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adoption method
Comparison of biological and adoptive relative with and without a given disorder to assess genetic versus environmental factors.
association studies
Genetic research strategy comparing frequency of certain genetic markers known to be located on particular chromosomes in people with and without a particular disorder.
attachment theory
Contemporary developmental and psychodynamic theory emphasizing the importance of early experience with attachment relationships in laying the foundation for later functioning throughout life.
Process of assigning causes to things that happen.
behavior genetics
Field of study the heritability of mental disorders and other aspects of psychological functioning such as personality and intelligence.
biopsychosocial viewpoint
A viewpoint that acknowledges the interacting roles of biological, psychosocial, and sociocultural factors in the origins of psychopathology.
castration anxiety
As postulated by Freud, the anxiety a young boy experiences when he desires his mother while at the same time fearing that his father may harm him by cutting off his penis; this anxiety forces the boy to repress his sexual desire for his mother and his hostility towards his father.
Chain-like structures within cell nucleus that contain genes.
classical conditioning
A basic form of learning in which a neutral stimulus is paired repeatedly with an unconditioned stimulus (US) that naturally elicits an unconditioned response (UR). After repeated pairings, the neutral stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus (CS) that elicits a conditioned response (CR).
cognitive-behavioral perspective
A theory of abnormal behavior that focuses on how thoughts and information processing can become distorted and lead to maladaptive emotions and behavior.
concordance rate
The percentage of twins sharing a disorder or trait.
contributory cause
A condition that increases the probability of developing a disorder but that is neither necessary nor sufficient for it to occur.
Human stress hormone released by the cortex of the adrenal glands.
developmental psychopathology
Field of psychology that focuses on determining what is abnormal at any point in the developmental process by comparing and contrasting it with normal and expected changes that occur.
developmental systems approach
Acknowledgement that genetic activity influence neural activity, which in turn influences behavior, which in turn influences environment, and that these influence are bidirectional.
diathesis-stress models
View of abnormal behavior as the result of stress operating on an individual who has biological, psychosocial, or sociocultural predisposition to developing
Ability to interpret and respond differently to two or more similar stimuli.
In psychoanalytic theory, the rational part of the personality that mediates between the demands of the id, constrains of the superego, and the realities of the external world.
ego psychology
Psychodynamic theory emphasizing the importance of the ego- the "executive branch of the personality"- in organizing normal personality development.
ego-defense mechanisms
Psychic mechanisms that discharge or soothe anxiety rather than coping directly with an anxiety-provoking situation; usually unconscious and reality distorting.
Electra complex
Excessive emotional attachment (love) of a daughter for her father; the female counterpart of the Oedipus complex.
Factors related to the development of a particular disorder.
Gradual disappearance of a conditioned response when it is longer reinforced.
family history (or pedigree) method
Behavior genetics research strategy that examines the incidence of disorder in relatives of an index case to determine whether incidence increases in proportion to the degree of the hereditary relationship.
Tendency of a response that has been conditioned to one stimulus to be elicited by other, similar stimuli.
Long molecules of DNA that are present at various locations on chromosomes and that are responsible for the transmission of hereditary traits.
A person's total genetic endowment.
genotype-environment correlation
Genotypic vulnerability that can shape a child's environmental experiences.
genotype-environment interaction
Differential sensitivity or susceptibility to their environments by people who have different genotypes.
Chemical messengers secreted by endocrine glands that regulate development of and activity in various parts of the body.
hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-cortical axis (HPA axis)
Hormonal feedback system that becomes activated by stress and results in the production or cortisol.
In psychoanalytic theory, the reservoir of instinctual drives and the first structure to appear in infancy.
instrumental (or operant) conditioning
Reinforcement of a subject for making a correct response that leads either to the receipt of something rewarding or to escape from something unpleasant.
interpersonal perspective
Approach to understanding abnormal behavior that views much of psychopathology as rooted in the unfortunate tendencies we develop while dealing with our interpersonal environments; it thus focuses on our relationships, past and present, with other people.
intrapsychic conflicts
Inner mental struggles resulting from the interplay of the id, ego, and superego when the three subsystems are striving for different goals.
In psychoanalytic theory, a term used to describe the instinctual drives of the id; the basic constructive energy of life, primarily sexual in nature.
linkage analysis
Genetic research strategy in which occurrence of a disorder in an extended family is compared with that of a genetic marker for a physical characteristic or biological process that is known to be located on a particular chromosome.
necessary cause
A condition that must exist for a disorder to occur.
Chemical substances that are released into a synapse by the presynaptic neuron and which transmit nerve impulses from one neuron to another.
object-relations theory
In psychoanalytic theory, this viewpoint focuses on an infant or young child's interactions with "objects" (that is, real or imagined people), as well as how they make symbolic representations of important people in their lives.
observational learning
Learning through observation alone without directly experiencing and unconditioned stimulus (for classical conditioning) or reinforcement (for instrumental conditioning).
Oedipus complex
Desire for sexual relations with a parent of the opposite sex; specifically, the desire of a boy for his mother, with his father a hated rival.
The observed structural and functional characteristics of a person that result from interaction between the genotype and the environment.
pituitary gland
Endocrine gland associated with many regulatory functions.
pleasure principle
Demand that an instinctual need be immediately gratified, regardless of reality or moral considerations.
primary process thinking
Gratification of id demands by means of imagery or fantasy without the ability to undertake the realistic actions needed to meet those instinctual demands.
protective factors
Influences that modify a person's response to an environmental stressor, making it less likely that the person will experience the adverse effects of the stressor.
psychosexual stages of development
According to Freudian theory, there are five stages of psychosexual development, each characterized by a dominant model of achieving sexual pleasure: the oral stage, the anal stage, the phallic stage, the latency stage, and the gential stage.
reality principle
Awareness of the demands of the environment and adjustment of behavior to meet these demands.
The process of rewarding a desired response.
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