Cannon-Bard theory of emotion A theory stating that an "emotional stimulus produces two co-occurring reactions — arousal and experience of emotion — that do not cause each other."
Case study Intensive observation of a particular individual or small group of individuals.
Catharsis The process of expressing strongly felt but usually repressed emotions.
Central nervous system (CNS) The part of the nervous system consisting of the brain and spinal cord.
Centration A thought pattern common during the beginning of the preoperational stage of cognitive development; characterized by the child's inability to take more than one perceptual factor into account at the same time.
Cerebellum The region of the brain attached to the brain stem that controls motor coordination, posture, and balance as well as the ability to learn control of body movements.
Cerebral cortex The outer surface of the cerebrum.
Cerebral hemispheres The two halves of the cerebrum, connected by the corpus callosum.
Cerebrum The region of the brain that regulates higher cognitive and emotional functions.
Child-directed speech A special form of speech with an exaggerated and high-pitched intonation that adults use to speak to infants and young children.
Chronic stress A continuous state of arousal in which an individual perceives demands as greater than the inner and outer resources available for dealing with them.
Chronological age The number of months or years since an individual's birth.
Chunking The process of taking single items of information and recoding them on the basis of similarity or some other organizing principle.
Circadian rhythm A consistent pattern of cyclical body activities, usually lasting 24 to 25 hours and determined by an internal biological clock.
Classical conditioning A type of learning in which a behavior (conditioned response) comes to be elicited by a stimulus (conditioned stimulus) that has acquired its power through an association with a biologically significant stimulus (unconditioned stimulus).
Client The term used by clinicians who think of psychological disorders as problems in living, and not as mental illnesses, to describe those being treated.
Client-centered therapy A humanistic approach to treatment that emphasizes the healthy psychological growth of the individual; based on the assumption that all people share the basic tendency of human nature toward self-actualization.
Clinical ecology A field of psychology that relates disorders such as anxiety and depression to environmental irritants and sources of trauma.
Clinical psychologist An individual who has earned a doctorate in psychology and whose training is in the assessment and treatment of psychological problems.
Clinical social worker A mental health professional whose specialized training prepares him or her to consider the social context of people's problems.
Closure A perceptual organizing process that leads individuals to see incomplete figures as complete.
Cochlea The primary organ of hearing; a fluid-filled coiled tube located in the inner ear.
Cognition Processes of knowing, including attending, remembering, and reasoning; also the content of the processes, such as concepts and memories.
Cognitive appraisal With respect to emotions, the process through which physiological arousal is interpreted with respect to circumstances in the particular setting in which it is being experienced; also, the recognition and evaluation of a stressor to assess the demand, the size of the threat, the resources available for dealing with it, and appropriate coping strategies.
Cognitive appraisal theory of emotion A theory stating that the experience of emotion is the joint effect of physiological arousal and cognitive appraisal, which serves to determine how an ambiguous inner state of arousal will be labeled.
Cognitive behavior modification A therapeutic approach that combines the cognitive emphasis on the role of thoughts and attitudes influencing motivations and response with the behavioral emphasis on changing performance through modification of reinforcement contingencies.
Cognitive development The development of processes of knowing, including imagining, perceiving, reasoning, and problem solving.
Cognitive dissonance The theory that the tension-producing effects of incongruous cognitions motivate individuals to reduce such tension.
Cognitive map A mental representation of physical space.
Cognitive perspective The perspective on psychology that stresses human thought and the processes of knowing, such as attending, thinking, remembering, expecting, solving problems, fantasizing, and consciousness.
Cognitive processes Higher mental processes, such as perception, memory, language, problem solving, and abstract thinking.
Cognitive psychology The study of higher mental processes such as attention, language use, memory, perception, problem solving, and thinking.
Cognitive science The interdisciplinary field of study of the approach systems and processes that manipulate information.
Cognitive therapy A type of psychotherapeutic treatment that attempts to change feelings and behaviors by changing the way a client thinks about or perceives significant life experiences.
Collective unconscious The part of an individual's unconscious that is inherited, evolutionarily developed, and common to all members of the species.
Comorbidity The experience of more than one disorder at the same time.
Complementary colors Colors opposite each other on the color circle; when additively mixed, they create the sensation of white light.
Compliance A change in behavior consistent with a communication source's direct requests.
Concepts Mental representations of kinds or categories of items or ideas.
Conditioned reinforcers In classical conditioning, formerly neutral stimuli that have become reinforcers.
Conditioned response (CR) In classical conditioning, a response elicited by some previously neutral stimulus that occurs as a result of pairing the neutral stimulus with an unconditioned stimulus.
Conditioned stimulus (CS) In classical conditioning, a previously neutral stimulus that comes to elicit a conditioned response.
Conditioning The ways in which events, stimuli, and behavior become associated with one another.
Cones Photoreceptors concentrated in the center of the retina that are responsible for visual experience under normal viewing conditions and for all experiences of color.
Conformity The tendency for people to adopt the behaviors, attitudes, and values of other members of a reference group.
Confounding variable A stimulus other than the variable an experimenter explicitly introduces into a research setting that affects a participant's behavior.
Consciousness A state of awareness of internal events and of the external environment.
Consensual validation The mutual affirmation of conscious views of reality.
Conservation According to Piaget, the understanding that physical properties do not change when nothing is added or taken away, even though appearances may change.
Consistency paradox The observation that personality ratings across time and among different observers are consistent, while behavior ratings across situations are not consistent.
Contact comfort Comfort derived from an infant's physical contact with the mother or caregiver.
Contact hypothesis The idea that direct contact between hostile groups alone will reduce prejudice.
Context of discovery The initial phase of research, in which observations, beliefs, information, and general knowledge lead to a new idea or a different way of thinking about some phenomenon.
Context of justification The research phase in which evidence is brought to bear on hypotheses.
Contextual distinctiveness The assumption that the serial position effect can be altered by the context and the distinctiveness of the experience being recalled.
Contingency management A general treatment strategy involving changing behavior by modifying its consequences.
Control procedures Consistent procedures for giving instructions, scoring responses, and holding all other variables constant except those being systematically varied.
Controlled processes Processes that require attention; it is often difficult to carry out more than one controlled process at a time.
Convergence The degree to which the eyes turn inward to fixate on an object.
Coping The process of dealing with internal or external demands that are perceived to be threatening or overwhelming.
Corpus callosum The mass of nerve fibers connecting the two hemispheres of the cerebrum.
Correlation coefficient (r) A statistic that indicates the degree of relationship between two variables.
Correlational methods Research methodologies that determine to what extent two variables, traits, or attributes are related.
Counseling psychologist Psychologist who specializes in providing guidance in areas such as vocational selection, school problems, drug abuse, and marital conflict.
Counterconditioning A technique used in therapy to substitute a new response for a maladaptive one by means of conditioning procedures.
Countertransference Circumstances in which a psychoanalyst develops personal feelings about a client because of perceived similarity of the client to significant people in the therapist's life.
Covariation principle A theory that suggests that people attribute a behavior to a causal factor if that factor was present whenever the behavior occurred but was absent whenever it did not occur.
Creativity The ability to generate ideas or products that are both novel and appropriate to the circumstances.
Criterion validity The degree to which test scores indicate a result on a specific measure that is consistent with some other criterion of the characteristic being assessed; also known as predictive validity.
Cross-sectional design A research method in which groups of participants of different chronological ages are observed and compared at a given time.
Crystallized intelligence The facet of intelligence involving the knowledge a person has already acquired and the ability to access that knowledge; measures by vocabulary, arithmetic, and general information tests.
Cultural perspective The psychological perspective that focuses on cross-cultural differences in the causes and consequences of behavior.
Cutaneous senses The skin senses that register sensations of pressure, warmth, and cold.