Vocabulary

Ability model
An approach that views EI as a standard intelligence that utilizes a distinct set of mental abilities that (1) are intercorrelated, (2) relate to other extant intelligences, and (3) develop with age and experience (Mayer & Salovey, 1997).
Absolute stability
Consistency in the level or amount of a personality attribute over time.
Acceptance and commitment therapy
A therapeutic approach designed to foster nonjudgmental observation of one’s own mental processes.
Active person–environment transactions
The interplay between individuals and their contextual circumstances that occurs whenever individuals play a key role in seeking out, selecting, or otherwise manipulating aspects of their environment.
Adaptation
The fact that after people first react to good or bad events, sometimes in a strong way, their feelings and reactions tend to dampen down over time and they return toward their original level of subjective well-being.
Adherence
In health, it is the ability of a patient to maintain a health behavior prescribed by a physician. This might include taking medication as prescribed, exercising more, or eating less high-fat food.
Affect
Feelings that can be described in terms of two dimensions, the dimensions of arousal and valence (Figure 2). For example, high arousal positive states refer to excitement, elation, and enthusiasm. Low arousal positive states refer to calm, peacefulness, and relaxation. Whereas “actual affect” refers to the states that people actually feel, “ideal affect” refers to the states that people ideally want to feel.
Affective forecasting
Predicting how one will feel in the future after some event or decision.
Age effects
Differences in personality between groups of different ages that are related to maturation and development instead of birth cohort differences.
Agonists
A drug that increases or enhances a neurotransmitter’s effect.
Agoraphobia
A sort of anxiety disorder distinguished by feelings that a place is uncomfortable or may be unsafe because it is significantly open or crowded.
Agreeableness
A personality trait that reflects a person’s tendency to be compassionate, cooperative, warm, and caring to others. People low in agreeableness tend to be rude, hostile, and to pursue their own interests over those of others.
Agreeableness
A core personality trait that includes such dispositional characteristics as being sympathetic, generous, forgiving, and helpful, and behavioral tendencies toward harmonious social relations and likeability.
Alogia
A reduction in the amount of speech and/or increased pausing before the initiation of speech.
Altruism
A motivation for helping that has the improvement of another’s welfare as its ultimate goal, with no expectation of any benefits for the helper.
Anhedonia
Loss of interest or pleasure in activities one previously found enjoyable or rewarding.
Anhedonia/amotivation
A reduction in the drive or ability to take the steps or engage in actions necessary to obtain the potentially positive outcome.
Antagonist
A drug that blocks a neurotransmitter’s effect.
Anxiety
A mood state characterized by negative affect, muscle tension, and physical arousal in which a person apprehensively anticipates future danger or misfortune.
Arousal: cost–reward model
An egoistic theory proposed by Piliavin et al. (1981) that claims that seeing a person in need leads to the arousal of unpleasant feelings, and observers are motivated to eliminate that aversive state, often by helping the victim. A cost–reward analysis may lead observers to react in ways other than offering direct assistance, including indirect help, reinterpretation of the situation, or fleeing the scene.
Attitude
A psychological tendency that is expressed by evaluating a particular entity with some degree of favor or disfavor.
Attraction
A connection between personality attributes and aspects of the environment that occurs because individuals with particular traits are drawn to certain environments.
Attributional style
The tendency by which a person infers the cause or meaning of behaviors or events.
Attrition
A connection between personality attributes and aspects of the environment that occurs because individuals with particular traits drop out from certain environments.
Audience design
Constructing utterances to suit the audience’s knowledge.
Automatic
A behavior or process has one or more of the following features: unintentional, uncontrollable, occurring outside of conscious awareness, and cognitively efficient.
Automatic bias
Automatic biases are unintended, immediate, and irresistible.
Automatic thoughts
Thoughts that occur spontaneously; often used to describe problematic thoughts that maintain mental disorders.
Availability heuristic
A heuristic in which the frequency or likelihood of an event is evaluated based on how easily instances of it come to mind.
Aversive racism
Aversive racism is unexamined racial bias that the person does not intend and would reject, but that avoids inter-racial contact.
Balancing between goals
Shifting between a focal goal and other goals or temptations by putting less effort into the focal goal—usually with the intention of coming back to the focal goal at a later point in time.
Basic-level category
The neutral, preferred category for a given object, at an intermediate level of specificity.
Behavioral medicine
A field similar to health psychology that integrates psychological factors (e.g., emotion, behavior, cognition, and social factors) in the treatment of disease. This applied field includes clinical areas of study, such as occupational therapy, hypnosis, rehabilitation or medicine, and preventative medicine.
Big Five
Five, broad general traits that are included in many prominent models of personality. The five traits are neuroticism (those high on this trait are prone to feeling sad, worried, anxious, and dissatisfied with themselves), extraversion (high scorers are friendly, assertive, outgoing, cheerful, and energetic), openness to experience (those high on this trait are tolerant, intellectually curious, imaginative, and artistic), agreeableness (high scorers are polite, considerate, cooperative, honest, and trusting), and conscientiousness (those high on this trait are responsible, cautious, organized, disciplined, and achievement-oriented).
Big-C Creativity
Creative ideas that have an impact well beyond the everyday life of home or work. At the highest level, this kind of creativity is that of the creative genius.
Biofeedback
The process by which physiological signals, not normally available to human perception, are transformed into easy-to-understand graphs or numbers. Individuals can then use this information to try to change bodily functioning (e.g., lower blood pressure, reduce muscle tension).
Biological vulnerability
A specific genetic and neurobiological factor that might predispose someone to develop anxiety disorders.
Biomedical Model of Health
A reductionist model that posits that ill health is a result of a deviation from normal function, which is explained by the presence of pathogens, injury, or genetic abnormality.
Biopsychosocial Model of Health
An approach to studying health and human function that posits the importance of biological, psychological, and social (or environmental) processes.
Birth cohort
Individuals born in a particular year or span of time.
Blatant biases
Blatant biases are conscious beliefs, feelings, and behavior that people are perfectly willing to admit, are mostly hostile, and openly favor their own group.
“Bottom-up” or external causes of happiness
Situational factors outside the person that influence his or her subjective well-being, such as good and bad events and circumstances such as health and wealth.
Bystander intervention
The phenomenon whereby people intervene to help others in need even if the other is a complete stranger and the intervention puts the helper at risk.
Catatonia
Behaviors that seem to reflect a reduction in responsiveness to the external environment. This can include holding unusual postures for long periods of time, failing to respond to verbal or motor prompts from another person, or excessive and seemingly purposeless motor activity.
Category
A set of entities that are equivalent in some way. Usually the items are similar to one another.
Chameleon effect
The tendency for individuals to nonconsciously mimic the postures, mannerisms, facial expressions, and other behaviors of one’s interaction partners.
Chronic disease
A health condition that persists over time, typically for periods longer than three months (e.g., HIV, asthma, diabetes).
Chronic stress
Discrete or related problematic events and conditions which persist over time and result in prolonged activation of the biological and/or psychological stress response (e.g., unemployment, ongoing health difficulties, marital discord).
Cognitive bias modification
Using exercises (e.g., computer games) to change problematic thinking habits.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
A family of approaches with the goal of changing the thoughts and behaviors that influence psychopathology.
Cohort effects
Differences in personality that are related to historical and social factors unique to individuals born in a particular year.
Collective efficacy
The shared beliefs among members of a group about the group’s ability to effectively perform the tasks needed to attain a valued goal.
Collective self-esteem
Feelings of self-worth that are based on evaluation of relationships with others and membership in social groups.
Commitment
The sense that a goal is both valuable and attainable
Common ground
Information that is shared by people who engage in a conversation.
Common knowledge effect
The tendency for groups to spend more time discussing information that all members know (shared information) and less time examining information that only a few members know (unshared).
Comorbidity
Describes a state of having more than one psychological or physical disorder at a given time.
Concept
The mental representation of a category.
Conditioned response
A learned reaction following classical conditioning, or the process by which an event that automatically elicits a response is repeatedly paired with another neutral stimulus (conditioned stimulus), resulting in the ability of the neutral stimulus to elicit the same response on its own.
Conformity
Changing one’s attitude or behavior to match a perceived social norm.
Conscientiousness
A personality trait that reflects a person’s tendency to be careful, organized, hardworking, and to follow rules.
Conscious goal activation
When a person is fully aware of contextual influences and resulting goal-directed behavior.
Continuous distributions
Characteristics can go from low to high, with all different intermediate values possible. One does not simply have the trait or not have it, but can possess varying amounts of it.
Control
Feeling like you have the power to change your environment or behavior if you need or want to.
Convergent thinking
The opposite of divergent thinking, the capacity to narrow in on the single “correct” answer or solution to a given question or problem (e.g., giving the right response on an intelligence tests).
Corresponsive principle
The idea that personality traits often become matched with environmental conditions such that an individual’s social context acts to accentuate and reinforce their personality attributes.
Cost–benefit analysis
A decision-making process that compares the cost of an action or thing against the expected benefit to help determine the best course of action.
Cross-sectional study/design
A research design that uses a group of individuals with different ages (and birth cohorts) assessed at a single point in time.
Cultural display rules
These are rules that are learned early in life that specify the management and modification of emotional expressions according to social circumstances. Cultural display rules can work in a number of different ways. For example, they can require individuals to express emotions “as is” (i.e., as they feel them), to exaggerate their expressions to show more than what is actually felt, to tone down their expressions to show less than what is actually felt, to conceal their feelings by expressing something else, or to show nothing at all.
Culture
Shared, socially transmitted ideas (e.g., values, beliefs, attitudes) that are reflected in and reinforced by institutions, products, and rituals.
Cumulative continuity principle
The generalization that personality attributes show increasing stability with age and experience.
Daily hassles
Irritations in daily life that are not necessarily traumatic, but that cause difficulties and repeated stress.
Deliberative phase
The first of the two basic stages of self-regulation in which individuals decide which of many potential goals to pursue at a given point in time.
Delusions
False beliefs that are often fixed, hard to change even in the presence of conflicting information, and often culturally influenced in their content.
Descriptive norm
The perception of what most people do in a given situation.
Diagnostic criteria
The specific criteria used to determine whether an individual has a specific type of psychiatric disorder. Commonly used diagnostic criteria are included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, 5th Edition (DSM-5) and the Internal Classification of Disorders, Version 9 (ICD-9).
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
A treatment often used for borderline personality disorder that incorporates both cognitive-behavioral and mindfulness elements.
Dialectical worldview
A perspective in DBT that emphasizes the joint importance of change and acceptance.
Differential stability
Consistency in the rank-ordering of personality across two or more measurement occasions.
Diffusion of responsibility
When deciding whether to help a person in need, knowing that there are others who could also provide assistance relieves bystanders of some measure of personal responsibility, reducing the likelihood that bystanders will intervene.
Directional goals
The motivation to reach a particular outcome or judgment.
Discrimination
Discrimination is behavior that advantages or disadvantages people merely based on their group membership.
Disorganized behavior
Behavior or dress that is outside the norm for almost all subcultures. This would include odd dress, odd makeup (e.g., lipstick outlining a mouth for 1 inch), or unusual rituals (e.g., repetitive hand gestures).
Disorganized speech
Speech that is difficult to follow, either because answers do not clearly follow questions or because one sentence does not logically follow from another.
Divergent thinking
The opposite of convergent thinking, the capacity for exploring multiple potential answers or solutions to a given question or problem (e.g., coming up with many different uses for a common object).
Dopamine
A neurotransmitter in the brain that is thought to play an important role in regulating the function of other neurotransmitters.
Drive state
Affective experiences that motivate organisms to fulfill goals that are generally beneficial to their survival and reproduction.
Durability bias
A bias in affective forecasting in which one overestimates for how long one will feel an emotion (positive or negative) after some event.
Early adversity
Single or multiple acute or chronic stressful events, which may be biological or psychological in nature (e.g., poverty, abuse, childhood illness or injury), occurring during childhood and resulting in a biological and/or psychological stress response.
Ego defenses
Mental strategies, rooted in the ego, that we use to manage anxiety when we feel threatened (some examples include repression, denial, sublimation, and reaction formation).
Ego-depletion
The exhaustion of physiological and/or psychological resources following the completion of effortful self-control tasks, which subsequently leads to reduction in the capacity to exert more self-control.
Egoism
A motivation for helping that has the improvement of the helper’s own circumstances as its primary goal.
Emotional intelligence
The ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions. (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). EI includes four specific abilities: perceiving, using, understanding, and managing emotions.
Emotion-focused coping
Coping strategy aimed at reducing the negative emotions associated with a stressful event.
Emotions
Changes in subjective experience, physiological responding, and behavior in response to a meaningful event. Emotions tend to occur on the order of seconds (in contract to moods which may last for days).
Empathic concern
According to Batson’s empathy–altruism hypothesis, observers who empathize with a person in need (that is, put themselves in the shoes of the victim and imagine how that person feels) will experience empathic concern and have an altruistic motivation for helping.
Empathy–altruism model
An altruistic theory proposed by Batson (2011) that claims that people who put themselves in the shoes of a victim and imagining how the victim feel will experience empathic concern that evokes an altruistic motivation for helping.
Enzyme
A protein produced by a living organism that allows or helps a chemical reaction to occur.
Enzyme induction
Process through which a drug can enhance the production of an enzyme.
Episodic memory
The ability to learn and retrieve new information or episodes in one’s life.
Evaluative priming​ task
An implicit attitude task that assesses the extent to which an attitude object is associated with a positive or negative valence by measuring the time it takes a person to label an adjective as good or bad after being presented with an attitude object.
Evocative person–environment transactions
The interplay between individuals and their contextual circumstances that occurs whenever attributes of the individual draw out particular responses from others in their environment.
Exemplar
An example in memory that is labeled as being in a particular category.
Explicit attitude
An attitude that is consciously held and can be reported on by the person holding the attitude.
Exposure therapy
A form of intervention in which the patient engages with a problematic (usually feared) situation without avoidance or escape.
External cues
Stimuli in the outside world that serve as triggers for anxiety or as reminders of past traumatic events.
Extraversion
A personality trait that reflects a person’s tendency to be sociable, outgoing, active, and assertive.
Extrinsic motivation
Motivation stemming from the benefits associated with achieving a goal such as obtaining a monetary reward.
Facets
Broad personality traits can be broken down into narrower facets or aspects of the trait. For example, extraversion has several facets, such as sociability, dominance, risk-taking and so forth.
Factor analysis
A statistical technique for grouping similar things together according to how highly they are associated.
Feelings
A general term used to describe a wide range of states that include emotions, moods, traits and that typically involve changes in subjective experience, physiological responding, and behavior in response to a meaningful event. Emotions typically occur on the order of seconds, whereas moods may last for days, and traits are tendencies to respond a certain way across various situations.
Fight or flight response
A biological reaction to alarming stressors that prepares the body to resist or escape a threat.
Five-Factor Model
(also called the Big Five) The Five-Factor Model is a widely accepted model of personality traits. Advocates of the model believe that much of the variability in people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors can be summarized with five broad traits. These five traits are Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism.
Flashback
Sudden, intense re-experiencing of a previous event, usually trauma-related.
Flat affect
A reduction in the display of emotions through facial expressions, gestures, and speech intonation.
Four-Branch Model
An ability model developed by Drs. Peter Salovey and John Mayer that includes four main components of EI, arranged in hierarchical order, beginning with basic psychological processes and advancing to integrative psychological processes. The branches are (1) perception of emotion, (2) use of emotion to facilitate thinking, (3) understanding emotion, and (4) management of emotion.
Free association
In psychodynamic therapy, a process in which the patient reports all thoughts that come to mind without censorship, and these thoughts are interpreted by the therapist.
Functional capacity
The ability to engage in self-care (cook, clean, bathe), work, attend school, and/or engage in social relationships.
G
Short for “general factor” and is often used to be synonymous with intelligence itself.
General Adaptation Syndrome
A three-phase model of stress, which includes a mobilization of physiological resources phase, a coping phase, and an exhaustion phase (i.e., when an organism fails to cope with the stress adequately and depletes its resources).
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
Excessive worry about everyday things that is at a level that is out of proportion to the specific causes of worry.
Goal
The cognitive representation of a desired state (outcome).
Goal priming
The activation of a goal following exposure to cues in the immediate environment related to the goal or its corresponding means (e.g., images, words, sounds).
Grandiosity
Inflated self-esteem or an exaggerated sense of self-importance and self-worth (e.g., believing one has special powers or superior abilities).
Group cohesion
The solidarity or unity of a group resulting from the development of strong and mutual interpersonal bonds among members and group-level forces that unify the group, such as shared commitment to group goals.
Group level
A focus on summary statistics that apply to aggregates of individuals when studying personality development. An example is considering whether the average score of a group of 50 year olds is higher than the average score of a group of 21 year olds when considering a trait like conscientiousness.
Group polarization
The tendency for members of a deliberating group to move to a more extreme position, with the direction of the shift determined by the majority or average of the members’ predeliberation preferences.
Groupthink
A set of negative group-level processes, including illusions of invulnerability, self-censorship, and pressures to conform, that occur when highly cohesive groups seek concurrence when making a decision.
Hallucinations
Perceptual experiences that occur even when there is no stimulus in the outside world generating the experiences. They can be auditory, visual, olfactory (smell), gustatory (taste), or somatic (touch).
Happiness
The popular word for subjective well-being. Scientists sometimes avoid using this term because it can refer to different things, such as feeling good, being satisfied, or even the causes of high subjective well-being.
Health
According to the World Health Organization, it is a complete state of physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
Health behavior
Any behavior that is related to health—either good or bad.
Helpfulness
A component of the prosocial personality orientation; describes individuals who have been helpful in the past and, because they believe they can be effective with the help they give, are more likely to be helpful in the future.
Helping
Prosocial acts that typically involve situations in which one person is in need and another provides the necessary assistance to eliminate the other’s need.
Heterotypic stability
Consistency in the underlying psychological attribute across development regardless of any changes in how the attribute is expressed at different ages.
Heuristics
A mental shortcut or rule of thumb that reduces complex mental problems to more simple rule-based decisions.
HEXACO model
The HEXACO model is an alternative to the Five-Factor Model. The HEXACO model includes six traits, five of which are variants of the traits included in the Big Five (Emotionality [E], Extraversion [X], Agreeableness [A], Conscientiousness [C], and Openness [O]). The sixth factor, Honesty-Humility [H], is unique to this model.
Highlighting a goal
Prioritizing a focal goal over other goals or temptations by putting more effort into the focal goal.
High-stakes testing
Settings in which test scores are used to make important decisions about individuals. For example, test scores may be used to determine which individuals are admitted into a college or graduate school, or who should be hired for a job. Tests also are used in forensic settings to help determine whether a person is competent to stand trial or fits the legal definition of sanity.
Homeostasis
The tendency of an organism to maintain a stable state across all the different physiological systems in the body.
Homeostatic set point
An ideal level that the system being regulated must be monitored and compared to.
Homotypic stability
Consistency of the exact same thoughts, feelings, and behaviors across development.
Honeymoon effect
The tendency for newly married individuals to rate their spouses in an unrealistically positive manner. This represents a specific manifestation of the letter of recommendation effect when applied to ratings made by current romantic partners. Moreover, it illustrates the very important role played by relationship satisfaction in ratings made by romantic partners: As marital satisfaction declines (i.e., when the “honeymoon is over”), this effect disappears.
Hostile attribution bias
The tendency of some individuals to interpret ambiguous social cues and interactions as examples of aggressiveness, disrespect, or antagonism.
Hostility
An experience or trait with cognitive, behavioral, and emotional components. It often includes cynical thoughts, feelings of emotion, and aggressive behavior.
Hot cognition
The mental processes that are influenced by desires and feelings.
Hypersomnia
Excessive daytime sleepiness, including difficulty staying awake or napping, or prolonged sleep episodes.
Hypothalamus
A portion of the brain involved in a variety of functions, including the secretion of various hormones and the regulation of hunger and sexual arousal.
Imaginal performances
When imagining yourself doing well increases self-efficacy.
Impact bias
A bias in affective forecasting in which one overestimates the strength or intensity of emotion one will experience after some event.
Implemental phase
The second of the two basic stages of self-regulation in which individuals plan specific actions related to their selected goal.
Implicit Association Test
Implicit Association Test (IAT) measures relatively automatic biases that favor own group relative to other groups.
Implicit Association Test
An implicit attitude task that assesses a person’s automatic associations between concepts by measuring the response times in pairing the concepts.
Implicit attitude
An attitude that a person cannot verbally or overtly state.
Implicit measures of attitudes
Measures of attitudes in which researchers infer the participant’s attitude rather than having the participant explicitly report it.
Implicit motives
These are goals that are important to a person, but that he/she cannot consciously express. Because the individual cannot verbalize these goals directly, they cannot be easily assessed via self-report. However, they can be measured using projective devices such as the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT).
Independent
Two characteristics or traits are separate from one another-- a person can be high on one and low on the other, or vice-versa. Some correlated traits are relatively independent in that although there is a tendency for a person high on one to also be high on the other, this is not always the case.
Independent self
A model or view of the self as distinct from others and as stable across different situations. The goal of the independent self is to express and assert the self, and to influence others. This model of self is prevalent in many individualistic, Western contexts (e.g., the United States, Australia, Western Europe).
Individual level
A focus on individual level statistics that reflect whether individuals show stability or change when studying personality development. An example is evaluating how many individuals increased in conscientiousness versus how many decreased in conscientiousness when considering the transition from adolescence to adulthood.
Informational influence
Conformity that results from a concern to act in a socially approved manner as determined by how others act.
Ingroup
Group to which a person belongs.
Integrative ​or eclectic psychotherapy​
Also called integrative psychotherapy, this term refers to approaches combining multiple orientations (e.g., CBT with psychoanalytic elements).
Integrative or ​eclectic psychotherapy
Also called integrative psychotherapy, this term refers to approaches combining multiple orientations (e.g., CBT with psychoanalytic elements).
Intelligence
An individual’s cognitive capability. This includes the ability to acquire, process, recall and apply information.
Interdependent self
A model or view of the self as connected to others and as changing in response to different situations. The goal of the interdependent self is to suppress personal preferences and desires, and to adjust to others. This model of self is prevalent in many collectivistic, East Asian contexts (e.g., China, Japan, Korea).
Internal bodily or somatic cues
Physical sensations that serve as triggers for anxiety or as reminders of past traumatic events.
Interoceptive avoidance
Avoidance of situations or activities that produce sensations of physical arousal similar to those occurring during a panic attack or intense fear response.
Interpersonal
This refers to the relationship or interaction between two or more individuals in a group. Thus, the interpersonal functions of emotion refer to the effects of one’s emotion on others, or to the relationship between oneself and others.
Intrapersonal
This refers to what occurs within oneself. Thus, the intrapersonal functions of emotion refer to the effects of emotion to individuals that occur physically inside their bodies and psychologically inside their minds.
Intrinsic motivation
Motivation stemming from the benefits associated with the process of pursuing a goal such as having a fulfilling experience.
IQ
Short for “intelligence quotient.” This is a score, typically obtained from a widely used measure of intelligence that is meant to rank a person’s intellectual ability against that of others.
Kin selection
According to evolutionary psychology, the favoritism shown for helping our blood relatives, with the goals of increasing the likelihood that some portion of our DNA will be passed on to future generations.
Latent inhibition
The ability to filter out extraneous stimuli, concentrating only on the information that is deemed relevant. Reduced latent inhibition is associated with higher creativity.
Letter of recommendation effect
The general tendency for informants in personality studies to rate others in an unrealistically positive manner. This tendency is due a pervasive bias in personality assessment: In the large majority of published studies, informants are individuals who like the person they are rating (e.g., they often are friends or family members) and, therefore, are motivated to depict them in a socially desirable way. The term reflects a similar tendency for academic letters of recommendation to be overly positive and to present the referent in an unrealistically desirable manner.
Lexical hypothesis
The lexical hypothesis is the idea that the most important differences between people will be encoded in the language that we use to describe people. Therefore, if we want to know which personality traits are most important, we can look to the language that people use to describe themselves and others.
Lexicon
Words and expressions.
Life satisfaction
A person reflects on their life and judges to what degree it is going well, by whatever standards that person thinks are most important for a good life.
Linguistic intergroup bias
A tendency for people to characterize positive things about their ingroup using more abstract expressions, but negative things about their outgroups using more abstract expressions.
Little-c creativity
Creative ideas that appear at the personal level, whether the home or the workplace. Such creativity needs not have a larger impact to be considered creative.
Longitudinal study/design
A research design that follows the same group of individuals at multiple time points.
Lordosis
A physical sexual posture in females that serves as an invitation to mate.
Magnetic resonance imaging
A set of techniques that uses strong magnets to measure either the structure of the brain (e.g., gray matter and white matter) or how the brain functions when a person performs cognitive tasks (e.g., working memory or episodic memory) or other types of tasks.
Manipulation
A connection between personality attributes and aspects of the environment that occurs whenever individuals with particular traits actively shape their environments.
Maturity principle
The generalization that personality attributes associated with the successful fulfillment of adult roles increase with age and experience.
Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT)
A 141-item performance assessment of EI that measures the four emotion abilities (as defined by the four-branch model of EI) with a total of eight tasks.
Means
Activities or objects that contribute to goal attainment.
Metabolism
Breakdown of substances.
Mind–body connection
The idea that our emotions and thoughts can affect how our body functions.
Mindfulness
A process that reflects a nonjudgmental, yet attentive, mental state.
Mindfulness-based therapy
A form of psychotherapy grounded in mindfulness theory and practice, often involving meditation, yoga, body scan, and other features of mindfulness exercises.
Mixed and Trait Models
Approaches that view EI as a combination of self-perceived emotion skills, personality traits, and attitudes.
Mood-congruent memory
The tendency to be better able to recall memories that have a mood similar to our current mood.
Motivated skepticism
A form of bias that can result from having a directional goal in which one is skeptical of evidence despite its strength because it goes against what one wants to believe.
Motivation
The psychological driving force that enables action in the course of goal pursuit.
Multicultural experiences
Individual exposure to two or more cultures, such as obtained by living abroad, emigrating to another country, or working or going to school in a culturally diverse setting.
Need for closure
The desire to come to a decision that will resolve ambiguity and conclude an issue.
Negative feelings
Undesirable and unpleasant feelings that people tend to avoid if they can. Moods and emotions such as depression, anger, and worry are examples.
Negative state relief model
An egoistic theory proposed by Cialdini et al. (1982) that claims that people have learned through socialization that helping can serve as a secondary reinforcement that will relieve negative moods such as sadness.
Neurodevelopmental
Processes that influence how the brain develops either in utero or as the child is growing up.
Neuropsychoanalysis
An integrative, interdisciplinary domain of inquiry seeking to integrate psychoanalytic and neuropsychological ideas and findings to enhance both areas of inquiry (you can learn more by visiting the webpage of the International Neuropsychoanalysis Society at http://www.neuropsa.org.uk/).
Neuroticism
A personality trait that reflects the tendency to be interpersonally sensitive and the tendency to experience negative emotions like anxiety, fear, sadness, and anger.
Neurotransmitter
A chemical substance produced by a neuron that is used for communication between neurons.
Nonconscious goal activation
When activation occurs outside a person’s awareness, such that the person is unaware of the reasons behind her goal-directed thoughts and behaviors.
Norm
Assessments are given to a representative sample of a population to determine the range of scores for that population. These “norms” are then used to place an individual who takes that assessment on a range of scores in which he or she is compared to the population at large.
Normative influence
Conformity that results from a concern for what other people think of us.
Obedience
Responding to an order or command from a person in a position of authority.
Object relations theory
A modern offshoot of the psychodynamic perspective, this theory contends that personality can be understood as reflecting mental images of significant figures (especially the parents) that we form early in life in response to interactions taking place within the family; these mental images serve as templates (or “scripts”) for later interpersonal relationships.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
A disorder characterized by the desire to engage in certain behaviors excessively or compulsively in hopes of reducing anxiety. Behaviors include things such as cleaning, repeatedly opening and closing doors, hoarding, and obsessing over certain thoughts.
Openness to Experience
A personality trait that reflects a person’s tendency to seek out and to appreciate new things, including thoughts, feelings, values, and experiences.
Openness to experience
One of the factors of the Big Five Model of personality, the factor assesses the degree that a person is open to different or new values, interests, and activities.
Originality
When an idea or solution has a low probability of occurrence.
Ostracism
Excluding one or more individuals from a group by reducing or eliminating contact with the person, usually by ignoring, shunning, or explicitly banishing them.
Other-oriented empathy
A component of the prosocial personality orientation; describes individuals who have a strong sense of social responsibility, empathize with and feel emotionally tied to those in need, understand the problems the victim is experiencing, and have a heightened sense of moral obligations to be helpful.
Outgroup
Group to which a person does not belong.
Panic disorder (PD)
A condition marked by regular strong panic attacks, and which may include significant levels of worry about future attacks.
Performance assessmen​t
A method of measurement associated with ability models of EI that evaluate the test taker’s ability to solve emotion-related problems.
Performance experiences
When past successes or failures lead to changes in self-efficacy.
Personal distress
According to Batson’s empathy–altruism hypothesis, observers who take a detached view of a person in need will experience feelings of being “worried” and “upset” and will have an egoistic motivation for helping to relieve that distress.
Personality
Enduring predispositions that characterize a person, such as styles of thought, feelings and behavior.
Personality traits
Enduring dispositions in behavior that show differences across individuals, and which tend to characterize the person across varying types of situations.
Person-centered therapy
A therapeutic approach focused on creating a supportive environment for self-discovery.
Person–environment transactions
The interplay between individuals and their contextual circumstances that ends up shaping both personality and the environment.
Person-situation debate
The person-situation debate is a historical debate about the relative power of personality traits as compared to situational influences on behavior. The situationist critique, which started the person-situation debate, suggested that people overestimate the extent to which personality traits are consistent across situations.
Pharmacokinetics
The action of a drug through the body, including absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion.
Planning fallacy
A cognitive bias in which one underestimates how long it will take to complete a task.
Pluralistic ignorance
Relying on the actions of others to define an ambiguous need situation and to then erroneously conclude that no help or intervention is necessary.
Polypharmacy
The use of many medications.
Positive feelings
Desirable and pleasant feelings. Moods and emotions such as enjoyment and love are examples.
Positron emission tomography
A technique that uses radio-labelled ligands to measure the distribution of different neurotransmitter receptors in the brain or to measure how much of a certain type of neurotransmitter is released when a person is given a specific type of drug or does a particularly cognitive task.
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
A sense of intense fear, triggered by memories of a past traumatic event, that another traumatic event might occur. PTSD may include feelings of isolation and emotional numbing.
Prejudice
Prejudice is an evaluation or emotion toward people merely based on their group membership.
Preoptic area
A region in the anterior hypothalamus involved in generating and regulating male sexual behavior.
Prevention focus
One of two self-regulatory orientations emphasizing safety, responsibility, and security needs, and viewing goals as “oughts.” This self-regulatory focus seeks to avoid losses (the presence of negatives) and approach non-losses (the absence of negatives).
Primacy of the Unconscious
The hypothesis—supported by contemporary empirical research—that the vast majority of mental activity takes place outside conscious awareness.
Primed
A process by which a concept or behavior is made more cognitively accessible or likely to occur through the presentation of an associated concept.
Priming
A stimulus presented to a person reminds him or her about other ideas associated with the stimulus.
Problem-focused coping
A set of coping strategies aimed at improving or changing stressful situations.
Processing speed
The speed with which an individual can perceive auditory or visual information and respond to it.
Progress
The perception of reducing the discrepancy between one’s current state and one’s desired state in goal pursuit.
Projective hypothesis
The theory that when people are confronted with ambiguous stimuli (that is, stimuli that can be interpreted in more than one way), their responses will be influenced by their unconscious thoughts, needs, wishes, and impulses. This, in turn, is based on the Freudian notion of projection, which is the idea that people attribute their own undesirable/unacceptable characteristics to other people or objects.
Promotion focus
One of two self-regulatory orientations emphasizing hopes, accomplishments, and advancement needs, and viewing goals as “ideals.” This self-regulatory focus seeks to approach gains (the presence of positives) and avoid non-gains (the absence of positives).
Prosocial behavior
Social behavior that benefits another person.
Prosocial personality orientation
A measure of individual differences that identifies two sets of personality characteristics (other-oriented empathy, helpfulness) that are highly correlated with prosocial behavior.
Psychic causality
The assumption that nothing in mental life happens by chance—that there is no such thing as a “random” thought or feeling.
Psychoactive drugs
A drug that changes mood or the way someone feels.
Psychoanalytic therapy
Sigmund Freud’s therapeutic approach focusing on resolving unconscious conflicts.
Psychodynamic therapy
Treatment applying psychoanalytic principles in a briefer, more individualized format.
Psychological essentialism
The belief that members of a category have an unseen property that causes them to be in the category and to have the properties associated with it.
Psychological vulnerabilities
Influences that our early experiences have on how we view the world.
Psychomotor agitation
Increased motor activity associated with restlessness, including physical actions (e.g., fidgeting, pacing, feet tapping, handwringing).
Psychomotor retardation
A slowing of physical activities in which routine activities (e.g., eating, brushing teeth) are performed in an unusually slow manner.
Psychoneuroimmunology
A field of study examining the relationship among psychology, brain function, and immune function.
Psychopathology
Illnesses or disorders that involve psychological or psychiatric symptoms.
Psychosexual stage model
Probably the most controversial aspect of psychodynamic theory, the psychosexual stage model contends that early in life we progress through a sequence of developmental stages (oral, anal, Oedipal, latency, and genital), each with its own unique mode of sexual gratification.
Psychosomatic medicine
An interdisciplinary field of study that focuses on how biological, psychological, and social processes contribute to physiological changes in the body and health over time.
Psychotropic drug
A drug that changes mood or emotion, usually used when talking about drugs prescribed for various mental conditions (depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, etc.).
Reactive person–environment transactions
The interplay between individuals and their contextual circumstances that occurs whenever attributes of the individual shape how a person perceives and responds to their environment.
Reappraisal, or ​Cognitive restructuring
The process of identifying, evaluating, and changing maladaptive thoughts in psychotherapy.
Reciprocal altruism
According to evolutionary psychology, a genetic predisposition for people to help those who have previously helped them.
Reference group effect
The tendency of people to base their self-concept on comparisons with others. For example, if your friends tend to be very smart and successful, you may come to see yourself as less intelligent and successful than you actually are. Informants also are prone to these types of effects. For instance, the sibling contrast effect refers to the tendency of parents to exaggerate the true extent of differences between their children.
Reinforced response
Following the process of operant conditioning, the strengthening of a response following either the delivery of a desired consequence (positive reinforcement) or escape from an aversive consequence.
Reliablility
The consistency of test scores across repeated assessments. For example, test-retest reliability examines the extent to which scores change over time.
Remote associations
Associations between words or concepts that are semantically distant and thus relatively unusual or original.
Representativeness heuristic
A heuristic in which the likelihood of an object belonging to a category is evaluated based on the extent to which the object appears similar to one’s mental representation of the category.
Resilience
The ability to “bounce back” from negative situations (e.g., illness, stress) to normal functioning or to simply not show poor outcomes in the face of adversity. In some cases, resilience may lead to better functioning following the negative experience (e.g., post-traumatic growth).
Reward value
A neuropsychological measure of an outcome’s affective importance to an organism.
Right-wing authoritarianism
Right-wing authoritarianism (RWA) focuses on value conflicts but endorses respect for obedience and authority in the service of group conformity.
SAD performance only
Social anxiety disorder which is limited to certain situations that the sufferer perceives as requiring some type of performance.
Sapir-Whorf hypothesis
The hypothesis that the language that people use determines their thoughts.
Satiation
The state of being full to satisfaction and no longer desiring to take on more.
Schema
A mental representation or set of beliefs about something.
Schema
A mental model or representation that organizes the important information about a thing, person, or event (also known as a script).
Selection
A connection between personality attributes and aspects of the environment that occurs whenever individuals with particular attributes choose particular kinds of environments.
Self-categorization theory
Self-categorization theory develops social identity theory’s point that people categorize themselves, along with each other into groups, favoring their own group.
Self-control
The capacity to control impulses, emotions, desires, and actions in order to resist a temptation and adhere to a valued goal.
Self-efficacy
The belief that one can perform adequately in a specific situation.
Self-efficacy
The belief that you are able to effectively perform the tasks needed to attain a valued goal.
Self-enhancement bias
The tendency for people to see and/or present themselves in an overly favorable way. This tendency can take two basic forms: defensiveness (when individuals actually believe they are better than they really are) and impression management (when people intentionally distort their responses to try to convince others that they are better than they really are). Informants also can show enhancement biases. The general form of this bias has been called the letter-of-recommendation effect, which is the tendency of informants who like the person they are rating (e.g., friends, relatives, romantic partners) to describe them in an overly favorable way. In the case of newlyweds, this tendency has been termed the honeymoon effect.
Self-regulation
The processes through which individuals alter their emotions, desires, and actions in the course of pursuing a goal.
Self-regulation
The complex process through which people control their thoughts, emotions, and actions.
Self-report assessment
A method of measurement associated with mixed and trait models of EI, which evaluates the test taker’s perceived emotion-related skills, distinct personality traits, and other characteristics.
Self-report measure
A type of questionnaire in which participants answer questions whose answers correspond to numerical values that can be added to create an overall index of some construct.
Shared mental model
Knowledge, expectations, conceptualizations, and other cognitive representations that members of a group have in common pertaining to the group and its members, tasks, procedures, and resources.
Sibling contrast effect
The tendency of parents to use their perceptions of all of their children as a frame of reference for rating the characteristics of each of them. For example, suppose that a mother has three children; two of these children are very sociable and outgoing, whereas the third is relatively average in sociability. Because of operation of this effect, the mother will rate this third child as less sociable and outgoing than he/she actually is. More generally, this effect causes parents to exaggerate the true extent of differences between their children. This effect represents a specific manifestation of the more general reference group effect when applied to ratings made by parents.
Situation model
A mental representation of an event, object, or situation constructed at the time of comprehending a linguistic description.
Social and cultural
Society refers to a system of relationships between individuals and groups of individuals; culture refers to the meaning and information afforded to that system that is transmitted across generations. Thus, the social and cultural functions of emotion refer to the effects that emotions have on the functioning and maintenance of societies and cultures.
Social and emotional learning (SEL)
The real-world application of EI in an educational setting and/or classroom that involves curricula that teach the process of integrating thinking, feeling, and behaving in order to become aware of the self and of others, make responsible decisions, and manage one’s own behaviors and those of others (Elias et al., 1997)
Social anxiety disorder (SAD)
A condition marked by acute fear of social situations which lead to worry and diminished day to day functioning.
Social brain hypothesis
The hypothesis that the human brain has evolved, so that humans can maintain larger ingroups.
Social cognition
The study of how people think about the social world.
Social comparison
The process of contrasting one’s personal qualities and outcomes, including beliefs, attitudes, values, abilities, accomplishments, and experiences, to those of other people.
Social constructivism
Social constructivism proposes that knowledge is first created and learned within a social context and is then adopted by individuals.
Social dominance orientation
Social dominance orientation (SDO) describes a belief that group hierarchies are inevitable in all societies and even good, to maintain order and stability.
Social facilitation
Improvement in task performance that occurs when people work in the presence of other people.
Social identity theory
A theoretical analysis of group processes and intergroup relations that assumes groups influence their members’ self-concepts and self-esteem, particularly when individuals categorize themselves as group members and identify with the group.
Social identity theory
Social identity theory notes that people categorize each other into groups, favoring their own group.
Social integration
The size of your social network, or number of social roles (e.g., son, sister, student, employee, team member).
Social loafing
The reduction of individual effort exerted when people work in groups compared with when they work alone.
Social networks
Networks of social relationships among individuals through which information can travel.
Social referencing
This refers to the process whereby individuals look for information from others to clarify a situation, and then use that information to act. Thus, individuals will often use the emotional expressions of others as a source of information to make decisions about their own behavior.
Social support
The perception or actuality that we have a social network that can help us in times of need and provide us with a variety of useful resources (e.g., advice, love, money).
Social zeitgeber
Zeitgeber is German for “time giver.” Social zeitgebers are environmental cues, such as meal times and interactions with other people, that entrain biological rhythms and thus sleep-wake cycle regularity.
Socioeconomic status (SES)
A person’s economic and social position based on income, education, and occupation.
Sociometer model
A conceptual analysis of self-evaluation processes that theorizes self-esteem functions to psychologically monitor of one’s degree of inclusion and exclusion in social groups.
Specific vulnerabilities
How our experiences lead us to focus and channel our anxiety.
Standardize
Assessments that are given in the exact same manner to all people . With regards to intelligence tests standardized scores are individual scores that are computed to be referenced against normative scores for a population (see “norm”).
Stereotype Content Model
Stereotype Content Model shows that social groups are viewed according to their perceived warmth and competence.
Stereotype threat
The phenomenon in which people are concerned that they will conform to a stereotype or that their performance does conform to that stereotype, especially in instances in which the stereotype is brought to their conscious awareness.
Stereotypes
Our general beliefs about the traits or behaviors shared by group of people.
Stereotypes
Stereotype is a belief that characterizes people based merely on their group membership.
Stress
A pattern of physical and psychological responses in an organism after it perceives a threatening event that disturbs its homeostasis and taxes its abilities to cope with the event.
Stress reaction
The tendency to become easily distressed by the normal challenges of life.
Stressor
An event or stimulus that induces feelings of stress.
Structural model
Developed to complement and extend the topographic model, the structural model of the mind posits the existence of three interacting mental structures called the id, ego, and superego.
Subjective well-being
The name that scientists give to happiness—thinking and feeling that our lives are going very well.
Subjective well-being scales
Self-report surveys or questionnaires in which participants indicate their levels of subjective well-being, by responding to items with a number that indicates how well off they feel.
Subtle biases
Subtle biases are automatic, ambiguous, and ambivalent, but real in their consequences.
Suicidal ideation
Recurring thoughts about suicide, including considering or planning for suicide, or preoccupation with suicide.
Synapse
The tiny space separating neurons.
Syntax
Rules by which words are strung together to form sentences.
Task-specific measures of self-efficacy
Measures that ask about self-efficacy beliefs for a particular task (e.g., athletic self-efficacy, academic self-efficacy).
Teamwork
The process by which members of the team combine their knowledge, skills, abilities, and other resources through a coordinated series of actions to produce an outcome.
Thought-action fusion
The tendency to overestimate the relationship between a thought and an action, such that one mistakenly believes a “bad” thought is the equivalent of a “bad” action.
“Top-down” or internal causes of happiness
The person’s outlook and habitual response tendencies that influence their happiness—for example, their temperament or optimistic outlook on life.
Topographic model
Freud’s first model of the mind, which contended that the mind could be divided into three regions: conscious, preconscious, and unconscious. (The “topographic” comes from the fact that topography is the study of maps.)
Transformation
The term for personality changes associated with experience and life events.
Type A Behavior
Type A behavior is characterized by impatience, competitiveness, neuroticism, hostility, and anger.
Type B Behavior
Type B behavior reflects the absence of Type A characteristics and is represented by less competitive, aggressive, and hostile behavior patterns.
Typicality
The difference in “goodness” of category members, ranging from the most typical (the prototype) to borderline members.
Unconditional positive regard
In person-centered therapy, an attitude of warmth, empathy and acceptance adopted by the therapist in order to foster feelings of inherent worth in the patient.
Universalism
Universalism proposes that there are single objective standards, independent of culture, in basic domains such as learning, reasoning, and emotion that are a part of all human experience.
Unusual uses
A test of divergent thinking that asks participants to find many uses for commonplace objects, such as a brick or paperclip.
Validity
Evidence related to the interpretation and use of test scores. A particularly important type of evidence is criterion validity, which involves the ability of a test to predict theoretically relevant outcomes. For example, a presumed measure of conscientiousness should be related to academic achievement (such as overall grade point average).
Verbal persuasion
When trusted people (friends, family, experts) influence your self-efficacy for better or worse by either encouraging or discouraging you about your ability to succeed.
Vicarious performances
When seeing other people succeed or fail leads to changes in self-efficacy.
Working memory
The ability to maintain information over a short period of time, such as 30 seconds or less.