Cannon-Bard theory


Cannon-Bard theory

The theory that an emotion-arousing stimulus simultaneously triggers (1) physiological responses and (2) the subjective experience of emotion

Case study

An observation technique in which one person is studied in depth in the hope of revealing universal principles


Emotional release. In psychology, the catharsis hypothesis maintains that “releasing” aggressive energy (through action or fantasy) relieves aggressive urges

Central nervous system (CNS)

the brain and spinal cord


The “little brain” attached to the rear of the brainstem; it helps coordinate voluntary movement and balance

Cerebral cortex

The intricate fabric of interconnected neural cells that covers the cerebral hemispheres; the body’s ultimate control and information-processing center


Threadlike structures made of DNA molecules that contain the genes


Organizing items into familiar, manageable units; often occurs automatically

Circadian rhythm

The biological clock; regular bodily rhythms (for example, of temperature and wakefulness) that occur on a 24- hour cycle

Classical conditioning

A type of learning in which an organism comes to associate stimuli. A neutral stimulus that signals an unconditioned response (UCS) begins to produce a response that anticipates and prepares for the unconditioned stimulus (also called Pavlovian Conditioning)

Client-centered therapy

A humanistic therapy, developed by Carl Rogers, in which the therapist uses techniques such as active listening within a genuine, accepting, empathic environment to facilitate clients’ growth. (Also called person-centered therapy)

Clinical psychology

A branch of psychology that studies, assesses, and trests people with psychological disorders


A coiled, bony, fluid-filled tube in the inner ear through which sound waves trigger nerve impulses


All the mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, and remembering

Cognitive-behavior therapy

A popular integrated therapy that combines cognitive therapy (changing self-defeating thinking) with behavior therapy (changing behavior)

Cognitive dissonance theory

The theory that we act to reduce the discomfort (dissonance) we feel when two of our thoughts (cognitions) are inconsistent. For example, when our awareness of our attitudes and of our actions clash, we can reduce the resulting dissonance by changing our attitudes

Cognitive map

A mental representation of the layout of one’s environment. For example, after exploring a maze, rats act as if they have learned a cognitive map of it

Cognitive therapy

Therapy that teaches people new, more adaptive ways of thinking and acting; based on the assumption that thoughts intervene between events and our emotional reactions

Collective unconscious

Carl Jung’s concept of a shared, inherited reservoir of memory traces from our species’ history


Giving priority to the goals of ones group and defining one’s identity accordingly

Color constancy

Perceiving familiar objects as having consistent color, even if changing illumination alters the wavelengths reflected by the object

Companionate love

The deep affectionate attachment we feel for those whom are lives are intertwined

Complementary and alternative medicine

Unproven health care treatments not taught widely in medical school, not used in hospitals, and not usually reimbursed by insurance companies

Computer neural networks

Computer circuits that mimic the brain’s interconnected neural cells, performing tasks such as learning to recognize visual patterns and smells


A mental grouping of similar objects, events, ideas, or people

Concrete operational stage

In Piaget’s theory, the stage of cognitive development from about 6 or 7 to 11 years of age during which children gain the mental operations that enable them to think logically about concrete events

Conditioned reinforcer

A stimulus that gains its reinforcing power though its association with a primary reinforcer

Conditioned response (CR)

In classical conditioning, the learned response to a previously neutral conditioned stimulus (CS)

Conditioned stimulus (CS)

In classical conditioning, an originally irrelevant stimulus that, after association with an unconditioned stimulus (UCS), comes to trigger a conditioned response

Conduction hearing loss

Hearing loss caused by damage to the mechanical system that conducts sound waves to the cochlea


Receptor cells that are concentrates near the center of the retina and that function in daylight or in well-lit conditions. The cones detect finel detail and give rise to color sensations

Confirmation bias

A tendency to search for information that confirms one’s preconceptions


A perceived incompatibility of actions, goals, or ideas


Adjusting one’s behavior or thinking to coincide with a group standard


Our awareness of ourselves and our environments


The principle (which Piaget believed to be a part of concrete operational reasoning) that properties such as mass, volume, and number remain the same despite changes in the forms of objects

Content validity

The extent to which a test samples the behavior that is interest (such as driving test samples driving tasks)

Continuous reinforcement

Reinforcing the desired response every time it occurs

Control condition

The condition of an experiment that contrasts with the experimental condition and serces as a comparison for evaluating the effect of the treatment


A binocular cue for perceiving depth; the extent to which the eyes converge inward when looking at an object

Coronary heart disease

The clogging of the vessels that nourish the heart muscle; the leading cause of death in the United States

Corpus callosum

The large band of neural fibers connecting the two brain hemispheres and carrying messages between them

Correlation coefficient

A statistical measure of the extent to which two factors vary together, and thus, of how well either factor predicts the other


A behavior therapy procedure that conditions new responses to stimuli that trigger unwanted behaviors; based on classical conditioning


The ability to produce novel and valuable ideas


The behavior (such as college grades) that a test (such as the SAT) is designed to predict; thus, the measure used in defining whether the test has predictive validity

Critical period

An optimal period shortly after birth when an organism’s exposure to certain stimuli or experiences produces proper development

Critical thinking

Thinking that does not blindly accept arguments and conclusions. Rather, it examines assumptions, discerns hidden values, evaluates evidence, and assesses conclusions

Cross-sectional study

A study in which people of different ages are compared with one another

Crystallized intelligence

One’s accumulated knowledge and verbal skills; tends to increase with a ge

CT (computer tomography scan)

A series of x-ray photographs taken from different angles and combined by computer into a composite representation of a slice through the body


The enduring behaviors, ideas, attitude, and traditions shared by a large group of people and transmitted from one generation to the next