AP Psychology Summer Vocabulary
Absolute Threshold – The minimum amount of energy required for a sensory experience to be produced. 2.
Accommodation – In Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, the process of changing existing schemas when new information cannot be assimilated. 3.
Action Potential – The nerve impulse that travels down the axon and triggers the release of neurotransmitters into a synapse. 4.
Afterimage Effect – A sensory experience that continues in the absence of the stimulus. 5.
Algorithms – A problem solving procedure requiring repetition in order to eliminate possible answers until only the correct one remains. 6.
Amygdala – An almond-shaped structure in the limbic system which plays a role in basic emotions, aggression, and the development of emotional memories. 7.
Anxiety – A negative emotional state, characterized by high physiological arousal and nervousness or fear. 8.
Assimilation – In Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, the process of fitting new information into existing schemas. 9.
Attribution Theory – A theory that seeks to explain the causes of behavior in terms of either dispositional (personality) factors or situational factors. 10.
Autism – A developmental disorder, where by children and unresponsive and avoid contact with others, and demonstrate a lack of communication skills. 11.
Autonomic Nervous System – Part of the nervous system that maintains the normal functioning of the body’s inner environment. The ANS has two subdivisions: a) the sympathetic division whose activity mobilizes energy resources and prepares the body for action b) the parasympathetic division whose activity tends to conserve the body’s energy resources and restore inner calm. 12.
Axon – The relativity elongated portion of a neuron between the cell body and the terminals which provides the signal pathway for a nerve impulse. 13.
Behaviorism – One major perspective in psychology that concentrates on overt (observable) behavior rather than covert (unobservable) mental processing. 14.
Bias – A source of error which results in a systematic distortion of results. 15.
Cerebellum – Two small hemispheres located beneath the cortical hemispheres, at the back of the head; the cerebellum plays an important role in direction movements and balance. 16.
Circadian Rhythm – A roughly 24-hour cycle which is determined by an internal body clock, e.g. the sleep-wake cycle. 17.
Classical Conditioning – A basic form of learning, whereby a neutral stimulus is repeatedly paired with an unconditioned stimulus (UCS) that naturally produces an unconditioned response (UCR). After several trials, the neutral stimulus is now a conditioned stimulus (CS) and thus produces a conditioned response (CR). 18.
Cognitive – The processes of reasoning, thoughts, attitudes and memories. 19.
Cognitive Dissonance – in Festinger’s Theory, a state of tension created when there are conflicts between an individual’s behavior and belief’s or between two beliefs. 20.
Cognitive Map – Tolman’s term for the mental representation of learned relationships among stimuli. 21.
Conditioned Response – In classical condition, a response to a previously neutral stimulus which has become a conditioned stimulus by repeated pairing with an unconditioned stimulus. 22.
Conditioned Stimulus – a stimulus which by repeated pairings with an unconditioned stimulus comes to elicit a conditioned response. 23.
Cones – Photoreceptor cells located in the center of the retina that allows us to see color. 24.
Conformity – a type of social influence expressed through exposure to the views of a majority and out submission to those views. 25.
Confounding Variable – Uncontrolled variable that produces an unwanted effect on the dependent variable. It obscures the effect of the independent variable. 26.
Consciousness – Is regarded to comprise qualities such as subjectivity, self-awareness, sentience, and the ability to perceive the relationship between oneself and one’s environment....
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