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Glossary P-Q


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Paradigm: in the broadest sense, a representative model or example of a theory or methodology. According to Thomas Kuhn (1962), it is a general theoretical orientation accepted by the majority of scientists in their particular field.


Parapraxis: a parapraxis (aka: the ‘Freudian slip’) is an error in speech, memory, or physical action that is interpreted as occurring due to the interference of some unconscious wish, conflict, or train of thought. The concept was first introduced by Sigmund Freud (1901) is thus part of classical Psychoanalysis.
Slips of the tongue and the pen are the classical parapraxes, but Psychoanalytic Theory also embraces such phenomena as misreadings, mishearings, temporary forgettings, and the mislaying and losing of objects.

Passionate Love: a powerful emotional state involving many contrasting feelings: tenderness and sexual desire, joy and anxiety, excitement and deep despair.
Passionate love is distinguished from the more steady companionate love.

Parental Investment: Robert Trivers’ (1972) concept is that any animal parent tries to balance the effort (time and resources) it puts into having and rearing an offspring successfully with the limitations that may impose on future reproductive success.In mammals the female usually makes the greater parental investment via pregnancy and early child reading. If the male commits himself to support the female in having the child, that may limit his ability to have offspring with other females.Although Trivers developed his concept from many and various animal studies, it effectively describes the human condition in this respect.



Pattern Variables:

Perceptual Positions: developed by John Grinder & Judith DeLozier (1987) from earlier work by John Grinder & Richard Bandler (1975), the 4 positions are:-
○ 1st Position: one’s self
○ 2nd Position: to be another – to dissociate from self and adopt another’s views and values, so that you can see you as he/she sees you
○ 3rd Position: to be an observer – to associate into a position where you can see the relationship between the 1st and 2nd Positions
○ 4th Position: Meta-Position – to associate into a position where you can see everything from all angles
The 4th/Meta-Position was added later by Robert B Dilts, Tod Epstein & Robert W Dilts (1991). Dilts’ Meta-Mirror is a powerful conflict resolution tool working the 4 positions.

Peripheral Nervous System: as distinguished from the central nervous system, which it connects to the outer (peripheral) parts of the body, the peripheral nervous system consists of the sensory pathways (composed of afferent neurons) and the motor pathways (composed of efferent neurons), the latter consisting of the somatic nervous system (under conscious control) and the autonomic nervous system (not under conscious control).

Periphery: in Dependency Theory, Andre Gunder Frank (1971) calls the developing world the ‘periphery’ or ‘satellites’ which are exploited by the ‘core’ or ‘metropolis’ of the Western Capitalist nations.
Immanuel Wallerstein (1979) also uses this concept in World Systems Theory – though he distinguishes between the true ‘periphery’ and the ‘semi-periphery’ of industrialising, low-wage economies, to which the Core has been increasingly outsourcing its services and manufacturing.

Personalisation: a cognitive bias in which is seen as focusing on you. Everything that happens is seen as being connected with you.
Eg: “I bet my partner is unhappy because I’m not good enough.”

Person-Centred Approach:



Personality Bias:

Personality Type:

PET Scan (Positive Emission Tomography): a method of detecting activity in living brain to determine the function of different regions.
Participants are asked to engage in an activity such as reading. They are given an injection of a mildly radioactive form of glucose and then put in a scanner. Active regions of the brain use the glucose and its radiocactivity is detected by the scanner and displayed on a computer screen.

Phenomenalism: the doctrine that statements about physical objects and the external world can be analysed in terms of possible or actual experiences, and that entities, such as physical objects, are only mental constructions out of phenomenal appearances.

Phenomenology: a philosophy or method of inquiry based on the premise that reality consists of objects and events as they are perceived or understood in human consciousness and not of anything independent of human consciousness.
A movement based on this originated about 1905 by Edmund Husserl. Husserl (1913) distinguishes between pure Phenomenology and empirical Psychology (and between transcendental and psychological subjectivity), saying that Phenomenology is a science of essences, while Psychology is a science of the facts of experience.

Phenotype: the observable characteristics of an individual resulting from interaction between the genes they possess and the environment. In other words, how the genotype develops in life. (For example someone has the genetic potential to develop an IQ of, say 105; but, because of learning experiences and opportunities, their IQ, when measured, is only 98.)Philosophy: the academic study of knowledge, thought, and the meaning of life.Phobia: an excessive fear of a specific object or situation which is irrational and disproportionate.


Pineal Gland: a very small endocrine gland located in the brain which produces the hormone melatonin.

Pituitary Gland: the so-called ‘master gland’ of the endocrine system because it produces the largest number of different hormones and it controls the secretion of several other endocrine glands.


Polarisation: a cognitive bias in which experiences, self, other people and the future are seen as either wholly bad or wholly good.
People think in terms of rigid categories rather than in degrees of good or bad.

Political Economy: as Economics came to be recognised as a science in its own right in the late 19th Century, the previous term ‘political economy’ was largely superceded. However, recently some economists and sociologists have sought to revive its use, to emphasise how politically charged the subject of Economics often is. In this, they are following the lead of Karl Marx who recognised completely how intertwined Politics and Economics were.

Pons: a structure in the hindbrain containing the reticular formation and associated with arousal and sleep. It connects the midbrain and the medulla.

Positive  Discrimination:

Positive Punishment:
Positive Reward: forms of Operant Conditioning in which punishment or reward is given to someone as a consequence of their behaviour.



Power Pecking Order:

Pragmatism: A philosophical movement consisting of varying but associated theories, originally developed by Charles S Peirce and William James and distinguished by the doctrine that the meaning of an idea or a proposition lies in its observable practical consequences.
Pre-Menstrual Syndrome: (aka PMS) the phase of a woman’s cycle just prior to menstruation when some individuals experience mood swings, increased aggression and other symptoms, both physiological and psychological.
Levels of the hormone progesterone are high at this time in the female cycle.



Predictive Validity: a means of assessing the validity of a psychological test.
It is the degree to which performance on the test predicts later performance on some other criterion. Eg: being able to predict the course of a mental illness and the outcome of treatment from the diagnosis.


Present State-Desired State Planning: an NLP concept which drew originally upon Carl Rogers’ (1961) concept of perceived self and the ideal self. In its most basic form, it deals with identifying who and what you are now, who and what you would like to be and the changes needed to achieve the Desired State. At an organisational level, it can bring in standard planning processes but a key element is to balance off changes in the people with changes in the systems and resources (and vice versa).

Presupposition: something taken as true for a condition or state to exist. NLP has between 9 and 13 key presuppositions – depending on the ‘guru’ being referred to.

Primary Deviance:

Prime Directive: Don Beck’s  (2003) concept that there is an innate programme which, in a healthy person experiencing progressively more complex (but not abnormal) Life Conditions, causes vMEMES to emerge in the hierarchical order of Clare W Graves’ 1970) Spiral. To some considerable extent the Prime Directive reflects the actualising tendency, the drive to Self-Actualisation Abraham Maslow (1956) and Carl Rogers (1959) propounded.

Private Experience:

Progesterone: one of 2 hormones – the other being oestregen – which controls a woman’s cycle. Progesterone dominates during the latter 2 weeks of the cycle and is associated with decreased sexual desire and, in some women, the onset of Pre-Menstrual Syndrome.


Proletariat: from Latin proletarius, a citizen of the lowest class) a term used to identify a lower social class, usually the working class; a member of such a class is proletarian. Originally it was identified as those people who had no wealth other than their children.
In Marxist theory, the proletariat is the class of a Capitalist society that does not have ownership of the means of production and whose only means of subsistence is to sell their labour power.


Psyche: the mind functioning as the centre of thought, emotion and behaviourism and consciously or unconsciously adjusting or mediating the body’s responses to the social and physical environment. The spirit or soul – that which is responsible for one’s thoughts and feelings; the seat of the faculty of reason.
Psychiatry: the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness by a medically-trained person (as opposed to a psychologist).

Psychoanalysis: the precise meaning of this word can vary according to use – ie:
○ the method of psychological therapy originated by Sigmund Freud (1920, 1923) in which free association, dream interpretation, and analysis of resistance/transference are used to explore repressed or unconscious impulses, anxieties and internal conflicts, in order to free psychic energy for mature love and work.
○ b. The theory of personality developed by Freud that focuses on repression and unconscious forces and includes the concepts of infantile sexuality, resistance, transference and division of the psyche into the id, ego, and superego.

Psychoanalytic Theory: the cohesive set of models developed by Sigmund Freud (1905, 1926), arguably the greatest and most intuitive psychologist ever!. He saw the mind as having 3 components:-
○ Id: this comprises the innate sexual and aggressive instincts, works on the ‘pleasure principle’ and requires immediate gratification
○ Ego: the conscious, rational element which works on the ‘reality principle’ and takes into account the environment – note: this is a different meaning to ego as ‘self’
○ Superego: effectively conscience and the sense of morality
Freud charts the sequential development of these 3 components during childhood over 5 sequential ‘psychosexual’ stages:-
○ Oral: satisfaction is obtained from eating, sucking, etc (0-18 months)
○ Anal: the challenge of toilet training places emphasis on the anal region (18-36 months)
○ Phallic: the discovery of pleasure in the genitals (3-6 years)
○ Latent: the phase when boys and girls spend little time with each other (6 years to puberty)
○ Genital: the onset of sexual activity as a key source of pleasure (puberty onwards)
Over- or under-gratification at each stage can lead to ‘psychosexual fixations’ to which people may regress in later life in stressful conditions. Such stress can be caused by the failure of the Ego to resolve conflicts between the Id and the Superego. To protect itself, the Ego has a number of ‘defence mechanisms’ – such as:-
○ Repression: where threatening thoughts are kept out of consciousness
○ Displacement: unconsciously moving impulses away from a threatening object to a less threatening object – the ‘kicking the cat’ syndrome
○ Projection: the attribution of one’s own undesirable characteristics to another
○ Denial: the refusal to accept the existence or reality of a threatening event
○ Intellectualisation: the de-emotionalisation of a threatening event by thinking logically/rationally about it
In Integrated SocioPsychology the ego defence mechanisms are termed selfplex defence mechanisms to avoid the confusion caused the term ‘ego’.
The above is a very basic description of the key Freudian concepts. He created a considerable volume of works describing, developing and elaborating on these ideas and putting forward his own case histories Psychoanalysis as a means to resolve the conflicts and fixations he identified. (The principal work on defence mechanisms was documented by his daughter, Anna, in 1936) Freud’s core concepts were developed in Victorian times and, in the modern ‘sexually-enlightened’ age, his emphasis on issues to do with sex can seem a little quaint – obsessive, even! Yet for all the attempts to debunk Psychoanalytic Theory – especially by psychologists supporting Behaviourism – Freud remains a seminal figure in the development of Psychology. His Id can be seen as typifying the self-expressive side in Spiral Dynamics – especially the RED vMEME – while the development from Ego to Superego represents the conforming/self-sacrificing elements of the Spiral.

Psychodynamic Theory: an approach that emphasises the processes of change and development, with Dynamics being what drive us to behave in particular ways. The Psychoanalytic Theory of Sigmund Freud was the first Psychodynamic Theory of modern Psychology and underpins to some degree or other almost all Psychodynamic approaches developed since.
Ostensibly Psychodynamic might seem very similar in concept to Cognitive-Developmental; but, in practice, the two approaches are usually very different.
Cognitive Developmental tends to focus on how the mind works – eg: memory, attention, perception, intelligence and – and tends to be based on hard, experimental research. Psychodynamic, on the other hand, has an emphasis on motivation and morality and is often based on observation and inference. That said, Lawrence Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development (1963) is often considered a Cognitive-Developmental theory. The Graves Model (19760) and its Spiral Dynamics build (1996) can be seen as both Cognitive-Developmental and Psychodynamic.

Psychology: there have been several attempts at producing an adequate definition over the years. One which seems to be currently very much in vogue is ‘the science of mind, behaviour and experience’.

Psychometric: the measuring of ‘things psychological’ – such as intelligence, aptitudes, personality (temperament), etc.

Psychopathology: the study of mental illness, mental distress and abnormal, maladaptive behaviour. The term is most commonly used within Psychiatry where ‘pathology’ refers to disease processes. Abnormal Psychology is a similar term used more frequently in the non-medical field of Psychology.
Psychosis: a severe mental condition where the patient has lost touch with reality and lacks insight into their condition – eg: Schizophrenia. The term ‘psychosis’ remains in use even though the distinction between it and neurosis has been dropped from the major Psychiatry classification systems.

Psychotherapy: a psychological (as opposed to medical) treatment of mental or emotional problems.

Psychoticism: the third of Hans J Eysenck’s Dimensions of Temperament is attributed to the levels of testosterone in the body and, therefore, has a biological sex attribution to it. Men will tend to be more ‘Psychoticist’ while women will tend towards the other end of the scale, Impulse Control.

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