facial feedback hypothesis Theory of emotion that assumes that facial expressions provide feedback to the brain concerning the emotion being expressed, which in turn causes and intensifies the emotion. Hypothesis that making a certain facial expression will produce the corresponding emotion.
factor analysis A statistical technique that identifies groups of related objects; it was used by Cattell to identify clusters of traits.
false positive Error of recognition in which people think that they recognize some stimulus that is not actually in memory.
family counseling (family therapy) A form of group therapy in which family members meet together with a counselor or therapist to resolve problems that affect the entire family. A form of group therapy that sees the family as at least partly responsible for the individual's problems and that seeks to change all family members' behaviors to the benefit of the family unit as well as the troubled individual.
family studies Studies of heritability in humans based on the assumption that if genes influence a certain trait, close relatives should be more similar on that trait than distant relatives.
feature analysis theory Theory of pattern perception stating that we perceive basic elements of an object and assemble them mentally to create the complete object.
feature detectors Specialized brain cells that only respond to particular elements in the visual field such as movement or lines of specific orientation.
feminist theory Feminist theories offer a wide variety of views on the social roles of women and men, the problems and rewards of those roles, and prescriptions for changing those roles.
fertilization The union of the ovum and sperm.
fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) A disorder that occurs in children of women who drink alcohol during pregnancy; this disorder is characterized by facial deformities, heart defects, stunted growth, and cognitive impairments. Condition found in some children born to mothers who drank during pregnancy, characterized by lower birth weight, small head circumference, and mental retardation.
fetal period The time from about eight weeks after conception until the birth of the child.
fetishism A paraphilia in which a nonhuman object is the preferred or exclusive method of achieving sexual excitement. Paraphilia involving sexual arousal by unusual objects or body parts.
fetus Name for the developing organism from eight weeks after fertilization to the birth of the baby. A developing human between 3 months after conception and birth. The developing baby from about the 9th week after conception until birth.
figure-ground relationships Organization of perceptual elements into a figure and a background.
figure–ground The tendency to perceive objects, or figures, as existing on a background.
five-factor model (Big Five) Model of personality traits that describes five basic trait dimensions.
fixation Disorder in which the person does not fully resolve the conflict in a particular psychosexual stage, resulting in personality traits and behavior associated with that earlier stage. Cessation of further development, resulting in behaviors that are characteristic of the stage of development in which the fixation occurred. According to Freud, a partial or complete halt at some point in the individual's psychosexual development.
fixed interval schedule of reinforcement Schedule of reinforcement in which the interval of time that must pass before reinforcement becomes possible is always the same. A reinforcement schedule in which the correct response is reinforced after a fixed length of time since the last reinforcement.
fixed ratio schedule of reinforcement Schedule of reinforcement in which the number of responses required for reinforcement is always the same. A reinforcement schedule in which the correct response is reinforced after a fixed number of correct responses.
flashbulb memories Type of automatic encoding that occurs because an unexpected event has strong emotional associations for the person remembering it. A vivid memory of a certain event and the incidents surrounding it even after a long time has passed. Very detailed memory of an arousing, surprising, or emotional situation.
flat affect A lack of emotional responsiveness.
flooding Technique for treating phobias and other stress disorders in which the person is rapidly and intensely exposed to the fear-provoking situation or object and prevented from making the usual avoidance or escape response. A behavioral technique involving full-intensity exposure to a feared stimulus for a prolonged time.
flow According to Csikszentmihalyi, a state of mind characterized by complete and consuming focus on an activity that provides a sense of internalized motivation and happiness.
fluid intelligence Intelligence involving the ability to see new relationships, solve new problems, form new concepts, and use new information.
foot-in-the-door effect Phenomenon in which a person who has agreed to a small request is more likely to comply with a subsequent larger request.
foot-in-the-door technique Asking for a small commitment and, after gaining compliance, asking for a bigger commitment.
forebrain Major division of the brain that consists of subcortical structures and the cerebral cortex.
foreclosure Uncritical acceptance of parental values and desires; hampers the development of a unique identity.
forensic psychologist Psychologist who applies psychology to law and legal proceedings.
forensic psychology Area of psychology concerned with people in the legal system, including profiling of criminals, jury selection, and expert witnessing.
formal concepts Concepts that are defined by specific rules or features.
formal operational stage/formal operations Piaget's final stage of intellectual development, characterized by abstract thinking; achieved during adolescence or adulthood. Piaget's last stage of cognitive development in which the adolescent becomes capable of abstract thinking. In Piaget's theory, the stage of cognitive development between 11 and 15 years of age in which the individual becomes capable of abstract thought.
fovea Indented spot in the center of the retina that contains only cones. The area of the retina that is the center of the visual field.
framing The perspective from which we interpret information before making a decision. The tendency for decision making to be influenced by presentation of negative or positive outcomes; decision-making tends to be risk averse.
fraternal twins Twins who develop from two ova fertilized by two different sperm; genetically related as siblings. Twins developed from two separate fertilized ova and therefore different in genetic makeup.
free association Freudian technique in which a patient was encouraged to talk about anything that came to mind without fear of negative evaluations. A psychoanalytic technique that encourages the person to talk without inhibition about whatever thoughts or fantasies come to mind. A psychoanalytic technique in which the patient is asked to say whatever comes to mind without censoring anything.
free recall Learning procedure in which material that has been learned may be repeated in any order.
free-floating anxiety Anxiety that is unrelated to any realistic, known source.
frequency count Assessment in which the frequency of a particular behavior is counted.
frequency distribution A table or graph that shows how often different numbers or scores appear in a particular set of scores. A count of the number of scores that fall within each of a series of intervals.
frequency histogram Type of bar graph that shows frequency distributions.
frequency polygon Type of line graph that shows frequency distributions.
frequency The number of cycles per second in a wave; in sound, the primary determinant of pitch.
frequency theory Theory of pitch that states that pitch is related to the speed of vibrations in the basilar membrane. Theory stating that the basilar membrane vibrates at different rates to create the perception of different pitches. Theory that pitch is determined by the frequency with which hair cells in the cochlea fire.
friendship Form of interpersonal attraction that is governed by an implicit set of rules.
frontal lobes Areas of the cortex located in the front and top of the brain, responsible for higher mental processes and decision making as well as the production of fluent speech. Parts of the cerebral cortex that are responsible for voluntary movement; also important for attention, goal-directed behavior, and appropriate emotional experiences. The largest lobes of the cortex; they contain a motor strip, Broca's area (speech), and areas responsible for decision-making.
frustration The psychological experience produced by the blocking of a desired goal or fulfillment of a perceived need. The feeling that occurs when a person is prevented from reaching a goal.
frustration–aggression theory The theory that, under certain circumstances, people who are frustrated in their goals turn their anger away from the proper, powerful target and toward another, less powerful target that is safer to attack. The theory that aggression is likely to occur when a person is frustrated.
fully functioning person A person who is in touch with and trusting of the deepest, innermost urges and feelings. According to Rogers, an individual whose self-concept closely resembles his or her inborn capacities or potentials.
functional fixedness A block to problem solving that comes from thinking about objects in terms of only their typical functions. Inability to see new uses for familiar objects. The tendency to perceive only a limited number of uses for an object, thus interfering with the process of problem solving.
functional job analysis (FJA) A method of conducting a job analysis that involves identifying the procedures and processes that workers use in the performance of the job.
functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) A modification of the standard MRI procedure that allows both structural and temporal images to be gathered.
functionalism Approach to psychology that focused on the purposes of consciousness. Early perspective in psychology associated with William James, in which the focus of study is how the mind allows people to adapt, live, work, and play.
functionalist theory Theory of mental life and behavior that is concerned with how an organism uses its perceptual abilities to function in its environment.
fundamental attribution error (actor-observer bias) The tendency to overestimate the influence of internal factors in determining behavior while underestimating situational factors. The tendency of people to overemphasize personal causes for other people's behavior and to underemphasize personal causes for their own behavior. The tendency to attribute behaviors to internal causes.