Textbook definitions.docx

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14 Mar 2014
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Ablation
Surgical removal of tissue.
Absolute threshold
The minimum amount of physical energy necessary to produce a sensation.
Accessibility (in memory)
Memories currently stored in memory which can be retrieved when necessary are both
available and accessible.
Accommodation
In Piaget’s theory, the modification of existing mental patterns to fit new demands (that
is, mental schemes are changed to accommodate new information or experiences).
Accommodation
Changes in the shape of the lens of the eye.
Acculturative stress
Stress caused by the many changes and adaptations required when a person moves to
a foreign culture.
Acquaintance (date) rapes
Forced intercourse that occurs in the context of a date or other voluntary encounter.
Acquisition
The period in conditioning during which a response is reinforced.
Action component
How one tends to act toward the object of an attitude.
Action potential
The nerve impulse.
Activation-synthesis hypothesis
An attempt to explain how dream content is affected by motor commands in the brain
that occur during sleep but are not carried out.
Active listener
A person who knows how to maintain attention, avoid distractions, and actively gather
information from lectures.
Actor-observer bias
The tendency to attribute the behavior of others to internal causes while attributing one’s
own behavior to external causes (situations and circumstances).
Acute stress disorder
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A psychological disturbance lasting up to 1 month following stresses that would produce
anxiety in anyone who experienced them.
Adaptive behaviors
Actions that aid attempts to survive and adapt to changing conditions.
Adjustment disorders
An emotional disturbance caused by ongoing stressors within the range of common
experience.
Adolescence
The culturally defined period between childhood and adulthood.
Adrenal glands
Endocrine glands that arouse the body, regulate salt balance, adjust the body to stress,
and affect sexual functioning.
Adrenaline
A hormone produced by the adrenal glands that tends to arouse the body.
Affection needs
Emotional needs for love and affection.
Ageism
Discrimination or prejudice based on a person’s age. An institutionalized tendency to
discriminate on the basis of age; prejudice based on age.
Aggression
Any response made with the intent of causing harm. Hurting another person or achieving
one’s goals at the expense of another person. Any action carried out with the intention of
harming another person.
Aggression cues
Stimuli or signals that are associated with aggression and that tend to elicit it.
Aggressive pornography
Media depictions of sexual violence or of forced participation in sexual activity.
Agoraphobia
The fear that something extremely embarrassing will happen if one leaves the house or
enters unfamiliar situations.
Alarm reaction,
First stage of the GAS, during which bodily resources are mobilized to cope with a
stressor.
Alcohol myopia
Shortsighted thinking and perception that occurs during alcohol intoxication.
Alexi-thymia
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A learned difficulty expressing emotions; more common in men.
Algorithm
A learned set of rules that always leads to the correct solution of a problem.
All-or-nothing thinking
Classifying objects or events as absolutely right or wrong, good or bad, acceptable or
unacceptable, and so forth.
Alpha waves.
Large, slow brainwaves associated with relaxation and falling asleep.
Altered state of consciousness (ASC)
A condition of awareness distinctly different in quality or pattern from waking
consciousness.
Alzheimer's
An age-related disease characterized by memory loss, mental confusion, and, in its later
stages, a nearly total loss of mental abilities.
Ambivalence
Mixed positive and negative feelings or simultaneous attraction and repulsion.
Ambivalent attachment
An emotional bond marked by conflicting feelings of affection, anger, and emotional
turmoil.
Amygdala
A part of the limbic system (within the brain) that produces fear responses. A part of the
limbic system associated with fear responses.
Androgens
Any of a number of male sex hormones, especially testosterone. Any of a number of
male sex hormones, especially testosterone.
Androgyny
The presence of both “masculine” and “feminine” traits in a single person (as masculinity
and femininity are defined within one’s culture).
Anger control
Personal strategies for reducing or curbing anger.
Anhedonia
An inability to feel pleasure.
Anima
An archetype representing the female principle.
Animal models
In research, an animal whose behavior is used to derive principles that may apply to
human behavior.
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