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achievement motivation:according to David McClelland, the disposition to strive for success.

acquiescence response set::a bias in which people are more likely to agree than disagree with anything that is asked of them.

agape:according to Rollo May, a type of unselfish love characterized by devotion to the welfare of others.

aggression drive:Alfred Adler's concept that an individual is driven to lash out against the inability to achieve or master something, as a reaction to perceived helplessness.

aggressive personality:according to Karen Horney, a neurotic trend to see most others as being hostile, to believe that only the most competent and cunning survive, and to behave hatefully and hostilely toward others in order to maintain a feeling of control and power.

aggressive style:according to Karen Horney, a mode of adapting to the world used by those who believe in fighting to get by.

agreeableness:according to the Big Five approach, the personality dimension that includes friendliness, cooperation, and warmth; people low in this dimension are cold, quarrelsome, and unkind.

Alzheimer's disease:a disease of the brain's cerebral cortex, primarily affecting the elderly, which causes quirks of behavior and memory loss.

American Dilemma:Gunnar Myrdal's term for the paradoxical idea that slavery was allowed and endorsed despite the claim that the United States was founded on the principle that all men are created equal.

American paradox:the contemporary situation where we have material abundance co-occurring with social recession and psychological depression.

anal stage:Freud's stage of psychosexual development around age two during which children are toilet trained.

androgenized females:genetically female individuals who were prenatally exposed to excessive levels of androgens and are born with either masculine or ambiguous external genitalia.

androgyny:the consolidation of both female and male traits.

anima:according to Carl Jung, the archetype representing the female element of a man.

animus:according to Carl Jung, the archetype representing the male element of a woman.

anterograde amnesia:the inability to form new conscious memories.

antisocial personality disorder:a personality disorder in which an individual is excessively impulsive, violates the rules of society, and lacks anxiety or guilt for his or her behavior.

anxiety:a state of intense apprehension or uncertainty, resulting from the anticipation of a threatening event or challenge, either external or internal; the ego's job is to protect against anxiety, but its failures lead to psychological problems.

anxious-ambivalent lovers:according to Phillip Shaver, people who have a romantic attachment style in which they want to get close but are insecure with the relationship.

approach-approach conflict:a term used by Dollard and Miller to describe a conflict in which a person is drawn to two equally attractive choices.

approach-avoidance conflict:a term used by Dollard and Miller to describe a conflict between primary and secondary drives that occurs when a punishment results in the conditioning of a fear response to a drive.

archetypes:in Carl Jung's neo-analytic theory, emotional symbols that are common to all people and have been formed since the beginning of time.

attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD):a disorder in which a person has atypical attentional processes.

attribution theories:theories that examine the ways in which individuals draw inferences about other people's behavior.

authentic love:according to Rollo May, a type of love that incorporates all other types of love.

authoritarian personality type:according to Erich Fromm, a person who has a cruel penchant for exerting power over others, abusing them, and taking their possessions; such a personality characteristic may result from a particularly negative relationship with one's parents.

authoritarian personality:a person with antidemocratic tendencies; such a person tends to be narrow-minded, rigid, defensive, and tends to show prejudice against minority groups.

avoidance-avoidance conflict:a term used by Dollard and Miller to describe a conflict in which a person is faced with two equally undesirable choices.

avoidant lovers:according to Phillip Shaver, people who have a romantic attachment style in which they feel uncomfortable being close to others or having others close to them and have trouble trusting and being trusted by others.


Barnum effect:the tendency to believe vague generalities about one's personality.

basic anxiety:according to Karen Horney, a child's fear of being alone, helpless, and insecure that arises from problems with one's parents.

behavior potential:a term used by Julian Rotter to describe the likelihood that a particular behavior will occur in specific situation.

behavioral genomics:the study of how genes affect behavior.

behavioral signature:according to Walter Mischel, the set of situation-behavior relationships that are typical of an individual and that contribute to the apparent consistency of an individual's personality.

behaviorism:the learning approach to psychology introduced by John Watson that emphasizes the study of observable behavior.

being love:according to Abraham Maslow, love that is unselfish and cares for the needs of others; a person who is involved in being love is more self-actualized and helps his or her partner toward self-actualization.

being-in-the-world:the existential idea that the self cannot exist without a world and the world cannot exist without a person or being to perceive it.

Bem Sex Role Inventory:a measure designed by Sandra Bem to classify individuals as masculine, feminine, androgynous, or undifferentiated (low in both masculinity and femininity).

Big Five:the trait approach to personality that is supported by a great deal of research and suggests that the most common trait approaches to personality can be captured in five dimensions: extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness.

biological determinism:the belief that an individual's personality is completely determined by biological factors (and especially by genetic factors).

borderline personality disorder:combination of impulsive, self-destructive behavior, fragile self-indentity, and moody, stormy relationships.

broaden-and-build model:proposes that experiences of positive emotions, such as joy, interest, pride, contentment, and love can broaden people's modes of thinking and responding, bringing more possible actions to mind.

brotherly love:according to Erich Fromm, the type of love that involves loving all of mankind and that reunites isolated individuals with one another.


cardinal dispositions:a term used by Gordon Allport to describe personal dispositions that exert an overwhelming influence on behavior.

Cartesian dualism:the concept proposed by René Descartes that there is a separation of the mind and body.

castration anxiety:according to Sigmund Freud, an unconscious fear of castration that results from a boy's struggle to deal with his love for his mother while knowing that he cannot overcome his father.

categorization:the perceptual process by which highly complex ensembles of information are filtered into a small number of identifiable and familiar objects and entities.

central dispositions:a term used by Gordon Allport to describe the several personal dispositions around which personality is organized.

choleric:a personality type based on the ancient Greek humors discussed by Hippocrates and Galen in which one is angry against the arbitrary controls of one's life and has generally poor interpersonal relations.

chumship:Harry Stack Sullivan's idea, derived from the sociological concept of the social self, that a preadolescent's chums serve as a social mirror for forming his or her identity.

classical conditioning:the concept that after the repeated pairing of an unconditioned stimulus that elicits an unconditioned response and a neutral stimulus, the previously neutral stimulus can come to elicit the same response as the unconditioned stimulus.

cognitive intervention:teaching people to change their thought processes.

cognitive complexity:the extent to which a person comprehends, utilizes, and is comfortable with a greater number of distinctions or separate elements into which an entity or event is analyzed, and the extent to which the person can integrate these elements by drawing connections or relationships among them.

cognitive simplicity:according to George Kelly, the tendency for some people to fail to make distinctions among other people and to perceive other people as similar to one another.

cognitive style:an individual's distinctive, enduring way of dealing with everyday tasks of perception and problem solving.

collective unconscious:according to Carl Jung, the component of the mind that contains a deeper level of unconsciousness made up of archetypes that are common across all people.

common traits:the term used by Gordon Allport to describe organizing structures that people in a population share.

competencies:according to Walter Mischel, a person's abilities and knowledge.

complex:a group of emotionally charged thoughts, feelings, and ideas that are related to a particular theme.

conscientiousness:according to the Big Five approach, the personality dimension that includes dependability, cautiousness, organization, and responsibility; people low in this dimension are impulsive, careless, disorderly, and undependable.

construct validity:the extent to which a test truly measures a theoretical construct.

contemporaneous causation:Kurt Lewin's concept that behavior is caused at the moment of its occurrence by all the influences that are present in the individual at that moment.

content validity:the extent to which a test is measuring the domain it is supposed to be measuring.

control group:a comparison group that provides a standard by which to evaluate a theory or technique.

controllability of causality:according to Bernard Weiner, the perception that events are due either to controllable factors or to influences beyond an individual's control.

convergent validation:the extent to which an assessment is related to what it should be related to.

corpus callosum:the fibers that connect the two brain hemispheres.

correlation coefficient:a mathematical index of the degree of agreement or association between two measures.

criterion-related validation:the extent to which an assessment predicts to outcome criteria of different assessment methods.

critical period:the point during development when an organism is optimally ready to learn a particular response pattern.

cultural imperialism:the extending of one's own cultural approaches over those of another culture or subculture.


declarative memory:memory for facts about a task or event.

deductive approach:an approach to psychology in which the conclusions follow logically from the premises or assumptions.

defense mechanisms:in psychoanalytic theory, the processes that distort reality to protect the ego.

deficiency love:according to Abraham Maslow, love that is selfish and needy.

deficiency needs:according to Abraham Maslow, needs that are essential for survival including physiological, safety, belonging, love, and esteem needs.

delay of gratification:a specific aspect of self-control that occurs when an individual chooses to forgo an immediate reinforcer in order to wait for a later, better reinforcer.

demographic information:information relevant to population statistics such as age, cultural group, place of birth, religion, and the like.

demon:according to Carl Jung, the archetype that embodies cruelty and evil.

denial:a defense mechanism in which one refuses to acknowledge anxiety-provoking stimuli.

designer personalities:personalities that are altered in a targeted fashion through the use of drugs.

despised self:Karen Horney's concept of the part of personality consisting of perceptions of our inferiority and shortcomings, often based on others' negative evaluations of us and our resulting helplessness.

dialect:regional variations in vocabulary and syntactic forms.

dialectical humanism:Erich Fromm's approach to personality, which tries to reconcile the biological, driven side of human beings and the pressures of societal structure by focusing on the belief that people can rise above or transcend these forces and become spontaneous, creative, and loving.

dialectical tension:concept used by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi for the idea that creative people tend to have traits that are seemingly contradictory but that play a role in their creativity.

diathesis-stress model:model of disease that suggests that although a predisposition to illness exist because of genetics or upbringing, the illness itself will not appear unless or until it is elicited by the environment.

diathesis:the often hereditary predisposition of the body to disease or disorder.

discriminant validation:the extent to which an assessment is not related to what it should not be related to.

discrimination:the concept that a conditioned response will not occur for all possible stimuli, indicating that an animal can learn to tell the difference between different stimuli.

displacement:a defense mechanism in which the target of one's unconscious fears or desires is shifted away from the true cause.

document analysis:a method of assessing personality by applying personality theories to the study of diaries, letters, and other personal records.

ectomorph:according to W. H. Sheldon, a somatotype describing thin, slender, bookworm types of people.


effect size:a statistical index of the magnitude of a measured effect, capturing how much difference a variable makes.

ego crisis:in Erik Erikson's theory of identity, each of the series of eight "crises" (conflicts or choices) that must be resolved, in sequence, for optimal psychological development.

ego:in psychoanalytic theory, the personality structure that develops to deal with the real world; in neo-analytical theory, this term refers to the individuality of a person that is the central core of personality; and specifically for Carl Jung, it is the aspect of personality that is conscious and embodies the sense of self.

ego-development:an individual's level of psychological maturity.

ego-resilient:a term used to describe people who are calm, socially at ease, insightful, and not anxious.

egoistic dominance:according to Whiting and Edwards, trying to control the behavior of others in order to meet one's own needs.

electrodermal measures:measures that monitor the electrical activity of the skin with electrodes.

electroencephalography:a measurement of electrical brainwave activity using electrodes attached to the outside of the skull.

emic approach:an approach that is culture-specific, focusing on a single culture on its own terms.

encoding strategies:according to Walter Mischel, the schema and mechanisms one uses to process and encode information.

endomorph:according to W. H. Sheldon, a somatotype describing overweight, good-natured types of people.

environmental press:the push of the situation emphasized in Henry Murray's approach to personality; it is a directional force on a person that arises from other people and events in the environment.

eros:according to Rollo May, a type of procreative love that is experiential and savoring.

erotic love:according to Erich Fromm, the type of love that is directed toward a single individual; it is a short-lived intimacy that satisfies sexual needs and alleviates anxiety.

error variance:variations of a measurement that are the result of irrelevant, chance fluctuations.

estrogen:a sex hormone, typically considered the female sex hormone.

ethnic bias:a type of bias in which a test fails to take into account the relevant culture or subculture of the person being tested.

ethnic group:a group whose membership is based primarily on shared cultural habits or customs.

ethnocentrism:evaluating others from one's own cultural point of view.

ethology:the study of animal behavior in natural environments.

etic approach:an approach that is cross-cultural, searching for generalities across cultures.

eugenics:the movement begun by Francis Galton that encouraged preserving or purifying the gene pool of the elite in order to improve human blood lines.

evolution:the theory in which individual characteristics that evolve are those that enable the organism to pass on genes to offspring.

evolutionary personality theory:an area of study applying biological evolutionary theory to human personality.

existentialism:an area of philosophy concerned with the meaning of human existence.

experience sampling method of assessment:a method in which participants record their current activity or thought processes when they are paged by the experimenter at various intervals during the day.

experiencing person:in Carl Rogers's phenomenological view, important issues are defined by each person for him- or herself in the context of the total range of things the person experiences.

explanatory style:a set of cognitive personal-ity variables that captures a person's habit-ual means of interpreting events in his or her life.

explicit memory:a memory that can be consciously recalled or recognized.

expressive behavior:behavior that involves the emotional well-being of one's social or family group; contrasts with instrumental behavior.

expressive style:a term used to describe nonverbal social skills such as vocal characteristics, facial expressions, body gestures, and movements.

external locus of control:according to Julian Rotter, the belief that things outside of the individual determine whether desired outcomes occur.

extinction:the process by which the frequency of the organism's producing a response gradually decreases when the response behavior is no longer followed by the reinforcement.

extroversion:a term used by Carl Jung to describe the directing of the libido, or psychic energy, toward things in the external world. In Hans Eysenck's biologically based theory the term is used to describe people who are generally sociable, active, and outgoing and who are thought to have a relatively lower level of brain arousal and who thus tend to seek stimulation. According to the Big Five approach, this term refers to the personality dimension that includes enthusiasm, dominance, and sociability; people low on this dimension are considered introverted.


F-scale:a scale developed at the University of California, Berkeley, to measure a person's proneness to being rigid and authoritarian.

factor analysis:a statistical technique in which correlations among a number of simple scales are reduced to a few basic dimensions.

femininity:the qualities associated with being a woman.

fictional goals:according to Alfred Adler, strivings for self-improvement that vary from person to person but that reflect an individual's view of perfection.

field dependence:the extent to which an individual's problem solving is influenced by salient but irrelevant aspects of the context in which the problem occurs.

field independence:the extent to which an individual's problem solving is not influenced by salient but irrelevant aspects of the context in which the problem occurs.

field theory:Kurt Lewin's approach to personality, suggesting that behavior is determined by complex interactions among a person's internal psychological structure, the forces of the external environment, and the structural relationships between the person and the environment.

fixed interval reinforcement schedule:a pattern of reinforcement occurring after a regular interval of time.

fixed ratio reinforcement schedule:a pattern of reinforcement occurring after a regular number of responses by the organism.

forced choice recognition:a procedure in which a person studies a word list and then chooses which word appeared on the list from pairs of words.

free association:a method used in psychoanalysis in which an individual reports everything that comes into awareness.

free recall:a procedure in which a person studies a word list and then writes down as many words as he or she can remember from the list.

Freudian slip:a psychological error in speaking or writing that reveals something about the person's unconscious.

functionalism:the approach to psychology that declares that behavior and thought evolve as a result of their functionality for survival.

functionally autonomous:a term used by Gordon Allport to describe the idea that in adulthood many motives and tendencies become independent of their origins in childhood and that finding out where such tendencies originated therefore is not important.

functionally equivalent:Gordon Allport's concept that many behaviors of individuals are similar in their meaning because the individuals tend to view many situations and stimuli in the same way; for Allport, the trait is the internal structure that causes this regularity.


gender roles:social roles based on gender.

gender schema theory:the theory that argues that our culture and gender-role socialization provide us with gender schemas.

gender schemas:organized mental structures that delineate our understanding of the abilities of, appropriate behavior of, and appropriate situations for males and females.

gender typed:describes an individual whose conception of self and of others is unusually strongly organized around gender schemas.

generalization:the tendency for similar stimuli to evoke the same response.

generalized expectancy:according to Julian Rotter, expectancies that are related to a group of situations.

generalized reinforcement:according to Dollard and Miller, a secondary reinforcement that becomes associated with a variety of primary reinforcers.

genetic sex:whether an individual has XX chromosomes (female) or XY chromosomes (male).

genital stage:Freudian stage of psychosexual development beginning at adolescence in which attention is turned toward heterosexual relations.

Gestalt psychology:an approach to psychology that emphasizes the integrative and active nature of perception and thought suggesting that the whole may be greater than the sum of its parts.

gestalt:a German word for pattern or configuration.


habit hierarchy:in social learning theory, a learned hierarchy of likelihoods that a person will produce particular responses in particular situations.

habits:simple associations between a stimulus and a response.

hemispheric activity:the level of activity within one cerebral hemisphere (left or right).

hero:according to Carl Jung, the archetype that represents a strong and good force that does battle with the enemy in order to rescue another from harm.

human genome project:an effort to identify each of the thousands of genes in our chromosomes.

human potential movement:a existential-humanistic movement in which people are encouraged to realize their inner potentials through small group meetings, self-disclosure, and introspection.

humanism:a philosophical movement that emphasizes the personal worth of the individual and the importance of human values.

hydraulic displacement model:Sigmund Freud's concept that suggests that during displacement, pressure builds up like steam in a boiler and must be released.

hypermnesia:a situation in which a later attempt to remember something yields information that was not reportable on an earlier attempt to remember.

hypnosis:a process by which a person is induced into a trance state where action is partially under the control of another person.

hysteria:a term used for various forms of mental illness for which no organic cause could be found and which could sometimes be cured by psychological and social influences.


I-It monologue:a phrase used by philosopher Martin Buber to describe a utilitarian relationship in which a person uses others but does not value them for themselves.

I-Thou dialogue:a phrase used by philosopher Martin Buber to describe a direct, mutual relationship in which each individual confirms the other person as being of unique value.

id:in psychoanalytic theory, the undifferentiated, unsocialized core of personality that contains the basic psychic energy and motivations.

ideal self:Karen Horney's concept of the self that we view as perfection and hope to achieve, as molded by perceived inadequacies.

identity crisis:a term proposed by Erik Erikson to describe uncertainty about one's abilities, associations, and future goals.

identity formation:the process of developing one's individual personality and concept of one's self.

idiographic:involved in the study of individual cases.

idiolect:each individual's own unique version of his or her native language.

illusion of individuality:according to Harry Stack Sullivan, the idea that a person has a single, fixed personality is just an illusion.

immature love:according to Erich Fromm, the type of love in which the taking of love overwhelms the giving of love.

implicit memory:a memory that is not consciously recalled but that nevertheless influences behavior or thoughts.

implicit personality theory:a type of biasing tendency for people to, perhaps erroneously, see certain traits as going together and to perceive consistencies when viewing the personalities of others.

imprinting:a term used by ethologists to describe a type of learning that occurs at a particular early point in an organism's life and cannot be changed later on.

Individual Psychology:Alfred Adler's theory of personality that stresses the unique motivations of individuals and the importance of each person's perceived niche in society.

inductive approach:an approach to psychology in which observations are systematically collected and concepts are developed based on what the data reveal.

infantile amnesia:the phenomenon of adults being unable to remember what happened to them before age three or four.

inferiority complex:according to Alfred Adler, an individual's exaggerated feelings of personal incompetence that result from an overwhelming sense of helplessness or some experience that leaves him or her powerless.

instrumental behavior:behavior that is oriented to objectives that are task-focused and beyond our interpersonal system; contrasts with expressive behavior.

internal consistency reliability:degree of consistency between subparts or equivalent parts of a test.

internal locus of control:according to Julian Rotter, the generalized expectancy that an individual's own actions lead to desired outcomes.

interpersonal theory of psychiatry:Harry Stack Sullivan's approach to personality that focuses on the recurring social situations faced by an individual.

intimacy motive:the need to share oneself with others in intimate ways as studied by Dan P. McAdams.

introversion:a term used by Carl Jung to describe the directing of the libido, or psychic energy, toward things in the internal world. In Hans Eysenck's biologically based theory the term describes people who are generally quiet, reserved, and thoughtful, and who are thought to have a relatively higher level of brain arousal, which causes them to shy away from stimulating social environments. According to the Big Five approach, this term is used to describe those who are low on the personality dimension of extroversion; people who are introverted are shy, submissive, retiring, and quiet.

Inventory of Interpersonal Problems:a scale that measures distress arising from the interpersonal problems that people experience.

item intercorrelation:the extent to which test items are related to one another.

item response theory:a mathematical approach to choosing test items in which the probability of a positive response for a particular item is examined given the person's overall position on the underlying trait being measured by the test as estimated by other answers.


Judgment-Perception scale:subclassification of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator that reflects whether a person is oriented toward evaluating or perceiving things.


kin selection:the idea that increasing the likelihood for the family members of an individual to survive increases the likelihood that the individual's genes will be carried on to the next generation even if the individual did not reproduce him- or herself.


L-data:the term used by R. B. Cattell to describe data gathered about a person's life from school records or similar sources.

latency period:according to Sigmund Freud, the period between age five and eleven in which no important psychosexual developments take place and during which sexual urges are not directly expressed but instead are channeled into other activities.

latent content:the part of dreams or other aspects of psychological experience that underlies the conscious portion and reveals hidden meaning.

Law of Effect:Edward Thorndike's concept that the consequence of a behavior will either strengthen or weaken the behavior; that is, when a response follows a stimulus and results in satisfaction for the organism, this strengthens the connection between stimulus and response; however, if the response results in discomfort or pain, the connection is weakened.

learned helplessness:the term used by Martin Seligman to describe a situation in which repeated exposure to unavoidable punishment leads an organism to accept later punishment even when it is avoidable.

libido:in Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory, the sexual energy that underlies psychological tension; in Carl Jung's neo-analytic theory, the term is used to describe a general psychic energy that is not necessarily sexual in nature.

life-course approach:approach to personality by Avshalom Caspi that emphasizes that patterns of behavior change as a function of age, culture, social groups, life events, and so forth, as well as because of internal drives, motives, and traits.

life space:in Kurt Lewin's theory, all the internal and external forces that act on an individual.

life tasks:a term used by Nancy Cantor to describe age-determined issues on which people are currently concentrating.

linguistic relativity:the idea of Benjamin Lee Whorf and Edward Sapir that claims that our interpretation of the world is to a large extent dependent on the linguistic system by which we classify it.

linguistic universals:common features among all known languages.

locus of causality:according to Bernard Weiner, the perception that situations are caused either by some internal factor within an individual or by external situational issues.

locus of control:In Julian Rotter's theory, the variable that measures the extent to which an individual habitually attributes outcomes to factors internal to the self versus external to the self.

longitudinal study:according to Jack Block, the close, comprehensive, systematic, objective, sustained study of individuals over significant portions of the life span.

love tasks:according to Alfred Adler, the fundamental social issue of finding a suitable life partner.

LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide):a hallucinogenic drug derived from a fungus that evokes dreamlike changes in perception and thought.


manic-depression:a disorder in which an individual swings regularly between bouts of wildly enthusiastic energy and bouts of hopeless depression.

manifest content:the part of dreams or other aspects of psychological experience that is remembered and consciously considered.

masculine protest:according to Alfred Adler, an individual's attempt to be competent and independent rather than merely an outgrowth of his or her parents.

masculinity:the qualities associated with being a man.

maternal instinct:according to the functional school of psychology, an inborn emotional tendency toward nurturance that is triggered by contact with a helpless infant.

mature love:according to Erich Fromm, the type of love in which each partner cares for the other, feels responsibility to the other, and gives love freely.

Meniere's disease:an inner-ear disorder that can produce disabling dizziness, nausea, and auditory disturbances.

mesomorph:according to W. H. Sheldon, a somatotype describing muscular, large-boned, athletic types of people.

meta-analysis:a statistical technique for combining the results of multiple research studies.

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI):a comprehensive, self-report personality test that is focused on assessing psychopathology.

mother:according to Carl Jung, the archetype that embodies generativity and fertility.

motherly love:according to Erich Fromm, the type of love that is completely one-sided and unequal, in which the mother gives love and asks for nothing, and from which a child acquires a sense of security and stability.

motives:internal psychobiological forces that induce behavior or push for expression.

multiple intelligences:Howard Gardner's theory that claims that all human beings have at least seven different ways of knowing about the world and that people differ from one another in the relative strengths of each of these seven ways.

multitrait-multimethod perspective:the use of multiple assessment methods and various traits in order to determine test validity.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator:a widely used instrument that attempts to measure introversion and extroversion and several other subclassifications as defined by Carl Jung.


narcissistic personality disorder:a disorder in which one feels powerless and dependent yet appears to be authoritative and self-aggrandizing.

narrative approach:Dan P. McAdams' approach to personality that involves studying motivations through biographies in order to understand the full life context of the whole person.

natural selection:the process by which certain adaptive characteristics emerge over generations.

need for achievement:according to Henry Murray, the need to succeed on tasks that are set out by society.

need for affiliation:according to Henry Murray, the need to draw near to and win the affection of others.

need for exhibition:according to Henry Murray, the need to show one's self before others and to entertain, amuse, shock, and excite others.

need for power:according to Henry Murray, the need to seek positions and offices in which one can exert control over others.

need:term used by Henry Murray to describe a readiness to respond in a certain way under given conditions.

negative reinforcement:an aversive event that ends if a behavior is performed, making it more likely for that behavior to be performed in the future.

neo-analytic approach:the approach to personality psychology that is concerned with the individual's sense of self (ego) as the core of personality.

neurotic trend:according to Karen Horney, a self-protective measure to achieve power and superiority over others, which counteracts the feeling that one is impotent or being mistreated.

neuroticism:according to the Big Five approach, the personality dimension that includes nervousness, tension, and anxiety; people low in this dimension are emotionally stable, calm, and contented. This term is also one of Hans Eysenck's three personality dimensions and includes emotional instability and apprehensiveness.

neurotransmitter:a chemical used by nerves to communicate.

nomothetic:seeking to formulate laws.

nondeterministic:the idea that it is an oversimplification to view people as controlled by fixed physical laws.

nonshared environmental variance:features of the environment that children raised in the same home experience differently.

normal symbiotic:according to Margaret Mahler, the forming of ties between a child and mother in which the child develops empathy and the sense of being a separate but loving person.

nuclear quality:Gordon Allport's term for describing personal dispositions in terms of a person's unique goals, motives, or styles.


object relations theories:The approach to personality that focuses on the objects of psychic drives and the importance of relations with other individuals in defining ourselves.

objective assessment:measurement that is not dependent on the individual making the assessment.

observational learning:learning by an individual that occurs by watching others perform the behavior, with the individual neither performing the behavior him- or herself, nor being directly rewarded or punished for the behavior.

occupational tasks:according to Alfred Adler, a fundamental social issue in which one must choose and pursue a career that makes one feel worthwhile.

Oedipus conflict:a term used by Sigmund Freud to describe a boy's sexual feelings for his mother and rivalries with his father.

openness:according to the Big Five approach, the personality dimension that includes imagination, wit, originality, and creativity; people low on this dimension are shallow, plain, and simple.

operant conditioning:the changing of a behavior by manipulating its consequences.

oral stage:Freudian stage of psychosexual development before age one, when infants are driven to satisfy their drives of hunger and thirst.

organ inferiority:Alfred Adler's concept that everyone is born with some physical weakness at which point incapacity and disease are most likely to take place, but the body attempts to make up for the deficiency in another area.

organismic:a term sometimes used to describe theories that focus on the development that comes from inside the growing organism and that assume a natural unfolding, or life course, for each organism.

outcome expectancy:the expected consequences of a behavior that is the most significant influence on whether or not an individual will reproduce an observed behavior, in the view of Albert Bandura. Also, the extent to which an individual expects his or her performance to have a positive result.


partial reinforcement:a large, unpredictable reward.

passive style:according to Karen Horney, a mode of adapting to the world used by those who believe that they can get along best by being compliant.

patterns:the basic underlying mechanisms of personality that dynamically direct activity and remain relatively stable.

peak experiences:according to Abraham Maslow, powerful, meaningful experiences in which people seem to transcend the self, be at one with the world, and feel completely self-fulfilled; Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes them as the "flow" that comes with total involvement in an activity.

penis envy:a term used by Sigmund Freud to describe the phenomenon in which a girl develops feelings of inferiority and jealousy over her lack of a penis.

perfection striving:according to Alfred Adler, an individual's attempt to reach fictional goals by eliminating his or her perceived flaws.

persona:according to Carl Jung, the archetype representing the socially acceptable front that is presented to others.

personal construct theory:the approach to personality proposed by George Kelly that emphasizes the idea that people actively endeavor to construe or understand the world and construct their own theories about human behavior.

personal dispositions:a term used by Gordon Allport to describe traits that are peculiar to an individual.

Personal Orientation Inventory:a self-report questionnaire that asks people to classify themselves on a number of dimensions for the various characteristics of self-actualization or mental health.

personal projects:a term used by Brian Little to describe specific tasks that people are currently working on that motivate them on a daily basis.

personal strivings:a term used by Robert Emmons to describe abstract, overarching goals that may be satisfied by a number of different behaviors.

personal unconscious:according to Carl Jung, the component of the mind that contains thoughts and feelings that are not currently a part of conscious awareness.

personality disorder:deep-rooted, ongoing pattern of behavior that impairs the person's functioning and well-being.

personality psychology:the scientific study of the psychological forces that make people uniquely themselves.

Personality Research Form (PRF):a self-report test that assesses needs by forced responses to short, standardized items.

personality test:a standardized stimulus that evokes different responses in different individuals and assesses these differences.

personological system:Henry Murray's term for his theory of personality that emphasizes the richness of the life of each person and the dynamic nature of the individual as a complex organism responding to a specific environment.

phallic stage:Freudian stage of psychosexual development around age four in which a child's sexual energy is focused on the genitals.

phenomenology:the concept that people's perceptions or subjective realities are considered valid data for investigation.

philia:according to Rollo May, a type of brotherly love or liking.

phlegmatic:a personality type based on the ancient Greek humors discussed by Hippocrates and Galen in which one is apathetic and conforming on the outside but tense and distraught on the inside.

phobia:an excessive or incapacitating fear.

placebo:any intervention that does not have a specific, expected physiological effect on the body.

pleasure principle:the operating principle of the id to satisfy pleasure and reduce inner tension.

positivism:the philosophical view of the world that focuses on the laws that govern the behavior of objects in the world.

posttraumatic stress:anxiety, nightmares, and flashbacks that result when the conscious mind cannot deal with overwhelmingly disturbing memories.

primary drive:a fundamental innate motivator of behavior, specifically hunger, thirst, sex, or pain.

primary reinforcement:according to Dollard and Miller, an event that reduces a primary drive.

principle of reinforcement:the theory that the frequency of a behavior depends on its consequences or the types of outcomes that follow it.

procedural memory:memory for how to do a task.

projection:a defense mechanism in which anxiety-arousing impulses are externalized by placing them onto others.

projective test:an assessment technique that attempts to study personality through use of a relatively unstructured stimulus, task, or situation.

prolactin:the hormone that causes lactation.

proprium:Gordon Allport's term for the core of personality that defines who one is; Allport believed that the proprium has a biological counterpart.

prospective design:using early measures to predict later outcomes.

Prozac:a drug that blocks reabsorption of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain and thus elevates moods and alters emotional reaction patterns.

psyche:the essence of the human mind or spirit or soul; in Carl Jung's theory, personality as the dynamic sum of its parts.

psychoanalysis:Sigmund Freud's approach to understanding human behavior; also, Freud's psychotherapeutic techniques.

psychological situation:according to Julian Rotter, the individual's unique combination of potential behaviors and the value of these behaviors to the individual.

psychopharmacology:the study of the role of drugs and other toxic substances in causing and treating psychiatric disturbance.

psychosomatic medicine:treatment that is based on the idea that the mind affects the body.

psychosurgery:operating on the brain in an attempt to repair personality problems.

psychotherapeutic interview:an interview in which a client talks about the important or troubling parts of his or her life.

psychoticism:one of Hans Eysenck's three personality dimensions; it includes a tendency toward psychopathology, involving impulsivity and cruelty, tough-mindedness, and shrewdness.

punishment:an unpleasant consequence to a behavior that decreases the likelihood of performing the behavior in the future.


Q-data:the term used by R. B. Cattell to describe data gathered from self-reports and questionnaires.

Q-sort:a method of personality assessment in which a person is given a stack of cards naming various characteristics and is asked to sort them into piles.


race:large groupings based upon physical characteristics, such as skin color, eye shape, or height, tied to geographical origin.

radical determinism:the belief that all human behavior is caused and that humans have no free will.

rationalization:a defense mechanism in which post-hoc logical explanations are given for behaviors that were actually driven by internal unconscious motives.

reaction formation:a defense mechanism that pushes away threatening impulses by overemphasizing the opposite in one's thoughts and actions.

readiness:the extent to which individuals are likely to respond appropriately in a given situation, as a function of their prior experiences with that situation.

reality principle:in Freudian psychoanalytic theory, the operating force of the ego to solve real problems.

real self:Karen Horney's concept of the inner core of personality that we perceive about ourselves, including our potential for self-realization.

regression:a defense mechanism in which one returns to earlier, safer stages of one's life in order to escape present threats.

reinforcement:an event that strengthens a behavior and increases the likelihood of repeating the behavior in the future.

reinforcement schedules:the frequency and the interval of reinforcement that may be based on time or responses.

reinforcement value:the extent to which an individual values the expected reinforcement of an action.

relative self:the philosophical idea that there is no underlying self but that the true self is composed merely of masks.

reliability:the consistency of scores that are expected to be the same.

repression:a defense mechanism that pushes threatening thoughts into the unconscious.

response set:a bias in responding to test items that is unrelated to the personality characteristic being measured.

Rogerian therapy:the client-oriented psychotherapy developed by Carl Rogers in which the therapist tends to be supportive, nondirective, and empathetic, and gives unconditional positive regard.

Role Construct Repertory Test:an assessment instrument designed by George Kelly to evoke a person's own personal construct system by making comparisons among triads of important people in the life of the person being assessed.

romantic attachment style:according to Phillip Shaver, one's style of adult romantic relationships, which is modeled on and reflects the nature of one's childhood attachment relationships to the parents or caregivers.

ruling type:according to Alfred Adler, a type of person who proceeds for his or her own gain without consideration of others.


salutogenesis:Aaron Antononvsky's theory of how people stay healthy; according to this approach, the world must not necessarily be controlled or ordered for the healthy individual, but the individual must have a sense of coherence.

schema:a cognitive structure that organizes knowledge and expectations about one's environment.

schizophrenia:a condition whose symptoms include distorted reality, odd emotional reactions, and sometimes paranoia and/or delusions.

scientific inference:the use of systematically gathered evidence to test theories.

script:a schema that guides behavior in social situations.

secondary drives:in social learning theory, drives that are learned by association with the satisfaction of primary drives.

secondary reinforcement:according to Dollard and Miller, a conditioned reinforcement; a previously neutral stimulus that becomes a reinforcer following its pairing with a primary reinforcer.

secure lovers:according to Phillip Shaver, people who have a romantic attachment style in which they easily form close relationships with others and let others be close to them.

self-actualization:the innate process by which one tends to grow spiritually and realize one's potential.

self-efficacy:an expectancy or belief about how competently one will be able to enact a behavior in a particular situation.

self-monitoring:Mark Snyder's concept of self-observation and self-control guided by situational cues to the social appropriateness of behavior.

self-presentation:a term used by Mark Snyder to describe doing what is socially expected.

self-regulation:monitoring one's own behavior as a result of one's internal processes of goals, planning, and self-reinforcement.

self-system:according to Albert Bandura, the set of cognitive processes by which a person perceives, evaluates, and regulates his or her own behavior so that it is appropriate to the environment and effective in achieving goals.

Sensation-Intuition scale:subclassification of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator that reflects whether a person is more prone to realism or imagination.

sensation-seeking scale:a scale developed by Marvin Zuckerman to measure an individual's level of susceptibility to excitement or boredom.

sense of coherence:a person's confidence that the world is understandable, manageable, and meaningful.

SES gradient:a phenomenon in public health in which the higher a person's socioeconomic status, the lower is that person's risk of getting sick and dying prematurely.

shadow:according to Carl Jung, the archetype representing the dark and unacceptable side of personality.

shaping:the process in which undifferentiated operant behaviors are gradually changed or shaped into a desired behavior pattern by the reinforcement of successive approximations, so that the behavior more and more resembles the target behavior.

sick role:a set of societal expectations about how a person should behave when ill.

signal detection theory:an approach to analyzing a person's memory for an event (or their comprehension of a message) that is sensitive to the fact that responses are biased by the rewards and penalties for correct and incorrect yes and no answers.

Skinner box:an enclosure in which an experimenter can shape the behavior of an animal by controlling reinforcement and accurately measuring the responses of the animal.

Social Darwinism:the idea that societies and cultures naturally compete for survival of the fittest.

social desirability response set:a bias in which people are likely to want to present themselves in a favorable light or to try to please the experimenter or test administrator.

social intelligence:the idea that individuals differ in their level of mastery of the particular cluster of knowledge and skills that are relevant to interpersonal situations.

social learning theory:a theory that proposes that habits are built up in terms of a hierarchy of secondary drives.

social roles theory:Alice Eagly's theory that the social behaviors that differ between the sexes are embedded in social roles; that is, the different roles in which men and women find themselves specify their behaviors.

social roles:gender roles and many other roles pertaining to work and family life that involve expectations applied to a category of people.

social self:George Herbert Mead's idea that who we are and how we think of ourselves arise from our interactions with those around us. Also, having an identity in a social world.

societal tasks:according to Alfred Adler, a fundamental social issue in which one must create friendships and social networks.

socioeconomic status:a measurement of one's level of education and income.

sociobiology:the study of the influence of evolutionary biology on individual responses regarding social matters.

somatopsychic effect:disease or genetic predispositions to illness that affect personality.

somatotypology:W. H. Sheldon's theory relating body type to personality characteristics.

specific expectancy:according to Julian Rotter, the expectancy that a reward will follow a behavior in a particular situation.

stability of causality:according to Bernard Weiner, the perception that the causes of occurrences are either long-lasting across time or of the moment and changing across time.

stereotype:a schema or belief about the personality traits that tend to be characteristic of members of some group.

stereotype threat:the threat that others' judgments or one's own actions will negatively stereotype an individual.

strategies:according to Walter Mischel, individual differences in the meanings people give to stimuli and reinforcement that are learned during experiences with situations and their rewards.

structured interview:a systematic interview in which the interviewer follows a definite plan so that similar types of information are elicited from each interviewee.

subjective assessment:measurement that relies on interpretation by the individual making the assessment.

subjective well-being:what individuals think of their own level of happiness or their quality of life.

sublimation:a defense mechanism in which dangerous urges are transformed into positive, socially acceptable motivations.

subliminal perception:the perception and processing of weak stimuli without conscious awareness that any stimulus has occurred.

superego:in Freudian psychoanalytic theory, the personality structure that develops to internalize societal rules and guide goal-seeking behavior toward socially acceptable pursuits.

superiority complex:according to Alfred Adler, an exaggerated arrogance that an individual develops in order to overcome an inferiority complex.

survival of the fittest:the concept that species evolve because those individuals who cannot compete well in the environments in which they live tend to be less successful in growing up and producing offspring.

symbiotic psychotic:according to Margaret Mahler, the forming of emotional ties that are so strong that a child is unable to form a sense of self.

System of Multicultural Pluralistic Assessment (SOMPA):a system developed by Jane Mercer that assumes that test results cannot be divorced from the culture and focuses on comparisons among individuals within a cultural group rather than between cultural groups.

systematic desensitization:gradually extinguishing a phobia by causing the feared stimulus to become dissociated from the fear response.

systems:according to Henry Murray, dynamic influences with feedback.


T-data:the term used by R. B. Cattell to describe data gathered from placing a person in a controlled test situation and noting or rating responses.

teleology:the idea that there is a grand design or purpose to one's life.

temperament:stable individual differences in emotional reactivity.

test-retest reliability:the degree of consistency between the results of the same test taken on different occasions.

testosterone:a sex hormone, typically considered the male sex hormone.

thanatos:according to Freud, the drive toward self-destructive behavior or death.

thema:according to Henry Murray, a typical combination of needs and presses.

Thematic Apperception Test (TAT):a projective test in which a participant is asked to make up a story (including what will happen in the future) about a picture that is presented.

Thinking-Feeling scale:subclassification of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator that reflects whether a person is logical and objective or personal and subjective.

trait:according to Gordon Allport, a generalized neuropsychic structure or core tendency that underlies behavior across time and situations.

transcend:to overcome biological drives and societal pressures.

Turing Test:a standard test by which to judge whether a computer can adequately simulate a human; in this test, first proposed by Alan Turing, a human judge interacts with two hidden others and tries to decide which is the human and which is the computer.

Turner's syndrome:an anomaly in which an individual is born with only a single X chromosome; such a person has female external genitals but no ovaries.

Type A behavior pattern/Type A personality:a tense, competitive style that is especially likely to be asssociated with coronary heart disease.

Type T theory:Frank H. Farley's theory that suggests a psychobiological need for stimulation due to an internal arousal deficit; Type T stands for "Thrill Seeking."

types:a theoretical approach to personality in which people are divided into discrete categories or classes as opposed to being placed along a continuum.


unconscious:the portion of the mind that is not accessible to conscious thought.


validity:the extent to which a test measures what it is supposed to be measuring.

variable interval reinforcement schedule:a pattern in which reinforcement occurs at irregularly spaced intervals of time.

variable ratio reinforcement schedule:a pattern in which reinforcement occurs after a varying number of responses by the organism.


withdrawn style:according to Karen Horney, a mode of adapting to the world used by those who believe that it is best not to engage emotionally at all.


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zero acquaintance:observation and judgment of someone with whom one has never interacted.