Dictionary of Terms


Echoic Memory A form of sensory memory for sounds that have just been perceived.

Eclectic Approach A form of therapy in which the therapist uses whatever method he or she feels will work best for a particular client at a particular time.

Effortful Processing Practicing or rehearsing information through either shallow or deep processing.

Ego The self. The ego also serves as the general manager of personality, making decisions regarding the pleasures that will be pursued at the idís request and the moral dictates of the superego that will be followed.

Egocentrism Self-centeredness; preoperational children can see the world only from their own perspective.

Ego-Ideal The internalization of what a person would like to be; his or her goals and ambitions.

Elaboration Likelihood Model A model that explains the effectiveness of persuasion. The central route requires a person to think critically about an argument and the peripheral route entails the association of the argument with a positive stimulus.

Elaborative Rehearsal The processing of information on a meaningful level, such as forming associations, attending to the meaning of the material, thinking about it, and so on.

Electrocardiogram (EKG) The measurement and graphical presentation of the electrical activity of the heart, recorded by means of electrodes attached to the skin.

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) Treatment of severe depression that involves passing small amounts of electric current through the brain to produce seizure activity.

Electroencephalogram (EEG) The measurement and graphical presentation of the electrical activity of the brain, recorded by means of electrodes attached to the scalp.

Electromyogram (EMG) The measurement and graphical presentation of the electrical activity of muscles, recorded by means of electrodes attached to the skin above them.

Electro-Oculogram (EOG) The measurement and graphical presentation of the electrical activity caused by movements of the eye, recorded by means of electrodes attached to the skin adjacent to the eye.

Elevation A monocular cue of depth perception; objects nearer the horizon are seen as farther from the viewer.

Embryo Stage The second stage of prenatal development beginning 2 weeks and ending about 8 weeks after conception, during which the heart begins to beat, the brain starts to function, and most of the major body structures begin to form.

Emotion A relatively brief display of a feeling made in response to environmental events having motivational significance or to memories of such events.

Emotional Stability The tendency to be relaxed and at peace with oneself.

Emotion-Focused Coping Any coping behavior that is directed toward changing oneís own emotional reaction to a stressor.

Empiricism The philosophical view that all knowledge is obtained through the senses.

Encephalization Increases in brain size.

Encoding Specificity The principle that how we encode information determines our ability to retrieve it later.

Encoding The process by which sensory information is converted into a form that can be used by the brainís memory system.

Endocrine Gland A gland that secretes a hormone.

Enzymes Proteins that regulate the structure of bodily cells and the processes occurring within those cells.

Episodic Memory A type of long-term memory that serves as a record of our lifeís experiences.

Escape Response An operant response acquired through negative reinforcement that terminates an aversive stimulus.

Estrous Cycle The ovulatory cycle in mammals other than primates; the sequence of physical and hormonal changes that accompany the ripening and disintegration of ova.

Ethnocentrism The idea that oneís own cultural, national, racial, or religious group is superior to or more deserving than others.

Evolutionary Psychology The branch of psychology that studies the ways in which an organismís evolutionary history contributes to the development of behavioral patterns and cognitive strategies related to reproduction and survival during its lifetime.

Exemplar A memory of particular examples of objects or situations that are used as the basis of classifying objects or situations into concepts.

Expectancy The belief that a certain consequence will follow a certain action.

Experiential Intelligence According to Sternberg, the ability to deal effectively with novel situations and to automatically solve problems that have been encountered previously.

Experiment A study in which the experimenter changes the value of an independent variable and observes whether the manipulation affects the value of a dependent variable. Only experiments can confirm the existence of cause-and-effect relations among variables.

Experimental Ablation The removal or destruction of a portion of the brain of an experimental animal for the purpose of studying the functions of that region.

Experimental Group A group of subjects in an experiment, the members of which are exposed to a particular value of the independent variable, which has been manipulated by the experimenter.

Experimental Neuropsychology The branch of psychology that attempts to understand human brain functions by studying patients whose brains have been damaged through accident or disease.

Explicit Memory Memory that can be described verbally and of which a person is therefore aware.

Expressed Emotion Expressions of criticism, hostility, and emotional overinvolvement by family members toward a person with schizophrenia.

Extinction The elimination of a response that occurs when the CS is repeatedly presented without being followed by the US (classical conditioning) or when the response is not followed by the reinforcer (operant conditioning).

Extraversion The tendency to seek the company of other people, to be lively, and to engage in conversation and other social behaviors with them.

Eye Tracker A device that measures the location of a personís gaze while he or she observes a visual display.

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