Glossary


Addiction: A physical and/or psychological dependence on something that produces reward stimuli, such as drugs or gaming. Individuals with addictions develop a tolerance to their addictions (needing more to produce the same effect) and suffer withdrawal syndrome (unpleasant symptoms, such as anxiety) when they are taken away.

Agentic state: A state where an individual mentally considers themselves as an agent (tool) of an authority figure and thus not personally responsible for their actions. It is the opposite of the autonomous state.

Attachment: An emotional connection between an individual and an another person (an attachment figure). For example, a baby will typically develop an attachment to its caregiver.

Androcentrism: A bias towards the male perspective over the female perspective.

Anxiety: An unpleasant emotional state of unease, worry, and/or fear. It is often accompanied by physical symptoms such as increased heart rate and behaviours such as fidgeting.

Autonomous state: A state where an individual is freely and consciously in control of their actions and thus takes responsibility for them. It is the opposite of the agentic state.

Behavioural approach: A

Biological approach: A

Biopsychology: A

(Storage) Capacity: How much information can be stored in a given component of memory.

Central executive: The component of the working memory model of short term memory that filters and co-ordinates the various components of working memory. This filtering process involves sending information to its 3 slave systems: the phonological loop, the visuo-spatial sketchpad, and the episodic buffer.

Coding: The format that information in memory is stored as.

Cognitive approach: A

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT): A

Cognitive dissonance: An uncomfortable feeling caused by holding two or more beliefs that contradict each other.

Compliance: The weakest type of conformity where a person publicly changes their behaviour and beliefs to fit that of a group and avoid disapproval. Privately, though, the person does not accept these behaviours and beliefs. For example, pretending to like a film you hate so as not to stand out from the group.

Confederate: A fake subject (actor/stooge) in an experiment who is pretending to be part of the experiment.

Conformity: A form of social influence where a person changes their beliefs or behaviours to fit with those of a larger group. Kelman identifies 3 types of conformity: compliance, identification, and internalisation.

Control group: A

De-individuation: A

Depression: A mental disorder characterised by feelings of low mood, loss of motivation, and inability to feel pleasure.

(Hard) Determinism: A

(Soft) Determinism: A

(Storage) Duration: How long information can be stored for in a given component of memory.

Episodic buffer: The component of the working memory model of short term memory that combines and temporarily stores information coded in all forms. For example, visual and semantic information may be combined in the episodic buffer to create a coherent working memory of a story.

Episodic (long-term) memory: A type of long-term memory for autobiographical events in a person’s own life. For example, remembering your first holiday.

Ethical: A

Forensic psychology: A

Gender: A

Holism: A

Humanistic psychology: A

Hypothesis: A scientific theory or explanation for something. The hypothesis is tested by comparing its predictions with the results of an experiment.

Identification: A type of conformity where a person both publicly and privately changes their behaviour and beliefs to fit that of a group they want to be part of. Identification is a stronger form of conformity than compliance due to the additional private acceptance, but a weaker form of conformity than internalisation because the individual does not maintain the beliefs and behaviours after leaving the group. For example, adopting the same music tastes and fashion as your friendship group.

Informational social influence (ISI): When an individual is motivated to look to the behaviours and beliefs of a group in order to be correct. For example, if you are at a formal restaurant and don’t know which cutlery to use, you might look to what someone else is doing for information as to the correct course of action.

Insecure-avoidant attachment: A type of attachment wh

Insecure-resistant attachment: A type of attachment wh

Internalisation: The strongest type of conformity where a person both publicly and privately changes their behaviour and beliefs to those of a group. Unlike identification, individuals who internalise beliefs and behaviours maintain them even after leaving the social group. For example, a person who undergoes a genuine religious conversion will still pray and believe in God even if they move away from the social group of their church.

Introspection: A

Locus of control: A way of characterising how much control a person believes they have over their life. If someone has an internal locus of control, they believe their own choices shape their life. If someone has an external locus of control, they believe their life is primarily shaped by forces outside their control such as luck and fate.

Long-term memory: A long-lasting or permanent store of information. It is the third system of the multi-store model of memory. Some psychologists differentiate between 3 types of long-term memory: episodic, semantic, and procedural.

Longitudinal study: A

Majority influence: See conformity.

Meta-analysis: A

Minority influence: A form of social influence where a person rejects the beliefs and behaviours of the majority and instead adopts those of a smaller group.

Multi-store model (MSM): A cognitive theory that explains memory as information flowing through 3 storage systems: sensory register, short-term memory, and long-term memory. Each system uses different coding for the information, and has different storage capacity and duration.

Nervous system: A

Normative social influence (NSI): When an individual is motivated to look to the behaviours and beliefs of a group in order to be accepted by the group and not stand out. For example, pretending to agree with the group’s opinions on politics.

Obedience: A form of social influence where a person complies with the instructions of an authority figure.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): A

Phobia: A group of mental disorders characterised by extreme and irrational fear towards something.

Phonological loop: The component of the working memory model of short term memory that deals with auditory information (i.e. sound) – in particular, words.

Procedural (long-term) memory: A type of long-term memory for skills, actions, and how to do things. For example, remembering how to ride a bike.

Psychodynamic approach: A

Psychopathology: The study of psychological conditions whereby an individual’s behaviour and mental states are considered abnormal. Abnormality can be defined in several ways: Deviation from social norms, failure to function adequately, statistical infrequency, and deviation from ideal mental health.

Reactance: When an individual is motivated to assert their free will by rebelling against rules or authority figures that the individual believes are attempting to restrict their free will.

Reductionism: A

Schema: Patterns of thought developed from experience that the individual uses to categorise information and experiences more easily. Stereotypes (e.g. dark alley at night = dangerous) are an example of schema.

Schizophrenia: A

Secure attachment: A type of attachment wh

Semantic (long-term) memory: A type of long-term memory for meaning, understanding, and general knowledge. For example, remembering “Paris is the capital of France”.

Sensory register: The first storage system in the multi-store model of memory. It temporarily stores the immediate ‘raw’ data that comes in from the senses.

Separation anxiety: A

Situational variable: A

Social change: A

Social roles: A

Short-term memory: A temporary store of information (i.e. less than 30 seconds). Short-term memory is the second system of the multi-store model of memory. The working memory model adds further detail to this system by differentiating between 4 separate information-processing components.

Variable: A

Visuo-spatial sketchpad: The component of the working memory model of short term memory that deals with visual information and its location in space (i.e. pictures). Also called the mind’s inner eye.

Working memory model (WMM): A model of short-term memory consisting of 4 components, which hold and process different types of information. The components of the WMM are: the central executive, the phonological loop, the visuo-spatial sketchpad, and the episodic buffer.