Dictionary of Terms


Habituation The simplest form of learning; learning not to respond to an unimportant event that occurs repeatedly.

Hallucinations Perceptual experiences that occur in the absence of external stimulation of the corresponding sensory organ.

Haze A monocular cue of depth perception; objects that are less distinct in their outline and texture are seen as farther from the viewer.

Health Psychology The branch of psychology involved in the promotion and maintenance of sound health practices.

Heredity The sum of the traits and tendencies inherited from a personís parents and other biological ancestors.

Heritability The amount of variability in a given trait in a given population at a given time due to genetic factors.

Hertz (Hz) The primary measure of the frequency of vibration of sound waves; cycles per second.

Heuristics A general rule that guides decision making.

Hippocampus A structure in the limbic system, located deep in the temporal lobe, which plays an important role in memory.

Homeostasis The process by which important physiological characteristics (such as body temperature and blood pressure) are regulated so that they remain at their optimum level.

Hormone A chemical substance secreted by an endocrine gland that has physiological effects on target cells in other organs.

Hue A perceptual dimension of color, most closely related to the wavelength of a pure light. The effect of a particular hue is caused by the mixture of lights of various wavelengths.

Humanistic Psychology An approach to the study of human behavior that emphasizes human experience, choice and creativity, self-realization, and positive growth.

Humanistic Therapy A form of therapy focusing on the personís unique potential for personal growth and self-actualization.

Huntingtonís Chorea A genetic disorder caused by a dominant lethal gene in which a person experiences slow but progressive mental and physical deterioration.

Hypochondriasis A somatoform disorder involving persistent and excessive worry about developing a serious illness. People with this disorder often misinterpret the appearance of normal physical aches and pains.

Hypothalamus A region of the brain located just above the pituitary gland; controls the autonomic nervous system and many behaviors related to regulation and survival, such as eating, drinking, fighting, shivering, and sweating.

Hypothesis A statement, usually designed to be tested by an experiment, that tentatively expresses a cause-and-effect relationship between variables.

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