables muscle action (ACh is the messenger at every junction between a motor
neuron and skeletal muscle), learning and memory – with alzheimer’s disease, AChproducing neurons
b) Dopamine – influences movement, learning, attention, and emotion – excess dopamine receptor activity is
linked to schizophrenia. Starved of dopamine, the brain produces tremors and decreased mobility of Parkinson’s
c) Serotonin – affects mood, hunger, sleep and arousal – undersupply linked to depression. Prozac and some
other antidepressant drugs raise serotonin levels.
d) Norepinephrine – helps control alertness and arousal – undersupply can depress moods.
e) GABA (gammaaminobutyric acid) – a major inhibitory transmitter – undersupply linked to seizures, tremors
f) Glutamate – a maor excitatory neuron transmitter; involved in memory – oversupply can overstimulate brain,
producing migraines or seizures (which is why some people avoid MSG, monosodium glutamate, in food.)
53) Endorphins ▯“morphine within” – natural, opiatelike neurotransmitters linked to pain control and to
54) Agonist ▯molecule that may be similar enough to a neurotransmitter to mimic its effects. (Black Widow
spider venom – amplifying normal ACh release – violent muscle contraction, convulsions and possible death.)
55) Antagonist ▯block a neurotransmitter (it inhibits) it has a structure similar enough to a neurotransmitter to
occupy its receptor site and block its action (but not similar enough to stimulate the receptor. (Curate poisoning
paralyzes its victims by blocking ACh receptors involved in muscle movement)
56) Nervous system ▯the body’s speedy, electrochemical communication network, consisting of all the nerve
cells of the peripheral and central nervous system.
57) Central nervous system (CNS) ▯the brain and spinal cord
58) Peripheral nervous system (PNS) ▯the sensory and motor neurons that connect the central nervous system
(CNS) to the rest of the body.
59) Nerves ▯bundled axons that form neural “cables” connecting the central nervous system with muscles,
glands, and sense organs.
60) Somatic nervous system ▯the devision of the peripheral nervous system that controls the body’s skeletal
muscles (also called the skeletal nervous system)
5 61) Autonomic nervous system ▯the part of the peripheral nervous system that controls the glands and the
muscles of the internal organs (such as the heart) Its sympathetic division arouses; its parasympathetic division
62) Sympathetic nervous system ▯the division of the autonomic nervous system that arouses the body,
mobilizing its energy in stressful situations.
63) Parasympathetic nervous system ▯the division of the autonomic nervous system that calms the body,
conserving its energy.
64) Reflex ▯a simple, automatic response to a sensory stimulus, such as the kneejerk response.
65) Endocrine system ▯the body’s slow chemical communication system; a set of glands that secrete hormones
into the bloodstream.
66) Hormones ▯chemical messengers that are manufactured by the endocrine glands, travel through the
bloodstream, and affect other tissues.
67) Adrenal glands ▯a pair of endocrine glands that sit just above the kidneys and secrete hormones
(epinephrine and norepinephrine) that help arouse the body in times of stress.
68) Pituitary gland ▯the endocrine system’s most influential gland. Under the influence of the hypothalamus, the
pituitary regulates growth and controls other endocrine glands.
69) Other glands ▯a) Hypothalamus – brain region controlling the pituitary gland b) Thryoid – affets
metabolism, among other things c) Testis – secretes male sex hormone d) Ovary –secreates female sex hormone
e) Pancreas – regulates the level of sugar in the blood
70) Lesion ▯tissue destruction; a brain lesion is a naturally or experimentally caused destruction of brain tissue.
71) Electroencephalogram (EEG) ▯an amplified recording of the waves of electrical activity that sweep across
the brain’s surface. These waves are measured by electrodes placed on the scalp.
72) PET (positron emission tomography) scan ▯a visual display of brain activity that detects where a radioactive
form of glucose goes while the brain performs a given task.
73) MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) ▯a technique that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce
computergenerated images of soft tissue. MRI scans show brain anatomy.
74) fMRI (functional MRI) ▯a technique for revealing bloodflow and, therefore, brain activity by comparing
successive MRI scans. fMRI scans show brain function.
75) Brainstem ▯the oldest part and central core of the brain, beginning where the spinal cord swells as it enters
the skull; the brainstem is responsible for automatic survival functions.
76) Medulla – the base of the brainstem; controls heartbeat and breathing. (Pons sit above the medulla – help
77) Reticular formation – a nerve network in the brainstem that plays an important role in controlling arousal.
6 78) Thalamus ▯the brain’s sensory switchboard, located on top of the brainstem; it directs messages to the
sensory receiving areas in the cortex and transmits replies to the cerebellum and medulla.
79) Cerebellum ▯the “little brain” at the rear of the brainstem; functions include processing sensory input and
coordinating movement output and balance
80) Limbic system ▯neural system (including the hippocampus, amygdala, and hypothalamus) located below
the cerebral hemispheres; associated with emotions and drives.
81) Amygdala – two lima beansized neural clusters in the limbic system; linked to emotion.
82) 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 and reward. (reward center – triggers the release of neurotransmitters dopamine)
83) Reward deficiency syndrome ▯a genetically disposed deficiency in the natural brain systems for pleasure
and wellbeing that leads people to crave whatever provides that missing pleasure or relieves negative feelings.
84) Cerebral cortex ▯the intricate fabric of interconnected neural cells covering the cerebral hemispheres; the
body’s ultimate control and informationprocessing center.
85) Glial cells (gila) ▯cells in the nervous system that support, nourish, and protect neurons.
86) Frontal Lobes ▯protion of the cerebral cortex lying just behind the forehead; involved in speaking and
muscle movements and in making plans and judgements
87) Parietal Lobes ▯portion of the cerebral cortex lying at the top of the head and toward the rear; receives the
sensory input for touch and body position.
88) Occipital Lobes ▯portion of the cerebral cortex lying at the back of the head; includes areas that receive
information from the visual fields.
89) Temporal Loves ▯portion of the cerebral cortex lying roughly above the ears; induces the auditory areas,
each receiving information primarily from the opposite ear.
90) Motor cortex ▯an area at the rear of the frontal lobes that control voluntary movements.
91) Sensory cortex ▯areas at the front of the parietal lobes that registers and processes body touch and
92) Association areas ▯areas of the cerebral cortex that are not involved in primary motor or sensory functions;
rather they are involved in higher mental functions such as learning, remembering, thinking and speaking.
93) Plasticity ▯The brain’s ability to change, especially during childhood, by reorganizing after damage or by
building new pathways based on experience.
94) Constraintinduced therapy ▯aims to rewire brains by restraining a fully functioniong limb and forcing use
7 of the “bad hand” or the uncooperative leg. Gradually, the therapy repro grams the brain, improving the
dexterity of a braindamaged child or even an adult stroke victim.
95) Neurogenesis ▯the formation of new neurons.
96) Corpus collosum ▯the large band of neural fibers connecting the two brain hemispheres and carrying
messages between them.
97) Split Brain ▯a condition resulting from surgery that isolates the brain’s two hemispheres by cutting the
fibers (mainly those of the corpus collosum) connecting them.
Chapter 3 – Consciousness and the TwoTrack Mind
98) States of consciousness ▯In addition to normal, waking awareness, consciousness comes to us in altered
states, including day dreaming, sleeping, mediating and drug induced hallucinations.
99) Consciousness ▯our awareness of ourselves and our environment.
100) Cognitive neuroscience ▯the interdisciniplary study of the brain activity linked with cognition (including
perception, thinking, memory and language).
101) Dual Processing ▯the principle that information is often simulataneously processed on separate conscious
and unconscious tracks (a conscious “high road” and an unconscious “low road”).
*A visual perception tracks enables us unconsciously “to create mental furniture that allows us to think about
the world” – to recognize things and to plan future actions. A visual action track guides our conscious, moment
to moment actions.
102) Hollow face illusion ▯people will mistakenly perceive the inside of a mask as a protruding face. Yet they
will unhesitatingly and accurately reach into the inverted mask to flick off a buglike target stuck on the face.
103) Selective attention ▯the focusing of conscious awareness on a particular stimulus.
104) The cocktail party effect ▯ the ability to attend to only one voice among many (let another voice speak your
name and your cognitive radar, operating on the mind’s other track, will instantly bring the voice into
105) Inattentional blindness ▯ failing to see visible objects when our attention is directed elsewhere.
106) Change blindness ▯ failing to notice changes in the environment
107) The pop-out phenomenon ▯ some stimuli, however, are so powerful, so strikingly distinct, that we
experience pop-put, as with the only smiling face in a crowd of sad faces. We don’t choose to attend to these
stimuli, they draw our eye and demand our attention.
108) Circadian rhythm ▯ the biological clock; regular bodily rhythms (for example, of temperature and
wakefulness) that occur on a 24 hour cycle.
109) Suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) ▯ a pair of grain of rice sized, 20000 cell clusters in the hypolthalamus. Its
8 job is causing the brains pineal gland to decrease its production of the sleep inducing hormone melatonin in the
morning or increase it in the evening.
110) 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.
*EMG measures muscle tension and EEG measures brain waves.
111)Alpha waves ▯ the relatively slow brain waves of a relaxed, awake state.
112) Sleep ▯ periodic, natural, reversible loss of consciousness – as distinct from unconsciousness resulting from
a coma, general anesthesia, or hibernation.
113) Hallucination ▯ false sensory experiences, such as seeing something in the absence of an external visual
stimulus. *you may have a sensation of falling (at which your body may suddenly jerk) or of floating
weightlessly – these are hypnagogic sensations.
114) Delta waves ▯ the large, slow brain waves associated with deep sleep.
115) Stages ▯ Stage 1 – may experience hallucinations. Stage 2 – more relaxed and characterized by sleep
spindles (bursts of rapid, rhythmic brain wave activity)Although you can be awakened without too much
difficulty you are now clealy asleep. Sleeptaling usually happens during stage 2. Stage 3 is a transitional stage to
deep sleep. Stage 4 you are in a deep sleep with your brain emitting slow delta waves. Hard to be awaken. It is
at this stage where children may wet the bed or being sleepwalking.
* During REM sleep your heart rate rises, your beathing becomes rapid and irregular, and every half-minute or
so your eyes dart around in a momentary burst of activity behind closed lids. – increased vaginal lubrication
and clitoral engorgement + erection ▯ common morning erection – if not there “erectile dysfunction” stems from
sleep related erection.
116) Sleep Function ▯ protects, recuperate, making memories, feeds creative thinking and growth process.
117) Insomnia ▯ recurring problems in faling or staying asleep. How to help fix it ▯ exercise regularly but not in
the late evening, avoid all caffeine after early afternoon and rich foods before bedtime. Relax, sleep on a regular
schedule, hide the clock face, reassure yourself that a temporary loss of sleep causes no great harm, realize that
for any stressed organisms, being vigilant is natural and adaptive. If all else fails, settle for less sleep, either
going to bed later or getting up earlier.
118) Narcolepsy ▯ a sleep disorder characterized by uncontrollable sleep attacks. The sufferer may lapse directly
into REM sleep, often at inopportune times.
119) Sleep apnea ▯ a sleep disorder characterized by temporary cessations of breathing during sleep and repeated
120) Night terrors ▯ a sleep disorder characterized by high arousal and an appearance of being terrified; unlike
9 nightmares, night terrors occur during stage 4 sleep, within two or three hours of falling asleep, are are seldom
121) Dream ▯ a sequence of images, emotions, and thoughts passing through a sleeping person’s mind. Dreams
are notable for thir hallucinatory imagery, discontinuities and incongruities and for the dreamer’s delusional
acceptance of the content and later difficulties remembering it.
122) Manifest content ▯ according to Freud, the remembered story line of a dream (as distinct from its latent, or
123) Latent content ▯ accordin to Freud, the underlying meaning of a dream (as distinct from its manifest
*Why we dream – to satisfy our own wishes, to file away memories, to develop and preserve neural pathways,
to make sense of neural static (the activation synthesis theory – this neural activity is random, and dreams are
the brains attempt to make sense of it.) and to reflect cognitive development.
Dream Theory – Explanation – Critical Considerations
a) Freud’s wishfulfillment Dreams provide a “psychic safety valve”—expressing otherwise unacceptable
feelings; contain manifest (remembered) content and a deeper layer of latent content (a hidden meaning) Lacks
any scientific support; dreams may be interpreted in many different ways.
b) Informationprocessing Dreams help us sort out the day’s events and consolidate our memories But why
do we sometimes dream about things we have not experienced?
c) Physiological function Regular brain stimulation from REM sleep may help develop and preserve neural
pathways This may be true, but it does not explain why we experience meaningful dreams.
d) Activationsynthesis REM sleep triggers neural activity that evokes random visual memories, which our
sleeping brain weaves into stories The individual’s brain is weaving the stories, which still tells us something
about the dreamer.
e) Cognitive development Dream content reflects dreamers’ cognitive development their knowledge and
understanding Does not address the neuroscience of dreams.
124) REM rebound ▯the tendency for REM sleep to increase following REM sleep deprivation (created by
repeated awakeninging durings REM sleep.)
125) Hypnosis ▯a social interaction in which one person (the hypnotists) suggest to another (the subject) that
certain perceptions, feelings, thoughts, or behaviors will spontaneously occur.
126) Hypnotic ability ▯the ability to focus attention on a task, to become imaginatively absorbed in it, to
entertain fanciful possibilities.
*Age regression – the supposed ability to relive childhood experiences (researchers dispute these claims)
10 *Hypnotically refreshed memories combine FACT with FICTION.
127) Posthypnotic suggestion ▯a suggestion, made during a hypnosis session to be carried out after the subject
is no longer hypnotized; used by some clinicians to help control undersired symptoms and behaviors. *hypnosis
can help alleviate pain
128) Social influence theory ▯content that hypnotic phenomena – like the behaviors associated with other
supposed altered states, such as dissociative identity disorder and spirit or demon possession – are an extension
of everyday social behavior, not something unique to hypnosis.
129) Dissociation ▯a split in consciousness, which allows some thoughts and behaviors to occur simultaneously
with others. Hypnotized people lower their arm into an ice bath, that hypnosis dissociates the sensation of the
pain stimulus (of which the subjects are still aware) from the emotional suffering that defines their ex perience
of pain. The ice water therefore feels cold—very cold—but not painful.
*selective attention – as when an injured athlete, caught up in the competition, feels little or no pain until the
game ends (this can help explain hypnotic pain relief)
130) Psychoactive drug ▯a chemical substance that alters perceptions and moods.
131) Tolerance ▯the diminishing effect with regular use of the same dose of a drug, requiring the user to take
larger and larger doses before experiencing the drug’s effect.
132) Withdrawal ▯the discomfort and distress that follow discontinuing the une of an addictive drug.
133) Physical dependence ▯a physiological need for a drug, marked by unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when
the drug is discontinued.
134) Psychological dependence ▯a psychological need to use a drug, such as to relieve negative emotions.
135)Addiction ▯ compulsive drug craving and use, despite adverse consequences.
136) Depressants ▯ drugs (such as alcohol, barbiturates and opiates) that reduce neural acitivy and slow body
a) Disinhibtion – increases harmful tendencies and helpful tendencies. The urges you would feel if sober are the
ones you will more likely act upon when intoxicated.
b) Slowed neural processing - low doses of alcohol relax the drinker by slowing sympathetic nervous system
c) Memory disruption – alcohol also disrupts the processing of recent experiences into long term memories.
d) Reduced self awareness – alcohols behavioral effects stem not only from its alteration of brain chemistry but
also from the user’s expectations.
137) Barbituates ▯ drugs that depress the activity of the central nervous system, reducing anxiety but impairing
memory and judgement.
11 138) Opiates ▯ opium and its derivatives, such as morphine and heroin; they depress neural activity, temporarily
lessening pain and anxiety. (When flooded with an artificial opiate, the brain eventually stops producing its own
opiates, the endorphins.)
139) Stimulants ▯ drugs (such as caffeine, nicotine, and the more powerful amphetamines, cocaine and ecstasy)
that excite neural activity and speed up body functions.
140)Amphetamines ▯ drugs that stimulate neural activity, causing speeded up body functions and associated
energy and mood changes.
141) Methamphetamine ▯ a powerfully addicitive drug that stimulates the central nervous system, with speeded
up body functions and associated energy and mood changes; over time, appears to reduce baseline dopamine
Cocaine ▯ by binding to the sites that normally reabsorb neurotransmitter molecules, cocaine blocks reuptake of
dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. The extra neurotransmitter molecules therefore remain in the synapse,
intensifying their normal mood-alterin effects and producing a euphoric rush. When the cocaine level drops, the
absence of these neurotransmitters produces a crash.
142) Ecstasy (MDMA) ▯a synthetic stimulant and mild halluncinogen. Produces euphoria and social intimacy,
but with shortterm health risks and longerterm harm to serotonin producing neurons and to mood and
143) Hallucinogens ▯psychedelic (“mindmanifesting”) drugs, such as LSD, that distort perceptions and evoke
sensory images in the absence of sensory input.
144) LSD ▯a powerful hallucinogenic drug; also known as acid (lysergic acid diethylamide)
145) THC ▯the major active ingredient in marijuana; triggers a variety of effects including mild hallucinations.
12 146) Near death experience ▯ an altered state of consciousness reported after a close brush with death (such as
through cardiac arrest); often similar to drug-induced hallucinations.
Chapter 6 – Sensation and Perception
Psychologists refer to sensory analysis that starts at the entry level as bottomup processing. But our minds also
interpret what our senses detect. We construct per ceptions drawing both on sensations coming bottomup to the
brain and on our ex perience and expectations, which psychologists call topdown processing.
147) Sensation ▯ the process by which our sensory receptors and nervous system receive and represent stimulus
energies from our environment.
148) Perception ▯ the process of organizing and interepreting sensory information, enabling us to recognize
meaningful objects and events.
149) Bottom-up processing ▯ analysis that begins with the sensory receptors and works up to the brains
intefration of sensory information
150) Top-down processing ▯ information processing guided by higher-level mental processes as when we
construct perceptions drawing on our experience and expectations.
151) Psychophysics ▯ the study of relationships between the physical characteristics of stimuli, such as their
intensity, and our psychological experience of them.
152)Absolutete Threshold ▯ the minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus 50 percent of the
13 153) Signal detection theory ▯ a theory predicting how and when we detect the presence of a faint stimulus
(signal) amid background stimulation (noise).Assumes there is no single absolute threshold and that detection
depends partly on a person’s experience, expectation, motivation and level of fatigue.
154) Subliminal ▯ below one’s absolute threshold for conscious awareness
155) Priming ▯ the activation, often unconsciously, of certain associations, thus predisposing one’s perception,
memory, or response. (In a typical experiment, the image or word is quickly flashed, then replaced by a
“masking stimulus” that interrupts the brain’s processing before conscious perception.
156) Difference Threshold ▯ the minimum difference between two stimuli required for detection 50 percent of
the time. We experience the difference threshold as a just noticeable difference (or jnd).
157) Weber’s law ▯ the principle that, to be perceived as different, two stimuli must differ by a constant
minimum percentage (rather than a constant amount). (For their difference to be perceptible, two stimuli must
differ by a constant proportion – not a constant amount.)
158) Sensory adapatation ▯ diminished sensitivity as a consequence of constant stimulation.
159) Transduction ▯ conversion of one form of energy into another. In sensation, the transforming of stimulus
energies, such as signts, sounds and smeels, into neural impulses our brains can interpret.
160) Wavelength ▯ the distance from the peak of one light or sound wave to peak of the next. Electromagnetic
wavelengths vary from the short blips of cosmic rays to the long pulses of radio transmission.
161) Hue ▯ the dimension of color that is determined by the wavelength of light; what we know as the color
names blue, green and so forth.
162) Intensity ▯ the amount of energy in a light or sound wave, which we perceive as brightness or loudness, as
determined by the wave’s amplitude.
163) Pupil ▯ light enters the eye through the “cornea” which protects the eye and bends light to provide focus
then the light passes through the pupil - the adjustable opening in the center of the eye through which light
164) Iris ▯ a ring of muscle tissue that forms the colored portion of the eye around the pupil and controls the size
of the pupil opening. (dilates or constricts in response to light intensity and even to inner emotions)
165) Lens – the transparent structure behind the pupil that changes shape to help focus images on the retina
166) 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.
167)Accomodation ▯ the process by which the eye’s lens changes shape to focus near or far objects on the
168) Rods ▯ retinal receptors that detect black, white and gray; necessary for peripheral and twilight vision,
when cones don’t respond.
14 169) Cones ▯ retinal receptor cells that are concentrated near the center of the retina and that function in daylight
or in well-lit conditions. The cones detect fine detail and give rise to color sensations.
The retinas reaction to light ▯a) Light entering eye triggers photochemical reaction in rods and cones at back of
the retina b) Chemical reaction in turn activated bipolar cells c) Bipolar cells then activate ganglion cells, the
axons of which converge to form the optic nerve. This nerve transmits information to the visual cortex (via the
thalamus) in the brain.
170) Blind spot ▯the point at which the optic nerve leaves the eye, creating a “blind” spot because no receptor
cells are located there.
171) Fovea ▯the central focal point in the retina, around which the eye’s cones cluster.
Pathway from the eyes to the visual cortex ▯retinas photoreceptor cells, to bipolar cells, to ganglion cells which
have converging axons to form the optic nerve that run to the thalamus and then synapse with neuron that run to
the visual cortex.
172) Feature detectors ▯nerve cells in the brain that respond to specific features of the stimulus, such as shape,
angle, or movement. (The telltale brain ▯ looking at faces, houses, and chairs activates different brain areas in
this rightfacing brain.)
173) Parallel processing ▯the processing of many aspects of a problem simultaneously; the brain’s natural mode
of information processing for many function, including vision. Contrasts with the stepbystep (serial)
processing of most computers and of conscious problem solving.
*People who have had a stroke or surgery damage to their brain’s visual cortex have experience “blindsight”, a
localized area of blindness in part of their field of vision.
Visual information processing ▯Scene ▯Retinal processing (receptor rods and cones, bipolar cells and ganglion
cells) ▯Feature detection (brains detector cells respond to specific features – edges, lines and angles) ▯Parallel
processing (brain cell teams process combined information about color, movement, form and depth) ▯
Recognition (brain interprets the constructed image based on information from stored images.)
174) YoungHelmholtz trichromatic (three color) theory ▯the theory that the retina contains three different color
receptors – one most sensitive to red, one to green, one to blue – which, when stimulated in combination, can
produce the perception of any color.
175) Opponentprocess theory ▯the theory that opposing retinal processes (redgreen, yellowblue, whiteblack)
enable color vision. For example, some cells are stimulated by green and inhibited by red; others are stimulated
by red and inhibited by green.
*Afterimage Effect ▯ When you stare at a green square for a while and then look at a white sheet of paper, you
see red, green’s opponent color. Stare at a yellow square and you will later see its opponent color, blue, on the
white paper. Opponent processes explain afterimages, such as in the flag demonstration, in which we tire our
green response by staring at green. When we then stare at white (which contains all colors, including red), only
the red part of the greenred pairing will fire normally.
15 176) Audition ▯the sense or act of hearing.
177) Frequency ▯the number of complete wavelengths that pass a point in a given time (for example, per
178) Pitch ▯a tone’s experienced highness or lowness; depends on frequency
179) Middle ear ▯the chamber between the eardrum and cochlea containing three tiny bones (hammer, anvil and
stirrup) that concentrate the vibrations of the eardrum on the cochlea’s oval window.
180) Inner ear ▯the innermost part of the ear, containing the cochlea, semicircular canals, and vestibular sacs.
How we hear ▯First, the visible outer ear channels the sound waves through the auditory canal to the eardrum, a
tight membrane that vibrates with the waves. The middle ear then trans mits the eardrum’s vibrations through a
piston made of three tiny bones (the ham mer, anvil, and stirrup) to the cochlea, a snailshaped tube in the inner
ear. The incoming vibrations cause the cochlea’s membrane (the oval window) to vibrate, jostling the fluid that
fills the tube. This motion causes ripples in the basilar mem brane, bending the hair cells lining its surface, not
unlike the wind bending a wheat field. Hair cell movement triggers impulses in the adjacent nerve cells, whose
axons converge to form the auditory nerve, which sends neural messages (via the thalamus) to the temporal
lobe’s auditory cortex.
*Damage to hair cells within the ear lead to hearing loss. Ringing of the ears after exposure to loud machinery
or music indi cates that we have been bad to our unhappy hair cells. As pain alerts us to possible bodily harm,
ringing of the ears alerts us to possible hearing damage. It is hearing’s equivalent of bleeding.
*we like sound compressed which means harder to hear sounds are amplified more than loud sounds
181) Place theory ▯in hearing, the theory that links the pitch we hear with the place where the cochlea’s
membrane is stimulated. (High frequencies pro duced large vibrations near the beginning of the cochlea’s
membrane, low frequencies near the end.)
182) Frequency theory ▯in hearing, the theory that the rate of nerve impulses traveling up the auditory nerve
matches the frequency of a tone, thus enabling us to sense its pitch.
183) Volley principle ▯Frequency theory explains how we hear low frequency. To hear high frequency, knowing
that an individual neuron cannot fire faster than 1000 times per second, the neurons use the volley principle
which is, like soldiers who alternate firing so that some can shoot while others reload, neural cells can alternate
firing. By firing in rapid succession, they achieve a combined frequency above 1000 waves per second.
*Thus, place theory best explains how we sense high pitches, frequency theory best explains how we sense low
pitches, and some combination of place and frequency seems to handle the pitches in the intermediate range.
184) Conduction hearing loss ▯hearing loss caused by damage to the mechanical system that conducts sound
waves to the cochlea.
185) Sensorineural hearing loss ▯hearing loss caused by damage to the cochlea’s receptor cells or to the
16 auditory nerves; also called nerve deafness.
186) Cochlear implant ▯a device for converting sounds into electrical signals and stimulating the auditory nerve
through electrodes threaded into the cochlea.
*Dead culture advocates sometimes further contend that deafness could as well be considered “vision
enhancement” as “hearing impairment”. People who lose one channel of sensation do seem to compensate with
a slight enhancement of their other sensory abilities.
187) The rubber hand illusion ▯Top down influence on touch imagine yourself looking at a realistic rubber
hand while your own hand is hidden. If an experimenter simultaneously touches your fake and real hands you
will perceive the rubber hand as your own and sense it being touched. Touch is not only a bottom up property of
your sense but also a topdown product of your brain and your expectations.
188) Kinesthesis ▯the system for sensing the position and movement of individual body parts.
189) Vestibular sense ▯the sense of body movement and position, including the sense of balance.
**A companion vestibular sense monitors your head’s (and thus your body’s) position and movement. The
biological gyroscopes for this sense of equilibrium are in your inner ear. The semicircular canals, which look
like a threedimensional pretzel, and the vestibular sacs, which connect the canals with the cochlea, contain fluid
that moves when your head rotates or tilts. This movement stimulates hairlike receptors, which send messages to
the cerebellum at the back of the brain, thus enabling you to sense your body position and to maintain your
190) Pain ▯our feelings of pain combine both bottomup sensations and top down processes.
No one type of stimulus that triggers pain. Instead there are different “nociceptors” – sensory receptors that
detect hurtful temperatures, pressure, or chemicals.
191) Gate control theory (Ronald Melzack and Patrick Wall) ▯the theory that the spinal cord contains a
neurological “gate” that blocks pain signals or allows them to pass on to the brain. The “gate” is opened by the
activity of pain signals traveling up small nerve fibers and is closed by activity in larger fibers or by information
coming from the brain.
**When tissue is injured, the small fibers activate and open the gate, and you feel pain. Largefiber activity
closes the gate, blocking pain signals and preventing them from reaching the brain. Thus, one way to treat
chronic pain is to stimulate (by massage, by electric stimulation, or by acupuncture) “gateclosing” activity in
the large neural fibers. Rubbing the area around your stubbed toe will create competing stimulation that will
block some pain messages.
The pain circuit – sensory receptors (nociceptors) respond to potentially damaging stimuli by sending an
impulse to the spinal cord, which passes the message to the brain, which interprets the signal as pain.
17 When we are distracted from pain (a psychological influence) and soothed by the release of endorphins, our
natural painkillers (a biological influence), our experience of pain may be greatly diminished.
192) Phantom limb sensations ▯the brain can create pain when it misinterprets the spontaneous central nervous
system activity that occurs in the absence of normal sensory input.
Phantom sounds – people with hearing loss often experience the sound of silence – phant sounds – a “ringing in
the ears” sensation known as tinnitus.
193) Virtualreality pain control ▯for burn victims undergoing painful skin repair, an escape into virtual reality
can powerfully distract attention, thus reducing pain and the brain’s response to painful stimulation.
Survival function of basic tastes ▯a) Sweet – energy source b) Salty – sodium essential to physiological
processes c) Sour – potentially toxic acid d) Bitter – potential poison e) Umami – proteins to grow and repair
194) Sensory interaction ▯the principle that one sense may influence another, as when the smell of food
influences its taste.
195) McGurk effect ▯if we see a speaker saying one syllable while hearing another we may perceive a third
syllable that blends both inputs. Seeing the mouth movements for “ga” while hearing “ba” we may perceive
196) Synaesthesia ▯where one sort of sensation (such as hearing sounds) produces another (such as seeing