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Portal:Psychology

The Psychology Portal

Psychology is the study of mind and behavior. Its subject matter includes the behavior of humans and nonhumans, both conscious and unconscious phenomena, and mental processes such as thoughts, feelings, and motives. Psychology is an academic discipline of immense scope, crossing the boundaries between the natural and social sciences. Biological psychologists seek an understanding of the emergent properties of brains, linking the discipline to neuroscience. As social scientists, psychologists aim to understand the behavior of individuals and groups.

A professional practitioner or researcher involved in the discipline is called a psychologist. Some psychologists can also be classified as behavioral or cognitive scientists. Some psychologists attempt to understand the role of mental functions in individual and social behavior. Others explore the physiological and neurobiological processes that underlie cognitive functions and behaviors.


Psychologists are involved in research on perception, cognition, attention, emotion, intelligence, subjective experiences, motivation, brain functioning, and personality. Psychologists' interests extend to interpersonal relationships, psychological resilience, family resilience, and other areas within social psychology. They also consider the unconscious mind. Research psychologists employ empirical methods to infer causal and correlational relationships between psychosocial variables. Some, but not all, clinical and counseling psychologists rely on symbolic interpretation. (Full article...)

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Positioning theory is a theory in social psychology that characterizes interactions between individuals. "Position" can be defined as an alterable collection of beliefs of an individual with regards to their rights, duties, and obligations. "Positioning" is the mechanism through which roles are assigned or denied, either to oneself or others. The theory describes malleable roles and storylines that determine the boundaries of future acts and the meanings of what people say and do. The theory expands upon the work of psychologist Lev Vygotsky, especially his theory of zone of proximal development (ZPD). It emphasizes the interdependence of positions, speech and other acts, and storylines that arise from them; a change in any one aspect affects the other two. The theory provides a framework to understand a person's specific behavior by considering social, individual, and moral factors.

There are three orders of positioning based on how positions are assumed: first-, second- and third-order positioning. Positioning can also be classified into various types depending on the specifics of the situation; these include self, other, tacit, intentional, interactive, reflexive, moral, personal, indirect, and malignant positioning. Positioning theory originated in the 1990s from the paper titled Positioning: the discursive production of selves, which looked to solve a problem that arose "out of a discussion about the problems inherent in the use of the concept of role in developing a social psychology of selfhood". Since its inception, Positioning theory has been developed further with contributions from Bronwyn Davies, Rom Harré, Luk Van Langenhove, and Fathali Moghaddam. The theory has provided a structure for social discourse analysis, and it has been used to study various social situations. Its application has extended into fields such as education, anthropology, communication, and political science. (Full article...)
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US Navy: During a DUI safety lesson, Sailors are hypnotized and put in various comical situations at the Naval Air Station Oceana theater
"US Navy: During a DUI safety lesson, Sailors are hypnotized and put in various comical situations at the Naval Air Station, Oceana theater"
image credit: United States Navy

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  • "Rationalization may be defined as self-deception by reasoning." — Karen Horney

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John Philippe Rushton (December 3, 1943 – October 2, 2012) was a Canadian psychologist and author. He taught at the University of Western Ontario until the early 1990s, and became known to the general public during the 1980s and 1990s for research on race and intelligence, race and crime, and other purported racial correlations.

Rushton's work has been heavily criticized by the scientific community for the questionable quality of its research, with many academics arguing that it was conducted under a racist agenda. From 2002 until his death, he served as the head of the Pioneer Fund, an organization founded in 1937 to promote eugenics, which has been described as racist and white supremacist in nature, and as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. He also published articles in and spoke at conferences organized by the white supremacist magazine American Renaissance. (Full article...)
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