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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 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 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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What Is Self-Determination Theory?

Self-determination theory (SDT) is a framework for understanding human motivation that focuses on the importance of autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Self-determination refers to individuals’ ability to control their actions and make choices aligned with their goals, needs, and values. Intrinsic motivation is another important component of self-determination theory. It is a type of motivation that …

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What Is the Primacy Effect in Psychology?

The primacy effect is a cognitive phenomenon in which people tend to remember and give more importance to the initial information presented in a series of items, whether it be a list of words, a sequence of events, or other forms of communication.  This effect suggests that information presented at the beginning of a series …

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Type C Personality: Definition, Traits, and Strengths

You’ve probably heard of the Type A personality and even Type B. You may be less familiar with a type known as the Type C personality type. People with this type are often analytical and detail-oriented. However, they are also more introverted and prone to experiencing higher levels of stress and anxiety. Type C personality …

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Short-Term Memory: How It Works and How to Improve It

Short-term memory (STM) is a type of memory that can hold a small amount of information for a limited period of time. The duration and capacity of short-term memory is quite limited, holding between five to nine pieces of information for around 20 to 30 seconds. You’ve probably experienced these limitations yourself many times. Consider …

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