Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

Glossary F


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F-Scale (Fascism Scale):  a psychometric designed by Theodore Adorno et al (1950) to measure the authoritarian personality.
The test measures 9 traits that were believed to cluster together as the result of (Psychodynamic) childhood experiences. These traits are conventionalism, authoritarian submission, authoritarian aggression, anti-intraception, superstition and stereotypy, power and ‘toughness’, destructiveness and cynicism, projectivity and exaggerated concerns over sexuality (sexual repression).
The F-Scale was one of several instruments developed by Adorno et al as part of their research into types of prejudiced persons.

Face Validity:

Factor Analysis: a multivariate statistical technique that allows the researcher to reduce many specific traits into a few more general ‘factors’ or groups of traits, each of which includes several of the specific traits. Factor analysis can be used with many kinds of variables but is particularly useful with personality characteristics.

Failed State:  a state whose political and/or economic systems have become so weak that the government is no longer in control. It is unable to perform the 2 fundamental functions of the sovereign nation-state in the modern world system: it cannot project authority over its territory and peoples; and it cannot protect its national boundaries.

False Consensus Effect: the tendency for people to project their way of thinking onto other people. In other words, they assume that everyone else thinks the same way they do.


Family Systems Theory:

Fascism: is an authoritarian nationalist political ideology.
Fascists advocate the creation of a totalitarian single-party state that seeks the mass mobilisation of a nation through indoctrination, physical education and family policy including eugenics. Fascists seek to purge forces and ideas deemed to be the cause of decadence and degeneration and produce their nation’s rebirth based on commitment to the national community, an organic unity where individuals are bound together by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and ‘blood’. Fascists believe that a nation requires strong leadership, singular collective identity, and the will and ability to commit violence and wage war in order to keep the nation strong. Fascist governments forbid and suppress opposition to the state.


Feminist Theory: Feminist Theory is the extension of Feminism into theoretical, or philosophical discourse; it aims to understand the nature of gender inequality. It examines women’s social roles and lived experience, and feminist politics in a variety of fields, such as Anthropology and Sociology, communication, Psychoanalysis, economics, literary criticism, education and Philosophy.

Fight or Flight: the mental-physiological state of being ready to fight or take flight.
When the person experiences acute stress, the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system ANS) is activated, powered by the hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline. The person’s heart and breathing rates increase, digestion is slowed down and sugar is released in readiness for intense activity – whether fighting or running away.
See What is Stress? for more on how the ANS works in a stressful situation.

Flooding: a Behaviourist therapy which gives the client maximum exposure to a feared stimulus until the fear subsides, thus extinguishing the learned response. The exposure can be real or imagined.
Application of the technique needs to be finely judged as high anxiety is a critical factor in the process. While the therapy has been famously successful in many instances, debilitating stress reactions in some clients have made the technique controversial.

fMRI: see Brain Scan

Folk Devils: Stanley Cohen’s (1972) term for a group of people who have become stigmatised by society at large and the target for adverse comment and demeaning actions. They are often portrayed as deviant and associated in the popular media with moral panics.
Romanian immigrants were targeted frequently in the UK’s right wing newspapers in the late noughties. More recently British Muslims have suffered similar targeting.

Formation: the development of a person’s character, personality and motivations as a whole.

Frame of Reference: a structure of schemas (values, beliefs, memories) on which we evaluate new information or development of thinking and form primary states and meta-states.

Freudian: something derived from the work of Sigmund Freud or a follower of his work.

Freudo-Marxism: a loose designation of several mid-20th-century schools of thought that have sought to synthesise the philosophy and political economy of Karl Marx with the Psychoanalytic Theory of Sigmund Freud.
A critical  question for these schools has been: why did Fascism have mass appeal? The fact of that appeal confounded much of orthodox Marxist thought. The gist of the answer Freudo-Marxists give is that the masses have internalised their oppression as suppression. The internalisation of the upper class in the minds of the lower class is as a kind of Superego keeping their need for self-expression repressed.

Front Region: see Back Region.

Frontal Lobe: see Cerebral Cortex.

Functional Prerequisites: those things that any society needs to sustain itself – eg: in the modern Western world:  basic needs (food, shelter, clothing and money) and essential services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage systems, support for reproduction and transportation systems.

Functionalism: an approach in Sociology and Social Anthropology which explain social institutions primarily in terms of the functions they perform within the context of the society in which they are located..
A function, in this context, is the consequences from one social activity or phenomenon for the operation of another social activity, institution or society as a whole. Eg: the police are supposed to keep the streets of our cities safe from crime which then enables people to engage in other activities such as shopping or going to work.

Fundamental Attribution Error: a term was coined by Lee Ross (1977) for the tendency for people to over-emphasise dispositional (or personality-based), explanations for behaviours observed in others while under-emphasising situational explanations.