Psychology Glossary

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Key Terms

APA dictionary provides a comprehensive set of psychology definitions.

Behavior: Any observable and measurable action or response of a living organism.

Classical conditioning is a type of learning in which a neutral stimulus elicits a response after being paired with a stimulus that naturally elicits that response.

Clinical psychology is the branch of psychology that focuses on assessing, diagnosing, and treating mental illness and behavioral disorders.

Cognitive psychology: The study of mental processes such as perception, memory, and problem-solving.

Coping: Managing stress and adapting to difficult situations.

Counseling psychology: The branch of psychology that focuses on helping people cope with personal and interpersonal problems.

Developmental psychology: The study of changes in behavior and mental processes that occur over a lifetime.

Discrimination: The unfair treatment of individuals based on their membership in a particular group.

Emotion: A complex psychological state that involves a subjective experience, physiological arousal, and behavioral expression.

Learning: Acquiring new knowledge, behaviors, or skills through experience, study, or instruction.

Mental processes: Internal, subjective experiences we have, such as thoughts, emotions, and perceptions.

Motivation: The driving force or reason behind behavior.

Neurotransmitter: Chemical messengers that transmit signals between neurons in the brain.

Neuroscience: The study of the brain and nervous system.

Operant conditioning is a type of learning in which the frequency of a behavior is increased or decreased by the consequences that follow it.

Perception: The process of interpreting and organizing sensory information from the environment.

Perceptional constancy: The ability to perceive objects as stable and unchanging despite changes in sensory information.

Personality: The unique characteristics, traits, and behaviors that define an individual.

Positive psychology is the study of positive emotions, character strengths, and the factors that contribute to human flourishing.

Prejudice: A negative attitude or belief about a particular group of people.

Psychiatrist: A medical doctor specializing in diagnosing, treating, and preventing mental illness.

Psychologist: A professional who studies behavior and mental processes and provides assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental illness and behavioral disorders.

Psychology: The scientific study of behavior and mental processes.

Self-efficacy: The belief in one’s ability to successfully perform a task or achieve a goal.

Self-esteem: The subjective evaluation of one’s worth or value.

Social psychology: The study of how people interact with and influence one another.

Stereotype: A generalized belief about a particular group of people.

Stress: The physiological and psychological response to a perceived threat or challenge.

Synapse: The microscopic gap between two neurons.

Therapy: Treating mental or emotional disorders through talk therapy, medication, or other interventions.