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Basic Level - The level of categorization that can be retrieved from memory most quickly and used most efficiently.

Basilar membrane - A membrane in the cochlea that, when set into motion, stimulates hair cells that produce the neural effects of auditory stimulation.

Behavior - The actions by which an organism adjusts to its environment.

Behavior analysis The area of psychology that focuses on the environmental determinants of learning and behavior.

Behavior modification The systematic use of principles of learning to increase the frequency of desired behaviors and/or decrease the frequency of problem behaviors.

Behavior therapy See behavior modification.

Behavioral confirmation The process by which people behave in ways that elicit from others specific expected reactions and then use those reactions to confirm their beliefs.

Behavioral data Observational reports about the behavior of organisms and the conditions under which the behavior occurs or changes.

Behavioral measures Overt actions and reactions that are observed and recorded, exclusive of self-reported behavior.

Behavioral rehearsal Procedures used to establish and strengthen basic skills; as used in social-skills training programs, requires the client to rehearse a desirable behavior sequence mentally.

Behaviorism A scientific approach that limits the study of psychology to measurable or observable behavior.

Behaviorist perspective The psychological perspective primarily concerned with observable behavior that can be objectively recorded and with the relationships of observable behavior to environmental stimuli.

Belief-bias effect A situation that occurs when a person's prior knowledge, attitudes, or values distort the reasoning process by influencing the person to accept invalid arguments.

Between-subjects design A research design in which different groups of participants are randomly assigned to experimental conditions or to control conditions.

Biofeedback A self-regulatory technique by which an individual acquires voluntary control over nonconscious biological processes.

Biological constraints on learning Any limitations on an organism's capacity to learn that are caused by the inherited sensory, response, or cognitive capabilities of members of a given species.

Biological perspective The approach to identifying causes of behavior that focuses on the functioning of the genes, the brain, the nervous system, and the endocrine system.

Biomedical therapies Treatments for psychological disorders that alter brain functioning with chemical or physical interventions such as drug therapy, surgery, or electroconvulsive therapy.

Biopsychosocial model A model of health and illness that suggests that links among the nervous system, the immune system, behavioral styles, cognitive processing, and environmental factors can put people at risk for illness.

Bipolar cells Nerve cells in the visual system that combine impulses from many receptors and transmit the results to ganglion cells.

Bipolar disorder A mood disorder characterized by alternating periods of depression and mania.

Blocking A phenomenon in which an organism does not learn a new stimulus that signals an unconditioned stimulus, because the new stimulus is presented simultaneously with a stimulus that is already effective as a signal.

Body image The subjective experience of the appearance of one's body.

Bottom-up processing Perceptual analyses based on the sensory data available in the environment; results of analyses are passed upward toward more abstract representations.

Brain stem The brain structure that regulates the body's basic life processes.

Brightness The dimension of color space that captures the intensity of light.

Broca's area The region of the brain that translates thoughts into speech or sign.

Bulimia nervosa An eating disorder characterized by binge eating followed by measures to purge the body of the excess calories.

Bystander intervention Willingness to assist a person in need of help.


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