GRE psychology practice


neurotransmitter associated with voluntary movement, sleep and wakefulness. Too little is associated with Alzheimer's

Analysis of Variance/ANOVA

inferential statistical procedure used to compare 2 or more means to see if the difference is not chance (need p<.05 for statistical significance)


impairment of ability to communicate either through oral or written discourse as a result of brain damage. Ex. Wernicke's ________ or Broca's __________

Optimum Arousal Theory

Theory stating that we are motivated by our innate desire to maintain an personally preferred level of arousal.

Broca's Aphasia

Loss of function associated with damage to a specific area of the left frontal lobe, demonstrated by impairment in producing understandable speech.


young child's inability to understand another person's perspective - typical of Piaget's preoperational stage

Concrete Operational Stage

According to Piaget - stage of cognitive development where child between ages of 7 and 12 begins thinking more globally and outside of the self but are still deficient in abstract thought.

Construct Validity

Validity answers the question of whether or not the measuring device actually measures the theoretical idea under question.


Binocular cue to distance referring to fact that the closer an object is, the more inward our eyes need to turn in order to focus

Dopamine Hypothesis

Theory that schizophrenia is caused by an excess amount of dopamine in brain. Research has found that medication to reduce dopamine can reduce the positive symptoms of schizophrenia.


neurotransmitter involved in pain relief, and feelings of pleasure and contentedness.


neurotransmitter involved in energy and glucose metabolism.

External Validity

The extent to which data collected from a sample can be generalized to the entire population.

Factor Analysis

A statistical technique used combine data into similar groups

Frequency Effect

The phenomenon in memory which states that we tend to remember information better if it is repeated.

Formal Operational Stage

Piaget's fourth and final stage of cognitive development where thinking becomes more abstract. 12+ years

Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis

Theory arguing that aggression is the natural reaction to frustration.

g factor

Basic intelligence of Spearman's theory. Typically compared to s which represents specific intelligences.

Gender Identity

Internal sense of being either male or female. Usually congruent with biological gender, but not always.

Hawthorne Effect

Phenomenon that subject behavior changes by mere fact that they are being observed.


The process of examining one's own consciousness used by Structuralists and Functionalist researchers

Legitimate Power

Power derived through one's position, such as a police officer or elected official.


Internal states that provide direction for one's behaviors.


neurotransmitter associated with eating and alertness. Too little has been associated with depression in addition to serotonin


A technique used to improve memory where info is learned to the point that it can be repeated without mistake more than one time. Continuted rehearsal after material is leanred - Ebbinghaus

Phi Phenomenon

The perception of motion based on two or more stationary objects (e.g., perception of chaser lights brought about by different lights blinking at different times).

Criterion Validity

A measurements ability to predict scores on another measurement that is related or purports to measure the same or similar construct

Preoperational Stage

Piaget's second stage of cognitive development in which a child develops objects permanency and language. 2-7 years

Proactive Interference

Interference in memory due to prior learning.


Symbol used for the Pearson-product moment correlation (correlation coefficien

Reaction Formation

defense mechanism where unacceptable impulses are converted to their opposite.

Reticular Formation (Reticular Activating System)

Part of brain stem involved in arousal and attention, sleep and wakefulness, and control of reflexes.

Retinal Disparity

Binocular cue to distance referring to distance between the two images sent to the brain by our eyes. The farther apart these images, the closer the object.

Retroactive Interference

Interference in memory created by later learning.

Self Serving Bias

The tendency to assign internal attributes to successes and external factors to failures.

Sensorimotor Stage

The first stage in Piaget's Stages of Cognitive Development where a child's primary way of learning about the world is through the senses and movement. 0-2 years


Wundt and Titchner school of thought from the 19th century focused on the gathering of psychological information through the examination of the structure of the mind.

Type I Error

The error that is committed when a true null hypothesis is rejected erroneously. The probability of a Type I Error is abbreviated with the lowercase Greek letter alpha.

Type II Error

The error that is committed when a false null hypothesis is accepted erroneously. The probability of a Type II Error is abbreviated with the uppercase Greek letter beta.


A measure of spread within a distribution (the square of the standard deviation).

Wernicke's Aphasia

Aphasia resulting from damage to a specific area of left temporal lobe. Affects written and spoken language.

visual capture

the tendency for vision to dominate the other senses

feature detectors

nerve cells in the brain's visual cortex that respond to specific features of the stimulus, such as shape, angle, or movement

bipolar cells

eye neurons that receive information from the retinal rods and cones and distribute information to the ganglion cells

ganglion cells

the specialized cells which lie behind the bipolar cells whose axons form the optic nerve which takes the information to the brain

glial cells

cells in the nervous system that support, nourish, and protect neurons and make myelin


consistency between one's ideal self and actual self that results in a positive self concept - Rogers


inconsistency between one's ideal self and actual self that results in a negative self concept - Rogers

belief bias

the tendency for one's preexisting ideas to distort logical reasoning, sometimes by making invalid conclusions seem valid, or valid conclusions seem invalid

belief perseverance

Clinging to one's initial conceptions after the basis on which they were formed has been discredited

Reciprocal determinism

Bandura's model in which cognition's, behaviors, and environmental factors both influence and are influenced by each other

basic anxiety

Horney's term for feelings of helplessness and insecurity as a result of being a small child in a world full of adults.

moving away

Horney's term for avoiding people as a way of coping with ones anxiety toward them (detached personality)

moving toward

Horney's term for connecting positively to others and seeking acceptance. (Compliant personality)

moving against

Horney's term for seeking control and power over people as a way of coping (aggressive personality)

cardinal trait

a trait that is so pervasive that the person is almost identified with the trait - Allport

central trait

in Gordon Allport's trait theory of personality, a major characteristic such as honesty or sensitivity that defines a person most of the time

secondary trait

In Allport's theory, a characteristic seen only in certain situations, such as "uncomfortable in large crowds" and "likes to drive sports cars.


Vygotsky's idea that learners should be given only just enough help so that they can reach the next level

Place Theory

in hearing, the theory that links the pitch we hear with the location where the cochlea's membrane is stimulated

Frequency Matching Theory

theory holding that the firing rate of a neuron matches the frequency of a sound wave to determine pitch

subordinate goals

how can I achieve that for which I strive, goals that can be achieved only by cooperating and working with others - used to reduce prejudice

long term potentiation

an increase in a synapse's firing potential after brief, rapid stimulation. believed to be a neural basis for learning and memory


when a person "remembers" info that was never stored in the memory


the condition of walking or performing some other activity without awakening; also known as sleepwalking - stage 4

pineal gland

located in the center of the brain, functioning to secrete melatonin


grammatical arrangement of words in sentences


in a language, a system of rules that enables us to communicate with and understand others

language acquisition devise

built-in mechanism for acquiring language - Chomsky's nature theory for language development


a reflex in which a newborn turns its head in response to a gentle stimulus on its cheek


infant reflex that causes toes to fan out when soles of feet are touched


reflex when baby is startled or playdropped, it puts out arms and then brings limbs to midline


Freud&#039;s term from the Greek word for love - the life instinct or the will to live


Freud&#039;s term from the Greek word for death - the death or aggressive instinct which operates invisibly


neurotransmitter involved in memory and movement - too little is associated with Alzheimer's


process by which, according to Freud, children incorporate their parents' values into their developing superegos - children align with their same sex parent to resolve the Oedipus Complex


visual imagery of almost photographic accuracy

phenomenological view

focuses on the individuals unique self and experiences

Barnum effect

The tendency to agree with and accept personality interpretations that are provided.

Pick's disease

disease of the frontal and temporal lobes characterized by changes in personality


OCD/anxiety disorder with an intense desire to pull out your hair; reported more in women, men have equal causes but are less likely to report it


Abnormal behavioral and physiological events during sleep, no problems with sleeping

Tay-Sachs disease

recessive disorder that is of the nervous system and the child usually dies by the age of 4

Klinefelter's syndrome

a disorder in which a male receives 2 X chromosomes and 1 Y chromosome

Korsakoff's syndrome

memory disorder related to thiamine deficiency generaly associated with chronic alcoholism; fail to recall many items or events of the past


The sensors in the hypothalamus that create the thirst sensation.

orienting reflex

The tendency to turn toward an object that has touched you.


inability to recognize faces

purkinje shift

is the way that perceived color brightness changes with the level of illumination in the room. With lower levels of illumination, the extremes of the color spectrum( especially red) are seen as less bright

Ponzo illusion

Both horizontal rectangles are the same size but the top one looks longer because of linear perspective (railroad)

minimum principle

is the tendency to see what is easiest or logical to see.


The fundamental principle of Gesalt perception is the law of pragnanz (German for consciousness) which says that we tend to order our experience in a manner that is regular, orderly, symetric, and simple

McCollough effect

Afterimages that appear after staring at a color for a long period of time

Point-Biserial correlation

used for dichotomous "either-or" variables such as male/female/


used when cases/data are categorical--looks at patterns or distributions not differences in means

selective attrition

The tendency for some kinds of people to be more likely than others to drop out of a study.


Negative reactions to threats to one's personal freedom. Reactance often increases resistance to persuasion and can even produce negative attitude change or opposite to what was intended

Rosenthal effect

the concern that researchers may inadvertently alert subjects to the purpose of the study


when people agree with opposing statements

parallel play

Two children playing side by side at the same activities, paying little or no Attention to each other; the earliest kind of social interaction between toddlers(2-3 years old)

symbolic play

children pretend to be something or someone else; chlidren pretend an object is something else (1-2 years old)

autonomy vs shame and guilt

resolution: find independence
18 mo - 3 years

initiative vs guilt

(3 to 5 years) Children learn to assume more responsibility by taking initiative but will feel guilty if they overstep limits set by parents--resolution: purpose

industry vs inferiority

Age 6 to puberty. Kids master cognitive and social skills, learn to work industriously, and cooperate with peers. Success will give sense of competence, but failure will give feeling of inadequacy. resolution: compentency

identity vs role confusion

Erikson stage - teenagers work at refining a sense of self by testing roles and integrating them to form a single identity, or they become confused on who they are. resolution: sense of self

intimacy vs isolation

resolution: Love. Young adults attempt to find someone to share their life with.

productivity vs stagnation

middle age--resolution:productive and caring

ego integrity vs despair

(Erikson) People in late adulthood either achieve a sense of integrity of the self by accepting the lives they have lived or yield to despair that their lives cannot be relived

Palmar reflex

the grasping reflex that a newborn infant exhibits when an object is placed in his or her hand

Zeigarnik effect

The tendency to recall uncompleted tasks better than completed ones.


Quirk, jerky movements of the eyes as they jump from one fixation to another in the reading of continuous text

Analogical representations

share some features or characteristics of the things to which they refer

symbolic representations

A type of mental representation that does not correspond to the physical characteristics of that which it represents. Thus, the word mouse does not resemble the small rodent it represents.

garden-path sentences

sentences that suggest one interpretation that turns out to be wrong


the use of words to refer to objects or things that are outside the bounds of the category named by the word--call a sheep a dog

Telegraphic speech

meaningful two word sentences, usually a noun and a verb, and usually in the correct order uttered by 2 year olds


a grammatical error, usually appearing during early language development, in which rules of the language are applied too widely, resulting in incorrect linguistic forms


refers to the pitch, loudness, tempo, and rhythm of language. (the meaning of a written sentence, punctuation)

morphology/morphological rule

grammar rules; how to group morphemes


overeating; due to inadequate leptin secretion or unresponsive receptors


inability to write


inability to read


failure to recognize or identify objects despite intact sensory function


impaired ability to carry out motor activities despite intact motor function

basal ganglia

group of structures which coordinate movement; located in the forebrain (telencephalon)

inferior colliculus

an essential auditory center in the midbrain

superior colliculus

an essential visual center between the retina and the striate cortex

Triarchic thoery of intelligence

Components: metacomponents, performance components, knowledge-acquisition components; types of intelligence: analytical, practical, and creative


Higher-order processes used to plan and regulate task performance; triarchic theory of intelligence- Sternberg

Performance component

Actual processes used to perform the task; triarchic theory of intelligence- Sternberg

Knowledge-acquisition Component

Allow us to learn from our experiences, store information in memory, and combine new insights with previously acquired information; triarchic theory of intelligence- Sternberg

Flynn effect

rising curve" phenomenon; population score on intelligence has raised 3 points per decade since 1910

Outcome bias

Refers to the extent that a test underestimates a persons true intellectual ability

Predictive bias

Occurs if the test successfully predicts criterion measures for some groups but not for other groups

Behavioral activation system (BAS)

roused to action by signals of potential reward and positive need gratification--prefrontal area in left hemisphere (goal directed and planning behavior)

Behavioral inhibition system (BIS)

responds to stimuli that signal potential pain, nonreinforcement, and punishment--limbic system and right frontal lobe

Self-determination theory

focuses on three fundamental psychological needs: competence, autonomy, and relatedness

competence motivation

master challenges and perform skills (self-determination theory)

autonomy motivation

greater freedom and regulation by the self (self-determination theory)

relatedness motivation

form meaningful bonds with others (self-determination theory)


hormone secreted by fat cells that decreases appetite and increases energy expenditure

achievement goal theory

focuses on the manner in which success is defined both by the individual and within the achievement situation itself: mastery and ego orientations

mastery orientation

focus is on personal improvement, giving maximum effort and perfecting new skills (achievement goal theory)

ego oreintation

goal is to outperform others (hopefully with as little effort as possible)--achievement goal theory

ego avoidance

center on avoiding negative judgments by oneself or others

personal fable

part of adolescent ego-centrism-overestimate the uniqueness of their feelings and experineces

Identity diffusion

not yet gone through identity crisis-unconcerned or cynical about identity issues


not yet gone through identity crisis because already committed to one due to automatic peer-groups of parental values


want to establish a clear identity and currently in crisis--not yet resolved

Identity achievement

gone through an identity crisis and successfully achieved a coherent set of values (an identity)

Cognitive-affective personality system (CAPS)

organized system of five variables that interact continuously with one another and with the environment: encodings and personal constructs, expectancies and beliefs, goals and values, affects, competencies and self-regulatory processes


stress-protective factor cromprising of three beliefs: commitment, control (internal locus), challenge (look at situations as challenges or opportunities not threats)

Transtheoretical model

six stages in the change process: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance, and termination

motivational interviewing

leads the person to his or her own conclusions by asking questions that focus on discrepancies between the current state and the individual's ideal self-image, behaviors, and outcome

harm reduction

prevention strategy that is designed to reduce the harmful effects of a behavior, not the elimination of the behaivor

abstinence violation effect

person becomes upset and self-blaming over the lapse and view it as proof that he or she will never be strong enough to resist temptation

social causation hypothesis

attributes the higher prevalence of schizophrenia to the higher level of stress that low-income people experience

social drift hypothesis

proposes that as people develop schizophrenia, their personal and occupational functioning deteriorates so that they drift down the socioecomonic ladder

ABCD model

cognitive therapy: activating system (trigger emotion), belief system (appraisal of A), consequences (consequences of appraisal B), disputing ( changing maladaptive/erroneous belief system B)