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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 Shaping In Psychology?

Shaping is a conditioning technique that involves working toward a target behavior by breaking it down into gradual, successive steps and rewarding each step on the path toward the desired outcome. Psychologist B. F. Skinner introduced the concept as part of his operant conditioning theory. Shaping is a term used in behavioral psychology to establish …

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Acquisition In Psychology: Definition With Examples

Acquisition refers to an early stage of the learning process when a response is first established. At this point in learning, the subject will begin displaying the behavior when a stimulus is presented, so we can then say that the behavior has been acquired. In classical conditioning, acquisition refers to when the previously neutral stimulus …

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Differences Between Classical vs Operant Conditioning

Classical conditioning vs operant conditioning? What exactly are the differences between these two types of learning? Both classical conditioning and operant are central to behaviorism, but students often get confused about the differences between the two. Use this study guide to familiarize yourself with some of the major topics related to classical and operant conditioning …

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Classical Conditioning: How It Works and Why It’s Used

Classical conditioning is a learning process in which a neutral stimulus is paired with another stimulus that nautically produces a response. After repeated pairing, the previously neutral stimulus begins to evoke the response all on its own. Classical conditioning is a type of associative learning that takes place unconsciously. It works by associating one stimulus …

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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 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 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 Imposter Syndrome in Psychology?

Imposter syndrome is a phenomenon in which people doubt their own education, competence, skill, talents, accomplishments, and knowledge. As a result, they feel less competent than how they are perceived by other people.  They often also experience a chronic fear that their perceived incompetence will be revealed and that everyone will discover that they are …

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Psychology Definitions

Explore our growing collection of psychology definitions and terms. A – B Abnormal Psychology Absolute Threshold Accommodation Action Potential Actualizing Tendency Acquisition Assimilation Autocratic Leadership Autonomy Attachment Theory Barnum Effect Behaviorism Bias Blind Spot Big 5 Personality Traits C – D Cardinal Traits Case Study Chunking Choice Blindness Classical Conditioning Cognitive Bias Cognitive Dissonance Cognitive …

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8 Effective Problem-Solving Strategies

If you need to solve a problem, there are a number of different problem-solving strategies that can help you come up with an accurate decision. Sometimes the best choice is to use a step-by-step approach that leads to the right solution, but other problems may require a trial-and-error approach.  Why Use Problem-Solving Strategies While you …

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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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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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What Are Attachment Styles in Psychology?

Attachment styles are characteristic patterns for how people relate to others in close relationships. According to attachment theory, these styles are heavily influenced by early bonds with caregivers. Researchers have identified four distinct attachment styles: secure attachment, anxious attachment, avoidant attachment, and fearful anxious attachment. In this article, learn more about the four main attachment …

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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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Developmental Psychology: Definition and Uses

Developmental psychology is a field that studies how people grow and change throughout the course of their lifespans. Development is about much more than the physical changes that occur over a lifetime. It also involves cognitive, social, and emotional changes at different ages. This article discusses some of the major issues in developmental psychology and …

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5 Common Leadership Styles and How to Find Yours

Leadership styles can be defined as a person’s governing, directing, and motivating followers. Researchers have proposed several different leadership styles over the last 50 or so years. Leaders often see such styles in business, politics, technology, and other major fields. Psychologists have found that leadership styles can have a meaningful impact on how well groups …

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