Subtle tactical action or argument used to manipulate or influence another: He used poor psychology on his employer when trying to make the point. Philosophy The branch of metaphysics that studies the soul, the mind, and the relationship of life and mind to the functions of the body. Psychology the scientific study of all forms of human and animal behaviour, sometimes concerned with the methods through which behaviour can be modified. See also analytical psychology , clinical psychology , comparative psychology , educational psychology , experimental psychology.
Psychology informal the mental make-up or structure of an individual that causes him or her to think or act in the way he or she does. He used psychology to get a promotion. The scientific study of mental processes and behavior. See also attitudes ; behavior ; dreams ; insanity ; manias ; moods ; phile, -philia, -phily ; phobias. See also body, human. Switch to new thesaurus. Informal way of thinking , attitude , behaviour , temperament , mentality , thought processes , mental processes , what makes you tick , mental make-up a fascination with the psychology of serial killers Quotations "There is no psychology; there is only biography and autobiography" [Thomas Szasz The Second Sin ].
The thought processes characteristic of an individual or group: Raymond Cattell , the 7th most highly cited psychologist of the 20th Century based on the scientific peer-reviewed journal literature  empirically derived a theory of 16 personality factors at the primary-factor level, and up to 8 broader second-stratum factors at the Eysenckian level of analysis , rather than the "Big Five" dimensions.
However, despite a plethora of research into the various versions of the "Big Five" personality dimensions, it appears necessary to move on from static conceptualizations of personality structure to a more dynamic orientation, whereby it is acknowledged that personality constructs are subject to learning and change across the lifespan.
The popular, although psychometrically inadequate Myers—Briggs Type Indicator  sought to assess individuals' "personality types" according to the personality theories of Carl Jung.
Behaviorist resistance to introspection led to the development of the Strong Vocational Interest Blank and Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory MMPI , in an attempt to ask empirical questions that focused less on the psychodynamics of the respondent.
Study of the unconscious mind , a part of the psyche outside the awareness of the individual which nevertheless influenced thoughts and behavior was a hallmark of early psychology. In one of the first psychology experiments conducted in the United States, C.
Peirce and Joseph Jastrow found in that subjects could choose the minutely heavier of two weights even if consciously uncertain of the difference. His text The Psychopathology of Everyday Life catalogues hundreds of everyday events which Freud explains in terms of unconscious influence.
Pierre Janet advanced the idea of a subconscious mind, which could contain autonomous mental elements unavailable to the scrutiny of the subject. Behaviorism notwithstanding, the unconscious mind has maintained its importance in psychology.
Cognitive psychologists have used a "filter" model of attention , according to which much information processing takes place below the threshold of consciousness, and only certain processes, limited by nature and by simultaneous quantity, make their way through the filter. Copious research has shown that subconscious priming of certain ideas can covertly influence thoughts and behavior.
For this reason, some psychologists prefer to distinguish between implicit and explicit memory. In another approach, one can also describe a subliminal stimulus as meeting an objective but not a subjective threshold. The automaticity model, which became widespread following exposition by John Bargh and others in the s, describes sophisticated processes for executing goals which can be selected and performed over an extended duration without conscious awareness.
John Bargh, Daniel Wegner , and Ellen Langer are some prominent contemporary psychologists who describe free will as an illusion. Psychologists such as William James initially used the term motivation to refer to intention, in a sense similar to the concept of will in European philosophy.
With the steady rise of Darwinian and Freudian thinking, instinct also came to be seen as a primary source of motivation. Psychoanalysis, like biology, regarded these forces as physical demands made by the organism on the nervous system.
However, they believed that these forces, especially the sexual instincts, could become entangled and transmuted within the psyche. Classical psychoanalysis conceives of a struggle between the pleasure principle and the reality principle , roughly corresponding to id and ego.
Later, in Beyond the Pleasure Principle , Freud introduced the concept of the death drive , a compulsion towards aggression, destruction, and psychic repetition of traumatic events. Hunger, thirst, fear, sexual desire, and thermoregulation all seem to constitute fundamental motivations for animals.
Motivation can be modulated or manipulated in many different ways. Researchers have found that eating , for example, depends not only on the organism's fundamental need for homeostasis —an important factor causing the experience of hunger —but also on circadian rhythms, food availability, food palatability, and cost. They suggest that this principle can even apply to food, drink, sex, and sleep. Mainly focusing on the development of the human mind through the life span, developmental psychology seeks to understand how people come to perceive, understand, and act within the world and how these processes change as they age.
This may focus on cognitive, affective, moral , social, or neural development. Researchers who study children use a number of unique research methods to make observations in natural settings or to engage them in experimental tasks. Such tasks often resemble specially designed games and activities that are both enjoyable for the child and scientifically useful, and researchers have even devised clever methods to study the mental processes of infants. In addition to studying children, developmental psychologists also study aging and processes throughout the life span, especially at other times of rapid change such as adolescence and old age.
Developmental psychologists draw on the full range of psychological theories to inform their research. All researched psychological traits are influenced by both genes and environment, to varying degrees. An example is the transmission of depression from a depressed mother to her offspring. Theory may hold that the offspring, by virtue of having a depressed mother in his or her the offspring's environment, is at risk for developing depression.
However, risk for depression is also influenced to some extent by genes. The mother may both carry genes that contribute to her depression but will also have passed those genes on to her offspring thus increasing the offspring's risk for depression. Genes and environment in this simple transmission model are completely confounded. Experimental and quasi-experimental behavioral genetic research uses genetic methodologies to disentangle this confound and understand the nature and origins of individual differences in behavior.
More recently, the availability of microarray molecular genetic or genome sequencing technologies allows researchers to measure participant DNA variation directly, and test whether individual genetic variants within genes are associated with psychological traits and psychopathology through methods including genome-wide association studies.
One goal of such research is similar to that in positional cloning and its success in Huntington's: One major result of genetic association studies is the general finding that psychological traits and psychopathology, as well as complex medical diseases, are highly polygenic ,      where a large number on the order of hundreds to thousands of genetic variants, each of small effect, contribute to individual differences in the behavioral trait or propensity to the disorder.
Active research continues to understand the genetic and environmental bases of behavior and their interaction. Psychology encompasses many subfields and includes different approaches to the study of mental processes and behavior:. Psychological testing has ancient origins, such as examinations for the Chinese civil service dating back to BC. By , the Chinese system required a stratified series of tests, involving essay writing and knowledge of diverse topics.
The system was ended in Physiognomy remained current through the Enlightenment, and added the doctrine of phrenology: When experimental psychology came to Britain, Francis Galton was a leading practitioner, and, with his procedures for measuring reaction time and sensation, is considered an inventor of modern mental testing also known as psychometrics.
Binet and Simon introduced the concept of mental age and referred to the lowest scorers on their test as idiots. Goddard put the Binet-Simon scale to work and introduced classifications of mental level such as imbecile and feebleminded.
In after Binet's death , Stanford professor Lewis M. Terman modified the Binet-Simon scale renamed the Stanford—Binet scale and introduced the intelligence quotient as a score report. Their dullness seems to be racial. The federally created National Intelligence Test was administered to 7 million children in the s, and in the College Entrance Examination Board created the Scholastic Aptitude Test to standardize college admissions.
Setting a precedent which has never been overturned, the U. Supreme Court affirmed the constitutionality of this practice in the case Buck v. Today mental testing is a routine phenomenon for people of all ages in Western societies.
The provision of psychological health services is generally called clinical psychology in the U. The definitions of this term are various and may include school psychology and counseling psychology.
Practitioners typically includes people who have graduated from doctoral programs in clinical psychology but may also include others. In Canada, the above groups usually fall within the larger category of professional psychology.
In Canada and the US, practitioners get bachelor's degrees and doctorates, then spend one year in an internship and one year in postdoctoral education. In Mexico and most other Latin American and European countries, psychologists do not get bachelor's and doctorate degrees; instead, they take a three-year professional course following high school. Central to its practice are psychological assessment and psychotherapy although clinical psychologists may also engage in research, teaching, consultation, forensic testimony, and program development and administration.
Credit for the first psychology clinic in the United States typically goes to Lightner Witmer , who established his practice in Philadelphia in Another modern psychotherapist was Morton Prince. Psychology entered the field with its refinements of mental testing, which promised to improve diagnosis of mental problems. For their part, some psychiatrists became interested in using psychoanalysis and other forms of psychodynamic psychotherapy to understand and treat the mentally ill.
The therapist seeks to uncover repressed material and to understand why the patient creates defenses against certain thoughts and feelings. An important aspect of the therapeutic relationship is transference , in which deep unconscious feelings in a patient reorient themselves and become manifest in relation to the therapist.
Psychiatric psychotherapy blurred the distinction between psychiatry and psychology, and this trend continued with the rise of community mental health facilities and behavioral therapy , a thoroughly non-psychodynamic model which used behaviorist learning theory to change the actions of patients.
A key aspect of behavior therapy is empirical evaluation of the treatment's effectiveness. In the s, cognitive-behavior therapy arose, using similar methods and now including the cognitive constructs which had gained popularity in theoretical psychology.
A key practice in behavioral and cognitive-behavioral therapy is exposing patients to things they fear, based on the premise that their responses fear, panic, anxiety can be deconditioned. Mental health care today involves psychologists and social workers in increasing numbers. In , National Institute of Mental Health director Bertram Brown described this shift as a source of "intense competition and role confusion".
This degree is intended to train practitioners who might conduct scientific research. Some clinical psychologists may focus on the clinical management of patients with brain injury —this area is known as clinical neuropsychology.
In many countries, clinical psychology is a regulated mental health profession. The emerging field of disaster psychology see crisis intervention involves professionals who respond to large-scale traumatic events. The work performed by clinical psychologists tends to be influenced by various therapeutic approaches, all of which involve a formal relationship between professional and client usually an individual, couple, family, or small group. Typically, these approaches encourage new ways of thinking, feeling, or behaving.
Four major theoretical perspectives are psychodynamic , cognitive behavioral , existential—humanistic , and systems or family therapy. There has been a growing movement to integrate the various therapeutic approaches, especially with an increased understanding of issues regarding culture, gender, spirituality, and sexual orientation. With the advent of more robust research findings regarding psychotherapy, there is evidence that most of the major therapies have equal effectiveness, with the key common element being a strong therapeutic alliance.
New editions over time have increased in size and focused more on medical language. Educational psychology is the study of how humans learn in educational settings, the effectiveness of educational interventions, the psychology of teaching, and the social psychology of schools as organizations. The work of child psychologists such as Lev Vygotsky , Jean Piaget , and Jerome Bruner has been influential in creating teaching methods and educational practices.
Educational psychology is often included in teacher education programs in places such as North America, Australia, and New Zealand. School psychology combines principles from educational psychology and clinical psychology to understand and treat students with learning disabilities; to foster the intellectual growth of gifted students; to facilitate prosocial behaviors in adolescents; and otherwise to promote safe, supportive, and effective learning environments.
School psychologists are trained in educational and behavioral assessment, intervention, prevention, and consultation, and many have extensive training in research. Industrialists soon brought the nascent field of psychology to bear on the study of scientific management techniques for improving workplace efficiency. This field was at first called economic psychology or business psychology ; later, industrial psychology , employment psychology , or psychotechnology.
With funding from the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Fund and guidance from Australian psychologist Elton Mayo , Western Electric experimented on thousands of factory workers to assess their responses to illumination, breaks, food, and wages.
The researchers came to focus on workers' responses to observation itself, and the term Hawthorne effect is now used to describe the fact that people work harder when they think they're being watched.
The name industrial and organizational psychology I—O arose in the s and became enshrined as the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology , Division 14 of the American Psychological Association, in Personnel psychology, a subfield of I—O psychology, applies the methods and principles of psychology in selecting and evaluating workers.
I—O psychology's other subfield, organizational psychology , examines the effects of work environments and management styles on worker motivation, job satisfaction , and productivity. One role for psychologists in the military is to evaluate and counsel soldiers and other personnel. S Army psychology includes psychological screening, clinical psychotherapy, suicide prevention , and treatment for post-traumatic stress, as well as other aspects of health and workplace psychology such as smoking cessation.
Psychologists may also work on a diverse set of campaigns known broadly as psychological warfare. Psychologically warfare chiefly involves the use of propaganda to influence enemy soldiers and civilians. In the case of so-called black propaganda the propaganda is designed to seem like it originates from a different source. Medical facilities increasingly employ psychologists to perform various roles. A prominent aspect of health psychology is the psychoeducation of patients: Health psychologists can also educate doctors and conduct research on patient compliance.
Psychologists in the field of public health use a wide variety of interventions to influence human behavior. These range from public relations campaigns and outreach to governmental laws and policies.
Psychologists study the composite influence of all these different tools in an effort to influence whole populations of people. Black American psychologists Kenneth and Mamie Clark studied the psychological impact of segregation and testified with their findings in the desegregation case Brown v. Board of Education Positive psychology is the study of factors which contribute to human happiness and well-being, focusing more on people who are currently healthy.
In , Clinical Psychological Review published a special issue devoted to positive psychological interventions, such as gratitude journaling and the physical expression of gratitude.
Positive psychological interventions have been limited in scope, but their effects are thought to be superior to that of placebos , especially with regard to helping people with body image problems. Quantitative psychological research lends itself to the statistical testing of hypotheses. Although the field makes abundant use of randomized and controlled experiments in laboratory settings, such research can only assess a limited range of short-term phenomena.
Thus, psychologists also rely on creative statistical methods to glean knowledge from clinical trials and population data. The measurement and operationalization of important constructs is an essential part of these research designs. A true experiment with random allocation of subjects to conditions allows researchers to make strong inferences about causal relationships. In an experiment, the researcher alters parameters of influence, called independent variables , and measures resulting changes of interest, called dependent variables.
Prototypical experimental research is conducted in a laboratory with a carefully controlled environment. Repeated-measures experiments are those which take place through intervention on multiple occasions. In research on the effectiveness of psychotherapy , experimenters often compare a given treatment with placebo treatments, or compare different treatments against each other. Treatment type is the independent variable.
The dependent variables are outcomes, ideally assessed in several ways by different professionals. Quasi-experimental design refers especially to situations precluding random assignment to different conditions. Researchers can use common sense to consider how much the nonrandom assignment threatens the study's validity. Psychologists will compare the achievement of children attending phonics and whole language classes. Experimental researchers typically use a statistical hypothesis testing model which involves making predictions before conducting the experiment, then assessing how well the data supports the predictions.
These predictions may originate from a more abstract scientific hypothesis about how the phenomenon under study actually works. Analysis of variance ANOVA statistical techniques are used to distinguish unique results of the experiment from the null hypothesis that variations result from random fluctuations in data.
Statistical surveys are used in psychology for measuring attitudes and traits, monitoring changes in mood, checking the validity of experimental manipulations, and for other psychological topics. Most commonly, psychologists use paper-and-pencil surveys. However, surveys are also conducted over the phone or through e-mail. Web-based surveys are increasingly used to conveniently reach many subjects.
Neuropsychological tests , such as the Wechsler scales and Wisconsin Card Sorting Test , are mostly questionnaires or simple tasks used which assess a specific type of mental function in the respondent. These can be used in experiments, as in the case of lesion experiments evaluating the results of damage to a specific part of the brain.
Observational studies analyze uncontrolled data in search of correlations; multivariate statistics are typically used to interpret the more complex situation. Cross-sectional observational studies use data from a single point in time, whereas longitudinal studies are used to study trends across the life span.
Longitudinal studies track the same people, and therefore detect more individual, rather than cultural, differences. However, they suffer from lack of controls and from confounding factors such as selective attrition the bias introduced when a certain type of subject disproportionately leaves a study. Exploratory data analysis refers to a variety of practices which researchers can use to visualize and analyze existing sets of data.
In Peirce's three modes of inference , exploratory data anlysis corresponds to abduction , or hypothesis formation. A classic and popular tool used to relate mental and neural activity is the electroencephalogram EEG , a technique using amplified electrodes on a person's scalp to measure voltage changes in different parts of the brain. Hans Berger , the first researcher to use EEG on an unopened skull, quickly found that brains exhibit signature " brain waves ": Researchers subsequently refined statistical methods for synthesizing the electrode data, and identified unique brain wave patterns such as the delta wave observed during non-REM sleep.
Newer functional neuroimaging techniques include functional magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography , both of which track the flow of blood through the brain. These technologies provide more localized information about activity in the brain and create representations of the brain with widespread appeal. They also provide insight which avoids the classic problems of subjective self-reporting.
It remains challenging to draw hard conclusions about where in the brain specific thoughts originate—or even how usefully such localization corresponds with reality. However, neuroimaging has delivered unmistakable results showing the existence of correlations between mind and brain. Some of these draw on a systemic neural network model rather than a localized function model. Psychiatric interventions such as transcranial magnetic stimulation and drugs also provide information about brain—mind interactions.
Psychopharmacology is the study of drug-induced mental effects. Computational modeling is a tool used in mathematical psychology and cognitive psychology to simulate behavior. Since modern computers process information quickly, simulations can be run in a short time, allowing for high statistical power.
Modeling also allows psychologists to visualize hypotheses about the functional organization of mental events that couldn't be directly observed in a human.
Computational neuroscience uses mathematical models to simulate the brain. Another method is symbolic modeling, which represents many mental objects using variables and rules. Other types of modeling include dynamic systems and stochastic modeling. Animal experiments aid in investigating many aspects of human psychology, including perception, emotion, learning, memory, and thought, to name a few.
In the s, Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov famously used dogs to demonstrate classical conditioning. Non-human primates , cats, dogs, pigeons, rats , and other rodents are often used in psychological experiments.
Ideally, controlled experiments introduce only one independent variable at a time, in order to ascertain its unique effects upon dependent variables. These conditions are approximated best in laboratory settings. In contrast, human environments and genetic backgrounds vary so widely, and depend upon so many factors, that it is difficult to control important variables for human subjects.
There are pitfalls in generalizing findings from animal studies to humans through animal models. Comparative psychology refers to the scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of non-human animals, especially as these relate to the phylogenetic history, adaptive significance, and development of behavior.
Research in this area explores the behavior of many species, from insects to primates. It is closely related to other disciplines that study animal behavior such as ethology. Research designed to answer questions about the current state of affairs such as the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of individuals is known as descriptive research. Descriptive research can be qualitative or quantitative in orientation. Qualitative research is descriptive research that is focused on observing and describing events as they occur, with the goal of capturing all of the richness of everyday behavior and with the hope of discovering and understanding phenomena that might have been missed if only more cursory examinations have been made.
Qualitative psychological research methods include interviews , first-hand observation, and participant observation. Creswell identifies five main possibilities for qualitative research, including narrative, phenomenology , ethnography , case study , and grounded theory. Qualitative researchers  sometimes aim to enrich interpretations or critiques of symbols , subjective experiences, or social structures.
Sometimes hermeneutic and critical aims can give rise to quantitative research, as in Erich Fromm 's study of Nazi voting [ citation needed ] or Stanley Milgram 's studies of obedience to authority. Just as Jane Goodall studied chimpanzee social and family life by careful observation of chimpanzee behavior in the field, psychologists conduct naturalistic observation of ongoing human social, professional, and family life.
Sometimes the participants are aware they are being observed, and other times the participants do not know they are being observed. Strict ethical guidelines must be followed when covert observation is being carried out. Fanelli argues that this is because researchers in "softer" sciences have fewer constraints to their conscious and unconscious biases.
Some popular media outlets have in recent years spotlighted a replication crisis in psychology, arguing that many findings in the field cannot be reproduced. Repeats of some famous studies have not reached the same conclusions, and some researchers have been accused of outright fraud in their results.
Focus on this issue has led to renewed efforts in the discipline to re-test important findings. Some critics view statistical hypothesis testing as misplaced.
These theories emphasize unconscious motives and desires and the importance of childhood experiences in shaping personality. It is also called paradoxical sleep.
It also acts as the operating principle of the ego. This interaction results in personality. A neuron during this time is inactive. It occurs as a result of a fixed-interval schedule.
It is also called a conditioned punisher. It is also called a conditioned reinforcer. The self-concept includes all the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs people have about themselves. They are located in the inner ear.
The disorder begins before age thirty and continues for many years. It is also called source misattribution or source monitoring error. It also sometimes refers to circumstances that threaten well-being, to the response people have to threatening circumstances, or to the process of evaluating and coping with threatening circumstances. It is usually a permanent condition, characterized by involuntary movements.
It is often used to measure the need for achievement. It states that inherited characteristics that give an organism a reproductive or survival advantage are passed on more often to future generations than other inherited characteristics.
It is also called the Young-Helmholtz theory. When people perceive physiological symptoms of arousal, they look for an environmental explanation of this arousal.
a psychological or physiological pattern that occurs in an individual and is usually associated with distress or disability that is not expected .
Psychological terms synonyms, Psychological terms pronunciation, Psychological terms translation, English dictionary definition of Psychological terms.) n. pl. psy·chol·o·gies 1. The science that deals with mental processes and behavior. 2. The emotional and behavioral characteristics of an individual, a.
Today, psychology is concerned with the science or study of the mind and behavior. Many branches of psychology are differentiated by the specific field to which they belong, such as animal psychology, child psychology, and sports psychology. Health psychology - A branch of psychology that focuses on the relationship between psychosocial factors and the emergence, progression, and treatment of illness. Heritability - A mathematical estimate that indicates how much of a trait’s variation in a population can be attributed to genetic factors.
(psychology) unconscious internalization of aspects of the world (especially aspects of persons) within the self in such a way that the internalized representation takes over the psychological functions of the external objects. The physiological and psychological reaction to an expected danger, whether real or imagined. Aphasia The impairment of the ability to communicate either through oral or written discourse as a result of brain damage.