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Portal:Psychology

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Psychology is the scientific 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...)

The hard–easy effect is a cognitive bias that manifests itself as a tendency to overestimate the probability of one's success at a task perceived as hard, and to underestimate the likelihood of one's success at a task perceived as easy. The hard-easy effect takes place, for example, when individuals exhibit a degree of underconfidence in answering relatively easy questions and a degree of overconfidence in answering relatively difficult questions. "Hard tasks tend to produce overconfidence but worse-than-average perceptions," reported Katherine A. Burson, Richard P. Larrick, and Jack B. Soll in a 2005 study, "whereas easy tasks tend to produce underconfidence and better-than-average effects."

The hard-easy effect falls under the umbrella of "social comparison theory", which was originally formulated by Leon Festinger in 1954. Festinger argued that individuals are driven to evaluate their own opinions and abilities accurately, and social comparison theory explains how individuals carry out those evaluations by comparing themselves to others. (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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George Armitage Miller (February 3, 1920 – July 22, 2012) was an American psychologist who was one of the founders of cognitive psychology, and more broadly, of cognitive science. He also contributed to the birth of psycholinguistics. Miller wrote several books and directed the development of WordNet, an online word-linkage database usable by computer programs. He authored the paper, "The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two," in which he observed that many different experimental findings considered together reveal the presence of an average limit of seven for human short-term memory capacity. This paper is frequently cited by psychologists and in the wider culture. Miller won numerous awards, including the National Medal of Science.

Miller began his career when the reigning theory in psychology was behaviorism, which eschewed the study of mental processes and focused on observable behavior. Rejecting this approach, Miller devised experimental techniques and mathematical methods to analyze mental processes, focusing particularly on speech and language. Working mostly at Harvard University, MIT and Princeton University, he went on to become one of the founders of psycholinguistics and was one of the key figures in founding the broader new field of cognitive science, c. 1978. He collaborated and co-authored work with other figures in cognitive science and psycholinguistics, such as Noam Chomsky. For moving psychology into the realm of mental processes and for aligning that move with information theory, computation theory, and linguistics, Miller is considered one of the great twentieth-century psychologists. A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Miller as the 20th most cited psychologist of that era. (Full article...)
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  • ... that fashion psychology is an interdisciplinary field that studies the interaction between human behavior, psychology, and fashion?
  • ... that food psychology research has found that the COVID-19 pandemic led to both reduced and increased consumption of junk food among different geographical populations and educational backgrounds?
  • ... that Ahmad Nasuhi ordered a subordinate to attack the Indonesian Communist Party's offices with grenades as "psychological warfare against the central government"?
  • ... that architect Robert Marquis believed that architecture should meet "the users' spiritual and psychological needs" in addition to being functional?

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  • ...that the effects of head trauma on memory can be seen by the post-operative results of HM, a patient who has been unable to form any new long-term memories since a surgical procedure performed in the 1950s?

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