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What Is Self-Concept in Psychology?

Your self-concept is the beliefs, feelings, thoughts, and images you hold about yourself. It includes many different aspects of your identity, including your physical appearance, personality traits, values, talents, skills, roles, and relationships. Self-concept is essentially how you see yourself. If you were to ask yourself, “Who am I?” your description might include a list …

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Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development

How do children develop morality and moral reasoning? Kohlberg’s stages of moral development describe a fixed process through which children develop moral reasoning abilities. The stages represent an expansion of an earlier theory of moral reasoning proposed by developmental psychologist Jean Piaget. Kohlberg’s theory suggests that there are six stages of moral development that can …

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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Explained

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory of human motivation suggesting that behaviors are driven by increasingly complex needs. The hierarchy is usually depicted as a pyramid. The most basic needs make up the base, and complex needs are found at the peak. The five levels of the hierarchy of needs are: The purpose of …

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What Is Prosocial Behavior? Meaning and Examples

Prosocial behavior involves actions that are designed to help other people or to benefit society as a whole. Examples of prosocial behaviors include being kind, comforting, generous, or helpful. When people engage in prosocial behaviors, they often do so because they are concerned, compassionate, and empathetic. They want to ensure others have what they need, …

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16 MBTI Personality Types

The 16 MBTI personality types are those identified by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. This self-report personality questionnaire suggests that personality comprises four dimensions, corresponding to 16 distinct personality types. What Is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)? The MBTI stands for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. The test was developed by writer Katharine Cook Briggs and her …

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What Is the Unconditioned Response in Psychology?

In classical conditioning, the unconditioned response is the natural, automatic reaction that is triggered by the unconditioned stimulus. It occurs unconditionally, which means it happens without having to go through any prior learning. For example, if you hear a loud, sudden noise, you might automatically startle. That natural reaction is the unconditioned response. You don’t …

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What Is Functional Fixedness in Psychology?

Functional fixedness is when people can only think of traditional ways of using objects. It is a type of cognitive bias that prevents people from thinking outside of the box and developing creative solutions.  When you have a particular tool, you might look at it in terms of how it is traditionally used.  A screwdriver, …

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What Is a Disorganized Attachment Style in Relationships?

Disorganized attachment is an insecure attachment style characterized by avoidant and fearful behaviors. Also known as fearful-avoidant attachment, this style often stems from abuse, neglect, or trauma in childhood.  In adult relationships, disorganized attachment leads to a range of erratic behavior. People may seem disoriented, fearful, and ambivalent in their interactions with their partner. This …

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What Is the Sensorimotor Stage in Psychology?

According to Piaget, the sensorimotor stage of development occurs during the first two years of a child’s life. During this period of development, children utilize their sensory abilities to learn more about themselves and the world around them. The sensorimotor stage is the first stage in Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. This stage lasts …

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What Is the Ego in Psychology?

In Sigmund Freud’s theory of personality, he described three parts of personality: the id, ego, and superego. The ego is the part of personality that strikes a balance between the primitive urges of the id, the idealistic standards of the superego, and the demands of reality. Freud believed that the ego functions according to the …

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What Is the Unconditioned Stimulus?

In classical conditioning, the unconditioned stimulus automatically leads to a response. It triggers a response unconditionally without any prior learning.  An unexpected loud noise is one example. You react naturally and automatically when this unconditional stimulus occurs by flinching in surprise. That unlearned response is known as the unconditioned response. The Unconditioned Stimulus in Classical …

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What Is the Premack Principle?

The Premack Principle is a psychological concept suggesting that high-probability behavior can help reinforce low-probability behavior. In simpler terms, it involves using an enjoyable activity that someone prefers to encourage them to engage in a less enjoyable activity.  For example, a teacher might tell students that they have to finish their assignment first, and then …

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What Is the Recency Effect? Definition and Examples

The recency effect is a cognitive phenomenon in psychology characterized by the tendency to remember and give greater significance to the most recent items or information encountered in a series. In other words, when presented with a list of items, people are more likely to recall and emphasize the items that appeared last.  For example, …

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Thorndike’s Law of Effect: Definition and Examples

The law of effect is an important psychological principle based on a pretty simple premise—behaviors that are followed by positive consequences are more likely to be repeated. At the same time, behaviors followed by negative consequences are less likely to be repeated.  It was first proposed by psychologist Edward Thorndike and had a significant impact …

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What Is Punishment in Psychology?

In psychology, punishment refers to presenting an aversive stimulus or removing a positive stimulus in response to a behavior to reduce the likelihood of that behavior occurring again. Punishment is a concept within operant conditioning, a behaviorist theory developed by B.F. Skinner. The effectiveness of punishment in modifying behavior can vary, and its use is …

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What Is Extinction in Psychology?

Extinction in psychology refers to weakening or eliminating a learned behavior by removing the reinforcement or consequence that previously followed that behavior. Simply put, extinction involves the reduction or cessation of a behavior when it is no longer reinforced. Extinction happens when a response that has been previously conditioned is no longer reinforced. In the …

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What Is Incongruence in Psychology?

Incongruence involves a discrepancy or inconsistency between a person’s thoughts, feelings, behaviors, or self-concept. According to the humanist psychologist Carl Rogers, incongruence happens when a person’s ideas about their ideal self don’t align with their real-world experiences.  Simply put, incongruence means a person’s perceived self does not match their ideal self. When people experience incongruence, …

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What Is a Psychological Construct?

A psychological construct is a framework used to describe psychological phenomena, such as behavior, emotion, or experience. These things don’t have a physical presence, so they cannot be objectively measured by looking at their size, weight, or appearance. By labeling a construct, researchers can make inferences about these abstract concepts. Constructs are used in psychological …

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What Is Working Memory?

Working memory is a form of memory that temporarily holds information that a person needs to perform immediate mental tasks. It involves actively processing and manipulating information to perform activities like comprehending information, solving problems, and making decisions. Working memory is an executive function that plays an important role in many cognitive processes. It allows …

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What Is Choice Blindness? Definition and Examples

Choice blindness is a psychological phenomenon in which people fail to notice a mismatch between their intended choice and the choice presented to them. In other words, it is a surprising tendency to be unaware that our choices and preferences have been changed or manipulated after we’ve already made a choice. This tendency suggests that …

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