Face Validity - The degree to which test items appear to be directly related to the attribute the researcher wishes to measure.
Fear - A rational reaction to an objectively identified external danger that may induce a person to flee or attack in self-defense.
Fight-or-flight response - A sequence of internal activities triggered when an organism is faced with a threat; prepares the body for combat and struggle or for running away to safety; recent evidence suggests that the response is characteristic only of males.
Figure - Object-like regions of the visual field that are distinguished from background.
Five-factor model A comprehensive descriptive personality system that maps out the relationships among common traits, theoretical concepts, and personality scales; informally called the Big Five.
Fixation A state in which a person remains attached to objects or activities more appropriate for an earlier stage of psychosexual development.
Fixed-interval schedule A schedule of reinforcement in which a reinforcer is delivered for the first response made after a fixed period of time.
Fixed-ratio schedule A schedule of reinforcement in which a reinforcer is delivered for the first response made after a fixed number of responses.
Flooding A therapy for phobias in which clients are exposed, with their permission, to the stimuli most frightening to them.
Fluid intelligence The aspect of intelligence that involves the ability to see complex relationships and solve problems.
Formal assessment The systematic procedures and measurement instruments used by trained professionals to assess an individual's functioning, aptitudes, abilities, or mental states.
Foundational theories Frameworks for initial understanding formulated by children to explain their experiences of the world.
Fovea Area of the retina that contains densely packed cones and forms the point of sharpest vision.
Frame A particular description of a choice; the perspective from which a choice is described or framed affects how a decision is made and which option is ultimately exercised.
Free association The therapeutic method in which a patient gives a running account of thoughts, wishes, physical sensations, and mental images as they occur.
Frequency distribution A summary of how frequently each score appears in a set of observations.
Frequency theory The theory that a tone produces a rate of vibration in the basilar membrane equal to its frequency, with the result that pitch can be coded by the frequency of the neural response.
Frontal lobe Region of the brain located above the lateral fissure and in front of the central sulcus; involved in motor control and cognitive activities.
Frustration-aggression hypothesis According to this hypothesis, frustration occurs in situations in which people are prevented or blocked from attaining their goals; a rise in frustration then leads to a greater probability of aggression.
Functional fixedness An inability to perceive a new use for an object previously associated with some other purpose; adversely affects problem solving and creativity.
Functional MRI (fMRI) A brain imaging technique that combines benefits of both MRI and PET scans by detecting magnetic changes in the flow of blood to cells in the brain.
Functionalism The perspective on mind and behavior that focuses on the examination of their functions in an organism's interactions with the environment.
Fundamental attribution error (FAE) The dual tendency of observers to underestimate the impact of situational factors and to overestimate the influence of dispositional factors on a person's behavior.