Personality Theories: Critical Perspectives


Albert Ellis, Mike Abrams & Lidia D. Abrams

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  • Dedication

    To the late Dr. Albert Ellis, who was often a controversial iconoclast but always a genuine genius. He was a visionary in psychology, psychotherapy, and human sexuality. His influence has insinuated itself into every aspect of modern clinical psychology—as it should.

    —M.A. & L.D.A.

    To my late parents, Mr. Ben Abrams and Ms. Lilly Abrams, whose poverty precluded secondary educations but who were able to inspire a passion for it nonetheless.


    To my late parents, Dr. Edith Palfi Dengelegi and Dr. Tiberius Dengelegi, who emerged from Auschwitz and a Russian work camp to become physicians and loving parents, and set an example to all who face adversity.


    To our daughters, Ms. Dax Abrams and Ms. Kira Abrams, whose good behavior allowed their parents to contribute to this work.

    —M.A. & L.D.A.


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    This book is unique among more than 80 books and monographs I have produced in my half-century of authorship. It differs from all the others in three ways: It is the first college textbook I have ever produced, it devotes most of its pages to perspectives other than mine, and it is the first book to formally present my complete theory of personality. Why have I waited so long to write a textbook? For most of my career, I have sought to reach as many people as possible. Consequently, most of my books were for lay audiences or practicing clinicians. I have detailed the essence of my theory in several articles and chapters, but I have never presented a comprehensive theory set alongside that of other major theorists. To rectify this omission, I invited my longtime collaborators and good friends, Mike and Lidia Abrams, to work with me in preparing this textbook. I hope it will serve to expose a large audience to the principles that I and my students have been describing and applying since the mid-1950s. These principles, summarized under the rubric of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), have been used by thousands of clinicians to help millions of people to stop making themselves miserable.

    Has REBT helped? In short, yes. It has done so by showing people that most human misery arises from an irrationality that is inherent but that also can be changed. People persist in demanding perfection of themselves, unconditional love from others, and fairness from the world. They whine when things are “too hard,” and decide that they cannot stand doing things that are difficult, even if persevering is in their own best interest. Of course, a fair, easy, and loving world is a wonderful one to hope for or work toward, but it is profoundly irrational psychologically to expect and demand that life be that way. As is detailed in this text, some personality authors appear to have succumbed to the moralistic fallacy: They believe things that are morally wrong or undesirable simply cannot exist in the world. These authors insist that fairness, rationality, inherent goodness, or striving for goodness must be part of the world simply because they are desirable. Unfortunately for them and their clients, the world does not give a damn and goes merrily on its harsh, unfair, and irrational way. This is where I have differed from many of them. The world does not have to do what any of us want. Therefore, we had better learn to accept it without irrational demands or shoulds. Despite my admonitions and the several millennia of human history that have demonstrated that the things people irrationally demand are usually not forthcoming, their absolutistic demands are still going strong.

    In 1955, when I began directing my practice away from psychoanalysis to a therapeutic approach based on rationality, I discovered a more effective and more rapid means to address people's problems. It was this rational approach to psychotherapy that evolved into REBT, which is practiced by numerous clinicians and is the intellectual foundation of virtually all of today's cognitive or cognitive behavioral therapies. When I developed REBT it represented a new theory of personality, radically different from those that dominated in that era.

    Psychoanalysts, who were educated much the same way that I was, operated under the assumption that personality was an amalgam of powerful drives being kept at bay by largely unconscious mental structures. According to this model, people have very little direct control over their lives and, unless successfully analyzed, will live lives of continual turmoil as their internal forces perpetually battle. The other dominant view at that time was the behavioral view, which considered personality to be a complex construction of conditioned responses. This approach minimized human agency and made personality a function of conditioning. Current research shows that almost all theories have a kernel of truth. There is indeed a role for conditioning and behavioral change (hence my addition in the late 1990s of the B for behavioral in REBT), and there is a role for the nonconscious processes in personality.

    Underlying all clinical approaches is a theory of human personality. This theory can be tacit or explicit, but it is requisite. One cannot diagnose an infirmity without a model of health. Nor can one treat it without a conceptualization of its etiology. A personality theory provides the foundation for understanding how both healthy and dysfunctional personalities develop, and it makes the distinction between the two. In addition, such a theory provides a framework for the research and experimental testing of both itself and the clinical approaches based on it. Karl Popper was indeed correct to require that all theories must be falsifiable in order to be considered scientific. Personality and other psychological theories are certainly no exception. I am perfectly open to being amended, or even proven wrong, as that is the role of science, to test and revise ideas, incorporate new knowledge, and devise theories that best fit our observable reality.

    And there is much work to do in understanding human personality! Is it a composite of traits? Can it be explained by five factorial dimensions? Is personality really just a collection of learned behaviors? Is the person defined by striving for self-actualization? Alternatively, are we just social entities that come into being by adapting to the demands of interpersonal situations? These are just a few of the questions that are still to be resolved. Personality researchers have made great headway, yet the reader of this text will inevitably note that personality psychologists continue to set forth a medley of theories, many of which are incompatible with the others.

    Prior to this text, my theory of personality was discussed in several articles and chapters. In these, I asserted that personality was a function of innate human irrationality, in which people make persistent demands that the world, and those in it, exist in a way that suits them. Further, this irrationality was expressed in the form of my original A-B-C theory of human behavior. It states that people in response to some activating event (A) will experience an emotional or behavioral (C) consequence. In most cases the person attributes the C as being a direct result of A. This in fact is quite wrong. A does not cause C, although it may significantly contribute to it. Instead, the person's beliefs (B) about the event are the essential predicates of the C. Rational beliefs lead to appropriate emotions and behaviors, whereas irrational beliefs lead to excessive emotional distress and poor choices. In short, my insight—which evolved into the cognitive behavioral approach—was that it is people's beliefs, attitudes, and biases that lead to their behavior and emotions—not the unconscious structures of Sigmund Freud, or the S-R connection of John B. Watson.

    I have not rejected the notion that much of cognition is nonconscious. Indeed, most of the beliefs that influence our behavior are unconscious until evoked and often can be discovered only by inferring them from emotions and behavior. And I certainly do not reject behaviorism, as it is clearly instrumental in my therapeutic approach. However, I reject the notion that knowledge of stimulus response connections is sufficient to understand human behavior. An adequate theory of personality needs to include all of the elements of mind that interact to yield the human personality.

    I have often written that hereditary factors play a major role in the development of personality. My A-B-C theory of human emotional distress does not in any way preclude a very strong role for genetic influences in personality and in how people view and experience the world. I have maintained throughout my career that people are constitutionally irrational and must learn through focused volition to behave rationally and avoid creating their own misery. More recently, this perspective has been implicitly supported by the evolutionary psychologists. In the evolutionary view, people have evolved psychological inclinations that were adaptations to environments humans faced eons ago. Since the world is radically different from the savannahs that early man evolved in, our psychology will often be at odds with our current world, which is vastly different from and more complex than that of our distant ancestors. Hence, we are inevitably inclined to be irrational. Based on this and related research, I have included the sociobiological influence into my most recent theory of personality.

    In addition to providing a complete presentation of my theory of personality, I wanted my text to provide a more critical analysis than is typically offered in most textbooks. Many of the new clinicians whom I have supervised have been taught an assortment of incompatible personality theories, often without being provided any basis for judging which are correct, partially correct, or simply wrong. The failure to challenge the legitimacy of the theories that underlie many schools of psychology has harmed both the practice and science of psychology. One cannot find any other science in which historical theories are presented with equal standing to current research. Is there an astronomy textbook that presents the views of Ptolemy, Copernicus, and Carl Sagan as competing perspectives? Indeed not! The early astronomers are included to clarify their historical role in developing modern theories, but it is understood that modern theories are built on knowledge unavailable to earlier theorists and therefore are more valid representations of reality.

    In the field of psychology, on the other hand, personality and history and systems textbooks often present the theories of Freud, Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, and others as complete and viable alternatives to modern, research-based theories. Unproven theories of personality, some a century old, are juxtaposed with recent research-based theories. Consequently, students are given inadequate direction for clinical practice and future research.

    To help the student achieve an unbiased proper perspective, this book will provide supporting and contradictory evidence for each personality theory discussed. It is my goal to present the reader with a critical view of each theory, including my own. In addition, far less biographical information about the originators of theories will be offered. Although this is standard fare in most psychology texts, it is rarely found in texts in any other science. Discussions of Fermat's last theorem are rarely accompanied with a discourse on the conflicts Fermat faced in his childhood. Nor do biology texts precede each biological discovery with a brief developmental history of the discoverer. Throughout this book, my co-authors and I will seek to highlight the innovations as well as the weaknesses of early personality theories, which may have represented landmarks several generations ago but now fail to meet the standards of scientific empiricism. Too many of the theories remain in vogue based on the charisma and writing creativity of their formulators rather than on any extant scientific merit.

    We cannot condemn many of the founding theorists in psychology, as they were developing a new field, without the benefit of prior research or even standards to perform such research. However, now with the benefit of more than a century of psychological research, their theories had better be reexamined. The burgeoning field of cognitive neuroscience has illuminated many mental processes that underlie personality and behavior, and much of this research is not compatible with the early theorists. For example, psychoanalysis emphasizes understanding universal unconscious mental structures, while phenomenology emphasizes the need for the unique qualities of each individual to be understood and accepted. However, recent psychological research seems to indicate that humans may never be fully able to apprehend the nonconscious systems that motivate or guide their behavior.

    Freud was right that nonconscious processes do indeed represent the preponderance of mind. However, Freud may have given the unconscious too much cleverness. Instead, current evidence strongly suggests that the nonconscious mind is comprised of a multiplicity of specialized brain components that process information outside of awareness. Along these lines, researchers such as Michael Gazzaniga, Jerry Fodor, Daniel Dennett, and others propose that the psyche is comprised of many tiny robots or specialized brain modules that nonconsciously regulate cognition. Are these theoreticians correct, or is Freud? We can only know through the rigors of empiricism and science.

    Another pressing problem with the field of psychology it that it is the only science that regularly teaches as dogma what other fields would call hypotheses. We seem to forget that a theory is only conjecture, and conjecture without supporting evidence is of little use. Many of our current theories of development and of the mind were the speculations of great thinkers, and they have remained essentially unchanged for nearly a century. And no matter how great the thinker, his or her speculations need to be formulated as a verifiable hypothesis and tested. Unfortunately, this was often not done. The many students of developmental psychology who have been taught Freud's psychosexual stages, Jean Piaget's genetic epistemology, or Erik Erikson's eight developmental stages, for example, and completed the course without knowing which of these theories is correct or least empirically supported, speaks to this problem. Is there any legitimate epistemology other than the scientific method for psychology, counseling, or personality theory? No, there is not. Intuition, faith, creativity, and insight are merely starting points for the development of theories and hypotheses, which then need to be tested by scientific methods.

    Since REBT is a constructivist approach, I accept that people do create their own realities, and to an extent their own personalities. However, the type of reality or personality we construct is limited by our humanness. Being human comes with a range of intellectual, behavioral, and perceptual constraints that are boundaries within which we can conceive and be within the world. Thus, humans can both be unique and have common qualities that can be studied and defined.

    I ask that the reader take the same skeptical view that I take when presented with any standard or novel theory in psychology. This field has become one in which television psychologists presenting personal opinion as psychological fact are given more weight than researchers who have spent careers diligently advancing the field with legitimate new knowledge. Beware of this, as many professionals in the field who are required to know better do not. They often advise clients based on popular nonsense rather than on the body of research that underlies this wonderful science, psychology. Those studying psychology, counseling, social work, and the allied fields must base their interventions and treatments on science. They must never stop learning and never stop questioning. Yes, there is an art to psychology, but the art must be continuously shaped by the best available evidence.


    We wish to thank Professor Gordon Bear of Ramapo College of New Jersey, whose insightful comments were helpful in the development of several sections of this book, and Professor Arthur Reber and Professor Anthony Sclafani of the Graduate Center and Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, whose pioneering work into the cognitive unconscious, evolutionary psychology, and biological psychology laid the foundation of many of the concepts set forth in this book. We also offer our gratitude to the very professional staff at Sage Publications, including Kassie Graves and Veronica Novak, who patiently persisted through the many stages of the book's development, and Jacqueline Tasch, for her steadfast patience in copy editing this work. We would also like to thank the reviewers, who made both interesting and useful comments, and Gino J. Patti for many original drawings.

  • Biographical Index

    • Alfred Adler (1870–1937), born in Austria, emigrated to the United States. Medical doctor and founder of individual psychology, Adler is sometimes classified as a social psychologist. He is best known for his studies of birth order and his concept of the creative self.
    • Mary Ainsworth (1913–1999), American. Ainsworth was a developmental psychologist who studied patterns of mother-child interaction. She introduced a procedure called the “Strange Situation,” which allowed an observer to study the nature of the attachments between mothers and children.
    • Gordon W. Allport (1897–1967), American. Usually classified as a trait theorist, Allport also made notable contributions to social psychology—particularly studies of prejudice—and the psychology of religion.
    • John Robert Anderson (1947–), born and educated in Canada, moved to the United States in 1968. Influenced by the work of Allan Newell, Anderson is known for his development of a theory of human cognition (ACT-R) specific enough to be simulated on a computer.
    • James Rowland Angell (1869–1949), American. A student of John Dewey, Angell was also influenced by William James. Generally classified as a functionalist, he served as president of Yale University from 1921 to 1937, strengthened the psychiatry department of the School of Medicine, and helped to establish the Institute of Human Relations in 1933.
    • Aristotle (384–322 BCE), Greece. Aristotle was an ancient Greek philosopher, pupil of Plato, and tutor of Alexander the Great.
    • Solomon Asch (1907–1996), born in Poland, emigrated to the United States as a teenager. Asch, a social psychologist, became famous in the 1950s for his experiments on social conformity.
    • Augustine of Hippo (354–430 ce), North African. One of the greatest theologians of Western Christianity, Augustine wrote some of the earliest analyses of human memory, time, free will, and other topics of interest in psychology. His Confessions is regarded as the first Western autobiography. His interest in Neoplatonic philosophy helped to bring Greek thought into the European intellectual tradition.
    • Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121–180 ce), Italy, Emperor of Rome from 161 to 180 ce, Marcus Aurelius was the last of the so-called “Five Good Emperors.” He was known for his philosophical writings, particularly the Meditations (written between 170 and 180), which had considerable influence on Albert Ellis.
    • Avicenna (980–1037 ce), Persian. Avicenna is the Latinized name of Abu Ali Sina, a philosopher and physician who wrote The Canon of Medicine and The Book of Healing. He is sometimes called the “father of modern medicine” for his accounts of various brain diseases and the impact of emotional stress on the human body.
    • Francis Bacon (1561–1626), English. Bacon began his professional life as a lawyer but is best known for his defense and advocacy of what came to be known as the scientific revolution. Bacon popularized an inductive approach to scientific inquiry known as the Baconian method. His method included gathering information from natural phenomena through observation, experimenting, and testing hypotheses.
    • Albert Bandura (1925–), Canadian. Educational psychologist noted for his work on self-efficacy and social learning theory.
    • Frederic Charles Bartlett (1886–1969), English. Best known for his studies of memory and his introduction of the concept of schemas, Bartlett was a noted experimental psychologist and a forerunner of cognitive psychology. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1932, a rare honor for a psychologist.
    • Aaron T. Beck (1921–), American. Trained as a psychoanalyst, Beck parted company with Freudian theories to develop his own form of cognitive therapy, originally applied to the treatment of depression, later to the treatment of personality disorders and even schizophrenia.
    • Ludwig Binswanger (1881–1966), Swiss. Considered the father of existentialist psychology, Binswanger studied under both Eugen Bleuler and Carl Jung. He moved away from Freud's theories as a result of reading Edmund Husserl and Martin Buber, and he began publishing books on existential psychology in the 1940s.
    • Paul Eugen Bleuler (1857–1940), Swiss. A psychiatrist who first gave schizophrenia the name by which it is still known, he also identified autism (in a journal article in 1912). Bleuler is perhaps best known, however, for having employed Carl Jung as an intern at the Burghölzli, the famous university hospital in Zurich.
    • Medard Boss (1903–1990), Swiss. Another theorist who studied under Bleuler and Jung, Boss is often paired with Ludwig Binswanger as the father of existential psychology. More than other existential psychologists, Boss found dreams useful in therapy, although he did not “interpret” them but allowed them to reveal their own messages to his clients. He called his approach to therapy Daseinsanalysis.
    • John Bowlby (1907–1990), English. A developmental psychologist in the psychoanalytic tradition, Bowlby is best known for his work in attachment theory. He regarded children's attachment behavior as an evolutionary survival strategy that protected human infants from predators.
    • Josef Breuer (1842–1925), Austrian. Medical doctor and psychoanalyst, Breuer is best known for his collaboration with Sigmund Freud.
    • Jerome S. Bruner (1915–), American. Bruner is a cognitive psychologist who has written a number of books on cognitive learning theory and educational psychology.
    • Martin Buber (1878–1965), born in Austria, emigrated to Israel. A biblical translator as well as a philosopher, Buber is best known for his book I and Thou (first published in 1923), in which he set forth his understanding of existence as encounter. Buber was a major influence on Ludwig Binswanger, Rollo May, and other existential psychologists.
    • Cyril Burt (1883–1971), English. An educational psychologist, Burt was controversial in his lifetime for his views on the importance of heredity in determining intelligence and for his advocacy of eugenics. After his death, he was accused of scientific fraud in his twin studies.
    • Albert Camus (1913–1960), French. A writer and philosopher rather than a psychologist, Camus was often linked with Jean-Paul Sartre even though he rejected the label of existentialism. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 1957.
    • James McKeen Cattell (1860–1944), American. A student of Francis Galton as well as Wilhelm Wundt, Cattell was a publisher and editor as well as an academic psychologist. One of his goals was to have psychology considered as a science on a par with the physical and biological sciences. For this reason, he emphasized the importance of the experimental method and quantitative measurements in psychology.
    • Raymond Cattell (1905–1998), born in England, emigrated to the United States. Known for his application of factor analytical methods to psychological research and his identification of 16 basic source traits as the building blocks of personality. Cattell was accused of racism toward the end of his life because of his views on eugenics and evolution.
    • Ugo Cerletti (1877–1963), Italian. Trained as a neurologist, Cerletti introduced the use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in the treatment of schizophrenia, depression, and manic-depressive illness. He was influenced by the work of Manfred Sakel and Ladislas Meduna in using chemical agents to induce seizures, and he is said to have gotten the idea to use electrical shocks by watching pigs being anesthetized with electroshock in slaughterhouses.
    • Jean-Martin Charcot (1825–1893), French. Trained as a medical doctor, Charcot specialized in neurology. He identified several neurological and vascular disorders but is best known for his work in hypnosis and the treatment of hysteria. Both Sigmund Freud and William James visited Charcot's neurology clinic at the Salpêtrière.
    • Noam Chomsky (1928–), American. Best known for his work in theoretical linguistics, Chomsky has been credited with initiating the “cognitive revolution” in psychology through his critique of B. F. Skinner's behaviorism.
    • António C. R. Damásio (1944–), born in Portugal, emigrated to the United States. Trained as a medical doctor, Damásio is known for his research on the neurobiology of the mind, particularly the subsystems of the nervous system that govern language, memory, emotion, and decision-making.
    • Charles Darwin (1809–1882), English. Famed for his theory of evolution as the best available explanation for diversification in nature, Darwin published his landmark The Origin of Species in 1859. His best-known contribution to psychology is The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, published in 1872, one of the first books to be published with photographs.
    • René Descartes (1596–1650), French. Noted for his many contributions to mathematics as well as philosophy, Descartes' chief contribution to psychology is his emphasis on the limitations of sense perception and his acceptance of only rational deduction as a method for acquiring knowledge.
    • John Dewey (1859–1952), American. Known as a philosopher and educational reformer as well as a psychologist, Dewey is usually considered a functionalist.
    • John L. Dollard (1900–1980), American. Dollard's original training was in sociology and anthropology, although he later studied psychoanalysis; he worked together with Neal Miller at the Institute of Human Relations at Yale University on combining behaviorist psychology with psychoanalytic theory. Dollard is also well known for his studies of race relations in the Deep South.
    • Herman Ebbinghaus (1850–1909), German. Experimental psychologist noted for his studies of memory and his discovery of the forgetting curve (decline of memory retention over time).
    • Albert Ellis (1913–2007), American. Originally trained in the psychoanalytic tradition of psychotherapy, Ellis developed Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy as a more effective and time-efficient approach to neurotic problems. He is often categorized with Aaron Beck as a cognitive therapist.
    • Epictetus (c. 55–135 ce), born in Greece, taken to Rome as a slave. While in Rome, Epictetus studied philosophy under Musonius Rufus. Exiled by the emperor Domitian, Epictetus returned to Greece and founded a famous school of Stoic philosophy.
    • Erik Homburger Erikson (1902–1994), born in Germany, emigrated to the United States. A developmental psychologist, Erikson is best known for his coining of the term “identity crisis” and his outline of eight stages of human psychosocial development.
    • Hans Eysenck (1916–1997), born in Germany, emigrated to England. His work was controversial because of his research on IQ differences among different racial groups and because of an early paper in which he maintained that there is no acceptable evidence for the effectiveness of psychotherapy.
    • William Ronald Dodds Fairbairn (1889–1964), Scottish. A psychoanalyst who spent his entire career in Scotland, Fairbairn belonged to the group of postwar object relations theorists represented by Donald Winnicott and John Bowlby.
    • Gustav Theodor Fechner (1801–1887), German. An experimental psychologist, Fechner began his career as a professor of physics. He turned to the study of mind-body relations when a temporary eye disorder in the 1830s curtailed his studies of color and other visual phenomena. He tried to work out mathematical equations for the relationship between the intensity of physical stimuli and the corresponding intensity of conscious perception of stimuli.
    • Leon Festinger (1919–1989), American. A student of Kurt Lewin, he was best known for his work in social psychology, particularly his theory of cognitive dissonance.
    • Jean Pierre Flourens (1794–1867), French. Flourens was a medical doctor and physiologist who was asked by the Academy of Sciences in Paris to test Frans Gall's hypothesis of the localization of brain functions. Flourens performed a series of experiments in 1825 on living rabbits and pigeons, demonstrating that different regions of the brain do indeed govern different functions, but not in the way that Gall had proposed.
    • Jerry Fodor (1935–), American. Fodor is a philosopher and cognitive psychologist influenced by Noam Chomsky and Jerome Bruner. He is known for his theories about the modularity of human thought and the language of thought in the mind.
    • Viktor Frankl (1905–1997), Austrian. A neurologist and psychiatrist, Frankl survived 3 years in a Nazi concentration camp. After his release in 1945, he developed an existentialist approach to psychotherapy known as logotherapy.
    • Walter Jackson Freeman II (1895–1972), American. Known as the psychiatrist who popularized leucotomy in the United States as a treatment for mental illness, Freeman invented the transorbital or “ice pick” leucotomy, in which he inserted an ice pick through the back of the eye socket into the brain. He performed almost 3,500 such operations before the death of a patient in 1967 ended his career.
    • Anna Freud (1895–1982), born in Austria, emigrated to England. The sixth and youngest child of Sigmund Freud, she collaborated with her father until his death in 1939. She then specialized in child psychology and development.
    • Sigmund Freud (1856–1939), born in Austria, emigrated to England. Trained as a medical doctor and neurologist, Freud became the founder of the psychoanalytical school of psychology.
    • Erich Fromm (1900–1980), born in Germany, emigrated to the United States. Classified as both a humanistic and a social psychologist, Fromm was interested in the social and political dimensions of human nature as well as individual personality and character orientation.
    • Frieda Fromm-Reichmann (1889–1957), born in Germany, emigrated to the United States. Trained as a medical doctor, Fromm-Reichmann trained to become a psychoanalyst in Berlin, where she met and married Erich Fromm in 1926. The couple separated in 1933. Fromm-Reichmann came to the United States in 1935 and spent the remainder of her career as an analyst at Chestnut Lodge in Rockville, Maryland.
    • Claudius Galen (c. 130-c. 200 ce), born in Pergamum, a Greek city in Asia Minor, moved to Rome. Galen was a medical doctor and writer who served four Roman emperors as their personal physician. His theory of the four humors was partially derived from Hippocrates.
    • Franz Josef Gall (1758–1828), born in Germany, emigrated to France. Considered the father of phrenology, Gall was a neuroanatomist who was one of the first researchers to localize mental functions in the brain. He discovered that the gray matter of the brain contains the bodies (neurons) of nerve cells and that the white matter contains the nerve fibers (axons).
    • Francis Galton (1822–1911), English. Half-cousin of Charles Darwin, Galton was known as a statistician, geographer, and explorer as well as a psychologist. He is credited with establishing the field of psychometrics as well as coining the term eugenics. Galton is also the originator of the fundamental lexical hypothesis.
    • Michael S. Gazzaniga (1939–), American. A neuropsychologist and colleague of Roger Sperry, best known for his studies of split-brain patients, that is, people with severe epilepsy who have had an operation known as a commissurotomy, which severs the corpus callosum. Split-brain research has demonstrated that the two halves of the brain have distinctive characteristics and specialized activities.
    • Kurt Goldstein (1878–1965), born in Germany, emigrated to the United States. An eminent neuropsychiatrist who studied World War I soldiers with brain injuries, Goldstein developed organismic psychology, a holistic approach that emphasized the unity of the organism rather than its separate parts.
    • Wilhelm Griesinger (1817–1868), German. Trained as a medical doctor, Griesinger conducted research into infectious diseases and pathology as well as mental illness and mental retardation. He founded a medical-psychological society in Berlin and published several editions of a textbook on mental illness. He pioneered the study of structural abnormalities of the brain as a cause of mental disorders.
    • Robert Grosseteste (c. 1170–1253), English. Bishop of Lincoln after 1235, Grosseteste was one of the most outstanding scholars of the Middle Ages, with wide-ranging interests that included psychology and astronomy as well as philosophy and theology. Grossteste's insistence on experimentation in answering scientific questions has been regarded as an early anticipation of the scientific method.
    • Adolf Grünbaum (1923–), born in Germany, emigrated to the United States. A research professor of psychiatry and a historian of science, Grünbaum is known for his critiques of Freudian psychoanalysis
    • Georges Gurdjieff (1866?–1949), Greek/Armenian. Gurdjieff was a mystic and spiritual teacher who is generally credited with the transmission (or invention) of the Enneagram and some esoteric traditions associated with it. He is a controversial figure, with some observers considering him the founder of a spiritual psychology that offers insights superior to those of Western science and others dismissing him as an attention-seeking charlatan.
    • G. Stanley Hall (1844–1924), American. Hall, who studied under both William James and Wilhelm Wundt, became the first president of the American Psychological Association (APA) and the first president of Clark University, where he taught psychology from 1899 to 1920. Hall was well known for his studies of the psychology of adolescence and for inviting Freud to lecture at Clark in 1909.
    • Heinz Hartmann (1894–1970), born in Austria, emigrated to the United States. Hartmann was a psychologist who was analyzed by Freud himself and considered one of the outstanding psychoanalysts in Vienna in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Leaving Austria in 1938 to escape the Nazis, Hartmann eventually settled in New York City and became one of the best-known members of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. He specialized in the field of ego psychology.
    • Starke R. Hathaway (1903–1984), American. Hathaway originally intended to become an engineer but eventually earned a Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Minnesota. He collaborated with J. Charnley McKinley, a psychiatrist, on the construction of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), perhaps the most widely used objective psychological test in the world. The first edition of the MMPI was published in 1943. Hathaway is considered an exceptional therapist as well as a researcher and teacher.
    • Martin Heidegger (1889–1976), German. An existentialist philosopher who had considerable influence on French existentialism, Heidegger also influenced such German-speaking psychologists as Medard Boss and Ludwig Binswanger.
    • Hermann von Helmholtz (1821–1894), German. Originally trained in medicine, Helmholtz became a physicist whose studies of auditory and visual perception, including the perception of motion, provided the basis for the work of Wilhelm Wundt.
    • Hippocrates of Cos (c. 460-c. 380 bce) Ancient Greek physician known as the “father of medicine,” generally regarded as the founder of a scientific rather than a magical approach to healing. The theory of the four bodily humors as keys to personality traits passed down from the Hippocratic Corpus (a collection of about 60 treatises attributed to Hippocrates) to Galen in the 2nd century bce.
    • d'Holbach, Paul-Henri Thiry, baron (1723–1789), born in Germany, moved to France. A philosopher and encyclopedist, d'Holbach is considered one of the earliest self-proclaimed atheists in Europe.
    • Karen Horney (1885–1952), born in Germany, emigrated to the United States. Variously classified as a neo-Freudian or social psychologist, she broke with Freud's psychology of women and is considered the first feminist psychoanalyst. She concentrated on the study of neurotic behavior and introduced the concept of basic anxiety as a central experience in childhood.
    • David Hunter Hubel (1926–), born in Canada, moved to the United States. A graduate of the medical school of McGill University, Hubel shared the 1981 Nobel Prize with Torsten N. Wiesel for his work on the visual system of cats. Their work on visual neurophysiology has confirmed the hypotheses of the Gestalt psychologists of the 1930s.
    • Clark L. Hull (1884–1952), American. Generally classified as a behaviorist psychologist, Hull started out as a student of engineering before he became a psychologist. This early training influenced his development of mathematic equations to explain quantifiable behaviors related to learning and motivation. Hull was also known for his investigation of hypnosis; he demonstrated, among other things, that it is not a form of sleep.
    • Yoshimoto Ishin (1916–1988), Japanese. The founder of Naikan therapy, Ishin was a devout Buddhist businessman who eventually gave up his business to become a lay Buddhist priest and practitioner of Naikan.
    • William James (1842–1910), American. Originally intending to be a physician, James turned to philosophy and psychology, establishing the first laboratory in experimental psychology in the United States in 1875. James is best known for his 1902 Gifford Lectures, published as
    • The Varieties of Religious Experience.
    • Pierre Janet (1859–1947), French. Originally trained as a philosopher, Janet earned his medical degree studying under Charcot. He published some innovative studies in dissociative phenomena and post-traumatic disorders.
    • Smith Ely Jelliffe (1866–1945), American. Jelliffe began his career as a botanist and pharmacist but switched to neurology in the 1890s and then to Freudian psychoanalysis. He founded and edited an influential monograph series that published English translations of Freud, Jung, Adler, and other European psychiatrists. He was also one of the pioneers of psychosomatic medicine in the United States.
    • Carl Gustav Jung (1875–1961), Swiss. Interested in archaeology as a young man, Jung became a psychiatrist instead. Initially friendly with Freud, he broke with him over the nature of the unconscious. Jung is best known for his concept of the collective unconscious and his interest in dream interpretation and mythological symbolism.
    • Daniel Kahneman (1934–), born in Israel, emigrated to the United States. A colleague of Amos Tversky in developing prospect theory, Kahneman was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002, even though he is a research psychologist.
    • George Kelly (1905–1966), American. Kelly began his career as an educational psychologist but switched to aviation psychology during World War II and then to clinical psychology, a field that he brought into the mainstream of American psychology. He is best known for his personal construct theory.
    • Otto Kernberg (1928–), born in Austria, emigrated to Chile and then to the United States. A psychoanalyst in the object relations tradition, Kernberg has written extensively on narcissism and borderline personality disorder.
    • Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855), Danish. Variously described as a theologian, a Christian existentialist, an existential psychologist, or the first existentialist philosopher, Kierkegaard had a profound influence on such 20th-century psychologists as Ludwig Binswanger and Rollo May.
    • Melanie Klein (1882–1960), born in Austria, emigrated to England. One of the cofounders of object relations theory, Klein split with orthodox Freudianism over the possibility of psychoanalyzing children and pioneered the use of play therapy in understanding children's emotional development. She is also known for her emphasis on the centrality of envy and aggression in child development.
    • Kurt Koffka (1886–1941), born in Germany, emigrated to the United States. One of the founders of the Gestalt school of psychology, he helped to introduce its principles to American students and researchers.
    • Wolfgang Köhler (1887–1967), born in Estonia, emigrated to the United States. A Gestalt psychologist, Köhler pioneered the use of anthropoid apes as laboratory subjects rather than dogs (Ivan Pavlov) or cats (Edward Thorndike). Köhler's most famous work was done between 1913 and 1917, when he studied a group of chimpanzees on Tenerife in the Canary Islands. After moving to the United States, Köhler taught at several colleges and served as president of the American Psychological Association.
    • Emil Kraepelin (1856–1926), German. Trained as a psychiatrist, Kraepelin is best known for his attempt to create a diagnostic system for mental illnesses based on patterns of symptoms (rather than single symptoms in isolation) and for his conviction that mental disorders have specific biological causes. He made important contributions to the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia (which he called dementia praecox), and bipolar disorder.
    • Ernst Kretschmer (1888–1964), German. A psychiatrist, Kretschmer first identified the condition known as a persistent vegetative state. He is better known, however, for his classificatory system that linked personality differences to body types. Kretschmer identified pyknics (stocky, overweight, and inclined toward mood disorders); asthenics (tall, thin, and inclined toward schizophrenia); and athletics (relatively free from mental illness).
    • de La Mettrie, Julien Offray (1709–1751), French. Trained as a physician and philosopher, de La Mettrie is considered the first of the materialist thinkers of the European Enlightenment. His work has also been called a forerunner of cognitive science.
    • Jean-Baptiste de Monet, Chevalier de Lamarck (1742–1829), French. Lamarck was a zoologist who served as a curator of plant and invertebrate life at the Museum of Natural History in Paris. He was an early proponent of evolution, which he saw as proceeding according to natural laws, but he is largely remembered for the discredited notion that acquired traits can be inherited.
    • Richard T. LaPiere (1899–1986), American. A professor of sociology at Stanford University for many years, LaPiere specialized in social psychology. His most-cited study was an article published in 1934 on the discrepancy between verbal reports of attitudes and actual behavior in social situations.
    • Arnold Lazarus (1932–), born in South Africa, emigrated to the United States. Generally grouped together with Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck as a cognitive psychotherapist, Lazarus modified cognitive behavioral therapy into what he calls multimodal therapy, an approach to treatment that involves seven different but related modalities.
    • Joseph LeDoux (1949–), American. A cognitive neuroscientist who has studied the amygdala as the focal point of the learning and storage of fear in humans, LeDoux emphasizes the interrelationship of cognition and emotion.
    • Kurt Lewin (1890–1947), born in Germany, emigrated to the United States. Known for his introduction and development of field theory, Lewin was also a pioneer in the study of group dynamics, T-groups, sensitivity training, and action research.
    • John Locke (1632–1704), English. Trained as a physician, Locke is better known as a political philosopher. His chief contribution to personality theory is his empiricism, or the notion that all human knowledge originates in experience.
    • Cesare Lombroso (1835–1909), Italian. Lombroso was an army surgeon who later became a psychiatrist and criminologist. He believed that criminality is inherited and that criminals can be identified by their physical features. Many of Lombroso's theories are now considered pseudoscience.
    • Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (1469–1527), Italian. Generally regarded as a political theorist, his observations about human nature have made his name a synonym for the belief that the ends justify the means.
    • Paul D. MacLean (1913–2008), American. A physician who specialized in neurology and served as director of the National Institute of Mental Health, MacLean has made many contributions to brain research and psychiatry, particularly his evolutionary model of the triune brain.
    • Margaret Mahler (1897–1985), born in Hungary, later moved to England and then to the United States. Trained as a psychoanalyst in Vienna in the 1930s, Mahler began to focus on the treatment of disturbed children after her move to the United States in 1938. She is best known for her separation-individuation theory of child development.
    • Bronislaw Malinowski (1884–1942), Polish. Considered one of the most important anthropologists of the 20th century, Malinowski's fieldwork with the Trobriand Islanders during World War I helped to show that Freud's concept of the Oedipus complex is not universally applicable.
    • Abraham Maslow (1908–1970), American. A humanistic psychologist, Maslow introduced the notion of a hierarchy of human needs. He is considered one of the intellectual fathers of the human potential movement of the 1960s.
    • Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson (1941–), Canadian. Trained as a Sanskrit scholar as well as a psychoanalyst, Masson turned away from the field after he became the central figure in a controversy involving his use of the Freud archives. After writing several books attacking all forms of psychotherapy as essentially exploitive, Masson has produced several others on the emotional lives of animals.
    • William McDougall (1871–1938), born in England, emigrated to the United States. Best known for an approach that he called hormic psychology, a subtype of functionalism, he was a notable opponent of behaviorism.
    • John Charnley McKinley (1891–1950), American. A neuropsychiatrist, McKinley earned his medical degree from the University of Minnesota in 1919 and his Ph.D. in 1921. Although he was well known in the 1940s for his research in poliomyelitis and writing the first major textbook in neuropsychiatry, McKinley is chiefly remembered for his work with Starke R. Hathaway on the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI).
    • Ladislas Joseph Meduna (1896–1964), born in Hungary, emigrated to the United States. He pioneered the use of convulsive therapy as a treatment for schizophrenia. Meduna began with camphor dissolved in oil but then used Metrazol (pentylenetetrazol), a respiratory stimulant, to produce convulsions in his patients.
    • Adolf Meyer (1866–1950), born in Switzerland, emigrated to the United States. Trained in Europe as a neuropathologist, Meyer was influenced by the functionalist psychologists at the University of Chicago after he moved to Illinois. Serving as a professor of psychiatry at Cornell University and later at Johns Hopkins University, Meyer introduced the term psychobiology to American psychiatry.
    • Stanley Milgram (1933–1984), American. A student of Gordon Allport, Milgram was best known for his experiment demonstrating what he called “the perils of obedience” and for his “small world experiment” of 1967.
    • George A. Miller (1920–), American. Miller is a cognitive psychologist best known for his paper: The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information, which explored the limits of human capacity to process information. He founded the Center for Cognitive Studies at Harvard University in 1960 with Jerome Bruner.
    • Neal E. Miller (1909–2002), American. Miller was trained as an experimental psychologist but also studied psychoanalysis at the Institute of Psychoanalysis in Vienna before accepting a position at the Institute of Human Relations at Yale University. He worked together with John Dollard, co-authoring several important books on the applications of personality theory to psychotherapy.
    • Walter Mischel (1930–), born in Austria, emigrated to the United States. Currently a professor of psychology at Columbia University, Mischel has written two widely used textbooks on personality psychology. He is sometimes termed a cognitive-affective psychologist because he emphasizes the role of cognitive processes in shaping personality.
    • António Egas Moniz (1874–1955), Portuguese. Trained as a neurologist, Egas Moniz received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1949 for his work in psychosurgery, particularly his introduction of a technique known as a prefrontal leucotomy for the relief of severe depression or psychotic disorders.
    • Sh–ma Morita (Masutake Morita) (1874–1938), Japanese. Trained as a psychiatrist in Western medicine, Morita developed Morita therapy in the 1920s as a method for treating anxiety disorders through character building.
    • Ulric Neisser (1928–), born in Germany, emigrated to the United States. Also a cognitive psychologist, Neisser specializes in the study of human memory and intelligence measurement.
    • Allen Newell (1927–1992), American. Best known for his work in cognitive psychology and artificial intelligence (AI), Newell worked together with Herbert Simon on two of the earliest AI programs, the Logic Theory Machine (1956) and the General Problem Solver (1957).
    • Nicholas Oresme (1323–1382), French. One of the outstanding mathematicians and scientific researchers of the high Middle Ages, Oresme wrote a number of treatises on the psychology of perception.
    • Ivan Pavlov (1849–1936), Russian. Winner of the 1904 Nobel Prize in medicine, Pavlov was the first researcher to describe conditioned reflexes in his experiments with dogs. His work is sometimes considered a forerunner of behaviorism in psychology.
    • Karl Pearson (1857–1936), English. Pearson founded the first university department of statistics. Deeply influenced by Francis Galton, he later published a three-volume biography of his hero. Pearson's later views on eugenics were quite controversial, as he urged “war” upon “inferior races.” He regarded these racist views, however, as the logical outcome of his scientific work on human measurement.
    • Friedrich (Fritz) Perls (1893–1970), born in Germany, moved to South Africa and eventually to the United States. Trained as a medical doctor, Perls served as a military psychiatrist in the South African army before moving to New York in 1946. Considered the founder of Gestalt therapy, Perls was associated with the human potential movement of the 1960s.
    • Jean Piaget (1896–1980), Swiss. Piaget was a developmental psychologist who became famous for his work with children and his theory of the stages of children's cognitive development.
    • Philippe Pinel (1745–1826), French. Trained as a medical doctor at a provincial university, Pinel became interested in the study of mental illness after he moved to Paris. He pioneered what would now be called psychotherapy for mental disorders instead of the bleeding and purging used in the 18th century. Pinel published a treatise on mental illness in 1801; translated into English in 1806, it became a standard psychiatric textbook for 19th-century medical students.
    • Plato (427–347 bce), Greek. Plato was a philosopher and teacher of Aristotle. His notion of innate forms or ideas (most of them mathematical) was combined with a theory of recollection to explain how human beings acquire knowledge.
    • Morton Prince (1854–1929), American. Prince was trained as a physician and decided to specialize in neurology after meeting Jean-Martin Charcot. He founded the Journal of Abnormal Psychology and pioneered the study of the dissociative disorders.
    • Claudius Ptolemy (c. 90-c. 168 bce), most likely an Egyptian who had become a Roman citizen. Ptolemy was one of the most eminent geographers and astronomers of the ancient world.
    • Wilhelm Reich (1897–1957), Austrian, emigrated to the United States. Reich studied in Vienna under Freud himself, becoming a psychoanalyst and eventually the assistant director of Freud's clinic. He was expelled from the mainstream psychoanalytic community for such therapeutic techniques as touching his patients and asking them to strip down to their underwear during analytic sessions. In the United States, Reich developed some eccentric theories about a form of universal life energy that he called orgone energy. Reich died in prison, where he had been sent in early 1957 for violating federal injunctions against the production and sale of orgone therapy equipment and literature.
    • Carl Rogers (1902–1987), American. Rogers is regarded, along with Abraham Maslow, as one of the founders of humanistic psychology. He is best known for his style of nondirective psychotherapy. Originally called client-centered therapy, it is now known as person-centered psychotherapy.
    • Hermann Rorschach (1884–1922), Swiss. Rorschach was a medical doctor and psychiatrist who studied under Paul Bleuler and Carl Jung and devised the projective inkblot test that bears his name.
    • Julian B. Rotter (1916–), American. Rotter published the first edition of the Rotter Incomplete Sentences Blank, the 40-question projective test for which he is best known, in 1950. Rotter is also known for his social learning theory of personality and his concept of locus of control.
    • Benjamin Rush (1745–1813), American. A signer of the Declaration of Independence as well as a professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Rush is considered the “father of American psychiatry.” He published the first textbook on the subject of mental illness in the United States in 1812, Medical Inquiries and Observations upon the Diseases of the Mind.
    • John Philippe Rushton (1943–), born in England, moved to South Africa and then to Canada. Rushton is an evolutionary psychologist who has published studies of altruism and the heritability of intelligence.
    • Manfred Sakel (1900–1957), born in Poland, emigrated to the United States. Trained as a neurologist, he discovered insulin shock therapy in 1927 as a treatment for drug addicts as well as patients with psychotic disorders. The treatment is still used in Europe, where it is known as “Sakel therapy.”
    • Jean-Paul Sartre (1905–1980), French. Existentialist author, philosopher, and playwright who influenced American as well as European existential psychologists.
    • William Sheldon (1899–1977), American. Sheldon pioneered the study of anthropometry and is best known for his theory of somatotypes (body types).
    • Herbert A. Simon (1916–2001), American. Simon published in many fields, from computer science to public administration and philosophy as well as cognitive psychology. He worked together with Allen Newell on artificial intelligence. He is credited with the concept of organizational decision-making as it is known today. Simon was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics in 1978.
    • Burrhus Frederic (B. F.) Skinner (1904–1990), American. A behaviorist psychologist, Skinner also wrote some popular controversial books about social engineering and about child rearing based on operant conditioning. He is also known as the inventor of the Skinner box, a laboratory chamber large enough to hold a rodent or small primate and used to study animal cognition.
    • Paul Slovic (1938–), American. Known for his work in psychological heuristics with coeditors Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, Slovic is a professor of psychology at the University of Oregon and president of the Decision Research Group.
    • Charles Spearman (1863–1945), English. A former student of Wilhelm Wundt, Spearman entered psychology after 15 years as an officer in the British Army. He pioneered the use of statistics in psychology, particularly factor analysis, and also did important work on models of human intelligence.
    • George Sperling (1933–), American. Trained as a cognitive psychologist, Sperling is best known for his work on iconic memory traces, which he demonstrated in a 1960 monograph called The Information Available in Brief Visual Presentations.
    • Roger W. Sperry (1913–1994), American. Winner of the 1981 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work in split-brain research, Sperry had originally specialized in primate biology before working at the National Institutes of Health and later teaching at the California Institute of Technology.
    • Saul Sternberg (1932–), American. Sternberg is a cognitive psychologist best known for his studies of short-term memory.
    • J. Ridley Stroop (1897–1973), American. Inventor of a landmark color-word cognitive task that has been used for more than half a century to demonstrate interference with attention, Stroop was a professor of biblical studies as well as an academic psychologist.
    • Harry (Herbert) Stack Sullivan (1892–1949), American. Trained as a Freudian psychoanalyst, Sullivan became interested in interpersonal relationships as the basis for understanding individuals, and he is generally grouped together with Karen Horney and Erich Fromm as a social psychologist. He was one of the founders of the William Alanson White Institute.
    • Thomas S. Szasz (1920–), born in Hungary, emigrated to the United States. Trained as a psychiatrist, Szasz is perhaps the most outspoken critic of contemporary psychiatry. He published a controversial book, The Myth of Mental Illness, in 1960.
    • Theophrastus (372–287 bce), Greek. Theophrastus was a philosopher and successor of Aristotle as the head of the Peripatetic School. His book The Characters is considered the first recorded attempt at systematic personality analysis.
    • Edward L. Thorndike (1874–1949), American. Thorndike, who was associated with Teachers College of Columbia University, was best known for his studies of animal behavior and learning. He originated the concept of the learning curve.
    • Edward B. Titchener (1867–1927), born in England, emigrated to the United States. A student and translator of Wilhelm Wundt, Titchener based his theory of structuralism on what he took to be Wundt's ideas. Titchener conceived of sensations and thoughts as structures of the mind.
    • Edward C. Tolman (1886–1959), American. A behaviorist psychologist, although less radical than B. F. Skinner, Tolman was known for his studies of rats in mazes. His concept of the cognitive map foreshadowed later developments in cognitive psychology.
    • Amos Tversky (1937–1996), American. A cognitive psychologist and colleague of Daniel Kahneman, he developed prospect theory as an explanation of irrational human economic choices.
    • Philip E. Vernon (1905–1987), born in England, emigrated to Canada. Best known for his collaboration with Gordon Allport on the Study of Values (SOV) personality measure, Vernon also worked with Allport on studies of expressive movement. In his later career, he researched the influence of genetic factors on intelligence and concluded that they play a larger role in human development than environmental factors.
    • John B. Watson (1878–1958), American. Founder of the behaviorist school of psychology, later known as a popular writer on childrearing and a consultant to the advertising industry. He conducted a controversial classical conditioning experiment on an 11-month-old infant known as the “Little Albert” experiment.
    • James W. Watts (1904–1994), American. A trained neurosurgeon, Watts worked together for several years with Walter Freeman in performing lobotomies, including the operation on Rosemary Kennedy, sister of the late President John F Kennedy, which he carried out under Freeman's supervision. Watts ended his partnership with Freeman (who had no formal training in surgery) when he discovered that Freeman was performing lobotomies on his own without the presence of a board-certified surgeon.
    • Max Wertheimer (1880–1943), born in Czechoslovakia, emigrated to the United States. Together with Wolfgang Köhler, he is considered one of the founders of the Gestalt school of psychology.
    • Torsten Nils Wiesel (1924–), born in Sweden, moved to the United States. Wiesel graduated from medical school in Sweden, intending to become a psychiatrist like his father. After working as a researcher in neurophysiology at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, he came to join a research team at Johns Hopkins, where he met David Hubel and worked with him on the properties of cells in the central visual pathways of the brain. Wiesel and Hubel shared the 1981 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for their work on the neurophysiology of the visual system.
    • Edward Osborne (E. O.) Wilson (1929–), American. A biologist and naturalist who began his career as a researcher in insect life, Wilson is best known for his work in sociobiology and his insistence that the human mind is shaped more by genetic factors than by culture. Thus, he maintains that there are limits to the power of society to shape or alter human behavior.
    • Donald Winnicott (1896–1971), English. A pediatrician as well as a psychoanalyst, Winnicott was an influential figure in the post-Kleinian school of object relations theory. He is best known for his concept of the “good-enough mother” and of therapy as a holding environment.
    • Herman A. Witkin (1913–1979), American. A specialist in cognitive psychology and learning psychology, Witkin conducted a series of notable experiments with Solomon Asch on people's perception of spatial orientation.
    • Lightner Witmer (1867–1956), American. A student of Wilhelm Wundt, Witmer coined the term clinical psychology and helped to found the first psychological clinic in 1896 at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He is regarded as an early pioneer in the field of educational psychology.
    • Joseph Wolpe (1915–1997), born in South Africa, emigrated to the United States. Wolpe was trained as a psychiatrist and developed an approach to treatment known as behavior therapy. He is best known for his experiments in systematic desensitization.
    • Robert Sessions Woodworth (1869–1962), American. A colleague of Edward Thorndike at Columbia, Woodworth wrote textbooks that were used by generations of undergraduates, most notably Psychology: A Study of Mental Life (first edition, 1921) and Experimental Psychology (first edition, 1938). Woodworth also pioneered the psychological evaluation of American military recruits during World War I. A functionalist, he was noted for his opposition to the behaviorism of John Watson.
    • Wilhelm Wundt (1832–1920), German. Considered the father of experimental psychology, he is often described as a structuralist—although this classification was heavily influenced by the English translations of his works by one of his American students, Edward Titchener.
    • Robert B. Zajonc (1923–), American. Zajonc is a social psychologist who focuses on the basic processes involved in social behavior, with special emphasis on the relationships between affect and cognition.


    • ABC model: The model used in Albert Ellis's approach to explain the connection between irrational beliefs and real-world results: an activating event (A) triggers an irrational belief (B), which then has consequences (C).
    • actor-observer bias: The tendency to attribute other people's behaviors to their dispositions but to attribute our own behavior to the immediate situation.
    • actual neurosis: In Freudian psychoanalysis, a psychological syndrome with a contemporary somatic or physical explanation, usually related to sexual functioning.
    • actualizing tendency: In Carl Rogers's system, a basic characteristic of human beings that seeks to develop all of the capacities that maintain our personality and helps us to move toward autonomy; a force that enhances growth rather than stability.
    • acupuncture: A treatment modality in traditional Chinese medicine in which fine needles are inserted through the skin at specific points along the meridians to relieve pain or cure disease.
    • affect(s) (noun): An expressed or observed emotional response to a stimulus.
    • allele: Any of the alternative forms of a gene that may occur at a given locus on a chromosome.
    • altruism: Selfless concern for the welfare of others. Some evolutionary biologists consider altruism to be a heritable trait as well as one that is beneficial to the survival of a species.
    • amygdala: An almond-shaped structure in the limbic system of the brain, which is associated with the emotions of aggression and fear. Its name comes from the Greek word for almond.
    • anal personality: In Freudian psychoanalysis, a personality shaped by fixation at the anal stage of psychosexual development. There are two subtypes of this personality pattern, anal-retentive, characterized by preoccupation with order, control, and precision; and anal-expulsive, characterized by carelessness, lack of emotional self-control, and general untidiness.
    • anal stage: The second of Sigmund Freud's stages of psychosexual development, during which the libido is directed toward the anus. In this phase, defecation or the control thereof is the primary source of sexual stimulation. According to Freudian theory, fixations in this stage can result in anal-retentive (obsessive-compulsive) or anal-expulsive (disorganized or labile) personalities.
    • analysand: A person undergoing a course of psychoanalysis.
    • analytical psychology: The school of psychology started by Carl Jung in the early 20th century.
    • anchoring: A term used in psychology to describe the human tendency to rely too much on one trait or item of information when making estimates or decisions. It is also called focalism.
    • anima: In Jungian psychology, the inner feminine dimension of a male's personality.
    • animism: A general term used to refer to the belief that inanimate objects as well as animals and humans have souls or are inhabited or indwelt by supernatural beings. In simpler terms, animism is the belief that everything is alive or that everything has some form of spiritual consciousness.
    • animus: In Carl Jung's psychological system, the inner masculine dimension of a female's personality.
    • anxiety neurosis: In Freudian theory, a chronic feeling of dread or apprehension in which the sufferer has no conscious basis for his or her distress. The Freudian etiology is a weakening of the process of repression such that id impulses become dangerously close to intruding into the conscious ego.
    • aphasia: Impaired speech production, usually resulting from damage to the cerebral hemisphere. It is sometimes caused by emotional conflicts.
    • approach-approach conflict: A situation in which people need to choose between one of two mutually exclusive desirable situations. Often, as they get closer to pursuing the chosen situation, the loss of the other opportunity becomes increasingly distressing.
    • approach-avoidance conflict: The discord people experience when offered a desirable opportunity that has undesirable aspects. Thus, if we are offered a job promotion, we may fear the exposure the job will bring. Thus, we will eagerly approach the job, but as we get closer to accepting it, our fear will increase our desire to avoid it.
    • archetype(s): In Jungian psychology, one of the basic structures of the collective unconscious; an inherited unconscious thought pattern, image, or idea present in all individual psyches. Carl Jung derived his concept of the archetype from Plato's theory of forms.
    • artificial intelligence: The ability of a computer to perform operations normally thought to require intelligence. The term is also used to refer to the branch of computer science that investigates the construction of machines that have this ability.
    • ascended master: A term used in theosophy to refer to spiritually enlightened teachers who were ordinary human beings in previous incarnations but have overcome their negative karma and have been spiritually transformed into higher beings. Jesus, Buddha, Confucius, Mary (the mother of Jesus), and Pope John Paul II have all been regarded as ascended masters by American theosophists.
    • Asperger's disorder: A specific type of pervasive developmental disorder that is characterized by problems in development of social skills and behavior. Most children with Asperger's disorder, however, have normal intelligence.
    • associations: Learned connections between two or more elements of mind, such as sensations, images, or perceptions, that relate the function or meaning of these elements to one another. The most basic association is that of stimulus and response.
    • associationism: A theory that explains complex psychological phenomena as built up from simple sensory perceptions or behaviors.
    • attachment theory: A term coined by the English psychologist John Bowlby to explain children's tendency to seek closeness to a parental figure and to feel secure in the presence of that person. Bowlby regarded human attachment as an evolutionary survival strategy that developed to protect human infants from predators.
    • attitude: A readiness to respond in a characteristic way to an object, person, or situation; a positive or negative feeling toward an object. Attitudes are often correlated with traits.
    • attunement: In Medard Boss's existentialist psychology, a term used to describe moods or emotions. Cheerful people, for example, are in a happy mood because they are attuned to cheerful events, objects, or thoughts.
    • authenticity: A concept borrowed from existential philosophy, generally understood to include retaining our own individuality and character in spite of external pressures to conform to alien or imposed standards.
    • automaticity: The ability to perform an action without occupying the mind with minor details required to carry out the action. Automaticity is the result of learning, repetition, and practice. Common examples include walking and playing a musical instrument.
    • automaton conformity: Erich Fromm's term for escaping the demands of freedom by accepting the personality type preferred by our culture or social group.
    • avoidance-avoidance conflict: A situation in which we are forced to select between two undesirable choices. This type of conflict leads to vacillation as we move toward what seems to be the lesser of the two evils; our anxiety will increase, and we will then move to the other choice only to experience the same increasing anxiety, ultimately leading to anxious indecision.
    • awfulizing: Albert Ellis's term for a type of irrational thought that exaggerates the negative aspects of a situation or event, often to the point that the person becomes unable to cope with it.
    • Ayurveda: The traditional medical system of India, in use since the 6th century bce. The name comes from two Sanskrit words meaning “knowledge of the life principle.”
    • B-needs: Abraham Maslow's term for being-needs (also called meta-needs or growth needs). When these needs are met, they do not go away but rather motivate the person to pursue the satisfaction of higher needs.
    • Barnum effect: A type of validation in which a subject regards a statement that could apply to many people as personally meaningful, as with astrology readings or Chinese fortune cookie messages. It is also known as the Forer effect.
    • basal ganglia: A group of tissue nuclei located beneath the cerebral cortex, connected to it and to the thalamus and the brainstem. The basal ganglia have several functions in humans and other mammals, including learning, cognition, emotions, and motor control.
    • basic anxiety: In Karen Horney's thought, the primary emotion experienced by children when they see themselves as isolated and helpless in a fundamentally hostile environment. It
    • is not necessarily the result of abuse but can be produced by anything that disturbs children's sense of security with their parents.
    • basic evil: According to Karen Horney, parental cruelty, indifference, or abuse is the basic evil that a child may encounter.
    • basic hostility: This is the response of children who are subjected to basic evil in early development, in Karen Horney's formulation. Because children cannot express their distress at the parent upon whom they are dependent, they will displace the frustration on to others.
    • BASIC ID: The acronym for the seven modalities or dimensions of personality in Arnold Lazarus's multimodal therapy: behavior, affect, sensation, imagery, cognition, interpersonal relations, and drugs/biology.
    • Bayesian: Referring to or involving statistical methods assigning probabilities to future events based on past experience or best guesses before experimentation and data collection. These methods are named for the Reverend Thomas Bayes (1702–1761), an English mathematician.
    • behavior modification: A set of techniques used in some forms of psychotherapy to modify a person's reactions to certain stimuli through positive reinforcement and the correction of maladaptive behavior.
    • behaviorism: The school of psychology started by John Watson, which focuses on an organism's objectively observable and quantifiable behaviors rather than inner mental states.
    • being-beyond-the-world: In existentialist psychology, an expression that refers to our possibilities for transcending the conditions of our present existence and realizing our full potential.
    • beyondism: A quasi-religion that Raymond Cattell attempted to derive from science that presupposed natural selection and eugenics. His publication of a book on beyondism in 1987 led to his being accused of racism and fascism.
    • biotypology: The notion that human beings can be classified according to their body types or constitutions.
    • bipolar: Having or involving two opposite qualities; in George Kelly's psychology, a characteristic of personal constructs such that each quality that is important to an individual is defined by its opposite.
    • black box: A phrase sometimes used to refer to the human mind as an entity whose internal workings are mysterious to either the user or an external observer. It is often associated with radical skepticism regarding the possibility of ever successfully describing the underlying structure, mechanisms, or dynamics of the mind.
    • borderline personality disorder: A personality disorder characterized by extreme mood swings, emotional dysregulation, chaotic relationships with others, and a tendency toward splitting. The term borderline originated in the 1930s, when psychiatrists thought of patients with this disorder as being on the border between neurosis and psychosis.
    • bounded rationality: A term used to describe behavior that is rational (in the sense of using available information in a reasonable manner) but not optimal because of built-in limitations in the amount of information available or the person's capacity to use it.
    • bridging: A technique used in multimodal therapy that involves beginning with the modalities of personality used most frequently by the client and using them as bridges to the modalities that the client finds less congenial.
    • case study: A detailed narrative of the travails a person experiences as a result of a significant life event or psychological problem. Usually, the individual's pre-illness history, course of treatment, and response to treatment are provided.
    • catharsis: A term used in psychoanalysis to describe the release of emotional tension or anxiety through reliving past events. The English word is derived from the Greek word for purification.
    • cathexis: Sigmund Freud's term for attaching emotional significance to an object or idea. The reverse process is called decathexis.
    • channeling: The practice of communicating with or conveying thoughts or energy from a disembodied or nonphysical being or spirit.
    • cingulate gyrus: A ridge of tissue in the medial region of the brain that functions as part of the limbic system. Cingulate is derived from the Latin word for belt; the cingulate gyrus wraps around the corpus callosum like a belt.
    • classical conditioning: A type of associative learning that involves the pairing of an originally neutral stimulus with an unconditioned (automatic) response to elicit a conditioned response acquired through learning. The best-known example of classical conditioning is Ivan Pavlov's dogs, which were presented with a neutral stimulus (the sound of footsteps, a metronome, or vanilla) at the same time that they were fed. Eventually, the dogs would salivate when presented with the stimuli they associated with food, even though no food was given. Classical conditioning is also called Pavlovian conditioning or respondent conditioning.
    • client-centered therapy: Carl Rogers's original name for his approach to psychotherapy. It is now called person-centered therapy.
    • coefficient of determination: In statistics, the square of the correlation coefficient; it is used in regression analysis.
    • cognition: A general term that covers the mental processes involved in memory, thinking, and learning.
    • cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): An approach to psychotherapy based on modifying a person's thoughts and behaviors to change their emotional response to a certain stimulus or activity. CBT typically includes questioning assumptions or habits of thought about the self, gradually attempting activities previously avoided, and trying out new sets of behaviors.
    • cognitive dissonance: Anxiety produced by holding two contradictory beliefs at the same time. The term was coined by Leon Festinger.
    • cognitive psychology: An American school of psychology associated with Ulric Neisser that compares human cognition to a computer's stages of information processing.
    • cognitive triad: Aaron Beck's term for the three beliefs that he considers the underpinnings of depression: negative views of the self, hopelessness about the present, and negative expectations of the future.
    • collective unconscious: A term in Carl Jung's system of analytical psychology that refers to the part of the unconscious common to all human beings. The collective unconscious contains the archetypes (forms or symbols that Jung regarded as common to all cultures).
    • common trait: In Gordon Allport's theory, a hypothetical concept that allows for the comparison of different individuals within the same culture.
    • comorbidity: A condition in which a patient has two or more coexisting but unrelated disease processes or psychiatric disorders.
    • complex: In Carl Jung's system, a group or collection of repressed thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and memories that exerts a strong pull or influence on a person's behavior and personality.
    • conditional positive regard: An aspect of the theory of Carl Rogers in which a significant individual in a person's life indicates that positive feelings, which will provide the person with feelings of worth, will ensue only if the person behaves in a specified manner. This is in direct contrast to unconditional positive regard.
    • confabulation: In psychiatry, a term that describes filling in a gap in memory with false or bizarre statements that the patient believes to be true. Confabulation should not be confused with intentional lying.
    • confirmation bias: A type of cognitive bias involving a tendency to look for or interpret new information in a way that confirms our preconceptions and avoids information and interpretations that contradict prior beliefs.
    • confounding: A situation in which the effects of two or more processes are not separated; the distortion of the effect of a risk factor resulting from the association of other factors that might influence the outcome.
    • congruence: In Carl Rogers's psychology, the extent of agreement between a person's real self, ideal self, and self-concept. The greater the degree of congruence, the greater the person's psychological health.
    • conscience: In psychoanalysis, a subsystem of the superego that governs a person's capacity for self-evaluation and self-criticism.
    • construct validity: A term that refers to whether a psychometric scale measures the unobservable social concept (e.g., inferiority feelings or introversion) that it purports to measure.
    • constructive alternativism: In George Kelly's psychology, the notion that any given event may be interpreted in a variety of ways.
    • constructive living: A version of Morita therapy adapted for Westerners.
    • conversion disorder: A mental disorder in which an unconscious emotional problem is expressed as a loss of or change in physical functioning.
    • corpus callosum (plural, corpora callosa): A thick band of nerve fibers that connects the cerebral hemispheres of the brain.
    • correlation coefficient: In statistics, a number that indicates the strength and direction of a linear relationship between two random variables.
    • cortex: In anatomy, the outer part of any organ, such as the kidney, brain, or adrenal gland. The cerebral cortex of the brain is the gray mantle covering the entire surface of the cerebral hemisphere in humans and other mammals.
    • cosmic consciousness: The belief, found in some forms of New Age thought, that the universe is a living superorganism with its own consciousness in which humans, animals, and other life forms are interconnected.
    • countertransference: In psychoanalysis, the analyst's present responses to the manifestations of the analysand's transference.
    • covenant: In mainstream Judaism and Christianity, the word used to describe the relationship between God and humankind, based on God's promises to humans as set forth in the Old and New Testaments. A covenant is distinguished from a contract (in the legal sense) by its solemnity, usually taking the form of an oath or seal.
    • cue: In John Dollard and Neal Miller's personality theory, a specific stimulus that tells the organism when, where, and how to respond. An example is an alarm in a fire station that tells the crew on duty that a fire is occurring (when), the location of the fire (where), and that the crew is needed (how to respond).
    • D-needs: Abraham Maslow's term for deficit or deficiency needs. If D-needs are not met, the individual typically feels anxious.
    • daimonic: In Rollo May's existential psychology, any natural force or function, such as sex, anger, or ambition, that is strong enough to take over a person. The word comes from the Greek for “little god” or “spirit.”
    • Dasein: In existentialist philosophy, the basic word for existence or being-in-the-world. It means “being there” in German.
    • Daseinsanalysis: The German name of the existential approach to psychotherapy advocated by Medard Boss.
    • death instinct: In Freudian theory, a drive toward death or destruction that counterbalances the pleasure principle. Later Freudians sometimes use the term Thanatos to refer to the death instinct, although the term does not occur in Sigmund Freud's own work.
    • debriefing: An intervention following a psychological trauma intended to relieve stress by allowing the people involved to discuss the event and express feelings. The term is also used to refer to the practice of reviewing an experiment with participants after its completion to disclose any deception that may have been involved.
    • deduction: A process of reasoning that moves from the general to the particular.
    • Deese-Roediger-McDermott (DRM) paradigm: A model or pattern for psychological experiments involving the use of phonologically and semantically related word lists to test true and false recall.
    • defense: In Freudian psychoanalysis, any psychological mechanism intended to ward off anxiety by preventing its conscious perception.
    • defense mechanism: Any of a number of unconscious mental strategies, hypothesized by Anna Freud, that protect the ego from unconscious impulses that the conscious mind would find threatening or morally undesirable.
    • deindividuation: A state of lowered self-awareness or loss of personal identity. It is commonly invoked as an explanation of the lack of self-restraint in members of a mob.
    • deletion mutation: A genetic mutation resulting from the loss of genetic material during the process of cell division.
    • denial: A specific defense mechanism that reduces anxiety by excluding intolerable thoughts, feelings, or facts from conscious awareness.
    • dependent variable: The factor whose value is determined by that of one or more other factors in an experiment. The dependent variable is sometimes called the response variable or regressand.
    • desensitization: A therapeutic technique for reducing and eventually extinguishing a fearful or anxious response to stimuli that formerly induced it.
    • differential reinforcement: A pattern of reinforcement in which reinforcement is provided for behaviors when these behaviors occur at certain times and places, whereas reinforcement is not provided when the behaviors occur in other times and places.
    • determinism: The philosophical doctrine that holds that all observable phenomena, including social and psychological events as well as natural occurrences, are causally determined by preceding events or natural laws.
    • discrimination: In B. F. Skinner's behaviorism, an organism's learned ability to distinguish among different stimuli.
    • disposition: A term that Gordon Allport used in his later work to refer to traits in individuals. He distinguished three types: cardinal dispositions, which govern almost all aspects of an individual's personality and behavior (few people have this type of disposition); central dispositions (major aspects of an individual's personality; most people have between 5 and 10); and secondary dispositions (which include tastes and preferences and may be situation-specific).
    • dissociation: An unconscious separation of a group of mental processes from the others, resulting in the independent functioning of the dissociated processes. Dissociation is a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder and certain types of amnesia.
    • distributed practice: A technique for improving retention of study material or motor skills by distributing effort over many study or practice sessions, as compared to massed practice.
    • domain specificity: In evolutionary psychology, a term that is used to describe evolved psychological mechanisms (EPMs) that deal with recurrent adaptive problems over the course of human evolutionary history. EPMs that deal with a general ability to adapt to novelty are called domain-general EPMs.
    • dopamine: A neurotransmitter produced in the brain that helps to regulate movement and emotion.
    • dosha: In Ayurvedic medicine, the Sanskrit word for one of the three essential principles that determine a person's basic constitution and personality.
    • double bind: A term used to describe a psychological dilemma in which a person is given conflicting messages from a single source and cannot make an appropriate response. At one time, parents who put their children in double binds were believed to cause schizophrenia.
    • double-blind: A term used to refer to a clinical trial or experiment in which neither the subjects nor the researchers know which subjects are receiving a specific treatment or medication; the goal is to eliminate bias.
    • drive(s): In Sigmund Freud's system, a basic compelling urge, such as sexuality or aggression. Freud's emphasis on drives as the central factor in human development is sometimes referred to as drive theory. In John Dollard and Neal Miller's work, a drive is a stimulus that impels a person to act but does not specify behavior.
    • duplication mutation: A mutation that results from the duplication of a portion of a chromosome during cell division and the attachment of the duplicated genetic material to a chromosome.
    • dynamism: In Harry Stack Sullivan's theory, a recurrent pattern of energy transformation that characterizes our interpersonal relationships.
    • dysgenics: A term that refers to behaviors or policies that promote the survival or reproduction of weak or diseased individuals of a species at the expense of healthier and stronger individuals.
    • dysphoria: A condition of feeling unhappy or unwell.
    • ego: In Sigmund Freud's system, the part of the personality attuned to the reality principle; it operates according to reality testing and secondary process thinking. In Carl Jung's system, a person's conscious perception of him- or herself.
    • ego-dystonic: An adjective used to describe aspects of our behavior or attitudes that are viewed as inconsistent with our fundamental beliefs and personality. It is the opposite of egosyntonic, a term used to describe aspects of our behavior or attitudes viewed as acceptable to and consistent with our fundamental personality and beliefs.
    • ego-ideal: In Freudian psychoanalysis, a subsystem of the ego that constructs an ideal image of the self.
    • ego psychology: A school of psychology started by Anna Freud that emphasizes the importance of expanding the conflict-free sphere of ego functioning rather than focusing on internal mental conflicts.
    • Electra complex: A concept used in Freudian psychoanalysis, modeled on the Oedipus complex, to denote a girl's desire for the exclusive love of her father and the wish to eliminate her mother. It is named after the daughter of Agamemnon, King of Mycenae, who helped to plot the murder of her mother, Clytemnestra. Sigmund Freud disapproved of the introduction of the term.
    • electroconvulsive therapy (ECT; also called electroshock therapy): A form of treatment of mental disorders (most commonly severe depression) in which an electric current is passed through the brain to produce convulsions.
    • emergent interactive agency: In Albert Bandura's system, a definition of human cognitive processes as emergent brain activities that exert determinative influence on behavior. Emergent properties differ qualitatively from their constituent elements and therefore are not reducible to them.
    • empathy: One of six conditions that Carl Rogers considered essential for successful psychotherapy; it refers to the therapist's ability to suspend his or her own judgments and beliefs and enter as fully as possible into the client's perspective. Empathy is also an important concept in Heinz Kohut's self psychology.
    • empiricism: The philosophical position, associated with John Locke, that human knowledge is gained from sense experience, observation, and experimentation.
    • enculturation: The process by which we learn the traditions of our culture and absorb its attitudes and values.
    • Enneagram: A nine-pointed geometric figure inscribed in a circle used to represent a typology of personality based on nine principal ego archetypes. The nine personality configurations are sometimes called Enneatypes.
    • environment of evolutionary adaptedness (EEA): A term first used by John Bowlby that refers to the environment to which a particular evolved psychological mechanism was adapted. The human EEA is generally considered to be the Pleistocene era, which lasted from about 1.8 million years ago to about 12,000 years ago. Human society in the EEA consisted of small tribes of hunter-gatherers whose members knew one another well.
    • epidemiology: The branch of medicine that deals with the incidence of disease (including mental illnesses) in large populations and tracks the sources and causes of epidemics.
    • epigenetic: Related to or involving any change in gene function that does not involve a change in DNA sequence.
    • epinephrine: A hormone secreted by the adrenal gland in response to stress or anger. It increases heart rate, blood pressure, and the body's metabolism of carbohydrates.
    • epistasis: In genetics, a condition in which the action of one gene is modified by one or several genes that assort independently.
    • erg(s): In Raymond Cattell's theory, an innate or constitutional dynamic trait similar to an instinct.
    • ergonomics: The application of scientific information concerning the human body and psyche to the design of objects, systems, and environments for human use.
    • eros: In Freudian psychoanalysis, the life instinct; all the impulses or drives that maintain life and the reproduction of the species.
    • esoteric: A term applied to knowledge or teachings considered to be specialized or advanced in nature, available only to a narrow circle of enlightened or highly educated initiates. Many New Age groups form around esoteric teachings. The Enneagram is supposedly derived from esoteric forms of Middle Eastern mysticism or mathematical speculation.
    • ethology: The study of human character, its formation, and its evolution.
    • eugenics: The pursuit of policies or practices, such as mate selection for people with desired genetic traits or selective sterilization of people with undesirable traits, intended to improve the human stock. The encouragement of reproduction on the part of those with desirable traits is known as positive eugenics, whereas the discouragement or prohibition of reproduction by the “unfit” is known as negative eugenics.
    • evolved psychological mechanism (EPM): In evolutionary psychology, any aspect of a human or other animal's psychology that serves a specific purpose and was created and selected by evolutionary pressures.
    • existentialism: A 20th-century philosophical movement that studies the meaning of existence and emphasizes our responsibility for our own life choices.
    • expectancy: In Julian Rotter's social learning theory, our subjective estimation of the probability that a specific reinforcement will occur if we behave a certain way in a given situation.
    • expectancy effect: A type of cognitive bias that occurs when a researcher or therapist expects a certain result and therefore unconsciously manipulates the experiment or patient in order to find it.
    • expressive psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapy: Otto Kernberg's term for an approach to treating borderline patients that differs from classical psychoanalysis in that a complete transference is not allowed to develop; the therapist confronts the patient with his or her distortions of reality.
    • external validity: A form of experimental validity. An experiment is said to have external validity if its results hold across different experimental settings and participants. Its results can be generalized to the larger population.
    • extinction: The tendency of a response to a stimulus to disappear when it is not reinforced.
    • extraversion: A term coined by Carl Jung to describe interest in the external environment rather than in our internal thoughts or feelings.
    • extroversion: The tendency to be outgoing, to actively engage others in most settings, and to vigorously set forth our ideas and values.
    • face validity: A term that refers to what a test or experiment appears to measure rather than what it actually measures.
    • factor: An element that contributes to a particular result or situation. In personality theory, factor is roughly equivalent to dimension or trait.
    • factor analysis: In statistics, a data reduction technique used to explain variability among random observed variables in terms of fewer unobserved variables called factors. Factor analysis was introduced into psychology by Charles Spearman.
    • false consensus effect: A term used to describe the tendency for people to overestimate the degree to which others agree with them. It is strongest among people who work and socialize within a group of like-minded colleagues or friends.
    • falsifiability: Capable of being disproved or shown to be false.
    • fetishism: A paraphilia characterized by displacement of sexual interest and satisfaction onto an inanimate object or nonsexual part of the body.
    • field theory: A term that refers to Kurt Lewin's social psychological system. Lewin thought that an individual's field (or life space) was built up from a number of factors, including the person's motives, values, needs, moods, goals, and ideals.
    • firing order: In multimodal therapy, the order in which the seven modalities of the BASIC ID appear in the client's behavioral repertoire.
    • five-factor model: A model of human personality structure developed by Paul Costa and Robert McCrae that classifies 30 personality traits under five factors known as the Big Five: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. They can be remembered by the mnemonic OCEAN.
    • fixation: A term used in Freudian psychoanalysis to refer to arrested growth and excessive neediness reflecting an earlier stage of development.
    • fixed-ratio reinforcement: In behaviorism, a schedule of reinforcement in which the number of responses before each reinforcement is identical.
    • fixed-role therapy: A technique introduced by George Kelly in which clients are asked to write a sketch of their personality and then asked (usually for a 2-week period) to enact a new character created for them by the therapist. The goal is not to effect permanent changes in the clients' personality but to help them become more open to changes in their personal constructs.
    • fixed-schedule reinforcement: In behaviorism, a schedule of reinforcement in which the time period before each reinforcement is identical.
    • Forer effect: Another name for the Barnum effect. It is named for Bertram Forer, the psychologist who first reported on it in 1948.
    • formative tendency: In Carl Rogers's later psychology, the notion that the entire universe is evolving in the direction of greater complexity and fullness.
    • fourth force: A term coined by Abraham Maslow for transpersonal psychology, of which he was an early proponent.
    • free association: A technique used in classical psychoanalysis in which the client talks about whatever comes to mind without controlling or organizing the flow of ideas or thoughts.
    • fully functioning person: Carl Rogers's term for a self-actualized person; in his view, full functioning represented a process rather than a state of being.
    • functional autonomy: Gordon Allport's term for a behavior that has become detached from its motive in the person's earlier life and is now a goal in itself.
    • functionalism: A largely American school of psychology associated with William James that regarded such mental functions as memory, perception, imagination, and judgment as the proper subject matter of psychology. Functionalists studied both the ways in which mental processes operated and the ways in which they thought these processes helped organisms adapt to their environments.
    • fundamental attribution error: A term used to describe a human tendency to overemphasize the role of personality traits in someone else's observed behavior and underemphasize the role and strength of situational factors. It is also known as correspondence bias or overattribution effect.
    • fundamental postulate: In George Kelly's theory, the basic assumption that our psychological processes are channeled by the ways in which we anticipate events.
    • fuzzy set: A set in which each member of a group of objects is given a number (usually between 0 and 1) that indicates the degree to which the member belongs to the set.
    • g factor: Charles Spearman's term for a general intelligence factor that governs an individual's performance across a series of different cognitive tests.
    • gamete: A mature male or female germ cell, possessing half of the organism's genetic material.
    • Gemeinschaftlsgefühl: A German word coined by Alfred Adler and used by Abraham Maslow that refers to a capacity for empathy or compassion for human beings in general. Maslow considered Gemeinschaftlsgefühl to be a major characteristic of self-actualizing people.
    • gene(s): The basic physical unit of heredity; a linear sequence of nucleotides along a segment of DNA that the cell transcribes into RNA.
    • genetic drift: The fundamental tendency of any of an organism's alleles to vary randomly in frequency over time due to statistical variation alone.
    • genome: The genetic material of an organism.
    • genotype: The full genetic makeup of an individual or group; the full hereditary information of an organism.
    • gestalt: In psychology, a form or figure with properties that cannot be derived from a summary of its separate parts. The term was taken into English from German.
    • Gestalt psychology: A school of psychology that began in the 1920s; it holds that behaviors and other psychological phenomena cannot be explained by analyzing their separate parts but must be studied and understood as wholes.
    • Gestalt therapy: A holistic existentialist approach to psychotherapy developed by Fritz Perls and his wife, Laura, in the 1940s and associated with the human potential movement. It should not be confused with Gestalt psychology.
    • group dynamics: A term coined by Kurt Lewin to refer to the processes that form groups and distinguish them from random collections of individuals. Group dynamics include such topics as roles within the group, social interactions, norms, and the effects of group membership on individual members.
    • guilt: In psychology, a conflicted feeling related to having done something that violates our moral standards or failing to do something we should have done. In Freudian theory, guilt results from a struggle between the ego and the superego.
    • halo effect: A form of cognitive bias in which the perception of a specific trait in a person is influenced by our previous perceptions of the person's other traits. For example, if our initial perception of someone is favorable, our evaluation of specific traits in that individual is likely to be also favorable. The reverse of the halo effect is sometimes called the devil effect.
    • hedonic: Related to or characterized by pleasure.
    • hedonism: A term that can be applied to any philosophy or view of human nature that emphasizes the centrality of pleasure or maintains that the key to human behavior is seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. Albert Ellis's approach to therapy has sometimes been described as responsible hedonism.
    • heritability: In genetics, a term that refers to the proportion of variations in phenotypes in a population that is due to genetic variations among individuals. Heritability analyses estimate the relative contributions of differences in genetic and nongenetic factors to the total phenotypic variance in a population.
    • heuristics: Replicable methods or approaches for directing our attention in learning, discovery, or problem-solving. In psychology, the term is often used to refer to rules of thumb hard-coded by evolutionary processes. These rules have been proposed to explain how we make decisions, arrive at judgments, and solve problems, typically when confronted by incomplete information.
    • hierarchy of needs: A psychological theory first proposed by Abraham Maslow in 1943 to explain the human drive toward what he termed self-actualization. Maslow outlined four deficiency needs (for biological survival, safety, love/belonging, and status) and a fifth need, for psychological growth and transcendence. Maslow believed that people can focus on higher needs only when the lower needs in the hierarchy have been satisfied.
    • hierarchy of response: In John Dollard and Neal Miller's learning theory, an innate tendency for certain responses to stimuli to occur before others.
    • hippocampus (plural, hippocampi): A curved ridge of tissue located inside the temporal lobes of the brain, one on each side in humans. The hippocampi are part of the limbic system and play a part in memory and the sense of direction.
    • holistic: Referring to a belief or system that regards living beings as interacting wholes rather than as collections of separate parts. Holistic views generally situate humans within the larger universe or pattern of nature as well as treating individual people as whole entities.
    • homeostasis: The property of an open system, especially living organisms, to regulate its internal environment to maintain a stable equilibrium.
    • homunculus (plural, homunculi): A hypothesized miniature person that doctors of the 16th and 17th centuries assumed to exist inside the human sperm or ovum. The term is also used to refer to the human figure projected onto a map of the brain's surface to illustrate the parts of the body supplied by the various motor and sensory regions of the cortex.
    • hormic psychology (also called purposive psychology): An approach to psychology associated with William McDougall, which holds that human behavior is driven by a goal or purpose (as opposed to Sigmund Freud's pleasure principle). McDougall thought that human striving may be either instinctual or intentional.
    • human potential movement: A movement that emerged in the United States in the 1960s from humanistic psychology and existential thought. It was heavily influenced by Abraham Maslow's concept of self-actualization, which it regarded as the highest expression of a person's life.
    • humanistic psychology: A movement that emerged in the late 1950s in the United States in opposition to both psychoanalysis and behaviorism. Sometimes called the third force, humanistic psychology emphasizes the qualities that are unique to humankind and the real problems of human life.
    • humor(s): In ancient medicine, one of four body fluids (blood, phlegm, yellow bile, or black bile) regarded as determining a person's basic constitution and personality.
    • hypermnesia: Complete or abnormally vivid recall of our past.
    • hypothalamus (plural, hypothalami): A region in the diencephalon (the posterior section of the forebrain) of the brain that regulates sleep cycles, body temperature, the sensations of hunger and thirst, and the activity of the pituitary gland.
    • hypothesis (plural, hypotheses): A provisional theory offered to explain a group of phenomena or data and accepted as a guide to future research and investigation.
    • hypothetico-deductive method or model: A method of scientific inquiry that proceeds by formulating a hypothesis in a form that could conceivably be falsified by a test of observable data. A test result that could but does not run contrary to the hypothesis is considered to corroborate the theory.
    • hysteria: A term used in the 19th century to describe various neurotic disorders most commonly found in women and characterized by violent emotional outbursts and physical symptoms caused by psychological factors. It has generally been replaced by the categories of somatization disorder and conversion disorder.
    • iconic memory: A type of short-term visual memory first identified by George Sperling in 1960. Sperling's experiments showed that iconic memory decays quite rapidly, lasting for only 1,000 milliseconds after the offset of a display. Some researchers think that iconic memory may be governed by the retina of the human eye.
    • id: In Sigmund Freud's system, the oldest component of the personality. It lies completely in the unconscious, is unorganized, serves as a reservoir of psychic energy, and operates under the influence of primary processes.
    • ideal self: In Carl Rogers's theory, the self that a person would like to be.
    • ideas of reference: The concern, usually driven by social anxiety, that events or conversations in our general vicinity refer to us directly. For example, if we enter a room immediately after a person already in the room has told a joke, we may wonder whether those present are laughing at us.
    • identification: In Freudian psychoanalysis, one of the fundamental defense mechanisms, in which we reduce anxiety by emphasizing the characteristics that we have in common with a stronger or more powerful person.
    • identity crisis: Erik Erikson's term for the critical phase of human identity formation during adolescence. Some later followers of Erikson have criticized his use of the word crisis to describe what they consider a slow process that extends well beyond adolescence.
    • identity statuses: A term used by James Marcia, an Eriksonian developmental psychologist, to categorize four phases of adolescent identity formation defined by completion (or incompletion) of an identity crisis and commitment (or lack of commitment) to a social role or set of social values. Marcia's four identity statuses are identity diffusion, identity foreclosure, identity moratorium, and identity achievement.
    • idiographic: In psychology, the study of what is unique to each individual. The terms idiographic and nomothetic were invented by the German philosopher Wilhelm Windelband to describe two different approaches to knowledge.
    • implicit learning: A process in which a person learns complex information without being able to consciously describe in words what has been learned.
    • inclusive fitness: A concept used by evolutionary biologists to explain the benefits of altruistic behavior, in that an organism can be genetically successful through guaranteeing the survival of its relatives (who share most of its genetic material) as well as by reproducing itself directly.
    • incongruence: In Rogerian psychotherapy, a condition in which our symbolized experiences are separated from our experiences.
    • independent variable: The factor whose values are independent of the other factors in an experiment and whose value determines the value of the other factors. The independent variable is sometimes called the predictor or the regressor.
    • induction: A process of reasoning that moves from the particular to the general, usually by extending a statement that is true about some members of a group to the entire group. Conclusions reached by inductive reasoning do not necessarily have the same degree of certainty as the initial premises.
    • infantile sexuality: A major component of Sigmund Freud's theory of human development. For Freud, infants from the moment of birth have drives toward physical/sexual pleasure, derived first from the mouth, then from the anus, and finally from the genitals. These stages are known as oral, anal, and phallic respectively.
    • insult: A general term in medicine or psychotherapy for an injury to the body or psyche.
    • intellectualization: A defense mechanism in which we use reason, logic, technical jargon, or an excessive focus on intellectual fine points to avoid confronting an objectionable emotion or impulse. It is sometimes called a “flight into reason.”
    • internal validity: The degree of confidence that any change in the dependent variable in an experiment is due to the experimental manipulation of the independent variable(s). In the case of a test, it refers to the degree of correlation each item has with the overall score.
    • interpersonal psychiatry: The theoretical and clinical system of Harry Stack Sullivan, which stressed external and social sources of psychological or emotional problems. This approach was in direct contrast to Sigmund Freud's view that internal conflicts are the basis of such problems.
    • intervention: In medicine and psychology, any action that produces an effect or is intended to affect the course of a disease process. Interventions may include medications, surgical procedures, physical therapy, various types of counseling, or other treatments.
    • intrapsychic: Occurring or existing within the individual's mind or psyche.
    • introjection: An unconscious process in which we take the characteristics of another person or object into our own psyche. A value or idea thus incorporated into the personality is called an introject.
    • introspection: In psychology, the act of looking inward to scrutinize our own mental processes. Both structuralist and functionalist psychologists made heavy use of introspection in constructing their theories of personality.
    • introversion: In Jungian psychology, a withdrawn attitude in which people are concerned primarily with internal thoughts and processes rather than the external world.
    • intuition: In Carl Jung's system, the perceiving function that receives data primarily from the unconscious rather than the senses and understands relationships via insights.
    • inversion mutation: A genetic mutation that occurs when a portion of a chromosome breaks away during the process of cell division.
    • irrationality: In Albert Ellis's system, a characteristic of beliefs that either violate the rules of formal logic, distort the external realities of a situation or event, or are dysfunctional and emotionally disturbing.
    • isomorphism: In Gestalt psychology, a correspondence between a stimulus array and the brain state created by that stimulus.
    • karma: The Sanskrit word for action or deed. In Hinduism and some forms of New Age thought, it refers to cause and effect; specifically, the effects of our past deeds in causing future consequences in our next reincarnation.
    • lability: A state or condition of rapid emotional change or breakdown.
    • Lamarckism: The notion, first propounded by Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de Lamarck, that acquired characteristics can be inherited.
    • language acquisition device (LAD): An inborn “organ” or capacity in the human brain for learning symbolic language. Noam Chomsky hypothesized the existence of the LAD in the late 1950s and early 1960s in opposition to B. F. Skinner's extreme behaviorist theories of language acquisition.
    • law of acquisition: In B. F. Skinner's thought, the principle that the strength or frequency of an operant behavior increases when followed by a reinforcer.
    • law of effect: A law proposed by Edward Thorndike that states that a response to any stimulus is more likely to be repeated if it is accompanied or followed by a positive reinforcement.
    • lay analyst: A therapist who practices psychoanalysis without a medical degree. Erich Fromm and Melanie Klein are examples of lay analysts.
    • libido: In Sigmund Freud's theory, emotional and psychic energy derived from biological sexual desire; in Carl Jung's theory, a general form of psychic energy, not necessarily sexual.
    • life space: In Kurt Lewin's system, our field of perception and action or ourselves and our psychological or behavioral environment.
    • limbic system: The second part of Paul MacLean's triune brain, consisting of the amygdala, the hippocampus, the hypothalamus, and a few minor structures located near the edge (limbus) of the cerebral hemisphere. The limbic system affects the autonomic motor system as well as motivation and emotions.
    • locus (plural, loci) of control: Julian Rotter's term for people's belief about their control over reinforcements. Those who believe that reinforcements are controlled by their own behavior are said to have an internal locus of control, whereas those who think that their reinforcements are controlled by outside forces are said to have an external locus of control.
    • lure word: Also known as a critical lure, a lure word is a word used in memory experiments that is not presented to the test subjects but appears on word recall lists because the words that were actually presented to the subjects are associated with the lure word.
    • Lysenkoism: A pseudoscientific biological doctrine that holds that heredity is influenced by somatic and environmental factors rather than genetic transmission. It is named for Trofim Lysenko, a Russian biologist-turned-politician.
    • Machiavellianism: A term used by some personality psychologists to describe a tendency on the part of some people to manipulate or deceive others for advantage or gain. The results are the goal of the Machiavellian person; the means by which one achieves the results are only important insofar as they affect the results.
    • magical thinking: A general term for nonscientific causal reasoning, such as the notion that our thoughts can influence events or that words can bring about changes. In general, magical thinking confuses correlation (or coincidence in time) with causation.
    • mandala: In Jungian psychology, a graphic or symbolic pattern divided into four quadrants that serves to represent the self during the process of self-realization. The English word is derived from the Sanskrit for circle.
    • masculinity complex: In Freudian theory, the notion that women suffer from deeply repressed envy and resentment of men and depreciate their own gender identity. Sigmund Freud thought that the masculinity complex is essentially biological in origin and emerges in various forms ranging from dysmenorrhea and infertility to rejection of marriage and a desire for academic or professional accomplishment.
    • massed practice: The practice of using few but lengthy study or practice sessions to master a subject to be learned. It is the opposite of distributed practice.
    • meiosis: The cellular process of reduction division involved in the production of gamete cells, each containing only half of the organism's genetic material.
    • memantine: A drug that targets the brain's glutamatergic system. Originally developed in the 1990s to treat Alzheimer's disease, memantine has been used in psychological experiments to test whether the personality differences between extroverts and introverts are related to differences in the central nervous system.
    • mentalism: Any approach to psychology that is distinguished from behaviorism by its use of subjective data (such as information gained from introspection) in researching and explaining behavior.
    • meridian: In traditional Chinese medicine, any of the pathways (or energy channels) through the body that conduct the flow of qi. Certain points along the meridians are stimulated during acupuncture or acupressure.
    • meta-analysis: A statistical analysis of several separate but similar studies or experiments to pool the data and test them for statistical significance.
    • metacognition: Awareness or analysis of our own learning or thinking processes.
    • Metrazol (also called Cardiazol): The commercial name of pentylenetetrazol (PTZ), a respiratory and cardiovascular stimulant used to cause convulsions as part of shock therapy for schizophrenia. It was first used by Ladislas Meduna for this purpose in 1934. Metrazol is still used by pharmaceutical companies to test the effectiveness of antiepileptic drugs in animals.
    • mirror neurons: Specialized nerve cells in the brains of humans and other primates that are activated when the subject watches another primate perform an action. Mirror neurons appear to be essential to observational learning.
    • modularity of mind: A hypothesis introduced by Jerry Fodor to refer to modules, or “organs,” in the human mind that he regards as relatively independent of each other as well as of the central processing part of the mind.
    • monozygotic twins: Twins derived from a single fertilized egg.
    • moral anxiety: In Freudian psychoanalysis, anxiety arising from a conflict between impulses coming from the ego or the id, on the one hand, and the moral dictates of the superego, on the other.
    • Morita therapy: A form of psychotherapy that originated in Japan with Dr. Sh ma Norita, a psychiatrist who treated patients with anxiety disorders through building strength of character. Morita therapy is focused on enabling patients to take action responsively in life regardless of symptoms, natural fears, and wishes.
    • moxibustion: A therapeutic technique used in traditional Chinese medicine in which the practitioner uses a burning herbal wick prior to acupuncture to warm the patient's skin and open the flow of qi in the meridians.
    • multimodal therapy: A modified form of cognitive behavioral therapy developed by Arnold Lazarus, based on the notion that therapy should address each of seven modalities of the human person. These are behavior, affect, sensation, imagery, cognition, interpersonal relationships, and drugs/biology (corresponding to the acronym BASIC ID).
    • musturbation: Albert Ellis's term for any belief that escalates a preference into an absolute imperative; for example, people who think they must have something or achieve a certain goal rather than merely wanting to have or achieve it.
    • mutation: A relatively permanent change in an individual's genetic material, involving either a physical change (transposition or deletion) in the relationships between chromosomes or a biochemical change in the genes themselves.
    • Naikan: A structured method of introspection developed by Yoshimoto Ishin, a devout Japanese Buddhist. It has been used in mental health counseling and addiction treatment.
    • narcissism: A state or condition in which a person interprets or regards everything in relation to themselves and not to other people or objects in the external world.
    • nativism: A term that refers to any view that holds that certain ideas or faculties are innate or inborn in human beings. Plato's concept of innate ideas is one form of nativism.
    • neocortex: The newest part of the human brain to develop over the course of human evolution, according to Paul MacLean's model of the triune brain. The neocortex includes the cerebral hemispheres; it governs the ability to speak, write, think rationally, and make plans for the future.
    • neurasthenia: A psychological condition characterized by lack of motivation, psychosomatic symptoms, and a tendency to become easily fatigued; Sigmund Freud and other late 19-century doctors attributed the condition to overindulgence in sex. The word is no longer used as a diagnostic term.
    • neuron: The medical name for nerve cell. A neuron consists of a nerve cell body, dendrites, and an axon.
    • neurosis (plural, neuroses): A mental or behavioral disorder with anxiety as the central characteristic and defenses or phobias as the person's coping mechanisms. In contrast to patients with psychotic disorders, people with neuroses do not usually exhibit gross distortions of reality or disorganization of personality.
    • neurotic anxiety: In Freudian psychoanalysis, anxiety arising from impulses from the id intruding into consciousness.
    • neurotransmitter: A chemical produced by the body that serves to transmit, amplify, or modulate the electrical signals that pass from one neuron (nerve cell) to another in the human nervous system. Neurotransmitters include such chemicals as dopamine, serotonin, vasopressin, and noradrenaline.
    • New Age: A general term used to cover various spiritualities that emerged in the West in the 1970s and later as alternatives to both scientific positivism and mainstream Judaism and Christianity. New Age thought is usually characterized by an interest in mysticism and a belief in the interconnectedness of all living beings.
    • nomothetic: In psychology, the study of large groups of individuals to infer general characteristics or universal principles.
    • nonconscious: A term used by Albert Ellis to describe beliefs that are innate or so basic that they do not require conscious attention to process. Nonconscious beliefs should not be confused with the Freudian concept of the unconscious.
    • nondirective: An approach to psychotherapy in which the course of therapy is determined primarily by the client or patient. The term originated with Carl Rogers.
    • norm: A set standard of achievement or development, usually derived from the average or median scores of a large group of test subjects.
    • nosology: The branch of medicine that deals with the classification of physical and mental disease.
    • nucleotide: One of several chemical compounds that are the structural units of DNA and RNA.
    • numinosum: Carl Jung's term for a transcendent entity that serves as the ground for a religious attitude toward life.
    • object: In Freudian psychoanalysis, anything through which an instinct can achieve its aim. Object is often used as a synonym for person in classical psychoanalysis. Good object refers to the supportive or positive aspects of an important person in the analysand's life—usually (though not always) a parent.
    • object constancy: The capacity of the human mind to perceive objects accurately, even though they change their apparent shape or size as they move in space or as the observer moves while viewing them.
    • object relations theory: An approach to psychotherapy based on the notion that the ego or self exists only in relation to other objects (people, pets, or material objects), which may be either internal or external. Object relations themselves are the intrapsychic experiences of these early relationships.
    • objective test (also called structured test): In psychology, a test that is designed to measure one or more specific variables according to scientific standards of reliability and validity. Objective tests are derived from the psychometric tradition of American psychology.
    • observational learning: In Albert Bandura's psychology, learning that occurs when one person observes another perform an action without any direct reinforcement of the observer.
    • Oedipus complex: A concept used in Freudian psychoanalysis to explain the childhood origins of some adult neuroses. The complex is defined as a male child's desire to possess his mother exclusively, his jealousy of his father, and his unconscious wish for the father's death. It is named for Oedipus, a mythological Greek king who killed his father and married his mother. According to the Freudian model, this complex should be resolved by the time a child is about 7 years old.
    • operant conditioning: A concept in B. F Skinner's psychology that refers to changes in an organism's behavior brought about over time by the consequences of the behavior. It is distinguished from Pavlovian conditioning in that it applies to voluntary rather than involuntary behavior.
    • oral personality: In Sigmund Freud's system, a personality type originating in fixation at the oral stage of psychosexual development. There are two major subtypes of the oral personality: oral-dependent, characterized by a focus on such oral pleasures as eating, drinking, or smoking; and oral-aggressive (also known as oral-sadistic), characterized by verbal cruelty and a generally sarcastic or “biting” style of interaction.
    • organismic psychology: A holistic approach to psychology associated with Kurt Goldstein, a neuropsychiatrist who was influenced by the Gestalt school. Goldstein emphasized the unity of the human organism and held that anything that occurs in a part of it affects the whole.
    • organismic valuing process: Carl Rogers's term for a subconscious process that guides a person toward growth experiences.
    • orthogonal: Statistically independent.
    • outcome measure: Data used to evaluate changes in a person's condition or the achievement of a program's objectives and goals.
    • outlier: In statistics, a datum or observation that differs markedly from others in the data set or sample.
    • overgeneralization: A logical fallacy or cognitive distortion caused by making an overly broad generalization on the basis of a small sample or other type of insufficient evidence.
    • paraphilia: A condition in either men or women in which the person requires an unusual or socially unacceptable external stimulus or internal fantasy to achieve sexual gratification. The most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) lists such conditions as pedophilia (sexual desire for prepubertal children), necrophilia (sexual interest in corpses), voyeurism (“Peeping Tom” behavior), zoophilia (sexual interest in animals), exhibitionism (a compulsive need to display one's genitals to members of the opposite sex), and fetishism (the use of inanimate objects or nonsexual parts of the body to stimulate sexual arousal) as paraphilias. Some paraphilias, most notably pedophilia, voyeurism, necrophilia, and (male) exhibitionism, are considered criminal offenses in most jurisdictions in Canada and the United States.
    • parapraxis: The formal name for a Freudian slip or “slip of the tongue,” usually thought to reveal a repressed motive or thought. Sigmund Freud himself usually used the German word Fehlleistung, which means “faulty action” in English.
    • parataxic experience: Sullivan's term for an intermediate level of cognition in which a person perceives a causal relationship between two events but not necessarily on the basis of logic or reality.
    • part-object: In object relations theory, one body part or psychological aspect of a person that plays a decisive part in a subject's development. An example of a part-object is the mother's breast, which represents the entirety of the mother for the infant.
    • passive aggression: A term used to describe forms of hostile behavior, usually in response to a request or command from an authority figure, adopted by people who are afraid to express anger directly. Passive aggression takes such forms as procrastination, dawdling, sulkiness, resentment, or failure to complete requested tasks.
    • pathology: The study of the processes underlying physical disease or other harmful abnormalities, including psychological problems.
    • Pavlovian conditioning (also called classical conditioning): The modification of reflexive or involuntary behavior through the pairing of a neutral stimulus with an unconditioned stimulus.
    • peak experience: A term coined by Abraham Maslow to describe an intense experience in which the individual transcends the self or temporarily loses the sense of self and feels at one with the universe.
    • penis envy: A term used by Sigmund Freud to account for women's envy of men's social advantages and privileges. Freud assumed that women believe they are castrated males and consequently desire to have a penis.
    • percept: The impression of an object obtained through use of the senses; the subjective correlate of a physical stimulus.
    • perception: In psychology, the process in which humans acquire, select, organize, and interpret sensory information.
    • person-centered therapy: The current name given to Carl Rogers's nondirective approach to psychotherapy. It was originally called client-centered therapy.
    • persona: In Jungian psychology, the social mask or outward appearance that a person shows to the world.
    • personal construct: In George Kelly's psychology, a pattern through which we organize our view of reality through a set of bipolar or dichotomous dimensions. We continually test, revise, and rearrange our personal constructs on the basis of our ongoing life experiences, he thought.
    • personal unconscious: In Carl Jung's analytical psychology, the second of the three components of the psyche, containing a reservoir of material unique to the individual, material that was once conscious but has been forgotten or suppressed.
    • personality disorder: A term that refers to a group of behavioral disorders, defined by DSM-IV as lifelong patterns of distorted internal experience and maladaptive external behaviors that cause recurrent difficulties for patients in the areas of judgment, impulse control, and interpersonal functioning.
    • personology: A term coined by Henry Murray as a partial replacement for the phrase personality psychology. Personology emphasizes the study of individual lives over a period of time from a variety of angles; it stresses the importance of the whole person rather than experimental studies of thinking, perception, or other variables divorced from real life. Personology in psychology should not be confused with a New Age pseudoscience, also called personology, which purports to teach people how to predict someone's character and behavior from a reading of their facial features.
    • phenomenal field: In Carl Rogers's theory, the sum total of an organism's experiences.
    • phenomenology: A school of philosophy that studies human consciousness of objects (whether mental or physical), particularly its quality of intentionality. Modern phenomenology is most closely associated with the philosopher Edmund Husserl (1859–1938), although John Locke and René Descartes are considered its forerunners.
    • phenotype: The observable properties or characteristics of an organism produced by the interaction of its genotype and the environment.
    • phi phenomenon: An illusion of movement created by a rapid succession of still images. It was first described by Max Wertheimer in Experimental Studies on the Seeing of Motion (1912).
    • phobia: An objectively unfounded fear of an object or situation that produces a state of panic. Specific phobias are often named for the stimulus of the fear; thus, agoraphobia refers to fear of open or public spaces, aviophobia to fear of flying, acrophobia to fear of heights, and so on. Most specific phobias can be traced back to a traumatic experience, usually at an early age.
    • phrenology: A 19th-century theory that held that a person's intelligence, character, and personality traits could be determined by studying the shape of the head.
    • phylogeny: The evolutionary history of an organism or species.
    • pineal gland (also called the pineal body): A small cone-shaped organ located in the forebrain that secretes melatonin and is involved in biorhythms. Its name is derived from the Latin word for “pine” because it is shaped like a pine cone. Descartes thought that the pineal gland was the seat of the human soul and the place in which all human thoughts are formed.
    • placebo: An inactive substance administered as if it were an active medication. The name comes from the Latin placebo, which means “I shall please.” Placebos are commonly administered to a control group in clinical trials of new medications while the experimental group receives the new drug.
    • pleasure principle: In Freudian psychoanalysis, a concept that holds that humans tend to seek pleasure and avoid pain. The pleasure principle has also been defined as the id's seeking of pleasure to reduce tension.
    • pleiotropy: A condition in which a gene affects multiple traits in an organism's phenotype. The English word is formed from two Greek words meaning many and changes.
    • point mutation: A genetic mutation in which a single base nucleotide is replaced by another nucleotide. Point mutations are also known as substitutions.
    • polymorphous perversity: Sigmund Freud's term for a young child's tendency to seek sexual gratification from various bodily parts. He thought that education from the parents quickly suppresses the child's desire for such gratification, so much so that when the child becomes an adult, he or she will have amnesia about his or her childhood desires.
    • positive self-regard: A phrase coined by Carl Rogers to refer to self-acceptance without judgment.
    • post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy: A logical error that confuses temporal sequence with causality; that is, if one event happens after another in time, the first is often assumed to be the cause of the second. The Latin phrase means “after this, therefore, because of this.”
    • prakriti: In Ayurvedic medicine, the Sanskrit term for a person's basic constitution.
    • preattentive processes: Mental processes that occur without the subject's conscious attention. Some experimenters believe that they precede conscious attention, others that they operate in parallel with it. The term comes from the work of Ulric Neisser.
    • preconscious: In Sigmund Freud's topographic picture of the psyche, the division of the psyche that lies between the unconscious and the conscious. The preconscious includes all ideas, past experiences, and other memory contents that can be consciously recalled with effort.
    • prefrontal leucotomy: A psychosurgical procedure in which the surgeon cuts the nerve fibers joining the frontal lobes of the brain to a structure called the thalamus. It is generally called a lobotomy in the United States.
    • prepotency: The state or condition of being more powerful, influential, or forceful than another or others. In Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs, a prepotent need is one that is stronger than others (usually the higher needs).
    • prevalence: In epidemiology, the proportion of people with a particular disease or mental illness at a given point in time. It should not be confused with incidence, which refers to the number of new cases of disease that occur over time.
    • preverbal: George Kelly's preferred term for constructs developed outside our conscious awareness.
    • primary drive: In John Dollard and Neal Miller's psychology, an innate drive associated with physiological processes necessary to survival, such as hunger, thirst, or the need for sleep.
    • primary process(es): In Freudian psychoanalysis, the mental processes directly related to the primitive life forces associated with the id and characterized by illogical thinking, disorganization, and a tendency to seek or demand immediate gratification.
    • projection: A defense mechanism in which we unconsciously attribute our own belief, attitude, or feeling to someone or something else.
    • projective test: A type of psychological test in which people are given an ambiguous picture or other stimulus and invited to project aspects of their personality into the answer. Projective tests are derived from the psychoanalytic and Gestalt schools of European psychology.
    • propriate striving: In Gordon Allport's psychology, the aspect of personality that emerges in adolescence and is required for setting and pursuing long-term goals.
    • proprium: A term used by Gordon Allport for the self, characterized by seven key functions: sense of body, self-identity, self-esteem, self-extension, self-image, rational coping, and propriate striving. Allport later added an eighth function, the self as knower.
    • prosopagnosia: A condition in which a person loses the ability to recognize faces; it is also known as face blindness. Derived from the Greek words for face and not knowing, prosopagnosia is variously thought to result from injury to a part of the brain called the fusiform gyrus or possibly to be a hereditary disorder.
    • prototaxic experience: In Harry Stack Sullivan's theory, the lowest level of cognition, characteristic of infants, in which the individual perceives the world as a disconnected series of sense impressions without any causal connection or symbolic meaning.
    • psyche: The ancient Greek word for breath or life principle. In contemporary usage, it generally refers to our mind, personality, self, or soul in contrast to our bodily nature. In Jungian psychology, it refers to the totality of the human personality.
    • psychoanalysis: A system of theories and therapeutic procedures devised by Sigmund Freud for the treatment of mental illness through the uncovering of unconscious material.
    • psychobiology: A term coined by Adolf Meyer to emphasize the biological bases of behavior and mental states. Psychobiology is also known as biopsychology, physiological psychology, and behavioral neuroscience.
    • psychodynamic: Referring to any school or technique of psychotherapy that regards personality as the result of interactions between conscious and unconscious factors.
    • psychogenic: Originating in the mind or in a mental condition or process.
    • psychometric(s): The quantitative measurement of psychological characteristics by means of statistical calculations and techniques.
    • psychoneurosis: A category of psychological disorder that Sigmund Freud distinguished from actual neuroses on the basis of their origin in dysfunctional personality structures produced by attempts to deal with childhood traumas.
    • psychophysics: An experimental discipline related to physics that deals with the relationship between physical stimuli and their subjective correlates, or percepts. Psychophysicists usually employ experimental stimuli that can be objectively measured, such as musical tones or lights of varying intensity or color.
    • psychosis (plural, psychoses): A mental disorder, typically characterized by delusions or hallucinations, that causes gross distortions in a person's ability to recognize reality and respond appropriately.
    • psychosomatic: Referring to a physical disorder caused or strongly influenced by emotional factors.
    • psychosurgery: The treatment of mental disorders by a brain operation, such as leucotomy.
    • Psychotherapy: Any of a number of nonmedical interventions for psychological problems that employ education, guided insight, expressions of understanding and sympathy, or behavioral change. Although based on sometimes contentious theoretical orientations, most psychotherapies have in common a confidential, sympathetic relationship in which the client is guided to a new way of thinking, emoting, or reacting to the world via the interactions that occur in that relationship.
    • punctuated equilibrium: A theory in evolutionary biology that states that most sexually reproducing species will show little change for most of their history. It is opposed to the concept of phyletic gradualism, which holds that evolution is generally smooth and continuous.
    • qi (or chi): In traditional Chinese medicine, the word for vital energy or life force.
    • quasi-experiment: A type of experiment in which there is manipulation of an independent variable but no random selection of subjects, no random assignment of subjects to groups, and/or no control group.
    • radical behaviorism: The psychological perspective which rejects everything that cannot be observed or directly measured as irrelevant. This is in contrast to derived approaches like neo-behaviorism or cognitive behaviorism, which apply behavioral principles while accepting that processes that can be inferred or deduced are also relevant to human behavior and personality.
    • rationalization: A defense mechanism characterized by logical or intellectual analysis of a behavior or impulse to avoid experiencing the emotions associated with it.
    • reactance: In social psychology, an emotional reaction in direct contradiction to rules or regulations that threaten or eliminate specific behavioral freedoms.
    • reaction formation: A defense mechanism in which we unconsciously develop behaviors and attitudes that are the opposite of unacceptable repressed desires and impulses.
    • realistic anxiety: In Freudian psychoanalysis, anxiety elicited by an objectively present external threat.
    • reality principle: In Freudian psychoanalysis, the way in which the ego satisfies the desires and impulses of the id through awareness of and adjustment to the demands of the external environment.
    • reconstructive: An approach to therapy that emphasizes the restructuring of the client or patient's personality, often through such insight-oriented approaches as psychoanalysis.
    • regression: In Sigmund Freud's system, a defense mechanism in which a person reverts to behaviors characteristic of an earlier stage of development.
    • reincarnation: The belief that the human soul separates from the body after death and is reborn in another human body or other form of life.
    • reinforcement: The process of increasing or decreasing the likelihood of a subject's response to a particular stimulus.
    • reinforcement value: In Julian Rotter's personality theory, the importance of a specific reinforcement for an individual in a given situation.
    • reinforcer: In B. F. Skinner's behaviorist theory, any event that increases or decreases the likelihood of a specific response. A positive reinforcer is one that increases the frequency or likelihood of an operant's being repeated whereas a negative reinforcer is any event that increases the frequency or likelihood of an operant's occurrence when it is removed.
    • reliability: The quality of consistently yielding the same or compatible results in different clinical experiments or trials or in the same trial over time.
    • reliability coefficient: A measure of correlation of two scores achieved on the same test taken at different times.
    • replicability: The quality of allowing successful repetition or reproduction.
    • repression: The most important psychological defense mechanism in Sigmund Freud's system, in which a wish or desire is so completely blocked from expression that it cannot be experienced consciously or acted out in behavior.
    • resistance: In Freudian psychoanalysis, a psychological defense mechanism in which the analysand rejects, denies, or otherwise opposes the analyst's interpretations or other comments.
    • reticular formation: A somewhat poorly defined area in the brain stem that controls such stereotyped actions as walking or sleeping. The ascending reticular activating system, or ARAS, which figures in Hans Eysenck's distinction between introverts and extroverts, is a set of nerves that connects the reticular formation to various areas in the thalamus, hypothalamus, and cerebral cortex.
    • return of the repressed: In Freudian psychoanalysis, a term that refers to the emergence of repressed material in the form of a symptom or series of symptoms.
    • role-playing: A technique introduced by George Kelly for individual or group therapy in which clients are asked to temporarily assume another person's role in a situation to explore alternative ways to handle the situation or to better understand the other person.
    • schema: A cognitive conceptual framework; a plan or model.
    • schizophrenia: A psychotic disorder characterized by hallucinations, delusions, and abnormalities of perception and thought content. It is now considered a group or spectrum of disorders. Schizophrenia should not be confused with a so-called “split personality” or with multiple personality disorder.
    • schizotypal: A term used to refer to a personality characterized by a need for social isolation, strange behavior and thought patterns, and often unconventional beliefs.
    • scientific method: A five-step method of inquiry in which the researcher describes a problem formulates a hypothesis, predicts the results of a trial, tests the hypothesis through experimentation, and draws an appropriate conclusion.
    • secondary drive: In John Dollard and Neal Miller's psychology, an elaboration of a primary drive that may eventually replace the primary drive.
    • secondary process(es): In Sigmund Freud's system, the mental processes related to learned or acquired functions of the ego and characterized by preconscious or conscious thought. Secondary processes are marked by logical thinking and the capacity to delay gratification.
    • security operation: In Harry Stack Sullivan's theory, an interpersonal behavioral device that a person uses to ward off anxiety related to other people.
    • self-actualization: In humanistic psychology, an innate tendency of human beings to fulfill and enhance their potential, provided that basic physical and social needs are met. The term originated with Kurt Goldstein but was popularized by Abraham Maslow.
    • self-concept: In Carl Rogers's theory, the organized set of characteristics that we recognize as belonging to us.
    • self-efficacy: In Albert Bandura's psychology, our perception of our effectiveness in dealing with life.
    • self psychology: A post-Freudian variant of psychoanalysis pioneered by Heinz Kohut that emphasizes the importance of empathy and mirroring in human development rather than Sigmund Freud's drive theory.
    • self-system: In Harry Stack Sullivan's interpersonal theory, a dynamism made up of a set of security operations that protects a person against anxiety.
    • self-talk: The automatic internal dialogue that most people carry on that affects their emotions and eventually actions. It is also known as mind chatter, mind-set, or inner belief system.
    • selfobject: Heinz Kohut's term for a person's impersonal experience of a function that is provided by someone else. Kohut later defined the selfobject (no hyphen) as “that dimension of our experience of another person that relates to the person's functions in shoring up our self.”
    • sensation(s): In Carl Jung's analytical psychology, a way of gathering information based on the perception of facts in the external world.
    • sentiment(s): In Raymond Cattell's psychology, a source trait molded by the person's environment (as distinct from a hereditary source trait).
    • shadow: In Carl Jung's psychology, the part of the unconscious mind that lies relatively close to the conscious mind but is often unacceptable to it. The shadow typically contains the disowned aspects of the conscious personality.
    • shaman/shamanism: A priest-like spiritual leader who acts as an intermediary between the natural and the spirit world, using magic to cure the sick, determine the hidden meaning of events, or control the weather and other natural forces. Most shamans regard animals as omens and message-bearers. Shamanism refers to any form of spirituality in which shamans play a central role.
    • shame: An intensely painful feeling of humiliation, dishonor, or condemnation. It is sometimes contrasted with guilt as associated with our self or fundamental being rather than our deeds or specific actions.
    • shaping: In behaviorist psychology, a process of gradually molding an organism's behavior to approximate a desired behavior as closely as possible.
    • shinkeishitsu: In Morita therapy, a term that refers to stress-related anxiety, particularly an anxious mind-set that feeds on itself.
    • situationism: A school of psychology that holds that behavioral differences are due less to individual dispositional differences than to situational ones; that people often behave without the consistency required for trait attributions; and that inconsistent dispositions may coexist within a single personality. Situationism is generally opposed to trait psychology.
    • social constructionism: An approach to psychology that holds that our perception of reality is a function of our social context, environment, and culture.
    • social Darwinism: The view that the principles of natural selection first described by Charles Darwin can be applied to human society. Most often associated with the theories of Francis Galton and Herbert Spencer, social Darwinism holds that competition and conflict are inevitable in human societies and that the fittest individuals and groups (including races) will win the battle for survival.
    • social facilitation: A term in social psychology used to describe the tendency for people to perform simple tasks (or tasks in which they are expert) more effectively in the company of others than when they are alone. Recent research in social facilitation is associated with the work of Robert Zajonc.
    • social learning theory: An approach to personality psychology that attempts to explain personality development within the context of the individual's society.
    • somatic marker hypothesis: A hypothesis about decision making first proposed by António Damásio. It suggests that when a person is confronted with a decision, each alternative elicits a bodily state (somatic marker) that corresponds to an emotional reaction. These markers supposedly influence decision making and can guide the individual to make an advantageous choice, even in the absence of conscious knowledge to guide the decision.
    • somatization disorder: A mental disorder in which the patient has a long and complicated medical history and physical symptoms involving several different organ systems, but with no known organic basis. The term has generally replaced hysteria as a diagnostic category in contemporary psychiatric practice.
    • somatotype: In William Sheldon's classification system, one of three basic body types (ectomorph, mesomorph, or endomorph) based on anthropometric data.
    • source trait: In Raymond Cattell's psychology, one of 16 basic temperamental and ability-related traits that underlie surface traits and serve to structure the individual's personality. He subdivided them into environmental and hereditary traits and also categorized them as ability, temperament, and dynamic traits.
    • spiritualism: A religious movement that was most popular in English-speaking countries in the period between 1840 and 1920. Its distinctive feature is the belief that the spirits of the dead can be contacted by and deliver messages to survivors through mediums (people with a special ability to communicate between the human and spirit worlds).
    • splitting: A psychological defense mechanism in which the ego compartmentalizes difficult or traumatic experiences rather than integrating them within the personality. Splitting is also used to refer to the tendency of people with narcissistic or borderline personality disorders to see other people as either all good (unrealistic idealization) or all bad (unrealistic devaluation).
    • Stoicism: A school of philosophy associated with the Hellenistic thinker Zeno of Citium and the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, which teaches the importance of self-control and detachment from emotional distractions. It emphasizes virtue, reason, and natural law.
    • Stroop effect: A demonstration of interference in the reaction time of a task. It is named for John Ridley Stroop, an American psychologist who discovered in the 1930s that subjects asked to say the color of a word printed in a different color from the word's meaning (e.g., “red” printed in blue ink) had longer reaction times and made more mistakes.
    • structuralism: In psychology, a 19th-century school of thought represented by Wilhelm Wundt and Edward Titchener, which held that conscious mental activity can be broken down into simpler elements. These can then be combined to form more complex mental structures. The term structuralism was coined by Titchener.
    • stupidity-misery syndrome: A phrase coined by John Dollard and Neal Miller to refer to neuroses.
    • subconscious: A term employed by Pierre Janet that referred to lesser mental processes that were split off from consciousness as a result of pathological states such as hysteria. This is in contrast to Sigmund Freud's use of the term unconscious to refer to the preponderance of mental functioning, which is naturally separate from the conscious mind.
    • subcortical: Referring to a part of the brain lying underneath the cerebral cortex.
    • subjective: Existing in the mind or referring to the thinking subject rather than the object of thought.
    • sublimation: In Sigmund Freud's system, a defense mechanism in which a wish that cannot be directly expressed is diverted toward socially or morally acceptable behavior.
    • superego: In Freudian psychoanalysis, the part of the personality that represents internalized or introjected ideals, values, and moral standards.
    • supportive: Referring to a type of psychotherapy with limited goals, intended to strengthen the patient's defenses and ability to adapt rather than confronting resistance or challenging the patient.
    • surface trait: In Raymond Cattell's usage, a cluster of overt behaviors that appear to belong together and can be observed by outsiders.
    • syllogism: In logic, an argument that takes the form of a major premise and a minor premise connected by a middle term and a conclusion. It is commonly used in deductive reasoning.
    • symbiosis: In psychology, the mutual cooperation or emotional interdependence of two people, as parent and child or husband and wife.
    • synchronicity: The notion, often attributed to Carl Jung, that events can be connected in a symbolic or otherwise meaningful manner without direct causality.
    • syntality: In Raymond Cattell's system, a term that refers to the behavior of a group as a whole; its collective personality.
    • syntaxic experience: In Harry Stack Sullivan's theory, the highest level of human cognition, dependent on language and other shared symbol systems. Syntaxic experience makes interpersonal communication possible.
    • technical eclecticism: In Arnold Lazarus's therapy, the use of effective treatment methods drawn from a variety of sources without regard to the theory that produced them.
    • teleological: Referring to or demonstrating a design or purpose; in psychology, the view that human beings have a purpose, destiny, or orientation toward a goal.
    • temperament: The psychological biologically based structures belonging to a specific individual; a person's characteristic manner of thinking, perceiving, and acting.
    • thalamus (plural, thalami): A brain structure that forms the major part of the diencephalon and relays sensory signals to the cerebral cortex. It also regulates sleep and wakefulness.
    • thanatos: In Freudian psychoanalysis, the death instinct; the source of aggression and all other instinctual impulses ending in death.
    • theory: A scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain a set of natural phenomena.
    • theosophy: A modern movement that began in the 1870s and represents a mixture of esoteric Hindu and Buddhist teachings with Western notions of individual personality and human potential. Its doctrines include reincarnation and karma, as well as a notion that each person has a higher self.
    • therapeutic alliance: The working relationship between therapist and patient, usually understood to include agreement on the goals of treatment, the tasks involved in treatment, and a personal bond between therapist and patient.
    • third force: A phrase sometimes used to define humanistic psychology in contrast to psychoanalysis (the second force) and behaviorism (the first force).
    • thrownness: The English word most commonly used to translate philosopher Martin Heidegger's term Verworfenheit, which refers to the condition of finding oneself in and having to respond to the external world.
    • topological theory of mind: A term that refers to Sigmund Freud's view of the mind as containing three structures: id, ego, and superego.
    • trait: A component or distinguishing characteristic of an individual's personality that is stable across time and external situations.
    • trait psychology: An approach to the study of personality that emphasizes the existence, identifiability, and significance of personality traits. Trait psychology is sometimes called differential psychology.
    • transference: In Freudian theory, the process in which an analysand transfers to the analyst emotions experienced in childhood toward parents or other important figures.
    • translocation mutation: A mutation in which a segment of a chromosome breaks away during the process of cell division and either reattaches itself to a different chromosome or to a wrong location on its original chromosome.
    • transorbital: A term that refers to surgery carried out through the bony cavity (the orbit) surrounding the eyeball. A transorbital lobotomy is one performed by cutting or penetrating through the patient's eye socket.
    • transpersonal psychology: A school of psychology that grew out of humanistic psychology in the late 1960s and focuses on the spiritual or transcendent dimension of humanity. Sometimes called the fourth force, it emphasizes mystical experiences, peak experiences, and the possibility of developing beyond the boundaries of the individual ego.
    • tridosha system: In Ayurvedic medicine, the use of the three doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha) to diagnose a person's health condition, including assessment of their personality.
    • triune brain: A phrase that refers to Paul MacLean's model of the human brain as consisting of three parts or modules representing different stages of human evolution: the R-complex (brain stem and cerebellum; controls basic survival processes), the limbic system (amygdala, hypothalamus, and hippocampus; governs emotions, some memories, and some aspects of personality), and the neocortex (cerebral hemispheres; governs higher-order thinking, speech, and reasoning).
    • true experiment: An experiment in which participants are randomly selected and randomly assigned to an experimental group or a control group.
    • unconditional positive regard: In Carl Rogers's psychology, supportive affirmation that is not contingent on specific behaviors.
    • unconscious: In Freudian theory, the portion of the psyche that is usually inaccessible to the subject even though it has a profound influence on his or her behavior. The unconscious holds socially unacceptable ideas or wishes, painful emotions, and traumatic memories that have been repressed.
    • vagina envy: A concept used in Karen Horney's psychology to explain men's envy of women's ability to bear children and men's consequent striving to find compensation through their work, income, or social status. Some feminist psychologists prefer the term vagina envy.
    • validity: The extent to which a psychological test measures what it claims to measure.
    • variable interval reinforcement: In behaviorism, a schedule of reinforcement in which the timing of each reinforcement varies, without regard to the number of responses.
    • variable-ratio reinforcement: In behaviorism, a schedule of reinforcement in which the number of responses before each reinforcement is allowed to vary.
    • verification: The process of proving the truth or accuracy of experimental or test results.
    • virtù: The Italian word for leadership quality that Niccoló Machiavelli used to describe his ideal prince. It has been variously translated as skill, strength, or prowess.
    • virtue: In Erik Erikson's usage, a strength (or potency) of personality that people acquire when they successfully resolve the crisis associated with their present stage of development. The virtues that Erikson assigned to his eight life stages are hope, will, purpose, competence, fidelity, love, caring, and wisdom.
    • whole-object: In object relations theory, the entirety of a person (or other object) that is the locus of satisfaction for a developing child.
    • Williams syndrome: A rare genetic disorder in which patients appear to be more intelligent than they are in actuality because they possess excellent social skills. The disorder is sometimes called “cocktail party syndrome” for this reason.
    • Zahavian handicap: In evolutionary biology, a phrase used to describe a trait that would seem to place individuals possessing it at an evolutionary disadvantage but that actually confers an advantage on such individuals.


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