GABA: gamma-amino butryic acid is a neurotransmitter that is produced at times of stress or anxiety and acts as the bodys’ natural form of stress relief.
GABA works by inhibiting the transmission of an action potential at the synapse.
Galvanic Skin Response: a means of measuring the electrical conductivity of the skin which is increased by sweating. When the autonomic nervous system is aroused through stress or strong emotion, an electrode placed on the skin – eg: the wrist or the palm – relays the electrical activity to a machine that responds to electrical signals.
Gamete: reproductive cell – either sperm or egg – in its mature state.
Gender: the psychological characteristics associated with being male or female. Many of these characteristics are socially determined and may be relative to the particular culture or society rather than being universal. Sociologists and psychologists usually distinguish between these sociopsychological characteristics and the anatomical features of being either biologically male or female.
Gender Bias: generally this is the tendency to prefer one gender over another. It is the treatment or representation of men and/or women based on stereotypes rather than real differences.
In the behavioural sciences research and/or theory are said to suffer from ‘alpha bias’ when the difference between men and women is exaggerated; ‘beta bias’ is when the differences are minimised or discounted.
Gender Differences: at a cultural level, these are differences between masculinity (what society deems appropriate thinking and behaviour for a man) and femininity (what society deems appropriate thinking and behaviour for a woman). Gender differences emerge for some constructs but not others. Moreover, when gender differences do emerge, they tend to be small to moderate in size. This means that there is overlap between males and females. As an example, women are more likely than men to be depressed, but some men are more depressed than most women.
Differences have been found in a number of areas such as mental health, cognitive abilities, personality, emotion and tendencies towards nurturing (more women) and aggression (more men). However, most studies show that gender differences in psychological characteristics are small. Men and women do not have radically different brains, personality traits, cognitive skills, or behaviours. Where there are differences, they seem to be due to a complex interplay of biological, developmental, and cultural factors.
Untangling this interplay is very difficult. As a rough guide, if a way of thinking or behaving is universal – ie: found in all known cultures – then it can considered to be based in the person’s biology; if it is not universal, then it is can be considered to be learned.
Gender Identity: an individual’s concept of being male or female – a critical part of self-identity (“I am a boy”/”I am a girl”).
A sense of gender identity induces gender behaviour – though this is dependent to some degree on a knowledge of gender roles.
Gender Role: a set of expectations that prescribe how how males and females should think, feel and act.
These expectations form norms of male and female attitudes and behaviours.
politics of gender in the 1970s. For many years, women had been expected to keep to their roles as mothers and homemakers. However, in the 1960s and 1970s, feminists pushed back against the idea that women were inherently different from men and not well suited for life outside the home
Gene: a unit of inheritance which forms part of a chromosome. Some genes alone determine certain characteristics; but most characteristics are the result of multiple genes. Genes direct the synthesis of proteins.
Generalisation: the extent to which a theory or the results of a study can be applied to the population from which the sample was drawn – or to people in general.
Genetic Determinism: the concept that human and non-human animal development, behaviour and mental activity are largely (or completely) controlled by the genetic constitution of the individual and that responses to environmental influences are for the most part innately determined. In other words, you are what your genes have determined you to be.
In the second half of the 20th Century the strength of the argument for genetic determinism has been weakened considerably by Epigenetics which proposes that genes can, in fact, be switched on or off, through environmental influences. This makes development and significant changes in behaviour and mental activity more of an interaction between genes and environment.
Genetics: a branch of biology concerned with the study of genes, genetic variation, and heredity in organisms.
Trait inheritance and molecular inheritance mechanisms of genes are still primary principles of genetics in the 21st Century, but modern genetics has expanded beyond inheritance to studying the function and behaviour of genes. Gene structure and function, variation and distribution are studied within the context of the cell, the organism and within the context of a population. Genetics has given rise to a number of subfields, including Epigenetics, molecular genetics and population genetics.
Genome: the total genetic material of an individual organism.
Genotype: someone’s raw genetic potential – their genetic constitution – as determined from the particular set of genes acquired from the union of the parents’ egg and sperm.
How that raw potential develops is the phenotype.
Gestalt Psychology: this approach – ‘gestalten’ means ‘good form’ or ‘whole shape’ – was developed in Germany in the 1910s by Max Wertheimer, Kurt Koffka & Wolfgang Kohler. Its basic presupposition is that behaviour can really only be understood as a whole, rather than broken down into constituent parts. It has particular application to the way meaning is applied to sensory input to produce perception.
Gestalt Therapy: loosely drawing upon Gestalt Psychology, this form of Humanistic therapy, devised by Fritz Perls, aims to develop a greater awareness of the self and a sense of wholeness.
Globalisation: is the process of greater interdependence between societies through the emergence of global economic and cultural systems. In theory this will eventually potentially integrate the peoples of the world into a single global society.
However, the process is far from smooth and is outrightly resisted by elements in many societies. The degree of globalisation actually taking place is hotly contested – as is the notion that it will benefit all peoples of the world.
The impact of the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic of 1920-1921 may well impact the process of globalisation.
Glucocorticoids: a group of hormones produced in the adrenal cortex which help metabolise protein and carbohydrates when the body is subject to stress.
Glutamate: an amino acid that functions as one of the most common neurotransmitters.
Since the publication of Daniel Javitt & Joseph Coyle’s ground-breaking research in 2004, the complex relationship between dopamine and glutamate in different parts of the brain – see graphic below – has changed views on the critical association of dopamine with Schizophrenia.
Graves Model: the theory and model developed from the research of Clare W Graves to explain how motivational systems emerge in symbiosis with prevailing ‘life conditions’ – what’s going on in the environment (both external and internal to the person).
These systems – termed vMEMES by Don Beck & Chris Cowan (1996) – emerge, dominate, recede and emerge again and both complement and conflict with another. They heavily influence what schemas we form about ourselves and the world around us – in total: the selfplex.
Gravesian: an element of the Graves Model or a follower of Clare W Graves’ work.
Gross National Income:
Gross National Product:
Group Norm: according to Daniel Feldman (1984), “Group norms are the informal rules that groups adopt to regulate and regularise group members’ behaviour.” Group norms are enforced when they help facilitate group success and survival and allow group members to predict others’ behaviours and interact efficiently. They help to avoid embarrassing interpersonal situations between group members and they express the important values of the group.
Groupthink: a concept developed by Irving Janis (1972) which explains conformity in small, often tightly-knit groups who perceive no need to take in views from outside the group. As a result, such groups often make poor decisions.
Growth Hormone: a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland and necessary for normal physical growth during childhood and adolescence. It is still secreted in smaller amounts during adulthood for tissue repair and replacement.
Growth hormone is also involved in the regulation of food intake as it causes the conversion of glycogen to glucose.