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Psychology Glossary

By Letter | 3 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | L | M | N | O | P | R | S | T | U | V | W | Z


  • 3 Box Model

    In memory, a theory by Atkinson and Shiffrin that the human memory can be divided into 3 areas: the Sensory memory, Short-Term memory and Long-Term memory.

  • A

  • Adler, Alfred

    Alfred Adler (1870-1937): Austrian psychologist and follower of Freudian psychoanalysis until he broke away to help found the field of individual psychology. Influential in the foundation of psychotherapy and counseling.

  • Adorno, Theodor

    Theodor Adorno (1903-1969): German-born psychologist known for research into authoritarian personality traits with the Fascism Scale (F-Scale).

  • Agency Theory

    Relating to experiment by Milgram (1963). Theory that a person acts in one of two states: in an Agentic State or Autonomous State.

  • Agentic State

    A state of mind in which a person acts on behalf of somebody else, devoid of free will. Opposite to Autonomous State

  • Aggression

    Physical or verbal attitude of acting assertively but negatively towards others.

  • Agreeableness

    Personality trait of tending to appease and agree with others. One of the Big Five Personality Traits.

  • Ainsworth, Mary

  • Altered State of Awareness

    See Altered State of Consciousness (ASC)

  • Altered State of Consciousness (ASC)

    State of mind that deviates from normal consciousness. Induced, for example, through hypnosis, meditation, sleep or mental disorder such as Major Depressive Disorder.

  • Altruism

    Act of goodwill towards another, either in a selfless manner or with the expectation of a return of favour.

  • Anal Stage

    A part of Sigmund Freud's Stages of Psychosexual Development, the anal stage follows the Oral Stage (from birth until around the first year) and can last upto around the age of 3. A preoccupation with oral satisfaction, such as feeding, is superseded by satisfaction from defecation. Disruption at this stage can lead to an anal fixation: anally retentive personalities may show signs of obsessive orderliness, while anally expulsive types may be messy or disorganised in later life.

  • Anger Management

    Therapy encouraging looking at anger in a different way, often involving the use of relaxation to prevent anger.

  • Anima

    The Anima is a key archetype in Jungian psychology. It represents qualities considered to be idealised feminine attributes, such as compassion and sensitivity, and may be repressed in males. Conversely, the animus in females represents those qualities which are seen as masculine.

  • Animus

    See Anima

  • Anna O

    Anna O is the pseudonym of Bertha Pappenheim, a patient of Josef Breuer whose hysteria formed the basis of a case study by Breuer and his colleague, Sigmund Freud. Anna O is discussed in Studies on Hysteria (Freud and Breuer, 1895).

    See main article: Anna O: Sigmund Freud's Case History

  • Anorexia

    Eating disorder resulting loss of weight from negative body image or fear of gaining weight.

  • Anti-Psychiatry

    Movement opposing the classification of people with abnormal behavior or thoughts as mentally ill.

  • Anxiety

    Internal feeling of stress and worry. Can be a symptom of anxiety disorders such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

  • Applied Psychology

    Principle of using knowledge from psychology theories, studies and experiments to help people to overcome mental issues and in other areas of life.

  • Archetype

    In Jungian psychology, archetypes are common model concepts which are held in the collective unconscious and manifest as characters in cultural artefacts such as paintings, myths and other stories. Archetypes include the Great Mother, the Trickster and the Wise Old Man.

  • Asch, Solomon

    Solomon Asch (1907-1996): Poland-born psychologist commonly known for numerous studies into human conformity in groups.

    See main article: Asch: Social Influence, Conforming in Groups

  • Association

    Conditioning involving the linking of two concepts, e.g. drink-driving advertisements encourage the association of drink-driving with car accidents.

  • Attachment

    According to John Bowlby's Attachment Theory, an attachment is the bond formed in the early stages of development between an infant and a person such as a caregiver (e.g. a parent). Bowlby emphasized the importance of such attachments and claimed that the quality of such bonds can affect us later in life.

  • Attachment Theory

    Theory of bonds formulated by psychologist John Bowlby, usually between parent and baby at an early stage, that can influence future relationships.

  • Atypical Psychology

    See Abnormal Psychology

  • Authoritarian Personality

    Personality type theorised by Theodor Adorno in a book of the same name. Authoritarian personality types may be influenced by harsh treatment in early years of development, and can result in an empathy with authority.

  • Authoritarianism

    In political philosophy, authoritarianism the belief that power should be concentrated in a limited group of persons or in the case of a dictatorship, often a singular person. Authoritarians require complete obedience by subjects are prone to arbitrary behavior such as punishments and may be resistant to those who question the source of their authority.

  • Autonomous State

    State of mind in which one's actions are based on one's own thoughts and inclinations as opposed to Agentic State.

  • B

  • Baddeley & Hitch (1974)

    Working Memory Model - theory of memory consisting of a central executive, articulatory-phonological loop and visuo-spatial sketchpad.

  • Baddeley, Alan

    British psychologist known for his work on memory, with the Working Memory Model - Baddely and Hitch (1974).

  • Bandura, Albert

    Albert Bandura (1925-): Canadian psychologist known for his Social Learning Theory in developmental psychology.

  • Behavior Modification

    Behavior Modification consists of technique designed to improve behavior, often using conditioning.

  • Behaviorism

    Approach in psychology focusing on external (as opposed to cognitive) behavior.

    See main article: Behavioral Approach

  • Big Five Personality Traits

    Common areas of personality measure: Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism.

  • Biological Approach

    Approach takes the view that hereditary, genetic factors, as well as brain and body chemistry, can influence mood and behavior.

  • Bowlby, John

    Bowlby, John (1907-1990): British psychologist responsible for theory of attachment in developmental psychology.

  • Brainwashing

    Technique of behavior modification through the internalisation of ideas or an ideology.

  • Breuer, Josef

    Josef Breuer (1842-1925) was an Austrian physician known for his patient, Anna O, whose case history influenced the theories of his protege, Sigmund Freud. Breuer also co-authored Studies on Hysteria (1895) with Freud.

  • Brown & Kulik (1977)

    Study proposing Flashbulb Memories - vivid recollections created at the time of significant events.

  • C

  • Circadian Rhythm

    A circadian rhythm is a biological rhythm which repeats approximately every 24 hours. An example of a circadian rhythm is the sleep-wake cycle.

  • Circannual Rhythm

    A circannual rhythm is a biological rhythm which occurs approximately once each year. Birds' migration is an example of a circannual rhythm.

  • Coan (1997)

    The Lost in the Mall technique is a method of implanting false memories of an event which never occurred. The technique was popularized by an experiment in which James Coan provided family members with reminiscing stories. The story given to his brother - that of being lost in a shopping mall as a child - was invented, but when the participant was questioned, he believed that it had actually happened (Coan, 1997). The Lost in the Mall technique demonstrates the effect of retroactive interference on our memories.


    1. Coan, J.A. (1997). Lost in a Shopping Mall: An Experience with Controversial Research. Ethics & Behavior. 7(3). 271-284.

  • Cognitive Approach

    The cognitive approach in psychology emphasizes the significance of a person's cognitive processes, such as thoughts, as an influence on their behavior. The approach was popularized by Ulric Neisser's 1967 book Cognitive Psychology.


    1. Neisser, U. (1967). Cognitive Psychology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

  • Collective Unconscious

    According to Carl Jung, a collection of memories and ideas which we all inherit, regardless of the culture or time period into which we were born. The collective unconscious contains archetypes which may surface in dreams and myths independently across different societies.

  • Compatibilism

    Compatibilism is a theory that free will and determinism can co-exist.

  • Computer Dance Experiment

    See Walster (1966)

  • Conscientiousness

    Personality trait of being conscious of one's actions. One of the Big Five Personality Traits.

  • Conscious

    Area of the psyche in which a person's awareness operates and readily accessible memories reside.

  • Craik and Lockhart (1972)

    Levels of processing theory linking the rehearsing of information to its retention.

    See main article: Craik & Lockhart (1972) Levels of Processing Theory


    1. Craik, F.I.M. and Lockhart, R.S. (1972). Levels of processing: A framework for memory research. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior. 11(6). 671-84.

  • Critical Period

    A critical period in developmental psychology are periods of time during which a particular process, such as filial imprinting, may be expected to occur. The absence of the required external stimuli can lead to incomplete development during this stage. For example, in the case of filial imprinting, if a moving object (e.g. their mother) is not witnessed during the critical period shortly after birth, a baby may not form a filial imprint of that stimulus.

  • D

  • Determinism

    In psychology, the belief that cognitive processes and behavior are determined by genetic factors and external environmental influences. Determinism negates the ability of humans to choose their behavior entirely of their own free will.

  • Didactic

    Informative with a focus on instructive teaching.

  • E

  • Ego

    In the psychodynamic model, the ego is the aspect of the personality which attempts to satisfy the needs of the id, but recognises that not all of its needs can be reasonably fulfilled.

  • Electra Complex

    Comparable to the Oedipus Complex in Freudian psychology, the Electra Complex refers to the competition for the affection of the father in females. This can lead to a resentment of the mother, whom the father demonstrates love for. The Electra Complex is named after Electra in Greek mythology, a character who plans with her brother, Orestes, to murder her mother, Clytemnestra, in revenge for her murdering the Electra's father.

  • Extraversion

    Personality trait of confident, outgoing behavior and being assertive in one's actions. One of the Big Five Personality Traits.

  • Eyewitness Testimony

    Eyewitness testimony is the evidence given by witnesses primarily in court case. The reliability and accuracy of eyewitness testimonies has been questioned by psychologists such as Elizabeth Loftus and can be affected by false memories.

  • F

  • F-Scale

    See Adorno (1947)

  • False Memory

    A false memory is a memory which a person may falsely recall in the belief that it is true. False memories may be created inadvertently or intentionally, as demonstrated by the Lost in the Mall Technique (Coan, 1997). The discovery of false memories has had implications for use of eyewitness testimonies in court cases.


    1. Coan, J.A. (1997). Lost in a Shopping Mall: An Experience with Controversial Research. Ethics & Behavior. 7(3). 271-284.

  • Fight-or-Flight Response

    The fight-or-flight response was first used by Walter Bradford Cannon to describe a set of physiological responses that are triggered in stressful situations, including the contraction of muscles and dilation of the pupils in a state of heightened awareness in preparation to respond to a threat.

    See main article: Stress: Fight or Flight Response

  • Filial Imprinting

    Filial imprinting is a process which occurs in the early stages of life, when an infant observes a moving person or object and forms an attachment to them. Originally described by Douglas Spalding as 'stamping in', the process was referred to as 'imprinting' by Oskar Heinroth and demonstrated by his student, Konrad Lorenz, in greylag geese (Lorenz, 1935).


    1. Lorenz, K.Z. (1935). Der Kumpan in der Umwelt des Vogels. Der Artgenosse als auslösendes Moment sozialer Verhaltensweisen. Journal für Ornithologie. 83. 137-215, 289-413.

  • Flashbulb Memory

    See Brown and Kulik (1977)

  • Free Will

    The ability to make one's own decisions and to choose how to behave without external influences determining behavior. Opposed to determinism.

  • Freud, Sigmund

    Freud, Sigmund (1856-1939) was an Austrian psychoanalysist who developed the psychodynamic theory in psychology. Freud maintained that the Oedipus and Electra complexes, along with other desires, motivate human behavior.

    See main article: Sigmund Freud

  • Freudian Slip

    Inadvertent mispronunciation of, or unconscious use of, a word or phrase in a way that unintentionally reveals a person's true feelings or opinions.

  • G

  • Great Mother

    The Great Mother is one of the primary archetypes described by Carl Jung. She may embody typical maternal qualities such as that of a caring, understanding and encouraging parent who may be consulted for advice or sought in times of need. Another contrasting side of this archetype is the Shadow of the Great Mother, whose destructive forces is to be feared. The concept of Mother Nature, for example, sees the positive, creative influence of the Great Mother in the fertility, growth and abundance of crops, whilst her Shadow is embodied in the destructive tendencies of storms, tsunamis and earthquakes.

  • H

  • Heinroth, Oskar

    Oskar Heinroth (1871-1945) was a German biologist who re-discovered 'imprinting' during a critical period of development (the process was originally referred to by Douglas Spalding as 'stamping in'). Heinroth mentored Austrian ornithologist Konrad Lorenz, whose work imprinting greylag geese introduced a wider audience to imprinting (Lorenz, 1935).


    1. Lorenz, K.Z. (1935). Der Kumpan in der Umwelt des Vogels. Der Artgenosse als auslösendes Moment sozialer Verhaltensweisen. Journal für Ornithologie. 83. 137-215, 289-413.

  • Hierarchy of Needs

    Set of physiological and growth needs identified by Abraham Maslow (1943) as motivating our behavior.

    See main article: Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

  • Humanistic Psychology

    Approach in psychology emphasising the ability of the patient or other subject to determine their behavior.

    See main article: Humanistic Approach

  • Hypnosis

    Altered state of awareness induced by a combination of relaxation and suggestion, allowing access to the subconscious.

  • I

  • Id

    Id (meaning 'it' in Latin) in the psychodynamic model is the aspect of one's personality which expresses a person's innate needs and demands instant gratification of those needs. Later in development, a person's id is tempered by the ego and eventually the superego.

  • Individuation

    According to Carl Jung, individuation is a process of realising one's true Self. Jung claimed that people's aspiration to live up to certain archetypes lead to them repressing some aspects of their Self. These must be allowed to surface and coexist (a process referred to as 'integration') for a person to understand who they really are.

  • Infradian Rhythm

    An infradian rhythm is a biological rhythm which occurs less than once every 24 hours. The menstruation cycle is an example of an infradian rhythm.

  • Introversion

    Personality trait characterised by quiet thoughtfullness and an aversion to social situations particularly in large groups, in contrast to extroversion.

  • Introvert

    An introvert, is a person whose personality type is one of introversion. Characteristics often include reserved behavior such as quietness and an aversion to social interactions. An introvert may prefer their own company or small groups and take a contemplative approach to problems. The opposite of an introvert is an extrovert.

  • J

  • Jung, Carl

    Carl Jung (1875-1961) was a Swiss psychiatrist known for his contributions to analytical psychology. Jung was a friend of Sigmund Freud but later disagreed with his theories. Jung proposed that humans inherit common memories and ideas in a collective unconscious and noted numerous characters, or archetypes, which people are widely able to relate to.

  • L

  • Law of Effect

    In behavioral psychology, the Law of Effect was a theory put forward by Edward Thorndike which proposed that behavior carrying a reward would be 'stamped in' - associated with the reward and so carried out more often - and behavior that was punished or produced no reward would be 'stamped out' and reduced.

  • Lost in the Mall Technique

    See Coan (1997)

  • M

  • Miller's Magic Number

    See Miller (1956)

  • N

  • Neuroticism

    Anxious mentality, often leading to stress and/or anger. One of the Big Five Personality Traits.

  • O

  • O, Anna

    Anna O was a patient of Josef Breuer who suffered from hysteria, with symptoms including hydrophobia, partial paralysis and involuntary eye movements. Breuer claimed that these were caused by events earlier in life and could be aleviated by expressing them in psychoanalytic sessions. The case of Anna O later influenced the theories of Sigmund Freud.

  • Observational Psychology

    Approach which aims to understand behaviour and learning through observation.

    See main article: Observational Psychology

  • Oedipus Complex

    In Freudian psychology, a complex in males which leads to a person competing for the attention and affection of their mother. This demand is often in competition with a person's father, who may become the focus of feelings of resentment or jealousy. The Oedipus Complex takes its name from a character in Greek mythology whose competition for the affection of his mother, Jocasta, leads Oedipus to murder his own father, Laius. In females, the Oedipus Complex may be compared to the Electra Complex.

  • Openness to Experience

    Open-minded attitude towards new ideas. One of the Big Five Personality Traits.

  • Oral Stage

    According to Sigmund Freud's Stages of Psychosexual Development, the oral stage occurs in the first year after birth, when the need to feed is satisfied orally. Irregularities experienced during the oral stage, such as food deprivation, can lead to an oral fixation, which can manifest itself as a need for oral satisfaction (e.g. chewing gum) later in life.

  • P

  • Paradox of Choice

    See Schwartz (2004)

  • Pavlov's Dogs

    Experiments by Ivan Pavlov demonstrating classical conditioning with regards to salivation in dogs.

    See main article: Pavlov's Dogs and Classical Conditioning

  • Pavlov, Ivan

    Russian physiologist known for experiments demonstrating classical conditioning, a key tenet of the behaviorist approach.

  • Pavlovian Conditioning

    See Classical Conditioning

  • Persona

    According to Jungian psychology, the persona is the image of ourselves which we attempt to project to others. We may view some traits of our personality as negative and suppress them from our Persona. Therefore, the Persona may not represent a person's genuine inner Self, and may also be influenced by the model personalities, or archetypes, which a person aspires to.

  • Personal Unconscious

    In Jungian psychology, the Personal Unconscious is a component of the psyche, in which experiences, thoughts or feelings that have been repressed may reside. The contents of the Personal Unconscious can affect the subject matter of dreams, can and emerge in other forms, such as an irrational fear.

  • Phallic Stage

    According to Sigmund Freud's Stages of Psychosexual Development, the Phallic Stage follows the Oral and Anal stages and occurs between the ages of approximately 3 to 6 years. During the Phallic Stage, the erogenous zone moves from anal/bowel movements to the genitals. At this stage, the person may experience the Oedipus Complex or Electra Complex.

  • Pleasure Principle

    Assertion that our actions are motivated by the pursuit of maximum pleasure and enduring the least amount of pain possible.

  • Psyche

    Totality of the human mind, including the conscious and subconscious. The role of the psyche is the focus of the psychoanalytic approach, whose proponents include Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung.

  • Psychoanalysis

    Psychoanalysis consists of a range of techniques which attribute abnormal feelings and behaviors to the internal conflicts of the mind. Psychoanalysts, beginning with Sigmund Freud and later Carl Jung amongst others, may use techniques such as hypnosis and regression to uncover repressed memories and thoughts in the subconscious mind, with the belief that by enabling them to surface in the conscious mind, a person can overcome problems.

  • Psychodynamic Approach

    An approach in psychology which focuses on internal process of the psyche. Originating from the theories of Sigmund Freud, the psychodynamic approach looks at 'dynamics' which can influence feelings, thoughts and behavior, including conflicts between the subconscious and conscious mind, the effect of experiences earlier in life, such as fixation during Freud's Stages of Psychosexual Development.

    See main article: Psychodynamic Approach

  • R

  • Rapid Eye Movement

    Rapid Eye Movement, or REM, is the rapid movement of the eyes which occurs during the sleep cycle. REM is commonly associated with dreaming.

  • Reality Principle

    According to the analytical approach, the idea that our behavior is informed not only by one's inner desires (as opposed to the Pleasure Principle) but with recognition of external realities and what is reasonable or acceptable.

  • Recall

    In the study of human memory, recall is the ability to access a memory when it is needed. Successful memory recall depends on various factors. For example, Craik and Lockhart (1972) claimed that increased effort spent thinking over, or rehearsing, information can lead to an increased chance of recall.


    1. Craik, F.I.M. and Lockhart, R.S. (1972). Levels of processing: A framework for memory research. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior. 11(6). 671-84.

  • Reciprocal Altruism

    Helping others at the expense of one's own resources, in the expectation that the favor will be repaid in the future. E.g. vampire bats feed related bats blood and expect that they will do the same when requested (Trivers, 1971).

    See main article: Altruism in Animals and Humans


    1. Trivers, R.L. (1971). The Evolution of Reciprocal Altruism. The Quarterly Review of Biology. 46(1). 35-57.

  • Reductionism

    In psychology, considering human processes in a simplified manner, often criticized by humanistic theories for de-humanizing subjects by considering them on an atomistic level.

  • Regression

    Regression is often used as a therapeutic technique to take a subject back to an earlier point in their life with a hope of finding causes to problems in the present.

  • Repression

    Repression refers to the concealment of memories, thoughts or feelings which in the conscious would cause anxiety or discomfort. These repressed ideas reside in the unconscious (or, according to Carl Jung, the Personal Unconscious) and may surface in dreams or influence a person without them being aware, such as in the case of Josef Breuer's client, Anna O. Therefore, repressed thoughts and their effect on a person are often the subject of psychoanalysts' work.

  • Retroactive Interference

    Retroactive interference refers to the impact of information on the recall of memories that have already been stored. Interference can include the wording of questions that a research uses, as demonstrated in a 1978 experiment which manipulated participants' recall of the events in a video with the use of different questions (Loftus, Miller and Burns, 1978).


    1. Loftus, E.F., Miller, D.G. and Burns, H.J. (1978). Semantic Integration of Verbal Information into a Visual Memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology. 4(1). 19-31.

  • S

  • Selye, Hans

    Hans Selye (1907-1982) was a Vienna-born endocrinologist known for identifying General Adaptation Syndrome. Selye born in Vienna, Austro-Hungary and graduated with an MD from the German University of Prague in 1929, received a PhD in 1931 and the following year, accepted a position at McGill University in Montreal, Canada to continue his biochemistry research. Whilst at McGill, in a 1926 article in Nature entitled, "A Syndrome produced by Diverse Nocuous Agents", he identified a set of symptoms of being exposed to various threats in rats as general adaptation syndrome, and later labelled "stress" as we understand it today. Selye died in Montreal in 1982 at the age of 75.

  • Sexual Imprinting

    Sexual imprinting is a process of observation of one's parents which influences a person's sexual preferences later in life. Sexual imprinting can, for example, affect the traits that an animal will seek in a potential mate (Gallagher, 1977).


    1. Gallagher, J.E. (1977). Sexual imprinting: A sensitive period in Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica). Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology. 91(1). 72-78.

  • Shadow

    In Jungian psychology, the Shadow is an archetype which represents the side of a person which is hidden from the persona. The Shadow contains a person's anxieties and traits which they consider, correctly or incorrectly, to be negative. For example, it may contain a person's sensitivity and humility, which to some is a positive attribute but to the person may be a sign of weakness.

  • Simultaneous Discovery

    When a discovery is made by two or more parties independently of each other. For example, U.S. psychologist Edwin Twitmyer produced theories similar to classical conditioning around the time that Ivan Pavlov demonstrated it in Russia (Coon, 1982).


    1. Coon, D.J. (1982). Eponymy, obscurity, Twitmyer, and Pavlov. Journal of the History of Behavioral Science. 18(3). 255-62.

  • Sleep Cycle

    Circadian biological rhythm oscillating between sleep and awakedness.

    See main article: Stages of Sleep

  • Soft Determinism

    See Compatibilism

  • Spalding, Douglas

    Douglas Spalding (1841-1877) was an English biologist who noted the concept of "stamping in" in newborn chickens (Spalding, 1873). Spalding's observations were be developed in the 20th Century by German biologist Oskar Heinroth and referred to as imprinting. Heinroth's student Konrad Lorenz then popularised the concept through his practise of imprinting himself as a parental figure in greylag geese.


    1. Spalding, D.A. (1873). Instinct, with original observations on young animals. Macmillan's Magazine. 27. 282-93.

  • Stamping In

    According to Edward Thorndike's Law of Effect, stamping in is the association of a particular type of behavior with a subsequent reward. Thorndike proposed that this association would produce similar behavior as a result of the reward.

  • Stamping Out

    In the Law of Effect proposed by Edward Thorndike, stamping out is the association of a certain behavior with a punishment, or at least the absence of any reward. Over time, the behavior would be 'stamped out' - it would gradually decrease as a result of the association.

  • Stanford Prison Experiment (1971)

    Experiment conducted by Philip Zimbardo in which participants were assigned roles of prison guard or prisoner. Participants assigned as prison guards undertook increasingly cruel behavior in the believe that they were conforming to their social role.

    See main article: Zimbardo's Stanford Prison Experiment

  • Subconscious

    Level of consciousness beneath our awareness which cannot be accessed at will. According to psychodynamic theory, the subconscious may contain repressed thoughts and memories and can influence dreams. Attempts to access the subconscious have been made using hypnosis and regression.

  • Subliminal Message

    A communication that is unrealized on a conscious level but understood on a subliminal level.

  • Superego

    The superego is the most developed aspect of the personality compared to the id and the ego, according to the psychodynamic model. The superego represents our conscience, recognising the needs of those in the external world, and is responsible for feelings of guilt.

  • Superstition

    Irrational belief, often involving a fear of consequences arising from another, unlinked behavior or absence of behavior.

  • Systematic Desensitization

    Treatment used to help users to overcome fears and phobias with a user embracing relaxation and 'coping' techniques.

  • T

  • Tabula Rasa

    Meaning 'blank slate' in Latin, the idea that humans are influenced by environmental, rather than innate, influences.

  • Token Economy

    Form of operant conditioning by which a subject is 'taught' to behave in a particular manner through a process of rewarding.

  • Tolman, Edward

    Edward Tolman (1886-1959): U.S. psychologist known for theory of Sign Learning, with a focus on stimuli as opposed to responses.

  • Trait

    With regards to personality, a trait is aspect of someone's personality, e.g. Agreeableness.

  • Trance

    Relaxed state of mind commonly used in hypnosis.

  • Transactional Analysis

    Theory of personality in psychology, developed by Eric Berne. A humanistic, neo-Freudian approach which focuses on inter-personal 'transactions' - communication.

  • Tulving, Endel

    Endel Tulving (1927-): Estonian psychologist know for research into Levels of Processing in memory (Craik and Tulving, 1975).

  • Twin Studies

    Twin studies are common in psychology, enabling researchers to identify variations among subjects whose genetic makeup are very similar, therefore eliminating hereditary factors as an influence on a disorder or other issue.

  • Twins, Mono-Zygotic

    Mono-zygotic twins are identical twins.

  • U

  • Ultradian Rhythm

    An ultradian rhythm, such as the stages of sleep, is a biological rhythm which occurs more frequently than every 24 hours.

  • V

  • Validity

    In psychological research, the quality of an argument or degree to which an experiment is accurate and may be generalized.

  • Vanity

    Narcissitic personality trait, with focus on one's self.

  • Vygotsky, Leo

    Leo Vygotsky (1896-1934): USSR-born psychologist known for theories on childhood development. Emphasized the role of society in individual development.

  • Vygotsky, Lev

    Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky (1896-1934) was a Belarusian psychologist whose theory of a Zone of Proximal Development with regards to the development of cognitive abilities through social interaction learning gained supporters during the 20th Century. In his work Thought and Language, Vygotsky also observed the significance of vocalizing one's thought process, which in later internalised to became an 'inner voice'.

  • W

  • Watson, John

    John Watson (1878-1958): US psychologist and founder of methodological behaviorism. Famed for the Little Albert classical conditioning experiment.

  • Westermarck Effect

    The Westermarck Effect, named after Finnish anthropologist Edvard Westermarck, is a tendency for people to develop sexually passive attitude to those in their social circle, and to seek a partner who is outside of that circle (Westermarck, 1891).


    1. Westermarck, E. (1891). The History of Human Marriage. London: Macmillan and Co.

  • Westermarck, Edvard

    Edvard Westermarck (1862-1939) was a Finnish anthropologist often known for what has later been referred to as the Westermarck Effect (Westermarck, 1891).


    1. Westermarck, E. (1891). The History of Human Marriage. London: Macmillan and Co.

  • Wise Old Man

    Archetype in Jungian psychology representing stoic contemplation and reasoning. The Wise Old Man is reclusive but reaches thought-out decisions.

  • Working Memory Model

    In memory, a theory of remembering devised by Baddeley and Hitch. Proposes that the human memory may be divided into a Articulatory Phonological Loop, Visuo-Spatial Sketchpad which communicate with a Central Executive.

  • Wundt, Wilhelm

    Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920): German philosopher and a founder of the modern study of psychology.

  • Z

  • Zeitgeber

    A zeitgeber (from the German "time" and "giver") is an endogenous cue in the environment which helps animals' internal pacemaker to regulate biological rhythms. For example, daylight is a zeitgeber which helps to regulate daily (circadian) rhythms.

  • Zimbardo, Philip

    Philip Zimbardo (1933-): US psychologist famous for the 1971 Stanford Prison experiment which looked into the way in which we conform to our social roles.

  • Zone of Proximal Development

    Theory proposed by Belarusian psychologist Lev Vygotsky which proposes that a person's cognitive abilities are central to a 'zone', further out of which one finds their potential abilities, which can be developed through social learning.

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Cultural Influences In Psychology

How cultural differences can affect our perception and behavior.

Cultural Differences In Psychology

More on Psychology Issues

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