AP Psychology Essay Test

Describe a skewed distribution
A frequency distribution in which most scores are clustered at one end of the distribution, with scores occurring infrequently at the other end
Normal Distribution
A mathematically defined frequency distribution in which most measurements are concentrated around the middle.
Positively skewed distribution
Contains a preponderance of scores on the low end of the scale. The mean will be higher than the median in a positively skewed distribution.
Standard Deviation
A measure of variability that indicates the average difference between the scores and their mean
Explain why norms for standardized intelligence tests are periodically updated.
Norms are periodically updated in order to make sure that the scores are being standardized to the most recent cohort group. Research has actually shown that IQs appear to be increasing (they don’t know the reason: more education, better nutrition and medical care, etc), so the “average” keeps changing. They update them in order to re-standardize them.
Critical Period
An optimal period shortly after birth when an organism’s exposure to certain stimuli or experiences produces proper development
Fluid Intelligence
Aspects of innate intelligence, including reasoning abilities, memory, and speed of information processing, that are relatively independent of education and tend to decline as people age.
Group Polarization
Shifts or exaggeration in group members’ attitudes or behavior as a result of group discussion.
James-Lange Theory of Emotion
The proposition that the bodily processes of emotion come first and the mind’s perception of these bodily reactions then creates the subjective feeling of emotion
Classical Conditioning
Conditioning process in which an originally neutral stimulus, by repeated pairing with a stimulus that normally elicits a response, comes to elicit a similar or even identical response; aka Pavlovian conditioning
Refractory period
(neurology) The time after a neuron fires or a muscle fiber contracts during which a stimulus will not evoke a response
Sound Localization
Sound waves from the right arrive in the right ear before the left. This is how we can tell the direction of a sound. Sounds coming from directly in front, above or behind us are more difficult to locate since the waves arrive at the same time
Spontaneous Recovery
Several days, weeks later after extinction, when the CS is presented, a weakened form of the CR will occur
Afterimage Effect
An image continuing to appear in one’s vision after the exposure to the original image has ceased
Availability Heuristic
Estimating the likelihood of events based on their availability in memory; if instances come readily to mind, we presume such events are common
The belief that’s one own ethnic group, religion or political group is superior to all
A phenomenon that occurs in decision making when group members avoid disagreement as they strive for consensus
Object permanence
The awareness that things continue to exist even when not perceived.
Nonrandom assignment
Selection bias
Optimistic Explanatory Style
People attribute setbacks to temporary situational factors opposed to their own inferiorities.
Proactive Interference
The disruptive effect of prior learning on the recall of new information
Diagnostic labeling
Helps in describing, treating & researching disorders, but may create preconceptions that bias people’s image or become self-fulfilling prophecy
Case Study
An observation technique in which one person is studied in depth in the hope of revealing universal principles.
Correlational Study
A research project designed to discover the degree to which two variables are related to each other
A research method in which an investigator manipulates one or more factors to observe the effect on some behavior or mental process
One advantage and disadvantage of a case study
Case studies allow a lot of detail to be collected that would not normally be easily obtained by other research designs.
Within the case study, scientific experiments can be conducted.One of the main criticisms is that the data collected cannot necessarily be generalized to the wider population. This leads to data being collected over longitudinal case studies not always being relevant or particularly useful.
Case studies are generally on one person, but there also tends to only be one experimenter collecting the data. This can lead to bias in data collection, which can influence results more than in different designs.

One advantage and disadvantage of a correlational study

An advantage of the correlation method is that we can make predictions about things when we know about correlations. If two variables are correlated, we can predict one based on the other. For example, we know that SAT scores and college achievement are positively correlated. So when college admission officials want to predict who is likely to succeed at their schools, they will choose students with high SAT scores.

The problem that most students have with the correlation method is remembering that correlation does not measure cause. For example, we know that education and income are positively correlated. We do not know if one caused the other.

One advantage and disadvantage of an experiment
It allows for precise control of variables.
Experiments can be replicated.Artificiality: The experiment is not typical of real life situations. Most experiments are conducted in laboratories – strange and contrived environments in which people are asked to perform unusual or even bizarre tasks.
Behavior in the laboratory is very narrow in its range. By controlling the situation so precisely, behavior may be very limited.

Approach-avoidance Conflict
A conflict in which there are both appealing and negative aspects to the decision to be made.
Central Route to Persuasion
Occurs when interested people focus on the arguments and respond with favorable thoughts
A simple thinking strategy that often allows us to make judgment and solve problems efficiently; usually speedier, but more error-prone than algorithms
Giving priority to one’s own goals over group goals and defining one’s identity in terms of personal attributes rather than group identifications
Creating false but plausible excuses to justify unacceptable behavior.
An individual’s belief that he or she is capable of performing a task.
Autonomic nervous system
Regulates automatic activities such as heart rate and breathing.
The foot-in-the-door phenomenon
People’s tendency to comply more readily with a large request if they have already agreed to a smaller favor.
The mere exposure effect
Refers to the fact that repeated exposure to a stimulus makes us more likely to feel favorably towards it.
Mnemonic Device
Techniques for using associations to memorize and retrieve information
Schachter Two-Factor Theory
Schachter’s theory that to experience emotion one must (1) be physically aroused and (2) cognitively label the arousal.
Locus of Control
A belief about the amount of control a person has over situations in their life.
In-group Bias
Tendency to favor individuals within our group over those from outside our group
A defense mechanism in which the ego deals with internal conflict and perceived threat by reverting to an immature behavior or earlier stage of development
Operant Conditioning
A type of learning in which behavior is strengthened if followed by a reinforcer or diminished if followed by a punisher.
Circadian Rhythm
A physiological cycle of about 24 hours that is present in all eukaryotic organisms and that persists even in the absence of external cues. (Biological Clock)
Operational Definition
A statement of the procedures (operations) used to define research variables. For example, human intelligence may be operationally defined as what an intelligence test measures.
Ability of a test to measure what it is supposed to measure and to predict what it is supposed to predict
A group of severe disorders characterized by disorganized and delusional thinking, disturbed perceptions, and inappropriate emotions and actions
False sensory experiences, such as seeing something in the absence of an external visual stimulus
False beliefs, often of persecution or grandeur, that may accompany psychotic disorders
Dopamine Hypothesis
Schizophrenia is related to overactivity at dopamine receptors either as a result of oversensitivity of the receptors or exessive dopamine level
Schizophrenia Medication
Antipyschotic drugs have been available since the 1950’s. Since then a number of different drugs have been available for distribution. These drugs include the most commonly used, which is clozapine. This drug in particular has been shown to be more effective and successful than other antipsychotics. Although it has much success, this drug has many side effects which include a condition called agranulocytosis, which is a loss of the white blood cells that fight infection. In order to keep this side effect monitored, those who take clozapine have to receive blood tests about every 2 weeks. Safer drugs with less side effects are risperidone and olanzapine.
Dissociative Identity Disorder
A rare dissociative disorder in which a person exhibits two or more distinct and alternating personalities. Also called multiple personality disorder.
Skinner’s Operant Conditioning
The consequences of a behavior produce changes in the probability of the behavior’s recurrence. A behavior followed by a rewarding stimulus is more like to recur, whereas a behavior followed by a punishing stimulus is less likely to recur. Rewards and punishment shape development
Bandura’s Social Learning Theory
People learn new behaviors by observing others and that self reinforcement and self-efficacy support learning and behavior change
Ainsworth’s Attachment Research
explanation of development that focuses on the quality of the early emotional relationships developed between children and their caregivers
attentive mother=secure attachment
inattentive mother=insecure attachment
Baumrind’s Research on Parenting Styles
Authoritarian, permissive, authoritative
Independence: the capacity to rely on one’s own capabilities, and to manage one’s own affairs.
One’s feelings of high or low self-worth
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.
A trick; an attempt to make someone believe something that is not true
Operational Definition of the dependent variable
A statement of the procedures used to define research variables. Ex human intelligence — what an intelligence test measures.
A testable prediction, often implied by a theory
A verbal description of the true nature and purpose of a study
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
(level 1) Physiological Needs, (level 2) Safety and Security, (level 3) Relationships, Love and Affection, (level 4) Self Esteem, (level 5) Self Actualization
Extrinsic Motivation
A desire to perform a behavior due to promised rewards or threats of punishment
An event that decreases the behavior that it follows.
“morphine within”–natural, opiate-like neurotransmitters linked to pain control and to pleasure.
Vestibular System
The sensory system that responds to gravity and keeps people informed of their body’s location in space.
Divergent Thinking
A type of creative thinking in which one generates new solutions to problems
A personality descriptor indicating the quiet and reserved nature of some individuals.
Serial Position Effect
Our tendency to recall best the last and first items in a list
A measure of memory in which the person must retrieve information learned earlier, as on a fill-in-the-blank test.
Functional Fixedness
The tendency to think of things only in terms of their usual functions; an impediment to problem solving.
(a) Repeating conditions within an experiment to determine the reliability of effects and increase internal validity; (b) repeating whole experiments to determine the generality of findings of previous experiments to other subjects, settings, and/or behaviors
Double-Blind Research
Neither the subjects or the researcher know who is in the control/experimental group
A particular preference or point of view that is personal, rather than scientific.
An irrational belief arising from ignorance or fear
An event following a response that strengthens the tendency to make that response.
Overjustification Effect
The effect of promising a reward for doing what one already likes to do. The person may now see the reward, rather than intrinsic interest, as the motivation for performing the task.
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.
Neural Impulse
action potential; the firing of a nerve cell; the entire process of the electrical charge (message/impulse) traveling through inner on; can be as fast as 400 fps (with myelin) or 3 fps (no myelin)
Cocktail Party Effect
The ability to focus one’s listening attention on a single talker among a mixture of conversations and background noises
A phenomenon that occurs when immersion in a group causes people to become less aware of their individual values
Figure Ground
The organization of the visual field into objects that stand out from their surroundings.
Occipital Lobe
A region of the cerebral cortex that processes visual information
Procedural Memory
A type of long-term memory of how to perform different actions and skills. Essentially, it is the memory of how to do certain things.
Sympathetic Nervous System
Branch of the autonomic nervous system that produces rapid physical arousal in response to perceived emergencies or threats.
Foveal Vision
This is the part of our vision that is the sharpest. It occurs in the central part of the retina where cones are predominant.
Feature Detectors
Nerve cells in the brain that respond to specific features of the stimulus, such as shape, angle, or movement
Help you see features…edges, corners, etc. They are located in the brain, not the eye.
Gestalt Principal of Closure
Psychological school gave us the notion that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”
Random Assignment
Assigning participants to experimental and control conditions by chance, thus minimizing preexisting differences between those assigned to the different groups
Statistical Significance
A statistical statement of how likely it is that an obtained result occurred by chance
Broca’s Area
Controls language expression – an area of the frontal lobe, usually in the left hemisphere, that directs the muscle movements involved in speech.
In language, the smallest distinctive sound unit.
A therapeutic technique in which the client learns appropriate behavior through imitation of someone else.
Combining small pieces of information into larger clusters or chunks that are more easily held in short-term memory.
Encoding Failure
The inability to recall specific information because of insufficient encoding of the information for storage in long-term memory.
Skinner Language Acquisition Theory
learning language through reinforcement, Operant learning; language development can be explained with familiar learning principles, such as association, imitation, and reinforcement. Thus, babies learn to talk in many of the same ways animals learn to peck keys
Language Acquisition Device
Chomsky’s concept of an innate, prewired mechanism in the brain that allows children to acquire language naturally
Confirmation Bias
A tendency to search for information that supports our preconceptions and to ignore or distort contradictory evidence
Change of behavior in response to an explicit request from another person or group.
Prefrontal Cortex
most frontal region of the frontal lobe; involved in higher-order cognitive processes (planning, decision making, emotional control)
Prospective Memory
Remembering information about doing something in the future; includes memory for intentions.
A disorder involving anxiety about situations from which escape would be difficult or embarrassing or places where there might be no help if a panic attack occurred.
Crystallized Intelligence
Our accumulated knowledge and verbal skills; tends to increase with age
Located in the periphery of the retina, these are sensory receptors for vision that work best in reduced illumination, and only allow perception of achromatic colors, low sensitivity to detail and are not involved in color vision.
Night vision and peripheral vision, only registers shades of gray, sensitive to light, not in the fovea. Responsible for vision at low light level. Not useful for fine detail
Peripheral Vision
Area a person can see to the left and right of central vision
Primacy Effect
In free recall, the tendency to recall the first items on the list more readily than those in the middle.
Serotonin; reduction of depression
regulates mood and sleep; malfunctions: Obsessive-compulsive disorder, insomnia, depression (shortage); sleepiness, lack of motivation (excess)
Retinal Disparity
A binocular cue for perceiving depth; by comparing images from the two eyeballs, the brain computes distance – the greater the disparity (difference) between the two images, the close the object
Depth Perception
The ability to see objects in three dimensions although the images that strike the retina are two-dimensional; allows us to judge distance
Motor Cortex
An area at the rear of the frontal lobes that controls voluntary movements
Presence of others; performance
Norman Triplett discovered that bicyclists bike faster in the presence of other competitive bikers. (Social Facilitation)
In perception, the closeness of two figures. The closer together they are, the more we tend to group them together perceptually.
Social Facilitation
Enhancement of performance brought about by the presence of others
Recency Effect
A theory that the most recent information presented in the message will be the most likely to be remembered
A temporary inability to remember something accompanied by a feeling that it’s just out of reach.
Belief Perseverance
Clinging to one’s initial conceptions after the basis on which they were formed has been discredited
Retroactive Interference
Occurs when new information impairs the retention of previously learned information
Source Amnesia
A type of amnesia that occurs when a person shows memory for an event but cannot remember where he or she encountered the information.
In operant conditioning, a reinforcement schedule that reinforces a response only after a specified number of responses
In operant conditioning, a reinforcement schedule that reinforces a response at unpredictable time intervals
In operant conditioning, a reinforcement schedule that reinforces a response only after a specified time has elapsed
In operant conditioning, a reinforcement schedule that reinforces a response after an unpredictable number of responses
Psychology Ethics
Obtain informed consent of potential participants, protect subjects from harm and discomfort, treat information confidentially, fully explain aftward, Institutional Review Boards (IRB) needs to screen proposals
Random Sampling
A sample that fairly represents a population because each member has an equal chance of inclusion
Ernest Hilgard
A psychologist who believed that hypnosis worked only on the immediate conscious mind of a person. he also believes that there is a hidden part of the mind(hidden observer) that is very much aware of the hypnotic subjects activities and sensations.
Cold Control Theory
Draws a distinction between:
-being in a mental state
-being aware of being in that state~Argues that successful response to hypnotic suggestion can be achieved by forming the intention to perform an action, without forming higher order thoughts about intending that action

Dissociated-Experience Theory
The dissociated experience theory of hypnosis argues that high hypnotisables execute hypnotic responses voluntarily, but that this effort is not monitored correctly and is dissociated from conscious awareness.
A social interaction in which one person suggests to another that certain perceptions, feelings, thoughts, or behaviors will spontaneously occur
Cognitive Dissonance
A state of mental discomfort arising from a discrepancy between two or more of a person’s beliefs or between a person’s beliefs and overt behavior.
Adjusting one’s behavior or thinking to coincide with a group standard.
Incentive Motivation
Theories suggesting that motivation stems from the desire to obtain valued external goals or incentives
Negative Reinforcement
Increasing behaviors by stopping or reducing negative stimuli, such as shock. A negative reinforcer is any stimulus that, when removed after a response, strengthens the response. (Note: negative reinforcement is not punishment.)
Physiological Addiction
An addiction in which an individual is addicted to a substance on which his body has grown dependent.
Describe the three measures of central tendency (Mean, Median, Mode)
A measure of central tendency determined by adding all scores together and dividing by the number of scores. Often referred to as the statistical average.
A measure of central tendency for a distribution, represented by the score that separates the upper half of the scores in a distribution from the lower half
Measure of central tendency that uses most frequently occurring score.

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