Glossary

counterfactual emotions Counterfactual arguments involve reasoning that makes assumptions contrary to the facts in evidence (e.g., "If I were king, I'd make everyone rich''). Counterfactual emotions are feeling states, such as regret and disappointment, that require a comparison between some state of affairs and what might have been.

dichotic listening A technique in which different auditory messages are presented over separate earphones; the subject is instructed to repeat (shadow) one message but ignore the other.

dissociation A statistical outcome in which one variable, either a subject characteristic (such as the presence of brain damage) or an experimental manipulation (such as the direction of attention), has different effects on two dependent measures (such as free recall or priming).

functional magnetic resonance imaging A brain-imaging technique using magnets to measure the changes in the ratios of deoxygenated to oxygenated hemoglobin due to brain activity.

gambler's fallacy The idea that prior outcomes, such as a string of "red" numbers in roulette, can influence the outcome of some future outcome, such as a "black" number; it is a fallacy because in a truly random game each outcome is independent of the others.

magnetoencephalography A brain-imaging technique using superconducting quantum interference devices to measure changes in weak magnetic fields caused by the brain's electrical activity.

positron emission tomography A brain-imaging technique that uses positrons (positively charged electrons) to measure blood flow, metabolic rate, and biochemical changes in the brain.

priming The facilitation (or, in the negative case, inhibition) of perceptual-cognitive processing of a target stimulus by prior presentation of a priming stimulus.

schemata Organized knowledge structures representing a person's beliefs and expectations, permitting the person to make inferences and predictions.

sensory thresholds In psychophysics, the minimum amount of energy required for an observer to detect the presence of a stimulus (the "absolute" threshold) or a change in a stimulus (the "relative" threshold).

tabula rasa Latin meaning "blank slate''; refers to the empiricist view that there are no innate ideas, and that all knowledge is gained through experience.

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