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Ecological validity
Criticism often levied at the behaviourist, cognitive, and biological approaches due to their use of the laboratory experiment in their research. Laboratory experiments can often be accused of lacking in ecological validity. They do not reflect a real life situation. This is a problem for psychology in that it is a subject interested in our real-life everyday behaviours. Lab experiments by their very nature often get human participants behaving in an abnormal manner. This leads to distorted data, and thus weak psychological conclusions.

Before gaining acceptance to clubs, gangs, fraternities etc there are often 'initiation rites' to perform. Cognitive dissonance theory shows that these 'rites of passage' serve a distinct social psychological function. The prediction is that the more effort you put into achieving a goal, the more attractive and worthwhile it is perceived to be when finally achieved. Dissonance theory believes that regardless of how attractive, desirable and interesting a goal is, it is what you the person goes through to achieve it that determines it's worth.

Why is this so? If you gain membership of a club or society, and have to go through 'hell' to get it you are likely to be extremely upset if you later find the club etc to be boring. Dissonance arises since the cognition, 'I have put a lot of time and effort into this', and 'the club is boring and worthless' are dissonant, since people do not normally put a lot of effort into something that is dull and useless. To reduce this dissonance you could leave the club - though this is unlikely since you would have to acknowledge that you had wasted your time and effort. Festinger and Carlsmith predicted the person will perceive the club or society to be interesting and worthwhile; this justifies the expenditure of time and effort.

Second part of the Freudian personality, our ego develops between age 2 and 3. The ego operates on the reality principle to get the demands of our id met. This means that the ego tries to broker a socially acceptable solution to get the individual what his or her id demanded in the first place. My daughter Toni, aged 12, if she sees something she wants in the shops, will no longer go on and on and on about it. This dramatically increases the probability of never getting it! Instead she will set up a series of jobs that her mum, nana, aunt, big sister and me will pay her to do for us! She then goes and buys what she wants. That is her ego, formed by her past experiences of reality, brokering a compromise solution to get her id demands met. Lots of them!

a term used by Jean Piaget to describe a child's selfish, self-centred behaviour, and way they look at the world. Only from their point of view.

Ego-defence mechanisms
Ego-defence mechanisms: We use defence mechanisms to protect ourselves from feelings of anxiety or guilt, which arise because we feel threatened, or because our id or superego becomes too demanding. They are not under our conscious control, and are non-voluntaristic. With the ego, our unconscious will use one or more to protect us when we come up against a stressful situation in life. Ego-defence mechanisms are natural and normal. When they get out of proportion, neuroses develop, such as anxiety states, phobias, obsessions, or hysteria. Types of ego-defence mechanisms include repression: this happens when you experience something so painful and traumatic that you push it out of your conscious awareness. You permanently forget that it ever happened. Repression is the unconscious act of forgetting a deeply disturbing trauma or event. Displacement involves the transfer of ideas and impulses from one object or person to another. For example, you may feel hostile and aggressive towards your boss as a result of getting the blame for something you did not do. You feel like lashing out, verbally, physically, or both. This is not realistic. You could lose your job. You use displacement and snap at and criticise a colleague instead. Regression: occurs when a person behaves in a manner more suitable to an earlier stage of life, e.g. adults who resort to childish behaviours like stamping, kicking, and or shouting in an effort to get their own way. Regressive behaviours such as thumb sucking can be seen when individuals are in a stressful situation, like examination time! Other ego-defence mechanisms include denial, rationalisation, projection, and suppression.

Eidetic memory
Photographic memory found in 1:20 children. These children can remember an entire page of writing in an unfamiliar language after only seeing it for a short period of time. Only a few have eidetic memory in adulthood.

Emotions are how we feel in relation to stimuli in our world. Happy, sad, angry etc. We share the same emotions worldwide, and thus emotions are innate to us all. They are a universal set of feelings that are a consequence of our shared genetic inheritance. They have survival value for us. Their expression is as a result of our genetics, which construct our physiology. In the biological approach our emotions are understood from the point of view of physical structures and processes in our cerebral cortex and nervous system. See Fight or flight response.

Empathy along with genuineness and unconditional positive regard is one of the central pillars of humanistic psychotherapy. Empathy is where the counsellor (or facilitator) appreciates where his/her client is coming from. They do this verbally and non-verbally. Or through the use of encouraging noises and body language!

Empirical data
Objective, factual data obtained by sensory experiences.

Someone who believes we are born tabula rasa, and become what we become as a result of experiences in our environment.

Enactive mode
[something here soon]

How we transform information to memory. We do this on the basis of the memory's acoustic, visual, and semantic content.

Endocrine system, the
Our endocrine system is the network of glands that manufacture and secrete chemical messengers called hormones throughout our bloodstream. These hormones then act on structures and functions throughout our body. Our brain's hypothalamus and the pituitary gland direct our autonomic nervous system to activate the endocrine system in its release of hormones. Hormones, the consequence of the endocrine system, direct bodily functions, and prompt puberty for example.

Episodic memory
This is our autobiographical memory of our past, and its events, people and objects (Tulving, 1972). Episodic memories are associated with a particular time and place. They thus have spatio-temporal significance for us. Wow! Spatio-temporal indeed? Meaning of course we can relate episodic memories to a particular time, and a particular place. Episodic memories are entirely meaningful for us as individuals. They don't mean anything to other people not involved, and mean something different to others that were involved. Get it?

[to be entered here soon]

Esteem needs
The last of Maslow's lower order deficiency needs, these concern the feeling we get when we master a particular skill or task, and the respect we get from others regards how much they value us.

The following is based on the British Psychological Society (BPS) Ethical Guidelines and Code of Conduct (1985):

General consideration: always ensure that the research you do is carried out from the standpoint of the participants/subject taking part. Research should never be offensive to anyone. This means that you should do nothing that threatens a person’s/animals health, well being, or dignity. You should also be aware that you live in a multi—cultural society with a range of diverse ethnic communities. Research should be considered from a socially inclusive, non-sexist, anti-racist and non-ageist perspective.

Consent: wherever possible consent should always be got from participants.

Deception: deception is not allowed if participants would be unlikely to co-operate without it. It in doubt the researcher should seek advice from a teacher, lecturer, etc.

Debriefing: any research should provide participants with an opportunity to discuss the outcomes of it. This is called debriefing, and allows discussion of the specific purpose of the research; interpretation of the par­ticipant’s particular performance scores, answers, etc., and give them an opportunity to ask questions.

Withdrawal from the investigation: all participants should give their permission to take part in your research. They should also be allowed to withdraw at any time if they so wish.

Confidentiality: unless subject to Scots law and UK statute, e.g. the Data Protection Act, confidentiality between participant and researcher should be observed at all times. It in doubt seek advice from your teacher lecturer, etc.

Protection of participants/subjects: all participants taking part in research should be protected from any physical or mental harm.

Observational research: any observation should observe the privacy and psychological well—being of those studied. If consent to be observed is not possible, observations should only occur where it would be normal that those observed would/could be by others. If in doubt consult your teacher or lecturer.

Giving psychological advice: sometimes during research, the researcher will be asked their advice con­cern ing a psychological matter that is of concern to a participant. The golden rule is not to give advice if not qualified to do so. If in any doubt you should seek advice from your teacher or lecturer.

Colleagues: everyone who studies psychology should abide by the above set of ethical principles. It is our duty to encourage others who carry out psychological research to observe these ethical guidelines at all times.

Evolution is the lengthy biological process through which new species emerge. This is as a result of gradual alterations to the genetics of existing species. The environment a species finds itself in strongly influences its evolution over time. Dinosaurs RIP!

Evolutionary psychology
Branch of Biological Psychology, which explains our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours in terms of our inherited biological characteristics. Or genetics. See also physiological psychology.

Existentialism is the environments we find ourselves in, often as a result of exercising personal agency. Read the excellent book Trainspotting

By Scottish author Irvine Welsh and recognise this, and more on what the humanistic approach is all about.

Expectancy Effect
Expectancy effect was discovered by Rosenthal and Fode (1963) and is a great example of experimenter bias!

Using an independent group design, they got two groups of students to train and look after two groups of rats. One group were told they had 'bright' rats, the other 'dull'. In fact there was no difference at all in any of the rats intelligence! Rosenthal and Fode made this up. The students than had to time their rats performance running a maze. The bright rat group produced data that indicated their rats had learned to run the maze quickly. The dull rat group produced data that indicated their rats had learned to run the maze slowly. Rosenthal and Fode concluded that their students (false) expectations of their rats ability had an effect on the overall results.

Experimental design
The experimental design emphasises the control, observation, and measurement of variables in research.

Experimental method
The experimental method is a scientific method of enquiry that emphasises the control, observation, and measurement of variables in research.

Experimenter bias
Eagly and Carli (1983) believe experimenter characteristics such as age, sex, and general behaviour can have a subtle effect on participants' behaviours in an experimental situation. This was one of the reasons participants said they behaved the way they did in Milgram's famous 1963 study into blind obedience to authority.

Experimenter variables
These are confounding variables that refer to the experimenters themselves that can see participants behaving in an abnormal fashion. Types of confounding variables associated with the experimenter are experimenter bias and expectancy effect.

Extinction is when the conditional response no longer occurs i.e. salivating to the sound of a bell alone. To resurrect the CR the re-presentation of the CS and UCS together is again required i.e. Bell and food.
Dyslexia and Myers-Irlen
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Report Writing Glossary
Dyslexia & Myers-Irlen syndrome

Research into dyslexia and Myers-Irlen syndrome suggests that changing the background colour upon which words are written can often benefit the reader. If you feel this applies to you please select your preferred colour from the DMI EasiReader © below.

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