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Cannon (1927)
Cannon is famous for overturning the James-Lange theory of emotion. According to Cannon (1927) we feel emotions first, and then feel physiological changes, such as muscular tension, sweating, etc. In neurobiological terms, the thalamus receives a signal and relays this to the amygdala, which is connected with our emotions. The body then gets signals via the autonomic nervous system to tense muscles, etc. Cannon's famous example is 'I see a bear. I feel afraid. I tense in readiness to run away.' See also fight or flight.

Case Histories
A case history is one of a number of elements that can contribute to a case study in psychological research. The others being interviews; questionnaires; psychometric tests; diaries; observation and experiments.

A case history would comprise of records or case notes got from a school, college, doctor, social worker, police etc.

Case Study
A further non-experimental research method used in psychology, the others being the observational, survey, and interview methods of enquiry.

A case study is a detailed in-depth investigation of a single case happening concerning a person, a family, an organisation, or an event. Because of its interest in the single case the case study is said to be idiographic in nature. It is a method of enquiry that generates rich, mostly qualitative, descriptive detail about a unique individual, episode, situation etc.

Examples would be Freud and his investigations into Anna O and Little Hans; Koluchová (1972, 1976, 1991) case study concerning two Czechoslovak twins; and those ongoing case studies that are following the effects of 9/11 on victims' families involved in this disaster.

Cathartic method
The origins of free association, attributed to Josef Breuer (a colleague of Freud). It is a 'talking cure' which helps a patient relieve their distressful symptoms. For more information see free association.

Central nervous system
Medical term for our brain and spinal cord. With the peripheral nervous system the CNS makes up the human nervous system.

Cerebral cortex
The visible outer layer of our cerebrum, the largest part of our forebrain.

Medical term when taking prescribed drugs as a treatment for a health problem. They are given by injection, or oral form, such as taking a pill, or liquid medicine.

Chomsky, Noam
Born in Philadelphia in 1928 Noam Chomsky is a living legend. He is best known as a psycholinguist (the psychology of language), but is also a famous social and political theorist. He was educated at the University of Pennsylvania, where he obtained an MA. From 1951-55 he was a junior fellow at Harvard. After getting his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, he began his long teaching association with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he still works. He is the founder of the study of transformational-generative grammar. This is a system of linguistic analysis based upon philosophy, logic, and psycholinguistics. His book Syntactic Structures (1957) revolutionised the world of linguistics. It suggests that every verbal statement has two structures. A surface structure, which is the superficial combining of words by us, and a "deep structure," which are the universal rules and mechanisms governing language. These universal rules are called our 'universal grammar'. Chomsky argues that our ability to acquire language is innate to us all, and begins as soon as a baby learns the basics of language. Chomsky is also a radical critic of American political, social, and economic policies. He has a particular distaste of American foreign policy. Who can blame him?! He has argued against the Vietnam War, Gulf War 1, and the more recent Gulf War 2.

Very long DNA molecules that contain our genes. (10-20 thousand genes in each chromosome). The number of chromosomes varies depending on the species. Humans have 23 chromosome pairings, one from each biological parent. The 23rd pairing determines your sex. XX female: XY male.

Classical conditioning
Learning stimulus-response units of behaviour as a result of association. If we want to make a bus stop, we learn to stick out our hand. See Pavlov.

Clinical interview
A type of structured interview developed by Jean Piaget. In a clinical interview the researcher will have some pre-prepared questions, but will ask spontaneous ones as well. Just when will depend on the last answer given by a participant. If it is interesting the clinical interview allows exploration of this using spontaneous questioning.

Closed Question(s)
Closed questions are those that offer a restricted answer. Examples of closed questions found in a survey would be those concerning your age, your sex, your occupation, your postcode etc. These closed questions have only one answer. Closed questions give you quantifiable data.

Another name for our information processes of perception, attention, language, memory, and thinking. Cognitions mediate, or come between stimulus and response. Contrary to the behaviourist view our cognitions prove that we are active processors of information, and respond/behave towards stimuli on this basis.

Cognitive bolstering
An aspect of cognitive dissonance theory and decision-making. Cognitive bolstering is where we consciously and unconsciously look for things that support our chosen alternative or downgrade the merits of the rejected alternative.

Cognitive Dissonance
Leon Festinger (1957) THEORY OF COGNITIVE DISSONANCE is the most widely known and researched of cognitive consistency theories. It offers a general theory of human social motivation, and has a breadth of application far exceeding balance theory or congruity theory.

Dissonance is "a negative drive state which occurs whenever an individual holds two cognitions (ideas, beliefs and attitudes) which are psychologically inconsistent" (Festinger, 1957). Dissonance theory, in common with other 'consistency theories', assumes our mind's desired state is one of balance and harmony between our ideas, beliefs and attitudes. Dissonance theory enjoys wide applications since it is concerned with any instance where two cognitions are psychologically inconsistent. Cigarette smoking and lung cancer illustrates this well.

The fact that you smoke, and knowledge that smoking causes lung cancer, should produce a state of dissonance. Consonance (consistency) could be achieved in one of two ways. You could stop smoking, or you could ignore or refute its link with lung cancer.

The fact that many continue to smoke suggests that we all have different levels of tolerance for dissonance. One difficulty for social psychologists is their attempt to predict when and in what circumstance dissonance provides motivation for an individual to change their ideas, beliefs or attitudes. The breadth of dissonance theory is its main strength. Three areas of research have proved fertile for cognitive dissonance theorists - decision-making, forced compliance behaviour and effort.

Cognitive Psychotherapy
Ellis (1958, 1962) Rational Emotive Therapy (RET) -> challenge, & help change clients flawed thinking Beck (1967) Cognitive Restructuring Therapy. Used with depressives, to help change their irrational beliefs about their self-worth.

Cognitive Restructuring Therapy
Proposed by Aaron Beck (1967), an American psychologist born 1921. Beck uses cognitive restructuring therapy with his depressive patients. CRT helps people identify and change their irrational beliefs about their self-worth. Changing how they think about themselves, influences how the feel and behave. To the better. Beck nowadays also uses CRT successfully with substance misuse clients, and those with personality and severe psychiatric disorders. Also developed the BDI (Beck Depression Inventory), now updated to BDI-II. It measures the severity of depression people experience.

Computer analogy, the
The computer analogy illustrates the cognitive approach in psychology. Or why we think, feel, and behave as we do. The approach likens the workings of our mind to a computer. Input is what our senses pick up about stimuli in our world (S). This information is then relayed to our brain. Here it is further processed using our cognitions of perception, attention, language, memory, and thinking (X). We then respond towards the stimulus/stimuli in terms of our behaviour, or output (R). Perception, attention, language, memory and thinking are then mediational processes that come between stimulus and response [S->(X)->R]. As a consequence the cognitive approach believes that we are active processors of information. Not passive learners as the behaviourist approach suggests.

Input -> Processor -> Output
S -> ( X ) -> R
Stimulus   Mediational Process   Response

(X) = Our active information processes of perception, attention, language, memory, and thinking come between stimulus and response.

This is another name for 'learning'. Pavlov put forward a theory of classical conditioning, or learning by association. While Skinner proposed operant conditioning. This is learning as a result of behaviours being reinforced by reward (positive reinforcement), or unpleasant consequence (negative reinforcement).

Conditions for growth
These refer to the use of genuineness, empathy and unconditional positive regard by a counsellor or facilitator in humanistic psychotherapy.

Confounding Variables
These are variables that if anticipated could be controlled in an experimental situation. If they are not controlled they can give rise to an alternative explanation of results. Examples of confounding variables would be situational variables and participant variables.

Congruity Principle
Osgood and Tannenbaum's (1955) congruity principle is a special case of balance theory concerned with how attitudes may change when a person is exposed to a persuasive communication. As with Balance theory, there are three elements involved. P, the person; S the source of the communication, and O the message or communication itself.

The source makes a statement about some issue (attitude object), which is then presented to the person, either verbally or non-verbally through the media. As with balance theory a congruous or consistent state is when all three elements are in balance. Either where all three are positive, or two are negative and one is positive. One important difference between balance theory and congruity theory is that to go from incongruity to congruity (imbalance to balance amongst the elements) both P's attitudes towards the source and towards the object change.

Suppose Tony Blair (the source) makes a positive statement about going to war. Further, suppose Robin Cook has a high regard for Blair but has a negative attitude about going to war. (Ha!!)

Osgood and Tannenbaum (1955) Congruity Theory Congruity theory is also a measure of the strength with which attitudes are held measured on a scale ranging from -3 (strongly positive), through neutral (0), to -3 (strongly negative).

With our example, let us assume Robin to regard Tony highly (+3) and feels only slightly negative about going to war (-1). This is represented in the triad on the left. In moving from incongruity to congruity, notice in the above both of P's attitudes change, the strongest held the least (P-S), and the weakest held, the most (P-O).

Congruity is achieved by Robin slightly revising his opinion of Tony (to +2, and changing his opinion on going to war slightly (to +1). In predicting how congruity is achieved, Osgood and Tannenbaum say our strongest held attitude changes least.

Congruity offers a model for looking at how a person is or may be influenced by persuasive communication generally, and within this framework social psychologists also look in more detail at what makes an effective and ineffective communication. Essentially, the question of 'who says what to whom with what effect' is addressed by this approach. The structure of the message, characteristics of the source (the communicator) and the person the message is aimed at (the target) have all been investigated. See Janis and Hovland (1959) and Hovland, Janis and Kelley (1953)

Central to the structural approach to attitudes is the idea that human beings show consistency in thought, feeling, and behaviour about attitude objects in their environment. Simply put if you think and/or feel positively about something, you will express this in a positive behaviour.

Convergant thinking
Term coined by Guilford (1967) convergent thinking is a type of general thinking ability. Convergent thinkers are those who are very good at seeing a problem and focusing in on a solution. Convergent thinkers make excellent engineers, scientists etc. Convergent thinking is left-brain thinking. See divergent thinking for a bit more.

Correlation co-efficient
A correlation co-efficient is the numerical value given to the statistical relationship between two covariates in a correlation. A correlation co-efficient gives a value to the trend line in a scattergram. Correlation coefficients always come between -1 and +1. The nearer your coefficient (worked out using Spearman's Rho or Pearson's Product Moment) is to -1, the more negative the statistical relationship you have. Calculating -1 would allow you to conclude that you have a perfect negative correlation (as one covariate goes in one direction, the other covariate goes in the other). Alternatively if you calculate a coefficient of +1, this shows a perfect positive correlation. As one covariate goes in an upward direction, the other goes in a similar upward direction. Calculating a coefficient of around 0 tells you that there is no correlation, or statistical relationship, between your two covariates.

A covariate is an independent situation, which is free to vary. In a correlation you plot two situations or co-variates off against each other. An example of this would be the number of hours spent studying for an exam by a group of let's say 20 students, and their eventual examination mark.

Covert means hidden. Those observed in covert observation would be unaware that they were being observed. Observational measures and devices such as video camera's would be hidden from their view.

The conditional response is the learned response to the CS. Bell (CS)->Salivation (CR).

The conditional stimulus, or the stimulus to which you want someone/something to behave towards in a particular way. The CS in Pavlov's experiment is the tone of a bell.

Dyslexia and Myers-Irlen
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