Assumptions Glossary

glossary of key words for the module assumptions

a2 psychology with aqa

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  • Created on: 27-06-12 07:43
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Biological Approach
Autonomic nervous system: Made up of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous
systems. The sympathetic nervous system prepares the body for fight or flight. The
parasympathetic nervous system supports normal and routine body functions.
Cerebral cortex: Most highly developed part of the brain in human beings. To do with
memory, awareness, creative thinking and problem solving.
Dizygotic twins: Twins from two separately fertilised eggs who have the same genetic
similarity as ordinary siblings (50%). Sometimes known as fraternal or non-identical twins.
Endocrine system: Number of glands located in different parts of the body that secrete
hormones. The endocrine system is controlled by the hypothalamus.
Hereditary: Traits, predispositions and characteristics inherited from parents and ancestors.
Represents the nature side of the nature-nurture debate.
Limbic system: Structure located deep in the brain responsible for emotion, motivation and
Monozygotic twins: Twins from a single egg that divides after fertilisation. Also referred to
as identical twins because they have 100% of genes in common.
Neurotransmitters: Chemicals which operate at the synapses of neurons to change neural
Behaviourist Approach
Behaviour shaping: Reinforcement for performance of a complex activity; reinforcement is
given for successive approximations to the desired behaviour until a long sequence of
behaviours is performed for a single reward.
Behaviourist approach: An approach to psychology that states that behaviour is learned
through association between response and consequence.
Classical conditioning: A form of learning in which a stimulus (the CS) acquires the ability to
cause a behavioural response originally evoked by another stimulus (the UCS).
Conditioned response: A response that becomes associated with a previously unrelated
stimulus as a result of pairing the stimulus with another stimulus normally eliciting the
Conditioned stimulus: A previously neutral stimulus that, after repeated association with an
unconditioned stimulus, elicits the response produced by the unconditioned stimulus itself

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Negative reinforcement: When a response (or behaviour) is strengthened due to the
removal of an adverse (painful or unpleasant) stimulus.
Operant conditioning: Type of learning that occurs through either reinforcement or
punishment of a behavioural response
Positive reinforcement: When a response (or behaviour) is strengthened because it is
followed by a reward or reinforcement
Punishment: Reduces the likelihood of a behaviour occurring in the future or stops it
happening at all.…read more

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Cognitive processes: Mental processes, which we may or may not be aware of, that are
involved with thought, perception, memory and attention.
Mediational processes: Cognitive processes or mental events that take place between
stimulus and response.
Top-down approach: An approach to explaining cognitive processes that suggests they are
influenced mainly by previously stored information rather than by incoming stimuli.
Humanistic Approach
Existential philosophy: Asks fundamental questions about what it is to be human and what is
the meaning of life.…read more

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Self-concept: In humanistic psychology, this had two components; self-image and the ideal
self. The ideal self is how we would like to be and may differ from how we are.
Self-efficacy: The belief that one is able to achieve certain goals or succeed at something.
Self-esteem: The evaluative dimension of the self.
Self-image: Factual or descriptive information about the self, including information about
looks and social roles.
Self-worth: In Roger's person-centred theory, to do with how we value and regard ourselves.…read more

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Oral stage: A psychosexual stage of development in Freudian theory. It occurs in the first
year of life and is centred around the mouth and oral pleasure. Fixation at this stage may
result in oral personality in adulthood.
Phallic stage: Third stage of psychosexual development in Freudian theory. Here boys and
girls gain pleasure from the genital area. The most important aspect of the phallic stage is
the Oedipus complex.…read more

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Model: A person being observed who can be a strong influence on another person's
Observational learning: Learning through observation and imitation of the behaviour of
others. Also known as social learning.
Vicarious reinforcement: Occurs in observational learning when the observer sees another
person being reinforced for behaving in a certain way.…read more


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