Terminology in Psychology Competitive Exams Part 1

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Absolute threshold: The minimum amount of physical energy necessary to produce a sensation.

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).

Acquisition: The period in conditioning during which a response is strengthened.

Action potential : The nerve impulse.

Ageism: Discrimination or prejudice based on a person’s age.

Aggression: Any response made with the intent of causing harm.

Agoraphobia (without panic): The fear that something extremely embarrassing will happen if one leaves the house or enters unfamiliar situations.

Algorithm: A systematic procedure that always provides the right answer for a particular type of problem

Amygdala: A part of the limbic system associated with fear responses.

Anxiety: Apprehension, dread, or uneasiness similar to fear but based on an unclear threat.

Anxiety Disorders: Mental disorders marked by physiological arousal, feelings of tension and intense apprehension without apparent reason.

Assimilation: In Piaget’s theory, the application of existing mental patterns to new situations (that is, the new situation is assimilated to existing mental schemes).

Association Cortex: The parts of the cerebral cortex in which many high‑level brain processes occur

Attitude: The learned, relatively stable tendency to respond to people, concepts, & events in an evaluative way

Attribution: The mental process of assigning causes to events. In emotion, the process of attributing arousal to a particular source.

Authoritarian Parents: Parents who strictly enforce their authority over their children

Autonomic nervous system (ANS): The system of nerves that connects the brain with the internal organs and glands.

Aversion therapy: Suppressing an undesirable response by associating it with aversive (painful or uncomfortable) stimuli.

Behavior modification: The application of learning principles to change human behavior, especially maladaptive behavior.

Behaviorism: The school of psychology that emphasizes the study of overt, observable behavior.

Biofeedback: Information given to a person about his or her ongoing bodily activities; aids voluntary regulation of physical states.

Biopsychosocial model: Approach to which acknowledges that biological, psychological, and social factors interact to influence illness and health.

Bipolar disorders: Emotional disorders involving both depression and mania or hypomania.

Bottom-up processing: Organizing perceptions by beginning with low-level features.

Broca’s Area: The region of the brain that translates thoughts into speech or sign

Case study: An in-depth focus on all aspects of single person.

Classical conditioning: A form of learning in which reflex responses are associated with new stimuli.

Client‑Centered Therapy: A humanistic approach to treatment that emphasizes the healthy psychological growth of the individual based on the assumption that all people share the basic tendency of human nature toward self‑actualization.

Cognition (thinking): The process of thinking or mentally processing information (images, concepts, words, rules, and symbols).

Cognitive dissonance: An uncomfortable clash between self-image, thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, or perceptions and one’s behavior.

Cognitive Map: A mental representation of physical space

Cognitive Therapy: A type of psychotherapeutic treatment that attempts to change feelings and behaviors by changing the way a client thinks about or perceives significant life experiences

Comorbidity (in mental disorders): The simultaneous presence in a person of two or more mental disorders.

Compliance: Bending to the requests of a person who has little or no authority or other form of social power.

Concrete operational stage: Period of intellectual development during which children become able to use the concepts of time, space, volume, and number, but in ways that remain simplified and concrete, rather than abstract.

Conditioned response (CR): A learned response elicited by a conditioned stimulus.

Cones: Visual receptors for colors and daylight visual acuity.

Consciousness: A state of awareness of internal events and of the external environment

Consequences: Effects that follow a response.

Conservation: According to Piaget, the understanding that physical properties do not change when nothing is added or taken away, even though appearances may change

Control Group: Group that receives no special treatment during an experiment

Correlational Study: Research into the relationships between variables as they naturally occur