Echolalia: a condition often found in autistic children and catatonic schizophrenics, whereby individuals demonstrate a pathological repetition of other’s words, either immediately or delayed for hours or days.
Efficacy: the effectiveness of a treatment used in medicine or psychotherapy.
Ego: (Latin for ‘I’) in psychoanalysis, the part of personality that serves to mediate between id and superego, by directing instinctual drives and urges into appropriate channels.
Egocentricity: evident at the preoperational stage, whereby a young child is unable to take the perspective of another person. Piaget’s ‘three mountains’ experiment is a test of egocentricity, as children are unable to see how the ‘mountains’ would look to a child at a different location.
Elaborative rehearsal: the active processing of items to improve memory, through a variety of methods, from focusing on sensory characteristics (visual appearance, sound) to an emphasis on the semantic content (meaning) of information.
Electroconvulsive shock treatment (ECT): the use of passing small amounts of electric current through the brain, inducing a convulsion or epileptic seizure, as an effective treatment for severe depression.
Electroencephalograph (EEG): a non-invasive method of recording the electrical activity of the brain, by fixing electrodes to the scalp.
Emancipation (psychological): the step by step development of the personality of a self-reliant mature individual. All good education guides towards mature self-reliance and self-realisation.
Emotion: an pattern of intense changes in physiological arousal, behaviour, cognitive processes and environmental influences that are described in subjective terms such as happiness, fear or anger.
Emotion-focused coping: aims to manage the negative effects of stress on the individual, through changing an emotional response.
Emotional development: the development of a full range of emotions from sad to happy to angry, and learning to deal with them appropriately.
Emotional state: the state of a person's emotions (especially with regard to pleasure or dejection).
Empathy: the ability to understand another person's perceptions and feelings; cited by Rogers as a condition for growth.
Empirical data: information derived from measurements made in "real life" situations (e.g., field data).
Encoding: changing sensory input into a mental representation in the memory system.
Endocrine glands: glands which secrete hormones directly into the bloodstream.
Endocrinologist: a specialist of the endocrine glands and hormone systems of the body: pituitary gland, adrenal gland, testes.
Endogenous: caused by factors within the body or mind or arising from internal structural or functional causes.
Endogenous pacemakers: inherited mechanisms important for the regulation of biological rhythms, particularly in the absence of external cues. The principal endogenous pacemaker in mammals is a small group of cells in the hypothalamus, known as the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), which regulates the production of melatonin in the pineal gland.
Endorphins: a neuropeptide which plays an important role in pain and mood states.
Environmental stressors (aggressive behaviour): elements of the environment that give rise to anti-social behaviour, by increasing arousal which subsequently may produce negative emotions and aggressive behaviour. For instance, high temperatures, intense levels of noise, and crowding can produce high levels of aggression.
Episodic memory: long-term memories for personal experiences and the contexts in which they occur.
Equilibration: in Piaget's theory of cognitive development, maintaining balance between the environment and the mental structures (schemas) which we use to represent that environment.
Ergonomics: the study of the 'fit' between human operators and their workplace, which can be used to design working environments that maximise user efficiency.
Estimator variables: in witness testimony, variables that affect the accuracy of witness testimony, that the justice system has little control over, including weather and amount of time witness was at the scene
Ethical guidelines: prescriptive guidance (e.g. clear guidelines published by the BPS) on the conduct of psychologists in research and practice, to oversee what is acceptable within the pursuit of a specific goal, including informed consent, right to withdraw and debriefing.
Ethical hedonism: the view that individuals engage in moral behaviour, such as altruism, because it provides some personal advantage.
Ethics: a major branch of philosophy. The study of principles relating to right and wrong conduct; morality; the standards that govern the conduct of a person, especially a member of a profession.
Ethnocentrism: the practice of researching or theorising from the perspective of a particular ethnic, national or cultural group.
Euphoria: a feeling of happiness, confidence, or well-being sometimes exaggerated in mood disorders as mania.
Evolutionary psychology: the application of evolutionary ideas, including the importance of behavioural and mental adaptiveness over millions of years, to help explain human behaviour.
Excitatory: that tends to excite or causes excitation.
Existential therapies: see humanistic therapies.
Exogenous zeitgebers ('time givers'): external events that help regulate biological rhythms, for instance, light and social stimuli (see also endogenous pacemakers).
Extraneous variables: variables that make possible an alternative explanation of results; an uncontrolled variable.
Expectancy/incentive approaches: in the study of motivation, these approaches explore incentives that produce goal-directed behaviour.
Experiment: a test under controlled conditions made to either demonstrate a known truth, examine the validity of a hypothesis, or determine the efficacy of something previously untried.
Experimental methods: systematically manipulate the independent variable to determine the effect upon the dependent variable. Extraneous variables that may influence the outcome of the experiment are rigorously controlled.
Experimental group: participants in an experiment who receive the independent variable. The control group serves as a comparison group.
Experimental psychology: is a field of psychology that typically involves laboratory research in basic areas of the discipline.
Experimenter effects: when an experimenter’s behaviour or characteristics influence participants, through subtle cues or signals that can affect the performance or response of subjects in the experiment.
Explicit memory: requires a conscious attempt to recall memory.
External validity: an extent to which research results can be generalised beyond the specific situation studied.
Extinction: when the conditioned responses ceases to be produced, with the absence of a reinforcer or unconditioned stimulus.
Extroversion: a dimension of personality, characterised by sociability, the tendency to engage in conversation with others and impulsiveness. Extroversion can be measured on the introversion-extroversion scale of the EPI (Eysenck personality inventory).
Eyewitness testimony: the study of the accuracy of memory following an accident or crime, and an exploration of the types of errors commonly made.
Eysenck personality inventory (EPI): a personality test designed to measure the traits of extroversion and neuroticism.
F scale: a measuring instrument used by Adorno to measure the authoritarian personality, by exploring the extent to which people agree with statements such 'Obedience and respect for authority are the most important virtues children should learn.'
Face recognition: involves the comparison of a perceived stimulus pattern with stored representations of familiar faces.
Face validity: the extent to which the measure appears (at face value) to test what it claims to.
False memory debate: see recovered memories
False memory syndrome: see recovered memories.
False negative (also called a Type II error): in inferential statistics, concluding that the observed results are due only to chance when in fact a significant effect exists
False positive (also called a Type 1 error): in inferential statistics, concluding that an observed outcome is significant when in fact it reflects only chance.
Falsifiability: a criterion to evaluate a theory against, whereby the theory should state circumstances where it can be proven wrong.
Family systems theory: the view of the family as a set of interacting and interdependent components.
Fatigue effects: when participants become tired or bored if a demanding or repetitive task is repeated, resulting in deteriorating performance.
Feature detection theories: used to explain pattern recognition, proposes that images are processed in terms of their component parts, which then match the features of a pattern stored in memory.
Feature processing: in visual perception, the ability to detect contours, crucial for object recognition.
Feelings: the expression and sensation of emotion; created, expressed and stored in the emotional body.
Field experiments: an experiment in a natural setting, rather than the comparatively artificial setting of the laboratory. Consequently, extraneous variables are difficult to control.
Fight-or-flight response: a series of internal activities that are set off when an organism is faced with a threat, in preparation of defending or attacking (fight) or fleeing to safety (flight).
Filial imprinting: the best known form of imprinting. It is most obvious in nidifugous birds, which imprint on their parents and then follow them around.
Filognosy: love for the knowledge of self-realisation as inspired by as well the western as eastern concepts of emancipation that together make for the integrity of the different views, forms of logic and intelligence one finds in modern society on a global scale.
Fixation: in psychoanalytic theory, a preference for the mode of gratification associated with a particular stage of psychosexual development as a result of too much or too little gratification at that stage.
Fixed interval schedule: a reinforcement applied on a systematic time basis, for instance, every four minutes.
Fixed ratio schedule: a reinforcement applied according to a number of predetermined responses, for instance one reinforcement for every three responses.
Flashbulb memory: memory related to an emotionally arousing event.
Flooding: a behavioural therapy to treat phobias, through exposure to the feared object for an extended period of time, with no opportunity for escape.
Fluid intelligence: an abstract form of intelligence that includes the ability to analyse complex relationships, reason and find solutions to problems.
Follow-up study: continuing contact with participants after a study, in order to examine any long-term effects that may have arisen as a result of their participation.
Foot-in-the-door technique: a method of compliance method, whereby people are more likely to comply if they initially agree to a small request, followed by a larger request later on. (see also door-in-the-face technique.)
Forced-choice item: a test where respondents select one of a number of differing responses, in order to reduce likelihood of socially desirable responses.
Forebrain: see brain
Forgetting: the inability to recall or recognise what has previously been remembered. Forgetting has been explained by a number of accounts. Trace-dependent forgetting (the memory trace is lost), cue-dependent forgetting (the lack of necessary cues to retrieve the memory), repression (painful memories are unconsciously repressed) or interference.
Fovea: a small area on the retina, which contains closely packed cones, onto which light from an object is focused upon.
Frame of mind (state of mind): a temporary psychological state i.e. Mental or emotional attitude or mood.
Fraternal twin: see dizygotic twin
Free association: A psychodynamic technique, whereby a patient is encouraged to freely talk about their thoughts, wishes, experiences and mental images as they arise, in the hope of allowing preconscious content to surface in the consciousness.
Free will vs. determinism: refers to the debate between those who believe that external or internal factors acting upon the individual determine behaviour (determinism), and those that believe individuals respond actively to the outside world (free will).
Frequency distribution: a statistical analysis of a set of data reflecting how often each score occur. Frequency distributions can be represented in a number of graphical ways, including histograms.
Freudian slip: a slip-up, either in speech, writing or in memory lapses that reflects the hidden worries or focus of the unconscious mind.
Frontal lobe: the area of the cortex in front of the central fissure, and above the lateral fissure; involved in motor control and cognitive processes.
Frontal lobotomy: an operation, popular in the 1940s and 1950s, which involved sectioning or removing sections of the frontal lobes, often to treat cases of bipolar mood disorder or chronic pain.
Frustration-aggression theory: a theory of aggression developed by Dollard and Miller which proposes that frustration (when people are blocked or prevented from reaching their goals) results in a great chance of aggression occurring.
Fully functioning person: portrayed by Rogers as the ideal of growth; healthy growth is demonstrated by openness, a high level of spontaneity, compassion and self-direction.
Functional fixedness: in Gestalt theory, perceiving an object as having only one already established or associated use; an inability to identify a new use.
Functional MRI (FMRI): brain imaging technique that scans by measuring magnetic changes in the flow of blood to cells in the brain.
Fundamental attribution error: in attribution theory, the inclination to overemphasise the influence of dispositional factors (e.g. personality) and underestimating the role of situational factors (e.g. weather) on a persons behaviour.